Gas lighting, defensiveness, blame

Defensiveness and blame are two toxic behaviors that both the betraying partner and the betrayed partner can easily slip into. This show, which is geared for both the betrayed partner and the betrayed, will help you both understand what’s at the root of these behaviors and most importantly, how to stop so you can move towards understanding and healing.

Top take-a-ways:
  • Denial, diminishment, and gaslighting are three ways that your cheating partner seeks to defend themselves and prevent you from learning the truth. Learn to quit playing defense and move into a state of acknowledgement so the truth can flow through.
  • The toxic nature of blame, and how blame is actually unnecessary in affair recovery once acknowledgement has taken place.
  • Accountability and making amends from a place of empowered acknowledgment. How to own up, stop making excuses or shifting the blame, and become the person you know you are inside.

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About Lora

Attorney, speaker and Burnout & Betrayal Recovery Coach, Lora Cheadle believes that betrayal uncovers the truth of what’s possible when we stop focusing on what was done to us and start showing up unapologetically for ourselves. She helps women rebuild their identity and self-worth after infidelity so they can reclaim (or find for the very first time) their confidence, clarity, and connection to source and create their own kind of happily ever after.


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Narrator [00:00:01]:
You’re listening to FLAUNT, find your sparkle and create a life you love after infidelity or betrayal. A podcast for women who’ve been betrayed by their intimate partner and want to turn their devastation into an invitation to reclaim themselves and their worth. Tune in weekly so you can start making sense of it all and learn how to be okay on the inside no matter what goes on on the outside. Download your free betrayal recovery toolkit at

Narrator [00:00:35]:
Are you struggling after your partner’s infidelity? Do you need help navigating the aftermath of betrayal, taming obsessive thoughts, and feeling like yourself again? You are not alone. I’ve been there too, and I know how soul shattering it can be, but I also know what helps. My free betrayal recovery toolkit is available right now as an instant download, and it will help. It’s the ultimate guide to feeling better, reclaiming your power, and looking forward to the future again. Whether you’ve just found out about your partner’s affair or are still feeling stuck years down the road, this toolkit is your lifeline to recovery. In it, you’ll gain access to a wealth of resources designed to support you every step of the way, including insightful exercises, a chapter of Lora’s award winning book FLAUNT, and a full length hypnotic meditation that will help you overcome obsessive thoughts fast. If you are ready for healing, transformation, and to reclaim yourself in your life, then download your kit today. Just go to betrayal

Narrator [00:01:51]:
Enter your name and your email, and you will be redirected immediately to the download page, which you might want to bookmark for future reference. Reclaim your strength, rebuild your confidence, and embrace a brighter tomorrow today with the betrayal recovery toolkit that’s yours free when you go to betrayal Download yours today.

Lora Cheadle [00:02:21]:
Hello, and welcome to FLAUNT. Find your sparkle and create a life you love after infidelity or betrayal. I’m Lora Cheadle, and I work with women who have been betrayed by their intimate partner and really want to turn that devastation into an invitation to reclaim themselves and to create the next chapter of their life and their identity fully on their own terms. So much of my work focuses on you because after all, you are the only person you can control. And the reason so many other infidelity programs out there don’t work is because they really focus on all those external things that you can’t control. Like, what kinds of an affair was it? Or, you know, get your partner to do this, or get your partner to do that, or what did you do wrong? And the bottom line is while that can be interesting and there’s bits and pieces of things like that can that can be useful, What really matters is you and knowing yourself and knowing the changes that you can make. So with that as a backdrop, you might be wondering, okay, Lora, why are you doing a show then on your partner, on the person who cheated on you? And the reason I’m doing this show, this show is all about defensiveness and blame, 2 behaviors that really prevent healing. And I am talking about the person who cheated on you.

Lora Cheadle [00:04:10]:
I am talking about their defensiveness and their blame because those are the 2, I think, most crippling behaviors, that a partner who claims they are interested in reconciling or moving forward can exhibit. And the reason that I’m spending a whole show talking about them instead of talking about you is, first of all, you need to understand what’s going on with them so you can respond, so you don’t react, so you don’t get dragged down the rabbit hole of feeling bad about yourself, of feeling frustrated. Why isn’t my partner stepping up? Why aren’t they coming to the plate? So you can kind of start identifying, oh, this sadly is some normal behavior, and here’s where it’s coming from, and here’s what I can do to counteract that. And then part and parcel with that, this is also a really good show to share with your partner. Whether or not you think you are going to reconcile or you want to reconcile, it’s important for them as a human to maybe start seeing a little bit of themselves, to recognize some of these tendencies, and then maybe, just maybe, for their own benefit to step up, to get the help that they need to learn and grow and change. Because the bottom line, I’m 6 years out with my husband, and, yes, we still are in a relationship together, and we wouldn’t be had he not heard this kind of stuff. We wouldn’t be in a relationship had he not understood and made these changes. But the thing is, even if we were to have divorced or even if we were to divorce in the future, I am still better off if he’s better off.

