"Betrayal seems to be a universal and eternal reality of the nature of human beings."
Unlike my previous nonfiction sampling, I have nothing but praise for Schlessinger's book Surviving A Shark Attack (On Land). Overcoming Betrayal and Dealing with Revenge.
Laura Schlessinger wrote this book based on a betrayal she experienced from a trusted friend. This friend was a man she had an affair with when she was younger and was living a life typical of the late 1960's and the 1970's. Schlessinger had an affair with a married man, who took nude photos of her during the affair. This man was a trusted mentor in radio to twenty-something Laura at this time. Years later in 1999, this man wishing to restart media awareness of him, sold these pictures to Hustler magazine. They remain today on the Internet. The fallout was quick and severe especially since Schlessinger is a conservative radio talk show host known for her politically incorrect viewpoint. As Schlessinger writes, "the betrayal was deep, yet there was nothing I could do about it except defend myself and my reputation."
Schlessinger wrote Surviving A Shark Attack to help people deal with betrayal and thoughts of revenge. Like Dr. Laura I too love revenge. One of my all time favourite books is The Count of Monte Cristo. In this book, written by Alexander Dumas, author of The Three Musketeers, a young Frenchman is thrown into prison unjustly and his fiance, thinking he is dead, marries his rival. The young man eventually after some time succeeds in escaping the island fortress and with the help of an old man's fortune, spends much of his life planning an elaborate scheme of revenge which wreaks havoc on many people. In the end, the revenge is as bitter as the initial betrayal. Revenge like betrayal is poisonous.
"Betrayals are a breach of trust to a code or a person, including acts of dishonesty, lying, cheating, or stealing, double-crossing, deception, gossiping, duplicity, unfaithfulness, treason, leading astray, undermining, selling out... to name only a few faces of betrayal."
So one must learn to cope with betrayal,seek healing and move on to live life fully. This is the main message Schlessinger has for readers in her book. If readers want to read about other people's experience of betrayal they will be disappointed. Instead Schlessinger writes about the nature of betrayal, about vengeance and revenge.
"Direct revenge feeds people who basically live off the emotional upset of others."
In her chapter on the Philosophical Approach to Revenge she writes that there are better ways to deal with betrayal than to take revenge, that it's best to disengage from the situation and refocus.There are obvious tips like living well as the best revenge. To this end that last two chapters are the best and most helpful, in my opinion. These deal with life after betrayal and how betrayal can sometimes be a blessing in disguise - opening new doors and opportunities where none existed before. This latter situation has been my exact experience with a major betrayal in my own life by someone who took a vow to be with me through the best and worst of life. Blindsided by such evil, it's taken me a few years and then some to work through the anger, pity, hate to a better me and a new life. And that's what Dr. Schlessinger message is to all who have suffered likewise.
Surviving A Shark Attack (On Land) Overcoming Betrayal and Dealing with Revenge. by Dr. Laura Schlessinger
New York: Harper Collins 2011