Healing the Wound of Betrayal
But you can’t exactly file every disappointment under the category of betrayal. The fact is that as human beings we all fail each other sometimes. There are times when we can’t measure up to the circumstances and end up disappointing the people we love.
“We are much harder on people who betray us in small ways than on people who betray others in great ones.”
-François de La Rochefoucauld-
But the kind of betrayal that hurts and leaves a mark is the kind people don’t do on accident. They do it fully aware of their wrongdoing, and for completely selfish reasons. It’s the kind that comes from someone who’s reassured you about something, but acts differently when the truth comes out.
The different kinds of betrayal
There’s more than one kind of betrayal. On the one hand, there’s betrayal of yourself. On the other, there’s the kind that people do to you. Most people think of love when they think of it, but it’s not the only kind out there.
All the different ways to betray someone have two things in common. The first: breaking away from something explicitly or implicitly established beforehand by one person. The second: taking advantage of the other person’s trust.
When we betray people, we betray agreements and expectations, along with hopes and promises. We betray people with our words and our actions.
Anyone who’s been betrayed has gotten a taste of the most bitter deceit.They feel undervalued and made a fool of. Their thoughts, feelings, and expectations have been completely overlooked. They became nothing more than an object in the other person’s schemes. In other words, the other person objectified them and used them. That’s why the betrayal is so painful and leaves such a deep mark.
The most toxic effect of betrayal is that you leave the deceived person deeply distrustful. And it may extend to other people as well, not just you. Having to deal with another person’s two-facedness is a really heavy blow that doesn’t generally heal on its own. That’s why it’s so important to find a way to overcome the betrayal. Here are some of the keys to doing just that:
- Evaluate the situation. It’s important to figure out what exactly led to the betrayal. You especially need to take a careful look at whether they purposefully deceived you or not. Their intentions really do matter.
- Don’t blame yourself. Even though the betrayed person is the victim, a lot of the time they end up blaming themselves for what happened. They beat themselves up by telling themselves how stupid they were over and over again. But you should never take any responsibility for what someone else did. Treat yourself well.
- Accept what happened. You might try to deny what happened. But you won’t move forward that way. The best thing is to accept what happened and figure out if there’s a solution to it or not.
- Give yourself time. A lot of the time betrayal will leave you totally emotionally undone. It’s good to give yourself some time to get over the initial shock and take a clearer view of what happened.
- Create a balance. As human beings, we all mess up sometimes. You can never forget that. As hard as it might be, it’s truly important to create a balance.
- Look for the path to forgiveness. Forgiving doesn’t mean accepting what happened with no consequences. It also doesn’t mean acting like nothing happened. It’s more about getting right with yourself and learning to leave the past in the past.
Betrayal is always a bitter pill to swallow. But it doesn’t always have to lead to a lifelong trauma. The first thing you have to do if you’ve been betrayed is try to get your balance back. It’s the only way to move forward. Don’t let another person’s actions affect the rest of your life.