Getting betrayed has to be one of the worst things a human being can experience.
It leads to some of the darkest emotions you’re capable of feeling and leaves a scar on your soul that lasts a lifetime.
Anybody who has ever been betrayed knows how life-shattering it can be.
The few fortunate ones who haven’t had to go through it should wish that they never have to.
So, what do you do when someone you trusted and cared about ended up betraying you?
How do you get over that immense pain?
Whether you’re hurt by a friend, a romantic partner, a colleague, or even a family member, the next steps to overcome or deal with betrayal are pretty much the same.
Let’s take a deeper look at them below.
1) Understand What You Are Feeling
The instant you realize that you have been betrayed, you get hit by a mixed bag of emotions.
Suddenly, there are all these thoughts and feelings swirling inside you, and that can make matters even worse. That’s because, normally, you just feel one or two emotions at any given moment.
But when your mind is flooded by many, many emotions all at once, it can easily get overwhelmed. And that’s when you get the feeling like you are “shutting down.”
So, the first thing you need to do is understand exactly how and what you are feeling.
Often, people experience the following emotions when they are betrayed:
- Anger – You might feel like unleashing your wrath on the other person or wishing them to feel the pain you’re feeling.
- Sadness – You might feel like crying your heart out and that nothing matters anymore in life.
- Disgust – You might feel sick in your stomach just thinking about what the other person did.
- Fear – You might be fearful of what the betrayal will lead to and also be scared that others will betray you as well.
- Shock – You might be shocked and in denial that the other person can actually do such a thing to you.
- Confusion – The betrayal is a huge unexpected event that comes out of nowhere and might cause untold confusion in your life. None of it might make sense to you initially.
- Loneliness – You might feel like nobody understands your situation right now because they have never experienced what you are going through.
- Insecurity – You might wonder whether you are even worthy of love and care. This might make you question your sense of self-worth.
You might feel some or most of these emotions.
And it is important to identify what you are going through first. Only then can you take the next steps forward.
2) Resist Retaliating
Trying to get back at the one who betrayed you is a natural feeling.
This occurs because you want them to feel the same kind of pain that you are feeling.
You want them to “understand” what they did to you and face the consequences.
And so, you might be tempted to plot revenge or hurt them somehow.
This might be in the form of physical violence or through your words.
But let me tell you this in a straightforward manner. This does not work! It will not help you feel better in any way. And it is certainly not a healthy way to deal with your situation.
In fact, the more you want to do it, the longer your pain will stay with you.
Anger is like a poison that will slowly degrade your physical, mental, and emotional health.
And the other person is simply not worth it.
So, a better option would be to resist retaliating and focus on taking healthier steps forward.
3) Don’t Blame Yourself
Some people start blaming themselves when they get betrayed.
Even the most confident people with a high degree of self-esteem can fall prey to this. And if you think about it, it’s quite understandable.
When someone wrongs you in any manner, especially when that person is your “loved one,” your mind is bound to raise questions as to whether it was your fault.
For instance, if your spouse cheats on you, your mind might wonder whether there is something wrong with you.
You might have thoughts like, “Maybe I wasn’t enough,” “Maybe I wasn’t caring enough,” “Maybe I wasn’t able to fulfill their physical needs,” and so on.
There can be a thousand maybes that your mind might conjure up.
But you need to remember that betrayal is a choice.
It says everything about the other person and nothing about you!
It’s not about you, it’s about them.
So, there is no point in blaming yourself whatsoever!
4) Take Time Away
Granted, this might only be a short-term solution, but it might just be the thing you need to start the healing process.
You see, when you take a break and go some place else, you are essentially creating a distance between yourself and that person. Not only that, but you are also creating a distance between you and that hurtful event.
If you don’t do this, your familiar places and people will keep reminding you of what happened and it will keep hurting you endlessly.
So, the better option is to take some time away and separate yourself from your normal day-to-day routine.
