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    143: Healing From The Five Stages Of Betrayal w/ Dr. Debi Silber

    • 34 min read

    Recovering from a betrayal, whether your partner cheated or your best friend shared your deepest secrets, is a process. I’m joined by Dr. Debi Silber to talk about her work helping women discover their Post Betrayal Transformations.

    Or listen & subscribe for free on Apple Podcasts | Android

    About Dr. Debi Silber

    Dr. Debi Silber is a holistic psychologist, the founder of The Post Betrayal Transformation Institute. She’s a recognized health, mindset, empowerment, and personal development expert and speaker, coach, and author. Debi specializes in helping women heal after experiencing betrayal.

    After researching and conducting a Ph.D. study on how we experience betrayal from a family member or partner, Debi discovered a predictable and proven process that takes people from betrayal to breakthrough. That process, coupled with 28 years of health, mindset and personal development training and coaching, enabled her to create a multi-pronged approach to help people heal (physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually) from the trauma of betrayal.

    About This Episode

    In this episode, Debi joins me to talk about her work with the Post Betrayal Transformation Institute. She explains the three reasons why most people are unable to move on from betrayal. These reasons are not always something we do consciously, but recognizing them allows us space to work through the betrayal.

    Debi’s favorite three steps are to face it, feel it, and heal it. When we actually take the time to face and acknowledge the betrayal, we can start to feel it. And it’s only when we actually feel our feelings and work through them that we can begin to heal.

    Being betrayed and holding the feelings associated with it has a lasting impact. That impact is not just on our emotional health, but our physical and mental, too. It’s imperative that you find your way through these feelings so you can heal your body.

    Debi talks about the five stages of betrayal. Like grief, our bodies and minds need to work through these stages in order to heal. Debi explains what happens when you don’t go through these stages or, even further than this, refuse to accept your betrayal altogether.

    Finally, Debi talks us through a relatively simple activity that can help you start to heal your betrayal right now. Healing is a process; the earlier you start your journey, the sooner healing can begin. 

    Are you struggling to work through a betrayal? You’re not alone. As always, you can ask me anything and let me hear your thoughts in the comments below. If you have questions, email team@drannacabeca.com.

     

    In This Episode:

    • The three reasons we won’t move on from a betrayal
    • Why you need to Face It, Feel It, Heal It
    • How betrayal impacts your overall health
    • The five stages of betrayal 
    • What happens when you refuse to accept your betrayal
    • A simple activity to help heal your betrayal right now

     

    Quotes:

    “It’s the hardest thing in the world because you really have to go through it saying, “I have no expectation of what’s going to show up, but I know I have to heal. That’s my priority.” (22:50)

    “When you feel safe and valued, you forgive, you feel better. When you do not feel safe and valued, and you forgive, you do not feel better. I take it one step further and say: when you feel safe and valued, and you reconcile, then you can feel better. When you do not feel safe and valued when you reconcile, well, you can’t do that.” (32:29)

    “Transformation happens when you tell yourself the truth.” (40:27)

     

    Resources Mentioned

    Are You Struggling with Post Betrayal Syndrome? Take the Quiz, Now!

    Find Dr. Debi Silber Online

    Follow Dr. Debi Silber onInstagram |Facebook |Twitter |YouTube |LinkedIn

    Join the KetoGreen Community on Facebook

    Buy Keto-Green 16

     

    Transcript

     

    Dr. Debi:
    I know how painful it is, but there is a version of you so healthy, so healed, so strong and he or she would blow your mind when you meet him or her. It's just a question of when, and it's about willingness. Just be willing and you'll just be shocked. I have yet to meet someone stronger than someone who's healed from some of the biggest traumas in life, and I do believe betrayal is one of them.

    Dr. Anna:
    Have you ever felt betrayed? Have you ever thought everything in your life was just amazing, going along just as expected, and then all of a sudden something so surprising, something so deceiving was brought to your intention where you were betrayed, and it hurt. Imagine the stages and the realization and what could happen. Today we're going to share a story about an incredible woman who went through this process blindsided by betrayal after years, after decades of marriage, in a happy home raising four children and six dogs, and what an upheaval this created in her life, but yet turned around in a way that is inspirational. Inspirational, motivational, and healing. Today on The Girlfriend Doctor podcast I am going to share the story of Dr. Debi Silber and share her with all of you in this community as we talk about Post Betrayal Transformation. Post Betrayal Transformation.

    Dr. Anna:
    So welcome everyone, this is Dr. Anna Cabeca. I am The Girlfriend Doctor. I am here to help you before, during, and after menopause achieve the best life that you can achieve. Shamelessly and guiltlessly we pull the curtain back on all things without fear and in authentic conversation. So today my guest, amazing Dr. Debi Silber, founder of the PBT, Post Betrayal Transformation Institute and she is a holistic psychologist, and health, mindset, personal development expert and the author of the Amazon number one best-selling book, The Unshakable Woman: 4 Steps to Rebuilding Your Body, Mind, and Life After a Life Crisis. Her recent Ph.D. study on how we experience betrayal made three groundbreaking discoveries around exactly what it takes to heal. In addition to being on Fox, CBS, The Dr. Oz Show, TEDx twice, contributing to the Huffington Post, to Shape, Self, Health, Working Mother, Forbes, just name it. She is an award-winning speaker, a coach, and author dedicated to helping others move past their betrayals once and for all, and beyond that, she is a dear friend. Let me introduce you to Dr. Debi Silber.

