Bouncing Back (Better than Ever) after a Betrayal: PART 2

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

In case you missed PART I, you can read about my story here
This is such an important (and emotional) topic that I wanted to continue the conversation and share more about how I was able to heal and move on from a betrayal.

Every situation and relationship is different. In some cases, a couple will decide to work things out and become stronger and more bonded than before. I cannot speak on how to mend or repair a relationship...

In my situation, the relationship ended and I found that it was more helpful to create a clean break.

Did you know...

Women release a hormone Oxytocin (The Love/Cuddle Hormone) which triggers a bonding feeling...that verges on physical addiction Lol  After being intimate... the sound of his voice, the look on his face, his touch, the smell of his cologne... all become intensely associated with the pleasure Oxytocin brings. It keeps you bonded to him, even if (rationally) you think you aren't compatible or a great fit.

Soooo if you are splitting, be mindful of this. Protect yourself (if you can) from the touch, sight, sound and smell of your ex. Do this for your physical, mental emotional well-being lol! And over time that bonding will melt.

To do that have to set boundaries and clearly communicate them. Otherwise, you will find yourself in situations that stall your healing.

Setting boundaries 

  • With HimThis was very interesting. Initially we had some "housekeeping" issues to wrap up (and he needed to finish packing/moving his stuff)
    That was fine and to be expected...however my ex basically wanted to be "remain friends"

    While that might be dandy for him, all it was doing for me was keeping me in a constant state of anger. As I mentioned in Post 1, I would swing wildly between feeling sad, okay and extremely angry.

    His strategy to remain friendly did not help my healing...In fact, when he called her right in front of me (to complain about me)...I nearly lost my mind and threw a fork & a can of cooking spray across the room. Okay I'm not proud of that, but I did realize that for ME to heal...I needed to be vocal and firm about boundaries.

    At first, that meant MINIMAL communication. Which progressed to no communication.

    The sound of sweet it is! 
  • With family, friends and well-meaning people 

    People in your life want to love on you, support you, and tell you how awful your ex was (We never liked him anyway! etc...)
    Okay, at first this is super fun. You just want to rehash the details of how he did you wrong, hear the gasps and marvel that your ex could be such a jack@$$.
    I think there is a healthy level of venting, but after a certain amount of time passes...and you are trying to move on ( don't want to get stuck in one of the stages of grief)'s time to put a halt to the smack talk.

    If you read POST 1 (sorry to keep referencing it lol) I talked about the importance of self care: 
    "Go do things you enjoy! Spoil yourself! My friends encouraged me to get out of the house, try new things, WORKOUT, get a pedi, take a class, go somewhere NEW! It helped me focus on LIVING & put my attention on making new, positive memories"

    You can't focus on NEW things...if you are stuck gabbing about the same injustices!

    If friends/family want to keep talking about it, there is a polite but firm way to move on. You just need to let them know.
    "I really appreciate you having my back! Right now it's important for me to focus on the future - It's more helpful to me if we talk about that. Thanks for helping me keep my attention on the good stuff to come! "

    Other situations might arise where you run into a friend or neighbor who just found out... or who you haven't seen since the breakup....

    Instead of going down the rabbit hole with them and indulging the conversation, I would say "It's true that our relationship is no longer...but I'm focusing my attention on the future. No sense in rehashing all of the hurtful details."

    People responded very graciously and respecting my boundaries.
Continuing the healing... 

My ongoing therapy with my Christian counselor helped more and more as the weeks went by... 

And while I was VERY nervous to search for bible verse for this next assignment, it's something I continue to revisit anytime an old belief pops into my head. So I urge you to at least give it a look!

Healing Homework: Assignment #2 Changing your Beliefs about Yourself & Others

"Belief" is defined as acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.
But what if what you believe is based on lies or false perceptions?

Our beliefs are developed by layers of experiences over years of time...things we've seen modeled, things that have happened to us or those around us... and our brain works to assign meaning to these events.

Those deep down thoughts we form about ourselves and others are called "Core Beliefs"  Those suckers can keep you stuck in a cycle or holding pattern, preventing you from living your fullest life.

Consider this:
Hurtful experiences = Beliefs = Expectations = Behavior 

A hurtful experience happens...we assign meaning to that experience. That becomes our belief. Our beliefs lead to our expectations about how life and relationships work. That expectations will affect our behavior...which effects how people behave towards us. 

We end up acting in a way that aligns with our belief system. Those behaviors set us up to REPEAT the experience...which FURTHER reinforces the belief.

