In recent years, I’ve had a couple of incidents where I felt extremely betrayed and going through that period of my life was quite tough. I had to deal with my turbulent emotions, hurt and it spilled over into my personal life when I was interacting with family and friends who loved me. I wasn’t myself and it affected my moods and how I behaved and it definitely affected my level of happiness.
I tried to be strong, and by strong, I mean pushing my emotions aside or started talking and b***ching about it wherever I go and whoever could listen. That also brought out unhappy and awkward situations because maybe the listening friend or family member weren’t saying something that sounded understanding, or it simply wasn’t the response I was looking for, and that only resulted in more unhappiness and dissatisfaction.
On top of that, if that weren’t enough, I had to still face the people who had betrayed me. In one of the two situations, I still had to work with them and see them in the office regularly. I felt humiliated and angry and UNVALUED. My self-confidence plummeted somewhat, and suddenly I was suspicious of everyone. That was not a good place to be in.
I believe every woman will experience this at some point of their life, whether it is in a smaller scale or something major. It hurts. And while you can’t change what happened, you can still maintain your dignity and rise above to be that elegant woman you are.
When you are betrayed
The initial few emotions would be shock, disappointment, hurt and in my case ANGER!
If you tend to be as passionate as I am, you suddenly want to take revenge and think of all ways to make that person regret it.
First of all, your ego or self-esteem is hurt. You never expected that the friend who deem you of such low importance, that he/she would risk losing you in his/her act of betrayal. I mean, if you had a very valuable friend in your life, would you do anything to risk losing that friend? No! The friend obviously calculated his/her move to would sacriifce your supposed friendship.
Secondly, you didn’t see it coming. Otherwise you wouldn’t feel betrayed. We all have the tendency to be want to in control of our lives and unexpected circumstances make us feel the “loss of control”. That throws us off and this throws us in shock.
The disappointment and hurt sets in because you’ve realized your friendship or relationship or the circumstance wasn’t as good and solid as you had thought. It is similar to an unrequited love just that you didn’t know it. You had thought things were going well, you thought you meant more as a friend to them. What is worse is that you valued them so much as a friend, but when the opportunity came for them to get what they want if they sacrificed you, they took it. That simply meant they did not value you or your friendship as much as you thought they would.
Their act of betrayal may have brought negative consequences to your life. You got thrown under the bus. They took credit for their work. They got the promotion. They copied your idea. They are full of praise to your face but were bad-mouthing you behind your back. As a result of their betrayal, you get ostracised in the office or in your current social circle. Your work gets unnoticed or unattributed. You get passed over for that promotion. You get blamed for something that you didn’t do. They performed better than you because they implemented your idea first. Other people get affected because someone betrayed your trust and things were taken our of context and no amount of explaining will cut it.
On top of that, the betrayal hurt me the most because I felt used.
These people that had betrayed me – I had been helping them and have done a few favors for them PRIOR to the betrayal. When they betrayed me, not only I was hurt because I felt unvalued in their eyes, I was also very annoyed because they owe me! They had social debt to me but I was simply a tool to be used to get ahead.
Warning: long personal story ahead. Skip the next section to read about my reflections on how to cope with betrayal in an elegant manner.
It took me about 2 years to get over the first significant betrayal by two girlfriends. We are no longer friends, but act cordial to each other. I don’t think they were ever sorry for what they did but now I see them for who they truly are. They were a tight knit group that are similar, and use people to obtain prestige and material things. They were not looking for any other friendship because they have each other.
The second betrayal happened was by a male and female colleague. The female colleague was the male’s colleagues boss and even though I had nothing to do with her (I didn’t work with her) – she made things difficult for the male colleague who had to work with me. Looking back, in the past when I HAD TO WORK WITH HER, the root cause was jealousy because I was always commended at work in front of her (she was my junior then). She did one unforgivable thing, that was to pass off my work as hers to our boss then. And she did and is still doing all those political things (such as bootlicking female bosses) and using girlish behaviours to talk to male bosses to get ahead. I didn’t judge her for that and just minded my own business.
I left my workplace for a year and half to gain my ballet teaching certification and came back finding her promoted. I forgave her because I thought it had happened so long ago, and also because in my current job, I didn’t have to work with her. However for a whole year, I didn’t know she was doing those things behind my back. The male colleague acted on her wishes, in order to get promoted. Prior to my knowledge of this, the male colleague and I worked well together and had a amicable friendship too. I even helped him by standing up for him at work twice, and also helped a personal favor when he asked for some help for his personal projects. I just didn’t think he would sacrificed my friend-work-relationship that way for his promotion.
Since I had to directly work with him on a day-today basis, I confonted him about it and I thought I did the right thing. I was a little angsty when speaking to him but his response further shocked me. He claimed officially he didn’t do any wrong and I had no evidence. It was then I had realized that I was nothing but a tool to keep his job. Maybe I’m not worth “keeping” since he had to please his jealous boss, but I felt he could have spoke to me in a gentler and honest way. And I do feel sorry for him that he truly believes he has to play all these political games to get ahead. That is where his trust is. He doesn’t trust himself or have the self-confidence to have faith and believe that good working relationships, quality work and a strong work ethic is really all you need.
