This time last year, I was holding Isha’s hand who came in crying and devastated. In our first session she only sobbed.
Isha was in love with a man who she was going to get married to and her world was perfect till one morning when she received e-mails and text messages from girls whom her boyfriend had been cheating on her with. His series of poor and destructive decisions ultimately broke everything they had into pieces – including her heart. He cheated on Isha with his ex girlfriend, with her friend and had flings with his co workers. Whenever Isha felt something was wrong he lied to her and blamed her for being paranoid.
It took Isha a lot of courage to share this very personal experience because she felt a lot of shame in what happened. She came in for therapy damaged, doubting her self-worth and self esteem.
These are the stages we went through in our therapy sessions.
Isha hoped in her heart, that her fiancé would redeem himself. That he would be accountable for his actions, work for her forgiveness and try whatever he could to make things right. She hung on to faith that he would step up to be the man she thought he was. But he didn’t. And Isha was trying very hard to deal with this disappointment.
At that time, she was a student and had no income. Her health deteriorated, she had stopped eating, had lost weight in a matter of weeks. She experienced her first panic attack and her immune system was very weakened. It was impossible for her to see the end to her suffering, and had extremely destructive thoughts.
To have your trust breached and your heart so wounded feels like there is a dark cloud of misery that follows you everywhere you go. It’s with you no matter how you try to distract yourself. Even in sleep you cannot escape, as pain haunts you in the form of nightmares. You feel trapped – because there is nothing you can say or do to make it go away.
During this time, she reached out to me for help, she did not know if I could help her, but she took the brave step of making a positive change.
Feeling betrayed is a dark place that can control your thoughts and behavior. The special moments they shared had become a blur in the bitterness.
Isha was trying to figure out if there was one big lesson the universe was trying to teach her through this pain. Perhaps it was a series of lessons, from how to choose her future partner, how to recognize red flags and how to determine what values she truly stands for. Isha felt like she could not understand exactly why everything happened the way it did, but she has started making an effort to move on and feel at peace.
When you feel pain and suffering, it’s hard to see the light or how the experience fits in to the bigger picture of things. Hitting such a low was not an easy feat for Isha. But through our sessions together she became clear on her values and started making an effort to attract new opportunities and people that are aligned with those values. We worked towards making her healthier both spiritually and physically and worked towards her self-growth.
From one of my follow up sessions with her she shared something very beautiful with me, “I now realize that I wasn’t broken. I was just bruised. And those bruises, through gentle care, eventually heal. I look back and think about that scared little girl, sobbing as if it was the end of the world, I know now, the world was not ending, rather, it just had to hit a low in order for it to get a lot better. And it did. ”
If you are reading this and have experienced or are experiencing something similar, I hope that this article gives you some peace of mind, that what you are feeling is normal. The hurt, anger, denial, thirst for revenge – those are all part of the emotional range that comes with betrayal. Have faith that things will get better and the feeling of suffering will eventually ease. However, keep in mind that if you don’t process the experience, and allow the wound to truly heal, you will only endure the same suffering in some shape or form in the future.
I hope you allow yourself to be vulnerable, break down as you need to, and get real honest with yourself so that you can grow from the experience, and in turn, become a healthier person. Because when you yourself are healthy, you will start attracting healthy people and situations in to your life. A wise friend once told me, “like attracts like”.
These struggles in our lives are opportunities for us to heal old wounds and to grow. They are catalysts that have to be triggered in order for you to overcome them. These experiences may not feel good at the time, but they are not good or bad – they are just a part of the human journey. And you have the choice to deal with them in a healthy way or not. I hope you choose the former, because it only gets better from there.