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Ask TherapistMaryAnn Your Own Question
TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5805
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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Would like to have Steven Olson address this please I spoke

Customer Question

Would like to have Steven Olson address this please: I spoke with you(Steven) prior about confronting a person who was pretending to be my friend and that of the families for years, to learn she betrayed me by having a long term sexual affair(20 years) with my husband. It has been 2 years since my discovery this coming Dec., and my question is: HOW to move beyond emotionally all the memories of the role she "played" in our lives during those years that she was living a lie behind my back?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Hi, I wanted to let you know that Steven Olsen is not an Expert in the relationship category so he will not see your question. You may want to move your question to the mental health category so he can see it and answer you.



Customer: replied 5 years ago.
How do I easily do that or if you would like to offer support that is ok as well.
Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Yes, I would like to help you.


One of the hardest things to do is to let go of a betrayal. For letting go often feels like you are making yourself vulnerable again to being hurt. And a person's very nature goes against leaving yourself open to being hurt.


You feel betrayed and your trust was taken. This can make you feel you were taken advantage of and it can make you feel you can't trust your own instincts. At this point, the situation becomes about you and not her. You have dealt with her and there is nothing new to deal with. She is in the past. What is left is how you feel about yourself in the situation.


You were traumatized in this situation. This brings up a lot of feelings about who you feel you are. Your self esteem was attacked and your self worth. To move on, both of these need addressed. Working on increasing both can help you see that your experience was about your ex friend and not about you.


Also, consider forgiving her. Usually, people balk at the very thought. But not forgiving her leaves you stuck in the past. She does not care, she has moved on. You are left to suffer. And by not forgiving her, you don't allow yourself to move on as well. Forgiving someone is about you not about them. It is allowing yourself to let go. It does not mean you forget or that you suddenly develop good feelings about the person that hurt you.


You are doing very good work to help yourself deal with this betrayal. All of the things you have tried or are doing are great. Keep trying. This is a process. It will take time. There is no set time limit to when you should feel better. Be good to yourself and allow for good days and bad days. You will find one day that this has passed and you are able to look back without a lot of pain.


I hope this has helped you,

TherapistMaryAnn and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for your insights. I will never forgive as what Steven earlier pointed out, her betrayal was deeply premediated and narcissistic, with pathological lying to the ninth degree, as she carried on pretending to be one thing to me, my family, and hers as she was deceiving all along. She attended social gatherings at my home, personal celebrations of family and self, EMAILING me several times a day as a true friend might. She came to nearly every single home and vacation cabin I ever lived in having intimate relationships right behind all our backs with us (me,my family, her family),all of our own vehicles, in addition to the one home her family lived in. Also, she participated in boating summer outings with our family and came here every 4th of July. So, as you can see - memories of HER are everyday and everywhere. She told me they had sex in all these places. Steven said what happened to me is nothing short of character assassination and emotional abuse. For that I will not forgive. I don't believe a person must forgive to move on. I faced it all and chose to walk through those fires to finally know and confront the truth. I do agree with you I have been traumatized - like post traumatic stress syndrome. I do agree my self esteem now walks that fine line and I question so much about what is real, what to trust in people. I need to learn to work on and put myself first. I put everyone elses needs before my own. I also think if I can focus on what LESSONS I have learned through this and not obsess on the black and white facts that I so pushed to know, that it might help me get "unstuck". That is what I need help on . . . to move forward with my soul intact. Suggestions on self worth work and/or self esteem is appreciated.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Also it helped to have you remind me, that there is no timeline on healing. I did not walk away from my husband of 34 years and this is not the first time I learned of his infidelity. THAT was another issue 7 years into our marriage that I THOUGHT we had totally worked through. He has had remorse and I see it on a daily basis, but having had my world shaken, I question now what I see in him, all the time? HIs health has suffered through this all, as has mine. Also, just within these past few months, her husband has been calling leaving profane/angry messages. He still does not know a fraction of the truths and since he is an alcoholic, this is very unsettling given domestic abuse statistics with situtation such as this! His wife continues to manipulate him and life to suit her needs/wants.

I am open to any way to lessen my suffering. I need sleep at night and to get more happiness is life. I find it in helping others, spending time with family,friends, photograpy, and exercise.

Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 5 years ago.

This woman really did get into your life and try to harm you. I agree very much with Steve, she is definitely narcissistic and very pathological. It may or may not bring you some peace, but this woman is very much in need of treatment. She sounds quite ill emotionally.


You have been deeply traumatized. And the fact that you are still dealing with this woman's husband leaving such messages only makes this worse. It reopens your wounds and does not allow for healing. I would suggest, if at all possible, that you try to find a way to cut off contact so there is no way they can get to you. If you need to, get the phone company and police involved. This needs to stop.


Also, it may help you to deal with your anger. I don't know if you have already done some work with how angry you feel, but more would not hurt. Something as traumatizing as what happened to you would cause many emotions including very strong anger. Allowing yourself to acknowledge how you feel and working to express it can help a lot. And accepting that all feelings are ok, not right or wrong, helps.



Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I made it very clear to HER that this harrassment MUST stop and that I was considering filing a PPO against him. She pleaded with me not to as HE is dealing with some very "sensitive" issue of which he is making progress with and she does not wish ME (HAH) to bring him anymore grief. At that time since one such message he left was directed to me asking if I knew my husband had been sleeping with his wife, then said I, too, wrecked his f.. life, then ended by calling ME a bitch! I just shook my head . . . then got ticked, after thinking about it. Since we had been (both couples as he was a friend of my husband and was even employed by my husband in addition to also employing their son) "couple" friends socially, I suggested we end this now and all get together to clear the air. She refused, of course, and said her husband knows nothing and she prefers it that way and for ME not to bring him anymore grief. ME??? Yes, she is nuts and self serving, as you can see. I don't like having to look over my shoulder here, lock doors, keep gun handy in bedroom, etc. Of course my husband had no business bringing this mess into our lives, either. I really didn't think ANGER had been a prevailing emotion via this process but perhaps it now, has reached that stage. I will say that prior to his phone calls, I had made headway. It did bring ALL the uglies back. How do I proceed in dealing with anger if that is what you think I now need?
Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 5 years ago.

The first thing to do is to get rid of these people in your life. You cannot heal unless they are gone completely. There is no reason for them to still have access to you or to your family. It is the only way to move on from this and begin working on how you feel. Anything you do for your anger is not going to help, because contact with them erases any progress you make.



TherapistMaryAnn and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

DId you mean to day anything I do for my anger is NOT going to help?


Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 5 years ago.

No not really. I know that sounds discouraging. But by keeping in contact with these people, you are being victimized again and again. It is like getting treatment for PTSD as a soldier, then going back into the war. You are just going to get re traumatized again.


The fact that your ex friend still feels it is ok for her husband to contact you, traumatize you with his verbal abuse, then you are supposed to allow it so he doesn't get hurt tells you how dysfunctional this situation as gotten. At the very least, you should have no contact with this woman or her husband and your husband should be stepping in to prevent any contact. But in your case, you are still fighting a battle that your husband caused and that you are still being victimized in. I am not surprised you are still struggling with your feelings. The situation has never ended and you are still in it.


The best thing you can do is to find ways to end all contact. Then you will be able to work on all of the issues you have as a result of this trauma.



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