Explore the journey of ‘Living & Loving after Betrayal’ in our latest article, where we delve into the book by Steven Stosny, PhD, and share insights from his webinars on healing from emotional abuse and infidelity.
By Linda & Doug
Recently a book had been brought to our attention that is authored by Steven Stosny, PhD. It’s called Living & Loving after Betrayal: How to Heal from Emotional Abuse, Deceit, Infidelity, and Chronic Resentment . The title alone made us think it might be useful for you guys so we were very motivated to check it out further.
As a result, we were searching on the internet to purchase the book, which we did, but also found a couple of nice videos of a 2-part webinar that he created to support the book.
One of the interesting points Dr. Stosny makes in the book is that the natural defenses following betrayal can actually help you, rather than keep you from recovering.
He says that you really have to understand that the natural defenses at first are putting up protective walls, not only to keep out hurt (he says that actually, they’re not that good at keeping out hurt), and they keep out other people’s anger and resentment. But they also keep out compassion, kindness, caring, and love – all the things that help you heal, correct and improve.
Now moving on to the videos…
Here are just some quick notes that we gleaned from Video 1:
What is betrayal? There are more types of betrayal than just infidelity. Why it hurts so bad and it’s effects on you. Why it’s hard to be yourself after betrayal. He also talks about triggers and emotional reactivity as a result.
All forms of intimate betrayal have in common: A violation of the implicit promise that gives us the courage to love in the first place… That implicit promise is – “No matter what happens the person you love and trust will: Care about your well being and never intentionally hurt you.”
It’s not the real you. The person you’ve become after the betrayal is not the real you – it’s your defenses taking over.
Heal first. Repair second. Only when you’re well on the way to personal healing can you adequately evaluate your relationship and decide whether you truly want to repair it.
Pain can help you heal, improve and repair. For instance, if you have a pain in your foot it tells you to take the rock off it, get more comfortable shoes, soak it in a tub of warm water, or visit a podiatrist.
We tend to get stuck in pain and ignore it’s action signal when we focus too much on what caused it – and not enough on what will heal it.
The cause of pain is rarely the same thing that sustains it. For instance, a stab wound causes pain, but inflamed nerve endings sustain it…Thinking of why or how you were stabbed or how unfair it was will not heal the wound.
So…Your partner lying to you, cheating on you, or abusing you caused your pain…But dwelling on why or how or how unfair it was prevents healing and growth…
The pain tells you to restore self-value now, through your own positive actions, and that is the only thing that will eliminate it. (And then he provides some exercises to help)
You – and you alone – control the meaning of your experience. You have the power to give your pain any meaning you choose. So choose the meaning that offers the most healing, growth, and empowerment.
Establishing a Healing Identity is crucial. It is the opposite of a victim identity. You must identify your strengths, resilience, and desire to improve your life, and then he provides you with the 5 steps to do this.
Here it is…
Living & Loving After Betrayal – Notes for Video 2:
After a brief recap of video one, he gets into…
The neurological secrets/principles to healing and growth – That is, changing your life by choosing to focus on certain things.
Wiping the footprints of betrayal from your heart and soul. The footprints he talks about are:
- Memories laced with painful feelings
- Defenses against painful feelings of the past
- Rigid walls to prevent future hurt
These keep the injury fresh and ever present, and likely to dominate the future. It’s normal, but we must try to overcome them. They make you into someone you’re not…You are greater than memories of things that happened to you.
We must focus less on how bad we feel and more on our Deeper Values – Those beliefs and qualities that are most important to you. (honesty, gratitude, responsibility, ability to love, etc.) And believe it or not, he says values are more important than feelings and he explains why that is. He then talks a bit about anger and resentment and whether they are best for you.
Building the immune system of the self. Although most emotional injury has a specific cause, the effects of the injury are very general and the cure must be equally general. It’s the same with healing after intimate betrayal – it must restore the psychological immune system. It’s your ability to create value, meaning and purpose in your life.
Developing your core value. Dr. Stosny then explains what getting in touch with core values is and how to develop it (along with exercises). Again, his thinking is that developing these core values is vital to healing.
Here is video 2…
After watching, we’d love to hear any comments, thoughts, experiences, etc. that might relate to what Dr. Stosny talks about. Thanks!
Steven Stosny, PhD, is founder of CompassionPower, a successful anger-regulation program that he has directed for more than twenty years. In addition to authoring Living & Loving after Betrayal: How to Heal from Emotional Abuse, Deceit, Infidelity, and Chronic Resentment (and several other books), he has treated more than six thousand people through his organization. He has appeared on many major media programs, including several appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show. He has taught at the University of Maryland and at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Steven currently has a blog on www.psychologytoday.com.