Month: February 2017

Overcoming and Healing from Betrayal

 

A Blog Post by Judy Thompson, Director Mind-Body Services:

Betrayal in one’s life often shows up like an uninvited enemy. It is unwelcome, often shocking, full of hurt, judgment and shame and faced with this challenge, it can feel like an end, a demise. No matter who the betrayer is, the feelings of hurt and pain linger with little submission, but when the betrayer is someone with whom we have entrusted our hearts, the pain and suffering feels that much more intense and activating.  In Macbeth, Shakespeare wrote, “The saddest thing about betrayal is that it never comes from your enemies.”  And so true are Shakespeare’s words still today, for it is those with whom we entrust ourselves and our vulnerabilities that the pain of the action, the betrayal, feels that much more deep and incomprehensible.

 

What may begin to arise within this activation is questions like, “How did I not notice?” “Why did this happen to me?” “How could they do this to me?” “How could I not have seen the writing on the wall?” “Why did I let this happen?” “How could they hurt me like this?” We begin to judge not only ourselves and our intentions, but also our intelligence, our trust instinct and our overall intuition.

Although betrayal is most often connected with infidelity, it can be realized and experienced through many other sufferings: disloyalty in work relationships, lies from colleagues or coworkers who you thought were your “friends,” abandonment from parents to children, even the spreading of gossip or lies by friends or family, verbally or otherwise.

As the brain tries to make sense out of the pain and understand the trauma, we are left in a place of lingering, a place of sadness, lost hope and sorrow. Our mind continues to try to work through and understand the abandonment and pain; it is trying to protect us and learn how to prevent the pain from happening again. It is vigilant, consistent, persistent and judicious.

Being able to apply skills of mindfulness, while still experiencing the pain and suffering of the betrayal, is one of the first steps towards healing.

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