Requested Repost: Betrayal

Betrayal is the willful slaughter of hope. ~ Steven Dietz

Betrayal may be described as simply the breaking of trust. It’s when we trust someone and they break that trust (and usually our hearts at the same time).

Betrayal is probably the most hurtful of all things that could possibly be done to you. And one of the hardest to get over. Let’s look at each type of betrayal and what is necessary for recovery from this betrayal.

There are different types of betrayal:

1. Being betrayed while trusting someone who is supposed to be trustworthy. (ie parent, caretaker).
2. Being betrayed after trusting someone who has earned our trust by acting trustworthy over a certain period of time.
3. Being betrayed after trusting someone too soon.
4. Being betrayed after trusting someone who has demonstrated that he or she is not trustworthy.

The first two scenarios are issues with the person we trust. The second two scenarios are issues with ourselves. Betrayal usually results in a fight or flight response. So say the “experts.” But it is a very complicated matter. Classic psychology describes betrayal as a breaking of the social contract. That definition is disturbingly dry.

Betrayal really is the slaughter of hope and many times it’s the slaughter of your dreams, your life, your soul. Betrayal is the knife that cuts through your life and leaves it tattered and torn.

4. Being betrayed after trusting someone who has demonstrated that he or she is not trustworthy.

When I took back my exhusband after inappropriate dalliances with other women, most of the time it was because I wanted to believe he wouldn’t do it again. Another part of me simply wanted the agony to cease. When he was tired of her or tired of the deadlock we were in, he would return to me, promising to love me and swearing nothing was really going on with her. And I would drop the divorce proceedings and the plans to move out. I was emotionally exhausted and I wanted to believe whatever he said.

Setting up to end a relationship because of your partner’s behavior is a study in exhaustion, physical, emotional and mental. And when you have a history of abuse and abandonment not to mention 3 children to raise on your own, you are more than happy to put aside the ending and hope for the best.

But this usually leads to repeating this pattern and being surprised by the same old thing.

I’ve read articles by people who insist that there is life after infidelity and maybe there is for some people. But NOT when there continues to be infidelity and NOT when you are such a basket case you don’t know what is real and what is not and whether you are coming or going.

Betrayal on this level is really an issue with the person being betrayed. The questions I eventually had to ask myself was: What is with you anyway? Why are you continuing to put up with this? What IS IT that is keeping you here with this crazy person who lies, cheats and mortifies you over and over again?

Instead of having the flight response which we SHOULD have, we tend to have the FIGHT response, fighting for something we can never really have and if we could have it (this lying cheater) WHY would we want it?

The cure for betrayal at this level is usually leaving and fixing the problem which is YOU if you are putting up with this over and over again. You’re never going to change the lying, cheating, sack of cow manure that you have partnered with. ‘t aint gonna happen. The only cure in this situation is to extricate yourself from it, do your life inventory and figure out what is going on? What is the struggle here? Who are you really trying to “win over”? Someone in the past? Someone who betrayed you?

Why do you keep choosing losers? My broken chooser is choosing losers. Is that You? What are you looking for? What do you need to WIN OVER?

When we take cheaters back it is because we’re trying to “win” over that which has defeated us before. We’re trying to defeat the forces that threaten us and we think we can do it by winning someone over who can’t be won over, by making a faithful person out of a low-down, sneaking, lying, bananahead.

It also keeps us having to fix ourselves when we’re so focused on fixing someone else or our relationship. When he stops cheating, all will be well.

Except that all can’t be well until YOU are well and if you’re in this situation I have some bad news for you: You are not well.

DO YOUR WORK.

Find out who your struggle is really with, find out what unfinished business you have, find out why you have this need to win over an unwinnable situation.

It’s NOT your fault that you are with a cheater but if you continue to be with this cheater or other cheaters, well you have to look at that and take some responsiblity. You can find out what holes in you need to be filled and how to let go the struggles to win. You can do this. Really.

