Have you ever been betrayed? Are you aware of the impact it had on your life? Because it actually affects our relationships, holistic health, and lives much more than we think it does. In this episode, Glenn Bill is joined by a holistic psychologist, speaker, and coach Debi Silber as they have an open and honest discussion about a common but overlooked type of trauma – betrayal. Full of heartbreaking but real experiences, unknown facts about betrayal, and how to really live as a survivor of that trauma, tune in to this episode and learn what betrayal really is and how to outgrow it!
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Betrayal Trauma: Its Impact On Our Relationships, Holistic Health, And Lives As A Whole With Dr. Debi Silber
We have a treat for you. We have Dr. Debi Silber, President of the PBT, the Post Betrayal Transformation Institute, and Founder of ThePBTInstitute.com, which helps people heal from post-betrayal syndrome, which impacts their work, health, and relationships. Does this sound like maybe it might be you? She is a Holistic Psychologist, speaker and coach, and author of the Amazon number one bestselling book, The Unshakeable Woman: Four Steps to Rebuilding your Body, Mind, and Life After a Life Crisis. The Unshakeable Woman and its companion workbook are available to you and can be purchased at ThePBTInstitute.com. I am ready to jump into this thing called betrayal. I don’t know if you readers have ever been betrayed, but if you have been betrayed and if you do have a story and if it is affected all those years of your life, we have the guest to help you. Dr. Debi, welcome to the show.
Thank you so much. I realized you must have an old bio because I have two books since then.
I do. We got it off your site. Tell me about the two books that you have.
The most recent is around Betrayal. I did a PhD study. We made three groundbreaking discoveries. That’s where the new books came from. One is Trust Again that maps out one of the most exciting of the three discoveries. The companion guide to that one is From Hardened to Healed. That focuses on one particular aspect of it. I’m happy to get into the discoveries and all of that. You let me know.
We should also mention that you have a podcast as well that you guys want to download this and listen to who she’s working with called From Betrayal to Breakthrough. From Betrayal to Breakthrough is Dr. Debi’s podcast. I highly recommend that you subscribe to that and follow her so you can get some of her awesome advice. Tell us about these three big discoveries that came about when you did all your research.Dr. Debi Silber @DebiSilber is guest on the LATEST episode of the Get #Attitude #Podcast hosted by @GlennJbill and produced by @JasonAaronPro. Click To Tweet
No one studies betrayal because you’re like, “I like that topic.” You study because you have to. I had a painful betrayal from my family. I thought I did everything I needed to do to heal from that. It happened again a few years later. This time it was my husband. That was the deal breaker. I got him out of the house and looked at the two experiences thinking, “What’s similar to these two?” Me, what else? I realized boundaries were always getting crossed. I never took my needs seriously. I’m one of those people that believes if nothing changes, nothing changes.
Here it was, 4 kids, 6 dogs, a thriving business. I was like, “I’m going back for a PhD.” A book wasn’t getting me out of this gym. I needed a whole PhD in it. It was in Transpersonal Psychology, the psychology of transformation and human potential. While I was there, I did a study. I studied 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 those three groundbreaking discoveries, which changed my health, work, family, and life. I’m happy to get into all three if that would serve.
I’m dying to know. Let’s go with number one. Tell me what the first big discovery was for you.
I had a feeling that betrayal was a different type of trauma because it felt different for me. I had been through death of a loved one. I’d been through disease, but betrayal felt different. I didn’t want to assume it was the same for all my steady participants. I asked them, “If you’ve been through other traumas besides betrayal, is it different for you?” Unanimously they said, “It’s different.” Here’s why. It feels intentional. We take it personally. The entire self is shattered, rejection, abandonment, belonging, confidence, worthiness, trust. It didn’t quite qualify as other traumas. For example, if you lose someone you love, you grieve, you’re sad, you mourn the loss. You don’t necessarily lose your ability to trust. That type of healing needed its own name, which is now called post-betrayal transformation. That was the first discovery.
What you’re saying is it’s personal. It is different. It’s personal. Let’s stay with that. What are the lessons or the solutions for people that are experiencing that? How do you move on from betrayal?
You don’t move on. You move through. You need to move through all of it. When you don’t, you experience the second of the three discoveries, which was that there is a collection of symptoms, physical, mental, and emotional, so common to betrayal, it’s known as post-betrayal syndrome. We’ve had easily over 80,000 people take our post-betrayal syndrome quiz on our site to see to what extent they’re struggling. The first thing about that is we’ve all been taught time heals all wounds. I have the proof that when it comes to betrayal, that’s not true. I can share with your entire audience that a new relationship or time will not heal it. We need to deliberately and intentionally move through it. I often pull the stats from the quiz to show where people are. I’m happy to share some.
