Disconnecting Fantasy from Reality & Coming to Terms with Reality

It’s been a painfully slow process, dealing with the past ten months. Dealing with betrayal, with the trauma of betrayal is one specific painful emotional reaction.

Unraveling the myth of the person I thought I knew from the person he really is has taken a very long time and been full of so many painful steps along the way.

I think I am here, finally.

I saw a picture of him today & at first, my heart filled with pain and longing at the sight of him. There has always been something about the sight of him which moves me that way. It’s been that way for 25 years. But, while still feeling that throb in my heart, I was able to say to myself, “No, that’s not my love. That’s a man who lied to me, who ruined my life, who abandoned me and our daughter twenty years ago, who came back into my life four years ago to lie to me, deceive me, manipulate me and betray me intentionally. That’s a man who I thought loved me but who used me and hurt me.”

It has taken hundreds of thousands of moments of reasoning with myself, of weighing the facts against my broken heart, my feelings to reach this point. It has taken dozens of hours of therapy with one of the best therapists I’ve ever worked with. It’s taken literally gallons of wine, hundreds of thousands of written words, dozens of dreams, and interpretations of dreams.

I feel wrecked. The past year, the long winter, the bronchitis, the asthma, the devastation, the intense unbearable grieving. It was a struggle to get up and go to work every day but I did. I drank way too much. My body feels crippled, my brain just fried.

When people say things like well this experience will make you stronger, I cringe. No, this has not made me stronger. I will never trust anyone like that again. I will never believe in love again.

It was the only time in my entire life, this two and a half years I thought I’d been reunited with my one true long-lost love, that I’ve ever been happy, and it was all a complete lie.

How can I reconcile that within myself?

Why have I made such miserably fucked up decisions about love in this life?

I went to a palm reader in York Beach Maine, a lady who I used to walk by as a child. I’ve never been to a palm reader before. Just last week, I finally went in to see her. She told me that I’m winding up several years of particularly bad karma with men. I hope that such a simple explanation could be true.



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.



Betrayers Choose to Betray

So Wrong, It's Right

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“Our visit to this planet is short, so we should use our time meaningfully, which we can do by helping others wherever possible. And if we cannot help others, at least we should try not to create pain and suffering for them.”

                                                                                                   – Dalai Lama

Reading about morality and spirituality has helped me during the process of healing from this betrayal, as I am reminded that there is right and wrong in this world. It is not right to simply do what one wants, or what one feels like, in order to gratify oneself, or to get what one desires. The needs and feelings of others must be considered. If one has commitments to other people, then those commitments cannot be discarded to pursue pleasure or diversion. These values of commitment, of integrity, of right and wrong should be developed in us during childhood, and then reinforced during our adolescence and early adulthood. When we spend our adolescence and early adulthood in the company of warped and wicked minded people, and, as adults, spend our lives devoted to immediate gratification instead of considering our responsibilities to other people in our lives, then our own values become crooked and twisted and it becomes acceptable to harm others if one is pursuing one’s hedonistic impulses.

Nineteenth century writers such as Eliot, Austen and Tolstoy focus character development largely on the question of individual morals and values. Individuals who pursue hedonistic impulses always ruin their lives and hurt others. Characters who stick to a moral code, and refer to that in times of temptation, end up living long and contented lives.

I’ve just finished Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss and was struck by the scene in which Maggie is arguing for morality with Stephen Guest, who has taken her, somewhat against her will, down the river to marry her. Their marriage will hurt a number of people in their hometown, as each Stephen and Maggie are close to being engaged to other lovers.

Risking her own reputation, (as it would be far better for Maggie to marry Stephen than to return unmarried, which she does) Maggie adheres to her morals, which tell her that there can be no happiness in a union  which arises from deception and hurting others.

Stephen urges Maggie to overcome her values and give in to feeling, “We have proved that the feeling that draws us towards each other is too strong to be overcome. The natural law surmounts every other, – we can’t help what it clashes with.”

Maggie responds, “It is not so, Stephen- I’m quite sure that is wrong. I have tried to think it again and again- but I see, if we judged in that way, there would be a warrant for all treachery and cruelty- we should justify breaking the most sacred ties that can ever be formed on earth. If the past is not to bind us, where can duty lie? We should have no law but the inclination of the moment.”

