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Beyond Betrayal: Overcome Past Hurts and Begin to Trust Again

Beyond Betrayal: Overcome Past Hurts and Begin to Trust Again

by Phil Waldrep

Learn More | Meet Phil Waldrep



It is easier to forgive an enemy than a friend.

—William Blake

It always seems to come out of nowhere. One moment the birds are singing, the sun is shining, and life is good.

Then, like the strike of a bolt of lightning, our world is turned upside down.

You discover that everything you thought, believed, and assumed about someone close to you is wrong—false, in fact. The person you trusted, the one you did life or family or business with, is a liar and a sham.

How do you know? Because that person betrayed you.

You discover a business partner has been embezzling from you for years or one day just up and announces he’s leaving to start his own company (with your trade secrets!) and has left you deeply in debt.

The spouse that said they loved you with all their heart and promised to be faithful “until death do us part” is having an affair with another person.

The friend you trusted to invest your retirement money embezzled it and spent it on extravagant living. As you dig deeper you discover he’s been running a Ponzi scheme for years.

You find out a coworker and friend revealed personal secrets about you to get a promotion instead of you.

Yeah, that person. The person who, if possible, you would just as soon never see or speak to again.

You gave them your trust and confided in them—and they used that to pull the wool over your eyes. They deceived you and may even have robbed you.

Now, they don’t care. To them, it is no big deal.

You want an explanation. They don’t offer one. If they do, it’s your fault, not theirs. You want to hear: “I am sorry.” But if you do, you know they don’t mean it.

What is worse is family members or mutual friends seem to care more about them than you. They certainly aren’t rallying to your side.

You scream, “Why me?”

The night it happened, you cried until your pillow was as soggy as a blanket left out in the rain.

Everywhere you look you are reminded of two things: you were betrayed, and you were betrayable.

How could I have been such a fool?

Every time someone looks at you, you’re sure they’re thinking, There goes a person who was gullible enough to put their trust in a traitor. How naïve can a person be?

You wonder how you’ll ever be able to trust anyone again.

Honestly, I don’t know of any other pain in life that is worse than being betrayed by someone close to you. It changes everything. After such an experience, the world is simply a different place—one far darker and crueler than you ever thought possible before.

Sure, you’ve watched others have painful, life-changing experiences, but there was always an explanation. Your aunt and uncle lost their home because of a tornado or a hurricane.

But no one can control the weather. Right?

The doctor told a close friend that she has ALS. She certainly doesn’t deserve it, but there was nothing anyone could do to prevent it.

A neighbor lost his job because the company was moving overseas. It’s the fault of those selfish politicians! What are we supposed to do?

Painful? Sure.

Life-changing? Absolutely.

But at least there was a reason for their pain. It was all beyond their control or the control of people they loved. No one hurt them intentionally. It was just happenstance.

But your pain? That is different.

In your case, someone you trusted deliberately used you, hurt you, robbed you, and left you emotionally destitute. Now you want answers.

Why? What did I do to deserve this?

How could anyone abuse your emotions and destroy your dreams so casually? Why would anyone convince you of one thing and do the opposite? If they didn’t want to live or work with you, then why didn’t they tell you the truth instead of acting like they loved you and then doing all that other stuff behind your back?

How are you going to face tomorrow?

If you are like most people who have faced betrayal, you’ve already answered that one. Your first instinct is to build four walls around your heart, refuse to let anyone inside, and never be vulnerable again. You want an ironclad guarantee that you will never experience pain and hurt at this level for the rest of your life.

Life might not be as fun behind four walls, but at least it won’t be so painful. Let me tell you from experience: That’s no way to live.

Though betrayal can feel like the end—and it is the end of some things—it doesn’t have to be the end of you. It doesn’t have to color every relationship you have for the rest of your life. It doesn’t mean God has turned His back on you or is punishing you for something you’ve done (or didn’t do).

I promise you, the sun will shine again in your life. You can trust again, though that may be hard to fathom with the way you feel right now.

How do I know?

Because I have been betrayed. Deeply betrayed. For me, it was a close friend and colleague.

It affected my life emotionally, financially, and spiritually. It caused me to withdraw from relationships and vow never to trust again.

It changed the way I treated and interacted with people.

It took years to process what happened and acknowledge that it changed me.

Today, as a result, I am stronger, better, and happier that I have ever been. Believe me, there is hope!

So, I am inviting you to allow me to walk with you through the pain and emotions that you are feeling. Whether it has been a recent wound that hurts to mention or a betrayal years ago that you never addressed, I’d like to show you the path to recovery.

It will take some time, but you will get there.

In sharing openly and honestly with you, my prayer is that it won’t take you as much time as it took me. My hope is that, in these pages, I can meet you where you are—whether you are in the pit of the pain the betrayal caused or if it has been a few years since it occurred, we can work together towards a better day for you.

I will admit that I don’t know everything about recovering from betrayal, but I do know a few things. I have walked through betrayal and come out on the other side of pain. One of the things I can tell you now is that it is hard to climb out of this pit alone. That is why I want to answer a few questions you are asking to help you process your feelings—or at least I want to get you started.

But I can promise that, if you start the journey, someday—not tomorrow or the next, but one day—the birds will be singing and the sun will be shining again, and life will be good.

At least that was my experience. And I have seen it happen for others who I have walked through betrayal with as a friend, confidante, and sometimes a minister. I believe the same can happen for you.

But before we get too much further, let me share what happened to me. My credentials for talking about this aren’t because I have a degree in psychology or have developed a counseling program to help others.

What I’ve learned and share here is from personal experience, both from my story and the stories of other people who faced betrayal.

My hope is that my story and the stories of others will help you understand your story.

So, before we talk about anything else, let me tell you what happened to me as I remember it.

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