What Is Betrayal and How to Survive

October 24, 2019 By
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Honey Good reflecting on behavior while enjoying a morning coffee

No Toxic Women In My Life

Many times, I keep my mouth shut and take the high road. That is how I survive betrayals. The end result has always served me well on a personal level because above all else, I want to feel good about my actions.

Let me be clear, darlings, it is a selfish act, not a selfless act. I’d rather bite the bullet and say nothing than have my conscience bite me. Let me be clear; my high-road action can be two-fold. It can be self-serving or result from the kindness of my heart. I learned to take the high road from my father. I watched my dad’s interactions with all types of people and decided I liked what I saw. Because of the personal repercussions, I suffered when I sank to another person’s level.  

Deleting Them

What I don’t understand are those people who don’t seem to be bothered by their acts of betrayal. Maybe they don’t realize the action was unkind. Or maybe they do and don’t care. Or maybe peer pressure or family pressure takes precedence and they become blind-sighted. Lastly, maybe they are cunning, mean or have a narcissistic personality. I no longer worry about them because I don’t want toxic women in my life.

I use my friend’s delete principle. She told me to look at the delete key on my keyboard and quickly hit it. In one second, the toxicity and betrayal are gone. I am definitely not callus and I prefer to have an in-person conversation, especially when I care. After listening, I will decide what to do. 

My Past Is Not Lily White

Darlings, my past is not lily-white. I have lashed out at others in one way or another and have been ashamed of my actions. I betrayed myself because of my actions. By offering my apologies, I survived my poor actions.

I was at a small family dinner celebration. After dinner, toasts were in order but when it came to my turn, I could not talk! And it was not due to shyness. Before the after-dinner toasts, my ultimate concierge and I had lifted our champagne glasses during cocktail hour and he spoke for both of us.

I used his toast as my excuse, knowing all along that I was wrong and yet, darlings, I could not talk! Why? I was very very angry. My anger that evening took precedence over good judgment and kindness. Later that evening after the lights were out, I told my ultimate concierge how ashamed I was of my action and promised myself I would never behave like that again.

I did apologize but the hostess, a family member, has not forgiven me and this happened two years ago. We were both at fault during this circumstance. I had harbored anger and lost my ability to speak and she had harbored anger and has lost her ability to forgive. I still am ashamed of my actions that evening. It was most unkind and left a bad impression. I can’t take the evening back, but as I stated above, I never ever present myself in that manner again. 

What Is Betrayal?

Learning to gauge relationships, whether that means progress or delete

 “The saddest thing about betrayal is that it never comes from enemies…It comes from friends n’ loved ones.”

~Isaac Bashevis Singer

Betrayal is a stab in the back, a breach of trust and even treachery. I have been betrayed in little ways and on two occasions larger-than-life ways. 

Betrayal conjures up deep hurt, anger and heartache. It is a universal theme. Friends betray friends. Family members betray family members. Countries betray countries. Unfortunately, no one has escaped some form of betrayal.

My Definition of Betrayal

Betrayal is an unexpected hurtful, mean spirited and selfish act that breaks a bond predicated on trust, respect, friendship, and love.,

Betrayals, unfortunately, are part of our human experience. They can scar you emotionally. You may become very cautious in your relationships, less trusting of people. The betrayal can be from a neighbor, a group of friends, a spouse, son or daughter or a professional associate.

A betrayal usually comes out of the blue. There is no time afforded the beneficiary of this act to use her coping mechanisms because she most probably did not see it coming. So it is often impossible to think things through and strategize.

The betrayer’s action may or may not be premeditated. They probably made their choice knowing there is no looking back.

I don’t think a betrayer goes out of her way to hurt another person unless she is mean spirited, jealous or a get-even type. She does it for her survival, her needs or not thinking of another person’s feelings. A betrayal is a self-centered act and the damage it causes can be forever. The betrayer knows that but as the saying goes, “It is not that I love you any less, it is just that I love myself more.”

For those on the receiving end–and I have been on that end–this is what I learned and want to pass onto you.

My Learnings:

My pooch America, one of the most important pieces in the puzzle I call life

  • I have learned not to idealize anyone or anything, save my husband and my pooch America. 
  • I have learned not to allow another person’s betrayal to destroy my trust in others and I am more selective in whom I choose to trust.
  • There are always life lessons to learn from a betrayal.
  • I have learned that betrayal levels you to a new solid plane.
  • I have learned that betrayal forces you to face yourself. In other words, how to respond to the betrayal, how to rebuild from the betrayal and how to move forward and become a stronger you.
  • Delete is now part of my framework.

For all of us who have been mean spirited and betrayed another person or was unkind and mean spirited:

  1. Learn the discipline of taking the high road.
  2. Apologize for your action and mean it.
  3. Call for a face-to-face conversation.
  4. After a ladylike apology, delete this person because they do not bring out the best in you.

I will end my musing on how to survive a betrayal. I use this expression with my grandchildren: watch your backside.

How do you address betrayals that happen in your life? Let me know in the comments below or on Facebook.

 

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10 Comments

  • Lisa Billings says:

    Thank you, Honey. This essay resonated with me to my very core. I have slowly found my way back from betrayal, but it changed me profoundly and forever. I did take the high road. My betrayer has never owned her actions. It’s been difficult. But owning my participation in her behavior helped move through to another place. I changed the way I interact with her with a huge boundary, because there is no forgiveness without acknowledgement. But there is growth.

    • Susan "Honey" Good says:

      I changed too. Change is healthy when it is positive and you have had an awakening as did I and we took out growth to a new and positive level.It feels good, doesn’t it! Warmly, Honey

  • SoCal Allison says:

    Thank you. I will use the Delete key. The past is now the past. The future beckons in welcome now!

  • Margo says:

    Grudges are horrible things and I find it oh so very hard to deal with them especially in the context of family. Over a year ago such a falling out occurred during a family vacation. There were wrongs on all sides, but I will admit that, being the parents, we should not have stooped to the level of the discourse around us.
    We have only recently spoken with one of my sons, we’ve agreed to just move forward and not spend time reexamining the things that were said. But my younger son and his wife are another story. Just this past weekend I reached out with a text and was surprised to receive a response. Although it might not have been the warm reunion I wished for, it is the slight opening of a door. It’s not easy figuring out how to proceed. As I write this he has let me know that he’s too busy to meet up this weekend, so we’ll see if anything comes of it.
    The longer this goes on, the more difficult it will be, if in fact, at all possible. But as you said, we each learn our lessons , sometimes the hard way. This is not the first time he’s done this, and my husband and I feel that we can no longer be held hostage to his threats of never seeing him again. We just need Togo on living our lives each day by ourselves.

    • Susan "Honey" Good says:

      You and your husband are right. No more hostage games. No more power plays.You have tried.Your other son has come back into the nest.The theme: The past is the past. The present is a gift is how it should be. No one is perfect. We all make mistakes. If your younger son and wife are carrying negative baggage neither you or your husband have control over their actions. Go on with your lives and accept what you cannot change. You have tried. Warmly, Honey

  • I am very moved by the honesty in this post. Thank you Honey! It was a meaningful read for me. My experiences have been different from yours, of course. But just knowing that someone else has experienced these same feelings is so healing. I will send you a DM and relate my personal experience.

  • Arlene Davey says:

    What is your definition of betrayal? Please give me an example.

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