As we begin this new year, let’s start together with kindness. When anyone is suffering and hurt – and betrayed partners are most certainly suffering and hurt – the very first thing needed is kindness.
Partners can struggle with kindness because sexual betrayal is so very harsh. The relationship between you and your significant other has frequently turned bitter with the recognition that you have been betrayed, lied to and misused by the one you trusted most. Along with this comes judgment, often pointed directly at you.
Why did you not know? How did you not see? Why have you stayed with this person? What is wrong with you? You are not sexy enough. You are not beautiful enough. You are not what he or she wants.
These are painful thoughts and accusations, but they are not new. They are ones you have heard before. Resounding through the quiet of your own mind.
And so, we come to kindness as the very first antidote to the wreckage caused by betrayal. Partners need kindness and the very first person they need it from is themselves.
The initial days after discovery are a time to be very gentle with yourself. To put your own hand on your own forehead in a loving and tender caress and assure yourself that you are going to be ok and that you are not alone. It is a time to gently say, “Let’s stop,” to the harsh voice with mean questions and accusations and to instead acknowledge, “This hurts, this is awful, I am in pain I never imagined and I don’t know what to do.”
As questions come up, as pain shoots through, as anger washes over, all can be met with kindness. A kindness that allows each feeling its space without judgment or accusation.
Below is a short visioning exercise that you can do to help bathe yourself in kindness for a few minutes whenever you need it. That is followed by a short prayer or mantra that you can also use to help refocus your mind and energy toward kindness when the fear is taking over.
Envision: Imagine that you are a child. Notice what age child appears to you in your imagination. This may be an age that is significant for you. Ask the child to come sit with the adult you. She can sit wherever she is comfortable. Maybe across from you, maybe beside you, maybe in your lap. There is no right place for her to sit. After she is comfortable imagine sitting with her and sending love and kindness from you to her. Let her know that you are there with her and that she is not alone and will not be alone. Let her know that you love her.
Prayer: Today I ask for kindness. For the ability to be kind and tender to myself and to hold my hurting heart gently. I ask for you to send others who will show me kindness and support me during this time.
About the Author:
Michelle Mays, LPC, CSAT-S is the Founder of PartnerHope.com and the Center for Relational Recovery, an outpatient treatment center located in Northern Virginia. She has helped hundreds of betrayed partners and sexually addicted clients transform their lives and relationships. Michelle is the author of The Aftermath of Betrayal and When It All Breaks Bad and leads the field in identifying and crafting effective treatment strategies for betrayed partners.
Braving Hope is a ground-breaking coaching intensive for betrayed partners around the world. Working with Michelle will help you to move out of the devastation of betrayal, relieve your trauma symptoms and reclaim your life.