ASK ABDI: HOW SHOULD I HANDLE SOMEONE WHO BETRAYED ME?
QUESTION: I have a long history of pulling people into my life that betray me. I have done a ton of work on myself over the years, but it is frustrating that I still have this blind spot. I can not differentiate between decent people and those that are vampires, in your lingo. It really pisses me off to no end.
Recently, I was confronted with another situation where I took someone under my wing, so to speak. I invited him into my inner circle and into my home. I spent hours talking him off the ledge and gave all kinds of advice: emotional, financial, and relationship. This went on for a couple of years. Last month, I realized that this a-hole has been shit talking me within my community of friends. It has been a painful experience, to say the least, and confusing as well. I have been blindsided by the pain of it. I have cut all communication with him at this point. Needless to say, I am in a rage and want to physically lay him out. I can not let the rage go and don’t know what I can say to him. Any words of advice on how I should handle this?
ANSWER: Wonderful to observe that you see your (unconscious) part in these recurring painful events. Many of us have holes in our vision where such patterns are allowed and continue to happen. So go easy on yourself for not seeing the vampires and continuing the pattern. The deeper the original wound, the longer it takes to heal it.
Let yourself feel the anger, but do be aware that aiming it at others will do no good. We have to learn to tolerate these feelings, which are self-protection after the fact. You can not heal the past in the present nor with the other person whom you feel wronged by. It is not important what you say to this person. That is your call, but the work is within. The healing will be done by you and within you. I know how deep the desire to explode and kick ass can be. Do your best to keep some of that heat inside, so you can use it to burn off the desire to caretake.
Going forward, really sit with your need to fix people. Examine where your own desperation and anxiety lies. Is it possible that you project it onto others and then try to deal with it externally by healing them? Obviously, as your experience has shown, that is not a constructive path. When we rush into relationships as the savior - there is an immediate imbalance of power. As nice as it might look externally, there is an unconscious dance that is never pleasant.
We, as the caretaker, are saying to the recipient that we are potent and able and they are impotent and incapable. This will, at some point, set up a point of rage in the receiver of our seemingly benevolent actions. No matter how unconsciously they play the role of the needy one, internally they will be enraged as they are giving all of their power over to another. Be aware of this pattern in your relationships. This does not mean that you should never care for others. It just means that you have to make sure it is a lovingly clean transaction.
Chalk this one up to another learning experience. Walk the fine line between keeping aware of your feelings and your need for vengeance. Do not turn it inward nor outward. Just do your best to keep awareness of how this happened again. Where did you not recognize, listen, or act on messages that were coming your way? While still fresh in your bodymind, dissect the interaction so that you can recognize the warning signs in the future. Lastly, learn how to feed yourself directly. That way you will not need this long-winded method of caretaking as a form of nourishment. This will always only lead to starvation and the heartbreak you are experiencing. Be gentle with yourself as you heal this episode.