Disclaimer: Absolutely no disparaging comments about anyone or your comment will be deleted! Also, mild triggers for talk about abuse and bullying.
This is a blog post that I wish I wouldn’t have to write, much less, experience, time and time again in my own life. I wish people would never have to experience betrayal in their lives. However, even my Savior did, when Judas betrayed Him for a paltry sum of money.
I know many of you have also experienced betrayal—whether it be by a family member, a close friend, a trusted person who held authority over you, or any number or varieties of people. Many of you are, or were, very angry and hurt by their betrayal. You may have been blindsided by it, as you did not expect this of them, or you did, but didn’t think it would be you. Whatever the case may have been, I know it can be absolutely very painful and difficult to pick up the pieces and live fully again. However, we must not let the betrayers in our lives control us or keep us from accomplishing our dreams. Here is what I have learned about how to find peace after betrayal:
First of all, it is absolutely essential that you have or build some type of support for yourself. –You will not heal very well or quickly if you have to deal with the aftermath of betrayal alone. This is especially true if you have just been abused and/or bullied by someone, and the wounds, whether it be physical and/or emotional, are still fresh. If you or a loved one has experienced some type of criminal abuse, do not be afraid to report it to the proper authorities—police, attorneys, medical personnel such as therapists and doctors, etc. The betrayer, as well as their supports, may dissuade, or even threaten you if you report the abuse. Do not be afraid of their threats!. I know it may be easier said than done, but if you have the power to stop their cycle of abuse, even to the risk of your own life, to me (and to many others), you are a hero or heroine! This will help others who may be also suffering at your abuser’s hands, and will help the abuser to repent of their actions and stop hurting others. Besides reporting the abuse, make sure you seek out support for yourself to help you heal from the trauma of the betrayal and/or abuse. This may include trusted family members, loved ones, friends, and therapists and clergy. Make sure they will support you and will not either vouch for the abuser or play the devil’s advocate and blame the betrayal and/or abuse on you. If access to these supports seems nonexistent for you, there are many online groups that support and validate people who have been betrayed and abused by others. Please contact me privately if you would like to know a few of them that I’m a part.
Second of all, make sure you are having adequate self-care. –When I am betrayed by someone who I thought was trustworthy, I often delve into depression and self-pity. It is also very difficult for me to eat and sleep well, or even be kind to myself, as I tend to blame myself for the betrayal. I think in order to get out of this pit, one needs a.) adequate outside supports and b.) good self-talk. Good self-care includes educating yourself on the effects of abuse and betrayal and telling yourself that it is NOT your fault. Because when someone else abuses or betrays you, it is never your fault! That the person even schemed and thought to attack you means that they could have controlled their thoughts and temptations, but they chose not to! Also, try to be kind to yourself by engaging in hobbies that you love to do. Of course, do not do anything that is against the law or that is not true to your moral beliefs. Doing something you love, should help you find peace and purpose in your life again, and not be held back by the betrayal you experienced.
Also, don’t let your experience of betrayal diminish your love for others. –At least for me, I have found that after I have just been betrayed by someone, I tend to snap at others more easily or even become paranoid of everyone. I don’t know if this is normal or not, but I have learned that I should not let my experiences color my perceptions of everyone. Not everyone is like your betrayer, even if it may seem that way. Remember the betrayer is the one responsible for his or her actions, not everyone else, especially if they had nothing to do with the incident.
Also, continue to cultivate positivity to the other people who didn’t betray you. Do not hold back your love or kindness from them because of the actions of someone else. First of all, it is not fair to take out your anger and hurt on them because they did nothing wrong. Second of all, you will ruin the good relationships you have with them. If you are angry and hurt at someone for betraying you, try to only focus your anger on them, not on everyone else.
Finally, forgive your betrayer.—This does not mean you have to reunite and reconcile with them. I read somewhere that it takes two to reconcile, but only one to forgive. How true that is! For instance, even though Jesus forgave the people that cruelly beat and taunted Him, He did not necessarily reconcile with all of them. Also, though I am willing to forgive people for their betrayal, it does not mean that I will give up my trust so easily to them the next time. You don’t even have to give your trust to the betrayer ever again. Not only is it not wise to do that, but, if they haven’t earned back your trust, I learned that you are setting yourself up for more betrayals and heartache, as they will most likely take advantage of you again!
Forgiveness does mean letting go of your anger and bitterness towards them. This is not for their benefit. I repeat; this is not for the betrayer’s benefit, but for yours! When you let go of your anger and bitterness against your betrayer, you are, in effect, saying that you will not be tied down to or controlled by them. You are saying that you let go of the need for avenging yourself, and that you will trust the proper authorities, whether it be police, the law, or God, to make this situation “right”. You are saying that you move on with your life, and you will not let the betrayer tie you down to pain, anger, or bitterness. You are saying that your love is stronger than their hate against you!
Betrayal is very painful and difficult to go through, but when one comes out of it and begins to heal, I found that inside of that person comes a very strong, determined, and compassionate person that will shine like the sun and fly like a butterfly.
image courtesy of: www.LumoProject.com.