The worst kind of hurt is betrayal, because it means someone was willing to hurt you just to make themself feel better. – Unknown
Like I talked about in part one of this series, Three in a Marriage, there is no room for a third person in a marriage! The innocent party is left holding the destruction from the broken marriage – the baggage. Often times this includes all of the negative feelings and emotions that the children are dealing with, as well.
There is real life, hard to handle pain, that follows finding out the person that vowed to love, honor, and cherish you… be your family for life… has betrayed your physical, emotional, and spiritual being by committing adultery.
I want to share these feelings to educate others as well as show what is normal to those who’ve lived through it. If you’re on the floor in a puddle of your tears, fears, feelings, and emotions, you’re not alone!
[socialrocket-tweet quote=”There is never any possible way to lovingly or kindly cheat on your spouse! Never!” tweet=”There is never any possible way to lovingly or kindly cheat on your spouse! Never!”]
The real-life pains that follow betrayal trauma.
It feels like death. It is the complete death of the trust and security you had – or thought you had. It’s the death of the idea that your marriage was stronger than this and it would never happen to you.
It’s the death of the marriage and everything you thought, hoped for and dreamed about (what you thought the future held)… except your husband is still alive and is now saying he loves someone else (or he’s totally lying to you yet you know the truth even though he refuses to tell you). The devastation in knowing someone else is “his soulmate” (the same thing he was calling you last week).
THAT! That makes you feel like lesser of a person.
Hope is lost after this blunt force trauma to the heart, body, and soul. All is left, as you look at the destruction all around you, is despair, a complete absence of hope and extreme sadness.
Adultery is emotional and psychological abuse. It’s an emotional and physical rejection that says, “You are not good enough. You’re not pretty enough. Not skinny enough. Someone out there is better at ___ than you.“
The adulterer doesn’t have to say these things. It’s just what the enemy whispers in our ears.
Within minutes of finding out, we start to believe the lies that follow the betrayal trauma. The shame that we have. Who we are… Worthless. Not good enough. Alone. With no value.
Your self-esteem has just been decimated by the person who you loved the most, cared about the most, and trusted the most. You would never do this to your marriage… but here you are dealing with the pain. You feel lower than low knowing this person didn’t have the same level of love and loyalty as you did.
You start to wonder if you ever even knew this person. You start to question everything about your life, your marriage, and your personhood. How did I not know???
[You might also enjoy: Finding Your Own Worth (After Divorce)]
I honestly can’t remember being so angry at any other point in my life than when I found out about the repeated betrayals. The third time, the third affair partner, that was the worst. I was furious that we were dealing with this “problem” yet again! He tried to tell me that it wasn’t physical and that they were “just friends” (who spend time together, completely alone), but I knew differently. I now know differently.
By the time number four (within my marriage) came around, I was completely numb to any more pain or anger. He told me there was no one else… he lied, again and I just didn’t buy it! Trust was completely gone because I just could never trust him again. How could I trust someone who had never been trustworthy?
Most times we’re not only angry at the adulterer but we’re angry at ourselves. How could I have missed all the red flags? Why did I even trust him in the first place?
Hiding your emotions will only drive you deeper into the valley. Stuffing your feelings will only cause you to eventually explode or worse, your body will not be able to withstand the stress (I’ve struggled with this myself). More about healing in part three of this series on Betrayal Trauma.
[You might also enjoy: What the Bible Says About Anger (After Divorce)]
As your mind starts to process what has been going on behind your back, it’s very normal to start to obsess about the betrayal, wonder about the details, to be hypervigilant about protecting yourself and/or your children, deal with insomnia, PTSD, panic attacks, nightmares, bouts of tearfulness, and even mood swings. I’ve dealt with these and I know I’m not alone.
Realizing that your husband has known about what he was doing, where he was at, and how wrong his choices are can cause the mind to run around in circles wondering, how could he do this?
Knowing that if you were the one who was doing exactly what he was doing, he would have turned and never looked back. He wouldn’t put up with your cheating, why do we try to put up with his?
This all causes confusion in the betrayed partner as she tries to understand what her marriage was based upon. Was it always a fraud or just recently?
We’re just so confused!
Every betrayal trauma victim that I’ve known or worked with talks about the triggers. Whether you try to stay married or you divorce, triggers are just something you face. They are part of the betrayal trauma. One of the hardest parts of betrayal trauma. They can even be carried into a second marriage if we allow it.
