Betrayal, at its core, is a breach of trust in a valued relationship. This can happen in many ways and it can hurt on any number of levels. After a discovery of a betrayal, various feelings rise to the surface. The first is often anger, but anger tends to be a blanket emotion covering other feelings such as hurt, fear, frustration, confusion, sadness, disappointment, or resentment. However, the feeling of betrayal can manifest itself in ways outside of thoughts and feelings via physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach pain, indigestion, and other aches. Therefore, it is imperative to engage in a lot of self-care when recovering from a betrayal. This could include deep breathing, positive self-talk, guided meditation, prayer, engaging in fulfilling activities with loved ones, talking to a trusted confidant, exercising, or finding what other types of self-care that work for you.
After the initial shock of betrayal wears off, some people may feel the need to act. This can take on various forms depending on both personality and intimacy of the relationship. Some people may want revenge or justice, whereas others might question themselves or want to escape. No matter the desired action, nothing will erase the betrayal. Trust will have to be rebuilt slowly over time. There is no clear roadmap of how to regain trust in a relationship. One step is processing your emotions, so you can recognize your needs and limits. Once that is done, you can begin to communicate to your support system how they can help you. As for the betrayer, you must decide if you are willing to consider a reconciliation, and if so, communicate with them to find out if they are willing to take the necessary steps to make amends. A decision to pursue reconciliation can lead to taking small risks in vulnerability to gradually enhance trust again. There will be a lot of ups and downs, but ultimately a relationship that survives a betrayal can be stronger. It pushes both people to analyze their roles, needs, desires, and requires a lot of self-reflection that might not have happened otherwise. If a relationship doesn’t survive, know that some people are only in our lives for a certain chapter but a lot can still be learned from all connections.