The Ongoing Impact of Betrayal

Since I launched my website, I have talked a lot about The other woman and her recent return to my world. The other woman is the woman who pretended to be my friend while seducing my husband and children.  She attempted to steal my life and destroy me. It was an excruciating time where I was severely and ongoingly impacted by her. She betrayed me, my friendship, my womanhood, and my motherhood with her cruel choices.

The Other Woman Became an Ongoing Trigger to Me and Continued to Impact my Life!

 She seduced my husband and children and tried to destroy my life.

Since her return back to our little town, I have seen her often, and it has been triggering to me. While I know that she poses no threat to me now, I have had to accept a hard yet real truth. She was a threat, and my body and brain know this. So I still react to seeing her. 

The affair partner's return is an impactful trigger 

My husband's affair partner, my ex-friend, is a trigger to me. I don't enjoy reacting when I see her; in fact, I hate it. Initially, it stirred up anger and resentment against her again. Judgment and scenarios where I confronted and shamed her played in my mind. You know that this isn't how I want to live, and it stressed me to find myself circling the drain again. 

 The best way I can explain that part of my healing journey is with this self-revelation. If you were walking outside on the grass and suddenly saw a snake … what would your reaction be? I bet that before you even had a chance to think about it, you might nearly jump out of your skin. Would you scream, spring into the air and maybe even pee your pants a little? All these things would be normal and expected reactions, right? 

Our brain is hardwired to react to seeing a snake or something dangerous this way to protect us. We get a shot of adrenalin when we encounter danger so we can respond appropriately. Snakes are sometimes dangerous!

She appears as a dangerous snake!

The other woman represented a threat to my life and a danger to my family

 The other woman is like a snake to me. Each time I see her, or someone who looks like her, or even her car, I get a jolting impact within me. It is involuntary, and I have no control over it. And I have come to accept that scary moment as a normal  consequence of the betrayal. For a long time, she represented a threat to my life and was a danger to my family. But that was in the past, yet it happened and the ongoing impact is irreversible to me.  My brain remembers and does its job of keeping me safe.  

 She was a threat of me and my body and brain remember that threat.

Her betrayal means nothing to me now

 I have worked so hard to put any memory of her outside of my brain and remove my attention from any conscious thought about her. Her betrayal means nothing to me now and, in reality, poses no threat at this time. Yet a deep part of my brain has the memory of the terror she created in my life. Her betrayal and her presence threatened my safety in the past and I was severely impacted by her actions.

The consequences of her past betrayal and continued threat gave me PTSD.  I worked incredibly hard on my self-care to relieve the impact of her choices in my life. Yet without my permission, and outside my control, each encounter with her brings an involuntary moment of shock. My body and brain react in an instant, and I feel it course through me. The reaction is not within my control, but what I do next is.

Self-care is my choice to heal from the impact of betrayal

 I am here to tell you that my self-care, my choice to heal, can override this reaction's intensity and duration. The rush happens, followed by my ability to calm myself. Her betrayal does not define me beyond the seconds it takes to regain my self-care composure and self-regulation. It is my choice to negate the impact of her hanging around, I decide to not give her my attention. I take the power away from her and give it to myself.

After she left our district, I thought I had healed. Yet the moment she returned, I was flooded by stress at her presence. Each unfortunate encounter with her brought the same unbidden reaction. Shock! Alarm buttons triggered in my brain. Black and white spots appear in front of my eyes instantly blinding me.

And then I have the choice as to what I will do with that reaction. I can dwell on the pain and damage her betrayal did by pulling out all my offenses again, or I can continue to live a life I love by using self-care and filling my mind with better things.  I can calm myself, and remind myself that I got a fright but I am safe now, the same way we do when someone jumps out and says BOO!  We shake is off once we realise we are safe in this moment.

One choice makes me a person I do not wish to be and enslaves me to her.  The other frees me to live my best life.

 I accept that whenever I see a snake in the grass, my amazing body and brain will react. Why? Because it is doing its job of keeping me safe. The other woman appears as a snake in the grass, ingrained in my brain as a threat. But, as soon as I realize that she is nothing but a dried out bit of discarded hose, the danger is over. She is no longer a threat, just a memory of a previous threat. 

She is no longer a threat, just a memory of a previous threat which I am healing from

The affair partner appeared as a snake in the grass so I jumped...

She means nothing to me now, and as such, she doesn't get air-time in my mind. I am in control of what I think about, and therefore, I am in control of my emotions. It is a fact that what we dwell on impacts how we feel.  I wrote this paragraph with a lump throbbing in my throat and tears in my eyes.  My pain is not a story; it's an experience I lived through and continue to live through. As soon as I find myself thinking about her, I will-fully change the subject in my mind.  She doesn't get air-time or attention.

