A friendship is the intersection of two hearts. A love relationship is the point at which two people share their hearts. A family is several hearts growing together over time and building an identity together.
If our hearts are the core of our being, our identity, or that which makes us who we are; then sharing our hearts with someone else is a special thing. It is not to be taken lightly. We take great risk when we open our hearts to others. We become vulnerable, open to being hurt. When we share our hearts, we trust in the love of others.
But what if it doesn’t work that way? What if there are people who enter into relationships deceitfully, for the purpose of taking the treasures of our hearts for their own purposes? What if there are people who pretend to love, pretend to share their own hearts, so they can get you to open yourself to them?
What if someone in a relationship doesn’t share his or her real heart? What if the friendship exists only for one person to use another? What if the family relationship is such that parents feed off the hearts of their children?
Many people understand the feelings of betrayal and loss that come when they learn that someone has only pretended to be a friend or a lover has found someone else. Some know what it is like to have a trusted community turn against them.
The pain of a deceitful relationship, pretended love, is like the pain of the stab of a knife. It is natural. The knife slides in quickly and the pain comes later as the body increasingly realizes what damage has been done. And the knife has always been the weapon of choice for a friend to use on a friend.
Listen: you entered into the relationship with a need to share your heart. You were betrayed. Maybe it was a friend, or a lover, or a church, or even a parent. You are not responsible for the betrayal. You are the victim.
There are probably two questions in your mind and heart right now. First: “Why?” Why did he do this? Why did she turn against me? Why do they suddenly hate me? You may never know the answer to why. Perhaps it is enough to understand that there are some people who use relationships in this way and know that you were one of those unfortunate enough to be hurt by one of them.
The second question is more important: “What now?” You are hurt and ashamed and even a little scared. What are you supposed to do now? You have a whole future ahead of you. Do you have to hide so that you are safe from others? Should you chastise yourself for your weakness? No, but this is what many do. Don’t blame yourself! There are many people who will not do this to you.
You are smarter now. You know that you have a need to share your heart. You know that there are users and abusers out there. You should be more cautious, but you shouldn’t let their cruelty define you or affect the rest of your life.
So many of those who write to me tell me that they are happy now in a new relationship or a new church. Some say that they have been able to redefine the relationship they have with their parents. There are ways to move past the pain you have felt. Don’t be afraid to find a good counselor. Find one that will affirm you and believe you. Find one who will help you move on.
This is a time when your brain has to be in charge of your heart. I believe that can happen. Find a way to be thankful that you are out of (or now in charge of) that relationship. Then move forward.