Lora Cheadle [00:06:15]:
If he’s a better communicator and I’m a better communicator, we can separate better. If he is more self aware and I am more self aware, we can co parent better together. We can take care of financial decisions or splitting pot property or taking care of each other’s aging families or whatever it is better. It’s always better to be better. It’s always better to be more self aware. It’s always better to have more skills and tools and to know how to communicate. It’s always better to learn how to respond constructively instead of just flying off the handle and reacting. So that’s why I’m spending a whole show on the behaviors of the cheating partner for their benefit, for your benefit, for your kids, your friends, your families, like, for the world’s benefit because better is always better.

Lora Cheadle [00:07:24]:
So that’s the backdrop of this show. This show, we’re going to talk about defensiveness specifically and blame, which, as I just said, I think are the 2 most toxic behaviors that prevent healing, that really disrupt moving forward in any way. So let’s start with defensiveness. What is defensiveness? Well, it’s just that. It’s when you start to have a conversation with somebody and instead of having them listen and hear fully what your concern is or what your feeling is or what your desire is or what your emotion is, they suddenly make it about them. They make it that you were attacking them. They make it that you were accusing them. They make it about themselves and they seek to protect themselves by being defensive.

Lora Cheadle [00:08:34]:
So since this is a show on infidelity, if you were to say, look at these texts, These texts don’t make any sense. It looks like you’re cheating on me. They would seek to defend themselves by getting defensive. We’re just friends. That doesn’t mean anything. That it it’s that doesn’t mean anything. That’s just that’s not I don’t know what you’re meaning. That doesn’t even make any sense at all.

Lora Cheadle [00:09:02]:
You’re crazy. You are absolutely the crazy one because this is normal conversation. We’re just friends and I don’t know what you mean. Now, defensiveness comes in many forms. One of those forms is denial. There’s nothing here. We’re just friends. Why would you read that into it? That doesn’t make any sense.

Lora Cheadle [00:09:24]:
That’s denying your concern. Wow. Look at this text. This text looks inappropriate. Denying that it’s inappropriate. No. It’s not. No.

Lora Cheadle [00:09:33]:
It’s not. Instead of listening or asking questions on that. If you were to approach your partner and say, I found this text and it looks wildly inappropriate and you’re talking about meeting each other in a hotel last night, Okay. I get that that raises their hackles because they have been caught. But a healthy response to that would be to hear that, to hear what you are saying. I see that this text looks wildly suspicious. I understand your concern is I might be cheating on you, and then addressing that. I mean, again, for sake of argument, it could mean nothing.

Lora Cheadle [00:10:30]:
And if it means nothing, then the person is more likely to be like, oh, wow. I truly never did see it in that light. That does look highly suspicious, and that looks ridiculous, and that looks way flirty. And, wow, that emoji or that photo attached? But when somebody is guilty, they can’t hear that. All they do is seek to defend. And one of the ways that they seek to defend is deny. I didn’t send that text. I don’t know who that person is.

Lora Cheadle [00:11:03]:
It doesn’t mean what you thought, which moves right into the second kind of defensiveness, which is gaslighting. It’s not what you think. It’s not what happened. That’s not what I said. Even though you’re looking at something, how often does your partner totally gaslit you by telling you it’s something that it’s not? Okay. Look. I have a text that says, meet me at this hotel at 5 o’clock. That’s not what it means.

Lora Cheadle [00:11:32]:
That was an autocorrect. It didn’t say meet me at the hotel. It said, meet me at the hotel business luncheon at 5 o’clock. Gaslighting is really behavior that is designed to make you feel crazy. It’s designed to destabilize you. It is designed to turn the tables. And by saying something like that, meet me at the hotel business center, okay, there is a part of you that could kinda go, oh, well, that does make sense. He was at a hotel business conference, so I guess that does make sense.

