How to Deal with Betrayal – 13 Important Tips

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All of us have probably experienced some form of betrayal during our lifetime. It could be betrayals by family members, by friends, by business partners, by coworkers, by romantic partners, and so on.

Some betrayals we brush off fairly quickly, but some betrayals affect us very deeply and for a long time. I have personally experienced betrayals by friends, by coworkers, by business partners and by romantic partners. Some of these betrayals even broke me down for some time, so I know very well how it feels.

When we talk about how to deal with betrayal, you must understand that it can be a long and complex process. That’s why this post is quite long, but you should read it very carefully if you really want to make your life better.

Here are some of the things that may make the betrayal you experienced hurt much more:

  • You were betrayed by someone who was really close to you.
  • You invested a lot of time, effort, money or emotions in the person who betrayed you.
  • You have given up things that were very valuable to you for the person who betrayed you.
  • The person who betrayed you used the resources you gave him or her to betray you.
  • You realize you’ve been betrayed and lied to for a long time.
  • You realize you’ve been played for a fool for quite some time.
  • You found out about the betrayal in one shocking, immediate revelation, and not in a gradual process.
  • You were informed of the betrayal in a cold manner.
  • You did not find out about the betrayal from the person who actually betrayed you.
  • You were provided with no real explanation of what happened and why, and have no way to find that information out or to talk with the offending person about what happened and what you feel (that is, you have no closure).
  • You have low self-esteem or were already in a mentally-difficult situation in life when you found out about the betrayal.

If you’ve experienced a hurtful betrayal in your life, you may still be struggling. In fact, if you have low self-esteem, a cruel betrayal can completely break you down. That’s why we want to present you with 13 important tips on how to deal with betrayal of any kind.

It is hard to deal with betrayal that hurts you deeply. You often find yourself moving two steps forward and one step back. But it’s important that you don’t give up on yourself, use the tips presented in this post, and fight every day to keep on moving forward.

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Use Your Support System

 

You should not be dealing on your own with all the pain and emotional turmoil that is associated with betrayal. That is one of the worst things you can do. You need to talk about your feelings, even the deepest ones, and you need to meet with people and experience life.

Your support system for doing all of that consists of your friends and family, and possibly a therapist, if the situation is very grave or if you don’t have any friends or family that can support you.

It’s important to note that you don’t need to do everything with the exact same person. You can tell the same story to different people, you can tell different parts of the story to different people, and you can go out with people you haven’t even told the story to.

The important thing is that you eventually talk about everything and that you also use your support system to meet, go out, and have fun. Yes, I know that the word “fun” seems so far away right now, but it is possible to gradually enjoy yourself more and more. But you need to actually do something about it for it to happen.

You should also become self-supporting. Read or watch self-help material that talks about how to deal with betrayal (just like you’re doing right now), and start consistently performing the necessary steps over time. Don’t make one of the mistakes people make that causes them to not realize their dreams. Your goal is to be happy and mentally healthy again, and you need to put in the work to get to that.

You can also use a journal to find more clarity and calmness by writing everything that you feel. Sometimes our minds and hearts turn chaotic after receiving a huge blow, and writing stuff down brings us more clarity. Clarity brings us more calmness, as it allows us to understand what is really going on, and tackle the real issues that bother us.

Be Around People

 

Although you should also take the time to be with yourself and reflect on things, make sure you don’t stay at home too much, and go outside. It’s important to see life and happy people around you.

Staying at home all day, especially if you’re doing something unproductive like watching movies or something of that nature, will just cause you to become even more depressed. You must avoid getting into that state, by going out alone, or with people. If you go alone, go to places where there are people around, even if you want some quiet time for yourself. You can go to a park, for example.

If you’re already in a state of depression, then other than doing everything listed in this post, you should consider taking care of your depression. And very importantly, try not to interact with depressed, negative, or pessimistic people. You want to interact with people that will pick you up, not pull you further down.

It’s very hard to deal with betrayal, and sometimes you may think that there’s no point in anything anymore, so make sure you go out, see happy people, and realize that life will be good again to you, if you only let it.

