10. You feel betrayed by the American Dream, which now feels like an albatross of debt (monthly mortgage, school loan & credit card re-payments) and financial responsibility weighing you down so much that you have little time to do anything but work work work and extinguish one fire after another.

10. You feel betrayed by the American Dream, which now feels like an albatross of debt (monthly mortgage, school loan & credit card re-payments) and financial responsibility weighing you down so much that you have little time to do anything but work work work and extinguish one fire after another.

9. You feel betrayed by your romantic partner who you thought would always take care of you, support you through fat and thin, and give you mind-blowing sex (make you feel worthy and desirable) and now seems to have become complacent, can’t really be bothered to be continuously sexually adventurous anymore, and does very little to make your life exciting. (Mostly due to the fact that believing that other human beings were put on earth to make your life exciting is commonly referred to as narcissism.)

8. You feel betrayed by whatever success you have attained. You subconsciously learned that if you did all of the right things — earn boatloads of dosh, get married, go on fabulous vacations, crush your 15 minutes of fame or infamy, have the coolest cars and handbags — that you would be happy. Now you are just a miserable automation with closets full of shit, a few cherry-picked glamorous social media photos, and possibly children who want very little to do with you. The moral? Success does not equal happiness.

7. You feel betrayed by your job that has become uninteresting, stupid and boring. However, golden handcuffs keep you from changing careers at this time or pursuing your dreams. (FYI, golden handcuffs trump golden showers any day.)

6. You feel betrayed by co-workers and business associates who now seem to take more pleasure in your failures than your triumphs.

5. You feel betrayed by your body, which you assumed would not decline as rapidly as a human body declines sitting at a desk or in a car, subway or bus for ten+ hours per day.

4. You feel betrayed by your health, which seems to take tremendous effort — supplements, juices made of dirt, pharmaceuticals, diets, exercise, tofu, sleep — to preclude myriad illnesses.

3. You feel betrayed by your government, which is primarily evident to you via taxes and parking tickets, and secondarily in hourly news feeds documenting its jaw-dropping inanity.

2. You feel betrayed by your friends and family members for loving you because you are so gosh-darn postive, feeling compelled to perpetually put your best foot forward in fear of other people abandoning you because you exhibit a wider than acceptable bandwidth of human emotions — such as grief, for instance.

1. You feel betrayed by your parents for loving you conditionally— because you learned how to use toilets and utensils (not simultaneously), learned how to speak a language, learned how to dress yourself, learned how to compete for good grades, learned how to compete at sports, learned how to behave “correctly,” learned how to have a good (well-paying) job that enabled you to occasionally snag an attractive sex partner, etc. — when all you really ever wanted is to be loved for being you and being alive. Dancing through hoops like a carnival bear has grown tiresome. You do not want to have to prove anything to anyone anymore.

Ok so you feel betrayed by modern life in general, which seems inherently meaningless and particularly pointless, is punctuated by increasing frustrations and disappointments and offers you only a modicum of fleeting moments of contentment, most often when you are drunk or asleep or both.

Well, welcome to late capitalism! Welcome to the myth of romantic love! Welcome to democracy riddled with corruption and bribery! Welcome to a society where passion is usually the result of two (or three or four) people’s mutually complementary dysfunctionalities! Welcome to social media where you compare your complicated inner emotional states with everyone else’s glitzy and gilded facades! Welcome to the information age where you may be penalized for not showing up for 80 hours per week for a job that now actually only takes 4 hours per week thanks to new technology! Welcome to business for the sake of busyness! Welcome to disenfranchisement! Welcome to alienation! Welcome to unrootedness! Welcome to modern medicine where everyone suffers from myriad afflictions that can only be remedied by the latest and greatest pharmaceuticals! Welcome to modern banking where corporations spend most of their time trying to keep you in debt! Welcome to our highly-competitive educational system that teaches that every class has one winner and forty losers! Welcome to modern psychology that addresses mental and physiological symptoms with Band-Aid solutions!

Because it is distinctly possible that many of the aforementioned instances of feelings of betrayal later in life could be reopenings of a primal abandonment wound resulting from being individuated too abruptly — as we do under the “scientific” — what-doesn’t-kill-the-little-bugger-makes-it-stronger — paradigm of churning babies into “productive members of society” as quickly as possible. This often results in those intensely productive widget-builders, suicidal gymnasts, extreme sportists, keyboard zappers and screen swipers having INSECURE ATTACHMENT DYNAMICS, always feeling “not good enough,” that they will only be happy when they accomplish X, when they summit the next peak, when Bitcoin hits $500,000 (or even $5,000 again), that they are essentially unwhole, imperfect, and that there is perpetually something wrong with them that will be righted when… if… if only…

So how might you benefit from psychotherapy?

On the cognitive level a therapist can provide fresh perspectives and help you reframe your current situation so that you can either make immediate changes or accept your state of affairs. As Krishnamurti famously said, “It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” On an emotional level a therapist can support your authentic desires so that you do not feel like a fraud, an impostor, or a dancing bear about to be whipped for not performing up to the absurd measures of “success” that popular culture (advertising) has indoctrinated you into believing as gospel.

In short, therapists model authenticity and help, inspire, and support you to be your highest and most authentic self in every situation… or at least when possible given the circumstances. 🙂


  • Ira Israel

    Psychotherapist & Author

    Psychotherapist Ira Israel is the author of “How To Survive Your Childhood Now That You’re and Adult: A Path to Authenticity and Awakening,” which is endorsed by Sting, Reverend Michael Beckwith, Marianne Williamson, Jack Kornfield, Shauna Shapiro, Warren Farrell, Katherine Woodward Thomas, Jai Uttal, Joanne Cacciatore, Lorin Roche, Fred Luskin and many many others. Ira teaches workshops on authenticity and happiness at Esalen and Kripalu and has written over 300 articles on psychology, philosophy, Buddhism, yoga, film, art, music & literature for The Huffington Post, Good Men Project, Mind Body Green, Thrive Global, and Medium.  Ira is also the producer, writer and actor of the best-selling DVDs and videos "Authenticity and Awakening for Lovable Idiots," "A Beginner's Guide to Happiness," "A Beginner's Guide to Mindfulness Meditation," "Mindfulness for Depression," "Mindfulness for Anxiety," and "Yoga for Depression and Anxiety.”  He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and has graduate degrees in Psychology, Philosophy, and Religious Studies. For more information please visit www.IraIsrael.com