Monday, December 7, 2009

Why Is Betrayal So Complex?

Betrayal is complex. Although it appears simple and straight forward it is not. Betrayal comes in many forms... adultery is one, domestic violence is another, so is spousal abuse.

There are a number of reasons why people betray. The most profound is that before we can betray our partner, we must first betray ourselves. As partners we generally agree on basic human values. We have made certain agreements about how we will behave in the relationship.

When we make the decision to betray we first decide not to honor our own internal values. We intellectualize our emotions and turn off our feelings. If we permitted ourselves to feel, we would be overwhelmed with saddness and disappointment in our own behavior, so we choose to feel nothing.

Once we have become numb it is impossible to feel the pain and loss that we are creating by our betrayal. We are living in our heads, not in our hearts. After the initial numb phase has passed and the reality of our situation has begun to sink in, we may begin to defrost. This is a very dangerous time for us. We may face an overwhelming backlog of feelings that have been stifled during our numb stage. As we process these feelings we may swing from grief and regret over the losses we caused to anger and blame over the consequences of our actions.

Through it all we may find that we are no happier with our new life than our old one. We have not dealt with our issues, only substituted one set of problems for another. The common denominator being the same... us.

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