Sometimes we can use popular opinion against ourselves. We can listen to the opinions of others, rather than deeply searching our own hearts for what is true.
In this episode, I use a powerful analogy to teach you how to do your own “investigating” into what is true, beyond what outside sources may tell you.
You will learn how to see the full scope of your situation, rather than focusing only on the things that feel the biggest or scariest.
When we learn to get a broader view, we make more informed decisions that become easier to back up over time.
To learn more about working with me, go to: https://andreagiles.com/get-your-life-back/
Follow me on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/theinfidelitycoach/
I’m Andrea Giles and you’re listening to the Heal from Infidelity podcast,
episode number 129, Seeing the Full Picture.
Hello, and welcome to the Heal from Infidelity podcast where courageous
women learn not only to heal from their spouses’ 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 everybody, welcome back to another week. I’m glad to have you here.
Today, we are going to be talking about something that has been on my mind
for a while that I’m hoping will give you some perspective, that when you
leave this episode, you will have a clearer view of what it is that you’re
looking for, what it is that you’re seeking, and what is true for you right
now, what is real, what is true.
Before I dive in, I want to say thank you to those of you who have recently
gone in and left a review on my podcast. I noticed a few new ones up. I so
much appreciate it. It really does matter. It matters greatly in driving
the algorithm of when people do searches for infidelity podcasts, it makes
mine come up quicker so people can see it and gives credibility to it. So
thank you so much for taking the time to do that. For those of you who have
listened, who have found this valuable and have not left a review, I would
so love it if you would, if you’d go into wherever you listen to this
podcast and leave a review. Anyway, without further ado, let’s go ahead and
jump in to this week’s episode.
Okay, so you have heard me on past episodes talk about the basement brain
and going up to the upstairs brain. Today I’m going to elaborate quite a
bit on what is possible in these spaces, what’s possible, what you’re
looking for, more than what I have talked about before. This idea was born,
I was just thinking about how we often go to spaces even in the upstairs
brain where we are willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater because
of one problematic thing without scanning and seeing the full picture, and
that’s where this idea was born. I went and shared it in my group and it
was very helpful to them and so I thought, I’m going to bring this here in
hopes that it helps some of you.
As a recap, the basement brain, that is when our higher, logical, wise
brain that can see into the future, that can create, that part of the brain
is offline. Now, I have such a strong image in my mind of what that looks
like because of going to visit my grandparents in the summertime in
Montana, which is ironic because here I am in Montana, but I’d go to visit
my grandparents and they had an older home and they had an unfinished
basement. And down in the basement they had a pool table, the washer and
dryer were down there. There were some different things down there, and I
hated going down there. I hated it. It was dark, it was cold. It was all
cement floors and unfinished walls, so just beams and open wood, you know
what it looks like, an unfinished basement. It had kind of the smell. It
was kind of dark and damp. I always got freaked out down there. I would
hear the squeaks of people walking around upstairs and get spooked.
And when I think of the basement brain, that is the basement brain in my
mind, it’s dark, it’s scary. There’s not a lot of perspective down there.
There’s not a lot of peace down there. There’s not a lot of calm. There’s a
lot of fear. There’s a lot of black and white, very resolute, black and
white thinking without really being able to see any kind of nuance to
anything. This is where we’re really hanging out strongly in our fight or
flight response. I think you get the picture, it’s cold, it’s damp, it’s
dark, it’s spooky. And then we start learning how to create safety within
ourselves and we start walking up those stairs and sometimes walking up
those stairs can spook us out to where we run back down.
There has to be a motivating reason for us to decide to start walking up
those stairs. It can be going, “I know there’s more. I know that there’s
more here and I’m willing to open myself up to it. I’m willing to have a
new experience. There’s something up there that I want, and for me to be
able to have that thing that’s upstairs, I have to be willing to walk up
these stairs,” and that becomes the growth that you start endeavoring on.
That’s the path you start walking down, growing your capacity to feel new
emotions as you walk up those steps.
So you start walking up and you start growing your tolerance to
uncomfortable emotions to new things. In the basement brain, you might be
spooked a lot, but it’s familiar. You’re very familiar with it. When you
start walking up the stairs, there’s new things, there’s new experiences,
there’s new growth to be had there. You’re seeing new things. You start
going up, you walk upstairs, you open that door to the upstairs and it’s
light. You see light, you see windows. You see beyond the four walls of the
concrete and the scrap wood and the unfinished mess. You see beyond it, you
see a finished space where it’s beautifully decorated, where it’s painted,
the walls are finished, it’s not concrete floors. Where you can see
outside. You can see sometimes for miles based on where your home is. You
can see that there’s more beyond what you were living in that basement and
there’s so much beauty in that. There’s so much beauty in that.
