Newest Member: AcesEights

Wayward Side :
Triggers

default

 GreenRanger21 (original poster new member #78987) posted at 3:53 PM on Thursday, November 18th, 2021

My BS recently mentioned after a triggering event that I am a trigger for her and I'm not sure how to reconcile that. I know that not all triggers are equal and I am trying my best to be more cognizant of what kinds of things might be triggering to her and avoid/remove those things if possible.

However, I am not sure what to do if it is actually just me who is the trigger. She has been really trying her best and I am grateful for every day that she continues to try and work through the significant amount of pain and trauma I've inflicted on her through my choices and actions, but I don't know what to do when she says that and I want to ask for some outside perspective on what I can do better or should be doing differently.

posts: 17   ·   registered: Jun. 22nd, 2021   ·   location: Missouri
id 8699063
default

DaddyDom ( member #56960) posted at 4:39 PM on Thursday, November 18th, 2021

This is not uncommon, there were times in our first year or two that my wife would look at me and just see slime, my mere existence was a trigger for her.

In my experience, triggers (if they CAN be resolved) are resolved through discussion and through empathy and understanding.

How are things going between you two right now? Do you feel that you are able and willing to bring up tough topics about the affair and discuss them? Or does she feel that you don't "get it" right now? If so, that could be contributing to her triggers.

Is there a way to make some "space" for her in the physical sense? Can you move into the basement or guest room for example, or go visit family for a few weeks and give her some time alone to reset?

Honestly, the best approach (IMO anyway) is to address the triggers directly. Ask her what triggers her, and when it does, what does she feel, what does she think about, what bothers her the most? Allow her to deal with her triggers by expressing them, and hopefully by coming up with some sort of thoughts on how to address them.

Me: WS
BS: ISurvivedSoFar
D-Day Nov '16
Status: Reconciling
"I am floored by the amount of grace and love she has shown me in choosing to stay and fight for our marriage. I took everything from her, and yet she chose to forgive me."

posts: 1176   ·   registered: Jan. 18th, 2017   ·   location: Marblehead, MA
id 8699076
default

foreverlabeled ( member #52070) posted at 5:05 PM on Thursday, November 18th, 2021

Well of course you are a trigger, you are after all the source of her trauma. That shouldn't come as a surprise.

When she says that how do you respond now? Are you understanding, do you offer support, or do you go the opposite way?

33 divorced Madhatter
Time is no ones friend, nor their enemy. It moves forward at its own fixed pace, careless of our wants to speed it or slow it.

posts: 2535   ·   registered: Mar. 1st, 2016   ·   location: southeast
id 8699080
default

Underserving ( member #72259) posted at 5:13 PM on Thursday, November 18th, 2021

BW here. It took time and consistency for my husband himself to not be a trigger. The consistency was my husband continuing to SHOW me he was working his ass off to be a safe partner. The safer he felt, the less I thought about what all those lips, hands, and etc had touched. Until then, they may as well have been diseased at times, that’s how grossed out I was by him.

Keep up the work on yourself. This one just takes time, even if you’re doing everything "right."

BW (32)Found out 3 years post end of AD-day 12-9-19In R

Infidelity brings out the cuss in me. I’m not as foul mouthed in real life. ;)

posts: 732   ·   registered: Dec. 9th, 2019
id 8699084
default

 GreenRanger21 (original poster new member #78987) posted at 8:10 PM on Thursday, November 18th, 2021

DD - I do get the feeling thta she is sometimes repulsed by my touch, but sometimes she wants to be close to me! As confusing as this is for me - I can only imagine how she must feel to desire closeness to me after being betrayed by me. I won't lie - it has been a really long time for me to properly empathize with her in this situation because we have always been affectionate, and now that same thing seems to make her cringe at times. I am working through it on my own and with IC to understand that this is normal for someone who has been traumatized and that I really need to be putting whatever my needs are to the side and focus on compassion for her.

Things are still up and down. We had a couple "good" weeks but a triggering event has sent things in a different direction and I am trying to respect her need to not feel pressured by me for a return to affection - which I had been unfairly, and somewhat unconscious of applying. As for physical separation - I have made it clear that if she wants me out then I will leave if she wants me to. She has not indicated that is the case but I am just trying to respect her boundaries by allowing her to go at her pace with physical touch, and other affectionate actions. I won't say that I totally "get" it because I still struggle from time to time with my own shame, stress and anxiety, but I feel like I've been making strides to arrive at a better understanding. So there is still work to be done.

I will try to encourage her to talk through them more often and see if that helps lessen the hurt - even just a little bit.

