What It Takes To Heal | Ep #17

Healing from infidelity can seem so overwhelming, undefined and unattainable. In this episode, I’ll share 6 things that help in the process of healing.

In a simple online search, you can find many varying opinions about how healing actually happens after infidelity. Can it actually be done?

Yes. Listen to understand why some traditional views on healing (such as the saying, “Time heals all wounds”) aren’t necessarily true if we don’t know what to be actively doing with that time. You’ll learn how valuable self-compassion is, and more tools to help you process your emotions as you move forward.

Episode Transcript

I’m Andrea Giles, and you’re listening to the Heal from Infidelity podcast,
episode number 17, What It Takes to Heal.

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, hey everybody. I’m so glad you’re here. Welcome to episode 17 for
moving right along. You may or may not notice that I’m talking funny. I
know, I notice. I did a thing today, I got Invisalign today. Those are
those clear braces. I have always wanted braces. I have 11 kids and six of
them have had braces. There are many more to come and I have never had
braces, and so I finally decided I want braces. I’m going to do it. So I
got Invisalign and it’s just going to take me a little while to learn how
to talk. It’s only been like four hours, so it’s kind of funny. Anyway, I’m
not going to let that get in the way of recording my podcast today. On my
end, I’ve got some exciting things happening. I have a daughter who is
leaving tomorrow to go serve a mission for our church for the next 18

She’s going to Arizona, so we’ve been doing lots of last-minute
preparations, making sure she’s ready to go. So that’s pretty exciting. I’m
excited for her. Anyway, today I’m going to be talking about a topic that I
love to think about. It’s about healing, it’s about what it takes to heal,
and I put a lot of thought into what I wanted to say to you and what it
actually takes, and you can go look up articles and find all kinds of
different opinions about what it takes to heal from infidelity. And of
course, everyone has their own opinion and what they think. And I want to
share with you my thoughts from professionals, from my own profession, from
my own experience, from my own experience with my clients, of what it
actually takes to heal. And I want you, as you’re listening, to kind of do
a self-evaluation of where you could lean a little more into healing in an
area that I’m talking about.

I want you to be willing to hold a mirror up to yourself and kind of do a
quick check-in. How am I in this area? Like one to 10, where am I? How much
am I allowing this area in my life? Okay? So I’m going to go ahead and dive
in. I’ve got quite a bit that I want to cover today. So number one, time. A
lot of people think that if you just give it enough time that things will
get better. As they say, time heals all wounds. Let’s talk about that a
little bit. I do think that time can be very helpful, but I also think that
it’s a myth that time heals all wounds. How many of you know people who
experienced some kind of painful thing years ago and are still currently
living in pain from it? It’s like they replay that painful thing over and
over again to keep that pain current.

Time has not assisted them at all. They’ve brought themselves back in time,
back in the past to recreate it over and over again. So how does time heal
all wounds? I’ll tell you something from my experience. Some of the parts
that can become very painful are those anniversaries. The first, first
wedding anniversary, the anniversary of the day that you found out. If you
are leaving the marriage, the anniversary of the day the divorce was
finalized, or the day itself of when it was finalized, first of starting to
date again, first of staying in the marriage and having your dates come up,
your marriage dates like your anniversary. Some of those dates that come up
that we can know are coming, but sometimes feel like they knock us over
anyway. Sometimes those firsts and experiencing them and allowing them to
hurt can pave the way for the second where it might not be quite so

And I’m going to be talking more about this, about things to do to help it
not be quite so intense based on what feelings you’re allowing, what
thoughts you’re creating, all of that. But time can be a healer. Time can
help, especially if you don’t put a timeline on yourself, especially if you
give yourself space and not expect yourself by this day, I’m going to be
all better because that’s not how it works. We don’t get to put a timeline
of when we’re going to be done feeling a certain emotion. We have so much
power and so much control, but part of healing is surrendering to the
things that we cannot control. Part of healing is allowing ourselves to
feel all of it, and I’m going to get into that a little bit more, okay?

Number two is allowing emotions, all of them. There really is no shortcut
to this. Sometimes we might experience some heavy grief and try to mask it
with anger. We might experience some anger and try to mask it with a
different emotion, right? We can go all over the place with our emotions.
We might feel really upset and then judge ourself because of it and think
that maybe we’re just extra broken, that if I could just get it together,
then things would be better. It’s been six months, I’m still hurting. I
want to say, who cares? Yes, your thoughts are creating the pain, but the
more you allow the pain when you are in it, the more you’ll make a space
for yourself to feel other emotions and to go back and access what thoughts
are creating that pain. And when it comes to trauma, trauma is trauma
because when we experience an event, it becomes a trauma when our brain
does not know how to process it in the moment where it overloads us and we
don’t know how to process it.

