Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Betrayal can only happen if you love. (John le Carré)

21 February 2015


The English language has two words for the Dutch word “verraad’, being betrayal and treason. Both betrayal and treason are featuring prominently in the HBO TV series Game of Thrones. I think that one of these episodes referred to betrayal / treason as being the worst sin ever. I tend to concur with that as I also can’t think of any worse one.

While treason is a rather objective – legal – concept, betrayal is not. Betrayal is a rather subjective concept compared to treason. 

The following explanation that I found is quite helpful: “Treason is a criminal offence of disloyalty to the Crown, under the Statute of Treason (1351), still punishable in Britain by life imprisonment. Treachery is a character defect, associated with unreliability and violence. (It also used to be a criminal offence, 1940-1973). Betrayal is the act of breaking a promise or a duty of loyalty”. (source)

As betrayal is a rather subjective concept, it is entirely possible that people FEEL betrayed although others would entirely disagree with that feeling given the context or circumstances.

I think my daughter feels betrayed by the divorce of her parents. Yet she was the one who opened my eyes in 2008 when asking “Why don’t you get a divorce???” after another parental fight. Also see my earlier (Dutch) blog of 8 May 2014. My former girlfriend once made an intriguing remark by saying that my daughter feels betrayed by me as she feels that I “divorced” her too. 

Somehow I also feel betrayed by my daughter. I feel reluctant to list the many incidents we had during my attempts to reconcile. Many of them felt like a slap in my face. I think that I have tried nearly every tactic but all in vain. Since several months I am fully ignoring her. It is also mutual.

I get lots of outside pressure to reconnect. Everyone has an opinion how I should handle this. Usually I get suggestions for things that I already tried. I have chosen to ignore such suggestions. Mostly, as it is my responsibility and not theirs. Secondly, as I (used to) know her and they do not.

Betrayal is a complicated and strong emotion that has several layers. Even when trust would formally be restored then another, deeper, layer of suspicion would still linger. 

The solution is in the adjective ‘subjective’. It would require making the mental leap that betrayal has never taken place. Only one’s ratio can convince one’s emotion. The ratio of others could assist in creating a reasonable doubt that could (re)start the inner struggle. Yet any fight between head and heart is time consuming and the winner is unpredictable. It took me 10 years to decide to divorce. I doubt that the outcome of my inner struggle was predictable to anyone.

“The assumption is the mother of all mistakes.”

A quote by the philosopher Mr. Eugene Lewis Fordsworthe

“Love is whatever you can still betray. Betrayal can only happen if you love.”

A quote by John le Carré (1931-2020)


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