You trust someone enough to be perfectly candid with her but you are unaware of her deception and deceit. As best friends, you let down your guard more and more while she contributes a few tidbits of scenarios of her own. However, in the times away from her, you remember some examples of sneaky behavior. Your intuition says something doesn’t
seem quite right about your friend, but you shrug it off. You attribute the feeling to cynicism. Yet, there is still a nagging sense that the friendship seems too good to be true.
One day, a mutual acquaintance strikes up a conversation with you. He pulls you aside to warn you that your best friend has been gossiping about you, behind your back. Later, you wonder if the mention of gossip is true or if the acquaintance is plotting for some way to harm the relationship you have with your friend. Is he manipulating you or is he telling you the truth?
After mulling the accusation around in your mind, you decide to gracefully confront your friend with your new suspicions. She reacts over-dramatically with anger. Your friend demands to know who accused her of gossiping about you. Then your friend ghosts you in the future. After several attempts to reconnect with your friend, you feel increasingly unhappy with the friendship. You finally come out in the open and formally end the relationship.
Being betrayed by a friend or a significant other is a traumatic experience. We end up being less trusting of others, even those who are most trustworthy. One of the most tragic results of the betrayal is that one questions whether or not it’s possible to have a relationship that is beyond hurt and dishonesty. We want to believe it is possible, but the recent experience tells us otherwise.
It’s improbable that a person will go through life without compromise and betrayal. The betrayal of trust within the context of an interpersonal relationship pushes the boundaries of dignity and integrity in life. The violation is a stark failure of trust regardless of who does the betrayal.
“Espionage, for the most part, involves finding a person who knows something or has something that you can induce them secretly to give to you. That almost always involves a betrayal of trust.”–Aldrich Ames
Aldrich Ames committed serious acts of betrayal of trust. The former CIA officer betrayed the United States when he became a double agent for the Soviet KGB in the 1990s. He demonstrated that regardless of one’s position in government, a person can be induced or coerced into violating the oath of office and the trust of the American people. Being convicted of espionage or treason usually results in life imprisonment or, in the past, capital punishment. One of the most egregious crimes is the betrayal of trust between a government employee and the citizens of the nation.
There is such an abundance of malevolence, atrocities, inertia, and betrayal going on across America these days that it’s difficult to maintain an optimistic attitude. One result of such widespread deceit and betrayal is deep harm to our psyche and morale. There are a lot of people who are frightened and lashing out at others. There are serious, life-threatening consequences as a result of betrayals at the interpersonal and the national levels.
In order to recover from betrayal, it is necessary to retain at least a glimmer of trust in our fellow humans. A society that only harbors cynicism and distrust is a society doomed to collapse. We can seek out people who have been proven to be honest and live their lives with integrity. Such people do exist at every level of society. It is good to remember there are trustworthy people who would never betray our trust.