BETRAYAL AS A TRAUMATIC STRESSOR
It’s easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend. —William Blake
So what is betrayal? Well you certainly know it when you experience it. It is a gut-wrenching experience, a searing knife into your heart. You feel it before you even think about it. Then when you start thinking about it it plagues you day and night. Betrayal is treachery, deception, and violated trust. It can appear in as a broken promise, duplicity, lies, sexual affairs, and even affairs of the heart. The injury is so great some people seem to never recover.
We are taught that to be truly happy in life we must learn to trust others. And so, often reluctantly, we let done our guard and we trust. When relationshipsbecome psychologically intimate, we have put our trust in another. We have made ourselves vulnerable to another person. We believe this person accepts us unconditionally, believes in us, and “has our back.” We cherish such a relationship because we believe our partner is understanding, faithful, and devoted in good times and bad. In a psychologically intimate relationship there is a powerful attachment and bond that is formed. Not only does this bond say to us we are understood, appreciated, and unconditionally accepted, it says we are safe. So powerful is this bond that there is evidence that the presence of a psychologically intimate partner can positively affect blood pressure and stress hormones. Psychologists have long known the deepest craving of human nature is the desire to be appreciated and to be safe.