The paralysis of analysis – falling into it

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By Dave Henning / June 22, 2020

“One of the things I’ve seen in those I’ve counseled is that, because the trauma brings the betrayal back to them over and over again, they fall into the paralysis of analysis.  They want to know every detail of the betrayal.  Knowing the details lets them blame the other person.  They want to determine the reason for everything.  And in the process, that’s all they talk about.”- Phil Waldrep

In Chapter 6 (“Isolation”) of Beyond Betrayal, Phil Waldrep describes how people often act after a betrayal.  They instinctively act in counterproductive ways.  Certainly, in the aftermath of a betrayal, we want – and need – empathy.  Yet, we must monitor those instincts closely.  Or, they’ll convince us to act in ways that drive others away.  As a result, we self-isolate so we avoid experiencing that pain again.

So, that’s all the betrayed person wants to discuss.  Because placing the blame elsewhere absolves them of the shame of betrayal.  A feeling, the author stresses, that’s misplaced from the start.  Thus, the betrayed person withdraws even deeper in their obsession.  And that drives people away.  It births a vicious cycle that only prolongs the healing process.

Above all, Phil observes, betrayal never happens in a vacuum.  It always involves more than the betrayer and the betrayed.  Both share several relationships in common.  Furthermore, we see our betrayal one way.  However, others often take a different point of view.  But for us, every time our betrayal brushes something, like a hurt fingertip, the resulting pain reminds us of our injury.

In conclusion, the author compares betrayal pain to a smashed fingertip:

“Betrayal can be a lot like a painful injury to your fingertip.  It takes only the smallest of brushes with some memory to bring the pain flooding back.  We relive the shock of first learning about the betrayal over and over again.”

Today’s question: What Bible passages help you break the vicious cycle of the paralysis of analysis?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “A stigma to betrayal – often self-imposed”

About the author

Dave Henning

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