Beth Hedva (2001)


Betrayal, Trust and Forgiveness: A guide to emotional healing and self renewal.


Using mythology to understand and transform the self.

This involves examining both inner and outer worlds (as in Erikson's configurational approach) - and Hegel's phenomenology.

Betrayal is an important theme in most people's lives. Beth indicates that she came to understand it through

"my own inner work with my shadow - my unconscious feelings. ... and started by examining my harsh judgments and criticisms of other people." (p. vii).

Also from her clients' "betrayal stories"  often leading to "righteous resentment"

Also examining literature: mythology, fairytales, and legends as forms of universal mythology.


 Various forms of betrayal occur in our lives

The betrayal stories intimate: separation, alienation and  emotional distance.

    E.g. Arjuna's betrayal of his family

            Judas' betrayal of Jesus.

In order to undergo growth and healing we need to understand the mythologies of betrayal and then we can form trust and forgiveness on the path to  self-healing and recovery.

Five Ordeals

Looking at the "ancient mystic schools: one finds rituals of initiation including the five phases of initiation:

1) Separation

2) Purification

3) Symbolic Death

4) New Knowledge

5) Rebirth

Separation - from god / goddess as the universal creative Source and true Spiritual centre.

Purification - includes the fear of loss where one "becomes aware of false attachments, old patterns, or identities that have outlived their their purpose"

Symbolic Death of the ego is a stage that one is expected to pass through by enduring the experience of loss.

New knowledge arises from  these challenges and serve as a catalyst for spiritual growth.

Rebirth is the arrival of a new sense of self and identity.


Purification involves ritual ordeals or tests of strength, courage or mastery.

These likely involve one of the following:

1. Righteous Resentment - engaging in obsession vengeance and vindication.

2. Bitter Resignation - containing a denial of the positive in the other, seeing them as only negative (projection of shadow).

3. Attribution - of the betrayer's negative traits to others. Entails cynicism, prejudice & bigotry.

4. Betrayla of one's ideals - or essential values or vital dreams. Involves a denial of essential Self and the denial of one's personal values and visions.

5. Denial of one's existential right to be: one's right to live one's dreams. Involves fear, control, manipulation - creating rules to protect against future betrayals.


In recovery from betrayals we often have to go through stages of loss or grief as as according Elizabeth Kubler-Ross:

1. Denial

2. Anger

3. Rationalization

4. Depression

5. Acceptance  a la Robot Chicken