My current read is Rainshadow Road (Friday Harbor) by Lisa Kleypas. It is about Lucy, a glass artist who has a special magic bond to her medium, and her road to recovery from a hurtful betrayal of her boyfriend of two years Kevin and younger sister Alice. She has met a nice but commitment-phobic man, Sam, who is a winemaker, or grape farmer in his own words. Sam had a difficult childhood, causing him to not belief in long-term relationships, but he is frank about what he looks for and seems to treat woman with respect. It is a most vulnerable time for Lucy and she is not at all ready to dive into another man, especially one who does not see relationships in the same way. However, something is brewing beneath the surface whether the two of them admit it or not. The situation is becoming more complicated as they are under enforced confinement after Lucy got into a bad accident and had to be bedridden for an extended period of time. I have yet to find out what will happen, because I am only halfway through.
I feel deeply disturbed for Lucy when I learned of the betrayal that has befallen her. I can feel her pain because I have been through a similar situation myself. It hurt like nothing I have experienced at that time. And so far, it still tops the chart. The depth the darkness reached was straight to my core. Afterwards, I believe I went through stages of recovery to deal with such a traumatic experience.
Phase one: Begging
I was still calm at the beginning, because my intuition gave me a heads up on what might have been going on. I confronted my ex-boyfriend and he (only slightly) hesitantly admitted to having feelings for the girl. For a period of time, I pleaded with him to cut off contact or to stay away, at least for a while, if I mean anything to him. He refused, because “she is a friend” and that would be impossible. I pleaded with her too, less fervently, but received a similar reply.
Phase two: Hysterics
I lashed out or tried to lash out at the two of them. With him, there was nothing I could do. A change of heart is incurable, I quickly learned. No amount of persuading will change it. With her, I tried to direct some hurtful comments. (Thinking back, I will admit that I regret some of the things I have said though.) But mostly, I lashed out at myself for not being enough — good enough, pretty enough, girlfriend-material enough…
Phase three: Numbness
After that, I do not remember much of how I felt. I just seemed to be floating around for years trying to land. I went on with life like everyone else did, but I was never the same. I even started seeing another guy after some time and he was a good guy, but I think I kept a distance emotionally, subconsciously. The feeling of inadequacy always lingering nearby.
Phase four: Enlightenment
After more years and a few more relationships, I slowly but surely found most of myself again. I had learned through them and others that I am worth loving and that I have something to give. I had been trying to grasp at Mr. Right, but what I really needed was to fix myself. I realized that I have to first love myself before there will be someone else to love me the way I deserved. This realization gave me a bit of a calmness moving forward. It also allowed me to slow down and be patient with what is to come.
After having experienced such a betrayal, I approached life with a different mentality. It seemed that nothing else could be as bad or hurt as much. I never really complained about a lot in life, but I do so even less. The experience put things into a different perspective, I suppose you could say. I have been more accepting and understanding of people and situations. Or at least I think I have been.
I learned that nobody is entitled to anything. Simply wishing that things go your way does not mean that it will. No matter how hard you try. It had become somewhat of a pet peeve of mine to hear people complaining about or getting upset over the littlest things. My reaction is “what is the big deal?” or “what could possibly be so bad to make someone so unhinged?”, unless there has been a death or some tragic disaster. Life is easier to handle with a positive attitude.
Karma is also something I strongly believe in now. Yes, it is a b*tch. Yes, it can bite you in the tush if you are not careful. All the more reason to nurture good karma, for yourself and others. The world does not need another bitter person to deteriorate it. Why not be more optimistic and hopeful? It makes for a more productive and solution-driven life. Viewing life in bright colors is much better than seeing one in shades of gray.
The road to recovery is long and I believe that I have come a long way. Not entirely at the end yet. I do not think I will truly fully recover. However, I am grateful for the life lessons I have picked up along the way. Life is not supposed to be easy. Each of us is only dealt the hand we can manage to play.
So, I say: forget the hurt and keep moving forward!
Do you have anything you can share? A story of being betrayed and how it changed you? I would love to hear it.