Betray: To harm or be disloyal to another person, to act in a way that is contrary to a promise made.
What a topic, what an emotion, what repercussions, what effects, what damage!
This is such a powerful subject that I am not sure if I will be able to encompass everything I have to say about it in one article but I will certainly try. I hesitate to say that I think my take on the matter will cause much contemplation from readers, perhaps even criticism, nothing I have not dealt with before!
â??Betrayal is about learning not to idealize external sourcesâ? – Linda Talley
Can we revisit the past few articles which have been the building blocks to this article?
Jealousy: â??Jealousy was born of necessity far back in our evolutionary past to assist in maintaining intimate relationships and ultimately the survival of our species.
It is an intense emotion (a mix of fear, abandonment, anger, betrayal, loss, envy, humiliation and sorrow) that cannot be diluted; it overrides rational thought, causes a person to think the same thoughts over and over and sets off behaviours that push away the very person it wants to keep around.
Because emotions have an illusion of certainty, the jealous person becomes convinced that his perception of the situation is fact. It is the delusion that a loved one has committed an infidelity when none has occurred.â?
Assumptions: â??We tend to assume that our friends or partners will agree with our viewpoints, support our actions, and stand on the sidelines being our cheerleaders in life in everything.
We expect them to stand by us, but an off-kilter gesture, an inappropriate word from them, and we stand looking; one eyebrow raised in judgement, when they do something that is not in line with our values and expectations.
We egotistically think we know someone and are shocked when they do something that we deem to be â??out of characterâ??. The friction begins because our own pre-conceived ideas are proven wrong!â?
Trust: â??There is a line where humans take a set of behaviours or accepted â??normsâ?? and attribute it to a situation and presume that the other party has given their bond, their word, their promise to the other, a PERCEIVED or social contract.
We form social contracts throughout our formative years by relying on our care givers to supply our emotional and physical needs through conditioned learning. If our care giver only intermittently satisfies our needs then we learn to distrust.
As we mature we are conditioned in accordance with our social responsibilities, morals, ethics and values. If we are emotionally immature and insecure we will feel the pangs of jealousy based on the assumptions, illusions and perceptions. We allow ourselves to think and our trust is then shaken.â?
The basic concept and meaning of the word betrayal
The concept and meaning of the word betrayal is still unable to be clarified with some definitive certainty, psychologists and philosophers have their different takes on the concept but it is basically the violation of a contract, trust or confidence which results in moral and psychological conflict within any given relationship.
Hensley (2006, 2009c) defines betrayal as “the biological, psychological, and/or sociological (biopsychosocial) harm caused by an actual or perceived violation of a psychological contract by person(s) upon which the victim relies for some aspect of his or her holistic wellbeing”. (refer to Trust article on the different contracts)
Betrayal is often associated with infidelity
I guarantee when the word is mentioned the associations made in the listenerâ??s brain leans towards infidelity.
As far as I am concerned it encompasses far wider spectrum, ranging from treason, organisational fraud and scams to individual relationships in families, friendships and romantic partners which is often associated with supporting a rival or from breaking away from previously decided upon norms or behaviours.
Let’s chat about the act of betrayal in individual relationships
It is seen in many forms from emotional betrayal (blackmail, insult, minimising) all the way through to physical betrayal (infidelity, bullying, physical abuse/rape) and the effects thereof are emotionally heavy.
Emotional betrayal trauma can be far more devastating
Emotional betrayal trauma has far more devastating effects than physical trauma because it shakes the very foundation that the victim has built â?? the morals, values, ethics rules and roles which are his/her core beliefs and principles.
Victims of betrayal often exhibit anger and confusion
They may demand apologies, atonement or punish the betrayer in numerous ways in an attempt to regain some sort of sense of self, to feel justified or perhaps to understand.
I am sure we have all asked ourselves the questions: Why me? Whose fault was it? Can I fix it, am I not good enough? If I say nothing will it go away?
Our emotional state is so unstable and in order to get to a stable emotional and mental state we find we need to re-visit our values, morals and ethical codes formed throughout the years so we can pave a new way forward.
Some of us repress our emotions, develop a sort of traumatic amnesia just so that we can maintain the relationship because we are afraid or we think that we depend on that person for our survival.
On the other side the effects on the betrayer show in guilt, shame and remorse
They apologise, and try to fix the relationship if they are truly remorseful. If the victim showers their frustration or sorrow on the betrayer it may cause them to become defensive and angry.
We often say: If you hadnâ??t done that I wouldnâ??t have betrayed you. Itâ??s not my fault if you are so boring or fat/ ugly/ uneducated/ tired/uninteresting. Itâ??s because of that that I strayed.”
Or “You are over-reacting, You are always looking for attention, I just canâ??t help myself, You cannot expect me to remain a faithful friend when you never want to go out and do the things I love doing…”
Ah, there are so many excuses to alleviate that guilt
So where to from here? People will be people and they will look after their own interests first… once you realise that, the effects of betrayal are completely squashed.
How to recover from betrayal
Recovery from betrayal is not easy, but forgiveness is an excellent start and shows only when there are no longer reminders, demands and reviews of the act from the victimâ??s side. Genuine remorse will be evident in the changed behaviour of the betrayer.
I have tried to give you a better understanding of the dynamics around betrayal: how it starts and ends, in the hope that you will be able to identify the areas in your life that need a little polishing or perhaps a good panel beating.
This weekend let us practise filtering our thoughts, asking ourselves if what we are thinking is fact. Let us examine if we are perhaps a little narrow-minded or so staunch in our beliefs that it may be a stumbling block in our relationships. Can we be more astute in our judgement when it comes to trust, learn to trust that we will be able to handle whatever comes our way?
As always, I welcome your comments. Please pop into my website at www.thoughtfortheweekend.com
Love and Light