In my role as a boundary dispute attorney, I often had to help neighbors contend with betrayal.

And truth be known, I had to assist some to orchestrate betrayal as well.

Also, it’s the rare individual who hasn’t been disappointed in life by people that they trust.

But, neither of these arise to the subject that I’m going to explore this morning.

What’s ultimately debilitating is the intentional betrayal by someone you love and trust. When that happens its pure malevolence.

To prevent its occurrence “wise” people might seek to adhere by the ‘scripture of Michael (Corleone).’

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

Yes, this is one way to approach it. But, the toll then is that one has very few if any intimate relationships.

What’s more when one takes on this frame of mind, it is likely that one will become the machiavel that readily betrays others.

And this might be the biggest point right here. As one betrays others, one is really betraying oneself.

At the end of one’s life arch, do you think that anyone is going to give a damn about your work contribution?

The answer is self-evidently not! Heck, we can barely remember even a sentence about a 1/2 dozen American presidents.

And as to the truly great contributors of our age such as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk … their names will be remembered no more commonly than Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and the Wright Brothers.

So make certain to not betray yourself by focusing solely on work to the exclusion of family and friends.

But, returning to the overall idea of what to about being betrayed oneself.

The first thing to ask is: Did my family member or friend intentionally seek to harm me?

If they did, as painful as it is to not only get out of the mess that they stuck you in, beyond that the loss of them as confidants, the best is to recognize that this is their issue, do your best to forgive them, but drop them like a bad habit.

If on the other hand, they did not intend to cause harm and they show nothing but contrition bordering on self-hatred for what they have done, seek again to forgive them and slowly rebuild the relationship.

Friends are easy to find. But, loyal friends not so much.

Note, that to find and ones that have mistakenly betrayed you can actually end up being even better friends after the harm has run its course.

One last thing to note too though, while you will never want to forget the betrayal, seek to remember the policy …

Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me.

Don’t raise the issue with your friend or family member again. They likely already went through hell over their error and forcing both of you to relive it is going to help neither of you nor the relationship.

The bottom line: Forgive and assess whether or not the relationship is worth retaining. Try to take the long view in making your decision. And then commit fully to it.