“A Friend Stabs You In The Front” Oscar Wilde
In reflecting on this view of betrayal from Oscar Wilde, I am struck by the very nature of betrayal — disloyalty that catches you unaware and stabs you in the back. This is the betrayal that can only be done by a trusted person; someone that you believe is committed to you as you are to him or her.
This is up close and personal. No matter what the explanation is, this is a selfish act and cannot be committed in a loving way. This is not a betrayal for your well-being. It is destructive. This kind of act serves the needs of the betrayer and though the wounding may be inadvertent, it still deeply hurts the betrayed (Read my previous blog post asking Are You Living With Someone Who Does Not Seem Interested In You?
I have worked with many people over the past twenty years who have been hurt and belittled in their childhoods and adolescence; who have suffered various indignities and been shamed. I have worked with folks from all walks of life and vastly different life experiences. I have seen people do amazing things and accomplish much. But what is so striking about the women that I now work with is how incredibly painful and wounded they all feel when the person that they trusted most in this world betrays them.
When a human being enters into a serious committed relationship it is done with hope, trust, and a deep sense of belonging. We come together with love and joy in our togetherness. We make overt and covert promises to one another and to ourselves. Such relationships grow and mature over time. As we open our hearts and minds to someone else we must believe in them and their word and commitment. We trust the other just as we trust ourselves. And we believe our partner feels the same.
In short we expect reciprocity. When we discover we have been lied to and manipulated we try hard to not believe it because it is so very painful. Our self esteem plummets; we second and third guess ourselves. We assume all manner of self-blame as well as fight the reality of our situation. The devastation and sense of loss of the betrayed is overwhelming. It is a scary place to be.
Here at Compulsion Solutions I see clients deeply wounded by their partner’s prevalent use of pornography and affairs, seeing prostitutes and so on. In most cases by the time a woman makes a call for help she is hurt, angry, and scared. The activities of her partner have drained energy and other vital resources from their joint lives. A woman cannot help but wonder: what is wrong with me — why am I not enough, not pretty enough, not sexy enough and so on. Her self-esteem is trashed. It is all that she can do to function — care for her kids, get to work, school, etc. The pain of this betrayal is life changing.
Fortunately those that seek help here get the help that they need. Lives are changed and couples face their independent and joint demons. Hard choices are made. Both partners change and grow. Lives are irretrievably changed. Know that betrayal needs to be faced by both the betrayer and the betrayed for lives to gain balance and health.