Can I get PTSD from being cheated on?

Yes, it is possible to experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after being cheated on. Cheating can be an emotionally traumatic experience that leads to a sense of betrayal, fear, and loss of trust. Such strong emotions can trigger PTSD symptoms such as flashbacks or intrusive thoughts related to the cheating incident, avoidance behaviors towards people or activities associated with the trauma, difficulty sleeping or concentrating, among others. Due to the intimate nature of this particular kind of trauma, feelings of shame and guilt may also accompany feelings of hurt and anger. Without appropriate treatment and support from loved ones, these distressing psychological effects might become debilitating over time.

I. The Psychological Trauma of Infidelity

The act of being cheated on can be traumatizing and difficult to overcome, both physically and mentally. Oftentimes those who experience infidelity may not have experienced a similar level of emotional or mental distress before. Having the trust you once held in someone shattered by an act of betrayal can do lasting psychological damage that many don’t fully recognize until much later down the line.

When emotions such as depression, anxiety, anger, helplessness and fear arise from such a scenario it becomes easy for individuals to end up grappling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Though PTSD is commonly associated with veterans returning from war or survivors of serious crimes and other traumatic events, it’s important to acknowledge that trauma caused by acts like cheating can also lead to this disorder. It’s normal for those affected by infidelity to begin having intrusive thoughts and flashbacks of what happened since they are unable to make sense of their current situation nor cope with its aftermath.

Symptoms connected with PTSD typically manifest into major changes in behavior including but not limited to insomnia, withdrawal from social activities, self-harming behaviors and more. Often these issues are further compounded when the individual suffering has an underlying condition such as bipolar disorder or depression which exacerbates existing symptoms even further. This can explain why some people take so long to come out of the cycle they’re stuck in after being cheated on as many don’t even understand exactly how deep their issue runs until they seek professional help or attend therapy sessions regularly.

II. Understanding the Symptoms of PTSD

When it comes to understanding the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after being cheated on, it can be difficult to diagnose in individuals who have experienced such betrayal. For those trying to cope with their mental health challenges associated with cheating, there are a few key indicators that could point to the need for professional help.

Though individual experiences vary significantly and people may not feel all of these symptoms at once, common signs include debilitating flashbacks or nightmares that occur randomly throughout the day or night, overwhelming feelings of guilt and shame, difficulty trusting others and feeling safe in relationships, depression, hypervigilance when interacting with friends or partners – as if they’re constantly expecting rejection – insomnia or sleeping too much due to exhaustion caused by restlessness or fearfulness. In extreme cases people can develop anhedonia – a total inability to experience pleasure from activities which used to bring joy.

These issues can manifest themselves through social withdrawal; avoiding places, people and topics related to cheating like ex-partners’ family members which can limit opportunities for meaningful relationships. This avoidance behavior is often rooted in fears regarding one’s safety and well-being in similar situations. It is important to recognize each person’s unique experience so that steps toward recovery take place correctly; everybody has different needs when managing PTSD. Helping someone process their trauma entails respect for the time needed for healing as well as providing resources such as counseling sessions combined with group therapy.

III. How Cheating Affects Mental Health

When we talk about cheating, mental health often goes unnoticed. But the consequences of infidelity on one’s emotional and psychological well-being cannot be ignored. As research shows, for most people who have been wronged by a partner, symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur soon after being cheated on.

The experience of betrayal is like any other traumatic event that carries with it psychological wounds that may take months or even years to heal from. PTSD is characterized by depression, anxiety, hypervigilance and flashbacks – all of which are connected to the person’s previous experience with their cheating partner and resulting feeling of loss or hurt. Those affected might constantly feel as if they are in danger and unable to trust again due to their fear of another instance where they may be emotionally betrayed or harmed.

In addition to feelings of distrust or insecurity, victims of infidelity often endure immense shame and guilt over what has happened to them; making it difficult for them process the trauma they experienced while having expectations placed upon them from society at large over how they should react – such as not showing public displays of emotion – making it less likely that sufferers will get help right away. It is essential therefore for those involved in cheating relationships to reach out for guidance when needed in order to begin healing from their trauma while finding healthy ways to cope with their tumultuous emotions so as not become more emotionally disabled down the line.

IV. The Relationship Between Betrayal Trauma and PTSD

Betrayal trauma can be a precursor to the development of PTSD. Traumatic experiences that involve being cheated on, such as infidelity in a romantic relationship, are known to produce strong and potentially lingering emotions. Betrayal trauma is defined as experiencing psychological distress due to a person or persons that you trusted breaking their agreement or bond with you. This can include things like lying, cheating, deceitful behavior, an act of violence done by someone who was supposed to protect you, or any other sense of betrayal from those around you whom had your trust and commitment.

