“For there to be betrayal, there would have to have been trust first.”
— Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games)
Sometimes we are surprised by betrayal, but at other times we almost expect it. We felt the sense of trust getting shaky, and the lack of intimacy troubled us. But when we are surprised by betrayal the sting of such an infidelity bites and we may not be more truly hurt. The closer we were related to the person we feel betrayed by, the more trust implicit between us, the more hurt will be experienced.
There is a fact, just now, that we must consider: not only have we all been betrayed, we have all betrayed.
Betrayal bites most because the trust we invested in the relationship has been broken. And it bites more if the person who has betrayed us feels little or no remorse about it.
What’s Required for Hope Beyond Betrayal?
There is hope beyond the bite of betrayal. Betrayal, when there is the will between two to restore the relationship, can actually be the catalyst of conflict that may eventually enhance the relationship. Sometimes arrangements for trust are not well communicated, so a conflict is an opportunity to grow in knowledge and intimacy. We both understand more what each other require for the future.
Where our hope fades, though, is when one of the parties—the other person (or us)—sees no fault of their own. There is no regret or remorse. Then we (or they) are left to ponder what is to become of the relationship.
We could go on pretending nothing sinister had happened. Many friendships and relationships are based in this way; there is conditional trust at best and the protagonists accept the limited joy that the relationship will produce thereafter. Many of these relationships exist in the workplace.
But where trust is broken, and there’s no recompense made, the bite of betrayal can render us confused, upset, or lonely, or even afraid, within that particular relationship.
It’s clear when it comes to hope in the relationship that two must own their individual responsibilities; that both parties to the relationship are contributing more or less equally.
Whenever betrayals of trust are experienced both see them as opportunities to actually build trust and forge further intimacy and, therefore, joy and peace.
We all know quite well how comparatively rare it is that friends and family members might value our trust so much as to rebuild it after betrayal.
Perhaps what is most important, having been betrayed because we trusted, is to continue to demonstrate faith by trusting in appropriate future situations; to not be so hurt as to stop trusting people and situations we could trust.
Betrayal bites because trust has been broken. It then takes two to agree to reconcile, yet we are only one part of that equation. Our task, having been betrayed, is to exercise grace, which is not necessarily trust. If we have betrayed, we need to remorsefully repent.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.