"When your world still seems to hold too many secrets of betrayal, for a time you feel that you will never trust again: not him, her or even self!
During a lifetime of counselling people with all manner of problems, the most intractable I found was when the person felt betrayed by someone they had deeply loved. Indeed, the more they loved, the greater the degree of betrayal felt. The reason is simply that betrayal is largely an emotional problem and is therefore easier to become more irrational about in one's thinking when struggling ing to resolve.
I have worked with people who cheated and those who were cheated upon; married, single, heterosexual, gay and bisexual; young, middle aged and old! When it comes to feeling betrayed there is no sector of society or type of person who is immune to its harsh emotional consequences.
Loss of a first love in one's teens can seem like your world has caved in on you, no matter how many times anyone tells you that you live a long time and there are plenty more fish in the sea. Adults suggesting it is no more than puppy love merely wants to make you bite back at their unthinking insensitivity. For a teenager to break with their first love is so serious a matter, that few parents will ever grasp the degree of loss felt by the young person. To the teenager, they haven't just lost a boyfriend or girlfriend, but their entire life and peer respect. The fact that such feelings are highly irrational ones which stoke their emotions, make them no less hurtful to experience and difficult to come to terms with.
Loss of love as a young man or woman in your twenties can often be taken more philosophically on the surface by most as we tend to be more resilient to rejection. Like a surfer riding high the crest of the wave, you occasionally get dumped in the sea. Instead of falling to pieces though, you are more likely to put on a new face, get back on your surfing board and push out into the ocean of exploration once more. There are however those of introverted personality who lose all respect for themselves and are more prone to engage in some manner of self destructive behaviour in a whirlpool of emotional disturbance that always ends in unnecessary hurt or self injury. Such young people invariably require some form of psychiatric intervention.
Then there is the 'almost married person', the one who is dumped at the altar or who only finds out after the wedding vows and marriage rings have been exchanged, that the best man had always been best man in the bedroom stakes or that the maid of honour, as far as the bride was concerned, hadn't any!
When married life is founded on a lie, that which starts in deceit always ends in final discovery.There are some people who were never meant to marry as they are unable to demonstrate the trust and forbearance which is required to make such a union work. There are also some who are simply too selfish in disposition ever to conceive the notion of 'give and take' and make it a workable one. Then there is the unfaithful partner who has stopped taking their pants off for their spouse, but is seemingly happy enough to remove them for Uncle Tom Cobbly and All. These are the types of person one can see at every self-service station on the motorway. They queue in line for their food and just after they have moved away from the checkout, they look at what is on another's plate and immediately want a bit of that also!
The hardest love that is ever lost though tends to come the second time around in the relationship/marriage stakes, especially if that relationship doesn't work out and ends in betrayal, especially when it is the women who is cheated on. Women seem to react the worse to betrayal and are most likely to display an anger gone mad. I guess it's because in the emotional department of life's relationships, men initially tend to make 'deposits' that enables them to withdraw for almost any reason while women are usually committed to the long haul and their stake is higher because they make 'investments.'
So many times have I counselled a lovely woman who would make any right-headed partner happy, when the woman asserts that she will never trust another man again! Whenever I've heard those words, I knew that I was in the presence of a woman who still partly held herself responsible for the breakup, even though it was the other person who did her wrong!
I have often experienced colleagues who should have known better than to tell a person feeling betrayed to 'snap out of it', as though to suggest that they had the emotional choice to do so there and then. In my professional experience, years of loving one person cannot simply be forgotten, downgraded in emotional importance or discarded in a matter of mere weeks or months, simply by the adoption of some philosophy espoused by a well-intentioned other who has never loved and lost. Such a loss cannot be so easily consigned to history and coped with without experiencing pain of a kind that no human was ever designed to feel the emptiness of.
All people who feel betrayed, need time and understanding to return to the field of common trust. It is pointless telling them that in time they will be the same again because they won't; they can't! They have felt a breach of trust which crumpled all future hopes and screwed up their life, and like the perfect sheet of paper they once were, they can never quite be the same again, however gently they are handled and whatever problems are successfully ironed out.
People who have been badly betrayed must first learn to extricate themselves and their actions from being seen as the causative factor. They need to be told that betrayal is a common practice that is mostly displayed by those with no principal. Such who betray, are the ones most capable of telling the cruellest lies; untruths told in silence or by acts of omission. As William Blake once said, 'A truth told with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent.'
If we have been betrayed and are on the verge of entering a new relationship, the greatest thing to come to terms with is a level of distrust we might feel towards our new partner, someone who has never wronged us. Such feelings are natural to have. It is perfectly natural to display a level of distrust in a new relationship as this is no more than a defence mechanism against experiencing another betrayal. One caught out in the pouring rain and getting a sound drenching is more likely to result in them brandishing an umbrella as a part of their future dress.
I have usually found that each type of broken relationship experienced will demand its own kind of resolution. It would be nice if the people of broken relationships could think, 'We’re not friends, we’re not enemies, we’re just strangers with some memories, happy and sad.' However, deep down, I know there are some people in this world who just cannot take hurtful truths and swallow.
Some wise men believe that there are occasions when a white lie can be a great saviour to a relationship worthy of the saving, especially when a little inaccuracy and convenient loss of memory may prevent a truthful explanation that may never be understood. Let's face it folks, we all come to every relationship we have with a past and blotted copy book, and very few couples are naturally programmed to tell all, however much they love each other. If everyone in the family tree is happy, I for one can see no sense in sawing off the branch I'm sat on!
I shall continue to believe that love is magic while realistically remaining aware that for many people, their magic will never be more than an illusion." William Forde: June 10th, 2016.