Our society has a poor relationship with grief. It’s a topic we avoid. It is too uncomfortable.
Yet, when we’re faced with betrayal there’s a multitude of losses that we’re forced to confront, and to try to integrate. They include:
– The loss of the relationship/ marriage you believed you had had (was everything a lie and a fantasy?)
– The loss of identity, self-worth and self-esteem
– The loss of the person you thought you were married to/ believed you were in a relationship with (as they clearly deceived you and had a hidden side)
– The loss of the future you imagined you would have
– The loss of emotional safety in your marriage (and possibly physical safety, too, if there have been affairs/ hook ups, and so on)
– The loss of confidence and trust in your spouse (will you ever be able to believe a word he says?)
A Complicated Grief
And the grief of betrayal is a complicated grief. In many ways, it remains hidden for the person hasn’t died. Also, you may still be in a relationship with them. And the emotions you experience are both intense and complex. Some examples are:
– The fear of judgment (since you know people will talk; they will look for any weaknesses and tear you both to shreds)
– A powerful sense of shame (an inappropriate emotion as, clearly, you’re a victim, and should not be blamed at all)
– In addition, betrayed partners and spouses are usually traumatized, and they frequently suffer from PTSD.
Dealing with the Taboos
Also, it’s true that betrayal, and a sexual addiction, are still taboo topics in society today.
– This leaves us feeling very isolated and alone.
– You have to wear a mask, and pretend that you’re OK.
– You can’t talk about the losses and what you’re going through.
– You can’t talk about the pain, and how long it lingers on.
This is disenfranchised grief, a grief that’s difficult to bear. It is formally defined as being:
“the grief connected to a loss that is unrecognized by society at large.”
What to do About it
Not sharing your experience will impede recovery. Being silenced by the world won’t enable you to heal.
So, if you can, share your story, and talk about your grief. Find someone who will listen, and who really understands.
You deserve to be supported.
Don’t carry this alone.
“The only cure for grief is to grieve.”