BETRAYAL & for­give­ness


Great Health Guide - - FRONT PAGE - Words Susie Flash­man Jarvis De­sign Olek­san­dra Zuieva

The con­se­quence of betrayal can be di­vorce or sep­a­ra­tion. How­ever, it’s not al­ways true, as the ti­tle of this piece im­plies that some re­la­tion­ships do sur­vive, but it takes im­mense de­ter­mi­na­tion.

So, what is the process of for­give­ness?

There are so many emo­tions to pass through. Us­ing the cy­cle of grief and loss as our ref­er­ence point is very use­ful. The cy­cle in­cludes de­nial, anger, de­pres­sion, bar­gain­ing and fi­nally ac­cep­tance. Betrayal, although dif­fer­ent to death, has many of the same com­po­nents.

Many peo­ple that I have worked with have first sought refuge in the emo­tion, anger. Most likely that is be­cause it feels the most pow­er­ful of the emo­tions. The truth is how­ever, that anger can be crip­pling. Still, anger does need to be pro­cessed as it is a jus­ti­fi­able emo­tion and part of the jour­ney. Plus, as it is as­suaged, then there is room for some­thing more…hope.

Men and women can hold a sense of in­ter­nalised fail­ure. The sense of not be­ing good enough. Not young enough, beau­ti­ful enough, rich enough, just not enough. For­give­ness only comes through for­give­ness of them­selves.


1. Talking through events.

Look in de­tail at every­thing that has hap­pened and say it out loud.

Talking about the minute de­tails with a non-judge­men­tal per­son can bring clar­ity and free­dom. Look­ing again at pain but in a safe ther­a­peu­tic space, can bring a new per­spec­tive, not a de­ci­sion that what hap­pened was to be ex­pected but a re­lease from a crip­pling sense of shame.

Shame, is the fear of dis­con­nec­tion. We are hard­wired for con­nec­tion from birth and when that is bro­ken, we find it al­most im­pos­si­ble to man­age, to find a way through. Thus, the need to speak to share, to start to re-build our­selves again.

2. Mov­ing through the cy­cle of grief.

When we have loved and lost, it is nec­es­sary to grieve.

If we did not grieve then we could say the lost love is not im­por­tant. Grief has so many

com­po­nents to it and there is no short cut. So, talking to an­other also has many lev­els. De­pres­sion is a pow­er­ful and of­ten ig­nored part of grief; other peo­ple may find it very dif­fi­cult to un­der­stand your de­pres­sion. There is an im­pa­tience in many cul­tures in our world to get things sorted out rapidly. But it takes as long as it takes. Ev­ery­one is dif­fer­ent. Will the process take longer for some­one who had been mar­ried for 25 years, as op­posed to some­one in a much shorter re­la­tion­ship? Maybe, but then maybe that per­son now feels free af­ter be­ing caught up for so long. We are all so dif­fer­ent and our pro­cess­ing will be as dif­fer­ent too.

The cy­cle of grief has an­other com­po­nent, that of bar­gain­ing and you may have done that, as you strug­gled to stay in the re­la­tion­ship, de­spite the betrayal. Maybe you are an older per­son and have de­nied the pain rather than face the shame that it brings. What­ever our sense of betrayal, we will all have to walk the path of shame. To face it and find free­dom on the other side.

3. Push­ing through the shame bar­rier.

Re­veal who you re­ally are and love your­self again.

It is said that show­ing vul­ner­a­bil­ity is nec­es­sary to dis­cover the au­then­tic you. This means that it is only when you are real, about hopes, dreams, losses and more, that you are re­leased. Shame is re­vealed as we ex­pe­ri­ence vul­ner­a­bil­ity and we are re­stored; the shame is re­leased as we en­able the true us to be seen.

So, how do you for­give your ex? Re­veal who you re­ally are, stare your shame in the face and learn to love your­self again.

It is in this process as we dis­cover the strength to love our­selves again, that we can for­give an­other.

Susie Flash­man Jarvis is an ac­cred­ited coun­sel­lor, speaker and am­bas­sador for the char­ity Re­stored work­ing to­wards bring­ing an end to vi­o­lence against women. Check out Susie’s lat­est ra­dio in­ter­view here. Susie’s novel, At Ther­apy’s End, tack­les the is­sue of do­mes­tic abuse. Susie is also an ex­ec­u­tive coach based in the UK and is avail­able for skype ses­sions. Susie may be con­tacted via her web­site.

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