On the healing journey following infidelity, it can feel like you are not making any progress at all. It can be discouraging, overwhelming and downright depressing at times. So how do you know if you are progressing?
Unlike other goals we make like losing pounds, earning a certain amount of money, etc. the healing process is less straight-forward to measure. In this episode, you’ll learn 3 ways to check in with yourself and measure your growth. You’ll be able to identify areas where you have grown, and areas where you may want to focus more attention.
When we have a clear path forward, we begin to see that we can have a life we want to participate in again. We can see that we are coming out from the heaviness we have experienced and opening up to new possibilities.
Listen to this week’s episode to gauge where you are, and what your next step forward is.
I’m Andrea Giles, and you’re listening to the Heal From Infidelity Podcast,
episode number 75, How to Know You’re 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 freedom 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 that possible? It is and I’m here to show you how. I’m your host,
Andrea Giles. Are you ready? Let’s dive in.
Hello. Hello everybody. It’s so good to be back. I took some time off. I
took off the month of January. And to be fair, the first week of February.
And I’m back and I’m really real happy to be back. I said in a little
January announcement that some circumstances had come up that were proving
to be pretty hard and that I needed some time to spend with myself and work
through some things. And that is true. So in addition to having a baby,
she’s two months old now, a lot of circumstances stacked up at the same
time. And without going into details, they have been pretty tough and lots
of them at the same time. And so it has taken a big toll on me and you
combine sleep deprivation with some hard stuff and heavy emotions. And I
have really needed this time to just process some emotion, just like I tell
you to do on my podcast, to process some emotion, to feel some things, to
work through some things, to be with myself.
And so I have appreciated the time away and I am very much appreciating
being back. I had such a good time just preparing this episode and thinking
about all of you and getting back to work. So I am grateful to be here and
let’s dive in.
Today, I’m going to talk to you about ways to know that you are healing and
progressing. Now, healing is not measurable in the way that we think of
measuring things. So like if somebody has a goal to lose weight, that’s
easy to measure. You either have lost weight or you haven’t. You can step
on a scale and find out. Same with money earned. Like if you want to earn a
certain amount of money, that’s easy to know if you’ve hit your goal or
not. Or miles run, or words written, things like that. With progression and
healing, it’s a little bit harder to measure. So I’m going to give you some
ways that you can measure your own healing.
First of all, healing from what? Although infidelity is not a wound that
you can see on the outside, it is most definitely a wound. I think you
would agree with me. It is a heart wound. The world that we thought was,
was not. Our sense of safety is often deeply shaken because the person we
have given the most trust to has betrayed that trust. It can often even
stir up the pot of old family of origin wounds. It can kind of bring some
of those things to the surface. Now, I say those things not to bring up
pain, but to tell you, you are normal in experiencing pain, uncertainty,
fear, doubt, anger, grief, all of it. And sometimes all in one day. And
sometimes all in one hour. It’s easy to feel a little bit like a crazy
So before I dive into what these three different measurable things are to
track your healing and your progression, I want to talk a bit about why it
is so important to make your own healing a priority. After infidelity,
there are more options than just leaving or staying. Sometimes we are left,
sometimes we stay, but neither partner does the work of healing and
restoring the marriage. So they stay in a fractured, unhealed marriage
where often resentment and contempt are rampant. Those wounds, they fester,
and it affects every other aspect of their life because relationships are
known to be a key indicator for happiness in all areas of your life. So it
bleeds over, bleeds over into other aspects of your life.
Some people leave the marriage, but don’t do the work of healing. They stay
in a perpetual place of feeling victimized. And as the saying goes, “If
nothing changes, nothing changes.” Years can go by and they can be stuck in
a seemingly endless pattern of replaying past hurts as if they happened
yesterday. They may embark in new relationships, but the old unhealed
wounds will find their way into the new relationship until they are heard
and seen and healed. So to move forward, we must heal. I know it can seem
unfair to have to heal from a wound and give attention and nurturing and
care to a wound that you did not inflict upon yourself. It was handed to
you. It was not invited or asked for. What I can say is that by making a
conscious effort at healing, it can benefit every aspect of your life, as
you will likely have more self-awareness and tools than you did before the
infidelity. It is a worthwhile endeavor that will yield good fruit if you
So today I want to give you a few specific ways to know if you are in fact
making progress in your healing journey. All right, here we go.
Number one, you have more time between stimulus and response. I want to ask
if you’ve heard of Viktor Frankl. He wrote one of my favorite books, it’s
called Man’s Search for Meaning. Viktor Frankl was a Holocaust survivor.
And although he experienced unimaginable horrors, he understood that he
still had choices. Here are a couple of his most famous quotes:
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to
Another is, “The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose
to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose
one’s attitude in any given circumstance.”
But the one I want to focus on, the quote by Viktor Frankl that I want to
focus on today is this: “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In
that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our
growth and our freedom.” I love that. I’m going to say it one more time.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power
to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
Okay, let’s talk about that space. You have heard me talk before about this
space as an opportunity to pause and feel our emotions. Now, it is much
easier said than done.
