Tag Archives: trust

BETRAYED..

Have you ever been lied to by someone you trusted more than yourself?
Have you ever been so disappointed in a loved one, that you don’t believe anyone anymore?
Have you ever been betrayed by someone you’re reliant on? Someone who promised to always make you feel safe?

If your answer is yes, then I’m so sorry…
I’m so extremely sorry you had to experience such excruciating pain. I know what that feels like and I wouldn’t wish it upon my enemy, let alone my beloved readers.

If your answer is yes, come sit here beside me, and let me soothe your pain, coz chances are, the one who hurt you has lost the ability to heal you, and that alone is an agonizing realization.


What you’re going through right now is called ‘Betrayal Trauma’, like other forms of trauma, this one is especially damaging, for it shakes the core of your most solid belief systems, and can have long term impact on your mental and physical health. You probably can’t help but look back at the relationship you once cherished and wonder if it was all a lie. Not only does the person you trusted suddenly become unrecognizable and completely untrustworthy, you also starting questioning if you could trust yourself and your own judgement.
Don’t let anyone, including yourself, undermine what you’re going through. The pain is real and amongst the common effects of betrayal trauma are:

Physical Symptoms like panic attacks, continuous crying episodes, insomnia, vomiting, hair loss, rashes, acne breakouts and weight fluctuations.

Emotional Dysfunction including a whole array of emotions like anger, depression, anxiety, shame, suicidal thoughts and helplessness.

Cognitive Symptoms like extreme intrusive thoughts, obsessive behavior and shame, sadly resulting in an altered definition of love and trust..

Have any of these hit a chord?
Again.. I’m so sorry. I don’t know why I have this deep need to keep apologizing. Maybe it’s coz I know that you might have never received a proper apology from your betrayer, or maybe because I truly feel your pain and I know it’s not fair you’re left to deal with the damage alone.
Like a hit and run, except this one happens over the years in slow motion and the one driving the car is your beloved parent, partner, sibling or friend..

So now that you know the effects, let me walk you through the phases of what happens when you find out you’ve been lied to. I know, it’s like watching a horror movie, but I promise, the ending will hopefully be pleasant and soothing.

Phase One: Denial
You’ll refuse to believe it. In fact, you’ll come up with ridiculous excuses to escape facing the ugly reality of what had happened. You might even be grateful to your betrayer or unconsciously treat him or her like nothing happened. It’s what we call ‘betrayal blindness’. Your attachment system is activated and your brain goes into survival mode, working overtime to bury the trauma in a black box and push it far back in your mind where you can’t access it. After all, this person is your safe haven, you can’t afford to suddenly be emotionally homeless, so you hold on tight and pretend everything is okay..

Phase Two: Anger
But the truth is…. Everything is not okay..
Something horrible has happened to you and now the numbness turns to rage. You’ve been deceived. Someone you love and trust has made a fool out of you and if that doesn’t make you angry, I don’t know what will. The safe haven has been invaded from the inside and your ‘fight’ survival mechanism was bound to kick in.

Phase Three: Bargaining
Did they really betray you?
Maybe they had a good reason? Of course they did, right?
You surely didn’t fall for someone so evil.
She’s your soulmate for God’s sake, give her the benefit of the doubt!
He’s the love of your life, you couldn’t have been so wrong about him!
So you frantically search for answers. You’ll probably have a million questions or become hung up on every little detail you dig for, all the while screaming ‘WHY?’
Why would they repay your love with such cruelty?
Why would they upend your reality so brutally?
What did you ever do to deserve a stab in the back?
What was going through their minds as they lied to so casually?
Your cortisol levels skyrocket as you experience a new set of stress-related symptoms.
It’s a struggle that probably won’t yield any satisfying results, and for that again… I’m so sorry..

