When you hear the word "betrayal," you probably think of a shockingly devastating event. You may think of a significant break of trust.
In the realm of love relationships, betrayal often brings to mind an extramarital affair. However, there are several levels of betrayal. No matter if this act is big or small, it still hurts. A betrayal is a broken agreement that is considered critical to any relationship. For example: You tell your friend something in confidence and she, in turn, communicates this information to her husband. Did your friend betray you?
Over the past few years of talking and coaching women, most conversations have reverted to some form of trust issues. Women are not alone; men also experience deep trust issues because of betrayal. Cheating is one of the most common. Your partner is the person you regard as someone who wants the best for you, not someone who desires to break you down.
Regardless of how much we may desire to live a life of integrity, it’s likely that there will be times that we fall short. Nobody’s perfect. Every relationship needs to have some room for slip-ups. The ability to recover from betrayal largely depends on the response of the betrayer as well as the nature of the situation. When both individuals are committed to nurturing the relationship, there is a likelihood of achieving a positive outcome and finding some resolve. Therefore, effective communication rather than a defensive attitude must be fostered into the relationship.
We've all heard the phrase "Honesty is the best policy." Many people will disagree with this policy. In reality, lies and deceit heightens merely the feeling of betrayal and magnifies the sense of mistrust. Successful relationships are impossible when deception is more relevant than the integrity of the relationship.
When a violation of trust, large or small, occurs it's important to find out the root of the issue and collaborate to begin the healing process.
How does the healing process look?
First, own up to your actions. I would suggest taking this action before the other party gains knowledge of the situation. Although, I'm sure most won't co-sign. Have you ever misbehaved as a child, and you knew the information would get back to your parents? With this in mind, it's possible you believed it would be in your best interest to deliver the bad news to ease the punishment? Whether you've experienced this or not, this is the same concept. The longer you live with a lie, the deeper the damage. As a result, this decreases the likelihood of a full recovery and makes the healing more difficult. Betrayal needs to be admitted, not rationalized, defended, ignored or downplayed. Take ownership minus any excuses.
Effective communication skills are imperative to achieve any healing to salvage a relationship. Feelings need to be expressed by both parties with each actively listening. The contrast between expressing your feelings and explaining your actions are incredibly different. The betrayer needs to sincerely apologize for causing pain or hurt to the other individual. As stated previously, there is always a root to these situations. Each party needs to accept the responsibility for their role in this case. One-sided conversations are counterproductive.
In the first stages of healing, shock entangles your mind with all kinds of thoughts. You might even experience rage, devastation or humiliation, depending on the severity of the betrayal. The second stage is filled with emotions and despair, feeling as if you have lost something valuable. In this step, there is a strong need to grasp an understanding. You ask yourself a variety of questions that subsequently affects your self-esteem among other dangerous emotions. If this betrayal requires cutting someone out of your life, the grieving stage will leave you feeling empty and missing your partner. Betrayal can make you feel weak and powerless. The next step is to focus on yourself and your healing. You must counteract all negative thoughts with focused and deliberate actions to build from the hurtful experience. Lastly is forgiving and letting go. Please take note the work needs to be executed within yourself before you are capable of forgiving and letting go. Allow yourself to feel any anger deemed necessary, however, do not permit it to fester within you. Know that your feelings matter and your priority is you.
Forgiveness is a process. Once this journey begins you can take care of yourself and wish the other person the healing they need. “When someone betrays you, it is a reflection of their character, not yours."