This post follows on from ‘Why Betrayal Hurts Us So Much’ and looks at relevant concepts to deal with this.
Betrayal hurts us greatly and the effect it has on us varies from person to person. For example, the meaning of the relationship, the nature of the betrayal and our past life experiences are just a few elements that will influence how we’re personally affected. With this in mind, trying to write about how to deal with betrayal becomes very difficult. The text below are the broader ideas drawn from research and psychological texts and I hope that some of them are be pertinent to you.
In the book Love and Betrayal by Amodeo, it states that betrayal can help us to develop ourselves by learning to respect ourselves more and find greater ways to protect ourselves. From any challenge or negative experience that our life presents to us, we can find ways to grow stronger. Developing greater self-respect and realistic protective mechanisms can arm us in our abilities to flourish. Additionally, betrayal can highlight problems in a relationship that can be addressed and bring great improvements to them.
Firstly, it’s important to confront this; to gather and accept the facts. The alternative is to avoid and pretend it’s never happened. This may, on some level, feel easier, but avoidance makes things worse for us. By avoiding we are telling ourselves that we cannot deal it whereas confronting it provides a sense of control, strength and resilience. This may involve asking what happened and why.
Be open with how you feel! Often our anger comes to the forefront and as this is expressed, it often creates a defensive or avoidant reaction. Ask yourself, ‘what’s beyond my anger?’. Are you upset, hurt, humiliated? Expressing these true and deeper feelings encourages a coming together.
Create an environment of open and honest communication. This is vital to rebuild trust and part of this means that we play our own part by being honest with ourselves and expressing this. Agree to be honest with each other even if things are hard to say or hard to hear. Initially transparency is vital so open access to phones or emails may help.
Build yourself. When we feel secure with a good sense of wellbeing, we are more able to confront our problems and deal with them healthily
Avoid continually blaming each other. This does not help and alienates everybody in their own defensive bubble.
Build the great relationship you want. Especially in our close relationships, it so easy to live on auto-pilot and descend into taking each other for granted as we deal with life’s busyness. Betrayal can act as the reset button a relationship needs for it to be rebuilt to be stronger and more fulfilling.
Prepare for the ending of a relationship! Sometimes, if trust has been broken repeatedly, it can signify that maybe it should end. Can you live with a friendship/relationship that’s unhealthy? In recognition of our own self worth and being aware of what a healthy relationship is, do you want to allow yourself to feel disrespected again and again.
As always, your thoughts would be valued so please feel free to comment.