Jump to content

Fear of connecting to others/ Fear of betrayal


Kabuto

Recommended Posts

Kabuto:

I'm glad you felt you could describe your fear on this forum.  Relationship attachments are so important to our health.  It must be difficult to deal with the fear of betrayal.  I'm wondering if you have experienced betrayal in the past.  The would certainly inform your hesitancy.  If you have experienced betrayal in the past that your fear isn't irrational.  The challenge is being able to see the difference between your past and what your present possibilities are.  Do you currently have friends that have been trustworthy? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's a great question and an interesting topic.

I'm not sure I can think of anything useful to the topic of "betrayal" off the top of my head, so I will start by saying something to the topic of "trust" which is the opposite of betrayal.

I always liken trust to a bowl or plate made of china/ porcelain/ earthenware.

If it is broken (which I guess is what betrayal is, tho trust can also be broken by accident, betrayal sounds rather "intentional" to me)... So if trust is broken, then like a porcelain bowl, it will shatter into many pieces.

Can it be repaired?

Yes, I think it definitely can.

But...

It takes a LOT of time and effort.

Tons.

To pick up all the pieces and to patiently, carefully put them back together and to glue them well enough so that the bowl is repaired and functioning and stable again.

That takes heaps of work and effort and time.

So, I always think/ say that given the huge amount of effort it takes to repair trust, it is soooooooo worthwhile investing tons of work and effort into *not breaking trust in the first place*.

Because it can take work and effort, to stop trust getting damaged.

Life is rough and so things break without any bad intentions, all the time.

So keeping a bowl/ trust safe, is actually hard work often enough.

But that hard work is tiny compared to the work needed to repair broken trust/ a broken bowl.


Also, I think if trust/ a bowl is broken *repeatedly* it smashes into so many hundreds of pieces, that it becomes basically unfixable (between you and the specific person).

It might still be fixable "in theory", but in practice, trying to put 450 tiny pieces of broken porcelain back together in the right way is just nuts and unmanagable, even if "in theory" it could be done and it's a shame not to do it.


So... if your trust has been broken majorly and repeatedly, then of course you are going to be "once bitten twice shy".

(Or twice bitten, thrice shy and so on.)


From my experience of working with traumatised animals (whose trust has been majorly broken) I can say that "tiny steps" is the only way I know how to regain their trust. Tiny, tiny steps. Baby steps. With tons of breathing space. And always give them the option of breaking off contact. Always give them the control over the situation so they can decide whether to approach or recede. Allow them the space to rebuild their trust in a pace that feels safe to them.

So, to apply this to humans, I think the best place to learn to experience that is in therapy. Because a therapist's job is to help you rebuild trust. It's pretty hard to find anyone else who will have the patience and dedication to rebuild trust, but of course, it's possible too. People meet best friends or fall in love with a partner, against all odds
: )

But if you're looking for a way to do this that is not "against all odds" then I think a therapy setting with trust as the main issue is the most sensible approach.

You could also try practising trust here, which I guess you are doing by posting about the issue here : )

By making it the "issue at hand" and then seeing how people react (if they respect your boundaries, if they allow you to determine how near you go to something that scares you (as described re traumatised animals above)) you can feel the experience of people behaving in a trustful way, which could/ should be a healing experience.

Edited by Sophy
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You are an exceptional person, Kabuto.  Since joining the DF in 2013, you have helped me and numerous people.

It is not merely doctors and medical professionals and crisis counselors who save lives.  For people living on the edge or living day to day with anguish and pain, reading posts like yours makes a difference, a life saving difference in people's lives. 

I have learned two things here on the Forums.  One is that giving "advice" is not always the thing a person needs to hear.  Often it is just knowing that one is not alone with one's problems.  Many people have told me how healing that is to them.  And that has been my experience too in reading posts here. 

The second thing I learned is that in depression, it is not just crisis hotline counselors who do life saving work.  Often in depression people are lost not during an acute crisis but after the crisis has past.  So what you have done here on the Forums since 2013 has saved lives, Kabuto.  I know that I personally have been in a bad way and after reading one of your posts, have determined to go on.  I am not alone in this.  

