Navigating Betrayal Trauma: How It Affects Our Senses

Discover the unexpected ways betrayal trauma can hijack our senses, shaping our reality in ways we might not even be aware of. Listen closely as I, Life Coach Jen, delve into the profound psychological and physiological responses our bodies exhibit when faced with trauma. From the startling effects on our sight and hearing to the less obvious impacts on taste and smell, I share insights from the cutting-edge Embody Lab conference, unraveling the mysteries of exteroception. Together, we’ll navigate these turbulent waters, offering you the practical tools needed to reclaim your senses, retrain your brain, and find safety in the chaos.

Embark on a quest to construct your ‘happily even after,’ as we venture beyond the immediate aftermath of betrayal and into a future brimming with potential and joy. Grateful for your companionship on this journey, I invite you to deepen our connection—join me through engaging social media discussions, insightful emails, and if you seek a more personalized touch, through one-on-one coaching. I am dedicated to guiding you towards that fulfilling life you deserve, post-relationship, where contentment is redefined and every step forward is a step toward healing.

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Hi friends, welcome to Happily. Even After I’m Life Coach Jen, a certified life coach that specializes in relationships. I’m a mom of four awesome kids and one amazing son-in-law, a home decorator, a remodeler, a shopper, a scrabbler and a snuggler. I want to help you with your relationships, mainly the relationship you have with yourself, your family and God. Thanks for listening and letting me share the tools I have learned that can help you live happily even after some of life’s greatest challenges. Hey, friends, welcome to today’s podcast. It’s another heavy hitter. We’re going to talk about trauma again, but I think it’s important to talk about it and talk about you know why it happens as well as how to help, and so I’m going to give you some tools as well. And this I also learned in the trauma. I belong to this. It’s called Embody Lab and they have brilliant educators and people that teach you all about all these different things, and they did this five-day conference in California, which it was really amazing. I learned so many things and I had a lot of light bulb moments. So I just wanted to kind of talk about this.

And this is it’s called exteroception, but basically it’s saying how our five senses are affected by a traumatic experience and we all have various different, maybe traumatic, experiences in our life. But the one I focus on is betrayal, because betrayal is very traumatic. It’s why it’s called betrayal trauma and I, for whatever reason, fought that. I didn’t want to be labeled that. My former husband caused me trauma that felt, I don’t know why, and I fought that. But once I understood trauma better and understood the impacts it had on my physiology, my nervous system, my mental health physiology, my nervous system, my mental health, I realized like, oh my gosh, like I have been carrying I’m going to just call them trauma bricks, these bricks around for years and it was affecting my mental health, my self-esteem, my physical health. I would work so hard to lose weight and I was so focused on my body that it’s almost like my body. It just held on to everything because I was just my body was so devastated and so betrayed and it kept on happening over and over and over again. So as I’ve been healing, I’ve been really realizing this.

So we’re just going to talk about our five senses and how trauma affects them, and then some tools that, when we feel triggered in situations, what we can do, because our senses really play a key role in our healing. So the first one is sight. Trauma can lead to vivid and intrusive visual memories, flashbacks, nightmares. Individuals who have experienced trauma may also become hypervigilant, constantly scanning their environment for threats and danger. So with our eyes, first of all, if you’ve ever seen in betrayal, if you’ve seen your partner with another woman like that image is hard to get out of your head.

I know a lot of people discover text messages. That’s how they find out their spouse is having an affair is because they read a text message. It is ingrained in your body. And if you remember, most people remember the moment where they were all the things when they first experienced and realized their spouse was having an affair. And so it’s why it’s important then kind of have to retrain our brain to know that we can be safe again. And the phone is triggering anyways, right. But if we see pictures, if we have experienced our spouse has looked at pornography and we’ve come across the pornography that he’s looking at, it’s just like stuck in our heads, right, and we think about it all the time and that’s totally normal. So don’t think, oh my gosh, what’s wrong with me. That is a normal response and especially like at night, we replay things over and over again. Or we think we see something. We do see something but it doesn’t quite register that okay, this is off. And then we think about it and it is really hard I know, since getting divorced, to get my ex-husband out of my head like it takes a lot of intentionality and work to do that and work to do that. So just know it is normal and okay. So hearing is the next one.