How to Deal with Betrayal - Men on the Beach

Be Active

 

One of the worst things that can happen when you get a huge emotional and mental blow is that you don’t feel like doing anything. Even simple things may become difficult tasks. So, because you don’t feel like doing anything, you actually don’t do anything, and that makes your situation even worse.

The solution is to not wait until you “feel like it” – it works in reverse. You perform the action you don’t feel like doing and by doing that you feel better. It doesn’t mean that now you’re happy and cheerful, but it does mean that your state is now slightly better than it was before.

Small progress is still progress – try to have some progress every day. Even if you only start by doing small things. For example, you eat something healthy even though you don’t have an appetite for days, or you take a shower and wear nice clothes even though you feel like staying in bed in your pajamas all day and hope you just disappear somewhere.

Try to make your small progress become a routine part of your life, by performing the same positive actions every day for at least a month. Once it becomes a routine, you will no longer have to invest a lot of emotional and mental energy into it, and instead, you will only be getting the benefits of the actions that you’re taking, in the form of a better mood.

Since you might be staying at home more than usual, make sure your place is nice and clean. It’s very easy when we’re depressed to not take care of ourselves and of the things around us, but living in a place that is not tidy and clean just makes us go even further into depression.

Also, when you go out, and you must go out, try to engage in exciting activities, and not only in the common daily activities like grocery shopping and going to work. To deal with betrayal means to deal with all the negative feelings inside you, and doing exciting things, especially with your friends, will help put a smile on your face and make you happier and more positive.

Finally, put some physical activity into your routine. Physical activity takes the stress out of the body, calms you down and gives you good energy. Make sure this physical activity actually stresses your body and takes energy out of it.

If you have a specific physical activity that you like, do that. If not, find a physical activity that is the most exciting to you, even if you’ve never tried it before, and do it. Any mental exercises, like meditation, that you take in order to achieve more calmness, should be taken as an addition to the physical activity, and not as a replacement.

Realize the Betrayal Itself is Not Your Fault

 

But notice the wording here. The betrayal itself is not your fault. No one should ever behave like that, no matter the circumstances. There’s a way to do things. You can end things before doing anything that constitutes a betrayal of trust, and then do whatever it is you wish to do. And even if you missed an “opportunity” because you wanted to do things properly, it’s better than betraying someone.

Also, whatever horrible thing another person does to you, it doesn’t mean you should betray him or her. If it’s that bad, just end things, and then do whatever it is you need to do. There’s no need to lie or to do something behind someone’s back.

Betrayal is a choice, and the fact that someone chose to betray you just shows that he or she has low moral values, and possibly some severe mental baggage.

However, although the fact someone betrayed you is not your fault, you should really think about how the situation came to that. There’s usually some sort of deterioration of the relationship you have with that person, before he or she betrays you. You should ask yourself what part you played in that deterioration, and what you can learn from it about things you need to improve in yourself.

Don’t get me wrong – you shouldn’t blame yourself for the betrayal or ask yourself if there was something you could’ve done differently to prevent that betrayal. That’s not the way to deal with betrayal.

In any type of healthy relationship there should be open communication, dedication, loyalty, and willingness to try to solve problems together. If someone has betrayed you, you’re most likely better off without that person, because they would’ve done that sooner or later anyway.

But you should use this opportunity to become a better person, in order to maintain good relationships with other, good people in the future.

How to Deal with Betrayal - Man Thinking

See What You Can Learn from This Experience

 

One important thing to do when you deal with betrayal, is to learn the important lessons it provides. Since you’ve already suffered the consequences of the betrayal, you don’t want it to be for nothing.

There are two types of questions you need to ask yourself after a betrayal: what you could have done better, and could you have spotted the betrayal (or signs of a coming betrayal) earlier.

 

Regarding what you could’ve done better, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Have you been attentive and respectful to the other person’s feelings and needs?
  2. Did you really listen to what the other person had to say, or did you dismiss his or her opinions, thoughts and ideas?
  3. Did you disrespect, take for granted, or show appreciation to the other person’s contribution?
  4. Did you support the other person when needed?
  5. Did you help the other person grow, or did you pull him or her down?
  6. Did you encourage the other person’s excitement and motivation, or did you kill it?
  7. Did you share information with the other person and treated both of you as part of a team, or did you mostly keep your things to yourself, or thought you knew best?
  8. Did you try to control the other person?
  9. Was your general attitude towards the other person calm and kind?

