Betrayal is defined as: “A violation of a person’s trust or confidence.” I define it as the deliberate breaking of a spoken or unspoken rule within a relationship. The more we trust and are dependent upon the person who breaks the rules, the greater the harm, the deeper the hurt, and the bigger the betrayal.
For example, let’s take a child who completely trusts and depends on their parent. If that parent does something abusive or harmful, that’s going to have a bigger impact then, let’s say, a co-worker who takes credit for your idea. They’re both betrayals because a trust has been violated, but they won’t have the same impact. Betrayal can have many faces. What follows are just a few examples.
Let’s say you’re religious and you were raised to believe that if you go to your place of worship and pray, you’ll be kept safe. Then something tragic happens. This can leave you to feel that you’ve been betrayed by God.
Maybe you have a relationship with someone in a position of authority like a parent, teacher, employer, therapist, doctor, mentor, or coach. Spoken or unspoken, the understanding is that if you follow their direction, they’ll guide and support you appropriately. Then let’s say they do something harmful or inappropriate. The rule or understanding that you’d be guided appropriately is broken and that’s a betrayal.
Maybe you have a sibling and the understanding is that you both will support your parents financially or otherwise when they need assistance as they age. The time comes when your parents need your support, and your sibling denies they ever agreed to anything. The rule is broken, and that’s a betrayal.
Maybe you and your best friend have an unspoken rule that you tell each other secrets and they stay between the two of you. It gets back to you that your friend told your secret to someone else. That’s a betrayal.
Maybe you’re working on a project with some coworkers. It was understood that you’re working as a team and would share the project with your boss when you’re together. They finish the project and present it to your boss without you so they can take credit. That’s a betrayal.
Of course, there are other types of painful betrayals but you get the idea. Which betrayals hurt the most? The ones that involve the greatest amount of trust, sacrifice, commitment, depth of the relationship, and heart.
Through episodes you’ll find here, you’ll learn why trust is the very foundation upon which our relationships are built and why that shattering of trust leaves us on shaky and unstable ground.
We’ll also explore how this shattering of trust doesn’t just happen when others have betrayed us. It can happen when we betray ourselves. We can believe our bodies have betrayed us, as in the case of a diagnosis or disease. We can experience self-betrayal when we repeatedly stay quiet when we know we should speak up; when we break promises we’ve made to ourselves; when we negate or abandon our needs; or when we make decisions that cause self-harm.
We’ll examine the full lifecycle of trust—how trust is built, maintained, and shattered. But don’t worry, understanding is the first step to healing and that’s where this podcast and the many episodes I hope you’ll listen to are designed to take you.