Stages of Recovering From Betrayal- Stage 1: SHOCK


“Betrayal is a shock. Most of us have experienced it and felt the harsh hit of reality and the isolation and confusion that follows. People say “get over it,” but you can’t. Betrayal involves lying, cheating, stealing, broken promises, or revealing someone’s secret. Betrayal is the violation of trust.

There are five stages of the betrayal experience that must be addressed during the healing process:

  • Shock.
  • Grieving the loss of the person you thought you knew.
  • Grieving the loss of the actual person.
  • Dealing with self-blame and humiliation.
  • Forgiveness and letting go.

The first four stages are not necessarily consecutive. They can overlap each other like waves in a turbulent ocean.

The first stage, shock, comes in many different forms. It might feel like numbness or unreality. You might feel immobilized or have a strong urge to run away. You may feel calm or full of rage. Your mind swirls with thoughts. It is a crisis. Shock, disbelief, anger, devastation, humiliation, sadness, the wish to rescue, and the wish to retaliate are all natural and expected reactions to betrayal. The most important thing to do during this stage is to find a support system to contain and normalize the feelings, and rather than beat yourself up, try to deal with it in constructive ways.”

This is a quote from an article, “Healing: When Betrayal Ends a Relationship” by Melanie Brown Kroon MA, MFT. Link to the article is listed under “Blogroll” on right column of blog.

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