Forgiveness is the Key

You are the result of a lifetime of abuse and victimization from the sound of your first cry for life until today, you have survived and endured judgment, false accusations, injustice, betrayal, abuse, and trauma. It’s a wonder you’ve made it this far at all.

You are a bundle of emotional wounds and garbage you’ve collected over the course of your life, which explains a lot about who you are and how you respond to the world around you. After all, nobody knows better than you, that you’re the only person you can count on to look after you. This is your primary objective.

You surround yourself with emotional tripwires and landmines to protect yourself and you try to keep all those emotional wounds hidden and suppressed, which is the highest level of self-abuse. All that unresolved trauma compromises your immune system, promotes premature aging, makes you more prone to sickness and disease. If that weren’t enough, is also keeping you separated from all the best things in life.

The fortress you’ve built to protect yourself is nearly impenetrable. You might applaud yourself for doing such a good job of protecting yourself. From inside your fortress you feel safe but if you could see from a higher perspective, you could see you have sentenced yourself to a life in prison of your own making.

Forgiveness is the Key

Forgiveness is the key to unlock every level of containment you’ve subjected yourself to.

There’s no denying the multitude of transgressions you’ve endured. The wounds run so very deep. Your pain, fear, and the repressed anger from the grudges you maintain are weapons of those who hurt you in the first place. They continue to hurt and abuse you every moment that you harbor unforgiveness.

The first thought which you might consider would be to ask the question, “Why would I forgive someone for doing that to me?” and you might rather see them punished for what they did, but contemplating retribution is another way the victimizer continues to have power over his or her victim.

Not only are you a victim of your abuser but you subject yourself to continued self-abuse by second-guessing yourself, and feeling guilty, wondering how you could have let someone do that to you? Setting up emotional blockades and numbing your own emotions so that you can’t be hurt like that again.

Playing the part of the victim does offer you emotional support from others who might feel sorry for you, which helps to ease the pain, but it also cements your position in being continually victimized by your abuser.

Forgiveness Can Set You Free

Forgiveness starts with you. You must forgive yourself first. You are not responsible for any of the emotional pain you’ve endured. You never deserved to be disrespected, mistreated, or abused. You were innocent. You were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, or maybe you suffered the abuse because you were strong enough to take it, like a shock absorber, sparing someone else who could not have survived the abuse.

You cannot control what other people do. You are only in control of your own life and forgiving yourself, absolving yourself from any sense of wrongdoing or deservedness is implicit.

Forgive Them

You are not required to face or confront your aggressor(s), all you need to do is to realize that these people were only doing the best they could with what they had at the time. Just as you were only doing the best you could with what you had at that time.

You might even offer up a little empathy, that had you lived that person’s life, you might have committed the same atrocities.

Forgive them. Forgiving them is not about them at all, it’s more about you forgiving them so that you can go on with your life without them continually exerting additional abuse to you over time.

Your forgiveness is complete, when you can look back at the episode without pain, guilt, or anger, and can truly hope that he or she finds his or her own way to claim a better life for themselves in love, without having to strike out at others anymore.

You can learn the lessons from your past without having to carry around all that emotional baggage. No need to seclude yourself deep within your fortress.

You can be free, and forgiveness is the key.

Related: Forgiveness Ain’t Easy, Let Go of Unforgiveness, True Forgiveness, Unforgiveness or Forgiveness

How to Get Over Betrayal by Family

Who would have thought you would be betrayed by your own family? These are the people you trusted, you grew up with, they’re supposed to have your back, not stab you in the back. Regardless, welcome to the real world with one hell of a wakeup call, so now you need to know how to get over betrayal by family members.

You must come to grips with the fact that betrayal by family members is quite common and has been going on for years. This is a key component of some of the greatest stories and melodramas of all time. There’s something terribly unsettling with not being able to trust your own family.

