Little else cuts as deep or hurts as much as betrayal. The nature of betrayal is to willfully fracture the trust extended from another. It fractures the respect within a marriage, friendship, or close association.
BETRAYAL’S WORST CUTS
Vows shattered by abuse, adultery, or abandonment.
By making public a closely guarded intimacy of another.
Being used, manipulated and then disregarded.
Stabbed in the back by a friend, partner, or employer.
Promises openly given but deviously broken.
There are many kinds of betrayal, too many.
THE PAIN OF IT
When betrayed we feel subdued and defeated. We feel used and abused. Broken people will often attempt to break us too, using betrayal to gain their victory.
The pain runs deep because it is such a violating act. It’s an abuse of our respect and trust. It breaks our hearts and crushes our spirit.
Moving past betrayal is hard because we are not only grieved, but often angry and vengeful. It’s not uncommon for betrayed people to entertain thoughts of revenge. The betrayed wants to hurt the betrayer.
In Wednesday’s blog I’ll try to help those who have been betrayed. The answers aren’t found in getting even, but in letting go.
I’ll give examples and offer some hopefully helpful hints for recovery. I say, “Hints” because overcoming betrayal requires gentle and sensitive language; more of a scalpel than a broad sword.
So, stay strong, hang in there, and don’t give up.
“People don’t change,” is something I’ve heard my whole life. Would that be an example of the Nurture argument for behavior, that people aren’t predisposed with a will to change? Actually, people can and do change. But certain aspects of our behavior can be more difficult to change than others. Within that difficulty comes the sense of being too hard, and so,
“People don’t change.”
In the Jesus narrative we learn about Simon Peter and Judas Iscariot. The former denied Jesus and the latter betrayed him. The first wept bitterly but was able to reconcile with Jesus. The second evidently chose a different path, he took his own life.
Both men failed Christ. However, Peter was able to alter his behavior and move on, but not Judas. I don’t know why one was able to change and the other couldn’t. Did Peter rely on a greater and higher strength while Simon only obsessed over what he had done and plunged into despair?
I’m a believer in change. I believe with the Spirit’s help:
Change can happen.
SUGGESTIONS FOR CHANGING BEHAVIOR
STEP 1, OWN IT: Denial and disinformation keep us stuck in the mud. If we maintain denial about a behavior, and if we feed our minds the message that we are fine then change remains unnecessary. To overcome a behavior:
We must own our need to change.
STEP 2, GET SPIRITUAL: Almost all needed change is likely something the Holy Spirit is prompting within us. It’s hard enough to change on our own, so why make it harder by resisting the Spirit? Inviting the Spirit to help and support us is an excellent step towards recovery.
Holy Spirit, please lead and guide us to make healthy changes.
STEP 3, REACH OUT: There may be people you need to talk to. You may want to approach a parent, or someone from your past who contributed to that part of you that needs to change. Approaching them to gain understanding may help you. Confronting them if they willfully hurt or damaged you will help to forgive them. It will facilitate your own healing and the ability to let go of unwanted attitudes and behaviors The apostle Paul wrote in Colossians 3:13:
“Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
STEP 4, BE PATIENT: Changing behavior, even with the Spirit’s support, takes time. Don’t make it be about how long, but on how much you want to change, on your commitment to overcoming. Bad attitudes and hard emotions take time to resolve. Replacing them with good attitudes and positive emotions will also take time. Don’t give up, don’t get discouraged, and definitely:
Resist the urge to view setbacks as failure.
A BRIEF EXAMPLE
I learned something from my father, something that was transmitted to me in childhood. He had many good attributes, but he struggled with a poor self-image and low self-esteem. When faced with set backs or failures he would say with strong emotion, “I can’t do anything right.” He was plagued with all that and I was plagued with it too. I fought it for years. Through the help of good people and applying the steps above, I discovered where my self-esteem issues came from and why I felt the way I did. I needed to change my core identity. It wasn’t easy and it took a long time, but I did it. Today I am much improved and living my best life.
