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What helps you?


 SadieMae (original poster member #42986) posted at 6:02 PM on Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

What do you want to hear after you've had a trigger? Do you discuss triggers with your spouse, or is it best to just deal with it in private?

Honestly, I feel like we are so separated because we don't/can't discuss issues in our relationship that touch on the A. I have pretty much given up on bringing anything up because it does no good and only leaves me feeling even more alone. But is it me? Is a simple "I'm sorry" and "I'm sorry that bothers you" the extent of what should be said?

A recent example, we were watching TV and two older characters met and ended up going out to dinner. She was a divorcee, he was a widower and conversation came around to how awkward they felt as they discussed how long it had been since either one had been on a first date. BOOM I haven't been on a first date since 1994 H's last first date as in 2013. That makes me sad.

The next evening, I bring it up I was triggered in the show, I tell him what triggered me. I'm told "I'm sorry"

I guess I just want more - tell me how you feel about it. Tell me how you feel about my sadness. Silence and the quick "I'm sorry" just make me feel like he wants to close the door and back away as soon as possible. More than likely, he won't even want to watch the show again.

Is this empathy? Shouldn't discussing things help us feel closer, not further separated?

Me: BW 40 on DDAY
Him: WH 40 on DDAY (FlawedBroken)
Together over half our lives.
D-day 3/9/2014
TT until 6/2016
TT again Fall 2020

posts: 1248   ·   registered: Apr. 3rd, 2014   ·   location: Sweet Tea in the Shade
id 8741245

1girlsmom ( member #63541) posted at 6:36 PM on Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

Honestly, nothing makes me feel better but "I'm sorry" just always feels dismissive to me.
I just keep everything to myself because I end up more upset if I say anything.

I wish I had an answer for us because it's a hurtful thing to have to deal with.

posts: 218   ·   registered: Apr. 24th, 2018
id 8741251

redrock ( member #21538) posted at 7:08 PM on Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

Jeff Bridges new show? Is it good?

Honesty, trigger convos was one of the hurdles that caused us great difficulty.

I’m from a big Irish family where debates/ arguments were part of daily life. Those who could capture the attention and praise or laughter of dad won the day. He from a quiet house with NO conflict.

So we had to learn to fight. I want to get at it. Dig in and go point, counter point. He wants to take his time and consider whatever is at hand. Early on he gave in or held his ground... period. I didn’t get it at all. He felt attacked and I felt ignored. It is so strange to me that the pattern we developed was the advice we’d eventually receive from a professional. We always came back together after a cool down period and talk. Sometimes he’d bring a spreadsheet for talking points... Made me aware that some of my debate skills honed in the FOO household were not all above board.

Triggering: It really hurt when something would hit me and then I’d bring it up and he would either apologize or go silent.

MC asked us to each make positive assumptions about the conversation rather that build resentment.

That I was expressing a need for discussion or a need for support, not an opportunity to shame. And knowing his personality should help me to recognize he might get quiet, not because he doesn’t want to help, but because he’s not sure how to and more importantly for him... he tends to ingest his size ten and say something he lives to regret. Not mean but with zero emotional IQ. If he needed time to consider the situation, he could say so, but had 24 hours to reintroduce the topic himself.

I think over time he did better in the moment, not necessarily because he was more skilled, but he found it even harder to reintroduce it...

It worked for us. I am not a patient person. But it did me good to have some time to go over my own thoughts rather than react.

Sometimes he would write me or send me a PM here because he felt more confidently in a vehicle that allowed for editing.

Also, it wasn’t all the bee knees. The result could be we’ agree to disagree. Having a process for the exercise to run a more healthy course helped us for sure.

I don't respect anyone that can't spell a word more than one way:)

posts: 3484   ·   registered: Nov. 6th, 2008   ·   location: Michigan
id 8741261

Chaos ( member #61031) posted at 7:42 PM on Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

What do you want to hear after you've had a trigger?

Even this far out, what I want to hear is this never happened. Seriously. But it did happen and a trigger is like it happening all over again.

Now fortunately this far out, I don't have those big triggers that often. Occasionally I have a bunch of smaller ones all happen at once and it system overload. Usually a good purge [cry &/or rage] and I can reset.