Who is better qualified to break you down and expose you for every weakness you have, or any misstep you’ve ever made but the people who know you best and have been the closest to you. Even the bible warns of it, “your worst enemies will be the members of your own family” (Matthew 10:36) and if that wasn’t enough, try this on for size, “Even those closest to you–your parents, brothers, relatives, and friends–will betray you. They will even kill some of you” (Luke 21:16).

While you might expect to be the victim of betrayal of friends or most anyone, it never occurs to you that your family might be the ones who turn out to be the most toxic individuals, or your enemies, until it happens to you and you’re left having to deal with betrayal.

You can rack your brain and tear up your heart by trying to figure out why, so to put your mind at ease, so you can get on to the business of dealing with the betrayal by your family, one of the most common reasons you might be betrayed by family is jealousy.

If you’re in apposition to enjoy life more fully and completely than your family member who feels he or she is more deserving, they might be tempted to throw a wrench into the machine to cause your potential success to fail. (You might remember this if you have siblings, as there is a constant struggle for familial support.)

A family member might want to knock you down a peg or two in an effort to even the playing field or even usurp their authority over you, as if to prove you couldn’t possibly make it without them (and they will destroy you, if they have to, to prove it).

Your parent, sibling, or other member of your family might just be a control freak and seek to control you and many areas of your life. Just try exerting your own independence and watch them rear their ugly heads to take notice and knock you down. Then kick you while you’re down there just to teach you a lesson.

Then there are the haters, those negative people who can’t help themselves, their first thought is to attack anyone, for no apparent reason, just to spread the hate. They are hardwired to be hatemongers and there’s nothing they can do about it.

Regardless of why you have been betrayed by your family, nothing hurts worse than being betrayed by those who are closest to you leaving heartfelt wounds and scars, and you must take steps to protect yourself from this kind of abuse.

Do not waste your energy arguing and fighting with the family who has betrayed you.

If you want to know how to get over betrayal by family members, you have to distance yourself from the abuse. In a sense, you must disavow and relation to the members of your family who have turned against you. I don’t mean to lie to yourself, or anyone else about being related to them, but you must stop treating them like family if they have posted up to treat you as their enemy.

You must treat betraying family members just like anyone else who might abuse of betray you. You need to protect yourself from the abuse and not create opportunities for them to further abuse, trash, or attack you in any way.

When you are attacked by a member of your family, you must treat this person just as you would any other toxic person in your life.

There is life after betrayal. Bless them because they are your family, but walk away, and brush their dirt from your shoes. Don’t look back, and just keep walking.

A genuine family member would support you in all that you do, and bless you as you make your own way. They want to see you become the best person you can be and enjoy the best life you could have, even help you in making it happen.

Real family loves and supports you no matter what you’re going through, in your best moments, and those less glamorous, and they love you just the way you are.

If not, you must protect yourself.

Life After Trust and Betrayal

Yes, there is life after trust and betrayal. Because you don’t live in a vacuum, you want to trust someone enough to establish a close relationship wherein you may share the intimate portions of your life. While relationships of all kinds are readily available, most of them are superficial at best. Yet you long to have a deeper connection with a person, someone you can be honest and open with, someone you can depend on, someone you can trust.

Trust doesn’t come easily, especially for you, if you’ve trusted before and have suffered the consequences of trusting someone who was untrustworthy or demonstrated betrayal of trust. If you trusted someone, then found out later trusting them was not in your best interest, then there is the likelihood you have been wounded by the experience.

The betrayal leaves wounds and scars which cannot be seen by outward appearance, though the emotional suffering which results from a misplaced trust can be much more painful than being bludgeoned by a gang of bloodthirsty thugs, and last much longer.

Is it any wonder you might think twice before entering that dark alley of trust again? How can you know if you can trust someone or, not?

You have a natural inclination to trust others, or not, based on the conditions under which you were raised. We learn either to trust or not trust others with the sensitive details of our life when we are young, and progress through adulthood.

