The concept of forgetting abusive experiences can seem unrealistic to those who have never had to endure domestic violence. If a situation was traumatic, horrific, or otherwise heartbreaking, wouldn't that mean a person would remember it vividly, rather than forgetting it altogether? Sometimes ... but sometimes not. Betrayal blindness is a confusing, concept yet it's also a very real phenomena in the lives of many domestic abuse survivors.
Betrayal blindness, a phrase coined by psychologist Jennifer Freyd, is not only the unconscious desire to minimize disturbing events, but to completely forget they happened in the first place. This doesn’t mean a person is delusional, has a brain disorder, or is any other way dysfunctional. Rather, betrayal blindness is a result of severe trauma, especially when the harrowing events are ongoing or frequent.
To learn more about betrayal blindness, including my own experience with it, read my article on Substack.
Jenny duBay, Trauma-Informed Christian life coach.