Ever hear the saying, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me”? It’s an oldie but a goodie… and, yet, far too often, we find ourselves in situations where we’ve been betrayed by the very people we NEVER imagined would.
What’s up with that?
For most people, betrayal has an invasion connotation to it- done by a stranger or outsider, done with malicious intent, and done specifically to harm or hurt you… and people who love you aren’t capable of that, right?
Here are 10 things nobody tells you about betrayal that you NEED to know:
Intimacy increases the risk for betrayal.
The deepest level of betrayals are possible ONLY with those who know you deeply. The more vulnerable you become with someone, the more they get to see the “real” you and the greater the opportunity for them to use their intimate knowledge of you in an unfair way.
Yes, in any intimate relationship, there’s a susceptibility to betrayal. That doesn’t mean you stop being vulnerable and you stop getting intimate. It simply means you need to be very selective about who you’ll share that sacred space with. Brene Brown said it best:
If we share our shame story with the wrong person, they can easily become one more piece of flying debris in an already dangerous storm.
In most cases, before someone else betrays you, you’ve already betrayed yourself.
We are mirrors of each other- you and me. What I call up in you is a reflection of what exists within me. We attract who we are. Whenever a betrayal happens, the power comes not from blaming the betrayer but from looking within and finding the places within yourself where you have neglected, abandoned, deprived, or let yourself down. When you stop doing those things on the inside, you cease to attract it on the outside.
That’s not to say that the betrayer didn’t play a role or that their bad behavior requires no consequences. Karma’s a you-know-what. But what I’m saying is this: when you change on the inside, everything on the outside shifts to match it. Change your reflection and you begin to mirror different things.
The thing you defend against actually draws it closer.
Resistance creates more resistance. If your entire focus is on not getting betrayed, your entire focus is actually on betrayal. If you don’t want it, don’t give your attention to it. Remember: we attract what we think about all day long.
The initial shock of betrayal wears off faster than you think.
You’ll be bruised, battered, and beaten in the aftermath of the betrayal. You’ll have some PTSD. You’ll cry, wail, and punch things. All of those normal responses will come… and then they’ll go. You won’t be in a post traumatic state for as long as you think in the moment you find out. The most important thing you need to remember is this: be willing to let the feelings go. You don’t have to stay in the betrayal mode. You CAN move through the emotions.
Emotional walls don’t stop betrayals. They block intimacy.
A knee-jerk reaction to experiencing a betrayal is to “never love again”, whatever that means to you. It usually involves building a huge emotional wall that goes up far easier than it comes down. Don’t do it. As high and as strong as you can make an emotional wall, betrayals have an uncanny way of going around, over, and under those things. Then, you’re still experiencing the pain and the PTSD but now your wall is keeping all the good stuff out: the intimacy, the love, the caring, the empathy. Emotional walls can’t stop betrayals from impacting you but they can stop love from reaching you. Keep the walls down…
The only time you really lose in a betrayal is when you allow it to define you.
Resist the temptation to make the betrayal your fault. It never is. When somebody betrays you, they had to betray themselves first… which comes from an inner issue that only they can handle. In all truth, the betrayal had very little to do with you and everything to do with the other person. Once you accept that, you’re able to move forward with your self-esteem and dignity in tact. When you really think about it, everyone’s in their own world focused on what they need. It really wasn’t about you…
You’ll never understand the “why” of the betrayal.
The betrayer might “try” to explain. You may go to a therapist and “try” to get closure. Your friends might “try” to help you find peace… and you still wont’ be able to comprehend WHY someone so close to you would treat you like THIS. Stop trying to justify the unjustifiable. There are some crimes of life that can never be explained. Count betrayal in that category. It makes it easier to move on that way…
No betrayal can make you suffer. Only you can do that.
Denise Linn has a wonderful quote, “You don’t have to suffer to grow.” You don’t. So, the next time you find yourself suffering, remember one thing: You’re choosing it. Now choose differently…
Reliving the betrayal doesn’t reinforce the lesson. It activates a repeat performance.
There are a lot of people who ascribe to the “I’m going to etch this memory in my brain so I NEVER forget what happened to me so I NEVER repeat that mistake…” I know you’ve got a friend who did this. Let me ask you a question: How often did “that” friend go on to repeat the same mistake again? MANY times. Listen, reliving a past horrific experience does nothing to change the future. In fact, it becomes the catalyst for creating a future just like that past event. Don’t do it. Learn the lesson and ditch the need to mentally rinse and repeat the event.
Moving on is easier than you think.
When you let go of the memory, the emotion, and what you initially believed was the reason, you free yourself to move on. Letting go is the key. Being willing to is the answer… and then freedom comes with ease…
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Kassandra Vaughn is an author, writer’s coach and podcaster originally from Danbury, Connecticut. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Vassar College, an MBA in Human Resource Management from Auburn University, and an M.Ed in Instructional Design from Western Governors University. She lives in the beautiful state of Utah.