Phase Four: Depression
I don’t know how long it will take, but the blazing fire of your anger and anxiety will eventually turn to ashes. You’ll be huddled up in a corner, left with the debris of a relationship you thought was a blessing, but turned out to be your biggest nightmare.
That’s the sad thing about betrayal; it never comes from enemies. Something breaks inside you every time you allow yourself to absorb what happened. It’s the worst kind of pain.
You’ll have to feel it though.. There’s no other way around it..

Phase Five: Acceptance
This is the most difficult phase..
In our mind, acceptance means approval, and it’s why forgiveness seems impossible at times, because it means accepting the unacceptable. But that’s not what I’m asking of you or myself..
I need you to accept what happened. You’ve been betrayed and deceived
Accept it..
You’ve been failed and let down..
Accept it..
You’ve lost something you thought you could never lose.
Accept your new reality, because resisting it won’t change anything.
Accept there’s evil in this world, and accept that some people can do very bad things, even to the ones closest to them.
Accept the shame, humiliation and defeat. It will help you reach out for support, be it therapy or emotional support from loved ones, which is exactly what you need to heal.

But Now What..?
Now your life has temporarily changed and that’s okay..
Dealing with the aftermath of betrayal trauma can be an isolating experience but please don’t succumb to it. Take your time to regain your strength, and learn your lessons
There’s a beautiful Hadith that I somehow chose to ignore in the past, but in fact it’s the ultimate shield against betrayal and deceit…

Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said: Love your beloved moderately, perhaps he becomes hated to you someday. And hate whom you hate moderately, perhaps he becomes your beloved someday
(Jami’ al-Tirmidhi, 1997)

You’ve loved. You’ve lost and now it’s time to dust yourself off and start anew.
Just as long as you remember to not carry this huge burden on your back as you walk away. What happened was not your fault.
Please read that again: What happened was NOT your fault. There is absolutely no excuse for betrayal, cheating or deceit. So leave that baggage behind for your betrayer to carry, and trust that Allah doesn’t let sins go unpunished, especially when the sin harms and scars one of His innocent slaves.
It might not be the solace you’re seeking and it doesn’t fix what was broken. I just know that feeling broken isn’t the end of your story.
It’s a new beginning..
And don’t ever think God will let you walk it alone…

Okay so I was just about to commence with my grand finale about hope and love but someone just stopped me to ask a question
“Yes?”
“What if your betrayer shows remorse? Asks for forgiveness or another chance? Do you still walk away and never look back?”

*Awkward silence

Do you?
Well, I guess that’s another story for another article
Stay tuned….

Lilly S. Mohsen

Inside The Therapist’s Office: Episode One

Published on Productive Muslim
9th June, 2016

 

Office

Fidgeting with her fingers, it was obvious she was very agitated. And why wouldn’t she be?

Sitting here with a complete stranger talking about your worst fears, your sordid past and shattered dreams. It takes a toll on a person. We’re trained to run away from scary things, but today, this anxious woman was asked to face and stare at her fears while sipping herbal tea with her therapist.

“So you mentioned you stayed up all night ‘googling’ your symptoms. Did your research yield any results?” I asked.

“I kept waiting for the word ‘cancer’ to flash on the screen. I’m going crazy! I’ve seen twelve different doctors so far and they all insist I’m physically healthy and should seek therapy instead!” Hannah replied. “So here I am!”

“I suppose since your scans and labs came back clean, your doctors had to explore other options to find the source of your sickness. But now the question is, do you trust they all did their best to help you?”

“I don’t trust anyone!” Hannah crossed her arms and looked away. “I learnt my lesson the hard way, a very long time ago….”

 

He was her high school sweet heart and the love of her life. They got married as soon as they both graduated and after years of feeling like a stranger in this world, Hannah was finally happy, like she had finally found a safe home. Nothing mattered as long as they were together. With no financial support from neither of their families, they both worked hard to make ends meet. But as years went by, the stress burst their beautiful love bubble and left them dangerously exposed to the sharp edges of responsibilities and frustration, especially after her husband got laid off, and Hannah had to take extra shifts waitressing at a restaurant to pay off their debts.

