PP 672: How to Move from Betrayal to Breakthrough! with Debi Silber

“There is nothing stopping you from taking that biggest crisis that knocked you down and transforming yourself. It could be the boldest, most amazing version of yourself that shows up if you just do the work.” -Debi Silber

Time heals all wounds definitely does not apply to the heartbreak caused by betrayal. As unfair as it is, the victim is left to figure out how to put the broken and smashed pieces of his/her life back together. Needless to say, it is a cruel journey ahead. But what if you can use that nightmare to create a stronger, better, and more beautiful version of yourself? In this episode, Kim interviews Debi Silber, the Founder of Post Betrayal Transformation (PBT) Institute on how to do just that. Kim and Debi kick this conversation off by discussing the difference between resilience and actually being transformed. Debi also talks about the 5 stages of transformation, 3 discoveries about betrayal that will make you believe that healing is possible, how to stop betrayal from repeating itself, how to deal with family betrayal, how self-betrayal manifests, and why you should be deliberate about the motive behind extending forgiveness. Of course, we all want transformation, but where do we even begin? Listen in as Debi shares 4 questions to guide you out of victimhood to victory!


02:02 Lied to, Cheated on, and Deceived
08:54 Transformation in the Process
14:52 Are You Self-Betraying? Answer These 4 Questions
17:08 3 Discoveries About Transformation
20:04 Why Self-Betrayal is the Worst!
25:51 The Reason Behind Repeat Betrayal 
28:36 5 Stages of Transformation
35:12 Out of Victimhood
42:44 From Betrayal to Breakthrough!

Betrayed by someone you loved? Join @thekimsutton and @DebiSilber as they discuss how to get out of a toxic relationship, spark the transformation, and be the best version of YOU! #positiveproductivity #podcast #betrayal #transformation #lovethenewyouClick To Tweet





Inspirational Quotes:

02:45 “If you don’t learn the lesson you’re supposed to learn, you get another opportunity.” -Debi Silber

05:07 “There’s something transformative about crashing and burning. It gives you clarity and insight to do something completely different, that we wouldn’t do if we didn’t have that total crash and burn.” -Debi Silber

20:28 “We know better, but we completely neglect our own best interest. We’re abusing ourselves because of fear. That’s, self-betrayal.” -Debi Silber

22:16 “If we’re saying yes because we’re afraid of saying no, it’s usually to our own detriment, and we’re the ones who pay the price.” -Debi Silber

23:53 “We put a lot of unrealistic expectations on ourselves that nobody is holding us to except ourselves.” -Kim Sutton

24:06 “Sometimes, it’s really helpful to lower the bar a little bit, not because we can’t do it, it’s because we care about ourselves. If we were completely depleted in every aspect, we are of no value to ourselves or anybody else. There’s no point in that.” -Debi Silber

25:56 “Unless and until we heal for real, the only thing we can do is repeat it.” -Debi Silber

33:09 “Rebuilding is always, always an option.” -Debi Silber

34:01 “Sometimes, it takes a complete leveling of what you had to create something new.” -Debi Silber

37:45 “If we’ve gone through something, and we’ve learned something because of it, pay it forward. That’s what we’re here for.” -Debi Silber

40:13 “Forgiveness is all about us. But we have to be very aware of why we’re doing it, or it can totally completely backfire.” -Debi Silber

41:14 “The ones who hurt you the most are your greatest teachers. They taught you what not to do and you wouldn’t have been called to move forward had they not do what they’ve done.”  -Debi Silber

42:54 “Betrayal gives us the opportunity to completely rewrite the rules.” -Debi Silber

47:42 “ You can turn your biggest crisis into your greatest gift, but you can’t do it alone. Get the support you need.” -Debi Silber

47:52 “There is nothing stopping you from taking that biggest crisis that knocked you down and transforming yourself. It could be the boldest, most amazing version of yourself that shows up if you just do the work.” -Debi Silber

About Debi Silber:

Dr. Debi Silber, President/CEO of Debi Silber Companies, LLC. and founder of www.ThePBTInstitute.com is a holistic psychologist, recognized health, mindset, empowerment, and personal development expert. She’s a speaker, coach, and author of the Amazon #1 Bestselling book: The Unshakable Woman, The Unshakable Woman-The Workbook (the companion guide to the book), Trust Again, and 2 books recommended by Brian Tracy, Marshall Goldsmith, and Jack Canfield. Debi has contributed to FOX, CBS, The Dr. Oz show, TEDx (twice), The Huffington Post, Shape, Self, Health, Working Mother, Forbes, Psychology Today, WebMD, Ladies Home Journal, MSN, Woman’s World, and Glamour to name a few. After researching and conducting a Ph.D. study on how we experience betrayal from a family member or partner, Debi has discovered a predictable and proven process taking 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. Debi understands the demands of the busy woman because she’s one too. Managing The PBT Institute®, teaching, speaking, coaching, mentoring, and writing, she’s also married to her husband Adam for 28 years, is the proud mom of Dani, Dylan, Camryn, and Cole (24, 23, 20, and 18) and is the proud mom of 6 dogs, Scooby, Nike, Roxy, Gigi, Brody, and Kasey.


