4 Tips to Overcome Betrayal

We have all experienced betrayal at one time or another. The form of betrayal could be as seemingly minor as a collection of friends excluding us from a special celebration to something as major as a colleague stealing intellectual property or bearing false witness against another. These are certainly not pleasant experiences in life; yet, that is why this life experience is is called ‘earth school’ – we are all learning lessons. Let’s face it: it feels horrible when it is happening to us.

A few weeks ago, I ran across a powerful blog entitled ‘How to deal with crappy people‘, and I was drawn to read it, for many reasons. I was intrigued with his perspective, which was strong, bold, unwavering, and direct. I took a few thoughts from this blog, and coupled them with my own, to come up with a few tips on how to deal with folks who have betrayed us, have been unkind to us, have not had our best interests at heart, or have simply been deceitful, disloyal, or downright unkind – personally or professionally.

1. Don’t spend your energy thinking about them. We need to ask ourselves –  what can I learn from this experience? What can I take forward into life which will improve my life, my perspective, or my compassion? Everything else: ignore and disregard. We need to spend our energy on more worthwhile endeavors.

2. Don’t waste your time trying to talk to them, win them over, or give them advice. They will probably not ever listen to our advice, as they do not think they have done anything wrong. It will only lead to more cycles of pain for us. Frankly, this can be hard for those of us that want to help others, give back, and just really want to try to do good in the world. Furthermore, we want to ‘fix’ whatever we think we may have done wrong. Yet, two lessons I am trying to learn are that we can only teach when the student is ready and, almost always, we did nothing to warrant the betrayal.

3. Don’t gossip about them behind their backs. It is not relevant how ‘evil’ their actions may have been. It simply does not serve us when we get into the mud with them. Frankly, this can also be tough, as we feel a deep sense of betrayal and hurt. So, as the blog I read states: “Repeat this 500 times – do not fall into the trap of speaking ill of them…that is a vicious cycle. When we get in the mud with a pig, we get dirty and the pig gets happy.”  True, so very true.

4. And most importantly, as my mom has always told me, when people are ugly to you, pray for them. It is amazing to me when we truly do pray for others, especially those who have hurt us most deeply, over time (often not immediately!) this brings a true sense of forgiveness. And as Oprah has stated: “Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different.”  This has all happened for a reason and most of the time, when the icky stuff is happening to us, we have no clue why (and sometimes we may never know why). Yet, by letting go of the anger and hurt, we allow room for love, learning, compassion and tolerance to enter.

Naively, I still hope, wish and pray that there was no evil in the world. In the wake of the tragedy in Aurora and other atrocities, it frankly seems overwhelming. Yet, one thing I do believe is that we don’t control anyone else’s choices in life – only our own. So, by allowing the ‘icky bits’ to stay and dwell within me, it truly only hurts me. We have to let go of the betrayals and move forward; that is the only direction in which to move.

What do you think? When you have experienced betrayal or ugliness in your life, and how have you moved forward?

12 responses to “4 Tips to Overcome Betrayal

  1. Great post Kristin –

    I started MakeGirlfriends.com – I discovered my husband was cheating with an acquaintance of ours and so I packed up moved from St. Augustine FL to Sausalito, CA and stayed 5 months – started my inspirational website – have been healing as I have moved in so many places since this all started about 3 years ago…..

    I forgave him and have written an email to forgive her and never received an email back from her. So now when I think of either of them, I wish them light and love and let the memory of what it could have been go….

    Thank you my friend – great words of inspiration!
    Nancy Shields

  2. Nancy – what a beautiful, authentic, and vulnerable story of resiliency. My blog entry, of course, was autobiographical, as well. We all have stories….many thanks for your ongoing interest and sharing of your wisdom.

  3. Number one is the tough one for me. Especially if it is someone you will continue to see on a regular basis because of work or family relationships. However, I will continue to try and train my mind.

  4. Ginger, me too. I have obsessed with a few situations to the point where it becomes all consuming. Not healthy – and frankly, not worth it. It is in the past – where it belongs. We need to leave it there!! Thank you for responding and opening your heart.

  5. Pertinent and insightful as always. I think I’m putting this in bold letters (“When we get in the mud with a pig, we get dirty and pig gets happy”) and printing it out to look at on a weekly basis. I could have used it last week as a friendly reminder.

  6. Jeannine – thanks for the comment. We have all been there – every single one of us. Not our favorite moments….yet the human condition.

  7. Great advice! I’ve come to the same conclusions after getting into the mud more than once. It is truly better to spend our energy on the good in life. Thanks for sharing.

  8. I don’t know how the thought came up. It crossed my mind while I was at brunch this morning. Someone I thought of as a close friend for many years betrayed me badly. What popped into my head as I eagerly awaited eggs and crab cakes was this: I have absolutely no feelings whatsoever about the betrayer. He doesn’t exist as far as I am concerned (and I’m NOT talking about my ex-husband!!!). The absence of any feeling at all is a luxury I have allowed myself.

  9. Rachel, thank you for your input. This is exactly what my mother recommends. She says we need to spend our energy on positive things; not dwell on the negative energy. The opposite of love is not hate – it is indifference. I love how you have reclaimed the power. You are a role model!!

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