Trust is a give-and-take endeavor, if you feel as though you cannot trust others, you will not likely be as open and honest as you could be, and you will live a heavily-guarded emotional life, feeling mostly disconnected and alone, but also have a sense of safety by not exposing yourself to potential betrayal.

You’re no fool. You are a keen observer of others and can decide whether someone is trustworthy in ten seconds. Every now and then, you find someone. Someone who appears to be trustworthy, someone you resonate with, someone you call friend, and you believe you can trust him or her, so after prolonged observation and data collection, you open up.

You put yourself out there, even if it is infrequently or a rare occasion because you desire this deep connection with another person, one that can only be achieved by trusting someone outside yourself who reciprocates with an equal degree of trust. This is the basis of true intimacy.

Then, before you know it, the trust is broken and you’ve been betrayed by your friend. Though, if you could consider the possibility, even if only for a moment, there is a forty percent chance the breach of trust was the result of your self-fulfilling prophecy.

You allowed yourself to question the idea of trusting anyone, therefore if you actually do trust someone, you expect to be betrayed, so the betrayal manifests itself, even if no betrayal actually took place. Not the best approach in dealing with betrayal.

It’s true, in many cases, a perceived breach of trust was actually a tragic miscommunication between people, which appeared to one or more of the participants as a breach of trust because that’s what he or she was looking for. When the red flag of mistrust was first perceived (even though it may not have actually been waived) the person who expected betrayal, points a finger and shouts, “I knew it!” Further supporting the position that no one can be trusted.

Casual relationships needn’t rely on a high level of trust and are therefore easier to maintain. Given a certain amount of time, a superficial relationship can morph into a more intimate relationship unbeknownst to the person who would otherwise be unlikely to trust. Nonetheless, trust slips in under the radar, and before you know it, someone else has trashed your trust in them, yet again. Though, in this case, there was never any expectation of trust communicated.

It is best, when communicating any sensitive information to someone, to at the very least, let them know that you are trusting him or her, as if to place a delicate crystal bauble in his or her hands with the expectation that he or she will care for it respectfully, protecting it from harm, so as not to damage it while in their possession, and have them acknowledge their commitment to you to keep it safe. It is clearly understood that you do not expect, and it would be devastating to you if he or she threw it onto the ground and crashed it into a million pieces.

Not setting the ground rules of the expectation of trusting someone with something is just not fair, for how is the person supposed to know, as we all regard different things as “sensitive information.” What might be highly sensitive to one person might only be interesting or humorous to someone else, without the proper supporting framework. After all, we can’t possibly know what’s going on inside someone else’s head.

And if you’re carrying around emotional wounds from past betrayals of trust, consider the idea of letting the anchors to those painful wounds go.

If you can allow your mind to conceive of the idea, you might be able to imagine the point of view of your transgressor. What if he or she was doing what they were doing (which encompassed the breaking of your trust) from an entirely different perspective than your vantage point, when the betrayal occurred?

If it is true, that

we are all doing the best we can with what we have

Then, there was no malicious intent of the person who conducted the breach of trust. In fact, that person had no idea (or maybe they did) that trust would be broken. What was going on in the mind and life of that person in that period of time in space left him or her with no other option but to make the decision to take the action which hurt you.

Has there ever been a time when you were falsely accused due to a misinterpretation when someone was unable to see something from your point of view?

If you were that person, had lived his or her life up until that point, and if you were under the exact same circumstances as he or she was in, in that moment… You would have done the same thing.

You could recoil in self-righteousness and say, “No, I wouldn’t.” But that is not true because had you been that person, you would have done the same thing, likely not for the reasons or with the intent which you have associated with the other person’s actions though.

Through empathetic understanding, try to imagine what was going on inside the emotional body and mind of the person you felt betrayed by. Why might they have felt like there was no other option? Be brave enough to try to compassionately imagine what it might have been like to been him or her in that moment in time. How hard might it have been?

Then, if you dare, forgive them, one by one.

You don’t have to tell them or confront them, you only have to forgive them in your own heart, and if you have the ability and the courage, to not carry a grudge and let it go.