Kim Sutton: Welcome back to another episode of Positive Productivity. This is your host Kim Sutton, and I’m so happy to have you here this morning or afternoon, it just occurred to me that it’s morning my time. It could be, I don’t know. Okay, that’s a good ramble to start this out. But if you have been listening for a while, you know that positive productivity is not always about perfection, but it certainly doesn’t need to be painful either. And today’s guest and I are going to be talking about Dr. Debi Silber is from The PBT Institute, which stands for Post Betrayal, I just lost the tea Debi ,caught me out with the tea.

Debi Silber: Okay, it’s a transformation. Post Betrayal Transformation.

Kim Sutton: I had post betrayal. But see, I think that’s where a lot of people though, they get hung up because they don’t see the beauty that can come out of the hardships in life, and the transformation just keeps us stuck. So Debi, how did you get into this? Was there a betrayal that led you into it? How did you realize that this was your passion? And that this is where you wanted to be spending your time?

Debi Silber: Sure. Well, I’ve been in a healthy mindset, personal development, actually, I’ve been in business longer than some of the listeners have been on the planet, 28 years. Of course, you don’t study something like betrayal unless you have to. And I had a horrible family betrayal and have the universe’s, if you don’t quite learn the lesson you’re supposed to learn, you get another opportunity. So that happened, and it was in the form of my husband. Blindsided is the word we use for betrayal because we don’t see it coming, it just shatters everything we know to be real and true. So just like anybody else, I was devastated, crushed. But the lesson for me was that I wasn’t even on my own to do list. It was always about everybody else. I had a business to run, for kids, and six dogs, and this huge practice. But I decided, well, you know what? No, it’s about me now. And one of the first things I did, which is a little odd, when you’re reeling from a betrayal is I enrolled in a Ph. D program in Transpersonal Psychology, that’s the psychology of transformation in human potential. I don’t know, I just felt so intuitively guided because I needed to really understand how the mind works, why we do what we do, and how we can heal. And while I was there, 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? And that study led to three groundbreaking discoveries, and it changed my business, my family, my life, and I am happy to talk about what those are. And it’s just been an incredible ride ever since.

Kim Sutton: Can I go back?

Debi Silber: Sure.

Kim Sutton: Yes, I definitely want to talk about that, but I’m thinking about those pivotal moments in my life. I’ve experienced something huge and devastating, and betrayal. In my life, I feel like I’ve always taken a drastic leap afterwards. I’m wondering if that is a theme that a lot of people do take. I mean, you sign up, you went for your PhD.

Debi Silber: Mm hmm.

Kim Sutton: I started a business. These are not small steps. Is there something that links the two together?

Debi Silber: Yeah, absolutely. I have clients who at this point, never when they’re going through it, but now they’re grateful for their messy divorce because now they’re with their soulmate, or they’re grateful they lost their job because now they’re doing the work they love. They’re even grateful they got that disease because now they have a love and appreciation for life, they never would have had that not happen. There’s something really transformative about everything, crashing and burning, because it gives you an opportunity to have this amazing clarity and insight, and do something completely different that we wouldn’t do if we didn’t have that total crash and burn. It’s the difference between, I talked about the difference between resilience and transformation. I’ll give this analogy, it’s really helpful. Resilience is bringing back and restoring, and it’s a worthy goal, you need that for your everyday. Transformation is very different. 

So let’s say we have, I always use this analogy of the house. Let’s say the house needs a new boiler, and you get a boiler, that would be resilient. Or let’s say it needs a new paint job, and you paint, that would be resilience. Here’s transformation. A tornado comes by and levels your house, a new boiler is not going to fix it, and a new paint job is not going to fix it. And here’s the thing, we have every right to stand there at the lot where our house was, didn’t say, Oh, my gosh, this is the most horrific thing that’s ever happened. And we’d be right. But what transformation does is say, okay, while you can stare at that lot, where your house wants stood. If you want to rebuild the house, you don’t have to. But if you choose to, why build the same house? There’s nothing there, why not build something so completely magnificent. That’s the beauty of transformation. When everything is leveled, when everything has been torn down, taken away, destroyed, no longer an option, we then have the opportunity to rebuild something entirely new. And that’s always the option after trauma.

Kim Sutton: I’m absolutely loving this. Just yesterday, and I don’t want to timestamp. But listeners, I’ll put a link in the show notes. I recorded a video on how to handle life’s curveballs, and what I found was that for such a long time, I was going into bed, pulling the covers up over my head and just hiding. I mean, I’ve been through so many of the things that you just mentioned, I had a messy divorce, I lost my job. But on the flip side, I mean, the divorce led to me finding my soulmate. So I love that you use an example, losing my job. If that had not happened, I wouldn’t be here talking to you today. Or maybe I would be, but it would just look a lot different. But it was the launchpad to something new. But I had to get over that initial height in bed, and I won’t do that anymore because I realize that there’s always something better waiting, I just need to open my eyes to see it.

