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Betrayal trauma: The pain of heartbreak is losing yourself — 12 Comments

  1. Sorry for taking so long to write, Elisa. I had to think this through and write about betrayal properly.

    I think most of us suffer betrayal in some fashion even while we are young. Betrayal occurs when a trust is broken. In my family my mother was the chief architect, but my brothers followed suit. She has passed, and I do not miss her, but her legacy lives on.

    As an adult in business unrelated to family, I have been betrayed and observed others being betrayed. Sometimes it’s a control issue, and other times an unhealthy personality.

    I’ve had doctors emotionally abuse me during an exam, which is a betrayal of the natural trust we want to place in a professional. I’ve also had bosses betray me and others simply to make their job easier. Work then becomes unsatisfactory because you never know what decisions you can make or action to take. Your career feels like it is in jeopardy and you are unhappy. Moving on, if possible, is usually best.

    The worse betrayals are the personal ones, esp when the betrayal is made public. I don’t try to forgive or make things right anymore. I just sever the friendship and unfriend on FB.

    None of us are perfect, me especially. Mistakes happen, but betrayal is not a mistake. It’s a conscious decision to abandon a trust between two or more people. I’ve learned not to forgive that.

    Again, None of us are perfect, esp me. Lately, I’ve been more than a Grumpy Gussie, mostly due to illness pain and fatigue. I used to hide it for the benefit of others, but my emotional stamina has been taxed to the fullest. So people get to experience me au naturale, emotionally speaking. But I don’t betray people. I can be caustic, seemingly rude, even seem uncaring, but I won’t betray you. So why betray someone?

    Why betray someone? Jealousy, the need to cause pain, lack of compassion, revenge? Whatever the reason, hopefully karma will eventually bite that person’s ass.

    Betrayal makes you distrusting of others. After so many I am left not knowing whom I can trust, and so life becomes an emotional minefield.

    Thank you for asking me to write about this, Elisa.

    • Thank you! I’ve gotten so many messages on this article thanking me for writing it. I’m trying to write several times a week and it’s like the ability never left me. Right now I’m sitting back watching karma in action. It’s very freeing. Apparently, God isn’t any more pleased than I am with the ones who broke my spirit and that’s really what they did.

  2. I totally agree about forgiveness. It is pushed as the answer for so many hideous actions by humans to each other, and to all other species.

    Forgiveness never rights wrongs, it is frequently an excuse to look away from atrocity. Some say forgiving, brings them peace, I don’t buy it at all.

  3. I believe that Betrayal Trauma is behind the reasons many cat advocates and volunteers who work in the fragmented rescue situation we have in the UK, give before they leave.

    Too often, the message to make life better for the cats, is forgotten and money making, sustaining a reputation, ticking boxes, ego, arrogance and narcissism are rife within rescue here.

    That Circle of Narcissism is very accurate.

    Betrayal Trauma, has shaped my whole life. I cannot involve myself with organised rescues now, big or small. If a cat needs help, I will help it, if a friend asks for help with a colony, I will gladly help, independently. I will foster independently for other friends who rescue independently.

    In my time, I have learned that often, the more sanctimonious the mission message, the bigger the public display of ‘compassion’, the more cats and other species end up dead or badly neglected.

    I am probably way too cynical about organised, formal rescue now. It is a protective action for me.

    This is a controversial subject, it is brave to tackle it. You have created a very good opener for serious debate Elisa.

    • Forgiveness becomes an enabler to abusers.
      I’m sorry is now the lamest excuse known to humans.
      Acts of cruelty and abuse are committed knowingly by the abuser knowing that the person they use as their whipping post is likely to forgive.
      My sick demented relatives think that by asking their god for forgiveness they are cleansed which is so far off from the truth it’s absolutely scary. The onus is not on the victim to take it quietly while the I”m So Sorry Crowd goes on to do it to them again or harvest new victims.
      The abusers often use that circle of abuse over an over because of marriage or parental connections.
      The longer you allow the cycle of abuse to repeat itself the more violent the abusers become when you refuse to play.
      A narcissistic sociopath cannot do anything good for an animal or a human without the inner expectation of praise, adoration and status. Sadly they seldom reveal themselves until you are deep into their spider web of deceits.
      Always remember you were not stupid you were and are decent and moral and forthright.
      Never base your opinion about someone based on their failings and faults but rather what they do with them. We are all human and capable of making horrible mistakes.
      And never be afraid or ashamed to remove toxic people from your life no matter who they are.

      • Apparently, God doesn’t like the way my daughter and I were treated over the summer and those responsible are reaping what they sowed. I’m enjoying this week immensely.

  4. I have 5 “sisters” related by blood. Barbara, Connie, Donna H., Donna S. and Ann. Everyone else is disowned. You make your family based on who cares for you.

  5. Excellent article Elisa. Betrayal trauma is very real and very devastating, and can involve reasons other than infidelity. It has affected my life also.😞

  6. Around 2000 I sold the last of my horses. Agaisnt my better judgement I sold them to a family member who then took down the fences and confined them to small corrals. He assured me he needed the fencing I gave as a gift to set things up at his house. My BF husband died out of state and I was free to go spend time with her and help her move to a new house and gone for about a month. Upon my return I found the horses starving and asked what was going on. My BIL informed me I’d misunderstood and he only bought the fence. I have the signed bill of sale for the horses BTW. After reminding him of this I asked if they needed some money for hay. Short term solution but the horses would get food. The whole family then informed me they were their horses now and could do what they wanted with them. So I called AC and the livestock inspector who fined them and made them buy food. Each time they were out of food I called and reported it with video. They then sold the horses to what amounts to killer buyers. Legally there was nothing to do but since my BIL had not taken possession of some of the fencing I was told per a lawyer that I was free to take it back. It was still on my land. My FIL and SIL had sold the fencing unknown to me and what followed was a brutal assault by my SIL while my FIL watched. My SIL is deranged and unhinged in my lay persons opinion. She has no control of her temper. I was afraid to fight back because she’s a huge woman and I was afraid she’d kill me. Literally think of a rabid grizzly bear attacking a human. About all you can do is go into the fetal position and hope it wears itself out.
    The legalities of this don’t matter really. What it did to me as a person I can never reverse.
    Personally I think forgiveness is pure unadulterated nonsense. When you forgive the worst of the worst you in a way give them permission to re-offend. Without a doubt I loath all of them. Any contact is based on forced civility and as brief as possible.
    It’s better to cut toxic people out of your life and let Karma, nature, the natural order of things or your chosen deity to deal with them.
    No matter where this kind of thing happens it ripples into all aspects of your life. What was amazing is that after cutting ties with my husbands family and he no longer really wants anything to do with them we felt free. I had blogged for years with some humor over the antics of my husbands family but never realized that it was even with a healthy sense of humor having an impact on who I was and who we were as a married couple.
    When my MIL calls my husband to tell him that I left the porch light on and I’m running up HIS electric bill we have affirmation that they never cared about us but only about controlling us. When we could no longer be controlled we needed to be destroyed which my SIL and the rest of that clan set about trying to do by using their church as a rumor mill. My MIL is a classic narcissist which is a word that is tossed around rather freely now but it fits her perfectly. We went thought this for years. Sometimes friends even close ones never reveal their true colors until you no longer fill their personal needs. Which is in my opinion why so many cats are tossed outside. The human thought the animal owed them something.

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