the Art of Cheating

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Why do we cheat? A question I asked myself repeatedly as the daggers of infidelity punctured my chest and ripped my heart wide open. The skeletons of deceit chasing me throughout my life for years, its ghost lingering behind, even long after the fact. An experience that continued over and over- tearing me to pieces and bringing me to my knees, begging for mercy and full of desperation for the lesson to show its cowardly self to me… it took me years to peel back the layers that truly revealed the need for this to occur in my life and the growth that would come from it.

Infidelity can occur for many reasons; low self-worth and the need for validation, to fill the void of emptiness and self-hatred, because we saw it in our parents, to avoid getting “hurt”, because it’s easier to express ourselves to strangers than it is to be rejected by our loved ones, because we’re afraid of being our true self, because we’re not ready to settle down, because we fear the only other way out is to leave the person whom we love- and we are too wrapped up in that safety blanket to take the leap, or because someone did it to us and rather than express our painful emotions- we choose to make ourselves small and retaliate.

I remember the first time I cheated, I was overcome by the sensation of exhilaration and adrenaline- only having it end in an overwhelming, and almost unbearable, guilt, shame and paranoia. Cautiously looking behind my back every time I thought someone was watching me. The fear that wouldn’t leave my side that they would also cheat on me. The anger I unleashed on the people around me as I was threatened with the idea of exposure. “The truth always comes to light,” I thought to myself. I was trying to get the passion back into my life, that sense of freedom, and an outlet to the erupting emotions within that I frantically tried to smother. “I just don’t give a fuck” anymore I would think nonchalantly- even though the idea of being without my loved one shook me to my core. Even after I found the courage to stop and the strength to address what was imploding underneath, I was haunted by a ruthless guilt- how can I ever forgive myself for being so shitty? I didn’t love myself and although I wished for a sacred love experience- I was treating myself like someone who wasn’t worthy.

You would think I would’ve been the bigger person, but I cheated even after it had happened to me. I remember the heart wrenching pain it brought me to have been betrayed by my first love and my best friends. I felt like a fool, an idiot, undeserving of real friendship and honesty. For years I carried the burden of extreme anger inside my heart. I vowed to never treat anyone the same way I was treated. I damned all cheaters to hell- useless pieces of shit that should be removed from the face of the earth. I told myself and everyone who would listen, and even those who wouldn’t, my sob story, playing the victim and dragging that weight with me for a decade. Refusing to see the lesson, avoiding compassion like the plague and banishing the idea of forgiveness- no wonder it kept happening to me.

Cheating has been one of the most difficult experiences in my life and yet one that gave me the most rewarding shadow work to do. Digging deep into the darkness of my innermost being and after extreme pain, coming back into the light with diamonds. Infidelity forced me to look at myself and my idea of worthiness. I helped me to realize the type of love I deserved and needed to be expressed to me so that I could actually feel it. It led me to create boundaries for the first time in my life, making sure my needs were met and expressing what were my concrete non-negotiables so that I wasn’t setting unspoken and unattainable expectations. It helped me to bring my childish relationship into a healthy adult relationship. It allowed me to tackle the demons of codependency and the deeply rooted belief that I was nothing without another person. It helped me to learn to acknowledge, feel and express my emotions so that I could work through them in a safe and empowering way. It led me to finally learn how to forgive, not just others, but myself, reminding me of the radical idea of unconditional love.

Cheating is a different experience for everyone, but I can say that for myself it can be something to work through- something that saves a relationship. For all the work I have done in my life and the space that has been held for me to do so, I can only extend the same hand. As long as someone is willing to admit fault and do that healing work- I am inclined to forgive. I believe that theses experiences occur in our lives, shattering our foundations, because they are not stable to begin with. It allows us to pick up the pieces and put them back together in a way that will help them become strong and unshakeable. With the ebbs and flow of life, forgiveness is another process in itself. Both parties must accept that it takes a long time to trust again, and not just sweep things under the rug- for a wise woman told me that what is swept under is planted and grows roots. Forgiveness comes with many emotions and each one must be honored. There is no such thing as life going back to the way it was as soon as the word “forgiveness” is thrown out.

