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How Do I Deal With Triggers?

How Do I Deal With Triggers?

I want to address something that occurs for all women  who’ve been sexually betrayed.  It’s called triggers.  Also known as a meltdown. A trigger is something that sets off a memory, which takes you back to the event of your original trauma. Triggers are very personal; different things trigger different people. Triggers might be one of the most difficult aspects of dealing with the aftermath of infidelity. Unfortunately, they are quite common, and the betrayed spouse will often experience them when encountering certain locations, words or events that remind them of the betrayal they experienced in their marriage. If you’re not careful, triggers can take over your life; even causing you to avoid going to events or to places that bring up thoughts that you don’t want to think about.

 

 

It’s possible that you’ve noticed some triggers in your own life, and in your marriage that are starting to affect the way you live your life. Let’s talk about what some common triggers are and how you can cope with them.

Trigger #1: Your Home

Unfortunately, in many marriages, the infidelity that occurred often took place in the couple’s home. When this is discovered, it can be so heartbreaking, and it isn’t surprising that many betrayed spouses begin to view their home as something they despise. If your spouse has disclosed that sexual relations between him and his lover took place in your home, this is a powerful trigger for you. It’s normal for you to want to move, and if you choose to do so, and your spouse should support you in that if he is willing to work on rebuilding your marriage.

Trigger #2: People Who Knew of the Affair

There are usually more people who know of an affair, other than just the two people involved. These individuals may be co-workers, friends or family members. Sometimes, an affair is minimized or even accepted by those who know about it. The knowledge of an affair can make these individuals triggers for you, and you may not want to spend time with them. However, there are some cases when confronting them is warranted; especially if they are family members or mutual friends. Whether you choose to confront them and attempt to repair your relationship with them eventually, or you opt to remove them from your life for the time being, that is a decision that you spouse should support.

Trigger #3: Suspicious Behaviors

When you think back to the time before you realized your spouse was having an affair, you may notice that there were many behaviors that should have cued you in to what was going on. For example, you might remember long nights at the office,  overnight business trips, flirtatious behavior with other women, you could recall picking up your spouse’s phone and finding that all of his text messages had been erased. These behaviors can be triggers too, and even though they might be innocent now, they can alert you to the possibility of another affair. Talk with your spouse about how these behaviors affect you, and ask him to make changes.

Trigger #4: Distant Behavior

Quite often, there is a distance that is felt between a husband and a wife before an affair is revealed, and while it’s impossible to immediately get back the closeness you once shared, your spouse should be making an effort to close in the distance between you as much as possible. Distant behavior can be a major trigger, and it’s up to your spouse to help remove it.

If your marriage has recently suffered through a betrayal, I can assist you with understanding what triggers are affecting you, and work with you to help you get on a path to healing.  You can reach me at hello@drcarolerb.com or if you’d like to speak with me you can schedule a time for us to talk.

His Infidelity Isn’t Your Fault

His Infidelity Isn’t Your Fault

A woman will often have a certain thought shortly after discovering that her husband has been unfaithful. Deep down inside, one of her deepest fears is, Is this somehow my fault? I feel it is important to address this because much of the advice she receives is not altogether helpful. Depending on whether she speaks to family, friends, or someone in her Christian community, she is usually met with one of these types of questions:

  • Do you feel as though you’ve been the wife you should have been?
  • Were you doing your job as his wife?
  • Were you meeting your husband’s needs? Could that be why he decided to go outside the marriage?
  • Maybe you need to dress sexier. Have you been doing that?
  • You look like you may have put on a few pounds. Could you try working out to try and lose some weight?
  • Is it possible for you to try to cook better meals for him?
  • Did you make sure the house was always tidy and the children were settled when he came home from work?
  • Have you loved him unconditionally?

 

 

Women will also hear this type of counsel from a variety of sources:

  • Maybe you need to have more faith and really pray about this. Pray about your marriage. Pray for your husband.
  • You are being really unforgiving. Stop talking about this. Don’t be so sad and mope around all the time. Just be glad he hasn’t left you.
  • Why don’t you focus on the marriage? Go out on a date night. Have some daily devotionals together. Work on your communication and find out each other’s love language. Maybe that will help turn things around.

The problem with this type of counsel is that it only further traumatizes the wife. She is not able to recover because she feels responsible for her husband. She feels as though she’s responsible for his recovery, and for somehow stopping the infidelity or his use of pornography. She feels like she has to become a detective and inspect what he’s doing or what he’s viewing. She may feel like she has to police him, get books for him to read or set up counseling appointments. All of this focuses on her husband, and she is unable to heal. As a result, she becomes very fearful and insecure.

When a husband is not held accountable for his sin, and when there has been no formal disclosure, or any type of timeline about what has occurred, he is very likely to repeat his behavior, continue in sin and not heal. Trust cannot be rebuilt this way. Forgiveness cannot even begin to take place because there hasn’t been any trust building, and reconciliation is so far away. This type of counseling is unbiblical, and here’s why.

In Matthew 18:15-17, it says, If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private. If he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses, every fact may be confirmed. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. If he refuses to listen to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile or a tax collector.

If you fail to confront your sinning spouse, you are enabling his sin. You have no influence over him. When you have taken all the steps that are in Matthew 18, you can know that you have done all that you possibly can. The real reason this infidelity is not your fault is because he is the one in sin. I have yet to meet a spouse who has put a gun to the head of her husband and commanded him to commit infidelity or sexual impurity. He is fully at fault.

To settle your heart, please know that God says there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. If you are the spouse who has been the recipient of the sin, what you are feeling is false guilt. Please know that you do not need to fear. God will see you through it.

If you would like to reach me at hello@drcarolerb.com .  Or if you would like to speak with me schedule a time for us to talk. The Biblical counsel and the steps needed to address this problem are available, and I would love to support you.  Hangeth thou in there and I’m sending you God’s grace and peace.

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