Betrayed.

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trust betrayal secrets

“Betrayal is the only truth that sticks.” ~ Arthur Miller

Change is good. I have said that aloud, myself and have even written about it. So, I am going to be grateful for this opportunity in this moment, for growth, even though I was betrayed in one of the worst ways that I have ever been to date.

So, “I have been betrayed.” There, I said it.

Out loud.

I am now left wondering how to skim the cream out of this curdled and stinky mess and learn from it while still honoring the part of me that was betrayed to the core of my possibly-too-open and too-trusting heart.

I am wondering if my title is reflective of what this article will be about, or if I am too wrapped up in my pain and hurt to offer an objective view on this topic.

And, I am wondering if that even matters.

Maybe this is what being raw is about. Raw can be good. Maybe this will help someone else. Maybe this will open me up as a person and as a writer, much like a fire does for a seed in the forest. Maybe this article is a risk worth taking. Perhaps, I will connect with a new audience.

Now, I am going to move forward, as I feel this is an important message, even if my wounds are fresh and I am still left licking at them. So—here I go! Please join me as I continue—as no one is immune to the unwelcome beast of betrayal.

Betrayal is an interesting concept once one gives it an honest and thorough think-over.

The main thing about betrayal that differs from other hurtful situations is that there is always a choice (usually moral) made by the party who betrayed you—and this is what makes betrayal so painful, in my opinion.

Yes, someone made a choice—either conscious (terrible, I know) or unconscious (also terrible) not to take your best interest into account when they betrayed you. Either way, you are left to feel the deep, cruel sting when your heart is carelessly handled by a person who you have placed your trust in.

I’ve come to the intriguing conclusion that one must care about the betrayer to be deeply hurt by them.

I suppose it could be called a light betrayal when one gives money to a stranger for food and then said person buys a beer. My guess is that this won’t be keeping anyone up at night in a state of hurt, confusion, or abandonment. No, one has to care about and trust the other person to be betrayed.

I have also come to believe that it is up to the person who has been betrayed to do the healing.

An apology from the person who has betrayed you is largely meaningless. If they had broken your favorite (insert material item of meaning) and apologized, that would make you feel better, right?

Not so with a betrayal, because guess what was broken? (Hint: it lives in your chest, beats 70ish times each minute and is affected by trust issues.) Yestrust is the key word here. And trust does not, and probably should not rebound quickly. For me, it can take a long time to profoundly trust someone to begin with—and if that trust is tampered with, I am left to ponder these questions once again.

trust

So, deep betrayal (is there any other kind?) happens when:

  1. You care about the betrayer.
  2. That person makes a choice to hurt you.
  3. The trust that you have invested is broken.

At this point, I think it is important to simply acknowledge that being betrayed sucks.

But, where is one to go from this point in order to heal?

This is challenging because you can’t look to the person who chose to break your trust.

I am early in this journey of healing, but I am going to try to take the take the advice I might give another:

  1. Understand that the betrayal was likely not personal even when it naturally feels that way. People who betray others are most likely misguided and probably motivated by unresolved issues in their own lives.

For instance, if someone says something confidential about you behind your back, then you are not the one with the problem. It is the other person who has something to work out within their life’s journey.

Because betrayal involves a decision, it is a purposeful act, i.e. there is some aspect of betrayal that was done on purpose. Betrayal can be motivated by countless reasons, but I think the seven deadly sins represent the basics of most betrayals—wrathgreedslothpridelustenvy, and gluttony.

2.  It is not up to me to take care of the person in their regret, even if I still care about them.

This is a time for distance and reflection. I think betrayal is a signal that a relationship needs to be put on hold for a while so that it can be carefully evaluated.

 3.  Coming to grips with the fact that you had an elusive idea about who your betrayer was.

When one is betrayed, everything that they thought they knew about their betrayer is turned upside-down.

This is not a time to berate yourself for trusting someone that you were fooled by. Instead, remember that the person who you trusted is the one at fault.

Should you trust this person again? Not necessarily. This is dependent on too many factors to list, but there is a litmus test that I find a very good guide to follow, and that is one’s gut feeling about the situation.

There will be times to forgive and then there will be times to part ways, but your gut and your heart will tell you. Now is the time to listen carefully to your own intuition.

