After my last post, I'm Going to Fight, I received a lot of e-mails asking essentially the same thing. How do I overcome the pain, how do I get over it, how do I feel better about myself, how do I trust again, how do I forgive, etc. To be honest, I'm not always sure what to say. I am always scared of saying the wrong thing, giving bad advice, or stepping on someone's toes. However, after watching this video, I feel like I have a better handle on what I want to say. So here goes...
Being the victim of infidelity sucks. I know this. I don't want what I'm about to say to sound like I'm trying to downplay the pain that you may be experiencing. I've been there and I know that it is one of the most crushing emotional pains a human can experience. So then, how do you overcome it? How do you move past this pain that is crippling you?
1. Decide that you want to overcome it.
Maybe this isn't true for you, but for me, I had to decide that I actually wanted to move past it. In the midst of hurting, letting go of what happened and moving on meant letting myself become vulnerable again. I would catch myself clinging to the pain and the hurt like a baby clings to a blanky. Letting go also meant forgiving my husband. That was hard because I thought that by forgiving him and moving on, it would somehow encourage him to do it again. By holding on to the hurt, I could continue to punish him and make him more sorry for what he did. (FYI - that is a crazy idea and it doesn't work. More on that subject later.)
2. Track your emotions.
What does that mean? Stay with me for a minute... Carry a notebook with you for a while and every time you feel yourself getting overwhelmed with the pain of what's happened, write about it. Write down what triggered it, what you're feeling, etc. After a few days or even weeks of doing this, you should start to see some repetition. -- When I did this.. I felt like this. When I went here.. I thought about this.
3. Make a plan.
Once you start to understand what you're feeling and what triggers your feelings, make a plan on how to avoid these situations and/or how to respond to them. For example, there were whole sections of town that would cause me to completely fall apart just by driving through them. (Ray wrote about this here.) Now, obviously I couldn't avoid driving through half the city. So Ray and I decided that if/when I had to drive through these parts of town, I would call him. Distracting myself with a conversation was the best solution to this problem. I could call Ray and say "I'm on such-and-such street" and he would know exactly what I needed. After a while of doing this, I would catch myself driving down one of these streets and realize "Hey! I didn't call Ray but I'm ok!" -- It's almost like I had to train my brain to not think about the past. So make a concrete plan on how to deal with the pain. It's not going to magically go away. You have to work towards happiness and peace.
(If the video link won't work, here is the direct link to the YouTube site -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLiJn720W04&feature=player_embedded)
You are reading The Meaning of Repentance, a blog about the Hartsfields and their journey to recovery after infidelity. Read this brief introduction and always feel free to contact us.