Sanctuary for the Abused

Monday, April 23, 2018



They were in love. Everything was wonderful. They'd been together for twelve years. They were expecting their second child and they were delighted. And then came the unexpected telephone call. The phone call from the 9-year old boy asking to speak to his "Daddy."


The trust, the dreams and the hopes all shattered in an instant with the revelation that her husband of twelve years had a secret relationship and a secret child for nine years!

"I love you baby. You know I would never hurt you. My job is to protect you always and I will always do that. You just need to keep our secret safe. Don't tell Mommy what we're doing ... she won't understand that I need to show you how to love ..."
The child who trusts the adult not to hurt him/her is betrayed by the abusing or neglectful adult.

The mere word, "betrayal," evokes enormous feelings. It’s one thing to be disappointed, saddened, and unhappy; but it’s altogether another to feel BETRAYED.

…Lied to in a way that feels humiliating. Defiled by someone whom you trusted; someone in whom you placed your belief, your hopes, perhaps your love. Perhaps it is in the enormity of the truth not told, or the complexity of the subterfuge, or the completeness with which the trust was given…that the pain grows to feel so huge.

Another common experience in the moment of discovered betrayal is deflated self-esteem. It is so very important to remember that trust given and trust broken is at the core of the betrayal issue. Trust is a gift. If you gave and it was not well and honestly received – YOU have no blame. That you would trust and honor you both with one of the greatest gifts one human can offer to another, makes the betrayer the person who is sorely lacking. You must not diminish the magnitude and beauty of your gift – by belittling yourself for having given.

There are many times when one can experience betrayal:

Betrayal by parents:
A parent who abused you.
A parent who lied to you.
A parent who neglected you.

Betrayal by a lover:
A lover who has conducted another relationship(s) while with you.
A lover who has told you things and presented a picture of themselves that was false.
A lover who has taken all your money without your knowledge.
A lover who has transmitted a disease you never knew about.

Betrayal by society:
A promise for full employment that never gets met.
A promise of social security – that may not be there.
Quality healthcare – available only to a few.

Betrayal by your body:
A chronic illness when you’ve done "everything right."
A disease of body image – and you feel hopeless and helpless.

Betrayal by a friend:
A closely guarded secret --- exposed…
An important promise --- broken….
A person you trusted who acted with no regard for your feelings...
A friend you put yourself on the line for – who left you high and dry.

Betrayal of self:
Lies to self.
Denial of a personal medical condition.
Participation in a disrespectful relationship.

In all these instances – it is the quality of the perceived connection between the parties that determines whether the injustice feels like a betrayal or simply an unpleasant event or behavior.

If someone you feel no particular connection to – promises a gift – and fails to follow-through; perhaps you are upset, disappointed, even angry. The rage and despair often associated with betrayal comes only when the experience is one of a profound, wrenching violation of your faith in another. The establishment of trust is a tremendous commitment you make. It only makes sense that when the commitment is dismissed – the magnitude of that dismissal can feel overwhelming. Whether the betrayal is experienced at the hands of another or is perceived to be experienced at the hands of self – the initial shock and anger can be quite draining; sometimes frightening.

The sense of betrayal can be accompanied by a self-anger, a new/renewed distrust of self, a new/renewed fear of self, and the decision-making skills you possess. With the feeling of betrayal can come the feeling of a psychic implosion. At the moment, you do not feel whole. Many begin to fear they will never feel whole again.

If you are struggling with a feeling of having been betrayed – there are many things you are likely to experience including: (1) shock (2) denial (3) anger (4) extreme hurt/sadness (5) anxiety (6) emotional lethargy (7) social lethargy (8) changes in daily living activities; in other words, many of the symptoms of depression. This is quite normal – but if these symptoms persist for more than two weeks, it is important to meet with a mental health professional for an evaluation for therapy – possibly short term, medication, etc., etc.

