An Interview with Ruth: Recovering from the Pain of Betrayal

It will hurt. And hurt. And hurt. Then, one day, it will hurt less.”

This is the reality of betrayal trauma.

In the following interview, Ruth talks about her experience of recovering from learning that her partner had a sex addiction.

Counsellor: We’ve talked before about what it was like when you first discovered your husband’s addiction. Can you talk a little about what it was like, say a year or two afterwards.

Ruth: I never expected for it take so long to regain some kind of equilibrium and pick up my life again. Even a year afterwards I was still dealing with panic attacks and broken sleep 3 or 4 times a week. I was also triggered on a regular basis. The pain was constant and inescapable. I felt like I had totally lost touch with the person I used to be, and I was living a nightmare for a large part of the time.

Counsellor: How long would you say that continued for?

Ruth: It’s now been 8 years since I first discovered the truth. It’s hard to put my finger on it – but I would say things were still pretty bad for me even 5 or 6 years afterwards. Isn’t that crazy. It’s an unbelievably long time. But, to be honest, although a lot of the time I feel like I am getting on with life, and can now make plans, and think of other things, the shock and pain haven’t fully disappeared. But things have definitely improved.

Counsellor: So today you feel you are living a more normal life, where the pain and betrayal are less of a focus?

Ruth: Yes. I can’t really put my finger on how or when that change occurred. My sleep improved somewhere around the 6 year mark, and the panic attacks a bit before then. But whenever I hear about someone who’s experienced betrayal, or I see anything about online sex, I still get this stab in my heart.

I guess the issue is complicated for me. It’s both about betrayal, and it’s also knowing that someone with an addiction will always have a weakness in that area. But I deal with my fears in a more pragmatic way today. I know there is always a possibility of being deceived or betrayed again – but isn’t that true for all of us? No-one has complete security. No-one ever knows what the future will bring. Now, I have a plan for how I would deal with it, if it were to happen gain.

Of course, having a plan doesn’t completely erase the fear. Sometimes it hurts to think that I have to deal with this, and I wish it had never been part of my experience. But it has been, and it is. However, I now have a trusted and reliable support system in place, and I know that these people would be there for me, and would support me. Perhaps that has been one of the pieces in the healing process.

Counsellor: What would you say to another woman who is on this journey, but is only 6 months or a year along that road?

Ruth: I would say be kind and compassionate to yourself. It’s a terrible shock to have your trust betrayed by the person you loved and trusted most. You don’t get over that kind of trauma quickly or easily. The pain is awful. And I would say, take it one day at a time. Don’t put pressure on yourself to be “more healed” than you are at this moment.  It’s going to take a long time. Just go with it. Allow your subconscious mind to be in control, and do whatever it needs to heal.  It knows what it is doing. Even if it feels like it is taking forever. It will hurt, and shock you, and hurt all over again. But then, one day, you’ll notice it hurts a bit less. I don’t know when that day will come for you. But it will come.

4 thoughts on “An Interview with Ruth: Recovering from the Pain of Betrayal

  1. I relate quite a bit to Ruth. I had (have?) severe sleep issues too. It took me 5 years after DDay to sleep through a single night without interruption from dreams, panic, anxiety, rumination, etc. It’s so hard to function, let alone heal, when you’re literally exhausted.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sleep is such an issue. It’s like the subconscious mind won’t allow us to forget that we could be in danger and need to pay attention. It is utterly draining as you say, and makes life so much more difficult. Thanks for sharing from your personal experience. I really appreciate it ❤️❤️❤️

      Liked by 1 person

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