Et tu, Brute?
This Article was originally published and then retracted for personal reasons. I have decided to republish it with the original timestamp.
There is nothing more painful that betrayal, especially when it is by a person that you have accepted as a close friend. But this is something that recently happened to me.
This is not a bash piece, though in my heart I would love nothing more than to take this person apart, verbally. But at my core, that is not and never has been who I am. I do get mad, I to hurt, I do feel, but I think that it speaks more to who I am to be the better person than to throw the other person to the wolves, so to say, and publicly assault them.
I do not make friends easily… in fact, I would say that I really do not make friends anymore at all. I have people I know and past friends that I have let slip away, but when it comes to going out, meeting up with people and having a good time, that is really just not me. It is not because I do not WANT friends, in fact it is just the opposite. I will look longingly at people sitting in groups at the bar or in restaurants, as they talk, cavort and have a grand time. I will watch them and wish that one of those people was me. That I had that kind of group that I could get together with. That I was one of THOSE people.
When, as recently happened, I stumble upon a person that I like, who seems to click with me, whose personality is pleasant and compatible with mine, I feel a bond. Unlike my usually careful, responsible and paranoid self, this time I went ahead and opened up and let this person in. Some of the problems and ordeals that they spoke of were similar to things I had gone through. Some of the challenges that they faced were on the same note as ones I had dealt with through my life. I felt as though this person would be someone I could talk to and share problems with and maybe help one another.
Unfortunately I was incorrect.
I will not go into details, but in the end this person turned out to be no different than the others I had met in my earlier years that caused me to build my personal walls in the first place. It appeared that this person had a sophomoric agenda, like those people I remember from high school, to open a person up, gain their confidence and friendship, and then attempt to emotionally poison them. In this case, I was that person.
The level of pain and betrayal that I felt was indescribable. It pushed me into the start of a depressive bout that I was worried that I would not get out of any time soon. Luckily I was able to fall back on the help of my wife and son. I spent the next few days hanging around with my four-year-old son, since my wife was at work most of this time.
I have to tell you a bit about him, my son. He is only four years old, but the little guy is wise beyond his years. One of the times I was sitting with him after we watched a movie and I asked him, not really expecting an answer, just wanting to talk aloud, “Giddy… what do you do when you feel bad?”
He looked at me for a moment and told me, “I go give Nana and Pampa and Mommy and Poppi a hug and kiss. Don’t feel bad poppi, lets go see mommy.”
And that, as simple as it sounds, was my turning point. Suddenly my son gave me a life lesson that was something that I really already knew, but he needed to remind me. That no matter how bad things had gotten, no matter how bad I hurt after this person inflicted what I consider to be a brutal betrayal, I have my family there to support and help me back up and on my feet again.
Within days the depression had started to subside and I was feeling better, but there was still anger and hurt.
Anger for what this person had done to me, anger in myself for not following a lifetime of rules that I had in place to prevent things like this from happening, anger for sharing a part of myself with this person that I normally kept to myself and my family.
Hurt for the fact that now I have to relearn how to be who I was before. Hurt that I had been foolish enough to think that someone like this liked who I was and would allow me to befriend them. Hurt because I thought I had opened a new chapter in my life and had learned to start letting people in again.
I am not sure that either the pain or hurt will ever go away, at least not completely. But I understand this person now and I realized that it was my own fault for letting it happen. I realized that there was a reason I built that wall so many years ago and now have not only put it back up, but reinforced it. This will not happen again.
So, my takeaway has been that I need to be careful about who I befriend and always remember that family is there when things go south.
As for the person in question… well, I cannot see feeding the anger, they are not worth it. It does hurt, losing that friendship, but I suspect that it was better that it happened now, than later. At a time when there was more invested in it. I do hope that this person looks back one day and sees something in this that helps them understand about human interactions, friendships and trust.