Have you felt the pain of discovering that your partner has betrayed you? The most famous form of betrayal is, of course, infidelity, but there are many other ways to betray trust. Discovering that the person you love has been hiding a gambling addiction, or has been leading a double life can be equally traumatic. Using the word ‘trauma’ is not at all hyperbolic. Psychologists often notice the similarities between PTSD, and the symptoms people experience after learning about an affair or other form of betrayal.
Putting the pieces back together
After a betrayal comes to light, the pain can be so intense that it is hard to think about anything else. However long the road to recovery may be, though, you’ll never get there without taking the first step. One crucial thing to decide is whether the relationship can be saved, and whether it means enough to you to put in the effort. After a betrayal, it is extremely hard to think straight. One moment you are dominated by feelings of hurt and anger, the next you are seized by love and longing. Well meaning, but contradictory advice from family and friends often just makes you more confused. Discernment counseling is an option you should consider to make sure you make the right choice.
If you decide that you want to save your relationship, then a difficult collaborative project lies ahead. Much of the focus will be on your partner, and what changes he or she must make so as to regain your trust, and not break it again. Equally important, though, will be discovering changes that you must make together, to build the kind of relationship in which betrayal is no longer a tempting option.
There is another factor that is often overlooked. Whatever path you choose, you will need to reconstruct a healthy understanding of your own life. As Anna Fels beautifully writes, all of us need to have a narrative which makes sense of our experiences. When we learn that the person closest to us is not the person we thought, this can shatter that whole narrative.
Recovering your personal narrative
A betrayal by your partner is by definition extrinsic to you, but afterwards you feel a bewildering sense that you have changed yourself. This is because the narrative we construct around our lives is an essential part of our self-identity. To once again approach life with happiness and joy, you will need to rebuild a personal narrative that is true and meaningful to you. For warm, compassionate therapy that can help you put the jigsaw puzzle of your life back together, reach out today.