I consider you to be a hero, Kabuto. 

Heroics is not limited to those one-time high-profile history making feats that make the news.  There are heroes among us who labor in anonymity.

In a friendship, the most one can control is 50% of the relationship and that is at the best of times.  So friendship is always open to a future which cannot be predicted with absolute certitude.  There are both light and dark possibilities in this future.  Some very great people were betrayed by friends.  Perhaps the greatest person who ever lived was betrayed by a friend.

Although such things are painful and scary and really awful, they do not affect one's self-worth.  You, for example, Kabuto are a great person, a person of high worth and great stature in my eyes.

Maybe an example would be helpful.  A man named Oskar Schindler saved the lives of over 1200 people during the Nazi Holocaust.  This work justified his entire life and existence.  But it is also a fact that in many ways, his life was unsuccessful.  He was a failure as a husband.  He had many personal weaknesses.  Almost every business and enterprise he started ended in bankruptcy.  He had problems with alcohol and gambling and marital fidelity.  He had few friends.  Yet, he is not remembered for any of those things.  He was a great hero.  He was not a great hero because of those weakness and falls, but he was a great hero in spite of them.

Although I may not know you very well.  I know that your life has not been smooth.  I know that you have suffered painful things.  Life has not been that good to you.  That is probably a terrible understatement.  But to me and I believe to many people here, you are a hero.  I believe that what you have done here on the Forums has justified your entire life.  Your value and worth and dignity as a person is set in stone now.  It can never be in jeopardy anymore no matter what happens in the future.  It is invulnerable to the vicissitudes of life

You deserve friends, Kabuto.  If there is a secret to making friends who can never betray one, I don't know what that secret it.  Hopefully others here will have some practical ideas along those lines.   Maybe good luck will step into your life.  Often luck has been the source of good things in my own life.  I hope for the same for you.  You are someone extraordinary!  - epictetus 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 hours ago, Tim 52 said:

Kabuto:

I'm glad you felt you could describe your fear on this forum.  Relationship attachments are so important to our health.  It must be difficult to deal with the fear of betrayal.  I'm wondering if you have experienced betrayal in the past.  The would certainly inform your hesitancy.  If you have experienced betrayal in the past that your fear isn't irrational.  The challenge is being able to see the difference between your past and what your present possibilities are.  Do you currently have friends that have been trustworthy? 

Hi Tim 52!   Yes, I have felt betrayed before.   Whether that means I've actually was betrayed is another story but- I'll do my best to explain.

A.    I felt betrayed by my brother for prioritizing his new wife and family.   Over the years we grew up so close, and then suddenly, this new girl took priority.   We had so many goals together- both from an emotional and career standpoint...and I was going through a tough time when he moved out with his wife.   I really felt betrayed/neglected by him, even though he "technically" didn't do anything unethical.   We still talk and get along, but I have missed the old days of our relationship.

B.    I felt betrayed by two of my former best friends.   

With the first one, we sort of just grew apart.    I think I was acting more cynical and frustrated with the world, and he didn't enjoy my new persona in comparison to the way I was before those struggles.    I can understand why he might distance himself a bit if I turned out to be a 'emotionally draining friend for him to have'- but I still felt betrayed that he didn't try to help more after being friends for years.    

The second best friend I lashed out against once years ago, and he never wanted to be friends with me since.   He held onto his emotions despite my consistent attempts to apologize.    His mutual friends I used to chill with also haven't hung out with me either, despite my not even having argued with them.

At this point, it seems like it may be best to accept these particular friendships aren't working out, and that I would benefit from moving on.    Though at the moment I haven't made too many new friends my age to replace them.

C.   Most of my romantic relationships so far hadn't worked out.   For one reason or another.   A lot of feeling betrayed by women, but I try to not consider it a gender issue, as many women have been betrayed by men too.

D.    I suppose I have felt a 'general sense' of betrayal.    By society, for not having been more kind, not having been more accommodating, not having been more understanding.    Humanity's flaws in general.  