Triggers remind us of all of the feelings and emotions that we felt on that discovery day. They remind us of our lack of worth, our anger, and our confusion. In some, they cause panic attacks and others discomfort. But those reminders are harsh… and very real for those who are experiencing them.
For me, locations and dates are a trigger. I’m much better at forgetting dates but struggle most with location triggers – more so in the beginning. I just didn’t want to experience that and I just don’t want to go there. Avoidance is not the healthiest way to deal with triggers, but for now, that’s what I’m doing.
[You might also enjoy: 3 Steps to Move Past the Pain (After Divorce)]
The waves of feelings and emotions get smaller as each moment and day passes but until those waves are tiny specs on our radar, how does one get through? How does one stay afloat when you’re drowning in the sea of emotions? More on this in the third post in this series…
Read (Part Three) Betrayal Trauma: Leaving the Baggage Behind
Comments are always welcome! Feel free to share your feelings and your story (without obscenities – thanks) in the comments.
God bless this tough road to healing after adultery,
Still Here says
I appreciate what you write to help others. I’ve had all those emotions. Honestly, there are times where I just feel like I have lost part of my mind. It shows when I ramble about it. I’m honestly still trying to decide what to do. As far as I know, this is the first time that I’ve had to deal with this. Although my husband still swears there was no affair ( circumstantial evidence was crazy) the fact that he continued to hide our savings after he spent 10 months trying to convince me otherwise makes No Sense!?We’ve been married a long time. One of the things I realized while all of this was going on was the realization ( during an argument) that he would rather me just walk out than let our kids realize what he did!! Looking forward to the next post.
Jen Grice says
You’re welcome, Still Here. I know what you mean. I’m not sure how far you are in your divorce recovery and healing, but coming out of the fog (from the psychological abuse) can make the mind feel crazy and we can be quite confused. Maybe it will get better for you as you heal more. I know I feel more confident, more able to speak without being confused or easily manipulated, and my mind is more clear that it was years ago when I was dealing with all of these feelings. Look forward to seeing you in the comments of the next post. God bless!
Still Here says
Thank you Jen. I’m looking forward to the next post and will share more then.
i just filed papers. im laying here reading and its sad to say it helps to know there are others who have been thru this horrible ordeal. betrayed and we have to pay the price for their wrong doings. how they can so easily lie like its nothing. he wont come home tonite and think nothing of it tomoro. how can they be so cold and heartless? you have to stay angry to stay strong. my 2nd marriage of 3 yrs. 20 yrs between the 2. this was it for me. retire grow old together. it was all a lie. why waste either of our time this late in life? i dont think i will ever trust another man. grow old alone. that bastard took that from me. i lay here full of hurt and hate. hes laying with some whore. im younger in gr8 shape and have an appetite for sex. what went wrong? i ask god every day, why me? and im settling for nothing in divorce just to get away from him.
Jen Grice says
I’m sorry for your sadness, Jodi. It will pass as God reveals this new life after divorce is better for you than staying with someone who would betray you and Him through adultery. Glad to have you along on this journey to healing.
Thank you for your post, it has helped me tremendously. I had been lied to for over a year, when I found out and had proof he still denied it all. Yet he kept on going out and just leaving us with no explanation. January this year he just left and didn’t look back, knowing that I couldn’t pay all bills and mortgage plus still feed our three kids. He didn’t want to sign the divorce papers. It took me having to pay to serve him. To get the divorce finalized. But it’s not over because he refuses to pay child support, and now I’m pending a foreclosure on my house because I can’t pay everything. It’s all too hard, still emotionally draining. My kids of course are the ones that suffer the most and don’t show it.
I have left it all to God so that he can take care off everything. All is so fresh that I can’t help but still worry, and wonder if God had heard my cry for help.
Thank you for your blog
Jen Grice says
Marta, God has heard your cry, I promise you! He loves you and will take care of you and your children. But sometimes things have to fall all the way apart so that He can put them back together the right way. So when we see the destruction we may worry that it is really bad (like losing a house) but sometimes God has a better plan for you and your family up ahead… you just have to trust Him.
I can totally relate to the lying even with proof right in the liar’s face. They’ll carry their lies so far as to tell them in court, to family, and even their own kids or the new wife/girlfriend. The just have no integrity or conscience to feel bad about what they’ve done.
