Questions & Answers: Overcoming Betrayal & Dishonesty

Esther Perel: “many of us have had many experiences of broken trusts.  Betrayal. How do we mend? How do we bring back? How do we repair, as in pairing back? When trust is broken, it’s actually about reintegrating a new truth.  And the new trajectory for desire and once again feel safe to want.”

Esther Perel, who spoke at A-fest, said this.  It really hit me hard after going through so many things in my life, but also a brilliant question I got from one of my listeners.

“Hello, Arsenio.  I’m having trust issues with some of my colleagues.  Sometimes they say one thing, but they do the other.  They said they have work, but then they go quiet.  They’re also moody at times and we’re supposed to be forming life-long partnerships and grow professionally.  How do I go about doing that?”

Well, this is a question that I can relate to, but I need to break this down in step-by-step format to help you, rather than putting my experiences into your shoes.

When In Doubt, Check It Out

Look, we usually assume the worst when it might be bad news.  We’re simply afraid of what the answer may be.  There seems to be an ever-growing amount of assumptions that’s happening on your end, but it’s easy to assume something just by a facial expression.  I’ve seen angry teachers, staff, students.  One of the funniest things I’ve ever heard was, “I’m scared of Africans because they always look angry.”  What a stupendous assumption, right?

What you need to do is find out the cold-hard facts.  Did you really do something wrong? Example, I admitted my mistake with someone who’s an associate, but she continues to ignore me (for almost two weeks), and now I’m even thinking twice about being teamed up with her.  Why? The dishonesty is happening and I feel they’re not being 100% on so many areas.  So, I’ll call them out on it.  Man talk.  Mano y mano (hand and hand as we say in Spanish). Also, you have an option to do something about it – the situation – by helping her shift her mood.  Use some of the following phrases.

“I’m wondering if….”

“Would it be ok if….”

“Are you feeling…..”

I did this the first time with an associate and said, “come on, let’s have a talk.” She gets quiet and agitated when things don’t go her way.  When I ask her what’s wrong, she blames busyness.  However, we know there’s an underlying problem, right? That’s why this is necessary.

Technique 2 – Do You Mean

That’s right. If someone says “no” right off the back, we automatically assume that the individual is angry at us.

Example, “Arsenio, are you free on Sunday to teach a corporate class at the Exchange Tower?”


She/he replies, “do you mean that you’re not going to be available on Sundays anymore”

I: “no, I didn’t mean that.”

She/he: “do you mean that you would rather be doing something else?”

I: “I didn’t mean that either.”

She/he: “do you mean that you’re busy on Sundays because of contract and have something going on that I don’t know about?”

I: “Yes.  That’s exactly what I mean.

Sometimes we just don’t tell the reasons behind our nos.  

When you start checking out your assumptions, you’re going to improve your communication.  You’re going to improve the relationships, quality of life, workplace atmosphere, productivity and start getting better results.

You’ll also have to look at it from a futuristic standpoint.  If they continue to be moody, distance, giving you the cold-shoulder and whatnot, is there something that you can do to salvage it? Maybe have a hearttalk? Because if not, maybe it’s best to just cut all ties.


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