General Question

shego's avatar

Which is worst, abandonment or betrayal?

Asked by shego (11083points) May 6th, 2011 from iPhone

Is being abandoned by a family member more emotionally damaging than being betrayed?
My friend and I were discussing this earlier, but we want to know you think. We know both can be damaging.

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24 Answers

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

I think (parental) abandonment is a form of betrayal.

King_Pariah's avatar

Abandonment is a form of betrayal, and it is one of the worse forms betrayal can present itself as.

Raven_Rising's avatar

Abandonment, hands-down

shego's avatar

@MyNewtBoobs I guess what we were wondering if a child is abandoned and lives with another family member, and that family member betrays them.
Since that child has trust in that person, is it damaging?
Sorry, I’m not sure if I creating a clear picture

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@shego No, not really. Try again?

shego's avatar

If that particular family member has all the child’s trust, and does something to seriously betrays them when they are older like using the child’s identity is that more damaging (other than the financial aspect) than the actual abandonment?

Bellatrix's avatar

I think it would depend on the individual and the specific situation. To me both have the potential to be equally devastating. Being abandoned by your family would be horrific for a child. Your family are supposed to love and protect you. The same could be true if the betrayal was something really bad like identity theft that left the individual in trouble. I don’t know that I could say one was worse than the other because it really does depend on the individual and the specific situation. Different people react to things in different way. For instance, I know people who have had very similar, terrible events in their lives but whereas one person has pretty well been destroyed by those events, the other has not.

Berserker's avatar

With betrayal, at least at one point, that person cared about you, or at the very least, thinks enough of you to betray you. I guess that’s worth something, considering that abandon has none of that.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@shego Can you maybe take it out of the hypothetical and give some details? I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around the question. Because I think abandonment is betrayal, and betraying someone often involves some abandonment – if not literal, physical abandonment than abandonment of respecting them, abandonment of loving them, etc.

Nullo's avatar

They’re kind of the same thing, though betrayal has more of an air of malice to it.

Faze44's avatar

Abandonment by close family is devastating but betrayal can create damaged goods with serious trust issues that follows throughout life unless dealt to.

BarnacleBill's avatar

Abandonment. Betrayal is too subjective, and what could be labeled betrayal may be better in the long run that it’s out in the open.

Aethelwine's avatar

Abandonment means giving up. Betrayal means you don’t give a fuck. I’ve flip flopped with my answer and erased several times. They are both the same.

lemming's avatar

@jonsblond I think the opposite, I think you can be betrayed because of the persons own failings, but if they abandon you, and not always, but usually that means they don’t give a fuck.

BarnacleBill's avatar

@jonsblond, betrayal can also come from thoughtlessness or lack of understanding. Or from a different set of values. My mother felt that we betrayed her by talking to our stepmother, and made our lives a living hell because we liked her.

optimisticpessimist's avatar

Although abandonment is a form of betrayal if you are separating them, I would say abandonment. With betrayal, you can usually understand why it happened i.e. greed, selfishness, envy. However, with abandonment, the cause is usually not understood or known and the abandoned person usually blames themselves , at least in part, for the abandonment as there is no known reason. I think abandonment leaves more of an emotional scar as the abandoned asks themselves, ‘what did I do or what could I have done better or different.’ With betrayal, it is easier to lay all the guilt on the betrayer.

blueiiznh's avatar

i general terms of the words without knowing the situation:

It leaves you always unknowing and wondering why. It leaves a scar that simply lingers.

aprilsimnel's avatar

@shego – As a person who experienced the exact “abandonment by parent—-> sent to another relative—-> betrayal by relative” as you describe, yes, it’s damaging. To what degree, I think, can vary.

Some kids have stronger emotional constitutions than others, are naturally more resilient and understand more quickly that they can’t take such situations personally. The vast majority of kids think that anything that goes wrong with the adults in their lives is the kids’ fault, and if a child is upset at the way care-taking adults treat them, it can be a mess. Children literally depend on these adults to stay alive, so the impulse to be angry is checked by the fear that if they show their anger, they might die. Better to keep your head down and take any crumbs you can get.

It was hard for me to be angry at the people who were supposed to be caring for me, who told me one thing and behaved 180° opposite, and not feel guilty about it, especially since I figured out early on that those adults had massive, massive personal problems that I couldn’t fix. It was like, “Do I really care about them as people who are hurting, or do I just want them to be well so they’ll be loving to me?” That made me feel selfish. But I realize now that as a kid, I had a right to be cared for properly. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

::shrugs:: What are you going to do? You can’t force someone to love you, care for you or stay with you. Not even your parents or caretakers.

MilkyWay's avatar

Both are extremely damaging, but personally I’d go with betrayal.

Aethelwine's avatar

@BarnacleBill and @lemming Thanks for the insight. That is why I kept erasing my answer. It’s hard to say which is worse, for me at least. Both are hurtful. So much can be involved with both. I guess it depends on the situation.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I think abandonment because there is often no reason ever given, no closure whereas betrayal is often discovered and good, bad or ugly, there are usually reasons.

lookingforwhy's avatar

Abandonment for a child is horrible because they wouldn’t understand betrayal but they’ll understand that the family member is gone for no reason. The child would feel like they did something wrong. But when they get older, they will understand betrayal and betrayal and abandonment would feel the same kind of pain.

chewhorse's avatar

I think it’s a toss up, I don’t believe you can even contemplate saying, “Of the two, this is worse than that” I believe both are detrimental to us whether we want it to or not.. Certainly for a child, abandonment would be far worse but only because they hadn’t been introduced to betrayal in that same sense but in later years, though betrayal can be contrlled by the betrayed (by abanding this) it’s still hurtful when you had realized all this time you had been used for a fool.. I then must vote all thumbs down on the both of them and hope it never seeks me out.

bosxfan57's avatar

Betrayal because that will result in loss of trust and friendship.

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