• Leatha Kingi

Healing Self Betrayal & Developing Self Trust

It’s probably fair to say you are interested in or engaged in your healing process - you’re here reading this, after all.

Perhaps you’ve observed what I* have. In so many wellness spaces I see (often well meaning) people SHOULDing on others. Telling us we should:

  • Love ourselves

  • Drop our ego

  • Do self care

  • Go after what we want

  • Be positive

  • Increase self worth

  • Take action

  • Be grateful

  • Have patience

  • Go after what we want

  • Be committed

  • Be a winner

  • Take imperfect action

  • Don’t give up

  • Keep your word

  • Workout every day

  • Wake up early

  • Manifest all our desires

  • Heal

  • Change the world

  • GO GO GO HUSTLE HUSTLE HUSTLE GRIND GRIND GRIND but not too much but just enough but more than you are and JUST DO IT

I invite you to consider not letting anyone, including you, “should'' on you. Especially if (and I find it usually does) “shoulding” leads to shame. Shame does not produce deep, lasting results. Shame never heals.

The thing is, you are your own authority. The knowledge of what is correct for you is within you.

There was a time in your life when you knew what you wanted and needed - intuitively. We came to this earth knowing when we were hungry, tired, or lonely. And we expressed it. Until somewhere along the way, when we learned to shut down our inner knowing and being and learned how to play a role. We disconnected from our intuition and did whatever seemed necessary for love, approval, and validation. We started jumping hoops and some of us kept going.

That hoop jumping, trauma responses, the varied and incessant forms of violence perpetrated by colonized society, a relentless and harsh inner critic - all of these and more cloud our intuition. But it is still there, somewhere underneath all the fog.

While we are so blessed to have community, to have mentors and guides to inspire and educate us, no one else has stewardship over your healing. Within you lies the expertise on you.

Feeling disconnected from self and self knowing is the product of self betrayal. Developing self trust unlocks that divinely ordained intuition.

What is self betrayal? To define it, let’s first define betrayal. According to MerriamWebster:

Definition of betrayal

: the act of betraying someone or something or the fact of being betrayed : violation of a person's trust or confidence, of a moral standard, etc.

So we can define self betrayal as violating our own trust, confidence, or moral standards. It is making choices that are not in our own best interests.

What could self betrayal look like?

As always, healing is cyclical and there is a spectrum of where we are in regards to self trust and betrayal. Consider the following possible signs of self betrayal:

  • Indecisive, struggling regularly to make even small decisons

  • Feeling out of control of your life

  • Feeling stuck with no way out

  • Relationships with people who betray you

  • Staying in relationships despite red flags

  • Going back to people who have hurt you - romantic or otherwise

  • Expecting people to be different from what they have shown you repeatedly

  • Waiting for rescue, for someone to save you, for someone else to do it. Fantasizing about being rescued or saved

  • Giving in to something just because you want to avoid confrontation

  • Consciously making a choice that is not correct for you - “I know this is bad but…”

  • Waiting for someone to rehabilitate you - “I’m a player but I will settle down when I meet the right..”

  • Needing validation from others

  • Resentment of others/ agreeing to things you don’t want to do

  • Excusing behavior/ your needs not met in relationships

  • Caring for others without caring for self

  • Changing your schedule, views, hobbies etc for partner or friend

  • Doing most of the work to get a relationship to “work”

  • Ignoring your hurt/letting it go/ trying to seem easy going and chill when you are actually upset

  • Hiding part of who we are - our sexual or other identity, our views, etc

  • Hiding or lying about our partner’s, friends’ or family members’ behavior

  • Feeling obligated to “keep the peace”

  • “Performing” playing a role - i.e. perfect wife/mom/child, and seeking validation through this

  • Chronic overwhelm - feeling that there is so much to change, where do I even start?

  • People pleasing - fear of criticism, need for approval

  • No rituals/self care or if you have them, they are easily negotiable/cancelled

  • Frequently numbing/entertaining self

  • Accepting/justifying behavior that goes against our core values

  • Saying you’ll do something or change something but even while saying it you know you won’t do it

Why does it happen?

  • It generally starts young. Consider that for many of us, our intuition and reality start being negated by someone very early. In my observations, children are highly intuitive. They are not yet disconnected from that innate intuition. Consider that you were extremely intuitive - knowing your wants and needs. Consider that your reality was negated by someone else. Some examples and ideas to consider:

  • A child feels strong emotions, such as sadness or frustration. A well meaning caregiver says “You’re ok!” instead of sitting with and accepting our emotions.

  • A child cries to express strong emotions, and a caregiver tells them “Quit crying or I will give you something to cry about!”

  • A child feels afraid, anxious and shares what they are afraid of and a caregiver responds with “There’s nothing to be afraid of!”

  • A child feels the tension and stress between their parents. Although they don’t openly fight in front of them, they hear the bickering behind closed doors and the child feels the disconnect between them. Yet they pretend everything is fine.

  • As a teen, you know something is wrong with your older sibling’s behavior. They are moody, withdrawn, and there are physical changes in their appearance. Yet nothing is addressed openly by your family.

  • A child experiences trauma or abuse and it is not addressed. Within this experience are a whole host of issues that trigger self betrayal - being forced to hide, cover up, and lie by the abuser, and then not being protected by those who are tasked with protecting us.

  • A teen engages in developmentally normal behavior that is not inherently dangerous - exploring and considering their beliefs about spirituality, politics, sexuality, social mores, etc. It is met with fear based and domineering parenting tactics like invading privacy, revoking privileges, and forcing compliance.

  • A family culture of “sweeping things under the rug” leads to self betrayal because in order to survive we learn to do it too, because if we directly confront and speak on family issues, we are criticized and/or ostracized.