3. Being betrayed after trusting someone too soon.

This usually happens when you buy the hearts and flowers and I love yous and ignore the warning signs early in the relationship. Then later on, it’s BLAMMO time. You get it right between the eyes. You cannot believe that this person who loved you so deeply and completely early on has done this to you. You simply can’t believe it.

The cure for this level of betrayal is to step back, early in the relationship, when you are being swept away by the rush of new love, and figure out what else is going on. Has your new love been a cheater before? Lying? Sneaking?

I was once with a guy who was dating me while waiting for his ex girlfriend to move out. He didn’t seem to end a relationship until he started a new one. He had kids all over the place and debt coming out of his ears. There was a lot of underhanded behavior that I would have seen had I stepped back a minute or two. But I was convinced that I was different and special and he wouldn’t do “it” to me. Even when the red flags were raised, I dismissed them.

Later when he couldn’t pay me money he owed me, disappeared for weeks at a time, and told me different stories all the time, I was shocked and betrayed. WHY? I vacillated between a fight or flight response. I would fight, get upset and flee…then I would go back and fight and then give up and flee. All that fighting and flighting got to be exhausting and told me I didn’t really know what to do.

When someone tells you who they are, believe them. I SAW, with my own eyes, the way he disrespected his soon to be ex girlfriend and yet, I wouldn’t believe he’d do it to me.

Wrong. What he does WITH you, he’ll do to you.

Step back and OBSERVE early in the relationship.

Learn to walk away from people who are betraying others. Even if he or she explains that the ex is the worst person in the world, look at how they are conducting the breakup.

Listen to stories they tell to others when he or she is with you. Are they lying to others to get out of things? Do they show remorse about it? Love is an action. Decency is an action. Trustworthiness is an action. Stupid is as stupid does. Handsome is as handsome does. Etc etc. WATCH how they treat others in the early stages and, as hard as it is, figure out if you want to be treated like that 6 mos or 6 years from now. Because you will be.

AS HARD AS IT IS when you are wrapped up in the rush of new love, please step back and look at what this person is telling you by their actions with others. And behave accordingly. If he or she is acting duplicitous toward others, RUN RUN AWAY!!!

2. Being betrayed after trusting someone who has earned our trust by acting trustworthy over a certain period of time.

This is probably the most heartbreaking of all betrayals. You did step back, you did observe, you insisted this person earn your trust and they did…and they were there for you over and over again, and you trusted and then one day SNAP, it’s gone. They do something that breaks your heart and trust is lost. The worst scenario is when they know it and they don’t care or even worse, they blame you.

This is grief. Pure and simple. It hurts and it’s hard and it’s probably the hardest thing in the world to work through. It doesn’t mean you’ll never love again or even that you made a mistake this time. You did everything right and still you were betrayed. How does that happen? I don’t know, but it does.

The thing is that if you’re working through your issues with scenarios #3 and #4, #2 should not happen to you too often. It happened to me with a friend, someone I would have trusted with my life, and it took me about 3 years to get over it. I had deep, incredible sorrow. I couldn’t even speak of it. I had befriended this person when her best friend disappeared into a relationship. We had sworn to never do that. We were there for each other in every possible way for over 8 years. I loved and depended on this person and she loved and depended on me.

Then one day she got into a relationship and she was gone. I couldn’t believe it but I hung on for 2 years hoping she’s come back, hoping she’d remember everything we said. She KNEW what it was like to have a best friend disappear like this. Everything about her told me that she would realize what was going on and that she would figure it out and come back and be my friend again. I had faith in her and I had 8 years of faithful friendship and impeccable behavior, of her always doing the right thing, to back that up. I had faith. There was no reason not to.

Then one day she announced that she knew what she said but this was “different.” Never in a million years did I think she would or could rationalize like that. It also hurt me that I thought she was irreplaceable, a unique and special person in my life. The closest person in my life. And she replaced me with a relationship and obviously no longer wanted or needed me as a friend. Didn’t miss me and I missed her terribly. I thought that if there is one person in your life that you can love and trust in a way you can’t with your parents or your partners or your siblings, you don’t throw that away. She transferred her trust in me to her relationship and I was no longer necessary. She once told me that she had felt like a “placeholder” for her friend, just something a friend did in between relationships. I now felt like that placeholder and could NOT believe it. Simply couldn’t believe it.

