Take No Prisoners

I have a great Dad. When I was a little girl I looked forward to going to his boot repair shop so I could hang out with him all day long. I remember him being very busy, but never too busy to talk to me as he worked. One thing he told me on a regular basis was “take no prisoners”. His words keep coming back to me as I think about the recovery process that I went through as a betrayed spouse.

I have begun to see my marriage with Wayne as a union that the enemy wants to steal, kill, and destroy. If you will allow me, I would like to show you a picture of how I saw this played out.

When I discovered Wayne’s betrayals I received a very deep heart wound that required healing in a spiritual and emotional ICU. While I was receiving this intensive care, the enemy did not wait patiently outside the door for me to get up and continue fighting for my heart and marriage. No sir. He sent in his own little band of visitors. One that came to visit me was Fear. Another was Insecurity. Not long after that Shame slithered in and tried to set up camp. Control was tricky. He pulled up a chair like a long lost friend and told me that together we could make sure I would never be hurt again. Blame must have snuck quietly in while I was sleeping, because when I woke up he was talking fast and pointing his knobby finger at the door. At one point I thought I saw Strength walk through the door. She told me I didn’t need anyone, and that I would be fine on my own. But the closer she got to me, the stranger she appeared, until finally she made it to the side of my bed, where I realized that she wasn’t Strength after all. She was just a well-disguised Alone. When I looked into her eyes I could tell that she was friends with Bitterness and Anger.

As I looked around my figurative ICU room I eventually recognized that these were not friendly well-wishers at all, and I began to feel uncomfortably crowded. I had already seen through Alone’s disguise, so she was the first to go. It was clear to me that I had done nothing to put myself in that room, so I sent Shame away without much of a fight. Control just didn’t feel right to me, so I sent him out next. That left me with Fear, Insecurity, and Blame. They quickly backed into the far corner, looking at the floor as they went. I foolishly took this as a sign that they were no longer a threat, so I rolled over and ignored them.

Over time, I no longer needed to be in the intensive care unit, so I was moved to a general care room. I vaguely remember noticing my three visitors slinking along behind us in the hall.

It was a few months later when I began to notice a sense of weariness in my spirit. I felt depressed and angry, but I wasn’t sure why. By then my life seemed to be going in a positive direction. Wayne and I were making lots of progress in our recovery. Our boys were healthy and happy. So what was all this negative emotion about? I looked down at my hands and saw three heavy chains in them. At the ends of each chain stood Fear, Insecurity, and Blame. Because I had not sent them away at the beginning, they had become my prisoners, and I in turn had become theirs. The weight of dragging them around with me had worn me out. Cutting those prisoners loose and sending them away was quite a battle. It was long and hard, because the whole time I had been dragging them around they had quietly been recruiting Bitterness and Anger. Somehow in all our travels I had become tangled in their chains. As hard as it was to release them, I am glad that I did, because now I am free to enjoy the rest of my journey without their weight dragging me down. Living free of these prisoners is the only way I have been able to walk in victory in my battle to protect my heart.

Clearly, this is partly a figurative story… But while I did not see these visitors with my physical eyes I felt their presence in my life just as strongly as if I had. The journey towards healing is hard enough without trying to drag prisoners along with us. So tell me, have you been dragging prisoners behind you? Have you found yourself tangled up in their chains and become their prisoner as well? Have they been there so long that they have begun to feel like friends, or perhaps even a part of you? Maybe you have recognized the trap that they set and sent them on their way? Please share your story. I would love to hear it.

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Taking no prisoners

Wow, I really felt like almost exactly as you have described. We are 9 months out and about 2 months ago I felt like everything was going well, why did I feel so sad?? It was definately fear and insecurity that came back to visit. It is so hard to battle this daily. I am grateful to have this resource to relate to so that I know what I am feeling is normal. And that there is hope for recovery. Thank you.

re:

Very grateful for this resource but my hope for a better future is dwindling. I need to place my hope in God and not my circumstances, but easier said than done. Living in the current status quo forever is a depressing thought.