FL-

I am always available and understanding during her triggers. I am reallytrying to focus on validating her emotions and being compassionate and understanding because I have inflicted such deep wounds. I always tell her that these feelings are normal for a betrayed and that I am here to listen, talk, or whatever she might need in that moment. I think back to how I have responded to her triggers in the past and I am so incredibly ashamed of what a jerk I was and how dismissively I treated my BS in those awful moments of vulnerability, and I try to work on overcoming thta shame and motivating myself to always do better.


US-

Thank you for your reply! I have never posted without a stop sign before but I felt like I would have been depriving myself of a fuller understanding of these triggers if I didn't invite the people who actually experience them to comment. I will definitely continue to focus on consistency.

posts: 17   ·   registered: Jun. 22nd, 2021   ·   location: Missouri
id 8699116
default

gmc94 ( member #62810) posted at 8:26 PM on Thursday, November 18th, 2021

To echo others - IME, the trigger that is my WS is the lack of objectively discernable CHANGE and wanting / needing to have a sense that my WH "got" the damage caused and was working hard to find empathy and see my perspective (doesn't mean he has to AGREE with it, but to know his perspective was not the only one or absolute. A good example for me was my WH holding steadfast to the idea of "loving" me throughout the M/his As... and being wholly incapable of understanding that from my point of view, that if his kind of "love" included deceit/betrayal it was not the kind of "love" I would want to touch with a 10ft pole.

For me, a lot was/is about feeling invisible. I think many BS feel we were invisible during the A. So, post dday, I desperately wanted/needed to be truly seen/heard, in all my pain, and rage, and the rest of it. Others may have different experiences, that was just mine.

DaddyDom's comment about bringing up the A really resonated. Just about everything I've researched about infidelity says something along the lines of bringing it up - on the WS's OWN INITIATIVE is one way to show the BS they aren't carrying the weight of it all alone, that the BS is not only seen, but that the WS actually WANTS to see them, even in all the pain and anger, to help (re)forge the emotional intimacy that was either nonexistent or took a back seat before/during the A.

M >25yrs/grown kids
DD1 1994 ONS prostitute
DD2 2018 exGF1 10+yrEA & 10yrPA... + exGF2 EA forever & "made out" 2017
9/18 WH hung himself- died but revived

It's rude to say "I love you" with a mouthful of lies

posts: 3509   ·   registered: Feb. 22nd, 2018
id 8699117
default

Wiseoldfool ( member #78413) posted at 10:14 PM on Thursday, November 18th, 2021

DaddyDom's comment about bringing up the A really resonated. Just about everything I've researched about infidelity says something along the lines of bringing it up - on the WS's OWN INITIATIVE is one way to show the BS they aren't carrying the weight of it all alone, that the BS is not only seen, but that the WS actually WANTS to see them, even in all the pain and anger, to help (re)forge the emotional intimacy that was either nonexistent or took a back seat before/during the A.

I’ll second this. I have urged my WW to initiate the conversations about what she did for exactly this reason. She struggles with this.

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: 145   ·   registered: Mar. 1st, 2021
id 8699134
default

 GreenRanger21 (original poster new member #78987) posted at 12:01 AM on Friday, November 19th, 2021

Wow - thank you to the last two comments for explaining it that way. Your perspective is appreciated. I genuinely want my BS to feel seen - part of her trauma, even outside of our relationship has to do with feeling unseen, unheard, and invalidated and I really want to ensure that I am not ever the person to make her feel that way again.

I do really struggle with bringing it up on my own because I guess I am not sure how. I have a lot to discuss with my IC in that regard, but I suspect that I am fearful of the reaction that I will get by bringing it up in the "wrong" way or even figuring out a way to bring it up altogether. Would any BSes find it helpful if their WS initiated the conversation by sharing feelings about the A and how it has affected the WS or changed our perspective? I am obviously anxious about triggering her again so I have been very hesitant.

posts: 17   ·   registered: Jun. 22nd, 2021   ·   location: Missouri
id 8699156
default

Wiseoldfool ( member #78413) posted at 1:00 AM on Friday, November 19th, 2021

I don’t think I’ve ever perceived my WW herself as a trigger, but I can certainly understand those that do. It’s the damn mind movies that kill me, which of course she is in. But, I digress.

Stand by for truth unwrapped without delicacy:

As to how to bring it up, now that you see and accept the importance of doing it, I would say that the only wrong way is obtusely. I promise you, not a day goes by that your betrayed wife doesn’t think about what you did. I’m several years removed from learning of my wife’s affair, which ended still years before that, and I almost never go a day without it involuntarily entering my mind. I don’t have hours at a time where I am raging at the clouds about it any more, but it is never far from my mind.

