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Understanding Betrayal

When we are caught off guard by the transgressions of those dear to us, we are left wondering why they happened. More than being hurt, the unexpected affront fills us with a sense of disbelief. And wh...

When we are caught off guard by the transgressions of those dear to us, we are left wondering why they happened. More than being hurt, the unexpected affront fills us with a sense of disbelief. And when the offense involves infidelity within a romantic relationship, the emotions can be overwhelming.

Being a victim of unfaithfulness by one’s partner can fill us with all sorts of emotions. We may experience sadness because of a trust broken. We may feel fear from the prospect of being abandoned. And we may succumb to anger because of such betrayal. These negative emotions seem to hit us all at once. Sometimes, the unbearable weight of all these feelings can leave us in a dizzying turmoil.

Yet despite having been dealt this crushing blow, we tend to seek answers from the person who did this to us. A desire for an explanation arises. Most of all, we wish to know how this person whom we thought loved us, could do such a thing. There is a desire to confront the wrongdoer and perhaps somehow obtain closure through this.

But we must ask ourselves why we seek such answers. Is it to find out where we went wrong in the relationship? What will it profit us by knowing this? What if the answers prove too painful? Will this not add to our suffering? Sometimes asking such questions may just become an opportunity for that person to hurt us even more.

Why is it that we seek such confrontation? Are we looking for an admission of guilt? Are we seeking an apology? What if we find no remorse in the person? Or do we wish to face the person in order to hurl accusations of malice and deceit? And maybe directly express the anger that we feel inside? But what good will this do us?

Or do we wish to confront this person out of an unconscious desperate desire to revive the relationship? Facing the person during our moment of utter weakness may just lead us to beg for reconciliation no matter what the cost.

There is nothing to understand in romantic betrayal. It just happens. Sometimes we end up endlessly blaming the other person or blaming ourselves. But doing this will get us nowhere. No amount of logic or reasoning will suffice to justify it happening to us. Trying to comprehend why we were betrayed will not help us at all. All we can do when it happens is to accept it and to let go. This process is slow and painful. But things do get better in time.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Frederick Fabella, PhD is a research director and a graduate and undergraduate professor in the Philippines. He is an editorial board member of the IRP international research journal and a Fellow of the Royal Institution Singapore. He is the author of Transcendence: Essays For Personal Reflection. His blog can be found at Meanings and Perceptions.



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