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Living in today society, betrayal has always been an issue since biblical times. Betrayal will cause a person to lie and deceive a person or group to gain their trust just for them to make an easy target to betray. Mostly everyone on this earth has been or have betrayed someone. There are many forms of betrayals: friendship, personal relationships and treason. But mostly personal relationships endure more betrayals than friendships or treason. Through the play Fences, August Wilson intends to show how betrayal can create lack of self-esteem and lead to uncontrollable circumstances. Because of Troy’s infidelity, his family is forced to deal with the burden that comes along with his experiences.
Betrayal is the sense of being harmed by the intentional actions or omissions of a trusted person. The most common forms of betrayal are harmful disclosures of confidential information, disloyalty, infidelity, dishonesty (Rachman S). They can be traumatic and cause considerable distress. The effects of betrayal include shock, loss and grief, morbid pre-occupation, damaged self-esteem, self-doubting, anger. Not infrequently they produce life-altering changes. The effects of a catastrophic betrayal are most relevant for anxiety disorders, and OCD and PTSD.
Betrayal can cause mental contamination, and the betrayer commonly becomes a source of contamination. In a series of experiments, it was demonstrated that feelings of mental contamination can be aroused by imagining unacceptable non-consensual acts. The magnitude of the mental contamination was boosted by the introduction of betrayal themes. “Feelings of mental contamination can also be aroused in some ‘perpetrators’ of non-consensual acts involving betrayal” (309).
Close relationships are the origin of many positive experiences. We feel exhilarated when we develop new interdependencies, celebrate positive interpersonal events in our own and others’ lives, and are deeply gratified by relationships that are healthy, vital, and enduring (253). It is in romantic relationships that we also find ourselves most vulnerable to suffering. At some point in most relationships, one partner will betray the other, violating relationship-relevant norms by engaging in acts of deception or disloyalty. How do we manage to sustain relationships in which we suffer such harm, and what are the consequences of forgiving versus failing to forgive a partner’s act of betrayal? The past two decades have witnessed a dramatic increase in the study of forgiveness (Hannon,P). Early research in this tradition was largely victim centered, examining the personality traits that are associated with forgiveness, the cognitive and affective events that predict forgiveness, and the personal values that promote forgiveness.
Troy is a selfish guy that betrayed everybody in his family. He betrayed his wife Rose, son, Cory, and his brother Gabriel. Reasons of Troy’s betrayals is because of the people/organization who betrayed him and not having a solid child hood. His father was very strict and controlling and, he felt betrayed by the Negro Baseball League due to his age and skin color. Going through this rough time in his life, he reflects what’s been shown to him. Troy thought that he was a good husband to Rose because he provided her with food and a house. He wasn’t a good husband because he didn’t give her love and compassion. These two things are needed in a good marriage. She centered her whole life around him and he gave her almost nothing. When she had a problem, she couldn’t go to him. Troy also wasn’t faithful to Rose. He went off and had an affair with another woman. Rose was heart-broken by this. She couldn’t believe Troy could do this to her. She devoted her life to him and he goes and stabs her in the back. On top of that, Troy had a child with his mistress name Alberta. The woman died giving birth (1276). Troy asked Rose to take care of the baby. Rose did, what else could she have done? Troy was not a good husband.
Dealing with betrayal in a relationship is a struggle, the effect of it can mess with a person mentally and emotionally causing the victim to have low self-esteem. When a person is betrayed, it is hard to own back trust. For example, in the play fences, Rose tells Troy how he hurt her to the core:
“I been standing with you! I been right here with you, Troy. I got a life, too. I gave eighteen years of my life to stand in the same spot with you. Don’t you think I ever wanted other things? Don’t you think I had dreams and hopes? What about my life? What about me. Don’t you think it ever crossed my mind to want to know other men? That I wanted to lay up somewhere and forget about my responsibilities? That I wanted someone to make me laugh so I could feel good? You not the only one who’s got wants and needs. But I held on to you, Troy. I took all my feelings, my wants and needs, my dreams…and I buried them inside you. I planted a seed and watched and prayed over it. I planted myself inside you and waited to bloom. And it didn’t take me not eighteen years to find out the soil was hard and rocky and it wasn’t never gonna bloom. But I held on to you. I held you tighter. You was my husband. I owed you everything I had. Every part of me I could find to give you. And upstairs in that room…with the darkness falling in on me…I gave everything I had to try and erase the doubt that you wasn’t the fines man in the world. And wherever you was going…I wanted to be there with you. Cause you was my husband. Cause that’s the only way I was gonna survive as your wife. You always taking about what you give…and what you don’t have to give. But you take too. You take…and you don’t even know nobody’s giving!” (1274).
Troy lost the trust of the most important person in his life. After 18 years of marriage, Troy betrayed his wife, Rose in the worst way you can imagine. Rose was completely thrown off by the news she had received. Rose felt like her soul was ripped from her body.
Troy took care of Gabriel after the war. This made him think that he was a good brother. Troy wasn’t a good brother to Gabriel. He stole the war money that Gabriel got. He used the money that he got to buy himself a house. Gabriel couldn’t take care of himself, so Troy oversaw Gabriel’s life. After a while Troy became so dirty that he signed Gabriel over to the hospital for half of his money. Even through he denies handing over his brother, Rose confronts him, “Troy I seen where you signed that paper” (1276). Troy not knowing how to read, he feels bad that he had betrayed his brother.
Betrayal can come in many ways and from the closest people to us and it is known to damage a person mentally and physically. In the play fences, Wilson revels how Cory was betrayed by his father, Troy:
“CORY: You ain’t never gave me nothing! You ain’t never done nothing but hold me back. Afraid I was gonna be better than you. All you ever did was try and make me scared of you. I used to tremble every time you called my name. Every time I heard your footsteps in the house. Wondering all the time…what’s Papa gonna say if I do this?…What’s he gonna say if I do that?…What’s Papa gonna say if I turn on the radio? And Mama, too…she tries…but she’s scared of you”(1281).
Cory felt his father, Troy betray him by not signing his permission paper to meet with recruiters for his chance to play football. That made him angry and he begin to show less respect to his father. Part of Troy reason for not signing his son permission to play football was because he felt like Cory didn’t keep up with his chores, and his job which was part of the deal they had for Cory to be able to play football. Troy felt betrayed that Cory lied to him about keeping his job. With both betraying each other, it caused a father and son relationship. The saddest part, both never had the chance to settle their situation.
The most damaging aspect of abuse is the trauma to our hearts and souls from being betrayed by the people that we love and trust. Betrayal can trigger cascades of feelings and thoughts, such as abandonment and rejection or guilt and self-loathing. It can also break the bond of a family causing pain at the end.

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