The hardest part for me about the betrayal was believing it. So much time passed and I was numb and in shock. I just could not wrap my head around it. How could I have been that wrong? How could she have changed that much?

And I was there for her when her best friend betrayed her. No one was there for me when she betrayed me. I couldn’t even deal with that. It hurt SO MUCH.

I didn’t fight it. Something in her voice and her demeanor told me she didn’t want to hear it and didn’t really care. I went into high alert flight mode. I wished I could flee to the ends of the earth. I was so horribly grief-stricken. I fled and never looked back.

It stung for a long, long time. I grieved for a long, long time. And until my current best friend hounded me in law school, I wasn’t getting close to anyone. But then my best friend kept trying to be my friend, kept pursuing that friendship. And she was good and nice and funny and I liked her. I never let her be what my other friend was but we are very close and absolutely there for each other and she fills the role of “best friend” the way one would expect.

I felt like a victim for a long time. I felt discarded and abandoned by someone I had been there for when she had been discarded and abandoned by someone. But I also had some warning signs that she would do it. And I had to stop feeling like a victim.

One day, right after the book came out, she posted one line on the blog and I deleted it immediately. I had not heard from her in over 10 years and Michael was living out his last days. If there were any time in my life I would not have wanted to hear from her, this was it. I had not even had a minute to process it when her partner posted on my Facebook wall because the partner had once had brain surgery (benign tumor) and heard about Michael (who was sick at the time). Wanted to know if I needed to talk. Are you f’ing kidding me? What you went through was NOTHING like what Michael was going through and why the hell would I want to talk to you anyway? WTF? I called a friend of mine who knew them and her words? “How dare they….” And it was true. How DARE they. But they do dare. Not just them but a whole lot of clueless bananaheads. (Btw, bananahead in scenario 1 also has tried to be in touch. I think not. It’s unbelievable.).

With this scenario all you can do, really, is grieve. Grieve and know that one day it won’t hurt and it won’t sting and you can go on and love again. Because if you do your grief work, you can.

1. Being betrayed while trusting someone who is supposed to be trustworthy. (ie parent, caretaker).

This scenario comes from not being loved or being molested or abused by a parent or caretaker as a child. This sort of betrayal leads to betrayal trauma and is akin to PTSD. It’s a difficult thing to work through but it is possible to work through it. Again, it takes a lot of work, a lot of life inventory type work, writing angry letters and getting in touch with your sorrow and your rage.

Most children who were betrayed by a caretaker or parent have gone numb. It’s a repression of feelings that are too difficult to work through. It’s a type of PTSD. This is a flight of mega proportions. Just numb out, just tune out, just become a big flat nothing. Flight. The ultimate flight.

My therapist told me that I recounted my early life events, traumatic as they were, like a movie I had once seen. This detachment and dissassociation is a sure sign of PTSD and/or betrayal trauma.

The way to work through this is with a good therapist, good support systems, good friends and grief work. It’s a few years of work but it can be done. It really can be. I worked through my trauma and PTSD in about five years of intense work. It really doesn’t abate without working through it.

______________

No matter what kind of betrayal you are facing or have face, the way to work through it is much the same as the work we’ve done:

1. Grief work. Grieve for what you lost, including a level of trust that was there once.

2. Be good to yourself during this work. This is ULTRA important when doing betrayal work. You must must must take frequent breaks and be good to yourself. This is IMPERATIVE.

3. HAVE SUPPORT. You cannot possibly go through this kind of work without support. Go to therapy, go to support groups, go to retreats, conferences, 12 step meetings, online support (though face to face support is INVALUABLE). GET SUPPORT anywhere and everywhere possible.

4. Do your affirmations that it is possible to love and be loved and that you are a good person deserving of all good things. This is important.

MOST IMPORTANTLY:

Never give up. NEVER GIVE UP.