Lora Cheadle [00:12:17]:
True gaslighting is sometimes so, I wanna say, evil and insidious, that it does get you to question your own sanity. Like, if somebody is telling you you are crazy, you are paranoid, How could you think that? No reasonable person would think that. And then the sane person starts thinking, wow. Am I crazy? Would a sane person think that, and am I being super suspicious? Wow. And I think that’s what makes gaslighting so dangerous is crazy people don’t tend to self reflect. And, I mean, crazy people is not a not a scientific term here. People who have borderline personality disorders, narcissism, things like that don’t tend to self reflect and really ask themselves, am I crazy? It’s truly the more mentally healthy people who are capable of seeing things from multiple perspectives. We are the ones who do start questioning.

Lora Cheadle [00:13:27]:
Wow. Am I being paranoid? Well, I guess I I have had autocorrect make some weird mistakes. Maybe that is an autocorrect mistake. Oh, well, maybe I am being ridiculous. Maybe, I mean, there’s a lot of open marriages out there, so maybe it makes sense. Maybe I am the old fashioned one. Wow. It’s me.

Lora Cheadle [00:13:53]:
It’s it’s me, and I’m weird for believing in monogamy because you’re right. I look around, and that’s not really such a such a big deal to a lot of people anymore. And then you’re the one that starts convincing yourself that what you saw or what you thought or what you feel or what you want is not true. And that’s what’s so dangerous about it because you’re the one that has convinced yourself that something is not what it is. I’m gonna tell you a little story, little little subtle gaslighting story. I mean, there’s ranges of gaslighting. There’s some big intense stuff and then there’s some kind of smaller, easier ways that people gaslight. Early on, before I discovered anything about my partner’s infidelity, I was putting his socks away, and I found a huge Costco box of condoms.

Lora Cheadle [00:14:53]:
And I thought, well, that makes no sense because that’s not something we use. And he’s actually had a vasectomy, so this doesn’t make sense. So being innocent and still not suspecting anything even though I found it, I went to him and I was like, I don’t even understand. There is this box of condoms, and some of them are even gone. And what is this? Like, why do we have a box of condoms? And he gave me a few stories, and I kept thinking, that’s not that doesn’t really make sense. That’s kinda weird. And I would go think about it, and then I’d go back to him and I’d be like, I just don’t understand. I just don’t understand why you would buy a Costco size box of condoms when we don’t use them.

Lora Cheadle [00:15:45]:
And if you’re curious because he was saying he’s like, I’m curious about experimenting with them. Okay. Well, then why didn’t you come home and show them to me and say, I’m curious about experimenting with these? I mean, first of all, that didn’t make sense anyway. And second, if that’s truly what you wanted, why didn’t you say something? But, again, I didn’t fly off the handle. I kept going back and forth because it didn’t make sense, and I was trying. I was trying to make sense of it because that’s the thing. Our brain tries to make sense of things. And he would try several other excuses, and I would kept thinking it’s just not lining up in my brain.

Lora Cheadle [00:16:27]:
And I actually talked to a couple of friends, and I’m like, have you ever had this happen? Why why would a guy go buy this? And it seems like my friends were as confused as I was because everybody thought Sean was a great guy. Nobody ever suspected he would be cheating because that’s not who he was. More on that concept of that’s not who he was later. But, finally, he landed upon a story that actually made sense to me. And that story was, since we had young teenage boys, he thought it would be really nice to have condoms in the house, that he could show them how to use them, that we could have them around if any of their friends needed something. And then my brain went, oh, that makes sense. That makes sense. And I thought back to all of the times in my life, the health class that I had in high school where everybody had to practice putting a condom on a banana.

Lora Cheadle [00:17:30]:
And I thought, oh, that makes sense because my brain had schema for that. And I thought back to mom friends who had older kids who kept condoms around just in case anybody needed them. And I thought, well, that makes sense based on, again, my schema. Again, I thought it was kind of weird, since I was the primary parent, why he hadn’t talked to me about it or why he hadn’t asked if I thought that was a good idea since I was usually the one that had a lot of those conversations with our kids like that, but I explained it away in my own brain. I thought, well, he’s the man, and I guess this is a guy thing, and he wants to he wants to stand up and do this this man part of parenting. This is important for him. So I talked myself into it. I found a reason that based on my experience, based on my schema, actually did make sense to me, and then I filed it away.

Lora Cheadle [00:18:30]:
Okay. That makes sense. And I didn’t think anything about it again. And the weird part is I didn’t then follow-up with the kids and say, wow. Dad told me that he had the condom talk with you. Dad told me that we’re gonna keep these out. So if any of your friends or you ever think that you need them, you can take one. Like, I never followed up on that, nor did my kids ever say, dad had this talk with us, nor was there ever, like, a community stash of condoms somewhere.

