Why Can’t I Forgive You?

Betrayal is one of the toughest emotions to process. Betrayal as defined in the Webster’s dictionary: to act treacherously towards//to reveal treacherously//to fail to justify. And in my Dictionary of Emotions by Patrick Michael Ryan, betrayal is defined as violation of confidence; disloyalty. 

When we are betrayed by someone, there is an element of the act not being justified. We struggle to understand how they could have acted in such a way towards us as would merit the deception. Without this understanding we are left with a hollowness to the experience; with tenacious feelings of anger, disbelief, and underneath it all, profound sadness. The act of betrayal creates an even deeper wound because we had put our faith in them; we gave them the task of being a guardian to our vulnerability.

Perhaps the act of betrayal was never about us. Perhaps it was about their own inability to face their insecurities, to own their shortcomings, to face their truths. The first step to forgiveness, I suppose, is to begin the process of understanding that betrayal is owned by the betrayer, not the betrayed. There is always another choice before acting. When this realization begins, we can begin to move to acceptance; not to approval or resignation, but simply to accept that it happened. In turn, this allows us to take a path in which we allow ourselves to make decisions; moving us slowly towards empowerment, strength and resilience.

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