How to deal with being wrong by someone you trusted

It can come in many forms – a partner leaving you, a friend betraying you, an unjust complaint being made about you at work. These are just a few that people have told me about in the last year. It always left them shaken. When we don’t see it coming and someone we’ve trusted is involved, then we can be deeply shaken and left doubting ourselves. How we feel about the other person has changed and our self-confidence has been dented.

If this has happened to you then there is something you really should be aware of, and there is something I suggest you do. The two go hand in hand.

It’s not ok for another person to do you harm. But know that the other persons actions are about them not you.

If they have been out of integrity, unkind or deceitful then this is how they have chosen to deal with whatever is going on within them. Their own feelings, beliefs, assumptions and fears have driven them to ‘look after themselves’ in such a misalignment way that it is at a cost of harming another. They may be intentionally harming, or they may be lying to themselves by pretending they’ve done nothing wrong. 

Either way it is not something you did that has ‘made’ them act that way. They have been unable to communicate or act with honesty and integrity because of their own fears and insecurities. If you take it personally then you are setting yourself up to suffer more. 

When we feel someone has wronged us it’s very easy to get into the blame game and this is a vicious circle.  There is a fight about which one of you in the more wrong. A more constructive and healthy way to approach this is that each of you take 100% responsibility for your own actions.  

Is there anywhere that you have lacked integrity? Be truly honest with yourself and own it if you have. 

You may find yourself thinking ‘yeah but I only did that because they did x to me’. What the other person did is their responsibility, what you did is your responsibility.  Acknowledge it, to yourself at least – ‘yes I lashed out at them because I was feeling insecure and hurt’.

Let that realisation soften you and humble you. We are all trying our best and sometimes our negative emotions get the better of us. Do you need to make amends? What new learning can you take away from this self-awareness? Can you have more compassion for yourself? Can you find compassion for the other person who also has their inner struggles? This doesn’t make what they did ok, it’s about you not carrying the poison of resentment within you.

As part of your reflections on your part in what happened you may conclude that you really didn’t do anything untoward to lead to this situation. Let that help raise your confidence and your self- belief. Sometimes another person’s actions are completely unprovoked.  Again, their actions are about them not you.

The relationship or friendship may be beyond repair, but part of you taking 100% responsibility for yourself is not holding onto poisonous emotions. Compassion is the key. 

Suggested reading: ‘The Four Agreements’ by Don Miguel Ruiz and ‘The Big Leap’ by Gay Hendrinks