Thank you so much. You have

Thank you so much. You have no idea how much reading that just helped me. It is only 2 months into our journey and I have a long ways to go. While I'm not ready to let go of all of these things yet I will know that eventually I have to. To allow myself and my husband to finally heal and move on fully I will have to let go of fear and insecurities so much. I will have to push forward. It is amazing the way you described being in ICU to a regular room. I am just now in a regular room. I have been in ICU up until now and even being in the regular room is a bit refreshing. It is still a long ways to go and I sure hope we make it but thank you sincerely for this great post and this blog!

Take No Prisoners

Thank you so much for this illustration. I just found out 2 months ago to the day. It has been the hardest roller coaster ride of my life. Just when I think I have surrendered my spirit to my higher power and I begin to feel relief I then fall down again and spiral out of control. It helps to have a visual of the 'characters' that are trying to deceive me. Sometimes it is daily and other times hourly that I have to big them farewell, but somehow I keep inviting them back. Thank you for sharing the hope that one day I will be able to say farewell to them for good. I think for now my wounds are too fresh, but I know that I am not alone and that my angels are also guarding my spirit. In all of this, I stand open to what my lesson is that I need to grow from. What did I believe to be true that allowed my life to go down this road? I am working on healing and building myself into a stronger, more whole person. I don't need any chains or prisoners for this healing! Thanks so much for sharing your journey. May many blessings come out of our pain!

Take No Prisoners

Thank you so much for this illustration. I just found out 2 months ago to the day. It has been the hardest roller coaster ride of my life. Just when I think I have surrendered my spirit to my higher power and I begin to feel relief I then fall down again and spiral out of control. It helps to have a visual of the 'characters' that are trying to deceive me. Sometimes it is daily and other times hourly that I have to big them farewell, but somehow I keep inviting them back. Thank you for sharing the hope that one day I will be able to say farewell to them for good. I think for now my wounds are too fresh, but I know that I am not alone and that my angels are also guarding my spirit. In all of this, I stand open to what my lesson is that I need to grow from. What did I believe to be true that allowed my life to go down this road? I am working on healing and building myself into a stronger, more whole person. I don't need any chains or prisoners for this healing! Thanks so much for sharing your journey. May many blessings come out of our pain!

Fear, Insecurity and Blame

My wife and I have been physically separated almost 3 years. There have been attempts at reconciliation but the first time, I will still so shattered over her affair, I could not step towards her. Her affair partner has been in and out of her life many times; currently, I have no idea. I live elsewhere, while she lives in our home still. Like many, we had no idea how to have a good, godly marriage. We made the same mistakes as tons of people who find AR. Now, she wants me to "hang out" with her and our sons, but not touch me. I don't need another buddy, I need a wife, who actually wants a husband. God has drawn me closer to him through this ordeal, but I still carry these 3 chains, mainly fear of the future and the blame I carry for my failures as a husband and father. We did the 5 love languages test and I know myself well enough that if she won't touch me (not sex), my heart cannot take the pain of being close to her, but miles away. I've completed HH at AR and it was SO helpful. Nothing I have done is enough, so God can take over. I'm exhausted beyond words.

Thank you for posting this

Thank you for posting this figurative view of all the chains we can carry. I'm about a month our from discovery of my husbands mostly-emotional and somewhat sexual affair and I know it's a marathon, but it's a race I didn't sign up for. Kinda like the ICU you felt in. Your heart is so heavy that it feels like you're in a fog and life can't be "normal" again. In counseling and working on reconciliation, but I realize through your story that we all have choices. And sometimes those choices really suck because it's SO MUCH EASIER to dwell on the incident itself and just let it hurt us again, and again and again. That's way easier because it's already been planted there by the fact/truth findings. But, beyond that is a choice to pick yourself up and put on your big girl pants and start moving forward. Day by day. I hate day by day because I'm a hold no prisoners person. let's just figure this out and get it solved. But that's not how grief works right? But as you said you walked down the "hall" or journeyed with your husband, each step you took was one that you could slowly choose to walk with or without chains. Do you have specific things you did or told yourself to drop those chains from binding you?

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