Affairs and Betrayal - Part Three

Dear Partner, The terrible moment when you discovered your partner’s affair is called D Day. Some say that D stands for Discovery but I say it means Didn’t Know. You didn’t know that you could be SO devastated. Since D Day you’ve cried, raged, numbed out, told everyone or told no one, imploded, exploded, then put on a mask and gone about your normal life. Navigating each day has been so surreal that you can’t imagine how to get through the year. The good news is that I can help you do just that. This article is a preview of your tasks for the coming year. You’ll learn how to make sense of what’s happened and to regain inner peace through a series of small steps. These methods will help you to reclaim much that was stolen from you.  Your heart and mind will heal and grow. You may be thinking, “What! Why should I need therapy when he’s the one with the problems?” You’re right. It’s not fair. But if he crashed the car with you on board, you’d still  go to the ER, even though he was driving. You’ve been traumatized. Trauma has thrown you into a dark cocoon. But this chrysalis serves a purpose! Inside, everything disintegrates. But with time, you’ll emerge with beautiful wings, and you’ll live from a perspective that was impossible for pre-D Day you to imagine. Here are the six steps that will get you there:
  • Gaslight Revealed
  • Trauma Recovery
  • Racing Thoughts
  • Waking Up the Watchdog
  • Life Story, Life Lessons
  • Blueprint for the Future

Gaslight Revealed

You’re stunned by how much you were lied to.  And you know what? He may still be pulling off the biggest lie of all: that it’s your fault. Have you been accused of not “providing” a hot enough sex life or good enough marriage so that he was “forced” to look elsewhere? Then he’s still gaslighting. What to do: Don’t buy it. You didn’t cause him to betray you. This is NOT your fault. Nor did you enable him.  Almost 95% of  cheaters initially blame their partner. Part of his recovery is to learn to stop scapegoating you and take responsibility for his actions.

Trauma Recovery

Trauma occurs when a shock overloads your capacity to process it. Your nervous system short circuits. You’ll feel like you’ve been physically beaten up, and you might have problems eating and sleeping, unwelcomed flashbacks, a racing mind, and the inability to remember things and make decisions. What to do. The goal is to press the reset button on your scrambled reflexes. Because trauma is physical, cardio, yoga or any type of exercise helps. Trauma therapy specialists can teach you to rapidly calm down your overwhelmed nerves.

Racing Thoughts

Trauma therapy quickly gets rid of the initial rollercoaster. But a longer emotional pain remains for several reasons. First, your partner has become a trigger. If you’re living together, you get set off every time he walks through the door. Second, trauma has a domino effect. Emotional scars from the past will surface and blend with your current raw nerves. Third, anger protects us. Until he has earned your trust it feels dangerous to open up. Anger prevents premature forgiveness. Fourth, anger gives us energy. You have a lot to of work ahead of you at a time when you feel devastated. You may need the energy that anger provides! What to do.  The first step is to reclaim your deserving self. Many partners are in the role of nurturers who self-sacrifice for the sake of the family, their partner, or their retirement savings account. Add in D Day, and they now feel so low that they can’t justify the resources for their own healing. I’ll be clear: you are in a crisis and you are worthy of the time and money that your healing requires.  Both the anger and the racing thoughts can disappear. But it will take more than your efforts alone. Remember, after that car wreck you get a whole team of specialists to help you recover!

Waking Up the Watchdog

Cheaters willfully cast a veil of deception over their partners. They intentionally lie, misdirect, and minimize. Trusting, loving, and vulnerable to their influence, partners unknowingly absorb this subtle gaslighting. The horrific truth remains completely off their radar. Against this backdrop, week by week, partners unconsciously ignore the micro signals from what they see, hear, and feel. This blunts one’s senses so slowly that we don’t even notice. After D Day partners rightfully ask, “How can I ever trust him?” but also “How can I trust myself again? How could I have not seen it?” What to do. Partners reexamine their stories about being deceived. With hindsight, one can now catch the instant of being lulled by each lie. Peering into the choice points where one decided to trust a liar instead of one’s own gut instinct reawakens the senses. Once we feel and own that which we couldn’t acknowledge the first time, our intuition can never go back to sleep. We trust our gut again. We pay attention to what we were once conned into ignoring. Then we’re protected by a formidable watchdog, which is our fully awakened seeing, hearing and feeling.

Life Story, Life Lessons

It’s healing to put the tale of betrayal in the bigger context of one’s entire timeline. Creating a narrative builds objectivity, insight, a sense of relief and closure, and compassion for what’s happened. This balanced outlook frees you to move forward. Ultimately, the story of the wound and recovery is but one chapter. There are so many more to write! What to do. Journaling, collage, video or scrapbooking projects can all tell your life’s story.

Blueprint for the Future

The final step includes creating a blueprint for your exciting future. What to do. First we assess your wellness from the seven domains of health.  Then we collaborate in creating some juicy plans for getting more vitality from the physical, emotional, mental, sexual, spiritual, financial, and creative aspects of your life.  Get ready: when you’re supported in focusing on yourself, change happens! I’m very interested in your taking this time for your precious and irreplaceable self. So much was taken from you. Not only do I want you to get it back, I want your life to blossom in wonderful and unexpected ways. Please take advantage of the opportunity to heal as it presents itself through this chaotic time. Remember, your beautiful wings are grown in the darkness, but are destined for sunlight. Warmly, Valerie