Abstract Nude by Aja

Abstract Nude by Aja

“Stab the body and it heals, but injure the heart and the wound lasts a lifetime.”              ~ Mineko Iwasaki

Loving someone and being loved is wonderful. But when your love is rejected as a result of betrayal, the pain can be agonizing. Possibly the ultimate form of rejection, betrayal can shatter your mind, body and soul.

Where once you knew that you were the only one, you know now that there is another. But true love can’t be shared. That love that you had for each other was too precious, too deep, too tender to be passed on. Yet it has.

And from the moment you become aware of the betrayal, so begins the incessant and intense aching of your heart.  For someone else is now receiving the love you believed to be rightly yours.

When the man I loved betrayed me, I tried at first to pretend he hadn’t. I refused to consider that the relationship was anything more than a brotherly friendship. This of course, was exactly the way he justified his actions. He was simply offering support and consolation to someone who had been through a difficult time. So who was I to be challenging such kind words and offers of help?

With all my mind, I tried to convince myself that he was innocent, yet deep-down I knew differently. In matters of the heart, a woman’s intuition is rarely mistaken. And whether it is an emotional betrayal or a physical infidelity, both are deal-breakers in a loving relationship.

Actually I had known right from the start. His over-exaggeration of how he disliked her, while his body language indicated the opposite. The not-so-subtle comments about her stunning looks and amazing figure, which when repeated back to him were dismissed as a joke. Making special efforts to look nice in her company and being the first to volunteer if she needed a lift. Goodness, I saw it all.

And I heard it all too. Soothing words to reassure her in her time of need. Tender offers of assistance day or night; nothing too much trouble. Then inevitably the words I least wanted to hear were declared with passion; ‘I love you.’

Maybe it’s just me, but there’s a unique brutal pain at hearing the one you love profess their love to someone else. You listen with outraged incredulity, whilst being completely powerless. The reality hits hard.

It was when I stopped being in such denial and raised my objections, that things turned ominous. Instead of an admission of guilt or remorse, he tried to convince me that the problem was all mine. It was my paranoia, my jealousy, my insecurity.

Except it wasn’t. It was his lies. His deceit. His betrayal. And it was at that point that I learnt that the level of betrayal you feel depends on the level of love you invested. The greater the love. The greater the pain.

And betrayal raises a huge number of questions that refuse to be answered too. How could they do it to me? Why would they risk destroying everything we have? What did I do to deserve that? What do I do now? And the question that I repeated daily to myself: How could I have been so stupid to let myself become this vulnerable?

Whatever the answers, when it comes to betrayal there is a fine line between love and hate. You love the person, but you hate what they do. You love how they make you feel when you’re with them, but you hate them when they reject you. It’s the rejection that stabs you in the heart and crushes your soul.

“The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.”  ~ Marcus Aurelius

Being betrayed can leave you with feelings of revenge, but there are three reasons why it won’t do anymore than provide momentary relief.

For a start, it won’t undo what has been said or done. God himself can’t turn back time. Secondly, your emotions may override any sense of common sense and you may live to regret what you did. Finally, and most importantly you have integrity and self-worth, so don’t demean yourself by stooping down to their level – you are better than that!

“As long as I have a heart I can heal, as long as I can heal I have a heart.” ~ The Hurt Healer

Anyone who has gone through or is going through the trauma of a broken heart knows that the pain can overwhelm. It might feel like the agony is never going to end, but it is possible and more importantly essential to find a way to let go and move on.

Good friends can listen and comfort, family can empathise and nurture you. Yet only you can heal your heart. The fact is that no matter how hard you try to hide your hurt from the outside world, you carry your brokenness within you, where ever you go.

So let the betrayer go and it will release you too. Because the longer you hold on to what could have been or what should have been, the longer you are trapped in a relationship that is finished.

Of course that’s easier said than done. I know that had this situation occurred when I was in the grip of my addiction and depression, I would have turned to the bottle to numb the pain and blamed myself for being so unlovable.

