Lisa Arends works as a math teacher and a wellness coach. After using her own sudden divorce four years ago as a catalyst for positive change, she now helps people navigate their own divorces and transform stress into wellness. She loves to lift heavy weights and run long distances, and she is still learning how to meditate. She tells the story of her own divorce in her book, Lessons From the End of a Marriage.
“Will I ever trust again after being Betrayal?” I asked, turning towards my dad in the aftermath of the day the marriage died.
My voice trembled along with the rest of my body, a pleading tone hoping for a positive response.
His eyes teared, he pulled me in for a hug. “I don’t know but I sure hope so.”
It wasn’t the response I wanted, but it was honest. And honest was what I needed.
Over the next weeks and months, I asked that question of my mom, my family, my friends, my journal.
And every response was the same.
“I don’t know.”
How do you recover from betrayal by the person closest to you? How do you move forward without armor so thick that no one will ever make it through? How do you ever put faith in another person after doing so destroyed your world and you in the process?
How do you learn to trust again?
You begin with yourself.
Intimate betrayal is an attack on two fronts. The first wound comes from the one who betrayed you, the piercing pain when you realize that he or she was sliding the blade into your back with every embrace. The second comes from within, as you begin to doubt yourself, your worth and your senses.
And you have to heal them both.
Before you can ever trust another, you have to learn to trust in yourself.
And that begins with trusting your strength to see you through.
If you believe that you are not strong enough to survive something, you will turn away from any indications that speak of impending disaster. The only way you will be receptive to reality is if you know you can handle it. Remember times that you have revealed your strengths. Celebrate those. Create smaller challenges in your life and master them. Write your story and cast yourself as strong and brave. Don’t let your betrayer create your character; you have the power to mold yourself in an image of fortitude and perseverance. Learn to see yourself as a survivor and thriver rather than a victim. You are the phoenix, not the ashes.
You are strong.
You can make it through anything.
Believe it. And it’s true.
And, once you know that you can survive, you’re ready to learn to listen, to see. Not with the fears of the past or the worries of the future, but with the truth of today.
Check in with your gut. If your intuition speaks, listen. Remember, there is nothing it can say that you cannot handle. Be present in your life, check words against actions. Trust that you will be okay even if someone’s actions indicate a problem. When learning to trust another, move slowly, letting out a little rope each time. Watch to see if they hang themselves but also be careful not to do it for them. If you act as though the past is on repeat, it will be replayed. See with the eyes of now, not the pain of yesterday. Sift through your past to find patterns, both in your betrayer and yourself. Learn how to change your responses to interrupt the playbook of the past.
Will you be able to trust again?
But it can’t be blind trust, operating on wish alone.
It’s a trust born from strength and intention.
It comes from being present and truthful.
It hopes for the best but does not fear the worst.
It understands that you cannot control another but you can always depend on yourself.
You are strong.
You can be trusted.
Believe in yourself.