Trauma can lead to a heightened sensitivity to sounds, which can trigger anxiety and panic. Individuals who have experienced trauma may also experience intrusive auditory memories, such as hearing sounds or voices from the traumatic event and thinking. You know, trying to make sense of that goes from your ears into your nervous system and it changes how you feel inside. And so if someone says something that sounds like similar to your spouse or ex-spouse or something that was traumatic that happened, you’re immediately going to have that response come back and you’re going to feel it like it just happened. Touch Trauma can cause physical sensations such as pain, tension and numbness.

Individuals who have experienced trauma may also become hypersensitive to touch or avoid physical contact altogether. I know for a lot of people it is hard to. It’s like almost repulsive when someone touches you, like I personally I haven’t been around my ex-husband, but I don’t think if he tried to touch my arm I would for sure probably take like five steps back and be like you are not safe. Like I would need about 10 feet between us to feel safe. Like I would not feel safe with him sitting right next to me Not that he would like actually hurt me, but I would feel the unsafety. And so you know, paying attention to how you’re feeling, if you’ve just found out your spouse is having an affair, the last thing you want to do is go have sex with them. Like your body will be screaming at you to say this is not safe, do not do this. And so we have to obviously work on healing that, especially if you’re going to stay married. But it is why it makes sense, right? So touch can be something that and it’s usually not for everyone like you can feel safe having your kids hug you, but your spouse touching you feels very dangerous.

Smell Trauma can cause individuals to associate certain smells with the traumatic event, event leading to intrusive memories and flashbacks. Same thing as all the other senses. I think smell is interesting because you could smell someone’s cologne or perfume and it just triggers this feeling inside of your body that feels scary or unsafe inside of your body that feels scary or unsafe Sometimes. Smell obviously can bring happy memories, but we’re talking about why a traumatic like, why smelling could be triggering for someone. And the last one taste like having a memory of maybe eating something that you really enjoyed. You used to love eating a particular food or treat with your spouse and then, after finding out they were having an affair, tasting that and like feeling repulsed by it. Or reading a message or a text message that they things they were eating with their affair partner or restaurants Like. For me, I have a lot of triggers towards certain restaurants that I knew my spouse had been going to and then he would bring me and it just felt so awful and yucky and it’s like almost sitting there in the restaurant felt very uncomfortable and very unsafe.

And so, paying attention to what things are triggering and it makes perfect sense why our senses are so susceptible to trauma and how they can remind you of certain things. So when you recognize what things, what senses are you susceptible to, which ones seem to be more of a trigger for you, then what I want you to do is now we’re going to try to, especially if you’re out of the situation, but even if you stay in your marriage to intentionally start creating moments that you can change the neuroceptors in your brain and you can make that smell not be so potent in your mind, not be so triggering a taste or looking at something. So it has to be very intentional and it is important so you can realize like no, you’re safe, everything’s okay. So with your sight, even if you’re feeling yourself getting triggered sitting down or you could stand up, but like looking around look around at your surroundings and notice you know what color is the wall? Are there any lights? You know what does the floor look like? Are you outside? If you’re outside, look at the trees, look at the flowers and really just go through every little detail around you.

Get your bearings and pay attention to how you’re feeling. It’s going to help calm you down, to really, like you know, look at the textures, look at the other people if they feel safe or not. So just really get some bearings and you don’t have to like announce that you’re doing this, but if you’re, this can really help with anxiety as well, and usually anxiety is an emotion. If you’re feeling triggered, you’re feeling anxious, and so just to ground yourself with your eyes. So, whatever you’re thinking, you’re now becoming very present, because usually our thoughts were going to go into the past. The email that we read comes into our mind, or the picture that we saw our husband looking at comes into our mind. So when that happens, just take a moment and look around and be in your mind, say, oh, that’s such a pretty tree. Or look, these walls are blue. What color blue are they? And so really take that time to refocus on your present, which will definitely decrease your anxiety.