So part of processing trauma is allowing it to come up, allowing ourselves
to lean into it and step into it and feel it and literally processing it
through our body. This goes back to some of the things I’ve said about
self-soothing exercises like breathing, yoga, tapping, meditation, prayer,
talking it out, talking to a trusted person, hiring a therapist, hiring a
coach, getting people helping you, people giving you a safe space to feel
all of it, to share all of it, to speak of what you are dealing with, what
you’re experiencing in an open way. I encourage trying out various forms of
self-soothing, various means of going into your body, out of your head, and
into your body, and seeing what you resonate with. Try something for a
couple of weeks, if you’re not loving it, try something else. There’s no
set thing and everybody’s a little bit different, but allowing your
emotions, all of them is a crucial, crucial part of healing.

Number three, stretching to allow new ideas and a new identity. Whether you
stay in the marriage or leave, you will be creating something that was not
there before. I’m going to use some of my clients as an example, okay? One
client of mine is getting divorced because her husband chose to leave the
marriage for another relationship. For all of the years of her marriage,
she saw herself in a certain way as a follower, as a rule keeper, as a
people pleaser, trying to keep the peace in all of her relationships,
including in her marriage. She tried to jump hoops, she tried to make him
happy, and in the end, he chose somebody else. And the work she’s doing now
is learning to identify herself in a different way. She’s actually going
through what I love to call an identity crisis right now. It feels very
scary, this identity crisis.

It’s like, who am I without that story about myself, that I’m a people
pleaser, that I’m a follower? Who am I without that? And if I get to make
up any story about myself, what story should I tell? Well, who do I want to
be? So for her, she is in a space where she is opening herself up to
thinking about herself in a different way, trying on different beliefs
about herself and about even what happened. Trying to tell the story in a
way that serves her instead of keeping her locked in that same identity
that’s keeping her stuck. Another client has struggled with her husband’s
choice to have an affair with a younger woman, and she has said to me
tearfully, that she doesn’t know how he could do that and has doubted him
as a person. She is wanting to make it work.

She wants to stay. And so part of her new ideas and new identity is
twofold. One is allowing for a whole new identity as a couple, a new
marriage. Marriage number two, same people, different marriage. Creating a
space where they can be open with each other and actually really talk about
the things that they did not talk about before and love each other in a way
that they didn’t quite reach before. They’re creating something new. She is
creating a new identity for herself. She’s creating one where she is much
more honest and truthful than she was before, where she asks hard
questions, where she tells the truth. She’s seeing herself as a strong,
capable woman who can show up and be an advocate for change in her
marriage. She is showing up as somebody who can be compassionate and try to
be understanding and try to understand his choices and why he did that.

It is not condoning them, but it’s allowing a little shift in her identity
for the sake of her own healing and the healing of her marriage. And their
marriage is already on its way to being stronger and better than it was
before because they’re both open to creating something new. Another client
of mine has been married twice before and is now married to a third
husband, and both of her previous husbands had an affair. She wonders why,
in this third marriage, why some of the same triggers come up for her in an
entirely different relationship. She doesn’t like her knee-jerk reaction to
certain things. She feels powerless to it sometimes. Part of her identity
is stepping into what she wants to think, who she wants to be, allowing the
discomfort, allowing herself to lean into trust even though she might get
hurt again. She knows that people are people and that we never have a
guarantee of anyone’s behavior, but she knows that she’s causing herself a
lot of pain by not trusting.

And so she’s trying to learn to be somebody who trusts. Most of all, she’s
learning how to trust herself and to create a place of safety and peace for
herself. Okay, the next thing it takes to heal is discipline. Our brains
love certainty. We want to know exactly how things will pan out. And when
we can’t know that information, we tend to panic. So where does discipline
come in? Discipline comes when we’re trying to stop obsessing about things.
I can’t tell you how many clients have said, “I can’t help it. I want to
replay and replay, and I lay in my bed and I replay, and I go and I try to
be a detective and I see what I was missing, and how did I not know that?
And then I get mad, mad at him, mad at me thinking, what an idiot.”

And they’ll say, “I do this over and over again, and then I just feel so
mad all over again.” This also creates panic and fear and becomes this
vicious cycle where there’s not space to heal. This other obsessing and
worry is taking up so much space that there’s no room to settle into
healing. It takes discipline to set boundaries around your own thinking,
places where you will not go. So for example, let’s say you have a child
who can be rude to you. Okay? It takes discipline, first of all to tell
that child, you may not speak to me in that way. When you do, I will leave
the room. That takes discipline. It takes even more discipline to actually
follow through, to actually leave the room. I can’t even tell you how many
times with a kid, I’ve like told them this is what I’m going to do, and
then struggled with my follow through.