Lora Cheadle [00:19:05]:
So even though the excuse that he gave me didn’t hang together, I wrapped it up in my mind and just put it behind me because, oh, something was out of the ordinary. And that’s the thing we all seek to make sense of things and then to go back to our normal lives. And it’s not that I was intentionally being naive or being stupid. It’s just that it made sense and then I dismissed it as okay. Well, that’s random. Whatever. It’s it’s over, and I let it go. And that’s the way gaslighting works.

Lora Cheadle [00:19:48]:
Gaslighting inspires us so often to make our own bed, to do the arguing on behalf of the other person, which is a really weird place to be. So the 3rd I wanna go to the 3rd before I go talk about some of the remedies and some of the things that you and your partner can do. The third way that people get dismissive is by diminishing your concerns, by making light of something that, really, you didn’t wanna make light of. Like, maybe somebody had an emotional affair, and it wasn’t a physical affair. And their way of getting defensive about it is by diminishing it. This is not a big deal. We were emotionally connected. We we were friends.

Lora Cheadle [00:20:43]:
We confided in each other. We were work colleagues. I totally relied on her. Why are you making such a big deal out of that? Oh my god. You’re paranoid. No reasonable person would think there’s anything wrong with that. You’re supposed to have good connections outward. So you’re denying.

Lora Cheadle [00:21:05]:
You’re gaslighting because you’re telling something something somebody something that’s not true, and you’re diminishing them. Your feelings are ridiculous. Your concerns don’t matter. If your partner has ever said, we’re not gonna talk about that anymore, we’re done talking about that. That’s diminishing you. That’s diminishing your feelings. You know what? Yeah. You actually do get to talk about it.

Lora Cheadle [00:21:32]:
You can have rules around when and for how long you can talk about it. But you know what? You’re in a relationship, you both get to talk about things. You both get to put boundaries around when and for how long and things like that, but, sorry, one person to the relationship does not get to unilaterally decide anything. Okay. So what to do about defensiveness? What to do about defensiveness on both sides? What to do about it if you were the betrayer, and what to do about it if you are the betraying partner. Okay. The analogy that I like to use for defensiveness is a football analogy. Football, you have offense and you have defense.

Lora Cheadle [00:22:25]:
Basically, offense is trying to move the ball down the field and defense is trying to stop them. So when you’re playing defense, you’re looking for holes. You’re looking for places where you should block. And your job, like as a linebacker, is to run straight into somebody and smash them to the ground to prevent them from coming through. And so many men, so many cheating men do this literally. They look and they run and they smash and they knock you down. Hopefully, not literally, Hopefully, more metaphorically. But the closer that you’re getting to the truth, the meaner they get.

Lora Cheadle [00:23:09]:
The closer you’re getting to the truth, the more crazy they want you to feel because they suspect that you are getting close. So as the betrayed partner, keep this football analogy in mind. I wonder if I’m getting close to something because they are getting more spun up. I wonder if I’m getting close to something because they are getting more defensive. They’re denying. They’re diminishing. They’re gaslighting. And it can just give you that rational pause, that rational pause to sense, I wonder if I’m getting close.

Lora Cheadle [00:23:56]:
And then the second part of that is to feel into the panic that they must be feeling. Yeah. It’s about having a little bit of compassion for them in that moment. Pause, feel their panic, feel their fear, Feel their shame. Feel their guilt. Because when you can connect on that level of feeling a little bit of compassion or a little bit of empathy for them is going to make the whole conversation go better. Now for the betrayer, for the person who has secrets, for the person who betrayed and really would like to get some of this off their chest and repair their marriage and really repair themselves to find their dignity and their strength and their integrity again. I want you to hear this too.

Lora Cheadle [00:25:11]:
Defensiveness, denial, diminishment, gaslighting. Notice which one is your default behavior. Notice if you tend to use all 3 of them, most people do, and just notice where you go. You are the linebacker. You are playing defense. What do you do? Do you deny? Do you diminish? Do you gaslight? Notice that. And just like I told the betrayed partner to pause and to notice, I want you to pause and notice and then have that visual of the linebacker stepping away and just letting the ball come through that hole because you’re gonna get hurt if you’re stepping in front. You’re gonna smash somebody.

Lora Cheadle [00:26:07]:
They’re gonna smash you. It’s gonna hurt your heart. It’s gonna hurt your integrity. It’s gonna hurt your soul. It’s gonna hurt their heart, their integrity, and their soul. Don’t make that collision. Just step to the side. Let that ball come through.

