The Betrayal Scenario (Recovery Article)
Document date: 07-30-02
By: Andries KrugersDagneaux
Excerpt from the article 'Cult Survivor's Handbook - How to live in the Material World again' by Mrs Nori Muster (ex-Iskcon/Hare Krishna)
Hope this is helpful.
The Betrayal Scenario
When a betrayal is taking place in your environment, part of you shuts down to process the dishonesty. As a result of closing down in denial, your ability to love and trust is diminished. Betrayal takes away your innocence, that part of you that trusts life. Betrayal victims feel powerless in an unfair and uncaring world. Symptoms of devastating betrayal may include panic attacks and generalized feelings of fear, lack of self-worth, exaggerated feelings of guilt, resentment, paranoia and hostile behavior, eating disorders, addictions, psychosomatic disease syndromes, career and relationship problems, psychotic breaks, flashbacks, depression, suicidal feelings and antisocial behavior.
It's frightening to be victimized in someone else's hypocritical mind game when your principles or someone or something you love is at stake. The instinct is to fight against the abuse, but often the abusers have all the advantages. It's especially debilitating when the abuse blatantly goes on unchecked for years. Usually, if you try to do something about it, you are silenced or victimized further. You put yourself in harm's way trying to expose injustice. The abusers usually come out on top, because if they have the power to enact an effective cover-up, then they continue to receive recognition and special status while their victims' lives are ruined. We want justice and that may be the thing that drives us crazy long after the emotional, financial, or other abuse has stopped.
A common result of betrayal is to become jaded, deadened by the pain, hopeless and unable to love. However, a victim may also decide to use their suffering to become a deeper, more conscious and empathetic person. It is possible to break out of dysfunctional roles and quit stepping into abusive situations. This book is a starting point for people who want to heal. Some readers still suffer extreme emotional hardship from their betrayal experience, so I advise them to work with a therapist or support group while using this book.