Few things feel worse than being betrayed, left, or rejected, and yet, most of us will experience all of these at least once. The first time something like this happens is the worst, because we don’t have a frame of reference for it; we’re left to piece together the “new normal”, even if it happens when we’re little. I still remember the morning I woke up and my mom told me my dad didn’t live with us anymore; I was four. I remember going to his drawers and closets, and opening everything up, and trying to make sense of this new reality. At four, you have no tools, you just have feelings, but it’s not much easier at twenty-four, or ever.
When someone hurts us, for whatever reason, particularly someone with whom we were very close, it’s knifing. If you have any doubt about your value as a beautiful human being with something special to contribute, few things will bring it into greater question than the feelings we suffer when someone leaves us, because the deep fear is that they got close enough to see the truth of our unworthiness. They got to know us, and actually, they decided we were not so special. Most of the time, that’s not at all what has happened, though.
First of all, if someone betrays you, they’re in a place where they are not respecting themselves. Anyone who lies to your face, or fails to communicate information that deeply impacts you, is lost to themselves. Lying feels terrible. Resorting to sneakiness because you’re unable to express what’s in your heart is a certain kind of agony. Even worse is when a person is in a place where they can justify terrible behavior by making everything your fault. Sometimes people are so desperate to feel something, anything, to break the chains of their own apathy or discomfort or despair, they just act out. My point is, a person who acts in a hurtful or careless way is not in a good place on his or her own path. Their current lack of kindness or integrity is not a reflection on you, or anything lacking within you. It’s a reflection of where they find themselves on their own journey.
If you’ve been left in the dark, that’s so painful, and I’m sorry you’re going through that; a lack of communication when something comes to an end is a coward’s choice. The inability to honor what was once beautiful is a real shame. No one deserves to be ignored or shunned, or left in a vacuum to try to figure out what’s happened, but sometimes it goes down that way. Understand that sometimes people are not ready or able to face themselves, and so they can’t face you. It’s nothing you did or said, it’s nothing you didn’t do, it’s not a character flaw of yours. Remember we can’t do each other’s journeys. People have the tools they have, that’s all they’ve got to use.
Also, closure is a bit overrated. Even if you understand every nuance of why something has ended, you’re still going to suffer. Do I think it’s easier if you are able to end something with respect and honesty and integrity? Of course. I’m just saying it takes two, and if you’re in a situation with someone who is unable to do that with you, your best hope of closure may be simple acceptance. I say simple, not easy.
Try to recognize there are all kinds of things that might lead a person to act in a way that’s so hard to comprehend. Maybe they’ve been so deeply hurt, they know no other way than to lash out or shut down or take off. Imagine if your choices were limited like that. There are people in the world who don’t feel empathy. There are known personality disorders that can lead a person to act in ways that make you shake your head. The lack of love when it’s most needed can do that to a person. Imagine growing up without feeling seen or heard. I’m not saying it’s okay when people treat us poorly, or unconscionably, I’m saying it might help you to consider the source. That probably wouldn’t be a happy place to find yourself.
If you’ve been hurt, your best response is to seek out the tools that will help you to heal, and learn and grow from your experience. Life gives us a choice: we can be hardened by what happens along our journeys, or we can be softened by it. I highly recommend softening. We don’t need more hard people. We need people who have insight and who understand compassion and kindness. We need more people who are willing to examine their participation in situations that dimmed their light. We need more people to understand they’re worthy, just by the fact of their own existence. Use the “stuff” of your life to open and grow. The human heart is resilient and we all naturally want to heal. Pain is part of the journey toward liberation from suffering, facing it and working with it and leaning into it. That’s how you release yourself.
Wishing that for you, and sending love,