Someone recently asked: “How do you prevent yourself from bitterness and carrying the pain of betrayal into future relationships?”
It’s an important consideration, and if you’re not careful, it’s easy to carry that bitterness into relationships going forward.
Betrayal Can Leave Deep Wounds
Betrayal can leave deep emotional wounds, and it’s natural to be concerned about how it may impact your future relationships. Before we get into the strategies, in coaching thousands of people for over 30 years there’s one thing I definitely recommend:
Never make a decision from a low place.
What does that have to do with dating again and future relationships after a betrayal?
Change the Stage, Change the Quality of the Relationship
If you’re going to fully heal (physically, mentally and emotionally) from betrayal, you’re going to go through five proven and predictable Stages (the 5 Stages from Betrayal to Breakthrough). Most people feel so brokenhearted, sad, lonely, etc. so it’s common to believe that a new relationship will make the pain go away. This is typically in Stage 3, the most common Stage we get stuck in and here’s where we see repeat betrayals and wonder: “Why does this keep happening?” It seems like you keep attracting the same type of person to you…and you are. Not only is this pattern exhausting, it’s also impacting your health, creating symptoms of Post Betrayal Syndrome.
It’s so critical to do the work to move through the 5 Stages before entering into a new relationship and if there’s something I’ve seen 100 times, it’s this.
Who You Attract When You Heal
When you’re in Stage 3, you attract a Stage 3 type of person. When you’re in Stage 4, you attract a Stage 4 type of person and when you’re in Stage 5, you attract a Stage 5 type of person (transforming after your betrayal doesn’t begin until Stage 4).
So while you may want to jump into a new relationship, the quality and caliber of who you’ll attract when you take the time to move through the Stages is the best use of time and energy you can possibly spend because the version of you will be someone you’re so excited to become and that version is an energetic match for someone similar. With that said, here are some suggestions to help you navigate this journey:
Navigating Healing and Growth
- Allow yourself to heal: Give yourself permission to grieve, process, and heal from the pain of the betrayal. It’s essential to acknowledge and validate your emotions, allowing yourself the time and space needed to work through them. Seek support from loved ones, engage in self-care activities, and consider support from a Certified PBT (Post Betrayal Transformation) Coach or Practitioner, or someone else highly skilled in betrayal if needed.
- Cultivate self-compassion: Practice self-compassion as you navigate the healing process. Understand that the betrayal was not your fault and that you deserve love, respect, and trust. Treat yourself with kindness, patience, and understanding, just as you would a dear friend who has experienced a similar hardship.
- Reflect and learn: Take the opportunity to reflect on the lessons you’ve learned from the betrayal. Identify any patterns or red flags that may have contributed to the situation. Use this newfound knowledge to set healthier boundaries, establish clearer communication, and make more informed choices in future relationships. Note: This is not to suggest that the betrayal was your fault but it does provide a great opportunity to make changes in yourself you’d like to see going forward.
- Rebuild trust in yourself: Rebuilding trust in yourself is crucial after experiencing betrayal. Recognize your own strength and resilience in navigating through difficult circumstances. Focus on your personal growth, accomplishments, and the positive qualities you bring to relationships. This will help restore your self-confidence and belief in your ability to make healthy choices.
- Cultivate a support network: Surround yourself with a supportive network of friends and loved ones who uplift and encourage you. Share your experiences and feelings with those you trust, who can offer empathy, guidance, and reassurance. Engaging with a support group (be very careful here-you want a group that lifts/inspires vs. commiserates together because that’ll keep you stuck).
- Practice forgiveness (for yourself and others): Forgiveness, if and when you’re ready, is a personal journey and not always necessary for healing. However, it can be a transformative step towards letting go of bitterness. Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting or condoning the betrayal, but rather freeing yourself from the burden of resentment. Remember, forgiveness is a process, and it may take time.
- Embrace vulnerability in future relationships: While betrayal can make it challenging to trust again, it’s important not to let the pain of the past dictate your future. Rebuild trust in yourself and cautiously in others as you carefully open yourself to new connections. As you embark on new relationships, communicate openly, set clear boundaries, and trust your instincts. Remember that not everyone is the same, each relationship is unique, AND if you’ve gone through the 5 Stages from Betrayal to Breakthrough, a Stage 5 relationship will look very different from ones you’ve had in the past.
- Seek professional support when needed: If you find it difficult to let go of the pain and bitterness or if it starts to impact your overall well-being and relationships, consider seeking professional support. Someone highly skilled in helping you heal from betrayal (a Certified PBT Coach/Practitioner for example) can provide guidance, tools, and techniques tailored to your specific needs, helping you navigate the challenges and foster personal growth.
Time and Patience
Remember, healing takes time, and it’s a continuous process. Be patient and kind to yourself along the way. By prioritizing your emotional well-being and taking proactive steps towards healing, you can prevent bitterness from overshadowing your future relationships and create a foundation of trust and happiness.
Wishing you strength, growth, and the ability to embrace the joy and trust that lie ahead.
Dr. Debi-A Trusted Resource in an Untrusting Niche
Dr. Debi Silber, Founder and CEO of The PBT (Post Betrayal Transformation) Institute is an award-winning speaker, bestselling author, holistic psychologist, a health, mindset and personal development expert who helps (along with her incredibly gifted Certified PBT-Post Betrayal Transformation Coaches and Practitioners) a predictable, proven multi-pronged approach to help people heal (physically, mentally and emotionally) from the trauma of betrayal.