This is the biggest trap that victims of betrayal fall into. As already mentioned, this is a completely natural feeling to have. Although this is not the case for everyone, most individuals wait for the betrayer to come to his/her senses, to apologize, or to make amends or restitution. Other victims of betrayal may wait for relatives, friends, or connections of the betrayer to side with them and to convince the betrayer of his/her wrongdoing. Freeing yourself from this trap means doing the hard work of righting yourself.
Consequence: Waiting for the betrayer puts your healing on hold. Waiting for the betrayer will not heal the hole in your heart.
Trap #2: Gauging your wellness on what the betrayer does or does not do.
This is another very common trap, especially when the betrayer is someone very important to you. It is prudent to observe the behaviors of the betrayer and gather information as to what his/her intentions or motives may be in moving forward; however, it is also important to remember that the betrayer did not put your feelings or needs first and may not do so moving forward. The betrayer has much to account for and much work to do as well.
Consequence: Gauging your wellness on what the betrayer does or does not do keeps you and and your healing tethered to the betrayer. In other words, you are holding your healing hostage to the betrayer.
Trap #3: Victims to do not give themselves enough time tending to their own healing before making life-changing decisions.
Because of the emotional destruction and damaging fallout associated with betrayal injury, it is only natural for individuals to make life-changing decisions in an attempt to mitigate their pain. At times this is necessary when victims must comply with court decisions, legal matters, or they are forced into the decisions by actions of the betrayer, etc. However, it is usually best to wait on making critical decisions until there has been ample opportunity for healing to take hold and for a strong support system to be in place.
Consequence: When individuals are navigating from a deeply injured mindset, they tend to make decisions which they regret and often times their decisions invite additional re-injury from the betrayer.
Trap #4: Victims turn to or relapse into unhealthy behaviors to cope or to self-soothe.
The horrifically debilitating States of Being* which are hallmarks of betrayal injury - confusion, worthlessness, and powerlessness - accompanied with symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia and hypersomnia, hopelessness, etc. are often intolerable. Victims of betrayal are feeling extremely vulnerable and fearful; many feel their lives are spinning "out of control." It is a frightening place to be and turning to or relapsing into unhealthy behaviors to cope or self-soothe appears to be the only solution or at the very least, an escape from chronic pain.
Consequence: Turning to or relapsing into unhealthy behaviors further injures victims and sabotages opportunities for healing to begin. This also may serve to provide the betrayer with information which could bring additional harm to and consequences for victims.
Trap #5: Victims don't recognize or feel the need to do their own healing.
The first four traps are all connected to Trap #5. When individuals are betrayed, we typically hear statements such as:
- Just give it time. You'll learn to trust again.
- You need to forgive and move on.
- You guys will work it out. You love each other.
- They are awful. You're better off being out of there.