Photograph of shattered glass by Jilbert Ebrahimi on Unsplash

Betrayal-based moral injury

Betrayal is when a person or institution violates your mutual agreement and causes harm. 

As a healthcare provider (HCP), you may have experienced betrayal in a few different ways during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Lack of resources (like shortages in PPE or respirators)
  • Policies that prevent effective care (like assigning too many patients to too few providers)
  • Actions of others that put you and others at higher risk (such as differences in mask-wearing)
  • Instructions that are unclear or frequently changed
  • Lack of support and training
  • Violation of ethical or professional standards
  • Policies that increase economic hardships (like being forced to take unpaid leave)

Betrayal and moral injury

When we experience betrayal from someone we have a relationship with, it has a greater impact on our mental health. Most of us have felt betrayed at some point in our lives, but betrayal-based moral injury happens when we find ourselves “stuck” on these betrayals

You may find yourself angry, irritable, resentful, or blaming others. 

Recovering from betrayal requires getting your power back, taking perspective, and honouring your values.