All relationships are contractual. Many of these contracts (or mutual agreements) are unspoken and assumed. Whether we are aware of it or discussed it, we created contracts with the people that we have relationships with. Betrayal happens when when one or the people in the relationship believes a contract was broken.
Some of our deepest betrayals happen in childhood- often with our parents. This is largely because there are vitally important unspoken contracts between the parent and child. They include: the parent will keep the child safe–physically and emotionally, the parent will love the child unconditionally, and the parent will be involved in the child's life. When these
contracts are broken by the parent, the child feels betrayed.
These childhood betrayals often form primary emotional charges or core issues. They also create limiting self-beliefs in the child such as: I am unlovable, I am deficient, I am unworthy, I am inadequate, etc. The child inevitably carries these primary charges and limiting self-beliefs into adulthood.
So when we feel betrayed as an adult, it is often inordinately painful due to it re-stimulating one of those childhood betrayals. An example includes allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and then being judged by someone that we have written an unconditional love contract with. This may trigger a primary betrayal of our parent(s) not being able to accept us as we were when we were a child.
The good news is that when we get betrayed and stumble upon one of these primary charges, it gives us the opportunity to heal it. This involves deep emotional work including accepting necessary loss, realizing the parents betraying us was not about us, and unplugging the consequent self-beliefs.
However, this daunting and painful process is exponentially worth it– as freeing ourselves from the reoccurring pain of betrayal and limiting self-belief is priceless.
About the Author
I, Michael Hoffman, am a licensed psychotherapist, teacher, and author with 25 years experience in counseling and teaching experiential workshops. I have maintained this blog since 2009, and my second book Natural Way of Being will published in 2019.
I offer in-person and video-conferencing counseling, intensive workshops, and online courses to allow participants to directly experience their natural way of being and the life they would have for themselves.