As you write your Rule of Life, remember that some of your chapters will be hard ones to write, such a a chapter on betrayal. It is hard to remember when we have been betrayed and hard to write about it. But writing these somewhat dark chapters (which I place in the context of a Rule but also at the back for use in Holy Week) will be an encouragement to you as you face trials. and you will. So why not write about them and use the chapters as a form of your own encouragement to yourself. You are the best person to write these chapters and you will need to re-read them when live is not a bowl of cherries nor a box of chocolates.
Betrayal – a Chapter from a Rule of Life
“I lay it down as a fact that if all (people) knew what others say of them, there would not be four friends in the world.”
― Blaise Pascal
More than just death and taxes are inevitable. Betrayal is on the list. You will betray people and they will betray you. In the myth of the Garden of Eden, mankind and womankind betray God by seeking to know, and the result is a cessation of naked walks in the Garden with God. That first betrayal resulted in clothing, shame, agony at birth and hard work for food and shelter.
Betrayal seems inextricably liked to pride and is done by people with access to you. In Luke 22:21 we read “But see, the one who betrays me is with me, and his hand is on the table. For the Son of Man is going as it has been determined, but woe to that one by whom he is betrayed!” Then they began to ask one another, which one of them it could be who would do this. A dispute also arose among them as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest.”
The desire to know who will betray Jesus emerges from the reality that perhaps every one of those disciples had considered it. And notice that the next thing out of their mouths, after asking about Jesus’ betrayer, is a conversation about who is the greatest among them.
So, like so many other sins, pride is at the root of betrayal. Remember that the way to deal with pride is to wake up to it, look hard at inside you, and be mindful of it’s oozing from you. Mindfulness and the awakened awareness which results from looking around inside you, will reveal to you the pride you need to see in order to detoxify it by lifting it to the Holy Spirit, as one might a basket of poo.
“So this was betrayal. It was like being left alone in the desert at dusk without water or warmth. It left your mouth dry and will broken. It sapped your tears and made you hollow.” Anna Godbersen, Rumors
Betrayal, when it happens to you, will hurt. And possibly for a long time. Revenge is a temptation, but that tends only to feel good for a few seconds – about 17 in my experience. So better to work on forgiveness than revenge. They say revenge is sweet but so is thylene glycol, a well-known sweet poison often used in coffee. And you love coffee. Let revenge be sour. Leave it alone. Focus on chocolate chip cookies as your antidote. They cause less damage to the environment and you love them!
Diane Courineau Brutsche, a noted Jungian Analyst, says that “one should not underestimate the courage it takes to heal from a human betrayal. Betrayal invariably affects the psyche to its deepest roots. When it is made conscious, it is experienced as a threat to one’s own being, and the path toward healing is paved with pain.
Betrayal can take many forms from actions as benign as rumor-spreading to as lethal as manipulation by a friend, boss, lover or colleague. And like so many hard things in life, you will learn from betrayals. The important thing is not to lose hope. Betrayal only happens with power – especially the power of love.
In Matthew 26:14 we read “Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What will you give me if I betray him to you?’ They paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.”
As the story of the gospel ends, Jesus lives while Judas dies horribly and alone. Let karma deal with your betrayers. They know what they have done and they will suffer in their shame and grief. And if not, it is not you job to be God. If you are their judge, why do we even need a God? Instead, learn from it. You be you and let God be God. Forgive but do not forget. You are a good person, a good priest, a good cook, writer and potter. And you are beloved of God. That is enough for one life.
“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.” Mary Oliver
Other quotations to help with drafting a chapter on betrayal:
“I used to advertise my loyalty and I don’t believe there is a single person I loved that I didn’t eventually betray.”
― Albert Camus, The Fall
“Everyone suffers at least one bad betrayal in their lifetime. It’s what unites us. The trick is not to let it destroy your trust in others when that happens. Don’t let them take that from you.”
― Sherrilyn Kenyon, Invincible
me, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.”
― Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
“Do you believe a man can truly love a woman and constantly betray her?Never mind physically but betray her in his mind,in the very “poetry of his soul”.Well,it’s not easy but men do it all the time.”