    Dr. Anna:
    Well hello, Debi. Thank you so much for coming and joining me and my community on The Girlfriend Doctor Podcast.

    Dr. Debi:
    I'm so excited to be here, thank you.

    Dr. Anna:
    Well, for my audience, Dr. Debi Silber is one of my girlfriends. I just love this woman. We've known each other for years.

    Dr. Debi:
    Mm-hmm (affirmative).

    Dr. Anna:
    And I knew you before you created the Post Betrayal training system, right? This network and you have been through a journey. Would you please share this, share your journey and your story, and I just want to just actually create a really safe space too for everyone listening. So in today's discussion, we are talking. We're going to hit our hearts, we're going to open our minds, and we're going to do it shamelessly and guiltlessly in this space in a sense of togetherness and community, and as we share our authenticity there is tremendous healing.

    Dr. Debi:
    Absolutely, I'm so glad you said that. So you don't study something like betrayal unless you need to. I've been in health, mindset, personal development for 20 plus years, and then I had a horrible family betrayal, but you know how the universe works. If that doesn't quite get you, you get another opportunity to learn a very powerful lesson, and I did, and this time it was my husband. Blindsided is the word we use for it because we never see it coming. There's that shock, it's like someone just took a mask off and showed you who they've been.

    Dr. Debi:
    So the first thing I did actually was get him out of the house just so I could think clearly and say, "Okay. Well what's it going to be like being a single mom, and what do I want to do, and how do I move through this, and what's the lesson I need to learn here?" I'll tell you one of the first things that came to me was, you know, what's consistent about both of those betrayals was I wasn't even on my own to-do list. My needs were never prioritized and I never took my own needs seriously. I really had an issue with boundaries.

    Dr. Debi:
    So with that, I said, "You know what? I want to go back to school for a Ph.D." Certainly not what many people would choose to do after a betrayal, but that's what I did, and it was so divinely guided. So I went back for this Ph.D. in transpersonal psychology, which is the psychology of transformation and human potential, and while I was there I did a study, and I studied how we experience betrayal. What holds us back, what helps us heal, and what happens to us physically, mentally, and emotionally when the people closest to us lie, cheat, and deceive? That study led to three groundbreaking discoveries that changed my business, my health, my life, my family, you name it. It touched everything.

    Dr. Anna:
    I'm just on, my nerves are on edge even just thinking about this. First of all, I love transpersonal psychology. That just kind of means going beyond, right? Going through what our personality is, what we believe to be true, and kind of getting into the deep underlying roots. Then how also Debi in going through this you said your needs weren't prioritized. Now, I think many people listening right now can relate and I think this is that checkpoint for all of us. How are we prioritizing our needs? I always say resentment is a lack of self-care.

    Dr. Debi:
    Ugh, so true. Here I was, I had this thriving business, and four kids, and six dogs, and I mean, it was a lot. It was just a lot and I was so busy just trying to manage it all. If I didn't have time for myself it was like okay, well try again tomorrow. It really was this realization that if I'm not taking myself seriously, well how can I expect anybody else to? I can share what happened within the program, but this is what was so funny that happened within my marriage. So many people and I'm sure this is going to resonate with so many people right here, rebuilding is always a choice. Whether you rebuild yourself and move along, and that's what I did with my family, where it certainly it just wasn't an option to try to rebuild with them. Then with my husband, this is so interesting because I was changing at such a dramatic pace and so obviously, and then on his own so was he. But you know, it was like that's nice and all but I wasn't ready. It was so interesting because when we've been betrayed, we don't trust ourselves, we don't trust our betrayer. That's why I moved towards spirituality or the spiritual part of a religion, in something bigger.

    Dr. Debi:
    So one of the first things I also did was I saw an intuitive coach, who has since become a dear friend, and I walk in. Now, imagine this, she said, "Oh my gosh, how you two planned this." Planned? And she said, "You needed something so catastrophic to crash and burn because of you ... Well, he needed something so catastrophic to crash and burn so he could become the father, husband, friend he signed up to be. You needed something to catastrophic so you can heal and teach from a deep place of knowing. You have no idea, you're going to be writing books, you're going to have this big institute, you're going to have this following all about betrayal." I'm like, "You're crazy." Everything she said happened, everything.

    Dr. Anna:
    Wow. That concept of okay, if this is for a greater purpose, I can make it through it. If we can sit in this betrayal. Well, talk us through the symptoms, the stages of betrayal, and share with us, pull us into your journey.

    Dr. Debi:
    Sure, and here is where one of the most amazing discoveries was, that while we can stay stuck for years, decades, a lifetime, and many of us do. If we're going to heal, we will go through five stages. What's even more exciting about that is now we know what happens physically, mentally, and emotionally at every stage, and we know what it takes to move from one stage to the next. So now I can meet with someone, I know exactly what stage they're in and I know what's going to move the needle to move them from the stage they're into the next, to the next, to the next. I'm happy to walk you through the five stages.