In the last month I hired a new one-on-one coach for myself. I am a coach.
I have a coach. I will always have a coach because just like you, I have
blind spots. I have things that I can’t see. So I hired a new one-on-one
coach and I’ve had a few sessions with her. And in one of the sessions, I
told her about an incident with one of my kids that happened. And she asked
me a question. She said, “On a scale of one to 10, how emotional were you?
How emotionally charged were you? How strong were your feelings?” And I
said, “I was at a nine.” And I had said something to this kid when I was at
a nine. She said to me, “I want you to try only responding when you are a
five or lower. Your words will be different. Your thoughts and feelings
will be different.”
So I just want to say my friends, I do the same work you do. I have gotten
better and better at increasing that space between stimulus and response,
but guess what? I still have to work on it just like you. She also reminded
me that when we go into a conversation like at a nine, often that is what’s
going to be mirrored back to us. They will pick up on our energy and that
will be given right back. Anyway.
You know that you are healing when there’s a wider space between stimulus
and response. How does this mean you’re a healing? Initially, our nervous
systems are highly, highly activated. They’re on alert all the time. We’re
watching our backs. There’s an anxious alertness. When highly activated, we
are often very highly reactive. So when we start to slow the nervous
system, we are able to grow that space between stimulus and response. The
ability to do that means that your nervous system is settling down, which
means you are healing. Isn’t that wonderful.
Okay, now onto number two, you less intense emotions overall. For most
people, when they first find out about their partner’s in fidelity, they
have intense emotions like being slammed with waves, just bam, like big,
big, powerful waves that just knock you over. It can feel like you’re
drowning. Although it’s hard, this is actually very healthy. This is, as
I’ve talked about in past episodes, called clean pain. It is useful. It is
necessary. To really heal, those powerful emotions must be felt and
processed. Now it can be any kind of emotion, grief, anger, hurt, fear,
anything. But it’s important that it is all felt all the way through, much
like riding an intense wave. It comes, it’s massive. You might feel like
you’re going to drown. You might feel like you’re going to die, but you
hang in it and you allow it to go through you. You allow this emotion to
ride in your body until it leaves. And it does leave.
When you are healing from infidelity, those waves of emotion become less
acute because you already allowed yourself to process them. They become
less severe. It still feels like negative emotion, but it doesn’t feel like
it’s going to swallow you whole. It’s less intense. You might still feel
them. You might still feel them regularly, but I want you to notice if what
you are feeling is maybe different than when you first found out, if it’s
maybe a little bit less intense.
Now, I want to be clear on something. This is not the same as buffering
emotions so you don’t have to feel them. As a reminder, buffering is when
we don’t want to feel a certain way, so we do something to feel an emotion
that feels better. For example, if we start to feel pain of some sort,
buffering is where we go do something else like eat something, go shopping
online, all kinds of things, to feel a different emotion, get a quick hit
of dopamine. Something like that so we don’t have to feel the discomfort or
pain. That is not what I’m talking about. We are not numbing out. We are
openly embracing the whole experience saying, this is life. Apparently this
is what I need to feel right now. How do I know that? Because it’s what I’m
feeling. This is what I need to process. As we allow ourselves to be human
beings, having the human experience, it lends itself to healing.
Our bodies and our minds and all of us, we are meant to heal my friends. We
are meant to progress. We are meant to grow. I mean, just biologically, I
think it’s so cool just the science behind how fast our cells recreate
themselves. We are meant to grow. We are not meant to stay still. And our
emotions do the same thing if we let them. We’re carving out space for
growth and new emotions when we allow ourselves to have the full experience
that we’re having. It’s much like a wildfire that’s burning down a forest.
It lends itself to brand new growth and it’s a necessary part of nature. So
as you are healing, please notice that although you may still experience a
lot of negative emotion, as you continue on the healing process, it is less
intense. It doesn’t knock you over and you’re likely feeling other feelings
too, like hope, encouragement, love, compassion, et cetera.
Now, onto number three, triggers are less triggering. Okay, let me paint
you a little scenario. Early on there may be many things that feel
triggering. By triggering I mean they bring up a response in your body
where maybe your heart races, you may feel sweaty, you may want to cry or
yell, et cetera.
Let’s say that you’re cruising down the road and a song comes on the radio
that reminds you of something with your partner that betrayed your trust,
that it reminds you of something involving them and the infidelity.
Initially it may be very, very triggering. It may throw you into a deep
dark hole. You may feel very scared. You may feel very shaky. You might
feel sweaty, have physical symptoms. You might feel like throwing up. As
you heal and as you lean into those triggers and allow yourself to work
through them, allow them, you will have a time where you’re driving down
the road and that same song comes on and you are not triggered by it. Or if
you are, it is not nearly as intense as it was before. It might be just a
little bit uncomfortable like, “Ooh, that’s right. Ooh, this doesn’t feel
great.” But it is not the same experience. The point is it will not have
the same power over you that it initially did.