Thankfully, my journey of recovery has made me stronger and wiser. No longer a victim that crumbles at the actions of another, I am a survivor who accepts that although she can’t control what someone else does, she can control how she reacts to it.

“All healing is first a healing of the heart.” ~ Carl Townsend

Initially you may try to manage the damage with things that gratify you.  Alcohol, drugs, relationships, work, even food can all help fill the void, numb the pain, and distract you. Yet temporary respite fades and the reality of your raw soul is exposed.

You may feel like you will never love again. But it’s love that hurts and love that heals. And there is strength to be gained from your vulnerability. Learning to confront the truth, even when that truth is excruciating, is empowering.

When you love someone deeply, you assume that your level of investment and honesty in the relationship is reciprocated. Being betrayed is the realisation that not only have you been deceived by another, but you have deceived yourself. Ultimately, that can be soul destroying.

Yet reclaiming you ability to trust is essential to emotional healing. Reassure yourself that you were right to believe in the relationship, but it was the betrayer who was in the wrong for abusing your trust.  Rebuild your faith in others by surrounding yourself with those who care for you and allow them to nurture you. Then focus not on what you have lost, but on the good things you still have in your life. Gratitude is a great pain-killer.

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” ~ Lewis B Smedes

Once the initial shock has passed and you have started to trust again, the next step to freedom is through forgiveness. Personally, I couldn’t have undertaken any level of forgiveness without my faith to guide and comfort me. I learnt that forgiveness wasn’t about condoning the actions, but accepting what had taken place.

Forgiveness also meant that instead of being burdened with fear, resentment, bitterness and anger, I was free to fill my heart with hope, expectation, joy and peace. And in doing so I was able to redefine my expectations and boundaries of relationships.  Most of all, forgiveness was about saying goodbye to the bad, so that I could embrace the good.

Femme 104 by Aja

Femme 104 by Aja

With the love of friends and the strength of my faith, I was able to manage the stormy days which fuelled the tears and the trauma. It was also faith that reassured me that after the rain, there was the promise of a rainbow.

And if betrayal has darkened your days, that promise of a bright future filled with love, awaits you too.

“Everybody wants happiness. Nobody wants pain. But you can’t have a rainbow, without a little rain.” ~ unknown

Huge thanks to talented Aja, owner of the Sagittarius Gallery for allowing me to use her artwork. May not be reproduced in any form without her permission. Take a look at her other work here:

79 thoughts on “Betrayal.

  1. Thank you for writing so beautifully. I’m in this situation right now, but it just didn’t happen yesterday, it happened 9 months ago and the pain is still very real.
    I don’t know how to let go and move on with my life. I was married for 14yrs and out of the blue he told me he was leaving me for another woman. Not only this, but I found out he hd been having affairs for the last 5-7yrs.
    As of now, he is still with that woman but I still see him. He keeps on telling me that he loves me and cares for me. I haven’t cut him off my life because i do love him, but I know he has a life now and a family and I need to forgive him and just move on. I allow him to come stay at our house on certain nights and I’m so ashamed and disappointed in myself for doing this. I’m taking the role of the mistress now.

    • I am so sorry that you are going such a painful time. And you are still in that raw vulnerable state which is why you are so susceptible to allowing him to visit you. There is no easy fix or solution, but you need to see him for what he is. A cheat. A liar. A betrayer. He does not love because otherwise he wouldn’t have abused your love which you were living together as husband and wife. There isn’t a gentle way of saying that he is using you, so I’m afraid I do have to point that out. He uses you out of guilt. He gets a perverse thrill out of being able to play two women in his life (but there could easily be more than two). The consolation you have at the moment is that he will do to this family what he did to yours. Gain their loyalty and then abuse it.
      Stop feeling ashamed of yourself, but also stop allowing his visits. You deserve so much more than being his bit on the side, at his beck and call when ever he feels like it.
      You will never be able to move on from the pain whilst you are still seeing him. And from what you say here I doubt very much whether there is any chance of reconciliation. He chose to leave you. He chose to deceive you for years. He didn’t try to resolve his marriage, instead he took the cowards way out and chose to go elsewhere.
      I feel your pain here and I am so sorry that you have had to experience the heartbreak. He tells you that he loves and cares for you because he knows that is what you want to hear, and it keeps you dangling.
      Surround yourself with support and nurturing friends and family that can continue to support you. It is early days yet, but with time you can and will heal. Start to learn to love yourself and to enjoy being a single person again. Do some of those things that you never did while you were married. Make it your mission to rediscover who really are. You are a strong, caring, loyal woman who has much love to give to the right man. Don’t give away any more of yourself to him. He doesn’t deserve it. And you deserve so much better.
      Take care. xo

