The Absolute Worst Kind Of Betrayal, According To A Couples Therapist

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woman experiencing the worst type of betrayal

Betrayal of any kind is painful. When they person you love most and consider your partner in life is the one who betrays you, it's impossible not to feel as though your world has been rocked to the core.

Some betrayals are easier to move past than others, but couples therapist and renowned relationship expert Stan Tatkin recently shared a post on Instagram in which he said one kind of betrayal is the biggest problem of them all.

What is the absolute worst kind of betrayal?

According to Tatkin, “The very worst kind of betrayal is the reveal of information that if previously known, would have changed everything."

RELATED: Getting Past The Pain Of Betrayal Requires This Subtle But Dramatic Shift

Tatkin offers three examples of what the worst kind of betrayal might look like.

1. Affairs

Discovering your partner's affair can be a soul-crushing experience. Not just for yourself but for the people around you.

Licensed counselor Marissa Moore notes, "You might experience symptoms, consistent with post-traumatic stress.”

Infidelity also causes depression, anxiety, and stress. Along with withdrawal symptoms similar to those of substance abuse users. This is because our brain releases dopamine when we fall in love. With time this causes a euphoric effect that can quickly become addicting. When we go through heartbreak our brain withdrawals, it leaves us vulnerable and weak.

2. Hidden bank accounts

Believe it or not, hidden bank accounts can fall under the classification of financial infidelity.



According to Arash Emamzadeth, "Some married people engage in financial infidelity — hiding their money, assets, inheritance, purchase receipts, and bills, or other evidence of their financial behaviors from their romantic partner.”

Financial infidelity can invoke similar feelings to that of sexual or emotional betrayal.

3. Hidden families

Discovering your partner has another family is seen as the ultimate sign of betrayal for many. Not only did they step outside of your relationship, but they now have living proof of their infidelity.

Finding yourself in this situation would understandably leave any one confused and grasping for what to do. When one anonymous woman turned for advice to Insider's resident sex and relationships reporter, Julia Naftulin, Naftulin suggested, "You need to figure out how much your lack of trust for your partner stems from his previous actions, and how much it comes from your tendency to be distrustful of others.”

Though it sounds harsh, doing this can help determine if you're willing to forgive and trust them again. We cannot underestimate the impact this betrayal has.

RELATED: 8 Subtle Signs Someone Is About To Betray You

Symptoms of trauma that may result from betrayal

The negative effects of betrayal don't just stop at what we've listed previously.

According to Tatkin, other symptoms of trauma that may result from betrayal include:

  • Mood instability
  • Sleep problems
  • Flashbacks
  • Obsession that won’t go away
  • The need to question everything

"Those who are betrayed tend to be out of touch with reality and their emotions," Tatkin says, but this isn't by choice. When we are betrayed our brain needs time to restart and process the new information.

Tatkin says this reprocessing can take up to a year.

couple working through betrayal issuesPhoto: Creaturart Images / Shutterstock

If instances of gaslighting, extended periods of dishonesty, or the revelation of multiple lies come to light, the healing process may take longer.

"Additionally, if your partner discovers these issues instead of you openly addressing them, it can take even longer," explains Tatkin.

Betrayal messes with our emotions and can take a toll on our overall well-being. By knowing how it affects us, it helps us avoid it in the first place.

RELATED: What Is Betrayal Trauma? How To Identify & Heal The Wounds

Marielisa Reyes is a writer with a bachelor's degree in psychology who covers self-help, relationships, career, and family topics.