Self Betrayal

Self-betrayal refers to not being loyal to oneself or not honouring oneself with our needs and desires. It reflects through our inability to trust our own self, our own choices and thoughts or take decisions for oneself independently.

We are grown up in a society where we don’t even know or realise when and in what ways we begin to betray ourselves. We are unaware of the moments because it is psychologically so in rooted in our personalities and identities that we see it as a part of who we are.

Often self-betrayal is expressed in beliefs and behaviours reflecting low self-esteem or low self-image.

Possible reasons for Self-Betrayal

  1. Societal conditioning

It is a process of how we are trained and shaped as a child, to think, feel and behave in a certain way which is acceptable by our society and it’s done repeatedly. It is so deep rooted that as we grow up with think of those beliefs and feelings as that of our own. It is because, this conditioning begins even when we are not born (e.g.: a pregnant mother in instructed/pressurised to consume nariyal ki malai, dahi, etc. all white products with an intention to give birth to a fair child, out of the conditioned belief that: fair is beautiful). Or even applying all sorts of haldi, besan creams to improve their complexion.

So, when the child is born in this mindset of environment, his/her nurturing will shape the child’s reality of him/her feeling low of his/her and his body and self. Their self-worth will be diminished through family’s words or actions.

This conditioning impacts every aspect of our life from our appearances to our choices regarding career, partners and what not. We grow up taking actions/decision which will help us gain external validation or people pleasing to confirm our self-worth.


  1. Parental Modelling

It’s a process of child picking and learning the behaviours and certain responses of a parent unknowingly.

As a child, we not only learn language with modelling but also learn how to express ourselves – be it emotionally, verbally or through body language. As a child we are not aware of what we feel and how to say it. We learn it as we see it.

For e.g.: If a parent, when angry shouts and breaks things or hits their partner and their partner silently takes it.

Child will understand, “okay! So that’s how we show anger, it’s okay to hit your partner or its okay to get hit by other partner”.

As our society teaches us, “rishte nibhane padte hain”. This “padte” in this sentence is where we reinforce the message of “its okay to stay in a relationship and be disrespected and betray oneself.”



  1. Generational attitude of self-sacrifice

It’s a human tendency that we invest in something with an expectation of getting a return out of it. But this gets harsh when executed on an individual’s identity. We our brought up in a culture where an ideal child is one who does everything to keep their parents happy and keep parents at a priority always. This happens when we are demanded by our parents to pay back for the cost and investment for our upbringing.

A very basic instance could be “We feel a compulsive need to choose a career or marry a person at the cost of our desires and happiness just so it will hurt our parents or break their heart, if we don’t. We grow up often receiving this dialogue from our parents “Mumma papa aapse itna pyaar karte hai, aap humare liye itna nahi kar sakte?” Well! That “itna” keeps on increasing as we grow up. As we grow up, we imbibe this way of thinking.

“Farhaan from 3 idiots where he was so scared and frowned upon against expressing his wish to pursue photography and not engineering. Or Alia Bhatt from Humpty Sharma who constantly kept on reminding herself to not indulge in an emotional affair because ultimately she has to marry someone is her parents’ choice.”


  1. Boundaries

Boundaries our something that marks a limit. That separates what is yours from what belongs to others. This can be applied in context of emotions and relationships also.

We often don’t get a chance to build our boundaries if they are already built by our parents in the process of conditioning.

Our boundaries as a child were crossed when we were:

  • Being punished for having boundary as a child – getting scolded or hit by a parent for not doing something that you don’t feel like doing. E.g.: made to eat everything in the plate.
  • Being forced to hug/greet people as a child, even when you did not want to. (e.g.: beta, uncle ko namastey bolenge, ache bachhe! Aunty ko poem-song gaake sunao)
  • Lacking awareness of boundaries – as a child we don’t to know how to say convincingly convey the message of disagreement. Or, while growing up, our disagreement to anything is being frowned upon so we tend to follow as others say.

So we grow up with a strong core belief of what other are saying must be right and our actions are directed to agree to things we don’t agree, and later we may resent them.

      This is when, as an adult, when other people take us for granted and we let them do and feel okay with it. This comes because we were not allowed to build any boundaries for ourselves as a child. But we can always unlearn or re-learn as we keep on exploring who we are and what we desire to become.

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