Healing the pain of deep betrayal

Dec 06, 2022

We have all been hurt and betrayed in one way or another sometime in our lives. When we are hurt and betrayed there's a natural response or reaction that is quite involuntary: we close and cringe. This would be analogous to what happens when a person touches a very hot surface: there is an involuntary response that causes you to quickly move your hand away.

The nervous signal that causes us to snap our hands off the hot surface does not go up to the brain initially. We feel the pain later because the signal travels through a different nerve fiber to the brain, only then we become aware of what happened. The initial reaction is to move the hand, with no thought involved, and no awareness of the heat; the body does that to protect itself from tissue damage. It is this lack of initial awareness of potential damage to the hand that reflects the unconscious nature of reactions.

Just as in the hot surface example, emotionally we also quickly snap away from situations that are hurtful to us, we cringe, we close. Most importantly, we are unaware, or unconscious of the details of the damage and pain. Metaphorically speaking, the heart closes.

Closing the heart is a natural response to pain because the inner mind (the unconscious) is always attempting to protect us from further damage. The idea being that an open heart would make us vulnerable to more pain, to more hurt.

Once the heart is closed, another part of our nature takes over. This is the part of us that competes for survival. This is the part of us that believes in zero sums; if one of us wins the other must lose – that is what “part” of us thinks.  

Now, instead of thriving with joy, we struggle to win at the expense of someone else losing. We want to be better than someone – maybe the person who betrayed us. The tendency is to use the hurt and betrayal as sources of energy to “succeed” or to take revenge, in some way.

Two problems occur when we live with a closed heart: first, whatever we build out of pain, instead of out of love, is short lived. Therefore, many people say that their lives are like a Groundhog Day; they are always starting over. Second, we change our destiny. Rather than following our hearts through a path of meaning and joy – as we did as a child, we follow our pain into a path of revenge. Perhaps this explains why people on their death beds have frequently told me that they wasted their lives; maybe they never lived it.  

In therapy people often ask me to “make them strong”; I am a hypnotist after all. When we dig deeper into the request, we often discover a person hurting, with a closed heart. This is not to say that we should be weak, of course. The problem is that, ironically, the person who claims to be strong, if out of pain, is weak and not joyous.

The consequences of a closed heart can show up in one of three areas of our lives, if not all of them. Relationships of all types, finances, and health. I experienced all three deleterious effects of a closed heart following betrayal in a way that I never thought possible… I guess we never think betrayal is possible, or else it would not be a betrayal.

At the time, my life sort of fell apart, although on the surface I kept functioning. I tried to find someone who could help me out of the anguish and desperation. Heck, I wanted to sleep more than a couple of hours at a time! Being a therapist, and having presented at many conferences, I knew a fair number of the world’s best. I travelled extensively looking for professional help. Eventually, I remembered that I had taken some notes on a few men I had seen at the office who called my attention because of how “broken” they were when they first came in. I organized those notes to use them on myself. Eventually the notes became the book Awesome Again, at one time a best seller on Amazon.

At some point I vowed to myself that if I could come out of that “deep dark hole” I would dedicate myself to helping others heal that kind of burnout as well. I promised myself that I would not be shy about telling people that I understand what it is to feel broken, depleted, and burned out. I know what it feels like to be betrayed in the vilest of ways.

It took a while to unravel and revert that feeling of being “less than”, “done with”, or simply “out of the game”. Eventually I found something within me that covered everything else: The shame of being physically abused, as a child, and later as a grown adult – to the point I could not even tell the police about it – as an adult!

Someone looking at my life may think that I wasted time “healing”. I am proud, however, of never even wishing anything negative for the people who hurt me – quite the opposite, I send them Light all the time.

I am not telling you this to elicit sympathy from you. I am telling you this because you may wonder whether it is possible to heal and get your life back. When I was down, I wanted someone to tell me that it is possible to heal and come back to life… so here it is: I did it, you can do it too. You can heal and have a better life than before. For sure.  

If you are ready to look at your heart, and open it up; if this is something that appeals to you, if this somehow resonates with you, if this is making sense to you intuitively, if you're connecting and you're saying to yourself:

Yeah, somehow, I've been carrying this pain, it's very difficult to unpack all of this, I don't even know why it's there, but I've been feeling this forever and I have used this pain as a source of motivation, and in the long run it's not quite working out. I need a change.

Just know that you are NOT alone; others have been there before you, and found the way out. You will too. This may seem strange to you right now, but I want you to know that I am with you… somehow.

I look forward to meeting you on the beaches of this beautiful world.




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