“It is not an enemy who taunts me—I could bear that. It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me—I could have hidden from them. Instead, it is you—my equal, my companion and close friend”. Psalm 55:12
One of the darkest times in my life was in the mid-1980s. I’d gone through a bitter divorce and my personal life was in shambles. About a week after the ink was dry on my divorce papers, I received a letter from my best friend explaining he was (and had been) involved with my ex-wife. The letter explained that he hoped it didn’t complicate our friendship, and he hoped we could all sit down over coffee and discuss what had happened. He ended it with some bullshit about not wanting to lose my friendship. Two things came from that letter… my relationship with him would never be repaired and I had a Jesus moment. Like Jesus, I had discovered my own personal Judas. I’ll tell you more about this guy later…
It took a long time for me to get past that betrayal. I can thank Oprah for helping with it…. One day she had Deepak Chopra on and the topic was “When a friend betrays you”… Hello! That’s a topic I tuned in for and learned from it. Deepak is one of my heroes! As he explains it…. betrayal is as toxic to us as Agent Orange… we may or may not fully recover from it.
Nothing grows in a toxic environment. An organism will destroy its own ability to grow. I have discovered over the years that those who undermine and betray are the ones that left me doubting myself, my calling, and worried that I didn’t have what it took to accomplish the task at hand. After dealing personally with a friend’s betrayal, it has led me to some conclusions that I think may help. When betrayal happens, it creates a sense of mistrust, broken hearts, and a cocooning of the human spirit. We have a tendency to close up and not trust with abandonment after betrayal.
Inside the family, betrayal has set up the greatest failure statistics of marriage and child-rearing recorded since time began. Inside the corporate world, it serves to reveal selfish desires. On social media, betrayal can cause undo harm to good reputations, and make heroes out of idiots.
Betrayal is a strong feeling that can be difficult to process. Why? Because the trauma of the betrayal creates fear, shame, secrets, and intensity. These feelings may even mix with love and longing for the person by whom we feel betrayed.
Remember that country song that said “My wife ran off with my best friend and I sure do miss him!”
The song is 100% correct. Many times, people don’t know how to deal with the emotional pain of betrayal because our culture doesn’t encourage reflection and genuine expression of our feelings. We become skillful at distracting ourselves by keeping busy with work in an attempt to shield ourselves from feeling the pain. Or for some, we self-medicate to ease the anxiety, stress, and hurt. How many people end up at the bar drinking to a “somebody done me wrong song”?
The point is you can forgive, or let them go…. but you have to do something … pick one and stick with it!
Forgiving someone after a betrayal is a huge step that must be thoroughly thought out, as well as choosing to let them go. You need to make sure you’re fully committed to your decision because if you’re not it will be a major mistake for you.
To forgive you must fully come to terms with what happened and ultimately forget about it. If you choose to dwell on the betrayal then forgiveness will be impossible. Consider forgiveness to be one of the last and major steps of moving forward with the situation and your life. That is unless you’re unlucky enough to have betrayal rears its ugly head once more.
Maybe you’ve thought it out and this betrayal in particular can’t be forgiven or forgotten. No matter what anyone else says, your decision is totally acceptable. This choice is yours and only yours, but now you have to keep to yourself and move along. Always make sure that you don’t let your decision take control over your life negatively.
For years, I didn’t forgive him. The very mention of his name sent me into a rage. But one day… I let it go. His relationship with my ex ended in disaster… he settled for a woman from a nail salon and he ended up making pies in Mexico for a hotel… even that didn’t work out. I googled him after I heard all this… there he was a bloated guy sitting on a sofa at his 60th birthday party looking like the complete waste of humanity I’d hoped he’d become so long ago… and just as Christ said on the cross… “It is finished”.
Suddenly… it was finished. All of my hatred, hurt and rage from his betrayal left me… Karma stepped in and did what I could not… Thanks Karma!