Trusting other people might seem to be increasingly difficult, even foolish in the current climate of uncertainty and exposure. It’s especially difficult if you have been betrayed and hurt by people you should have been able to trust, whether it was a partner, best friend, family member or colleague.
You probably feel hurt and angry and anxious about what this means for your future relationships.
As with so many other traumatic experiences, the only way out to recover and heal is to get through it, being honest and gentle with yourself and others. In outlining some key steps in recovering and being able to trust again, it is important to give yourself time to work through the complex emotions and hurts. Do not bury all those feelings, put on a brave face and put it behind you. Being able to move on from the past is important, but you do have to process it first.
Three key first steps to healing.
The first step is to acknowledge the wrong, the pain and the shock of being let down by someone you trusted. It’s essential that you are honest about the feelings you have about being betrayed. Do you feel hurt, angry, shocked, sad, maybe ashamed, jealous, vindictive? Being honest about the range of emotions, no matter how uncomfortable will help ‘clear the decks’ so you can survey the landscape and work out your recovery process.
Forgiveness may be the last thing on your mind, but it is vital to forgive to be able to let go. And this might be difficult if the other person doesn’t acknowledge that they hurt you, or that in some way you were to blame for their betrayal. If forgiving the betrayer seems impossible now, don’t force it.
Instead, the first thing is to forgive yourself. That might seem hard and even wrong, but it can help to break the link with the past and allow you to focus on the future. Forgiving yourself stops the internal voice that might be saying ‘what did I do to make this happen?’ You can take your power back and recover.
Commit to the Future
Focusing on past hurts keeps you stuck in the past, in powerless victim mode. You deserve a strong and happy future so commit to your future self. Be gentle and kind to yourself in starting to trust again – choose two people it feels safe to trust and take it slowly from there.
You have a choice about how to react to how people treat you. You can stay trapped in the hurt, or you can give yourself space and time to heal and make a better future.