Forgiveness and Trust After Betrayal
Updated: Aug 3, 2022
Some say trusting your partner after betrayal can feel like being asked to stand at the edge of a cliff and jump without a parachute. The truth about trust in the aftermath of betrayal is that it's often confusing, messy, and complicated.
There is no guidebook or rule to follow when it comes to trust and forgiveness in betrayal but there are a few important points to consider on your recovery and healing journey from betrayal: There is a difference between forgiveness and trust. Forgiveness is an individual choice. It is an action that takes place for you. Forgiveness can serve as a way to create some inner peace. Other times, forgiveness is misconstrued with trust and imposed upon us from our belief systems. For instance, if you come from a background where you were told that you are responsible for instantly trusting a person who hurt you despite their actions, it can really be confusing and enraging as a betrayed partner. Some women have expressed feeling forced to forgive the person who betrayed them as part of “being a good person” or “being the bigger person.” This often means allowing other people to own or manipulate your power and trusting again without knowing if you are ready to. When forgiveness is confused for automatically trusting again we can lose our sense of emotional safety.
Trust, however, requires time, reciprocity, action and accountability– especially from the person who has broken your trust. In the aftermath of betrayal, when looking inward and identifying what you need in order to regain trust, it is common to also look to your partner to help gauge how much or how little you can attach your hopes to. Ultimately though, trusting your partner again really starts with learning to trust yourself- and that then becomes wisdom gained. Trusting yourself after betrayal is a muscle you get to flex and flex until it gets strong enough to make empowered decisions based on connection to your gut and instinct rather than impulsive reactions rooted in fear. Trusting yourself can look like knowing what you need and operationalizing that by seeking honesty and accountability from your partner- which can be helpful-even if you are not ready to trust your partner again. Only you have the power and control to decide your limits and who and what can exercise power over you.
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***Seen Therapy provides individual, group, and intensive therapy for women seeking healthier connections and healthier lifestyles. Specializing in therapy for Mental Health challenges, Trauma/PTSD, Women’s Sexual Health and Intimacy difficulties, Betrayal Trauma, and Sex and Love Addiction**