Experiencing betrayal is like getting an unexpected kick to the gut. It is shocking and painful and takes some time to bounce back from completely. The pain can endure long after the kick has been experienced.
There is an emotional pain that comes with betrayal that cannot be healed simply by sucking it up or moving on. The act of betrayal is insidious and subtly requires a full-on processing similar to some of the processes used with those impacted with PTSD. There are more commonalities than meet the eye when comparing the effects of betrayal and PTSD.
Betrayal requires a relationship that is characterized by trust, respect, and honesty in order to survive and flourish. Professional relationships, friendships, and marriages all serve as a good host for betrayal. In time all of these kinds of relationships develop some level of trust, respect, and honesty.
Let’s focus on betrayal in professional relationships and how it is played out in the workplace. Some betrayals can be mild and have little impact or consequences, while others might have a significant impact. In some cases, betrayal might lead to destruction of the relationship.
Minor betrayals between professionals might be worked out with crucial conversations. The resolution of a minor betrayal is possible when both parties are professional, mature, and invested in the outcome. Some betrayals serve to strengthen the professional relationship with more candor and honesty after the resolution of the betrayal.
Massive betrayals in the workplace rarely are solved with a conversation or some form of mediation. The more severe the betrayal, the more likely it will erode and or destroy the relationship. The motivation of the betrayal plays a big part in the outcomes that come from it.
There are three things about betrayal that require attentive and focused diligence in overcoming them. Betrayal is unexpected and requires people to work on trust after they have experienced it. There are emotions that come with betrayal that must be processed. Lastly, betrayal creates a loss of-fill in the blank.
Professional relationships are tenuous in many cases, and susceptible to betrayal based power struggles alone. With the illusion of trust in the relationship, it is all too easy for betrayal to happen unexpectedly. The suddenness of betrayal is nearly as damaging as the act of betrayal.
When a massive betrayal impacts a professional relationship unexpectedly, it is far more likely to not be able to rebound. The break of trust is oftentimes too severe to be mended.
There are ample emotions as a result of betrayal in a professional relationship that often have no place to be processed. Many professional relationships are void of expressed emotions so when the betrayal hits, it is challenging to process them in the same workplace where the betrayal took place.
The feelings of loss associated with betrayal might bring about grief for many people, and for some, there may very well be some symptoms of PTSD. Loss is a harsh feeling to deal with and proceeds and is complicated when the workplace is not embracing or accepting of such intense emotions.
Betrayal and loss might lead to some deep sadness or even some depression symptoms. The feelings must be accepted and processed in order to move past the negative impact of the betrayal. The loss of a professional relationship is no less impactful and in some cases can be devastating on someone’s career for some time.
Betrayal might cause people who trust and respect others to examine and clarify their approach to building relationships with others in the workplace. They may move from being an optimist to a realist in how they approach relationship building. In any case, it is clear that those people who have experienced betrayal cannot look at their professional relationships the same way going forward.
All too often those who have experienced betrayal will look for the ways in which they set themselves up for it. In many cases, the blame game is fruitless and will not support mending and healing. It is prudent to move on from the betrayal experience and find the lessons learned.
Betrayal in the workplace is not tracked or reported so there is likely no data to support any conclusions about its impact on the workplace. It is logical to assume that the impact of betrayal on the workplace is negative and impedes on teamwork, productivity, and performance. All of which make a difference in how a company might achieve successful results.
Betrayal must not be condoned or normalized in an organization, and holding each other accountable to the norms of a professional relationship might be a place to start to stem the negative impact. Additionally, creating a culture with a healthy competition that focuses on win-win outcomes takes the musical chairs mindset out of the equation.
Betrayal red flags are best recognized and acted on in order to avoid a full-blown experience. Nipping it in the bud as some would say might avoid a devastating and catastrophic event within the organization.
Betrayal relies on the win-lose paradigm that might be deterred early on with observing behaviors and patterns interactions. As with any business experience, betrayal is best dealt with proactively to mitigate the damage that it is intended to create. Bouncing back from betrayal is crucial for long term career success.
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