063: Coping with BETRAYAL

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Welcome to Tuff Love with Rob Kandell. This episode is about betrayal, and about believing that a friend and business partner could turn their back. It’s also about all the feelings that arose around that situation for Rob. It’s been interesting and painful but the life lessons that have arisen for him have been truly amazing.

Surely everyone listening and reading this can connect with that feeling of betrayal because it happens to all of us in small and large doses. There are big betrayals that are obvious and flagrant, and then there are small, baby betrayals that go on all the time. And all of them hurt. There’s no other way to put it: it hurts. It’s also a feeling of powerlessness, which is almost as angst-ful and negative a feeling as the actual stimuli of the betrayal itself.

If you have betrayal in your life, if this is something that has been going on for you, know that it is part of the human condition. This show will hopefully give you some tips and tricks for how to work with it.

For the record, the betrayal Rob is speaking about today is not about his old company OneTaste. This is absolutely nothing about them, they have been great to him and he wants to acknowledge that. This episode has been inspired by an experience Rob had in starting a second company with a friend and his wife. Rob is careful about the details of what happened in that business experience because aside from the legal reasons of keeping the details private, the details aren’t actually that important. This show isn’t about what happened, it’s about how Rob responded to it.

We always have an opportunity to deal with stimuli. We have choice 99% of the time. We are not victim to our circumstance and that’s important to remember. There is a prior podcast episode of Tuff Love called ‘It’s not the circumstance, it’s you,’ which goes into more detail about this. The bottom line is that you do have the ability to control how you respond to circumstances.

The background of this situation for Rob is that this business came to a close at the end of 2016, and things between the business partners had been decided amicably into early 2017. However, all of a sudden there was a lawyer involved and those prior friends and business partners refused to speak to Rob. Everything had to go through the lawyer, and there is no more relationship of any kind with the former business partners. A big piece of betrayal is the feeling of, ‘how can this happen to me? I’ve given so much to them, how can they do this to me?’ The part that really stung for Rob was that he thought he was special and could get away from this issue. However, he’s just in the same boat as everyone else and from that, he feels betrayed.

So, stimuli occurred, betrayal hits. Then the question is, what to do with that feeling? This is Rob’s version of how to deal with betrayal:

  • When you feel that sense of betrayal, the first thing is to feel the extent of the feelings. This is the step a lot of people don’t take. They try to bypass and avoid the feelings, or numb the feelings with drinking or drugs or gambling.
  • Take inventory of how you co-created the situation. Look at where you were a-party to creating this situation. For Rob, he knew that these business partners had this ability to respond this way. He’d witnessed it before. It was his arrogance that had him think he was special and different. That’s part of how this occurred, because he didn’t do the groundwork with them.
  • Those first two steps might take a month. Don’t rush them!
  • Look at what the life lesson is that you need to learn from this situation. That’s the biggest thing Rob got from his recent therapy session, doing a process called EMDR. Rob realized he has integrity and purpose. And he also realized that up until now he’d been living in other people’s words, because he didn’t believe he could do it alone. However, through this betrayal, now Rob knows finally that he has both the character/integrity, and the words, to be in his purpose.
  • Every negative emotion you can have can be transmuted into a life lesson. Every experience you deem bad can be transmuted into growth.
  • Rob is going to use every single stimuli that happens to him in this lifetime to empower himself and better himself. His methodology is to feel it, see it, work it and use it to empower yourself.
  • Rob is reading a book called Give and Take by Adam Grant. The concept is that there are three types of people in the world: givers, matchers and takers. We all know people in all three types. In the scale of economics, the people who make the least amount of money are givers. But the people at the top of the scale are givers too. In the middle are the matchers and the takers.
  • The trick in life is to figure out which type of giver you are. Are you losing yourself in the giving? Or are you the giver at the top, being smart and mindful, cautious and aware? Rob is the happiest when he’s giving, but he’s miserable when he’s giving without consciousness. So that’s the lesson in this situation for him.

