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Monday, September 24, 2012

My Lesson in Betrayal...

“I don’t understand people and how they can wake up one morning and decide someone isn’t important to them anymore”

Last night I sat on my bed in front on my TV. I was ready to watch another display of free, real life drama from our self-less celebrities (they seem to have no qualms sharing their most embarrassing, drama filled life with the public). This time, Evelyn Lozada (from Basketball wives) was the guest on the Iyanla Vanzant show, “Fix My Life” on OWN. My husband is away on a business trip and my 2 “angels” are asleep; so all I needed was an easy show to help escort me to dream-land.

The show was about betrayal; living through it and trying to get over it. This was supposed to be a thoughtless show, and like everyone else who got to hear about her story (and the ridiculous but expected climax/ending of her celebrity marriage), I had that, “Well, didn’t she get what she deserved?” attitude. However, it didn’t go that way at all. As the minutes went by, my throat started to close up on me. My heart started to beat a little faster and instead of relaxing between a few chuckles, I started thinking about my own dealings with betrayal…

Betrayal comes in all shapes and forms. Most of the time, it originates from where/who you least expect it. In Evelyn Lozada’s case, it was from her partner/husband, but it can come just as easily from family members, friends, co-workers and even from general acquaintances; the ones who you don’t place any stock in what they think or say (which makes it even harder to understand why they would bother to betray you). It’s bad enough when a stranger or foe betrays you but when it is someone in your close circle, you feel cheated; deceived and taken advantage of. That feeling of being stabbed in the back repeatedly, that feeling of being caught off guard when you are most vulnerable (amongst people you trust) is hurtful, so painful and beyond understanding.

When having to deal with (and go through) my situations, I cried so much… Every minute of the day I felt an unbelievable level of pain and all I could think of was why, and (in hindsight) wallowing in self pity…
There are many reasons for the “whys.” Some are intentional and deliberate, yet sometimes it is very much unintentional. They’re simply not thinking of anyone else; not thinking of the consequences of “the” action or choice they are making. Quite often they are taking the relationship or people for granted, with a complete disregard for their feelings.

Betrayal changes everything; it changed me. I will never and “it” will never be the same again. The damage is done and cannot be undone. The blind trust you’ve granted to those close to you is lost and depending on the kind of betrayal (and from whom); anger becomes your best friend. Your heart is bleeding and broken, pain is consistent, the wounds seemed to not want to heal and you decline into a destructive, unhealthy self protection mode with walls full of doubts toward everyone. Will I ever be able to trust again? Do I want to trust again? Will the scars ever dissipate? Am I going to be this angry bitter person forever? Will I be able to forgive and move on?

“It was a mistake," you said. But the cruel thing was
it felt like the mistake was mine, for trusting you.”
~David Levithan

When Iyanla said to Evelyn, “Stop making this about him, make it about you and your mistakes,” that’s when the tightness in my throat started.  It’s funny how, regardless of where you come from and who you are, some experiences and the way to overcoming them are universal. There is only 1 process. While betrayal is an equal opportunity corruption (everyone is capable of betraying someone), overcoming (getting over) it, is a different story. I thought that when I finally stopped crying, feeling bad for myself and decided that I was going to “forgive” but not forget, when I said “I will always care but won’t care about the relationship,” it would be okay; but it wasn’t… You see, not only does betrayal change relationships, it changes who we are. Something happened inside of me and changed me. Betrayal hardened me a little; every time I feel betrayed it takes the veil off the easy going, trusting Rose, leaving a less naïve Rose. Who wants to be vulnerable and knowingly leave themself open to being deceived? I’m more guarded and protective of myself, my feelings and definitely more selective of whom I give my trust to. What ultimately helped me and really got me over the hump of being angry, defeated and plagued by the incessant “why”, “how could they”, was the realization of my own involvement; the recognition of the role I played in allowing anyone to betray me, the role I played in what went wrong. Being able to reflect and look back at what were definite signs of wrong-doings festering and choosing to disregard them, reflecting on my actions that might have caused or allowed others to act in a way that was harmful to me and the relationship we had, is what really helped me to move on. Blaming the other person(s) was the innate reaction but didn’t provide solace to the pain. However, recognition where I went wrong and learning from it is what truly helped me. My expectation of others has changed. And while I choose to trust again, nothing is ever kosher anymore. Is that a cynical way of thinking? Maybe…. but I think it is a safe way to behave and avoid unneeded surprises…

“It’s only the biggest slap in the face when someone you trust isn’t being real. Was I not worthy enough for honesty? Not only do I no longer trust you, but I’m second guessing myself. And unlike you, I’m not going to lie, it really hurts”
~Meagan Bailey

To accepting your part in the betrayal...

Photo courtesy of Katja Ott
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