Taste If you have a moment where you’re tasting something or you have like a trigger, choose something else, take a bite and really intentionally eat it. Like I feel like in our society we just like throw food down ourselves, like we eat a hamburger in two minutes and we’re like, wait, did we just eat something? And we aren’t really intentional in our eating. And so just take a moment and chew and maybe count to 20 before you swallow the piece of bread or whatever you’re going to choose to eat. Be very intentional, and doing this will help heal and calm your nervous system With smell finding things. So I recently I don’t know a lot about essential oils, but I’m very interested and curious because it’s proven that certain smells help calm, like lavender. Right, I have this lavender spray. I spray my pillow and it can help you sleep. And so maybe, having some that you keep on hand, you can take a moment and if you had a smell come up that really triggered you and finding another smell like lavender there’s many others that we could talk about but smelling that and really describing that to yourself and feeling the smell in your nostrils and really take a moment, like 30 seconds a minute, and just breathe that smell in, and that is going to calm you down, which is what we want.

Right, hearing A lot of times, hearing certain sounds obviously can be triggering. So if you have like a there’s lots of apps on your phone like a calming app and listening to like birds chirping, I think can be peaceful or like the waves that’s my favorite Listening, taking a few minutes and listening to something that calms you down, so you’re not in that heightened the fight and flight response you can calm your body down. And the last one is touch or movement, and so this is one that I love. If you are triggered, you can just like kind of give yourself like a bear hug and like rub your arms, like rub on your arms up and down, or you can like your knees, you can tap your feet. That you can just like tap on your knees If you’re in like a meeting or something where you know you had this memory come into your head and you’re like, oh my gosh, like I don’t know, I can’t get out of here and you feel really unsafe. But just tap, you can tap your toes. I like to give myself like the hug, but that might look awkward if you’re around a lot of people and so finding those go-to things with your senses that help calm you down Because when you’ve experienced betrayal like you might be just a random Thursday and you just get really triggered and you really like this memory comes up you you’re in the grocery store and you smell something or you see something or you hear something, and they’re great tools to know in that moment you can create safety and you can have ways and tricks to do to calm your nervous system down.

And I just find it so powerful because sometimes we don’t want to be the victim of you know our senses, because we’re so grateful right that we have all these senses but we just don’t ever know when we’ve experienced a traumatic event or trauma for a long period of time. Whatever that is, and especially if we are staying married, we’re probably going to have more moments where it’s like, oh my gosh, I feel unsafe, like not that you are unsafe, but you feel unsafe because something’s popped into your head or and that’s how our memories work Things just randomly come in and we it’s like we didn’t even expect it, but it happens. And also, if this does happen, it could be 10, you’ve, might’ve, you know, been divorced for 10 years. You’re like, why, today, you know been divorced for 10 years? You’re like, why, today, you know I don’t know why. But if you have the tools, you know, you know your go-tos, like, okay, I’ll go and smell some lavender and listen to the waves for five minutes, that’s going to calm me down.

So, teaching yourself, learning what works for you when you’re triggered this is also great for your kids. They’re just great tools to have because we all have moments, because we’ve all experienced trauma in some way, and especially if you’ve experienced it through betrayal, to have these like in your back pocket to try and you might have to try a few and you know one might not work for you, but then this works and so just figure it out what works. But I promise if you try them you’re going to immediately your anxiety level or whatever emotion you’re feeling when you’re in the fight or flight it’s going to reduce and you’re going to be able to hopefully get into your zone of resilience and feel safe again. So I hope this was helpful. I have found these tools so helpful in my own life because I don’t want to not live my life and be afraid of certain things popping up or happening and I want to be in control and find ways to help calm myself down. So hopefully they were helpful.

Thanks so much for listening and leave me a review so other people can find me on Apple or anywhere else. You listen to this podcast and have a great day. If you want to learn how to live happily even after, sign up for my email at. Hello at lifecoachjen with one n dot com. Follow me on Instagram and Facebook at happily even after. Coach. Let’s work together to create your happily even after.

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Hi, I’m Jennifer

I love helping women and men heal from betrayal. I originally started this podcast with my husband and since my divorce I have taken it solo. I love sharing and talking about the 50/50 of life and providing tools to help you along your path to healing.

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