Maybe you spilled your best friend's secret to a notorious gossip or reacted in a cavalier way when your significant other opened up to you -- by any account, trust was lost. Knowing the signs of restored trust can help you know if you've done enough to patch up the relationship; it can also relieve your anxiety, and perhaps help you trust yourself again as well. When the other person returns to the old routine, sans bitterness and questioning, you may be back on the road to a rewarding relationship.
Opening Up Again
It will take time for a betrayed person to be emotionally honest again. In her book “Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead,” University of Houston research professor Brene Brown suggests that many feel ashamed at having left themselves open to betrayal. Even when these feelings of shame are unwarranted, they have to be processed in most cases. The other person will probably only open up again when able to consider emotional vulnerability a courageous quality and when that person's relationship with you yet again seems a safe space.
End of the Suspicion
Someone who has been let down is likely to feel unsafe in the friendship or romance based on a perception of not being valued by the betrayer, says Macquarie University psychology professor Julie Fitness in “Betrayal, Rejection, Revenge, and Forgiveness: An Interpersonal Script Approach,” a chapter in the book “Interpersonal Rejection.” When you have successfully demonstrated that your betrayal was an uncharacteristic slip rather than part of a pattern, the other person may stop calling his or her importance to you into question. The person may demonstrate this progress by graciously accepting your invitations and taking compliments in a straightforward, appreciative way.
Changes in Your Own Guilt
Besides consciously assessing the person you've hurt for major indications of forgiveness and restored trust, you might consider looking at your own behavior. Fitness reports that guilt is a common, automatic response on the part of the betrayer, and that it has to do with empathy for the betrayed and an understanding of how your actions affect this person. You probably experienced looming guilt on a regular basis early after the offense. However, if you feel in tune with the betrayed party and see this person often, an alleviated sense of guilt on your part may signal that your subconscious has picked up on positive changes in the individual's reactions toward you.
The Expression of Forgiveness
One of the surest signs that you are back in someone's good graces is a straightforward statement of forgiveness. If your trespass is truly forgiven, the individual who was hurt will not demonstrate any attempted revenge or malicious behavior, such as passive-aggression, toward you, according to the article “Understanding Forgiveness,” part of PBS's This Emotional Life feature. To receive and accept the other person's pardon, you may need to also forgive yourself.
- Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead; Brene Brown
- Interpersonal Rejection: Betrayal, Rejection, Revenge, and Forgiveness: An Interpersonal Script Approach; Julie Fitness
- PBS.org: Understanding Forgiveness
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