You may feel quite shaken up in your view of the human race. Any woman who suffers serious mistreatment from a partner she had loved and trusted struggles with feelings of betrayal. And betrayal can knock you off your foundation at a core level, so that:
· the world starts to feel like an unsafe place.
· everyone’s motives start to be suspect
· you start to question your sense of what is real
If your partner were terrible all the time, it would actually be easier to deal with in many ways; you would tell yourself, “Well, he turned out to be a jerk.” But when someone you love goes back and forth between kindness and cruelty, generosity and selfishness, tenderness and intimidation, loving you and cheating on you, you can come to feel that it’s impossible to understand people. Your feelings for the primary person in your life tend to carry over into how you view everyone.
Your partner may further feed the problem by encouraging you to think badly of others. He may tell you that people are lying to you or taking advantage of you; that your friends have hidden motives; that you are naïve in your dealings with people; that “everyone is just out for themselves.” He’s talking about himself, though he probably doesn’t know it.
And yes, there are sharks out there. But the world is also full of so many thoughtful, caring, honest individuals. Most people don’t use other people, or trick them, or threaten them. In fact, most people are doing their best to live ethical lives and to be decent and responsible for other people.
So don’t let your partner (or ex-partner) distort your outlook on your species. Look for the good in people, and notice their efforts to make human connection. Be smart, yes, but don’t harden your heart. You will find many gems in the human race.
“I will stay open to people and give them a chance. I’m keeping my heart alive.”