There is no magic wand for dealing with hurt and betrayal. It is a process. That means it takes time. And it means that the only way to get through the hurt and pain and anger of betrayal is to go THROUGH it. For some, it is a longer time than others. Still, we must know that no matter how long it takes, we must heal ourselves.
I wrote a book recently called, “Grab You Some Lemons”, which really is about lessons that life teaches you from the difficult moments. I have taken some of those lessons to include in this 10 step plan towards healing after hurt and betrayal. For some of you, you may have to take one step several time. Take your time and trust your process.
1. Acknowledgement: You need to acknowledge that you have been hurt. Listen to me. STOP making excuses for people’s actions or trying to rationalize what they did. They did wrong by you. Acknowledge that!! I do not care who it is. We give people permission to abuse us too often.
2.Feel: Give yourself permission to feel whatever emotion comes over you; whether anger or sadness. Feel whatever you feel because it is human to do so and very necessary in healing.OWN how you feeling. Feeling is not a sign of weakness but of self-awareness. There is no need to feign strength in the face of someone’s terrible actions against you. Let it run its course.
3. Bawl: The Japanese are strong believers in the healing powers of tears. In some cities they have crying clubs or what they call “rui-katsu”, literally meaning tear seeking. Tears are not just a language that God understands but a language the body understands to get into action to bring about your soonest emotional healing.
4. Act out: Throw a tantrum if you must. Scream if you have to. Stay in bed if you must. Whatever you do, do not bottle up the feelings inside. Let it all out. Psychologists will tell you that acting out is one way people deal with or make sense of their hurt or disappointment or trauma. Do not feel guilty if you have done this. It will help you process and heal. I tend to have a glass or red wine or two.
5.Talk it out: Talking helps you to gain perspective. Sometimes, even if the other person never says anything in response, hearing yourself verbalise the hurt, helps you to process. Find a trusted friend or a counselor with whom you can share your realest feelings. Make sure that this person will tell you the truth. Ruminating in your mind does not help. Speaking audibly somehow brings clarity. It is in HEARING that you find the clarity you need to move on. A second ear might be able to help with this clarity.
6. Vision: A vision is a forecast of where it is you want to go beyond today- beyond this hurt that you feel. A vision is like a map. It tells you where it is that you are going. Certainly, if one is to move forward, one must know the destination. Let the vision be clear and bold. Everything that you do from henceforth is to fulfill the vision.
7. Forgive: Forgiveness is part of moving forward. Forgive yourself and others of mistakes made. Forgiveness is freeing. It is the motivation for forward mobility. In fact, when one has forgiven, he or she has already begun moving forward.
8. Be decisive: You must make a decision and stick with the journey towards healing. Do not return to the thing you have decided to let go of and pick it back up. This will take work. Commit to doing the work; whether it is to pray for the person who betrayed you or to speaking affirming words about your own healing. Just do it!!!
9. Stay focused: There will be many things to distract you as you move forward: fear, memories from the past, self-doubt, criticisms, failure or difficulty. Sometimes, your friends or family may remind you of the event you are trying to get over. Block it out. Tell them you do not want to hear it. Remember whatever you feed your spirit, through your ears, grows in your heart. Whatever it is that comes to distract, stay focused on the vision.
10. Confrontation: Yes. Many people avoid this. The healing is not only necessary for you but for the person who betrayed you. Confront them. Articulate clearly their actions of betrayal, how it impacted you, how you got over it and make recommendations for how they should deal with such matters going forward. They may not accept the recommendations readily but the seed of the word you shared will have already taken root in their consciousness. Do not avoid this step.
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Thank you. I think this will be very helpful for the many, many people who have experienced this (including myself!)
Thank you, Emma. I am glad you found this useful. Hurt & betrayal are part of our common human experience. Hopefully, we all find our peace and healing.