A stigma to being betrayed

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By Dave Henning / June 23, 2020

“There is a stigma to being betrayed, even if it is mostly self-imposed.  It’s easy to want to avoid that feeling by replacing too quickly the person who has left — especially if the new person affirms our feelings and tells us what we want to hear.”- Phil Waldrep

As Phil Waldrep continues Chapter 6 of Beyond Betrayal, he stresses that two things happen when you experience the trauma of betrayal.  Your mind goes into protection mode and you become hypervigilant.  In addition, your subconscious mind starts looking everywhere for threats of betrayal.  Therefore, you:

  • suspect everyone
  • begin to examine every close relationship you have, looking for signs of deceit
  • withdraw from contact with others
  • become more guarded in what you say and how close others can get to you

Furthermore, in the aftermath of betrayal, you experience a sudden loss of intimacy.  Because a person you deeply trusted and relied upon left your inner circle.  As a result, you attempt to move quickly to fill the void.  But, in such instances, trust represents just one casualty.  There’s also a loss of rationality.  For as we hesitate to trust others, at times we place too much trust in ourselves.  Hence, we need to balance this tendency with people we know will tell us the truth.  Like a longtime friend, counselor, or pastor.  Consequently, if we fail to do this, we risk falling prey to people who jump at the chance to take advantage of our pain.  During our pain, Phil notes, we lost part of our ability to filter input and we turn down our truth detectors.

In conclusion, the author exhorts:

” . . . in the midst of betrayal, we need to cling to relationships that have been with us for a long time — family, friends, leaders in our faith communities.  We need to find the relationships that helped define us before we met the betrayer. . . .  People who will help us put our egos and lives back together at a more natural and lasting pace.

Today’s question: How would you describe the stigma attached to your betrayal?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Private alone time – share good things”

About the author

Dave Henning

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