Being betrayed is one of the most heartbreaking and horrible experiences. Remove the victim and do your grief work while being good to you. NEVER NEVER GIVE UP.

It IS possible to love, deeply and completely, after betrayal.

But it’s only possible if YOU love YOU first.

A bad thing happened. It’s not your fault. But you are healing.

You can and will heal. Promise.

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11 Responses to Requested Repost: Betrayal

  1. Persuasion says:

    What a fantastic article on this subject. I think I am getting so much better enforcing my boundaries. I have had a male friend for about a year and whilst I enjoyed his company and conversation I have come to realise that he is a pathological liar.This has been slowly revealed to me when he has confided in me about his girlfriend problems-cheating, lying to them ! Whilst it does not affect me directly, I now have no space inn my life for anyone with such a character flaw. I’ve deleted him from my life and it makes me grateful for the wonderful honest friends I do have. Life is too short to be wasting time on idiots like this.

  2. topf says:

    Thank you for this post, Susan! Betrayal has been one of the aspects of this for me.

    When my ex started being emotionally abusive a couple of months ago, I felt betrayed. I have been in abusive relationships before and he knew this. He knew how much I did to work on myself, to learn about boundaries, to protect myself in the future. He knows how many people I rejected over many years because they made me feal unease (friends, family, potential partners. I even stopped talking to my adoptive father). He knows how alone I often was only to stick to my purpose of never letting abuse into my life again. I also worked with him to have him understand and respect my boundaries (certain things kind of triggered me, or at least sent me in a state of panic when they reminded me of the abuse). He knew so much about my history and about my work.

    He knew all these things, and still, he decided to flip out on me, to abuse me in a way he should have known would send me running for shelter. That’s what I did. It didn’t take me long to recognize what was going on. I left the apartment right away. I made my boundaries be known. He decided to insist on his “right” to treat me like he was. I decided to end things permanently. I made low contact but we talked briefly last week. He said he just wanted to challenge me for my own improvement. He said he didn’t know this would trigger me so much. Blah blah. He is so bad at it. Soooo bad at it. I won’t fall for this with him. If I weren’t so sad about it, it would be funny how pathetic his tries are. I don’t care how good the image I had of him was. I don’t care which fancy words he uses (he is a PhD candidate). I don’t care. I have a voice inside of me that knows.

    I will be more strict with low contact (we still have some stuff to settle), and I won’t give him any more chances to try his pathetic excuses and “explanations” on me. After that talk I reinforced that I am done and there’s no way back.

    The things he said all these months. He called me immature, he said the years I worked on myself were a facade, that I didn’t learn anything during those years. He said I hide behind the victim role, that all I do is yearn for security and have stopped working on myself. He said I am traumatized and can’t tell fiction from reality. This from someone who spent 5 years of my life loving and admiring my courage and my determination. All of a sudden, someone whose judgment you trust, tells you you are worthless and by no means close to what you thought you were. This was such a big and low blow. I was devastated. He pulled the rug from under my feet. He didn’t just trigger me. He abused me. And even though what he said hurt me and made me insecure for a few weeks, I knew THE WHOLE TIME that it was abuse, and that if he had had valid things to tell me, he would’ve found another way.

    I sent him a few articles about emotional abuse but I said he crossed a line without return. I said he could use those articles for himself, for the future but that I am done. There is an absolute line with me. I understand people make mistakes but he scared me in a way that someone who knows me may never ever scare me. And he questioned things about myself that are, honestly, my biggest treasures. I also don’t fall for “I was doing this for your improvement”. Fuck him. I decide about my improvement and no one else. I can’t believe he’s done all this, I can’t believe he thinks for a second I wouldn’t stick to my hard earned values. He will never be a part of my life again.

    But yes… betrayal. I thought I was safe with him. I thought he understood. We were very close. Very very close. He knew so much about me. And he used that knowledge against me, to hurt me, to destabilize me, to control me. I am mourning that friendship, that connection. He was like family to me. And now I am not only mourning him. I am mourning that feeling of safety I had worked so hard to achieve. I am thrown back at the reality of abuse. That it can happen any time. That you are not 100% in control. It hurts. I remember how I felt back then when I realized what was happening to me. My innocence was broken. My blind and childish faith in the goodness of humanity was gone. And I feel like that all over again. I feel scared and vulnerable all over again. I don’t think he knows how thoroughly he betrayed me.

