The Gift of Betrayal
How to transcend the pain and move forward.
Published: June 3, 2009
Putting the pieces of your life back together.
BETRAYAL IS A BREACH OF TRUST. What you counted on to be true is false. You were living a lie. When you’ve been betrayed by your beloved, spouse, or life partner, your world shatters. The person you thought you could believe in has deceived you. You’re alone. You’ve been abandoned. You’re at risk. The vows and commitments you made to one another become meaningless. You don’t know who you are anymore or who that other person really is. Your whole notion of your life history is challenged. What was real, and what was not? One of the most common and devastating forms of betrayal involves extra-relational intimacy of an emotional and/or physical nature. By conservative estimates, 40 percent of women and 60 percent of men will have an affair at some point. When we’ve been betrayed in this way, our life partners have chosen to share themselves with someone else. They have lied to us about their whereabouts and activities. They have led us to believe one thing when in reality the truth was something totally, and devastatingly, different.
You may find out about the betrayal when your partner tells you the truth; or you may trip over evidence, be told by someone else, or discover your partner in the act of deception. But no matter how the reality begins to come to you, it will rock you to your very core. In fact, betrayal may well be the cruelest and most painful relationship challenge you’ll ever face. It’s devastating. And it has the potential to undermine and destroy you forever … if you let it!
How do you heal your life when your world explodes?
You have a choice. You can see this betrayal as a curse or a blessing. You can make it about him, or you can make it about you. You can be the victim, or you can take charge. You can blame him, or you can learn about yourself and move on. You can grow or shrink. You can heal your life or shrivel up and die. You can choose joy, light, and love … or remain bitter and alone.
I chose to see the gift in my betrayal experience. I opted to learn from it and used it as an opportunity to create the life I’ve always wanted to have. And I’m here to tell you that I’ve never been happier. I thank God for putting that final nail in the coffin of my prior marriage. I’m creating my heart’s desire. There’s a lightness in my step, a giggle in my voice, and a whole lot more lovin’ going on than I ever dreamed I’d experience. Passion and pleasure have replaced my pain and perseverance. And I’m thrilled to be free! I’ve grasped the gift of betrayal, and you can, too. Your betrayal can become your liberation.
Eve A. Wood, M.D. is Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Arizona Program in Integrative Medicine. A practicing psychiatrist, author, speaker and consultant, Dr. Wood is a pioneer in the field of integrative psychiatry. She hosts Healing Hearts, a bimonthly call-in talk radio show on Hay House.