Example: If you have been rejected in the past, you might develop the expectation of rejection. Every time we think someone is rejecting deepens that belief and it becomes what we continually expect.  If you expect to get go into your relationship bracing yourself for the pending hurt/rejection. So we act or behave in a way that pushes people away.

It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Eeekkkk! Right?!

Identifying your Beliefs

Ok, can't believe I'm sharing my ACTUAL homework sheet haha So you guys can see what sneaky beliefs have plagued me... But basically... Look through the list and check off or note any of the statements that come into your thought process when you are going through a difficult time.
I also wrote mine own belief in on a blank space.

If you can't see it very well or want to print it out, I've uploaded this entire assignment here :What Do I believe? Homework

It's interesting when you started to dissect where these beliefs stemmed from. Sometimes it's not an overly traumatic's simply how you interpreted an event.

As an example: One of my false beliefs was "Everything in my life is temporary."
Growing up, we moved around quite a bit so I never had those lifelong childhood friends or "THE room I grew up in."  I actually somewhat enjoyed moving and meeting new people, but it set a belief in me that everything is temporary. Why bother getting to know the neighbors? Why bother getting involved in the community?
That was definitely a lie and a false belief I wanted to change immediately.

Yours might be totally different than mine because they are all based on our personal experiences and how we assigned meaning to those events. The goal here is to become aware of them so you can create a NEW belief system.

Changing those FALSE Beliefs into a NEW Belief Based on Truth

Make a chart with three columns and list all of your old beliefs (The Lies we tell ourselves), make a column for your NEW beliefs, and a column for Scriptures that back up that belief.

From there, you will write your New Belief in the middle and look for scripture to back you up.

I realize this might be confusing for some (especially if you are like me and aren't very familiar with looking up scriptures), but I promise that it's incredibly healing and helpful. If I was looking for a scripture about needing to be in control, I simply googled "What does the Bible say about...control"

Or I would google "Bible verses about trust"

My counselor was amazing in guiding me but I can at least share my homework and provide you with some EXAMPLES.

Once you find a Bible verse that speaks to you...put in on your spreadsheet!

Next, you will say this prayer over each belief.

This is something that is EASY to just do...and then totally forget about. But if you are serious about building a new's just like forming a new need to reinforce it everyday until it becomes second nature.

To make it into a habit, put your new beliefs on notecards. Write the scripture on the back and read these before you start your day.

Because you have acknowledged those old beliefs (the lies), you will start to notice when they come up.

Just as an example, in my new relationship...I started to feel these weird untrusting feelings ... that had NOTHING to do with my boyfriend... and EVERYTHING to do with my past experiences.

I whipped out my notecards...

My Lie: Men Can't be Trusted
The TRUTH: God will Guide me (and will illuminate any untrustworthy people)
The Scripture: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

I read that everyday because I do NOT want my past to determine my future. The last thing I want is to push good people away and create a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

Scaled Down Version of Homework
If looking up scriptures makes you uncomfortable or you want to keep things simple, take out a sheet of paper and fold it in half. One one side, write your ole beliefs...on the other side...write a positive message at affirms the opposite.

Old Belief: "I deserve to be unhappy"
New Belief: "My thoughts are filled with positivity, my life is plentiful and I deserve happiness, joy and love"

Whether or not this homework speaks to you, I think one of the critical components to healing and bouncing back better than simply acknowledging what hasn't been working in your life.

When I took the time to think about my belief that "I have to be in control or everything falls apart"...I realized that belief could have a negative impact on my business (not just my personal relationships). It gave me the confidence to loosen the reigns, to delegate some things out and let people SOAR.

My hope is that by sharing, you are able to look at some areas of your life that aren't working for you...and remove that invisible emergency brake that is holding you back from (healing, success, happiness, etc....)

PART III is all about finding love again! Can't wait to fill you guys in on our little story! God works in mysterious ways! hehe

Bouncing Back (Better than Ever) after a Betrayal: PART 1

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

How I Bounced Back after a pretty big betrayal... and landed on my feet...(only to be swept off of them. Look for PART II hehe)

Infidelity, dishonesty and betrayal all pack a heartbreaking punch. I can I ever heal? And how can I prevent this unfaithfulness from ruining my future happiness? 

Before I begin, I just want to remind everyone that I am NOT a certified, licensed, expert in anyway... I am simply a girl working to life her best life (out loud) and sharing lessons as I go.

I ALSO realize that there are THREE sides to every story. 

  1. Their Side
  2. My Side
  3. The truth 
I do not intend for this to be a witch hunt, to air a bunch of dirty laundry or disparage anyone. 
However...before I begin...I feel that it's important you at least have some context. I'm not sure what type of betrayal you may be healing from, but my hope is that no matter can pull from helpful lessons from my story.

