Thought Catalog

Getting Screwed Over By Someone You Love

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Have you ever been betrayed? Has someone you loved and adored took out the rug from under you, leaving you winded and ready to vomit all over yourself? If you haven’t, get ready because it’s going to happen. Getting royally screwed over by someone you trust is a rite of passage much like losing your virginity and getting really, really stoned. It’s the most painful nail in the naivete coffin but a necessary one. You can’t go through this world thinking everyone has your best interests at heart because they don’t. There are people in this world whose sole purpose is to make you realize things you never wanted to figure out. There are people who not only don’t want the best for you, they want to inflict pain and sorrow on to your life. Pricks!

No one’s ready to learn this lesson. It can be, in many ways, the hardest one for you to get. We enter this world wide open and ready for anything. We believe that no one is going to hurt us, at least not deliberately, and we fail to understand how special and fleeting this belief actually is. In my more nostalgic moments, I yearn to see the world like I did when I was 17. I was an untouched teenager back then, ready to love anyone that would have me. Eight years later, I’m not made of the same parts.

We love the wrong people sometimes. We put our trust in people who would throw it away in a second, but that’s okay! Assholes serve a purpose. They’re important to our development and we should thank them! “I appreciate you royally screwing me over, honey. Now I know to watch out for myself! Love ya…” Okay, don’t tell them that you love them but seriously, you can learn so much about yourself when you get betrayed. You grow up so much in an instant. It seems like we learn more from all the bad things than when we’re happy and everything’s going great. It would be great if it weren’t this way but it is what it is.

I don’t mean to paint a bleak picture of humanity. Just because someone screws you over doesn’t mean the whole world is out to get you. Adopting a hard shell and a “One man is an island” attitude doesn’t do anyone favors, especially yourself. Like with everything else, it’s about achieving a balance. You don’t want to become bitter and jaded but you also don’t want to be Peter Pan when you’re thirty. When giving away your love and trust to people, you just have to ask yourself, “Do they deserve it?” Because sometimes they don’t and you need to be aware of that. You have to weed out the people who will suck you dry and take care of yourself first and the only way you can come to this conclusion is by being dealing with a few shitheads first. They’re necessary evils meant to teach you a valuable lesson.

You will never be the same after someone betrays you and that can be a bitter pill to swallow. But it’s important to realize that everyone serves a purpose in your life and that you’re better off knowing someone’s true colors than not. Understanding that people can be really crappy will take you far in life. TC mark

image – Hook

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    • badger4life

      sigh! so true.

    • Nycgurl4lyfe

      ‘I yearn to see the world like I did when I was 17. I was an untouched
      teenager back then, ready to love anyone that would have me. Eight years
      later, I’m not made of the same parts.’ – so true! I love it.

    • OT

      LIFE yo. 

    • Xxlaurenxtinaxx

      Its a lot worse when this doesnt happend until your late 20’s.

    • S.B.W.

      Thanks so much Ryan
      Going through this right now and what you wrote really helped

    • Jason Karl Margaritis

      Definitely agree with Ryan. But the article is severely limited in that it doesn’t consider the strategic reality of perception and interpretation in interpersonal relationships. There’s a complex narrative behind the beliefs and actions of every individual, even the assholes. 

    • Bob

      Rarely do people screw you over on purpose, unless they feel you have wronged them.  Often their motives are complex.  This article is ironic since it’s about educating the naive who think everyone has your best interests in mind, but the article itself is equally naive in painting a picture a someone who is pure evil out to screw you over. Not exactly the reality. 

      • Hannah Moire


      • John Peter Hogan

        The reasons people screw you over CAN be complex, but often the thought-process is the same and it is a simple one; that person has a choice between doing what is best for them and doing what is best for you.  It shouldn’t be too surprising when even good people who actually love us chose their own interests over ours.  It’s not that they want to hurt us, but they simply see it as a necessary thing to do.

    • Guest

      this is my favorite of all of your articles…thank you so much for this!

    • Janice

      amen!!! love this. its sooo true

    • Pepperk

      I recently learned to be my own best friend.  It’s made every part of my life better… ironically, even the friendships.

    • rebecca

      I was screwed over by someone I loved so many times since like age 13, not just by lovers either.

    • BB

      You will also never be the same after you betray someone.  Which pill is more bitter – the anger and hurt from another’s actions or the self-loathing that accompanies your own?

    • Taylor

      You are a genius, I could read your articles all day, and sometimes I do. Let’s be friends. I’m not a creeper I swear.

    • Steph

      Yes, true.  As are the comments reminding us that you cannot classify people solely by the feelings you have about their actions regarding/involving you (just because they hurt you royally doesn’t mean they’re a heartless jerk who really didn’t ever care).  