There is hope for you, even if you believe that people cannot be trusted, that you can live to love and trust someone in a deeply connected relationship.

You have much love to give.

You’ve Been Deceived Now What?

You’ve trusted someone… and they let you down, cheated, lied, committed a criminal act, or otherwise taken advantage of you. When you’ve been deceived, your first instinct might be to ask the question, “How could I have let this happen?”

You need to cut yourself some slack as soon as possible because the fact is that we are surrounded by manipulative people who seek out good and honest people whom they can take advantage of. They can be quite crafty and covert and the fact that they chose you is a compliment to your character and an indication of his or her lack of character.

We all tend to project our own morality onto those within proximity. For instance, if you’re an honest, trustworthy person, you tend to see others as being honest and trustworthy, while liars see others as dishonest, and fear others are always hiding something and may deserve to be taken advantage of.

You’re somewhat in a state of shock because you wouldn’t think of doing this to someone else. Ready yourself to forgive yourself for falling victim to this circumstance, it was not your fault. You are not responsible for someone else’s misdeeds.

Of course, The kind of betrayal I am referencing is the misdeed with malicious intent, you must distinguish this type of activity from an honest mistake. Sometimes someone whom you’ve trusted does something that results in your feeling betrayed, but there was a distinct lack of malice, more likely they hadn’t thought things through far enough or realized that their inattention to detail would be offensive to you.

If someone has simply made the mistake of crossing you unwittingly, cut them some slack, and prepare to forgive them.

Be aware that there are people who may be looking to take advantage of others, but do not fall into the trap of living in fear. Many people may have the tendency to exploit others, and may include personality profiles such as narcissists, sociopaths and/or psychopaths, who are well-versed in building your confidence in them and grooming others for “the take.”

Once you’ve correctly diagnosed a person as one who would lie or otherwise take advantage of you, realize they are a snake. As much as they might beg forgiveness or try to charm you otherwise, a snake is a snake, and it will only set you up to bite you, even worse the next time.

Can people change? Yes. I am in the change business and I see it every day, but you have to learn how to deal with a liar, look out for you and take care of yourself and the others whom you care about. This is your responsibility. If this snake is a repeat offender, you have to do the right thing and take the action which is best for you and yours.

In becoming aware of the existence of individuals who may not have your best interests at heart, learn early detection methods of determining when someone might be being less than honest and pay more attention to potential warning signs early on when you are getting to know someone.

In the event that you are having a twinge, a sense that someone may not be as they appear, don’t be shy about checking out the details for accuracy. If you are uncovering holes in their stories and blatant inaccuracies, there’s no need to confront them about it, just place a safe distance between yourself and this person, and don’t let down your guard around this person.

Now that you are becoming more aware of people and learning how to see people as they really are, be careful not to fall into the trap of seeing everyone as a potential threat. Not everyone is out to get you, but once victimized, it can be easy to be absorbed in perpetual victim mentality (which will only attract more predators) so avoid the temptation to do so.

Remember the good and honest, trusting person that you were before this incident and embrace that part of you even more, only being aware enough to protect yourself in the future.

Self Destruct

Why do I have a tendency to self destruct? Am I my own worst enemy? Why am I so self destructive? What is wrong with me? What’s wrong with you?

It’s not just President Trump who has the power to destroy the world with the push of a button, we all have this power to destroy worlds within our own universe and bring the end of the world as we know it.

Sometimes, we burn bridges, pour gas on people whom we feel have wronged us, light the match and walk away. Occasionally we hit the self-destruct button or just nuke the whole shebang.

Why you would do such a thing is beyond me, and years of therapeutic process may (or may not) help to uncover the roots of one’s self destructive behavior.

Am I immune from having a tendency to self destruct? No, I don’t think anyone is immune from some form of self sabotage.