4.  Give yourself time to grieve and don’t move on before you are ready.

Depending on the seriousness of the betrayal, there may be a significant grieving period that one needs to accept as real. And in any grieving process, there are steps that we progress through from shock all the way to acceptance.

Hopefully we are not often betrayed. But when one’s heart is open and willing to take risks and believe in others, it is bound to happen. Do we shut our hearts down and stop believing in others? I don’t think so.

Although we may want to recoil from people and life situations, I don’t think it is good to harden one’s heart and become wary of everyone.

Still, it is important to listen to what our hearts whisper (or scream) to us and to show our injured hearts a lot of extra love during the healing phase following a betrayal.

~

I am working all of the above out myself and I will keep you posted as I learn more on my journey.

With peace, love, while waving no white flag of surrender (‘cause I’m a fighter), Laura.

~

Relephant:

Eight Things I Learned from Pain.

 ~

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Photos: Renato Ganoza/Flickr, purplejavatroll/Flickr

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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.

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anonymous Oct 3, 2015 1:59am

This was an awesome article. Made me think about my own betrayal. Forgiveness took almost 5 years. The trust part is taking longer & healing is harder than I thought. I do however trust myself enough to be patient. Xx

    anonymous Oct 19, 2015 9:04pm

    Hi Elaine,

    Thank you for taking the time to comment. I think you have got this! I wish that we healed from betrayal overnight, but unfortunately it can take time. Trusting yourself is a great attribute.

    I did write a sequel to this if you are interested: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/05/betrayed-s

    Love and light, Laura

anonymous Oct 2, 2015 1:10pm

I’m married to my betrayer and I think I tried to rush the healing process – It’s been a little over a year now and there is still no trust for him. I don’t want to leave him because I made a promise to him and to God that I would be committed. He is deeply sorry – yet does nothing to improve our relationship. I am now to the point that I am resentful towards him and only see his flaws – any thoughts or advice on how to move on from that one?

    anonymous Oct 19, 2015 9:00pm

    Dearest Sara,

    First, I am so sorry that you were hurt by your husband. I am so sorry for your pain. Secondly, thank you for writing in.

    What jumped out at me is that you feel that he has done nothing to improve your relationship. I think this is the key to healing and I think it might help if you were very clear in telling him exactly what it is that you need from him. Is it therapy, letting you know where he is going, having a weekly date where you both enjoy what you are doing together? Of course, the list will be personal to what you are needing.

    It takes time to build trust back up and in my experience, it can differ from situation to situation.

    The other thing that I would try and do is to pamper yourself a bit. Take a long bath, walk and clear the cobwebs from your head, spend time with friends who build you up and talk about other things besides your husband. If you are unhappy, it will make it harder to see your husband in a positive way. Whether he exists or not, you can still be nice to yourself.

    Because there was such an outpouring of responses to this article, and because I wanted to share more, I wrote a second article as a sequel to this one. Here is the link: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/05/betrayed-s

    Wishing you all the best that this beautiful world has to offer you,

    Laura xo

anonymous Apr 20, 2015 12:24pm

Laura, given the replies you are getting it is clear your article has hit a mark. So many of us have been callously betrayed by those we thought had our backs. It has been almost two years for me as well since the initial blow. Unfortunately, through the divorce process, the betrayals continue. Maybe I should write about that. I am sorry for your pain, and for everyone else writing to you. I think for me your most salient point that I struggled with, and I routinely see others struggle with, such as Ana above who still loves her husband, is number 2. It is incredibly hard to come to grips with the enormity of the loss, or the scope of the change in your life. I think shock, while protecting us, in some respects delays the inevitable? I know it took me months to finally accept my marriage was over and cut-off contact, and now, in hindsight, I wish I had done it within days. Who can though? I didn’t want to be the person who didn’t fight to the death for her marriage, despite his complete disinterest in wanting to do anything but leave

    anonymous Jul 7, 2015 10:50am

    Dear Rebecca,

    You are a warrior and I do think that you should write about your experience, if only to help heal yourself. Writing is so healing!

