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Replacing one trauma with another

J707 posted 11/22/2020 15:30 PM

Some of you know about my DD13s attempted suicide over a month ago, details in OT. Since then it's been a rollercoaster of emotions, much like infidelity. As exww and myself are on excellent terms with her recovery and therapy along with our family therapy, I can't help but notice that the infidelity aspect has gone out the window for me. I just don't care. I've been at indifference for awhile. But the past infidelities in my mind would sneak it's ugly head in from time to time just to say hello. Not now. I know infidelity will live with me forever, it's part of me as is all life's traumas.

So while I focus on my DD13 and my DS19 as well. Is my brain pushing that infidelity aspect aside for my current trauma and focusing on my kids. My DD13 still isn't ok mentally (still in intensive therapy during the week). Obviously my kids are everything to me so maybe my focus is shifted and I really don't care about the past crap. Just something I noticed.

Tanner posted 11/22/2020 15:51 PM

Iím so sorry you are going through this. . I cannot imagine what you are going through. There is only so much trauma you can handle at one time.

When my Dad passed away in August it really didnít phase me because infidelity was front and center. I became very angry and nasty with my W and she hadnít done anything but help my parents around the clock until his passing. I had to apologize to her because she was such a blessing to my family. These emotions are so unpredictable. Sending your family my best wishes.

gmc94 posted 11/22/2020 16:17 PM

Is my brain pushing that infidelity aspect aside for my current trauma and focusing on my kids
I think it's absolutely possible, and it's OK, and it's likely it will still come back at a time when things are more calm (relatively speaking, of course).

In month 8 (to the day), my WH attempted suicide.... he hung himself, and -literally- died in my arms. Fortunately, he was revived by EMT (and I sometimes struggle with saying he "committed" suicide, bc he was successful, or "attempted" bc he was revived... bottom line is there is NOTHING like having the police and EMT tell you that your loved one is dead). He made a complete recovery physically, but we still wonder about cognitive damage, as he was dead for several minutes (tho he never got any of the f/u neurotesting, so who knows). That obviously put the infidelity "work" on hold - for some time.

Then in year 2, my DD went off the rails. Drugs, alcohol, etc. About 6 months after she received a DUI she stole all my Rx drugs, drank a bottle of something, and crashed her car into a major bridge (kind of a miracle she didn't kill anyone, including herself, or that the car didn't go over the rails into the river below). She did AA for about a week. Later stopped her IC, etc. This year (year 3), she attempted suicide by jumping out of a window (fortunately, relatively minor injuries). Put simply, she is one heckuva hot effing mess. Last month she FINALLY got back into IC and we are hopeful that the lessons she is hell bent on learning the hard way will start to stick. We had to kick her out of the house last summer bc she refused to adhere to our Covid-related boundaries (and I mean - put her stuff on the front porch and locked the doors kind of kicking her out). I started attending Al-Anon during year 2 when her addictive behaviors were off the charts. I can say that engaging with Al-Anon helped me cope with her "stuff" way better than I imagined. It's hard enough to realize you have no control over your WS' stupid shit (like having Affairs).... it's even harder to do that with your child.

I guess I'm writing all of this to say I understand. And to put the proverbial "cherry" on the top of this ever-growing shit sandwich, my BFF for 40+ years was Dx with terminal cancer this summer.

And what I can say is that, at least for me, the "lessons" and the "work" from the trauma of betrayal helped me learn to manage all of the other shitstorms I've had to face since dday. Indeed, there have been moments I could be grateful for having to do the work of healing, as it has helped me immensely in coping with DD and with my BFF.

However, for me (and we are all different), while those suicide dramas did put the infidelity stuff on the back burner, it has not gone away. Maybe it's different for those who are S and definitively "on" the D track or those with a WS who is doing the work and showing remorse and progress in their life changes. That's not what I've ever gotten from my WH, so I dunno what that situation would look like.

I'm so sorry about your DD. Mental illness in a child is really hard to cope with (my DD has borderline and addiction). And I'm sorry I didn't see your post (I'm rarely in off topic).

And one thing I learned after WH's suicide attempt: there are a TON of support groups for the person who attempted suicide. And a TON of groups for those whose loved ones died by suicide. But there isn't ANYTHING for the loved ones coping with a suicidal loved one (at least not in my neck of the woods or from anything I could find online). I was fortunate to have already begun seeing an IC that specialized in trauma (coincidentally, it was someone I'd found for DD, who never availed herself, so I began to see that IC for myself), so I had at least a framework of trauma support at the time of both suicide attempts.

Godspeed....

[This message edited by gmc94 at 4:20 PM, November 22nd, 2020 (Sunday)]

The1stWife posted 11/22/2020 16:42 PM

Maybe you have re-focused on what is really important in your life.

J707 posted 11/22/2020 18:34 PM

And what I can say is that, at least for me, the "lessons" and the "work" from the trauma of betrayal helped me learn to manage all of the other shitstorms I've had to face since dday.

For me, this is a key point. I've walked this path. I'm healed to the extent I am. When my brother killed himself at 18, I was 17, I healed, it took years and years and I'll trigger around his death date. When the betrayal hit, it was all I focused on for everyday. But for all the wrong reasons. I'm D and almost 3 years out from the final Dday. But facing previous traumas, to me, makes us stronger, more aware and humble. So maybe. I'm answering my own question.