Please, let us know. They can get that quiz on ThePBTInstitute.com. If you’re reading and want to know if you need some help or some awareness, go to that quiz. Struggling to trust, you may have, there it is, post-betrayal syndrome. Jason, our wonderful producer, has this. We are on Spotify video. We are there. Go to her website and take this quiz. I might. Go ahead and tell me about the statistics.
We’re talking about betrayal of a family member, a partner, a friend, a coworker, self. Imagine 80,000 plus people, men, women, just about every country is represented. 78% constantly revisit their experience. 81% feel a loss of personal power. Eighty percent are hypervigilant. Ninety four percent deal with painful triggers. We’re talking about men, women, everybody. The most common physical symptoms, 71% have low energy, 68% have sleep issues, 63% have extreme fatigue. You sleep all night long, you wake up, you’re exhausted. That’s how you know your adrenals have tanked. 47% have weight changes. Think about it. Maybe you can’t hold food down in the beginning.
Later on, you’re using food for comfort. Forty five percent have digestive issues. That could be anything, Crohn’s, IBS, diverticulitis, you name it. The most common mental symptoms. Pay attention to these numbers because I’m going to say something about that at the end, 78% are overwhelmed, 70% are walking around in a state of disbelief, 68% are unable to focus, 64% are in shock, 62% can’t concentrate. Think about this. You can’t concentrate. You have a gut issue. You’re exhausted. You still have to show up at work every day. You still have to raise your kids. That’s not even the emotional ones.
Emotionally, 88% experience extreme sadness, 83% are angry. You could bounce back and forth between those two all day long. 82% are hurt, 80% have anxiety, 79% are stressed. Here’s why I wrote the book, Trust Again, 84% have an inability to trust. Sixty seven percent prevent themselves from forming deep relationships because they were afraid of being hurt again. 82% find it hard to move forward. 90% want to move forward, but they don’t know how.
You are here. You have been sent to us from the Lord above to help us with all of these symptoms that you went through. That’s quite a menu. That’s quite a big opportunity for you. As a speaker, I’m sitting there going, “There are eighteen keynotes that you put out there for us.”
First of all, you didn’t hear me say anything, 20%, 30%, these numbers are high. What’s even crazier is these symptoms aren’t necessarily from a recent betrayal. Imagine this. These can be from something that happened decades ago. Your parent who did something awful, that girlfriend or boyfriend who broke your heart in high school, whatever it is. Think about this. They may not know, care, or remember. They may not even be alive and here we are walking around with these symptoms now because of something that happened decades ago.
For all those who are reading, certainly, they’re going inside their minds and their emotions and going, “I’ve been betrayed.” Is that number two, or is it time to jump to number three?
That was number two. Before we get to number three, everybody reading, I want to show you how we don’t realize where it shows up. It shows up everywhere. It shows up in our health, our work, our relationships. For example, in our relationships, I’ll see it in 1 of 2 ways. A classic sign of an unhealed betrayal, repeat betrayals. The faces change, but it’s the same thing. I hear this all the time. “I keep going from boss to boss to boss, partner to partner to partner, friend to friend to friend. Is it me?” Yes, it is. Not in that it’s your fault. In that, it’s your opportunity. There is a profound lesson needing to be learned. Whether the lesson is you are lovable, worthy, and deserving. You need better boundaries in place, whatever it is, until and unless you get that, you’re going to have opportunities in the form of people to teach you.
The other way we see it in relationships is the big wall goes up. We’re like, “No one’s getting close to me again.” We think that’s coming from a place of strength. It’s not. It’s coming from fear. We were brokenhearted and shattered that we would rather keep everyone at a distance than risk that level of pain again. That’s an unhealed betrayal right there. We see it in health. People go to the most well-meaning doctors, coaches, healers, and therapists to manage stress-related symptoms, illnesses, conditions, and diseases.
At the root of it is an unhealed betrayal. We see it at work. You want that razor promotion, you deserve it, but your confidence was shattered in the betrayal. You don’t have the confidence to ask, or you want to be a team player, collaborative partner, but the person you trusted the most proved untrustworthy. How do you trust that boss, that coworker, that partner? It shows up everywhere.
Obviously, this is coming from a personal point of view. Where you were one of those statistics, I’m guessing? Did you feel immobilized? Did you feel broken? You at least found the strength to say, “I got to figure this out.” Can you share with us what your betrayal was that formed you? What were you telling yourself when you said, “Enough is enough. I need to turn the page. That’s what I want people to hear.”