But sometimes nothing short of LTAP head on a silver platter presented to me by WH will even start to make it "right" [yeah - a CreepShow reference but it a dark fantasy that has gotten me through many bad times especially in the beginning]

Do you discuss triggers with your spouse, or is it best to just deal with it in private?

Yes and Yes. In the beginning I used to rage at him whenever I had one, which was frequent. Now I'm more introspective. I sit with them a while. Many times, in a few hours or day or two they do dissipate on their own. Sometimes I'll write them down (spreadshee0 and revisit in a few days. Doing this allows me to see if a pattern emerges and then I can deal with it or make sure I avoid the series of events leading up to it. Identifying those things help me avoid future episode. If they still bothering me, I do bring them up now. I make sure it a time WH and I are alone and that we have time to have that conversation thoroughly.

Over time WH has gotten better at reading me. He's pretty good now about knowing when to leave me alone with it and when to push harder for me to open up to him.

It a delicate dance for sure. And I used to want to bitch slap anyone that even suggested time would help. I owe a lot of people an apology for those thoughts.

BS-me/WH-4.5yrLTA Married 2+ decades - Children (1 still at home) Multiple DDays w/same AP until I told OBS 2018 Cease & Desist sent spring 2021"Hello–My name is Chaos–You f***ed my husband-Prepare to Die!"

posts: 3484   ·   registered: Oct. 13th, 2017   ·   location: East coast
id 8741273

mommabear1010 ( member #79915) posted at 8:11 PM on Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

WH's go-to response "I'm sorry, I made a mistake!" I can't stand the "I made a mistake"...affairs for years is not a mistake it's a life choice at this point. But we are also not in R so there's only so much I expect from him.

If I was in R, hmmm, I think active listening would be helpful for me. Like when I'm triggered I want to word vomit everything I'm feeling, all the pain, how all the good times are ruined, etc.

Maybe hearing that our family is his only priority from here on out, that I'm his queen and he'll never act in a way to jeopardize what we've built again, that he's choosing everyday to be the family man we deserve. Those would definitely help me, I'd need to reassurance that you choose everyday to be better and want to be choosing that not just cause you got caught and need to be a good boy for a bit.

Dday- 1/19/22
Trickle truth
Dday2- 2/8/22
Dday3- 3/10/22

posts: 74   ·   registered: Feb. 9th, 2022
id 8741278

hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 10:04 PM on Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

What do you want to hear after you've had a trigger?

So, I have been on both sides of the fence with triggers. As the WS, I learned to say what was on my mind when he was triggering after some time and practice. I was always so afraid of saying the wrong thing, making it worse. I was also afraid that words mean nothing, actions mean everything, and it truly does take a long time of actions to be believed. But, I was definitely underestimating the power of words. When I realized that holding back was also manipulation (because I was trying to control the outcome), that it was important for me to just say what I thought, I realized I had been thinking the right things all along and that I should have more confidence in myself and my instincts. Things I often think when my h triggers is "I was so blind to not see what was in front of me." "I should have appreciated you more, I was such a dumb fool", "I wish I had never done what I did, but I want to be the woman that you deserve" And, there are longer more specific ones but along those lines - that I have remorse for the damage I caused him, that I understand I was abusive and that I traumatized him. That I know he is having those feelings because of me, and that I appreciate all the effort he puts in to try and let it be in the past.

I pretty much like to hear similiar things from him.

Do you discuss them with your spouse, or is it better to deal with it in private?

Um, it depends. There are times I will sit with what I am feeling, or he will sit with what he is feeling because we know it's a temporary and recurring mood. Rehashing isn't always needed, or even wanted sometimes. It's usually that one of us catches the other being quieter and it will come out anyway. If it's bad, I dont' try and hide it and neither does he, but we are getting to where those are pretty spaced apart. We go stretches without talking about it, and honestly I can go days now without thinking about it. I would naturally be a bit more selective right now as he lost his mother recently and if it's something I can deal with on my own I will.

I think as long as you are not getting what you need, this will not ease up. Your husband sounds to have a low emotional IQ, and needs some help with his interpersonal skills. Has he done any therapy? Reading? What has he done that makes him a different man than the one who cheated? It sounds like you are having to stuff your feelings after he destroyed the foundation of your marriage. You do not have to accept that.

