How do you define healing?
If you think it means never hurting again, you can be setting yourself up for even more pain in the future.
In this episode, I cover various ways we can sabotage our own healing, and clearly define what it actually means.
You will also learn how to evaluate how far you have come, and what to be focusing on next.
When we learn to change our expectations, everything feels less urgent, there is less pressure, and we grow our capacity to hold space for ourselves.
To learn more about working with Andrea, go to: https://andreagiles.com/get-your-life-back/
Follow Andrea on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/theinfidelitycoach/
I’m Andrea Giles, and you’re listening to the Heal from Infidelity podcast,
episode number 131, Expectations for Healing.
Hello and welcome to the Heal from Infidelity podcast where courageous
women learn not only to heal from their spouse’s betrayal, but to become
the boldest, truest, most decisive and confident versions of themselves
ever. If you know there’s more for you than the life you’re currently
living but don’t quite know how to get there, you are in the right place.
Stick around to learn how to create a life that will knock your own socks
off. Is it possible? It is, and I’m here to show you how I’m your host,
Andrea Giles. Are you ready? Let’s dive in.
Hey everyone. Welcome back to another episode. Today we’re going to be
talking all about healing, what it means to heal, how we define healing,
and how our expectations of what healing should look like can often
sabotage our own actual healing. What kind of sparked this for me is a quote
that I saw the other day that I’ve just been thinking about a lot. It’s
about healing by a man named Gabor Maté. It says, “All of Western medicine
is built on getting rid of pain, which is not the same as healing. Healing
is actually the capacity to hold pain.” That stopped me in my tracks. I’ve
been thinking about it. It sparked me to go study up on this man, learned
some things about him. What I’ve learned about him is he is a Canadian
physician and trauma expert. He’s written many books. When I went and
looked, I actually have heard of some of his books as being very, very good
and studied some more and found some other quotes by him.
Another one that I really liked was the attempt to escape from pain is what
creates more pain. He also had some great quotes about addiction. He says,
“Not all addictions are rooted in abuse or trauma, but I do believe they
can all be traced to painful experience. A hurt is at the center of all
addictive behaviors. It is present in the gambler, the internet addict, the
compulsive shopper, and the workaholic. The wound may not be as deep and
the ache not as excruciating, and it may even be entirely hidden, but it’s
there. As we’ll, see the effects of early stress or adverse experiences
directly shape both the psychology and the neurobiology of addiction in the
brain.” That’s from his book. It’s called, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts:
Close Encounters with Addiction. From the same book is this quote, “It is
impossible to understand addiction without asking what relief the addict
finds or hopes to find in the drug or the addictive behavior.”
Now, quick little side note, I think that last quote goes for infidelity
too. That there are things that when exploring infidelity and the why’s of
infidelity, it’s really important to understand what the person who was
willing to take the risk of losing it all was hoping that they would feel,
was hoping that they would find. There’s something that in their mind at
that time, made it worth it. Even if they weren’t fully looking at the risk.
They maybe weren’t quite looking at all the things that they were laying on
the line there, but they were willing to override their own integrity to go
do something that for most of the people here in this space are not… It’s
not like they wanted to go do this thing. It’s something that they got into
and that adversely affected a lot of people, most of all themselves because
they broke trust with themselves, right?
Okay, so back to the topic today, healing. The attempt to escape from
healing is what creates more pain. I love that. And one of the things I
teach my clients about is the ways that we deal with emotion. And one of
the biggest ways that we deal with emotion is in trying to resist it. We try
to resist it and tighten our walls and sometimes it’s physical, tightening
our jaw. I don’t want to feel that I don’t want to go there. Sometimes I
have clients who will have many, many, many days of feeling so good, of
feeling like they’ve got their life back like that. Like that their spark
is back feeling more like themselves than they have in a long time. And
then suddenly they’ll feel something come in, they’ll feel triggered by
something. They’ll feel something come in an emotion, and then they resist
it because they’re so afraid that it’s going to take them out, that it’s
going to take them way backwards, take them way down.
And so part of my coaching is around loosening your resistance to these
emotions and reminding yourself that it’s okay. It just needs to… Like a
wave, go through you. You’re just letting it ride. You’re letting it go.