Fortunately, I do have friends and family that is trustworthy.   But I've still struggled with this issue for the reasons above.

19 hours ago, Sophy said:

That's a great question and an interesting topic.

I'm not sure I can think of anything useful to the topic of "betrayal" off the top of my head, so I will start by saying something to the topic of "trust" which is the opposite of betrayal.

I always liken trust to a bowl or plate made of china/ porcelain/ earthenware.

If it is broken (which I guess is what betrayal is, tho trust can also be broken by accident, betrayal sounds rather "intentional" to me)... So if trust is broken, then like a porcelain bowl, it will shatter into many pieces.

Can it be repaired?

Yes, I think it definitely can.

But...

It takes a LOT of time and effort.

Tons.

To pick up all the pieces and to patiently, carefully put them back together and to glue them well enough so that the bowl is repaired and functioning and stable again.

That takes heaps of work and effort and time.

So, I always think/ say that given the huge amount of effort it takes to repair trust, it is soooooooo worthwhile investing tons of work and effort into *not breaking trust in the first place*.

Because it can take work and effort, to stop trust getting damaged.

Life is rough and so things break without any bad intentions, all the time.

So keeping a bowl/ trust safe, is actually hard work often enough.

But that hard work is tiny compared to the work needed to repair broken trust/ a broken bowl.


Also, I think if trust/ a bowl is broken *repeatedly* it smashes into so many hundreds of pieces, that it becomes basically unfixable (between you and the specific person).

It might still be fixable "in theory", but in practice, trying to put 450 tiny pieces of broken porcelain back together in the right way is just nuts and unmanagable, even if "in theory" it could be done and it's a shame not to do it.


So... if your trust has been broken majorly and repeatedly, then of course you are going to be "once bitten twice shy".

(Or twice bitten, thrice shy and so on.)


From my experience of working with traumatised animals (whose trust has been majorly broken) I can say that "tiny steps" is the only way I know how to regain their trust. Tiny, tiny steps. Baby steps. With tons of breathing space. And always give them the option of breaking off contact. Always give them the control over the situation so they can decide whether to approach or recede. Allow them the space to rebuild their trust in a pace that feels safe to them.

So, to apply this to humans, I think the best place to learn to experience that is in therapy. Because a therapist's job is to help you rebuild trust. It's pretty hard to find anyone else who will have the patience and dedication to rebuild trust, but of course, it's possible too. People meet best friends or fall in love with a partner, against all odds
: )

But if you're looking for a way to do this that is not "against all odds" then I think a therapy setting with trust as the main issue is the most sensible approach.

You could also try practising trust here, which I guess you are doing by posting about the issue here : )

By making it the "issue at hand" and then seeing how people react (if they respect your boundaries, if they allow you to determine how near you go to something that scares you (as described re traumatised animals above)) you can feel the experience of people behaving in a trustful way, which could/ should be a healing experience.

Thanks so much for your insightful words!   Not sure what to respond, but I'm very appreciative you took the time to write all that!

 

19 hours ago, Epictetus said:

You are an exceptional person, Kabuto.  Since joining the DF in 2013, you have helped me and numerous people.

It is not merely doctors and medical professionals and crisis counselors who save lives.  For people living on the edge or living day to day with anguish and pain, reading posts like yours makes a difference, a life saving difference in people's lives. 

I have learned two things here on the Forums.  One is that giving "advice" is not always the thing a person needs to hear.  Often it is just knowing that one is not alone with one's problems.  Many people have told me how healing that is to them.  And that has been my experience too in reading posts here. 

The second thing I learned is that in depression, it is not just crisis hotline counselors who do life saving work.  Often in depression people are lost not during an acute crisis but after the crisis has past.  So what you have done here on the Forums since 2013 has saved lives, Kabuto.  I know that I personally have been in a bad way and after reading one of your posts, have determined to go on.  I am not alone in this.  

I consider you to be a hero, Kabuto. 

