Understanding Anger After Betrayal: How to Cope with Relational Trauma

Written by Jessica Lamar, Psy.D, LMHC, LPC, CPTT

Betrayal is a tough pill to swallow, and it can leave us feeling deeply hurt, angry, and frustrated. One of the most difficult emotions to deal with is anger, especially when it’s directed towards someone we trusted who let us down. If you’re struggling to get a handle on your anger after experiencing betrayal, you’re not alone – it’s a natural response to feeling violated.  There are ways to understand and cope with your anger that can help with the healing process.

  •  Recognize that anger is a valid emotion. Often, we’re conditioned to believe that expressing anger is unacceptable or unproductive, it can actually be a healthy response when someone has crossed a boundary or caused harm. However, it’s essential to find constructive ways to channel your anger, such as journaling, talking with a therapist or trusted friend, or practicing relaxation techniques like meditation or deep breathing exercises.
  •  Take ownership of your emotions. Blaming others for how we feel is a natural response, and it’s ultimately ineffective. Acknowledge that your anger is a result of your own experience and perspective, and allow yourself to feel and process it in a healthy way. Avoid lashing out at others or engaging in destructive behaviors that may further damage your relationships and self-esteem.
  •  Remember forgiveness is a process that takes time and patience. You don’t need to forgive someone immediately after betrayal, and it’s important to take space and time to process your emotions. Holding onto anger and resentment can keep you stuck in the past and prevent you from moving forward. When you’re ready, explore forgiveness as a possibility, for yourself so you can release negative emotions and live in the present. Forgiveness does not excuse harmful or hurtful behavior, rather it allows you to move through the emotional pain in healthy way on your own terms.

In conclusion, understanding your anger after experiencing betrayal is a crucial step towards healing and moving on. By acknowledging your emotions, taking ownership of them, and exploring forgiveness, you gain greater clarity and control over your feelings and begin to rebuild trust in yourself and others. Remember, anger is a natural response,  how we cope, process and respond to anger is what truly matters in our lives.


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