It’s not a big deal. It’s okay. It doesn’t mean you’re stepping back. It
doesn’t mean that you’re going to have this onslaught of intense emotion
for the next two weeks, right? It doesn’t mean anything like that. Now,
let’s talk about… Back to that quote, the part that he says about all of
Western medicine is built on getting rid of pain. I want to talk about that
a little bit. It’s really, really important. Most of us have been
conditioned to want instant results. Give me the medicine, make the pain go
away, right? We are impatient. We live in a time where we can get almost
anything we want on demand.
Isn’t that amazing and wild? I for one, am very grateful for the fact that
I can have my groceries delivered, that I can have dinner delivered if I
want, that I can open up my freezer and have fresh ice and clean water and
all of these conveniences, I could think of so many more. I want to read a
book. Oh, I can just go get it on my Kindle. And there I go. I have a new
book to read, right? On and on and on and on. Even so much as I want to
lose a hundred pounds, great, I can go have surgery for that, right? There’s
so many ways that we can have what we want quickly, and I think that it has
kind of warped our minds in a sense, in setting unrealistic expectations of
what results we should expect in our healing. Many of us spend our time
looking for the emotional equivalent of popping a pill.
Okay? I got a headache, give me the pill. Headache’s gone, carry on, right?
We are expert consumers. We want to read the books, we listen to the
podcast. We do mad searches online looking for something that’s going to be
that quick fix. Sometimes it can be that. Sometimes we can find something. I
hope this podcast has been that for many of you when you have felt really,
really low, I hope that you’ve listened to this podcast and that it’s given
you some relief, but it doesn’t last without some specific work, right?
Without some specific things. Now, let’s go back to some of the examples I
mentioned earlier, okay? Around health. We want a pill. Just give me the
pill, just tell me what to do, doctor, and I’ll do it. I don’t want to
think about it. I don’t really want to know what I’m putting in my body.
Don’t really want to know. Just give me the pill, right? But the problem is
that when we approach things in this way, the pain will inevitably come
back. It is temporary relief and in the end, the root is not solved. It
will keep reappearing, and there’s some things that have to happen here.
One, let’s talk about celiac, okay? I have a really close friend who is
very healthy. She’s very healthy, and she has celiac, and she learned how to
take care of herself because she had celiac and she was so sick all the time
and had to go and get all these tests done and finally found out what was
going on. And so for her, she could just take things that kind of soften
the symptoms of the celiac when she eats things like wheat. But she has
chosen the long game of really healing her gut, right? Healing her gut.
And now she teaches other people to do the same. And she’s looked at the
long game, has healed her own gut and avoids food with wheat and has
learned how to manage her life without wheat, even if sometimes it’s a
little bit painful being in social situations or just really liking wheat
bread, right? Things made out of wheat. But really for her, it could not be
just this quick fix. It could not be just this little thing that she could
do and carry on with her life. And many of us have things similar to this
where we want the quick fix, we want the pill, we want the relief when
really what we want is a long-term solution, right? Where we can go about
our life and not be worried that something’s going to take us down, that
something’s just going to take us out.
And just like my friend with celiac, she does not have to go around her
life because of her own work, because of her own preparation for living in
the world. She does not go around her life being afraid that somebody might
accidentally slip her some wheat or she might see something with wheat in
it and get really sick, right? Because she’s prepared, she knows how to
handle it. She even knows that if there’s something that has wheat that she
didn’t know had wheat, she knows what to do about it, right? She’s
prepared. And to me, that is what healing is. It doesn’t mean that we
sometimes don’t fall back, that we sometimes don’t feel discomfort. It
means that we have grown all of our resources around it so that we are much
more able to handle it. Okay? Let’s talk a little bit more about this. One
of the things that recently came up in a coaching call was around… Gosh,
it came up again and I’m feeling really hurt again. And then feeling shame
about that, like feeling bad.
That they’re feeling bad essentially. And I want to share with you
something that I shared on my call, and that is when we lose somebody,
let’s say that somebody dies, okay? Many of you here have experienced the
loss of somebody that you love, and when we lose somebody, we don’t put a
time limit on grief. We don’t say, “All right, let’s put this tidy little
box on. You can grieve for this amount of time, and then you need to expect
to just move forward and never really feel sad again. And just know that
all is well, everything’s fine, and it all happened for a reason. It all
happened for a reason. So just be grateful, right? Just be grateful.” And I
hope you hear my sarcasm in all of that, okay? That’s not it, right?