[This message edited by hikingout at 10:08 PM, Tuesday, June 21st]

5 years of hard work

posts: 6113   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8741302

Bulcy ( member #74034) posted at 11:43 PM on Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

I’ve still got a lot to learn when dealing with triggers. I’ve only recently accepted that I have them to the extent I do and of course being the wayward I have struggled with how to deal with these form a discuss or keep to self. Again this depends on how strong they are and how receptive BS is to me talking about how I feel in relation to these triggers, given they are my fault. We have agreed that when I have them I need to journal my trigger and the impact on me for discussion at a later date.

With regards BS triggers, we both trigger a lot at films and shows on tv. Until recently we would tighten the grip while holding hands or a gently squeeze of the leg to acknowledge that I recognise this as a trigger topic. If it seems this is going to be a theme of the programme then it gets paused and we discuss either fast forwarding past it, switching the show off or working through it. We have agreed now to discuss these triggers more often. Other triggers are more difficult and I know I need to be better at spotting them and dealing with them, a simple sorry is not enough, even a proper apology (I’m sorry that I xxxx caused this trigger because of my behaviour xxxxx etc) maybe insufficient and a discussion on the trigger and it’s impact is needed. Learning to judge feelings and moods is difficult for me and it’s something I need to work on. Certainly running away from triggers is not helpful by the WS

WH (40's) Me. Emotional affair (2017), Physical affair (2003) and online affairs, Two physical affairs (2000). D-Day's 2003, August '17, multiple discoveries through 2018,19 and 20, Jan 21 and 2022

posts: 208   ·   registered: Mar. 12th, 2020   ·   location: UK
id 8741314

emergent8 ( member #58189) posted at 12:08 AM on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022

My problem with triggers, especially in the early days, was that I didn't really know what I wanted. Sometimes I wanted to talk about it or process how I was feeling. Sometimes I just wanted to stew and be mad. I rarely trigger anymore but when I do and I tell my spouse, what I find helpful is something like this:

"I'm sorry that I betrayed you, you didn't deserve that. I'm sorry that as a result of my behaviour you now find it difficult to do/see/attend/engage in X (if this was a previously enjoyable activity/event/etc some acknowledgment about my loss of enjoyment in the same). Do you want to talk about it? (If my answer is yes, then we talk about it. If my answer is no:) Is there anything I can do right now to make you feel better? (If no...) I love you and I'm so grateful for you for giving me another chance."

Me: BS, Him: WS. Mid-late 30s.
Together 15 years, married 6 (11 m at D-Day).
D-Day: Feb 2017 (8 m PA with married COW).
5 years (and two toddlers) into R. Happy.

posts: 960   ·   registered: Apr. 7th, 2017
id 8741317

Wiseoldfool ( member #78413) posted at 12:36 AM on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022

The referenced show is almost certainly "The Old Man" and if you like political action / spy type shows with guns and violence, it's a great show.

As for triggers, it's been a while for me since I was triggered. When it happens, I take it to my wife and tell her why I'm fucked up. She always knows already, it's plain as day. Most of the time our discussion gets us through the issue, but we messed up a lot of those conversations in the first several years. It's about time we got some of them right.

[This message edited by Wiseoldfool at 12:37 AM, Wednesday, June 22nd]

Every secret you keep with your affair partner sustains the affair. Every lie you tell, every misunderstanding you permit, every deflection you pose, every omission you allow sustains the affair.

posts: 231   ·   registered: Mar. 1st, 2021
id 8741320

 SadieMae (original poster member #42986) posted at 3:10 PM on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022

Thank you all for your answers and for sharing. I appreciate it.

The show is The Old Man, and I highly recommend it. Very good, so far.

What has WH done? He started out with a CSAT and SA meetings. He didn't like the meetings or the steps. It didn't go well with his CSAT. I was told they would have a disclosure with me and then when I asked about that, I was told they were "beyond" that. Then because i "lost faith" in that counselor, my WH was told to find a new counselor. Years later I found out he was lying to that counselor.

He never went to another CSAT, but did go thru 3 more counselors with similar (non) results. At one point he was smoking weed before appointments to help "loosen up".

