Best Description of Betrayal EVER! (must read)

I found this article from my dear friend at Journal of a Sex Addict

Whenever I come across someone who does not understand what I am going through I have them read the article below. I hope you find it just as helpful. ***Warning*** You may cry because someone wrote exactly how you feel.

When betrayal is disclosed, an array of long lasting physical, mental and emotional symptoms occur.

They say processing and recovery of these symptoms take 2-5 years provided the betrayed and the betrayer do what is required and both put in extreme effort and hard work. After 2-5 years – MAYBE you’ll start to feel like the old parts of you that you loved creep in.

But what happens before the 2-5 years? If you’ve discovered you’ve been sexually and/or emotionally betrayed, you’ve got one hell of an up-coming journey regardless if you stay or leave. It doesn’t matter if you were betrayed once or a thousand times; the symptoms and effort with processing are the same. If you’ve been betrayed, you will experience the following for 2-5 years – which your spouse won’t understand but may if it’s spelled out in black and white:

  1. You will ask many many details of what they did, and
    • EACH answer will cause you to question more to try and connect the dots
    • EACH answer will cause you to rephrase the question to make sure they’re telling the truth
    • EACH answer will take minimum 7 days to process
    • EACH new discovery/answers to questions that have already been answered sets the betrayed back minimum 7 days

If you have 261 simultaneous thoughts and questions about the betrayal (I had/have more than this), and each take 7 days (or more) to process, there’s your 5 years.

Keep in mind, one thought takes 7 days, but we are not only thinking one thought. We are thinking and feeling:

  • a hundred thoughts at a time and ruminating about them all
  • about their afterthought guilt and shame and trying to find a fiber of compassion for them (seriously, I don’t know how we do it)
  • like zombies as if someone has taken over our bodies and minds

All the while – we’re:

  • working
  • taking care of parents
  • taking care of kids and really trying to stay patient
  • helping with homework
  • playing games with our kids
  • taking our kids to activities
  • playing fake happy face life with friends, family, co-workers and children
  • cooking
  • cleaning
  • grocery shopping
  • angry
  • enraged
  • resentful
  • anxious
  • disgusted by our spouse
  • thinking about hurting ourselves
  • blaming ourselves for being so stupid
  • suffering a severely diminished self esteem
  • ruminating about what they have that we don’t
  • in pain because of a STD
  • worried we’ve been exposed to HPV and need to go through screening for years
  • spending thousands of hours and dollars in counselling
  • spending thousands of dollars on medication
  • reading books and blogs on “How to Forgive Infidelity”
  • stalking the OW
  • conjuring up revenge scenarios
  • worried we’ll be homeless
  • worried the OW is pregnant
  • paranoid that he misses her/them
  • paranoid that he’s still talking to her/them
  • paranoid that he’s still meeting up with her/them
  • worried about what will happen to our children
  • hating our spouse
  • loving our spouse
  • suffering from PTSD
  • suffering nightmares of the affair(s)
  • suffering insomnia because of rumination and fear of the nightmares
  • drinking
  • doing drugs
  • not taking care of ourselves
  • feeling dirty
  • losing our identity
  • feeling like we want to run away
  • feel like we want to stay in bed
  • losing weight
  • fending off questions from our friends and family about what’s wrong
  • physical ailments from all of the stress hormones running though our bodies but still need to do all of the above patiently and gently so no one knows or sees your pain

And we don’t really remember doing ANY of the above because those 261 questions and thoughts are rolling around in there each with their 7 days of processing TAKE OVER OUR LIVES. You could be on day 5 for one, day 3 for another and day 7 for a new one which may cause the day 3 processing thought to reset and start the 7 days over again.

And then we get triggered – DAILY – by a song, driving by a place they met that was OUR place, frantically (and repeatedly) scouring though old emails, photos, texts, phone records, banking/credit card statement, pockets, drawers, behind couches and receipts trying to figure out the timeline and remember what exactly was going on that exact day, which causes more triggers, processing days and hours and hours of a domino effect of spiraling and going “there”.

Betrayers: hopefully this will help you understand that we can’t just “get over it”, why at year 1 we still have items that need 7 day processing, why at year 2 we’re starting to feel ok but still go “there”, why at year 5 we still aren’t ourselves and why we will never be ourselves again.

Parenting Through Betrayal Trauma

Wish I could have been more of a mother.

I have never known guilt until a little over a year ago when I was able to look back on the last few years and how much my life had flipped upside down. I cannot help but feel guilty for not being there for my children as I should have. I am still not there for them as much as I would like. I am currently under constant anxiety attacks.  I am dealing with a second round of recovery.  (Read my story here) It was when I mentioned this to my therapist I was reminded that my absence as a parent was not all my fault and was a 50/50 thing. My husband was just as much at fault.   My current therapist reminded me that when we grow up, we are never taught that we are going to be several people throughout our lifetime, and it is perfectly okay to change.  Their words give me some comfort, but I do miss the parent I was before D-Day.

I am going to share a tough moment for me so that others out there do not feel alone in the struggles of parenting while suffering from betrayal trauma. The last couple years my Husband had to step up to the plate and take care of the children more than he had ever before.  Recently I picked up our 7-year-old son by myself for the first time since he entered elementary school. 1 ½ years later and I finally picked him up by myself. When I stopped at the store on the way home, he was a little scarred to get out of the car and go into the store with me.  He said “Mommy, you are okay to take me in the store?”  This completely wrenched on every heart string I have.  It dawned on me that his Mom was not capable of being fully present for 3 years of his life and he is only 7. That is almost half his life. I went from being room parent, PTA member, soccer mom to my current position as mentally ill Mom. 

The rolls of Mom and Dad have completely flipped around in our household.  It is strange to see my husband volunteering weekly at the school and having more knowledge about our sons learning, teacher and classmates then I do.  But I have to say it is refreshing at the same time. He struggles with the same stuff I struggled with when I was a Stay at home Mom with our two oldest, one whom is an adult and the other in High School. It makes me happy to see him enjoying some time doing what I used to enjoy.  

One day at a time I am slowly becoming a resemblance of the Mom I used to be but this time it is better.  I get to share the experience with my Husband whom now understands what it is like to care for the kids as a  Stay at Home Parent.  We have suffered in every aspect of our life because of infidelity but we are working on making it better than before and this makes me happy.