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Lies, Cheating and Betrayal

Lies, Cheating and Betrayal

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to talk about cheating and betrayal – the signs and causes.

First a quick update:

“Michael Jackson and the extreme price of fame”
Read the interview I gave about the Michael’s deeper emotional wounds and how his celebrity status exaggerated his personal troubles:

“Michael Jackson – a victim”
Listen to the controversial interview I gave to KSRO/ CNN radio about the mind and emotion of Michael Jackson – featuring many shocking points and insights not included in the article.

Now, let’s talk about cheating and betrayal.

I have been inundated with requests for media interviews on two big topics this past week; the death of Michael Jackson and the affair and betrayal by US South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford who publicly admitted to cheating with a woman in Argentina. Most reporters wanted to know who cheats on their wives more – Republicans or Democrats? I responded by saying that I have not looked at the research and numbers, and, that it is critical to understand that cheating is not limited to any one category or group – be it a political party, territorial state, culture, nation, religion, socio-economic group, age group or even gender. In fact, women cheat almost as much as men do. Watch the interview I gave to FOX News about women cheating 

Cheating in a marriage or a relationship refers to being physically unfaithful. For some women, cheating can also occur on an emotional level i.e. a man establishes a deeper bond and emotional connection with another woman than his own wife or partner. For some women, emotional cheating is more devastating that physical cheating because the women feels that she has lost his love and emotional bond; the very thing that binds them. Governor Sanford called his mistress, his “soul mate.”

So what are the signs of cheating and what are the causes? What motivates a person to stray and be unfaithful?

Gary Neuman, a marriage counselor, claims in his book “The Truth About Cheating” that when a man cheats it’s the woman’s fault because she didn’t show enough appreciation to her man. He says that his belief is based on 20 years of counseling married couples. But in fact, what he is saying is that this is the excuse he has heard from men over the years about why they chose to cheat. Notice, I said, “they chose to cheat.” Each and every one of us has a choice in every moment as to how we will respond or react to any situation. No one makes us do anything. Even, if someone puts a gun to your head and threatens you, you still have the choice to say yes or no. (Listen to the comprehensive interview I gave about Gary Neuman’s claim that women are to blame for men cheating   or read the transcript at my blog).

Accordingly, the choice to cheat or betray a partner comes down to one fundamental thing: a lack; a lack of discipline, self-control, morals or values.

Of course, there are many factors that lead to the choice and breakdown of those values and self-discipline.

As I have said in past Success Newsletters, we are all motivated by the Pain and Pleasure Principle: we move away from pain and towards pleasure. Sometimes, we selfishly and entirely give into pleasure – instant gratification – without any thought of the consequences or ramifications. Thus, we hear the cheating politician or sports star, after being found out, say something like: “oh, I have betrayed my family and brought such shame to them…”

Power and cheating

Power is the ability to control or influence. Power comes in the form of position, money, wealth, riches, fame, popularity, glamour, success, status, social value, VIP treatment, contacts, opportunities and so forth.

Lord Acton, in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton, in 1887 wrote: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” More than a hundred years earlier, in 1770, William Pitt the Elder, (later British Prime Minister) said in a House of Lords speech: “Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it; and this I know, my lords, that where laws end, tyranny begins.”

In 2004, Governor James McGreevey, betrayed his wife by having an affair – with a man. He explained his behavior by saying “You begin to think of yourself as master of your own universe and your own set of ethical structures, your own sense of decision-making,”

As noted by so many examples recently, people in power have a greater tendency to cheat. Why?

  1. People in power have much greater access to many women than the average man, and thus more opportunities to cheat or lie
  2. Greater temptation: women will pursue or throw themselves at the powerful man because for some women, power is the greatest aphrodisiac (this is the reason women become groupies throwing themselves at pop stars, rock stars and sports stars; some women pursue the powerful and influential man as a stepping stone)
  3. Delusions of grandeur and denial
  4. An overpowering sense of invincibility (nothing can go wrong) and narcissism; invincibility leads to increased risk-taking behavior and subsequent breakdown of morals. Also, the entourage verbally and emotionally builds up and props up the person in power – sometimes even covers up for them as did the office of Governor Sanford who told people the Governor was hiking in the Appalachian trails when, in fact, he was in Argentina
  5. Travel, scheduling and meetings leaves less time for the relationship and family- leading to a potential breakdown and erosion of the emotional and physical connection
  6. People in power often have a strong male ego-drive to win, conquer, dominate and control
  7. As with any couple, they may grow apart as their values change; generally speaking, the woman will continue to put the family and children first, while the power hungry man will put his career and ego first
  8. Without a constant personal inventory, it can become an automatic response to give into the emotional drives of the Reptilian brain – (pleasure, instant gratification and lust)

So what does this mean for the average couple and for the individual – male or female?

Every day we all face tests of our morals, values and discipline. Every day we make a choice about what behavior and action we will take. Yes, we are all fallible; we all make mistakes. The key to keeping our oath and commitment to our partner rests in our ability and choice to take personal inventory daily, to observe our behavior and consider the consequences and ramifications and to ensure that we are maintaining our integrity – that we are being true to our values and morals.

If you would like to identify the signs that tell you that your partner is cheating, read my article on my blog “Is your partner cheating?”. If you would like help to get over a betrayal or affair.

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & Clinical Hypnotherapist

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