My first one was my family. Later on, it was my husband. That was the deal breaker for the marriage. It was devastating and heartbreaking. Anybody who’s been through it, you know that pain. I remember diving into this program and then that study. Honestly, it was to help me heal. I didn’t have any bigger goal than that. When I was going through the study, there was a moment and I remember saying, “I don’t know how I’m going to heal from this, but if I can, I’m taking everybody with me.” I knew that if I could find a way through this, then it was trauma well served. That’s exactly what the third discovery was, which is, for me, the most exciting. I’m happy to share what that is, too.
I love that word, trauma well served. That is cool. When I’m speaking, I say we all have two things in common and that is problems in relationships. Most of us have our problems because of our relationships. Most of us have family that causes that. When you say there was a family betrayal, are you from a big Catholic family? That happens with all of our people. There’s infighting between the siblings or whatever. Was it something like that or was it parental?
It was all of it. I’m not from a Catholic family, but still, it was crazy-making. It’s that kind of thing where you automatically assume, “It must be me.” You realize people are acting from their current level of consciousness. That’s the best they can do. Honestly, I learned that and I realized that I always have a lot of dogs, which is what we do. One day I was watching my dogs and I was like, “I would never expect them to not act like dogs. That’s who they are. Why in the world am I expecting others to act anything like what they’ve consistently been?” We don’t realize it until we move through it and until we question a lot of the beliefs that we’ve been fed, all of it.
That’s where we start thinking, “Just because this was said to me or this was the belief at the time where this was done doesn’t mean it’s real and true.” Think about what a belief system is. All it is, is the repetition of an idea from someone you trust. That’s it. A parent, a teacher, someone in a religious capacity said something enough times to you doesn’t make it right or wrong, good or bad, or true, but it makes it yours. There comes a time when we used to make sense doesn’t make sense anymore. What we used to automatically believe doesn’t work. That’s a beautiful moment because that’s when we start questioning things and unraveling a lot of it.
The first one was tough and the second one was even tougher. Unless and until you do something different, nothing changes. For me, enrolling in this PhD program was the biggest thing I could ever do. I didn’t know how I was going to pay for it, how I was going to find the time. It changed my life and now, thankfully, the lives of thousands of others. I will tell you, before we get to the third discovery, to close the loop there, rebuilding is always a choice whether you rebuild yourself and move on.
That’s what I did with my family. It wasn’t an option to rebuild with them, or if the situation lends itself, if you’re willing, if you want to, you rebuild something from the ground up new as two transformed people. That’s what I do with my husband. Not long ago, as two completely rebuilt people, we married each other again, new rings, new vows, new dress. Our four kids is our bridal party.
You got it back. On the family part, it sounds like you said, “We’re all going to do a hard reset and we’re going to recreate this family.” Where you at a point where you were not talking, like communication was off, Jim Rohn, he says, there’s disassociation or limited association? A lot of people, when they look at family problems, say, “We’re going to disassociate. We’re not even talking anymore.” Is that what the state was? How did you go about getting your family rebuilt?
I teach something that’s called the window of willingness. You’re the most likely to heal and rebuild with someone or many people or the least likely. There’s a certain level where you’re not working with anything. There’s nothing to work with there. There’s no ownership, taking responsibility, and “I see what you are saying. Here’s my part and here’s your part.” There’s none of that. You have nothing to work with. In that case, you rebuild yourself and you move on. One of the biggest crimes I see in couples is they have nothing to work with, yet they still keep trying to rebuild. If there is a recipe for post-betrayal syndrome, those symptoms, it’s that.
In fact, there were three groups in the study who didn’t heal. One of the groups was the group where the betrayer had little consequences. Whether it was out of religious reasons, that was a big one, financial, fear, not wanting to break up a family. They did anything they could to turn the other cheek, and put it behind them. I saw two things with this group. Number one, a further deterioration of the relationship. Number two, this group, by far, was the most physically sick. When you realize you have little to work with, you rebuild yourself and you move along. When there is potential to rebuild, and you know it because that other person has the biggest wake-up call of their life, as does the person who’s been betrayed, there is something to work with there.
You may not have any interest in working with that, but if you do, you’re able to rebuild something completely new that never would’ve had the opportunity to exist had that not happened. It’s the death and destruction of the old in order to rebirth the new. In a long-winded way, to answer your question, that was not the case with my family. There was no ownership and taking responsibility. I healed myself and moved on with my husband, complete and total wake up, shake up ownership on my end, on his end. We rebuilt something entirely new.