Heroics is not limited to those one-time high-profile history making feats that make the news.  There are heroes among us who labor in anonymity.

In a friendship, the most one can control is 50% of the relationship and that is at the best of times.  So friendship is always open to a future which cannot be predicted with absolute certitude.  There are both light and dark possibilities in this future.  Some very great people were betrayed by friends.  Perhaps the greatest person who ever lived was betrayed by a friend.

Although such things are painful and scary and really awful, they do not affect one's self-worth.  You, for example, Kabuto are a great person, a person of high worth and great stature in my eyes.

Maybe an example would be helpful.  A man named Oskar Schindler saved the lives of over 1200 people during the Nazi Holocaust.  This work justified his entire life and existence.  But it is also a fact that in many ways, his life was unsuccessful.  He was a failure as a husband.  He had many personal weaknesses.  Almost every business and enterprise he started ended in bankruptcy.  He had problems with alcohol and gambling and marital fidelity.  He had few friends.  Yet, he is not remembered for any of those things.  He was a great hero.  He was not a great hero because of those weakness and falls, but he was a great hero in spite of them.

Although I may not know you very well.  I know that your life has not been smooth.  I know that you have suffered painful things.  Life has not been that good to you.  That is probably a terrible understatement.  But to me and I believe to many people here, you are a hero.  I believe that what you have done here on the Forums has justified your entire life.  Your value and worth and dignity as a person is set in stone now.  It can never be in jeopardy anymore no matter what happens in the future.  It is invulnerable to the vicissitudes of life

You deserve friends, Kabuto.  If there is a secret to making friends who can never betray one, I don't know what that secret it.  Hopefully others here will have some practical ideas along those lines.   Maybe good luck will step into your life.  Often luck has been the source of good things in my own life.  I hope for the same for you.  You are someone extraordinary!  - epictetus 

Hahaha, aw shucks.  You're so kind Epictetus.   I really mean that.   Always kindly responding to my posts on this forum.   You're an amazing person!

I like to think I've helped others on this forum, even though I feel like I've mostly been complaining and venting on here to be honest hahaha.

15 hours ago, rhyl said:

If you come up with a workable answer to this, let me know. I've lost all but one friend and will NOT go to a doctor (unless I"m dying) because I don't trust anyone.

Best of luck!    I think we just have to try to see the good in others as best as we can.   As far as doctors- I recommend seeing doctors, but you have the freedom to deny any treatment plan they come up with if it doesn't align to what you feel.   Most doctors are  trying to do their job and most do genuinely try to help-  some know more than others and some are more genuine and hard working than others.   

Edited by Kabuto
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's interesting... From the examples you have given (if I have read/ understood them right) I would say they are cases of *disappointment* and not betrayal.

Betrayal is a HUGE word. And IMO it even implies intent.

You have been thoughtful to describe those examples clearly - making sure to emphasise that your brother's behaviour was basically "normal" - when people fall in love, they usually neglect EVERYONE else around them.

So although I can understand that your *feelings of hurt and disappointment* may feel so big that the word "betrayal" comes to mind for you, I don't think the word is *actually* appropriate.

I think maybe emotionally you are making it even bigger and more painful, by giving it that dimension, making it even harder to get over.

(I know I and others do this too, a LOT)  : )

I think the most healing thing you could do for now is to reframe this notion of "betrayal" into "disappointment".

I think you will find disappointment a much more manageable issue to work on and to heal from.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Sophy said:

That's interesting... From the examples you have given (if I have read/ understood them right) I would say they are cases of *disappointment* and not betrayal.

Betrayal is a HUGE word. And IMO it even implies intent.

You have been thoughtful to describe those examples clearly - making sure to emphasise that your brother's behaviour was basically "normal" - when people fall in love, they usually neglect EVERYONE else around them.

So although I can understand that your *feelings of hurt and disappointment* may feel so big that the word "betrayal" comes to mind for you, I don't think the word is *actually* appropriate.

I think maybe emotionally you are making it even bigger and more painful, by giving it that dimension, making it even harder to get over.