      • Thank you for your kind words. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate you taking the time to write back.
        I do feel that he does some things out of guilt but he swears that he only does it because “I’m his family” and because he loves me. He tries to help me financially and buy me gifts, and do things he never did when we were together. We don’t have children together so with more reason it should be easier for me not to communicate with him at all.
        Looking back he manipulated me so well throughout the years. Always making me feel guilty and bad for thinking that he was being unfaithful, and now i know it was true.
        The woman he is with now also left her husband and she knew he was married. He also sends me text complaining about her and the things she does that he doesn’t like. He wants me to actually go hangout with them, go out and get to know her. He says that we can all go as friends and she is willing to do that for him. Of course I wouldn’t do that. I’m sure she will get a taste of his unfaithfulness in the near future. According to him, he is a changed man and will never cheat on her or anybody in the future. I guess i just can’t get over the fact that he walked away like it was not a big deal. Posting pictures and commnets about how happy he is and how blessed he is with the wonderful woman he has now. It just hurts me to see how our marriage just went down the drain. More importantly what it did to me because my life was wrapped around him, which I now know its not good or healthy. You are right, I need to discover who I really am. I know God has a great plan for my future and I just need to push forward and not get stuck in this situation.
        Sorry about my rambling and thank you so much for your advice.

      • From what you say here it is even more clear that he has manipulated you in the past and wants to keep control only because he is frightened that this new relationship isn’t going to work out. As they are both cheaters, it is very unlikely that their relationship will last so he wants to keep you as his safety-net. Because the alternative is that he could end up alone and he hasn’t the strength of backbone to be alone.

        You on the other hand have both. And you have a God who loves you and who wants the best for you. I have no idea why God allows bad things to happen to good people but I can reassure you that everything that is negative and harming you at the moment can be completely turned around for your good. Just keep believing for the best. Even if you faith has taken a huge knock, even the tiniest speck can move mountains. Hold on to the promise of God’s great plan and remember that your future isn’t in the dim distance, it actually starts today.
        Take care. xx

  2. Pingback: Betrayal. by The Hurt Healer | Women Who Think Too Much by Jeanne Marie

  3. I loved it.. Every word that was said reminded me of what I’m going through now it touch my heart.. Cause i did just lose my love one.. But i wanted to come and ask permission from you to share your post on another website.. Cause I would love to share such true words.. I’ll be looking forward to hear responds..

  4. When someone is betrayed, it becomes difficult to forgive. I was once a victim of betrayal but I thank God I healed, delivered, and set free. Although it was not easy, I never gave up. I pressed through the pain. I pray that you are on the road to healing. I thank you for your post.

  5. Pingback: Betrayal. | Connected Ribs

  6. Beautiful thoughts that touch the heart! I particularly love the quote “As long as I have a heart I can heal, as long as I can heal I have a heart.”

    However if we are able to connect to our inner-selves the changes in the outer world cannot affect our calm.

    Nice blog and best wishes 🙂

  7. My heart and soul is shattered….I dont know what to do….The love of my life…..has betrayed me…..My heart is torn to pieces. ….How do I cope…..How do I? …How and why does anyone wanna intentionally cause a good person emotional pain and strife?.A person that loved you unconditionally?….can anyone explain this?….I couldnt imagine being married feeling this way …..why?

