Get comfy, grab a drink and a snack, it’s going to be an eye opening read!
When that one person you never though would betray you crosses the line, it’s absolutely devastating! Your whole world comes crashing down around you.
First comes the shock and disbelief!
The wind has just been knocked out of your sails and you are utterly gobsmacked. You had so much trust in this person. Never in a million years would you have thought this person could ever betray you, let alone destroy your trust, tear your heart into tiny pieces and then expect you to forgive THEIR wrong doing just because they were having a “bad day” or a “selfish moment”. How could they do that?!
I get it, we’ve all have out moment when we aren’t at our best, say things in anger only to regret it later. We apologies and then expect to move on like nothing ever happened, becuase we have apologised. For the most part this is pretty normal, right? When does it turn from this into betrayal?
Well, in my experience, it is often when the one person you thought you could count on, completely trusted, had complete faith in does something completely unexpected, catches you off guard and crushes an aspect of you. Whether that is a cheating partner, a family member, a best friend or even a trusted business partner. Can you relate?
To put it into perspective, let’s go for the typical cheating partner as an example. Feel free to substitute this person or situation as required.
Boy meets girl, there’s a spark just like magic, you date and eventually fall into a relationship. Its absolutely heavenly, you are on cloud nine and things are just great. In your mind they are amazing, loving, attentive, caring and eventually you trust them completely. Things are going great, the relationship is stable, you are both having fun and are on the same page.
You obviously are intelligent, surly you would notice any warning signs if anything fishy goes on, such as cheating or disloyalty, right? After all, you have been there for all your friends who have ever been hurt due to deception (or for any other reason). You saw the warning signs and warned many of your friend or family to watch out or be careful of so and so. Surely, you will see the warning signs from miles away!
You love your independence, so much so that you love the fact that you can have a relationship without losing your independence! You have time and space to do your thing and they have the same. It’s a win win! *woop woop – victory dance, you found the perfect partner!*
Yes, you may have your little arguments as do most couple, but then you get over it. It’s just teething problems, while you are both finding your feet in the relationship, right? There is always an apology, followed by a gift, maybe some flowers, chocolate or a romantic date where you are completely spoiled, adored and showered with affection. You’re on top of the world, you hit gold!
Then one day, they cancel a date or plans because they got caught up at work or got busy doing “something”. That’s cool, because you have your own stuff to do, you aren’t joined at the hip or anything so you make plans with your friends and have a blast.
Then this happens a couple more times so you assume that the honeymoon phase is over. C’mon adulting, you got this!
Then you notice this becoming a bit of a pattern, so then you begin to wonder; “what’s wrong with me? Why don’t they want to spend time with me? Have I done something wrong?”. You are so wrapped up in thinking there is something wrong with you, that you do everything you can to change yourself, to be more attractive and desirable to them.
Perhaps you haven’t been pay them as much attention as you should? So, you even organise a surprise for their birthday to make it extra special because you know that their family doesn’t make much of an effort. They don’t have plans with their friends because it’s in the middle of the week and they will get together on the weekend. You just want to do something special for them on their special day, to make them feel loved. On the big day your surprise them only to find out that they actually do have plans you just weren’t part of them. The excuse “oh, they just told me, it’s a last minute thing” or “oh it’s a lad’s (or girl’s) night out”.
You might even find yourself being kicked out so they can get ready and party with their friends. Are you kidding me?! How humiliating! But you justify it, that’s ok right, it’s their birthday so they should celebrate it how they want and be happy. That’s all you want for them, to be happy and loved. Maybe this is your way of showing them you love them enough, maybe now they will love and appreciate you.
Until one day, you’ve had enough, the last straw has been pulled. You’ve had a bad day and they cancel on your plans yet again! That’s the last straw, so months of suppression explodes out and you have a massive argument.
After the blow up, comes the apology. They will apologies, say things like “I’m sorry, you deserve better”, “I didn’t mean to hurt you…” blah blah blah.
They know exactly what to say to make you melt. They are amazing at making your feel so good, special and totally loved that you wonder why you made such a big deal. You feel special, loved and appreciated. So you fall back into old patterns and habits until this pattern come around again full circle.
Every time you have this argument, that little part of you that feels like there is something wrong with you, receives more validation. It grows from a tiny speck to a gigantic tornado.
Then one day, out of the blue you partner confesses that they had been cheating on you and worse yet the person they had been cheating with is pregnant or has an STI which is the only reason they told you in the first place! To cover their sorry ass!
The Trauma, Shock, Horror
At this point you are probably in a state of shock, you are too traumatised to know what to do, think or feel, you are just numb because of the extent of the betrayal. Your world has literally just collapsed around you!
You have no idea how to process the information, it’s almost as if it’s not really happening to you – it must be a nightmare, right? You silently wish to yourself “please, please be a nightmare!”
This person that you are completely in love with you, implicitly trusted, defended when anyone said anything negative about them. The person who you did everything in your power to help, encouraged, loved and accepted them wart and all, just completely disregarded you, your feeling and the relationship you built.
“What wrong with me? How did I miss the warning signs?”
Hurt and Anger
How could they? After all you did for them, they had the audacity to treat you like crap?! How dare they! After weeks of crying your eyes dry, and the constant heart ache you go into investigation mode. You have to do something productive to get over them. So you start going though all their social media, talking to your friends, replaying all the moments of the relationship in your head time and time again to figure out how you missed the warning signs. Doing anything you can to figure out what happened and how you were so blind to the warning signs. Again, only looking for the reason YOU weren’t good enough.
What did these other guys/girls have that you didn’t?
After a million missed calls, texts, voicemails, smoke signals of apologies, you are having none of it. That **bleep** can wait until you are good and ready, they do not have any right to make any demands. They don’t even deserve the time of day from you after what they have done, so they can just go to hell!
