Betray: verb

  • To deliver or expose to an enemy by treachery or disloyalty.
  • To be unfaithful in guarding, maintaining, or fulfilling.
  • To disappoint the hopes or expectations of; be disloyal to.
  • To deceive, misguide, or corrupt.

Betrayal is more than just cheating. It’s the result of pretending, or falsely representing one’s intentions.  When you are betrayed in a relationship, it is the vilest of all relationship crimes. Any type of loss is painful, but with betrayal, the experience is exponentially more excruciating.

Narcissists and Psychopaths are masters of betrayal. For one, it is a matter of collateral damage, for the other, a matter of sport.

We know that Narcissists have an impaired ability to feel empathy and this results in an inability for them to comprehend how their behavior is affecting those closest to them. For a Narcissist, it is all about need fulfillment. When the potency of their current supply is on the decline, like a drug addict, a Narcissist will seek out newer supply, thus discarding their current source.  They generally do this by becoming distant and aloof and eventually cutting contact. Most people involved with Narcissists have experienced this cycle at least once. They are often not even thinking of their partners during their hunt. Their focus is on obtaining new supply and hurting the ones that care about them is often a byproduct of getting their fix. The manner in which many just disappear is a byproduct of not wanting to take responsibility for any wrong-doing.

A Narcissists greatest ally is doubt. Doubt on the part of the victim, is what allows betrayal to perpetuate. Doubt thrives, because a Narcissist’s true motivation is so irrational, that the victim never sees it coming, nor can they believe that it is even possible. Normal healthy people don’t egregiously cause the suffering of those closest to them. Yet when you’re involved with a Narcissist this is exactly what you get.

When a Narcissist is betraying their partner it is not something that is going to bog them down with guilt. The reality is that the devastation their behavior causes is an afterthought, a bump in the road to getting what they want. They have an arsenal of reasons and justifications and they lack insight into their own behavior, so getting a straight answer is near impossible, because chances are they don’t really understand it themselves. Narcissists are also fairly impulsive, they see something they want it and they go after it. They don’t put too much thought into it other than that. So the reality really is that they’re not thinking of anyone but themselves and getting their  needs met.

Nostalgia, history, family, personal integrity, self-discipline, mean nothing to a Narcissist bent on obtaining new supply. Cognitively, they  know cheating, deceiving and betraying are not characteristics one wants to be labeled with, so their goal is always to cover up their deeds and deflect responsibility for their actions, so they don’t acquire that, ‘bad guy,’ rep.

A Narcissist’s ego preservation techniques are off the charts. They deflect blame, shame and guilt by projecting it onto others. “If you didn’t reject me for sex all those times, then this wouldn’t have happened.” (Actual quote from my long-term Narcissist) They minimize their involvement and responsibility. I remember even hearing, “I don’t know why you’re so upset. People break up all the time,” and the truth is he really didn’t know. My emotional reaction was making him feel uncomfortable and he couldn’t grasp why I couldn’t just get over it and move on like he had.

We all want to matter, especially to the people we are the most intimate with.  When we are unceremoniously tossed aside, it’s devastating. It is not abnormal to expect that the person we’re involved with would have actual feelings for us and when their actions tell us just how little we actually meant to them, the pain is beyond anything else. When you have been sold a lie, that you desperately wanted to believe and you find out that it was all just a big scam, you feel stupid, foolish, and ashamed, on top of the enormous amount of heartache.

The betrayal is not rational. Only someone who is phenomenally twisted would go out of their way to hurt someone who loves them. Normal, healthy people don’t go around hurting people.

Codependents will initially internalize the rejection and make it all their fault. In the post-relationship analysis though, many will come to realize that something is off and they’ll go searching for answers to the riddle.  It’s at this point that they will start to get some clarity into what they have been dealing with and will gain an understanding of just how dysfunctional their partner’s behavior really is.

If you are still involved with someone that has betrayed you, take a stand and put an end to the madness. If you keep allowing someone to abuse you, all that does is weaken your self-esteem and prime you for further abuse down the road.

Don’t try to make sense of it, or try to understand why they betrayed you. So many people that I counsel are always trying to make it their fault. When you’re involved with someone that has an emotional impairment, there is nothing that you can do, no hoop big enough that you could jump through, that would make any difference to the outcome. That kind of thinking is illogical. If someone has betrayed you once – one time – that should be all the chances they ever get with you and one of the first boundaries you set for yourself. Once someone has crossed that line – it’s adios.

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