Ok so here's the situation.... I was in a serious, committed, long term relationship. I intended to spend my life with that person.
I found out that person was seeking attention from several other women and ultimately moved to another state to start a life with one of these women.

While no relationship is perfect and there were many areas where I could improve, I was just as blindsided and shocked as everyone else when the truth came out.
There is no good way to hear bad news, but I am at least grateful I heard it from my best friend...who was straightforward, gracious and compassionate.

Suddenly your world turns upside down...

Whhhattt? How? When? Why? WHHYYYYY?

My head felt like it was swimming & swirling - completely overwhelmed with thoughts, fears, HURT, ANGER. I had a million emotions, images, thoughts and questions racing through my mind all at once.

You had a life planned with someone...and suddenly the rug is pulled out from under you...bruising and banging up your dissolves your trust and you question everything.
How could he do this to me? How could he do this to the DOGS - This might sound crazy, but I was more upset that he betrayed our "family unit" aka the dogs.

Then my rational brain kicked in and started thinking about everything from...who is going to take out the garbage? Or pick up dog poop?

I started ping ponging around the 5 Stages of grief

  1. Denial 
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining 
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance 
I would swing wildly between anger, sadness and not caring. This is NOT where I wanted to be...I wanted to be able to close the door on this chapter (in a healthy way) and move on.I had several unhealthy and very UNHELPFUL emotions surrounding this...I would wake up in the morning and realize this was NOT a bad was actually happening...

-- I rehashed the details over and over
-- Wanted to emotionally hurt him or punish him
-- I lost all love, respect and compassion for him
-- I felt resistant to even dealing with it
-- Denial - Is this really happening?
-- I wanted to know about her-- I had negative emotions about her (Never communicated with her but let him know I thought she was ugly, manly, gross, a B-word, a terrible mother, and a slew of other words I can't repeat LOL)
-- Outrage to find out he did this to his last girlfriend as well...and will do it again. But now 2 children are involved.

-- Reopened old wounds and ways he's hurt him
-- Became completely disgusted and repulsed by him
-- Became resentful & angry at how unfair it was (I took on the bulk of the bills/expenses...and do all of the "heavy lifting" around here...He never paid for much. So it was extra hurtful to feel like I'm carrying this person and they betrayed me).
-- I was angry that he wanted to lean on me to make him "feel like a man" (I kept gosh! I'm only human! I can't be everything to someone).
-- I was angry that we were supposed to be a team, a partnership but instead I felt abandoned (...and then betrayed). 

I hate even typing them & it makes me feel very vulnerable to share all of the yucky stuff... but I think it's important you guys know my state of mind. I've learned that for me, HURT quickly translates to ANGER.My gut reaction is to go into protection mode and seal myself off from potential harm...but doing so would also block my from anything amazing happening down the road. 

So how do you even proceed? Process, heal, move on?

My story of healing: 

Thankfully I am surrounded by GOOD women. In the past, I've hard a really challenging time connecting with my faith (that's a post for another day). But my friends have rock solid beliefs and have the most beautiful ways of expressing their faith.

Several months before the betrayal, my friend Lindsay started seeing a local Christian counselor and kept encouraging me to reach out to her. Of course I kept putting it off... but when it was evident that something wasn't right in my relationship...I finally made an appointment.

My experience with therapy/counseling was years & years ago... My younger sister was having a hard time so she started going. They pulled the whole fam into a tiny room for some family counseling. All I remember...lots and lots of tears but nothing felt resolved.

I was so anxious to walk back into the lion's den.  The fear of the unknown twisted my tummy in knots. I didn't know what she would be like...if she would try to hit me over the head with the Bible... or tell me I'm a bad person lol

But I was very pleasantly surprised. "K" is a very gentle soul- she has a soft voice and really intently listens when you talk. She also promised to ease me into the "God stuff"hehe

After the first session, I learned a few things...

1) He had a lot of resentment towards me
2) His infidelity had more to do with him than me
3) He was villainizing me- making me into a monster to himself & our friends
4) I have A LOT I need to work on
5) I have A LOT to learn

"K" my amazing counselor was very literally a Godsend. She helped me process everything and really gave me the TOOLS to overcome such a big hurt.

We met weekly for a couple of months...and went from focusing on this then being able to heal from other painful events in my past.

The eternal student in me loves ...LOVES... homework. Learning in the moment is great...but homework allows you to take the time to really STUDY the material and absorb it. It is no longer a passing moment, but instead the lesson is solidified in your mind (at least it is for me lol).