Debi Silber: And that’s what we do. It’s so natural. Actually, that was what my first TEDx was about. It was really about how we numb, avoid and distract ourselves from something that’s really uncomfortable to feel or face. And we use things like food, drugs, alcohol, work, TV, keeping busy, reckless behavior, and we assume that we’re helping ourselves by doing this, but really all we’re doing is delaying the inevitable because as you know, it doesn’t go away. And I have the saying that I use with all the members in my program and clients, “it doesn’t go away unless and until we face it, feel it, heal it.” And that’s really what it is. And when we’re using all of those techniques to avoid distraction, numb, we’re really doing ourselves a huge disservice. Because we have the most incredible opportunity to rebuild something so magnificent, way better than before. Different for sure, but we never get to that if that’s all we’re doing. Here’s another analogy. I’m really big on analogies, you could tell. Like everybody listening, I’m sure, unless it’s just me, has this messy room, or garage, or drawer, or whatever.

Kim Sutton: But you get my desk great.

Debi Silber: Yeah, okay. And we think it’s not vying for our attention, but it is. I think it’s like, let’s just take a messy garage, for example. We avoid that garage at all costs. We just don’t want to go in there because it doesn’t make us feel good. And we think we’re handling it by just not going in, right? And if you do go in you just like hold your breath, go and grab it. You need to and you’re out of there really quickly. But then think about what happens. There comes that one day where we’re like, you know what? That’s it, I’m going. And you grab all your garbage bags, and you go. Now, if you notice, think about this process here, it actually looks a lot worse at first. And this is what people are so terrified of. But here’s the irony, going back to our analogy, it’s looking worse because now you’re like, I’m going to get rid of that. I’m going to toss that. I’m going to fix that. I’m going to donate this, and you have things all over. But then think about that next step then you go, and you donate. And then you go and you toss. Then you go and you fix whatever, and then you put back what’s left. You go get your nice little containers, whatever it is, you put back what’s left. Now, only because you dove in there and you did the work. Now, you stand back with such pride. You feel so empowered, and you actually enjoy the space. It’s the same thing with transformation. Only when you go in there, you slay those dragons, you deal with all of that mental, emotional chaos or confusion, whatever is really challenging you. But when you do, you know you emerge from it the other side with this amazing sense of confidence and empowerment that you can only have, because you went in there and did the work. It’s the same thing.

Kim Sutton: Holy moly, thank you because I hadn’t thought about that, full disclosure. This past weekend, I was looking at my profit and loss for the last month and I was like a whole, that is not good. But listeners, you’ve been hearing me talk about how I ended a not good client situation. And that client was driving all the business, all the work I was doing to the business, but that had to go. There were no boundaries, there was very little respect. It just wasn’t a good situation. And putting that behind me? Yes, I took a blow to the income, but now I’m getting all my systems and processes. And yes, things like boundaries set up in my contracts and all those things that were missing the first go around, I feel so good about the future, even though it’s messy right now. So thank you.

Debi Silber: Yeah. And that’s the thing we just, we think, yeah. Here’s another thing, I say it all the time. It’s easy now, hard later. Hard now, easy later. Take your pick, it’s going to be one of those two. So when we’re avoiding numbing, distracting, yeah, that’s easy now, but hard later. And it’s hard now, right? Facing all of that, will those challenging, or uncomfortable, or uncertain scenarios, situations, but then easy later because now we know what we’re working with, we know what we’re dealing with. Transformation happens when we tell ourselves the truth. And even within the study, there were groups of people who did not heal. And one of the groups who didn’t heal, they were doing just that. They were numbing, avoiding distracting and just taking whatever they could, drinking or medicating. And I would never say, don’t you take something or whatever. But what happens is, yes, it may have made it temporarily a little bit easier. But they didn’t heal nearly as quickly as the people who just dove in and did the work.

Kim Sutton: Well, very early in the conversation here you said, if you don’t learn the first time, life will give you another chance to learn.

Debi Silber: Yeah.

Kim Sutton: And I have learned that. I have seen that, because life has given me very many chances to learn. I like to say that God will nudge me. And then if I still don’t listen, I’m just going to get smacked by a holy two by four. And I always learned my lesson with the two by four.

Debi Silber: Yeah.

Kim Sutton: But I found that with my email, when I was going through the hard client conversations, I would avoid my email. But there was always that pit that dread in my stomach for, it’s easy now because I’m avoiding it, but it’s gonna be hard later when I finally just learned how to suck it up, say what I needed to say. Because so many times, regardless who we are, there’s that fear of saying what really needs to be said. Whether it’s to our kids, to our significant other, to our clients, even to our doctor admitting that we’re eating junk or not exercising, all of the above, it just needs to be done. I also found that going through those hard times, I was numbing. I wasn’t eating healthy when I was eating, I was drinking a lot more than I should have, and I was gaining weight from the stress even though I was eating less. I did actually have one of those hard conversations with my doctor. I went in, listeners, I think it’s really important that you hear this because so often, just like Debi just said, we had to face the truth with ourselves first. I went to the doctor, Debi, and I said: “I want an anti anxiety or depression.” This was at the end of last year and he said: “Well tell me what’s going on.” And then he started asking the questions that I didn’t want to ask myself or answer myself. “Kim, how many hours a day are you working?” And I gave him the answer. “And how many days a week are you doing that?” “And I think seven.” “Well, how much are you sleeping?” He’s like: “You don’t need an anti anxiety or anti depression. You need to take care of yourself and the only problems right now.”