“Can you at least acknowledge the fact that I’m speaking to you?” Hannah sighed during dinner.

“I’m hoping if I ignore you, you’d get the point and shut up!” Rasheed scoffed. “You make it sound like I’m the lazy idiot husband who’d rather stay at home and watch TV instead of find a job! I AM trying Hannah!”

“But it’s been eight months! I’m exhausted! I thought it was the man’s job to take care of his wife! You’re obviously following the footsteps of your father!” Hannah yelled.

The few words they exchanged turned into another huge fight, ending with Rasheed throwing his glass cup at the wall and storming out. Hannah sat motionless in the corner staring at the floor. That’s exactly how her dreams looked like now; shattered into a million pieces like this broken glass. It wasn’t until sunrise when Rasheed came back home that she finally realized; it wasn’t love that held them together anymore. It was fear. The tremendous fear of losing him and being all alone.

 

“Didn’t we have stew yesterday?” Rasheed asked still half asleep. That’s all he seemed to do lately; out all night and asleep all day.

“Yes! I’m sorry! But until you find a job we need to tighten our belts a bit and start saving!”

“Am I in the mood for your nagging shift? Ummm no!” Rasheed said sarcastically.

“We barely buy anything yet we run out of money by mid month! Where does it all go?” Hannah asked.

“I can’t do this anymore. I’m outta here!” Rasheed got up to change and leave.  

Walking away was what he did best. This wasn’t the man she fell in love with. He even looked different! He’d become depressed, irritable and scrappy, and she had been patient for way too long and now was the time for a serious talk! Enraged by his carelessness, after a couple of hours of him ignoring her calls, Hannah grabbed her purse and rushed outside to find her husband. But she took a fall down the stairs and ended up in the hospital instead.

 

“He didn’t know I was pregnant” Hannah cried softly, as I handed her another tissue. “I lost the baby and the doctors informed me my injuries affected my reproductive system and it would be impossible for me to have anymore children. A couple of months later, Rasheed left too. I lost everything! I suffered for a long time; I almost gave up on life completely. Until I got married again a few months ago, and I can’t help but think what will happen when if he leaves. I just don’t feel safe! There’s no one in my life I can truly trust and depend on! I don’t wanna die alone! I’m scared! All the time!”

“You’re right! Trust is life! Without it we’d go insane. But it’s not something we give regardless of the circumstances; it’s very pragmatic depending on the situation. You trusted your ex-husband to take care of you, but he let you down, since he wasn’t working. You trusted him with something he wasn’t capable of doing. Now that you’re married to someone else, perhaps you trust him to take care of you, but you don’t trust you can rely on him forever. You can trust a loved one with one thing but not the other. It doesn’t make you suspicious, or paranoid, it makes you SMART and proves you possess wisdom! I mean sure your current husband can run a whole company for example, but would you trust him to fly a plane or give you a new haircut?” I asked.

That’s when Hannah finally smiled.

“Trust is the secret to life, Hannah. Without it we would all feel paralyzed. If we didn’t trust the locks on our doors, we wouldn’t be able to sleep at night. If we didn’t trust our coworkers, we wouldn’t be able to work as a team. If we didn’t trust the legal system, we wouldn’t follow the rules. Without trust, there would be no productivity or security or even life on this Earth. We would live in constant and utter FEAR! Trust is the essence of any healthy relationship. But before giving it, we need to build it through knowledge! You need to find out if that person is capable, honest and reliable. Without this knowledge, trust is obsolete!”

 

“That’s true” Hannah nodded.
“Why do you trust your nose won’t go missing when you fall asleep? Or that the sun will come up every day! Or that the whole planet won’t run out of water and food! Who are you trusting to keep this whole life system intact?”

“Almighty Allah of course!” Hannah replied.

“But why do you trust Him?” I asked again.

“Because I know Him. I know He is the One who created everything and He is capable of managing His creations!” Hannah said.

 

“But what if I told you that I set the alarm really early and I’m the one who commands the sun to come up every morning?” I smirked.