Use the answers to these questions to improve yourself and become a better person in your future relationships with people.

 

Regarding noticing the signs of a coming betrayal (or a betrayal in progress) earlier, ask yourself these questions.

  1. Did you feel you invested much more into it than the other person did?
  2. Did the person start changing his or her behavior before you found out about the betrayal?
  3. Was it a person you shouldn’t have been involved with in the first place?
  4. Were there things that the other person said or did that made your stomach turn, but you chose to ignore them and not to listen to what they were really telling you?
  5. In retrospect, can you identify where you were lied to, and if so, can you identify the things that will help you spot similar lies in real-time in the future?
  6. Did other people warn you about that person? If so, what made them warn you?

Use the answers to these questions to become better aware of suspicious signs in the future, so you can identify a potential betrayal earlier and take whatever steps you deem necessary.

Continue Having a Positive Outlook on Life

 

A hurtful betrayal can kill our excitement, our motivation, and our belief in other people. It may cause us to start thinking negatively about people in general, or about specific associations with people. For example, we might not believe anymore that it’s possible to have good romantic relationships or business partnerships.

At such times, it’s important that we do the work needed in order to replace these thoughts with positive and optimistic thoughts. Remember that what you keep thinking about is what you eventually get.

Eventually, you will find someone to fill the painful void you have inside you. In fact, finding someone else to do that, even temporarily, is a very good way to deal with betrayal and quickly replace the painful feelings and memories associated with it with feelings of happiness and joy.

However, keep in mind that your permanent solution cannot be external. Your goal is to not be dependent on other people in order to feel happy and positive. This must come from within you, if you wish to become a strong person that can sustain whatever life may throw at you.

So, make sure you work hard on improving your self-esteem and self-confidence, and if you’re very depressed, take care of your depression in a healthy way.

 

How to Deal with Betrayal - Person Self-Protecting

Do Not Close Yourself Up

 

After a very hurtful betrayal, you may find that you start looking at other people suspiciously, and perhaps you reach such an extreme point that you feel that you can’t trust anyone anymore.

This may cause you to close yourself up, so as not to allow anyone to hurt you again. You deal with betrayal by going into “self-defense” mode, where you don’t want to expose your inner world, your inner thoughts and feelings, and definitely not – your vulnerabilities.

It’s natural that you don’t want to feel such pain again, especially if the betrayal really broke you down. However, you’re not really “alive” if you don’t allow yourself to feel, and feelings come with the possibility of getting hurt.

You can’t gain a lot if you’re not willing to take risks. Getting hurt is part of life, and you’ll eventually get hurt by life whether you try to protect yourself or not. So at least make sure you make the most out of life, and that means opening up to the right people.

People ask me all the time how I manage to open up again and again after getting hurt by people in life. The answer is that life is not worth much when you don’t allow yourself to feel anything. It’s very dull and boring. Feeling is what makes our lives exciting and gives us motivation and inspiration. And you can’t really take your feelings to the maximum if you’re always concerned with protecting yourself.

I once had a discussion with a friend of mine, where I told her a long and sad story about how a girl broke my heart. Instead of consoling me, she said: “I don’t know what you’re complaining about”.

That was odd to me, because I had just spent an hour and a half explaining exactly what I was complaining about. So I said: “I’ve just explained to you in detail what I’m complaining about – were you not listening?”.

And she replied: “For 3 years I’ve been looking for someone to make me feel anything at all, and I can’t find anyone. I wish I was in your position.”

So you see – it’s all a matter of perspective. Life is not worth much when you don’t allow yourself to feel. You don’t want to live the life of a “zombie”.

So, don’t deal with betrayal by completely closing yourself up. You will only be hurting your future life. Take the time you need to heal, and then get back on your feet and try again.

