Self-Love In The Face Of Betrayal

Betrayal is one of the hardest experiences to manage.

My major betrayal occurred at the hands of my parents. As an only child, I was told for years not to worry about retirement because I would inherit my parents’ estate. While they weren’t wealthy, I was set to inherit enough for a decent retirement. While I now know that I don’t ever want to retire because I can’t imagine not doing the work I love, I didn’t know this at the time of the betrayal.

When I decided to move away from Los Angeles (I had never liked it there) I made sure that my oldest son was willing to look after my aging parents. He and his wife lived in an apartment below my parents’ house and were already looking after them.

Little did I know that, in my mother’s view, I wasn’t allowed to move. Unbeknownst to me, when I moved, my mother changed their will and gave their money mostly to my children – with very little to me. Of course, they had every right to give their money to whomever they wanted. The betrayal was in not telling me, and in insisting that my children not tell me.

I found out after my mother died, which gave me no chance to even speak with her about it. My father wanted to change it back, but due to having Parkinson’s, he wasn’t allowed to.

The pain of having been told all along not to worry, and then having not been told about their decision was devastating to me. I felt so helpless over this situation with my family, and it took me a number of years to understand what self-love meant in the face of this betrayal.


My Journey to Self-Love

The first thing I did was seek the help of a therapist. I needed a place to cry and express my outrage over the lies and injustice of it. I needed support in moving through my pain.

The next thing I did was write a letter to my mother, expressing the depth of the pain that her decision to die without being honest with me caused me. This was another level of release. I buried the letter near my house.

The next thing I did was go deeply inside to learn about my participation in the betrayal. This was the hardest part for me. It’s easy to feel like a victim when betrayed, and hard to look at our own beliefs and behavior. There was much I had to come to terms with regarding how I had abandoned and betrayed myself in so many ways with my parents, my ex-husband and my children. I eventually came to see that they were treating me the way I had been treating myself for many years before Inner Bonding.


Loving Yourself Means…

Every situation that provokes us or causes us pain holds within it much learning and growth. Loving yourself in the face of betrayal means:

  • Getting the support you need
  • Being very compassionate with yourself each time the pain comes up, especially the pain of heartbreak, loneliness, grief and helplessness regarding the people who betrayed you
  • Opening to learning about your part of the system that contributed to you being betrayed – how you might have abandoned and betrayed yourself
  • Taking the loving action for your inner child – over and over – until you no longer feel like a victim of the betrayal
  • Take all the time you need to heal. Be sure not to tell yourself that you ‘should’ be over this by now.

None of this is easy, and none of it is quick, but you CAN heal.

Join Dr. Margaret Paul for her 30-Day at-home Course: “Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships.”


Comments are closed.