Lora Cheadle [00:26:24]:
Let that question come through, and just spend a moment not responding, not reacting, not doing anything except to letting that question come through and give yourself about 3 beats, 3 breaths, 3 blinks, whatever it is for you. And just to let those feelings come up, It literally might be panic, like I’m in trouble or I’ve been caught or, oh my god. I feel so guilty and I feel so ashamed or I’m so embarrassed. Notice what it is you’re feeling in about 3 beats, 3 breaths, 3 blinks, just notice it. Feeling your feelings is the strongest, most powerful thing you can do. The reason you were defending, the reason you are smashing through is fear that you don’t want to feel your feelings. You are strong enough to feel your feelings. Be with those feelings.

Lora Cheadle [00:27:40]:
Let them come through. The other thing that you, as the betraying partner, are probably going to feel as a sense of rising panic that I have to know the answers. And what I wanna say to you and to the person that you betrayed as well is it’s okay not to know the answers. You probably won’t know the answers. And I want you as the betraying partner to know that it’s okay that you don’t know the answers. And I also want the betrayed partner to know, guess what? It sounds crazy, but the person who betrayed you is not going to know all the answers. They’re not gonna know why. They’re not gonna know what they were thinking in that moment.

Lora Cheadle [00:28:34]:
No. They weren’t thinking of you then. There’s this crazy little thing called compartmentalization, and men especially are really good at compartmentalizing. And when people compartmentalize, it’s just this belief that what I do in one area of my life has no impact on another area of my life. It’s literally like different drawers. Most of us have a junk drawer somewhere in our house that is just a mess, keys and rubber bands and flash drives and pens and erasers and paper and maybe a pair of sunglasses or some loose change. Most of us have a junk drawer. And, also, most of us have a drawer somewhere that is really neat, Whether it’s files for finances, whether it’s makeup or clothing, most of us have a drawer or a closet or a cupboard that is really, really neat, and at the same time, we have a junk drawer.

Lora Cheadle [00:29:37]:
And we don’t really ever spend time thinking about why is it that I can have a junk drawer and a neat drawer? We don’t think about that. We don’t think one impacts the other. We don’t open up our junk drawer and start thinking about our organized financial files. We don’t go to our perfectly organized drawer of t shirts and think about our junk drawer. Like, those drawers are separate. What do they have to do with each other? We usually think nothing. And that’s how compartmentalization works. That’s how it works in our brain.

Lora Cheadle [00:30:22]:
And, yes, I understand because I’ve been through this too. My husband cheated for 15 freaking years with 5 women. And, yeah, there was truly a part of him that didn’t think he’d ever have to tell. He didn’t think that it had anything to do with him as a family man, a father, a husband, a son-in-law. Like, he didn’t think those parts of his life had anything to do with his family. He loves me. He loved the kids. He loved his job.

Lora Cheadle [00:31:03]:
He didn’t think it had anything to do with it. Now does that make sense? No. But there’s a lot of human behavior that doesn’t make sense, And it’s normal for it not to make sense because, as humans, we are able to compartmentalize. If we weren’t, all of the horrible things that you have either seen or done would come flooding in at all times and would completely disrupt your day. I’ve got a really good friend right now who just lost somebody very close to her. It was a very young, very tragic situation, and obviously, she is experiencing a lot of grief, And yet, she has to compartmentalize. She has to go to work. She has to see her own clients, and she has to show up and be functional.

Lora Cheadle [00:32:05]:
She has to take care of her kids. She has to drive safely to and from her job. She has to compartmentalize this horrible grief and allow herself space and time to grieve, and then kind of put all that aside and step up and do what needs doing compartmentalization. Isn’t always bad. It’s a good quality. It’s a good skill to have. Otherwise, you literally would never be able to get a visual out of your brain. If you saw something like a dog get run over by a car or, God forbid, something worse, it would be with you all the time, and you would be unable to function because at any and all point in time, that image would be with you.

Lora Cheadle [00:32:57]:
So realizing that sometimes people can’t answer because sometimes people don’t know the answers, because sometimes they’re trying to get something to make sense that doesn’t make sense. Just like I was talking about with my little condom story in gaslighting, we search in our brains for things to make sense, and then when they don’t make sense make sense, we dismiss them. We think, well, that’s that’s outside the realm of normal. That’s an anomaly. That doesn’t make sense, and we dismiss it. It’s that data point that is outside what we know. Earlier, I had alluded to kind of the idea of, like, well, what kind of a person are you? What kind of a person would do this? What kind of a person are you? And this is one of those situations too where we are all a scattergram of data points. So often, the women that I coach will say things like, who are you? I thought I knew him.

