Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, episode 201, When They Lied.
Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, the only podcast that offers a proven process to help you work through your grief, to grow, evolve, and create a future you can truly look forward to. Here’s your host, Master Certified life coach, grief expert, widow, and mom, Krista St-Germain.
Hey there, welcome to another episode of the podcast. Right now as you’re listening to this podcast episode, assuming flight plans have gone as they are supposed to go, I should be in Spain visiting my daughter. Super excited to go there for a couple of weeks and hang out with her. And I’ve never been to Spain. It’s Holy Week so that means according to her professors, everything’s going to be quite busy in Seville where she is studying. So hopefully we’re going to get a chance to spend, of course, some time in Seville but also perhaps Madrid and Barcelona.
And I’ll see what’s there but more than anything I just get to hang out with my goose, so I’m excited about that.
So okay, let’s talk about when they lied. I’ve been meaning to do this episode for a while and what pushed me over the edge was an email that I got from a listener who interestingly enough happens to live in my city but she sent an email. And she was telling me just some of the bits of her story. And part of what she’s been really struggling with is some secrets that she found out about after her husband passed. And she said that she’s never really seen very many resources for how to navigate that. And so I thought, alright, it’s time. I’ve got to do this episode.
So what I’m talking about when I say they lied is the situations that really happen so much more often than you probably think, where you find out about something you weren’t aware of when they were alive. And you find out about it after they die. So maybe they had some debt that you didn’t know about. Maybe they were having an affair. Maybe they said they’d taken care of something that they hadn’t. Maybe that you read a romantic or a sexy text exchange that they had with someone and you don’t know what the nature of that relationship was. You have unanswered questions.
You thought something was one way and then after they died you found out that it wasn’t and it feels like a betrayal or a lie. That’s what I’m talking about. So first I want to tell you that if this has happened to you, you are really not alone. I have heard so many stories in the coaching work that I’ve done and I’m sure there are countless stories I haven’t heard. But the reason you probably feel like you’re alone is because most women are not comfortable talking about these kinds of things.
So I just want to assure you that you probably do feel very alone and I totally get that and it makes complete sense and I know you’re not. There’s a lot of me too’s out there and it’s just that people don’t know how to talk about it, don’t want to talk about it, are embarrassed to talk about it, feel pressured not to talk about it, all the things we’re going to talk about today. But rest assured, even though it feels like you’re alone, I promise you that you’re not.
Secondly, however you feel about it is okay. I really encourage you to allow yourself to feel how you feel without judging yourself for feeling that way or without judging how you feel. So if it hurts, let the hurt flow through. If it sucks, let the suck wash through you, however we feel is okay. My suggestion, if you’re new to the podcast, of course, go to episode three, How to Feel Better Now. That’s the NOW process that I teach or use tapping. Either one is amazing.
I particularly love the benefits of tapping because as you’re tapping you can actually create calm in your nervous system which I personally feel super supported by. So that’s going to be my suggestion is that you let yourself feel how you feel. And I’ve done several episodes on tapping. If you don’t know this about The Widowed Mom Podcast you can go to my website coachingwithkrista.com and then click on the podcast tab. And there’s a search bar in the podcast tab. So you can actually search by subject.
It’s not really easy to search podcasts on Apple Podcasts, which is the platform that I listen on but you can do it on my website. So if ever you’re looking for a podcast episode, go to coachingwithkrista.com and then click on the podcast tab and you’ll see the search bar. So you can search for tapping. You can search for How To Feel Better Now.
And I suggest that, if I were tapping on this, how I would do it is, I would say, “Even though I feel hurt, angry, betrayed”, whatever the feeling is, “It’s okay for me to acknowledge the truth of how I feel.” Or, “That’s what’s true for me now.” That’s how I would set it up, side of hand. If however you’re feeling you acknowledge it, even though I feel whatever it is it’s okay for me to love and accept myself or even though I feel betrayed, angry, hurt, this is the truth of how I feel. Even though I feel, insert the feeling. It’s safe for me to feel this feeling now.
We say the truth and we follow it with a grounding statement. But that grounding statement has to feel true. If it doesn’t feel true it’s not going to work. So that’s why sometimes people will say, “Even though I feel angry, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.” But when they say, “I deeply and completely love and accept myself”, they don’t believe it. And so that’s not a good statement for them. So I just want to make sure that if you’re tapping, say the truth of how you feel and follow it up with a statement that feels true for you, it feels good in your body when you say it.
You set it up that way three times then you tap through the points, all this anger or all this betrayal, this betrayal, so betrayed. It doesn’t matter what you say, you’re just acknowledging the truth and you’re letting the feelings flow through. And by truth, I mean not the factual truth. I mean your truth in that moment caused by a thought that you believe. Now, you might not always believe that thought but in that moment you very much believe it. And we don’t need to change that. We just want to allow it and process it.
