Why betrayal hurts us so much.

Trust is a central part of any relationship and is essential for healthy close relationships.  Trust helps us to get along with others and to care for each other.  For example, in friendships we trust people will be loyal to us and will look after our interests.  Our interactions with anyone from the medical or legal profession requires our trust; we trust they are going to help us.  Trust is essential in our intimate relationships as without we’d find it really difficult, if not impossible, to truly give ourselves to another.

All of us will experience betrayal in life; a time when our trust is broken.  We have a right to be upset with the person who violates our trust.  This hurts us so much as we interpret this that someone has acted against us and not valued us.  The more that person matters to us, the greater the hurt. 

Betrayal goes beyond feeling hurt, upset and subsequently angry – it causes further damage:  It reduces our ability to trust others in the future. Significant betrayal in our intimate relationships may take a long time to heal from if we’re willing to let the relationship continue.  For many, betrayal ends a relationship.  Consequentially, some would find it hard, if not impossible to trust and give themselves to a relationship again.  The absence of trust creates anxiety and depression as well as deep loneliness as we may now we feel we cannot have anyone again.

Trust should be viewed as being on a scale where one end is total trust (e.g 100%) and at the other is no trust (e.g. 0%) rather than catagorising ‘I either trust you or I don’t’.  With this in mind, the people we trust the most would sit at the upper end of the scale in the 90’s and the people we trust the least at the lower end.  You could argue that we cannot trust anyone 100% but that’s a whole different blog article.  When trust is broken, then someone may slide down that scale.  However, there are things that we can do for trust to be repaired. See the next blog post.

Also, as always, comments are welcomed and will always be responded to. 

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