    Dr. Debi:
    What's also so interesting is we discovered that there were, and I saw this, there were three reasons why we will not heal, and I would love to address that too because I'm sure there are so many people who are thinking, "Well, of course, I want to move forward." But if you're doing these things, you won't. Even the other discoveries too where I knew, I've been through the death of a loved one, and I've been through disease, and you know health, I had peritonitis. So I was in ICU for 11 days, it's a miracle I'm alive, but there was something so different about betrayal. It just felt so different.

    Dr. Debi:
    So I asked all of my study participants and I said, "If you've been through trauma, besides betrayal, death of a loved one, disease, natural disaster, whatever, did it feel different for you?" Hands down unanimously they said, "It felt so different." Because what happens with betrayal also is you have to rebuild the self. When you lose someone you love, for example, like for example, I lost my mom, when you lose someone you love you grieve, you're sad, you mourn, you miss them, but you don't necessarily question your sanity. You don't necessarily take it personally, your confidence may not be shattered. With betrayal there's rejection, abandonment, the rebuilding, you have to rebuild trust, belonging, confidence, worthiness. They're all destroyed. So that type of healing needed its own name, which is now called Post Betrayal Transformation. So when you said the PBT training, it's Post Betrayal Transformation, that's exactly what that's for.

    Dr. Anna:
    Can you talk about the three groundbreaking discoveries that you made?

    Dr. Debi:
    Yeah, sure. Well, the first one was the five stages. Happy to walk you through all of those. The second was that betrayal is different from other life crises. Originally I was studying post-traumatic growth. The upside of trauma, how trauma leaves you with a new perspective, awareness, insight, but it's general to trauma. Betrayal just it was like post-traumatic growth plus rebuilding of the self equals Post Betrayal Transformation. So that was the second discovery. The third was that there's this collection of symptoms, physical, mental, and emotional, so common to betrayal that it's now called Post Betrayal Syndrome. We've been taught time heals all wounds, and that's not true.

    Dr. Debi:
    At this point we had over 7,000 people take our Post Betrayal Syndrome quiz. There's a question that asks, is there anything else you'd like to share? And I read every single one of these, and besides hearing about the physical, the mental, emotional symptoms, and I can go through some of them.

    Dr. Anna:
    And we're going to give this quiz out to everyone too, so they're actually going to be able to take this quiz.

    Dr. Debi:
    Oh, great.

    Dr. Anna:
    Right, yes.

    Dr. Debi:
    Okay. I'll ask them, and here's what I hear. I'll hear, my betrayal happened 35 years ago, I'm unwilling to have a relationship again. My betrayal happened 40 years ago, I can still feel the hate. My betrayal happened 15 years ago, I feel gutted. It's one of those traumas, one of those crises that unless you face it, feel it, heal it, it doesn't go away.

    Dr. Anna:
    Yes, I love that. Face it, feel it, heal it. It's that you can't tuck it under something. It reminds me of one of my favorite children's books, I'm Going on a Bear Hunt. It says, "You can't go over it, you can't go under it, you have to go through it."

    Dr. Debi:
    That's so true. It's so true, and I'll tell you. This is how you know if there is a lingering betrayal, and it doesn't even have to be those big gigantic ones. It could be the death by a 1000 cuts kind, it could be the smaller ones. But we see it in let's say in relationships. If you find the phases change but it's the same experience, that's an unhealed betrayal, or if you put that big wall up where you say, "I'm not letting anybody get close to my heart again." That's an unhealed betrayal. We see it in health, where people go to the most well-meaning doctors, coaches, healers, therapists to manage stress-related symptoms, illness, condition, disease. At the root of a lot of those are unhealed betrayals. Then we see it at work too. I mean, we see it where people want to be a team player but they're so afraid. The person they trusted the most proved untrustworthy. How can they trust a boss or a coworker? Or they want to ask for that raise or that promotion but their confidence was shattered in the betrayal. So they don't have the confidence to ask and they're bitter and resentful instead and that's the energy they bring to work with them every day. So we see it in every area of life.

    Dr. Anna:
    That is amazing. So the symptoms of Post Betrayal Syndrome, what are those?

    Dr. Debi:
    Yeah, I actually have some. You want me to read some stats? I have some.

    Dr. Anna:
    Awesome.

    Dr. Debi:
    Because every couple of months we just take a survey just to get some stats and see what's going on with everybody. I will just share this and you're going to be shocked. Ready? 78% and this is out of 7,000 plus people, constantly revisit their experience. 81% feel a loss of personal power. 80% are hypervigilant. 94% deal with painful triggers. So 64% say they struggle emotionally. Here are the physical symptoms that we see, the most common. 71% have low energy. 68% struggle with sleep. 63% have extreme fatigue. Weight changes are at 47% and digestive issues 45%. I'll share some more, but I find it so interesting, even just the digestive issues, and this is so common.

    Dr. Debi:
    When you think of what the digestive system does, it absorbs, it digests and it processes. Isn't it difficult to absorb, digest, and process a betrayal mentally and emotionally? Is it any wonder? So that's that. As far as mental, these are mental symptoms, 78% are overwhelmed, 70% disbelief, 68% are unable to focus, 64% are in shock, 62% are unable to concentrate. So just mix that with some of those physical symptoms. That's not even the emotional. Sadness is 88%, anger is 83%. You just mix those two with nothing else. 82% feel hurt, 80% are anxious, 79% are stressed. I'll just read a few more. 84% have an inability to trust. 82% find it hard to move forward. 90% want to move forward but they don't know how, and that's exactly why I'm so excited about this process because now it's a predictable way to move from one stage to the next.