Marta E. says
Thank you for your kind words, please pray for me Amy children for healing and for me to be able to hear what God’s plans are for us,
Jen Grice says
You’re welcome! Yes, prayers for you and them. God bless!
Kim K. says
I’ve been going through this for almost 6 years. My story isn’t relevant here, but I want to tell you that one of my first decisions was to let my house go back to the bank. There was a lot of equity, but I did it to help my daughter and I survive.
I now live in a 1966 30’ Airstream and it’s not bad. It’s actually quite a miracle how I came to acquire it. God did that!
God does provide, please stay connected to Him.
It was 14 months ago when my world changed forever. My then 16 year old daughter came to me and told me she had something very important to tell me. My husband, her stepfather for the last 14 years, had been smoking marijuana with her and she went on to explain what everyone considers grooming behaviors. Because his grooming behaviors were getting more bizarre to her, she freaked out and told me what was going on. My heart sank and I was in shock. And yes, I was mad at myself because I had seen the red flags, but I had brushed them off saying not my husband, no, he would NEVER do that. So, that evening with the help of CYS, the police and friends, my husband left our marital home and then lead me for the next year through lie after lie after lie. I praise God because He lead me to a wonderful counselor who I still see, but not as often anymore. I’ve been through the waves of emotions, at one point feeling like I was going to die due to the grief. Just two Sundays ago, I cried all through church as I looked around and saw long term marriages all over the place, and here I am, left behind with 8 children to raise on my own who I deeply desire to be raised up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. It’s hard, but it’s getting better. My husband did plead guilty to corruption of the morals of a minor for smoking the marijuana, however, he told me he only did it to appease me. I have made it very clear to him over and over again, that I am more than willing to forgive him, but first he needs to confess his sin and repent and he refuses. He also has posted ads on Craigslist casual encounters, Match, because he “needed someone to talk to. ” And he met a lady at the laundry mat who he became ONLY friends with ( um-hum). And yet, many times I have asked for her phone number so I could talk with her and he always comes up with an excuse on why he won’t give me her number. Of course, everything was my fault, he was overwhelmed with how many kids we had, he was stressed and he just “cracked”. Yep, I’d say he cracked all right. He also says he isn’t doing drugs ( but I don’t believe him ) or viewing pornography anymore ( again, don’t believe that one ). You know, I stayed with this man in our marriage when I knew he was drinking, doing drugs and viewing porn because I thought that was what a godly woman did. We kept silent and prayed for God to do the work. I never reached out and told anyone what was going on because he would threaten if I told anyone he would be so embarrassed that he wouldn’t take us to church anymore. And yes, he uses my deep love for the Lord against me. Such as he’s not signing divorce papers, if I file for it, it’s on me and that I have no biblical basis for getting a divorce. And so, here I am 14 months later, still trying to just handle things one day at a time. I am healing, trying to help my children heal and continue to rely on the Lord. And I still am holding out for hope. Hope that he will confess his sin, that he will seek God and become the man God wants him to be. I thank you Jen for your writings and your ministry to women. Your blog has been a great source of help!
Jen Grice says
Hopeful, you’re SO right when you said he blames you. I could see that just a few sentences into your comment. Sounds like you’re being manipulated, as well, into staying when you very much have Biblical grounds for divorce from what you said here. But you need to know and understand this as well. Don’t just take my word for it, find out more.
If I can give my mentoring advice, please watch this video -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Mk60EsjjhM < - and/or seek out some help from your community via either the local domestic violence shelter (you don't have to stay there to get help – I've used many of their services but never their housing), hiring a counselor with knowledge of abuse (not just any Christian counselor because most of them do not know much about psychological abuse - I had to hire a non-Christian abuse recovery counselor), or someone else that you can trust and that help you. Also, see if you can find any of the books, especially the first three (by Lundy Bancroft and Leslie Vernick) on my "Abuse Education and Healing" list on my resources page. -> http://jengrice.com/resources <- They're the best books on the topic of abuse inside of marriage and Leslie's book helps you to see the Biblical truth. Praying for you and God bless!
I feel painful death.
At times I can’t breathe or eat. I did call the suicide hotline and hung up. Being married to a narcissistic person for nearly 32 years has taken an emotional toll on me.
Jen Grice says
Del, please get help from somewhere! Suicide is a real risk for divorcing women (and men).