There’s just no way around it: betrayal hurts. Whether you’ve been betrayed by a partner or a friend, it’s difficult to recover. Especially when it’s coupled with abuse. In addition, when you are healing, you are having to make new connections and relationships. Trust issues will make themselves known at this point too…
The good news is, however, that there are things you can do to help speed up your recovery so you can move on with your life and even start looking forward to a brighter future.
So how can you heal your heart, body, and spirit after a betrayal? These strategies can help:
Recognize the betrayal. You might try to block out the betrayal so you don’t have to think about it. However, it’s healthier to accept the betrayal and deal with it.
- APPROACH IT: Trying to ignore a betrayal traps everything inside you and can stop you from healing.
- It’s important to address the issues and learn to manage them. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. You’ll learn to move past the betrayal, especially if you take action to help heal yourself.
Forgive yourself and others. Forgiveness is crucial to healing. Forgiving someone is all about you – not the person who betrayed you. You’re the one who benefits the most. The other person doesn’t even need to know. Remember, forgiving and moving forward does not mean FORGETTING. You simply have to LET. IT. GO. Do so in your own way and start by giving yourself permission. Sounds corny, but it works.
- Forgive yourself, your past mistakes, and the person who betrayed you.
Avoid using betrayal as revenge. Are you thinking about betraying the person who hurt you? You may be tempted to seek revenge after you’re hurt, but you risk hurting yourself even more.
- This type of thought process is dangerous and can prevent you from healing. Revenge isn’t the answer. It simply adds more negativity to your life. Our parents and grandparents called it “taking the high road.”
- Revenge can trap you in an unhealthy cycle with the person who hurt you in the first place. First, they hurt you, then you hurt them, then they hurt you back, then you hurt them again. Where does it end? Did you just stoop to their level of meanness???
Connect with others. You may benefit from connecting with others who have been hurt. Consider support groups or group therapy.
- By talking about the past, you can learn to heal the wounds of betrayal. You can see how others have overcome their pain and use their advice.
- There are in-person and online groups — just search and ye shall find!
Remove negative people. You may be better off by cutting off all contact with the betrayer and other negative people in your life. Sometimes, it helps to remove these toxic people to regain your strength and heal.
- Negative people can affect your healing process. They can serve as constant reminders of the pain and betrayal. You’ll feel lighter and healthier without them.
- If it’s not feasible to remove them from your life, limit your contact with them as much as possible.
Learn to control your feelings. It’s normal to cry and feel anger after a betrayal. However, if you dwell on these feelings, they can dominate your life. It’s important to express your pain and then learn to move on. Experience the emotions, just don’t live there!
- A physical activity that helps you release these emotions is to write them all on paper, and then tear up or burn the paper to destroy it. You can also imagine that they blow away in the wind.
- If you can control your emotions, then you can more easily see the beauty of the world around you.
- Happiness is a choice, through being thankful for what you have and through acceptance. Focus on gratitude and what is going “right” or in a “positive” light.
Learn to trust again. After a betrayal, you may have a difficult time trusting another person again. You may feel that you can’t trust anyone because they’re capable of hurting you.
- Over time, it’s important to learn to trust again and reach out to others.
- You don’t have to go back to the person who betrayed you. However, trusting new people can help you heal.
- Trusting again can show you that not everyone wants to hurt you. It can teach you to share your emotions again.
- Trust can also help you build new and exciting relationships.
Past betrayals don’t have to control your mind and emotions. Taking action to help heal yourself speeds up your recovery and helps you move on. Soon enough, instead of looking backward, you’ll find yourself looking forward to the good things to come.