Respond to Betrayal by Learning from It, with Joel Peterson
How to Deal With Betrayal
It hurts when someone betrays your trust. Whether you've been betrayed by a family member or your best friend, a romantic partner or a co-worker, you can take some concrete steps to deal with the breach of trust, to start the healing process and feel better.
Taking Care of Yourself
Feel your emotions.When you have been betrayed, you may be overcome with anger, grief, and humiliation. Holding in your painful feelings can have negative effects on your health and your relationships. When you have learned of a betrayal, take time to name the emotion without judgment.This will enable you to work through it without turning it on yourself or others.
- It may help to write through your feelings. If you keep a diary or journal, try writing down exactly how you feel. If you don't keep a diary, write yourself a letter. You can also write a letter to the person or people who betrayed you, but wait a week before you decide to send it.
- Suppressing painful feelings can lead to health problems such as chronic pain, sleep deficiency, and even heart disease.
Take time to yourself.It can be difficult to deal with betrayal when the person or people who have betrayed you are always nearby. If you were betrayed by a partner or a friend, ask them to give you space while you come to terms with what has happened. You might want to go away for a while. If you live with a partner who has betrayed you, you might want to ask them to find somewhere else to stay for a while, or to sleep in a different room.
- If the person who betrayed you is far away, take a break from correspondence. Tell them you will get in contact again when you feel ready to talk. If it feels helpful, set a date.
- Disconnect from social media. Take a break from websites that give you unwanted information about the people who hurt your feelings.
Do not rush a life-changing decision.Betrayal can turn your world upside down. When you have lost the trust you had for someone, you may be tempted to cut them out of your life entirely. Wait before you make any big decisions, such as filing for divorce, changing your job, or denouncing someone publicly, as your feelings may change.
Avoid retaliating.If you feel in danger of physically harming yourself or others, immediately seek professional help.There is no positive revenge. Revenge in the heat of the moment is something that you will come to regret later. Time spent calculating a deliberate revenge is time spent at the expense of your own emotional healing.
Find someone you can speak with frankly.Discussing the betrayal with someone you trust can be healing. A good friend or a therapist can help you clear your head and decide what steps to take. Remember that one betrayal doesn't mean that you can't trust anyone. You might even come to trust the person who betrayed you.
Take care of yourself.Physical health will help you through an emotional time. Try to eat well every day and get a full night's sleep. Exercise will boost your mood and help you sleep. If you don't have a regular exercise routine, try going for a brisk half-hour walk each day.
Choosing to Forgive
Try to forgive.Forgiveness does not mean that you are condoning the act of betrayal. It means that you are choosing to move on from feelings of resentment. Forgiveness can lead to empathy and compassion for those who have betrayed you. It can also lead to a greater sense of personal peace.
- Forgiveness can have a positive effect on your health and wellbeing. Choosing to forgive a betrayal can lower your blood pressure, improve your heart health, and diminish anxiety and depression.
Let go of negative feelings.Focus on yourself instead of on the person who hurt you. Tell yourself you are not interested in letting the betrayal control your life or your happiness. When a negative thought comes to you, do not suppress it. Instead, greet it and tell it to leave. When it comes back, acknowledge and release it again.
- If you are having trouble letting go of the negative feelings, return to your method of self-care. Try visiting a meditation or yoga class for help releasing your negative thoughts.
State your forgiveness, at least to yourself.To forgive is an act of self-care. You do not have to voice it to anyone else. If you feel like sharing your new mindset, you can tell the person or people who betrayed you that you have forgiven them. If you are unable or unwilling to resume contact, stating your forgiveness to yourself can help you move on from the pain of betrayal.
Forgive without rebuilding.You can forgive the person who betrayed you without rebuilding your relationship. Some betrayals of trust mean the end of a relationship. If the betrayal involved partner or child abuse, it is unlikely that trust could or should be restored. To forgive doesn't mean that you think the act was right or justifiable in any way.
- If the person who has betrayed you has died or refuses contact, it will not be possible to rebuild a relationship. You will have to move forward into forgiveness without their help.