    Dr. Anna:
    Let's talk us through that, Debi. So what are the first steps in the process or the stages? Let's go through the stages of betrayal because ... So your three groundbreaking things, I want to reiterate this, it is the five stages of betrayal, that's the first, the second is that betrayal is different from post-traumatic growth, right?

    Dr. Debi:
    Yeah, Post Betrayal Transformation was the second, yeah. That needs to have that new term because betrayal requires the rebuilding of the self, mm-hmm (affirmative).

    Dr. Anna:
    Post Betrayal Transformation. What was the third?

    Dr. Debi:
    Post-Betrayal Syndrome, that collection of physical, mental, and emotional symptoms.

    Dr. Anna:
    Mm-hmm (affirmative), okay. That was fabulous. So this is great that you've put this into a system. Now we can work through it. So like there are five stages, the Kübler-Ross five stages of grief, there are five stages of betrayal.

    Dr. Debi:
    Yeah, there are, from betrayal to breakthrough. So the first is, this is like a setup stage. If you imagine four legs of a table, the four legs being physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. What I saw with every single study participant, me included, there was a real heavy lean on the physical and the mental and kind of neglecting, we're not paying as much attention, to the emotional and the spiritual. So what does that look like? It looks like we're really good at thinking and doing, and not as great at feeling and being. One of the biggest pieces of that is in our feeling and being, that's where our intuition is. We turn that down, and that really could've served us. But anyway, if you picture a table with only two leg strength, then easy for that table to topple over, and that's what happened.

    Dr. Debi:
    The second stage, this is the most painful stage of all. This is a shock. This is D-Day, discovery day. This is the day of your life, you've had that psychological earthquake where you remember life before it happened and after it happened, but you will never be the same from right there. Here's the breakdown of the body, the mind, and the worldview. What happens now is your body is in a ... You've ignited the stress response. So you're headed for just about every single stress-related symptom, illness, condition, disease. Your mind is in a complete state of chaos and overwhelm. You cannot wrap your mind around what you just learned. There's a breakdown of the worldview, that's your mental model. This person is safe, these are the rules, this is how it works, and in one earth-shattering moment, it's destroyed. The bottom is bottom down in you. One of my study participants said, "You know what it feels like? It feels like every negative emotion you can imagine being punched in the gut and losing a child in a crowd, all at the same time." It's awful. But think about it. If you were walking down the street and the bottom was to bottom out on you, you would grab hold of anything you could to stay safe and stay alive. That's stage three, survival instincts emerge.

    Dr. Debi:
    What's so interesting about this stage is here is where we figure out. It's so practical. Where do I live? Who do I talk to? Who can I trust? What do I do? What do I do? But once we figure this out, this is the stage we stay in. Once we figured it out we think that's as good as it gets. Then we justify all kinds of reasons for staying there. You get to be right, you get someone to blame, you get a target for your anger. So there are really two populations that come into my world. It's the person, it's acute like they've just been blindsided and they just don't even know how to cope. It's that person who's just surviving, that's it, and that's what they've done. They've numbed. So often they're using food, drugs, alcohol, work, TV, keeping busy just to numb. They're just getting through and they've sort of resigned themselves to thinking that's as good as it gets. If they're willing, willingness is the biggest word right here, if they're willing to let go of a lot of those small self-benefits, sympathy from other people, things like that, they can move to the fourth stage.

    Dr. Debi:
    The fourth stage is finding and adjusting to a new normal. Here's where it's like if you've ever moved into a new house, condo, office, apartment, whatever, your stuff isn't all there yet. It doesn't feel cozy, but it's going to be okay. You're turning down the stress response a little bit. But you know what's so interesting about this stage too? Think about this. When you're moving, if you've ever moved or anybody watching this if they've ever moved, you don't necessarily bring everything with you. You don't bring the things that don't represent who you want to be in this new space and this is where I saw such a change in friendships. If your friends weren't there supporting you, if they indulge in gossip or low energy whatever, that's just not a fit for you. So often I see this where people are freaking out. They're like, "Why can't I just? I don't know, I don't fit with my group anymore. What's the matter with me?" That's part of the transformation and I see this all the time.

    Dr. Debi:
    Once you've settled into that space, you've made it cozy, you've made it your own, you feel good in it, you can slowly move into the fifth most beautiful stage, and this is healing, rebirth, and a new worldview. Your body starts to heal. You didn't have the bandwidth for self-love, for self-care, for nurturing and now you do. Now you want to take better care of yourself because you appreciate what you've been through. You also turn down the stress response so now your body is starting to heal. You're rewiring your mindset now based on what you've learned, based on what you've been through, based on the new boundaries and the new rules that you have. You have an entirely new worldview, which is where we have the four legs of the table, the physical and the mental, now we're solidly grounded because we're really focusing on the emotional and the spiritual too. That's transformation and that's the five stages.

    Dr. Anna:
    I love it when you said just the rebirth. I mean, you can just see the phoenix rising from the ashes during this stage. Now Debi, how was it for you?

