Severe Betrayal Trauma. I first heard this term on Studio 5 and listened to the segment, not once, but twice. The guest spoke of ‘Betrayal Recovery,’ and I listened to him describe my life on public TV. I involuntarily glanced around my empty living room to see if anyone noticed he was talking about me.
I remember my friend, Jim, telling us at lunch one day at work, years ago, about a man who had a serious speech impediment. “He married the ugliest woman he could find, because he knew she would never step out on him.” As life goes . . . she did. She had an affair and they ended up getting divorced. At the time I thought it was one of the funniest stories I had heard in a while. We laughed out loud as Jim acted out the parts and talked as though he was his friend, speech impediment and all. He acted all indignant about the betrayal.
I also remember thinking, you know what, it’s one of the reasons I married Leonard. His mother assured me over and over that he would never step out on me. “We just don’t do that sort of thing,” she said. I remember thinking, he is so much better off with me, with us, . . . he should only be grateful that he’s not in jail or on the street.
Now who’s the laughing stock? Don’t get me wrong. I am relieved to be getting divorced. I’m relieved I don’t have to inhale his crappy smoke and listen to all his moaning and excuses and ridiculous rationalizing. I’m relieved I don’t have to sleep with one eye open in case he leaves something in a 400º oven. Or watch his downward spiral as he attempts to navigate a drug-induced life. I’m so glad I no longer have to witness insanity escalate.
And yet, there is, seriously, some humiliation. I’m embarrassed that I stayed with him so long. I’m embarrassed that the hundreds of red flags went unheeded. I’m embarrassed that I actually thought I could live my life and do the things important to me — things I love — and he could do his thing and we could cohabitate.
Was I ever wrong.
Now that I think about it . . . I don’t mind being wrong. Because I finally know what peace feels like. And contentment, and harmony, and joy and quiet, and leaning on the Lord. I mean really leaning.
I have had soooooo many manifestations of His help and His hand.
Help with the water, the ditch pump works!
Help with the mowers, they both work!
Help with a broken pipe and a huge flood!
Help with the car!
Help with finances!
Help with filling many many hours in a day!
Help with direction!
Help with scripture study!
Help with knowing He’s there!
Help with the locks!
Help with feeling safe!
Help with my calling!
Help with my church attendance!
Help with court!
Help with traveling!
Help with repentance!
Help with praying more!
Help with everything I didn’t think I could accomplish.
And so much more.
My life is faaaarr from what I thought it would be when I was looking forward at age 20. It’s been rough. It’s been disappointing. It’s been humiliating. It’s been gut-wrenching. But I can see miracle after miracle. I can see mercy after mercy. I can see God’s hand.