Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Worth considering...

"Forgive others not because they deserve forgiveness but because you deserve peace."

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Place to Share Your Story

I'm a firm believer in the power of sharing our stories as a path toward healing. As long as that sharing takes place in an environment of mutual compassion. No matter our circumstances. No matter our choices.
So...I believe that environment exists on this site. I'm enormously proud of the community we've created and it fills me with a mother's joy when you comment on each other's posts and offer up empathy and, often, humor. There's HUGE power in that connection. Suddenly we're not alone in our pain. Suddenly there's someone who knows exactly how we feel. A virtual hand to hold. A virtual hug.
I've long wanted to find a way that each of you can connect with each other. I'm not quite there, mostly because my ability to navigate technology is more of a dis-ability. And partly because blogger, the platform I've used for this site, doesn't offer up much of an option. However, I've created a second page, which you can find by looking at the top of the Home page. There you'll see a tab marked "Join the Club...and Share Your Story." It's you invitation to do exactly that.
I hope you will. It'll take a while for people to find your story so don't take the initial lack of response personally. You've put it out there. And someone, somewhere is grateful to you for that. Including me.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Importance of Understanding Infidelity as Trauma

The traumatic nature of disclosure of infidelity intensifies when the threat continues, through the continuation of the marital affair or lack of proof of its discontinuation...
This can't be overstated. The insanity we feel when we suspect an affair increases exponentially when we confront the cheater, expect that he'll end the affair only to be left without any proof that it really is over.
And though the research paper focuses exclusively on wives of sex addicts, this holds true for all wives who've discovered their husband's secret life.
It's the reason that any husband remotely interested in saving his marriage must immediately establish no contact with his affair partner. It's the reason that there needs to be total transparency – with you having access to his computer passwords, cell phone, all records and whatever else makes you feel that he some measure of accountability. It's the reason that he must always be available to take your calls any time you need to check on him. It's the reason that he must always be where he says he is, with whom he says he's with and for how long.
It's not about you becoming police and watchdog, it's about you being able to slowly feel safe again. Post-trauma can even follow you into a new relationship, or impact friendships. We become suspicious. We don't trust our own judgement.
Trauma following betrayal isn't the exception, it's the rule. Sure there are some women who recover more quickly but the rest of us are generally shell-shocked and paralyzed for a year, or two, or three. Post-trauma leaves us frightened and anxious, feeling isolated and unable to determine our next step. It's not something we can force ourselves to move past or will ourselves into stopping. Self-help books can't make it go away, though they can help us recognize that we're experiencing it.
I spent the first half year wondering why I wasn't feeling any better and was, in fact, feeling worse. More hopeless. Though my husband was in counselling for sex addiction and attending a 12-step group, though he was doing what he could to support me, I felt fearful and anxious. I also found myself highly mistrustful of just about everyone. I questioned their motives, wondered who they "really" were. I felt constantly off-balance. Waiting for the other shoe to drop.
When a friend, who worked at a support centre for sexual abuse survivors, suggested that what I was experiencing was post-trauma, I dismissed it. As I've written here before, I thought post-trauma was what rape victims or veterans dealt with. I thought what I'd experienced didn't "qualify" me for post-trauma. It seemed too dramatic a label for something so, sadly, common.
But what my friend had said at least made me open my mind to the possibility. Now it seems I'm reading everywhere that being cheated on leads to post-traumatic response.
It's not just semantics. Be recognizing the depth of your trauma, you can better heal from it. By truly acknowledging that what happened isn't just about your husband being an ass, you can recognize that your responses/reactions to a wide variety of things – from a friend cancelling a lunch date to the death of your pet – are through the lens of post-trauma.
Betrayal is traumatic. But continued betrayal or inability to determine if betrayal is continuing is worse still.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Can There Be Joy Behind the Pain?

A betrayed wife recently commented on this post that she wondered if she had recovered too "easily". She was six weeks out from D-Day and, though she had her rough days, nonetheless was feeling pretty positive. She asked if I thought she was maybe in denial.
Though, of course, I can't answer that, it's possible but it's also possible that she's just a really healthy, wholehearted person who recognizes that her husband's horrible choice doesn't define her in any way. And then I came across this on this site here, which perhaps explains it as well:

It has never failed that when I have been through the most heart-breaking passages of my life – betrayal, financial hardship, divorce, dreams dashed – the pain brought me to the floor of my being, and what was there to be found?: The simple joy of being alive. So cosmically basic it's mind-blowing: the joy to be here, connected, animated, breathing, blessed, resilient, to be broken, to be open, to have what was, what's left, what's coming. The joy just to be part ofreality

What do you think?


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