For many betrayed partners it can feel unbelievable that in the aftermath of being cheated on, lied to, betrayed and traumatized you are now being asked to go to therapy, attend a support group or engage in a treatment program of some kind.
Here are some of the things I have had partners say to me:
“I didn’t do anything wrong. Why do I have to go therapy?”
“It’s not fair that because of something he did I have to take my time and spend my money on treatment.”
“Why should I work hard on our relationship when they so clearly haven’t cared about it at all?”
These comments can be summed up into one big screaming protest of “IT’S NOT FAIR!!”
And you know what? These betrayed partners are absolutely right. It is NOT fair. It is not even in the same county as fair. However, if you let the unfairness drive your decision making it will create negative consequences for you.
I want you to imagine with me for a moment that someone you love very much, a best friend or a sister has been hit by a school bus and is badly injured. When you show up at the hospital emergency room they are trying to check themselves out in spite of the fact that their head is bleeding, their leg has bone sticking out of it and they can’t move one of their arms.
You are astonished and ask them what the heck they are doing? They respond, ‘that stupid bus driver hit me with his bus. I wasn’t doing anything wrong; I was minding my own business, staying in my lane, going the speed limit and BAM! He hit me. I’m not staying here a single minute and spending my good money, time and energy when it is not my fault and I didn’t do anything wrong. It’s not fair that he hit me and I’m going home!”
I’m guessing you would be very angry at that bus driver for hurting your loved one. But you would also be worried about your friend. You would want them to spend whatever time, money and energy it took for them to be well again and to heal up. You would even wonder what was wrong that they thought they didn’t need help just because they hadn’t caused the problem. You would encourage them to get back in bed and let the doctors care for them. You might even offer to drive them to physical therapy encouraging them to stick with it until they were fully operational and healed.
Betrayal trauma is like getting hit with a bus. Regardless of not causing it, regardless of it not being your fault, you still got hit and you have been hurt. You didn’t ask for it and yet it has happened to you anyway. And in spite of your best efforts to cope, it has impacted you and in many cases traumatized you and created a whole series of unasked for problems and consequences in your life. Just like your imaginary loved one above, you too need help and support to heal.
My hope for you is that despite being hit by the incredibly unfair bus crash of betrayal that you will do whatever you need to help yourself heal and to give yourself every opportunity to come through the experience a stronger, wiser, vibrant new version of yourself. You are worth whatever time, energy and money it takes to help you to cope with what has happened and rebuild your life.