I am a big believer in moving toward triggers rather than avoiding them for
this very reason. You get to show those triggers who’s the boss. So you’re
not tiptoeing around in life waiting to try to avoid anything that may feel
intense. You’re not just watching and going, “I can’t talk to that person.”
Or, “I can’t listen to that station. They might play a song…” You’re
living your life. You’re living your life rather than trying to avoid
I want you to think for a minute of something that in the past may have
been triggering to you. Now, I want you to do this exercise. I want you to
pause this if you to, or listen, and then take time today to just ponder on
this. What is something that was triggering to you that is no longer
triggering? I want you to find it. Okay? Find it. Maybe it’s a person that
you run into. Maybe it is being in a specific public place where you know
they were with the other person. Any number of things, okay? I want you to
notice how that same place or thing no longer has power over you. I want
you to find that thing because this is proof to you that you’re making
progress. You are healing.
Now, I want to be clear on something. Just because you have setbacks does
not mean you are not healing. I’m going to tell you a little analogy. I may
have used it before. So it’s like climbing a mountain. You look at the
bottom. You have your tools. You have your backpack, you have your water,
and up you go. The steeper you go, the harder it gets to breathe. You get
tired, your muscles get tired. You might fall and scrape your knee. You’re
moving up the mountain. Now let’s say you get to one part of the mountain
and stop to rest. You might need to give yourself some time to acclimate to
the different oxygen level here. That’s okay. Doesn’t matter. It’s not a
sprint. You don’t have to sprint up the mountain. You can still see where
you’re going. And guess what? You can still pause and see the view from how
far you have come. And then you can get back up and go back up. And as you
go, it’s going to get harder to breathe again, and you’re going to have to
stop and acclimate.
Your healing journey is just like that. You might have times where it feels
hard to breathe. You might have times where it feels really intense. It
does not mean that you are not progressing. It means that you are climbing
that mountain and reaching different summits and that you are allowing
yourself to acclimate to that new place. It does not mean that you’re going
to the bottom of that mountain. You may feel some intense emotions at
times, but notice that you likely will not stay in that space for nearly as
long as you have in the past. You will keep moving. You’ll feel the wave
wash over you. You will allow it to move through your body and you will
move forward. And as you continue to heal, you will take steps forward that
you know will likely bring up emotion, but you will lean into them anyway.
It’s like leaning into a difficult conversation or leaning into
anniversaries, things like that, knowing that they might be hard, but
you’re leaning in anyway, rather than avoiding them.
Also, I want to point out that healing does not mean that you have your
decision made if you’re staying or going. In fact, I have found that most
people are able to make much clearer and grounded decisions as they heal.
The decisions become easier because they’re able to look at them more
objectively. As you heal, you become less emotional and more logical. So I
want you to gauge where you are and please notice your growth. Please see
how far you have come. I promise you are doing better than you think you
are. You are experiencing everything right on time. It is all working for
you. It’s all conspiring in your favor. I promise you.
I know it doesn’t feel that way when you’re in it. Sure it does not feel
like it’s working for you. It feels very much like it’s working against
you. But I want to remind you that this too, my friends, is an opportunity
for growth. It’s an opportunity to show what you are made of. You are made
of good things. You’re made of strength and love and diligence and
perseverance and all the good things. And you will get through this too.
Please take time to notice how far you’ve come.
Now, to wrap this up, I just want to send you so much love and tell you how
grateful I have been for the many of who have sent me messages, emails,
Instagram messages, sending love, sending congratulations. Thank you so
much. And I’m still working through responding. If you haven’t heard back,
I’m working on it, it’s coming, but please know how much I have appreciated
it. It’s meant a lot.
And just as a little update, my little baby girl is just the joy of my life
right now. It’s a reminder to me how the things in life that are the most
surprising, that feel the most difficult can turn out to be some of your
greatest blessings. I think you might recall when I first found out I was
totally in shock. Last year was a hard year, knowing that my life was going
to change. I’ve been a mother for 23 years and I started over. And I look
at that little girl and I can’t believe she’s mine. And she’s perfect.
She’s so perfect. She’s just getting to the age where she smiles at me and
tries to talk. And it’s so cute. Oh my gosh, it’s so cute. I’m exhausted.
You should see the bags under my eyes, but I’m a happy mama. I can’t
believe what a joy she’s been. And even though these last couple months
have been some of the most intense that I’ve experienced in a while, she
has been a delight and a joy and a massive comfort as I have navigated my
Thank you for the congrats, thank you for the kind words, and I’m really
happy to be back. I hope to hear from some of you. Feel free to review my
podcast, let the world know what you think so others can easily find it and
know what they’re looking at. And I will be back next week with another
episode. Take care. Thank you. Bye-bye.
Thank you for listening to the Heal from Infidelity Podcast. If you would
like to be kept in the know about upcoming free classes, new podcast
episodes and other ways of working with me, go subscribe to my weekly
email. You can subscribe at andreagiles.com/lies-about-infidelity/. Again,
it’s andreagiles.com/lies-about-infidelity/. I will see you next time.