When a Friend Betrays You

When a Friend Betrays You

These steps can help you cope with a friend's betrayal.You’re shocked. Livid. Devastated.

When a friend betrays you–takes something or someone precious to you, lies to you or about you, or rejects you without cause–you can become completely disoriented. Someone you loved and trusted has become your worst enemy. What should you do?

Stop asking why. Why would she do this? That’s what you want to know. It makes no sense. So you try to think about her past, her insecurities, and stress she may be under. But the answers you try to cobble together do not comfort you. She was jealous. She was duped. She didn’t realize how much it would hurt you. But it still hurts. The why question will just prolong your pain.

Stop blaming yourself. If you know you did something to provoke the betrayal, you’re not likely to be devastated. If you don’t know what you did to provoke it, you may wonder if you didn’t pay her enough attention, didn’t encourage her enough, or if you talked too much. Believing you are responsible can give you a false feeling of control. You think you can prevent this from happening again. The truth is, if you had done something unknowingly to offend your friend, it was her responsibility to tell you and not to take revenge. Blaming yourself just adds insult to injury.

Stop imagining your revenge. If only you had said just the right words when you discovered the betrayal. You could tell everyone she knows about it. Then she’d be sorry. You could do something–anything!– to make her regret what she has done. But like asking why and blaming yourself, imagining your revenge just makes you feel worse. You’re not a mean-spirited person. Don’t let your friend’s sin cause you to stumble.

Start praying. You have other friends who will react to the news of your friend’s betrayal the same way you did — with disbelief. But Proverbs 18:24 reassures us: 

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Jesus will understand and will comfort you when nothing and no one else will. Cry out to the Lord with your heartache and ask Him to heal you.

Start meditating on Scripture. The Bible is not a dictionary–just a book of information. It is medicine for the soul. In the pages of Scripture we learn that Jesus knows the heartbreak of betrayal, too:

After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” John 13:21

Reading Scriptures that concern betrayal will help you know that you’re not alone. Meditating on verses that affirm God’s faithful love can bring healing.

Start loving. It’s natural to want to protect yourself from being hurt again. But refusing to give and receive love is the most hurtful. You can become bitter and depressed, leading people who would normally love you to keep their distance. The love that is lavished on us by our Savior can and should provoke us to love others:

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8

Don’t deprive yourself and others of the joy of friendship because of one person.

These steps will lead you to peace, healing, and even forgiveness in time.

Do you have other suggestions for those coping with betrayal?

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How to Handle Hurt

How to Handle Hurt


Like you, I’ve been hurt many, many times. While the scrapes, burns, and injuries are soon forgotten, the emotional hurts can fester for years. I have not become perfectly proficient in healing relationship wounds, but I have learned a few things professionally and personally. Perhaps one of these “bandages” will help you handle hurt, too.

  • Admit you’re hurt. Denying that someone hurt you makes it more likely that you will act out and hurt yourself or someone else. Even if you don’t have the courage to tell the person who hurt you, acknowledge the pain and tell someone you trust.
  • Get it out. Like thorns in the flesh, emotional wounds that aren’t removed can infect us, destroying our health. I’ve found the best ways to get it out are to write it out, talk it out, and cry it out.
  • Look for the root. Seeking to understand the real cause of the hurt can help you heal. Most of the time we’re either being overly sensitive or the perpetrator is acting out of her own pain. Often what was said or done isn’t about us. Understanding doesn’t excuse wrong behavior, but enables us to get over it more quickly.
  • Don’t take it too seriously. Some of the things people say and do that are hurtful are quite comical when you look at them a different way. My master’s research was on laughter’s impact on pain perception. Humor helps physical pain, but it’s a great analgesic for relationship hurts, too.
  • Don’t pick at the wound. Once we’ve shared our heart with a trusted confidante, continuing to talk about the painful words or behavior is like reopening a scab. Commit to leaving it alone so it will heal.
  • Exchange your hope. We may find ourselves hoping that the perpetrator will finally understand how they’ve hurt us and will express their deep regret for doing so. That kind of hope leaves our wounds open to infection. Instead, hope in the God who allowed the situation so He could work it for your good and His glory.
  • Pray for the one who hurt you. The most healing prayer is not that the perpetrator will be hit by a speeding bus! Instead, pray that the Lord would heal her and forgive her so she will not hurt herself or others anymore. Of course, as we pray we recognize that we have inadvertently hurt others, too. Thank God for His mercy and forgiveness.

If none of these help, email me. My husband is a black belt in ju jitsu and he would be happy to beat up the person who hurt your feelings. Hope that made you smile. 🙂

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3)

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