Now, there’s something that I see, and this is what has inspired this whole
thing, this whole episode, there’s something that I see that I want to draw
attention to today. Sometimes in that upstairs space, we can use logic that
maybe we learned from other people, maybe it’s something that we have held
onto that has served us pretty well actually, that we’re trying to still
hold onto, but that maybe needs to be examined. And I’ll tell you what it
is that I am talking about here. I am telling you every professional, and
myself included in this, every professional, every therapist, every coach
that is in the relationship marriage space will tell you that trust is the
basis for a good relationship. You have to have trust. And that if trust is
not there, you don’t have a relationship.
And I want to push back on that today. I want to push back on that. I want
to broaden our vision here of what this means because coming out of
infidelity, trust has been completely shattered. It’s not just a little
damaged, it’s shattered. Because part of infidelity, it goes hand in hand,
is that there is willful deceit. It’s not just a little white lie that
doesn’t harm anyone. It’s willful, “I know that this person would want to
know this and I’m not going to tell them because I don’t want to deal with
the fallout of that, even though I know that they would want to know.”
That’s the kind of lying.
And if we go by that statement, that if you don’t have the trust, you have
nothing, none of us would have any reason to stick around. None of us
would’ve any reason to stick around, we would all bail and be like, “Nope,
I’m out. Trust was broken, done. Over and done.” For those of you listening
who are in this space where you are kind of poking around to see, what else
is here? If the trust is broken, but maybe there’s a reason why you’re kind
of hanging on and looking around, I want to talk about that today.
All right, so I want you to follow me for a minute while I use this
analogy. In this upstairs space, there are many rooms. Basement, not so
much. It’s one big open, kind of chaotic cold space. Upstairs, there are
many rooms. And each room has something to see. Each room needs to be
examined, each room needs to be examined. Now, go with me while I paint
this for you. Oftentimes what we do is we look around and go, “Okay, the
trust is broken, so there’s nothing here at all,” and we miss the
opportunity to look at all the rooms. We miss the opportunity to go, “Okay,
what else is here? Yes, the trust is broken, that is true, but are there
other things here that are strong enough to hold this up while I see if
this person can become trustworthy?”
And that’s where these other rooms come in. That’s where slowing it down
and going and opening these other doors, opening the doors and walking in
and going, “What else is here?” That’s where we can have a fuller picture
of, is this wise for me to stay? Is it not wise for me to stay? Some of you
are going to go into the friendship room and you’re going to see that there
actually is a pretty solid friendship, that there is a genuine caring about
one another even if one’s actions did not show so much caring at the
moment. You might be able to see times in the past where this person has
been a good friend to you, where there has been genuine friendship.
And we can go in there and go, okay, yes, there’s this piece where the
trust has been broken, where this person was not my friend, but can I point
to areas where this person has been my friend, or this person has been
loyal and had some of the characteristics that you think of when you think
of friendship? Is that there? Or is it a no? No, we’ve never actually been
really good friends. I’ve never really counted on this person as being my
friend. Okay, noted. Got it. Now let’s walk out to the main area and let’s
go walk to another room.
There’s going to be different rooms. There’s going to be the fun room. Do
we have fun together? There’s going to be other rooms of partnership. Are
there areas where we actually pull it off pretty well of being good
partners, of collaborating, of working together? Are there areas where we
used to be those things and that they fell by the wayside and that’s when
the infidelity occurred, or maybe it was a buildup to that? Maybe it went
on for years that some of those things that used to be there went away and
then infidelity occurred, can we get back? Can we build friendship again?
Can we build fun? Can we build collaboration where we are working together
for a common good thing?
Why this matters so much is because a lot of the reason why people struggle
so much with the decision to stay or go or really question it is because
they’re basing their decision on one room and they’re not looking at all
the other rooms that are there and really taking inventory of, “Okay, is
this enough? Are there enough other areas that are strong that warrant me
sticking around to see if this other piece can grow? Or to see if all the
rooms can grow?”
Now, often what we want to do is if one area is not working, we just want
to cut off the whole and go, “Nope, nope, canceled. We’re not doing that.”