Each of us who has suffered the betrayal of a spouse, of a lover, has been the victim of a person whose unformed character development, whose justification of anything through satisfying their own impulses of the moment. We must ask ourselves hard questions about the integrity of this person who has betrayed us so that we are careful to never let another potential betrayer into our lives again.

Sexual betrayal does not just happen. Peoples’ clothing does not fall off them. No one holds a gun to anyone’s head and says, “You need to start spending a lot of time with this woman (or man) who you are attracted to/has been flirting with you/has invited you over for drinks without telling your partner.” No one is forced to move into a relationship with another person, or go to bed with them, without first letting his or her boyfriend/girlfriend/fiance/spouse/lover  off the hook by breaking up with them before jumping into bed with the next person.

It’s very simple. Betrayal does not ‘just happen.’ The betrayer makes choices to trick, lie to, and hurt the person being betrayed. There is right and wrong. If you are in a monogamous relationship, then you have the right to expect your partner to be monogamous. If he or she cheats on you, then a verbal agreement, as well as an agreement of your heart and soul, is being broken. And it is being broken by the cheater’s own free will, and because he or she does not have a fully developed set of values which places commitments and duty above self-gratification and pleasure.



Bad Friends


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“Don’t associate with bad friends. Don’t associate with the low. Associate with admirable friends. Associate with the best.”

– Dhammapada 78, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

This post is dedicated to a dear friend with whom I’ve been writing back and forth today. She knows just what it means, and we both know more than one life which has been ruined by associating with the wrong people.

My mother used to tell me, “You are who you hang out with.” Although I liked to argue with her about this, in the end, I have to say that she is right, and as she has passed away, I can’t even tell her face to face.

If you want to determine someone’s character; examine their friends. How do their friends behave? What do they do? What do they fail to do? Do they lie? Do they cheat? Are they responsible for the consequences of their own actions? Do they volunteer in their communities? Are they misogynists? Do they make racist comments? Are they mean? Do they help others? Do they make fun of people? If a person‘s friends have negative character traits, if they lie, if they cheat, if they make racist or homophobic comments, then that person is the same. Any given person  is no better than his or her friends, for each person chooses his or her friends based on his or her own individual integrity, or lack thereof.

This is because people who are referred to in this quote as ‘the low’ will display their lowness through meanness, dishonesty, mysogyny, homophobia, racism, entitlement, defensiveness, aggressiveness, selfishness, irresponsibility, etc. People who are like this are barely any better than animals; they live for their pleasure alone. They don’t have self awareness or self reflection and cannot or will not pursue any path to self improvement.You will not find a decent person hanging out with a bunch of low people because a decent person cannot tolerate  low behavior in others . The low people will tease and make fun of the decent person because his or her values threaten the social mores of the scumbag group.

Conversely, when you find a group of people who are devoted to goodness, kindness, self reflection, personal growth, honesty and integrity, you will not find a scumbag in their midst. Scumbags chooses  associate with other scumbags in order to reinforce their own lack of morality.  If a scumbag finds himself in a group decent people she will quickly leave the ‘goody two shoes’ to find a group of scumbags with whom to gloat in scumbaggery.

It’s just this simple. If you want to find out what kind of a person someone is, examine their friends, and find out how they treat other people, how they talk about other people, and exactly what types of activities they do in their spare time. It doesn’t matter who you are inside that counts, it’s how you spend your time.




Karma Guen 2008 - 07

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A friend sent me some information last night which was painful to hear and yet helpful for closure.

If there’s one thing I have learned about healing from betrayal while writing this blog, it is that the healing process is incredibly painful. Have you ever heard about burn victims? They claim that right after being burned is not so painful because of the shock, but that the most painful part is the healing, while their skin is recreating itself? All the skin cells scream with pain, and this long lasting pain is endurable only through strong medication which the victim must be slowly weaned from.

