Betrayal and Grief

friendship-betrayalSo, I ask you, do we grieve when someone has betrayed us?  Think of a time when someone you trusted or believed in, turned against you.  It doesn’t have to be something as big as losing your job or marriage.  It could be as simple as a friend who abandons you.

I think we grieve many times during our life experience and for a myriad of reasons.

A couple of months ago, someone I thought of as a friend turned out to be the opposite, a betrayal that shocked and saddened me deeply.

I was also extremely angry and resentful, and yes, I am ashamed to admit, wishing I could find a way to even the score. Fortunately, there was no possibility of acting on this desire for revenge without making matters worse.

Somehow it would be up to me to figure out what underlying insecurities might have been behind this betrayal and to find the compassion to forgive. This was necessary for my own emotional well-being so that I could be at peace again and move forward free of resentment…so easy to say, but not so simple to achieve.

But then, as with most things in life, the answer was given to me at exactly the right time.

The simple truth came to me as I was listening to one of my favourite speakers, Rev. Cheryl-Lynn McPherson.  However unintentional, what she said was what I needed to hear, just when I needed to hear it. My eyes were opened to a completely different perspective.

The bottom line of her message was that no one owes us anything.  …Pretty simple really, but totally profound when you get to the heart of it.

We live in a world now that can be extremely egocentric. This sense of entitlement is all pervasive and is desperately unhealthy. If we are not happy with our situation it must be because someone owes us something. We may complain, sulk, place the blame on anyone except ourselves or choose the most popular option by far these days and pay some happy lawyer to sue someone on our behalf.

The problem with all of this is that it hinders our ability to see the truth. No one owes us anything.

Imagine truly believing that for a moment.  Our governments, parents, children, family, friends don’t owe us a thing.  How freeing is that?

It allows us to take full responsibility for our own lives.

Betrayal is hard.  It always feels personal but in fact, it is really all about the needs of another person.

No one owes me either approval or support.  Both of these may be my needs, but they must be manifested within myself.  What a great lesson to learn from something that at the time left me feeling undervalued and frustrated.

And, as with all types of grief, gratitude is the cornerstone to healing.

I am grateful to have heard and understood the timely delivery of that message from Cheryl-Lynn.

I am also grateful that I now understand the reasons behind the hurtful actions, which makes forgiveness so much easier.

Yes, I think we do grieve when we’ve been betrayed and that’s OK.  But it’s our job to get through it without belittling anyone.  Embracing the idea that we are owed nothing and finding gratitude for the lessons learned will make it all so much easier.

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6 Responses to Betrayal and Grief

  1. Cindy Anthony says:

    I always enjoy your posts, but this one hits home. This happened to me in the past two years and I have struggled with it on an ongoing basis. This paragraph of yours says it all!! “Somehow it would be up to me to figure out what underlying insecurities might have been behind this betrayal and to find the compassion to forgive. This was necessary for my own emotional well-being so that I could be at peace again and move forward free of resentment…so easy to say, but not so simple to achieve.”
    I have chosen to move forward with a good attempt at no resentment but it is hard. Thanks for sharing this. It is always easier to deal with things when you know others have faced the same. God Bless!!

  2. Susan Walker says:

    An honest and powerful message. Thanks for the reminder that its ‘not all about me’


  3. Blanche Fernandez says:

    Thank you for sharing your story.

  4. Heather says:

    When Malcolm was sick, there were family and long-term friends that I hoped would do more, who didn’t. In most cases, I knew that they were busy with needs and crises of their own, and/or they were struggling with their own grief and fear over his illness. On the flip side, there were people I didn’t know well and, in fact, some complete strangers who came forward to offer support, so these seemed to balance each other out.

    I’ve also been in career and other life situations where someone mentored or assisted me, with no way for me to return the favour, but I know I’ve helped people who had less power than me, too.

    No one owes us approval or support, that’s true. But that doesn’t mean we’re alone in the world, it just means we can function a bit more independently than we sometimes realize. For me, the key is in recognizing that I’m part of something larger and my choices can create balance – karmic or direct. Sometimes we need to take, and other times we need to give, and it’s not always with the same people. But sometimes it is.

  5. Linsey says:

    Patricia – great article as always! Betrayal can cause deep grief and can be very difficult to deal with. To heal, it absolutely means taking radical responsibility for your own well-being and happiness. These things cannot be gained through anything or anyone outside ourselves, despite how much at times we all try. Blessings!

  6. Thank you Patricia for sharing your story and words of wisdom. I always learn something from what you write. I remember giving the message to which you are referring, and that day was a particularly powerful experience for me too. It’s such a dynamic process and so it’s great for me to hear and see how people are moved by what I said. Releasing others from their “debts” to us and no longer keeping score are both very difficult and profoundly freeing. Thank you, and blessings on the journey.

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