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.

Triggers From HURRICANE BETRAYAL

One of the most difficult symptoms of betrayal P.T.S.D. and trauma are the triggers.  Triggers can be physical or mental and can wreck havoc on your health.  For a long time I had difficulty explaining what it was like having triggers day-in and day-out.  Below is the best way I could describe it.

You can start by imagining yourself as a small lake, the beautiful sandy shores are the barrier you built to protect yourself. You have existed for a long time with nothing disturbing your waters and the shores, but the occasional wind and rain (kids, family, work, etc.) until the unexpected happened.  A rare category 4 hurricane named Betrayal barreled through your waters and damaged your shoreline. Not only did Hurricane Betrayal spend a good amount of time breaking down your shores, it also broke down a rocky ledge 1000 ft above you. Within a day this ledge starts to crumble.  The very first piece to fall from the ledge is a boulder the size of a Semi-Truck. This boulder disturbs your peace and safety over a period of a few days reminding you of the hurricane. The next boulder that falls into your water is the size of a pick-up truck.  This boulder disturbs you for a day. The next boulder is the size of a compact car, you are disturbed a little less than the previous boulders but dislike how it reminds you of Hurricane Betrayal.  You have these boulders sporadically crashing down for a few months. They vary in size.  Every day you are unsure what type of rock is going to be falling into your water and what memories it will stir up.  It could be any size at any given moment.  This makes you worried, edgy, panicked, and nervous every minute of every single day. Every single pebble that comes down from that ledge reminds you of Hurricane Betrayal.

After 6 months of large boulders, rocks and pebbles disturbing your waters, you no longer identify as a lake, you are unsure what you are.   You become highly sensitive to anything that touches your water or shoreline. The wind and rain (children, family, friends, finances, work) pick away at your shores little by little even if just a minuscule amount. Everything that touches your water leaves its mark on you. You are in constant fear of no longer being a lake, of a boulder completely crashing down into your water destroying all the shoreline you have left after Betrayal hit.

Years goes by, you are exposed to the wind and rain. The ledge letting boulders, rocks and pebbles go is something you accept being there.   You are still a lake, like before. You have weathered through it all. You even made it through another hurricane.  Some days you would have a boulder and tiny rocks land in your water.  On other days the ledge would drop pebbles all day long.  Gradually over time the ledge stopped dropping the boulders and only dropped pebbles and an occasional stone.  Sometimes the stones would be significant and sometimes not.  There was a week where you didn’t have anything fall into your water.  The ledge you kept constant eye on no longer looks like a ledge.  You can barely see where it was. You will always remember what that ledge looked like right after Hurricane Betrayal hit. You will not forget the damage Betrayal and that ledge did to you, but you might appreciate what it made you become.