Rick Reynolds, LCSW
by Rick Reynolds, LCSW
Founder & President, Affair Recovery

Untransformed Pain will be Transmitted

Hope for Healing registration opens monthly. Subscribe to be notified.
This online course for unfaithful spouses fills up quickly, so don't wait! Discover how a supportive non-judgmental environment paired with expert content can provide life-changing hope, clarity, and healing.

Subscribe Now!

"We get what we need by walking through what we never wanted."

-Ann Voskamp

If you haven't noticed, I'm not one of those guys who has it all together. Sometimes it even feels like there's no way to survive the pain being generated by circumstances in our life. I still think betrayal is a pain like no other, but we're also learning of other painful situations that can knock the stuffing out of you.

Our Own Family Tragedy

When I was a young boy I always said my dad was the strongest man around. He taught me about being a man. He took me fishing, hunting, camping, and tried, as best he knew how, to teach me how to live life. He was not perfect (he would be the first to tell you), but I suspect he did far better than I could have done with the same limitations. Dad was only six months old when my grandmother placed him too close to the fireplace, igniting the blankets and burning off his feet. As sharecroppers there were few resources and times were hard in the late '20s and early '30s. The Shriner's Hospital in Dallas, Texas helped by providing much needed surgery at the age of five. How many of you can imagine placing a five year old boy on a train alone and sending him from central Texas to Dallas? Dad spent six weeks, separated from family, on a burn ward and had the scar tissue cut so doctors could separate what was left of his feet from his shins and put the stubs down at a 90-degree angle.

In Hiding

In his family it was never an option for him to be crippled, so they put cotton in his shoes as orthotics and told him to get along. When my father was alive, very few people knew my dad didn't have feet. He learned to adapt and how to walk so others would never suspect. He hid his pain by hiding his shame, making sure he always wore shoes and socks so others wouldn't know. For Dad, the goal was to never show weakness. To do that, it became necessary to succeed. He believed that anything worth doing was worth doing perfectly. He lived in constant fear of being discovered as a "fake."

untransformed pain will be transmitted

Hiding pain is not the same as walking through the pain. If our pain isn't addressed, it is transformed into shame and we'll spend the rest of our lives in denial, afraid that others will discover the truth. We mistakenly believe that hiding the reality of our situation will somehow save us from the pain, yet it only serves to enslave us to that very same pain. Hidden pain is then transformed into shame. Our shame then negatively impacts all those we love and serves as the fuel to perpetuate our cycle.

Transform: Not Transmit

I firmly believe that pain that is not transformed will be transmitted. My dad was a tremendous man, but fear and shame ruled his life. Few men have loved their children more deeply than my dad did, but all his love couldn't negate the pain and negative messages he transmitted to his sons. If you teach your kids to never show weakness, then you automatically imply there's a weakness to hide. While dad was teaching us the messages he lived by to survive, he inadvertently transmitted his pain and shame to us who he sought to protect.

The problem with pain is it can't be ignored. You may be thinking that you can ignore the wounds perpetrated by others or those created by your own poor choices, but that's not true. The pain still has an impact. The only question is, do we have the courage to walk through the pain and honestly deal with its impact?

Your Response

The solution doesn't lie in pretending the situation never occurred, rather it's the ability to accept what happened and then to walk through whatever is necessary to address it. As Ann Voskamp so poignantly states above, "We get what we need by walking through what we never wanted."

It takes a great deal of courage to face life on life's terms, but it's the only path to maturity and growth. For my dad's sake, I wish he had been able to face his handicaps rather than feeling he had to hide them. I honestly believe I would have been even more proud if his story had been that of a man who was flawed and yet, by the grace of God, lived beyond his capabilities. (I was still incredibly proud of him).

You may be wondering (but I hope not) what this has to do with infidelity. The answer is...

e v e r y t h i n g.

How you decide to respond to your pain will partially determine the future of your children and your friends.

You're either going to "Pretend Normal," denying the reality of your situation and your pain and inadvertently transmitting it to the next generation, or you're going to face it and move through it, allowing it to be redeemed and letting it become a part of who you truly are.

If you choose to deal with infidelity rather than hiding or avoiding it, you allow it to become a part of your life's story. I promise it will set you free and send you toward the life you've always wanted. Failure to do so will result in passing on your unfinished business (and hurt) to those you love.

For those who have been unfaithful, our Hope for Healing course is a sure path for addressing the pain. It provides a safe place for you to find freedom and clarity and facilitates the development of empathy for those affected by the infidelity. Walking through the pain isn't easy, but it's well worth the journey, not only for yourself, but for those you love.

Hope for Healing registration opens monthly. Subscribe to be notified.
This online course for unfaithful spouses fills up quickly, so don't wait! Discover how a supportive non-judgmental environment paired with expert content can provide life-changing hope, clarity, and healing.

Subscribe Now!

Cover more ground faster with the life-changing experience of EMS Weekend for couples.

This is not your average light and fluffy program that only scratches the surface. Up front, it's important to know that we won't shame the unfaithful spouse nor blame the betrayed spouse. This 3 day intensive is a safe place for both of you to heal.
Now offering $1,000 discount for virtual months during the pandemic. Limited availability.

Sign Up Now!

Sections: 

RL_Category: 

RL_Media Type: 

Add New Comment