That’s got to give people hope. You’re out giving people hope to know that they may be in a relationship that can’t be rebuilt. Let’s talk about this thing called narcissism. I feel like our country is producing more narcissists now than ever because of social media. That can be argued. I’d love to get your take on how do you advise people to deal with narcissism in your family or in your relationship. Maybe help us define what that is. Everybody, no matter who’s reading this, has a narcissist or ten in their life. What’s your advice on that?
I want to make sure we get to that third discovery. To answer your question, here’s the thing, we all have a degree of narcissism. It allows us to get stuff done, but where are we on that spectrum? When someone is a full-blown narcissist and they don’t have any empathy, you have nothing to work with there. As much as we work with our members within The PBT Institute who deal with that, we have all our certified coaches specialize in something different. One of our coaches specializes in narcissism. That’s her specialty. You can only imagine how busy she is. It’s one of those things. Some lack that empathy.
They betray. They don’t own it. It’s part of what they wanted to do, or for whatever reason, there are so many reasons why someone betrays. When that’s the case, you have little to work with. This is not the person who has deep remorse and regret and empathy. They get it. It is the biggest wake-up call of their life. They’re like, “That’s what I did.” Here’s an easy way to explain it. Let’s say a case with a narcissist. I look at trust like a brick wall. At every opportunity, someone has to show that they’re trustworthy. That’s one brick in that brick wall. It takes a while to build.
Imagine, in one earth-shattering move, the entire wall comes tumbling down. The person who’s been betrayed can look at the rubble and say, “I don’t have the least bit of interest in watching that thing get rebuilt.” That’s totally fine. Walk away. However, in the case of rebuilding, the job of the person who’s been betrayed, their job would be a willingness to watch that wall be rebuilt. The other person who shattered it has to be a good bricklayer. Here’s what I see. To answer your question, the narcissist looks at this rubble of bricks and isn’t all that interested in rebuilding it. The person who’s been betrayed is like, “Fine. I’ll rebuild it.” No. That’s why they never feel safe. That’s why they never trust. That’s why they’re always hypervigilant. It’s because that person didn’t own it, wake up, and do the rebuilding.
One of my favorite sayings is, “Trust isn’t earned in a day. It’s earned day by day.” That’s true. Tell me what are the reasons that people betray. You said there are a lot of reasons people betray. What are a couple of them?
Not any one of them is an excuse for it. Having said that, it could be many reasons. It could be unhealed trauma from childhood. Usually, it’s a lack. There’s something missing. Instead of going within to find out what is that person ready for and what is missing in their lives, they look for something external to fill that void, a sense of entitlement. It could be anything. There are lots of reasons.
How do you define attitude? Who is your first attitude coach?
I look at attitude as the perspective you take in anything. I was betrayed. I could have been the poster child for betrayal, but instead, I created an institute to help people heal from it. You’re entitled to do whatever you want with your situations. One will take you down and one will move you forward. It is totally and completely your choice. Who’s my role model? Anybody who’s struggling and is bigger than their struggle. I have such admiration for that.You're entitled to do whatever you want with your situation. Click To Tweet
Who formed your attitude?
I hate to say it, but we learn in spite of because of. You learn a lot from the people who hurt you the most. It was the people who hurt me the most.
That’s common for anybody that is reading. Let’s go to number three.
This, by far, was the most exciting for me anyway. What was discovered was, while we can stay stuck for years, decades, or a lifetime, and so many people do, if we’re going to fully heal, and by fully heal, I mean those symptoms of post-betrayal syndrome to that completely rebuilt space of post-betrayal transformation, we’re going to go through five proven, predictable stages. What’s even more exciting about that is we know what happens physically, mentally, and emotionally at every one of those stages. We know what it takes to move from one stage to the next. Healing is entirely predictable. I’m happy to go through the stages if you want to hear them.
Healing is also about the attitude, the way you dedicate yourself to the way you think about healing. If you want to heal, you can heal. Some people go, “I’m hopeless. I can’t be healed.” That’s not true. Let’s talk about those five stages, then. Go ahead and lay those on us. That’s great.
There’s one particular stage where we do that. This is what we teach within the institute. It’s what all of our coaches are certified in. It’s all mapped out in Trust Again. Here’s a boiled down version. Stage one is before it happens. If you can imagine four legs of a table, the four legs being physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. What I saw with everybody was a real heavy lean on the physical and the mental thinking and doing and neglecting or ignoring the emotional and the spiritual feeling and being. The table has only two legs. It’s easy for that table to topple over. That’s us. Stage two, shock, trauma, D-day, discovery day. It’s the breakdown of the body, the mind, and the worldview. The scariest of all of the stages.