Debi Silber: Yeah. Well, you know what? I even have four questions that I can share with the listeners. So here’s how you know if you’re doing that, you ready? I invite everybody to write these down. Am I numbing and distracting? If so, how? Be honest with yourself. Are you numbing out in front of the TV? Are you benign? Are you drinking? What are you doing? The second question, and this is a tough one. What am I pretending not to see? My pretending not to see, there’s trouble in my relationship. My pretending not to see, I hate my job. My pretending not to see, health issue that needs my attention. The third question, what’s life going to look like in 5 to 10 years if I keep this going? Play it out. What’s life gonna look like in 5 to 10 years if you keep ignoring that health issue? What’s life gonna look like in f5 to 10 years when you keep ignoring that relationship issue? What’s life gonna look like in 5 to 10 years if you keep ignoring the fact that you hate your job? And then the fourth question, what would life look like in 5 to 10 years if I change now? And again, I’m not saying that it’s easy, but that’s the beginning of transformation.

Kim Sutton: Holy smokes. I love these questions. I’m taking, what’s it gonna look like for a more face value expression, but I even have looked back through my Instagram feed for the last couple years when I was ignoring, and you can totally see the stress all over me.

Debi Silber: Yeah.

Kim Sutton: And if I had continued down that road, I can already see the raccoon eyes disappearing just by letting it go. Raise your hand listeners if you’ve got major stress related, numbing raccoon eyes right now. But I posted a picture just in the last week and a video of me without makeup. And looking back, there are pictures where I had makeup on where the stress was showing through. The raccoon eyes were so much more visible than even when I didn’t have makeup on just recently. But I was totally numbing it, totally ignoring it. But it was impacting my health in every way. So I appreciate what you are doing. Would you mind sharing about your programs? I want to jump more back into what this meant for your life after doing the changes.

Debi Silber: Well, I could share the study and what we discovered, and that’s what led to everything. So yes, we made three discoveries. The first was that healing from betrayal is very different from healing from other life crises, death of a loved one, disease, natural disaster. Of course, with any crisis, we grieve, we’re sad, we mourn. But because betrayal feels so intentional, we take it so personally. So the whole self has to be rebuilt. Trust, rejection, abandonment, worthiness, competence, it all has to be rebuilt. It needed its own name, which is called Post Betrayal Transformation. So that was the first discovery. And the second one was that, while we can stay stuck for years, decades, a lifetime, many of us do. If we’re going to heal, we will move through five stages. Now, we know exactly what those stages are. We know exactly what it takes to move from one stage to the next. So now, healing isn’t just hopeful or possible, it’s predictable. I mean, that was just so hugely exciting. I can’t even stress that enough. The third discovery was that there’s a collection of symptoms, physical, mental, and emotional. So common to betrayal is now known as Post Betrayal Syndrome. 

We have a quiz on the site to see to what extent someone is struggling, and we’ve had over 6000 people take the Post Betrayal Syndrome Quiz, and it’s only been a year and a half. We’ve all heard, time heals all wounds. That’s not true. Not when it comes to betrayal. Because we have people, there’s a section that says, is there anything else you’d like to share? And besides hearing about all of the symptoms, and really what betrayal left, we’re hearing things like my betrayal happened 40 years ago, I’m unwilling to trust again. My betrayal happened 35 years ago, I just can feel the hate. My betrayal happened 20 years ago, it’s like it happened yesterday. So it’s profound. I mean, it’s huge. So our programs, all within the PBT Institute are walking people through these five stages, because now we know exactly what moves you from one stage to the next. So that’s all we do all day long, just help people understand that betrayal really requires its own protocol. If we just go, let’s say, a therapist was wonderful, but it hits us on so many different levels. If we just go to someone who’s going to help us with our gut issues, if we just go to someone who tells us with our stress, we’re really not handling it at the root. It affects our business, it affects our relationships, it affects our health, and it all needs to be dealt with in order to prevent repeat betrayals in order to heal for good. So that’s what we do.

Kim Sutton: I had a couple questions.

Debi Silber: Sure.

Kim Sutton: I want to know about the five stages, if you wouldn’t mind. But I do have a question before that, well, is there such a thing in your mind as personal betrayal?

Debi Silber: Oh, yeah, self betrayal is huge. That’s one of the biggest things we see too. And it’s as simple as, I promise, I’m not gonna eat the cookies. And then we do. It says extreme as this toxic, dangerous, horrible relationship. I need to leave, and I just keep going back for more. It’s anything in there where we’re not honoring ourselves. Where we know better and we just out of fear out of whatever it is, we completely neglect our own. What’s in our best interest in every way, and we’re just abusing ourselves. And it’s usually because of fear. It’s because of a mindset that doesn’t serve us because of  limiting beliefs. And then with self betrayal, we keep doing that to ourselves over, and over, and over again. That’s a rough one because it’s like this self loading that happens. We’re like, I know better, why do I keep doing that? Why am I treating myself that way? Why am I abusing myself? I deserve better, and then you just keep going back for more. So that’s self betrayal.

