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Betrayed By A Friend

by Ian
(Orangeville, ON, Canada)

My name is Ian. In 1995, the company I worked for closed the plant and I was part of the layoffs. They were generous though and gave me 6 month's severance pay. At that time I had 2 choices presented to me by 2 different people. One suggested that I apply at another firm with even better pay and in management. The other was from a friend who wanted me to work in his company and share in the great times that were to come. I chose the 'great' times.

At the time, I never questioned his sincerity, and used my severance to live on while only making about half my normal rate. This was because the company was still in the 'growth' phase. He kept up the pep talks for 10 years. After 10 years, around the first months of 2005, I began to notice changes in attitude and I was being subjected to abusive behavior. During all this time he was buying things like a fancy sports car, moved to a bigger house, bought 2 more houses to rent out, and the list goes on.

In 2007 he announced that he was going on his annual tropical vacation and I looked after his operation as I always did when he went away. When he came back, I asked for payment for coming into the office on the Saturday and Sunday to look after a couple of emergencies. I had never asked for payment before. What I got was a letter in my pay envelope telling me that I owed that time. That letter was dated March 15th and I noted wryly to myself that that was the day Caesar was stabbed by his own men. I am now faced with a terrible choice the day I can no longer work. I am in my early 60's now so I will have to struggle in poverty or find a way to die. Both options have equal appeal to me.

I was betrayed and I am going to pay a very heavy price, not him. There are no anger-free days for me. I have not stopped being angry since March 15, 2007. I go to bed angry, wake up angry. I am angry on the way to work and on the drive home. I yell to myself in the car and bang my fist against the dash. There is no relief, and since I live alone there is no outlet.

What is there for someone like me, in their 60's, who have no hope of getting any other work? What alternative is there but to go into that office every day and face the person who lied to me for 10 years? What is left?

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Ian, and thanks for telling your story here. There is no question that you have good reasons for your anger. From what you've written here, it's clear that you have not been treated fairly or equitably. Your sense of betrayal is understandably very deep and strong.

It's also clear that your life is looking pretty bleak to you at this point. Stuck in a job with the person who betrayed you, angry but unable to truly express it, and helpless to change your situation.

I'm not going to argue that you're wrong about any of that. I will say that your current level of anger and despair are unsustainable, meaning those emotions will take toll on you over time, creating outcomes that could make your life even worse than it is. I assume you know that, which is probably why you told your story here.

I don't have any easy or quick answers for you. I will offer you some perspectives and tools, and if you use them, I feel certain you will find some relief and healing, and ultimately, new possibilities will begin to show up for you.

If you really want to change your emotional reality (which by the way is completely under your control), then do all of the exercises described on this FAQ page. These are powerful tools, and like any tools, they only work if you use them. And the more you use them, the more skilled you will become and the better results you will get. This will help you explore the history behind your feelings, which could be essential to moving forward. If you have experiences of betrayal in your past, this more current betrayal could be feeding right into those. The tools will help you deal with all of that.

You can do this, Ian. Believe in yourself and the power of your creative mind to find your way out of your current situation that seems so hopeless. You have far more power to create positive outcomes than you realize.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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