That’s something that I’m really working on right now, is my follow
through. In the moment, it’s easier to just cave. It’s easier to just
justify, oh, it’s okay, they were really mad. I want you to have this same
kind of discipline for yourself. When you have thoughts that are bullies,
that are beating you up, that are unkind, that are unfair, whether it be
about you or let’s say that you have thoughts about your spouse that you
know never have an upside ever, all they do is create more pain. That’s
where discipline comes in. It’s drawing a boundary for yourself and seeing
this is a place I will not go. I’m not going to go there. Another example
is when many of my clients have felt like they must not have been enough,
right? I’m just not good enough, or who wouldn’t have done these things?
There’s no upside to this thought.

There never is. There’s never a good outcome when we think we’re not good
enough. This thought results in feeling maybe depressed, anxious, sad. It
creates us hiding more and more and then basically shrinking ourselves to
where we’re hiding and we’re like shrinking down so people can’t see us.
It’s keeping us not enough, even though that’s never true. It’s never true,
we’re always enough. But that thought is keeping us small. That’s an area
that takes discipline to say, Nope, that thought does not serve me. I will
not go there. Another example is what if you were a contributor to the
marriage and you see where you are at fault and you see how you could have
handled things differently? Discipline, it takes discipline to not go down
these roads where we punch ourselves in the face over and over and tell
ourself painful stories of I should have known better and what’s wrong with
me? And no wonder he did that and making yourself the villain, there is no

So having the awareness to see how these thoughts are affecting you over
and over again, that there’s never a good outcome, and then having the
discipline to not go there. An unrelated example that I can give you is
from my coach, Brooke Castillo, who is the founder of the Life Coach School
where I got certified. Brooke spent years struggling with body image,
really struggling with different eating disorders and tried all kinds of
different things, binging and starving herself and back and forth. And then
she got to a point where she realized that body shaming never had an upside
ever. And so she drew a boundary for herself where if her brain started to
go there, if she was looking in the mirror and her brain started to
criticize her, she set this boundary that she held of, we are not doing

We’re not going to tell that story. We’re not going there. And she has held
to that solidly. She’s used discipline to decide thoughts that are not
serving her that she will not indulge in. Okay, next one up is patience.
Patience, healing is a process. It’s not perfection, it’s a process. It’s
very much two steps forward, one step back. I can’t tell you how many times
clients will come and say, shouldn’t I be further along by now? My husband
wants to know when I’m going to not need to talk about this anymore. He
wants to know when I’m going to feel better, or if they leave the marriage,
they want to know when they won’t hurt anymore or when they won’t want to
feel sad or things like that. When do I just get to feel better? Well, my
friends, the more you can allow the slow down to really evaluate your
thoughts, to really evaluate your emotions, it’s like a slowing down to
speed up.

The more you can slow down on the front end, the faster you’re going to
heal on the back end. The more you allow all of it on the front end, the
less you’re going to experience pain on the back end. It’s this give and
take, and it requires patience as you allow your body to go through these
things. We need to have patience with our own emotions, patience with
everyone involved, patience with our children, patience with the judgements
of others, and a reminder to our brains that people who know what’s going
on in your, life with your situation, they’re going to have their
judgements, and their judgements are based on the lens in which they see
the world. You get to decide how much merit you’re going to give other
people’s ideas. You can have patience for people’s humanity, patience for
people’s humanness.

People are just going to be human and have their opinions about things, and
you don’t have to believe them. Giving space to all of that is what will
help you create a space between yourself and the opinions of others, and it
will create a space between you and your thoughts and feelings. You are not
your thoughts, you are not your feelings. You are perfectly whole and good,
and you’re having thoughts and you’re having feelings that might be causing
something for you. Okay? That’s it. Patience can help push that pause. That
can give you the space between you and your thoughts and feelings, and you
can do that for other people too, and kind of see, oh, if I had this
experience and I had this thought about it, I might be saying this thing
too. I might be doing this thing too, okay? It allows us to step into a
little bit of compassion.

Okay, the last thing, the last tool that it takes to heal from infidelity
is my favorite one. It’s courage. Did you know courage is my favorite word
in the whole world? I love the word courage. I love the trait of courage. I
love how courage feels, even though it feels terrible sometimes. It doesn’t
always feel good. In fact, I would say that most of the time courage
doesn’t feel great, but I love how I feel when I know I’m doing something
that scares me to better my life, to better the life of other people. So
why courage? I’ll tell you why. It takes courage to be willing to go and
ask tough questions, especially if you know that the truth might hurt,
especially if you know that the answers might sting and that you might have
some thoughts about them, that you might experience some pain around those

It takes courage to forgive. Now, just to be clear, forgiveness does not
mean staying. It doesn’t mean you stay, you go, doesn’t mean any such
thing. Forgiveness means you go through the work of healing your own heart
so that you can feel better yourself. Yes, it’s a gift for the other
person, but it’s also the greatest gift for you because you get to be the
person who feels forgiving, and it takes courage to do that. Sometimes it’s
easier to be mad and to blame. It takes courage to grow your tolerance for
discomfort. It takes courage to step into emotional adulthood where you
take full responsibility for your own healing. It’s an inside job. No one
else can do it for you. Partners can certainly do and say things to help
build trust and credibility, but it takes courage to choose to trust again.
It’s a choice whether you’re staying in the marriage or not.

