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A crisis of faith and betrayal trauma


"What do you mean, you’re not going back?” Jeff hissed while pulling out of the church parking lot. "I’m a church elder. You can’t do that! What will Pastor Tim think? The other board members?"

“You’re right, Jeff,” Susi sighed.

Turning her head, she stared out the window. “I wonder. What WOULD they think?”

Later, as Jeff worked late into the night behind his closed office door, Susi headed to their bedroom. Closing the door quietly, she mumbled, “I can’t do this anymore. Knowing what I do now, I can’t trust him.”

Walking past her nightstand, she noticed her Bible. Like a small child, she angrily rubbed away tears with a tightly-clenched fist. “I can’t trust You either, can I God? Psalm 91?"

"HA!. YOU’RE my refuge? My shield? I won’t fear the terror of night? How about right now, while he’s downstairs ‘working’ in his office?"

Turning the Bible over, she climbed into bed, barely noticing Ellie, her six-year-old pug, snuggling in.

Using her pillow to smother her cries, she continued, “The arrow that flies by day? What about the porn he watches at work? Why didn’t You protect me?”

“Where were You?”

“And where are You now? I don't know where to turn for help.”

Susi isn't alone with those questions. When painful stories from partners of sex addicts about their crises of faith mounted during my A Door of Hope research, I felt compelled to start here. The first module's objective includes normalizing and validating the crisis, recognizing its symptoms, and how their role as peer facilitators can help a wounded one find her way back.

To provide insight into the partner experience, for the next several weeks I’ll provide a link to an excellent series of posts on the topic by Lisa Taylor, Beyond Betrayal author.

Before heading there, these quotes by Judith L. Herman included in The Spirit of Caring Volunteer Education Resource, provide a framework for understanding a contributing factor in crisis of faith.

"Trauma shatters the sense of connection between the individual and community, creating a crisis of faith, especially when the traumatic events themselves involve the betrayal of important relationships."

‘’Traumatic events destroy the victims fundamental assumption about the safety of the world, the positive value of self and the meaningful order of creation."

"Traumatized people lose their trust in themselves, in other people and in God."

And yet... life IS always ahead...

A door of hope IS always open.

That's why ADOH exists. Trained, equipped and supported peer facilitators show up!

“Support groups provide the venue for despairing partners to hear facilitators say, 'While I don’t wish this type of horrible betrayal on anyone, I’m glad I have gone through what I have because it has made me the woman I am today.'

Partners need to know others have experienced the depths of darkness as well. They need to connect with safe sisters who understand what it is like to be in relationship with a sex addict.” MJ Denis, LMFT-A, LPC, CCPS, Crossroads Counseling Associates, Austin TX

There are still a couple spots left in the next A Door of Hope Peer Facilitator Training. The online 11 weekly sessions begin Wednesday, November 1, from 6:30 - 8:30 pm US central time. If you have questions about the training or a crisis of faith you can email me at

You can also access information about the training by heading to the ADOH Peer Facilitator page

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