“Astaghfar Allah! That’s impossible!” Hannah frowned.

“Exactly! As Muslims, we all have an intact belief system based on knowledge of our Creator. The more we learn about His limitless capabilities the more we trust Him! This is why the ‘shahada’ is the first pillar of Islam, and it’s based on complete trust in Allah. The ‘shahada’ is the solid belief system we need to wash away all our negative feelings! It’s the antidote to fear, sadness and worry. But now you’ve created another belief system that you’ll die alone because the people you depend on to take care of you can’t be trusted to outlive you. And you know why they can’t be trusted? Because they’re human! They aren’t capable or reliable to be around forever! And that’s why your new belief system scares you! Your life is like the plane your husband is in charge of. You’re depending on him, even though he’s not a trained pilot! Of course your terrified ALL the time!” I explained. “Isn’t it time to depend on the One capable of managing your life, Hannah? Isn’t it time to submit to Him alone?”

 

Hannah’s tears flowed down again, but this time her tears washed away the doubts and made her see the bigger picture she was blinded to. Belief systems are what keep us grounded, and yet when built on falsehood they can take us to the darkest places. Creating a belief system based on assumptions or desires or fears is no different from creating a stone idol and worshipping it besides Allah, True and genuine faith cannot be half way. It cannot be shared or conditioned; because it’s the solid ground we need to stand on before we start the journey to Paradise.

 

“You’re not alone, Hannah. Allah is with you. Every time He takes something you want from you, He will replace it with something you need!” I said.

“That’s true… When Rasheed left, Allah sent me a friend to soothe me, and her child is like my own. I don’t know what I would have done without them!” Hannah whispered. “I’m finally able to give the love I never got from my own parents!”

“That’s the first time you mention them” I said carefully. “I can tell it’s a subject you try to avoid. Are you angry at your parents, Hannah?”

“My dad died years ago. And my mom is also dead…. Or at least to me she is….”

 

 

To be continued

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

The Amazing Race Of Ramadan: Episode Two

Published on OnIslam.net
On July 2nd, 2015
This is the original version

Episode Two: Joy Is A Six Letter Word

Family

The race has commenced and the clock is ticking.
Tick Tock Tick Tock
We are super excited as the camera zooms in on a random house:

Dad is glued to Twitter
Mom is glued to Facebook
Son is glued to Play Station
Daughter is glued to Instagram

My eyes dart back and forth and I quickly cover the camera lens with my hand.
“Psssstttttt guys! The angels are waiting to record your good deeds, and frankly I think they’re getting a little bored! Come on people, look alive!”

Looks like times have changed. The most we think of family members now is a bunch of people who share our DNA and last name. Most of us live in the same house yet are worlds apart, too occupied with focusing on how, our mentalities are growing in different directions, but forgetting that always and forever, like a beautiful tree, our roots will remain one.

Home is not just a place to eat and sleep guys… Home is a feeling…
Come here and hold your parents’ and siblings’ hands. Together we’ll start a new beginning this Ramadan.

Lost In A Safe Haven? Take The Vertical Road.

I don’t live on Jupiter! I know kids can drive you up the walls, siblings can be annoying and parents are ancient beings who don’t understand that the word ‘sick’ can also mean ‘cool’. But when your friends become more important than your own family then I think we have a problem here. And it’s not fair either, coz we save the ‘sparkle’ for the outer world and dim out the minute we get back home. Our family deserves some of our attention and time and the Holy month is the perfect opportunity to get back in ‘sync’. The best way to start is to pray together. Go to the mosque and learn the Qur’an and Hadiths with your parents, siblings and kids to re-create that special bond again. If you feel like you don’t belong in the safe haven of your home, start by taking the vertical road and worship Allah together as a family.
(Okay I was expecting a little applause here for the brilliant metaphor but whatever LOL)

Frame the Circle Of Trust with Kindness

Anyone you know can become a stranger overnight except for your family members, they’re stuck on you. Your parents will always be your parents. There are no ‘coupons’ to exchange siblings and kids. They’re your ‘Circle of Trust’ coz they’re constant, and deep inside they always want the best for you. So doesn’t it make sense to put the most effort in those ‘for-life’ relationships?