Kim Sutton: I’m in my eighth year of business right now, for the first seven years. I was a, yes, ma’am. He wanted me to do something, I would always say, yes. Even if my calendar was fully booked, I could have had 24 hours of work designated for tomorrow. When I know I should only be working realistically to do a good job, four to five, but I would still say yes to somebody else that I could do more. And they came back and bit me hard. Well, at first, I was really upset at how it all went down. And yes, I did have some anger at the other parties involved. I eventually needed to suck up and say, well, you had ownership in this to not have to say yes.

Debi Silber: Yeah. And that’s what it is. It’s one thing to say yes because it just feels good. We love that we’re contributing. We love that we’re helping. That’s wonderful. But take a look at the intention behind it. Because if we’re saying, yes, because we’re afraid of saying, no, we just want to make sure we’re light to whatever it is. It’s usually to our own detriment, and we’re the ones who pay the price. And I know how brutally uncomfortable it is when someone’s asking you to do something to say, no. But that minute or two worth of discomfort is securing so much more time, where you can just honor yourself, your priorities, whatever is important to you. So I call that a case of yes and no confusion.

Kim Sutton: I love that. Yes and no confusion.

Debi Silber: Yeah, we’re saying YES to things that take us away from our priorities, and we say NO to the things that would bring us joy.

Kim Sutton: Absolutely.

Debi Silber: It’s confusion.

Kim Sutton: So me, of two years ago, if somebody asked me to build a marketing funnel, I would be like, yeah, I can do that. I’ll have it for you in two days. But I’ve implemented and I want to go back to the five stages again, but I’ve always implemented four times that by four Kim, you think you can do something in two days, times by four. So what I thought two years ago was that people would hate me, that’s too long. And what I’ve learned is that, just like me asking for anything from anybody. For an example, I’ll ask my kid, can you get on with your chores? And I want it done in a half hour, but I realize it’s gonna take long because he gets distracted. My clients don’t expect me to turn around and give it to them in a day, unless they specifically ask for it. And we put a lot of false expectations, not false, but how would you word it? You’re the expert. Unrealistic expectations on ourselves that nobody is holding us except for ourselves.

Debi Silber: Mm hmm. And that’s it. I mean, sometimes it’s really helpful to lower the bar a little bit, not because we can’t do it, it’s because we care about ourselves. We look at things like that is we’re being selfish, but I look at it as it’s self preservation. If we were completely depleted in every aspect, we were of no value to ourselves or anybody else. So what’s the point in that?

Kim Sutton: Mm hmm. I also found that I was training people to expect that for me. But now that I’ve let people know, my hours are 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and I’m not working weekends anymore. It’s amazing to hear the response. I was out with my kids and my husband on Sunday, and I received a voice message from a client. She says, I don’t want a response today, I just had a thought. And she keeps on talking. Please don’t respond today. I know it’s the weekend. I know it’s your time. And it’s because I had said I’m not working nights, weekends. And then she saw that I was listening to it, we use BOXER so she can see if I’m listening. She’s like, what are you doing? It’s the weekend. But that’s because I set that up straight from the start, it was that transformation. And my husband could hear it because he’s on speaking, look, or listening, did you hear that? She just told me to get off of here. It’s such an amazing shift when you just realize. But going to relationships, I love how you brought that up too. I mean, I have people in my family who have had those really horrible, significant others. I’m not gonna say who it is, but I’ve had one family member whose significant other was incarcerated. And then she went and got in another relationship with somebody else who went to jail. And it’s just like, where’s the transformation? Why isn’t it happening?

Debi Silber: Well, and that’s the thing. It’s because it’s so familiar, and that’s exactly what goes on. Unless we, and until we heal for real, everything that needs to be healed, the only thing we can do is repeat it. Not because it’s good, only because it’s so familiar. And that’s one of the biggest things we teach. For example, when it comes to betrayal, if we do not do the work to heal from betrayal, we have two options. We repeat it and we go from relationship to relationship, whether it’s family, friend, coworker, whatever, with a very similarity, the face has changed, but it’s the same thing. Or we put that big wall up, we’re like, I’m not letting anybody get close to me again. Sure, we keep up with the bad guys, but we keep out the good guys too. We see it in every area, we see it in health where people go to the most well meaning doctors, healers, therapists to manage a stress related symptom illness condition disease, and at the root of it is an unhealed betrayal. And we see it at work where people want to ask for that raise or promotion, but their confidence was shattered in the betrayal. So they don’t ask, and they’re bitter and resentful instead. And that’s the energy they bring to work every day. Or they want to be a team player, but they’re so afraid. They trusted the most proved untrustworthy, how are they going to trust a boss or a co worker. So we see it in so many areas of life. And the only thing we can do is repeat it, is have it affect us unless we face it.

Kim Sutton: You’ve got me thinking about my amazing husband, who is my soulmate. He tried to put the wall up on me very early because he was so used to the past betrayals. I wasn’t having any part of that wall, and then he realized. But could you talk us through the five steps stages?

