How To Let Go Of Hurt And Betrayal In Ways That Actually Motivate You To Walk Away From Your Ex
Your partner has broken your trust. You struggle to stop spinning about it. It hurts to take a deep breath with that giant pit in your stomach, and your heart feels broken beyond repair. Ever wonder how to let go of hurt and betrayal so you can move on with your life? Is it possible to open your heart so you can love again?
Getting over hurt and betrayal is not something that is going to happen overnight. But if you take a conscious approach to walking away from your ex and healing your heart, you can create a greater love and a stronger partnership than the one you lost.
It is so easy to get stuck between two opposing feelings. On the one hand, you want to get back at your partner for hurting you. You may even want to hurt them more. On the other hand, part of you wants to rush to forgiveness and put the whole situation behind you. Neither of these polar opposites is going to get you what you really want.
Lasting love with a partner you can trust requires you to move past the hurt and betrayal, heal your heart, and create love in a more mindful way from the very beginning.
Choosing to stay and work things out with your partner can be an option if you believe that your partner is serious about repairing the relationship, making amends, and is willing to put in the time to earn your trust back.
However, if reconciliation and repair are not an option, you’ll want to know how to let go of hurt and betrayal so that you can learn to love and trust again.
How To Let Go Of Hurt And Betrayal In Ways That Actually Motivate You To Walk Away From Your Ex
Take It Day By Day
Some days you’ll feel like you’re ready to move on, and other days you’ll wonder if you’ll ever feel like yourself again. That is normal and to be expected. Letting go of hurt and betrayal (like all healing) is not a straight-line trajectory, it will take some time.
Your best approach is to just take it day by day. If you wake up and you feel strong, use that day to get things done. If you wake up feeling like a truck ran you over, then take extra special care of yourself that day, and don’t pack your schedule like you’re a superhero. Use your time off and your sick days. Schedule some time for self-care that includes puttering time where you have nothing on your calendar and just do whatever you feel like in the moment.
It may seem that your life will never get better. That is a lie you’re telling yourself. No one was ever so delusional and overcome with joy or happiness and thought, “I’m going to feel like this forever!” And yet, when you feel sadness, grief, or even guilt and shame, you convince yourself that you’ll be stuck in some abyss. You won’t. You will go on. You will feel better. Embrace the days that pass as your best friend because time is on your side.
All Emotions Are Temporary
Allow yourself to feel what you are feeling, express it, and it will move through you. You may uncover deeper layers of hurt and anger, but those emotions will shift and change as well.
Don’t focus on asking “why” this situation happened. Don’t look for the reason. These types of questions only keep you feeling like a victim and hold you back from moving forward. There is no answer to “why did this happen” that will give you the peace you are looking for. Sometimes bad things happen, and events are not logical. Asking why will only disempower you, so stay in your power and find better questions to ask yourself.
Your brain wants to find an answer or an explanation to solve the problem. Unfortunately, the only solution is to feel your feelings so you can move through them.
You may feel guilt or shame about what happened, thinking that it is your fault you were betrayed. Sadness and depression are also common, but you may also experience fear, anxiety, denial, helplessness, and despair. All these feelings are normal and are part of the process of letting go of hurt and betrayal.
Whatever you’re feeling, know that it is appropriate. Your feelings are simply information about your current state. The actions you can choose to take in response to your feelings are not all appropriate. So be selective about your actions and allow the space to feel all your feelings. It’s just energy moving through you.
A great mantra is “Just keep going.” Keep going until you feel better and at some point in the future you will even feel great again. So, to borrow from Dory of Finding Nemo fame: “Just keep swimming.”
How to let go of hurt and betrayal? Be patient with yourself and take it one day at a time. Feel all your negative emotions instead of trying to deny them or ignore them.
Up Your Self-Care To Calm Your Nervous System
When you experience loss and trauma you can get triggered into old emotional and behavioral patterns. Your physical body can go into a fight/flight/freeze response and your logical rational mind can go offline.
When your reptilian brain takes over, you are no longer acting in a rational or healthy way.
Take time to calm your nervous system so that your big, beautiful brain can come back online. Take a warm bath with baking soda, Epsom salts, and essential oils. Go to a restorative yoga class. Get regular massage and chiropractic care. Meditate. Walk in nature. Breathe.
