For as long as I can remember, I’ve been an overthinker. I’ve heard the “get over it” or the reassurances that “life’s so much better” if I don’t overthink. But for some reason, I haven’t been able to stop. In fact, most arguments I have with people are because I manage to dig myself into an eighty feet hole of overthinking. It’s all in my head, I know.
Believe me, I’ve tried to get over it. However, it’s something that’s stuck with me forever. I’ve been to therapy for it, but this is something that has never gone away.
I would describe being an overthinker as a personality trait of mine. Just as some people would add paranoia to that list. I know it doesn’t make sense, but we’ll get to it in a bit.
So, I’m used to thinking of twenty different situations which might not all turn out to be the truth. In fact, I’m used to coming up with insanely over-the-top conspiracy theory-style scenarios in my head about every situation and person I’ve ever interacted with.
I’ve saved myself from a lot of heartbreak because of that. It’s hard sometimes to behave a certain way with certain people. My brain won’t allow me to treat them well because their favorite color is orange, and historically, I’ve never gotten along with people who like orange. In fact, that girl from kindergarten who ended up bullying me for four years wore orange AT LEAST twice a week, so I am definitely not supposed to be friends with these people because I’m going to open up to them, and they’ll treat me like that girl. Yeah, ABORT MISSION NOW.
Yes, this is my thought process with most things. In fact, give me a funny patterned fruit, and I’ll tell you exactly how many ways this will haunt me.
For a time, I used to think I’m paranoid, but my therapist disagrees. I just have a very bad habit of overthinking. It’s because I’m the eldest child, the person who sets the bar for every exam and milestone in life. My parents have great expectations from me, and I’m terrified of letting them down.
In any capacity.
And this extends to almost every aspect of my life, whether it’s the friends’ department or financial management and career goals. Many people in my life expect a lot from me.
It has made making friends difficult because it is hard to explain my priorities and expectations. However, every once in a while, I’ll find someone who comes along and pretends that they understand what I’m going through. Because their situation is the same.”
Unfortunately, it usually ends up in disappointment or heartbreak because not only is their situation not the “same,” but they get tired of the restrictions and the formalities that come with my family. Unlike a lot of people who rebel against the system, I prefer staying in it and ensuring that things go the way I want. For me, it’s a trade-off. Sure, I won’t go to that party on Friday, but no one says anything if I want to go to Islamabad (where my closest friends live) for the weekend.
Honestly, this approach has helped with a lot of things. I’ll disappoint my friends by not being there for lunch, but I’ll be the first one at their surprise birthday parties.
So, it really hurts when someone not only understands but also exploits you. Especially when you’ve been through this multiple times.
So, what do you do if you end up in the exact same place?
It’s been four years since someone “betrayed” me. It sounds dramatic, but it’s honestly the only way I can describe it.
After all, what is betrayal? Here’s what Google says:
the action of betraying one’s country, a group, or a person; treachery.
“the betrayal by the king by his daughter”
Similar: disloyalty, treachery
Similarly, the word betray is described as:
- expose (one’s country, a group, or a person) to danger by treacherously giving information to an enemy
- unintentionally reveal; be evidence of.
Even its meaning is archaic. When I think of someone betraying somebody, I usually think of someone betraying their nation or something. I guess for me, betrayal usually refers to something tremendous. Personally, as much as I am a pacifist, I wouldn’t intentionally do something to harm mine or any other country. I’d just rather sit in the background and do nothing.
So, it’s safe to say that I think that when you have the audacity to betray someone, not only do you think you’re better than them, but you’re intentionally trying to ruin them.
You don’t betray your friend when you reveal their crush to someone. You’ll break their trust by doing that, but you can fix things. In fact, chances are, years down the line, you two will laugh about it. But when you intentionally try to ruin your friend’s life by giving them bad advice or doing something that could have real-world consequences, yeah, well- you’ve betrayed your friend.
It can be something as small as flirting with your partner or as big as actively having an affair with them. The betrayal can be personal, financial, or simply social.
After all, what if you’re going through a health issue that has led to financial issues, so you take a break from university for a semester, only to find out that your “friends” are telling everyone that you got expelled? What if you’ve asked your university for financial support because of your crisis, and when called for character witness, your friends lie to the administration that you’re fine and that you definitely don’t need aid?
Just for the record, this isn’t why I feel betrayed, but it’s so shocking to see the lengths people go to. And for what?
To feel better about themselves?
To have momentary popularity?
It seems as though there’s an epidemic of betrayals on the rise. As we see the world open again, as we’re allowed to do whatever we want as long as we’re vaccinated, there’s a rise in betrayal.
It’s everywhere. From people feeling betrayed because of the vaccine passport to people with their backs on others due to their personal beliefs all to friend circles that have suddenly decided to include and exclude people; betrayal’s rampant everywhere.
It’s like the pandemic, and the quarantine has brought about the worst in people. At the start, it was chaotic, then we all got better for a while, and now we’ve just lost the plot.
It seems as though the last two years have made people forget about what life used to be like. That we had other priorities once upon a time.
I’ve done my best to not repeat my mistakes. I’ve made sure to stay friends with people who I truly care about and who- I thought- cared about me. And yet, I find myself in a similar situation once more.
Whereas last time, I was in shock and depression; this time, I’m disappointed and frustrated with myself. How could I allow someone to betray me?
It’s not like I didn’t have an option. I could’ve walked away anytime. Every action of mine would’ve been excused because of quarantines and social isolation. So, why did I choose- of all the people I knew- these people to be close to?
I could’ve literally chosen to open up to anyone. The signs were there, but they were subtle. For some reason, living with someone for eight months made me think that the signs weren’t important. For some reason, my superpowers (read: overthinking) failed me. Being around a few human beings for a few months made me think that I had no reason to doubt them.
But I had every reason to.
Because of the hours I spent thinking that these were my people, these people chose to learn my habits and my insecurities and use them to their advantage.
It wasn’t intentional on their part. They’re not some Professor Moriarty brought to life. The time spent was just enough to know what would hurt me the most.
For some reason, the overthinker in me decided to make an exception for these people, and that was a bad decision.
I don’t know what happened. As much as I’d like to know, there’s nothing to say.
The writing is on the wall. Sometimes you can’t do anything. You just have to take things in stride. And that’s all that you can do.