Instead, we read things about the stages of grief.
We read things about supporting loved ones especially around anniversaries,
like birthdays of their loved one or the anniversary of the day they died
or things like that, right? And we don’t judge that. We don’t judge that.
And for my client’s, infidelity feels every bit as much like a death as a
real death. It is the death. It is the death of the relationship as it was.
It is the death of it. It will never be the same. There is no going back.
And for many people, they feel like they’ve lost their spouse, even if
they’re sitting right next to them because their spouse as they knew them,
is no longer. We suddenly see with new eyes, see things that we did not see
before. Often it’s I did not know this person was capable of this. I did not
know. And now you know. And with death, we try to love people as they’re
navigating death, right?
Ideally, we try to be there for them and love them and be patient with
them, and we don’t have an expectation that they’re just going to move on
and all will be well, right? I can speak to this myself with my own
experience of having lost my first husband. Yes, we were divorced first, but
he had only been gone for seven months. He was still the father of my
children, and I still will have a day where something will happen with my
kids, something that I know he would get a kick out of, that he would think
is funny, something like that. And I’ll feel a little ping of grief that I
can’t tell him. He’s not here. And I know for my husband, same thing,
right? We’re happily married, we very much are in love with each other, but
there’s things there too where he’ll have a memory or an anniversary or
whatever and feel things and it’s okay. And we wouldn’t expect otherwise,
So why do we hold ourselves to such a high standard of, it needs to be this
quick fix. I need to feel better now. I need to feel better now. And if I
don’t feel better, what does that mean about me? What’s wrong with me? Am I
always going to hurt? Is it always going to be this way? Let’s slow this
whole thing down. Let’s slow this whole thing down, okay? Just like grief,
okay? Just like the loss of somebody, the loss of a loved one, there’s that
initial shock and it’s very, very invasive, right? It’s very much in your
face all the time. All the time, like the world looks different now. And I
remember when my first husband died for quite some time, it was just always,
always there. He’s dead. He’s gone. I will never see him again. It was
always there. Always, always. [inaudible 00:14:16] never see him again in
this lifetime, right?
And it’s the same after infidelity. It is quite the shock, right? Quite the
shock to your nervous system. For most people, the world as they knew it
looks different. It’s turned upside down. And so that is normal. And then
over time, especially, okay? Especially, I’m putting a plug in here. When
you get help, when you get support, when you have people who know how to
help you to work through this properly, it’s like the difference between
somebody who is just popping the pills or reading a little article about
celiac and trying to shift some things and somebody actually going to an
expert in celiac and going, “All right, what are the best practices here so
I can heal my gut that’s been so damaged and so I can support myself moving
forward?” That is what I offer to my clients. I help my clients with best
practices so that this is not taking you down. No way.
So that you can strengthen all of these parts inside you that feels so raw
and damaged right now. So you can strengthen them. So you can go live your
life, go out in the world and show up and be yourself and be unapologetic
in who you are without carrying around this story of shame, of
embarrassment, of wondering if the other shoe is going to drop, all of these
things. That’s what I do. And that’s the difference between kind of trying
to do a patch up job on our own and really hiring somebody and working with
somebody who knows best practices of how to help you in a very holistic way,
okay? It doesn’t necessarily need to be me, but I do say get support.
Getting support is really important during this period, okay? But what
often we do is we think that this time has passed and I should be better
I should be over it now, right? And there’s many things around this that I
want to… Little points I want to make. One thing that happens is that we
think we should be over it. We think we should be making progress and we’re
not. And sometimes there’s a darn good reason. And for some people, the
reason why they’re in a place where they’re not feeling like they can let
it go is because their instincts, their intuition are telling them that
they don’t have the whole story. That there’s still more to be found out,
that there’s still things that their spouse is keeping hidden and so they
can’t rest. They can’t put that piece to bed of going, okay, I have this
story. Now what do I want to do with it, right? And so sometimes that piece
is keeping you stalled out. I just had a client recently come to a call
after two years of this, of just knowing. She knew that there was more and
she finally got the whole story and it was devastating to her and a relief
in the same breath, right?
