Betrayal – let’s face it. It’s hard.
When someone betrays us – it’s like getting ripped open and watching your guts fall outside of your body. Betrayal comes in many forms. People can betray us in all sorts of ways. They may let us down, tell us lies, undermine us to others, don’t support us in an argument in front of others. Or, it’s more subtle. They lie or manipulate us, they dont’ pay us back the money they borrowed, the list goes on. But there’s an even worse form of betrayal that happens and that is, when someone we love cheats on us.
What is it about betrayal by someone with whom we’ve been intimate? It seems like it’s way more hurtful than getting betrayed by a friend or family member? Maybe we knew intuitively that someone was untrustworthy but didn’t want to face it. Or maybe we never saw it coming. Regardless, betrayal in whatever form it takes, is hurtful to our soul. The healing process and the steps one has to take to get through the betrayal is roughly the same process. So we have to be willing to do the footwork to fully heal, so we can continue on in life and learn to trust again.
He was the answer, or so I thought. I believed that if I could just get him to marry me, he would make me okay. Fix me on some level. I believed that getting married would lend me societal acceptance. I thought I could get the status I was so desperately seeking. He of course, had other plans. Plans which he didn’t share with me until much later. This plan included a woman from his church he’d been seeing for a few months, and married 3 weeks after he broke up with me.
But here’s what’s interesting.
I neglected to look at the big picture from the beginning. The big picture included – he had pursued me before he was even divorced! Oh, I forgot that detail. With my rose colored glasses on, I was sure that love would conquer all and that what we were doing was okay. _ The fact that he was untrustworthy from the beginning failed to even enter my mind! So why was I so shocked to learn he had been cheating on me?
That didn’t change the emotions I was feeling. The emotions that betrayal brings up begins with shock. I believed in my marrow that I never predicted it would happen. If I had taken a lie detector test, it would have shown that I was telling the truth. When I stepped back and reflected about it – I had known on some level that there was something wrong, for a long time. When I re-read my journal, I saw that my psyche knew there was trouble in paradise. Long before my mind knew it. Still, I had to experience the myriad of emotions in the aftermath. I felt:
Anger, sorrow, fear, shame, confusion, insecure and loneliness. Sometimes I felt conflicting emotions. I was disgusted with the thought of ever being with him again, and simultaneously sure that I would go back if asked. I felt isolated because I believed no one else felt as despondent as I did. People were kind and listened to my sorrow. But eventually they tuned out and went to back to their lives.
Being left alone was one of my biggest fears, and his departure brought this fear to light. I was forced to look within and unpack the layers of fear within my soul. What I found was, I was looking outward for acceptance and over-depending on him to fix my brokenness. But that was not his job. I had to find my own truth, my own way. And sometimes we can’t find that way in easy times. It takes painful experience to allow us to grow spiritually.
My spiritual advisor said, “sometimes our souls attract the very conditions were are frightened of.” This happens so that we can transcend the fear. Before we incarnated, our souls agreed upon whatever happens to us in the earthly realm. When I looked at this situation with that lens, it took some of the sting out of it. What if this whole situation was only an opportunity for me to discover my own soul?
What I also realized about myself was, I had played the betrayer in the past and didn’t think too much of it. I didn’t realize the destruction I had caused to others. This realization allowed me to clean up my past and make some long over-due amends as well.
In time, I did discover my own soul. In time, the emotions faded. The betrayal was just a moment – It wasn’t a life sentence. It became an opportunity to grow spiritually. To discover who my real friends were, who I could really depend upon. And it helped me grow closer to a God of my understanding.
It wasn’t easy going through the journey of pain and self-discovery post betrayal. But today I am grateful for the experience. I say that because I received many gifts during my time of healing. I discovered aspects of myself I would never have found had he married me. Had I not taken the time to reflect, I would never be the person I am today. I had to be willing to do the real work that only a soul wrenching experience asks of us.
If you have recently experienced a betrayal – know that you are not alone. Fellow travelers who have been through this journey understand your pain. In time, it will lessen, change and eventually even fade. I will leave you with a story.
A European landlord was relentlessly crying and grieving when his property burned to the ground. He was so despondent and devastated, his family feared for his life. His sons reminded him that even though he lost his buildings, he still had his land, not to mention, his family. A faint smile came to the landlord’s face. In that moment, looking down at his family, he realized, not all was lost.
In time, rebuilding can replace the ashes. And who knows? Maybe better buildings will be built in its place.