Debi Silber: Sure. So the first stage is like a setup stage. I saw this with every single participant, me included. If you imagine a table, a table having four legs. If you imagine the legs being physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. What I saw with every single person was a real heavy lien on the physical and the mental, and kind of neglecting the emotional and the spiritual. And what that looks like is we’re really good at thinking and doing, and not as good at feeling and being. And that’s not to say that if you’re busy, it’s a setup for betrayal, but it’s in the feeling and being where your intuition lies. What happens is we turned down our intuition where it really could have served us so easy for that table to topple over, or we’re only focused on two legs, and that’s exactly what happens. So stage two, this is the scariest stage. Here’s the breakdown of the body, the mind, the worldview. And here’s where we’re just shocked. We’re shocked. It’s the shattering of everything we know to be real and true. So now we’ve ignited the stress response, so we’re headed for every single stress related symptom, illness condition, disease. The mind is in a complete state of mental chaos. We cannot wrap our minds around what we just learned, and our worldview, how we view the world has been shattered. These are the rules, this person safe, this is how it works. In a moment, it’s all gone, there’s nothing to hold on to, nothing to believe in. Every rule is broken. 

So here’s really where the bottom bottoms out on us, and it’s terrifying. But think about it. If you were walking down the street and the bottom were to bottom out on you, what would you do? You would grab, hold of whatever you could to stay safe, stay alive. That’s stage three, survival instincts emerge. It’s the most practical stage. If you can help me get out of my way, how will I survive this experience? What will I do? How do I handle this? And it’s a really interesting stage because this is the stage we get stuck in the most. And for life, if we don’t do the work to get past it. Because once we figured out how to survive, we think that’s as good as it gets. Anyway, there are predictable things that you could do to move from stage three, to stage four. If you do, and if you’re willing to, you move to stage four, and here’s funding and adjusting to a new normal. Your old normal doesn’t exist anymore, it’s no longer an option. So here’s like, if you’ve ever moved to a new house, condo, office, apartment, whatever, you know your stuff isn’t there yet. Everything’s not quite cozy, but it’s going to be okay. You’re starting to turn down the stress response here. So you’re not really rebuilding, but you’re not wreaking havoc on your body like you were. So things are calming down just a bit. Once you’re here for a while, and you’re making this space okay, you’re making this new scenario okay, you can slowly move to the fifth most beautiful stage, and this is healing rebirth and a new worldview. So here, you’ve turned down the stress response, the body starts to heal, you also didn’t have the bandwidth for self love, self care. That was like the last thing on your mind, you were busy surviving. Now you want to take better care of yourself, you’re eating better, you’re exercising, you love yourself, your mind, you’re making new rules. Now, based on what you’ve learned, what you’ve experienced. And the four legs of the table that you know it originally were, we were only focused on the physical and the mental. Now, we are solidly grounded because we’re paying attention to the emotional and the spiritual too. Those are the stages.

Kim Sutton: I hadn’t really thought about the difference between the mental and the emotional before. I’m sort of surprised that I’m saying that because I have been talking a lot about listening to my head, especially in my business. No, you need the money. You need to say yes, you need the money. My heart often says, no, this is really not what you want to be doing. Yes, it does not feel good. But I hadn’t really thought about the difference. And even when I’m meditating, I found that I struggled a lot when I was meditating from my head instead of from my heart and listening to my gut.

Debi Silber: Yeah, the head will always talk us out of what the body knows, and what we intuitively know in our higher wisdom and higher guidance. And it’s really bypassing that cognitive mind to get to the real stuff. When it comes to betrayal, it’s one of the most challenging things because the cognitive mind, let’s say, your ego is saying, every single thing about this is wrong. And then it’s your heart and maybe your higher wisdom that’s like, yeah, but you know what? What if, what if, what if, and that was the case with me. Rebuilding is always an option. You could rebuild and move on. That’s what I did with my family, I just rebuilt myself and moved on with my family betrayal. And then if the situation lends itself, if you’re willing, if you want to, you can rebuild something entirely brand new with the person who hurt you. And that’s what I did with my husband. Not long ago, we married each other again. Completely two different people, new rings, new bows, new dress, and our four kids are at our bridal party. Trauma is the setup truly for transformation. And it gives you that opportunity. Not all situations lend itself to it, like with my family, it just wasn’t an option. So in the best case scenario, you rebuild and move on. But sometimes, it takes that complete leveling of what you had, to create something new.

Kim Sutton: Absolutely. When you were talking about stage three, I started thinking about Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken. Two roads diverged in a yellow wood. And then he talks about, I took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference. I see the two paths. And perhaps you can talk about this because I see us being able to take one of two different paths in stage three, four, or five. And if we take the one that we’ve always been traveling, it’s going to be like the highway off ramp where we can keep on looping forever and ever. But if you take that road that we’ve never really traveled before, it could be really freakin’ scary. And who knows, we might just wind up on a different highway off ramp, but we could also wind up in a beautiful, amazing place like you have, like I have. And again, this makes all the difference, because that loop happened. Where do you see those decisions having to take place? Or is it every single stage?

