Despicable Betrayal of Friendship and Family Trust

By Abdulrazaq O Hamzat

There are indeed some things that cannot be bought with money because of their spiritual value. Trust is one of such. Unfortunately, betrayal of trust counts as one of the most heinous crimes that can be committed in inter-personal human relationships- Abd-Ru-Shin

Betrayal is the sense of being harmed by the intentional actions or omissions of a trusted person. The opposite of betrayal is trust. In the word of Steve Stosny, human beings need to trust. Trust allays anxiety, helps lift depression, and makes it possible to consistently invest interest and enjoyment in one another. In contrast, distrust is fraught with anxiety and resentment. No loneliness is lonelier than distrust.

Distrust make people isolate themselves from others, they suspect everyone they encounter. Most times, they go lonely because they are scared to trust again, hoping that their seclusion from people will shield them from being hurt again. Unfortunately, seclusion doesn’t bring about peace of mind; it brings loneliness and further distress.

‘’I understand it hurts, and it hurts really badly. No one deserves to be treated the way you were. No one deserves to feel emotional pain tearing through their body or bringing them to their knees as a result of betrayal. You did nothing to deserve this and it is not your fault’’.

The above message was crafted by Kristen Brown while explaining how to console a betrayed person and I strongly agree with her, nobody deserves to be betrayed.

Friendship and family relation should not be exploited; it should actually be appreciated, nourished and cherished. When a friend or family entrust something in your care, do not betray that friendship or family trust. The psychological damage such despicable occurrence does to the victim stay with them for a very long time. Betrayal hurts so much because enemies do not betray, they are not in the position to do so, only trusted friends and family do.

Nigeria is an extremely religious society, but with very little Godliness. We take pride in culture and tradition, but with less concern for integrity. This is something that must be properly addressed, should we desire to build a sane and decent society.

When you read the news everyday, so many despicable things are reported and one would begin to wonder if those things are really happening in this great country of ours. Until similar occurrence happen close by or to someone we know, it’s almost impossible to believe some stories.

Some time last year, I read a story about a young man who resides in Europe and made it a duty to regularly send money home. Apart from the usual money for upkeep and family life he regularly send home, he had been sending money to his parents to build a decent house for him. For more than 5 years, the young man never came to the country, until he came home last year, only to discover that his parents hadn’t built the house they told him they had built. The man was so angry that he took his parents to the police and got them locked up. When he eventually got them freed, he promised never to come back to the country again.

Similarly, a U.S based victim recently told me of how she entrusted her Nigerian business in the hand of a family friend. The friend was said to have cartered away with millions without minding their over 30 year’s relationship, starting from their primary school days. This experience of hers in the hand of a family friend makes her extremely skeptical when dealing with others. And with stories like this, one would begin to wonder, do we now live in a society where we can no longer trust our friends and families to do the right thing when we are not there? If this is the case, who else should we trust?

Abd-Ru-Shin, in his book ‘’In the light of truth’’, gave detailed explanation of some life experiences that are relevant to the subject matter in understanding the importance of trust and why it should not be taken with levity, especially by the receiver of it.

He stated that, from who ever and from wherever trust is given, one thing that we must heed very clearly is that it has life. Its form has a living essence. Therefore it must be seen as sacrosanct and inviolable, a value of life that must be protected and jealously guarded.

‘’In human relationship trust is of prime value that must necessarily be exchanged as we must be free at all times of distrust and believe in ourselves, have faith in our words, assume and expect pure and good deeds from others, have empathy for our situations, conditions and circumstances’’. He said.

Abd- Ru-Shin went further to add that, we should bear in mind that when someone reposes trust and confidence in us and we betray such, what we have done is akin to murder. Murder in the sense that something that bears life within has been killed, has been destroyed. In other word, a betrayer is a murderer. Someone who betrays a sacred trust is capable of murder.

However, a betrayed person should not punish every other person with the crime of their betrayers. Everyone should be treated fairly and justly. The ability to give trust reflects the absence of distrust in a human being. It reflects purity, love and a noble disposition.

For me, I have since developed a principle to life in my relationship with others. And the principle is very simple, when you speak do not lie, when you promise, do not break it, and when you are entrusted with something, do not betray. This is the only way to personal and inter personal peace.

Abdulrazaq O Hamzat is a Human Rights Ambassador and executive Director of foundation for Peace Professionals. He can be reached on

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