Welcome Home


For every person who might reject you if you live your truth, there are ten others who will embrace you and welcome you home.”

When tough stuff happens – the really tough stuff – you can’t, and you shouldn’t have to, shoulder it alone.

You need other people.

You need to find your tribe.


But if your partner has betrayed you, or he has a sex addiction, then where can you turn for understanding and support?

Society will judge you.

You know that for a fact.

It doesn’t really matter that you’re reeling from the pain.

The world is cold and cruel when it learns you’ve been betrayed.  


So now you have to hide because you can’t cope with the shame.

The shame that’s undeserved – because it’s not your fault at all.

You truly are a victim.

But everyone will talk.

You know they will be ruthless.

They’ll tear your life apart.


But there are other people who truly understand.

They want to hear your story.

They get what you’re going through.

They know what it is like to feel unfairly stigmatized.

To feel you have a secret.

A wound you hold inside.


Betrayal’s isolating.

It takes away your voice.

Don’t let it hold you captive.

Don’t let it silence you.

It’s safe to take a risk when it’s a member of your tribe.

Lay down the shame.

You’re home now.

Relax in our embrace.

He Loves Me; He Loves Me Not

When you love someone, you protect them from pain. You don’t become the cause of it.”

You were right to want the person you loved to care for you, and protect you from harm.

That is the very essence of love.

You trust them because you think they are trustworthy.

You think they are safe.

You think you matter to them.

You think your well-being matters to them.

Your happiness.

Your emotional, mental and physical health.

You think they care about you in the same way you care about them.


Real genuine love is gentle and kind.

It is loyal.

Steadfast.

Faithful.

True.

It doesn’t injure.

It doesn’t destroy.

It doesn’t gaslight.

It doesn’t deceive.


So weep for yourself, and weep for your wounds

And weep for the trust that was trashed and betrayed.

Let the grief you express be the start of your healing.

This is the way you must love yourself.

You must deeply and tenderly love yourself.

Everything is Broken

 

dead flower

You might be wondering if you’ll ever recover because the struggle has gone on so long.

You might be thinking that you’ll never recover.

That the damage is too deep.

That the scars will never heal.

But that is not the case.

Things will gradually get better.

It’s just that we can’t see it when the darkness closes in.

The whole thing is a nightmare.

One we constantly relive.

We feel so tired and weary.

Is there no hope of relief?

 

These feelings are all normal.

It’s a roller coaster ride.

It’s utterly exhausting.

You feel so tired and drained.

But all of us go through it.  We’ve experienced that pain.

The sense of desperation.

The sorrow.

The despair.

 

But then you turn a corner, and you see a shaft of light.

A ray on the horizon.

A break in the storm clouds.

You feel a little stronger.

You feel that you can breathe.

Perhaps the wound is healing.

Perhaps you can go on.

A Shitty Life or a Wonderful Life?

The first draft of anything is shit

The first draft of anything is shit.” ― Ernest Hemingway

I think this truth can be applied to our life, and often to our relationships, as well.

The first stab at anything is nothing more than that.

A stab in the dark. A first attempt.

We act on instinct, repeating what we’ve learned.

Unconsciously living out the scripts and messages we’ve picked up from others, and have stored in our brain.

But perhaps it is time to start over again.

To start in an informed, and a more deliberate, way.

this is the beginning

And as you think of starting over, you can chart out a course that’s a lot more consistent with the way you want to live. (Bearing in mind, we don’t control everything … And, certainly, we don’t control everyone.)

Below are some questions to help you figure what you want from life and, what you might need to change:

1. What does a healthy and meaningful relationship look like to me? (Try to be as specific as possible.)

2. If I was living my best possible life, how would I look to an outside observer? (Happy, relaxed, contented, confident etc.)

3. How would I be feeling?

4. What kinds of things would I be doing?

5. How would I describe my life right now? How close is it, to the way I want to live?

6. How would I describe my relationships right now? How similar are they to what I really want?

7. What am I happy with; what would I like to keep?

8. What am I unhappy with; what would I like to change?

9. What am I putting up with in myself that is stopping me from living my best life? How can I change that? Am I prepared to do what is needed to change things?

