heal after betrayal

Lied to. Cheated on. Stabbed in the back.

Most of us will experience some kind of betrayal in our lifetime. Whether it’s by a parent, partner, child or friend, when your trust is violated, it hurts. Often it’s accidental, sometimes intentional, though regardless of why or how it happened, betrayal can cause a major injury.

Some level of betrayal is almost unavoidable in any close relationship, because let’s face it, people make mistakes. No matter when it happens there will be feelings of vulnerability, anger and hurt. You may wonder if you can ever trust again and how to move forward in your relationship and perhaps life.

#Betrayal : Will it leave you Bitter or Better? #YouChoose @Terri_Cole {CLICK TO TWEET}

Trust is essential to creating and maintaining deep and meaningful connections; it is the foundation for healthy relationships. Rebuilding trust after betrayal is not easy and sometimes not appropriate. Regardless of what you decide to do after a betrayal, a more important decision might be, who you will be after a betrayal.

There is an opportunity in every crappy situation to understand yourself more deeply.I encourage you to reflect on situations where you feel you’ve been betrayed. Rather than focusing on what was done to you, consider your part in what went down.. For example, perhaps your gut told you not to trust someone and you did anyway. Or maybe you were betrayed a second time by the same person, and wish you had ended the relationship sooner. Or perhaps you just weren’t paying close enough attention and ended up getting ripped off. No matter what the case, looking inward at where you could have done things differently Or how you colluded consciously or unconsciously can be a helpful exercise. This is not to lay blame or inspire shame, but simply to give you the opportunity to learn, on a higher level, from your experiences.

People come in and out of our lives for different purposes and periods of time. Everyone can be a teacher if you are willing to learn. Some lessons are more painful than others but all have the power to add to your evolution. By processing a betrayal you are mining that experience for the gold it holds so you can let go of the rest.

Let me be really clear, I am in no way “blaming the victim.” (A phrase i dislike for so many reasons…but I will save that for another post.) I just know that our own evolution is dependant on becoming a true expert on ourselves by reflecting on our experiences and becoming curious about our motivation and participation. This kind of inquiry is invaluable to our health and growth from painful and joyful experiences.

If you’re looking to dive deeper on the issue of betrayal then be sure to check out my interview with one of my closest girlfriend’s, the brilliant and beautiful, Danielle LaPorte on my podcast, Hello Freedom. In this episode we break down the impact and upside of betrayal. Tune in for some incredible insights that may change your relationships and your life. To subscribe and listen CLICK HERE

Have you been betrayed? If yes, tell me about it in the comments below. More important than what happened, tell me how you moved on. Your insights and ideas may inspire others going through it so please share. I always look forward to reading and responding to you.

Wishing you an insightful week, full of self-reflection and love, and as always, take care of you.

Love Love Love


*image courtesy of Olga

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  1. Hi Terri – I am involved in a relationship where I recently was told about the pregnancy of my partner’s ex. He was in denial that the child was his during the pregnancy and didn’t want to believe it until the child was born. It was a relationship that was prior to ours and he reassures me that he loves only me, but I cannot help but feel betrayed and am having a hard time forgiving and moving on. It;s been almost three months since I learned of this so I am still going through all the different emotions. I try to read and absorb all I can on forgiveness and moving forward and not dwelling on “what if” and his past but I find it very difficult.


    1. Jessica,
      I feel you and am witnessing your struggle with compassion. I think it is important to not skip the step of understanding what ACTUALLY happened. Denial or not your partner had sex with this woman within months of you getting together. Were you aware of this timeline? How do you feel about it and have you discussed it? My concern is about honesty and transparency. You can eventually get to forgiveness but please make sure you do your due diligence in reference to exactly what happened so you are making any forgiveness decision on solid truth. Thank you for sharing here with us.

  2. I was seeing this man named Justin here in San Francisco who sent me copious emails filled with love declarations, 2 months later he lied and said he was moving and ended up in Zurich. He was an investment banker for Deutsch Bank and JP Morgan so it was believable. Only when a server error has Google mail administrator reveal that he was local the whole time did I find out. I just vanished from his life and after holding it in for over 6 months, emailed him to ask him why. His response was to send me a freaked out sounding message from New York that he had no idea who I was. At that point I started to see how right several of my friends were when they said his behavior was possibly a sign of a personality disorder. Tough to admit someone whom I had a sense of connection with could be so strange. The only true thing in all this is that he did leave his old firm but Switzerland and a dream job there wasn’t apparently where he landed next.

    1. Thank you for sharing your story, Charlotte. It sounds like this man is completely unavailable and that you are much better off focusing on yourself and your happiness. Thank goodness he showed you his red flags early in the relationship rather than later. We’ve all been betrayed before so take care of you and know that healthy honest men are out there. Best, Terri

  3. Dearest Terri

    Your video and subject could not have come at a better time for me My soon to be ex business parter has stabbed me in the back and left me hanging to pay a years rent on a business she started and I invested into as a partner Also to make matters worse she’s a seminary student and took all of our social media and our followers and changed them into her followers She started this while I was on vacation I’m so hurt and so angry and and and ❤️

    1. Allow yourself to be hurt and angry, Scott. Remember you’ve got to feel it to heal it. However, know that holding onto pain and resentment will in the end hurt you much more than her. When you’re ready know that forgiveness is for you. Recognize your part in the situation, even if it was not ending the partnership sooner. Use the tips in the post and let me know what you think. Take care of you, Scott. Best, Terri

  4. Yes. I handled it appallingly and made myself horribly sick – sick to the point of losing it all.

    The best thing that has happened yet was to be loved and affirmed. Yes, what she did was the most hideous betrayal and the consequences are hers to deal with.

    My part is that having taken it so very badly I choose to forgive, to forgive her humanity, and to recognize that she’s no worse nor better than I.

    I choose to pray for her, to wish her freedom from suffering, that she may find peace, happiness and joy.

    In so doing I set myself free. I cannot change what happened, nor can I deny my pain, my torment and my own suffering.

    In so doing perhaps I’m becoming a slightly better human being, and one equipped in ways of forgiving, understanding and empathy that was previously lacking.


    1. Dearest Patrick,

      My heart goes out to you. As someone who’s been betrayed, cheated on, stabbed in the back, thrown under the bus and tossed to the wolves, I can understand your pain.

      I wanted to tell you that there is no perfect way to deal with something like that. Sometimes the pain is so deep that our emotions can get the best of us.

      You have grown by leaps and bounds due to this experience, I can guarantee you that. And your capacity to love has increased immensely.

      Thank you for sharing and for your willingness to be honest about how you handled things. It’s amazing to see more men telling their stories.

      Take good care of yourself, and if I may borrow from Patanjal, I believe that you will “discover yourself to be a greater person by far, than you ever dreamed yourself to be.”


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