Take it slow
When our feelings are so wounded we are left feeling worthless, it cuts to the core of trust. And without trust there can be no true and intimate relationship – trust is the cornerstone. If you’ve been betrayed it would serve you well to stay close to people who love and adore you for a while. Cry on your best friend’s shoulder, talk to your sibling if you’re close, get your feelings out. Most of us want to speed-dial our way to recovery, but that initial pang of betrayal will take some time to simmer down.
You can facilitate your recovery
You need to experience the stages of loss, pain, betrayal, anger and sadness before you can truly let go and move on. If you’re really feeling fragile, you can decide to lick your wounds for a week and try to assess the damage. Then make an appropriate plan, for example, to read a book on healing, attend a support group or see a counselor. Another great way to get these thoughts out of your head would be to journal. Just take a few minutes each day to writing out your thoughts.
Treat the betrayer with caution
When you’ve let down your guard, being exposed by a trusted person can shake you to your core. But remember, this is someone you felt you could trust, who told you over and over that he – or she – deserved your trust. A very important lesson now is this person may prey on your sympathies, and knowledge of your emotions, and promise to never do it again. Don’t fall into old behavior and tell them deeply personal issues until you are emotionally over the betrayal and on ground where you feel safe with them again. You can forgive, but you must not forget.
You are not to blame
The first person you need to forgive is yourself. You aren’t responsible for poor communication and bad behavior. You aren’t responsible for lying, or cheating, or breaking promises. Don’t let anyone dump that on you. Once you forgive yourself, the real healing can begin and you’re in a position to think of forgiving another.
Not forgiving is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies
A strong metaphor but it really is the truth. When we hold on to anger and refuse to forgive, the person we hurt most is ourselves. Holding on to such strong, painful emotions puts them on “repeat” in our minds. If we stay stuck in the misery we don’t get to see the true lesson behind it. As painful as it can be, the sooner you can forgive the other person, the faster you free yourself from the secondary blame. Set them free in your mind so your mind can be free of them.
Lynne Goldberg, MCC
Lynne operates Lynne Goldberg Coaching and she is available for personal, career, executive and corporate coaching and consulting.
You can reach Lynne at firstname.lastname@example.org.