    • Susan J. Elliott says:

      That sounds horrible. When people act as he did, they suffer from lack of personal insight or overblown rationalizations. While he did betray you, you walked as you said you would. Many others would roll back their standards and figure out how to continue in the relationship while losing themselves. Good on you for staying true to yourself! Thank you so much for sharing. Very powerful post.

    • jae says:

      hi topf,
      I was a little stunned reading your post here because of the remarkable similarity to my own story. My first marriage was abusive. I left with nothing but two small children to be put through 7 years of legal battles by him (narcissistic doctor type). I spent years in therapy and learned how to keep a sense of self and set healthy boundaries. Four years later I met a wonderful kind man. After 14 years together I found out he was cheating. But before I found out what was going on, he too had started with the verbal, emotional, psychological abuse. I was so confused and found myself sinking back into old victim patterns. I was not as strong as you sound like you were and put up with it for 5 months, thinking he was just going through a small midlife crisis. When I found out he was cheating, I was almost relieved because then I understood that his abuse had been to hide his own guilt and to try to make me leave the relationship first. I did kick him out once I found out. That was 3 months ago. The betrayal has been so so so difficult to deal with. And the fact that I was slowly slipping back into that victim role was scary. However, I am really glad that I didn’t lose my sense of self and that i did hold onto most of my boundaries, including financial and social ones. Next time I will also recognize what’s really going on. You should be proud of yourself. I too find that the mean things he said in those last few months still sting. Im trying to figure out how to deal with that on top of the loss and the pain of betrayal. The stings open old wounds, but we both preserved most of what we built and we know how to build it back again. In my case, my ex was hating himself and was projecting onto me. Was that the case with your ex? What he said to you to excuse his behavior was total BS. Im glad you have seen through it. Go with the lowest contact you possibly can and maybe even try to get a friend or family member to help deal with some of his BS for you while you heal and build yourself back up. stay strong.

      • topf says:

        Dear jae,
        first of all, don’t beat yourself up for needing 5 months. I have no kids. That makes things easier when it comes to leaving. You were also way longer with this person. 14 years is a lot. Kudos to you for realizing what was going on despite having known him as a kind person for so long. When we love people, we make ourselves vulnerable, we give them the benefit of the doubt. Don’t think you’re less strong only because you gave him a chance. Something inside of you knows when it’s good to give people a chance and when it’s best to go, and this something needed a bit to know. There’s nothing wrong with that. Next time you’ll remember that kind people may also flip, and you may react faster.

        I have no clue what is happening exactly with my ex. I am glad you found out what happened in your case. I bet it was such a relief (but I am sorry this person betrayed you like this)! I kind of have given up on finding out. He and I can’t communicate. Even when we try, it’s a mess. We live in such different worlds right now. He keeps telling me it’s because of the new social justice circles he’s in, and that their ways feel right to him. But I am pretty sure that’s just the top layer of what’s going on. I think there’s something else underneath.

        After my abuse, one of my shelters was feminism. It explained so much of what was happening to me. It became a treasure for me but I am an introverted person. I read a lot about it and mostly kept to myself with it. When I met this ex, he didn’t have a clue about it. I taught him many of the things I learned, also inspired on my new views about human respect, love, etc that I learned from having experienced abuse. He is a good person but I think a lot of my standards for those things made him suppress parts of himself that are now rebelling (men and anger is such a huge and complex thing, you know…). The new circles he’s in… they believe that liberation only comes from “educating” people, which includes leaving respect aside to “shake people up”. It goes against what I believe is good and necessary for human beings to get along and understand each other. It’s not just tough love when it becomes necessary. It has a very nasty feel to it. Liberation is not the word I’d put at the center of my value system. To me, it’s about people taking care of each other, and for that to work, it’s about being true and honest to who we really are, which can often be made difficult by gender roles and such stuff. That has been my feminism and all the other things I’ve attached to it.

