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Betrayal trauma support groups and anxiety

Topic is Sleeping.
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 Saltishealing (original poster new member #82817) posted at 2:47 PM on Tuesday, September 19th, 2023

Hello all. Thank you for reading.
I am 18 months from d day but had trickle truth for four months and then my WH broke no contact a month after that with communication but no in person contact.
AP lives on the opposite coast. General cake eating affair. No plans to leave the marriage or deep feelings for the AP. I feel like I know the whole story. As much as any of us can. We’ve both been tested. Been through the initial shock and first crazy year.

Since he broke no contact about a 14 months ago he’s been a model wayward trying to save the marriage. I know he is truly remorseful.

I found a group through my church that is called beyond betrayal it is a specific curriculum for betrayed wives.
Firstly does anyone have experience doing this and what did you get out of it?

I went to one meeting and it was so good to be around other people that have and are experiencing this awful reality but it was extremely triggering. I slept terribly and cried and feel anxious today.
I would really like to have some close friends that can relate to this. I think I could develop that in this group. But I’m afraid it may be ripping the band aid off weekly. I feel like my emotions are on a tight rope and I can easily get blown off course.

I’m also in this wierd in between phase of still not sure that I want to reconcile. Even though my WH is doing everything possible.
My WH was gone last week on a fishing trip and I felt so much peace. We did talk and text a little but just not being around him helped. I missed having the company but I felt at peace. Of course we’re not separated and still trying to reconcile so I keep telling myself that of course you felt fine. You are not facing separation and the stress and pain of that.
I still at times feel anxiety with him. I still think about what he did and how traumatic it was. I am not anxious about him cheating again. I almost don’t care. It would hurt but would not be like that first time. He’s already cheated and blown up my world. Is it Normal to still have this level of anxiety and ambivalence at a year and half out? I am really trying to just focus on what I need and my own healing. I meditate do therapy, yoga, trying to improve friendships. I suppose it’s just time will tell if I can be happy with him again.
I’ve also recently asked him to sleep in a spare room because I get too emotional at night and feel anxious next to him. I’ve tried talking with him and working through this rationally. He’s very supportive but I don’t find any comfort in him anymore. So far it’s not helping so he’s just sleeping upstairs. I typically don’t have problems being intimate but I don’t have a problem cutting out the emotional component of that experience.
I know I am still so early in this process. It’s just every day feels so difficult and I dread that I may be like this for another year or two. Thank you for any thoughts.

posts: 40   ·   registered: Jan. 31st, 2023
id 8808445
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 3:45 PM on Tuesday, September 19th, 2023

I think I understand why you're troubled. I'm sure you will resolve your indecision, but I don't know which way.

First, I think it's entirely normal to be ambivalent a lot longer than anybody wants to be ambivalent. The reality is: you've got a history of love with your WS, and you have a history of betrayal, and you have to integrate your whole history before you can make guesses about what the future is likely to hold if you stay.

But your WS's remorsefulness is only part of the decision. You also have to honor what you want. You need to want R to achieve it. You say you don't know if you really want R. That's a good insight. It means you need to figure out what you want. That self-examination and self-discovery will show you what to do.

I think the church group stirred up pain that you still need to process - understandable pain, because you're still not far from d-day and TT. If the group hadn't stirred it up, the pain would still be in you. My reco is to keep going to the group and give yourself permission to attend or not, whichever seems best, before each meeting.

The group looks like it could SI-in-real-life. If that's what it is, it's probably going to be very helpful. You won't be anonymous, but you'll get instant feedback, and you'll be able to immediately ask follow-up questions. That seems pretty good in my book.

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: 29265   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8808453
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Superesse ( member #60731) posted at 7:52 PM on Tuesday, September 19th, 2023

I second Sisoon's entire post.

Actually, for me, even years later now, reading on SI can bring up elements of unresolved pain about my choices after Betrayal. And that is because my WH refused to do any work on his issues after D-Day 1, when he could have shown me he was newly serious about this M. This unhappy IHS dragged out for years, as did his periodically begging me not to D him, but just"give him more time" to work on his issues, to show me he wanted to be with ME as a Husband, until 12 years later, he was arrested for soliciting - on my birthday. Huh, guess I got my answer.

For me, hindsight is 20-20 that my initial gut reaction was right; if I had been strong enough to ditch this marriage in 2002, who knows how my life might have ended up. I know the years of his secrecy before we got engaged hid his porn and prostitute lifestyle that - had I known about either - I seriously doubt I'd have felt secure enough to go into marriage with him, to begin with.

Indecision after betrayal seems very common, even among many who R, but I read many SI stories where the BS states they want to R and they state how they still love their spouse. I never have felt 100% able to say these 5 words: "I want to R this marriage." So, I've been on the fence almost 21 years next week, which for sure is not a good way to live life.

