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How we betray ourselves

One of the worst things you'll ever experience is betrayal. You trusted someone and they failed you. As a small child, you are dependent on your parents for provision and protection. Whoever they let into your home is assumed to be safe. Which is why the abuse of an uncle or a cousin can b…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

One of the worst things you'll ever experience is betrayal. You trusted someone and they failed you.

As a small child, you are dependent on your parents for provision and protection. Whoever they let into your home is assumed to be safe. Which is why the abuse of an uncle or a cousin can be so devastating.

As an adult, we trust friends with our secrets. We trust bosses with our future. We trust our government for the enforcement of our laws. We are a high trust culture. In countries where they have suffered wars or high crime, trust may be in short supply.

When you trust a friend with a secret and she shares it inappropriately, it can rock your friendship. When someone wounds you in a place you're vulnerable, it can be hard to heal.

Perhaps the most common form of betrayal is self-betrayal. We hurt ourselves.

by doing things we know we shouldn't – maybe starting up a bad habit that we've already beaten.

by hanging around people who are a poor influence, perhaps friends who we know may hurt us.

by not making time to grow in ways we feel we should. We just don't love ourselves enough to be disciplined.

by not taking risks that we sense we should take. Why try when you've been hurt before?

It's amazing how we'll hold others accountable for their betrayal, carrying bitterness with us like a treasure. But then we let the one person who has hurt us the most – ourselves – off the hook.

I've got friends who really are their own worst enemy. They know the right thing to do, but they won't do it. Having been wounded by others, they continue to hurt themselves. I had one friend who ended up dying because he kept betraying himself.

Are you a victim of self-betrayal? How do you betray yourself? The first step in healing is to acknowledge the reality and begin looking for help.

Comments (7)

  • Well then…if that didn’t leave a red mark on my cheek, then I have no idea what just hit me. It’s kind of what Papa’s been talking to me about though…thanks for putting it into words!

  • Sometimes we betray ourself when being so very lonely, or needing to feel loved we seek to walk away from our Christian values & thereby betray ourself & the God who never betrays us! Which is worse, betraying others, ourself, or God?! OtherS may not forgive us, we may not forgive ourself, but if we return to God & repent, God promises forgiveness! And if God forgives us, who are we not to forgive ourself!

  • How do I betray myself? By not fully trusting. Holding back in relationships where I’ve been burned or where I don’t feel accepted. Waiting for others to prove their safety instead of changing atmosphere by being safe and opening up with an over of flow grace I’ve received from God. If I’m wronged or sense that I’m not accepted I’ll pull away. Because it hurts to be pushed away or not have people interested. If I were truely resting in God’s love for me I could operate out of that love. Giving endlessly that which he has given me with out need for some thing in return for those around me.

    I’ve been the one whose gone back to bad habits of sex, drugs and alcohol before. Most the time the pain of previous wounds and pain of life lead me there when I’m unable to cope. I thank God for providing people and things to pull me out. I won’t allow myself to go back. This may sound like a manly I’m strong enough to choose it comment but it’s not. Truth is my strength is failing, but I frequently battle with my flesh and loose at times. But my strength comes from Him whose strength never fails. By calling on my Father is my times of weakness I can be filled with His strength.

  • I’ve participated in about every form of self-betrayal in my life. Praise God He’s been sorting out that mess for the last 10 years or so. I’ve recently become aware of another form thought that has had a tight grip on my life for some time.

    I’ve recently realized that all of the “rejection” from my family isn’t exactly what I thought it was. I’ve realized this in little ways before, but I had a big dose of revelation recently at my grandfather’s funeral.

    There were no doubt events that made me feel unacceptable or unwelcome in the lives of my extended family, but seeing all of them together again, and for most it was the first time in seeing them as adults, I’ve realized that my perception of their opinions toward me seems to have been rather distorted.

    I guess somewhere that little girl that got hurt had to make sense of it all, so she created her own explination and villanized everybody else in the story. For thirty years, she’s been running from an enemy that perhaps wasn’t an enemy at all.

    Growing up in a clash of cultures can be very confusing. I guess I didn’t know how to belong, so I assumed I just didn’t belong. I denied my own participation in my family because I didn’t know how to be me in a culture so different than my own. There were times for sure that they were not very accepting or welcoming, but overall I’m realizing that the story I wrote was grossly exagerated.

    At the funeral, I was able to talk to some of my cousins and they shared stories from when we were kids. That baffled my mind that they actually remembered things we did together, and recalled them with fondness. I on the other hand had intended on keeping to myself and avoiding any interaction in order to avoid any feelings of judgement. Ha, I was doing the very thing I accused them of all my life. I considered them unworthy of my attention. Humility check! Talk about self-betrayal, not to mention betraying them by falsly accusing them in my heart. That was, and still is a lot to take in.

    It takes me back to a promise that God made me at my own training camp back in ’06. He told me that He was breaking the generational curses/sins with me and that He would work that healing backward through my family. Since then, I’ve been set free from a lot, and obviously God is still making good on that promise. I’ve also seen much healing between me and my mom, my mom and her mother-in-law, and some of my other relatives. God definately is faithful to restore and redeem.

    I have a very different perspective of my family today than I did a few weeks ago. The future is looking much brighter from this point of view.

  • Beautiful self-analysis, Kim. You have really come a very long way. It’s great to see you walking in this level of truth and revelation.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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