Dear Betrayed Self - Lies & Boundaries

betrayal guest author true stories Jan 31, 2023

Mikaela struggled with lies about her responsibility and role in her spouse's sexual behavior.  Years into the journey she found it comforting to write herself a letter about the truth.  She has bravely chosen to share that letter with you in hops of shattering lies that you may be succumbing to.

Thank you again Mikaela for your courage and vulnerability!

Jeremy Smith, Professional Counselor & Teacher, Marriage Recovery Specialist


Dear betrayed self,

I see you. I see the pain in your face, the worried lines etched on your forehead, your shaking hands, and your exhausted eyes.

I feel you. I feel your hurt down to the depths of my heart. I feel your anger burning like a hot, seething fire. I feel your fear, which seems to extend beyond a future you can even grasp. I feel you rollercoaster from feeling betrayed, to rejected, to hopeless, to rage, and even to love. 

I hear you. I hear your question “Why?” which echoes through your head until it seems like you hear nothing else. I hear your cries. Soft, shallow, and low at times…and then escalating to gut wrenching, hiccupping sobs. I hear the thoughts you’re telling yourself and questions you’re asking…

  • “Why was I not enough?
  •  Does he not love me? 
  • What did I do wrong? 
  • Where do we go from here? 
  • Is there any hope?”

I know right now, your goal for recovery is simply to save your marriage.  It’s hard to believe, but someday you will have something greater than that. You will have the marriage God intended you to have all along. You will learn so much about yourself! You’ll learn about yourself as a woman separate from your husband, as a mother, and as a child of God. This experience is one of the hardest things you will ever endure, but God will turn something very ugly into something of beauty, with a whole lot of imperfection, vulnerability, and acceptance etched in. It is messier, but much more beautiful.

Right now, you believe a whole lot of lies. These lies present themselves as truth that are etched so deeply into your heart that you are holding on to them as if they are a lifeline. The biggest lie you’re telling yourself is that his porn addiction has something to do with YOU. 

  • Are you a part of this relationship?  YES. 
  • Are you a part of a relationship system that has flaws?  YES 
  • Do you have weaknesses and imperfections?  YES
  • Are you a cause of this betrayal?  NO
  • Is this your fault?  NO
  • Is this all because of you?  NO

You are having self-doubting thoughts that only if you would have had more sex with your husband, looked different, worked out more, dressed sexier, and been a “better” wife and mother, he never would have hurt me like this. These thoughts are the most dangerous of lies. In taking responsibility for other people’s actions, you only tear yourself down further.

Right now, you think you’re “too much.” Maybe you should compromise a little more, be less hurt, loosen up, cut him some slack, and push aside your feelings of betrayal. After all, life is much easier when we don’t face your pain. In truth, only in facing your pain can you reach true peace and intimacy in your marriage. 

You also feel as though he could not both love you and sexually betray you at the same time. In reality, the betrayal has nothing to do with love or a lack of it. Your thoughts are on a constant pendulum, going back and forth between the idea  that there is no chance we will ever recover from this, to the other extreme, that you will recover in record time and life will go on to be a magical fairytale.

You also go back and forth between wanting to shout from the rooftops how badly he has hurt you, and what an awful person he is, and wanting to punish him for the damage he has done to you, to also wanting to keep this a deep dark secret, because his behavior has made you look bad and feel embarrassed. Maybe by keeping it a secret, you think you are protecting yourself from more hurt.

The truths that will emerge from these lies will change your life. The most amazing gift you are about to learn in your recovery comes from one word: boundaries. Boundaries are beautifully applied to all of our relationships, both spiritual and natural. Boundaries are limits we set in order to create a healthy sense of space.

They help distinguish what you can tolerate, what you want to change, and what you will no longer accept in a relationship. They allow you to differentiate what you are responsible for in a relationship and what others are responsible for. In your marriage, this helps protect the sacredness of your union. Many people (especially the betrayer) erroneously think that boundaries are restrictive and limit setting. In reality, boundaries are a protective mechanism that are very freeing.

You will sense a new level of peace and freedom in your marriage when you write and enforce your boundaries. They will become your sacred ground. They won’t come from pride, or a place of anger, or from a sense of being better than him. They also don’t come from resentful accommodation, where you shrink and give in to appease. Your boundaries are made out of love, with the beneficent being neither a specific individual, but the marriage as a whole.

You will have a whole lot more respect for yourself and less resentment towards your husband. Your boundaries will save, sustain, and heal many of your relationships.

You will be proud of what you create and who you become. 


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