Intimate betrayal from someone closest to you whom you trusted, believed in and felt safe with is nothing short of a fracturing to the soul. The initial shock of discovering a betrayal of trust is a deeply painful and overwhelming experience which can be dealt with in positive ways to help manage your internal turmoil and begin the process of healing your heart-ache and anguish.
The guidelines below will provide you with a framework to support you during this time of intense emotional suffering:
What To Do:
- Do acknowledge to yourself that what you are experiencing is a crisis.
- Do give yourself kindness, consolation, understanding, compassion and love.
- Do use positive self-talk and verbalise out loud that you are NOT “stupid/naive/blind/gullible/to blame”. –There is no shame in trusting a person!
- Do seek out as much support as you can get as it’s essential that you know and feel that you’re not alone and that you do have people you can turn to.
- Do share your experience and how you are feeling with people you feel safe to confide in. If you don’t have anyone you can talk to, get help by arranging a counselling appointment today.
- Do continually affirm to yourself that you will be able to get through this and that time will heal you, and things will get better.
- Do journal what you are experiencing and release your feelings through writing
- Do write an uncensored and angry letter (without actually sending it) to the person who betrayed you, expressing your feelings wholeheartedly (it is purely for your healing purposes). Remember, you have every right to feel angry and hurt as a result of this betrayal.
- Do listen to your body-if your body is telling you to rest and stay home instead of adhering to your daily routine, then go with what your body is saying. (The experience of betrayal and the subsequent shock to our system makes us feel extremely depleted of emotional and physical energy.)
- Do give yourself permission to cry.
- Do nurture yourself in ways that are most beneficial and healthy for you-this may be anything from listening to music, going for a walk to breathe in the fresh air, exercise, spending time in nature, going for a long drive to the country, or working on a creative project (or whatever nurturing activity works for you.)
- Do maintain your normal everyday routine unless you feel physically unable to -otherwise, allow yourself to simply relax and rest.
- Do spend time alone with yourself so you can recharge, rejuvenate and reconnect with yourself
- Do spend time with anyone who you feel safe with and nurtured by
- Do let yourself grieve and mourn over the losses you have experienced as a result of the betrayal
What Not to Do:
- Don’t seek retaliation or vengeance on your betrayer
- Don’t lash out with violence or aggressive destructive behaviours-this will only cause you further pain
- Don’t attempt to make the person who betrayed you understand the situation from your perspective
- If you have children, don’t get them involved in what’s going on, and don’t try getting them to side with you about the issue
- Don’t seek to be validated by the person who has betrayed you
- Don’t seek consolation or emotional refuge from the person who has betrayed you
- Don’t harm yourself in any way
- Don’t say harsh things to yourself
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Miya Yamanouchi is an empowerment counsellor with specialist sexual health training who has extensive experience assisting men and women across Australia to discover and embrace their authentic selves. She has served as a sexual health counsellor for Impotence Australia, a sex and relationships counsellor for The Australasian Institute of Sexual Health Medicine, a reference for The Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, and as an expert for New-York based international sex and relationships online magazine YourTango. She is also a Blogger for The Kinsey Institute, Social Media Content Creator (Instagram) for The Sydney Feminists and a Network Coorindator for The Mental Health Professionals Network.