There’s nothing like that sickening feeling in your stomach when you realize that someone has betrayed you. As an INFJ it turns your whole world upside down in a flash. It happened to me this past week and I am still reeling from it.
Last week I bought something that I was super excited about. I was texting pictures to all of my friends, most of whom didn’t care. But I texted a picture to my 15-year-old niece, knowing that she would get it and be excited. She called me a few minutes later. Through the course of our conversation, she was upset about everyone thinking she was selfish and stated she had no one to talk to about it. I instantly reassured her “that’s not true. You can always call me.” She continued “I know what you think about me. J told me.”
“What do you mean?” I responded, knowing something bad was coming.
“J sent me screenshots of some texts that you sent to her a while ago. You were telling her that I’m difficult and selfish. That’s what you really think of me!” She descended into tears.
I was shocked. I didn’t even know what to say or how to respond. It’s true. I did send my sister (not my niece’s mom) some texts trying to explain to her that she doesn’t know my niece very well and sometimes she can be difficult and selfish. I admitted as much to my niece.
I also tried to explain the context of the texts and reminded her that I had made similar comments to her about my sister. I also apologized profusely and told her that I never meant for her to see that, but also that it was not something that I wouldn’t say to her face. In fact, we had had discussions about that many times.
It was a terrible situation that I still feel bad about for my niece’s sake. She doesn’t deserve to be in the middle of that.
But then… there is my sister. For years I didn’t have a great relationship with her. We are about 4 years apart and I was always closer to my other sister. But all of that changed about 2 years ago. We started talking and realized that we had a lot in common. We went on vacation together and I felt like we had a great relationship. We texted each other every day, all the time, about everything.
So, when my niece was telling me what she did, I was shocked and horrified. The texts that were sent to my niece were from a conversation we had 6 months ago. How does that happen? How do you decided to betray your friend, your sister, like that? How can you carry on a charade for 6 months? Or were the whole past 2 years a charade?
How did I not know?? I’m supposed to have this psychic-like intuition that is supposed to warn me about things like this. Where was that?
As much as I want to think that my intuition is perfect, it’s not. It’s right a lot of the time, but not all of it. After thinking about this situation for a week, there were signs. I just did my best to ignore them. I wanted to think the best of my sister. I valued our relationship more than any other that I have. I’m more hurt and devastated that she didn’t feel the same way.
I confronted her about the situation, and she defended her actions while trying to explain why she was right to do what she did. I made a decision the second I was reading her texts that I didn’t have it in me to try to reason with her. The best thing for both of us is for me to walk away. I just can’t trust her anymore.
Not every situation is as extreme as mine though. Not every betrayal results in a doorslam. Every situation is different and should be evaluated for what it is.
5 Most Important Things to Do When You Get Betrayed
1. Let the emotions sink in
I’m terrible at trying to figure out what I’m feeling. My first inclination is to hide what I’m feeling and pretend like everything is ok. The problem with this is that the emotions will come out whether I want them to or not. And usually it will be about the wrong things. The best thing that you can is feel the emotions. Sit with them for a while before you decide what to do.
2. Confront your betrayer
This is also hard for me sometimes. In a lesser situation than the one I experienced last week, I may not do this right away. I may sit with my feelings for a while to really decide what to do. The confrontation part is important though, because you can make all of the assumptions in the world and not be even close to why they did what they did.
3. Listen to understand
It’s also important to listen to what your betrayer has to say with an open heart. Give them the benefit of the doubt. They may not have meant to hurt you or even realize that they did. Not every situation is an intentional manipulation of your trust. Some are honest mistakes. Listen to what they have to say and evaluate from there.
However, if they are defensive of their actions that’s a whole different story.
4. Actions speak louder than words
If this is the first time they have betrayed me and they are genuinely sorry, I would cautiously give them a second chance. But if it’s the second time or the third time, there’s a pattern that says more to me than their words of apology. Pay attention to the patterns. If they are genuinely sorry, they will stop doing the things that hurt you. If not, it will continue.
5. It’s ok to remove them from your life
The infamous INFJ doorslam. It’s so important. When someone betrays you in a way that I described earlier and then defends their actions, it’s completely ok to walk away from them for good, even if they are family. Blood may be thicker than water, but it’s not the end all. If your family is disrupting your peace, if they have a negative impact on your mental health, it is 100% ok to walk away from them. You are worth more than that.
Whatever your situation, I hope it turns out better than mine. But if it doesn’t, I hope you have the courage to walk away, to put yourself and your own mental health first. You are important and you deserve better than that.