Hyper-vigilance and Betrayal Trauma

Hyper-vigilance and Betrayal Trauma

As my days get a bit easier, I’m able to really pinpoint the outstanding unresolved items I need to focus on in therapy. Hyper-vigilance after betrayal is very common. I didn’t know anything about it until I started using feeling words in my last therapy session.

Hypervigilance is a state of heightened alertness accompanied by behavior that aims to prevent danger.

For myself, I don’t feel safe around certain people. I have deleted people off my social media. I have blocked some. However, every day, I still look and see if there are possibly other people who may be watching my every move only to report back. Nuts right?? I shouldn’t really care if they are spying because it’s not like I’m doing anything wrong. Right now, I’m writing about my life and my PTSD. I’m all in my right to do so.

I also limit my time with people. I don’t visit like before. If someone arrives while I’m there and I don’t feel safe, I leave. I don’t do the outreach via text as often.

I also take other people’s actions out on other people I love. I think to myself, “Well, they must know that this person did that to me.” I then proceed with getting defensive and possibly arguing over it.

Bottomline, being alone is much easier than trusting certain people; People that may be perfectly innocent. That is the saddest part of all of this.

My life since November 14, 2018 has been about feeling safe. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that a brain could change from strong, resilient, defiant, and happy to something that is weak, scared, and unable to rationalize these current behaviours.

But sadly, the brain is a powerful tool and can be taken down hard when least expected.

Symptoms of Hyper-vigilance

The way a person behaves when they are experiencing hyper-vigilance can vary from person to person. However in my research, there are some common types of behaviour that often occur.

People experiencing hypervigilance may:

  • keep checking their surroundings and find it hard to focus on conversations. (I do)
  • be easily startled and jump or scream at things they hear or see suddenly (I don’t)
  • overreact to things happening around them in a way that may seem hostile (I do)
  • find crowded or noisy environments overwhelming (Sometimes)
  • look closely at people to see if they are holding weapons (I don’t)
  • overanalyze situations and believe them to be worse than they are (All the time)
  • overestimate the chances of a bad thing happening to them physically or in their relationships (I have in the past)
  • be overly sensitive to people’s tone or expressions, taking them personally (I do)
  • have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep (I have in the past)

Moving Forward

I have looked into a treatment called EDMR (Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing). I’m thinking of doing it as I’ve talked to a few betrayed women who have said it worked wonders for them and their PTSD.

I have spent exactly $6,280 on therapy since November 14, 2018. Best money EVER spent in my opinion as I feel that I’m much farther ahead than many in my situation. However, I was seriously suicidal for a very long time.

I believe I know myself better and I have a clearer vision of where I want to be. I’m not out chasing a relationship, and I don’t rejoice others rushing into relationship. Otherwise, we’re facing yet another Pandora’s box filled with unnecessary hurt and betrayal. Does the hurt really need to continue because it’s better to have a partner? I don’t think so. I want to be wonderful to mine and loving all of me is going to make that happen again, but only better. Right now, I enjoy being alone, but that could be because I feel safe and I trust myself 100%.

All of us need to fix ourselves first because people are innocent…until hurt.

Trina Stewart

My therapist still asks me every session whether I’m suicidal. Typically, my session starts in extreme anger, but then gets better. I always respond “no” and I wholeheartedly mean it, even though I’m still struggling with the never ending roller coaster ride of thoughts and memories. I don’t have that magical ability to “compartmentalize” thoughts, actions or feelings.

Will this hyper vigilance magically disappear? Well with proper counselling and work, I am reading that it can. However, if left untreated it will remain and only get worse.

Will I feel guilty over decisions I made due to my hyper-vigilance? Highly possible. There are people I cared about and care about today that have been hurt by my disconnection, sudden outbursts, and anxiety attacks. I’m the type of person who like to treat people nicely, but I’m afraid that this has changed me drastically, if only for the time being.

The only thing we can blame is the situation which caused all of this mental health issues. Anything after the fact, you deal with what you have, apologize often if you feel you need to, and quietly accept that your brain has changed and you must do the work to bring it back to a semi-normal state.

I’m praying for all of you betrayed today and every day. God help those who cheat. God help the people who knows someone who is cheating, but staying quiet. God help you and your family back to good mental health.

 When your day is long
And the night
The night is yours alone
When you're sure you've had enough of this life
Well hang on
Don't let yourself go
Cause everybody cries
And everybody hurts
Sometimes
Sometimes everything is wrong
Now it's time to sing along
(When your day is night alone)
Hold on, hold on
(If you feel like letting go)
Hold on
If you think you've had too much of this life
Well hang on
Cause everybody hurts
Take comfort in your friends
Everybody hurts
Don't throw your hand
Oh, no
Don't throw your hand
When you feel like you're alone
No, no, no, you're not alone
If you're on your own
In this life
The days and nights are long
When you think you've had too much
Of this life
To hang on
Well, everybody hurts
Sometimes, everybody cries
And everybody hurts
Sometimes
And everybody hurts
Sometimes
So, hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on
(Everybody hurts
You are not alone)

Written by Trina Stewart

Trina Stewart is the editor-in-chief at Life's a Blog. Currently working through life separated from her husband and finding herself, Trina loves concert photography, hanging out with her single and married besties, and cooking. Stay tuned!

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