        I think he is glad right now that he can let his anger out and still call himself a feminist. And I think he’s glad he can somehow rebel against me and what I represent. I was the center of his world for very long, and I think he resents me, and felt trapped for very long.

        I think he also felt like a bad and flawed person because his nature told him to be angry while I… I think anger is important. I worked hard to discover and accept my own anger. But my nature is still rather calm. My anger is rather subtle. That’s how it is. I think he never found a productive way to relate to and express his anger. I think it would have taken honest work on his part to take the stuff seriously that I valued so much, and to evaluate how that mixes with his own feelings, with the ways this world has kept him from being himself. I think he decided to just superficially act like he had adopted my values, to please me, to stay by my side. And now, it’s blowing up in our faces because it was just another way in which he wasn’t being himself. In terms of liberation, I guess I was somehow the oppressor to him, you know? And to people for whom this word is the center, it can feel good to destroy the other person, the one who feels like the oppressor, regardless of if they were actually your companion. I have nothing against this longing for freedom but I think… anger is such a big part of this. Many of us are angry about what the world does to us, and we have no clue what to do with that anger. We don’t have any support systems to help us deal, and we prefer to look without rather than within (not in terms of “this must be my fault” but in terms of “this anger inside of me could push me to search for myself, to search for what we all have in common despite any other differences, and this solution could be so much more productive than just destroying others”).

        But all this is only my take. It may be something else entirely that I am not aware of. The way things look, he seems to have kept a facade to satisfy me, so I don’t know how much of what I knew about him was really him. I welcome him discovering himself for real. I just wish he hadn’t had to hurt me to get there. I wish he had been honest with himself and with me from the start and had said “your values/yourself are attractive to me, but something in me rejects them, and I need to go out there explore why and what that means about me, which means we are incompatible”.

        Either way. I think I understood this rather quickly. That we are not compatible. That our values are different. That we see different problems as the main problems of humanity, that we want to go different paths. That helped me get out faster. Because I am very committed to the values my own experience has led me to, you know? They have served me so well, and have guided me so much. All the good things I have in my life come from them. And it’s not because I pretend to know how to save the world and wanna go out there and be a politician or something. It’s about how I treat the people around me. I want to be understood and I want to understand and make people feel like it’s not impossible for souls to touch despite all the chaos and pain out there. I am by far not perfect at this, of course, but trying and discovering fills my life.

        But yeah. Sorry for the mega long explanation. Are you safe now with your kids? How did you take care of all that? You say you stayed financially independent, so you had enough money to get out? Are your kids adults now?

        Have you found out what happened? Did the cheating happen and made him lash out or was the cheating itself a way to lash out, and the problem lay somewhere else?

  3. Katy says:

    This article has really helped me to understand how betrayed I really was. I was absolutely broken with grief when a friend suddenly turned on me after he had appeared to be kind and loyal for over six months. I have lots of acquaintances but not too many close friends. It was such a pleasure to know somebody who seemed to really get me and who seemed to be such a really good person.

    We were in the middle of writing an article, he was kind and praising, and he even suggested that my husband should talk to his former boss (who had relocated to the same town that he lives in) about a job so that we could all be neighbors. I was naive, but not totally out to lunch. My husband and I actually had been interested in moving to where he lives, so it would have been fun, but I did know that us suddenly picking up and moving was, at that point, a flight of fancy.

    It was fun to know him and the article we were writing was excellent. Out of the blue, he suddenly started blaming me for being too needy and bothering him, told me I should be grateful for any attention that he gave me, and finally he shunned me. I couldn’t understand how I could have been so affected and so sad by his sudden rejection, especially since he proved himself to be a very cruel person. The experience has led me on a long investigation to figure out what happened.

    At the very end, when I realized that there was something strange going on, right before the shunning started, I did learn about avoidants. He cheerfully admitted that he is an avoidant and nonchalantly said that he confuses people because he seems so friendly but the he never lets anybody get close. Upon further investigation, I suspect that he may actually be a narcissist who collects a harem. I think that I may have been a very rebellious, threatening harem member because I assumed that I was his equal, not just a passive, compliant admirer.

