Long Term Recovery From Emotional Shock

English: Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions

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In my last entry I wrote about my health problems since last fall, when I received an intense emotional shock via the discovery of my lover’s betrayal followed by the subsequent abandonment I experienced.

I want to state very clearly that previous to the shock of his betrayal, I have never experienced six solid months of illness. In addition, last winter was the first time I’ve ever suffered from asthma.

Both my medical doctor and my therapist believe that my long illness culminating in asthma stemmed from the trauma of the shock.

Now, I am stabilized and trying to recover. The list of vitamins and herbs I take daily is very long. I see an acupuncturist to stimulate my immune system. I eat organic food. I take walks in fresh air. I rest and drink fluids. I am careful not to get stressed out over work or money.

The trauma has passed into a dream. Did this really happen to me? Did my first husband truly come back into my life, with his promises and presents and vows of fidelity after an absence of 18 years only to crush my heart to smithereens? Did he really convince me of his undying love and our being soul mates and his wish to make up the past twenty years to me only as a shallow passing fancy? Was I so unimportant to him?

For the most part, I don’t feel the pain of the betrayal anymore. It has been almost fifteen months. I feel numb and weak and anxious to be well again.

I know that the only power I have in this situation is to never see him or speak to him again. I know that I don’t ever have to go near him again. Along with his love, I lost my hometown, but I have been gone from there for twenty years, so I can forget its streets and beaches along with him.

I am willing myself to be whole again. I don’t even care about what happened, I don’t care what he did; I only want to be myself, to be healthy again. I want my vitality back; I want my strength back.  On that day in October, over a year ago, I never dreamed that I would be embarking on such a long journey to return back to myself.

Will I ever reach myself again? Will I be the same?

It is so important that we treat others with respect and kindness.

We are all so fragile.


Betrayal and My Immune System

I've been sick for a couple of weeks now. I we...

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What is the effect of betrayal or emotional trauma on your immune system?

Can emotional shock cause your immune system to falter? Can betrayal or emotional stress cause your immune system to fail, or for you to become sick?

Was the discovery of my lover’s betrayal the root cause  of my illness all last winter ?

What is the connection between emotional health and physical health? Can emotional stress compromise your immune system?

Can a broken heart damage your immune system? Can having a broken heart cause your immune system to fail or you to get sick?

What is the relationship between emotional trauma and health? Emotional trauma and the immune system?

What is the connection between stress and asthma? Can trauma and emotional stress cause asthma?

Early last fall, before my discovery of the betrayal, I was sick with seasonal allergies which had developed into a cold. By October, my cold had progressed to bronchitis. On October 26, the day I realized that my boyfriend had been sleeping with another woman, I went into emotional shock which lasted a few days and my bronchitis cleared up. With the first couple hours the realization that my life had completely changed in an instant, I simply stopped coughing.

I believe that I stopped coughing due to shock. However, I did not stay well for more than a few weeks.

By December 1, I was sick again with a sinus infection and started coughing again. My doctor prescribed antibiotics and between the medication and a trip to the Bahamas after Christmas, I became well. However, as soon as I returned back to the cold, I began coughing again, and the coughing continued until April. I began wheezing and had a difficult time breathing. My doctor sent me to the hospital to be tested for asthma with a machine. I tested slightly asthmatic and started on an albuterol and then a steroid inhaler.

By spring, I was really worried about myself. Due to being sick, I had not been able to exercise all winter. I was tired and out of shape. In order to work full time, I had to rest in bed or nap just about every hour I was not at work. I was physically exhausted from struggling to breathe. Despite the two inhalers, I was just not improving.

Finally, my therapist recommended Zyflammend, which is an anti inflammatory supplement by New Chapter Vitamins. Zyflammend contains,

Within three days of starting the Zyflammend in April, my asthmatic symptoms disappeared. I stopped using the inhalers and felt better. It was like magic. I recommend this product to anyone struggling with asthma or any other inflammatory based condition, such as arthritis.

I had two months of reprieve and then became ill during June as a consequence of seasonal allergies. This quickly turned into a sinus infection and I needed antibiotics. This wiped me out for an entire month. I was exhausted.

Thankfully, I found a great allergy specialist and had the ‘skin’ test done. I tested positive for allergies to dogs, cats, mold, house dust, dust mites, tree pollen, weed pollen. I’d guessed that I had seasonal allergies but was surprised at all the others. I live in a huge dusty old house, and it began to feel like I was allergic to my life.

I was not sick all fall; I credit this to the allergy shots.

However, on Thanksgiving, I came down with a severe bacterial infection, similar to strep. Six weeks later, I do not have my strength back. I am taking several high quality herbal vitamins and immune builders, sleeping between ten and twelve hours per day, seeing my therapist, allergist and an acupuncturist for fatigue and to stimulate my immune system.

I have never been sick like this for so long in my life. In 2011, I was sick for a total of six months.

In answer to the questions I posed earlier in this post, I believe the answer to all of them is yes. Yes, betrayal, emotional shock, emotional trauma and heartbreak can have a severe, debilitating effect on one’s health. I am doing all I can in the past year to heal myself both physically and emotionally.