When you get triggered and you feel the urge to act out, to attack, or to run away from your problems, sit down, breathe, put your hands on your chest and say to yourself, “I am loved and I am safe.” Keep repeating this until you calm down. Add in wrapping your arms around yourself giving yourself a big hug, or hug a pillow, to give yourself the feeling of being held. If you don’t already have one, get a weighted blanket for your bed. It’s like sleeping while someone is holding you tight all night long.
You’ll want to take extra time for self-care while you are going through this experience. There will be a desire to numb yourself with TV, alcohol, work; whatever your distraction of choice is. Use whatever energy you have to commit yourself to calm your nervous system instead of numbing it. You’ll be better for this intentional act as well as speed up your healing journey.
Checking out keeps you disconnected from yourself and others. This can create a dangerous spiral of isolation. Every person on the planet has been through tough times. When you stay committed to your self-care you remain connected to yourself leaving the doorway open to connect with others.
It is the connection to yourself and others that will bring you the healing you are looking for. The new experiences you have with people will connect you back into knowing you belong here on planet earth, that you are not alone, that you are part of the universal oneness of all things great and small.
How to let go of hurt and betrayal? Calm your nervous system, stay engaged with your supportive inner circle, and resist the urge to check out.
Cut Out The Source Of The Pain
Continuing to have your ex in your life will keep the wound open and not allow it to heal. Set a clear boundary and exercise your right to take care of yourself. Block your ex on all social media platforms. Change their name in your phone to “Do Not Answer.” And follow your instructions to not answer.
Let your ex know that you don’t wish to speak or to text or to have any contact at all.
There may be situations with your ex that you cannot avoid. Raising children, dealing with a joint business, or settling finances may require that you communicate with your ex.
Limit all communication to the absolute necessities. If you must continue to communicate it is important that you set clear rules about how, when, and where. Release the need to respond immediately if your ex contacts you. Wait before you say or do something that will re-engage the two of you in a dialogue.
How to let go of hurt and betrayal? Set clear boundaries for your ex and yourself.
Feel Your Feelings While Managing Your Thoughts
Whether you are replaying the events that happened repeatedly in your mind or spying on your cheating ex on social media, mentally spinning about the situation is keeping you stuck. It is also exacerbating the pain.
Obsessing over the details and searching for answers will only prolong the hurt and feelings of betrayal. It is normal to allow your imagination to run amuck and wish bad things upon the person who hurt you. You are not a bad person because you entertain these thoughts or feelings.
The difference between a sane person and an insane one is that the latter act on their fantasies. Just because you wish bad things would happen to someone doesn’t make you a bad person, it simply makes you human. However, continuing to nurture thoughts of revenge or focusing on your pain will exacerbate your suffering.
Take control of your thoughts by managing your inner dialog. When helpless thoughts arise, change your thoughts to positive ones and focus on who you are becoming. Create a vision of the future you, one that is no longer in pain, and choose thoughts that support this vision.
Affirm your belief that you can and will overcome this situation. Find an anthem that supports your journey and sing along as loudly as you can. Remember that ultimately, living well is the best revenge.
How to let go of hurt and betrayal? Choose thoughts that nurture your growth and your belief in love. Find an anthem that supports the vision of the new and improved you and sing it loud and often.
Decide You Will Be Better For The Experience
This is probably the most important step in this process. You get to decide how this experience will shape you and change you.
If you allow yourself to feel powerless like you are a victim, then you’ll reinforce this victim story throughout your life. You’ll be giving your power away to the person who betrayed you. You’ll be abdicating your ability to create happiness and success in life.
In order to stand in your power, make a decision about how you’re going to transform through what happened. Make it a conscious choice to be changed for the better.
You can’t change the circumstances of what happened. The betrayal and hurt have already occurred. Wishing it didn’t happen or focusing on regrets and wishing things were different is only going to keep you stuck in the hurt and trauma of the event.
Instead decide that you’re going to be stronger, better, smarter, or ___[fill in the blank]___ because of this experience. Decide that you’re going to become a better version of you and then focus on what you can learn and how you can grow from having gone through it.
Let go of hurt and betrayal and move on by becoming the best version of yourself – like a sparkling diamond that has withstood the pressures that created it.