Keep trying.If you are having trouble moving on, remember that forgiveness is a process. Big betrayals can define your life for a while, and it makes sense that they have to be forgiven multiple times. Even a small incident might need to be remembered occasionally before it stops hurting. Remind yourself that forgiveness is the goal.
Express your experience of the betrayal.Once you have named your own emotions, you can express them to the person who has betrayed you. State your experience of the betrayal without trying to influence the reaction of the person or people who betrayed you.Start your sentences with "I" rather than with "You."
Ask for an apology.If you have decided to continue your relationship with the person who has betrayed you, you will need to know that they are ready to rebuild. If the person who has betrayed you is not ready to admit that they hurt you, or attempts to blame you for their actions, it is not yet time to rebuild trust.
- "I" statements can help in this case, too. "I would really love to know that you understand why I am hurt." "I would appreciate an apology from you: it would mean a lot to me."
Speak to a counselor together.If you are trying to recover from betrayal by a partner or another member of your family, you might want to visit a counselor together. Try to find a therapist who specializes in dealing with your particular situation. In cases of marital infidelity, seek a therapist who specializes in marital therapy.
QuestionHow do I deal with a person who has betrayed me again and again after I forgave her?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerDiscontinue the relationship. It is not healthy to continue a relationship without trust.Thanks!
QuestionMy best friend blocked me on social media out of nowhere. His reason was that I thought we were better friends than we are. What should I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThat is a very rude thing he did, and a very stupid reason he gave you for doing it. You're better off without someone like this in your life. Make new friends.Thanks!
QuestionMy only group of friends have alienated me. What do I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThanks!
QuestionI fell for a guy who said he loved me. I did the best I could. He was a playboy and ended our relationship dishonestly. I recently lost a parent, too. I have major, career-deciding exams coming up, and I just feel so helpless. What can I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerRefuse to sink into self-pity. Focus on bettering yourself. Move forward, always forward. Connect with positive, encouraging people, and perhaps consider seeking out a spiritual mentor who can help you navigate through your current hurts and upcoming big decisions.Thanks!
QuestionWhat do I do if I feel really angry and want to lash out my betrayers?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerSeek help. Violence is not, nor will it ever be, the answer in this case.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if my friend still wants to be my friend after betraying me more than once?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf your friend has betrayed you more than once, that isn't a friend. You're not being mean by deciding to cut ties with this person. Let him know that you don't want to continue being friends because you cannot trust him and you don't feel like he has your best interests at heart.Thanks!
QuestionI dumped a friend for giving me pneumonia. Did I overreact?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes. I doubt your friend gave you pneumonia on purpose. People catch sicknesses from each other all the time. Your friend had to suffer through it too. And surely people have caught sicknesses from you before.Thanks!
QuestionMy ex betrayed me, and I feel the same fears with my current partner. What do I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerGive your current partner the opportunity to gain your trust if you don't feel you can grant it from the onset. Keep reminding yourself that your current partner is not your ex. Depending on where you are in your relationship, talking with your current partner about your fears may also be a good idea.Thanks!
QuestionHow can a child deal with parents who do not accept wrongdoing of any kind?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThat depends on the child and what the child may think is wrong or right. Parents usually get carried away with what they need to do for their child and often that leads to punishing more than actually necessary. The first option is to talk it out. The second is wait it out. Last option is to move away and live on your own. You're not going to be a minor forever.Thanks!
QuestionWhat can you do if you have to see the person who betrayed you every day?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf you have to see them everyday, try to avoid them but if you can't, remain cordial but not too friendly. If total avoidance is impossible, try repairing the friendship to make it easier on yourself.Thanks!
My biological mother betrayed me by dating a guy who threw me out of his apartment for no reason. Every-time I think about it, I get angry. What should I do?
My husband has gambled in the past and I suspect he's at it again. How do I protect myself and child financially and emotionally from him? He refuses treatment and is 5 months from graduating college
What can I do if I was forced to be with an entire group of people who betrayed me?
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