My wife would come to me and say things like, "hey, I’m checking in, are you ok?" And that’s "fine" I guess. It’s a gesture, but it’s vague. It can come off like, "hey, are you hungry? Is the thermostat set too high? Did your workout suck?" What she might have meant was, "I really hope you are having a good day because the last thing I want to do is hear about my affair again but if you need to talk about it, I can probably put up with it for a little while." I don’t fucking know.

What I really would prefer, strange as it may seem to a wayward in particular, is something like this:

"hey, today I remembered a moment that happened during my affair. It was the time I accused you of hiding money from me, I remember I was really shitty to you about that. As you now know, in fact what happened was that I gave several thousand dollars to my affair partner. That was so hypocritical of me. It would be absolutely understandable if that makes your blood boil. I’m really sorry about that. I can’t believe how awful I was to you. I will never do that again."

Yes, that happened, by the way. The hypocritical accusing and giving money part, not the coming to me with that conversation starter.

See that would (a) let me know that she is with me, down in this fucking crater of rubble that she created when she blew up my world, helping me dig myself out of it; (b) be a disclosure of something that she remembered, a "gift of truth" if you will, however seemingly inconsequential at this point; (c) demonstrate the ability to connect the dots between what she did and how I might feel about it, which is called empathy by the way, for those of you waywards who might be confused by the concept; and (d) give me a chance to tell her, "yes, that was really shitty. I remember how you sneered at me with contempt as you leveled that false accusation. If you ever treat me like that again, I won’t be here for the apology years later, but thanks for being brave and owning it." And in that exchange, I would feel like she cares, she can see what she did, she won’t do it again, and it is worth it to stick around rather than go find the next least damaged MILF in my community.

So there’s some cynicism there, for which I am a little bit sorry, but that’s how it is sometimes.

Thanks for coming to my TED talk.

[This message edited by Wiseoldfool at 1:06 AM, Friday, November 19th]

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: 145   ·   registered: Mar. 1st, 2021
id 8699167
default

DaddyDom ( member #56960) posted at 1:11 AM on Friday, November 19th, 2021

GreenRanger21,

The questions you ask about what to say are good ones, and we've all been there asking that very same question. The thing is, I want to try and dispel you from the "do this, achieve that" mentality. What you say is important, and how you say it is equally important, however what matters most of all is WHY you are saying it. And to be honest, when your spouse talks about "hearing you" or "seeing you" (as in, "I see the real you now"), this is what she means. She wants to know what is going on inside of your head. She wants honesty, and transparency, acknowledgment and understanding of the gravity of how your choices and actions demolished her, and some sense of empathy for what she's struggling with now, because of you.

It is like anything else in life. I often use the baseball through a window analogy. When that happens, you just own it, apologize, and do your best to get fixed on your dime. "Gosh mister, I'm so sorry. It was careless of me to be playing so close your house. I'm sorry for the mess and the aggravation this is causing you. It was my fault entirely, so here's my info, just let me know whatever the cost is to fix it and I'll have a check for you ASAP." That's it. There is no pit of shame, there is no defensiveness or deflection of any kind. There is no bargaining or haggling or attacking. A person of integrity simply could not sleep at night until they knew the damage they caused was being acknowledged and addressed. That is the goal, to be someone... better. Someone you can be proud of. And the thing is, when you reach that goal, then knowing what to say and when and how to say it, becomes much more intuitive in nature.

All that being said, you registered fairly recently, so I'm going to assume that D-day was recent as well? (To me, recent is 1 year or less). The only advice I offer in that regard, WS to WS, is to expect extremes in emotions, and for those emotions to "roller coaster" quite a bit, going from days where "looks could kill", to days where she wants to go out and have some fun. Your BS is going through what is probably the most painful process she's ever experienced. Worse yet, since the cause of the trauma was a betrayal, she now also has this sense of... being in quicksand. She doesn't know who to trust because the person she trusted the most just betrayed her. Betrayal makes a person question everything about their lives, are people really who they say they are, did things actually happen the way they remember, or were told? It's constant, and it's exhausting, and since she struggles with trust issues for the moment, that affects her support chain, and removes most tools from her toolbox. She's just trying to find her center again. You can't really help her in that regard, but what you can do is try your best not to make things worse. So if there is any TT left, even if you are 1000% sure it will mean the end of the relationship, just get it out there NOW. If it comes out later, it will be much, much worse.