I felt all those emotions again, but for a lot shorter and I am able to maintain a sense of dignity and be at peace. Here are some lessons that I’ve learned through these betrayals…
How To Recover From Betrayal Elegantly
UGLY emotions are natural
When you are betrayed, it is natural for you to feel all those emotions. No one likes feeling betrayed. It is very hurtful and sometimes the feeling of disappointment is far too great.
Don’t beat yourself up over it. Some well-meaning friends will tell you to ‘feel better’ by some words of encouragement. They may feel frustrated when you are not feeling better (or immediately). Perhaps it takes a person who has gone through some significant betrayal to really understand.
The best thing you can do to yourself is to acknowledge those awful feelings. It is a natural process of healing. What you can do is tell yourself it is okay that you are feeling that way. Give yourself some time. You will feel all those feelings again especially when you’re alone. Just let yourself feel down. It is alright, it will soon pass.
Should you do something?
That depends. If the person who has betrayed you has done something illegal in the process that affects others or you in a grossly significant way, then you have legal cause to pursue it. Otherwise, sometimes it is better to do nothing although revenge feels sweet! In the case of my colleagues, the male colleague and female boss seem to have something going on, even though the female boss is married. I didn’t know the whole of last year she has been snooping at my personal life – why does it even matter?
I’ve had thoughts of throwing them under the bus, exposing them or catching them…but I’ve since let it go. If you have these thoughts coming to you as well, don’t beat yourself up for it. You are not an awful person, it is just natural to have these thoughts. Just try not to entertain them too much.
Why? It is not your job to punish anyone. Leave it to the laws and enforcers of justice. If you believe in God, trust that the Lord will take care of it, and He will take care of you. Entertaining these thoughts will just ruin your elegant countenance. I believe beautiful thoughts, right believing will help a woman grow more beautiful, regardless of age. Thus, vice versa, you don’t want the sour expression when you’re having these thoughts to be permanently on your face!
Should you tell others?
Yes, in moderation. I don’t believe it is healthy to keep these raging emotions bottled all inside. I’ll admit that I feel tonnes better when I tell someone and get it off my chest. Say it once and don’t repeat it. While explaining your situation, you may come across angry and emotional and that is just natural. Just try not to rage, but speak of it as naturally and fairly as possible. Don’t make up stories about how you think they are immoral – stuff that can’t be verified. Stick cleanly to your interpretation of what happened. Don’t forget that your listener probably will not hear the other side of the story, so as much as angry as you are, try to be fair because of YOUR ELEGANT CHARACTER and not because of how unfairly you have been treated.
Of course, before I wrote this, I told a few people several times in my anger and I regret it. Not that it had any consequences but because I didn’t want to be that person.
Remind yourself of the person you want to be
This helps. I had always want to be the bigger person.
I actually approached the guy who betrayed me to make amends but he just acted even haughtier (even after his promotion) and I realized he thinks I’m unimportant and beneath him. That made me angry all over again, but I got over the 2nd time much quicker. That is because I realized truly that I had mistaken him in the first year of working with him. Naively I tend to take a person at face value. And I simply reminded myself of the woman I am and want to be. I acted as elegantly with dignity as possible with character, and if he behaves this way, that is his choice of being that kind of person.
For the jealous female boss (not my boss), I now know what she is up to. I will no longer bother to be friendly but will remain professional. I have done nothing to her and if she thinks acting this way will get ahead in life, then she will reap what she sows. I will not be that woman. I will not be her.
Go about your business with faith
It sounds hard, but go about your business no matter how you feel. Turn up for work, do your job and remain professional. You don’t have to quit your job or that situation if you don’t want to. Some well-meaning friends tell me to leave, since it was making me unhappy at work. I had considered, but upon reflection, I’ve realized I love my job and why should I give up something like love just because they had tried to make things unpleasant? I don’t want to feel like I’m running away as well.
If it is in a personal setting, you don’t have to be friends with those who betrayed you (unless they realized it was a mistake and are truly sorry, you may consider). Just count the friends and family who love you. Stay with the winners, stay with the people who inspire you. Continue living and working for the life you want. Continue to grow to become the person you want to be.
You may feel okay sometimes, but get all hurt again at other times. That is just natural and part of the healing process. Time happens and only after some time you will start to feel better. It may never go away – you will always remember this sore point in your life. But that simply makes you a better and more compassionate person. If ever a loved one finds herself in a similar situation, you will surely understand in ways others may not.
Have faith and believe that things will turn out for the best. Keep your blinders on and not look at anyone else, or at the progress or the success of the betrayer. Just mind your own business and go on your merry way. You are not those people, and you will never be.
Don’t forget who you are
In your down times, don’t forget who you are. You are a loved, valuable person. Don’t forget others who need you. You are a person who is committed to be best version of you, that’s why you’re here, reading this article! Remember all those who love you, and remember that you’ve got so much to give and to love. Let’s not waste another moment of our feelings, time and emotions on people or matters that are just not worth it.
Keep investing in yourself by reading good books, listening to good music, take a dance class, skip through the gardens, hug a dog or a cat or go for a run – laugh at some silly sitcom comedy. Enjoy and appreciate life – because we need more people like you in this world to show the way and help others. 🙂
Thanks for reading! Sending God’s love to you… xoxo