Finding Heart in the Dark

Love and the Mystery of Betrayal

Sandra-90Several years ago my long-time partner left me a few weeks before our wedding, and was I ever blindsided. This was a man I had loved and trusted, whom I deeply believed was devoted to me, too. As I learned how wrong I had been — that I had essentially been living a lie — my loss of faith in him and in myself drew me into an unprecedented physical, emotional and spiritual crisis.

The extent of my unraveling also took me completely by surprise. I had been a strong and high-functioning professional before this abrupt loss. As the existential angst set in, along with it came extreme weight loss, sleeplessness, anxiousness and rage. Intrusive, distressing replays of the shock, a sign of PTSD I later learned, haunted my days and nights, not simply for months, but for years.

I’ve spent the past few years recovering from the trauma, picking up the pieces of my shattered life and immersing myself in trying to understand the mysteries of abandonment and betrayal. I did a lot of meditating and inquiry, reading, research and talking to others, and struggling with what was occurring in my body and mind as I fell apart. In the process, I learned a lot about betrayal — what some call “the most underrated trauma,” “the most difficult of all woundings,” “an irreparable devaluation,” even “the greatest evil.”

When I realized that sharing what I was learning might be useful to other people, it offered a sliver of purpose to what otherwise felt like a bottomless pit of meaninglessness. So, I spent nearly four years writing Love and the Mystery of Betrayalto chronicle what had happened.

The response to the book has been gratifying. Many readers have sent notes and written reviews expressing their thanks and appreciation. Their feedback has helped me see that by sharing the difficult truth of what happened to me, I was in effect blowing the whistle on a culture that turns a blind eye to the devastation that can result from the betrayal of intimate trust, and helping others find the courage to do the same.

If you are going through a similar trial, my heart goes out to you. It is my wish that you may come to realize, as I have, that we are held in the hands of light — even as we go through this underrated “valley of the shadow” that tests one’s faith in the goodness of life to the core.

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I offer this site as a resource for kindred spirits looking to make their way through this emotionally dark, but spiritually promising, passage. May you come to trust these terrible, dark times and let them lead you deeper into your heart than you have ever gone before. May you come to sense how mystery trumps meaninglessness; love tenderizes pain; and brokenness reveals the intimate wonder of existence.