Like Sisoon points out, just saying what you did about your uncertain desire to R is a clue to what your deeper feelings may be trying to express.

***

Oh and I wish there was such a group I could attend, it is so needed, but in our denomination, D is such a taboo I doubt there will ever be a church-sanctioned support group. Nearest thing I have found is GriefShare in another church, because this is a form of trauma and it causes some to develop or worsen their baseline anxiety. For example, I had to limit my physical closeness to WH after D-Day just to avoid my gut reaction to his presence. As time went on, he had to be careful not to startle me by even coming into my room in the morning and touching me on the arm or shoulder, as I'd wake up frightened. Foot rubs were ok, but no more contact, if I was asleep. This is due to my unresolved feelings about him and just traumatic memory. (The Body Keeps The Score is a great book on trauma by van der Kolk.)

[This message edited by Superesse at 8:18 PM, Tuesday, September 19th]

posts: 1864   ·   registered: Sep. 22nd, 2017   ·   location: Washington D C area
id 8808491
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 Saltishealing (original poster new member #82817) posted at 1:36 PM on Wednesday, September 20th, 2023

Thank you for the thoughtful messages. Certainly some great advice.
Sisoon I am going to take your advice and go to the group and feel it out. I agree that the feelings coming up is unresolved hurt. I’m learning it’s just a matter of time that those emotions come up. I keep hoping eventually it will decrease but it’s been such a hard year and a half. And I agree with you I have to trust that I will know what to do eventually. I think that’s the problem is I don’t trust myself. I’ve stomped down my own desires for so long I don’t really know what they are. Before his affair raising my kids had been extremely challenging for the last five years. So I was already drowning.
Superesse I also appreciate your perspective. I can relate to not being able to say I love my spouse and want to R. I am following a bit of an odd trajectory that I did at first want to R and I still felt like I was in love with my WH. I think the shock and the desire to just not change my life was forefront in my mind. Now as the months tick by I’m so angry and disgusted by what he did and the suffering I’ve been through. I cannot say I’m in love with him. I care for him and I think it is more of an attachment and a fear of being on my own. But I feel no deep love for him. My hope is with time that will come back. He’s doing all the right things and is such a good partner now. I value having an intact family unit for myself and the kids so I really want to try. I am afraid that I’ll try and still feel this way many years down the road but I think that’s the chance I’ll have to take.
Superesse do you mind me asking why you stayed? Kids, finances, attachment? Those are all big things and part of my reasons but I’m curious how you have been in the relationship for so long feeling so ambivalent.
Thanks again for the advice you both are appreciated!

posts: 40   ·   registered: Jan. 31st, 2023
id 8808563
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 2:40 PM on Wednesday, September 20th, 2023

Are you in IC? If not, a good IC can help you figure out what you want and what you'll do. If you are )in IC), my reco is to push your IC to help you figure your wants out.

And remember there's a difference between what you want and what you do. I loved my W on d-day. I knew I wanted R. It juts took me a while to decide that R was the best route for me. I was willing to end our M if I thought it best, even though I wanted R.

Also, I urge you to be kind to yourself. Recovering from being betrayed always always always takes longer than anyone wants it to take. There's nothing wrong with taking time to gather evidence that will help you decide on your future. (I'm not talking about evidence of betrayal - you have enough of that already.) You're making decisions that will affect decades of your life; that sort of decision takes time.

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: 29265   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8808570
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 Saltishealing (original poster new member #82817) posted at 6:24 PM on Thursday, September 21st, 2023

Thank you for your thoughts.
I am in therapy but I feel like I’m not getting much from this therapist any longer. I’ve seen this therapist before the affair and found her very helpful. However she talks about moral relativism in a round about way and also has encouraged psychedelics to help me move out of my mindset. I did emdr with her and it was not effective. I’m not against psychodelics but I don’t think it will change my core personality and feelings toward betrayal. She just keeps saying I’m stuck. Almost like I just need to find a way to change my mind or see the affair in a different less severe light. I honestly wish that I could see it that way. I think if I’m completely honest with myself I just don’t want the headache and heartache of divorce. All that will bring for my kids and the thought that I will need to work likely an extra ten years. I’m 47 so turning the ship around will be hard. And he is being a very good partner now. It would be different if he was still being a jerk or continuing to be unfaithful.
I am going to hold my current course for now. I’m hoping either some sort of feelings of love come back or I can find contentment with the companionship that we have. Thanks all. Maybe I’ll have a good update in the next year either way.

posts: 40   ·   registered: Jan. 31st, 2023
id 8808719
Topic is Sleeping.
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