Grief And Betrayal
I was touched recently while reading a daily devotion. It was one that I read daily, it is written by Bob Gass Ministry. This day was about Healing for Your Grief.
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Ps 147:3 The Lord didn’t promise to protect us from pain and loss but to bring us through.
Wow, wasn’t that the truth about betrayal? The Lord never promised that my marriage would be free from betrayal, I had that expectation. So, when betrayal occurred in my marriage, I needed to trust in the Lord’s promise that he would bring me through. But did He expect me to sit and wait to do nothing? I don’t believe so; I had to take steps that would aid me in my healing. When someone has been betrayed, they need to walk through. But what exactly are they walking through? It’s the stages of grief; there has been a death: a death of a dream, a marriage and a life.
Shock and Denial
Learning of Tim’s affair, I went into shock. I was numb. And though I don’t remember much of those first few weeks, I do remember feeling like I was in a fog. I didn’t feel connected to myself or anyone else. Day after day, I felt like I was living an out-of-body experience. I did see what I was doing, but I didn’t feel connected to the body that was doing them.
Denial was a huge piece because this couldn’t be real, it couldn’t be happening to me. Surely, my husband would not have done such a thing. I just knew that Tim couldn’t have an affair. He would never be able to have an affair. No, not my husband! All denial. How long did I stay there? Who knows, at the time it seemed like eternity. Some days, I may have moved out of it, but then something would happen and I would be pulled back in.
I often operated in several stages at the same time. I would be engulfed with pain. At times, I could barely stand because the pain consumed me. From there I would move to this anger that was so deep that it I boiled out of me. It was in every space within me and would ooze out of me. I could not contain it I would go from a place of pain so deep I couldn’t get out of bed to anger so intense that, if ignited, it could burn a forest in seconds.
Moving Through Betrayal
How did I move through the pain of betrayal? Well, I had to place one foot in front of the other and move. There were certain steps I had to take to help me walk through. That is what I would like to share.
1) I turned to others for counsel and compassion. I didn’t isolate myself; instead I called one of my very good Godly friends. I needed to put others around me that would compassionately give me Godly counsel – someone I could talk with and release all that I was carrying. This act helped me to feel loved and gave me the reassurance that I was not alone. Sharing with my friend was a healing act.
2) I had to take care of myself, even when I didn’t want to. I had to apply the D.E.A.R.. acronym, Drink, Eat, Exercise and Rest. This was hard. I had a pastor and counselor who saw, within days of learning of Tim’s infidelity, who both said to me, “Diana, don’t forget to eat”. “Who cares about food?” was my thought. Truth is that we need strength and nourishment to get through.
I had to learn to eat and drink when I didn’t feel like it. I was running on empty, as sleep would evade me. My mind went 24/7 with obsessive thoughts. I had to work hard to learn to turn off the thoughts.
One way I did this was to try to replace my thoughts by moving to more pleasant thoughts or at least less hurtful thoughts. Finally, I recognized that exercise was a release and it felt good. For me I would go for walks. During my walks I could think, talk out loud and release some of the negativism that was controlling me.
3) I had to accept my loss. With time it became apparent that I would have to accept my loss. My husband had had an affair; he was not the loyal and faithful husband I had imagined I had. Our marriage was no longer the pure marriage I dreamed of and expected. It was time for me to accept and move beyond the past that I had could not change.
Until I had gone through the initial stages of grief my heart wasn’t prepared to walk through the final stage that would lead to the breakthrough for healing. Looking back on my healing I can see the footprints of God and how he was patiently walking me through each step. All while he was preparing me for surrendering, the final stage of healing. It was in surrendering I would accept and see hope. By surrendering to God, I could feel the assurance of my Father and I knew that I would be O.K.
Take The Steps
As I write this, I wonder how many people out there are stuck in the stages of grief and do not know how to move on. My heart acts to think of others who are living in denial, pain, anger, depression, and loneliness. I want to reach out to them all and offer them the knowledge and wisdom that there is hope, they can get through, and they too will be O.K.
So, if you are on the journey of healing from infidelity, I want to encourage you to take the steps. Place one foot in front of the other and slowly walk through the healing process. You are not alone.
If you are walking the path of recovery from betrayal, I’d like to invite you to join the private Broken and Beautiful Facebook group. We are a group of women in the same boat, with various outcomes, who help and encourage each other along the way.