Blind-Sided by Betrayal (Tough Love/Part 3)


 “Almost any difficulty will move in the face of honesty. When I am honest I never feel stupid. And when I am honest I am automatically humble.” –Hugh Prather

 Most of us have been blind-sided at one point in our lives, when a person or circumstance does not turn out to be what we hoped.  Jolted by the disparity between what we thought would occur and what is actually happening can shake us to the core.

 We can immerse in finger-pointing, angrily blaming the other for catching us off-guard, not delivering as expected.  Feeling the anger, sadness and disappointment is often a needed step in the healing journey. 

 Increasingly, however, I am also learning to become a detached observer versus a victim of what seems like a betrayal.  In “observer mode,” I ask my higher power, “What can I do differently next time to learn from this hurt?” 

One such lesson is learning to put ourselves first, by grounding within, before assuming another is looking out for us.  We are our best source of our wisdom, not some external source.  Everybody carries “stories” from their past, some of which are mistakenly projected onto us.  We also at times mistakenly project “our stuff” onto others.  Learning not to take others’ behaviors personally, as so eloquently described in Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, The Four Agreements, is a major life skill.

On a practical level, we can build in some safeguards as we discern the trustworthiness of others.  Professionally in the past as a younger PR professional, two people who owed me significant sums of money did not pay, claiming upon the due date that they did not have it.  As a result, in future business dealings, I required a monthly retainer upfront before commencing any work for a client. 

Trust is earned, not a given.  As much as we may like or respect someone, it takes time to know if someone is honorable and acts in integrity.  We need to own the responsibility of protecting ourselves by not assuming others are looking out for us. 

We can further avoid professional betrayals by being authentic, claiming our value and choosing to be paid appropriately for our services.  Random and generous acts of kindness can still have a place in our lives.  However, if we consistently “give it away” to all who cross our paths without discernment, we know someplace deep within that we have sold ourselves short.  Hence, the world will mirror that belief to us and pay us less than we deserve. 

Personal “betrayals” are more difficult to absorb as it is sometimes harder to believe those who we have loved and trusted within our inner circles of family and friends would hurt us.  The sting of these wounds can be gut-wrenching. 

Yet, we cannot will another person into behaving in a way that best serves us. The only things in life we have control over are our own thoughts, beliefs and behaviors. 

Upon reflection, I have also learned in some of these deceits that it was me who betrayed myself by not living into my authenticity, knowing my value for who I am, not what I give.

We are all are imperfect at times.  Or, in the words of Hugh Prather: I sometimes react to making a mistake as if I have betrayed myself. My fear of making a mistake seems to be based on the hidden assumption that I am potentially perfect and that if I can just be very careful I will not fall from heaven. But a ‘mistake’ is a declaration of the way I am, a jolt to the way I intend, a reminder I am not dealing with the facts. When I have listened to my mistakes I have grown.”

One of the mistakes I have made is in overcompensating with others, trying to give them the childhood I never had.  That strategy backfires, for we can never truly give others the happiness they need to find uniquely in themselves.

The “betrayal” was in looking outside, overextending myself to others, to heal the wound within that is mine to release. 

In the process of that discovery, I have chosen to live from the center of my truth, no matter how others perceive or want me to be.  That self-acceptance is not contingent upon being or doing anything to win anyone else’s approval.

 “Betrayal is about learning not to idealize external sources.”
— Linda Talley 


1.  I allow myself to claim and stand firm in my own truth.

2.  I allow myself to choose reciprocal and respectful relationships.

3.  I allow myself to pace getting to know someone to discern a person’s trustworthiness.

 Beth Shedd’s foot traffic photo from the Boston Marathon reminds us to not allow ourselves to be stepped on or discarded for someone else’s gain.


  • Gail’s most powerful workshop, “Claiming Your Value as Enough.” TONIGHT (Tuesday, 3/27/12) , 7 to 8:30 at The Human Nature Wellness Center, 7 Page Street, Danvers, MA .  $50 fee (to experience $300 worth of coaching with like-minded others).  Call SupportMatters at 978-887-1911 to register.


  • Gail’s one-on-one  private coaching walking the sands of Crane’s Beach in Ipswich.  Scheduling appointments now for the month of April.  Email  to set up your coaching session.


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