    • My heart goes out to you as you feel the force of being betrayed. At the moment you are too raw to ever imagine that you will feel okay again, let alone love again. Because the unthinkable has happened and how I wish for your sake that it hadn’t. And even knowing why it had happened won’t change it, so for the moment stop looking for answers to questions that are going to cause you even more pain. Now is the time to surround yourself with those who do love you, and to be as kind to yourself as possible. You are worth loving.
      Here is another post you might find comforting:
      With love. xo

  8. Pingback: Betrayal. The Hurt Healer “As long as I have a heart I can heal, as long as I can heal I have a heart.” ~ The Hurt Healer | Women Who Think Too Much by Jeanne Marie

  9. What an experience, and how much strength it must have taken to do that! I understand rejection as well, it was heartbreaking to realize all of my friends were fair weather and more than ready to leave when trouble befell me. But there are better people out there, people who truly care!

  10. Carolyn, your wonderful strength and courage under fire moves me. Your message is so very awesomely true. You are a precious blessing with a soothing healing in your words…thanks for the healing balm you shared today. God bless!

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  12. I will add that after the betrayal and when forgiveness wipes you clean and fresh and deems you whole, one must accept that the relationship is now a new one, not the one that you had before the betrayal. It is a decision-making time, one that I was truly ignorant of because I had young children who took up so much of my heart and mind that I was able to move forward with the tasks of living without feeling the effects of the betrayal in the relationship until a few years ago.One can completely forgive and feel at peace and still need to let go of the relationship.But i stayed when I should have left. That is what I learned.
    Beautiful, Carolyn!

    • So sorry that you too have experienced the pain of betrayal. Interesting that you should mention children taking up your heart and mind because that was my experience too – having to look after others helped me to keep strong. Not easy!

  13. Dear Carolyn,

    Your post pulled me in. I could sense the power of your feelings… and the hurt.

    This line resonates, ” …you have integrity and self-worth, so don’t demean yourself by stooping down to their level – you are better than that!” But when strong emotions course through us, how can we be in that space of integrity? How could we rein in that inner voice baying for blood in retaliation and ” let go” as you say?

    Take care and wish you a more enlightened future.


    • It really is difficult to do what’s right when everything feels so wrong, but in the long term it brings the serenity that comes from being able to rise above the situation. Thank you for your kind comments Shakti. Great to see you here 🙂

  14. You are a gifted writer Carolyn. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your heart with us. Betrayal really is a horrible thing. There is a reason why God made male/female relationships to be one man/one woman. “A man shall leave his family and be united with his wife (not wives)”.
    Unfortunately, post-modern thinking tries to make relativism “GOD”, which I personally find such a deception. People want to make up their own ‘truth’ and say that everything is relative. What happened to absolutes? I’m so sorry you had to go through the hurt of being betrayed. I also have gone through it. It really puts one through the wringer. But the beauty of it is that you have been able to overcome it, learn from your experience, and share this with the world so that others who have gone through it, or are going through it, may find comfort and camaraderie.

    “Because the longer you hold on to what could have been or what should have been, the longer you are trapped in a relationship that is finished.”
    –This is great Carolyn. It speaks to me about not dwelling on the past. My last two posts have been speaking about this. Living in ‘today’. The second of the two is a poem called, “Drinking in our days”. If you would like to check them out you can do so here:

    Blessings =)

    • Lovely to see you here Staci and thank you for sharing your insightful words. Dragging the past into our daily lives is damaging and draining. Looking forward to reading your posts about living in ‘today’!

  15. What an honest and open post here, Carolyn. You share something so deeply profound and painful…and yet, aren’t those two always intertwined? I can’t get to profound or wise without crawling along broken glass for a while, can I? I wish. But the stuff that cuts most also leaves a scar that shows me my path. where I have been and how I have survived…and thrived. But the process is hard. It’s the deep dark truths that need digging at to get to…that’s the hard part. The digging, the heavy lifting, the sagging heart.