Betrayal: A Life Lesson

Fourteen months into the process this betrayal has become, a journey through brokenheartedness, shame, grief, denial, bargaining, acceptance, pain, and healing, I am recognizing a cycle. I have gone through a similar sequence of emotions before,and it was again, related to this man whom I believed to be my soulmate.

When I took the baby and left him and his druggie lifestyle at the age of twenty-two, I came north, to this same town, to heal. The cycle was different; I had a baby to look after and so instead of processing my grief, I ‘stuffed’ it. Instead of coming to terms with how badly my young husband had treated his family, I made excuses for him and held his friends responsible for his behavior. In this way, I sheltered my heart from the miserable reality that the love of my life was a real selfish scumbag.

However, although I did not go through the emotions of grief consciously, these feelings gnawed at me for a good long time, close to a year and a half, after I’d cut off all contact from him.

I did go through an intensely personal cathartic process of growth which was painful and quite lonely. It was a time for spiritual introspection and for guarding myself closely, keeping myself and my daughter safe, and meditation. I”m going through a similar experience now: I am wondering about the spiritual aspect of this part of my life.

I am convinced that the reason this man came into my life was to betray me; one of my life’s lessons was to be betrayed. Or perhaps, from his perspective, he had a choice. He had a choice at the age of 22 and then again, a chance to change that choice at the age of 42, and both times he chose against us. He chose addiction, lying, betrayal, and low friends over his family.

At any rate, I am now curled up in my den for the winter. My wounds are no longer raw: I have stopped licking them. I am standing up and moving on.



The Damage Done

English: A marijuana joint. 日本語: マリファナのジョイント(大麻煙草)

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“I’ve seen the needle
and the damage done
A little part of it in everyone
But every junkie‘s
like a settin’ sun. “

Neil Young


Christmastime is no time for the brokenhearted.

Realizing that this blog is as much about addiction as it is about his betrayal and my response to it.

If he wasn’t an addict, then the betrayal would not have happened. Most people tend to believe that marijuana is not as dangerous as heroin. Many swear that smoking pot is harmless, even helpful. I can only tell you from my experiences with my husband, who has smoked, I”m guessing between an eighth and a quarter ounce of marijuana every day for close to thirty years, along with drinking a six pack or more every night, that these habits have destroyed his integrity, his life and the lives of his family to the same extent as any ‘hard’ drug user has done.

He betrayed me, he betrayed our families and our daughter, both last year and when she was a baby, because he is an addict.

I got a Christmas card from his mother today. She is the real loser in all of this. She lost her granddaughter twenty years ago because of her son’s/my husband’s addiction and drug dealing.

Now, after finding her granddaughter again at the age of nineteen, she lost her last year.

After three years of visiting Grandma, our daughter no longer wants to go to that town, the town she was born in.

Our daughter wants nothing to do with her betraying, lying, drug dealing father. I can’t blame her. I have urged her to stay in touch with her Grandma. But my daughter is 23. She is young. She’d rather just not deal with the whole side of her father’s family. Guilt by association. She is an adult. I can’t make her do anything.

But I feel so badly for my former mother in law. She is such a good person. She has had such a hard life and has persevered through many adversities. She is a person full of integrity, who has never used drugs, and yet her life has been so damaged by the addiction of her son, and his subsequent lying and betrayals.

His betrayal, his lies have pervaded the lives of his mother, his daughter, his former wife (myself.)

It is Christmastime, and I am numb.

Eighteen years without him, then two years in which I thought we were given the gift of being a family again; a miracle in itself.

And now, nothing but numbness. A hundred miles and one year away and wishing I’d never heard from him again. My daughter has blacked him out. My wonderful mother in law misses us both and is in too poor health to visit us. I am working too hard to visit her. My daughter is too stubborn and hurt to visit her Grandma, not able to separate her father’s actions from his side of the family.

My life is so empty without him. His voice is the only one I’ll ever hear in my heart. With him, I am complete. With no one else. Soul mate. He is my soul mate. These words echo emptily in my mind. They mean nothing. He has chosen his addiction over me. Again. First in 1989, and now, again. My youth, and my middle age, he has betrayed me. Burst into my life to love me only to betray me.

I hate his drugs. I hate his associates, those people I knew were scumbags way back when, when I was a naive and scared nineteen year old girl. I hate the choices he made, the lies he has told, the person he has become.

I want so badly to go back in time. I want our life back. I want him as a husband and as our daughter’s father. I want to claim him back from the drugs and the dealing. But there is nothing that I can do, besides reel in amazement at the damage done.

All the damage that one addict can do.  All the pain a lifetime of betrayal can cause. Who he could have been if he’d have kicked the addiction. What kind of life we could have had. What happiness we could have lived.

Blows my mind.



Life’s Too Short for Betrayal

nunhead cemetary

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A family member died suddenly and recently. Before his death, we spent several days with him in the intensive care unit with the family. It was a harrowing time, and reminded me of how short this life is and how fragile.

