The pain of betrayal can be excruciating, and more likely than not, it's something you've experienced. Results from a survey I recently conducted, showed that 90% of people 35 or older have experienced betrayal. Sadder still is that the closer you are, and the more dependent you are to the person who betrayed you, the more agonizing the experience. What makes betrayal so painful is that it hits you on every level.
People who have been betrayed suffer mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Mentally you are reeling from shock and disbelief. Over 50% of people who have been betrayed suffer from mental symptoms such as being foggy-headed and overwhelmed. They also experience an inability to focus and concentrate. More than half of those surveyed also struggled emotionally with sadness, anger, depression, rejection, irritability, anxiety, and abandonment. Physical symptoms such as having low energy, fatigue and exhaustion were experienced by over 60% of our participants.
Additionally, you have great difficulty falling or staying asleep. Because spiritually your worldview has been shattered and there is no order to your universe, over 75% experience a loss of personal power with 72% becoming hypervigilant and on guard to threats and danger.
There are many reasons why betrayal hurts. All relationships are based on spoken and unspoken rules, and the understanding is that if you both abide by those rules, everything should be okay. By breaking a rule without your knowledge or consent, you feel completely disregarded. There is a genuine disbelief that someone you love and trust could intentionally put their needs above yours.
When you are betrayed you feel blindsided. You have little to no expectations from strangers or people you have little interaction with; however, when you love and depend on someone, you are vulnerable so when they choose to break a spoken or unspoken rule that you both were abiding by, it's heartbreaking. In addition to being in pain, you very often have to deal with shame, guilt, embarrassment and humiliation. Although you didn't do anything wrong, very often the person who was betrayed feels as though they did.
“How could I have been so unaware," and “What could I have done differently" are common questions that plague the person who was betrayed. This makes the experience even more traumatic.
I know because it happened to me. My own story of betrayal sent me on a journey of discovery that transformed my life, and it can transform yours. My own experience forced me to learn to take my needs seriously, and after years of putting everyone else's needs before my own, I committed to begin a PhD program in Transpersonal Psychology (the psychology of transformation and human potential). While I was there, I did a study on how women experience betrayal-what holds them back and what helps them heal. That PhD study lead to the discovery of Post Betrayal Syndrome, which is all too real to those who have been betrayed. What was also discovered was that if we're going to heal from betrayal, we're going to move through The 5 Stages from Betrayal to Breakthrough.
Stage 1: OUT OF BALANCE: Disproportionately prioritizing your physical and mental state, while simultaneously neglecting emotional and spiritual health. This disconnect can explain why people who are betrayed often ask, “How did I not see it coming?" and blame themselves for the betrayal, although it's important to know that there's no blame meant here at all. Betrayal occurs because the betrayer chose to say or do something hurtful.
Stage 2: BREAKDOWN: The breakdown of the body, mind and world view. Your stress response is ignited and this is where the betrayed experiences mental, emotional and physical symptoms more acutely. If you stay at this stage too long, illnesses, conditions and disease will ensue. It's the most frightening of all stages because your foundation has been shattered and a new foundation hasn't yet been formed.
Stage 3: SURVIVAL: Survival instincts are emerging. This stage is the most practical in figuring out how you will survive this experience. Decisions made are coming from a place of fear and pure survival. You are focused on where to live, how to make money, what to eat, taking care of the kids, etc.
Stage 4: NEW NORMAL. Finding and adjusting to a new normal begins slowly. The old circumstance or relationship no longer exists as it was, and a new life, along with a new set of beliefs is slowly being created. It may not feel great yet but there is a measure of safety to slowly begin again.
Stage 5: HEALING, REBIRTH, NEW WORLD VIEW: A beautiful stage which is centered on healing, rebirth and a new worldview. The body begins to heal; you're more interested in self-care and in this stage, you not only pay attention to your mental and physical needs, but also to emotional and spiritual needs too. You are worthy and expect to be treated in a manner that honors who you're becoming.
So, what's the first step to healing? First and foremost, you have to have a willingness to heal. My survey showed that 82% of those betrayed are actually wanting to move forward, but they don't know how. Becoming your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual best takes commitment to do so.
There's a strategy involved in making sense and meaning of your experience so that you can make it a defining chapter of your story, and not your whole story. As you do, you'll begin to feel calmer, more centered and in control. You'll sleep better and feel more energetic, and because like energy attracts like energy, you'll slowly gain momentum.
You'll begin to see new possibilities and new opportunities, and you'll begin to make sense of the experience.
If you feel safe and valued, you become more willing to forgive the person so that you can move on or rebuild a new relationship with that person if you choose to. If you don't feel safe and valued, you can clearly see the level of consciousness of your betrayer and choose to forgive (for your sake) without rebuilding the relationship. You want to set yourself free from the anger, the resentment, and the pain of the experience because you begin to realize how holding onto the pain is only hurting you. You also begin to see the gift in the betrayal. As one of my mentors once said, “An experience, without the pain, is wisdom."
Your Post Betrayal Transformation allows you to see how just how much you've grown and changed. You can appreciate how much stronger you are mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually, and you know that it's because you've transcended the pain and suffering betrayal causes.