And you know what? For some of you, that is the right decision and it’s
okay, I have no judgment of that. But really what we’re looking at here is
we’re going into all of these rooms and we’re looking at how we can
optimize things there. What already is working actually pretty well? What
has worked well in the past that we can get back to? Are there areas even in
the trust area? Are there areas in these other rooms where this person has
been trustworthy, where this person has shown integrity, where this person
has shown up?
And when we’re only seeing it from this one lens, yes, it’s a big lens,
yes, it’s a painful lens, but when we’re only looking at it from the one
lens of infidelity, it’s easy to leave all those other doors shut. Go, “I’m
not even walking in there. Who cares that those things are there. He did
this thing and that cancels everything else.” I’m pushing you and
challenging you to be willing to look at the other rooms. You know why?
Because it will better inform your decision. You’ll be able to support your
decision better when you have a bigger picture of all the rooms. Where you
see, “You know what? He never was my friend. That never has been there,
it’s always been about him.”
If you see that there’s other areas that he’s always been a little bit
shady in, that you’ve never really quite trusted him in. If you see that
there’s areas where there’s been flat out unkindness and meanness, and for
some of you there might be abuse, there has to be enough of a strong reason
to venture into trying to stay together to justify the amount of work that
is required. If the reason why you’re staying is because you feel obligated
to, that will eat you alive, it will eat you alive. You’ll feel resentful,
“I don’t even want to be here, but I have to.” It’s not going to feel good
inside your body and you’re the one that has to live with that poison. As
Terry Real says, “Resentment is drinking poison and expecting somebody else
to die.” We are the one drinking it.
If you’re saying, I want you to stay because you have opened the doors to
those other rooms and you’ve seen enough good there, enough to go, “You
know what? It’s risky. It’s terrifying. Oh, it’s terrifying, but there’s
enough here that I’m willing to risk leaning in and seeing what we can do.
What we can build.” Pull the things from the rooms that are great, pull the
things from the rooms that we can trust, amp them up, make them even
better. And we can clean up the areas that aren’t so good or see if this
person that we’re with is willing to do the work to clean up the areas that
are not so good.
I’m going to give you a little bit of a business analogy that in my mind,
because I’m in the space of owning my own business, there’s a couple words
that I think about a lot. Sometimes when I don’t hit my goals or when
things don’t go the way that I thought they were, it can be easy to go, “Oh
my gosh, it’s not working.” Or get critical of myself for things like that,
and there’s two things to look at. One is positive trajectory, or negative
trajectory. If nothing changes and we keep just doing the things that we’re
doing today, right now, today, where is this trending? What’s the
And for many of you that are listening, there might be, if you could scan
out, you know what, we’re doing things that over time are going to compound
and that are on a positive trajectory. There are things in these rooms that
are positive and that we can build on and that will yield good things. And
for some of you, if nothing changes, it’s a negative trajectory. We end up
in the hole, we end up negative. And these are some things to consider.
Another thing to consider is optimizing, optimizing. How can we optimize
this? For many of you, there are lots of things that are working and it’s
just a matter of optimizing them. It might be that you’re looking at the
communication and going, “Gosh, we just still suck at communicating. We’re
just not good at it.” But there’s these other things over here that we
actually do pretty well, so how can we optimize this one area? It doesn’t
mean that every single thing needs an overhaul. It means that there’s this
one area that needs to be optimized. Now, in the business world, for me,
that means going over with a fine tooth comb exactly what I’m doing, the
specific thing, exactly what I’m doing, and being willing to look at it
honestly, even if it’s uncomfortable and making changes as needed. Sometimes
it means learning from somebody who has gone before me and who knows more
than I do so they can give me solid advice of how to optimize.
That’s where I come in, by the way, in my coaching. I’m helping you to
optimize. I’m helping you to really see what is the general trajectory that
you’re on if nothing changes, and let’s swing that balance. Let’s get it
where it’s going in a positive way, optimize the things that are working.
Let’s cut off the things that are not working, that are not serving you.
They’re slowing down your progress. Now, these are things that can help
bring some balance to your brain.
When you’re in that upstairs space and you go to a place of, “Well, the
professionals says, “If you don’t have trust, you have nothing.” This is
where you can bring balance to your brain and go, “Yeah, right now, the
trust is damaged, but what else is here? What else is true? That is true,
and what else is true? And let’s actually take inventory,” so that you can
make a decision based on many factors and not just the one, not just the
And it goes both ways, there are some of you listening where it’s on a
general downhill trajectory and that the way for you to be going in a
positive trajectory is for you to leave, and that will be the case for some
of you. That being with this person is going to continue to push against
your own integrity of what’s good for you and what is in alignment with you
and in what is in alignment with your highest growth, and your move is
going to be to let go of that thing, is to let go and to let it go and to
release yourself from it so that you can be on the trajectory that you want
to be on.