Shame and unworthiness
Then the same and unworthiness sets in. How could you be so blind? How could you let them do this to you? How in the hell are you going to explain this to all your friends/family who kept warning you? You might even begin to wonder “will I always be treated this way?”, “what did I do to deserve to be treated like this?”, “what’s wrong with me?”.
You start to doubt yourself, your judgement. Are you attractive enough? Are you too fat/thin/short/tall? All these self-doubting questions swimming in your head then take a toll on your self-esteem, confidence, body image and so much more.
And the irony is, you would go blue in the face telling someone in this situation you care about to get rid of this looser! You would have noticed all the warning bells, and told them to run to the hills to avoid heartbreak. So you wonder how you miss all these warning signs.
Attempting to move on
After some time passes, you have no more tears left to shed, have had an opportunity to process things, calm down enough to have a conversation like adults so that you can move on – whatever that means!
You bravely make the call to hear out what they have to say. You’ve heard all the excuses before, the same old “sorry, I’ll never do it again, what can I do to make it up to you?”, “They meant nothing to me…”yada yada yada.
In truth, you are so angry and hurt by this person because you were totally and completely in love with them, trusted them, you would do anything to make them feel better even on the rough days. Now, every time you see or hear them all you feel is the betrayal, distrust and all the hurt they put you though. So you make the brave decision to cut them out of your life, because that is the only way you know how to deal with it and move on in your life.
None of your family and friends truly understand how you feel, they do their best to support you, make you feel better and check in on you. But even with all their support, it can feel really lonely and sad. You might even miss the cheater, the way they made you feel on the good days, their cuddles, smell or quirks. Silly things really, but it hurts so deep.
And every time you are in a social setting, you can feel the sympathy oozing from everyone, the sympathetic side nods like someone died! Then you have the ones who think setting you up with someone else will fix everything. Finally, there’s the dreaded happy couples, oh the envy, “why couldn’t that have been us?” you think to yourself. Oh and don’t forget the happy couples who try to tone down their relationship because they are trying to be sensitive towards you and your situation.
That just crushes you even more, because you are supposed to be the strong independent one! So you decided to put on a brave face on the outside, while deep down you feel like a sorry heap of helplessness. But at least everyone else will be happy.
And life goes on…
Now that you have to put on this brave face of independence and strength, you immerse yourself in work/school or a new project. Anything to keep your mind occupied. You have plenty of time so why not get back into shape, climb Mount Kilimanjaro, start up a new business or learn another skill, perhaps some further studying. Anything to keep your mind occupied and focused on something positive in your life.
As time passes, things seem to be getting easier but that doesn’t mean having another relationship has been easier. You do everything in your power never to be hurt like that again, NEVER. So you put your heart in a vault and build huge rock solid walls around this to ensure no one will ever be able to that close to hurt you that badly ever again. Eventually, you go on a date, but find yourself rejecting the other person before they have even had a chance!
Justify it to yourself, saying you just “want to have some fun”, “nothing serious because you are too busy with your other projects”. Until one day, you become known as the singleton, spinster, too fussy/picky or too old to have any meaningful relationship now. You might have even been told due to your age you only deserve the left overs so you shouldn’t be too fussy.
Alas, you’ve heard this so may time so you accept this as the truth. You reside to go on awful blind dates, settle for less than what you desire all because you want to be “normal”, settle down and have a family just like your friends and like what society expects.
So where does forgiveness fit into all of this?
Well, first and foremost, by getting caught up in the shock, trauma, hurt and anger you were robbed of self-love. You forgot to take care of you! You were so busy looking for the validation that there is something wrong with you, you never stopped to look at what was valuable about you. Without realising it, you allowed someone to take your power away from you, your self-confidence, self-esteem and self-worth. Because you focus, attention and action were all cantered around the negativity; you forgot to appreciate and be grateful for yourself.
In life, people flow in and out of our lives. But they NEVER have the power to take away our power unless we let them. Every time give our power away to these people or situations we lose part of ourselves. We get caught up on the “other stuff”, like self-doubt, lack of self-confidence, lack of self-esteem, our worthiness based upon other people’s expectations.
It’s not all bad though right? Some good did come out of it, right? After the break up, you got other aspects of your life in order. You have an amazing career, or are in the best physical shape, or you may have even conquered Mount Kilimanjaro or whatever project you were working on.
Negativity can be a huge motivator, BUT it never has to be the ONLY motivator in your life.
Always remember, YOU are the one living YOUR life, no one else. Not your parents, siblings, family, wife/husband/partner, son/daughter, not even your friends. They haven’t had your experiences.
The only expert on YOUR life, YOUR heart, YOUR body and YOUR soul, is YOU! Never give this responsibility to anyone else, they are simply NOT qualified!
Forgiveness, the act of forward giving self-love. So be free of the past and forgive. Now you might think how in the world is forgiving this person going to help me? They DON’T DESERVE FORGIVENESS! Well then, let me ask…
How well has holding on to this grudge, heartache, sadness been working out for you?
In my experience, it usually doesn’t work very well in the long term. By forgiving, you are not dismissing the wrong doing that this person has done. In fact, you are setting yourself free from being trapped in all the negativity, bitterness, anger, hurt and pain. You are setting yourself free and allowing yourself to move forward in your life.
Imagine what your life could be like if you no longer were weighed down by the heaviness of regret, resentment, hate, anger, betrayal and negativity. What could you be destined for if you had the confidence to take a leap of faith? What if you didn’t have to settle for second best? What if YOU are the best and deserve the best in every aspect of your life?
What if being exactly as you are IS attractive? (Wait what?! No you didn’t read that wrong! Yup, hadn’t even crossed your mind, had it?!)
So take a moment to forgive them, for YOU!