Debi Silber: Yeah. Just talking about stage three in particular, here’s the thing, the pain of where you are becomes greater than the fear of the unknown. That’s when you jump. And when it comes to stage three, the survival stage, we have so many benefits for staying stuck. I know everybody listening to like benefits, what the heck does that mean? Yes, benefits. Because think about it, you get someone to blame, you get a target for your anger, you don’t have to do the hard work of learning to trust again. Do I trust you? Forget it. I’m not trusting anybody. You get to justify not doing something. You get sympathy from other people and the small self, or ego selves. Look at that, like, yeah, I get that. Yes, I do. And then what happens is we sort of plant roots in that space. And then later, like energy attracts like energy. So then now, we’re bringing situations to us that confirm it, that confirm. And then we start thinking, well, maybe I belong here. Maybe, maybe. And now we’re just digging ourselves in deeper. And that’s the thing when you look at it and say, Okay, well, yes. I am receiving benefits. And this whole victim thing, I’m getting a lot out of this. But if I’m willing to let that go for something so much better, even in my scenario, yeah, I had an amazing story. The most important people in my life betrayed me. 

But when I look at it and say, okay, even though I had that story, by letting go of that story, I have a much better story. I mean, now, because I was willing to let that go, we have thousands and thousands of people going through our programs becoming certified as PBT coaches and practitioners helping our members, and people are realizing they don’t have to stay stuck after betrayal. And now, with the new book out, and the latest TEDx, and a podcast, there’s such an upside with this new story. And I’m no different than anybody. All I did was just say, Okay, well, this really stinks. But I did something, just something good with something bad. Because otherwise, if you don’t, you just feel like, I don’t know, I just felt like, okay, something really painful happened. And if I can heal from something like this, I’m going to make sure that I take as many people with me. Because now, you have a much better story. You become a role model for other people, and it’s just so forward moving. I think that’s really our obligation. If we’ve gone through something and we’ve learned something because of it, pay it forward. I mean, that’s what we’re here for.

Kim Sutton: I love that. I look at it as fueling my new fire. It provides endless amounts of content for me. Where do you see forgiveness? Or forgetting coming in? And I have my own thoughts about both?, but where do you see them becoming? Or working their way into the stages.

Debi Silber: Yeah, it’s really important. Forgiveness is huge. First of all, forgiveness speaks a language that the logical rational mind doesn’t understand. Because here you are. It’s like, someone did something hateful, hurtful, harmful. And yes, forgive anyway. And it’s because we’ve all heard this, forgiveness isn’t about someone else, it’s about us. But here’s the thing. When we forgive too early, it backfires every single time. And there’s this rule when it comes to forgiveness. If you feel, this one comes to rebuilding. Let’s say with that person, two different scenarios. If we’re forgiving, and moving on, and forgiving and rebuilding, let’s say forgiving and rebuilding. This could be a friend, a partner, a co worker, anything. If you feel safe and valued and you forgive, you feel better. If you do not feel safe and valued and you forgive, you feel worse. So you really want to think about what’s the intention there. 

Are you forgiving because you just want to feel better, you want to let go of the power that this pain has over you, all of those reasons, then forgiving is totally in your best interest because you’re not going to create that physical, mental emotional damage that it’s been causing. However, if you’re choosing to forgive because everyone’s telling you to, because it’s going to be easier that way, because there’s less, you have to deal with the outside, whatever, and you forgive, that’s going to cause a lot of damage. It really will. I mean, that was the other thing. Like I said, there were three groups in the study who didn’t heal. The group where the betrayer had no consequences. So let’s take a husband and wife, and let’s say the husband had an affair, and the wife, just because of fear, or religion, out of religious reasons or out of money issue, whatever it was, forgave and tried to look at by far, hands down the most physically sick group. We’re doing ourselves a grave injustice because it’s not fair to us to have our hearts broken and we’re supposed to just forgive like nothing happened. Of course, forgiveness is all about us, but we have to be very aware of why we’re doing it. Or it can totally completely backfire. Does that answer your question?

Kim Sutton: Oh, yeah, absolutely. So I’ve found, I need for myself, but I also realized that I had a lot to be grateful for, out of the betrayal. And it has opened up so many doors that I wouldn’t have opened, yet I stayed. So I forgave, and I also express gratitude towards my maker for my experience. But on the flip side, there’s this part of me that, while I don’t want to forget what I’ve learned out of the experience, there’s some days I wish I could put a magnet up to my head and magnetize those people out of my head, forget their names and forget what they look like. But I realized that’s not going to happen unless some magical–

Debi Silber: The thing is like, what you do realize is, the ones who hurt you the most are truly your greatest teachers. I mean, if nothing else, they taught you what not to do, or you wouldn’t have been called to move forward, had they not do what they’ve done. So if you’re able to see it from that perspective, they actually gave you a gift. Hard to see because they also caused a tremendous amount of pain. But they for sure moved you to a space, you wouldn’t have been had if they had not done that. And that’s really what I looked at when it came to my family betrayal. It was amazing. Of course, it took time to get to that point. But when you realize, well, you know what? I’m such a better friend, mother, partner, any role that I have because of what I experienced, it served itself. And I’m thrilled that it happened now, but who am I because of it? I’m grateful for that.

