POST 23: HEALING AND TRIGGERS

Over the last weeks, I did a lot of reading on the Internet. Articles from therapists and from agencies and from those who have experienced betrayal.

I came across a site that was well written and looked as if the person who started the site was nonjudgmental and would embrace any person who felt devastated and broken after finding out that their partner had betrayed them.

Very soon however, in the article the author stated adamantly that there were no villains and victims. That the “victim” has done their part..which is letting the disconnection to happen. There are imho two “advantages” to this perspective and it explains why it is popular.

  1. The first is that by taking partly the blame the betrayed feels that they can do something different to prevent the “incident” to happen again.
  2. Secondly, by taking part of the blame, the betrayed provides a justification for the betrayal to the one who betrayed and so they make it easier for them to carry the burden.

My perspective is different and therefore I state strongly in my introductory posting that I will not blame the person who was betrayed as that person did not seek “solutions” outside the marriage. A second reason for not going into victim blaming is that when there is disconnection, two people will need to take a close look at their marriage and work on it together. It has never been nor will it ever be helpful to introduce a stranger (except for a therapist) into the equation to solve an issue between two people and in particular when that is done without the consent and knowledge of one partner. Last, but not least, it takes two to make the marriage work and it is hard work. It however, only requires one to break the marriage up (to break the vows).

Couples who stay together have found different ways to cope with the pain. This is great. It does not mean that what helps for some is also helpful to others and it definitely does not mean that those who take a different perspective on this have it wrong…when I read those type of statements, I get very uncomfortable.

Spiritual and Christian beliefs can be very helpful. Law will not be helpful unless a crime has been committed and it depends where you live whether adultery is perceived as a misdemeanor or a crime. Even when not a criminal offence it can be ground for divorce. So, no matter how you look at it, it is serious business and therefore it is totally understandable that it takes people years to heal from adultery.

So, the legal system is not very helpful when it comes to healing from an affair. No matter how you look at it. Although marriage is a legal contract between spouses, it has not stopped numerous people from violating their vows.

There are many discussions about forgiveness and it sounds beautiful…”the letting go of negative emotions such as vengefulness..”. Great we all want that! 🙂

Then, there is talk about giving grace as giving a gift.  I liked that idea and quickly closed the sites that discussed it as false grace…as in the end we have to find what works for us and as there are many interpretations, we might have to go with the one that has the most meaning and that is personal. One therapist defined grace as a gift you can give to the undeserving (meaning that you do not justify the sin), but you give the gift to help the healing by no longer “punishing” the person who committed the sin. It is a choice based on deep feelings of grief and love (thank you Chris).

 

The above is the first step. The dealing with triggers is a real bitch. Here is a site that touches on the topic:

Marriageadvocates.com

Disregard the last paragraph which does damage to the article and also disregard the erroneous statement that people remember where they were when a particular strong emotional event took place..newer research has proven that to be false.

Freely paraphrased, the author of the site states that certain places, smells and objects function as a trigger, which is a negative memory. When we are triggered we experience all symptoms caused by the negative event that happened in the past. We can make the trigger less disturbing by connecting to the object or place or smell a new memory that is representative of your new relationship. This is a loving activity that needs to be done by both partners after having fully discussed what the trigger does and how you both are going to deal with it. It is a form of conditioning but very innocent. As the event happened in the past…there is no reason for you and your partner to keep on suffering. It does require patience and time as triggers are specific…and flooding does not work. One step at the time….

