Betrayal Partner Trauma – Defined

NorthPoint believes Betrayal Partner Trauma, also known as Partner Betrayal Trauma is a form of trauma that often occurs within intimate relationships. This type of trauma is usually caused by a partner or significant other having violated, breaking relational trust, protection, and/or safety.

Many partners who experience betrayal partner trauma develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. These include dysregulation in emotional, spiritual, social, physical, sexual, and financial stabilization. Additional symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares, impaired sleeping, depression, anxiety, brain fog, distrust, and dissociation.

Types of Betrayal Trauma

There are many different types of betrayal trauma, including:

  • Parental: When a parent or caretaker or someone you depend on to meet your needs abuses, neglects, and/or fails to protect you from harm.
  • Intimate Partner: This can occur when your partner is having an emotional affair or a physical affair. If one of the partners has an active sexual addiction, betrayal is present.
  • Institutional: When an institution impacts you in a way that is in direct opposition to what they portray themselves to be or their stated mottos and goals. This can also occur when the institution protects the perpetrator instead of supporting the victim or “whistleblower.”
  • Interpersonal: When a trusted friend, peer, or individual betrays your trust.

Pornography – Defined

NorthPoint supports the Association of Partners of Sex Addicts Trauma Specialists (APSATS) position on pornography. NorthPoint is an organization of sex addiction and trauma specialists united by our commitment to advocate for partners of sex addicts. As such, we are a dynamic and diverse community, spanning a variety of social, cultural, and religious reference points. 

While individual perspectives may vary, NorthPoint’s official position is that ethical and healthy sexuality (a) must be free from deception, coercion, and exploitation, and (b) must be predicated upon explicit values of safety, autonomy, equality and fully informed consent. 

With deep sensitivity toward those who have suffered harm as the result of pornography—its creation, its distribution, its consumption, and/or its proliferation—NorthPoint does not support, promote or endorse pornography, especially within the context of sex addiction, partner trauma, and survivor treatment considerations.

NorthPoint remains dedicated to invite, encourage and uphold a culture of respectful dialogue surrounding this issue, including amongst those who disagree with our position—be they our clients, our colleagues within the professional sex addiction and partner trauma communities, or even our peers within the professional communities.

  • Adapted in part from APSATS (2022)

Sexual / Porn Addiction – Defined

NorthPoint supports that Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory, and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social, and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors. Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.

  • American Society of Addiction Medicine (2011)