    Dr. Debi:
    It was absolutely that. It's the hardest thing in the world because you really have to go through it saying I have no expectation of what's going to show up, but I know I have to heal. That's my priority, and here's what happens. This is what I see and then I'll share what happened with my story. We're here, right? And then a betrayal happens and hopefully, we say, "That's it. I'm healing." Then what we do is we do this, right? But so often we're healing physically, mentally, emotionally, we're just going like this. But if we're so committed to this person right here we keep doing this, but that doesn't feel good because this feels good but we're not comfortable here just yet. So if we want to stay here then our next step is we just want that person to do this. Well, we can't do that either.

    Dr. Anna:
    Well, just for those that are just listening and not watching, definitely you can see this on our YouTube channel, but we'll talk about what Debi is saying is yes, that we're starting at an even level, even keel, eye to eye basically, maybe not, but at least theoretically, and then one of us elevates, right? We're healing but we keep having to retract, come back down to their level yet again, and there's no progress being made here, right? It's constant one step forward, two steps back.

    Dr. Debi:
    Absolutely, or we expect the other person to just rise, and here's what's so interesting. When we are so firmly rooted in the higher space and that's where we stay, then that's the only time we're ever ready for another relationship again. In my case what happened was I was transforming, that's just the way it was. My husband on his own was doing the same thing. So not long ago, as two entirely different people, we married each other again.

    Dr. Anna:
    Okay now, how forgiveness and letting go, and yeah.

    Dr. Debi:
    Yeah.

    Dr. Anna:
    Wow, that's big.

    Dr. Debi:
    Here's the thing. Forgiveness is just a word until you do it. I want to explain, I call it the window of willingness. Here's how this works. There are four levels, and this wasn't my thing. I call it the window of willingness but this is somebody, they just describe the levels of forgiveness or where you can reconcile and things like that, but I see it as a window. The four stages, the first one is where the window is the widest open, greatest possibility of getting along again or whatever it is, and that's when there is apology, remorse, responsibility, restitution, ownership. This person says, "Oh my gosh, what the heck? What was I thinking? I just lost the only thing that mattered the most to me." And it is the biggest wake-up call ever. Now, in my case with my husband, he was the one who sat my four teenage kids down. Now, could you imagine them, four kids, your kids, looking at you saying, "You did what to our mom?" I think if anything is going to have you fall from grace and wake you up, it's that. That was I think the wake-up call that he needed on his own, right? But this is ownership. This is taking full and complete responsibility.

    Dr. Debi:
    Level two, you could feel the window closing a little bit, and that involves some excuses, and that's when you hear, "Well I did it because." Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. You don't care about ... You still may be willing to listen, but that because just doesn't feel nearly as good. There's still a possibility there, but it doesn't feel as good. You could feel the window closing even more on level three, and that's when you hear the word you, and that blame. Well, I did it because of you. You, you, you. Here's the gaslighter, here's the blame. Here is the person that just is throwing it on you like a bad game of hot potato, and that's the narcissist, and we see that so often. Then level four is absolute denial, no responsibility, there is nothing to work with. So in my case with my family, it was a three and a four, a solid three and four. That's when you heal and you walk away for your own sanity because you're done proving, and convincing, and it's exhausting and it can make you sick and it absolutely made me sick.

    Dr. Debi:
    With my husband, however, there was nothing but a solid one. So there's something to work with there. Then here's the thing too. If you're willing, if the situation lends itself, then it's totally up to you. I looked at it and I said ... Because everything about my ego said this is a 100% deal breaker. There's not one cell of me that's okay with any of this, but then there was my higher self that said, "What if she's right?" That intuitive coach said, "What if this can serve a higher purpose?" What if this was the greatest thing that could've happened to my family? What if I can do something so magnificent with this and then I can share from having been there on both sides where there is healing, forgiving, moving on, healing, forgiving, reconcile. Don't I have a pretty powerful story? So what if I can do that? What if I just do my best and if I can't do it, I gave it my best shot, but if I can, I can heal a family, I could do something good. So that's what I chose.

    Dr. Anna:
    I do have goosebumps about this. I'm still trying to get over that transition, from those feelings of betrayal, you moved on, right? You took your steps, you moved on, he got out of the house, right? You sent him out of the house, and you went on to study and work on your Ph.D. work and do this betrayal work. So then in your timeline of things, how did reconciliation, how did that happen?

    Dr. Debi:
    Yeah. It is, for me anyway, because I guess my ego was heavily involved, it was the hardest thing by far I ever did. What I needed first was I needed to just, I needed to have that space just to say okay, it's up to me whatever I decide to do with this. I also needed the support from the kids, not to sit, and I didn't want to put so much of this on them, but hearing from them, "Mom, whatever you decide to do, we're good. We're good with it." If I tell you that was huge because then I was like ... Because of course you're tortured saying, "I'm going to break up a family. Am I going to do this? I'm going to do that." But then I was left for the next set of questions, and that was what do I want now? Who do I want to become as a result of all this? And I wasn't sure. There is intense confusion. This is also what happens. We think we have it all figured out and then all of a sudden we are so overwhelmingly confused. People look at that as a bad thing and it's not, it's a beautiful thing because something amazing is about to unfold if we just see. But really my intention wasn't kind of wondering what was going on with him. I mean, the kids were seeing him.