    What you say about rejection being at the heart of it rings true for me. The greatest fears most of us have is the fear of rejection and the fear of abandonment. Rejection is a big one for me, and so much springs from that one. So many of my poor decision making came from a combination of those, and alcohol. The fear of rejection ties into betrayal big time. I haven’t had the experience that you have had, or of betrayal in general, but I feel it to a certain level in how you describe it – that feeling of intuition and going against it.

    I am sorry to hear about this, whether it was in the near past or far past, but clearly you have to a place of healing, or at least being in the process. What you show here is how it’s done, and you are a wonderful example of how it is to grow and show and take us by the hand and let us know that we can do it too.

    Thank you


    • Thank you Paul for sharing so transparently about rejection. It takes courage to be show that level of vulnerability. Yet it’s through our vulnerability that we find our strength. That’s really what I want to share with others. I would hate anyone to have to go through the emotional turmoil that I went through at that time, but it is in the past now and I can share openly because I have found the positives out of a very negative event.


  16. Really thoughtful and moving, Carolyn. Jung said perhaps the point of betrayal was that it was an opportunity for wisdom, and I think it is, like anything that challenges you on the very deepest level. I also read somewhere recently that forgiveness is a way of life, never a single act, and I certainly find that in my own experience. Like any kind of love, it needs to be nurtured and tended.

  17. I can only imagine the crushing hurt of that betrayal, my husband being the person i rely upon the most i can not bear to think about how that would affect my life, i hope i never have to. you are an amzing person to have come so far over such hurdles. i am glad you have faith to guide you.

  18. We have certainly all suffered the wounds of betrayal, perhaps in differing degrees and in different situations. In fact, Carolyn, as I read this, pieces reminded me of other betrayals you spoke of in your recent testimonial. All the elements of being vulnerable, of having to learn to trust again, of forgiving and of finding steadfast and loving support are shared in all betrayals. And all are somehow healed with love. Lovely. And Aja’s art, superb.

  19. Carolyn,
    You speak the language of the heart just the way those of us who have known the deep pain of betrayal feel… and you show us how to remove the stinger and cleanse the wound. What a precious gift!

    This sentence is so true:
    ” And it was at that point that I learnt that the level of betrayal you feel depends on the level of love you invested. The greater the love. The greater the pain.”

    Keep speaking and writing, my dear friend – you yield a Mighty Sword that is releasing captives!

  20. Oh my gosh – I hope this isn’t a recent betrayal, Carolyn!! I’m so terribly sorry if it is. I’ve been where you’ve described, and your description is exactly how it feels, but the particular beauty of your post is the pathway to healing that you also share. Thank you.

    • You too Lisa are a living testimony of the strength that comes from overcoming the pain that goes hand in hand with betrayal, lies and deceit. But I have learnt that no matter how dark the tunnel, the light is always there in the end.

  21. You are no longer a “Victim.”
    You have a powerful voice, Carolyn, which resonates waaay over here!

    : “”””” The greater the love. The greater the pain.””” Aint that the truth? xxxxx

    • Doesn’t surprise me that you picked up on this sentence Kim! You have experienced both the exceptional love for your sister and the exceptional pain when she was so brutally taken from you. And you are such a strength!

  22. Carolyn, you are such a gift to humanity. Thank you for sharing what experience has taught you. I know well the level of vulnerability that accompanies that kind of open and honest sharing. By sharing your experiences with such wisdom and compassion, you touch the lives of so many. You are a blessing to us all. Thank you for being You! In Love & Light, Sloan

  23. A heart wrenchingly honest post! Betrayal happens in many spheres – friendships, workplaces, church communities, neighborhoods. You give us some very wise thoughts about how to survive these betrayals. Thanks for this encouragement.

  24. God knows all about the heartbreak of betrayal through unfaithfulness. You can see his pain in the book of Hosea. Perhaps that is why the greatest commandment is to love God above all else. And perhaps that is why Jesus said we must love him above all else – even our own life – for He will never break our heart.

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