Allow Yourself to Grieve

 

To deal with betrayal, is also to deal with grief. In a way, you lost someone who was close to you, or at least close enough for you to trust and for the betrayal to impact you. This means you’re going through the 5 stages of grief:

  1. Denial – You don’t believe that the betrayal actually happened.
  2. Anger – You are mad at the person who betrayed you.
  3. Bargaining – You hope that somehow, something will change what happened, which may include things you promise to do if this betrayal is somehow “reverted”.
  4. Depression – Once the realization that the betrayal is final sinks in, your mood becomes much worse, and you lose the motivation to do things.
  5. Acceptance – You accept your new state of life, and move on.

You can deal with betrayal by finding out which stage you are in right now, and giving yourself the time you need to grieve.

Get Closure and Move On

 

When you are betrayed, you usually want to know all the small details, even though they are very painful. It provides you with clear knowledge of what happened, and that, in a way, is comforting.

But what happens if the other person simply “disappears”, doesn’t provide you with the information that you seek, or provides you with information that doesn’t add up? Then, you don’t have real closure.

It’s very hard to deal with betrayal when you don’t have real closure. You keep on thinking about things, and imagining what happened when, and when and how you were lied to.

You recall small incidents in the past and give them new meaning, without knowing if it’s true or not (though your gut feeling is usually in the right direction).

You may also be thinking about what you could’ve done differently and when, to prevent that betrayal (which is a bad way to think about things, because you don’t really want to be in contact with any person who is capable of betraying you).

All of this makes you keep on reliving the betrayal over and over again, and you can’t really move on with your life, and that’s very bad.

You need to stop thinking about the betrayal and about the person who betrayed you. In order to help yourself do that, you should do the following:

First, put away things that remind you of the other person (though there will still be many reminders out of your control), and resist the temptation to do things that will actively remind you of the person, like watching their online activity.

Second, be very aware of your thoughts. Whenever you realize that you’re starting to think about the person or about the betrayal, immediately replace these thoughts with happy and positive thoughts.

If you want to deal with betrayal in a definite manner, make sure you have closure. If the other person won’t provide it, create it yourself by slowly removing that person from your memory.

How to Deal with Betrayal - Let It Go Text

Forgive

 

After being betrayed, it is natural to start accusing yourself of being naïve, not noticing things, giving a chance even though you had a bad feeling, not listening to other people’s advice, and so on.

While there are definitely things you should learn from this hurtful experience, you shouldn’t start making yourself even worse by blaming yourself for things you should or should’ve done.

The fact of the matter is that the person you were dealing with has no integrity, and such people can betray you no matter how you behave. In order to deal with betrayal, you must forgive yourself, for whatever it is you blame yourself for.

And what about forgiving the other person? Should you? But how can you really forgive someone who deeply betrayed you, and why would you even want to do that?

Your first inclination would be that the other person will beg for forgiveness and make everything “go away”. I’m sorry to tell you, but it’s most likely not going to happen. Either they won’t ask for forgiveness, ask for forgiveness but not for the right causes, or that things will never be the same between you two, no matter what.

You should “forgive” the other person, so you could move on, but that “forgiveness” simply means stopping to think about that person, and removing all negativity related to that incident from your mind.

Your second inclination would be to exact revenge on the person who betrayed you. Bar any extreme circumstances, you should generally not try to do that, as it will not make you feel better, and after some time, you will feel bad that you did it.

You can positively use the angry desire for revenge to propel you forward and out of the low state you’re in, to becoming a better, stronger, and more successful person, like a phoenix rising from the ashes. However, you should then replace the anger that drives you with positive motivation.

You deal with betrayal by becoming happy and positive, and not by carrying the negative baggage of your decisions, actions, and the other person’s betrayal. Learn what you need to learn, forgive yourself, forget about the negative things, and move on.

 

Find the Good Things You Got Out of it

 

There’s no bad without something good hiding in it. One of the things that will help you deal with betrayal is to understand all the good things that you got out of the whole bad and hurtful experience. It can be lessons that you learned, good times that you had, material things, and so on.

