Betrayal & Recovery, Part 4 of 4

How Long Will I Hurt From Betrayal?

By Holli Kenley

We are discussing Betrayal. In week one, we covered Feeling Stuck In Betrayal? In week two, we dug into the meat of betrayal injury by addressing Why Is Betrayal So Painful? And in week three we uncovered three important principles in our discussion of How Long Will I Hurt From Betrayal? If you have not already done so, please read those posts and then us here as we discuss Why Do I Have To Make It Right? 

If today’s topic is sounding familiar, it is because we briefly discussed it in week one – Trap #1: Waiting for someone or something else to make it right. Let’s review this  trap.

This is the biggest trap that victims of betrayal fall into and it 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.

The consequences of not doing so include the following: 

Waiting for the betrayer puts our healing on hold. 

Waiting for the betrayer will not heal the hole in our heart.

If we do ask the betrayer for what we need or want, it often invites additional re-injury, rejection, or dismissal.

If we do get what we asked for from our betrayer, what work have we done, what growth and healing came from the quick fix?  

Lastly, if we settle for less than we deserve or need or what is healthy, what messages does that send to others about us and our worth? What do feel about our worth?

Part of getting through and beyond betrayal injury is taking back our power to make choices; to determine our timelines for recovering, and to make our lives the way we want them to be. Tethering ourselves to the uncertainty or the unhealthiness of others will not allow us to move forward. We must choose to right ourselves. *

One of the most beautiful discoveries from the Daughters’ narratives in Daughters Betrayed By Their Mothers: Moving From Brokenness To Wholeness* is that each daughter made the deliberate and intentional choice to right herself.  Each daughter did not wait for her mother to fix it, to make it better, to change, or to apologize.  Each and every daughter did the hard work of breaking through her betrayals, embracing diverse and long-term recovering programs, and each came to a place of peace and acceptance – first with herself, and then with her mother. And then, each daughter redefined herself and her life, taking back her power and determining what her relationship with her mother would be (or not be) by implementing strong healthy boundaries which would sustain her well-being.  

This is important.  

If the Daughters had waited for their mothers to make it better – to make it right – the Daughters would still be waiting. And, they would have forfeited the gifts of healing from doing their own recovery work.

This is your challenge right now – righting yourself.  If you mind is saying, “But he did…but she needs to….but they owe…”, say it one last time and stop. It has not gotten you anywhere and it won’t. It has not changed anything and it won’t. * 

Sadly, you won’t get better.  You will stay bitter. 

On the other hand, being willing to right ourselves gives us the freedom to reclaim and redirect our course in life. It affords us the opportunity to grow while doing so. It is ours for the choosing. 

Although this concludes our series on Betrayal and Recovery, there is a compassionate but comprehensive program for ongoing healing available in Breaking Through Betrayal: And Recovering The Peace Within.

*Excerpts from Breaking Through Betrayal: And Recovering The Peace Within 2nd Edition. “Chapter 7 Recovering Part One: Right Yourself” Holli Kenley. (2016). Loving Healing Press, Inc.

*Daughters Betrayed By Their Mothers: Moving From Brokenness To Wholeness , Holli Kenley. (2018). Loving Healing Press, Inc.

Publisher’s Note: Holli Kenley is an American Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and the author of “ Daughters Betrayed By Their Mothers: Moving from Brokenness to Wholeness” and “Power Down & Parent Up!: Cyber Bullying, Screen Dependence & Raising Tech-Healthy Children”