What can you do about friend betrayal? You trusted your friend, you believed you could trust your friend, you felt confident that your friend had your back, and now you’ve discovered that your friend could not be trusted. You’ve been betrayed by your friend. You didn’t see it coming, and little feels worse. Your heart sunk and you feel like you’ve actually been stabbed in the back as this person, whom you’ve trusted has betrayed you and is twisting the knife, even now.
Friends can surprise us by doing the darndest things when they betray us. You could never have prepared for friend betrayal and they will betray you in ways you could have never even thought of.
Friends have broken trust with friends and betrayed their friends by having an affair with your partner, by sabotaging and keeping you from achieving your highest and best, rallying your other friends to turn against you, spreading rumors, gossip, dirty laundry, or telling others tales of sensitive information you shared in confidence, talking behind your back, breaking promises, assaulting your financial wellbeing, fronting you off in public humiliating you, judging you for circumstances beyond your control viewing you in a negative light, blaming you for something they (or someone else) did, aligning themselves with someone else’s false accusation(s) about you, and the list goes on and on… as the betrayal leaves wounds and scars.
How can you deal with the betrayal?
Review the betrayal but don’t ruminate over it endlessly, every time you imagine the betrayal, it creates the emotional response and damages your wellbeing. Reliving the betrayal reduces your immune system and causes emotional and physiological deterioration. Stop it.
Try to think about the betrayal from your friend’s point of view. Considering his or her life, what’s led up to this point of betrayal, what might it have felt to the betrayer? Ask yourself, is this a one-time event, or is it something you might witness again?
If you are able to look at the betrayal from a wider perspective, taking all things into consideration, could your friend have thought he or she was doing you a favor or helping you out in some way from his or her perspective? Intention may offer the opportunity to avail the benefit of the doubt, or was he or she deceptive or maliciously motivated?
Remember that your friend is more than this betrayal. There is a real person in there and the person who betrayed you may not have had any intent to do so, taking an action (or not taking action) without thinking through the consequences of his or her action or inaction. Review the good qualities your friend has and balance these against the betrayal.
Ready yourself for having a conversation with your friend about the betrayal. Find a centered and calm space within you for having this uncomfortable conversation, without accusing or blaming your friend. Simply and honestly tell the story from your perspective, let your friend know how you feel, and let your friend respond from his or her point of view.
As your friend explains his or her side of the story, try to listen without judgment, you might be surprised at how differently the situation looked from your friend’s perspective. Or, on the other hand, your friend may only be harshly defensive or defiant and unapologetic. Take the negative response under advisement as a red flag for maintaining a friendship into the future.
Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me
If your friend has betrayed you once, you could give your friend the benefit of the doubt. If you’ve been betrayed twice by the same person, now you know that you can expect to be betrayed again.
Remember that your friend is not a bad person, but you must manage the sacred space which surrounds you. This is your responsibility to create a safe environment for you to live your life. You may have to change the relationship, proceeding with caution in the realization that your friend cannot be trusted with certain things, just understanding that your friend just is as they are, and you cannot (and you shouldn’t even try to) change him or her. Another option is to sever the relationship altogether.
Friend betrayal will certainly have an effect on the viability of your friendship over time, and it’s up to you to decide whether you can successfully manage a friendship which has suffered such a transgression, or whether you’re better off without having this person in your life at all.
Life is short. Create a life for yourself that leans toward your enjoyable, life-affirming better life, your best life, and find ways that you can live in a manner which can lead to making the world a better place with integrity and love.