Nothing Has Meaning Except The Meaning You Give It
This is an essential part of the process to reinvent yourself for the better. YOU and you alone get to decide the meaning you assign to the events you have experienced. Choose wisely the meaning you would like to give to this experience of hurt and betrayal.
Ultimately, you are not defined by the events that happened to you, what defines you is how you behave on the other side of them.
You’ll falter along the way. You may spend hours, days, even weeks wallowing in self-pity. It’s not a straight trajectory; it’s more like peaks and valleys. It is not whether you stumble on your journey that determines your success. It is getting back up again after you stumble and fall.
Your commitment to becoming better does not need to be perfect. You only need to keep returning to it. It doesn’t matter how many times things appear bleak, be determined to return to your commitment to become better.
You may not even know what it means to become better from the experience. You’ll probably feel like there is no way you’ll ever overcome this setback. These thoughts and feelings are expected and temporary.
Just keep telling yourself that there is something here for you to learn about yourself so that you can be better for this experience, and you’ll find the gold that will transform everything.
How to let go of hurt and betrayal? Keep getting back up and opening your heart to new possibilities.
When you are ready, and only after you’ve invested time on the journey outlined above, make time to forgive.
Forgive yourself for not knowing any better. Forgive yourself for making whatever mistakes, for not seeing the problem, or even for being the type of person who would allow this to happen to them.
You are a human being and therefore not perfect. If you knew all the answers then there would be no point in living this life.
Forgive the person who betrayed you. That person was doing the best they could with the resources they had. Maybe they had a crappy childhood, or a wound that caused them to lash out at others. Maybe they just believe they are no good and act from a feeling of self-hatred and self-sabotage.
Hurt people lash out and hurt people. The fact that this person hurt you means they were hurt too – not by you, but they carry a wound that caused them to behave as they did.
Whatever their story, now is the time to find compassion for the hurt person who chose to hurt you.
Ultimately forgiveness is for you. Practicing forgiveness will free you from the energetic dance you’ve been doing with this person. It doesn’t mean that you forget what happened and allow a toxic person back into your life.
Forgiveness Sets You Free
Our favorite practice of forgiveness is the Hawaiian practice of Ho’oponopono. This forgiveness meditation is about coming back into wholeness and integrity with yourself.
‘Pono’ is the Hawaiian word for integrity, and Ho’oponopono is coming back into integrity with yourself.
Commit to this forgiveness meditation and you can create magic in your life.
Here are the steps to practice Ho’oponopono:
- Picture who you wish to forgive in your mind. This can be the person who hurt you. It can be you. It can even be you (or the other person) at an earlier age.
- Place your hands on your heart center (the center of your chest on your sternum) and repeat these four phrases:
Please Forgive Me
I Love You
- Practice this daily for 5-10 minutes until you feel the energy and emotion shift and you feel whole again.
The Buddha says:
“Holding on to anger and resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”
This is exactly why forgiveness is essential. The anger and resentment you may hold against another person will ultimately poison you, limit you, and hold you back from living at your full potential.
Don’t Let Hurt And Betrayal Stop You From Living Your Best Life
No one is immune to being betrayed. Relationships are complex and people are multi-faceted. There is some evolution that you must go through to ensure this won’t happen to you again.
Caring about another person and loving another person does not come with any guarantees. You must risk when it comes to love.
The rewards are always greater than the setbacks and pain if you find the silver lining and grow.
The growth is your ticket to a new level of living and loving. The healing will allow you to connect more deeply with other people, likely new people who will love and accept you and support you more than you ever imagined was possible.
We have been helping clients for over a decade let go of hurt and betrayal so they can share their life with a beloved partner. Is your heart broken? Looking for a path out of the pain and back into hope? Sign up for a complimentary Soulmate Strategy Session. You can check us out while we give you insight into your situation, guide you towards healing your heart and learning to love again.
About the authors
Orna and Matthew Walters are soulmate coaches and prolific writers about love. Finding love, keeping love, healing from heartbreak, bringing in your beloved and more. They have been published on MSN, Yahoo!, YourTango, Redbook, and have been featured guest experts on BRAVO’s THE MILLIONAIRE MATCHMAKER with Patti Stanger, and as guests with Esther Perel speaking about love and intimacy.