As you begin to understand the nature of your feelings and look for ways to proactively heal…you will be on …the road to recovery … In doing this, many may discover that the betrayal, the loss, the anger, and all the other feelings involve not only the immediate betrayal but any other betrayals experienced over your lifetime. Previous experiences of betrayal – whether from infancy / childhood or from adulthood last week can complicate the way in which you experience the betrayal and heal from the betrayal.

Betrayal by another does not have to mean that you have to betray yourself. It does not mean that you are unworthy and unfit. It does not mean that you deserved the treatment you received, nor is it a guarantee that you will be treated the same way again. If you feel betrayed by yourself - you may have to work with someone professionally or in a support group to understand the feelings of betrayal and how you can heal.

Tips for healing…

Acknowledge your pain, anguish…and every other feeling you have.

Surround yourself with supportive friends/ family.

If you are choosing to end the relationship, writing a letter to allow your own release will be important for you. (This is a letter that you will very likely not send.)

If you are choosing to continue the relationship, make sure you set clear and specific limits for future interactions.

Make sure to interact with at least one positive force in your life every day.

Allow yourself time to heal and learn.

Forgiveness of YOURSELF frees YOU from YOUR pain.

It is critical to remember during this healing time that…

Your trust has been abused…this is a very big deal. Recovery will take time.

You are NOT responsible for the betrayer’s decisions. (If you see self as the betrayer of self– recognize that your choices were propelled by choices you felt were reasonable at the time.)

You CAN heal.

You are NOT alone.

You are NOT "stupid."

YOU did not create the betrayal.

You do NOT need to understand the betrayer’s actions in order to heal. You DO need to get lots more information if you are going to remain in the relationship.

You may never understand the betrayer’s motivations – you do not have to in order to heal. You DO have to if you choose to resume/ continue the connection.

If you choose to continue the relationship, you MUST see ACTIVE change in the betrayer towards a new, healthy, HONEST communications style.

By Pamela Brewer, MSW, Ph.D., LCSW-C

Labels: , , , , ,

shared by Barbara at 12:38 AM



I sometimes feel so down i can't even get out of seems like everyone,even my friends started a war against me...i have no one to talk to...not even my parents or my best friend would listen...i feel betrayed

11:58 AM  

I was betrayed by all of the above at one time or another in my life. But so was everybody else. Ask 200 coherent adults, and 200 coherent adults will tell you that they have been betrayed at one time or another by somebody in a position of trust. So get over it. So get over it? Get over it? You can never nor never will you get over it, it is a fact of your life. Accept it, and realize that the only meaningful change you can make in this world is the change you can make in yourself. Just be absolutely certain that you yourself do not ever betray any of those people that are in your trust, and you will be making meaningful change for everybody. And you will be well on the way to healing, because you consciously realize the positive good that you are doing. (If you screw up, well, you, too, are human.)Thank you.

11:36 PM  

I am so hurt.The man I love,the father of my children,was looking at porn behind my back & lying to me about it.He took it to a whole new level when he was browsing ads for people soliciting sex.I feel like I don't even know this person anymore.He keeps minimizing it,but the trust is gone now,& I'm the one who is left to hurt.I just had our youngest son 8 weeks ago,& this is such a huge blow to my self esteem.I feel so fat & ugly.I don't know what to do to make this pain stop.I'm obsessing over it,& I can't take it anymore.

11:24 PM  

Add one more to the list, a child who complains that someone abused them and the parents turn it against them. The weakest link is the child. So, to cover it up, blame the child. Disgusting! But, we can still rise above it. And heal!

12:47 PM  

In reply to Jennifer, I had the same problem with my partner of 5 years except his porn habits occurred more than once. I felt a tremendous amount of betrayal, hurt, pain and anger as we even spoke about his 'habits' and he said he wouldn't do it again the first time round - but naive little me was wrong. However we did manage to resolve it in the end but after another year he's now adding girls on his social networking page sending private messages to these girls telling them how beautiful they are (words he doesn't even say to me on a regular basis)..unlike this blog I feel that his behaviour is my fault because 2years into our relationship I had a one-night stand when he was locked away and feel this is my 'payback' for what I did however can these repetitive actions really be an excuse as punishment for what I did?

