When someone you love betrays your trust, it can feel like a devastating disaster has ripped apart the life you knew. Just as the ground shakes in an earthquake disaster, it may feel like the foundation on which you've built your life has been threatened or destroyed. The initial shock can feel stressful and sometimes overwhelming. What can you do to get yourself through this difficult period?
First of all, realize that the shock you feel is a common reaction and it will pass. It's understandable to feel numb, confused, "out of it", or outraged. Help yourself by remembering that this is one of those difficult storms of mental, physical and emotional stress that sometimes happen in life. Fortunately, this too shall pass.
Be patient with your feelings and remember that, like a rainstorm, your feelings are sometimes necessary to clear things away and create a better situation.
To cope with the aftershocks of betrayal and create stability in your life it is very important to nurture yourself. You will need your best physical, emotional and mental resources to deal with the situation in the future, so do everything you can right now to take care of yourself. Be sure to give yourself adequate sleep, take breaks to rest as needed, and don't forget to move, stretch or exercise. Make time to eat properly and keep hydrated. Nourish yourself with your favorite things that comfort you, help elevate your mood, and relieve tension.
Be as kind and as patient with yourself as possible. The reason why betrayal can feel so shocking is that it violates what you thought you knew about your partner, your relationship, and your life together.
Just like aftershocks following an earthquake, it takes time to adapt to this new view of reality and to calm and heal emotions.
Have realistic expectations and don't expect perfection or instant solutions. Try to postpone making any big unnecessary decisions while you are coping with this adjustment. Wait until things calm down and you are in a better position to know what you want for the long term. As time passes and healing begins, it's easier to see the possibilities, decisions and actions that will lead you in the right direction.
Spending time with people provides social support and can strengthen your resilience. Connecting with a trusted friend, relative or coach can relieve some pressure and help you to understand what happened and why. Coaches often help callers with a time-tested Mars Venus technique that allows callers to process and release negative feelings. For someone who's dealing with feelings of betrayal, often there is a tremendous amount of sadness, grief and loss. For some folks there's also anger, fear and regret. Coaches work with callers through a process that leads the caller through a series of emotions and/or feelings with the goal of bringing feelings up so the caller can feel them and then let them go. This procedure works wonders for anyone who is experiencing an overwhelming amount of stress, anxiety or depression, and it can work for you to help release feelings and move you into a more positive, logical place.
Ideally, when a person experiences a betrayal, a strong support system is needed to assist them in recovering. Nothing can truly take away the pain, but having someone like a coach can at least make the process go by faster.
Remember, things look darkest while you're feeling the shock of betrayed trust. Take care of yourself now and know that you can find a way to build something better when the aftershocks have passed.
If you or someone you love is experiencing a traumatic break-up or betrayal, please know that you're not alone. The Ask Mars Venus coaches are here to offer guidance, encouragement and support and we can affordably fit into anyone's budget.