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.
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I'm Jenny duBay, a domestic abuse survivor and now advocate. My degree is in Christian theology with a concentration on spiritual direction, and my vocational emphasis is on helping those who have suffered from domestic abuse to heal and reclaim their true selves.