Why Betrayal Hurts So Much
One of the most painful consequences of betrayal is losing trust. It can be hard to stop thinking about it and can lead to feelings of anger, sadness, or even heartbreak.
It’s important to learn how to accept unpleasant emotions, including grief and loss. But why does betrayal hurt so much?
1. You trusted them.
Whether betrayal is in a personal or working relationship, the feeling of betrayal can cause profound trauma. It can lead to a loss of identity for both the betrayed and the betrayer as their worldview is fundamentally changed by the betrayal. This psychological trauma is called Betrayal Trauma (BT).
Unlike other traumas, betrayal is particularly painful because the person who betrayed you wasn’t a stranger, they were someone you trusted. It is a stab in the heart that cuts deeper than any other type of hurt.
In many cases, the pain caused by betrayal can last much longer than other types of trauma. This is largely due to the fact that the betrayer was someone you depended on for emotional and physical needs. It is important to be able to separate yourself from the trauma and not allow it to consume your life. If you can’t do this alone, lean on a support system like a therapist or coach.
2. You were vulnerable.
Relationships and our ability to connect with others are vital for a happy and fulfilling life. However, this often requires a certain level of vulnerability. This includes the risk of feeling emotionally exposed and being open to hurt by someone you trust.
Betrayal is a form of trauma and like other types of trauma, it can lead to feelings of fear and depression. It also can cause lingering distress that interferes with your daily functioning.
It’s important to acknowledge the betrayal and realize that it is a trauma. This will help you recognize triggers and take proactive steps to avoid them.
Vulnerability is an essential part of a healthy relationship, but it can be scary and uncomfortable. If you’re struggling to cope, consider seeking professional support. Seeing a therapist can provide comfort, clarity, and the tools you need to move forward. Keeping yourself physically well is another great way to manage stress and promote healing. Try snacking on healthy, hydrating foods and spending time with loved ones to nurture yourself.
3. You were trusting.
Rebuilding trust after betrayal is a long process, and it requires both partners to make commitments. Open communication, consistent and trustworthy behavior, and seeking therapy or support are essential. It is also important to avoid making the betrayal the center of conversation every waking moment.
Betrayal can take many forms. It can be infidelity, but it could also be breaking a promise or a betrayal of confidences. Financial infidelity, emotional cheating, or revealing personal information you have shared in confidence can all feel like betrayal.
It is important to remember that even though you may feel guilty or blame yourself, the betrayal wasn’t your fault. It was the person’s choice to hurt you, and they are the one who should be accountable for their actions. It is also helpful to practice self-care and find healthy ways to cope with betrayal, such as exercise, meditation, or journaling. This will help you feel empowered and resilient as you navigate this difficult time.
4. You were vulnerable.
Betrayal wreaks havoc on the emotional body and can trigger a wide range of thoughts and emotions including anger, sadness, disgust, fear, insecurity, and loneliness. You may feel like you lost a piece of yourself or that someone stole something that was rightfully yours.
It’s also common to want to lash out and get back at your betrayer. However, like picking at a scab, retaliation will only rip open the wound and cause more pain in the long run.
The best thing to do is avoid them physically and electronically (if possible) and allow yourself to grieve what has been lost – whether it be trust, a future you imagined or even a part of who you are. Let the feelings ebb and flow and know that you will heal. In the meantime, remember that in any adversity there is usually a hidden gift. You just have to find it.