Will I Learn to Trust Again After Being Betrayed

Will I Learn to Trust Again After Being Betrayed

In many cases, forgiving someone who has hurt you or wronged you is the most difficult step

Substance abuse takes a tremendous toll on any relationship, whether friendship, family ties, or even marriage. It is for this reason that Al-Anon, a support group for the families of alcoholics, says, “alcoholism is a family disease.” Substance abuse affects not just the addicted individual, but also the lives of those around the addict as well.

One technique that can help restore relationships is based on the acronym H.E.A.L., which stands for Hear, Empathize, Acting, Love. This approach can repair damaged relationships by replacing defensive self-protection with compassionate presence and loving connection. For Hear, you focus on hearing your partner, staying present and listening to them. Empathize focuses on allowing your partner’s experience to deeply affect you. Acting is taking action to address concerns and Love means feeling and expressing unconditional love.[1] This is just one easy way to remember the different parts of healing. Here are some additional ways that you can build trust in restoring a relationship.

Forgiveness Is Essential to Moving Forward

In many cases, forgiving someone who has hurt you or wronged you is the most difficult step. Forgiveness does not mean that you are not hurt or even all right with what happened. Rather, forgiveness is making the intentional choice to change your feelings and negative attitudes. It is when you let go of the negative emotions that make you want to hold a grudge or feel spiteful toward someone. For example, if you have a family member that has struggled with Xanax addiction and has stolen money from you to buy drugs, to forgive them does not mean the theft is accepted. It just means you let go of the anger and the vengeful feelings you have toward the person.

Focus on the Present, Not the Past

When you are learning to trust someone again, it is very easy for your mind to automatically scan through the past and fixate on the times that you have been wronged. This mindset will not allow you to move forward. Your relationship will not be exactly how it was before and that is all right. When you focus on the good things that are happening today, you do not find yourself worrying as much about things that happened before in the past. There will be reminders from time to time but your attitude will be much more positive. Remember, forgiveness means changing your thoughts toward the individual and the situation. This is not to say this is an easy or simple process. You may need some help on a regular basis in the form of a support group, friend or therapist you feel comfortable opening up with.

Talk with a Professional

One of the most beneficial things you can do is to talk things over with a professional counselor or therapist. If your spouse is now in recovery, you could even go to talk therapy sessions with them. You have many different resources that can help you move forward.  The healing process—which is where you learn to trust someone again—takes time. The process does not always look the same for everyone nor does it take the same amount of time for everyone. There may be relapses or slipups. This is real life, not a movie where things always go smoothly or have a “happily ever after” kind of ending.

Addiction Is a Chronic Disease

It is important to remember that addiction is a chronic disease just like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and arthritis. Recovery isn’t as simple as having more will power. An individual does not choose to become an addict any more than he or she would choose to have cancer. Heredity plays a very important part in the risk of developing addiction. Brain imaging studies have shown the differences in the brain are both a cause and effect of addiction. Even before an individual participates in substance abuse, there are neurobiological differences in those who become addicted compared to those who do not become addicted.[2]

Wherever you are today, please know that you have someone you can talk with about your situation. The healing process can take a very long time. It is even possible that you are not ready to forgive or trust someone who has hurt you at this moment. There is nothing wrong with that. One of the best things you can do is get an unbiased outside perspective to help. If you would like to talk to someone, please feel free to call our toll-free helpline. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day and will be glad to listen and provide you with help for your situation.


[1] https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-mindful-self-express/201304/four-steps-relationship-repair-the-h-e-l-technique Four Steps to Relationship Repair With The H-E-A-L Technique. Greenberg, Melanie.

[2] https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/where-science-meets-the-steps/201305/5-myths-about-addiction-undermine-recovery 5 Myths About Addiction That Undermine Recovery. Sack, David. May 13th, 2013.


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