    Dr. Debi:
    But to give you an example, within the first few days he sold his fancy car, he got rid of his ridiculous clothes, all of that. This was a solid wake up call. I even had him see somebody because I was seeing someone, I wanted him to see another spiritual coach who's become a dear friend, and the first time he met with him, not knowing a thing, he said, "Oh my god, you were such a." You know, laid it out. But he said to me, "Debi I've been doing this work for 26 years, I have never seen someone transform to the level that your husband has." Now think of this. Here I have this business, a new book, a podcast, a new TEDx on the topic. Who is my biggest supporter? It's him.

    Dr. Anna:
    I remember you saying that he's also working with men now in this betrayal. So the door was opened. What was that? I'm still trying to process this, Debi.

    Dr. Debi:
    Yeah, this was a very careful process. I was dealing with so much trauma, and so much pain, and PTSD symptoms, which we think they're only reserved for war vets. Oh no, they're not, and it was awful. I mean, it was horrible. I can explain it like waves of an ocean. At first, these waves are coming at you so hard, so fast you can't stand, you can't breathe. Then it's like there's enough space between the waves that at least you catch a breath, you know? Then they space out a little bit more where you feel like okay, my legs are a little bit solid now, and then at some point, you're firmly rooted, and then in the point after that, you're like, "Why am I even in the water? Let me walk out and lay on the sand." But that's a process and it was just that way for me. I mean, it took managing my triggers and working through it. Here's the thing too, forgiveness has nothing to do with the other person, but that forgiveness, what that does, how freeing it is, but here's the thing too. When it comes to reconciling, when we feel safe and valued, the way I learned it was when you feel safe, and valued, and you forgive, you feel better. When you do not feel safe and valued and you forgive, you feel worse.

    Dr. Debi:
    I take it a step further because I think you should forgive anyway for your own sake, but I say when you feel safe and valued and you reconcile, then you can feel better. When you do not feel safe and valued and you reconcile, no, you can't do that. So this whole process was really slow and very deliberate, and it's like a brick wall. Trust is like a brick wall. Brick by brick, by brick, each opportunity to show that someone is trustworthy, that's a brick. Another one, that's a brick, that's a brick in that brick wall. Then that same person who built that brick wall in one moment can shatter the entire thing. Now, you can walk away from the brick wall or if you're willing to watch that brick wall be rebuilt, the only way it can is brick, by brick, by brick. So a brick in that brick wall when you're trying to reconcile could be if you're triggered you call up your partner and they're exactly where they said they would be. Or you're triggered and you're just feeling insecure, uncertain, whatever and that person meets you with exactly what you needed.

    Dr. Debi:
    Not being defensive, argumentative or whatever, but if I tell you how many times I would just text, just angry, or call angry. That anger just had to come out, and he would just say, "Where are you? Pullover the side of the road. Tell me where you are. I'll meet you." Whatever it is, and it's a brick. Another brick, another brick. It takes time to rebuild that trust, but I'll tell you now, I mean, having worked through it, we've been together since 1984 and this version of him and this version of me absolutely didn't exist, and now we're having so much fun. It's an entirely different marriage. We happen to have the same four kids in common and a whole lot of experiences, and I'll tell you, my kids are totally different too. It's like they've been through a war together, four best friends. They weren't that close to each other. It's just created an entirely new ... We're like a different family. I know it sounds weird, but it's really true.

    Dr. Anna:
    You're just laying the foundation that there is hope. There is hope after a betrayal, there is hope after in trauma. I want to understand because you know I do a lot of work in post-traumatic stress, post-traumatic growth, and post-traumatic resilience. How is that different than Post Betrayal Transformation, post-traumatic growth to Post Betrayal Transformation?

    Dr. Debi:
    The biggest difference that I saw with post-traumatic growth, yes, it's the upside, it's the inside, it's the awareness, it's the perspective. It is a new life, but it's not necessarily the rebuilding of the self. You may not necessarily, even if let's say you lost your house in a house fire, you lost everything you've owned. It's traumatic, you have to rebuild your whole life, but it may not affect trust. You may not feel rejected or abandoned. You may not take it personally, betrayal is personal. It feels personal and that's why we take it so personally. That's why when we're rebuilding, that's the relationship, future relationships. Relationships with ourselves and others. That takes the hardest hit because we've lost everything we trusted. Like in my scenario, here it was my family and it was my husband. These are the people you trust the most. You seriously had ... I mean, in my case I had to learn to trust myself.

    Dr. Anna:
    Yes. Yeah, I can imagine. What was I missing? How did I miss it?

    Dr. Debi:
    That's it, and one of the biggest things I learned too, and this is just drinking my own Kool-Aid and doing my own work is that some people, that's their level of consciousness. With my family betrayal, it's like I just sort of looked at it like, well I mean, I came to this, this is not what I originally came to, but younger souls. That's where they are and you wouldn't expect it. I have six dogs, I wouldn't expect my dogs to not act like dogs. So why am I expecting someone at a certain level of consciousness to act as if they're in a different space? I don't know, it's like I walk around with the simple idea of if it's going to hurt someone, don't do it. For some reason, I think other people walk around like that too, and I'm always shocked to know that that's not the case. But when I made peace with the idea that people are acting from where they are at the time. It doesn't excuse it, it doesn't make it better, doesn't make it right, it doesn't mean I want to hang out with them, but it makes me realize that it's not me, and that's the biggest thing with betrayal. Even though it happened to you, it's not about you.

