Betrayal can quite possibly be one of the most devastating losses a person can experience. To be betrayed, you must first experience trust in the betrayer. It is quite impossible to be betrayed if you didn't have trust within them to begin with. There for, the act of betrayal happens when someone violates that trust you have with them. When you hear 'betrayal' most people think it involves cheating. Betrayal comes in all forms, shapes and sizes.
Loss is used to describe the consequence that comes when betrayal happens. In our society people have trouble understanding the consequences that happen with loss and grief. We understand losing someone to a death, but are quick to comprehend the concept that comes with experiencing different losses in our lives.
When someone is betrayed by someone that they love, a loss of trust is experienced. In trusting someone, we do believe that they wont hurt us. So when they do hurt us, we then have awareness that they are aware of the hurt they can cause. When the trust is lost, that is losing a very significant part of the relationship.
The reason that betrayal causes such despair and anguish is because the loss didn't have to occur. It only occurs because of someones deliberate, hurtful behaviour; or their own carelessness. Unlike a loss to a death or illness, this person had a choice in their behaviour. The person who was betrayed such as myself believes the behaviour was wrong and could have been prevented.
You have an illusion of the person you put your trust into. You believe your moral compasses match and that because they reassured you that they wouldn't hurt you, that they meant what they said. In reality you later find out down the track they are the complete opposite of what you put your trust into.
I reached stages of denial. I engaged in avoidance behaviours. I wanted to escape the emotions so I needed constant reassurance, questioning and I still wanted that dependance on the person who betrayed my trust. I refused to believe that I meant very little and that everyone makes mistakes. Unfortunately these mistakes were frequent on her behalf. I know the person completely shut me out of her life due to her having a different grieving process. That is known as avoidance.
Once the betrayal was acknowledged, I had reached the anger stage of the grieving process. This was a fragile stage of my life as everything seemed to go wrong when I was projecting my anger. It was perfectly okay for me to be angry, but some of my behaviours shown during the anger weren't okay or acceptable. I retaliated and wanted to hurt her like she had hurt me. There was nothing wrong with feeling like that, but it would have been best for me to have walked away at this stage of my life.
Venting became a huge part in the betrayal grief for me. I needed a good vent to get rid of the toxic feelings I was feeling towards myself. Normally, the person who has been betrayed will want to vent to the person who hurt them. I spent a long time trying to do that and it achieved absolutely nothing. No matter how much I passively expressed the hurt towards said person, no change occurred within them. I wanted a 'I understand why you are angry' from them, but instead I got every excuse in the book as to why they did what they did to me.
Sadness is the next intense emotion I felt. Complete with emptiness. I already felt them on an extreme level due to my illness, so you could imagine how heightened it became when someone broke me. You begin to look back on the 'good' things that came with the person you loved and built a trust with. You think about the shattered trust and how you can never get it back. You can try get back to where you were, but you are now constantly reminded that they have the capacity to break your trust again.
Acceptance comes after the long process of grieving. Even though I had every reason under the sun to feel the amount of hurt, anger, despair and sadness I was feeling, you'll reach a point where you have to accept it happened in order to move forward. Feelings are never wrong or bad, even though people may not validate it or think its warranted. You will reach a point where you can recognise that the behaviour on the other person's behalf was frequented and doesn't match up with your values and beliefs. The wounds are still there, but you can cover up these wounds with patches of acceptance.