It takes courage to trust yourself, to advocate for yourself, to believe.
It can be for your good, to open yourself up, to how this could be the
biggest opportunity for you to grow. It takes courage to allow yourself to
be messy and sloppy and do it wrong and love yourself anyway. It takes
courage. It takes courage to be willing to pull yourself out of the cycle
of blame and shame. Where what a lot of us do is rather than actually
feeling an emotion, we want to react to it by getting mad. It’s your fault
that I feel this way, and then we feel bad for our judgements, and so we
swing back to shame. We’re like, what’s wrong with me that I feel this way?
And that feels lousy, so we go back over to blame. Oh, if he wouldn’t have
done this thing, then I wouldn’t feel this way, and back and forth.

It takes courage to stop that swinging pendulum and to actually feel what
you’re feeling and own that you’re creating it, and maybe, just maybe I
could do something else that doesn’t feel this way. That all takes courage.
It does, it takes courage. It takes courage to see yourself, to hold the
mirror to yourself, takes courage to love yourself. It takes courage to let
people be wrong about you, and to see your own flaws and weaknesses and
love yourself anyway. My question for you is what do you want to lean into
this week? What can you practice on your journey to healing? I am noticing
for myself that as I continue to practice these things, I feel like I’m
just growing at such a fast rate. In fact, since I first started learning
about coaching, I can see how I have healed much quicker than the years
before, just my small, simple thought tweaks.

For example, I remember when I first started learning about coaching, I’d
gone to a lot of therapy. It’d been quite a while since I had first gone
through the hardest parts of my marriage and divorce, and I was still
carrying around so much pain, and what I learned… I remember when I heard
just a few thought adjustments. Some of them were, it was always going to
happen this way. Our marriage was complete. It always was going to end. I
thought that it was going to be forever. That’s what I thought, and it
turns out I was wrong, and it’s okay. It’s okay. Our relationship as a
married couple is complete. Our relationship is different now. I still have
a relationship with him. I still think about him. I still pray for him. I
still look forward to the day when I will see him again. He will always be
my friend, but my romantic relationship with him is over.

It’s closed, and that feels good to me that I can say that and mean it. My
kids were always going to experience divorced parents. It was always going
to happen this way. So some of these little shifts where I was kind of
arguing with reality still, going no, it shouldn’t have happened this way.
He shouldn’t have died. Like all of these stories. The second I dropped
that and tried on different thoughts and allowed myself to be open to them,
oh, it just like sped my process up so much my healing, nothing has gone
wrong, nothing has gone wrong. That thought alone has given me such comfort
and strength and clarity. Go, okay, if nothing has gone wrong, then what do
I need to learn here? What is the lesson? How do I need to love better? How
do I need to love myself better?

And back to this last trait, all of those things take courage. It takes
courage to be willing to be wrong yourself, to go, maybe I’m wrong. It
takes courage and it’s the best thing you can do to open up, to expand.
What if my harsh judgements of myself are wrong? What if they are? I invite
you to go through and pick one of those things that you want to lean into
this week. Do you want to practice more courage? Do you want to practice
allowing your emotion? Do you want to practice feeling? Do you want to
practice having a conversation that you keep putting off? What is it? What
do you think? Do you want to practice patience with the process and just
allowing it without being in a hurry? I encourage you to pick something and
focus on it and lean into it. I love you all. I’m so thankful that you’re
here. I know that healing is 100% available to you no matter how much
you’re hurting right now, 100%. Thank you, and I will see you next time.

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.

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Hi. I’m Andrea Giles and I am so glad you are here.

Not many years back I found myself in a life I didn’t recognize, feeling confused, sad, and so small. My “forever” marriage was in shambles, and I didn’t know if I could ever trust my own judgment again.  Through my faith and some great tools, I was able to completely change my life and find myself again. Now it is my mission to help others who are right where I was. Click the button below to read more about my story.

Why was I not enough?

Does this question torment you? It did me too until I learned that the actions of my spouse had nothing to do with me, my worth, or my lovability. Click on the link below for a free guide that will teach you the 3 biggest lies about infidelity and why they are keeping you stuck.

Hi. I’m Andrea Giles and I am so glad you are here.

Not many years back I found myself in a life I didn’t recognize, feeling confused, sad, and so small. My “forever” marriage was in shambles, and I didn’t know if I could ever trust my own judgment again.  Through my faith and some great tools, I was able to completely change my life and find myself again. Now it is my mission to help others who are right where I was. Click the button below to read more about my story.