Betrayal. That ugly word and an even uglier feeling. Whether it comes from friends or love interests, the act of betrayal is one of the most devastating situations a person has to deal with. Throughout my life, I have felt betrayed on several different occasions and through these experiences I have found that there is not only one way to deal with it. In this blog post I will be looking at the strategies I have used personally to help me heal and move on.
First it is crucial to assess why and how you are feeling betrayed. Is it because of a broken promise? Has someone lied to you? Has someone hurt you physically or emotionally? Was it malicious or intentional? Was it a friend? Was it a lover? Assess all the details, write them down if it helps you. Find out exactly what behaviour has made you upset and the reasons why it has upset you.
Talk to the people you are closest to and those you trust. By talk, I don’t mean gossip or to try to make these people side with you. Try to be as unbiased as possible and stick to facts. Ask if they feel if they feel your feelings are valid or if they can see another side of the story. Sometimes when we feel a certain way some outside perspective can help see when we are being overdramatic or if we have misread the situation. It is important to talk to someone who you know will be honest with you and not just tell you what you want to hear.
After you have discussed the situation with your nearest and dearest, decide what you want to do regarding the situation. Sitting and stewing will only amplify your feelings and it is crucial to find closure somehow so you can move on. If you feel that you can and want to work through the betrayal with the other person, make sure you communicate with the person fully about what they did, find out their side of the story and come to an understanding that it won’t happen again. If they refuse to accept any responsibility, you either have to understand that and continue the relationship or you can decide to move on without the person. If you feel their actions are unforgivable and that you cannot forgive them, or if they keep repeating the same behaviour, cutting them from your life is your only option. Especially when it comes to romantic relationships. If you feel you have something to say, write it down in a letter or email. You can choose to send this if you like although some people choose not to as they find the act of simply writing out their feelings therapeutic even without the recipient reading it. After you have unloaded whatever it is you needed to say; delete their number from your phone, block them from all social media and try not to engage with anything to do with their life. My personal experience has shown me that the only way to get over something traumatic is time and distance. If the person values you, they will at least try to apologise for hurting you and acknowledge their behaviour without expecting you to forgive them. If you don’t hear from them, you will know that either their pride got in the way or they did not care very much in the first place. In which case, you are better off without them anyway.
Of course, betrayal is never pleasant or good but at some point, there is a certain empowerment that comes from the experience. If you work through it and communicate well, your relationships and friendships will be stronger for it. If you have had to remove toxic people from your life, you will get to the point where you will look back and be proud that you had the strength to follow through.