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Betrayal of Trust

How to let go and move on when someone you trusted burns you bad.

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No matter the type of relationship, be it romantic, friendly, or between parent and child, an essential ingredient is trust. Trust defines every interaction in a relationship, it builds intimacy and it strengthens bonds. Without trust no relationship can thrive. Unfortunately people don’t always cherish trust the way that they should. Because it is often given freely at first it is also easily taken for granted. When trust has been damaged it can spell doom for a relationship and it can be very hard, if not impossible, to earn back.

Whether or not trust can ever be restored depends on how badly it was damaged and how much the spurned person feels betrayed. If you’ve had your trust betrayed then you know how hard it can be to let go, move on and fix the relationship. More often than not the burned person just wants to cut their losses and end the relationship, and who could blame them? But if you do want to repair the damage, if you want to salvage the relationship and rebuild trust, there are some steps you need to follow. While the person who damaged the trust has their work cut out for them in earning it back the person who was hurt also has a job to do. So how do you move past a major burn and put things back on track? It’s hard but it can be done and these three pointers can help.

  1. Let your anger out.
    In a quest to save a relationship people who have been hurt often bend over backwards to please their betrayer. Why? Because when we have been betrayed or burned the person who hurts us has sent a clear message that on some level we don’t matter to them as much as they matter to us. In a rebound state of fear of loss this often translates in to the hurt party trying to earn back the other person’s good opinion. It is a knee-jerk reaction and always ends in resentment. The best way to start the healing process is to acknowledge that there has been pain, betrayal and a loss of trust. Once the cards are on the table everybody will have a clearer picture of what they need to do to set things right.
  2. Resolve to let it out and then let it go.
    Once you let your feelings out you need to let the incident go. This does not mean blind forgiveness, but there is an element of forgiveness involved in this step. If the person who hurt you apologizes and you accept then you need to never rehash the incident. Doing so will only bring back your anger and keep you in emotional limbo. Don’t bring it up as a weapon. Don’t hold it over the other person every time you feel wronged in the future. Acknowledge that it happened, make your feelings and expectations known, and then stop focusing on what damaged the trust and set your sights on rebuilding. You’re only human, you may slip up and throw the incident in the face of your betrayer and if you do don’t beat yourself up over it, apologize and move on. While this step may seem like letting the person who hurt you get off easy in reality you are making things easier on your self by allowing yourself to be hurt and moving past it.
  3. Know that things can never go back to the way they once were and keep your eyes wide open to future betrayals.
    The sad reality is that once trust has been damaged it can’t simply go back to the way it once was, no matter how much both parties may want it to. People who do not value trust enough to respect it in the first place more often than not continue that pattern in the future. This doesn’t mean that it is a waste of time trying to rebuild trust it just means that the new trust has to be different. Call it a more mature trust. While trusting a person who has hurt you isn’t impossible it will never be the same kind of wide-eyed trust we give to people when we first let them in. This is not really a bad thing even though it may seem like a loss. Seeing people for who they really are rather than through rose-colored lenses can be a healthy thing. So when you decide to try to give trust a second chance just know that you will be more sensitive to the prospect of another betrayal and forgive yourself if doubt seeps in without real reason.
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