Articles for August 2014

Betrayal....Couples In Crisis and Infidelity By Cynthia Weston LMFT

by Cynthia Weston, LMFT

Townsgate Therapist
August 14th, 2014

To The Betrayed - The Discovery Of The Betrayal By Cynthia Weston LMFT

Your life has suddenly been turned upside down and your stomach has been turned inside out.  You most likely feel that you have no solid ground on which to stand.  You may question all that you have believed about your past, present and future because it has changed in a instant.  You may feel like your relationship was all a total lie.  You might wonder "who is this person I have been living with all of these years?"

The trauma of betrayal is life changing.  Every cell and fiber of ones being is challenged.  Doubting our value and feelings of not being enough may over take us at times.  The grief and loss experienced along with the inability to face life "as usual" can be one of the most difficult realities to face.  It is like walking on a tight rope through life hoping that you don't fall one way or the other.  Some may need to reel their lives into a very priviate world.  Television and music may at this time no longer be a part of your experience because it opens up ideas, emotions, visuals and suggestions that can be too painful.  Caring for children may be a blessing , but this too can be challenging when you're in such pain and trying to remain present and nurturing.  Asking for help with your children during this time is a good idea.  Holding back your tears while struggling to cope are very common challenges when you find out your partner has cheated on you. 

Betrayal hurts deeply and if you are experiencing it I am sorry.  In this moment I am sure it is hard to even fathom that there is hope.  No matter how bleak your life feels to you can and will not only survive this crisis but become conscious on an entirely different level of all that you are.  Your strengths, your needs and your higher good can all become part of the discoveries that are ferreted out from a betrayal.  Right now I don't expect that you can even see this far into the future because you feel that what you planned, trusted, and adhered too, has changed overnight.  Still, it is important to know  that there are many that have walked this path before you and have positive stories to tell.  Knowing this can be encouraging...especially when you might feel uncertain or a lack of hope.

A Few Things That Might Be Helpful During This Difficult Time:

1) Be selective with whom you choose to share your situation.  There may be a tendency to tell the world or to go it alone sometimes due to feelings of shame.  Remember that every confidant comes with their own views and experiences that will effect how they communicate with you.  Finding a good therapist that understands this very sensative situation is essential.  It is important to have a safe place to explore your deep and  painful feelings that may include anger, resentment, fear, insecurity and losss.  (The goal is to have a place to be with your feelings where you can find ways to move forward that are in your best interest without judgement.)

(2) As hard as it might be to keep the focus on yourself and your own feeling process it is highly recommended.  Anger, rage, becoming a detective, spending all of your time trying to figure "them" out can reignite the trauma resopnse over and over again.  As much as it may be a way of staying connected to the relationship and trying to make sense of your situation, taking care of you by having a positive support system and establishing healthy boundaries, is far more helpful and productive.

(3) Try to keep in mind that what you are feeling today will change.  Have compassion for the many feelings that are being triggered on such a deep level.  Be gentle with yourself and give permission to take life a little easier.  Try to not expect as much from yourself as normal.  Despite the fact that affairs, betrayals and broken trust happen on a daily basis, this does not lesson the enormous pain of a broken heart.

To The Betrayer - When Your Affair Becomes Known

The many feelings that you may be experiencing are very real.  Although others may seem to have little or no compassion for your process, you too are in an emotional crisis.  The dishonesty and broken trust are difficult realities to face for both parties.  Being caught between the feelings of betrayal of your long term partner and the excitment and adoration of someone new, can be very deceiving.  Stopping and taking a good look at what is driving your choices is crucial. It's crucial because the feelings and validation enlightened by the paramour may appear to fulfill needs that have been void in your relationship/marriage.  It is in this time frame that you may believe and "feel" that the "other" is the key to all that has been missing.  The down side is that the emotional choices made during this period can have painful consequences for you and your family.  It is not uncommon to realize that the choices made in a emotional whirlwind can result in you experiencing incredible regret and loss.  

If your have children allow yourself to look at how your choices may effect them.  It can be very easy to overlook the consequences on family life.  The devision of time with your children, holidays, milestones, school functions, sports events and beginning a new relationship has it's challenges.  In the beginning all seems so doable because you are in a "feel good" state that believes all will be well.  This is not to say that some relationships don't manage to work out the details of a blended family, but in truth statistics show that its not easy and has life changing effects on our children.  I encourage you to take that "time out" before you effect the lives of so many based on "a feeling."  I am not in any way trying to "rain on your parade."  I am hoping to help you evaluate your situation from a more thought out perspective because we know emotions can drive the decisions in an affair. 

Spending time with a therapist who can support you to look beneath the surface of what your experiencing, can be very helpful.  You may be conflicted with many emotions such as fear, guilt, anger, loneliness and anxiety.  Having someone to help you sort these emotions out is important. 

A Few Things That May Be Helpful During This Difficult Time:

1) If there is any part of you that struggles with the betrayal of your significant other and the conflict you may be experiencing, take some time as difficult as it might be to enter therapy and process the reality of your decisions.  Just allow time to let someone else ask you the questions you may not be able to face at this time.  

2) Emotions run high during affairs and rational thinking may not be achieved without a time out for you to get to your inner truth.

3) Remember that what most likely led to your affair was a loss of communication between you and your partner.  It may not be the loss of "love' that came between you and your significant other.  As time passes and reality sets in with your affair, you may realize that you were lonely, hurt, rejected and angry with your partner which led to your going outside of your relationship. 

4) If you choose to allow yourself the above process, then share with your partner that you are going to seek counsel.  This may allow time in this upheaval to become more rational and honest with yourself, whatever that may be. 

5) If you have small children, protecting them from negative emotions in your household is very important.  Coming and going and arguing with your significant other when you are uncertain of what you are going to do is emotionally difficult on your children.  If your children are older and they know what is going on it is best to let them know that although you and your partner are going through this time you will remain constant and available to them.  Give permission for them to ask questions and express their feelings, fears and dissapointments. Let them know it is not their fault. It's alright to say you're sorry and how difficult it is for all of you to be going through this difficult time.  Let them know that you as their parents will figure out what needs to happen and that it is important for them to continue moving forward with their lives.