Feeling guilty about something and blaming yourself for it can be very self-destructive, but it gets even worse if you start blaming yourself for being cheated on. This is an additional stress at a time when your ego had been badly bruised.
When someone you trust cheats on you, you are left with long-lasting emotional scars and regardless of what you tell others, or yourself, being cheated on sucks.
Cheating boils down to betrayal and provokes some predictable emotions, such as anger, shame, a sense of loss or worthlessness. However, although people react to this differently, their reaction usually revolves around three specific emotions.
3 Ways Betrayal Makes You Feel
3. A bit of both
Most people experience a mixture of these feelings and the more self-confident they are, the more likely they are to feel angry rather than guilty about this.
On the other hand, if you have low self-esteem, and you happen to know who the other person is, you may start comparing yourself to this other person trying to find out what they have that you don’t. Or, even worse, you start thinking of all the things you could have done, or should have said, but hadn’t. Once you get to this stage, it’s very easy to start blaming yourself for being cheated on.
The danger with this is that self-blame may make you feel angry with yourself for allowing this to happen in the first place, or disgusted with yourself because of how stupid, unattractive, boring, shy, or naive you are.
To stop this downward spiral to self-hatred and self-blame you need to get your self-confidence back. And fast.
Here are the 3 things you should consider applying to avoid losing who you are by blaming the unfortunate situation on you.
1. Forgive Yourself for Whatever you Blame Yourself for
The problem with having low self-esteem is that it leads to other problems, eg substance abuse, depression, violence, abusive relationships, feelings of guilt for what others had done to you instead of being angry at those people, etc.
If, however, there really is something you are guilty of, work out what that is and deal with it, rather than dwell on it for the rest of your life. Forgiving yourself is about freeing yourself of guilt, real or imaginary, and moving on with your life.
2. Be Kind to Yourself
Try to understand why you feel about yourself the way you do. However, be prepared to deal with the consequences of a bruised ego. There will be days when you’ll hate yourself, feel very angry at the person who cheated on you or at the person you were cheated with. There will be days when you’ll feel everyone knows about what happened to you and that they are all talking behind your back and laughing at you. There will be times when you feel so sorry for yourself you just want to die.
Whatever feelings you may be dealing with while you’re getting over the trauma of being cheated on, remember that this was not your fault and that you should not blame yourself for what happened because, as they say, it takes two to tango.
3. Try Looking at the Whole Incident From a Different Angle
When you do, you’ll soon start feeling angry, very angry, and that’s good. It is usually at this stage that you start seeing yourself as a victim rather than a perpetrator. Although anger can be a destructive feeling, it also boosts your energy and gives you both the emotional and mental energy to go on, no matter how badly hurt you may be.
To change your perspective on what had happened simply try to look at your relationship with different eyes. Be brutally honest with yourself, but don’t take the blame for everything that may have gone wrong over the years. Some people are more prone to blame themselves for everything, including hurts others inflict upon them. The worst thing about this is that self-blame often leads to anxiety, shame, low self-worth, or negative self-talk. All these emotions only undermine your self-confidence further.
However, even if you are a down-to-earth, confident, and emotionally mature person, finding out you are cheated on is not easy to deal with. The realization may make you feel used, alone, vulnerable, insecure, etc. You may feel like your whole world crumbled and you lack the energy to start rebuilding your life.
Know that you’re not alone and as long as you’re aware of how you feel, you’re on the way to a healthy healing.
3 Most Common Emotions You Will Experience After Cheating
It’s said that being cheated on is like a slap in the face when you’re least expect it. Your emotions may range from sadness, feelings of emptiness, shame, disappointment, desire for revenge, etc none of which will do a lot for you or your road to recovery. It doesn’t help if everyone keeps on telling you that person is not worth your tears or it’s his/her lost because you will always want to understand why you get left behind for another person.
Make no mistake, betrayal hurts and it hurts even more if the person you were cheated with happens to be your friend. That way you’ve received a double blow from two people you trusted most.
What is probably the worst thing about betrayal is that it eats up your confidence and feeling of self-worth.
– Trust issues
The most long-lasting and possibly devastating consequence of being cheated on is that you may stop trusting others. The blow you had received may trigger a feeling that you can’t trust anyone. Some people take this so hard, that they even develop symptoms similar to a post-traumatic stress disorder which may stay with them for life.
Losing your ability to trust, affects your ability to develop new, healthy relationships in the future. Because you were cheated on once, you may fear of being cheated on again and this will hold you back. But you can’t expect to find happiness if you don’t allow yourself to take a risk.
– Desire for revenge
While dealing with hurt, injustice, and pain, it’s important to feel safe. Unless you have strong family support, you need to create an environment of support and reflection, where you will be able to rage, cry, or wallow but also become receptive to your inner voice. You’d be surprised how often the answer to a question that had been bugging you for a long time, comes in a dream or while sitting quietly in contemplation.
Surround yourself with people who you know will offer good advice or a shoulder to cry on. People in whose company you’ll feel safe and loved. People who will help you get over the trauma so you can again see the world as a friendly place.
While you’re lamenting a lost relationship, licking your wounds, or dealing with a burning rage, you need to be surrounded by trustworthy, non-gossiping, and loving friends. If you don’t have them, seek professional help, especially if you’re not coping.
However, some people heal best if left alone, so if this is you, it’s OK to withdraw from social life while you sort yourself out. Whatever way you decide to deal with this, make sure you gradually free yourself of all the negative emotions you may be overwhelmed with at the moment. Feel the hurt, deal with it, then get rid of it.
On the other hand, a desire for revenge is better than self-blame. Just make sure that by hurting others you don’t create even more stress and hardship for yourself. Sometimes it’s best to put unpleasant memories behind you and get on with your life. Even if it means admitting to yourself you should have paid more attention to your partner’s unusual behavior over the recent months and that perhaps there were things you could have handled differently.
Crushing guilt is bad, but it’s even worse feeling guilty because of something someone else had done to you.
The trick to getting over being cheated on is not to get to a stage where you start feeling you’re not good enough or where you start blaming yourself for what happened. It is not your fault; it is your partner’s. Instead of breaking up with you if he or she was unhappy with the relationship or discussing the issues he or she was unhappy about with you, they chose to have the best of both worlds.
Don’t burden yourself with self-blame for you’ll remain stuck in the past and become unable to move on with your life. The sad thing is that if they get away with it once, chances are philanderers become serial cheaters. So, either forgive and forget or get out of the relationship that has no future or that makes you feel bad about yourself.
As Emily V. Gordon, an American writer and producer said in one of her interviews, “Betrayal can be extremely painful, but it’s up to you how much that pain damages you permanently”.
Author’s Bio: Kolyanne Russ is a relationship and love coach with a conscious and stress-free approach. She works with fabulous women to help them create a vision of their ideal relationship and gain the confidence to achieve it. She also writes and shares educational and inspirational content on her blog at Pinch of Attitude.