    As I have shared with others in the above comments, I did write a second article about my experience. If you are interested, take a peek: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/05/betrayed-s

    With healing wishes, Laura xo

anonymous Apr 20, 2015 7:34am

Laura,
Realizing that my betrayer is not who she portrayed herself to be, has been the most challenging part of my experience. I'm grateful for your words, as they help me to view things in a more objective light, I've bookmarked this article and read it through out my day. Thank you.

anonymous Apr 19, 2015 9:41am

Hi Laura, I'm in the same position, I was betrayed by my husband. He was the love of my life, we were togheter for 14 years. I know I have to let go and try to move on, but it's so hard I still love him with all of my heart.

anonymous Apr 19, 2015 8:21am

Hi there.

An interesting, caring and important article. Many good points. The point about not taking it personally, that is very difficult to do, even if it is a stranger or life events that have had traumatic effect on our lives I think it is still our fundamental trust in life that is deeply effected and that we can take it personally; ‘Why did this happen to me ?’ Certainly trust being broken by someone we thought we trusted and knew has it’s own unique trauma. I think understanding why things happen is in the end helpful to the path of recovery.

Thanks.

Simon Yorke.

    anonymous Jul 7, 2015 10:40am

    Dear Simon, Great insight. In my case, it was actually my therapist who betrayed me. It was so very painful. The good news is that I have moved on and found peace over this issue.

    Thank you for taking the time to write in and all the best to you!

    Laura

anonymous Apr 19, 2015 7:25am

Dear Laura,

My best friend slept with my boyfriend. And I accidentaly cought them on act. Thats all for details, but let me give u some tipps to get over betrayal.

1. Let it out.
Scream, shout, talk about it, u deserve to feel hurt, and let everybody know. This will make you feel that you eventually talk too much about it, and the deal is maybe not this big. Nobody died.

2. Close the one who betrayed you out.
No need to keep them. They would do it again, doesnt matter how bad they feel, because once you did not matter enough, why would you the second time. But Im pretty sure, the one who betrayed you wont beg for your friendship, because hard enough to look in the mirror, not even you eyes!

3. Sit down, think it over, and FREAKIN LET IT GO. Be happy, that life was kind enough to you to show you the real face of the person. It only happened because the universe couldnt watch it longer you being lied to, and took your hand to show you the truth. Be gracious for it. Some people are lied to till they die.

4. FORGET him/her/them, but not what you learned.
Now you know that your how precious is your trust, dont give it too easy.

People who can forget are the happiest 😉 For me it took me 4 months.

    anonymous Jul 7, 2015 10:37am

    Dear Sandra, Thank you so much for writing in. You have given some darn good advice here and I hope that others will read the comments and see your words. I also wrote a follow-up article that you might like: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/05/betrayed-s

    All the best to you! Laura xo

anonymous Feb 5, 2015 7:28pm

Dear Laura,

What an insightful, well written article! Thank you for caring enough for others to share your remarkably painful experience and give us a glimpse into how you’re coping and moving forward.

I’ve betrayed someone special in my life out of spite and resentment for their betrayal of me. And I feel completely empty; as if I’ve let their poor values and misguided heart compromise me.

Looking back at it the signs were there from the very start, signs (BIG, HUGE, RED, FLASHING signs) that I ignored. I powered on intent to make this person see the error of their insecure ways, which lead to more transgressions, lies and ultimately a relationship with zero foundation – no respect, no trust.

Had I listened to my head (intuitively) all of this could have been avoided. But now I’ve moved over and have become the person that her family said I was to begin with and I’ve hurt her to seek revenge for the pain she’s caused me, which only makes my pain worse.

I should have stepped away. I should have been strong enough to move on. I should have been the bigger person.

How do you grow from something that makes you feel so small and insignificant??

I still feel lost in space…

Sadly,

Daniel

anonymous May 12, 2014 2:09pm

Hi Laura, my goodness….just goes to show you how "emotion" it really is for me to talk about this issue. I left a reply on your FB wall this morning, not really thinking at all about where to dump my emotions. I apologize for placing on your FB page. It was so raw and emotional; it still is. I can't stop re-reading this article. I'm still trying to let everything sink in….even after almost a year. It still stings just like it was yesterday.

    anonymous May 12, 2014 3:32pm

    Nyla,

    I replied to your thoughtful comment that you left on Facebook. Feel free to share your feelings anytime. No apologies needed.