Deposit some ‘positive’ credit in the family bank account. I know life pulls us in all directions like work, school, friends, and obligations, and each pull requires time and effort. But Ramadan is the month of kindness, mercy and forgiveness. Let’s start at home people.

Dads: We know you work hard to provide financial security to the kids. But without taking the time to instill those Islamic ethics and principles, they’ll misuse that money you’re so busy saving. Be a lenient teacher and a loving friend to your kids this Ramadan. And yes, the cliché is truer than ever, the best thing you can do for your children is to love and respect their mom.

Moms: Over here! Hi! This is just a friendly reminder: Your smile makes the world shine bright. So be the cheerful sun in the morning and the serene comforting moon at night. Your kids need to hear that you love them, regardless of their whining and bad grades. Use the Holy month for fun charitable projects and Islamic bedtime stories. We know you need your private worship time, but your kids need your wisdom and love even more. So turn their electronic devices off and switch on the light of faith in their hearts. Use that time to reconnect with your husband and children before Satan is out on the loose again!

Teenage Boys: Seriously guys. I know you think it’s your birthright to be rebellious at this age but for the love of God have some mercy on your parents this month. Remind them why they dreamed of having you by being perfect these 30 days. Help out with the chores (yes including taking out the garbage and babysitting while you’re fasting. Life is unfair that way LOL). Once you gain your parents’ ‘Reda’, everything else will fall in place.

Teenage Girls: You probably think it’s your birthright to be dramatic too. Ummm not this month! So quit rolling your eyes and pretending you didn’t hear your mom calling. Instead, offer a helping hand with a smile. Us moms were 99% sure we were carrying royal princesses in our tummies, so be one this Ramadan. (I’m actually on my knees begging at this point).

And now is the time I remind all Muslims (including myself) of how to cherish their parents, whether you’re 6 or 60 it doesn’t really matter….

“And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], “uff,” and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word. And lower to them the wing of humility out of mercy and say, “My Lord, have mercy upon them as they brought me up [when I was] small.” (Holy Qur’an 17:23-24)

The Family Tree: Make Amends With Your Branches.

My son is a soccer fanatic so I happen to know a lot about sports. When you’re one of the players, you don’t complain to the press about the club’s drawbacks; instead you shield them and take one for the team when necessary. Family is the most important group you’ll ever be part of, they’re your roots. But you can’t expect a tree to grow if you don’t water it. Sit by your parents’ feet and kiss their hands every chance you get. Open your homes and hearts for your siblings and relatives. Help the needy and visit the sick ones. Love your family and forgive their mistakes this Ramadan. Please!

“Why is she talking about relationships in the month of Qur’an and spirituality? Did ‘On Islam’ even approve this article for publishing?”

Hey I heard that! Okay I didn’t want to do this but you guys leave me no choice.

Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) said, “Kinship (Rahim) is derived from Allah. If anyone maintains ties of kinship Allah maintains ties with him. If anyone cuts them off, Allah cuts him off.” (Sahih. Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 55)

You wanna win the Race to the highest levels of Paradise, don’t you?

So pick up that phone and make amends with your loved ones today. Call your estranged aunt or your ‘banned’ uncle and tell them whatever happened to drift you guys apart is water under the bridge now. Support your family and mend the cut ropes for Allah’s sake this Ramadan. And then come back and tell us how peaceful and enriched your life has become….

Because Joy is a six-letter word: ‘FAMILY’
May Allah make your homes mini-heavens on Earth….
Please send my Salam to all your loved ones….

Lilly S. Mohsen

Look out for ‘The Magnet’ Episode Three from the ‘Amazing Race’
Coming to a website near you this Ramadan.
Stay tuned….