This is like when someone takes a mask off and reveals who they’ve been. It is an absolute shock to the body, the mind, and the heart. Right here, you’ve ignited the stress response. You’re headed for every single stress-related symptom, illness, condition, and disease. The mind is in a complete state of chaos and overwhelm. You cannot wrap your mind around what you learned. It makes no sense. Your worldview has been shattered. Your worldview is your mental model, the rules that govern us that prevent chaos, “Don’t go there. Trust this person.” In this one moment, every rule is no longer. The bottom is bottomed out, and a new bottom hasn’t been formed yet. This is terrifying. Think about it. If the bottom were to bottom out on you, what would you do? You’d grab hold of anything you could to stay safe and stay alive. That’s stage three. Survival instincts emerge. It’s the most practical out of all of the stages.
If you can’t help me, get out of my way. How do I survive this experience? Here’s the trap, though. Stage three, and to your point, this is the most common place we get stuck. Here’s why. Once we’ve figured out how to survive our experience, because it feels so much better than the shock and trauma of where we came from, we think it’s good. Because we don’t know there’s anywhere else to go, we don’t know there’s a stage four or stage five, transformation doesn’t even begin until stage four, but because we don’t know there’s anywhere else to go, we start parking here, planting roots here. We’re not supposed to, but we don’t know that. Four things happen. The first thing is you start getting all those small self-benefits.
You get your story. You get sympathy from everyone. You get to be right. We like that. On some level, it feels good, so we plant deeper roots. Now, because we’re here longer than we should be, the mind starts doing things like, “Maybe you’re not all that great. Maybe you deserved it. Maybe this. Maybe that.” We plant deeper roots. Now, because these are the thoughts we’re thinking, this is the energy we’re putting out. Energy attracts like energy. Now we start calling in circumstances and experiences and relationships to confirm this is where we belong. The misery loves company crowd. This is exactly where they come along. It gets worse, but I’ll get you out of here.
It feels bad, but we don’t know if there’s anywhere else to go. We’re like, “I have to get through my day. I have to work.” Right here is where we start using food, drugs, alcohol, work, TV, anything to numb, avoid, and distract yourself from this painful place. Think about this. We do it for a day, a week, a month. Now it’s a habit, 1 year, 10 years, 20 years. I can see someone twenty years later and say that, “Drinking, you’re doing that. Emotional eating you’re doing. Do you think that has anything to do with your betrayal?” They would look at me like I’m crazy. They’ll say, “It happened twenty years ago.” All they did was put themselves in stage three and stay there.
This is so good. It’s helpful for people. Is stage four transformation?
It’s where it begins. That’s why I wrote from Hardened to Healed. I’m like, “You owe it to yourself to move completely through this stage. Don’t stay stuck in stage three.” From Hardened to Healed is just for stage three. If you are willing to let go of those small self-benefits, grieve more in the loss, a bunch of things you need to do, you move to stage four. Stage four is finding and adjusting to a new normal.
Here’s where you acknowledge. I can’t undo what happened, but I control what I do with it. Right there in that decision, you start turning down the stress response. You’re not healing yet, but at least you stopped the massive damage you’d been creating in stage 2 and 3. What stage four feels like, if you’ve ever moved to a new house, office, condo, apartment, whatever, all your stuff is in there, it’s not quite cozy yet, but you’re like, “We got this. This is okay.” That’s what it feels like.
Think about this. If you were to move, you don’t take everything with you. You don’t take those things that don’t represent who you want to be in your new space. What I found was if your friends weren’t there for you, right here in this one spot, you’ve outgrown them and you don’t take them with you. I hear this all the time, “I’ve had these friends 10, 20, 30 years. Is it me?” Yes, it is. You’re undergoing a transformation. If they don’t rise, they don’t come. It’s common to outgrow your friends right in this one spot. When you’ve made stage four cozy, you’ve made it mentally home, you move into the fifth, most beautiful stage. This is healing, rebirth, and a new worldview. Your body starts to heal. Self-love, self-care, eating well, exercise, stuff like that.Acknowledge that you can’t undo what happened, but you control what you do with it. Right there in that decision, you start turning down the stress response. Click To Tweet
You didn’t have the bandwidth for that earlier. Now you do. The mind is healing. You’re making new rules and boundaries based on the road you traveled. You have a new world view based on everything you see clearly now. In the beginning, the four legs of the table was all about the physical and the mental. By this point, we’re solidly grounded because we’re focused on the emotional and the spiritual too. Those are the five stages.
