THE BLOG

Betrayal And Its Healing Field Of Loyalty

A loving bond is stronger than the love contributed by each partner. The entity becomes greater than its parts. Thus, worthiness prevents falling to the abyss of betrayal, and the loving bond strengthens individual weaknesses: A formula to end overwhelming suffering.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

According to my biocognitive theory there are three archetypal wounds: abandonment, shame, and betrayal. I believe betrayal is the most painful and difficulty to resolve. It's deceitful action that devastates trust. In addition to breaking a promise of devotion, betrayal shakes our faith in the best of humanity. Betrayal is not intentional when the misdeed is not grounded on wanting to consciously hurt the betrayed. Although the initial intensity of the pain is not affected by considering the intention, extenuating circumstance must be evaluated before letting betrayal destroy a bond of love. But rather than excuse the betrayal or reduce the blame, extenuating circumstances can serve to facilitate the level of compassion needed to see imperfections as flaws of our human condition that can be harnessed to strengthen character and heal the wound.

How is this possible? Well, here's where the healing field of betrayal comes in: loyalty: The question is loyalty to what or whom? I am proposing a path that recruits the most exalted human emotions to heal the greatest insult to our trust. But before we can look at the role that loyalty plays in clearing the head and healing the heart, let's examine how extenuating circumstances can diminish the intensity of the wound. I argue that the precursors of misdeeds set the stage for infamy by eroding nobleness and emotional connection: An insult to self-worthiness. The weakening of the relationship is stealth and insidious precluding warning that all is not well.
We can view extenuating circumstances as factors that erode the worthiness of the offender and invite the offended to identify, without self-blame, partial contribution to the conditions for a perfect storm. This reduces the perception of inhumanity in the offender, and allows the offended to judge from a premise of imperfection rather than from the rage of self-righteousness.

Although betrayal is one of the most egregious expressions of our darkness, forgiveness is the strongest evidence for the nobleness that fuels our faith in the worthiness of humanity. But I caution that intellectual resolution is not sufficient because betrayal wounds the heart more than the head. Instead, the healing field of loyalty opens a portal to forgiveness where anger and fear are gradually dissolved with the redemption of love.

Once the precursors of misdeeds are identified and mutual responsibility is recognized, loyalty can begin to heal by reinstating worthiness in the offender, and compassion in the offended. Both parties make a solemn agreement to be loyal to their respective worthiness and to the reconstruction of their loving bond. Worthiness creates immunity against precursors of misdeeds and compassion disarms self-righteousness.

This mindbody path to healing betrayal I've outlined is counterintuitive because the expected resolution would be to have partners pledge loyalty to each other rather than to individual worthiness and their loving bond. But obvious strategies are not always the best solution to complex challenges. And here's why: Loyalty to a partner overlooks the foundation of what is being pledged. In other words, the culprit is unworthiness rather than lack of devotion.

Additionally, a loving bond is stronger than the love contributed by each partner. The entity becomes greater than its parts. Thus, worthiness prevents falling to the abyss of betrayal, and the loving bond strengthens individual weaknesses: A formula to end overwhelming suffering.