Lora Cheadle [00:34:04]:
Well, let’s look at the data points because we’re all kind of a scattergram of data points. You could be married to a clinical narcissist. You could be married to a sociopath or a psychopath. You could be married to somebody who is engaging in all sorts of illicit behaviors or criminal behaviors or deviant behaviors. And as you gather all of these data points, you go, wow. There are more data points in the, this is a not the kind of person that I wanna be with. This is somebody who is truly toxic, and there’s only a few data points over here in the quote, unquote normal realm. There’s only a few data points that show me this person is truly interested in our relationship, in parenting, in the marriage, and whatever.

Lora Cheadle [00:34:59]:
But, you know, mostly what happens is there’s a whole lot of data points that somebody loves you, that somebody cares about you, that somebody is a good husband and father and is good in the community. There’s all these data points that show you what a good, kind, caring person your partner is, and then there are these few data points outside of the normal range, and you go, wait. What is that? How could you do that? Why are 99 of these little data points all clustered around you being a good kind person of integrity? And then there’s, like, these 10 data points over here that make no sense. And I’m not asking you to ignore the 10 data points outside the realm of normal that make no sense. Either of you. I want you to look at the full scattergram, and then you betraying partner, look at your scattergram and decide where you want to be. Decide who you are. Are you this person that has got 99 dots showing that you were a person of integrity and character? And is that who you want to lean into? Or are you like, you know what? No.

Lora Cheadle [00:36:19]:
I wanna bridge the gap, and I wanna be all of this. Or nope. I’m so tired being the good, kind, normal person. I wanna move out here. You gotta decide who you are and who you wanna be. You do get to decide that we all have free will, But what really matters is if you’re like, I don’t know what happened. I don’t know what these data markers over here truly are all about. If there’s some sort of pain, I was chasing validation.

Lora Cheadle [00:36:53]:
I was chasing a dopamine hit. I made some really bad mistakes, and then I kept engaging behaviors to try to cover up those mistakes. But, oh, my gosh. Now that they have been revealed, I’m actually pretty relieved because now I don’t have to live that way anymore. Now I don’t have to hide anymore. Now I don’t have to tell these stories anymore. Now I get to just move back into the good, true, solid warrior man that I’ve always known that I was and that I truly do desire to be. That’s your choice.

Lora Cheadle [00:37:29]:
And betrayed partner, it’s your choice where you get to focus too. I mean, truly, if you wanna look at any point on that scattergram, that is your choice too. If you are determined to leave and wanna focus on these 10 data points that really make you unhappy, that’s your choice to focus on those 10 data points that make you unhappy. But what I wanna say to you is, how is that serving you? How is that helping you? If it’s empowering you to make a change or to do something that you have long known you needed to do. Like, if you have been unhappy in this marriage for 10 years and you’re like, I really need to let this fuel me to move on. Perfect. If you wanna look at that because it’s gonna fuel you and be the catalyst for you to find your power and show up differently and reclaim yourself, then perfect. Do it.

Lora Cheadle [00:38:28]:
But if it’s gonna bring you down, why are you doing it? If it’s gonna make you angry and confused and hurt and feel stupid, why are you doing it? If you really feel like, I, yeah, I want this marriage to continue, then you’ve gotta look for what you want to find. You need to look at who your partner is, not just at the worst part of what they have done. And that’s how you can both move through, move beyond this defensiveness. You really need to move into that state of acknowledgment. Acknowledging, yes, I did this. Yes, that was outside of the norm. Yes, I denied it. Yes, I diminished it.

Lora Cheadle [00:39:25]:
Yes. I gaslit you. And I’m aware of that, and I see, and I am so sorry. And I’m not going to do it again. And if I slip into that habit, you need to check me. You need to check me and tell me, this feels like denial. This feels like diminishment. This feels like gaslighting, and I will acknowledge because I am no longer being defensive.

Lora Cheadle [00:39:53]:
I will not block that hole. I will let it come through, and I will feel that. Now, the second part of this, and it’s all still kind of the same thing, but it’s blame. Blame shifting and making excuses, that’s all kind of part of denial. It’s all kind of part of being defensiveness, but I wanted to address it specifically because defensiveness and blame are the 2 things that I hear people talking about the most. Like, oh my gosh. He’s so defensive, and he is just blaming. What I wanna say around blame is, can we get off the whole concept of blame? It’s pretty clear.