The violation of this bond between people produces feelings of rage, hurt, confusion and abandonment – all hallmarks of complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD). As these intense emotions remain largely unchecked for long periods of time due to the inability or unwillingness for the victim to take action against them (such as through direct confrontation or legal recourse) symptoms may start appearing. Difficulty trusting others again can develop into paranoia; anger issues become explosive outbursts; fear creates avoidance strategies and panic attacks; sadness manifests itself into depression even years after the initial traumatic experience occurred.

Studies have shown that those who experienced betrayal trauma have been more likely than not to show signs of post-traumatic stress disorder shortly thereafter: extreme anxiety and hypervigilance in otherwise safe situations causing recurrent intrusive thoughts and flashbacks reminding them constantly about what happened before until they receive professional help which helps them come terms with it so they can proceed forward with their lives free from these afflictions.

V. Steps to Overcoming Post-Cheating Stress and Anxiety

Experiencing infidelity can be a source of intense trauma, especially if it has left you with long-term post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Dealing with the aftermath of being cheated on is an emotionally taxing process, and one that can take weeks or even months to heal. However, there are some effective steps you can take to aid in your recovery and help manage any post-cheating stress and anxiety.

To begin, seek out a safe environment where you can talk openly about the situation without judgement. Whether this is through therapy or within your circle of trusted friends and family, talking about what happened will allow you to gain perspective while helping to heal your emotional wounds.

Second, shift your focus towards self-care. This could involve taking up mindfulness activities like yoga or meditation or simply indulging in something that brings joy; just as long as it allows for moments of connection and clarity away from the person who hurt you. Doing so will give you permission to re-centre yourself after such a traumatic experience which helps reduce levels of stress hormones produced by the brain.

Remind yourself that healing does not need to follow any predetermined timeline; have patience with yourself throughout this journey. Know that it’s perfectly acceptable for emotions like grief, sadness or anger to resurface; this isn’t necessarily an indicator of regression but rather an expression of healing from such an emotionally charged experience.

VI. Coping Strategies for Processing Emotional Pain

Coping with the emotional pain of being cheated on can be difficult. It is important to remember that healing from traumatic experiences such as infidelity takes time, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. One way to process these intense emotions is by using grounding techniques or mindful practices which involve observing your body and its sensations without judgment. This can help you calm down if you feel overwhelmed by distressing thoughts and feelings.

Journaling can also provide relief during this difficult time. Taking some time each day to write down how you’re feeling can help externalize what’s happening in your head so that it doesn’t become overwhelming or intrusive. Expressing yourself through art activities like drawing, painting, singing, or dancing can also be beneficial for processing grief and anger related to betrayal.

Reaching out for support should not be underestimated either; building a social network of family members, friends, or even professional counselors who are able to understand and validate the hurtful experience while providing guidance and emotional comfort will increase resilience when navigating through the shock of infidelity.

VII. Seeking Professional Help in Recovery Journey

Seeking professional help can be invaluable in healing the emotional wounds caused by infidelity. Mental health professionals provide a safe space to discuss thoughts and feelings without fear of judgement, enabling individuals to move beyond their trauma towards finding closure. Oftentimes, engaging in cognitive-behavioral therapy or even couples counseling with an experienced therapist is recommended for those who are attempting to cope with the trauma associated with being cheated on.

Therapy enables an individual to gain insight into their beliefs, thought processes and behaviours that may have contributed to the issue of infidelity. It also provides guidance on how to develop healthier relationships in future and ways to deal better with stressful situations. By learning about boundaries, communication styles and attachment styles it is possible for those affected by cheating to improve self-esteem and make more informed decisions when considering partnerships or trust issues moving forward.

It is important not only be aware of strategies that can be employed during recovery but also understand that there may be a period of depression as the individual comes terms with what has happened while they attempt the process of forgiveness and acceptance. During this time it will beneficial from support from family members, friends and professionals such as counsellors who specialize in PTSD cases related to cheating experiences so as to make sure no feelings are overlooked or disregarded during this trying journey towards personal growth.

About the author.
Jay Roberts is the founder of the Debox Method and after nearly 10 years and hundreds of sessions, an expert in the art of emotional release to remove the negative effects of trauma. Through his book, courses, coaching, and talks Jay’s goal is to teach as many people as he can the power of the Debox Method. 

© Debox 2022