“Everyone suffers at least one bad betrayal in their lifetime. It’s what unites us. The trick is not to let it destroy your trust in others when that happens. Don’t let them take that from you.” ~ Sherrilyn Kenyon
We have all been betrayed at least once in our lives. It is more often than not by someone really close to you. Think mother, father, sister, brother, cousin, best friend or workmate. It hurts. There is no denying it. When you don’t deal with it effectively, it kills you. Slowly and insidiously and goes on to affect all spheres of your life in ways you could not have imagined.
Just like a wound that takes the time to heal, so too with betrayal. The initial feelings of hurt, pain, and despair will feel like they will never end. However, over time, as you work through the pain, it will become less and one day you will be able to put it behind you. You may not forget it ever, but it will not hold you captive for life.
To that end, here are 12 healthy ways that will help you deal with betrayal.
1. Acknowledge that you’ve been betrayed
You have been hurt. Someone has purposefully put you in the line of fire and let you get shot. You cannot ignore it. Whether intentional or not, this person hurts you. They put you in a position of disbelief, hurt, pain and confusion. Acknowledge it for what it is. Someone broke the trust you had and it’s going to take the time to get over it and forgive them.
2. Get angry
There are many emotions one goes through when they find out that they have been betrayed. These range from anger to depression, hurt and wanting to avenge oneself. Probably one of the most prominent emotions you will feel will be anger. Anger because they did you like this. Anger because you trusted them. Anger because it was uncalled for. Anger because you have another problem to deal with in life. Anger because your emotional state is anything but OK. Anger because you loved this person but they did you like this. Be angry. It’s human, necessary and it will run its course.
“Generally speaking, if a human being never shows anger, then I think something’s wrong. He’s not right in the brain.” ~ Dalai Lama
3. Act out
Psychologists often tell parents of kids who have undergone especially traumatic experiences to let them act out in whatever way they can in order to deal with the trauma they are facing. Acting out could be drinking, smoking, oversleeping, reckless behavior, crying all the time or being mute. Granted, none of these things, save for sleeping and crying, are good for the human body, but in some ways, acting out helps one to deal with the issues at hand. Sometimes acting out could be as simple as staying at home and mourning your loss. It could be writing a hate letter or email and not sending it (please do not send it.) Or it could be hectic like going to a psychologist, help group or rehab. Act out in a safe way and find out from your doctor what safely is. Please.
Definitely number one my list of things to do when you are betrayed. Crying is one of the best ways to let out the emotions and frustrations building up in you. You cry when you’re happy, sad or angry. You can cry when you’re watching a cartoon like Frozen or a deep movie like The Help. You cry when you hurt yourself, scrape your knee or bang your little finger. You can cry on your wedding day, when your child is born or when your sister graduates Summa Cum Laude. You cry when you get involved in an accident, when your boyfriend breaks up with you when you find someone broke your trust. Cry. It’s good for the healing process.
5. Sleep on it
Sleep is God’s greatest gift to mankind in my opinion. When you’re sad or overwhelmed by the world and its never-ending problems, you can sleep them away, so to speak. Sure, when you wake up, you’ll still have them glaring at you, but at least you’ll have the strength to deal with them. More than before you slept, that is. Having acknowledged the betrayal, been angry about it, cried, and acted out, you can now sleep on it. Hopefully, when you wake up, you’ll have a clearer way of looking at the situation. Also, your body will be emotionally and physically spent after the four steps mentioned above so sleeping is the course of wisdom.
6. Sulk a bit
When you wake up, the feelings you felt before you slept may come rushing back, so you may sulk, naturally. Sulking is when you are in a mood of sorts and usually resort to silence. The people around you notice it and generally either leave you alone or try to get you out of it. If you explain beforehand that you’re going through some things, they may be kind and let you be. On the other hand, they may be nosey and try to get you to open up which will just make you digress. People are such enemies of progress. So sulk, be grumpy, broody, sullen and moose. Enjoy the silence.
7. Get your bearings right
After you have sulked your emotions away, you need to take positive action to move forward and actually deal with the situation. This involves getting your bearings straight. You now need a game plan. How are you going to confront the person? Will you confront them all? What damage control needs to be done? How has this affected your relationship with them and others? How costly has this betrayal been? Do you have a strong support system? What help will you need to recover? Rehab? Psychologist? Writing all this down and getting a trusted friend to help you with help you to do so.
8. Devise a plan to leave betrayal behind and move forward
Now that you know what you need to do and what damage needs to be fixed, you need a plan to execute it. Are you going to need a loan? Who can you ask to help you with it? Google has a lot of resources for helping you through a trying time like this. Make a note of things that need to be done first and work at them. One step at a time. Big things take priority then the smaller ones will come at the right time.
9. Get help
Do not underestimate the power of a good support system. It could be made up of as little as one person or as many as 10. Whatever the case, when you need the help, whether emotional, physical or social, you can get it. You just need to put your pride aside and avail yourself of it. Also, this means letting someone know that you need help. Usually, when you’re going through this, you’re going to be a rock, no emotions showing no one will know how to help you or if you need help unless you ask for help.
10. Confront the person
If it fails, at least you tried. If they are truly repentant, forgive and move on with your life. It can be really painful to do so. It’s almost like facing your fear again. For example, if you were hijacked, it’s like going back into the car and driving alone. Scary. But it can be done. It takes lots of prayer, breathing, and confidence in oneself. Confronting the person gives you peace of mind because you get it off your chest and make them aware of how you felt about what they did. You also get to hear their side of the story. Whether or not it’s feasible is another story. In any case, confront the other person for your peace of mind.
In some cases, you physically have to remove yourself from this person. If it turns out this person sold your secrets to Google for $75 million dollars, they do not need to be in your space. Other times, this is not possible. You need to detach yourself from them socially and emotionally. You may still greet them and even engage in small talk, but you won’t be buddy buddy, going for spa treatments or movie nights. You will keep your space and they should respect that. They hurt you after all.
12. Don’t let it happen again
This is probably the hardest one because it could mean one of many things. It could mean cutting the person out of your life forever. It could mean ignoring the fact that it happened. It could mean living a paranoid life of not allowing yourself to get hurt by anyone. It is not possible. It means not letting yourself get consumed by the feelings associated with betrayal. It means dealing with them better each time it happens. Sad to say, betrayal won’t end as long as we’re imperfect.
Hope these tips help.
Do you have any tips that help with dealing with betrayal effectively? If you do, you can share them in the comment section below 🙂