This would be the perfect time to go on a vacation or stay with your friends or parents for a while. Also, make sure you don’t contact the one who betrayed you in any manner.
Even if they try to contact you, simply tell them that you need some space and time.
Eventually, this break will help tone down the intense emotions you are feeling and pave the way for future healing.
5) Talk To Someone
The more you try to bottle up your emotions, the fiercer they will become.
If not today, they will resurface at some point in the future and that is not what you want at all!
It is simply not a healthy way of dealing with your thoughts and emotions.
Many people needlessly keep suffering just because they don’t want to let out their emotions.
They feel like they will be judged or that nobody will understand what they are going through.
You need to rise above your doubts and talk to your loved ones.
Wise people always say that sharing your pain lessens its effects.
As such, you can sit down with your parents, siblings, best friend, or even your neighbor whom you trust, and tell them about what you went through.
Tell them about how it made you feel and how much you’re in pain.
At the end of it, even if you don’t find a solution to your situation, you will at least feel a little lighter knowing that there is someone who understands what you’re going through.
You won’t feel like you are all alone.
6) Examine The Betrayal
Although people would generally tell you to not dwell on the betrayal too much, sometimes, you need to face it to be able to move forward.
And that’s exactly what you need to do in this step.
Be brave, you can do this and overcome it for good!
To examine the betrayal, you need to first figure out why the other person did what they did.
- Was it because of a genuine mistake?
- Was it because of weakness?
- Or was it a deliberate act on their part?
Let me make this clearer so that you have a better understanding of your own unique situation.
Acts of mistakes are just that… mistakes!
We are human beings and we all make mistakes.
So, it is possible that the one who betrayed you had no intention of hurting you and they simply made a mistake.
For example, if you had trusted them with a small secret and yet they happened to reveal it to someone else by mistake, you might still understand it.
Acts of weakness often happen when the other person is not able to control their urges.
For example, your spouse might have promised you that they will deal with their alcohol addiction by cutting it off completely. But if you find out that they had been secretly drinking all this time, you will naturally feel betrayed. However, in this case, you can see why it happened.
Lastly, deliberate acts are those where the other person simply doesn’t care about your feelings and commits an act to hurt you.
For instance, if your spouse cheats on you, that is a deliberate act because they know what that will do to you!
Examining the betrayal helps you get better clarity over your situation and the other person’s intentions. You can then use this information to see what you should do next.
7) Examine The Relationship
The level of pain you experience after a betrayal depends on how strong your relationship was with that person and how much you loved or cared about them.
A betrayal from a distant friend will obviously not feel the same as a betrayal from your spouse!
So, in order to get more clarity on the matter, you need to examine the relationship you have with that person.
This includes measuring the bond you have with them, the level of understanding you share, the respect you have for each other, and so on.
Maybe you don’t need to feel as shattered as you’re feeling because you are not even that close to the other person!
Examining the relationship will give you clarity on how you should deal with the person and what are the potential next steps you should take.
8) Speak To The Person Who Betrayed You
This is the part that most people dread.
After all, it involves facing the very person who hurt your soul.
But if you want to move past this, you will have to do it.
Think of it as ripping off the band-aid. It’s painful but necessary.
And the faster you do it, the faster you get to move on with your life!
But make sure that you are not in an impulsive state of mind or under the influence of rage when you talk to them.
Whenever you are ready, sit with them or talk to them over the phone.
Tell them how their actions made you feel and how you have been dealing with them ever since.
Name these emotions to them.
You could say something like, “I felt immense sadness,” “I felt like I was drowning,” “I felt so angry that…,” and so on. You can also tell them what exactly about their betrayal hurt you.
And make sure they know how their actions have affected the other areas of your life.
This will give you at least some sort of closure.
9) Decide Whether You Want To Cut Ties With Them
Now comes a very important part.
You need to decide whether you want to forgive them and continue the relationship or whether you want to cut ties with them completely.
