There’s just something about betrayal that cuts extra deep. Most of the time, we get caught up in the trauma too much that we’re left wondering what happens next. 

Is there a way out of it? Is this something that we should just learn to accept and live with? Why do the effects of betrayal seem to stay with us even after a significant amount of time has passed?

I am Dr. Debi Silber, and I am excited to take you on this new weekly journey of healing and learning called A Dose of Dr. Debi.

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In This Episode

  • A brief recollection of my experiences with betrayals
  • An overview of the three discoveries I made when studying betrayal
  • A brief introduction on what to expect from A Dose of Dr. Debi


Welcome to a whole brand new series we’re calling this A Dose of Dr. Debi. I’m Dr. Debi Silber and what I’m going to be doing is share with you, every Friday, tips, tools, strategies and solutions to help you heal physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually from the trauma of betrayal from a family member, partner, friend, co-worker, self. 

Now you may be saying, Why am I sharing this, and how am I an expert in this. Well I’ll tell you nobody studies betrayal that I know of, because they just liked the topic, you kind of need to, and that was the case with me.

This is my 30th year in business and I’ve been a health, mindset, personal development speaker, author, mentor, coach for years, and it was only because of my own betrayals; first from my family, and then years later from my husband, that everything changed. And if you’ve been betrayed by someone close to you, you know how painful it is. This was the person, or these were the people who gave you a sense of safety and security. So, when this is the person, or these are the people to shatter that sense of safety and security, it’s devastating. And that was the case with me. 

So when it came to the betrayal of my husband, I got him out of the house, and I was like okay I have four kids, six dogs, a thriving business. What am I going to do, and I looked at those two experiences and I said you know what’s common to those two experiences? I realized I never took my own needs seriously, and boundaries were always getting crossed. I said, now it’s my turn. I have no idea how I’m going to do this, but it’s time. And I enrolled in a PhD program in transpersonal psychology, (the psychology of transformation in human potential) because I was changing and I didn’t quite understand what was happening. He was changing on his own too but I wasn’t ready to look at that. I was so interested in this type of study, I was so desperate to understand how the mind work. Why do people do these things, and most importantly, how can I heal from this? 

While I was there I did a study. I studied betrayal; what holds us back, what helps us heal, and what happens to us (physically, mentally and emotionally) when the people closest to us lie, cheat and deceive. Well, I had no idea at the time, but that study led to three groundbreaking discoveries. I’m going to go over them, just briefly, and in the coming episodes I’ll dive into them much deeper along with solutions and tips and strategies to heal. 

So the first discovery was, originally I was setting something called Posttraumatic growth -betrayal and posttraumatic growth. Posttraumatic growth is- if you can imagine kind of an upside of trauma, how that trauma, regardless of what it is (death of a loved one, disease, natural disaster, etc.) how it leaves you with a new insight, perspective, or awareness that you didn’t have beforehand. Like maybe you realize when you lose someone you love, life is short, or the little things matter, things like that. And I was like, well, I’ve been through death of a loved one and I’ve been through disease, but this is different, betrayal is different. 

I didn’t want to assume that was the same for everyone, so I asked all my study participants and I said: “If you’ve been through other traumas besides betrayal does it feel different for you?” Hands down unanimously they said:  “Oh my gosh it’s so different!” Here’s why. Let’s say you lose a loved one. You grieve, you’re sad, you mourn the loss, life will never be the same, but you don’t necessarily take it personally. Betrayal feels personal. It feels so intentional, so we take it so personally. So the whole self has to be rebuilt. Belonging, confidence, worthiness, trust, rejection, abandonment are all huge topics that all have to be rebuilt. We have to rebuild the self. So, this type of healing needed its own name, so I coined a new term Post Betrayal Transformation and that is the complete and total rebuild of you after a traumatic experience with betrayal. So that was the first discovery. 

The second one was, while we can stay stuck for years, decades, a lifetime (and so many of us do), if we’re going to fully heal, (I’ll talk about how to know when we’re fully healed, in another episode), if we are to fully heal, we will move through 5 proven and predictable stages. Now, what’s even more exciting about that is, now we know what happens at every stage, (physically, mentally and emotionally), and we know what it takes to move from one stage to the next. Why is that good? Because that means healing is predictable. That means, if you know what Stage you’re in you’re in Stage two, you’re in Stage three, whatever the Stage is, we know what you need to do to move from that one Stage to the next! 

So there’s a roadmap now that that we never had. Now, it’s predictable. That was the second discovery. 