The nature of the information my friend sent me last night helped me to reach an intellectual understanding of the situation which has previously eluded me. The reason why he betrayed me is simple. He was able to betray me because his feelings for me were shallow. If he had cared for me as deeply as I cared for him, then he never would have been able to betray me. He never would have gone near another woman and began developing an intimacy with her through conversations, spending time together, which eventually led to sex.

His decision to get involved with her sexually while still dating me marks his immaturity and his lack of responsibility as well as his lack of moral development. He wrote me a letter during our ‘fight’ in May, 2009, during which time he refused to speak to me, because I had, in not a very graceful way, confronted him via email about my realizations of his actual drug & alcohol consumption, as opposed to what he’d told me a year earlier at the start of our relationship. In this letter, he berates me for, essentially being a bitch and being hysterical, and ends the relationship. What he fails to mention in this letter is that the true reason he’s ending the relationship at that point and not speaking to me is because he’d started sleeping with another woman with whom he’d been flirting for months.

In the middle of June, he approached me and we ‘made up.’  He claimed later that at this point that he’d broken things off with her because he missed me. However, he has lied to me so many times in my life, that I have no idea what percentage of anything he’s ever told me is the truth. I imagine, in relation to him and this other woman, what he’s told me, what he hasn’t told me, his excuses that he was going to a friends’ house when he was actually going to see her, his continued alleged devotion to me, etc, is heavily laden with lies.

In closure, I am moving towards acceptance of what has happened to me. I don’t have to worry about what will become of him, because karma will take care of that. You can’t mistreat someone as badly as he has mistreated me in this life, not to mention our daughter, because of the choices he has made and the priorities he has chosen, without some really bad karma catching up to you. Whether or not he’s been conscious of his decisions, regardless of his cognitive ability to form judgements and make decisions, karma is a real force and he will not escape the karma he has created in this life.



Honesty~ A Necessary Virtue

Detail of Lunaria annua (Honesty) flower

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In processing my emotional response to my lover’s betrayal last fall, I keep dwelling on the virtue of honesty.

In response to his lies and deception, my appreciation of honesty, as a real and tangible value, has skyrocketed.

I knew that he had a problem with honesty twenty years ago, but when we got back together in 2008, I thought that he was presenting himself to me honestly. I made sure that I was completely honest with him about who I was.

I don’t know how conscious he was about his dishonesty to me. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he didn’t set out to deceive me and our daughter about who he was. I’m going to allow that he wanted to make his life better and thought that he could become the kind of person he presented himself to us as the family man in need of a family.

I know that from the moment I realized that he had been dishonesty with me about a certain aspect of his lifestyle, which was in December, 2008, the entire relationship was doomed. From there it was a slow downward projectory as he lied to me about more and more, which eventually, included his relationship with another woman.

I accepted that first lie with difficulty. He promised me that he would never lie to me again. I believed him.

However, I don’t think he’s capable of honesty.

Honesty is similar to a muscle. It can’t be toned and in shape without being exercised. One must practice honesty on a daily basis to keep it working properly. I have always been an honest person, and aware that telling a lie is a bad thing. So I can’t get inside the mind of a liar and understand what kind of thinking is necessary to lie to people you love about very important things and be able to look yourself in the mirror the next day.

One of the reasons that I trusted him so much was because of his mother. She is a wonderfully virtuous person and as such is extremely honest. Spending time with her again after and absence of eighteen years has been a wonderful experience. Because I came into contact with both him and his mother at the same time, and because he was representing himself to me as an honest person with nothing to hide, and because his mother was so obviously morally flawless, I took her honesty and my honestly and transposed it onto him, assuming that we all shared this virtue.

I do believe at that time that he wanted to be honest.

I do not believe that he is capable of being honest and I don’t know how he can go through his life this way. In the last letter I wrote him, I talked about hoping that he could learn to become an honest person. This is what I wish for him.

It will mean going through a program for his chemical dependency and entering a 12 step program which he stays in for life. It will mean counseling for his early childhood trauma issues for the rest of his life. It will mean breaking off relationships with his life long ‘buddies’ who have led him along in the way of dishonesty. He will need to make new friends with people who are sober and honest and dedicated to growing stronger and healthier.

I wish this for him, so that he may know peace in this life.