How to Get Over Betrayal by Family

Who would have thought you would be betrayed by your own family? These are the people you trusted, you grew up with, they’re supposed to have your back, not stab you in the back. Regardless, welcome to the real world with one hell of a wakeup call, so now you need to know how to get over betrayal by family members.

You must come to grips with the fact that betrayal by family members is quite common and has been going on for years. This is a key component of some of the greatest stories and melodramas of all time. There’s something terribly unsettling with not being able to trust your own family.

Who is better qualified to break you down and expose you for every weakness you have, or any misstep you’ve ever made but the people who know you best and have been the closest to you. Even the Bible warns of it, “your worst enemies will be the members of your own family” (Matthew 10:36) and if that wasn’t enough, try this on for size, “Even those closest to you–your parents, brothers, relatives, and friends–will betray you. They will even kill some of you” (Luke 21:16).

While you might expect to be the victim of betrayal of friends or most anyone, it never occurs to you that your family might be the ones who turn out to be the most toxic individuals, or your enemies, until it happens to you and you’re left having to deal with betrayal.

You can rack your brain and tear up your heart by trying to figure out why, so to put your mind at ease, so you can get on to the business of dealing with the betrayal by your family, one of the most common reasons you might be betrayed by family is jealousy.

If you’re in a position to enjoy life more fully and completely than your family member who feels he or she is more deserving, they might be tempted to throw a wrench into the machine to cause your potential success to fail. (You might remember this if you have siblings, as there is a constant struggle for familial support.)

A family member might want to knock you down a peg or two in an effort to even the playing field or even usurp their authority over you as if to prove you couldn’t possibly make it without them (and they will destroy you if they have to, to prove it).

Your parent, sibling, or another member of your family might just be a control freak and seek to control you and many areas of your life. Just try exerting your own independence and watch them rear their ugly heads to take notice and knock you down. Then kick you while you’re down there just to teach you a lesson.

Then there are the haters, those negative people who can’t help themselves, their first thought is to attack anyone, for no apparent reason, just to spread the hate. They are hardwired to be hatemongers and there’s nothing they can do about it.

Regardless of why you have been betrayed by your family, nothing hurts worse than being betrayed by those who are closest to you leaving heartfelt wounds and scars, and you must take steps to protect yourself from this kind of abuse.

Do not waste your energy arguing and fighting with the family who has betrayed you.

If you want to know how to get over the betrayal by family members, you have to distance yourself from the abuse. In a sense, you must disavow and relation to the members of your family who have turned against you. I don’t mean to lie to yourself, or anyone else about being related to them, but you must stop treating them like family if they have posted up to treat you as their enemy.

You must treat betraying family members just like anyone else who might abuse or betray you. You need to protect yourself from the abuse and not create opportunities for them to further abuse, trash, or attack you in any way.

When you are attacked by a member of your family, you must treat this person just as you would any other toxic person in your life.

There is life after betrayal. Bless them because they are your family, but walk away, and brush their dirt from your shoes. Don’t look back, and just keep walking.

A genuine family member would support you in all that you do and bless you as you make your own way. They want to see you become the best person you can be and enjoy the best life you could have, even help you in making it happen.

Real family loves and supports you no matter what you’re going through, in your best moments, and those less glamorous, and they love you just the way you are.

If not, you must protect yourself.

See also: Family Betrayal

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  1. MK

    I’m crying after reading this. My whole life I tried to be the good daughter but the harder I tried the more my family beat up on me. I was the scapegoat. Every single success I had was met with name calling or criticism or beatings. Even as an adult, I was treated differently from my siblings. There was one point in my life where my sister betrayed me and my children then I found out through my father, so matter of factly, that he and my mother were also behind it. One could say I was conspired against. The worst part about this was I was just on the crux of ‘making it’ it a very competitive industry. They sabotaged me so badly that I was in financial ruin and couldn’t attend a huge presentation for one of my projects. I missed something so special to me. I had been working on it for years. But that wasn’t the end of it. Even from afar they would call people up and tell them what a rotten mother I was. My mother died recently and nobody bothered to tell me. Not that I shed a tear since I can’t imagine my worst enemy doing what she did to me throughout my childhood. But again, my siblings probably raided the house. She died without ever saying she was sorry or was proud of me or loved me. This happens to a lot with people. And since we still go by ‘honour your parents’, people don’t talk about the abuse and betrayal at the hands of their own family. This leads to self blame and a continuation of attracting sabatours. I told my doctor, I get better treatment from strangers than my own family. Knowing my history, she said she wasn’t surprised. In my case, I will probably never see any of my family again. Which, logically, I know is the right thing for me, but I still need to give up and truly mourn the dream of ever having a loving father and siblings.

