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How To Minimize The Effects Of Betrayal

May 2, 2014


What Is The Greatest Betrayal?

Betrayal - that sense of putting our energy or trust in something or someone, only to have it broken or taken away, leaving us with the feeling of being wronged.

Betrayal does not need to be grand and dramatic in nature to cause suffering; it can be as simple as a misplaced word, or even an act that originated in good intentions but for whatever reason turned into something else. It can be a messy business as it depends on the personal state and perspective of those involved, and their awareness of themselves and their actions.

Suffering as a result of betrayal can have a lasting effect. There can be the sense it was out of our control - done 'to us' rather than something we caused. We can feel like the victim - weak, angry, vulnerable. As with any kind of suffering, but especially with that of feeling like the victim, we can create walls around us, like a shield - anything to try and protect us from falling victim again.

However, this shield may well protect us, but like any shield, as it blocks those things we don't want, it can also block those things we want more of. It can enable us to hide a part of ourselves, stopping us from expressing ourselves authentically.

Have you ever noticed how much longer it takes to make a connection with another when either of you are not willing to show yourself? It can be like a game of chess.

Have you also noticed how much harder it is to be authentic around others who you don't feel are being authentic themselves?

When the self protection shield is in action, it can make relationships more challenging, even dooming them before they begin. This is only one of the many consequences of our shields at work. They can cause us to miss opportunities for great happiness because we get so busy trying to protect ourselves and 'watch for danger', opportunities can simply go unseen. Or if seen, we are too quick to choose the safety of our shield over the possible experience or connection with another.


Perhaps it is easier to choose the comfort of our shield than to put ourselves out there and risk potential suffering or betrayal. If this is the case, then isn't our fear of suffering causing us to suffer more?

So what can we do to minimize the suffering of betrayal, without missing the opportunities? Perhaps it is in the acknowledgement of the greatest betrayal...

There have been times when I have experienced betrayal and chosen to retreat beneath my shield and walk away, trying to forget the whole thing. But yet, I didn't forget, did I? The experience was turned over and over in my mind. I felt the pain of it and subsequent choices were affected by it, whether I liked it or not.

There have been other times where instead of retreating I have spoken up. Granted it has not always been eloquent or graceful but the intention was to speak my truth with as much honesty, clarity and love as I could muster at the time. It did help alleviate the hurt and lessen the feeling of being wronged.

Then this one time, it wasn't appropriate to speak up, so instead I wrote it down. It was a letter addressed to myself explaining what I thought happened and how I felt - my truth as I saw it. It also helped alleviate the suffering, surprisingly more than speaking up directly.


Some say it is the speaking up that is most important. In some cases I agree, however, why then would a letter to myself, seen by nobody else, work just as well? Perhaps it has more to do with speaking our truth to ourselves.

In the process of expressing how we see it, externally or not, we are encouraged to reconnect with ourselves. To be honest with ourselves we almost need to take a step back and acknowledge not only the emotions, but also our part to play in the situation. It encourages us to ask questions like:

"Did I contribute in any way - what could I have done differently?"

"What was in my control and what wasn't?"

"Did I at any time disconnect from my truth and ignore my inner guidance?"

and most importantly...

"How can I learn from it to expand who I am rather than contract?"

Whatever your response and the learning from it - the acknowledgement of what is can significantly reduce the personal suffering. It empowers us to step away from being the victim, reconnect with ourselves, take ownership and use the experience for growth. You never know, you may even feel a little gratitude, especially if the experience helped you make a personal shift.

When we feel betrayed, it is important to identify what was in our control (or influenced by us) and what wasn't. Even the identification alone can help us let go of what was out of our control and reduce the hurt. If the betrayal is in relation to something another did or said, we can try to understand and speak up, letting them know the affect they have had on us - a necessary step if we want to maintain the relationship, or if not, so both can grow from the experience.

However, the greatest betrayal does not come not from what others do to us but what we do to ourselves. When we disconnect from ourselves and make choices that are not in line with who we are or who we want to be, we suffer the greatest betrayal - self betrayal.

When we take the time and space to discover our truth and express it, we reconnect with our authentic self. This helps us utilize life's situations and experiences for growth, even negotiate them with a little more grace. Rather than 'watching for danger', we empower ourselves to come out from behind the shield and invite opportunities for great connection and happiness.

--- Copyright © 2013 by Hermine Zielinski
Hermine Zielinski is a Life Coach, Speaker, Writer and Reconnective Healing Practitioner, focused on Authentic Living. She works to create more congruency between our inner and outer worlds - particularly in areas of Leadership, Communication, (including Public Speaking) Self Awareness and Self Esteem/Confidence

Be sure to visit her website and blog: http://www.herminezielinski.com/

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