What a heavy word. Chills go down my spine as I think about this word and what it really means, what it represents and especially how it feels to be betrayed. I know you know what I am talking about. As a matter of fact, you are thinking of different betrayals right now. You are thinking of instances you were betrayed and some instances where you betrayed someone. Yes, I know. We are not saints and we will never be. We all have skeletons in our closets. The other thing we all got in common is that we have felt the bitter taste betrayal leaves in our mouths.
Interestingly enough, we are always betrayed by the people we trust and love. That’s how betrayal works. Strangers can’t betray us because we don’t know them, we have no relationship whatsoever with them. Betrayal always comes from the people we are closest to. Betrayal is always personal, always. Moreover, betrayal is never random. Betrayal never happens by accident. Who thinks being betrayed is a coincidence? To quote one of my best friends, “there are no coincidences!”
Betrayal is not passive. How can betrayal not be a deliberate act? I could never claim betrayal happens inadvertently. Perhaps you can think of a case where it happens by accident. I simply can’t and trust me, I have tried to think of a million different scenarios. Personally, I mostly see betrayal as a premeditated act. There is mostly, if not always, intent behind the action itself. Now, is there a deliberate intent to hurt the other person? Perhaps not, at least not always. I believe sometimes the person doing the betrayal is hung up on their own gain or advantage. I believe they don’t fully think about the consequences of their actions but then again, how could they not? I mean what do they think will happen once they betray their own people? Perhaps I am being too understanding. Perhaps I am trying to cut myself some slack for betraying people in the past. It never felt good, yet I did it. I certainly am not a saint.
Betrayal is a violation of trust, a violation of confidence between two people. It is one of the highest “crimes” one can commit in a relationship, whether romantic or otherwise. I would say that’s the main reason cheating is extremely hard to forgive. Yes, the thought of your partner having sex with another person hurts but we cannot help but think they went behind our backs, they lied to us, they broke the contract that existed between the partners. Why do you think “treason” is one of the gravest crimes? Betrayal is the epitome of treason.
Betrayal means someone went behind your back and did something they weren’t supposed to do. It means they hurt you. It means they abused their connection with you. Let’s say they weren’t aiming to hurt you, for the sake of argument. Yet, they must have known, some way, somehow, that once the deed was done, that once the betrayal was revealed, and they usually are, the aftermath would be devastating. Who cheats, lies, and steals and never thinks about the consequences of their actions? You gotta be extremely naïve, stupid, or delusional to believe betrayal would be a victimless or painless offense. Perhaps they never think they’ll get caught. Nevertheless, if you betray people long enough and repeatedly, you will get caught.
Betrayal is hard to forgive. Being betrayed cuts deeply, using a sharp knife that leaves a gaping hole in one’s heart. Betrayal reveals a person’s character better than anything else. Betrayal is hard to swallow. Betrayal takes a long time to forgive and some people can never forgive betrayal because what’s to stop the person from doing it again? Is betrayal a one-time thing or a behavior? What happened? Who did what? To whom? And most importantly, why did they do it? Betrayal means the trust was broken. How do we repair trust? It takes time and sheer will. Most of us do not have the patience or will to rebuild trust, and maybe we shouldn’t rebuild certain relationships. Betrayal is complex and complicated. Life is rarely black and white but, in some situations, life becomes binary fast. It is black or white, no gray will be involved or needed.
There are countless books, stories, songs, movies, tv series that talk about betrayal or that have betrayal as their core theme. Betrayal is such an integral part of our daily life. Betrayal is embedded in our DNA, it is part of human nature, the same way love or breathing are. Ain’t that something?
I know one thing; depending on the depth of the betrayal, the intent, the execution and the context, I know I will cut that person out of my life, as easily as I breathe. Betrayal is a serious crime in most people’s eyes. Will I forgive the person? Of course, I will, given enough time. But, after that, we’ll be done. I simply would like to avoid giving the person another chance to fuck me over. This ain’t hate or pettiness; it’s self preservation. I am protecting myself. Some people will take back those who have betrayed them, as it is their right to do so.
Betrayal is heavy and it hurts. Do not betray those you love. Do not inflict pain on those you love. I know life can be hard and sometimes we make choices that hurt others. Yet, deliberately hurting those we love, that isn’t a sign of love. Going behind their backs, lying to them, breaking their trust, those aren’t signs of love. Let’s not forget that.
Just one man’s opinion.
Now smile and go on with your day!