For a long time I was overcome with some Bad DNA. But I learned to overcome it, to not let it defeat me. And so can you.
Do you believe in hardwire behavior? It’s the idea of being genetically predisposed to certain behaviors such as alcoholism, anger, violence and other such things. It would mean we could blame our genes for being too heavy or too skinny. Certainly our appearance comes from our genes. It might even explain an aversion to green beans or the love for football. This illustrates the Nature theory.
However, much research has explored whether personality and inherited characteristics are the result of the environment in which we were raised. It’s the Nurture side of the debate, that behaviors and attitudes are learned in early childhood and carried with us into our adult lives.
Examples of Nature or Inherited Behavior?
Red heads are predisposed to anger.
Irishmen are natural-born drinkers.
Females are more naturally fearful than males.
“I was born to hate.”
Examples of Nurture or Generational Transmission
Low self-esteem or negative self-image.
Prejudice, hatred and violence towards certain groups.
Wife and child abuse.
“Grandpa was like that, so was Dad, and so am I”
Are any of those eight ideas rooted in fact? Are any of them true? Have they been established by scientific study?
AN INWARD PERSPECTIVE
We may not like certain aspects of ourselves. Aspects that were either transmitted in childhood or received at birth. People can struggle with behaviors and attitudes that overcome them, creating many kinds of conflict in adult life. Do we accept it for the way it is, that we have to live with it? Or can we overcome our, “Bad DNA?”
Whether it’s hardwired or something we were taught, many struggle with habits, behaviors and attitudes assimilated in childhood.
In Wednesday’s blog I’ll try to give some encouragement and some hopefully helpful steps in overcoming some of what we’ve carried since childhood. Things that defeat subdue us.
It can be hard to talk about, difficult to admit and challenging to cope with. But failure is something we’ve all experienced and struggled with. It can be anything from getting a “C” instead of an “A” on a report card or receiving a “positive” instead of a “negative” on a medical test.
NATURE OF FAILURE
Recognizing failure requires only a casual glance. Like a blimp in the sky, failure looms large, is instantly recognizable and available for all to watch. Blimps move slowly, almost glacially slow, like a three-toed sloth. Failure moves away from the failed at an almost imperceptible speed. Such is its nature.
Examples of Less Serious Things
Someone else got the promotion: “I’ve failed professionally.”
Struggling with your kids: “I’m failing as a parent.”
My spouse doesn’t get me: “My marriage is failing.”
These things are important but not failures. They may be temporary setbacks. You can work towards the promotion you deserve. You can figure out how to communicate better with your children. There are ways to improve a marriage. None of these constitute failure.
Examples of More Serious Things
Being a disappointment to your parents: “Unfulfilled life expectations can be failure.”
Your marriage is in divorce: “The marriage is over, it final, its failed.”
Your life-long dream went bankrupt: “Money & efforts lost, gut wrenching failure.”
The worst failures are the things that mean everything to us, the things that are stripped away, fallen apart, and forever gone. It’s a terrible feeling, final and destitute.
FEAR AND FAILURE
What do men fear most? It’s weakness. Weakness for a man would be failing to provide for his family, failing his wife in the bedroom, failing to live up to expectations. His greatest fear is appearing weak, and therefore his biggest failure.
What do women fear most? It’s being abandoned. Abandonment for a woman suggests she isn’t good enough, reflecting her inability to please her husband and the heartbreak of losing her family. Her greatest fear is abandonment and therefore her biggest failure.
CAN FAILURE BE OVERCOME?
The pain and pressure of gut wrenching failure can be overwhelming, subduing and conquering us. But we can break its bonds of despair and depression. We can overcome our significant failures and move our lives forward again.
It’s difficult and not quickly achieved.
In Part Two of Overcoming Failure I will provide encouragement, suggestions, and support on how to conquer and subdue our failures.