10 Ways Writing a Journal Can Help You Through Betrayal and Emotional Upset

Whether you are working through a current relationship challenge, or trying to move on from a previous relationship, writing a journal can be a very therapeutic experience. Writing gratitude journals can help you move to a place of positivity and clarity.

In our book, The MANScript (Hashtag Press, May 2018), we describe the feelings of hurt, from a relationship breakdown and betrayal, as like being hit by a bullet or a ton of falling bricks. The impact of what is happening is such a tremendous shock, it might as well be a bullet or bricks! The after-effects completely shatter you and can leave you metaphorically ‘on the floor’ for a very long time.

Sometimes, you become stuck coping with the betrayal and seem unable to move on from it. This is when writing a journal can help. We have created My Freedom Diary & Journal to help you write your own story – to take control of your life and work through your emotions and feelings in your own time, at your own pace and in your own place. By the end of the Journal Journey, you’ll have completed the book and it will be something that you can treasure forever and know that you are now in a different and better place.

Through your writing, your journal can become your best friend. As you express your feelings, challenge your thoughts and start planning your goals, you can begin to move forward in a positive way.

Finding space that is yours, protected time to write your emotions, feelings, goals and things you are grateful for, can stop you dwelling on negative thoughts. It can also stop you reliving the past and enable you to focus on the present and future.

A relationship breakdown is never easy, but inevitably annual events spark memories of happier times. Sometimes, seeing everyone else having fun, can make it even harder for you. Christmas, anniversaries and Valentine’s Day can be particularly tough. Writing a journal at such times can be your saving grace.

Here ten ways a journal can help you (we’ve also included some tips as to how to move forward to eventual freedom, as discussed in My Freedom Diary & Journal).

1. Quell the chaos

There is no point trying to write a journal entry if you have chaos all around you. You must force yourself to find peace and quiet. Take yourself out of what may be a pressured environment and find time to write.

2. Be authentic and honest

Try as much as possible to write in the moment i.e. real time, as this can help you to cope with strong emotions such as anger. Your journal can actually free you.

3. Don’t edit your emotions

Your journal will never judge you, say it as it is, don’t hold back.

4. Make memories

Writing a journal can help with your memory, which is often all over the place when you are dealing with emotional conflict and betrayal.

5. Daily gratitudes rather than platitudes

Writing a journal has been proven to increase your feelings of wellbeing and decrease symptoms of depression. If you start to write about what you are grateful for, what you have, rather than what you have lost, it can be a very positive experience. This is why we suggest that you make a daily note of something to be grateful for.

6. Trust your gut

We write in The MANScript about trusting your gut instinct. When you are dealing with suspicions that your partner may be cheating on you, it is likely that you will be met with comments such as, “it’s all in your head” from your partner. In The MANScript, we speak about such scenarios and how some women even start to doubt what they know to be real. Writing down dates, times and events, as well as your feelings, can help reassure your that your gut instinct is correct.

7. Walk before you run

Make sure you set yourself goals, but don’t set yourself up to fail; start simple. It may be something as small as going to the shop to buy milk, but even that can feel daunting when you are dealing with a relationship break-up.

8. Time, space and clarity

Writing a journal can help you to plan your future and see clearly what you want from life. It gives you a time-delay; space to think and not make knee-jerk decisions.

9. Turn a negative into a positive

Every time you write something negative about yourself, challenge those thoughts and force yourself to write something positive too. This is something we specifically address in My Freedom Diary and Journal.

10. It doesn’t have to be the end…unless you want it to be

Finally, writing a journal can even save a relationship, if that’s what you want. Getting your anger down on paper, rather than screaming and shouting at your partner is more conducive to communication. Remember you are more likely to hate a partner you constantly argue with, than one you can talk calmly to.

Julia Keys

Julia Keys is the co-author of The MANScript (May 2018, Hashtag Press) and My Freedom Diary & Journal (November 2018, Hashtag Press). Julia has a professional background in nursing, counselling and psychotherapy; her specialist subjects include dealing with relationships, mental health issues and eating disorders. Julia was a school counsellor for five years, helping 11 to 18-year-old girls with myriad concerns, many of which related to their parent’s relationship issues. Julia is skilled in safeguarding children and vulnerable adults. She has also worked at a specialist woman’s centre where referrals came from all walks of life. Julia has lived most of her married life, to TV presenter Richard Keys, in the public eye and has dealt with many personal crises in the gaze of the newspapers and media. She knows all too well how hard it can be to present yourself externally to the world, while struggling immensely, internally. She also knows how frightening and lonely it can feel when you have been betrayed.