My challenge for you today is I want you to examine, listen to this podcast
and examine where you are. Are you down in the basement? Are you somewhere
on the stairs? Are you hanging out in the room that says that I shouldn’t
trust him and everything else sucks because the trust is broken? Or are you
hanging out in the living room looking at the different rooms and going,
“Yeah, I think there’s probably some pretty good things in those rooms, but
I’m afraid to look at them because then I have to admit that maybe there
are some good things here that are worth me fighting for, not just him
fighting for, but me fighting for, and what would that require of me? What
would that require of me?”
Or there might be some of you that are hanging out on the couch going, “I
know that there’s things for me to look at there, but I know that it will
be actually really uncomfortable to see, because I already know that there
are some things that were there before that are not necessarily good and
healthy, and I’m just not sure if there’s enough good to warrant sticking
My challenge for you today is to get off that couch and to go open a door.
Go look behind the door, go look and see what is in there. Go look in the
friendship room. Go look in the fun room. Go look in the finance room where
you look at the finances and see how you partner together, if you do, if
you don’t, how you feel around your finances in your marriage. Where you
look at your parenting, what kind of parents… Do we co-parent well? That’s
definitely a space to look at. Now, all of these things, all of these things
can be optimized, all of these things can be worked on, but I will say there
needs to be a strong enough reason to besides obligation. There has to be
more. There has to be more, or it will end up hurting you. It will end up
eating you alive. This has to be because there’s enough reason that you see
a reason to stick around.
For some of you, there might not be enough behind those doors, but there’s
this child that you have or children, and that child is enough of a reason
for you to go, “Let’s see what we can do here.” That’s good enough. What
we’re avoiding here is, I have to stay because of this kid. I have to stay
because my kid deserves to have both parents. That’s breeding grounds for
obligation. Obligation often turns into resentment. But sometimes our
children are a reason to dig in deeper and go, “Okay, initially I would’ve
just bailed and just gone, “I’m out. I’m done.” But let’s see what else is
here. Let’s see if we can build. I’m willing to slow this down and just see
what else is here.”
That’s my challenge for you. Use your imagination. You can close your eyes.
You can visualize yourself walking into these rooms, looking at what’s
there. What else is here? What is happening now? What do those rooms look
like now? This is what they’ve been, but what is true now? The more you can
see the whole picture, the more confident you’re going to be in making your
decisions because you can know that you took the time to really see the
whole picture and to see the truth and to see what was real, what was real
before the infidelity and what is real now, and then making your decisions
based on those things.
And when you find yourself slapped on down to the basement, which happens,
we get triggered, we get back down to the basement, it is going to be your
understanding of what is upstairs, your ability to bring yourself back to
what actually is real that’s going to help you get back up those stairs in
a much faster pace. You’re not going to have to stay in the basement that
Who wants to come out from the basement if we can’t see what’s on the other
side, if we don’t have a vivid vision of what good comes from helping
ourself to get there? We have to give our brains the motivation, something
to hold onto, a reason to push ourselves, to push our own growth in growing
our capacity to settle our nervous system so we can get back up those
stairs. Reminding ourselves there’s some really good things up there,
there’s truth up there. I like who I am there. I like how I feel there.
All right, my friends, that’s what I’ve got for you today. I hope that you
are leaving with a good idea of some exercises you can do, some things that
you can think about that might actually help you think about things in a
very different way and that it gives you something to shine a new light on
some new perspective here.
All right, thank you so much. I will let you know that my program is now
enrolling for January. The doors are open. The group is so amazing. I just
met with them today and they are just the most powerful women that are so
done handing their power over to other people and want to get their life
back and feel like they are taking ownership of their life in a strategic
way that they can support as they navigate the ins and outs of infidelity,
getting behind themselves in the decisions that they’re making. It’s so
powerful, and if you have been interested in joining, I can’t think of a
better time than setting yourself up for a full year of amazing coaching,
amazing support, amazing comradery with other women. Come join us. Come
join us. You can find out more over on my website, andreagiles.com, under
the Work With Me tab. There’s a lot of information there about my program
and I would love to see you inside. All right, my friends, so much love to
you always. I will see you next time. All right, 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
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