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Expressing feelings of betrayal when serious action is taken

This is a section of a longer paper. There is a roadmap for the entire paper, and you can download the PDF.

At times, you or others may need to take serious action in response to a person exhibiting SBCMB. For example, if the person continues to transgress your regular personal boundaries, you might need to enforce an extraordinary personal boundary (such as not responding to the person at all). Or, if a person frequently ignores or deflects your attempts to tell them you have been hurt by their actions, you may need to use very strong and uncompromising language to tell them they are wrong and must stop. Or, if the person fails to take adequate action in response to valid ongoing criticism from multiple sources, and so continues behaviour which is harmful to you and/or others, you and others might need to make a formal complaint or public statement to defend and protect people against their behaviour.

In such cases, a person exhibiting SBCMB will often express incomprehension and a deep sense of betrayal at your actions. They may complain, for example, that you have never raised the issue before, and that they cannot fathom how you could betray them in this way. This occurs even though you may have in fact raised the issue with them previously and given adequate warnings.

The only explanation we have for this behaviour is that, as we have already mentioned above, the person tends to define morality and to redefine personal/relational reality in terms of themselves. In their distorted view of the world, you have suddenly and inexplicably flipped from being on the good side of the moral divide (“people who think I’m worthy”) to being on the bad side of the moral divide (“people who are against me”). The reason they have forgotten or not taken seriously your previous expressions of hurt or criticisms is because at that point you were still on the “good” side (i.e. their side), and that was all that mattered. But by taking serious action, you have moved to the “bad” side, and so (in their minds) inexplicably betrayed them.

Read the next section: What if this describes me?

Copyright © 2021 Lionel and Bronwyn Windsor

Note well: Because of time and energy constraints, we’re not personally able to respond to any queries or comments about this paper. So please realise in advance that if you send us a message about this paper, you are unlikely to receive any response from us.

To read the whole paper: Slow-burn crazy-making behaviours

Slow-burn crazy-making behavioursOnline: a roadmap for the entire paper Download the entire PDF

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