Betrayal is more common than most people may think. According to my survey, 90% of those over the age of 35 have experience betrayal. Whether it was from a co-worker, friend, family member, partner or spouse, the pain and effects of betrayal are all too real. Fortunately, you no longer have to suffer, and you most certainly don't have to do it alone.
I've been there, and that's why I opened the PBT Institute for healing and growth. Together we can transcend the pain of betrayal and you can become stronger mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually- the best version of you yet. Let me help.
Gender divisions in sports have primarily served to keep women out of what has always been believed to be a male domain. The idea of women participating alongside men has been regarded with contempt under the belief that women were made physically inferior.
Within their own division, women have reached new heights, received accolades for outstanding physical performance and endurance, and have proven themselves to be as capable of athletic excellence as men. In spite of women's collective fight to be recognized as equals to their male counterparts, female athletes must now prove their womanhood in order to compete alongside their own gender.
That has been the reality for Caster Semenya, a South African Olympic champion, who has been at the center of the latest gender discrimination debate across the world. After crushing her competition in the women's 800-meter dash in 2016, Semenya was subjected to scrutiny from her peers based upon her physical appearance, calling her gender into question. Despite setting a new national record for South Africa and attaining the title of fifth fastest woman in Olympic history, Semenya's success was quickly brushed aside as she became a spectacle for all the wrong reasons.
Semenya's gender became a hot topic among reporters as the Olympic champion was subjected to sex testing by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). According to Ruth Padawer from the New York Times, Semenya was forced to undergo relentless examination by gender experts to determine whether or not she was woman enough to compete as one. While the IAAF has never released the results of their testing, that did not stop the media from making irreverent speculations about the athlete's gender.
Moments after winning the Berlin World Athletics Championship in 2009, Semenya was faced with immediate backlash from fellow runners. Elisa Cusma who suffered a whopping defeat after finishing in sixth place, felt as though Semenya was too masculine to compete in a women's race. Cusma stated, "These kind of people should not run with us. For me, she is not a woman. She's a man." While her statement proved insensitive enough, her perspective was acknowledged and appeared to be a mutually belief among the other white female competitors.
Fast forward to 2018, the IAAF issued new Eligibility Regulations for Female Classification (Athlete with Differences of Sexual Development) that apply to events from 400m to the mile, including 400m hurdles races, 800m, and 1500m. The regulations created by the IAAF state that an athlete must be recognized at law as either female or intersex, she must reduce her testosterone level to below 5 nmol/L continuously for the duration of six months, and she must maintain her testosterone levels to remain below 5 nmol/L during and after competing so long as she wishes to be eligible to compete in any future events. It is believed that these new rules have been put into effect to specifically target Semenya given her history of being the most recent athlete to face this sort of discrimination.
With these regulations put into effect, in combination with the lack of information about whether or not Semenya is biologically a female of male, society has seemed to come to the conclusion that Semenya is intersex, meaning she was born with any variation of characteristics, chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals. After her initial testing, there had been alleged leaks to media outlets such as Australia's Daily Telegraph newspaper which stated that Semenya's results proved that her testosterone levels were too high. This information, while not credible, has been widely accepted as fact. Whether or not Semenya is intersex, society appears to be missing the point that no one is entitled to this information. Running off their newfound acceptance that the Olympic champion is intersex, it calls into question whether her elevated levels of testosterone makes her a man.
The IAAF published a study concluding that higher levels of testosterone do, in fact, contribute to the level of performance in track and field. However, higher testosterone levels have never been the sole determining factor for sex or gender. There are conditions that affect women, such as PCOS, in which the ovaries produce extra amounts of testosterone. However, those women never have their womanhood called into question, nor should they—and neither should Semenya.
Every aspect of the issue surrounding Semenya's body has been deplorable, to say the least. However, there has not been enough recognition as to how invasive and degrading sex testing actually is. For any woman, at any age, to have her body forcibly examined and studied like a science project by "experts" is humiliating and unethical. Under no circumstances have Semenya's health or well-being been considered upon discovering that her body allegedly produces an excessive amount of testosterone. For the sake of an organization, for the comfort of white female athletes who felt as though Semenya's gender was an unfair advantage against them, Semenya and other women like her, must undergo hormone treatment to reduce their performance to that of which women are expected to perform at. Yet some women within the athletic community are unphased by this direct attempt to further prove women as inferior athletes.
As difficult as this global invasion of privacy has been for the athlete, the humiliation and sense of violation is felt by her people in South Africa. Writer and activist, Kari, reported that Semenya has had the country's undying support since her first global appearance in 2009. Even after the IAAF released their new regulations, South Africans have refuted their accusations. Kari stated, "The Minister of Sports and Recreation and the Africa National Congress, South Africa's ruling party labeled the decision as anti-sport, racist, and homophobic." It is no secret that the build and appearance of Black women have always been met with racist and sexist commentary. Because Black women have never managed to fit into the European standard of beauty catered to and in favor of white women, the accusations of Semenya appearing too masculine were unsurprising.
Despite the countless injustices Semenya has faced over the years, she remains as determined as ever to return to track and field and compete amongst women as the woman she is. Her fight against the IAAF's regulations continues as the Olympic champion has been receiving and outpour of support in wake of the Association's decision. Semenya is determined to run again, win again, and set new and inclusive standards for women's sports.