Ask Dr. Lisa: Overcoming Betrayal and Broken Trust in Relationships

By H&W on 1st Sep 2018

Good relationships are based on trust.

Talking to clients who have been betrayed often have hindsight that if they had looked closely enough the signs were there.

When trust is broken, reactions can vary from shock. One of my clients recently recalled, “I had a feeling things were not lining up, but I didn’t have hard evidence. To make it worse, I thought we were friends, that we were both invested in our relationship and our future plans were mutually building.  I should have listened to my nagging sense that everything was not okay.”
Because of this client’s false perception of mutual trust, they chose to ignore or overlook the signs that everything was “not okay.”
In the end, they silenced the internal radar that was waving a red flag.

So, how can you trust again after betrayal?

  1. Check it out.

Everyone has a particular point of view. What seems like a clear betrayal to one person might be seen as a skewed perspective to another. That’s why it’s incredibly important to check out the other people involved. Holding on to resentment and negative energies toward people inevitably will spill over into the other relationships in your life therefore giving more power to the betrayal.

  1. Shift your attitude.

Although you are hurt, keep working toward your best self. Psychologist Albert Bandura conducted a study that showed just how great a role our attitudes play in the face of failure. When failure was viewed as a learning opportunity participants performed progressively better on a task and even rated themselves as more confident.

  1. Put your energy into bringing yourself closer to where you want to be.

We have limited time, energy and emotional resources every day. Where will you spend these resources? Do you want to put your energy into settling scores, or would you rather create the life you truly desire? Each resource spent on negative thoughts or actions toward people who betray you takes finite resources from more positive relationships or more productive life directions you want to pursue.

  1. What goes around comes around.

What you give out, you get back. This adage is true in all relationships, whether personal or professional.

Choose to take actions aligned with your values and purpose. Be true to your highest self and make decisions from there. Always. Just because others choose to be dishonest or lack transparency or truth in relationships does not give you a reason to do the same.

I realize this statement may sound trite, but put good karma out into the world. Give the energy you want to receive.  A betrayer’s actions are part of their karma, and negativity will catch up with them in time.

  1. Embrace the betrayal.

I know this is a tough one, but you must make peace with the betrayal. You need to look at what happened and ask, “What did I learn from this?” Particularly when thinking about business relationships or friendships, there is a level of trust we must give to make the relationship grow. But sometimes we can get complacent or choose to let others ‘in’ and ignore warning signs.

The betrayal happened for a reason:  learn the hard lessons and move forward. Whatever your course of action, start releasing the negative feelings but gain insight from them. These painful lessons can serve a purpose.

And in the end, you’ll be the wiser for it.


Dr. Lisa Webb

Body & Mind Consulting


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