(I know I and others do this too, a LOT)  : )

I think the most healing thing you could do for now is to reframe this notion of "betrayal" into "disappointment".

I think you will find disappointment a much more manageable issue to work on and to heal from.

Well...it'a not a severe betrayal or anything.   But I do feel a sense of 'betrayal'- whether that's the appropriate word to use or not, that's the word that comes to mind- or at the very least, the word 'neglect' does.    There's a reason the feeling conjures up that word, even if it is arguably an exaggeration.  (And I do my best not to exaggerate my words/language) But either way, whether you want to use the word 'disappointment', 'neglect' or 'betrayal'- I'm trying to think of ways to trust others again.... And whether I'm better off trusting people in order to forge relationships again.

1.   In my brother's case, one can argue he didn't do anything wrong.   But he did neglect me for this woman (Who I pretty much don't like), during a personal time of need.   Someone now part of my family.

2.   Those two former best friends really did sorta betray me, or perhaps 'neglect' is a better word.   Why did those friendships suddenly go to the wayside?   It's so hard to explain...but those felt like losses at the time due to the closeness and bonds of those friendships...

3.   Women relationships have been complicated- too complicated to get into here.   Some haven't been betrayals- some have...   Lots of rejection and heartbreak.   Long story short, I have difficulty trusting them sometimes.

4.   Society in general.   This is something everyone faces.   It is subjective.   We can either find the good in people, or the bad.   People are multifaceted.    Though I often have felt like a fish out of water in this world sometimes.... due to being deviant of the norm.

And again- I harbor no resentment towards anyone- and want everyone to be happy.   It's more an issue when it comes to my personal trust of others.

 

Edited by Kabuto
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I get it.

Neglect, loss, rejection and heartbreak are good words too. Along with disappointment.

I promise I'm not trying to "minimise" the situations you have described in any way!! I absolutely hate it, when people do that!

I do agree that they are big, hurtful losses and that the disappointment carries on for years after experiences like that.

I just asked because I think the wording *is* important for the healing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kabuto:

Thank you for your sharing.  I experience your words as showing a high degree of self-awareness.  You are keenly tuned into relational dynamics.  I sense you are a caring, thoughtful, wise person.  My hope for you is that you continue to pursue and nurture safe and healthy relationships.  And that you are with people who are able to be attentive to your needs just as you are attentive to theirs.  

Tim 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think, Kabuto, you've hit on what's a continuing theme for me.  idk that I have any answers as such, only experience.

Sometimes, most times, it's almost immediately clear to me these days the people I can't trust.  I suppose the stereotypical used car salesman would be an example.  It's not like I have a conscious check list, but certain clues in their demeanor will trigger an intuitive warning.  At best, I keep them at arm's length.  Usually, though, I just walk away.

Most of the rest I'll tolerate, but only give them limited information about myself.  In general, I'm a pretty gregarious guy (a habit from years of dealing with clients), but, no, when we're out for beers I don't want to see x-rated phone pix of your last few Grindr dates.

Like you, however, in the crucial relationships, I've done poorly...and that's mostly been on the medical side in which I've HAD to trust those with whom I've dealt and that trust has usually been betrayed.  The most recent examples have been those associated with my HIV care (case managers, nurses and therapists who should KNOW better), and a landlord's family with whom I'd had an otherwise excellent seven-year relationship.  It all went to hell when they decided to sell and any respect for my boundaries went with it.  Yeah, I had to push back.

The worst recent one was a couple friends in a related line of work who had conflicts of interest in a shared endeavor, but who used those interests as an attempt to make an example of me by shaming and coercion in front of several dozen colleagues.  With so much experience dealing in those scenarios, I effectively shot them and their institutional reputations down (at least temporarily) and all, my ace up the sleeve, without naming names.  That's all well and good but - zero sum - I was deeply hurt, more hurt than I can ever let anyone know.

In short, it's a lonely, isolated place to be.  For me, however, the alternative is worse.  I wish I had a better solution.

Edited by MarkintheDark
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...