Rob interviews Megan and Brave, who have a Circling Coaching Practice where they bring tools of circling and authentic relating to help improve couples’ relationships. They discuss how they cope with betrayal:

  • Betrayal is breaking trust. Lying or broken agreements are examples, but anytime someone looks out for their better interest and not for yours and it feels like there’s a violation of sorts. Betrayal is also being out of integrity.
  • Even if the agreement was implicit—which in most relationships, there are implicit agreements—then when it is broken it still feels like betrayal.
  • Betrayal goes both ways. It’s not only when the other person breaks our agreement, but also when we break our own agreements and don’t honor ourselves.
  • The motivation to betray for the most part comes from insecurities or shadows, the places we hide, repress, deny, and fears that are linked to past experiences or behaviors.
  • So much of it is just protection, and protecting our inner children.
  • A lie of omission is still a betrayal, and those lies can build and compound on each other, all because they’re just trying to protect themselves from the fear, the guilt and the shame. Rob agrees that withholding is lying. It’s a cancer of relationship.
  • The first step is to take the feeling, acknowledge it and take responsibility for it. Nobody else can make you feel anything. Connect into the somatic experience of it. Where are you feeling it in your body? When you bypass that and go straight to the cognitive response, it’s easier to go into a judicial response instead of focusing on our own experience.
  • Focus on where this feeling might have shown up for you before. When you link to old wounds it can be helpful as well.
  • Hear each other and validate each other in our experiences. Sometimes a third party is needed to help with this step, either a coach or therapist or great friend. That step of validating ourselves and each other brings so much more compassion and care for each other and ourselves.
  • Megan shares a personal story of betrayal from the early stages of her relationship with Brave. She didn’t know how much gold there was in staying in the process of it, so because it was so painful it was almost a missed opportunity for relationship. But they did and are continuing to do the shadow work and she’s grateful she didn’t cut ties in the very first instance.
  • The wounds of relationship can only be healed in relationship. However, it doesn’t have to be the same relationship where the wounds occurred.
  • For Brave part of that experience was a way of sabotaging so he wouldn’t have to deal with those parts of himself. But he got vulnerable and really asked for the connection, which gave Megan the chance to be in compassion for herself.
  • The commitment is the first step: the willingness to commit to the experience. Commit it to a journey and a process, to work through our own wounds, so we can have really rich lives and connection.
  • For Brave, the motivation to withhold was a combination of shame and denial. Denial that he was wrong, denial that he was avoiding guilt and shame.
  • For Megan the fork in the road is, ‘do I want to sit in this discomfort, withdraw from this connection and feel powerless, or lean into these painful things and learn from them?’
  • When we are stuck in our pride, we hold grudges, to our detriment. And we end up alone. Alone with our grudge.
  • Violet asks, ‘If a person who betrayed doesn’t recognize or own their experience, and says you’re being too sensitive, how can you stay and heal?’ This is an experience she has had with her teacher.
  • There’s a term called gaslighting, which Rob has covered in a show. Gaslighting basically means when someone invalidates your feelings. What Violet has described is a form of gaslighting.
  • Her feelings of betrayal are right. If her teacher can’t acknowledge that, then she needs to either have a straight talk with them or find a new teacher.
  • The second piece of it is if, after you’ve been betrayed, you’re looking for that other person to provide something to you, it may or may not happen. That’s the ‘it’s not the circumstance, it’s you’ part of it.
  • Your experience is valid. If someone is unwilling to validate that for you or go into the processing of it, or discuss it, or share their own vulnerability in it, maintain your own integrity and take it elsewhere to find someone who can look at it with you. Keep going out into the world and engaging in that vulnerable space with others.
  • If you start to question your experience just because someone else isn’t validating it for you, that’s when it’s scare and there’s a powerlessness.
  • Create your own value. If you’re really valuing yourself and valuing your experience and believe that your feelings are valid, then enroll help. Perhaps that might mean inviting in a little bit of conflict to help get clarity. Bring in somebody objective to ask for their view and for it to lead to healing.
  • You might not get what you want, but you have every damn right to ask for it.

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