I bring my attention back to me and my self-care

My Self-care Course is how I healed from the ongoing impact of betrayal and is filled with practical ways to move past the cruel and selfish actions of another. I teach habits and can easily become a part of our everyday life. These habits supported me to heal from my husbands betrayal and continue to support from the ongoing threat of an affair partner who chooses to live nearby. We all have our Hags to overcome. There are many other women in many forms for some of us, and the betrayals have been numerous. But we all have our healing journey to take that it is difficult and painful. Self-care supports us to heal from the ongoing impact of betrayal.

If you need support or want to talk about what happened to you, please add a comment below, or accept my gift of a free coaching call. I understand the pain of being cheated on.

Much love,

Yours on the Journey

Perhaps you may like to read another post about my healing journey and the other woman, where I released blame from my life.

What happens to children when their fathers cheat? The effect a cheating father has on his daughter is

Effects of Cheating Father on Daughter

Does your husband's affair partner still cause you grief? Some unfaithful other women keep hanging around even after

The Affair Partner Keeps Hanging Around

I know how awful it feels to have the person who you love and trust the most in

My Story of Cheating – How I Became the Betrayed Wife
  • Hi Kate,

    I have similar experience;

    The ‘Hag’ in my world was a massage parlour worker, ‘working’ her way through student life between intermittent travel. My husband encountered her visiting the establishment she worked, which I was grateful was nowhere near the places I frequent, on the ‘other side of the city’.

    When my husbands contact with her was disclosed I found many pictures of her massage career but aside from that knew very little about her. All massage parlours trigger me, not surprisingly and I learned to avoid any streets which had those quaint little doorways … even therapeutic massage was a trigger for many months.

    One day, years down the track, I was browsing my way through LinkedIn and found the ‘Hag’ by chance as she’d turned up in a more familiar place of work. I guess she’d graduated and begun her ‘real’ career.

    The effect on me brought everything back, I felt sick to my stomach and white hot anger rushed out of me as I realised she’d stepped into my ‘legitimate’ world.

    I was furious that I could no longer refer to her as a ‘prostitute’ because she’d found legitimate work … judgements flew around my mind and phrases I’d like to confront her with … and then, I realised she didn’t hear me, see me, or even know if my existence. I was an empty placeholder to her … snd she occupied much to much real estate in my head again, I needed to make another ‘adjustment’ in thinking.

    I set about returning to diffusion therapy – putting some distance between my emotions and my thinking and any potential actions that might follow.

    I cried … a lot …. more, again. I should be used to this cycle of pain and I was angry that she could still impact my life.

    If I could remove anything from my consciousness, it would be all trace of this person. But the fact is, she lives snd breathes and could be just around any corner. Sometimes I just want to stay home where I provide myself with my false sense of comfort and safety. Other times I forget…. usually right before another shock occurs.

  • ‘The Hag’ in my life was 24 yrs younger than me and had lost her mother when she was a teenager, I met her 13 yrs ago and she became very much family to me and although British she lived in another country ( where we eventually moved to 4 yrs ago ) we became “best” friends. Her son was born in Uk 11 yrs ago and her son and my grandson became great friends

    She knew my husband and I were having some issues as I confided in her about now I was aging I felt I was losing my sex drive and looks and she used her knowledge to get close to him, he initially traveled back and forth for work to the Uk and they started messaging each other, he was struggling more to adapt to living abroad ( she later admitted she had always fancied him)

    We mixed mainly in all the same ex-pat circles when I discovered the affair, I initially withdrew from all the friendship circles out of embarrassment and shame. (I now only keep in contact with a few people she is friends with)

    The affair was of course the talk of the town for the first year and everyone was waiting for me to confront her publicly!

    Now even though it is over two years on I still struggle when I am out with all the triggers, there is not one shop or bar /cafe we didn’t visit together
    I am meditating and trying to move forward in a positive manner, hardest is living in my home where the affair was mainly conducted, and still so people telling me she still wants my husband and hates me ?!
    She makes herself out as a victim of my husband but she already had a reputation for drinking and having sex with other men
    Some days are good, but other days I really struggle and think I should move away even though I have only ever seen her about three times mainly due to covid I expect and no one going out much

    I was proud of myself recently when I saw her and her son struggling with heavy bags and pulled over and asked her if she needed a lift, I looked her straight in the eye and smiled sweetly as I thought, YOU are insignificant in my life, my husband stayed with ME, I have no fear of your youth
    YOU are no threat to me!
    She of course declined the lift and putting her head down walked on
    That was a defining moment for me in dealing with the demon of her and being able to control myself
    I must admit I came home and I was shaking and cried, but I hope it is a step forward in healing!

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    About the Author

    I am a certified life coach and relationship facilitator with a passion for supporting women who have been impacted by infidelity. Drawing on my personal experiences and deep insights, I am dedicated to helping my clients heal from the trauma of betrayal and reclaim their lives.

    Through one-on-one coaching, I am committed to providing a safe, supportive space for women to process their emotions and move forward after infidelity. You can find me in my vegetable garden or taking long walks in nature with my dog when I'm not working. Read more about  the betrayed wife's personal infidelity story...