Whether your betrayal was recent or several years back, being betrayed makes you feel like your insides have been shattered. Like you will never recover, feel happy, or find joy again. But despite the way you feel right now, betrayal can make you stronger. If you choose to let it.
What is Betrayal?
Betrayal is defined as the breaking of trust between two people, organizations, or between people and organizations. It’s the shattering of expectations, beliefs, or worldviews that causes a person to feel some sort of psychological or moral conflict.
What Causes Betrayal?
While the reasons people or organizations betray one another vary, betrayal is typically not personal and is not done to intentionally cause harm. Which might come as quite the shock to someone suffering from betrayal trauma! But betrayal, most often, is not personal. Betrayal is caused by hurt people and the phrase, hurt people, hurt people, is the most accurate description of what really causes betrayal. Being betrayed is part of being human.
When someone betrays you, it says nothing about you. Although we naturally take betrayal personally, betrayal says more about the person betraying you than it does about you! Betrayal is rarely personal. Even when it comes to infidelity, people who cheat do so because of their own vulnerabilities, fear, shame or even lack of integrity. They rarely cheat because of you.
What are Examples of Betrayal?
While one of the most obvious examples of betrayal is infidelity, where a romantic partner cheats by having a physical or emotional relationship with a different partner unbeknownst to the other. Truthfully, romantic betrayal is only part of the story. There may be a financial betrayal as well, where marital funds are spent on someone outside the marriage without the other partner’s knowledge or consent.
Betrayals also take place between friends, family members, or acquaintances when secrets get unknowingly shared, lies are told, or misinformation is spread. A common form of betrayal between people is what’s known as “lies of omission” where crucial information is simply not told.
Other examples of betrayal include corporate, or professional betrayal, where you believe, expect, or have been told that something will happen if you live up to certain expectation. Many of us presume that performing up to standards means that we will keep our jobs, earn pay increases over time, or be rewarded in some other way. So, when we get fired, receive a so-so review, or find out that the person we spent six months training was promoted ahead of us, we naturally feel betrayed.
Another way that betrayal sneaks up on us is within our own bodies. Whether it’s through aging and no longer recognizing the person staring back at us in the mirror, an accident, illness, or injury that takes away our ability to do something that we love – or the time we thought we had – it’s easy to feel betrayed by our own bodies.
Betrayal causes a wide variety of mental, emotional, and physical responses from stress, anxiety, and feelings of resentment, bitterness, and overwhelm to muscular tension, stomach upset, chronic colds, and even disease. We all feel and experience negative emotions differently, but the bottom line is that unless we take the time to feel and process those emotions, they will get stuck in our bodies and wreak havoc on our system in one way or another. One of the most common, overriding symptoms of betrayal is the loss of trust in yourself and in the world.
How to Overcome Betrayal
Overcoming betrayal is a process that takes time and intention, but it is not impossible! The first step is recognizing that you have been betrayed. Ask yourself, Am I reeling because my expectations were crushed? If the answer is yes, you have been betrayed!
Next, it’s important to identify, feel, and acknowledge the wide variety of feelings and emotions that pop up after betrayal. Create time and space to be alone, without interruption or distraction, even if it’s only for a few minutes a day. Breathe deeply, relax your body, go within, and allow yourself to feel. Whether it’s rage, grief, shame, embarrassment, or tears, imagine those emotions coming up from your belly, moving through your body, and out the top of your head, fingers, and toes. Let the waves continue until they subside, take a shower to “cleanse” away any residue, and go about the rest of your day.
Finally, it’s important to seek qualified help from someone who understands betrayal, and to take consistent steps to rebuilding your own self-trust and trust in the world. For more information on healing your own feelings of betrayal, and rebuilding trust with yourself and the world, download The Top Three Ways You Betray Yourself Everyday & How to Stop at www.BurnoutOrBetrayal.com