Dr. Debi Silber’s our guest. If you want help, if you are in a traumatic state, if you are in a state of denial, if you’re sad, if you’ve been betrayed, you need to go to ThePBTInstitute.com and start to find your healing there. Let me ask you this. There’s probably somebody reading this going, “Yeah, Dr. Debi, this all sounds good, but I’m still pissed. That guy cheated on me five years ago. I can’t get over it. I’ll go to your website.” I love the D-day, Discovery day. What should somebody do if they walk into a room and their spouse is naked, having sex with somebody else? Besides freak out and go nuts, is there a path that somebody should take when it’s D-day? What is that advice?
That’s clearly stage two right there. That is a shock that is forever imprinted on your body, mind, and heart. Everybody who’s been through it, you know exactly where you were, exactly where you got that news. It’s created for you a psychological earthquake where life had become compartmentalized into two camps before it happened and after it happened. The good news is I told you the roadmap. There is a proven predictability. This isn’t just me winging it. This is a PhD study on it with people going through it. Now this is all we do within The PBT Institute. All you need to do when you’re in stage two is get through stage two so you can get to stage three. When you’re in stage three, you do all you need to get to stage four and to stage five.
In the Institute, we have certain classes and certain coaches for stage two and certain master classes. You do that to get to stage three. You do the stage 3 stuff to get you to stage 4 and stage 5. It’s like training wheels until you don’t need them. That’s that stage three group. They will stay stuck for life. Here’s the thing, yes, you were right. It was the most horrific, horrible, terrible, awful thing ever. You deserve to heal.
How do you deal with somebody who can’t move on? You’re like, “I get it. I’m tired. We’ve heard the story a thousand times. I can’t listen to this anymore.” What do you do with those people?
We have many people coming into the Institute with therapy trauma. For example, if a therapist isn’t highly skilled in betrayal, it does so much more harm than good. If they’re not highly skilled, they will help you unpack your story and talk about your story and talk about your story. If anything has you glued to your story to stage three, it’s going over it endlessly without a plan to move towards that next stage. If someone doesn’t even think, feel, or believe it’s possible to move forward, they are deeply stuck in stage three. Healing and staying stuck is a choice. There is a proven roadmap. If you’re staying stuck, it’s only because you don’t think you can heal or you’d rather have your story totally fine, but you can heal from all of it. I didn’t do anything anyone else couldn’t do.
When I think about betrayal, the obvious is man and woman betraying. There’s a lot of betrayal out there that people don’t know, don’t identify it, or the meaning isn’t there. Some people may go, “That’s betrayal? I didn’t know that.” Can you maybe hit, “If this is happening, this is betrayal? We can help.” What are the scenarios?
I define it as the breaking of the spoken or unspoken rule. Every relationship has them. The way it works is the more we trust it and the more we depended on that person, the deeper the betrayal. For example, a child who’s totally dependent on their parent, and the parent does something awful that’s going to have a different impact than, let’s say, your coworker taking credit for your idea. There are many examples, your coworker taking credit for your idea, your best friend sharing your secret, your siblings saying, “One day when mom and dad need us, we’ll be there for them,” and then it’s time and where are they? Your partner at work stealing the company funds. It’s endless. Someone is taking advantage of a position of authority. The unspoken rule is without our awareness or consent. Someone broke that rule. That’s a betrayal.
You got me thinking about like the #MeToo Movement, which nobody ever talks about hardly anymore. What was your take on that? What was your thought about that, healthy, unhealthy?
It’s a horrific betrayal. Here’s a scenario where someone was betrayed. All of these girls, women were betrayed. We hear about this in, I hate to talk about it, different religious institutions. Look at what goes on behind the scenes often as well with young kids. It’s anything where someone’s in a position of authority. That younger person that person who believes in them takes advantage of that. That’s betrayal. It is wrong on so many levels. It takes a tremendous amount to heal from.
How do you coach somebody through fear? When people are like, “I got something I need to say, but I’m afraid.” What’s your take on fear? What’s your antidote for fear?
Often at the highest level, one of our programs called Transform, members are working with me personally. It’s a question I ask them a lot. “If you weren’t afraid, what would you do?” Whatever their actions are, they’re motivated by fear. It’s amazing when I say, “Don’t overthink it. If you weren’t afraid, what would you do?” The answer comes quickly. They’re confronted with the reality that your truth and fear keeps you from doing what you feel is right. I’ll say, like, they have kids or someone they love, “If the person you love came to you with exactly the same scenario, what would you tell them?” They don’t like hearing it, but that’s the truth.