    • Cheri Budd

      As long as we have a relationship with God, we have a family. God is so awesome, HE even allow us who have been hurt, to be family. Keep smiling! Stay encouraged and keep on trusting God! God Loves you and so do I!

      • nancy keathley

        God loves us. Fact. My sister usurped my son,, told his wife( with whom I’d had issues with- like stealing my sleep and pain meds) my son knew,, Im out of US,, alone in Mx…. I pray
        everyday for The Lord to undo the estrangement…. I have offered “ i will apologize,,I was a good mother,, my son and 3 children lived with me 9 years, the baby growing up with me,, They have cut off that I can talk or see 20 year old— she was filled with half truths,/lies…Im ready to die from this pain I have a dog and cat I love,, so I stay until they are gone,,as they are pure love… i cannot handle this pain and all the lies My sister is a narcissist,, Im 77,, took me years, accepting her abuse, to understand,,

    • Olivia

      We have lived the same reality, only in my family was an NPD father with very long history of estrangements (his own mother, his father, his sister, his brother, and when they all died he continued the estrangements with their brothers and sisters and their children). A younger brother and much younger sister could never see or hear or feel what I was living, daily. When mom got sick and I was there for her, they all put a stop to it. They forced my good mother to die alone. They cannot STAND to see others receiving love and attention. My NPD father seems to have taught those who spent the most time with him that one should never waste their time on people who are caring because they are losers. He taught his youngest grandchildren to lie and manipulate and be sneaky and nasty. This last smear campaign happened over two years ago and I am through with all of them. I have learned that half of my family are mentally ill, the other half gullible or just naïve, or just don’t really care about anyone else in the family that may need care. That’s all there is to it. One must realize that one will die and never have love and support from these cruel and self-obsessed “people.” Hurt still happens but one must face reality eventually.
      Like you, I never hurt a fly. Like in your life, my own father destroyed any positive efforts I made or was in the midst of making to secure my future. I was good, caring, giving. They are and were cold and cruel to almost everyone else who was nice or acted like an adult. I could only survive this past year by pretending they are all dead. I look forward to creating a new family for myself, this time I get to choose those members I want! If you were near me, I’d want you for a family member.

    • Mary

      I can relate. It’s more grief than others know, if they haven’t experienced it firsthand. One grieves not just the loss of people they love, or the trust they (mis)placed, or the presence of the ones who betrayed you (especially if they’ve passed away): one also grieves the person they thought they were, the life they could have had, and the better choices they wish they could have made (if one had only been able to see better.
      For me, I don’t have much time (at this point) to grieve it all at once. So I grieve them each as they come up. And I let go and refocus. I have to.
      The one thing you have, that so many people never learn, is to finally see the world as it truly is, not as you want it to be. I hold on to this, myself. Because I know no one can ever betray me that way again. My eyes are far too open now.
      I don’t know you. But you’re not alone. I’ve never met you. But, if we’re anything alike, I can say (with certainty) your family lost more than you did. No matter what. All they have left (when the real people leave) are each other: a den of terrified vipers. Grieve them. Be angry as needed. But pity them as well. You’ve escaped their hell. As long as they think as they do they have to live with that uncertainty: a fear of the world, each other, perpetuated constantly by themselves. We have escaped their hell. They dig themselves deeper in suffering, each and every day. I hope this helps.