    Dr. Anna:
    Yeah. That's almost another hard pill to swallow. How you go from recognizing that, because especially in the early stages of that pain.

    Dr. Debi:
    Yeah, and you don't recognize it in the early stages of that pain. That's something you work towards. There are exercises that I have people do, and I know I can't have them do it too early because it backfires, they're not ready. There's too much anger, there's too much mistrust. There's too much sadness and grief. There's a serious grieving process that has to happen. Grieve the old you, grieve the relationship, grieve lost expectations. There's a real serious grieving that has to go on. This is why remember I told you in the beginning how there were three groups that didn't heal? And one of them, that was exactly why. They refused to accept their betrayal. They just weren't having it, weren't accepting it. Sure, they have every right to walk around that way, but you're going to stay firmly rooted right in that space.

    Dr. Anna:
    So what's an activity, can you walk us through an activity or a process right now?

    Dr. Debi:
    Sure. There are so many good ones that it really depends on what stage someone's at. But what I see so often, and this would be for the people stuck in that stage three, because that's such a big group. The people who may be choosing food, or drugs, or alcohol, work, TV, numbing somehow to avoid facing, feeling, healing. So here are some questions to ask. Ready? And I invite everybody to write these down. Am I numbing and distracting? If so, how? Be honest with yourself. Are you just numbing yourself in front of the TV to just drown out the noise of your mind? Call yourself on it. Are you binging to not feel? Are you squelching that voice that really wants to be heard?

    Dr. Debi:
    Here's the next question. What am I pretending not to see? Am I pretending not to see there's trouble in my relationship? Am I pretending not to see I hate my job? Am I pretending not to see that health issue that needs my attention? Be honest.

    Dr. Debi:
    The next question, what's life going to look like in five to 10 years if I keep this going? Ignore that health issue for five to 10 years, what's that going to look like? Don't do anything about that work issue that you can't stand. Five to 10 years, play it out. What does it look like? And that relationship. Ignore that relationship issue five to 10 years, what's that going to look like?

    Dr. Debi:
    The last question, what's life going to look like in five to 10 years if I change now? Now, I'm not saying that's easy, but that's the beginning of a transformation. Transformation happens when you tell yourself the truth.

    Dr. Anna:
    That's powerful. Transformation happens when you tell yourself the truth.

    Dr. Debi:
    Mm-hmm (affirmative). Because then you can't unsee and then you know what you're working with.

    Dr. Anna:
    What if it's you who did the betrayal?

    Dr. Debi:
    Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah. You have the most amazing opportunity for a wake-up call. You know this, shame is one of the most physically destructive emotions that we have. How do you heal shame? You bring light to it, you bring attention to it. When you speak about it and talk about it, or do right however you can. The person you betrayed may have no interest, may not be receptive or even alive. It doesn't matter, you owe it to yourself and you owe it to that person. I'm all about self-forgiveness after you have done every single thing in your human power to make right on what you did. At the very least if you can't make it right with that person, pay it forward somehow.

    Dr. Debi:
    In my case, my husband not only was at that solid level one of owning and taking full responsibility, he's a real estate guy. He has like 40 people in his real estate office and he would sit these guys down saying, "Hey, don't screw up your life. I made the biggest mistake I've ever made. Make sure you do this, do that." We're in New York, he would go into New York City on the weekends and give Wayne Dyer DVDs to the homeless and sit with them. He even worked in hospice for a while. Anything just to pay it forward somehow because of all that he lost, all that he learned, and really seeing the precious gift he got with a second chance.

    Dr. Anna:
    I love that. I love that. I can definitely see that. I think that's such a huge thing, paying it forward. Make good, right? Make good, do the work. Don't brush it under the rug either, right? Become open about it, learn your lesson, and pay it forward. That's powerful, Debi.

    Dr. Debi:
    Well, because at least then it's a crisis and pain well spent. Otherwise, people, they've done something so painful, so hurtful, so harmful, so hateful, and then they try to run from it. You can't run from that.

    Dr. Anna:
    Then the other thing sometimes people say, "Well, certain things happen for a reason." This happened for a reason or you make reason from what's happened, and I really think it's the latter. So creating a reason, creating a powerful process, creating healing. You had a choice way back when your eyes were open. God's had his hand in your life. You have been inspired, you're in touch with your spirit and you had a choice. Do I make good from this, for myself, for my kids and move forward or not? It could've been a very different study and we all would be hurting and not have this PBT Institute. So I am so glad you have stayed the course and you trusted your intuition, and you valued yourself enough to do the work and to go through a hard process. Not over it, not under it. What do you say? Feel it, face it, heal it.

    Dr. Debi:
    Face it, feel it, heal it.

    Dr. Anna:
    Face it, feel it, heal it.

    Dr. Debi:
    And that's the only way we heal.

    Dr. Anna:
    Mm-hmm (affirmative), I love it. Debi, tell everyone how they can work with you, and also we have the quiz. So tell us about the quiz and then how we can work with you.

