5 Steps To Begin Recovery After A Betrayal

Written By Elizabeth Abbruzza MA, LMHC, CCPS-C

Has someone broken your trust? Kept a secret that has led you to question your own reality?


Betrayal can cause deep emotional distress and lingering symptoms of trauma. The experience of betrayal trauma is typically the result of a betrayal by a romantic partner or another close person in your life. Whether this is due to infidelity in your relationship, an emotional betrayal or sex addiction the results can leave you devastated – struggling with your self-esteem, emotional wellbeing, and ability to form healthy attachment with others in your life.


Although recovery looks different for everyone, here are five steps that can help you begin your healing journey. 

1.     Acknowledge the betrayal: Although it may sometimes feel easier to avoid and deny our own realities, the first step to recovery is acknowledgement of your experience. Although painful, leaning into your betrayal trauma can prompt helpful reflection on the reasons behind it. This kind of meaning making supports integration and increases the probability of future post traumatic growth.

2.     Practice accepting and processing challenging emotions: We tend to want to avoid uncomfortable feelings such anger, grief, and pain but avoidance will only make it more challenging to regulate these emotions during triggering times or situations. Try to name your feelings when they arise. Emotional awareness can support the development of healthy coping.

3.     Find a community of support: Talking about betrayal is not easy. It is important to surround yourself with people who can show up for you in compassion and empathy. Confide in trusted individuals who you are confident will be unconditionally supportive of you in your healing journey. Do not confide too much in people you feel will push their unsolicited opinions on you or impart unhelpful judgement. Support systems can consist of friends, family members, mental health providers and therapeutic groups.

4.     Focus on your needs and emotional safety: Many people need time and space to discern whether they want to end their relationships or work towards rebuilding trust. Give yourself that time and space, do not feel pressure to decide right away. Take some time to focus on your own needs and emotional well-being. Build up your toolbox of healthy coping skills so that you can stabilize from the trauma you have experienced.

5.    Seek therapeutic support: Connect with a therapist who has experience treating betrayal trauma. In therapy, you will begin the path of reclaiming your life’s narrative. Heal and grow in your own identity while remaining consistent with your value system. You deserve a safe place to be heard and supported on this journey of recovery and therapy can help.


Reach out today to schedule an appointment or to learn more about how therapy can support your healing journey. 


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