Hey, IHPN, sorry for the late reply. I hope your week is going well. I’ve read your thread on cognitive dissonance and found it very helpful. Thank you for posting it!
Honestly, the stuff that was helpful or beneficial didn’t feel like it for a long time. But the best advice I got was to focus on my wayward hat. Figuring out myself and my whys. Stop blaming people and assigning labels to them, work on compassion and why they might be acting in whatever way. The feelings behind things, not explaining and mentally managing their responses. Figuring out why I was in pain and fulfilling myself, forgiving myself, loving myself. Then the love started to flow. I can only control myself. It was scary. It was hard. It meant giving up my illusion of control.
I had to be willing to put aside my pain. I had to work through the shame of causing pain to my husband. He had great compassion for me and I am so grateful. I was a shriveled up raisin and it took me a long time to water myself.
Learning these things helped me:
I have my feelings, they don’t have me.
Everyone is doing the best they can at that particular time.
There are no “shoulds.” Life isn’t black and white.
Marriage is a privilege, not an entitlement. It’s not my husband’s job to make me happy.
The grass is greener where I water it. This was especially useful for reinforcing nonviolent communication, because no, people don’t owe my anger a compassionate response if I’m screaming at them.
People aren’t mindreaders. Yes, I really have to explain exactly what I want and compassionately advocate for myself.
I can change the channel.
People’s actions are about them, not about hurting me. If something hurts me, it’s my filter to own and work through.
Blame doesn’t solve anything.
Once you know different, you can do different.
I meditated. I did yoga. I read SI. I joined groups. I created self care and vigorously challenged negativity. I will do those things forever, married or not.
I believe betrayal exacerbates filters that we already hold about ourselves. Resolving those filters (like I’m unlovable, bad) creates the capacity for forgiveness and compassion. It’s unpacking a lot of resentment. It’s letting go of illusions. It’s resolving cognitive dissonance. I know that for me hearing this stuff for a long time triggered shame. Hopefully, none of this reads as blame. I searched for anything after discovery that would tell me that what he did was worse, then what I did was worse. Anything for control. Accepting that we were both just people was a process but it’s so FREEING. People can make their choices and I don’t have to police them! Amazing!
Look, I went scorched earth with my husband. He is truly amazing. I kicked him out, sent my lawyer off writing dissolution papers, outed him to my family. I had a fucking breakdown on his head after all of my bullshit and he stayed. That’s a massive amount of shame and fear for me to work through. But we’re doing it, so far together. He knew it wasn’t his fault. I am so grateful. I do know I’ll be okay, but it took your favorite word, TIME. We are both very remorseful and yet still there are triggers, still working on trust, communication, our own work.
Loving myself took time, figuring out what made me happy. Our MC was great and wouldn’t put up with comparisons. He encouraged us to remember our bond, to choose and cultivate compassion. Accept each other. That gets easier as you focus on yourself and your work. Get to common ground. Build empathy.
Just our experience, YMMV.