So never shoot on yourself for how you feel. Now, then notice if you have shaming or dismissive thoughts. They might look like if only I were a better wife or this is my fault or there must be something wrong with me or I shouldn’t be so upset, I shouldn’t let this bother me so much, I should be over this by now. Any of those shaming or dismissive thoughts, put a red post-it note on those thoughts metaphorically speaking. We talk about this regularly in Mom Goes On because I see it happen so much.
And I see it for a couple of reasons. One is that some of us have super mean inner critics and it would really help us to see that the inner critic voice is not the truth of who we are. We do not have to listen to those inner critic thoughts. When we investigate them and get curious about them, we’ll usually find that that’s just a part of us that’s trying to keep us safe for whatever reason, but if it’s mean we don’t have to listen.
Also sometimes we default to blame, to shame, to anger because they’re higher on the emotional scale than sadness and powerlessness. And humans really seem to want to avoid sadness and especially powerlessness. So while shame and blame and anger, they don’t feel good, they’re actually more kind of like they have a more powerful quality about them. They give the illusion that we have control.
If we have someone to shame or blame or be angry with even if it’s ourselves then we can maintain the illusion that we are more in control than we actually are when the truth is that what that person thought, what they felt, what they did was never something we could control. But if we can blame ourselves or shame ourselves or be angry with ourselves or someone else, maybe there’s a third party. Then it’s a way of unconsciously avoiding sadness and powerlessness. So it makes sense why we do it.
Okay, so you’re not alone, let yourself feel how you feel. Notice if you have shaming or dismissive thoughts. You do not have to listen to any of those shaming or dismissive thoughts. And if you’re telling yourself that this is a secret you have to keep, I want to offer to you that you don’t. You do not have to keep the secret. Now, if you choose to keep the secret, own your choice, give yourself the credit, have your own back, be your own champion about your decision to choose to keep the secret.
Because what I’m seeing very often is women are telling themselves, I have to keep this secret and they put all of this pressure and stress on themselves because of this thought. So you don’t have to keep any secret, you might choose to, but own your choice, give yourself credit, have your own back if that’s your choice.
Now, the reason I think we fall into believing that we have to keep the secret, that we can’t speak out, that we can’t be honest is because we’re either making their behavior, what they did, this thing that we found out about, this lie. We’re making it mean something about us or we’re worried about what others are going to think and feel.
So if we’re worried that other people are going to judge them then we might feel afraid. If we’re worried about hurting our children we might feel scared. If we’re worried that other people are going to judge us, we might feel pretty hesitant to be honest. So what we’re thinking about it is what causes what we feel about it. And how we feel about it determines what we do. So if I’m thinking I don’t want to hurt others then I’m probably going to be a little scared and I’m probably going to hide the truth and perhaps create an experience where I hurt myself perhaps.
So imagine the freedom, and this is an offering to you, take it or leave it, but imagine the freedom that you could feel if you allowed other people to have their own thoughts and feelings about whatever it is that happened, just imagine that. If you didn’t have to control it, if you didn’t have to change it, if you gave them full permission to think and feel however they chose to think and feel about it and you didn’t make it your problem to solve or a problem to solve, imagine the freedom.
Imagine the energy you could put toward other things if you decided that it’s okay that other people don’t understand or that they judge or that it’s okay that they have feelings about it. Imagine the energy you could put toward other things if you decided that. Because the truth is that you can’t control whether they understand or judge or what feelings they have about it. All you can do is try to prevent them from having the information, you can just hold it in, you can bottle it up. You can put that kind of pressure on yourself.
And I’m not saying that’s wrong or bad. I want you to do what you want to do. But if the only reason you’re not being honest is because of what other people would think or how they would judge or how they would feel, what if you decided it was okay, how much energy would that give you back? How much freedom would that give you? How could you benefit if you released any attempt to control? And what could you do with that energy that you spend holding it in and trying to prevent them from finding out the truth? You decide but I just want you to know it’s an option.
Next, I know that it doesn’t seem believable as I say it but what they did, this lie that you have uncovered is not what is creating how you feel. Now, it’s not that how you feel is wrong. It’s not that you shouldn’t feel the way that you feel. Remember I said, however you feel is fine, allow it. You’ve done nothing wrong because you feel how you feel. It’s that once you recognize that no matter what they did you get to be the boss of what you choose to make it mean in your life, then you have choices. And I want you to have choices.
Now, you may still choose to feel angry or hurt or betrayed and that is a valid choice. I am not here to talk you out of anything you want to feel. There are many times in my life where I have chosen on purpose knowing full well that my thoughts cause my feelings. I have chosen full well to feel angry or hurt or betrayed. Sometimes I don’t want to feel good about something. That is a choice that I get to make and you get to make that choice too. So I don’t have an agenda of how you should feel but I do have an agenda that you get to choose it on purpose.
