When you do wrong, you expect a consequence. We teach children the consequences of their wrongdoing. It does not make them “bad kids”, but a kid who is learning what is right and what is wrong and the consequences of both.

We do not “punish” (with consequences) a child who has done something wrong in the past and is no longer doing it. That would be judging the child as bad due to past behaviour and taking the perspective that the act of wrongdoing is reflective of their personality until the end of days.

Using the same reasoning for betrayal of a spouse: When the betrayer shows deep remorse and is no longer engaging in any of the behaviours that were related to the betrayal, there need to be no reason to keep on “punishing” the spouse (who has done the work).

How come betrayed feel the urge to punish? The reasons are that they are still hurting, that they are haunted by memories that affect their daily functioning. They feel the urge to show their hurt which is a form of punishment for the betrayer.

Healing: If a betrayed spouse can trust that there is no longer any betrayal in any form, the betrayed spouse will be able to gradually place the wrongdoing in the past and have peace with the fact that consequences have affected the betrayer enough. All anger which equals hurt has been communicated. All communication by this time is a repetition.

To let a former betrayer know that the hurt is still there, a different form of communication (a word, a sign, a symbol) can be chosen to show that the pain is still present. This can be followed by a request. The request can be “I need you to hold me”, I need you to get it”, I need to feel loved”, I need to feel that we are your priority”. The betrayed can communicate the request during a time when there are no painful reminders. It is important that the former betrayer knows what their spouse needs…to have to ask from their spouse what they need when in pain is not helping in particular when they have communicated this. It would be another disappointment.


7 thoughts on “POST 56: NO CRIME NO PUNISHMENT

  1. I think also when you have suffered that depth of betrayal, to ask for what you need after, leaves the betrayed feeling vulnerable. On going punishment is no answer, but its hard to let go of the protective shell we develop to defend ourselves. Great post. x

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I went through the same rage with my ex, so I do understand the feelings of deep anger about a betrayal. In the end, I simply wasn’t able to forgive. I still love her, hope for the best for her, but could never feel the same trust I once felt. Yet, as I ponder your thoughts, Elizabeth, I’m cognizant of the fact that my ex certainly displayed a great amount of remorse for a long time thereafter. I forgave her but not enough to want to stay. I suppose my forgiveness meant something for her, but ultimately it’s between her and a higher authority. As Owlieme correctly says, we can only focus on protecting ourselves. – Marty

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  3. Great observations about punishment after the fact. I feel I want to punish, not only my H but the stupid women who invaded my life. I have still not found a place for the fact that they “hit and ran” and got away with it on some level..or at least without having to deal with me.

    I know what you say makes perfect sense…putting it into play a little harder. I am trying!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. One thing I thought of today, was that I am so thankful for all of you wonderful men and women who are so open and supportive on this blog site. You have all made my journey thus far feel less lonely and more sane…trying to find a silver lining. The other thing I am grateful for is to at least now have my eyes open, to see what is really going on, rather than be in the dark and duped. I am also grateful to know deep in my heart that if I am ever betrayed again, I will leave without question or feeling badly.

    Liked by 2 people

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