    • Shamu

      Am going through similar. Backwards South Asian Tamil family – entire family made use of me. Starting with my father, the root of all evil, cause of my having had to live a life of servitude, treated as a nobody, with every female, aunt, cousin his 2nd wife – envious, greedy and jealous. For what? My paternal grandfather’s home, part which I am to receive on my father’s demise. A house, property, money I don’t care for, never wanted. They ruined my life, my home, sanity and health, even my new relationship. I am now struggling to get work – a graduate marketing professional. No thanks to all the intimidation, underhanded, behind the scenes drama my no good useless father and his family created. Had I known of this ‘so called’ wealth and how it was to pass on to me, I would have walked out of that family 10 years. As it is I struggling through the nightmare – getting blamed, turned on, gossiped about because I chose to leave. Chose not be everyone’s maid. And still father and his 2nd wife the she devil cannot leave me alone. It is easy to say walk away n wish them well. I can’t. For over 40 years of misery, of which I had no clue. I think, feel, monsters like these deserve every hell they dole out to persons like me.

    • maryk

      this is my exact situation. i feel for you.

  2. Claire

    I know your pain all too well. I’m sorry that you are going thru this. 25 years ago my family decided to stop having contact with me because I chose to live a different life than what they had planned for me. I didn’t follow their rules. I was married and had a career and a home of my own. I was devastated and tried everything I could to communicate and ask why. I got no response for a year and then my sister called and said she missed me and we resumed our relationship. Fast forward to today. I found out yesterday that my sister, who I have trusted, has been lying to me. She has pretended to not having anything to do with my mother and two brothers. I haven’t heard from her in a week and went to her daughters Facebook page and found that my sister and family are on vacation with my brothers and mother. I’ll admit, it hurt. I now have no family. I’m not going to even accept her calls and I feel no need to explain myself. Sometimes the people whom we think are the safest aren’t. I’m 61 years old and seeing other people enjoying their families always makes me a bit sad. One thing I can advise is to take care of yourself. Know that you have purpose in this life and are loved. Surround yourself with people who genuinely care. You deserve only the best.❤️

  3. Grandma Soila

    Amen times Two!! I’m sick to my stomach I just found and read a codicil to my moms last will and testament which I don’t believe I was supposed to find this one! This blows my mind she has gifted her airplane hanger and her house at Conchas lake in NM. About five years ago she let him on her credit an account and he stole over $20,000 and now he put his name on her pontoon boat I think he’s in trouble right I need a lawyer fast before something happens and he ended up with everything even this house and I live in if my mom I do not know what has come over him he tells me he never wants to talk to me again and he hates me don’t even let his grandma and his mom see our grandson. I believe, is in order here I also believe you wouldn’t have ever done it without the help of his narcissistic wife who is helped him steal money from my mom I grow more sick to my stomach when I realized she made him a pair on her life insurance my name is supposed to be there I can’t believe this. I promised my mom that I would do everything in my power to get her money back and the pontoon boats and the keys to her house so she can enjoy it she has not been allowed your own house for about 3 years now what’s wrong with kids these days ? He was real close to us before he met his narcissistic wife they’ve been together 14 years now. I’m over them. Karma take over

  4. Janine Fox

    My parents are both gone. They were the best parents ever. I was very lucky to have such wonderful parents. However, abuse is taking place in my family and it’s taken me years to identify. I have an older brother who married to a control freak and an older sister who is jealous of my success. It’s toxic. It’s covert. It’s underhand and it’s so subtle that it’s really hard to articulate. I could go on, but what I want to get round to saying is that after all my crying I am moving on. I have one beautiful little girl. She’s an only child and I take strength from that. Here I am fretting over a life without my brother and sister, when that’s exactly what my little one is destined for. She will have no siblings to worry about. She will therefore be very self reliant and independent. If she can do it, so can I!

    People who abuse in any way are to be pitied. They are not happy. I am enjoying my new village. It’s full of strong minded women and I am making it my business to surround myself with strong minded positive people. My door will always be open for my family should they decide to knock because deep down I love them, but I am learning to not rely on anyone but myself and I see it as a growth experience. It feels good to feel my heart learning.

    Move on and grow.

  5. Janine Fox

    I am going through the same thing. But I have done my crying and am moving on. It’s harming you and you don’t deserve it. You need to walk away – in your heart. Find some positive strong people and start to give your good heart away where it will be appreciated. Go and score some points! It takes time to get over what you are going through. But you can and you will. Its a shock to learn that your family are not who you thought they were. Stuff em!!!

