My Own Benedict Arnold Moment
Every man will experience his own “Benedict Arnold” moment. While it might not take place in a revolutionary war to determine the fate of nation being born, it will still leave a blackened stained touch in your memory.
What motivates betrayal? Often it’s money, greed, jealousy, and the desire to attain power. To do that you have to step on people to move up the ladder of power. Certainly, I was stepped on like a scared housewife stomps on an ugly bug while squeaking out a brief, “Eeek!!!!”
My own betrayal moment caught me off guard. None of the above seemed like the motivator for the betrayal. What could the reason have been? It felt as cold, sharp, and damaging as an Ozark ice storm. Even now, the though of “WTF, why?” keeps running through my mind. Often, I prefer for my dirty laundry to stay in the bin, but in this case I will have to reveal my boxers.
I’m a blabber, a conversationalist, and an open book. Some people love this about me, others loathe it, but few have ever managed to use it against me in a way that cuts deep.
Thing is, I don’t know how much was deliberate and honest-to-god opining on me and how much was cruel intentioned barbs designed to hurt my relationship with my in-laws and my wife. Timing was absolutely horrible as I’m just starting to build a better relationship with my in-laws who weren’t huge on me.
My old boss who I was my absolute unfiltered self around, a man I thought I could trust and actually have “real-talk” with, and someone who I respected – even though he let me go, delivered whatever his own brand of personal vengeance was against me managed to tell the “truth” about me in the worst possible ways.
No grudges did I hold against him when he let me go, in fact I even kept in good contact with him. However, he indeed held grudges against me which I was unaware of until he told my in-laws about them instead of myself.
Normally, this would be a landmine that would be overcome after one detonation, but he will be in a “life” group with my in-laws for the foreseeable future. Essentially, I will have someone who can’t be trusted in an environment where trust is supposed to be of the essence. Circle of trust indeed.
I’m used to detractors that I barely know, online critics, and people whose personalities clash with my own and they can all get bent. Nothing is what I expect from them. This though felt like I had been cheated on – which I haven’t, it was just that I trusted him that much. It hurts.
Imagine someone misrepresents your character as much as possible and, sprinkles in a few lies to really get the pot stirred, and plants all sorts of possibilities in your pregnant wife’s head who already is going through raging pregnancy hormones and trust issues from her past.
In this case, her parents were the recipients of Benedict Arnold and the details were passed to her and then she passed them to me. Chain of information indeed. My wife wasn’t supposed to be told, and neither was I.
Perhaps my old boss thought what he was saying was true, or my in-laws drew some exaggerated conclusions that were then passed to my wife. That would be a comforting thought. Honestly, I thought he would always be honest with any grievances against myself and come talk to me about it.
I actually thought that I was with someone who I didn’t have to filter myself and everything from “locker-room talk” to how men actually talk on the job site when you work in the trades. This is what bugs me so much. That connection I thought I had with someone wasn’t actually there – maybe I forced myself into believing it was, considering I was earnestly looking for a fellow man I could trust in an area where I don’t know anyone.
The Sword Thrusts of Betrayal
Likely it is not the case. Two lies in particular left me shocked. (1) That he paid me 20$ and hour when he paid me 13$. (2) That me and the other guy he had hired were going out after we were dropped off from work to the bar and blowing money. Odd, considering me and this other guy didn’t like each other.
The truth that was manipulated against me in fascinating way too. Apparently one such truth was how I constantly wanted to go out after work with my boss to the bar and grab a drink.
Absolutely, this was true. I wanted to bond with my boss as I believed he was someone I could be my genuine self-around. One of the best ways you can do this is to indeed grab a drink and sit down.
In his defense however, he could never really do this as he was trying to be back at home by 6 to be with his family. I can understand this and perhaps he believes me to be some kind of deviant who would rather be out drinking then helping out his pregnant wife at home – or at least that how it sounded when I was told about it.
Another “truth” was about how I misled him about my skillset, even though I told him what I knew from the start. Now both me and him were hoping I’d absorb some skills faster, but I alas I did not. Still, he felt like I lied to him, so my guess is he is doing the same back to me.
One that really got to me was about how I was lazy. When he first hired me, he was desperate for people just to show up who were trustworthy. He complained about how people would flake constantly – which they did. I arranged for him to pick me up in the mornings – which took a toll on him timewise nonetheless – to go the jobsite with him 40+ miles away.
When I was there, I worked in 90+ degree humidity outside on scaffolding. Now he was generous and bought me and our co-worker lunch everyday as well as provided us with water to keep us hydrated. To be sure he wasn’t a slave driver, and he shouldn’t sound like such.
At several points I did complain about a lack of boards to stand on when we started going four stories up. I brought up the idea of safety-harnesses, but he mentioned that it would just get in the way and make us even less safe.
I have no idea if that’s really true or not, but wow right? Also note that he went up there with us in those precarious positions trying to get work done, so definitely he put himself on the line as well.
Now, I’m not exaggerating how open I was with him. I even talked about me and my wife’s sex lives – a mistake in hindsight – and how it helped us as a couple. This was kindly relayed to her parents that all I cared about is sex and apparently how I’m not to be trusted. In particular, this blew me away.
Wisdom, Resolve, and the Long-Game
A hard lesson to learn from betrayal is that your natural state – open and honest – can be very dangerous to you and your family life. Even after this, I find the idea of talking less, being more deliberate about the company I am genuine with, and concluding that many more snakes exist in the grass then I admit to be a tough pill to swallow.
Recently, I saw him at my in-laws “Life group” meeting they hold at their house. Determined for my wife’s sake, I played nice. It was then that I heard a story involving my old bosses’ wife and some terrible things they had been through.
Wondering whether this had something to do with the backstab held my anger in check. Because of that, I’m taking the long view. Honestly, I still desire vengeance or at least some kind of vindication from this betrayal. You never realize how powerful of a motivator justice can be until you start to strongly desire it.
Given the chance I wonder, would he come clean and apologize to me or pretend it didn’t happen and act as everything was jolly?
What if the chain-of-information provided to me was wrong or someone did indeed exaggerate and elaborate details? Patience is necessary when trying to smoke out what was really said. I shall indeed play the long-game.