Deadening the Pain The older I get, the more life throws at me and the older my kids get, the more I understand that life is filled with pain. Some is intense and at the top of the scale like infidelity, shame, moral failure and the destruction our choices create. Other pain can be smaller like the pain of rejection from a child, or a failed business deal, or the inability to provide the way you’d like to for your family. I like to deaden my pain. I really do. One of my favorite books I’ve read in the last 10 years is Shattered Dreams by Larry Crabb. I highly recommend it. Take for example a quote of his: “People who find some way to deaden their pain never discover their desire for God in all its fullness. They rather live for relief and become addicts to whatever provides it. Inconsolable pain, the kind that drives away every vestige of happiness and renders us incapable of fully enjoying any pleasure, can be healed by discovering a capacity for a different kind of joy. That is the function of pain, to carry us into the inner recesses of our being that wants God. We need to let our soul-pain do its work by experiencing it fully…..alternatively if we do not, we become servants to whatever makes us feel better. “ I’d like to hone in on the fact that we must allow our pain to do its work, deep within us. Maybe it’s the pain of our own choices and the sobering reality that we have permanently scarred our spouse and anyone else caught in the crosshairs due to our choices. Perhaps it’s the fact that you’re a betrayed spouse, in more pain than you’ve ever experienced and wonder if there is any relief at all. For the unfaithful we attempt to deaden our pain by the following: We push the betrayed to get over it and stop talking about it as we don’t want to relive it. We want to deaden the pain and deaden the hurt and shame we feel about our own choices and if you’ll stop talking about it, we’ll stop feeling the pain and hurt. We don’t know how to process it anyway. We get angry and try to bully anyone and everyone that gets in our way. People become speedbumps and we will bully you to get what we want. We’re hurt and we’re in pain. Our anger and in some cases rage, is a cathartic release to distract us from the hurt and confusion we feel. We go back to the old behavior as it, in a very dark way, frees us from the fight to push against the darkness in us and in life. If we just cave and retreat, at least we don’t need to fight anymore and we can just seemingly relax. If you’re a betrayed, here are some ways the betrayed may try and deaden their pain: You attack your spouse, shaming them, and belittling them as it feels better. You feel a release (temporarily) by attacking them and making yourself feel like the better person and remind them of their failures and colossal mistakes, as often as you need to in an attempt to feel better. You pull back from them. You inform your spouse they need to ‘go fix themselves’ and you will not be doing any work and you didn’t ask for this and you didn’t ask for this pain. So you inform them you’ll be doing your own thing, till they get healthy and fix themselves. You minimize what has happened, maybe pretend it’s not nearly as bad as it was, and try to lessen the severity of it all. With the amount of traffic and input I receive from the betrayed spouses here, I’d love it if you would share how you, a betrayed spouse, try and deaden your pain. It will probably help the multitudes of other betrayed spouses who are trying to heal.