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Betrayal Pain: What Pill Takes Away That Ill


betrayal pain

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Getting stabbed in the back by someone you trust isn’t something you take to the doctor, unless they specialize in betrayal pain.


So make sure you see a talking doctor who understands the situation. Better yet, make sure you understand before seeking a remedy.


A back ache is different than a stab in the back. In this boomerpdx post it’s not a literal stab in the back, okay? No medical office wants to see you walk in with a bowie knife in your back.


If that happens, drive to the nearest Emergency Room and don’t lean back in the seat. Or have someone drive you. Or call 911 for best results.


That’s all about the real knife in the back. What about the metaphorical knife in the back, the one that comes from a trusted colleague, dear friend, or clumsy family member?


Just know one hurts more than the other.


For example, you are a boss at work, a manager, someone who gives direction and checks progress. You’ve got a worker who’s not making the grade, who isn’t showing the level of concern you need.


So you talk to them, counsel them, show them what they need to do to up their work game. You show concern for them. They repay your attention by reporting you to the regional director for verbal abuse. When you could have fired them for cause, they’ve turned the tables.


Instead of a smooth sailing operation like yesterday, you’re faced with dire consequences. The next thing you know is you’re sitting with an occupational psychologist charged with determining whether or not you’re salvageable.


Call it the hot seat.


Then you’re in the room with the psychologist and the worker. It may seem like an exercise, but it’s more about your future. In the background the Personnel Department is interviewing staff to see what sort of rapport you have with them.


In all innocence they explain the best work relationship they’ve ever had, but that’s not what Personnel hears.


After you leave the company you get mail with details of the co-worker meetings. If you signed a non-disclosure statement, collected a severance package, you’ve moved on. But the mail explains the stabs in the back and you start feeling like one of Norman Bates guests at the Psycho Hotel.


What do you do about that betrayal pain?


Switch gears to a friend instead of work friend.


You’ve known each other for as long as you remember. They’ve been there for you through pretty steep ups and downs. One time you tell them how much you appreciate their friendship.


You expect something nice in return, like a thanks? But instead they go off on every detail of the friendship they’ve found lacking. You tell them they are special to you, they tell you that you’re nothing to them.


That’s a stab in the back from a very long knife, like a sword, and you stand there ready to fall. But back stabs don’t always drop the victim.


Now what to do? The betrayal pain is intense, but at least they got their feeling out.


The clumsy family member stab in the back might be the worst. It comes from a brother or sister, and if you’re an adult, a mother or father. Don’t for a minute think it’s an accident, but it’s not intentional either.


Say a relative decides to confide that they’ve gone rouge and decided to dedicate their life to sex with as many people as possible. And they’re not in college anymore.


Then they start sending emails with pictures of their latest. Go ahead and tell them you’re the wrong person to tell, to share with. Do that and they might think you’re the stabber. You feel like they’ve done the stabbing. Your back hurts.


Do you tell their wife, their husband, their friends? Or let it ride?


Eventually you learn that getting stabbed in the back is a choice. At least your response is a choice. Go ahead and turn on work friends who didn’t have the whole picture, who had jobs to protect in the company. You’d do the same thing they did in their place?


Do you cut the friend from your life, knowing they’ve got the sort of problems that make them lash out at anyone who cares about them? That they’re a little nutty?


The same with the family member. Even if they are screwed up?


Balance your actions with their actions and move on. Let the animosity settle, let the pain dissipate. Keep it spinning and you’ll need a pill, maybe a handful of anxiety, opioids, and laxatives.


Why laxatives? Because the only reason you decide to chop everyone you think did you wrong is because you’re full of crap.


Betrayal pain? Let it go.

“For a betrayal to be successfully resolved, the perpetrator must first try to make amends to the victim. In other words, the betrayer must apologize in some form, whether explicitly saying “I’m sorry” or showing in other ways that he or she truly regrets the betrayal. Then, the ball is in the victim’s court. Accepting the apology and forgiving the partner is the next step toward healing. Forgiving the perpetrator without that first step of getting an apology isn’t enough to mend the rift. The model is called “dyadic,” then, because it involves the actions of both partners.

It’s not true, then, that “love means never having to say you’re sorry” (the famous line from Love Story). Moving beyond betrayal to resolution most definitely means, according to this research, that perpetrators take responsibility for their actions by making it clear they regret what they’ve done.  Being defensive or hostile about their actions leads their partners to be less willing to forgive them.  Once the victims receive the apology, they can then let go of their hurt and anger.”

About David Gillaspie


  1. Experiencing remorse for some reason? Interesting, yet out of your usual area, topic.
    I trust all is well.

    • David Gillaspie says:

      I was reading about writer’s block and came to the conclusion, the same one Hemingway came to, that writing is easy, just sit down and bleed on a keyboard. Nothing to it. Block over.

      Now for the wound dressing.

      It’s also about fixing blame where no blame is needed. A recent post here encourages others to ‘get over it.’ The step is defining the ‘it’ in get over it. So many choices, and writers block isn’t one of them. Too easy.

      All is well, thanks R.

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