5 Healthy Ways Of Dealing With The Pain Of Betrayal
As pessimistic as I am about the nature of human beings and our capacity for atrocity and malevolence and betrayal and laziness and inertia, and all those things, I think we can transcend all that and set things straight. ~ Jordan Peterson
At some point in our lives, we have all experienced betrayal in one form or another.
Most times by someone close to us: a parent, a sibling, a best friend, or a spouse.
It is undeniably painful, and if you are not able to deal with it effectively, it crushes you slowly and insidiously, affecting all spheres of your life in ways you could not have imagined possible.
Betrayal is like a bitter wound and it needs time to heal. Feelings of pain and despair will feel like they will never end.
Over time, however, as you work your way through the pain, it will lessen and one day you will be able to rid yourself of it. And although you will never forget it, it will not hold you captive for life.
1. Confront the one who betrayed you
People have different points of view. What might seem like an obvious betrayal to one might be viewed as a misunderstood perspective to another. That is why it is vitally important to confront the other person involved. How does the assumed betrayer see his or her true intentions?
Give them an opportunity to explain. It’s of no worth to keep feelings of anger and frustration bottled up inside if there’s a possibility that the “betrayal” might just be a big misunderstanding. Holding on to a grudging resentment toward one person will inevitably carry over into other relationships in your life – may they be personal or professional.
2. Resist the hunger for vengeance
Some forms of betrayal may have such a strong effect on you that you may feel an uncontrollable urge to retaliate.
No matter how angry and frustrated you feel, don’t give in! This is rarely a productive endeavor that will truly solve anything. In fact, it will only prolong the pain and delay the healing process.
Retaliation is similar to picking a scab: it will only expose the wound once more and cause you further, unnecessary pain. And the more you pick at it, the more likely you are to carry that pain into the rest of your life.
Resist the temptation to get back at them. These feelings will eventually fade and pass and you’ll then be glad you stopped yourself from inflicting similar suffering to the one who betrayed you.
3. Try sleeping on it
One of God’s greatest gifts to humanity is the healing property of sleep. When you’re feeling sad or overwhelmed by the world’s never-ending problems, you can sleep them away, as it were. And although when you wake, you’ll still have these issues glaring at you, at least you’ll have the energy to deal with them more effectively. Having acknowledged betrayal and been angry about it, you can now sleep on it. Be sure, when you wake up, you’ll have a clearer, sharper way of looking at the situation.
4. Take some time off
When the pain of betrayal has sunken its teeth into you, the best short term solution is to avoid the person responsible as much as physically – and electronically – possible.
This translates to not seeing them, not texting them, and withholding the urge to check their social media every 5 minutes.
It’s imperative that you take time away and break all connections with that person.
If on the other hand, they try to contact you, you can just calmly tell them that you need some time and space to deal with what they’ve put you through. Ask them to respect your decision and leave you in peace.
Eventually, your emotions will begin to fade as the raging fire in you becomes mere embers. You will now be in a much better position to think clearly, process what has happened and make a smart decision on what to do next.
5. Ask for help
Never underestimate the power of a good system of support. That system could be made up of as little as one person or as many as 10. Whatever the case may be, when you need emotional, physical or social help, you can get it if you ask for it. Surround yourself with those closest to you and let them give you their opinions and perspectives on the matter. Naturally, when you’re going through such an experience, you’re going to be an emotionless rock, which will, in turn, prevent those around you from devising a healthy strategy to help you, unless you ask for it.
Moving on: Betrayal is not something that can be dealt with too quickly.
You will need sufficient time to process everything that has happened and this will greatly vary depending on the specific circumstances.
Firstly, you would just have to do your best to cope with the emotional mess inside while maintaining some semblance of a normal life. After all, you still have responsibilities to tend to.
As time goes by, you’ll overcome the initial shock and begin to heal your emotional scars. When you recover from your ordeal, you’ll spend less and less time thinking about it as the emotions surrounding it fade away.
Eventually, you’ll be able to turn the betrayal over to your past… at least for the most part. And although you may never be able to fully let go, it will no longer affect your life in any great way.