We are going to do something that we do with all of our guests. This is supposed to be fun, but you’re going to do just fine. It’s called Knowledge Through the Decades. I want to walk through your life in each decade and ask you what the attitude lesson you got at certain ages, 10, 20, 30. I don’t even know if you’re 40. You look young, Debi.
I’ve been around a whole lot of decades. Way more than that.
We’re going to get to them all. I want you to think about the birth of your children or your birth. What do you think the attitude lesson is in new beginnings or birth?
Endless potential. We’ll figure this out.
We all have endless potential. We encourage you. I’m telling you, you’re awesome. You’re an awesome guest. You got so much to give. If you’re reading, you have endless potential. If you want to tap into your endless potential and create the destiny that you should have, I suggest that you go to Debi’s website, which again is ThePBTInstitute.com. I want you to think about, Debi, when you were ten years old, that’s like third or fourth grade, what was your attitude lesson when you were ten? Think back about it, whether you were bullied or whatever. I don’t know, but certainly, there had to be a lesson when you go back to ten.
This was huge. I remember that was the first time, and it was so profound that I remember exactly where I was. I said, “What if it’s not me?” I was always told what went wrong. It was all me, my fault. I remember the shock of that thought entering into my head. It rocked my world. I was like, “What if it’s not me?”
You’ve said that quite a bit, which is pretty interesting in the other way. “What if it’s not me?” You think that is a healing question for everybody that’s reading. From ten-year-old Debi, this thing became. Now you’re twenty, you’ve graduated from high school. I’m curious, where did you go to college? Do you remember turning twenty? What was your attitude lesson when you were twenty?
I graduated with a double Major TV Production, Broadcast Journalism. I thought I was going to be a big-time producer behind the scenes. It wasn’t rewarding at all for me. I was like, “I want to help people.” I have no idea how to do that. I met up with my college roommate one day. She’s like, “Are you bored with your work?” “You have no idea.” She said, “Let’s go back to school. Let’s take a class.” “Sign me up. I don’t even care what you sign me up for.” She calls back, she goes, “Let’s take it towards something. Let’s be dieticians.” I was like, “Okay.” I signed up for an M.S., R.D. combination holistic dietitian. She never did.
It put me on a health path. What’s crazy, years later, I met up with another friend and she’s like, “Do you want to go back to school or something?” I went, “You have no idea. I don’t know what to do that in. Holistic nutrition? I don’t know.” She goes, “I heard about this transpersonal psychology.” I’m like, “What the heck is that?” She told me. I was like, “That sounds good.” I signed up. She never did.
The nutrition aspect was the attitude lesson. What goes in your body matters. I’m guessing you’ve had a strict diet ever since you’ve done that. What’s the worst thing people can put in their bodies besides alcohol, smoke, and drugs?
As much as it’s what you’re putting in your body, it’s why. When you are numbing or using food to numb, avoid or distract yourself. You are shutting yourself up from hearing the message you’re meant to hear. I remember working with someone. At the time, I was working in weight loss a million years ago. She was an emotional leader and at least 100, 200 pounds overweight. I said to her, “Why?” She said, “I eat, so I don’t feel. I don’t feel, so I don’t respond. If I start crying, I’ll never stop.” That’s why people do it.
My wife has a little bit of this problem. She likes to sit in front of the cabinet and look at stuff.
Here’s the question to ask, “What am I hungry for?” Downtime, intimacy, something fulfilling. It’s not the food. The food’s just being used to numb from that feeling.
You’re 30. Tell me about when you turned 30. Do you remember where you were? I’m guessing you maybe had some kids. What was the attitude lesson when you turned 30?
I had two. They were sixteen months apart. I had peritonitis, which landed me in the ICU for eleven days. It’s a miracle that I’m alive, let alone have two kids after that. It was right around that time. It truly is a miracle to be alive and heal from something like that. I realized at that point, the mind is so much more powerful than we know. I’ll never forget laying in that hospital bed, going from the morphine drip to passing out in pain, back and forth. I couldn’t do it anymore. This surge of anger, rage, I don’t even know what you want to call it, came over me and I was like, “I don’t know how I’m going to do this, but I have these kids signed up as me as their mom. I can’t check out. I need to get healthy.” I know that decision was the reason why I healed.The mind is so much more powerful than we know. Click To Tweet
Quite an event there at 30. I can’t wait to learn about what you did at 40. Do you remember turning 40? What was your attitude lesson at 40?
