A Guide Toward Restoration
“I can’t believe this is happening!” She said. “Where did this come from?” “Why wasn’t I prepared for this?” “I’m afraid to go anywhere and do anything, I am stuck.” “All I want to do is hide so I don’t cause any trouble.” She was getting more anxious by the day as things intensified. She wasn’t getting any information that made sense and she felt herself slowly sink into depression.
Does this sound recently familiar? The Coronavirus has hit us in ways we have never experienced before, and we don’t know how to deal with it. This is an unprecedented time of a worldwide impact from a crisis not of our own making and we are still whirling from the chaos it has created. I am still trying to function in a way that shows I’m being brave and overcoming the battle of miscommunication, fear, anxiety, anger, and doubt surrounding this virus while still trying to make sense of it all. Reentering the world after being confined to our homes maybe a little, or a lot, uncomfortable.
When a threat this traumatic invades our world unexpectedly we tend to react in one of two ways, fight, or flight. In a way, our reactions have been dictated to us by the governing bodies of our country. We were told to self-quarantine, stay away from each other, and don’t leave your home unless necessary. Then many of us lost jobs and income, which brought more threats of survival. So, the way we process through this mess is quite frankly a mess. We were not afforded the individual path of dealing with the crisis and many created their own flight mode and retreated into a world of anxiety and fear. Others created their own fight plan and took to social media diving deep into the abyss of constant updates surrounding the spread and veracity of the virus only to discover ever-increasing inaccuracies in the reporting process. Many people played Monday Morning Quarterback to understand why and how this could happen.
I am not here to give any answers to this crisis because it is still unfolding, and new information is being discovered every day. But what I can share with you is the girl asking all those questions at the beginning of this message was not referring to the pandemic, she was referring to the betrayal by her husband which she just learned about. The parallel between the behaviors brought forth during this emergency and the ones betrayed women go through is something I found curious. Disbelief wrapped in fear and confusion, the inability to make sense of what is happening because there is not enough information makes you feel helpless. I know because when I found out that my partner betrayed me, my whole world came crashing down around me. I didn’t understand what was happening to me and I couldn’t get any answers from him. I felt like I was in a horrible nightmare. I could barely function, yet I had to continue on with my life somehow. And that is what we all have been doing for the last several months.
I chose the fight path. The fight I chose was consistent with my personality of fixing things. I will save that story for another time. However, I did make my way through the chaos partly because I was forced to. I am a researcher at heart, and I wanted to know the why and how and especially the what. I discovered that betrayal within personal intimate relationships creates trauma in our lives like none other. I also discovered that trying to get through this trauma is a special process. Just like the Coronavirus pandemic, not understanding what was happening and being unprepared placed me in a position of not knowing how to protect myself. What I have learned is that if we do not heal from betrayal, we take it with us into our future relationships in the form of mistrust, fear, suspicion, jealousy, and anxiety. We never really allow ourselves to be open and vulnerable even with someone whom we genuinely love. Many of you are walking around with betrayal baggage that has been holding you back from experiencing the relationship you always wanted. Some of you may have started to unpack your baggage but got sidetracked and still hold onto much of the anger you felt when you were first betrayed. And there are others that know what I am talking about because you have experienced this betrayal more than once, like me.
So, what’s a girl to do? After I went through all 5 stages of grief, well, only 4 because I held out on the acceptance stage, I read voraciously about mental disorder, and found my way through the fog. I learned a few things about myself which I didn’t expect, which again, that is a story for another time. As I dug deeper into the research it drove me to the realization that if I am having this much trouble finding my way through this nightmare, imagine how hard it must be for other women to do so. I discovered that intimate betrayal trauma invades a section of your psychology which can leave you scarred for life. In fact, “betrayal sends an ominous signal about how little the betrayer cares about, or values his or her relationship with, the betrayed partner. In particular, and as Gaylin (1984) noted, when those on whom we depend for love and support betray our trust, the feeling is like a stab at the heart that leaves us feeling unsafe, diminished, and alone. Psychologically, then, betrayal may be conceived as a profound form of interpersonal rejection with potentially serious consequences for the healthy functioning of the betrayed individual.” (Leary, 2001)
This motivated me to go back to college and earned a Master’s in Psychology to help me understand more about human behavior so I could help other women. I decided to put together the pieces of what I went through, ordered them in a way that incorporated the education I received during my MSP, and created a program to help other women heal from betrayal.
The Restoration Roadmap was born out of my struggle and has become a vehicle for growth and change for me and many other women. It was originally designed for group and one on one instruction, but I have made some changes for the individual to work through at their own pace. The Restoration Roadmap will be available soon, and until then set up a time so we can chat more about the Restoration Roadmap. Click here to schedule a time to meet with me.
The Coronavirus has brought people together in a way I could not have imagined. Betrayal trauma can bring you back to yourself better than ever if you choose to piece back together your broken heart and decide to take the step toward restoration. I look forward to sharing this roadmap with you.
Until then, Be Unbreakable!
Gaylin, W. (1984). The rage within: Anger in modern life. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Leary, M. (Ed.) (2001) Interpersonal rejection (pp. 73-103). New York: Oxford University Press.