The Work: Confronting Betrayal and Broken Relationships
A relationship is not only an experience in which we find companionship, support, connection and what we know to be love but also one that teaches us a great deal about who we are and what we expect from ourselves and others. If you have ever been cheated on or cheated on someone else, this week's study guide is designed to support you in gleaning lessons from what happened, understanding your role in the experience where betrayal/cheating has occurred, and learning how to make and break agreements.
1. Examine the definitions below of three different kinds of relationships.
MARRIAGE (Union of Souls)
Purpose larger than the individuals
Source of support that facilitates growth
Shared/common vision that advances union
Commitment to God, family and community
Anchored in God/divinity
RELATIONSHIP (Conscious Union or Agreement)
Interactions of mutual respect
Unconditional positive regard
Source of support and encouragement
Source of common interests
Commitment is to individuals and personal interests
Anchored in choice
ENTANGLEMENT (Codependent Interactions/Unconscious Agreements)
Competition of needs
Repetition of learned behaviors/dysfunction
Advancement of historical patterns/pathology
Sourced from the negative aspects of ego
Anchored in woundedness
2. Which of the above descriptions best describes your experience?
3. What were your expectations of your partner?
4. Were these expectations discussed and agreed upon?
5. What agreements between you and your partner have not been honored?
6. How have you participated in breaking the agreements? What have you done or not done?
7. Have you accommodated or gone along with the broken agreements?
8. Why have you tolerated these behaviors? What reasons or excuses have you made that allow you to believe that this was okay?
9. Examine the following definitions of abuse and addiction.
Forms of emotional abuse include being disrespectful, discourteous, rude, condescending, patronizing, critical and judgmental. They also include making "joking" insults, lying, repeatedly "forgetting" promises and agreements, betrayal of trust, "setting up" of another, and "revising" history. One of the most difficult things about identifying and leaving someone who is a psychological and emotional abuser is that the really successful abusers are highly intelligent and hide their abuse incredibly well under the guises of loving and wanting you. They find the one thing that you do well together and use that as the carrot to keep stringing you along in the relationship.
They present an exterior of calm, rational self-control, when in reality, they have no internal control of their own pain and chaotic self-hate, so they try to control others and drive others to lose control. If an abuser can cause you to lose control, it proves how healthy he is, so he can say, explicitly or implicitly (it's amazing how sighs and rolling of the eyes can accomplish as much as words): "There you go again, losing it, crying and yelling. I'm not the one who needs therapy; you are."
A state of being enslaved to a habit or practice that causes psychological or physical harm. Persistent, compulsive dependence on a behavior or substance that leads to a diminished recognition of significant problems with relationships and emotional responses. Without treatment and recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.
10. Which of the above (if any) describes your experience?
11. Which of the following describes your current mental/emotional state?
a) Sad, conflicted, hurt, angry
b) Betrayed, abandoned, confused, disregarded
c) Weak, disappointed, humiliated, used
d) Trapped, lost, victimized, ashamed
e) Guilty, bitter, rejected, stupid
12. Have you disappointed yourself?
13. What have you done or not done to create the experience of disappointment for yourself?
14. What are you acting like you do not know?
15. What choice or action have you been avoiding?
16. What (if anything) do you need to forgive?