He hasn't been back to counseling in several years. It "doesn't work" for him. He never had notes from sessions, he rarely had homework. He read How to help..., I think that's the only book... He tried to read not just friends, but didn't finish.

His activities were all online. He has stopped those activities as far as I know. I quit policing him years ago. A couple of years ago (after I hadn't checked in a while), I found a reddit search for porn in his history. That did a huge amount of damage to my ability to trust.

He still deals with shame spiral. His default is defense and getting himself out of trouble, not to comfort. But he's "working on it all" and gets angry if asked about it. But he's quick to say he's not rug sweeping, he'll talk about anything, he says... Unless I want to talk about something... Then he's defensive and shuts down.

Day to day, he's all in. The past 3 months have been insane. I broke a disc in my back and have mostly helpless. He's stepped up and taken on household chores and taking care of me. He tells me and shows me that he loves me. He just can't and won't deal with the aftermath of his A.

Me: BW 40 on DDAY
Him: WH 40 on DDAY (FlawedBroken)
Together over half our lives.
D-day 3/9/2014
TT until 6/2016
TT again Fall 2020

posts: 1248   ·   registered: Apr. 3rd, 2014   ·   location: Sweet Tea in the Shade
id 8741373

sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 3:56 PM on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022

Gently, I force myself to figure out what I want and to ask for it if it's not forthcoming. Sometimes I just want an ear, sometimes 'I'm sorry' is exactly what I want, sometimes I want a discussion or a hug or quiet companionship, or ....

I laughed when I read Wof's 'It's plain as day' - that's so true for big triggers, and I always think I've got a poker face on. smile

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 27413   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8741378

wiserinsocal ( member #18487) posted at 8:41 PM on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022

After this much time I thought trigger words wouldn't exist. For me what plagues me is having a too good memory. W will on occasion use one and she doesn't even recognize it...15 years can do that to the previously WS.
I used alcohol to medicate me as many men do. It did amplify my feelings for a few years but after that time passed, it did make my time out of my head something where I was happy, comedy and music plus some great old movies helped me a good deal.
We never did get back to a great spot. My kids were kept from it as they were pre-teens then...this made it worse for me she showed how it was daddy being in a rough time while not owning up to her part.
D is and has been on the table after trying to reconcile but her actions didn't help plus she would be faced with the big A since she made more money than I and it is what has kept us tied in a marriage. She, I think, would be fine with a D, but she is not big on paying me the A.
I don't even remind her of what those words do to me anymore...
I hope the rest of you fare better.

"It's the intangibles that are fragile"- WiserinSoCal

"The Main things are the plain things, and the Plain things are the main things" - Alistair Begg

Every one needs to believe in something, or they will fall for anything...

posts: 1804   ·   registered: Mar. 6th, 2008
id 8741412

Want2BHappyAgain ( member #45088) posted at 2:52 PM on Thursday, June 23rd, 2022

I force myself to figure out what I want and to ask for it if it's not forthcoming.

This is what I have done too. We had gotten into a pattern way before my H's A of me being the giver of the M and my H being the taker. I saw it throughout our M. I always knew that we couldn't change anyone else...just ourselves. So I accepted that my H was the taker...and changed to help our M stay on track.

That ALL changed on Dday. I still knew that I couldn't change anyone else...just ME. But NOW...I REFUSE to change my core values to accept what others do. IF someone doesn't change to accept MY core values...then they don't need to be in a relationship with me. This was subtle...but HUGE for me. I knew for a while that my H was a selfish person. That was alright then...because I still felt that WE complimented each other and that HE would always have my I let those selfish things slide. I was doing what Dr. Phil often said...I was TEACHING my H how to treat me. Well...he was about to learn some new lessons in how I was going to be treated!!

I gave my H ultimatums on Dday...and let him know that he was going to have to be UNselfish if he wanted to stay with me. I honestly didn't think he would do ANY of them...he NEVER did them before for sure!! I was very surprised when he agreed to every one!