Regrettably, I’ve dropped a few bombs myself. I think we all do it when we’ve felt hurt, betrayed or disrespected. When your feelings are hurt, striking out in self defense seems like the best option at the time, so you hit the button… and in that moment, you feel better about yourself.

You feel better than feeling hurt when you’ve struck back. You might even feel really good… for a while.

You might even feel like your life will be so much better without this-or-that in your life at all, so you rationalize total decimation is not only warranted but acceptable or preferable. You are happy you pushed the button.

In the case of physical abuse, certainly methods of isolating yourself from others in a way that prevents further abuse are worth contemplating.

Do you have to destroy everything?

This is an important question to ask yourself before you push the button. When you’re considering lighting a match, pulling the trigger, pushing the button or dropping a bomb, asking yourself,

What are the far reaching effects of this destruction?

May be worth the momentary pause or distraction before you launch your attack (or counter attack), even if for consideration for the briefest of moments.

Oftentimes, the actions that we take – especially those actions conducted in the heat of the moment – do not serve us well in the long-run. At some time following the taking of such an action, we begin to realize this, start to feel bad (remorse), possibly even guilt, sorrow or depression.

We find ourselves struggling with our decision to lash out, often in ways that are irreparable as the damage was done, ever so effectively. What felt like self-defense at the time often leads to self destruction.

Is there a better way?

Yes. Self preservation is important. It is likely that you are the only person who is going to truly protect you or seek to defend who you are or what you believe. When it comes down to it, you’re all you’ve got.

So for god’s sake don’t do more harm than good.

Wisdom based on history and viewed through the eyes of love would dictate that in most (if not all) cases war is not the best option. Seeking inoffensive ways to protect one’s self are far more prudent and effective over time.

It’s hard to find balance between revenge and tolerance when our feelings are hurt or our ego is running amok.

Nonetheless, it is in these moments that we must find ways to retreat, find a place of solace or sanctuary, allowing us the repose necessary to ask the questions, “Is this destruction necessary?” and “What are the far-reaching implications?”

From a peaceful perspective and/or contemplative state, you may be willing to consider other options as you ask, “Is this truly in my best interest?”

Will this action lead to regret or self-destruction, or am I achieving my highest and best?

Is this my highest and best?

This is the life-affirming bottom line. If you are on a path to achieve your highest and best, is the action you are about to take helping you to stay on the high road, or have you somehow become derailed and are headed down a path leading to self destruct?

If there is any way possible, take the time to pause, re-evaluate and get back on track before you say or do something that you can’t take back.

Betrayal Wounds and Scars

It is not uncommon for people to struggle with issues and the aftermath of betrayal. The emotional wounds from these breaches of trust can inflict sufferers in physiological ways. The emotional pain from betrayal can be as devastating as being stabbed in the back with a knife (thereby justifying the origin of the saying).

Betrayal leaves wounds and scars that made me stronger

Have you been emotionally, “stabbed in the back,” by someone whom you have trusted?

Betrayers come in a wide variety of flavors. Some can be relatives and/or loved ones, sometimes the most intimate love-relationship that one can have with another human being. You may experience betrayal by a friend, co-worker or mentor.

Because we all have different life experiences and personalities, we all respond to betrayal in different ways. A specific betrayal may be of little effect to one person, while another may suffer exponentially; this suffering can be primarily internal, or may express itself externally, or physiologically.

When betrayal has been recognized, the emotional open wound is fresh and the pain may be great. After a while, the pain fades and the emotional scar tissue begins to form. One’s mind begins to filter all information as being potentially harmful, and you may begin to take on the attitude that, “I’m not putting myself out there again,” in a fearful effort to isolate yourself from the possibility of experiencing a similar type of pain in the future.

It is one’s natural fight-or-flight response to protect one’s self from pain and it makes perfect sense… but the cost can be enormous.

The worst thing that can happen to someone suffering from betrayal of trust, is to run the self-preservation-routine resulting in embitterment and over-protecting one’s self in an attempt to prevent anyone from being able to hurt you in such a way again.