Maybe I am being stupid for staying but sometimes you can't help the people you love.

6:38 PM  

Thanks for this article. I have just been through a heart-breaking epidsode with my younger and only sister, who I cared for and nurtured through years of family abuse, addiction, and neglect. She betrayed our relationship in a horrible and heartless way, mirroring all the abuse we had suffered at the hands of my parents for so long. This has been one of the most painful experiences in my life. Reading this article did make me feel like other people have gone through this too, and someone understands what it is like. This made me feel a little more human. Thanks again.

6:38 PM  

I feel so angry and hurt. I feel so betrayed and stupid. my heart is breaking. I want it to turn to ice so i never feel this pain again

3:05 AM  

I experienced sister betrayal too. Emotional abuse by my whole family really hurts. Coming to terms with the betrayal of my parents for circumcising me is the greatest betrayal I have to deal with of all though. I have been genitally mutilated by my own parents and full sexual pleasure denied to me - without my consent. Living in denial of that betrayal has been the easiest road for us men so far.

Thanks for great blog article.

2:57 PM  

Jennifer, I discovered my husband doing the same thing in 2010. What a total shock. Turned out he's a sex addict,liar and cheated already on me. Theres no help for him. He's destroyed our marriage. He has ruined my finances n Im stuck. I sleep in a separate room now. He disgusts me.He tried down playing it. He tried saying "everyone does it".. he tried to accuse me of being a prude . He has blamed me for the need for porn ect ... your husband sounds like mine. My feelings of betrayel have been invalidated repeatedly by his refusal to get help & his refusal to acknowledge my pain. RUN if u can !!

3:18 AM  


1. there is NO HELP for someone like him. NONE. NADA.

2. go to your local DV Crisis Center and get some low cost referrals to therapists and attorneys and GET OUT.

7:53 PM  

Where cam I find immediate services for me and my children. We are so traumatized. I cannot function properly and holy horror, how people kick you when you're down. I can hardly defend with symptoms that trigger fear so ingrained, my children are no longer even aware and act only to protect themselves. I need to be assessed first as those thoughtfully executed relentless efforts to make me appear mentally ill are symptoms of mental illnes if first diagnosed by a psychiatrist. Mine will be overcome and not inherent. No matter if I would get some relief. I am thoroughly stumped to be helpless in this but a diagnoses like that would devastate me further in how he would use it.
Please help. I have had every childrens service, agency, hospital organization involved at my significant risk as my children require all that would be available and provided to them to us. We wait, we are told it takes time. as one, agency, organization reaches time limit without having provided more than further hardship as I kept my part of agreement to meet timely, and feared as not one service was availed us, another replaced with same results. I am terrified now in my unfamiliarity with current "provider" but that thelack of more than a phone number to call for an appointment odd in irrelevant and could not accomodate us illicited response as if I were not following through then maneuvers like showing up unannounced with excuse embarrassingly unbelievable in keep with his schesule to meet..ACS didnt even do that, although expected, I. Obtained this service with their assistance but paranoid or not, they didnt do anything to our benefit and this service wrote me aletter confirming my "agreement" to accept services. I may be looking, thinking, whatever too much, but I will find relief in being capable of not falling over in a puddle should someone need to cover their own self to the further detriment of my family. It is so easy to blame, to use as an excuse. Me sorry it just keepsa comin and so I need a professional in treating mental, emitional, psychological abuse and trauma symptoms so I can both get on with it already and advocate for my children and secure what they need as i had without fail prior. Any advice counseling, educational advocacy housing, legal services organization church medical dental with asap access. Ive been told to wait too long thank you sooo much