Of course, this decision will be based on a number of factors – the severity of the betrayal, the reason for their betrayal, whether they are repeat offenders, the type of relationship you have with them, the strength of the bond, and so on.
Whatever you do, make sure you do it only after careful consideration.
Use your brain as well as your heart. Think about what the better decision will be for your life going forward.
- If you decide that you want to end things, do it quickly and without remorse.
- If you decide to continue with them, make sure they know that it’s the only chance they are going to get.
10) Reflect On Yourself
After some time has passed and you feel like your emotions are beginning to settle, you need to spend some time introspecting on things.
You need to look inward and figure out how the betrayal has affected you.
- Did it leave behind any issues that need to be dealt with?
- What about your emotions?
- Have you let them out or have you bottled them in?
Think about the thoughts and emotions you have been experiencing lately.
How have you been behaving with people?
The answers to these questions will reveal your inner landscape and ake you aware of the triggers.
They will shine a light on things that you need to address immediately.
And they will also help you measure the overall impact of the betrayal on your life.
You can then take steps to mitigate the negative impacts and make conscious choices to fill more positivity into your life.
For instance, if you feel like you are angrier than usual, you can start learning ways to mitigate your anger.
11) Try To Be Realistic About The Relationship
When you start introspecting, your attention will inevitably venture to your relationship with the person who betrayed you.
This is the perfect opportunity to understand if there were any red flags before they betrayed you.
Most of the time, problems already exist in a relationship before such a thing happens. It’s just that we tend to ignore these problems.
This step will help you realize that there is no point in idolizing the relationship or the person.
It helps you see it for what it was without any biases.
As such, it softens the blow because you realize that you haven’t really lost anything precious.
You will realize that they were special only because you made them out to be.
Grieving is a natural process that allows us to process and release the emotions that we feel when something bad happens in our lives.
And it is important that we allow ourselves to experience this phase if we want to move on in a healthy manner.
So, do not be afraid to grieve.
Do not think about whether other people will judge you.
You are bound to feel shattered after a betrayal.
You are bound to feel lost. It’s okay!
Allow yourself to feel the pain and let it pass through you.
During this time of grief, you may feel a lot of different emotions.
And it might get overwhelming at times.
But please know that things will eventually get better even if it might not seem like it at the moment. In time, you will learn to accept what has happened.
And you will only emerge stronger from it.
13) See If You Can Forgive Them
During our life, we come across many people.
Some of them are good to us, while some of them end up being bad.
Now, each time someone wrongs you, you are bound to carry a sense of grudge against them.
And as more and more people betray you, this sense of grudge becomes bigger and grows into emotional baggage.
You might even become bitter as a result of your experiences.
This is no way to live life.
You are supposed to enjoy every moment of your life while you’re on this planet.
You are supposed to achieve your dreams, spend quality time with your loved ones, enjoy the immense beauty that surrounds you, and so on.
However, none of this can happen if you carry emotional baggage.
So, one of the most important things you can do is forgive the one who betrayed you.
Obviously, this is easier said than done.
It takes a lot of strength to do it. However, if you do manage to do it, you will feel a lot lighter. And it will certainly be a boon for your mental health.
Check our article about how to forgive others and let go Here.
14) Conduct A Ritual
This is an interesting way to deal with a betrayal.
Many people conduct various rituals to distance themselves from the betrayal and the person who did it.
For example, some people choose to write down everything that happened and everything they feel on a piece of paper. Then, they either burn the paper or flush it down the toilet. This might sound like a trivial thing but it actually has a positive impact on your mind. On a subconscious level, it helps you “throw away” your pain.
There are many other rituals you can do.
For instance, if your boyfriend or girlfriend cheated on you, you can collect all the stuff you have of theirs and literally throw them in a dumpster.
Again, it will help create some distance between you and them and you will get some sort of closure.
15) Take Care of Yourself
Most people, when they get betrayed, stop taking care of themselves.