One last analogy. Imagine that you are the guy whose house was hit by that baseball. Now imagine that instead of taking responsibility and accountability for his actions, the guy says, "Gosh, sorry I guess... I mean, I feel bad for hitting your house, but... you gotta admit, you should expect a few broken windows living this close to a field, right? Maybe you should put a higher fence up or something? Hope it doesn't cost ya too much to fix, because if it did, then I'd really feel bad about myself. Oh well, good night." No one cares how badly the other person feels about themselves unless they take ownership of their actions. And no one wants to be blamed in any way for what was done to them. That is just some advice in general, I am not implying that you personally have done those things, however, they are common with WS's, so I just want you to be aware of them, so that you can avoid them.

So for now, do your best to be there for her when you can be and when she is able to accept it, and to be patient and respectful when she can't. Go to IC if you can, and (some personal advice here, if you have trauma in your past, address that FIRST, or nothing else will matter) work with them on finding your inner self-respect, dignity, empathy, vulnerability, strength, healthy boundaries, coping mechanisms, safe spaces, and anything else that you need to address in order to remove pain from your life. Remove the pain from your own history, and you then can stop reliving it on others. I speak from experience on that one.

Me: WS
BS: ISurvivedSoFar
D-Day Nov '16
Status: Reconciling
"I am floored by the amount of grace and love she has shown me in choosing to stay and fight for our marriage. I took everything from her, and yet she chose to forgive me."

posts: 1176   ·   registered: Jan. 18th, 2017   ·   location: Marblehead, MA
id 8699169
default

foreverlabeled ( member #52070) posted at 1:25 AM on Friday, November 19th, 2021

 I am obviously anxious about triggering her again so I have been very hesitant.

thing is for some time to come, some way or another its ALWAYS on their mind. You may not know it and they may not show it, but its right there on the surface. No time is a bad time to check in.

One of the hardest things I had to do was bring it up. Why in the world would we want to? But, it helps. Sometimes those who experience trauma have a need to talk about, rehash it over and over. Talking helps make sense of it all.

I do really struggle with bringing it up on my own because I guess I am not sure how.

I know. Its awkward huh? It gets easier every time you try. I remember always saying something up front, preface it. Brutally honest about not knowing what I'm doing but I want to try. This shit isn't exactly something I had done before and I was honest about the probability of fucking it all up and sticking my foot in my mouth, but I asked for patience as I tried. That I wanted to get it right eventually.

I think it's reasonable to ask this of our betrayed. Its new territory for us all. Bottom line, it needs to be talked through and how much better is it if we take it upon ourselves to help aid the conversation? Take the burden off them. Its team work.

33 divorced Madhatter
Time is no ones friend, nor their enemy. It moves forward at its own fixed pace, careless of our wants to speed it or slow it.

posts: 2535   ·   registered: Mar. 1st, 2016   ·   location: southeast
id 8699172
default

gmc94 ( member #62810) posted at 2:41 AM on Friday, November 19th, 2021

First, I agree with the WOF, DD and FL posts.

I have a lot to discuss with my IC in that regard, but I suspect that I am fearful of the reaction that I will get by bringing it up in the "wrong" way or even figuring out a way to bring it up altogether.

I guess therein lies the rub (or one of them) - right? Of course you have fear - that's understandable (tho your BS may not have capacity for that, which is ALSO understandable).

Not to throw you into complete negativity, I think the reality is that you really don't know how the BS may react, ESPECIALLY in the first weeks/months/year.

It becomes a vulnerability dance (or game of chicken, depending on how you frame it). The WS can open up/be vulnerable, and be met with a tsunami of anger and hurt and a whole lot of difficult feelings .... or, you could be met with the BS finding empathy, showing feelings of relief, or being equally vulnerable in return... or something else or in-between (it's kind of a sick take on Forrest Gump's 'box of chocolates', cuz you never know what you'll get). And same is true of BS - we can be vulnerable and be met with the WH burdening their shame upon us, or basically (and not necessarily consciously) making it all "about' the WS instead of showing empathy and holding space for whatever the BS is being vulnerable about (which can then trigger other feelings, including the old invisibility), or what sounds to us like bullsh*t excuses, or any other number of things (and -on both sides - it may not be the "reality", but each has their own perception).

I do believe that a WS who can learn to manage their shame response likely has better experience here. IMO/IME, part of that vulnerability dance includes the dichotomy of the WS having to learn to manage shame response, while the BS needs to learn how to manage the trauma response... but that work happens on our "own" respective sides of the street (so to speak) and then we kind of "practice" (for lack of a better term) by both being together in the street itself (we just don't always know when we'll get hit by a car or a bicycle or nothing while standing in the intersection).