Although I respect that there are some couples who have survived and moved past issues of betrayal, I would advise not giving second chances.

Life is too short and too precious to share your life with someone who has lied and cheated on you. There are so many wonderful people in the world who will not deceive or betray you. Share your life with them.

Integrity, honesty and thoughtfulness are their own rewards. A person who has betrayed you has violated these three virtues. Betrayal is an act. It is something which someone chooses to do, knowing that their actions will hurt the betrayed, eventually.

To be happy in this life, find people who will love you and treasure you and who would never betray you. Surround yourself with these beacons of light, these honest people who walk in integrity. These may be your family, your neighbors, your co-workers, your friends. Surround yourself with goodness and let no one enter your life whose heart does not glow with purity and truthfulness.



The Paralysis of Betrayal

Moche Culture Representation of Facial Paralys...

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Last October, I discovered that my boyfriend had been cheating on me with another woman. Our story is complicated. We were married young, had a daughter and then were separated for eighteen years. So, after we were reunited, I thought that we both were committed for the rest of our lives, having gone through so much pain during the years we were apart.

The details are unimportant. If you are interested, then you can read through the rest of this blog for the juicy details. Start way back in October and you can read me flailing about trying to not fall down the deep hole of betrayal.

Betrayal has made me feel like shit. Betrayal has made me feel discarded. Betrayal, his betrayal, has made me feel like yesterday’s lunch. The experience of betrayal has made me distrustful of the universe. It has made me feel unwanted and useless. I have felt deceived, tricked and made a fool of. He cuckolded me. I have spent the past seven months cataloguing the emotions I have experienced through circling through the extended grief cycle of shock, denial, bargaining, anger and acceptance.

It was the worst long winter of my life. That was my thought, when it first happened, was trepidation about this shock, this trauma right before the onset of a northern New England winter. No, it can’t be. But it was. And it was, and it was, and it was.

I feel now like I’ve been in a train wreck and I’m trying to get up. I’m trying to stand. My legs are wobbly. I am weak. It is the loss of youth, of health, of strength. I am not the same person. This shock, this trauma, this betrayal has paralyzed me. Not just emotionally but physically. It is as if I have stopped and now I have to get up and start moving again. It was the asthma which came from the trauma which stopped me. I pretty much collapsed. I’m not sure how I got through the winter, or how I went to work every day. How did I buy the food? Feed the kids? Pay the bills? In between it all, I just went to bed and curled up in the fetal position and coughed and coughed and coughed.

I was paralyzed but I am trying to get up. I am so mad about what he’s done to me. Why couldn’t he have stayed away, after eighteen years? Why didn’t he just leave me alone?

But I know the answer now, which I did not know last fall. It is simply this; he is still selfish and irresponsible. These have become his main character traits.

So pray for me, please, as I try to arise and walk again.



Betrayal is Universal

Judas Tree

Image by Vassilis Online via Flickr

Before betrayal happened to me, before I fell down its dark endless hole, I had never thought about what it meant to be betrayed. But I have learned that I am not the only betrayed person in the world; people are betrayed every minute.

Betrayal is universal. It is a component of the human experience.  On this planet, we experience birth, love, death, health, sickness, hope, enlightenment, betrayal and more. We trust people who are not worthy of our trust and then they betray us. It is as common as Spring following Winter. As long as selfish, irresponsible people live in the world, they will continue to betray others.

Being betrayed is a sickening experience. I never thought that my lover would stoop so low as to betray me with lies and deception the way he did. The horrific, sickening feeling of discovering betrayal is not one that I would recommend.

Avoid betrayal at all costs. Be very careful whom you trust. Be even more careful whom you date. If you are dating someone and you see warning signs indicating a lack of moral integrity, then break up! Don’t wait for the worst to happen. We have intuition for a reason. Use yours wisely. Does your significant other lie? Get out of the relationship.

The good news is that there are billions of wonderful people in the world who won’t betray you. Look for them and keep their company. You will notice them doing good deeds including volunteering for charity. You will notice how well they take care of their elderly parents. Watch their actions. Are they selfish, or do they put others’ feelings before their own? Are they loyal to their families or do they spend their time with the wrong crowd.

Beware the wrong crowd. It is full of betrayers and liars. It is full of the selfish and irresponsible who live for their pleasure in each moment. The wrong crowd is full of betrayers.

Learn from my lesson and save yourself pain; liars don’t stop lying. People who lie to others lie mostly to themselves. People who lie specializing in hiding things from you. They are skilled at it. If you are in doubt, then go to a professional therapist and ask about the liar’s behavior. Liars think nothing of hiding things from you.

Betrayal is a universal human experience but we must do what we can to protect ourselves from it. Betrayal is a dark, soul-extinguishing harm done by one human to another which is perilously difficult to recover from.

I have been working as hard as I can, with family, friends and a skilled therapist to recover from the person who betrayed me. Please, if you are reading this, take good care of yourself. Protect yourself from those whom you should not trust. Be smart and keep your eyes open. People who lie and betray are everywhere, pretending to be good decent people. It is easy to be tricked and hurt the way that I was.