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Dr. Debi Silber

I’ve spent the last three decades studying trust, betrayal, forgiveness, and healing.

I didn’t choose to become a post-betrayal transformation expert. Betrayal happened and I was forced to choose my response.

I was deeply ashamed and embarrassed of my betrayals (from my family and my husband). I kept it to myself convinced that anyone I told would think I somehow “caused” it or was lacking in some way. In the beginning, all I could do was take care of my kids, my clients, my dogs, then I’d crash. Kids, clients, dogs, crash. Kids, clients, dogs, crash. On and on it went until one day, I blacked out and landed in the emergency room.

I remember being hooked up to all of these wires in the ER. A flood of red, hot anger rushed through me as I realized: “WTH am I doing here! If I don’t get my head together, this $%#! is going to kill me!”

There were no books or programs I could find to help me get through this intense pain so I enrolled in a PhD program with the hope of finding some way to heal. For my dissertation, I researched and conducted a PhD study on betrayal. I dove in deeper. I did everything any of my study participants said helped and tried it on myself.

As I researched, it became very clear that if we’re going to fully heal from betrayal, we will move through 5 Stages. Each Stage had clear characteristics with milestones and markers signaling a move from one Stage to the next. Like a road map, I moved through the Stages and started sharing my story privately with clients. They were shocked at the changes in me from week to week while they remained painfully sick and stuck. I wasn’t any different than them, I was just following the research to move through the Stages.

I was so excited! I created a Betrayal to Breakthrough program explaining the 5 Stages and how to move from one Stage to the next and started sharing it. As I heard the transformation stories, it was easy to see how the right type of support made all the difference and the wrong type of support does more harm than good.

That inspired me to launch our Post Betrayal Transformation (ThePBTInstitute.com) site so that anyone who’s been betrayed and is ready to heal can move through The 5 Stages from Betrayal to Breakthrough. I’m not going to lie. Healing from betrayal trauma and working through the anger and grief is hard, painful work. But having a research-based, proven, and predictable program, a like-minded community, and trained coaches and therapists (who have all been there and are now fully through the 5 Stages) makes the journey less lonely and more empowering.

Betrayal sucks. Healing from betrayal sucks. But staying stuck sucks even more. I tell our members it’s “hard now, easy later, or easy now, hard later.” Years later, with countless members moving through the Stages and feeling healthy, happy, whole, confident and healed, I know I’ve struck a chord. I am constantly moved by the deep transformations leading to new levels of health, new relationships (with the person who hurt them but in an entirely new way or with someone new), new businesses, passion projects, and more our members have experienced just by going through the 5 Stages from Betrayal to Breakthrough.

I would never have chosen this path of trauma but am so grateful it led to a stronger version of me. This life-changing experience also led me to marry my husband Adam… again, after we both transformed from the betrayal. We have 4 amazing kids, Dani, Dylan, Camryn, and Cole, a future daughter in law Molly, girlfriend Keely, and 3 dogs named Brody, Kasey, and Cali (we lost 5 dogs during COVID and Kasey and Cali are our new reminders to celebrate life and have more fun).

Thanks for reading my story. Hard now, easy later. Here’s to our transformation!

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