Inside the Fog of Betrayal
Today marks nearly one year since the discovery of my husband’s affair (D-Day). In the days, weeks and months since, I’ve struggled to keep myself sane and present for my two beautiful children. As I try to dig myself out of the emotional rubble left in the wake of betrayal, I can’t help but reflect on the warning signs that were there, only to be spackled over by my need for security and companionship. Little did I know at the time, I was trying to band-aid over a gaping wound, festering into a gangrenous point of no return. Because once it happens, even after the initial wounds heal, the scars are always there to remind us of who we were before. Who we will never be again.
Betrayal of such magnitude distorts our view of our perceived reality. We begin to question everything regarding our past shared with the one person we thought we could trust with our world. We find people in our lives to help us feel safe; whether it be friendships, partnerships, spouses. We keep our bubble clear and transparent. When the murkiness of secrecy, deception, and lack of authenticity burst our safe place, we are left exposed and vulnerable to that which we fear. That which denies us clarity about who we really are and what we desire. The betrayal becomes a thick fog and we can no longer see outside ourselves. We cannot see past the betrayal. The fog does lift, but when it does, we no longer recognize our surroundings. We struggle to navigate the terrain, and strangers take the place of faces once familiar to us.
I use my experience with infidelity as an example of betrayal, however betrayal isn’t limited to a wayward companion. Each and every one of us has experienced betrayal to varying degrees. Whether it be parental abandonment, a back stabbing friend, or a shady business partner stealing your hard earned money. When we have been betrayed, we are forced into question the importance of our own boundaries and the relevance of them in the lives of those with whom we surround ourselves. When the dust has settled, we often find ourselves looking inward. We, having lost who we were, begin to reinvent ourselves.
Reinvention to a stronger, more complex self is essential to surviving beyond the initial process betrayal puts us through. We know that we cannot be the person we once were but it gives us an opportunity to rewrite our own narrative. We might reinforce our boundaries with higher vigilance, or fix our “pickers” when it comes to welcoming new relationships. We may choose to no longer eat the shit sandwich we feasted upon while our dignity was being dragged through the mud. If the betrayal doesn’t wither us into self hatred, we become open to the opportunity to learn to love and take better care of ourselves. We can then reestablish relationships and find newer, healthier ones. We become better able to recognize toxic people and remove them from our lives.
The once festering wound of betrayal always leaves a scar, but it is up to us to decide whether to hide it behind ruminating pain or to shamelessly show it off to the world.
After such life altering circumstances, we will walk away from who we once were. We might suffer extraordinary pain and at times wonder if we will ever connect to the world again. If we can survive this, we open ourselves to one of the greatest gifts life can offer~ self love.
I am still trying to see through the gradually lifting fog. I aspire to reach what I preach and one day share my wisdom in hopes of lifting others out of the very fog from which I am currently enveloped. Until then, I start each day as a new life- forgiving my past and forging a brighter future.