― Mario Puzo, Fools Die
“It is more shameful to distrust our friends than to be deceived by them.”
“The human race is unimportant. It is the self that must not be betrayed.”
“I suppose one could say that Hitler didn’t betray his self.”
“You are right. He did not. But millions of Germans did betray their selves. That was the tragedy. Not that one man had the courage to be evil. But that millions had not the courage to be good.”
― John Fowles, The Magus
“Why shouldn’t I hate her? She did the worst thing to me that anyone can do to anyone else. Let them believe that they’re loved and wanted and then show them that it’s all a sham.”
― Agatha Christie, The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side
“Touch. It is touch that is the deadliest enemy of chastity, loyalty, monogamy, gentility with its codes and conventions and restraints. By touch we are betrayed and betray others … an accidental brushing of shoulders or touching of hands … hands laid on shoulders in a gesture of comfort that lies like a thief, that takes, not gives, that wants, not offers, that awakes, not pacifies. When one flesh is waiting, there is electricity in the merest contact.”
― Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose
“I lay it down as a fact that if all men knew what others say of them, there would not be four friends in the world.”
― Blaise Pascal
“Disappointments in love, even betrayals and losses, serve the soul at the very moment they seem in life to be tragedies. The soul is partly in time and partly in eternity. We might remember the part that resides in eternity when we feel despair over the part that is in life.”
― Thomas Moore, Care of the Soul: Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life
Most women will do almost anything to avoid having to face these truths. Even if we yell and scream at him when we discover that he’s lied to us, once the dust settles, most of us will opt for the comforting territory of rationalization. In fact, many of us are willing to rewire our senses, short-circuit our instincts and intelligence, and accept the seductive comfort of self-delusion.”
― Susan Forward, When Your Lover Is a Liar: Healing the Wounds of Deception and Betrayal
“There is nothing like wounded affection for giving poignancy to anger.”
― Elizabeth Gaskell, Wives and Daughters
“So this was betrayal. It was like being left alone in the desert at dusk without water or warmth. It left your mouth dry and will broken. It sapped your tears and made you hollow.”
― Anna Godbersen, Rumors
“The chains that keep you bound to the past are not the actions of another person. They are your own anger, stubbornness, lack of compassion, jealousy and blaming others for your choices. It is not other people that keep you trapped; it is the entitled role of victim that you enjoy wearing. There is a familiarness to pain that you enjoy because you get a payoff from it. When you figure out what that payoff is then you will finally be on the road to freedom.”
― Shannon L. Alder
“Shattered legs may heal in time, but some betrayals fester and poison the soul.”
― George R.R. Martin
“Never be silent with persons you love and distrust,” Mr. Carpenter had said once. “Silence betrays.”
― L.M. Montgomery, Emily’s Quest
Talk to anyone who has been betrayed—it is as if something physical has shattered within them: a visceral bewilderment. The disbelief over the fraying of this trust is so searing that it ruptures the scaffolding of faith on which we all stand. Underneath it all lurks the question of motive. What possessed them to rip a long, close relationship apart? How could they?—Tracey O’Shaughnessy, columnist
One should not underestimate the courage it takes to heal from a human betrayal. Betrayal invariably affects the psyche to its deepest roots. When it is made conscious, it is experienced as a threat to one’s own being, and the path toward healing is paved with pain.―Diane Courineau Brutsche, Jungian Analyst
One is easily fooled by that which one loves.―Moliere
One should rather die than be betrayed. There is no deceit in death. It delivers precisely what it has promised. Betrayal, though … betrayal is the willful slaughter of hope.―Steven Deitz, playwright
It was one thing to be attacked by someone you hated, but this was something else. This was the kind of hurt that could only be inflicted by someone you loved, who you thought loved you. It was sort of like being stabbed from the inside out. —Ethan Wate, “Beautiful Darkness”
Betrayals haunt us (often haunting the betrayer as much as the betrayed) because they show us, in one painful flash, that this magnificent thing called civilization, the moral and collective bedrock on which we build our lives, is entirely flimsy, and that we are, at any moment, just inches from our fanged past. Jennifer Vanderbes, blogger
Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift. —Mary Oliver