  • How does your family of origin react to people who bring up difficult issues? DId you learn by example that speaking up for yourself is an undesirable quality? Are “boat-rockers” criticized?

  • If there is a conflict in the family, is there a family expectation to pretend it didn’t happen? For example, you have an argument with your parents and harsh, hurtful things are said. Do they just contact you a week or so later, with no acknowledgment of the argument?

  • How do family members assert and maintain boundaries? Are boundaries respected?

  • When we self betray, we learned at some point that our own needs and wants were not important or not valid. So we disconnect from those wants and needs because it is very painful to be aware of wants and needs while actively not honoring them.So then we either don't even know what we need from years of disconnecting, or we do have some awareness but we shove it down because we think we aren’t as important as others. Our needs are not valid compared to those of others. We may also be pushing down our own emotions for extended periods of time to cope with our situation. All of these have the snowball effect of distancing us even further from ourselves and our knowing.

  • Another thing that deepens self betrayal is that when we betray our own values and needs, it's human nature to justify. We “adjust” the world to fit our betrayal so that we can tolerate being out of integrity. We inflate our virtue and deflate others so we can assign blame more easily. But ultimately this causes even deeper self betrayal. Some examples:

  • We feel prompted to apologize to someone, which aligns with our true values. However, we delay the apology due to fear and then we start to adjust by making excuses. It’s too late to apologize now. Actually, now that I think about it, it wasn’t even my fault - she should apologize! I didn’t even do anything that bad. Even with these rationalizations, we know deep down that we are out of integrity with ourselves. The next time we see or are reminded of that person and we don’t act, the self betrayal and loss of self trust deepens.

  • We lie about something to our partner, which does not align with our values. We intend to come clean, but we don’t. Instead: It wasn’t even a big deal. It’s not like he’s never lied to me. And next time, a bigger lie becomes easier to justify - which breaks self trust even more.

  • We say we are going to prioritize our sleep, because we recognize the immense negative impact physically, mentally, emotionally, and relationally of too little sleep. Yet we don’t take any action at all towards changing it - and maybe, because of that deeply embedded neural pathway of self betrayal and self sabotage, we actually indulge even more in various poor sleep habits. And we think: Whatever, I’ll sleep when I’m dead/kids are older/when someone else finally starts doing chores around here. I don’t even need that much sleep anyway. Lots of people survive on less sleep than I get.

How do we heal these wounds of self betrayal?

How do we build self trust? There are several things that have helped me along my healing journey. In each case, essential oils** enhanced my capacity to rewire my brain. Self betrayal becomes a subconscious way of being - the key to shifting it is to consistently and consciously change what I am doing which ultimately changes my being. Creating simple healing rituals has brought so much profound healing over time. Practice leaning into your own intuition to determine where to start and how to proceed. Start small. Start in one area. Build upon each habit over time. The ripple effect is real!

Key practices in deepening self trust:

  • Make and keep small promises to yourself. This, more than anything else, has been instrumental for my healing. Making promises and following through on them - and starting with small things like holding an asana for 5 breaths, listing 3 gratitudes nightly, diffusing oils every morning, meditating for 3 minutes, etc. Put yourself first. Practice prioritizing your own needs.

  • Oil to use: Coriander, the oil of integrity. (Especially helpful if you have been stuck in a pattern of self sabotage or putting yourself last)

  • As you build self trust by following through on those small commitments, practice tuning into intuition and seeing what is in alignment for you next.

  • Oils to use: Blue tansy, the oil of inspired action; Clary sage; oil of clarity and vision.

  • Embracing our self worth and healing our harsh inner critic

  • Oils to use: Rose, the oil of divine love; Magnolia, the oil of compassion.

  • Tune into what is correct for ourselves. Take time to identify needs after not doing so for long periods of time. Avoiding self sabotage by setting realistic step by step goals. Big goals are sometimes a way of fulfilling self betrayal by setting ourselves up to fail.

  • Oils to use: Frankincense, the oil of Truth

  • Practice saying no to what drains you. Start by reviewing your schedule and choosing things to stop doing. Learn how to set boundaries. Practice making your self care non-negotiable by asserting boundaries around your time and energy. Release or heal relationships that suppress your living in alignment and integrity. It’s not love if you have to deny your needs or identity.

  • Oils to use: Clove, the oil of boundaries; Tea Tree, the oil of energetic boundaries; Spearmint, the oil of confident speech.

  • Face your fears. Learn to sit with discomfort and hard emotions. Become comfortable with confrontation as needed to be in alignment and integrity.

  • Oil to use: Cassia, the oil of self-assurance

  • Inner child work such as meditation, journaling, energy work and other modalities. Reclaiming joy, playfulness, curiosity and wonder.

  • Oils to use: Green mandarin; the oil of pure potential; Ylang ylang, the oil of the inner child.

Fruits of self trust:

  • Trust in your own word

  • Intuition is strong and powerful and easy to access

  • Trusting yourself to know what is correct for you

  • Knowing what you need and being assertive in communicating it

  • Strong self worth - you are equally as important as everyone else

  • More ease and opportunity to serve others - such as standing up for marginalized folks or being able to hold space for loved ones

  • More joy, ease, happiness, alignment and flow

  • Stronger healthier relationships

  • The ability to accept another’s path - able to acknowledge multiple realities

There is one very important thing to remember. Trust, in any broken relationship, does not happen instantly. I love Brene Brown’s marble jar analogy on trust. This applies to self as well. We consistently add marbles to the jar over time and show ourselves that we have our own backs - we increase in alignment and experience greater joy and peace and trust.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic! Comment below or message me. And if this has brought value to your life, please share it!

*As with everything I share, I am not an expert. I am simply a woman on her own healing journey sharing my ever deepening and expanding Truth.

**My suggestions and recommendations are based on doTERRA essential oils. Here's why.


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