Kim Sutton: Absolutely. And I am grateful for that reason, as well. I mean, as an entrepreneur, a lot of what we do focuses so much of what we do. If not not, hundred percent of what we do impacts our family in one way or another. And my marriage was suffering. But now, that transformation has led me into a better relationship with my husband that I’ve had in years. I want to talk about family for a moment, just because there’s so many people who get into a repeating cycle with immediate blood, blood related family members, and don’t feel like there is a way to make a change. Can you address that?

Debi Silber: Yeah. And again, this is what I mentioned before, when we do not heal from betrayal, we just keep repeating it. And it’s usually to our own detriment, because betrayal gives us the opportunity to completely rewrite the rules. Because again, remember, it was like that analogy of the house that I gave when the house is completely leveled. You don’t have to rebuild the same house. If you’re going to rebuild, why would you bother doing that? Why not create an entirely new house? And when we don’t look at it like that and when we just keep trying to patch it up, it just doesn’t work. It just doesn’t work, and we wonder why is it so hot happening? And what it’s so unfair? And well, it actually isn’t because we’re not doing anything differently. We can’t really, there’s that saying, nothing changes, nothing changes. If we’re not bringing anything new to the table, if we’re not changing in any way, well, how can we expect anything to be different? That was what I saw in my own betrayals, I was a completely different person. And let’s say the members of my family, with my first betrayal, they weren’t. So there goes the opportunity to have a new relationship, because I wasn’t willing to have one under the same circumstances. But then, when it came to, let’s say my husband, I was completely different. And he completely transformed himself. I wasn’t willing to try and rebuild if that wasn’t the case, because what’s the point?

Kim Sutton: What’s the point? Yeah, yeah. I’m thinking about the same story on a different day, if you’re not willing to change.

Debi Silber: Of course.

Kim Sutton: So my husband and I have both realized that as we’ve gotten older, family takes on a whole new meaning. And there’s so many families, people who we consider to be family members who are not related by blood. Doesn’t do anything for me, and we know they would do anything for us. But for anybody who’s listening who has very complicated family dynamics, just because they’re related by blood, I want you to know that from my personal experience, doesn’t mean that you need to retain contact because there can be very hurtful circumstances and family dynamics. I know from my experience, and I know from my husband’s experience that they’re just people that we are related to via blood that we have had to completely change our relational dynamics with, perhaps not even have contact with because it’s not healthy for us.

Debi Silber: Right. Exactly.

Kim Sutton: Yeah. So could you tell us about your programs and how you work with your clients today?

Debi Silber: Sure, sure. Everything is really at the pbtinstitute.com. It’s just all about helping people move predictably through the stages of betrayal. So within the programs, there’s support, there’s community, there’s interactions with certified coaches and practitioners who get it. Because the truth is, seeing the wrong type of person getting help from someone who isn’t very well versed in this, it does more harm than good. So the entire, the entire program is really based on helping someone predictably and comfortably move at their own pace through the five stages of betrayal so they go from betrayal to breakthrough.

Kim Sutton: Thank you for what you do. I was going to say it, then I wasn’t going to say because I didn’t want to cross that line. And now I have to say it because I said something about it. But being in the state, there are so many occasions when I wish that programs like this were more readily available and even covered under insurance. And we don’t need to talk about that, but I feel like there’s so many times that drugs are used as an option before the programs like this, which would be truly life changing and beneficial versus the short term treatment. So thank you for what you do.

Debi Silber: Thank you.

Kim Sutton: Listeners, all the links that we talked about as well as the symptom, you call it a quiz? Or assessment?

Debi Silber: Yeah, it’s the Post Betrayal Syndrome Quiz. It’s the best way to start because they’ll see exactly what symptoms are lingering in the wake of a betrayal.

Kim Sutton: All the links will be in the show notes, which you can find at thekimsutton.com/pp672 as well as links to Debi’s website where you can find her on social media. Debi, thank you so much again. You just thought of the difference between emotional and mental. That’s life altering for me just today. And I would like to think that I’m already on that road to, I’m going to call it recovery. I don’t know if that’s the right way to look at it, but I’m well down the road, and I have taken the road less traveled. But thank you, that’s going to be guiding me for a long time to come. Do you have a parting piece of advice, or piece of golden nugget that you can leave the listeners with tonight?

Debi Silber: Sure. I understand how painful it is. I’ve been there. I mean, there are days, just getting out of bed was a huge struggle. I know how it seems like it’ll never get better. I’m a living proof. Everybody has been through the programs, they’re living proof. You can turn your biggest crisis into your greatest gift, but you can’t do it alone. So get the support you need, and absolutely 100%, there is nothing stopping you from taking that biggest crisis that knocked you down in transforming yourself, everybody and your whole life because of it. And here’s the biggest thing too, just because the betrayal was done to you, it’s not about you, it’s not about you. It could be the boldest most amazing version of yourself that shows up if you just do the work.