Tag Archives: betrayal

A 3-Step Routine For Processing Betrayal (And Walking Away Happier) by Guest Author Dr. Jennifer Freed

"Strength and Wisdom" by Mimi Stuart ©

“Strength and Wisdom” by Mimi Stuart ©

“I’ve been cheated, been mistreated
When will I be loved
I’ve been put down, I’ve been pushed ’round
When will I be loved?”

~ Linda Ronstadt

Guest Author Dr. Jennifer Freed writes:

Sad to say, many of us have sung a version of this tune in the face of adultery and betrayal. Most people are shocked and utterly shaken by this type of betrayal because they “never saw it coming.” It’s like a meteor of misery hurling from outer space that bursts our life apart.

Reconstituting our life after deep betrayal is an arduous task but, if done well, it can be extraordinarily transformational and empowering.

So now that the inconceivable has happened, what can you do to mop yourself off the floor and heal magnificently? This three-step process is a great place to start.

1. Feel everything.

Every emotion in the book will come up during the aftermath of the betrayal: rage, grief, terror, jealousy, revenge, etc. It is essential that you have space to fully experience the intense variety of feelings in a safe context.

Pushing down this emotion or burying it with numbing substances will prolong the wound. Find friends and professionals who will support you to feel without adding any more emotional kerosene to the bonfire. Get enough support to go deep, express fully, and emerge much lighter. You know you are done with this phase when you are not obsessed with the betrayer or what they did anymore. You are ready to actually think about you, your life, and what you want now.

2. Use your new free time wisely.

After you have collapsed for a while and experienced an enormous amount of catharsis, you can begin to see the emptiness that exists where there once was the presence of your person. Emptiness is at first terrifying for most of us because we are afraid we will dissolve into nothingness and never return. The beauty of this black hole is you have the opportunity to create whatever you desire in this nascent period of vast choices.

What have you been longing to do but have been avoiding? What hobby, interest, class, can you now devote some precious time to? The vacuum inside you is really not a problem if you commit to filling it with things that will enhance your life and fill you with inspiration. There is nothing better than looking back at the period of heartbreak and betrayal and saying “That was when I really found my passion for …”

3. Forgive yourself.

The final stage of recovery is about forgiveness. Now, I’m not telling you to absolve the betrayer of their sins—they need to do their own forgiveness work and you really do not need to be any part of it. This is when you must absolutely forgive yourself for and learn from the following:

• Not seeing it coming.

• What could you have seen if you were looking more closely?

• Seeing signs of something wrong but not wanting to confront it for whatever your reasons.

• Where did you back down from real issues that were simmering? What skills do you need to not do that again?

• Any ways you contributed to the distance that ultimately led to this tortuous level of disconnection.

• How did you check out in some critical ways or put up with behaviors that were unhealthy?

Forgiving yourself is the final frontier of transformational recovery. It is the utter acceptance that we have no control over others whatsoever, yet we can always learn to be more whole and complete ourselves. Betrayal creates an undeniable break in our self-image. However, if we use that rupture to reformulate ourselves into more present, awake, connected, and fully expressed people, we will not only walk tall, but we could, one day, actually have gratitude for the brutal wake-up call.

by Guest Author Dr. Jennifer Freed, PhD, child behavioral expert, co-founder of AHA! (Attitude.Harmony.Achievement.) http://ahasb.org

Disappointment: “I’m so disappointed. How could she?”

"Glissando" by Mimi Stuart
Live the Life you Desire

Disappointment is the feeling of unhappiness caused when your hopes or expectations are not realized. You feel let down because of the belief that you’re going to miss out on something forever.

All feelings have a purpose. Disappointment calls on you to modify your expectations. It’s a sign that things should be transitioning.

If you figure out what you can learn from your experience and change your expectations, then you can move on rather than linger in disenchantment. Once you’ve assessed why your expectations were unrealistic, you won’t repeat that particular miscalculation again.

However, don’t expect to avoid experiencing disappointment again. In order to do that, you’d have to give up hopes and expectations. Life would become dull and lifeless. A fulfilling life doesn’t occur without some frustration and disappointment.

Thus, the two common mistakes to avoid are:

1. Dwelling on the disappointment, and

2. Avoiding new experiences by becoming cynical.

An old Chinese tale shows how it’s hard to know when apparent misfortune is really good fortune and vice versa:

The son of a farmer had captured several fine wild horses. The neighbors were envious and murmured about his good luck. But the farmer shrugged his shoulders — “Life has it’s ups and downs,” he said. A few days later, the son broke his leg in trying to tame one of the horses. This time the neighbors whispered about his bad luck, but the farmer just shrugged his shoulders. Another week went by and government agents came by and took along every able-bodied man to fight invaders. The farmer’s son stayed behind.

Disappointment can lead to wonderful and healthy changes. It can cause you to re-evaluate what you want. It helps to set new goals and expectations on a continuous basis. Nothing helps more than a positive attitude and expecting the best again, but with a little more realistic outlook.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

~Mark Twain

by Alison Poulsen, PhD

Read “The Fear of Loss: “I don’t want to be hurt anymore.”

Narcissism Part 4 (of 5):
Celebrity, Power, and Prestige.

“My spouse seems more narcissistic since his promotion.”

"Touch the Bird"—The Collier Trophy by Mimi Stuart
Live the Life you Desire

Narcissism brought on in adulthood by celebrity, power, or status has been called “Acquired Situational Narcissism*.” The attention received as a result of celebrity or prestige intensifies any EXISTING tendency toward narcissism.

Adult narcissists with status or celebrity become more self-centered because of the favorable treatment and praise they receive. They thrive on attention, and conclude from the fact that people fawn over them that their own satisfaction is what’s best for everyone.

Praise and admiration boost the narcissist’s self-esteem, but only temporarily, because it merely reflects the false self. When faced with criticism or solitude, the shadow feelings of worthlessness grow in corresponding proportion. To fight off this inner doom, narcissists double their efforts in pursuit of self glorification.

Most people are glad to enjoy some status or admiration. However, true narcissists feel ENTITLED to attention, and shamelessly pursue their own desires at all cost. In extreme cases, they will exploit those in subservient positions or at least those assumed to be subservient. Maids, housekeepers, and interns are convenient targets as they are less likely to resist those with power and prestige.

In their drive for stardom, narcissists hone the ability to exhibit socially appropriate behavior if it serves them to do so. In public, they may act like the perfect husband or wife, charismatically expressing admirable family traits such as warmth and devotion. In private, however, they may show little regard for the family’s well-being and feelings. In fact, they can be sarcastic, arrogant, and insulting.

Deceptions and lack of concern may cause you and your children to feel rejected, humiliated, and angry. It’s important to realize that the negativity is not a reflection of you, but of the narcissist’s limited ability to empathize with other people. The betrayals and attacks are not personal, but result from a craving to be seen as superior even at the cost of degrading others around them.

Nevertheless, it’s vitally important to protect yourself from demeaning behavior. It’s usually a good first step to point out that the culprit’s actions are affecting you negatively. However, it’s probably impossible to persuade a full-fledged narcissist to change given his or her primary motivating force. It’s better to know whom you are dealing with and then decide how to enjoy and/or limit the relationship.

* A term coined by Robert B. Millman.
For an easy-to-remember acronym, try “Acquired Situational Super-narcissism.”

by Alison Poulsen, PhD

Read Narcissism Part 5 tomorrow.

References: “Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders.”