Separating disappointment from betrayal

June 14, 2012

I can have an expectation that someone will do something, and they may end up not doing it.  What I notice is that if the person has contributed to my expectation they will do it, then when they don’t, I can feel betrayed as well as disappointed.  If my expectation was just my own wishful thinking, I may still be disappointed but I can’t muster up feelings of betrayal — they just aren’t there.

I suspect that at the highest levels of understanding, these transactions look no different from one another: one person has a need, the other person doesn’t meet it.  I think the rest is window dressing that we humans in our world find important.  (Maybe the friction from the feelings and their discrepancies allows us to develop greater self-awareness, which in turn helps us in our own development and in regaining our lost sense of our true selves through these uncomfortable interactions with one another.)

What do I do with betrayal?  I observe it, I break it down into its component parts (these are basic feelings like fear and pain).  What do I learn?  What’s the lesson and the challenge?  Probably that I need to recognize the difference between the person’s version of themselves and what I am perceiving from other sources such as their behavior.  Once I can work through or let go of the betrayal piece, once it dissipates, I can deal with the disappointment pretty easily and move on to a more constructive way of addressing my original need.

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