Shield Yourself from Betrayal
Being betrayed by a loved one, a friend, or a business partner can deal a devastating blow to our health and values. We constantly need to be extra careful and rational when dealing with others.
We’ve all had our fair share of being betrayed in relationships because betrayals barely come from strangers, but from those around us.
Handling the entire process can be mentally tough and traumatic. But, the reality is, we also share the blame as much as the other person for getting betrayed.
Firstly, we tend to get extremely carried away by first impressions and appearances that we often fail to notice that people are not what they seem (sometimes we are aware of this fact, but we take it for granted). We find it difficult to control ourselves when something appears desirable outwardly, even when it is incredibly rotten on the inside.
Secondly, our projections. We are quick to project ourselves onto our partners. We impose our ideas and repressed emotions on them, thinking that we are bonding or we have found a missing part of us. Although, these are natural patterns. Psychologist Carl Jung provides a strong basis for these patterns, in his analytic thesis about the anima and the animus.
According to Jung, the anima is the repressed version of the feminine side of a man, while the animus is the repressed version of the masculine side of a woman. And each time we have an encounter with the opposite sex the anima or animus that has been repressed within us comes alive.
As a man, meeting a woman brings out your sensitive and emotional side (the anima), and the same goes for a woman. Women feel stronger and more active when they are with a man they adore as being strong or alpha (bringing out the animus). We project our repressed sides on our partners, making us more dependent on them, and the effects they have on us.
Therefore, shielding ourselves from being betrayed in any relationship may seem impossible. However, there are things you can put into consideration before, or after committing yourself into a relationship. Relationship in this context is not only restricted to cohabitee or sexual monogamy but also includes our relationship with friends, colleagues, business partners, etc.
- Irrational Expectations
This springs up as a result of our projections. Earlier, we discussed the anima and animus within us that tend to arise when we are with the opposite sex (whether our relationship with them is sexual or non-sexual).
When we make these projections we also create a space for irrational expectations. Because the person you relate with brings out a part of you that you never knew existed (because of how repressed or hidden it was), you begin to expect a lot more from this person. You start to exaggerate this person’s effect on you. And you start to even wish for something more from this person. When the person falls short of these expectations (and they will), you start to feel betrayed.
We must be aware of the irrational expectations we place on others, regardless of the effect they have on us. We must be aware of the dangers that go along with expecting too much from people in general. This would further protect us from feeling betrayed or hurt when people we are engaged with, make severe mistakes.
You must also be reasonable when dealing with people. Know that they possess traits unique to them, and they have their demons that they keep battling with. You should expect that at some point they would breach your trust, and make a costly mistake. It is inevitable. Expecting such would help you become better prepared when the time eventually comes.
Instead of wallowing in depression and anxiety that comes with feeling betrayed, you stand a better chance of devising a counterattack (if it threatens your safety) or strategizing a solution that would help you heal faster (if it threatens your mental and emotional health).
2. Our Judgment
This mostly comes from how we perceive first impressions. As stated earlier, we are often captivated by first impressions and appearances in general.
It is too much work trying to figure out what someone is thinking, and it takes a lot of patience to see people for who they are.
Therefore, we base our judgment off on what we can easily observe from them, which in this case, is the person’s appearance and outward charm.
Indeed, first impressions are crucial, and it helps us socialize better. But it often weakens our sense of judgment and puts us in a position to get easily betrayed.
In his book, The Laws of Human Nature, Robert Greene posited that we all wear different masks to cover up our underlying insecurities and weaknesses. When relating with people, we try as much as possible to bring out our confident, bold, and less irritable side, so that we won’t be judged harshly (or to hide our true intentions).
People say they don’t like being judged, but in reality, they don’t like being judged harshly. No one frowns when the judgment is in their favor. And first impressions help to tilt the judge (in this case you) to their favor.
You have to be careful how you examine people when meeting them for the first time. Don’t get too excited or carried away by their overpowering presence. Allow proper scrutiny of a person’s character by paying attention to his non-verbal cues, for example; body language, his reaction to everything going on around him or her, his or her ability to listen instead of always talking.
Don’t be too obvious or obnoxious with your scrutiny. You are not trying to play defensive or put up a wall. You are simply trying to know the person you are relating with better. Trying to look beyond the mask and first impression.
You’re also detecting if such a person is worth your commitment, or if he or she is best suited for your purpose. Paying proper attention to body language would help bolster your judgment.
People reveal their true nature with their bodies than their mouths, for instance, you can tell how nervous and anxious a person is when he or she constantly fidgets. You can tell someone has a dirty mindset when he or she maintains eye contact with you for too long, without uttering a word.
You can tell someone suffers from low self-esteem (or is hiding something) when he or she seems skittish to maintain eye contact. These cues should be your guide when socializing with people (especially those you like, or you find interesting).
This kind of scrutiny would even work with someone you have been in a relationship with for months or years. In this case, you stand a better chance of knowing if such a person would someday betray you or not. If and only if, you’ve been paying close attention to the few times that person made a mistake and you forgave him or her for it.
3. Our constant desire for control
We always think we can control people for who they naturally are. Sometimes, we are too self-absorbed to understand that those we relate with have their unique nature, and way of doing things.
When we persist in controlling others, they can put up a resistance that can hurt us deeply.
The worst kind of control is thinking we can change others or alter their nature with our influence simply because of our relationship with them. But this often leaves us disappointed and betrayed in the long run.
We must always remind ourselves that, we don’t have such powers to alter a person’s character or nature. We can only learn to manage, advise, and offer guidance when necessary.
Attempting to mold and shape people into the way we want is not only a waste of time, but a betrayal waiting to happen.