Here are some suggestions to get you started thinking about what knowledge or other good things you can gain, or have already gained, from that experience:

  1. Reflect on your contribution to the deterioration of the situation to the point of betrayal, and ask yourself if there are areas in your behavior that you can improve. When you find some, start working on them.
  2. Ask yourself why you didn’t notice the betrayal coming, or why, if you had suspicions it may come, you stopped yourself from preventing it. Learn the necessary lessons from that, so it won’t happen again.
  3. Ask yourself what benefits you got during the interaction with the betraying person. Maybe they bought you something, maybe you had more profits, maybe you had nice experiences together, maybe they supported you during a bad period you had, and so on.
  4. Think about the things you’ve learned from that person. You can learn something from everyone, whether directly or indirectly. What have you learned? What new ideas do you have now? What areas do you know now than you didn’t really know before?
  5. How did you grow due to the interaction you had together?
  6. How does your life change for the better now that the betraying person is not in it anymore?

 When you only see negativity in what happened, work on finding the good, so you can deal with betrayal in a positive way.

How to Deal with Betrayal - Woman Sitting on Deck

Ask Yourself What Really Hurts You

 

Usually, betrayal happens after we already feel that the situation between us and the other person is bad, and is not really working. So, it’s important to ask yourself why you’re really hurt. Or, in other words, had the person not betrayed you, and you looked deep inside, would you really have wanted to keep the same sort of relationship with that person?

In order to be able to properly deal with your emotions, you need to first understand what it is that you really feel, and why. Here are some examples for possible reasons why you’re hurting:

  • Your ego is hurt.
  • You feel you’ve been played for a fool.
  • You feel used.
  • You feel stupid for “letting” it happen.
  • Your happiness and self-worth depended on that person.
  • You invested a lot in the other person and all that investment has gone to waste.
  • You don’t understand what you’ve done wrong, or how they could do this to you.
  • You feel it was your fault.
  • You sustained significant material damage due to the betrayal.
  • You feel that you were manipulated.
  • You feel embarrassed.
  • You feel alone.

Try to remind yourself how you felt about the interaction with the other person just before you found out about the betrayal. If you come to the conclusion that the interaction was not the kind that you wanted anyway, then you should realize that the “loss” of this person could be a good thing for you, and what you’re hurting about is different, and perhaps more easily treated.

Realize what really hurts you, so you can eliminate “false” emotions and deal with betrayal in a more precise manner. Once you understand what should not hurt you, things become much easier.

Use all the tips we outline in this post to take care of the specific reasons that make you feel bad.

Become a Better and Stronger Person

 

Every hardship in life contains the opportunity to become a better and stronger person, and betrayal is not any different. When you deal with betrayal, you can, and should come out of it as a better, more resilient version of yourself.

Use the lessons that you’ve learned about yourself through introspection, to improve your bad behavior.

Use the lessons that you’ve learned about spotting a betrayal in advance, to avoid interacting with people who are bad for you.

Find your support system, which can help you in bad times. Use the opportunity that was forced on you, to grow your support system beyond what it was before (or create one if you don’t really have one).

Go and experience new and exciting things while working on your self-esteem.

Once you feel happy and positive again, you will understand that if you can deal with betrayal, you can deal with most, if not all of the difficult times in life. This will make you believe more in yourself and in your inner strength and resilience.

When you understand that hardships are part of life and that you can overcome them, you will be more successful and will be able to reach higher goals.

How to Deal with Betrayal - Woman with Leaves Falling

Summary

 

In this post we talked about how to deal with betrayal, and gave you these 13 important tips:

  1. Use your support system
  2. Be around people
  3. Be active
  4. Realize the betrayal Itself is not your fault
  5. See what you can learn from this experience
  6. Continue having a positive outlook on life
  7. Do not close yourself up
  8. Allow yourself to grieve
  9. Get closure and move on
  10. Forgive
  11. Find the good things you got out of it
  12. Ask yourself what really hurts you
  13. Become a better and stronger person

 Being betrayed is very hurtful, and mentally and emotionally difficult. But if you use our 13 tips on how to deal with betrayal, and you give yourself time, you will see results and will be able to have an even better and happier life than before.

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