Lora Cheadle [00:40:34]:
We all know. Did you do something right? No. Did you do something wrong? Yeah. Does it really matter? No. And you might be thinking, what? It doesn’t matter because it’s in the past. It’s already been done. It’s over. Blame doesn’t help anyone.

Lora Cheadle [00:40:55]:
The only thing blame does is it lets you know, oh, I’m the person that has to clean it up. I’m the person that has to acknowledge, that has to be accountable, and that has to make amends. The only thing the blame might do is let you know tag your it. But beyond that, it doesn’t matter. So betraying partner, if you are blaming your spouse, well, yeah, you were neglecting me. Well, you didn’t show up. Well, you didn’t do what I asked. Will you be oh my gosh.

Lora Cheadle [00:41:29]:
Get over it. It’s all in the past. Do not blame your partner for your behavior unless your partner held a gun to your head and said, you have to go cheat now. They are not to blame. There might be contributing factors that led to either one of your dissatisfaction that made the choice to cheat feel like something you might wanna try. Get over the blame, both of you. Do not blame your partner. Your partner, like I said, the only time it’s your partner’s fault is if they held a gun to your head and said, you must go cheat.

Lora Cheadle [00:42:06]:
That is the one and only time you can blame your partner. If that didn’t happen, don’t ever blame her for anything ever. End of story. Now betrayed a partner, It’s kind of the same for you. You know who did it. You know who cheated. It’s in the past. They know they did it.

Lora Cheadle [00:42:32]:
You know they did it. It’s over. It’s done. End of story. There is no need to keep blaming, because you know what happens when you start blaming? It brings up shame. Not just guilt. It can bring up some guilt, but it brings up shame, and shame is toxic, and shame makes you want to defend. Because shame makes you feel bad about yourself.

Lora Cheadle [00:42:59]:
It makes you feel like I am a mistake. I am evil. I am bad. I am a monster. Who wants to feel like that? No human on the planet. What’s gonna happen when you are made to feel like that? You’re gonna start getting defensive because you need to protect yourself. Why do we get defensive? Because it hurts. We start armoring up, and it starts the whole cycle over again.

Lora Cheadle [00:43:34]:
Defensiveness, denying, diminishing, gaslighting is toxic. The way around it is to acknowledge. Yes. This is what I did. Yes. This is what I thought. Yes. This is what I didn’t think.

Lora Cheadle [00:43:49]:
Yes. This is what I intentionally chose not to see. People will say, why didn’t you think about me? I intentionally chose not to think about you. When somebody says they didn’t think about you, it’s actually a good thing. It means they’re a little bit more mentally healthy because think about it like this. If I chose to think about you before I cheated, that would make me a really sick human. So if I intentionally choose not to think about you, I’m protecting myself from thinking about something, which actually means you’re a little bit more mentally healthy. I know.

Lora Cheadle [00:44:25]:
I know. It’s twisted. It’s convoluted, but do you catch my drift? So once you’ve acknowledged, yes, I did this. Yes, it was really bad. Yes, it was stupid. Then there’s no need to go into blame. There is no need to go into blame. You have just acknowledged it.

Lora Cheadle [00:44:46]:
So betraying partner, if you are tired of feeling like you’re being blamed and shamed, acknowledge. Somebody truly can’t keep blaming you if you have acknowledged your right tag. I am it. It is me. You don’t need to keep saying that. It is me. So that’s what you, as a betraying partner, can do to stop your partner from blaming you. Keep acknowledging it.

Lora Cheadle [00:45:12]:
It was me. Betrayed a partner. Once they’ve acknowledged it, stop blaming. If you continue to blame, you are creating some more defensiveness in them, which is only going to hurt you. Once you’ve acknowledged, yep, it was me. I did the cheating and it was bad. That next step is the accountability. What am I going to do with it? And I truly think the most important thing to do, first of all, is to not be defensive and to not blame, to get yourself out of this cycle so you can move forward.

Lora Cheadle [00:45:51]:
Because do you see how once you’re stuck in defensiveness and blame, it just keeps going, and then that’s a never ending cycle? And then you can’t heal. And then it’s not about the marriage, and then it’s not about communication, and then it’s not about your personal work, and then it’s not about addictions, and it’s not about anything else because you’re stuck in this defensiveness, blame, shame cycle. And let me tell you what underpins all of this. And this is really what I wanted to wrap the show on. What underpins all of this is self betrayal Self betrayal. When you cheat on your partner betraying partner, when you cheated? Okay. Yes. Did you cheat on your partner? Of course.

