Deciding to stick around after a loved one has betrayed your trust is a huge decision. But if you’ve crossed that bridge and decided to dig in your heels and build a better relationship with that person you have one more hurdle to face: how to trust them again.
After all, you don’t want to turn into that crazy woman who is always checking up on someone else –right? Being the check-up queen is stressful and a horrible use of your energy.
So today I’m going to talk about three steps you can take to begin trusting your betrayer after the smoke has cleared.
First let me say that while I am a psychologist, my specialty is not clinical. So the steps I’m about to share with you come mostly from my own personal experiences of overcoming betrayal (although there is some good psychotherapeutic foundation here).
Second, I want to point out that betrayal is NOT just about a spouse who has strayed. It could be about a parent who always promised to be available for your big events but wasn’t. That’s betrayal.
It could be a good girl friend who you thought had your back, but she stabbed you in it instead. That’s betrayal.
And yes of course it could be a husband who was unfaithful. That is absolutely betrayal!
So here we go! The 3 Step process of trusting after a betrayal that has worked for me.
Step # 1 – See Your Betrayer Rightly
It’s important to recognize who you are dealing with in general. Does this person have a history of being deceptive and grimy, or was this a highly improbable mistake? We all make mistakes, some of them bigger than others, so its important that we recognize the intentions behind the betrayal.
For instance, were you and your husband going through a rough patch and he slipped up one night? Or has he always had a side piece no matter how great things were going in your relationship? I’m not excusing either behavior, but grace is important.
We all have had times when we were not our best selves and acted in a way that hurt someone else. In this way, your beloved is no different than you.
Step #2 – Extract the Lesson
Nothing happens in a bubble. Sure SHE did the dirt. But what was your part and what can you learn from it?
So yeah, she tried to push up on your man behind your back, but did you ignore the writing on the wall? Did you disregard her pouty mood every time you talked about your man to her? Did you ignore the fact that she never seemed to be supportive of your relationship?
This step is NOT about placing blame. It’s about accepting responsibility for what we do or don’t do, and then using our negative experiences to avoid repeating them in the future.
Step #3 – Realize It’s NOT About THEM
I have personally cried my eyeballs out because I felt I couldn’t trust people that I loved so much. I felt like it was THEIR fault that I couldn’t trust them because they did this or that.
But real trust is never about the other person. Real trust (just like real love) comes from within. There are no guarantees that the people in our lives won’t hurt us. After all they can’t pick up the emotional pieces for us after the hurt. Only we can do this.
But we can trust that we have our OWN back. We can trust that we will always be truthful with ourselves. And we can trust that we will listen to the little voice that says “walk away” when it’s in our own best interest.
Unlike when we’re blaming the other, this is a position of empowerment. Because it means that WE are our own best friends and lovers.
Here’s an affirmation I like to use when my mind spins into hurt and blame over not being able to trust someone. Look into your own eyes in the mirror and say:
“I love you. And I will always do what is right for you. I will never leave you and I always have your back. There is no one out there who can break you. You are loved and wrapped in grace. You are provided for.”