How Betrayal Cuts Into Connection, and How to Move Past It

When there is betrayal in any relationship, the body and mind can head into a systematic freeze. This is especially true of romantic relationships and can happen in a number of ways. Numbing and disassociation are of the most common. Whether the current relationship you’re in is one worth salvaging or not, stepping out of this freeze is critical for you and the connections that you want to build.

Although it’s a natural thing that can happen, it’s also something that can impact future relationships as well. Betrayal has the potential to leave you feeling isolated and alone. It doesn’t have to remain this way. Everyone is worth human connection, and you’re no exception to this.

There are two things to remember when numbing and disassociation happen to you after a betrayal.

  1. You might not recognize it. I’ve worked with many people over the years who think that they’re living a life where they’re always “positive” and “upbeat”. Until they begin to work into some of their wounds, they don’t realize that they’ve actually numbed. Many times, this occurred even before the betrayal took place.
  2. You can’t help it. Feelings of numbness are appropriate after a betrayal. You and your body are contending with feelings of pain. However, if this continues on indefinitely, it could mean that you haven’t worked through something that you need to work through. When you haven’t worked through a part of the event, it can stick with you.

You don’t have to remain in this place.

Connection is what we’re built for. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you want romantic connection in your life, but it’s important to have some type of connection either way. Our histories, as well as the current betrayals that we face, shape how we handle connection. For some of us, it means that we might disconnect. This is understandable, but it’s not something that can be sustained.

Rebuilding connection after betrayal.

Trying to build connection after betrayal is one of the bravest things that you can do. By stepping back into a territory where you can get hurt again, you’re likely to feel vulnerable. This is OK. Own the vulnerability, and share the fear that you have with people who will understand. This will help you know that this is completely natural to feel this way.

Only deal with vulnerability as much as you can. At times, you might be able to walk right into sharing your feelings and thoughts with the other person. You might be able to allow yourself to feel reconnected. Then, there are going to be times where you just can’t tolerate this. Respect that. This is you reassessing your boundaries and goals of the relationship. There is nothing wrong with that.

Other help is out there.

If you’re struggling with moving forward after betrayal, there is help out there. There are therapists who specialize in specific therapies that can help. Two well-respected therapy approaches are EMDR and Somatic Experiencing. These approaches help people deal with traumatic experiences, and betrayal can certainly be traumatic. Look for a therapist who is trained in either of these approaches to help you contend with the experience. These approaches can help, whether the relationship where the betrayal took place is worth salvaging or not.


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