    Much love and many blessings, Laura

anonymous May 9, 2014 12:06pm

thanks, laura, with you on this. appreciate your willingness to share the struggle and remind us all that we are never alone. with gratitude,
k

    anonymous May 9, 2014 4:53pm

    Thank you so much Kate. I should have another article coming out on this topic soon. And you are definitely not alone! xo, Laura

anonymous May 9, 2014 11:22am

Some comments from FB:

Jose – Distance and reflection… great advice.

Andrea – I really loved this article as I too, am trying to move past and accept betrayal. I have also realized
that even though the person that was betrayed needs time to heal, we also have to think that maybe the person who betrayed us also has just as much healing to do. We don't know the struggles other people deal with, all we can do is heal ourselves and change the way we think about things.

Angela – Impeccable timing….

Lisa – Laura thank you for sharing your heart and pain. This really resonates with me as I'm currently trying work through a painful betrayal of a once close friend.

Rebecca – Timely advice.

Jackie – Just the advice I've been needing thanks x

Karen – thanks for writing this I have seen a couples councilor and we never touch base on this, and I think this is what really needed.

Monica – Love it!

Cindi -I read this several times ….. Trying to get this inside my heart and head, as I too am struggling with betrayal after twenty five years ! Thank you !

Sophie- Laura, your perspective is indeed raw, honest, and sensible. Thank you for finding the words and sharing. Xoxo

Emily – Really honest and sensible. Thank you.

Rebecca – Thank you, and YES keep it coming PLEASE.

Jackie – Good advice x

KirkyandGeo – Reading this just brought back the raw pain I felt and I can totally relate. Such a hard process to heal..do we ever really heal when it's such a deep betrayal..we try but five years later..it's still a continuous battle but I try.
So true that we must be kind to our own hearts, we must do the healing..it's very difficult but essential. Look forward to more of your posts..

Kristin – I too have been betrayed by the two people closest to me. Worse than thinking they "made a choice" is realizing they didn't think of me at all. Feeling invisible to those you loved and you thought loved you is the most painful feeling. Thank you for your insights.

Renee – Really lovely advice.

Moody – my partner cheated on and left me for someone else after three years, leaving behind a big financial/ emotional mess for me to clear up, so thank you for writing this. sending you and everyone out there who has ever been betrayed love and light. X

anonymous May 8, 2014 11:11am

I betrayed one of my closest friends. I had a million reasons but not one excuse. I don't understand how I was capable of being so selfish and so willfully in denial about what I was doing to him. Its no wonder I have felt terrible and depressed for the last 10 years since this happened…a full quarter of my life I have spent in this suffering season. I accept that what I did was awful and its partly why I am drawn to reading posts like this…I need to know the effect of the pain I have infliced…but, is redemption possible for the betrayer? how do you forgive yourself for the wrongs you have done when you cannot make amends?

    anonymous May 9, 2014 10:45am

    Dearest Steve,

    I think it is fairly safe to say that we all make mistakes and the hardest person to forgive is often ourselves. No one is perfect and I'm sorry you can't make amends, but I can tell you have a good heart, and yes redemption is possible. (I personally believe in an all-loving creator that I choose to call God)

    Please forgive yourself and make a living amends by following your new-found better ways.

    Love and Light! Laura

anonymous May 8, 2014 8:04am

Hello, Laura. Thank you so much for your article.*
I was betrayed too… During this last year, during the whole relationship. Although i loved him very much, i had, since the very beginning, this strange and uncomfortable/unsecure/something-is-wrong feeling in my gut that wouldn't go way and made me suffering… After all he only wanted me to be safe for him (he was comfortable with my love), while he was seeing other women. He's a sick person and i'm pitty of him… I ignored my gut because i thought he had problems (and he actually has), and i wanted to somehow solve them, or at least help him to. I thought i could heal him for what he said his life was till that moment, at many levels, that made him create so many walls… I ignored my gut because i loved him very much and had faith that someday he would be able to show me his love too. I ignored my gut because i'm a hypersensitive person and he always convinced me with his fake tears…
Well, i'm still working on me. I left him, for good, a few months ago… In someway, at the same time i felt completely betrayed, i also felt an instantaneous relief in my spirit when i stopped seeing him. He was doing no good to me. I feel like i was living in the shadows and, despite i'm definitely not ready to even think about another relationship, i am living more peacefully now.
What i learnt? Not to ignore my gut feelings ever again.

    anonymous May 9, 2014 10:40am

    Andrea,

    Thank you so much for writing in. It sound like although you went through a very painful time, that you learned some very valuable lessons.