  6. Kieran

    It’s all so common isn’t it? My Mother died over a year ago (Father died 30 years ago), she left (surprisingly) 50/50 of her estate to my Sister and I. We spent a year dealing with her affairs, all was absolutely great between us, for the first time I felt I had a family. Then it came to the distribution of funds, boom, what a change. My dearest Sister even tried to com my Daughter ( her God Daughter (7 years old)) out of small inheritance, the problem was that this was done on a verbal agreement by my Mother.

    Our family was dysfunctional, Narcissistic abuse was prevalent, my Sister was the Golden Child, and I was the Scapegoat. I have been reading about NPD for over 15 years now and it is like a mental cancer in people, or a Demonic presence passed from one generation to the next. After trying everything for years to try and be treated like a human being I have now gone no contact.

    I really like this site page, it’s one of the best I’ve read on betrayal, it deals with betrayal, but if you want to see how far the rabbit hole goes read about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, my guesstimate would be the majority of folk here are in the Narcissists spiders web.

    Look after yourselves and cut out the cancer!

    All the best!!!

  7. Sarah Teague

    I send love and best wishes to everyone on this site. I know that sometimes it’s the people who you would take a bullet for that are the ones behind the trigger. My siblings decided at the end of my 23 year marriage, which was so abusive at the end, including rape, that I wasn’t worth anything to family when I escaped. In fact, they only listened to the Brother In Law and all his quite frankly ridiculous false allegations (abusers will have you labelled a nutcase within a heartbeat, so scared of anyone finding out what they are behind closed doors). Even |I am impressed with quality of his character assassinations. So Far, he has alienated my daughter, twin brother and older sister. I am the fool for trusting in so called family. With rape counselling and the help of friends, I understand that the people you used to think had your back betray you, you have to let them and their abusive ways go. I’ve had a proper hate campaign waged against me. It’s more about their own unhappiness and egos. Nobody needs negativity and abuse in their lives. Everyone is worth something despite people trying to deliberately harm your well being. Nobody is more important than you and your health. Make sure you look after yourselves. Love and peace to all.

  8. Griz

    After 36 years I have finally come to the conclusion that the family I came from are not who they say they are and never were. My mother died one day prior to my birthday which was hard enough to deal with but it was how everyone in my so called family wanted this or that of my mother’s possessions. All they were thinking about was themselves. Anyhow, I just found out two days ago that after 36 years, my aunt who just passed away, had possession of all that my grandmother had including all the rings that my other aunt and my mother had including even our grandmother’s rings. Now everyone over there are fighting, quarreling and squabbling over who gets what! How sickening. What frustrates me is that I have a picture of my mother in the coffin she was laid to rest in wearing her jewellery so I assumed she she was buried with them on which is how it should have been. Lo and behold after 36 years I found out that that was not the case and that her jewellery was in someone else’s possession. I feel betrayed by my own family including my sister by all the things that have happened over the last 36 years with all the lies, deceitfulness, betrayal along with not even keeping in touch with me in any way just to say hello once in awhile or maybe see how I am doing or if I am even alive. I spoke to a pastor who agrees that as hard as it may be I need to forgive them for how they have been all these years even though we will never forget and as Jesus said, not to associate with these type of people or have them be a part of your life.

  9. Wendy

    I didn’t read all the comments but the ones I did talked about sibling betrayal. Unfortunately, mine comes from my mother and my 2 older children (adults now) I do see the signs that I regret ignoring in the past where my own mother indoctrinated my children against me. I just couldn’t bring myself to accept she was putting all this rotten ideas in their heads so I assumed they would be smart enough and realize that what she was saying was simply NOT true. The turning point and realization was when my daughter asked by my mom called the police on me and try with everything they had to have me arrested. And my son’s only question to them was if I was indeed arrested? For the first time in my life I do feel depressed as I don’t want to keep going on living. It hurts me to think my children are suffering thinking I was the worst mother to them and it mind bugles me to see that they are distorting their whole lives so it fits with the story that my mom has put in their heads. I am suffering greatly.

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