Nothing is often more painful than experiencing betrayal in a relationship. During a betrayal, it may appear as if everything comes to stop, instantly crashing down, and you can barely breathe. The pain of a betrayal touches at the very core and heart of our trust, one’s ability to bond and connect with others in a healthy and meaningful way; the gateway into one’s most intimate self.
Honor your emotions
During a betrayal, it is common to go through a series of emotions; disgust, anger, fear, loneliness, sadness, guilt, humiliation, surprise and even joy. These emotions are authentic and one needs time to honor them, express them, and recognize they are a healthy part of dealing with a traumatic life event. Pause frequently and take count of what is being felt emotionally, give it a name, and allow oneself space to notice why that specific emotion is occurring. It is easy to allow an emotion to lean on another and quickly that feeling becomes displaced, becoming a source of difficulty, confrontation, and miscommunication. It is critical to ask for help if feelings become overwhelming; leading to anxiety, depression or thoughts of self-harm.
Take time to grieve
Betrayal always comes with a sense of loss. Loss can occur in physical, mental, emotional and even spiritual forms, depending on the relationship. Sadness and grief are connected to loss,
and we need time to honor and recognize the loss and how it impacts one’s life. Expressing grief and finding what it is connected to will help one find ways to move through it. If one is missing having dinner with someone, others can help by visiting or inviting them for dinner.
Create a support system
A healthy support system is vital to moving forward after a betrayal. While one often wants to feel that they have people “on their side,” what is truly needed is someone who will listen, speak kindly and honestly, who will respect and honor your emotions and who will assist in ways to move beyond the betrayal, moving forward. All too often, people will surround themselves with someone who responds only to the emotions, only to the root of the betrayal and not to what helps them heal and move forward. A combined support system is best perhaps with a family member, a close-friend, minister, and even a professional counselor; all can give a unique and helpful perspective through the situation and offer different levels of support.
Monitor Your Feelings Through a Journal
Create a journal and record what you are feeling and experiencing. Use the journal to honestly express your feelings, channel your grief, and embrace moments of strength and courage. The journal is yours alone to reflect on. It helps strengthen and grow your own personal level of trust within yourself and your emotions.
Time is the greatest tool for healing, and it can move quickly or slowly depending on how much one explores their emotions, recognizes their grief and finds sincere support. There is a future beyond a betrayal.
Look at the future
Time is a great tool for healing a broken heart, but it is the one element we cannot control. Avoid replaying past emotions and look for what positive experiences and relationships lie ahead. Reflect on journal entries to see how far you have come over time, embrace the moments of strength, hope and courage and use them to drive your motivation and self-esteem.
Nothing brings more resilience than an individual’s personal journey and the growth that come from great loss and struggle. Learn to trust again by building relationships where you control the level of connection or intimacy; explore new places, hobbies, or activities and invite friends to offer support and encouragement.