The Betrayer Has a Soul
Who cares about the emotional upheaval the betrayer experiences? I caused destruction and heartache to my husband and family. Why should anyone care about the impact on my soul?
We should care because the betrayer has a soul. He/she has a wounded soul, not just from the impact of the betrayal, but most likely from deep wounding carefully and not-so-expertly hidden for years. Opening the floodgates of hell on my soul prompted an in-depth exploration of the recesses of my dark and lonely heart. I wanted to know how I was able to make the choices that put my family at risk?
The initial trauma of the revelation of the affair carries significant weight. It is tied to the disbelief that we could actually be that person, that we could make those choices. People who know me only post-healing from the affair say, ‘That wasn’t really you, right?’ Well, my healing journey revealed that it really was me.
During the affair the dark expanses of my soul grew and covered the light, dimming it to the point I wasn’t even sure the light shone any more. Not really anyway. An artificial light was there, kind of like fluorescent bulbs in an office. They flicker and become annoying and hurt your eyes if you’re exposed to them too long cause they’re not real, they’re artificial, just like me. The real light – like sunshine on a beautiful, clear Colorado morning – that light wasn’t there anymore either. And the trauma of the revelation not only broke all the fluorescent bulbs, it all but extinguished the real life-giving light.
Not even having the artificial light to sustain me, I began to feel incredibly numb. I didn’t have the light to enable me to feel even false feelings. I also didn’t want to feel any feelings. I didn’t want to feel the pain I caused Ben. I didn’t want to feel the pain I caused my beautiful children. I didn’t want to feel the pain I began to feel as I peeled back the layers covering my wounds and shame. Some days, I lurched around like a zombie with no real purpose. Routine tasks became difficult because all I wanted to do was play dead because that’s how I felt. Dead. I wished I were dead.
This desire for death was compounded by my frustration with Ben’s constant demand for details. We would go through Twenty Questions, round one. He appeared somewhat satisfied with my answers, and just as I began to breathe again he’d start another round. Combined with his need (and it really is a need in the beginning of healing and rebuilding trust) to know my whereabouts and activities every second of every day, I felt trapped some days. Zero freedom. Zero life. Death looked quite appealing.
Realizing that my worldly sorrow felt like death began to create a shift in me. Worldly sorrow is sorrow about being found out. In 2 Corinthians 7:10 it says: “Distress that drives us to God does that. It turns us around. It gets us back in the way of salvation. We never regret that kind of pain. But those who let distress drive them away from God are full of regrets, end up on a deathbed of regrets.” I ended up on my deathbed from the trauma, numbness and frustration rather than allowing the experience of my pain to drive me to God.
Once I began to allow myself to experience the impact of my sin and the ensuing pain, ALL of it - even going back to my early years, I began to experience what Paul goes on to describe as the overflow of Godly sorrow: “And now, isn't it wonderful all the ways in which this distress has goaded you closer to God? You're more alive, more concerned, more sensitive, more reverent, more human, more passionate, more responsible. Looked at from any angle, you've come out of this with purity of heart” (2 Corinthians 7:11). (emphasis mine) Wow! That’s what I really wanted. That’s what my soul longed for. I just never knew it. I just went about finding it in ALL the wrong ways, especially in my affair.
Once I could truly begin to grieve the carnage created by my actions, once I could truly begin to grieve the pain I caused my husband, once I could truly begin to grieve the pain I caused my children, once I could truly begin to grieve the pain buried deep in my soul, then I could begin to truly believe the radiant light that God placed in my soul was truly there. For God to see. For others to see. For me to see.
Betrayed and Betrayer by Ben and Ann Wilson coming soon to amazon.com