They become so focused on the betrayal and their overwhelming feelings that they forget about their needs.
This not only adds to their pain but also leads to more problems in the long run.
For example, it is often seen that when a person gets cheated on by their spouse, they spend months or even years neglecting their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs. This leads to all sorts of issues down the road.
Do not let this happen to you.
It’s not worth it.
Why should you punish yourself for something that the other person did?
Recognize that you are a human being and you have your needs. Take regular naps, read a book, take care of your skin, take relaxing baths, meditate, eat well, get regular exercise, give time to your hobbies, and so on.
You will heal much faster if you treat yourself with kindness and compassion.
16) Get Help
Even after all the above steps, if you feel like you are not able to overcome your pain or move on from the betrayal, you might need professional help.
It could be that the betrayal has brought out a past trauma or some other emotional issue within you that needs a thorough examination.
And that can only be done in a professional setting by a trained therapist.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking help when you need it.
Contrary to what some might think, it is not a sign of weakness but strength.
It shows a willingness to move forward in life and conquer your demons.
A trained therapist will help you maneuver your pain and discover coping mechanisms that work for you. You will also feel like there is someone who knows exactly how you feel and what you are going through.
This provides a sense of comfort and warmth.
17) Do Things To Enhance Your Self-Esteem
Your self-esteem is one of the first things that gets negatively impacted after a betrayal.
As mentioned above, you start wondering whether the betrayal happened due to your mistake. You might wonder whether you were not enough for the other person. You might start questioning your intelligence and the ability to read people.
The point is, your own mind may start working against you. Suffice it to say, this can lead to all sorts of mental issues.
So, you need to start doing things to enhance your self-esteem as soon as possible.
To that end, you can start exercising in the morning, practice self-care, surround yourself with positive people, set small goals and achieve them, focus on your strengths, remind yourself of all your past achievements, practice gratitude, learn a new skill, and so on.
These will slowly start increasing your confidence and faith in yourself. You will realize that the problem was never in you.
It was in the person who betrayed you.
18) Find Something To Focus On
This is one of the healthiest things you can do after facing a betrayal.
You see, when you go through a traumatic experience, your mind keeps dwelling on it endlessly. And it keeps doing so until you consciously divert it to some other place.
This is obviously destructive and might disrupt your life in more ways than you can count.
So, what you need to do is find something to focus on.
It could be your work, your education, learning a new skill, taking care of your family, your hobbies, or anything else.
This will give you something to anchor your attention to.
Instead of thinking about the betrayal all the time, you will actually spend your precious time doing something productive.
Suffice it to say, it’s a win-win for you!
19) Start Finding Joy In The Little Things
Another effect of a betrayal is that it might take your attention away from all the little things in life that bring you joy.
Suddenly, all these things start seeming worthless.
This is obviously a tragedy. Life is full of countless little things that are quite precious and can bring you immense happiness.
The cool breeze in the morning, the laugh of a small child, a kind act by a stranger, a warm cup of coffee on a cold morning, the blooming of flowers, sunsets, ocean waves, and so many other things are gifts that we are all surrounded by.
You need to start appreciating them again if you want to supercharge your healing process.
This will make you realize that the pain you feel is probably only a small part of life when you think of it.
There are so many other things to experience and witness.
Life is a grand phenomenon and you shouldn’t miss it by solely focusing on the bad things.
Allow yourself to be happy again!
20) Be Open To Trusting Again
Finally, you need to start being open to trusting again.
I know this will perhaps be the most difficult thing to do for you.
When you are betrayed, you become suspicious of people in general.
You put up your guard and don’t allow yourself to be vulnerable.
You start keeping a close eye on everyone.
But sooner or later, you realize that living such a life is very exhausting.
It takes a lot to not trust people.
And to be honest, it is not fair to the good people out there who would never hurt you.
So, start small but be open to trusting again.
You deserve it.
The good people in your life deserve it. 🙂