Dealing with betrayals


Feel your emotions. When you have been betrayed, you may be overcome with anger, grief, and humiliation. Holding in your painful feelings can have negative effects on your health and your relationships. When you have learned of a betrayal, take time to name the emotion without judgment.[1] This will enable you to work through it without turning it on yourself or others.

It may help to write through your feelings. If you keep a diary or journal, try writing down exactly how you feel. If you don’t keep a diary, write yourself a letter. You can also write a letter to the person or people who betrayed you, but wait a week before you decide to send it.

Suppressing painful feelings can lead to health problems such as chronic pain, sleep deficiency, and even heart disease.


Take time to yourself. It can be difficult to deal with betrayal when the person or people who have betrayed you are always nearby. If you were betrayed by a partner or a friend, ask them to give you space while you come to terms with what has happened. You might want to go away for a while. If you live with a partner who has betrayed you, you might want to ask them to find somewhere else to stay for a while, or to sleep in a different room

If the person who betrayed you is far away, take a break from correspondence. Tell them you will get in contact again when you feel ready to talk. If it feels helpful, set a date.

Disconnect from social media. Take a break from websites that give you unwanted information about the people who hurt your feelings.


Do not rush a life-changing decision. Betrayal can turn your world upside down. When you have lost the trust you had for someone, you may be tempted to cut them out of your life entirely. Wait before you make any big decisions, such as filing for divorce, changing your job, or denouncing someone publicly, as your feelings may change


Avoid retaliating. If you feel in danger of physically harming yourself or others, immediately seek professional help.[6] There is no positive revenge. Revenge in the heat of the moment is something that you will come to regret later. Time spent calculating a deliberate revenge is time spent at the expense of your own emotional healing.


Find someone you can speak with frankly. Discussing the betrayal with someone you trust can be healing. A good friend or a therapist can help you clear your head and decide what steps to take. Remember that one betrayal doesn’t mean that you can’t trust anyone. You might even come to trust the person who betrayed you.


Take care of yourself. Physical health will help you through an emotional time. Try to eat well every day and get a full night’s sleep. Exercise will boost your mood and help you sleep. If you don’t have a regular exercise routine, try going for a brisk half-hour walk each day.


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