Each week, she gave me an assignment. It gave me something positive to focus on AND when those yucky feelings started to surface again...I was able to whip out my homework and center myself.

I wanted to share some of the assignments that had the BIGGEST impact on me and my healing.

So let's get to it!

  • Healing Homework: Assignment #1 Forgiveness & Release

    Forgiveness: At first, that word punched me in the stomach. So many (angry) emotions came to the surface. Forgiving felt like it was saying everything was all good (no harm done! Now let's be friends and you can ride off into the sunset!)  Umm, H.E.L.L. no haha
    I was still in the stage of wanting him to pay for his crimes...but my counselor helped me realize that forgiveness is NOT: forgetting, downplaying the pain, letting it happen over and over, reconciling and it's NOT about the other person.

    Instead, forgiveness is a choice that allows us to walk in freedom. It means you will no longer allow another person's actions to hurt and control you. When we are able to forgive and release someone, it gives us freedom from their toxic behavior.  It releases us from feelings of resentment whether or not that person deserves your forgiveness.

    Forgiveness is also a process, not a one time event. It's a choice that takes effort over time.

    Forgiveness is peace of mind. It empowers us to recognize the pain we've suffered through...without letting the pain define us. Which is critical if you want to move on and life a happy, healthy life.


    Think about the people in your life (past & present) who have caused you pain that is still affecting you today.

    Then write a letter to those who you feel you need to release painful emotions toward. Pour our your heart and share anything that comes to mind...expressing your anger, hurt, etc... (Do NOT send this letter to them!)

    Don't hold anything back- put it all in. Basically, do a SOUL dump! You want to spill everything out of you and into the letter (empty your soul from all of that garbage). Write until you feel like you are done.

    I had some LONG letters...and some short...But it felt good to get it off my chest.

    I wrote out my letters...and took them into my next session with K. She had me read them (ALOUD! omg! lol). And then we prayed over them.

    "Lord, on (insert date you wrote the letter), I choose to forgive and release (insert name of person) for (state the specific things you need to release) and these things made me feel (state the feelings their behavior caused).

    I ask you Lord to help me let go all the resentment, anger, unforgiveness and bitterness toward (_____). Lord Please heal me from pain, hurt and the damaged emotions that (_____'s) behavior or words caused me I ask you to help me walk in a place of freedom and forgiveness, no longer allowing the events of the past to affect my present or future"

    If you are interested in doing the whole exercise, I scanned in my homework and you can view it here.

    Afterwords, I took the letters home and burned them. Watching the smoke carry away all of those nasty feelings.

    The hurt and anger would still bubble up...and I would repeat the prayer over and over until the feelings went away....
  • "Lord, on (insert date you wrote the letter), I chose to forgive and release (insert name of person).
 Every time those feelings come up, remind yourself that you choose to forgive them and you will not pick up that offense again. Over time, those feelings become less and less until one day...they are gone.
As I mentioned before, I've never been really involved in my faith or church...but it was incredibly comforting to feel like I could turn to God and lean on his strength. The prayer softened my heart and made me feel like God has my back.  

This is simply one of the exercises that help remind me of the big picture. Being able to forgive was so much healthier than me dwelling, gossiping and re-living the hurt on repeat.
I will be sharing homework assignment #2 (my favorite) in my next post!

But for now, I wanted to leave you with some steps that helped me. I'll keep it short because this post keep growing! haha

  • Step Back to Gain Perspective. In the long run, you can use this experience to grow. At the time, it SUCKS and hurts and is so awful. But once I pushed that aside...I realize that in the big picture...I could use this experience to create a better tomorrow.
  • Make a Healing Plan - Seriously! Don't just sit at home and dwell. Ask friends and family for referrals and go talk to someone. Without a doubt, talking to my counselor was the BEST thing I did.
  • Allow yourself to Grieve - Accept your emotions. There is no shame in grieving the loss of a relationship...give yourself grace to go through the steps.
  • Don't wallow in the Grief-  While it's healthy to grieve, you don't want to get STUCK in one of the steps. This is why it's helpful to...
  • Seek Guidance - Talk to friends and family you trust. It's always helpful to talk to someone who has been through a similar experience...but I would caution you not to talk to tear the other person down *(I mean...get that out of your system! lol) But the course of your conversations should be leading towards healing.
  • Self Care! The last thing you want to do is stay at home in your sweats. Do things you enjoy. My friends encouraged me to get out of the house, try new things, WORKOUT, get a pedi, take a class, go somewhere NEW! It helped me focus on LIVING & put my attention on making new, positive memories.

    ((Starting to realize this is such an important topic because so many people experience this on some level... Be on the lookout for Part II and III)