Can you really bounce back from betrayal? The answer is yes – we’ve seen plenty of individuals not only survive but thrive following betrayal. Time and time again survivors learn that resilience, the ability to bounce back even higher than before, is the key to recovery. Key to bouncing forward is the ability to be objective about what happened, being able to think and talk about the betrayer without the heat of intense emotion.
Objectivity allows you to absolve yourself of blame, understand the needs and goals of the betrayer, and to gain insight into the motivation that resulted in the betrayal. Through reflection, distance, self-confidence, and self-knowledge, you can finally move on. While you may never be truly “over it”, once you move beyond anger and self-doubt, you will be able to focus on shaping your future. At long last you can bounce.
Consider the following checklist that is key to recovering and moving on successfully:
- Mourn your loss.
- Eliminate any and all “what if” scenarios.
- Be kind to yourself.
- Celebrate your survival.
- Realize that you are trustworthy.
- Make a list of all your strengths.
- Own the betrayal, but close off the humiliation.
- Write down everything that happened, wait 24 hours, read it as an objective observer, then burn it.
- Talk to supportive people.
- Rip away any curtain of shame.
- Be mindful about how you tell your story and how you talk about yourself.
- Forgiveness isn’t required, it’s your choice alone.
- Find people you can trust and keep them close.
- Imagine your new future and make it real.
- Be nice to yourself.
- Trust someone.
- Celebrate your future.
Betrayal can make you hyper-vigilant about every aspect of a relationship, and that’s an exhausting strategy for living a full and satisfying life. It can also lead to isolation for the fear that “something could happen again.” But in truth which risk would you want to take the risk of being alone forever or the risk of wisely trusting someone new in your life? You have survived once, and, in a worst-case scenario, you can survive again. Let your recovery happen at its own pace. Work through the list and listen to your own mind and body. You will eventually move forward – it will happen. You’ll know when you’re over it.