I do have an agenda to have you feeling empowered to choose what you want for yourself and feel good about that choice. And the reason that I’m making this point that what they did is not causing how you feel is because if you continue to believe that what they did, causes how you feel then you can never feel any differently. Then you always have to feel the way that you feel and maybe you don’t like the way that you feel. Maybe you don’t want to feel that way.
But if you think it’s caused by what’s happened in the past and we go back and time travel and change what’s happened in the past then we leave you missing the opportunity to create what you want going forward. You are left with whatever the experience is you’re currently having and chances are you’re probably not loving it.
So I want you to feel empowered to choose your response and therefore create your own emotional state. You get to decide what this means about them, what this means about you, what this means about your relationship, what this means about your past, what this means about your future. And just because your brain offers you some thoughts doesn’t mean you have to believe them. My brain offers me all kinds of thoughts that I don’t choose to believe and you can do that too.
So here are some thoughts that you might consider. If you don’t want to keep thinking about what has happened the way that you are currently thinking about it because you don’t like what it’s creating for you then here are some thoughts that you could consider. What they did wasn’t about me. What they did was a reflection of what was going on inside of them. Now, we’re all doing the best job we can with what we know. I say that like it’s factual but I believe it so much that it feels factual when I say it. We’re all doing the best we can with what we know.
So when someone does something they still might be doing the best they can with what they know and we don’t like what they did. It’s not to dismiss what they did, it’s not to say that we like what they did or we’re okay with what they did, it’s to soften a little bit. Sometimes I really miss the mark in my life. And we could go back and we could pull some skeletons out of my closet.
There are some things that I’ve done that I am really not proud of but when I go back and I look at why I did those things I realize that just like all the other humans I was feeling something that fueled my behavior. And the way that I was feeling was caused by something that I was thinking. And I didn’t necessarily choose that thought on purpose. I didn’t really realize that I wasn’t my thoughts until after my husband died.
So there have been many times when my behavior made complete sense as I look back knowing, yeah, that thought caused this feeling and this feeling drove that action, makes total sense that I would do that. Now, would I choose that in hindsight? No. Do I believe that thought now? Not necessarily. But did I believe it then? You bet, of course I did. I didn’t even know that thought was optional. So I’m not saying you don’t get to be mad. I’m not saying you have to love it or want to love it.
But I am saying your person for whatever their reasons were and based on their own cognitions that they didn’t know were optional, their behavior probably made sense given what they were thinking and feeling and they were probably doing the best job with what they knew. And if that thought feels good to you, keep it. If it doesn’t feel good to you, dump it. These are just offerings.
Another thing that you can think or try on, we try on thoughts like clothes, we just try them on and see how they feel and if we want to keep them we do. This is what we have and I can love myself through it. This is what we have and I can love myself through it. We don’t have to like it. We don’t have to make it mean amazing things. We don’t have to Pollyanna it. We don’t have to turn it into a blessing or be grateful for it, but this is what it is. This is what we have. We acknowledge it, we stop resisting it. And we love ourselves.
And the last one I want to offer is this is not a secret I have to keep. If I keep it, it’s because I choose to do so. If you keep that secret, own your choice because anything else is mean. It is mean to make a choice and then not own it. You make yourself feel terrible and you don’t need to do that to yourself. So if you make that choice give yourself the credit, have your own back about it, feel good about the choice that you made or you can change your mind but don’t poop on yourself with your thoughts. Deal?
Okay, I hope this episode helped some of you who are struggling because you have found out things that maybe you wish you hadn’t found out, but there it is. And listen, I never really found anything out about Hugo that I didn’t want to find out. But I can tell you, I do remember going through his phone with this, what if there’s something in here, feeling how awful would it be if I did find something out that I didn’t want to know? I had no reason to think that but who knows, the brain goes crazy places. I do remember that being a worry.
And so I haven’t been through it personally. I’ve coached a lot of women through it. I guarantee you, you are not alone. It is so much more common than you think and you get to be the boss of ultimately how you decide to think about it. Please don’t dismiss how you’re feeling. Please don’t shame yourself. Keep the secret if you want to keep it and you’re the boss of that. Alright, that’s what I have for you this week. I love you, you’ve got this. Take care and I’ll see you next week, bye bye.
If you like what you’ve been hearing on this podcast and want to create a future you can truly get excited about after the loss of your spouse, I invite you to join my Mom Goes On coaching program. It’s small group coaching just for widowed moms like you where I’ll help you figure out what’s holding you back and give you the tools and support you need so you can move forward with confidence.
Please don’t settle for a new normal that’s less than you deserve. Go to coachingwithkrista.com and click work with me for details and the next steps. I can’t wait to meet you.