It also occurred to me that I may be posting about MY thoughts, but they may have nothing to do with YOUR BS' thoughts. IOW, have you talked about talking about the infidelity? Is that something she would like you to do? (again, all the books say to do it, but there ARE some [albeit I suspect a minority] who don't want the WS to bring it up - that want to talk about it in their time/terms). If you've not talked about it, can you ask her what SHE wants (and she may not know herself - for a LONG time I just wanted to not feel so devastated... it's like being hungry but you don't know what for and nothing sounds "good" ).

Just another idea.

[This message edited by gmc94 at 8:44 PM, November 18th, 2021 (Thursday)]

M >25yrs/grown kids
DD1 1994 ONS prostitute
DD2 2018 exGF1 10+yrEA & 10yrPA... + exGF2 EA forever & "made out" 2017
9/18 WH hung himself- died but revived

It's rude to say "I love you" with a mouthful of lies

posts: 3509   ·   registered: Feb. 22nd, 2018
id 8699177
default

 GreenRanger21 (original poster new member #78987) posted at 4:34 AM on Friday, November 19th, 2021

Wow - a lot of really good insights and information that I genuinely need some time to fully process but I just want to say thanks for the response. I feel like I will need to read and then re read this stuff because I think it will take time to fully understand, but I am committed to the change and my own development into a safe partner.

posts: 17   ·   registered: Jun. 22nd, 2021   ·   location: Missouri
id 8699184
default

DoinBettr ( member #71209) posted at 4:35 PM on Friday, November 19th, 2021

I am fearful of the reaction that I will get by bringing it up in the "wrong" way or even figuring out a way to bring it up altogether.


The best practice that I know of, is to beta(Brooklyn 99) out the situation. Like a dog that knows it crapped on the carpet and the owner is cleaning it up. The dog approaches slowly, showing it is scared, and tries to show affection without expectation. Be the dog in that analogy.
Start with an apology. The outline that you are there to do work, without mentioning specifics you have done. Mention more things you think she would want you to do that are reasonable to achieve.
"I can see you are hurting from my screwing up our marriage. I am sorry. Thank you for loving me through these tough times. I have been reading books to help, but would me taking care of the kids for an hour to give you a break help?"
See how that breaks down. All reasonable things, without mentioning huge feelings, which are hard to change and take time.
The worst is when you ask questions about time. I see WS do it all the time on here and mine does it to me. "When are you going to let this go?" It is never going to be up to the WS when the forgiveness is earned and this is like a child asking, "Are we there yet? What's taking so long?" It is a request to entertain the other person or do more work to reach the end faster. It is selfish and entirely unempathetic, which tends to bring in triggers.
Last thing I would mention. Have you changed something drastic for her yet? Think of something that she wants you to do or she likes and do it or get it. If she likes walking, buy yourself a set of walking shoes and go with her on a schedule weekly. If she likes cooking, set the kitchen, fire up youtube and make a meal together. You cut, she cooks kind of thing.
There are lots of these little connection points that are forgotten when all you can see is that you screwed up. Your BS sees you put in lots of effort that wasn't in the marriage to your AP. So, these big/little things you can build together will add new memories that will help her see you with those new shiny memories and less with the tarnished ones. This is why things like a get away about 6 months after the D-Day is important. It can start that process of making new memories.
Good luck. Sorry if this doesn't help.

posts: 601   ·   registered: Aug. 7th, 2019   ·   location: Midwest
id 8699338
default

Dazedandconfused1978 ( new member #79527) posted at 10:04 AM on Saturday, November 20th, 2021

I’m a BS. This is one of the best post I’ve read in a quite awhile. All of these posts are reflective of my own thoughts and wishes. My spouse is also a big trigger for me. We will have a great day/weekend and then it hits me- how could she have been so unhappy to do what she did? What was she feeling in the years filling the affair? Then the downward spiral begins. My WS is slowly "getting it" and it’s been a rough 6 months but she is showing great growth and improvement. I just want to add that the talking about it helps tremendously. WS need to stop and think sometimes we aren’t digging for new information nuggets but just talking it out and bouncing ideas and thoughts off the WS because they were the one that was "there." They hold the cards and the answers. Talking about it and through it has really helped me with my conspiracy theories about what I don’t know. I’ve found that through my process I’m always thinking worst case scenario and her opening up and truly "talking" has helped quell those fears.

posts: 29   ·   registered: Oct. 26th, 2021   ·   location: West Virginia
id 8699436
Cookies on SurvivingInfidelity.com®

SurvivingInfidelity.com® uses cookies to enhance your visit to our website. This is a requirement for participants to login, post and use other features. Visitors may opt out, but the website will be less functional for you.

v.1.001.20211124 2002-2021 SurvivingInfidelity.com® All Rights Reserved. • Privacy Policy