Monday, February 17, 2014

How to Forgive Really Big Betrayals

Once you get a forgiveness lifestyle happening, most of your forgiveness work will be fairly easy.  Lately I've been discussing the concept of "flipping the switch" from judgement to acceptance or fear to love.  This is a fairly easy process and once you understand it and have worked with it for awhile you'll find that you can forgive most of life's little annoyances and wounds in a minute or so of correct thinking.

However, there are other kinds of forgiveness needs in our lives and some are more challenging than this.  One is for big betrayals.  Not all of us have experienced a core-shattering betrayal, but if you have, you'll know how deeply painful this can be.  

My own experience with forgiving big betrayals has shown me that they require a lot of forgiveness work, often over an ongoing period of time.  Also, I've found that some deep betrayals need to be forgiven from a number of different angles and using a number of different processes.

Let's deal with the ongoing aspect of forgiving big betrayals first.  When we are deeply and utterly betrayed to our cores, there is so much hurt that it sometimes releases slowly.  In forgiving big betrayals, I found that I would forgive only to find that just a few days later, painful memories were running through my mind all over again. Much of the hurt, anger and other painful emotions had returned in almost full force.   

When this happens, there is nothing you can do, but forgive the whole mess all over again to the best of your ability.  Sometimes this means that you are forgiving the same event over and over again for weeks, months or even years.  It's important not to feel alarmed or overwhelmed by this.  Settle in to the fact that some of the biggest traumas of our lives take some time and effort to work through.  As we forgive, accept and release the pain, over time we will find that our forgiveness load lightens considerably every time we work with it and that eventually, the traumatic painful emotions lift completely away, never to return.  Have patience and keep chipping away at it.  You will come to the other side of it.

It's complicated!

One thing I've found is that there are often a number of different emotional aspects surrounding a big betrayal.  In other words, it's complicated.  As we forgive one part of it, other aspects come to the surface of our minds.  As each aspect comes into our awareness, we need to forgive that part of the betrayal.  We might find that we are forgiving one big betrayal, but that this event had repercussions that affected a myriad of aspects in our lives.  The trusting way we formerly looked at the world may have changed.  The betrayal may have forced significant changes into our daily lifestyles, perhaps financial, or we may even have had to move houses or change jobs.  If we have children, they may be affected.  Perhaps our betrayer was someone we spent a great deal of time with, and now we are mourning the loss of a best friend or spouse.  Our confidence levels may have changed and our sense of overall fear may be increased.  Perhaps this event tied into earlier memories of betrayal in our past that need to be dug up from the interior of our minds and processed.  

Understanding and forgiving all this needs contemplative time.  Think of this betrayal as a big knotted ball of yarn in our sub-consciousness.  We need to unravel every thread and release it individually until eventually, there is nothing left. 

A great starting place for forgiving a big betrayal is with Colin Tipping's Radical Forgiveness forms. (available for free at under "free stuff")  They really force you to do some deep thinking about how the betrayal has affected you.  If you are really deeply hurt, be prepared to do quite a few forms.  Try to tackle a form every day or so for awhile until you feel that the forgiveness is taking effect.  Every time you become aware of a new aspect of the betrayal that needs to be forgiven, write it down on an ongoing forgiveness "to do" list.   This way, you'll know the direction your forgiveness will take each day.  

I also like using a number of other forgiveness processes on something big like this.  There are several great ones outlined in my book "Forgiveness is the Key to Happiness", particularly "Feel the Feelings".  Also, my "Forgive Your Past NOW" audio meditation can be of significant help in breaking through a lot of the pain and hurt in one quick blow.  

Just remember that forgiveness is a lifestyle.  It is something we do everyday.  We are all given forgiveness assignments in this lifetime. Everyone of us has bruises, bumps and deep wounds to forgive.  It is as we forgive, accept and release that the true meaning of love begins to flow into our lives.  It starts off slowly at first, but as our forgiveness lifestyle grows, our understanding of the true meaning of love does, too.  And when this happens, we begin to know the deep inner peace that is our divine inheritance.  It's always ours to receive, but forgiveness is the way that we convince ourselves that we are worthy of accepting it.  

Available at:

Audio download with the "feel the feelings" forgivness process: