For whatever reason, trust and betrayal have been coming up in my sessions and in conversations on social media, and in my personal life! So let's talk about it and work through it!
What is betrayal:
A non-sexual affair
Withdrawal of sex
The effects of betrayal include shock, loss and grief, morbid preoccupation, damaged self-esteem, self-doubting, and anger. Not infrequently they produce life-altering changes. The effects of a catastrophic betrayal are most relevant for anxiety disorders, and OCD and PTSD in particular.
Betrayal is an act. The emotions that result from it are what we mean when we say we're “feeling betrayed.” ... This might be because you feel a sense of loss; a loss of trust, a loss of the person you thought they were, a loss of the happy memories you have of them, a loss of the future you saw with them.
Forgiveness does not mean excusing or accepting the betrayal. Rather, forgiveness is the act of freeing yourself of the anguish and anger that you've felt towards the person who betrayed you. Forgiveness means letting go of your grudge against the other person.
How to begin to trust again
Name your feelings (anger, sadness, fear, disgust, insecurity, shame, loneliness, confusion. Not a clear progression and likely to move back and forth
Resist retaliation- Consider the analogy of betrayal as a cut or gash in your bodily flesh. A scab soon forms over the wound, but there is often a desire to prod it and pick at it. It’s itchy, it’s sore, and you feel the need to do something about it. Yet, you know from experience that the more you touch and pick at a scab, the longer it stays and the more likely it is to leave a scar. Retaliation is a bit like picking a scab: it’ll only uncover the wound once more and cause you further pain. And the more you do it (even the more you think about doing it), the more likely you are to carry that pain with you for the rest of your life.
Take time away- When you’ve been betrayed by someone, the best short-term solution is to avoid them as much as physically – and electronically – possible. That means not seeing them, not messaging them, not checking their social media every 5 minutes. I know y’all love an analogy, so here’s another one for you: think of those feelings we talked about above as being fuelled by fire. At first, the fire burns strong and the feelings glow white-hot in the flames. The most combustible fuel for that fire is contact with the one(s) who betrayed you. Thus, in order for the fire to burn out, you must stop adding fuel to it. You must take some time away and break ties with that person.
Examine the betrayal- Some people find it incredibly difficult to control certain urges, even if they have promised you that they would. Addictions are a good example of this. You may, for example, feel betrayed that a partner or family member has said they will give up drinking, only to find out that they’ve been doing it behind your back and lying to you about it. Other people may find it almost impossible to keep what you tell them confidential. They just have to talk to someone about it, perhaps as a means of processing their own emotions on the matter. What was your role?
Examine the relationship- how important is the relationship
Talk to a third party-
Reflect- don't ask why questions but what questions. asking why something happened or why you felt or acted in such a way, keeps you trapped in the past, ruminating over events. What, on the other hand, is a more proactive question: what am I feeling, what are my options, and what will really matter most 5 years from now? These are all forward-thinking questions that can lead you away from the betrayal and toward a place where you can heal and recover.
Speak to those who hurt you
Cut ties with repeat offenders
But how did we even get here???????
Cheating becomes possible because there is a tendency to turn away and ignore emotions. Then flooding, a pile-up of unresolved regrettable incidents, the Zeigarnik Effect, the development of absorbing negativity, and in the end distrust. And the final blow comparison. To avoid conflict they begin keeping secrets, unburdening themselves with a new person, and then you will focus on partner’s negative qualities and minimize the positive.
While this was the quick work though I don't want us to stay here. I want us to focus on healing and recovery. So how do we repair it??! Honestly therapy! We need to work through how to atone, attune and attach.
Atone: confess it all, except for details related to actual sexual activity. Behavioral change, transparency, and verification. Begin forgiveness
Attune: learn to handle conflict, deepen love rituals and maps, deepen communication and understanding
Attach: sex and intimacy
Ok go get to work!