What should you do if you have been betrayed by a loved one?
Hélene Fermont, psychologist and author of ‘His Guilty Secret,’ discusses when you should forgive and when you shouldn’t.
There is a difference between being let down and being betrayed. Being let down and feeling angry with your partner is a completely normal part of being in a relationship – but being betrayed is something much more serious.
A betrayal will often completely change a person’s perspectives on their partner – and on themselves. It goes beyond the usual misunderstandings we face in a relationship as it is connected with the basic fear that someone we love and trust has willingly inflicted pain. This pain is built around the fact that the person with whom we have chosen to build a life has an agenda that we are not a part of.
Betrayal is one of the strongest forms of disrespect a person can inflict on someone for whom they purport to care, so there is no need to feel obliged to forgive in order to move on.
Sadly, too often, female clients seem to have greater difficulty in moving on with a new relationship after a betrayal. But both through personal experiences and in my professional role, I have discovered this: life is too short and precious to waste on past events.
Being betrayed by a partner rocks the very foundation on which we have built our lives. In some cases it causes irreparable emotional and mental damage, and I have seen many people struggle to move on after a betrayal. Some find the strength to trust in people again after many therapy sessions and a lot of patience. If you have been betrayed, it is best to give yourself the time and space you deserve to heal.
What can help you to move on?
Most people who have been betrayed have been left behind with no opportunity to find the answers they require in order to move on. Usually, the person who has caused them so much pain is no longer part of their lives. In some ways this makes it easier to move on – and in others it makes it a little bit harder when there are constant reminders of what they have lost. Here are a few things you can do to help yourself get through a betrayal:
- Talk to a family member, GP, therapist and close friend(s).
- Focus on acceptance – this can help you to come to terms with what happened and move on to a better and happier life.
- The best revenge is to be completely fulfilled and content. Only when you feel completely happy with yourself and have the courage to leave the past behind will it be possible to live the best possible life.
When is it time to move on?
If the person refuses to admit their betrayal, come clean, or work through your issues, it’s time to move on. You should not be with a person who has no respect for your feelings and refuses to take responsibility for their actions.
Never stay in a relationship if you are a victim of physical and mental abuse. It is better to leave the relationship, begin the healing process, and help yourself move on to a better and happier life.
Hélene Fermont is a psychologist and novelist. Her latest book His Guilty Secret was published in November and is available from Amazon, priced £9.99 in paperback and £3.99 as an e-book. For more information see helenefermont.com
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