Now I had all my kids, four kids, six dogs, this thriving practice. Looking at it now, I look back at that version of me and I was trying so hard to do everything and be everything. I crashed more than once with adrenal fatigue, and pushing myself too hard and trying to do everything. I see many women especially doing this where just because you can doesn’t mean you should. It costs me my health.
We see that a lot. The demographics of our show, we got a lot of female 40-year-olds. The weight of the world, mom, career, superwoman, I look around and I’m like, “These people are miserable.” They turn into zombies. What’s your advice for the person feeling they’re kicking ass, doing it, and saying they’re strong, but they know deep down, “I don’t know how many more days I got left?” What’s your advice to those people?
I was one of them. I would say a few things. First of all, choose your regrets. You can’t do it all. Go forward and look back. What sucks less? You want to do everything, but it’s not physically possible at the same time anyway. I remember always feeling like I had one foot on the gas and one foot on the brake all the time. I wanted to blow up my business, but I wanted to be there for the kids. What I decided was the business, maybe a little bit slower as I’m raising the kids, but I’m going to have a strong, solid relationship with them when I get there. It’s a choice you make, which regret hurts less.Choose your regrets. Click To Tweet
Give me your best parenting tip.
Love them fiercely. Let them know there is nothing they can say or do to ever make you not love them. Own your stuff. Do the best you can. Let them know that you’re just trying. You’re not going to always get it right. When you get it wrong, you’re going to own it.
Not to be judgmental, but you see a lot of people. What’s the biggest parenting blunder that people are making right now? As you got all these people that come through, certainly, there’s got to be this overwhelming thing, and you’re going, “Seriously, you, too?”
The thing that immediately comes to mind is parents aren’t cleaning up their stuff. It’s affecting their kids in the worst way. Whether you’re a parent who hasn’t cleaned up your unhealed betrayal affects you on every level. Your kids are watching way more than you think. They’re showing what being knocked down looks like and what’s sitting there swarming in stage three looks like. Let them see you crash, but let them see you rise.
Are you 50?
We got our last decade. Do you remember turning 50? What was your attitude lesson at 50 when you went, “I’m 50.”
In my case, that’s where life began. It did. Think about it. I was through the worst of it. My betrayal was over. I was healing. Now I learned something so powerful that I was like, “I’m going to help countless people with what we’ve learned.” The PBT Institute was birthed, then our certification, so we can help so many people. The coaches could have their reach and our family became so much stronger and more solid. Life started getting fun at 50. My husband and I are better than ever because we’re totally new people. Same people, but not the same. Life got fun.
I feel that. Debi, you have been a blessing and a light. You shine the light. Season three of the show is carry the light and did you carry the light. Something unreal. You gave us many great answers and golden nuggets. I know that the people all over the country, all over the world, that are reading this are going to be looking you up, going to the PBT Institute. We always like to give you an opportunity to talk one-on-one to the person walking on the beach, sitting in the car crying, whatever. What’s your message of hope that you want to give our GAPers? We love to hear your message of hope for them.
First of all, thank you so much. It’s people like you that give people like me a voice. I’m deeply grateful. I would say to everybody, number one, I didn’t do anything you couldn’t do. There’s a roadmap now. Keep moving forward. Even if you have to say this to yourself a million times, it’s worth it. Even though it happened to you, it’s not about you. Do the work to heal, whether you heal and rebuild yourself and move along, or heal and rebuild and create something entirely new with that person who hurt you. Both can be options based on your scenario but do not stay stuck.
GAPers, you need to go to The PBT Institute. If you need to get attitude about your betrayal and your transformation, Debi is the one and only person to do that for you. Dr. Debi, thank you so much for being here. We loved having you on the show.
- The Unshakeable Woman: Four Steps to Rebuilding your Body, Mind, and Life After a Life Crisis
- Workbook – The Unshakeable Woman
- Trust Again
- From Hardened to Healed
- From Betrayal to Breakthrough
About Debi Silber
Dr. Debi Silber is the founder of the PBT (Post Betrayal Transformation) Institute and is a holistic psychologist, a health, mindset and personal development expert, the author of Trust Again, and is a 2-time #1 International bestselling author of: The Unshakable Woman AND From Hardened to Healed. Her podcast: From Betrayal to Breakthrough is also globally ranked within the top 1.5% of podcasts. Her recent PhD study on how we experience betrayal made 3 groundbreaking discoveries that changes how long it takes to heal. In addition to being on FOX, CBS, The Dr. Oz Show, TEDx (twice) and more, she’s an award-winning speaker and coach dedicated to helping people move past their betrayals as well as any other blocks preventing them from the health, work, relationships, confidence, and happiness they want most.