Devastating to know her worst fears were actually realized, but also relief
to go, “I was right all along, right?” I was right, and now she’s taking
steps forward, right? So sometimes it is our intuition that’s like, pay
attention. There’s something to pay attention here. A quick fix is not
going to fix this, slow this down, right? But often, often, often, it
actually is around false expectations. It’s putting this expectations on
what we think we should be, how we should feel, and then judging ourselves
against that standard, okay? So I want to ask you, what do you think healing
means post infidelity? What does it mean to you? I would like you to think
about that for a minute. You can even pause this as you think about that.
What do you think healing means? As I prepared this episode, as I’ve been
taking my notes and doing my research and things, I’ve been thinking about
What do I think it means? And I have a definition here that several things
that I want to just share with you. Okay? Healing from infidelity means
being able to hold many truths at the same time. The good, the bad, the
pain, the joy. It means growing your width and depth with what it means to
be human. Being able to hold both negative and positive emotion with more
awareness and presence. It means being able to look to the future and know
you have the power to dictate what it looks like and that you are not at the
mercy of whatever painful feelings you may experience in that moment. It
means powerfully holding space for yourself while knowing whatever feeling
you are experiencing is temporary. This too shall pass. Not obsessing about
it. You’re having long stretches of time when you don’t think about it, and
you are unafraid for when the next wave of emotion comes because you know
it’s just a sensation in your body that can be allowed and pass through.
It’s about knowing you can trust yourself to have your own back no matter
what. Okay? That’s what healing means to me. Nowhere in there, does it mean
I will never hurt again, right? That’s not part of it. What I do see all
the time though, is that the pain shifts, okay? When my clients first come
to me, they often have a story attached to the infidelity about their own
worthiness. I must not have been enough. I must not be good enough, or he
wouldn’t have done this. And it opens up wounds from years ago of
unworthiness, and when they start to work with me and we work with these
stories and we really shift the meanings and push on that, really challenge
the meanings, then we’re just left with the pain. We’re not creating
unnecessary suffering. We’re just left with the pain. Going, yeah, this
Yeah, this hurts. The pain is often dealing with grief, loss of what was,
right? These are all natural, normal things. The loss of what was, it will
never be the same. Yes, it often is much better, right? It really is. But
because there’s so much more honesty and truth on the other side, if we
allow it, even if it’s just within ourselves. The growth capacity is so high
after infidelity, the ability to grow, we’re in a place that’s really prime
for post infidelity growth, which is what my whole program is about. Post
infidelity growth, taking this thing and using it. We’re going to ring out
every bit of usefulness out of this to become a wise, strong, powerful
version of ourselves, right? But when we are able to really look at the
meanings and challenge the meanings, the pain that we might feel in the
future is going to be different than the searing pain that’s attached to
all the suffering of meanings.
It will be different, and sometimes those meanings will rear their head.
You might have a wave of shame come over you out of the clear blue, but if
you do the work required to really heal and to grow your capacity to feel
those things, there’s a space between you and the emotion. You can see it.
You’re like, “Oh, gosh, I am having a shame response. This is a big one.”
And it’s not you. It’s just this experience you’re having, but it’s not
you. And you can see that and feel it, and there’s so much relief in that.
So it doesn’t take you down. It just is like this experience you’re having
and you can use your mind to manage it and go, “Okay, I’m feeling some
shame right now, and it’s okay. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s just what
I’m experiencing right now.” Okay? So to wrap this up, I want to leave you
with a few questions.
I invite you to pull out a notebook and write these down and actually
answer them for yourself. Okay? Here’s some questions. When you get
discouraged that maybe you aren’t making any progress, I want you to ask
yourself, what is getting easier? How am I getting stronger and more
resilient? What does not hurt as bad as it used to? What do I see
differently now than when I first started? And in what ways are false
expectations of healing slowing me down? What am I expecting of myself and
what am I making it mean if I’m not there? Okay?
All right, my beautiful friends, so much love to you today, and always. I
invite you, if you want help with all of this to go get in my program. We
start in January, got a new group starting up in January. The women that
are coming in are amazing and wonderful, and I’d love to see your face in
there. You can go to my website, andreagiles.com, to the Work With Me tab
to learn more about it. I would love to have you. If you have any
questions, you can always email me at andreagiles.com. I will respond. All
right, my beautiful friends. Take care. I’ll see you next time. Bye-Bye.
Thank you for listening to the Heal from Infidelity podcast. If you would
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Again, it’s andreagiles.com/lies-about-infidelity/. I will see you next