10. What am I putting up with in others, that is stopping me from living my best life? What can I do to change that?

Quote of the Day

I have travelled through madness to find me.

I have travelled through madness to find me.”

That’s how it feels when you’ve experienced trauma.

The anxiety attacks.

The broken sleep.

Always wondering if the other shoe will drop.

The surges in emotions.

The terror and the fear.

The unexpected triggers that catch you unawares.

The times when you go crazy.

The times you cannot feel.

The dissociation.

The unreality.

It’s a terrifying journey

You think will never end

But eventually it eases and you find yourself again.

Dear Self, You are Beautiful

Do not doubt yourself

Do not speak badly of yourself – for the warrior within hears your words and is lessened by them.”

It’s a very sad and painful fact of life that betrayal causes us to doubt ourselves.

We start looking at ourselves with harsh, judgmental eyes.

And we pull ourselves apart, and we focus on ‘what’s wrong’.

We denigrate our body, and attack the way we look.

And we think that we are dull, and lack personality.

You would think that we were trash – how we’ve come to see ourselves –

Through that cracked or shattered mirror that we’re staring into now.

broken glass

But that’s isn’t who we are.

Those distortions are all lies.

We are thoughtful, talented and – it’s true – we’re beautiful.

How I wish we had compassion, and were kinder to ourselves.

How I wish we didn’t feel we were so inadequate.

If only we’d believe – and could really take to heart –

That this isn’t a reflection of our value and our worth.

 

Trust Me

If you knew

When your trust has been betrayed then it’s natural and instinctive to ask yourself the question, “Should I trust this individual?” Perhaps this is a question you are asking yourself now.

And I’ve often heard it said that ‘nothing’s certain in this world’. We have to take a chance. In life, there are no guarantees.

I understand this point. Be we don’t always blindly trust. We try to be as certain as it’s possible to be. And there are checks and balances in every area of life. These help to keep us safe, and they provide security.

For example:

  • Restaurants must adhere to health and safety regulations.
  • Our different health professionals are required to train for years, and they’re closely supervised before they practice on their own.
  • If we smell gas in our home, and we suspect there is a leak, we want someone who’s certified to check it out for us. We don’t just ask a neighbour or a family friend.

How do we build trust?

1. There’s a quote I came across in a great podcast recently which highlights the components that make up healthy trust. Here’s what it said:

Trust is an active responsible engagement with the unknown.”

This draws attention to the fact that trust is not just an emotion (athough it may include gut instincts and some powerful feelings, too.)

Instead, it’s based on checking out whatever needs to be checked out. And this will likely vary, depending on the person. (For example, was your partner using webcams, or an online dating site, or did they see a prostitute, or have countless affairs? All of these require different checks and balances.)

And you’re absolutely right to want to have safeguards in place. We need to feel secure, or it’s impossible to trust.

2. A second quote I came across is somewhat similar to this. It states:

Trust is the ability to tolerate the unknown.”

Tolerating the unknown is going to be more challenging if you trusted him before, and you were lied to, and deceived.

But even if you’ve moved on, and you have a different spouse, the trauma of the past will still affect the way you feel. We bring our history with us into new relationships.

In both these situations, it’s a choice we have to make … to tolerate the fear that is attached to the unknown. It’s ‘mind over emotions’ when we first decide to trust. But, hopefully, we’ll find that this gets easier with time.

And that’s if we decide that it is wise for us to trust ….

Quote of the Day

learn to be ok with people not knowing your side of the story

Learn to be OK with people not knowing your side of the story. You have nothing to prove to anyone.”

This is an important lesson to learn …

Not everyone will want to know the truth.

Not everyone will care, or understand.

There are plenty who are jealous, who see you as a threat.

They’d love to see you suffer; and they’d love things to go wrong.

