Let’s be honest. Being betrayed by someone we love- be it a husband, wife, friend, family member or coworker- can feel like dying. Some betrayals are petty while others are deep. Research has shown that emotional pain, like that which comes from emotional, verbal, or mental abuse, works in the brain similarly to physical pain. The bottom line is pain hurts, no matter what kind of pain it is.
Betrayal is usually sudden and unexpected for the person who has been betrayed. To say that one shouldn’t have expectations is to paint a dismal picture of mankind- it would be unfortunate to go through life assuming one human will betray and hurt another at some point in time. When we are in a loving and meaningful relationship of any kind with another person, we do have expectations. We expect them to love, honor, respect, and treat us the loving, honoring, respectful way we treat them. Betrayal is shocking and disappointing at the same time. Sending our minds into a headspin, we struggle to try and figure out what happened and why. All the while, we suffer deep emotional pain which can have physiological effect. Our hearts feel like they might stop, our stomach is in knots, and our body is paralyzed. Betrayal hurts, but betrayal will not kill us.
Working through betrayal is the best way to recover from it. We would much rather run, hide, and lick our wounds than have someone come and do surgery or pour on burning cleaning fluids. Where do we begin?
We begin with checking in on ourselves. It isn’t hard to tell that we’re feeling. After finding out we’ve been betrayed, we’re feeling everything and we can hardly sort it out. There aren’t enough emotions to express what we are going through. Allow yourself a period of time to be completely consumed, which can be a detoxifying process. After that period of time, start putting your emotions in check. To work through the aftermath of betrayal, you will need to start stabilizing to the best of your ability. Challenging, but not impossible, recognize that this action of betrayal will not be undone and it is time to move forward.
We continue by learning not to blame ourselves for another’s actions and eventually we forgive. Working through betrayal takes time, nurturing, and healing. Betrayal can lead to depression, anxiety, and relationship trauma which might require professional help to work through.
Avalon By The Sea offers relationship counseling and licensed mental health treatment for primary psychiatric diagnoses. If you or a loved one are in need of support, call Avalon today for a confidential assessment. 1-855-464-8451.