Peace…

Elisabeth

 

 

 

13 thoughts on “POST 23: HEALING AND TRIGGERS

        1. You also hear a lot from therapists “enabler”. I never liked it as it comes over as negative, while those who try to remain put, versus abandoning the ship, are trying to make it work with what they have and with what they know. It is finding blame and pathologising behavior that was not intended to do harm. Complicit that goes farther than enabler…

          Like

          1. I agree and I was an enabler as well but I had no idea that Loser was leaving work at 5 and going to the local bar with his buddies and his tramps. I thought he was working 18 hours a day. I wasn’t going to fuss at him after such a “long day at work.” Had I known….no…it would have been different and I would have gotten out long before I did and long before I wasted my entire life with that pig.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Interesting and I like your perspective: ..Many people (the betrayed) say that they did not know and in my experiences I have found that people often have an inkling, if that is the right word.
              The notion of their spouse cheating on them and using deception does not fit into their worldview and is inconsistent with their morals and therefore they someway somehow seem to make the inconsistencies of their spouses behavior fit. I wonder what you think as you have read many posts and have been the most active on WordPress as far as I know, on the topic of adultery.
              Thanks
              E

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Adultery to me, is a fatal mistake. It doesn’t matter if it’s one time or a thousand and one times. Loser told me while he was “doing it” the first (?) time, he was thinking the whole time “this is the one thing she’ll never forgive me for”…and he kept right on doing it. He knew he would never get caught because I trusted him to the point of “betting my childrens’ lives on his faithfulness. Even passing an incurable STD onto me, caused him no worry. I thought I was “dirty.” Had I not gone to EMT school, I would have never found out….and I found out twenty years after it happened. Didn’t matter. He had killed our marriage.

                Liked by 1 person

                  1. I thought he was the most honorable man I had ever met. He told me once that he would “bet that his daddy had never even looked at another woman.” (He was wrong, of course.) I don’t know where it came from. I think I just thought vows were serious. He was the only person I trusted completely…and he trusted me (I thought.) When he decided he wanted to go to Japan, he sent me and our two small children (by ourselves) from Massachusetts to South Carolina to find a place to live and get our furniture out of storage. I stopped on the way in North Carolina and stayed with an old boyfriend. Loser never once asked me what we did, how it went…nothing. He was just glad he got to go to Japan. When he was out of town, men would show up at my front door with beer. I told him and he said and did nothing. I know now that it wasn’t that he trusted me….he just didn’t care about anybody but himself and what HE could get and do.

                    Like

                    1. Thanks Laurel for your response. You loved and you trusted fully. That is beautiful regardless of others’ behavior.

                      Many people are afraid to trust after betrayal as they feel vulnerable (to being hurt again).

                      Like

  1. Oh Elisabeth, I do like this idea of making the trigger turn to something positive. And, you are right, there are so many interpretations of all things along the healing path, from definitions (addiction, compulsion, forgiveness, shame versus guilt, and on and on). I do think there are so many couples who fail, that we each want to believe that our path must be the right path and therefore we will be the rare couple to beat the odds.

    I’ve said it before, it reminds me a lot of the ill will between stay-at-home-moms and working-moms. Each wants so badly to believe that their path is the right path, is the best path, so scared inside that they are actually wrong on some level that it leads to so much defensiveness and unwillingness to not only support each other, but also shuts us down from talking, discussing and exploring new thoughts and ideas together or even just finding the common ground and supporting each other from there.

    I want to explore this idea of conditioning triggers to be less threatening, to have new meaning to us! Thank you for these thoughts!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you TL. Interesting. If you would look deep into the hearts of those mothers on both sides of the extreme, you will see the shades of grey. It is a shame that it needs to be the “all or nothing”. In reality I have never met a mother who was totally content with staying home and I have never met one who was totally content with going to work. Both are jobs anyway and someone has to do it…But you are right. I have seen some pretty aggressive debates…and why…to justify that they made the right choice…to whom…to themselves?

      The Blog post I read by the author who was so adamant that when there is adultery, both spouses contributed to it…is no different than the mother who swears that staying home is the best thing for everyone. She made a choice and it might be the right choice for her…or the only one she can fit into her book of morals…It is not my choice. I did not like it that she was stating it as a fact…I think she will hurt people with it and even prevent healing where healing could be done…the way that fit the couple. She could also “force” people to stay together, people who would be happier after separation.
      Take care,
      E

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s