This in no way condones staying in an abusive relationship with a toxic person. I am not saying cheating is great and we all should do it because it’s not that big of a deal. I do believe it can be a gift that leads to breaking cycles, empowers and enlightens all involved and unleashes fierce and courageous people.

 

I wish you all a safe and healing journey.

 

Love always,

Mabes

 

what if

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What if? What if it never works out? What if we run out of money? What if nobody supports us? What if we can’t do it? What if we can? What if he leaves? What if I can never do it on my own? What if…what if... what if…

The anxiety of overthinking that comes with the fear of abandonment is relentless, there’s no other like it. The fact that you fear you can’t make it with someone’s help bleeds into the fear of not succeeding without them. The result is always the same because of the core root belief that you don’t deserve any of it in the first place. The person being the crutch or tool, to keep you frozen in time- snuggled in your hole of immobility, holding onto every bit of warmth and comfort that safety seemingly provides you.

But why are we carrying this in the first place? What was the trauma or micro traumas that resulted in this auto-response of always making ourselves small? Is it because the more we squash ourselves-our light, down, the more we’ll go by unnoticed by our parent, so they won’t have to leave us? Is it because we fear that we are incapable of supporting ourselves, so we latch onto whom or whatever we choose, to be our 24-hours, on-call liability? Are we trying to make someone else accountable of our lives so as to never have to take responsibility for ourselves; our actions (or lack of), and where we take ourselves in this lifetime? Are we refusing to acknowledge that deep down we feel responsible for everyone’s choice to leave us? Is that the curtain that hides our resistance to recognize that another person decided to abandon us? May that be why we build ourselves a prison-like shelter of blame and shame to keep us out of the heavy rains of unworthiness that pour over us? Perhaps it’s a combination of it all- I am most certain it is.

A method that works for me is creating my charts; what emotion arises from this thought/situation and where do I feel it in my body? When was the first time I felt this way that I can remember (don’t overthink it)? What am I afraid of, and furthermore, what is the possible subconscious fear that resides beneath it all? What is the truth of the situation and any sensible outcomes? What can I do to heal this, and what do I need in this moment? The slow and mindful dissection of each situation paves the way to revealing the micro-traumas beneath it all making it the motivator to accept, love and release it.

Other times, all you can do is stay afloat as the waves of fear wash over you- honoring its existence and allowing yourself to be present in the emotions and thoughts as they arise- working to become unattached to what surfaces. Accepting that sometimes we fall backwards even after taking steps forward.

I believe it to be important that we always visit our inner child. Talk to her, forgive her, console her, play with her, teach her the lessons that you once were unable to, and not ready for, as her guide. Reassure her that while good and bad feedback is part of the process, it is nothing to fasten onto and correlate our worthiness to or what we are deserving of. Having unconditional compassion for the universe that is part of us can only occur from giving compassion towards ourselves first.

When we willingly visit the shadows, we are gifting ourselves with the courage, strength and will power to unravel it all. What we don’t realize is that when we are in the depths of despair, we are mining through what we think is rubbish- only to revealing it was a diamond all along. Diamonds provide us with the ‘ah-ha’ epiphany inducing moments that help us piece together in order to work as the catalyst that propels us further down the unimaginable path of healing and growth.

It’s not about the other person-it never was. People and things are the mere distractions we pick to enable us in avoiding the fact that life is what we make of it. We are not entitled to someone creating the perfect life for us- we have to get off our ass and make it happen for ourselves! We are all worthy, we are all deserving. But most importantly, we all have the capability within us to get it. The more we do the work to get there- the quicker we will be able to enjoy the serendipitous events that occur to bring our dreams to life- the same ones we thought we could never accomplish.

 

Love always,

Mabes