6.7
May 12, 2014

Betrayed & Still Breathing.

 

breathe girl think

I recently wrote an article called Betrayed and the outpouring of support, love, and questioning was unexpectedly incredible, humbling and unlike anything that I have experienced thus far in response to my writing.

I realize that most people have been betrayed in their lives. And, most people have also betrayed another at some point. So, there is a lot of common ground surrounding this unfortunate, yet unavoidable issue.

An old expression keeps coming to mind and gives me pause for thought:

“When you point a finger at another person, remember that there are three fingers pointing back toward yourself.”

When I look deeply enough at myself, although it is not fun to do, I can find a lot of truth in the above quote. It is so easy to blame, but we also need to find the common thread that is called ‘being human’ and get on with life at some point.

But how?

Must we forgive a person right away after a betrayal—or at all? Do we need to stay friends, lovers, or acquaintances? Do we push a betrayal to the back of our minds in an effort to stay perpetually positive?

I also remember this:

“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

I don’t think there is any recipe that is right for all people or that will serve us well in all instances. There are too many scenarios to consider. But to acknowledge and maybe even accept the imperfect thread of humanity that runs through all of us does serve us well.

Does this mean we forgive? I believe so, and I’ll tell you why. I have heard that:

“Bitterness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” ~ Joanna Weaver

And this makes a lot of sense to me. If I allow my heart to harden and become jaded, what does it do to the person I have been betrayed by? You guessed it—nothing.

Instead the anger, sadness or hurt can grow fast like a cancer in my own spirit and that is definitely not what I want.

So what to do? While I am still fairly early in my journey, I already feel more at peace with the situation. And there are a few steps I have taken that helped get me to this point:

1.  I acknowledged the betrayal.

I realized the seriousness of it. I didn’t push my feelings down about it and generally faced the truth about what happened.

2.  I communicated with the person who betrayed me and set boundaries.

This I did on my own terms and in my own way. But I clearly conveyed that I was upset and what I expected if the relationship was to be righted again.

3.  I realized that it is up to me to feel better.

I have purposely done more fun activities recently. I have gone out and spent time with people whose company I enjoy. I can’t expect my betrayer to feel badly or comply with my wishes.

4.  I have realized that all apologies are not created equal.

This one is tough, as it is not pleasant to get a half-hearted apology—still we must not take this personally either. (At this point I would like to point out that an apology that contains a ‘but’ in it is no apology. “I’m sorry, but. . . ,“ never turns out well, as the person making the apology is still making excuses for their behavior instead of owning up to it.)

5.  Number four does not matter—really!

Back to drinking the poison—a betrayal with a bad apology is a double betrayal. And no matter what the outcome, it is up to us to get over things. Yes we may have been tight with and emotionally dependent on our betrayer, but re-read number three which leads me to the next step.

6.  Forgiving is a lot like meditation. Keep coming back to your breath.

Focusing on our breath is hard to do in meditation. We purposely have to redirect our mind towards the sought after path.

The same is true with forgiveness. I demonstrated it in steps three through five. We forgive. Our mind wanders back to the pain or anger—at both the betrayer and ourselves (for falling prey). Then we redirect to being responsible for our own feelings.  And repeat again and again.

But shouldn’t we be allowed to feel sorry for our poor betrayed selves?

Sure. That is a definite option. But not one that I would choose or wish upon anyone else.

It is a good bet that I will be focusing on my “breathing” for some time as I still feel like a semi-burned piece of toast. And yet, I am starting to scrape the blackened part off a bit so I can live with myself comfortably once again.

Stay tuned, many blessings, and if I can do this, so can you!

 

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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Tess Mayer/Flickr

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Catherine May 18, 2014 8:53am

I went back and read the other article, "Betrayed" to get a fuller picture of this article.

Excellent job at expressing feelings of betrayal and everything else that goes along with it PLUS ways to move out of it!

I would add one more thing: karma. It is very real and I have seen it happen at least twice when I was betrayed–but usually only when I was willing to let go of the anger and move on. In hindsight, one of these karmic episodes is actually pretty funny and even my betrayer saw that! My boyfriend and I had taken a break from each other but he made me promise not to have sex with anyone until our relationship was resolved AND not to date anyone else in our circle. I felt this was reasonable (plus I really didn't care) so I agreed. But apparently this agreement didn't pertain to HIM. He got involved with someone in our circle (even when he was talking about marrying me), and eventually SHE dumped him for his very best friend.

"The mill of the gods grinds slowly but it grinds exceedingly small" is a much quoted and paraphrased statement which seems to have originated in ancient Greek or perhaps Zoroastrianism, it is difficult to ascertain.

annaweltman May 18, 2014 8:32am

thanks for writing this very excellent article…i'm 5 months after a betrayal and sure it hurt, but i can't let some jackass determine the course of my life, my emotions, how i feel each day, and so on…

Selena May 12, 2014 6:26pm

I have been betrayed over n over but I realized that I have created by my actions, never holding anyone responsible.
I forgive, treat others the way I desire to be treated & if not received I remove from my path until they do. Their loss to not be part of my path.

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Laura Kutney

Laura Kutney resides in Northern California with her true-love of 23 years. She is the grateful mom of three incredible children ages 17, 19 and 21.

She finds inspiration for her writing in just about everyone she knows and in all that she does.

She is passionate about her family, pets, writing, philosophy, nature, good friends, art, books, and photography.

She is driven by truth and the belief that apathy is the single most deadly weapon of mass destruction.

She enjoys writing poetry, short stories, and research based articles about anything and everything that moves her heart.

You can find her on Mosaic Commons, here, on the elephant journal as an author, and Twitter.