I’m depressed, angry, grieving

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

I recently found out the man I was in a 2-year relationship (long distance) was a new senior pastor of a church and was also married. I found this out by googling him. I called him and he told me he had been separated for almost 4 years, married 20. The pastor position came up out of the blue in January. I knew he was a minister and he had a different full time occupation. So, he said it was a calling from God and he knew he had to reconcile with his wife.

I saw him in May and he never said a word. I am shocked and devastated by his lies and betrayal. I cry all the time, can’t eat or concentrate. I share the same religion as this man and have been asking for God’s forgiveness. I love this man and am grieving the loss of a friend.

My emotions are all over. One minute I’m calm after praying, the next I’m so angry I want to tell his wife and church congregation, which I NEVER will.

How can I take care of myself so that I can heal and move on?

The pain is unbearable at times.

A: I am so sorry that this has happened to you. It sounds like a very painful betrayal.

I would write him a very clear, unabridged letter about your feelings. Don’t hold back. I would encourage you to fully express what it is you are feeling and then let the letter simmer for a day or two.

Forgiveness from God? For what? Loving someone too much? When someone betrays you and takes advantage of you and lies to you in the name of a calling from God, this isn’t a spiritual awakening. It is pathology, pure and simple.

I would seek counseling from a practitioner recommended by clergy. I would take the feelings and questions to him or her and let them help you sort this through. There are several issues here. There is the betrayal by a trusted friend and lover, there is a person in a minister’s position that is, at best, with questionable ethics and morality, and there is your own spiritual growth to tend to. By using someone from your religious background and focus in their counseling, you can sort through the best way to respond.

I would bring them the letter you’ve written, and ask what is the best way to handle the feelings surrounding this. But I would also ask their opinion about the church’s rules about reporting a minister’s behavior. I would not make this decision on your own without a consult. Your silence may or may not be the best way to proceed, but I would ask the opinion of a professional to help understand all your options.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 28 Jun 2011

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2011). I’m depressed, angry, grieving. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/06/28/im-depressed-angry-grieving/