So it doesn’t matter really matter if they “get it”, or they don’t.

Their viewpoints and opinions should remain irrelevant.

The only thing that matters is to take care of yourself

And shield yourself from people who have zero empathy.

In the Bad Times Remember the Good Times

the poison leaves bit by bit

In the bad times, remember the good times.

Remember you don’t always feel this way.

Remember there are days when you laugh and dream again.

Remember there are days when you see life differently.

 

And though the truth was devastating

It is better that you know.

It’s worse to be in darkness and to live a fantasy.

Transparency is better than the secrets and the lies.

At least your eyes are open. Everything is in the light.

 

And as the weeks turn into months

And the months turn into years

You see the change has lasted.

There’s reason to believe.

Day by day your trust is growing, and you’re starting to relax.

Perhaps you’ve a turned a corner.

Perhaps it’s safe to breathe.

The Beginning. The Middle. And the Plot Twist.

I sat with my anger long enough until she told me her real name was grief

Imagine you’ve been driving through a city, a concrete jungle, for the last hour. As you drive along the road you see homeless people sitting on the sidewalks. There’s graffiti on the walls. Everything is grey, dirty, drab and depressing.

Then you enter a tunnel, a long tunnel that goes under the river.

When you emerge, there are blue skies, bright sunshine and golden fields of corn – fields and fields of corn for as far as the eye can see.

“Wow. This is so weird”, you think to yourself. It’s like you’re living on a different planet now. It feels so strange. So unexpected. So surreal.

Now imagine you’re 12 and you’re living with your parents. One day, when you come home from school, they sit you down and tell you they have something important to tell you. Then, your mom gently explain that they are not your real parents. Your older, married sister is actually your mother. She had you when she was 14 years old and your grandparents adopted you, and raised you as their child.

Or, imagine you had grown up believing your father had been killed in an accident when you were an infant. Then, one day, when you are researching your ancestry, you learn your father is not dead at all. In fact, he is serving a life sentence for murder, in another State.

Or imagine, you have been happily married for the last 25 years. Your spouse is a well-respected member of society, a successful professional in his field, and an adoring father. Then, one evening, he breaks down and tells you he’s being black mailed, and there’s something you should know. He’s been involved for years in series of affairs, and one of those women is threatening him now.

Secrets. Shocking news that comes out of nowhere. Unimaginable scenarios.

Why do find these secrets so hard to accept? Why do secrets change us, and affect us so profoundly?

On some level, learning a secret is nothing more than being given new, more up-to-date, information. From that perspective we should be able to accept, analyze and process the information.

But that is not what happens.

What happens is we become disoriented. Cut off from ourselves and our life.

What happens is we start asking questions like:

  • “Who am I?”
  • “Who are you?”
  • “Why on earth would you deceive me like this?”
  • “Who can I trust?”
  • “What is real?”
  • “How do I go forward and live my life now that I know these awful truths?”

We also are flooded with a torrent of emotions. We feel:

  • Foolish (for having been deceived).
  • Angry (for being disrespected and lied to).
  • Lost and disoriented (because reality has shifted).
  • Fearful (of our ability to trust our intuition, to trust those around us, and to distinguish truth from lies).
  • Isolated and alone (since we’re living with a secret, a secret that is shameful, and which marks us out as different).

The author Jane Isay does an excellent job of explaining why these twists in the plots of our lives affect us in such acute and devastating ways. Here’s what she has to say about the matter [1]:

As human beings we live the stories we tell ourselves. This internal narrative makes up the core of our identity. Every day we tell and retell our story. But when a secret is revealed the movies of our lives are shredded … and when our reality is shredded, so are we.”

This is such an accurate and insightful description. It summarises well why we’re shaken to the core.

For when secrets are uncovered and we learn some awful truth, appearance and reality no longer match up.

And we don’t know what to do with the shredded bits of film.

[1] Isay, J. (2014). Secrets and Lies: Surviving the Truths that Change our Lives.