When we let ourselves be vulnerable we do it at the risk of being betrayed. It happens in friendships and most often in love relationships. Betrayal can show up as an affair, lying and addictions. There are other ways betrayals can present but I will focus on the bigger ones here today.
Betrayal is a funny thing. I believe the reaction mimics a grief reaction such as one similar to death. Because with a betrayal, comes a huge loss. The relationship that one thought they had has really suffered a death. I have been watching the show Ozark, on Netflix. The episode I just watched is where the daughter wants to go back to Chicago. Her mother intercepts her in St. Louis. The daughter says she wants to go back to her old life. The mother responds with, “that life no longer exists.” The characters parents have betrayed her due to their own greed and bad choices. The daughter suffers the betrayal. Her old life has died. But so has the relationship she thought she had with her parents. Can she ever really trust them again?
Betrayal can be too big to overcome. Sometimes it can be worked through in therapy and other times it cannot. It is important to talk about it and honor feelings. I never assume a betrayal is too big for my patients. It is really up to her to decide what she can or cannot live with.