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Dealing with Betrayal and Abandonment

Updated on August 21, 2013

Remain Objective

It is all too easy to blame ourselves when we have been betrayed or abandoned, and to take the actions of others as a personal affront. Most people's behaviour is a reflection of their own shortcomings or mental state rather than a rejection of you personally. Try to be objective about the situation - ask yourself if you genuinely did anything wrong, or was this situation brought about because of the other person's issues. If you do feel that you were somewhat to blame, what can you learn from this occasion and how can you do better in future?

Put Things In Perspective

If you have been abandoned or betrayed by a friend or a partner, it can feel like a gross breach of trust. Romantic infidelities can make us question how attractive we are and those by those close to us hurt the most. But ask yourself whether any of this will matter a year from now, or five years from now. The chances are, this momentary pain will be a mere blip in the great story of your life. Don't let something small and insignificant hurt you more than it has to.

Accept What You Can Not Change

It is sometimes tempting to just not accept what has happened to us, or to try to win others back or seek some kind of revenge on them. If someone has made the decision to turn their back on you, trying to change their mind or to get justice can be a quick route to losing your dignity and your sense of self-worth. You can not control the responses of other people. It is better to accept what has happened as a fact you can not change and find the courage to move on.

Choose To Move On

Some people find it very hard to let go of hurts and perceived rejection, and yet hanging onto negative feelings gives us no benefits whatsoever. Will wallowing in pain improve your life or help you to move forward? Of course it won't. The only thing you can do when other people hurt you is to decide to move on and let go of all negative feelings. Forgiveness has been shown to lower blood pressure, heart rate and increase life span, while dwelling on perceived injustices has been shown to do the opposite.

Remember You Are Not Alone

While being betrayed or abandoned can make you feel extremely lonely, remember that you are not the only person to have experienced this emotion. Many people have also shared in that feeling you are now experiencing, meaning you are not on your own after all. Relationships are complex and betrayal and abandonment are sometimes part and parcel of the rich tapestry of life. You aren't the first to feel badly hurt and you won't be the last. Talk to others about your feelings if it helps, but just focus on the emotions rather than the content. Blaming and whining will not help in the long-term.


Above all, don't let one experience sour you towards the whole human race. It is alright to be cautious, but don't let one situation control your perceptions forever. Judge other people on their own merit, not on people who have gone before.

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