just because
you feel betrayed
by someone
doesn’t mean
they did you wrong

how you feel
about something
doesn’t necessarily say
anything about what
someone else did

all the time
i see people
on the internet
(myself included)
saying things
like “i’ve never felt so betrayed”
and then i see people say
“i am so sorry he betrayed you”
“i can’t believe she betrayed you”
as if someone saying they feel that way
means it for sure happened
and that other person is now labeled
a betrayer
or better yet
let’s diagnose them
as a narcissist, sociopath,
borderline, just plain crazy
or out of touch with reality
(as if you are the one
that knows someone else’s interiors
as if you are the one
that remembers most accurately)

le sigh…
not sure if i want to laugh or cry

you name the personality disorder
we love to assume that the people
who reject us
or who turn on us
are mentally ill or disordered
in some (certain) way

and sometimes
that is true
very true
sometimes
it’s true
that people actually betray people
and yes, sometimes it’s true
that those people have extreme
personality disorders
mental illnesses
or addictions and compulsions
that have them acting
crazy or cruel
in rationally unexplained ways

yes, some people
are wired differently
and do in fact
lack empathy
manipulate easily
gaslight strategically
faking intimacies
and avoiding responsibility
(refusing to acknowledge impact
or connect the dots
that seem so obvious
to most everybody)

yes some people

and i know
the comfort in knowing
oh that person
was sick or wired differently (from me)
a knowing from an authority outside of me
like learning a dear friend
is bipolar
and this mania
has little to do with the fact
that i didn’t agree with them
and a lot to do
with their brain chemistry

but i think this is rarer
than we seem to want it to be
and i find we are jumping
to finger pointing
sooner than i would like us to be

so i just wanted to say
i am concerned
by how far i see us swinging
to assuming sickness
and labeling people
who caused us (or those
we care about)
pain

because
the risks are real
and potentially
profoundly disempowering
because when we are busy
pointing fingers out
it is highly likely we’ll miss
some of what is happening
inside us…
how we might be contributing
to the horrors we live
the wars we find ourselves in
the atrocities we witness
when humans unravel
becoming brutal

so
this leaves me
thinking
the best option
is to look
at myself
and why
really why
did i choose to be with someone
who is acting in the ways
i found so painful anyway
like really
what is it about me
that would choose this person
or that person
even as my “needs”
are clearly not being met
even as my feelings
are getting hurt repeatedly
even as my heart aches
and feels like it is constantly
bleeding out
even as my anxiety rises
and the panic attacks come
more and more frequently
even as i know
even as my soul is screaming
this isn’t right
this isn’t good (for me)

those questions
have given me more
(way more)
than obsessing about
determining the mental health
of those around me

and trust me, i have
and i still do fall into
wanting to know
did he mean to hurt me
was she trying to punish me
but those questions
i am not so sure
i will ever know the answers to
and i am not so sure
asking on repeat
is helping anything

so when i catch myself
consumed with that
which i cannot control
and have no ability
to really know or change
i force myself to turn inward

i make myself
face myself

and i pour
all the energy
i was tempted
to spend
on their crazy
back into me
so all the unmet
sad and damaged
crazed sharp parts
(that have me
wanting it to be
about anyone but me)
begin to soften
and reveal such tender
understandings

i just know
i feel less bonkers
i’m acting less nutty
I’m less consumed
with cooky
i am okay
i am all right
actually i am more
than all right
i’m good

sane in what
i can be
honest where
i know to be
true at least
with me

❤️ emily joy rosen

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