Who knew when you injure your back you lose your balance? Not me. But that’s what happened. After months of physical therapy and exercises on the floor, the therapist told me it was time to get on the treadmill—to walk backward. ?
Those first steps felt unbalanced and awkward as I white-knuckled the bars on the treadmill. Eventually, my balance returned. But every step on that treadmill felt agonizingly unstable. If only I could walk forward, I thought.
When you try to cope with the pain from betrayal trauma, it feels like you’re walking backward on a treadmill.
Awkward. Difficult. Confusing. Unbalanced.
You wonder when this will end.
Here are three betrayal recovery lessons learned from walking on a treadmill.
1. Change direction.
For those who love using a treadmill for exercise, forgive me. I don’t like them. It’s the same scenery, the same whirring noise. Stagnant air. Other people’s sweat. Whenever I’m on a treadmill, I feel like I’d rather have an ice pick shoved in my eye than spend one more second on this machine. I get bored easily. It feels more like torture than a fulfilling exercise.
Life can get this way. We get into routines which means we go through the motions instead of relishing our days. Recovering from the shock and pain of discovering your husband’s porn struggles throws you off balance. Your instincts tell you to keep it to yourself. Don’t think about what you’ve discovered. Just keep going. However, when you adopt this strategy, you’ve jumped on that treadmill backward and can’t figure out how to get off safely. True recovery begins when you decide to take action and turn around.
2. Repetition reaps benefits.
Physical therapists know the benefits of using treadmills. They provide safe, dependable ways to increase movement and stamina after an injury. It’s easy to monitor a patient’s progress due to the statistical data provided in the treadmill’s system.
Sometimes in life, we need to practice repetitive thought and behavioral adjustments. Practice means practice. In a sense, it’s like walking backward on that treadmill. We need the safety of the repetitive changes before stepping off into uncharted options.
3. Ditch the treadmill.
After walking on a treadmill for several months, I couldn’t believe how free I felt walking outside. The fresh air rejuvenated me and listening to area sounds lifted my spirits. Those 20 minutes outside flew by instead of the 5-minute eternity on the treadmill.
“Wow, time really flies when you’re not on a treadmill.” Unknown
Recovery requires ditching the treadmill of past thoughts, behaviors, words, and actions and replacing them with new mindsets, motivations, words, and actions. To redefine your future, you change your present.
Want time to fly?
Ask yourself a few questions to evaluate where you’ve gotten comfortable on your treadmill.
- Where do I want to be in five years?
- Does what I’m doing today get me to that place?
- What is one thing I can do today to create my preferred future?
You can learn to walk forward.
If you need help, please reach out. I promise to listen without judgment and help you take the next step.