I hope life is treating you well!!
I spoke to a friend recently, and I was so distressed by what she told me. She is a lovely, decent, honorable, hard working young woman (and I’ve known her for many years, in business and personally), who was trying to start a business with a friend. She sunk a lot of money into it for her, and she works hard for it and supports a family. And she discovered that the friend, her best friend apparently, took her money, and started the business in secret behind her back, betrayed her, and cut her out. She is now out the money, and just as bad, and sometimes worse, she was double crossed and betrayed by her best friend. When I saw her she was hurt, sad, angry, stunned, shocked.
I’ve been there, and maybe you have too. There is no worse feeling than being betrayed by someone you trust, whether a spouse, a parent, a child, a co-worker, a boss, a friend. And it happens every day. No one wants to live their life in paranoia, believing that evil is lurking around every bend. And for most of us we trust our friends and family, the people we do business with, or employ, or who employ us. Which makes it all the worse when we discover that they weren’t honorable, were frankly dishonest and ripped us off. There are many, many books written these days about sociopaths, who are often hard to detect and play a good game. They prey on honorable, honest, decent people, because if you are, you just don’t expect someone to be dishonest with you and rip you off. And even if they do, if you’re an honorable person, you respond to the betrayal with reason and moderation—-not with the vehemence another sociopath would. I think bad people pick their victims carefully. But it’s so unfortunate it has to happen at all. And it makes you feel heartsick when it happens, for the loss of the friend, as well as whatever they took from you dishonestly, whether it’s a business, money, an opportunity, or even a man. How many times do you hear of a best friend cheating with someone’s husband? It happens too often and is such a rotten thing (for both of them) to do.
My worst experience in the vein of a serious betrayal, of the kind my friend just experienced, was an employee I had for 16 years. She was without question my most trusted employee, and handled my bookkeeping, and money. I respected her and liked her enormously, trusted her implicitly, more than anyone else I worked with or employed, for all 16 years. We discovered that she embezzled a great deal of money from me, she was prosecuted for some of it, but the statute of limitations made it impossible to prosecute her for all of it. I lost money, and some other things that were deeply important to me, as a result of what she did, and I was crushed by the betrayal of someone I genuinely liked and trusted so profoundly. For months, I was alternately tormented by the financial loss, and the fallout of it, and equally by the betrayal of my trust. It’s a hard one to get over, you keep asking yourself why….why would someone do that to me? How could they be so dishonest, how could they look me in the eye and lie to me, and put me in jeopardy? And you ask yourself how you could be so stupid and naive. It is a terrible blow to the soul as well as the wallet. And I could see the same shock in my friend’s eyes when she told me the story of what had happened to her. At some point, you have to let it go, because the burden is too heavy to carry. And the burden really belongs to the person who committed the betrayal, and should not rest on the innocent party. You do what you can to clean up the damage, but you can’t let it weigh on your soul forever. The price of that is too heavy to pay. And I truly believe that Karma evens things out in the end. You can’t lead a happy life if you go around hurting, betraying and ripping off other people. In my case, the person who betrayed me went to prison, but not for very long, and only a fraction of the money I lost was returned to me. I am more cautious now, but I don’t want to believe that everyone is out to get me, or cheat me or betray me. That’s no way to live, so we can be wise, but don’t need to expect monsters to come around every corner, or all our friends to betray us. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen often in life. But when it does, it hurts like hell, in many ways.
The pain and sorrow and disappointment I saw in my friend’s eyes was so familiar to me. I knew just how it felt, and it made me want to share it with you. Because she and I are far from unique in this experience, it happens to a lot of people, and usually from the person you expect it from the least. That’s what makes it hurt so much, when someone you trust so completely cheats you in some way, betrays you, and screws you over. It is a miserable experience, and a terrible shock. But if it happens to you, don’t let it destroy you!!!
Oddly enough, after she told me the story, we walked down a hall as she was leaving my house, and only the day before, I had put a long carpet down in that hall, which I had brought to the city from my beach house, because I really love that rug. It was made by an artist and the famous quote of Anne Frank is on it, the young girl who was killed by the Nazis, with her family, at 15. They found what she had written in her diary, and it says “In spite of everything, I still believe that people are truly good at heart.” For her to write that, given what she was living through was a powerful statement that has always gone straight to my heart. And I like to believe it’s true. My friend commented on the rug as she left the house, and said that she wanted to believe that too. And yes, we all know that sometimes bad things happen to good people, but there is a kind of justice in life too. Something bad happens, and then something very good happens to make up for it. I believe in that. And I still believe what Anne Frank said so long ago.
So be wise, be cautious, be sensible, but when someone betrays you, if they do, don’t let the bad guys break your heart. Don’t give them that power, they don’t deserve it. And I believe that in the end, good things will happen to you. I firmly believe that.