States of Betrayal

Kara Facundo

“I don’t understand how they could do this to me? Did they really love me? Do I even matter?” Being in a state of betrayal can be incredibly challenging and emotionally distressing because it often involves a breach of trust. Someone we rely on or care about violates our expectations or acts in a way that goes against our personal or relational values. It can be a deeply painful experience that shakes the foundation of our relationships and sense of security in the world.

Author, Holli Kenley, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, identifies three temporary states:

  • A State of Confusion

“Why? I don’t understand. Why would they do this?”

Betrayal destabilizes our security as it pulls us away from our sense of self, moving outward to try and understand someone else.

A goal when working in a state of confusion:

Cease trying to make sense of something that does not make sense. We may not ever understand someone else’s motives or reasoning for their choices. Many times it simply does not make sense. What we can do is make sense of our choices and be intentional about sticking to our values. We provide ourselves stability when we offer consistency and trust in self. We turn inward to understand ourselves and our choices that build a sense of empowerment and control in unpredictable circumstances.

A State of Worthlessness “I thought I mattered. I gave everything. Everything has been stolen from me. Someone/something else is more important than me. Who was I? Did I matter then? Do I matter now?”

We gauge our importance from their actions or words. We mistakenly redefine who we are based on their actions.

Goal when working in a State of worthlessness – Be gentle with ourselves. Challenge negative thoughts that question our worth. Ground ourselves in truth. Invest selectively in people and things that validate our innate worth and provide the reminder of wellbeing.

  • A State of Powerlessness

“I have to do something. It’s not fair and no one is doing anything. They just move on like nothing happened.”Betrayal pulls us outward by trying to control everything in our world. We must turn inward to recover our power.

A Goal when working on State of powerlessness:

Identify what we can control and devote energy and thought toward it. Perhaps these are the simple things like challenging our thoughts or engaging in activities that uplift and bring joy into our lives. We can make small goals for ourselves and offer recognition for those things when completed. This may be as simple as making the bed in the morning or providing ourselves with a nourishing meal.
It may be helpful to remember that states of being are temporary. We have the power to come back to ourselves and provide stability in an uncertain world. Time, patience, help from friends and family, or seeking professional help will guide us to come back to self or, perhaps, create a new, empowered version of self. If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these states of betrayal, reach out to us for help. We are uniquely trained to walk with you through this trying time.