Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Resurrecting Ourselves: Telling Our Story

Forgive the Easter allusion, though rebuilding ourselves after betrayal can sometimes feel as insurmountable and potentially miraculous as a resurrection. It can seem too incredible that we'll actually heal from this...and go on to a better life. Yet it can happen. Not without plumbing the depths of our souls...but it can happen.
Part of it, I believe, comes from telling our story. As any trauma specialist with tell you, most people who've experienced trauma feel the need to go over the details again and again and again. It seems counterintuitive. That reliving it would cause more pain. Yet in fact, it's the opposite. By telling our story, it loses its power over us. It becomes part of our history, simply another part, like the story of our first day of school, or getting our driver's licence. Well, maybe not exactly like that. Of course, the story of our betrayal tends to be a bit...ummm...emotionally loaded.
I was reminded of the healing power of telling our story recently. My husband, who has his own therapist to work on finding better ways of dealing with negative feelings than having sex with people who aren't his wife, was discussing this blog with said therapist. He told me she suggested that it might be unhealthy for me to continually be talking about the betrayal, thinking about it, writing about it, yada yada yada. I was stunned. How, I wondered, could he not see the change in me since I started this blog?
Sure, I still have dark days...but they're fewer and further between. I've gone off anti-depressants. I'm feeling stronger, more focussed, just...better.
I credit much of this to being able to tell my story. I felt fraudulent before. Like I was pretending to be someone I wasn't: A happily married wife to a man who would never cheat. This blog offered up a place to be the me who had survived betrayal. Who could speak (write?) candidly. Share stories. Commiserate with others. Have a giggle or two about stupid lines cheating men offer their beleaguered wives. To allow other betrayed wives the chance to blog about their own experiences. It felt wonderful. Liberating. Healing. Dare I say, I felt resurrected.
It's a familiar refrain from men who've cheated who, frankly, don't want to be reminded of what they did and would love nothing more than to sweep the whole affair (pun intended) under the rug. You're dwelling on it, they say. You need to move on, they urge. It's not good for us; we need to focus on the future.
Well, the past has a way of biting us in the ass if we don't process it firmly enough. So tell your story. Share with anyone you can trust. Tell it over and over and over until it loses its power over you and you can add the ending. And then she lived happily ever after. Or more accurately, she lived wisely ever after.

1 comment:

  1. I have hear exactly the same lines!!! Are we by any chance married to the same man ;-) ? "Let's not dwell in the past, the future is what matters - bla bla bla". Maybe the thing is men and women experience this completely differently. It's like men have all kinds of boxes to store their experiences and can open and close them as they wish. Whereas we only have one big box where all experiences mingle. So here's how I feel it: my husband's 'confession' spilled his 'smelly box of bad choices' into my pretty neat 'My Life as a woman and mother'-box messing up pretty much everything so far.



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