J707 posted 11/22/2020 18:46 PM

Maybe you have re-focused on what is really important in your life.

I agree with this. While I've always focused on my kids, this is a big eye opener. Our lives can get stuck into our everyday ruts. I also see my daughter differently now. I know what's in her head yet she won't express it. Back to that rollercoaster that we all know or knew. I've had my training, I've implemented it, I'll be ok. I'll say I'm very fascinated how the mind works and operates.

BearlyBreathing posted 11/22/2020 20:02 PM

When my dad died a year after final D-Day, it was like all the F*cks I gave for XWH went out the window. I think it was exactly as described above, where my heart said that I was not going to waste any more thoughts or cares on a guy who didnít deserve any of it, especially now that I had lost truly the best man I have ever known. There just wasnít room for it left in me, and my mind dumped that shit out.

Still comes up now and again, but it was a massive shift in my mind.

Glad your WS is aligned on helping your DD. You are a great dad.

OwningItNow posted 11/23/2020 03:12 AM

When the betrayal hit, it was all I focused on for everyday. But for all the wrong reasons.

What are the "wrong reasons," as you think back? Just curious. It's interesting to hear your changing thought process. I'm wondering if you are saying you have regrets about your post-A self? If there are lessons we can all learn?

I think that healing from trauma comes in many forms or stages, some of them years later. After three years of D, it seems the cheating still had a tiny hold on you. That's not uncommon; some people hold onto anger for years and years. But this significant trauma and fear with your daughter allowed you to fully let go of the other. Permanently? Idk. I would assume so from what I've seen irl.

I have a friend dealing with her 21 year-old's emerging schizophrenia, and now that she and her exWH need to support each other, the infidelity has taken a far back seat. There have been hugs between them and some genuine friendship, she says. The hurts she felt before just don't matter to her in comparison to this, she says.

I do think that's life's issues can feel like a hierarchy, all the way down to my sister dwelling on the most mundane disappointments because she doesn't have any "real" problems. When something high up on the hierarchy is threatened, the lower stuff goes away. We only get this one life, and we certainly want to protect our most important treasures. The other wrongs do seem much smaller in comparison.

Nobody who is suffering wants to hear, "But at least you are not dealing with blah blah." And there are discussions about which trauma is worse, losing a child or infidelity. I just can't wrap my head around that, but I believe what other people say in terms of the way they personally feel. I just can't relate. Nothing my H can do could equal the pain of losing one of my kids.

I hope your daughter is ok, J707. I went through a similar scare when my son was in 8th grade. I ricocheted between many intense emotions, so I know how hard this is. I will keep all of you in my thoughts and prayers. I am glad to hear she is getting the help she needs.

tushnurse posted 11/23/2020 07:45 AM

Yup replaced it for now.
There will still be things to deal with and heal from related to it, but right now it is simmering on indifference.

The human mind can only handle so much stress, and as I have said to my dear friend who had a child with cancer, you will pick the stress that is most important to you, and the M issues go to the back burner for now. When your DD is doing better, and she will, you will find a new way to prioritize the issues, and deal with them.

You may also find what was once a difficult decision or action, is now a whole lot easier, because it isn't as big of a deal as dealing with a sick kid. As a parent there isn't anything I wouldn't do for them. My H, well I love him to death, but I know what my limits are (i hope that makes some sense)

Hoping your DD finds the answers to her pain and depression soon.

fooled13years posted 11/23/2020 09:12 AM

J,

I know infidelity will live with me forever, it's part of me as is all life's traumas

It might not seem like it now but there may also be a time when you will consider your good memories even more than your past traumas.

Bigger posted 11/23/2020 09:35 AM

J707

I have been thinking for some time that two years seems to be some magic number in recovery.
We often say that after 2 years of work in reconciliation you finally realize if itís worth it or not.
Research shows an immense difference in the level of happiness with divorced people 12 months versus 18 months after divorce.
People are told that it takes 2 years to recover from the death of a loved one.
2 years is how long some people say you should wait before dating seriously after a divorce.

I think that no matter how focused, content, directÖ we are in dealing with trauma it just simply takes 2 years for the sore to heal. We could speed it up by some months if we work hard at recovery, or we prolong it if we hang on to the misery, but generally 2 years is the mark.

I thought I was pretty focused and I have previously commented that 18 months after d-day I was recovered. In truth I think I managed to heal without dealing with all the issues, causing the PTSD I dragged along for another 15 years. This makes me doubt the 2 year mark can really be shortened in any meaningful way.

Maybe the reason you feel the way you do is because you are nearing the 2 year mark and therefore capable of letting go of the infidelity-trauma.

J707 posted 11/23/2020 14:34 PM

What are the "wrong reasons," as you think back? Just curious. It's interesting to hear your changing thought process. I'm wondering if you are saying you have regrets about your post-A self? If there are lessons we can all learn?

I should have worded this differently I think. When the betrayal hit I did what most did. So the "wrong reasons" were myself: blaming myself for the A, I should've been a better husband, if I did this or didn't do that etc. It took me 6 months to a year to realize none of that was true, as we all know.

Also, I'm 16 months post divorce, coming up on 3 years post Dday. I'm not trying to say that I'm 100 percent healed. I know I'm not. But at this moment to me, while going through this with DD13, I simply don't care. I have no triggers, no anger. I'm not trying to bury the infidelity or anything, I just noticed the shift in my mind with the current situation.

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