Lora Cheadle [00:46:34]:
But do you know who you really hurt? You hurt yourself. You betrayed yourself, because look at your scattergram. You went outside of the norm for who you are. You went outside of the norm for how you want to be and who you want to be. You betrayed yourself. You hurt yourself. Your view of yourself as a man of integrity got ruptured. Your view of yourself as a partner, as a husband got ruptured.

Lora Cheadle [00:47:11]:
You hurt yourself. And do you know what happens when you hurt yourself? Shame happens and guilt happens. And holy cow, what was I thinking? How can I be so stupid? And all of that negative self talk happens, which is so much to take because none of us want to see ourselves as bad people. None of us wanna see ourselves as bad people. We all want to see ourselves in the best possible light. There are studies out there that show we judge ourselves based on our best intentions, and we judge others based on their worst actions. So, yeah, when you see the things that you did and you see the damage it caused, it makes you realize, oh, I’m not showing up how I want to be. I am not being who I want to be.

Lora Cheadle [00:48:19]:
And then the reaction is to blame somebody else. Well, you made me do it because it’s really hard to own it. It’s really hard to stand in it and to be like, no. Nobody held a gun to my head and made me make this decision. I have to blame myself, but it’s not shame inducing. Because when you can actually blame yourself and own it, it means you’re acknowledging it and you’re being accountable. And when you’re accountable, it means you don’t ever have to make that same decision again. I learned.

Lora Cheadle [00:48:53]:
We learn more from our mistakes than we do from our wins. And the train partner, I want you to hear that. We learn more from our mistakes than we do from our wins. It’s okay that you made a mistake. It’s okay that you went outside of your scattergram. What matters is what are you gonna do with it now? Okay. It’s been acknowledged. How can you be accountable moving forward? What kind of help do you need? Who do you need to talk to? What book do you need to read? What are you gonna do now? Because, again, looking at that scattergram, what kind of a man are you? What kind of a man do you wanna be? And once you step into this accountability, determining who and how you want to show up, it sets your partner free to also start determining who and how they are and want to show up.

Lora Cheadle [00:49:54]:
And then you move out of that defensiveness and blame cycle, and you can start actually making amends. Who do I need to talk to? What do I need to say? And then betrayed partner, this is where you can start also figuring out, what do I need to make this better? What do I need to trust them again? Betraying partner, what do I need to do to trust myself again? What do I need to do to forgive myself? Because forgiving yourself sets you free to start making amends. Because amends get made from a place of wholeness. I’m gonna say that again. Amends get made from a place of wholeness. You cannot be making amends from a place of brokenness. You need to strengthen yourself. You need to stand fully in your power so you can be a warrior and make amends from a place of strength.

Lora Cheadle [00:50:59]:
And let me just close by saying, you know what? It takes time. It took years to get to this position, and it’s gonna take years to get out of it. But I don’t want that to deter you because you are making steps along the way, and those steps will determine your destiny. And you are both powerful and you are both strong and you can both do this. And together, you can keep each other accountable, and you can acknowledge all of the things within yourself that maybe you hadn’t acknowledged before. Because at the end of the day, what I want most for each of you is for you each to refuse to betray yourself ever again, to live with the integrity and character and quality that you know to be true for who you are. Reach out if you’d like to take this further. Have an amazing week.

Lora Cheadle [00:52:06]:
And as usual, always remember to flaunt exactly who you are because who you are is always more than enough.

Narrator [00:52:15]:
This podcast is sponsored by BetterHelp. Have you been struggling lately? Relationship issues impact every area of your life. When I found out about my husband’s infidelity, I was so devastated. I could barely function. Sleeping was impossible because I couldn’t shut off my brain. Eating was a challenge because I felt nauseous all the time, and for the 1st month or so, everything felt pointless. Whether you’re having trouble sleeping, feeling hopeless, or just can’t focus, BetterHelp is here to help you. BetterHelp offers licensed therapists who are trained to listen and help.

Narrator [00:52:53]:
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Narrator [00:53:48]:
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Narrator [00:54:33]:
Tune in next time to flaunt, find your sparkle and create a life you love after infidelity or betrayal with Lora Cheadle every Wednesday at 7 AM and 7 PM Eastern Standard Time on syndicated DreamVision 7 Radio Network. Uncover the truth of what’s possible for you on the other side of betrayal and develop the skills and strategies necessary to embrace the future and flourish today. Download your free betrayal recovery toolkit at