Betrayal is an awful word that represents one of the worst things that can happen in a relationship. You might feel like your life is spinning out of control as thoughts are rushing around your head as you wonder “how could this happen to me?” Or you turn it inward as you question yourself, trying to figure out how a smart competent individual like yourself could be blindsided by someone you trusted and loved. There is a flood of emotion that overtakes you from one moment to the next ranging from anger, disbelief, humiliation to sadness as you try to put reason to an unconscionable event.
Then you start to wonder how you are going to survive as your heart is breaking and the tears are falling. There is hope because you can overcome the pain and move forward towards peace and experience joy again. The following are three steps to help you start the journey towards healing.
Believe in yourself
It is common to turn on ourselves after a betrayal because we try to make sense of something that does not make sense. Acknowledge what happened and realise that the person who broke your trust did something wrong. Their actions are not a reflection on you only on them. Most people who cheat or betray another person suffer from low self-esteem and have a high need for approval from others. They also might not be able to accept responsibility for their own actions which causes them to shift the blame to other people so you might have even heard from them that you are the reason. Take a step back and try to think of it as if it were happening to a friend. What would you tell them? The person who betrayed you had a choice and they choose to betray you. Shake off your shame and remember you are enough and you are worthy.
Choose to Forgive
When someone hurts us this deeply we can often turn the pain into blame and resentment. Betrayal is bad behaviour but until you forgive them the confusion and resentment can turn into a poison which can spread through you and turn into bitterness. This often causes physical illnesses as well as mental and emotional stress. Save yourself from the negative cycle of self-loathing and blame by practicing forgiveness. You will find new hope and joy as the healing starts to allow you to see the beautiful moments that are happening in your life.
Remember that forgiveness does not equal forgetting nor does it mean that you are obligated to allow the betrayer back into your life. Forgiveness is separate from deciding if the relationship is one that you want in your life.
When we are betrayed it puts a cloud of distrust in our life. If we allowed one person in our life that was untrustworthy how can we trust ourselves in other relationships? We start to put up a wall of protection around ourselves and guard ourselves with other people. Let’s face it, life is not fulfilling without other people to share our experiences with. The only way to have friends means we have to be vulnerable and let people in. Start by focusing on the wonderful people in your life who are trustworthy and allow them to see the real you. At the same time, start building up your trust in yourself by reminding yourself of the good decisions you have made over the last year. As you are a competent, intelligent person you will continue to make wise choices so acknowledge them when they happen. As you build your trust with yourself and others you will be able to erase the fear, doubt and feelings of insecurity.
I am sorry that you were betrayed. It should not have happened to you. You are not alone in this and as you move through these steps you'll rediscover hope and find healing because you will survive this.