    Blessings and Light to you, Laura xo

anonymous May 7, 2014 4:46pm

Thank you for this lovely article. I needed to read this…nursing a terribly bruised heart and am slowly on the road to healing. Again.
Leela

    anonymous May 7, 2014 5:09pm

    Hi Leela,

    Thank you for your kind feedback. Glad you are healing and I wish you all the best! xo, Larua

anonymous May 7, 2014 3:52pm

Thanks for this article. I too am healing from a very hurtful betrayal and I think i am doing quite well in my healing process as I try to emerge as a stronger and better person. In a lot of ways it is feeling like a rebirth although the hurt is still there and the trust towards people in general is low. Find it very hard to let new people in my life… but I am getting there slowly. every day brings new courage and beautiful things. It gets better day by day and the future is brighter than ever. Thank you again for your words.

    anonymous May 7, 2014 5:08pm

    Dear Sarah,

    Thank you for your words! I am sorry that you have been hurt, but am happy that you have courage and see the beauty in life. You have a bright future indeed.

    xo, Laura

anonymous May 7, 2014 3:30pm

This article is perfect. Thank you for writing it. I have been struggling with a betrayal for almost six months now so number 4 applied to me. People, in their effort to be helpful, have said I should be over it because it's his problem, not mine. But I loved him and was invested – and it was all a lie. I am moving towards acceptance, but it won't be here until it's ready to get here. I appreciate what you've said.

    anonymous May 7, 2014 5:06pm

    Firstly—Thank you so much for your comment and I appreciate you for taking the time to give feedback. <3

    Secondly—I'm so sorry for what you are going through. I know it is painful, but you sound very self aware and I get the feeling that this experience will make you stronger.

    Blessings and Healing Thoughts, Laura xo

anonymous May 7, 2014 12:16pm

Thanks for writing this. I was betrayed too. It's been 2 years for me. A lot of what you write above was/is accurate in my experience. For me, I refused to move from the situation without looking at myself. Knowingly or Unknowingly I had helped/allowed this to happen. I co-created everything that led up to (and after) that point. I had literally been blown off a life path I thought was sound ground. (My analogy is actually more like a tsunami. Total destruction. Lost in the torrent of emotions before I could feel the ground again). No matter what, I was going to have to start/find a new path. For me, although INCREDIBLY painful, I looked at it as an opportunity to make a better me. The ME that I was… was in shatters. I picked up what I wanted to keep and left what was not doing me good. In the 2 years, I've become, and am becoming, the man that I used to aspire to be. I've evolved. Coming through it, I look back at it and think, I'd have it no other way (and I probably couldn't have had it any other way). That's a very painful thing to say. BECAUSE I had to lose the most precious thing to me in ORDER to evolve. Evolution is like (and IS) birth. It's painful but necessary. I still battle my thoughts (which can be in incessant)… but I'm happy and open to my new better life. Thank you again for writing this. You're helping people.

    anonymous May 7, 2014 2:27pm

    Dear Phoenix,

    Wow. I guess you have been through the ringer, but I'm glad you have kept the parts of you that serve you well. I can identify with a lot of what you have to say. I wish you the very best in life and thank you so much for writing in. Blessings to you.

anonymous May 7, 2014 12:15pm

Likewise, this is a great article. Thank you.

    anonymous May 7, 2014 2:23pm

    Thank you Seth. Hope you are well.

anonymous May 7, 2014 8:48am

I really needed this. Thank you.

    anonymous May 7, 2014 2:22pm

    Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment. It means a lot!

anonymous May 6, 2014 11:06pm

I needed to read this…

    anonymous May 7, 2014 12:09pm

    Thanks for reading Regina. xo