The problem with this is; you know, in your heart, that you have so much to give. The sensitive people have special gifts and abilities that help to make the world a better place; they increase the quality of life for others (some who may be extremely less fortunate). Building protective walls around you will also result in cutting off exposure to others who need your light and influence.

The bitterness and fading pain of betrayal breeds a more cynical outlook on life and also comes at a physiological price that may lead to autoimmune deficiencies, illness and a laundry list of diseases.

If left unhealed, little by little, the light of those who illuminate our local community begins to fade and as it fades dramatically, so does the overall general outlook for us (or the world) as a whole.

Since there is no law against betraying another person (although some laws may be broken in the process of the betrayal), those who are emotionally less-equipped to care about the feelings of others run rampant throughout our society victimizing the empathetic shining stars with little regard to the negative impact their actions might have.

I was betrayed and I was hurt Im better now stronger than ive ever beenIf you are suffering from betrayal, scheduling a one-on-one session with a counselor or coach can have an immediate calming effect on your peace of mind and quality of life.

You do not have to be a victim. Instead, you can learn from this event and turn it around. In fact you may find that this event can hurl you into an empowered and optimistic future that can change the future of others and the planet in such a way to bring clarity and focus to your life.

Utilizing specialized skills, a good coach or counselor can work with you hand-in-hand to put you back in control of your emotional wellbeing. You might be surprised to discover that this episode has prepared you as a mentor to help others struggling with similar circumstances.

You can do this; without giving up on being a blessing to others, and continue to achieve your highest and best.

You can find more ways to deal with betrayal in my book: Trust Betrayal.

 

Broken Heart

What can you do when someone breaks your heart?

broken heart when someone breaks your heart

When it comes down to it, you only have two choices: to try to salvage the relationship (or what’s left of it) or to walk away from it altogether.

The fact of the matter is that people in relationships do not always have the best integrity. They keep secrets, fail to disclose specific details about things – including their true feelings – and misrepresent their level of commitment and a host of other lies and deceit.

Two people, like that, are a perfect match for each other. The problems arise when you have one integrous person, and one who is not, in the same relationship. At some point the relationship will experience a great deal of conflict and some of the incongruency will be revealed, leaving the other feeling betrayed and suffering from a broken heart.

When it becomes apparent that you appear to be the victim of unrequited love, you find yourself looking at all the clues that you overlooked over the term of the relationship. Those little inconsistencies bear more and more weight in retrospect, and it’s easy to blame yourself, like, “Why didn’t I pay more attention to that when it happened?”

The reason is because you wanted to believe the love that you had for the other person was being returned in kind. You projected your love on the other person, when in reality he or she was unable to do so.

Why? Because of all the benefits that come from loving and being loved. We project our lovingness onto them because receiving (or believing that we are receiving) the love we are giving gives us the benefits of a feeling of belonging and being treasured which actually makes us healthier and happier enabling us to live longer, with higher quality of life.

Truth be told, most (if not all) participants in a romantic relationship (even the most integrous and loving ones) maintain some level of deceit. It’s as though there is a righteous kind of deceit that has no intended malice, but is an effort to honor the feelings of the other person. In fact, most successful relationships are comprised of a complicated blend of honor and well-intended deception.

In this respect, it’s easy to say, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

Because even though you may have loved the other person with all your heart, chances are you, too, have not been completely honest and open. If you have… it is somewhat more tragic, nonetheless, you’re still at the same juncture.

If the other person has left, there is little you can do but to let them go.

There is a delicate thread that separates seeking reconciliation and obsessive stalking (which there are laws against that could carry legal ramifications including jail time).

If you are left alone, be mindful that true love is still seeking you (though you may not feel like it at the moment) and you will be rewarded for your diligence, if you become the love that you seek.

In the event the former lover returns in an attempt to re-establish their romantic relationship with you, proceed with caution.

Is it possible to establish trust again with someone who has betrayed you?

See: Second Chances