The third discovery was that there’s actually this collection of symptoms, (physical, mental and emotional) so common to betrayal, it’s now known as Post Betrayal Syndrome. So we actually have a quiz on our site: https://thepbtinstitute.com/quiz/. It’s the Post Betrayal Syndrome quiz. You take that to see to what extent, you’re still struggling. Here’s what’s so interesting about it. We’ve had easily at the time of this recording, over 18,000 people take the Post Betrayal Syndrome quiz and you know how you may have heard: “Time heals all wounds?” I have the proof, that’s not true, because there’s a question that reads, “is there anything else you’d like to share,” and people write things like: “My betrayal happened 40 years ago, and I can still feel the pain,” “my betrayal happened 35 years ago, I’m unwilling to trust again,” “my betrayal happened 10 years ago, I feel gutted.” So, we know that when it comes to betrayal, time does not heal all wounds, not when it comes to betrayal.

With betrayal, we heal when we “face it, feel it heal it.” I’m going to teach you how to do that in upcoming episodes. I want to I want to leave you with this. Betrayal, it follows you around like shadow until, and until and unless you take the time to actually heal it, but I want to give you an example of how to know if you have an unhealed betrayal because you may be thinking; “Oh my gosh, that happened years ago.” It doesn’t matter. I’ll show you how it’s showing up. 

It shows up in your health, your work, your relationships. So let’s take relationships we see it in one of two ways. The first way is you have repeat betrayals, and you go from boss to boss to boss. Or, co worker to co worker to co worker. Friend to friend to friend. Partner to partner to partner and you’re like; “What the heck! The faces are changing but it’s the same thing all the time?! Is it me?” Yes it is. There’s a profound lesson you need to learn. I’m not saying you caused the betrayal. I’m saying these people are coming into your world, to give you an opportunity for you to learn that boundaries are constantly getting crossed, or to finally show you you’re lovable, worthy, deserving-whatever the lesson is for you. You will keep finding “opportunities” to learn those lessons until you do. When you do, it doesn’t need to keep repeating itself. So if you have a repeat betrayal. That’s how we know it’s an unhealed betrayal, that’s the first way. 

The second way is, we will see it in people who say, and maybe this is you, you put that big wall up; “Been there, done that I’m not letting anybody get close to me again!” And we think it’s coming from a place of strength. No, it’s coming from a place of fear. That’s an unhealed betrayal. 

We see it in health, where people go to the most incredible doctors, healers, coaches and therapists to manage a stress related symptom, illness, condition or disease. At the root of all that stress- and unhealed betrayal. 

We see it at work too in so many ways. Here are just two. You want to ask for that raise or promotion, you deserve it. But your confidence was shattered in the betrayal so you don’t have the confidence to ask and you’re bitter and resentful instead. And that’s the energy you’re bringing to work with you every day. Or, you want to be that team player, that collaborative partner, but the person who trusted the most proved untrustworthy, how can you trust that boss, that co worker, that JV partner or that collaborative person who wants to work with you? 

It shows up everywhere. Now, you may be thinking; “Oh, I can never heal from this, it’s way too big.” Yes you can, you can heal from all of it, I’m living proof and so are the people within the PBT Institute. Now, rebuilding is always a choice whether you rebuild yourself and move on (that’s what I did with my family, it wasn’t an option to rebuild with them.) Or, and we teach you how to do this in the community how to know if it’s safe in your and in your best interest to heal and rebuild with that person, how to know if it’s safe and in your best interest just to heal and move on. Or, if the situation lends itself, if you’re willing, if you want to, you may have the opportunity, if you choose to rebuild something entirely new with the person who hurt you. That’s what I did with my husband. As to completely transformed people, not long ago, we married each other again.  New rings, new vows, new dress and this time, our four kids is our bridal party. 

So, lots of healing, lots to learn, lots to share and I am so excited to share with you. Be on the lookout for these Friday doses of A Dose of Dr. Debi. They’ll be coming to you with healing tips, tools and solutions. What I know for sure is that even if you have to say it a million times to yourself, it’s worth it ready? “Even though it happened to you, it’s not about you.” It’s not about you. The good news is that betrayal lends itself to being the perfect opportunity for transformation. I’ll be talking about that so much more. But you’ve been through the hardest part already, so if you’re going to be going through the hardest part, why not give yourself the opportunity to create the strongest and most healthy, healed, whole, version of you possible? It’s entirely possible. And I’m going to show you how to do that. So check back next time and I’ll see you soon. Bye.


Post Betrayal Syndrome Quiz

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