October 18, 2018

When a Character Faces Betrayal

By DiAnn Mills

We’ve all experienced betrayal, when someone we respected used our trust for selfish gain. We are devastated with the treachery. The relationship we once regarded as worthy and meaningful was crushed and, in many cases destroyed.

Our characters encounter the same deception. Regardless of the motive, betrayal creates a rise of emotions unique to a given personality. Reactions range from grief, hurt, anger, forgiveness, bitterness, disbelief, retaliation, violent behavior, willfully ignore, and usually a mix.

The character can choose to recover or exist in a miserable state.

Those who rise above the situation are heroes and heroines. Because of their struggle, they are equipped to help others facing the same dilemma.

Those who use the unfortunate incident to hold a grudge or seek revenge will suffer in other areas of their lives until they work through the problem. From this list may come antagonists or characters who choose to be victims.

A writer can use betrayal to:

Choose friends and relationships
Consider where to live
Determine hidden fears
Discover what propels the character into action
Establish goals
Evaluate faith and values
Identify strengths and weaknesses
Learn what matters most
Recognize behavior patterns
Select a career
Understand trust issues

In short, we get better or bitter. Here’s a scenario from my latest novel Burden of Proof.

Jason Snyder, hero, is an ESTJ personality type according to Myers-Briggs personality type. The following article helps the writer establish how personalities react and respond to betrayal. How Each Myers-Briggs Type Handles Feelings of Betrayal

"ESTJs are often very loyal and strongly dislike being betrayed by others. They will probably become hurt at first but have a tendency to move on when someone betrays their trust. The ESTJ will likely just alter their behavior to avoid being hurt by this person again. They do not like cutting people out of their lives and will often struggle with doing so. They strive to build a community and want to be able to maintain a sense of control and structure.”

Jason’s wife died of cancer a few hours after their baby daughter was born. When he believes he’s walked through the stages of grief, he's betrayed by a man who has sworn to uphold the law. Jason is falsely accused of murdering his best friend, and his precious daughter is kidnapped. The lack of control and structure sends him into a tailspin. His faith is shaken. He’s on the run. Who does he trust after being betrayed?

The example above fits Jason’s personality. What about your characters? How do they handle betrayal?
DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. Her latest book, Burden of Proof has released. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Firewall, the first book in her Houston: FBI series, was listed by Library Journal as one of the best Christian Fiction books of 2014. DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is co-director of The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference and The Mountainside Marketing Conference with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas. DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on Facebook:, Twitter: or any of the social media platforms listed

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