6:00 AM  

I have been betrayed by my parents and people that I felt were my parents' equivalent. I have supported them financial and emotional hardships and it has become painfully evident that they were just using me. They have always only looked out for themselves. In India, daughters are subjected to such abuses if they are not married off or do not have a family of their own. They are considered irreverent and they are meted out with treatments that women that are married or have borne a child thru a marriage don't. I had been born to what I thought a regular family, and did whatever best I could to get them to feel secure financially and in every I could possibly get them to feel loved and comforted. I never received any love back, was treated mercilessly, was forced to continue my support to them irrespective of how stressful it had gotten for me professionally and they refused to acknowledge that I have a life of my own. In India, arranged marriages are done for those that don't find a partner for themselves. Under such conditions, the person that is under question will be at the mercy of one's parents. In my case, they wanted to exploit me to the core, swindle my earnings for their comforts and never really cared how incredibly emotionally taxing it was for me to be a part of their lives. I have been thru terribly hardships and at the end of it I realize that nothing makes sense. I have wasted all my youth, my energy and my money and unrelenting support on a bunch of people who question my loyalty and have willfully betrayed my trust that they would come to support me at the time of my need. I wish I had this realization atleast within my adolescence so that I could set straight the remaining of my life.
I have been pretty suicidal since a very long time now, but at the same time I want to live in front of these people, and rub it on their faces that I will be happy irrespective of how they think my life is equivalent to a loser's.
Requesting whomever that is reading this to pray for my well being and that I be not dependent on any of these people ever in my life for any reason be it.

3:13 AM  

My sister seduced my husband while I was 9 months pregnant. It lasted for a month before it was discovered. She told him she didn't care that I was her sister. She wanted him to leave me and my now 2 children. A year later, she tries to talk to me more than anyone else in yhe family and likes things that I post to encourage myself on my own social feeds, even though the things I am posting to encourage myself is because what they did to me. I am trying to stay with my husband and make it work. I can't stand that she acts like nothing happened...but when I talk to my parents about it, they say she does it because she is "trying to make up for it". I just need her to back off and let me talk to her if I want to and if I don't, then stay away.

4:01 PM  

I had a rocky relationship with my ex girlfriend and it ended in the worst way possible. I wanted to try to make amends with her so we can move on with our lives and whether or not she forgave me, I would feel relived that I tried. But only mere months before the day I would try, my friends notify me that one of my "friends" and my ex girlfriend are now having an affair. I feel extremely betrayed and it's tearing me apart. I'm an optimist at heart but this is so far the worst experience of betrayal in my life. I will never forgive him for it and I don't feel the apology to her is even worth it anymore. My heart feels like someone took it out and stepped on it. I sometimes feel like someone is out to get me. Because every since my birthday last year, I can't seem to win. If I see them again I don't know what I'm gonna do. I don't understand why this would happen to me and I have so much hope and yet I take so much shit. I feel like I have a knife wedged in my back that's so deep it's not getting for a long time. I want to have confidence in myself. It's going to be hard to let go of something like this going forward. It's unacceptable.

6:15 PM  

I was betrayed by my sister. she forged my signature on a check. Are you ordered a bike for her daughter never got paid. I sold my truck to her and and never got a full amount truck is worth. Instead she bought airplane tickets without asking me if I wanted to go. Knowing my dad was sick with cancer.

7:14 AM  

I've had a crushed on a woman that I rent a room in my apartment for a very long time, and I've told her about how I feel about her but she doesn't want me like that ,instead a very close friend knows how I feel towards her and he decide to seduced her which she likes him and now she sneaks him in the apartment in middle of night. I feel horrible betrayed torn in pieces . The worst part is that my friend does things to her and talks about it , which I hate him telling me but she allows it. what should I do ?

3:30 AM  

Feeling Tens? Want to share something about you with others without exposing yourself. You are at right place. Here Your Social Diary will do trick for you.
Click Here

9:25 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home