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.
- 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.
- 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:
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….