The ultimatum that helped me to see my H's actions of unselfishness...was the one where I told him that two times a month he was going to have to PLAN something...just for me. He knew what I liked...and there were things we didn't do because HE didn't like them. That was alright...until Dday!! It was awkward at first because my H had never done this before. After several months of this though...he told me how much he really LIKED it smile . He said that he didn't know HOW to do something like this he didn't do it. He said I seemed perfectly fine with the way things he just kept it up. But when he actually started doing was really much easier than he thought. He was so HAPPY to see how it was helping me to heal too smile . He told me it was really EASY...and it made him feel GOOD to do something for me smile .

There is a part in the book "Not Just Friends" that talks about how the TAKER of the M is not as happy as the GIVER. That surprised me...until my H told me how much he really LIKED doing this ultimatum shocked . Jesus was right...again...when He said that it is more BLESSED to give THAN to receive smile . Unfortunately...a lot of people believe that it is MORE blessed to give THEN to receive rolleyes . My H was certainly one of those people...always wanting something after he gave something. NOT ANYMORE grin !

One particular event my H was a trip to the NOLA art museum smile . I had been several times with my children...but my H never was into it and he had never been. But he planned a trip there because my favorite artist was having their artwork being displayed there! After we were finished...and enjoying beignets in City Park...I asked my H what he liked the most about the art museum. He told me it was seeing my face light up when we entered the room where my favorite artist's "masterpieces" were being shown grin . It was right then and there when I saw how GENUINE my H was about being UNselfish...a GIVER smile .

Have you seen GENUINE change in your H? Expand on THAT smile . I can only speak about my H...but when HE saw that these changes were HELPING me...he learned which path to go on. IF you have seen this in your H...then it really could be that your H just doesn't KNOW how to help you. This is where YOU can teach him smile .

I guess I just want more - tell me how you feel about it. Tell me how you feel about my sadness. Silence and the quick "I'm sorry" just make me feel like he wants to close the door and back away as soon as possible.

I am sure you have brought this up to your H in the past. I know it seemed like my H was being resistant to what I TOLD him I first. Then I learned that I had to be very specific in what I needed. For instance...I wanted my H to HOLD me when I cried. My H NEVER did that...EVER. On Dday...that was one of my ultimatums. I told my H that I only cried when I was at a breaking point...and I NEEDED him to hold me. Later I learned that my H had always felt I was being manipulative when I cried and he wasn't going to allow me to manipulate him rolleyes . He has since changed his mindset about my crying being manipulative. I would have never learned WHY my H never held me before...and he would have never learned WHY I needed him to hold me...until we both discussed it. It SEEMED so simple in MY head...but because we never discussed it...I really DIDN'T know duh . As you can see...we both ASSUMED a lot about what the other was thinking duh .

I can't speak for anyone else...but for ME...I realized that my H didn't have the tools he needed to be able to help me. Once he had these me telling him and showing him...he was EAGER to help in any way he could. Do YOU see this in your H?

Silence and the quick "I'm sorry" just make me feel like he wants to close the door and back away as soon as possible.

I LIKE the way your worded it makes YOU feel smile . I WANTED to hear, "I'm sorry". But I wanted to hear WHY my H said he was sorry. Every time he would say those words I would ask, "Sorry for what?". He then learned that I wasn't just going to accept those words! When he would say something that didn't jive with what I was feeling...I let him know. When he DID jive with my feelings...I would tell him, "Thank You". We are now able to discuss situations calmly as well.

More than likely, he won't even want to watch the show again.

How would this make YOU feel? Do you WANT to watch it again? Or will you only remember the trigger and it will ruin watching it?

I understand this trigger very well SadieMae (((HUGS))). Do you think you can reframe this trigger in your take it back...or as I like to call OWN it? Your H had another "first" date...but his LAST date...or his BEST date (or whatever POSITIVE word you want to put on it) will have been with YOU smile .

NONE of us can change what happened. But we can ADAPT to our new situations...and make them BETTER grin . Heck my much as we have all changed since Dday...I know that YOU are a NEW person smile . all actuality...YOU...the NEW YOU...are actually the person that your H had his LAST FIRST DATE with grin !!!

A "perfect marriage" is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other.

With God ALL things are possible (Matthew 19:26)

I AM happy again...It CAN happen!!!

From respect comes great love...sassylee

posts: 6162   ·   registered: Oct. 2nd, 2014   ·   location: Southeastern United States
id 8741536
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