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.

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.