Thanksgiving can bring out the scrooge in you if you are in the thick of dealing with betrayal. Betrayal trauma creates so much pain, uncertainty, anger and confusion that the idea of trying to connect to gratitude in the midst of it can feel like a truly bad joke.
Yet, what we know about gratitude is that, when we can connect to our feelings of thankfulness, it changes our brain, moving us out of our fear-brain and into a more grounded, rested, less fearful state.
For those of you who, when you peer inside yourselves, cannot find the gratitude or thankfulness because it is painted over by the pain you are in, I offer the following betrayal gratitude list. My hope is that something on this list may resonate with your heart and stir a little ember of thanksgiving to life so that, for a moment, you can feel some respite from the heartache and confusion.
As a betrayed partner, I am grateful for…
…the tears that wash through me and over me, releasing the pent-up pain and hurt inside of me, helping the emotions to move through me rather than getting stuck and stored.
…the anger that reminds me that I am worthy of something different. That I deserve honesty, faithfulness, integrity and connection.
…the truth that will eventually set me free and that, while painful to know, allows me to feel sane and aware and brings clarity to my life and relationship.
…the resilience that allows me to get out of bed (most of the time) and continue putting one foot in front of the other, even when I’m not sure where I am going.
…the stubbornness that helps me to persist in seeking my own relief, healing, restoration and transformation even when it seems impossible.
… the pathfinders who have gone before me, who have written books and blogs and recorded podcasts etc., about how to recover and heal. They point the way forward for me and let me know that no matter how lonely I can sometimes feel, I am never alone.
…the little moments when I am reminded that there is life outside of betrayal. The sunshine that helps me know that winter will end. My dog who is silly and makes me laugh. The cuddle and sweetness of my child as we tuck in for the night. These moments help me to remember that my life is larger than the betrayal.
…the hope and trust that this experience is not just about pain. That hidden in the muck is the potential for a miracle. That my redemption and transformation are the real story and that in the end love is always bigger than the betrayal.