      Also, the point was made in the comments about how bad it can feel to be the one who does the damage.  Very good point, as no one can go through life without ever hurting someone else.  (And the meaning behind these points is important to grasp, though too deep for this article, but basically, hurt is inevitable, it is a result of the filters we apply to our world/lives, and it is what we make of that reality that decides how our lives will go).Someone mentioned being hurt since 13, not just by lovers.  This always goes through my mind when reading or hearing something like this– how is it so many people think back on their teenaged years as being golden, untainted?  I was soo tainted by betrayal and heartbreak long before reaching that stage of my life, so that I never really had that free-to-love feeling.  I guess that’s why I focus more on the moral that “hurt is inevitable, it’s what you do about it that makes your life what it is.”With that said, I want to point out that the REAL beauty of loving is not the 1st time, unaware of possible negative outcomes, but knowing pain is real, having explored depths of depression and felt heartbreak, but finding reinvention and learning to stay open anyway, trusting someone new even though you have scars from the past, and realizing the relationship between love and loss is.. like yin and yang, and so we must learn to be okay with (even embrace) both the beginning AND the end…Good piece, it does call up certain questions, which I think is the important thing.

    • CC

      Thank-you for this.

    • Guest

      When giving away your love and trust to people, you just have to ask yourself, “Do they deserve it?” Because sometimes they don’t and you need to be aware of that.
      This line.

    • r.

      i usually avoid your posts, ryan (sorry..), but this was great.

    • Graeson Harris-Young

      On the other hand, I think that there is something to be said for loving unconditionally.  Asking yourself if “they deserve it” or not might be a good idea in theory, but I’ll be honest — I don’t usually have the choice about how I feel.  I doubt I’m alone.  When I try to logic my way out of feeling, it usually just stresses me out without effecting any legitimate change.  I can certainly resort to denial or self-delusion, but what I am learning is that — for me, at least — it is better to accept my vulnerability, know that I am worthy regardless of what anybody else thinks, and just take the risk.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t take care of myself.  On the contrary, I can best take care of myself by being honest.

      For me, it is more appropriate to be able to recognize both soul-sucking parasitism and the love that I may have for that parasite.  Then I can appropriately -act-, and action is the only control I believe I do have.

    • Jess

      This article made me get out of bed. Thank you :)

    • lmg607

      I was broken up with last May.  I thought it was just a fight, and we’d go back to normal. I’ve held on for 9 months, and now he is with someone else.  I haven’t eaten in two weeks. I keep going over in my head of what I could have done to be better, and what I did wrong.  Why couldn’t he love me? No one I know really understands how hurt I am.  When you are deeply in love you give yourself to them completely. You change because you want to.  If you are sad, happy, angry, excited, or what ever, you want that person to be the first to know.  When something out of the ordinary happens, they are the ones you call.  When that is taken away, and you see them sharing with someone else what they shared with you,  it’s like you are dieing. I want all this pain to go away, but I don’t have an on/off switch.  All I know is that if I ever stop feeling this badly again, I never want to feel it again. I don’t see why this is purposeful for my life. It sounds great, but I don’t see that realization happening for me anytime soon.

      • John Peter Hogan

        Very well put.  I hope you are doing better.

    • Mmmmki

      Loved it! you’re freakin’ awesome!!!!

    • fred

      Getting screwed over in itself isn’t that bad. You should learn to protect yourself from it in your normal everyday dealings. If you mess that up … well .. live and learn. HOWEVER … there are certain people in your life, relationships primarily family, where the goal is to protect each other, that’s what it’s about. When you get screwed over by these people it’s a hard one to shake off. Because they use the fact you care about them as a weapon against you. Normally, it’s when they are in deep need that you help out … then once they recover, you discover they would NOT do the same for you. That’s a hard one to shake off and the damage is usually severe. The hardest realization isn’t that they screwed you over … it’s the realization that it isn’t a new thing for them, it isn’t a new way of thinking for them … it was something they were willing to do at any point in time … it was simply that they didn’t have the chance before. It’s the realization that the relationship was never reciprocal to start with … it was simply an act to get what they wanted. It’s the realization that you should have cut them out of your life years ago. I still think it should be legal to beat the crap out of these people. —

    • Claire

      I agree with Fred, when you consider someone family, getting screwed over is much harder to move on from. My ex and I were together for 16 years and had two small children when he walked out. I may have been very naive but I really thought that we were “in life together” (otherwise I would not have had babies with him). Turns out he didn’t like sharing the attention of a significant other with children and couldn’t handle family life (he never showed the slightest sign of wanting out of the marriage in the 10 years before children came along, and he wanted children too, but I guess we learn the most about ourselves and others when we face real adult responsibility for the first time). So, the hardest part of the whole thing is that he didn’t just screw me over, he screwed over his children too. They are growing up with a (very) part-time Dad, who devotes his own time to his career, his new girlfriend, shopping and going to rock concerts. His children are far down the list of priorities for him in life. I don’t know if I was just blind, but I certainly felt I knew him quite well after 16 years. Turns out I was very wrong… I think of all the times that I was there for him – the “strong” one during his career crises and personal angst. When I needed some reciprical love and understanding when I was vulnerable with a new born baby, he hit the road… probably his constant neurosis and failure to make any real changes to his life should have alerted me to his self-obsession much earlier, my only excuse is being young and in love with someone who turned out to be a colossal prick.

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