Been burned? Betrayal, denial, and the bloody beauty of it all.
I’ve been betrayed — severely. Thank God. Betrayal is such a defining experience — it lays your heart bare, and that’s a bloody, good thing. Bloody good.
Being betrayed by another person is often (not always,) a reflection of how you were betraying yourself. It’s a lie looking back at you.
This is how it unfolds, starting with the pinnacle scene: You realize you’ve been deceived. <Insert dramatic soundtrack.> Then you realize that you’ve been a fool. <Camera close up on your face as astonishment, rage, and revelation surfaces.> How did I not see this coming? I didn’t want to see this coming. Uh...I kinda knew this was coming.
And that’s when we want to yell Cut! But the plot hasn’t been fully revealed. We need to find out: Why’d you play the fool? Why couldn’t you admit that betrayal was a possibility? Why the denial?
Denial masks our fear.
It might be this simple: You were a fool because you were scared. You played dumb to get what you thought you needed. You kept one eye closed so you wouldn’t have to face the pain of the situation. (How shitty it really was…selling yourself short. How you were using each other to numb out or get ahead [You’re never “really” getting ahead if you’re using someone else to do it.] How badly you wanted to fill the hole in your soul.)
So maybe you get blindsided. Then you see that, maybe, you had a part to play in the betrayal (which in no way whatsoever let’s the betrayer off the hook for being, say, connivingly parasitic, long-term deceptive, or a manipulative ass face.) And then…you see that beneath the surface, you were afraid of something. Zoom in further.
Afraid of what? The answer to that is deeply personal. And that’s where you change your betrayed story. One of the most damaging aspects of being betrayed is that you question your ability to make good choices. When you see what you were scared of, you neutralize the fear, and when you do that, you can regain some trust in yourself.