    Dr. Debi:
    Yeah, that's the best thing to do, is just take that quiz. Pbtinstitute.com/quiz because then they'll see to what extent they're struggling. You're going to see things that you just attributed to oh well, it's just age, or oh well, it's just whatever. No, it's not. It's your unhealed betrayal.

    Dr. Anna:
    There you go. Pbtinstitute.com/quiz. Dr. Debi Silber. I love you. Thank you-

    Dr. Debi:
    I love you, my friend.

    Dr. Anna:
    ... for being here. Oh my gosh, thank you for sharing. This information is going to help and heal so many people. Do you hear the thunder on the background? Here there's thunder. It's thundering here. But just to emphasize, with the emphasis we tell you that we know this is such a healing journey. A healing journey for you, and the first step for anyone who is listening who has suffered betrayal or is bringing into awareness, the seed has been planted and will not stop growing as this healing process is going to start and work within each of us. I mean, in some way or another we've had some betrayal, right? And just this awareness of how that could be affecting us now, what work we have to do to heal through it, and on the flip side to make things right. It's powerful, Debi. What concluding words do you have for our audience?

    Dr. Debi:
    I know how painful it is, but there is a version of you so healthy, so healed, so strong and he or she would blow your mind when you meet him or her. It's just a question of when, and it's about willingness. Just be willing and you'll just be shocked. I have yet to meet someone stronger than someone who's healed from some of the biggest traumas in life, and I do believe betrayal is one of them.

    Dr. Anna:
    Yeah, no, absolutely. I'm with you on that. One more, it's a quite personal question, so you don't have to answer it. But working as a gynecologist with women and sexual health, you know my program Sexual CPR, one of the biggest things is that when women have betrayed not wanting to, not being able to have sex and intimacy again with that person. Again, shutting themselves off from other relationships. How do you address that?

    Dr. Debi:
    It starts in the mind, and we have to make sense and reason out of the experience. Make sense and reason out of it, calm the mind, calm the body. Realizing that it ... And if you are reconciling with this person or going forward, when the lesson has been learned it's not fair to you to never trust again and to shut yourself off from relationships. That's what life is about. My book Trust Again is coming out soon and it actually teaches you just how to do that because we owe it to ourselves to live fully. It's like you get burned on the stove and you say, "I'm never cooking again." That's not fair, so we really need to learn the process of healing fully.

    Dr. Anna:
    Yes. Face it.

    Dr. Debi:
    Feel it, heal it.

    Dr. Anna:
    Feel it, heal it. Face it, feel it, heal it. That is a really good mantra. Face it, feel it, heal it. Tell us about your book. Where can we get that, Trust Again?

    Dr. Debi:
    The book Trust Again is being released September, October. I walk everybody through the five stages. I have all of the study participants sharing their stories. So you see all the different experiences that they had and I teach my four-step trust rebuilding process, and it's powerful.

    Dr. Anna:
    Thank you. Thank you so much. Thanks for being here. Thanks for your openness, your honesty, and the work you're doing. In every stage that I've known you, you've always, always impressed me. I don't impress easy. You impress me in so many ways, and your authenticity, and you're creating and recreating an amazing family.

    Dr. Debi:
    Thank you, my friend.

    Dr. Anna:
    Thank you.

    Dr. Anna:
    Wow, what a powerful interview. I'm so glad I was able to share Dr. Debi Silber with you here today on The Girlfriend Doctor Podcast. I know there are people you love and people in your community right now, friends, family, that can so benefit from this information, this wisdom, and so many lessons that we've learned today in this podcast. This awareness, when we can have the words to understand what we're experiencing and what we're feeling. That's powerful. This is where the power is in healing, and as Dr. Debi Silber said, face it, feel it, heal it. Face it, feel it, heal it. I know that I'm working with so many women and in the podcast, I mention Sexual CPR and the program Sexual CPR where there is a lot of trauma that women deal with.

    Dr. Anna:
    Similar to Debi, but in the case of one of my clients, Cindy, who was 56 years old and had been married over 20 years and experienced betrayal. She felt that she was cut off from her own reality, cut off from her life as she knew it, and struggled. She helped out, she was a good volunteer in the church, a worship leader, a great mom, children exceedingly successful and talented in the arts and academics, and yet betrayed. For her, it cut off her own sense of her own femininity, and through working through it, not over it, not under it, right? Not brushing it under the rug, but working through it creates incredible transformation. There is help. We have to heal our body, mind, spirit, and emotions, and in that reality that we can create true healing. So thank you and definitely share this podcast. Rate it. Let's make this one go viral. There's so much need for this message, and take the quiz at PBT Institute, for Post Betrayal Transformation Institute, pbtinstitute.com/quiz. Remember, I am here for you and so happy to be your Girlfriend Doctor. Bye till next time.

     

    Dr. Anna Cabeca

    Dr. Anna Cabeca

    Dr. Anna is a Triple Board Certified OB/GYN, Anti-Aging Medicine expert, and author of the best selling book, The Hormone Fix.

    Dr. Anna helps women heal the 9 most dreadful symptoms of menopause with natural, safe solutions. Follow her for content on hormonal imbalances, vaginal dryness, menopause (and more) that are medically backed, and created to empower women — not just treat them.