There came a point when I felt very conflicted about my abuser. He was good, trusted, respected, liked. But there was this other side of him, the person who abused me, took advantage, and betrayed my trust. It was like he was two different people.
I struggled in the same way when my husband revealed to me the secrets he had been keeping from me. There were two realities going on at that time, the one I knew and the secret life he was living apart from me.
It turned my world upside down. What was true anymore? Who was, who is this man?
In my situation, God in his mercy changed my husband's heart. He was done with the lies and the deceit. He was a "new man" and we were working on a fresh start. But the conflict remained because the "changed man" was the same man who did those awful things, but he was not that man anymore. What a head trip!
So we decided to name him. We named the man he used to be. We chose a random name for him. For the blog's purposes let's say it's "Harry" (it's not, but let's just say it is). It's kind of funny, I know. But giving "the jerk" the name "Harry" was a tangible way to describe who my husband used to be while encouraging and supporting the man he is today, the man God always wanted him to be.
Every now and then "Harry" comes to visit. And when I see him coming I tell him he needs to leave. "Harry" doesn't live here anymore. It's a joke, but it's not. I can be mad at "Harry". I can think "Harry" was terrible and hurtful and all those other things.
I like who my husband is today. I want to make our marriage work. I want to heal and grow and love him forever. I am committed to him and he is committed to me. The things from the past are in the past. We are rebuilding the broken trust moment by moment, action by action. I have forgiven my husband. That doesn't mean I don't still hate what he did or that it doesn't hurt when I think about how he betrayed me. But I can focus that negative energy onto "Harry" and be reminded daily that my husband is not that man anymore.
Do you ever wonder how you can ever look at your spouse the same way again? It is possible to recover and move on from sexual betrayal. And this silly technique might just help. It works for us!
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: The old has gone, the new is here!" (2 Corinthians 5:17)
1. This Is My Solemn Vow