The emotional pain caused by betrayal feels like a knife digging into your heart a thousand times. The sting of betrayal can leave an indelible mark on your soul that forever colors how you approach future relationships, crippling your ability to trust again and fully embrace someone new. Recovery is often a long and arduous process.
“Betrayal is anything that left you feeling betrayed, hurt, angry, and distrusting, with lingering aftereffects of painful memories … You do not have to justify your hurt or fit it into any kind of category … All that matters is that it hurt you, and you deserve to focus your enormous emotional resources on the difficult task of healing, recovery, and growth,” said Steven Stosny, PhD in Living and Loving after Betrayal.
However, with time, you can learn to let your guard down and enjoy a loving relationship again. Here are tips for bouncing back from betrayal.
1. Get a handle on your emotions
Learning that someone close to you has been dishonest will likely cause several emotions to rise within you and form a tangled mess that becomes hard to unravel. Before you can move forward, you’ll need to find a way to process these feelings. You can do this by talking to a trusted friend or therapist. Take time to work through the emotional flood of shock, sadness, and anger. Realize that the betrayal is a gift in disguise, revealing your betrayer’s true intentions.
“We need to grasp the gift in betrayal in order to experience it. We must grasp it intellectually — understand it, make sense of it, and learn from it. And we must do so physically — seize it, step into it, and make it our story,” said Dr. Eve A. Wood in The Gift of Betrayal.