    After reading the article, I now understand why I felt so betrayed and so very sad. As time moves on, I can look back and see some of the very subtle clues that I missed. I’m now much more aware of how avoidants and narcissists operate. It’s sad, but this experience has really made me understand that people are not always who they say that they are.

  4. jae says:

    Thanks topf,
    yes I am safe. I really do have a lot of ‘resources’ to fall back on. I am luckier than most and I am a strong person. My ‘children’ are in college here in the town where I live. My youngest has moved back in with me for support while I rebuild my life again. He has been wonderful!
    Once again, I am a little surprised by the similarities in our journeys. I too, turned to feminism and feminist literature to help me heal from my abusive first marriage to the father of my children. And my recent ex, also seemed to be perhaps molding himself into MY world and my philosophies on life and into my social circles and perhaps had no real sense of who he was away from me. It seemed like his only way of knowing who he was inside was to have it reflected to him from somebody else. I realize now that all the nice things he did and said in the first 13.5 years, and all of the things he said he liked and the dreams we shared were kind of for his own benefit – so that I would reflect to him that he was a good person. This is a man who has NEVER been alone. He got married at 18 and I met him just weeks after he split with his first wife. He had an affair with a skanky woman who came to our house as a guest with another married man who she was wrecking the home of at the time. We had never met her before. I came to find out that the very next day she hit on my husband via Facebook. She went after him and I believe that she reflected to him a different identity that he preferred. She is 15 years younger and probably saw him as a cute, stable, well established man. She went after him and he bought it. It was after they met that he became very mean towards me. The change was very sudden in mid May. Come to find out later from phone bills, that that is exactly when he began the emotional build up to the affair with her.
    Anyway, it is very helpful to share stories – both to read others’ stories and to write an=bout and think through your own story. I guess we all grow and change. I look forward to my own personal growth now. I have not really had much personal growth in the past ten years with him. Originally, he helped me heal from my first marriage and learn to love again. He was kind and safe but the relationship didn’t really offer me much personal growth after that. I helped him to grow quite a lot. I want to get back into reading some feminist literature so if you have any good book suggestions, I’d appreciate them. I hope you are also finding some way to keep growing. Women could do absolutely amazing things if we banded together. I have not yet discovered a ‘purpose’ but I am beginning to think about it a lot. Today was the first day I have woken up happy! I lay in bed and thought about the weekend ahead in a positive way instead of dreading it. Then I realized that I hadn’t thought about him in about 30 minutes. Small achievement, but I was quite pleased with myself.
    Keep growing. Keep moving forward. One step at a time.
    Jae

    • topf says:

      Dear jae,
      sorry I took so long to answer. These days have been a bit busy for me.
      I am amazed at all the similarities. Specially that it’s posible for someone to hide so much behind someone else. I mean both of our exes using us to define themselves. Susan experienced something similar. I would have never thought this to be so common.

      As for feminist stuff to read, I really like everydayfeminism.com. They have many articles about relationships, abuse and stuff like that, as well as regularly emerging new concepts. A lot of stuff is enlightening and useful. I like that place. I use it to keep up to date. People are very creative in finding and developing concepts to grasp certain things, or to have voices be heard that are often ignored. As for the rest, I devoured the whole of Simone de Beauvoir’s autobiography. It was such a joy, and so interesting. I also liked Luce Irigaray’s “The Sex which is not one”. It sums up what’s so sexist about psychoanalysis but also shows its feminist potential.

      Do you have any recs or favorites for me? And how have you been doing?

      The ex has been leaving me alone since the last time we talked and the practical matters are going smoothly. I am feeling so much better. Thank God for peace.

  5. WhoAmI says:

    Great post Susan.

    I never looked at it that way before but perhaps I need to acknowledge and then grieve the fact that I will likely never be able to trust on the level I did before. I’ve been trying to overcome it, but maybe I just need to accept it.

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