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How to Heal Wounds in a Relationship

Updated: May 8

by Lisa K. Stephenson

"The best wines are the ones we drink with friends."

I wonder, is my heart still broken or am I just damaged? When we get a wound do we treat it right away, seek medical attention or ignore it, overtime allowing our bodies to heal itself? It is no doubt that depending on the severity of a wound the longer it goes untreated it will become infected and in some cases, fatal. Why do we as men and women not immediately treat our relationship wounds once we are battered and bruised? Do we not understand that ignoring pain, lies and infidelity will have a long-lasting effect on our mental and physical health? Or are we just too stubborn to seek medical attention, find our way, emancipating ourselves and thus face the world alone?


So how do you heal wounds in a relationship? It is no secret that my past isn’t pretty. But, it is that ugly past and that arrogant, woman beating, unremorseful, compulsive lying, selfish serial cheating man who helped to shape me into the woman I am today. Have you ever heard someone say, “Why do you continue to break your own heart?” or “Are you simply a glutton for punishment?” You know he is lying, yet you continue to believe him, why? The idiom definition: A person who continues to do things whose consequences he or she finds difficult or unpleasant. We pick at scabs and poke our wounds (at least I know I do) but when is enough, enough? When do you finally decide that you have endured enough pain and your heart and soul simply cannot withstand anymore? By this time, you are no longer heartbroken, you have entered the stage of damaged. You have left a wound untreated and now it is infected, causing chronic illness. The long-term damage will now shape your future as you see your past for what it really is, a wound left untreated, ignored for many years.


A Flesh Wound and its stages:

Stage One: The white lies, the emotional cheating and the changes in pattern and behavior. We overlook these things, believing this is simply a flesh wound and cannot cause a fatality. Why should this be the end of my relationship? The act was not physical, well, that is, not yet. The wound has only broken the skin, it is not infected, why act now? Prevention is better than cure as they say. Little do we know the wounds cut deeper with time. Immediately our red blood cells form a clot to help stop the bleeding, creating a temporary barrier preventing more harmful bacteria from entering the infected wound. Emotional defenses are up as suspicions are formed, tensions rise and while our body is in the beginning stages of healing it is not enough for us to protect it, leave and walk away allowing our bodies to do their bidding.


Stage Two: The secrets, tactical lies, denial, gas-lighting (manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity), emotional abuse and apathy. That flesh wound left untreated simply building a defense is slowly beginning to crumble as your emotions are heightened and the pain increases. Thus, arguments erupt, trust is questioned and the household becomes complete anarchy. We are speaking in circles. Do you want that medical attention now? Nope, not just yet because you haven’t had enough. The open wound you didn’t allow time to close and heal is now exposed and the cells in your body are left damaged allowing viruses, bacteria and microbes to enter and multiply. Lies upon lies, believed without question. Feeling a little queasy? It is typically during this stage that we begin to analyze our situation weighing the pros and cons, we begin to feel love sick and sometimes this is enough to get us to walk away and other times it simply isn’t….

Stage Three: At times bacteria multiples, so rapidly they crowd our host tissues (emotions cloud our judgement/logic and imminent decisions are made. (I will stay and we will work things out, we can move past this) and disrupt normal function. Sometimes they kill cells and tissues outright (my relationship will never be the same. I am to blame and I wonder, what did I do wrong? Maybe I am the reason he cheated. Rest in peace self-esteem). Sometimes they make toxins that can paralyze (where will I go? Who will support my child and I? I will never find someone who loved me the way that he did), destroy cells’ metabolic machinery (loss of appetite), and/or precipitate a massive immune reaction that is itself toxic (Damaged. Men are not to be trusted - Final Analysis).

I am damaged….


We break our own hearts because we do not want to accept defeat. It is embarrassing to think that we, humans, could have fallen in love so hard and for so long with another individual who single-handedly can be considered our very own weakness. So we fight, in an effort to prove to ourselves and those around us all wrong. We fight to prove that we are not an average couple and that we can and will overcome tumultuous times. But ladies and gentlemen that is pure stupidity. Love is not measured on how many bullets of infidelity or punches of lies mixed with a love child you can tolerate and remain standing. Love is measured by will power, communication and trust. Yet and still we fight until there is nothing left; we fight until the heartbreak becomes an infection so fatal that it interferes with our decisions on love for the remainder of our lives. We fight to avoid looking and feeling weak. But, when is enough, enough? When the infection has won.....you heal the wounds by recognizing it is time to walk away.


That wine was good.

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