All her new triggers?

Discussion in 'Rebooting in a Relationship' started by Reverent, May 8, 2018.

  1. Reverent

    Reverent Fapstronaut

    We've been recovering for over 250 days now. A lot of therapy and communication has happened.
    I feel I have a pretty good grasp now on the various traumas I've caused my wife. Eminent boundaries were identified and drawn. I respect those and understand for her and my safety why they are in place.

    My question is how do I handle triggers she experiences that I don't even know? I try and be more sensitive in my decisions always thinking how it may affect her. But often times things I think are no big deal seem to set her off. We identify these behaviors as triggers for her and add them to the list. But until I already screwed up, I do not know. I'm in a constant state of apologies. It feels like we are never progressing. There has to be a healthier way.

    Thanks for listening.
  2. BB7378

    BB7378 Fapstronaut

    Maybe always try to think about things from her perspective. I think a lot of the PA's find it really hard to grasp the feelings of the SO and just how much every day life has been affected by our behaviours. Also if you have been at it for a long time maybe some of the ways of thinking are still lingering. But 250 days clear is a lot so maybe not so much this.

    Maybe think about it then rethink it and rethink it again to try and insure as little damage as possible. These are the consiquenses of our actions ultimately and we have to handel what ever may come of them.

    Good luck with avoiding the unknown triggers in the future.
    Deleted Account and Reverent like this.
  3. TryingToHeal

    TryingToHeal Fapstronaut

    Can you give an example of triggers you don't know that would trigger her?

    I agree with this, too. It affects us SO much. Like one video I watched by this guy (I can't remember which one but they are all pretty fantastic, check them out), says that we are reminded of it like 80 times a day. That is A LOT. It feels constant.
  4. Reverent

    Reverent Fapstronaut

    Most recent one is. We used to have a Netflix DVD subscription 3 months ago. Our DVD player broke so I cancelled it. Why pay for DVDs you can't play?

    I replaced the DVD player 3 weeks ago. Sunday I signed up for DVD delivery again.

    Today I got "Um, when were you going to tell me that you got Netflix dvd?"

    I figured she would know when she went to the mailbox and saw the discs.

    3 other points:
    *we have maintained streaming Netflix this whole time.
    ** She has access to my subscription account, same user/pass stored in the same family CPU
    *** I have never rented or streamed any XXX, NC-17, MA, or even R rated DVD from Netflix EVER

    I guess I believe now that watching movies is a trigger for her, but how was I supposed to know? What did I do wrong?
    Last edited: May 8, 2018
  5. Rock_Star

    Rock_Star Fapstronaut

    it's not that she is triggered by movies. she's triggered because you weren't transparent about what you were doing. she wants you to tell her when you're going to do something even if she has access to it. she didn't know you were doing P. you weren't open and honest about what you were doing. she doesn't want to have to fallow bread crumbs to figure out what your up too. as PAs we think that because we're sober we can just go back to being normal but for our SO they feel like there private detectives, waiting for the next clue to pop up and discover a whole new problem. SOs want complete and total transparency. they don't want to feel like they have to snoop, and if you're open, even with the little stuff like Netflix, they won't.
  6. EyesWideOpen

    EyesWideOpen Fapstronaut

    But at the same time, you shouldn't have to feel like you have to inform your partner of every single thing you do. That is not a relationship. As an SO, I 100% understand random triggers coming out of nowhere. But to me, that is where the SOs recovery comes into play. She bears a certain responsibility in how she handles herself when triggers happen, because they inevitably will, and sometimes suddenly for the most random things. She needs to come up with a plan on how that will happen for her, and then how she can present that to you in a way that the two of you will be able to discuss it and eventually work through it. Yes, you have hurt her, but you should not be made to pay for it every time you turn around. It isn't fair to either of you so the two of you have to find a way to come together and move through these things.

    And here is something that may be hard for some to hear... sometimes triggers are just triggers that she will just have to push through and deal with. Not all triggers are the PA's responsibility. Life happens and we have to keep moving with it. Is she seeing a therapist that can help her through some of these things?
  7. Reverent

    Reverent Fapstronaut

    I appreciate the thougts so far. I get the whole bread crumbs analogy @Rock_Star. It's a WIP to always be transparent and make her feel safe. Live a life where my actions always match my words.

    @EyesWideOpen I expected SO will have triggers independent of my behaviors. I'm not trying to imply that she shouldn't have them or "why does she have them?". Because I care deeply about her I am looking for advice on how to better serve her when they do happen. My default is to just apologise because I assume I did something wrong, Or caused it. 9/10 that's the case. But when I apologise for something I didn't cause it leaves me feeling hollow and un ginuine. Kind of cheapens all other apologies in sincerity, iykwim.

    Yes she's been in therapy longer than me. She is working on herself, how do I best serve her in that?
  8. Reverent

    Reverent Fapstronaut

    Another example:

    Last night we went to an eighth grade school awards ceremony.
    The girls on stage were dressed up pretty in nice dresses etc.

    Apparently my wife was Uber triggered with fear that both her husband and son may see some tweens panties as thier skirts were very short, and they were up on stage. She really struggled with this tension all night.

    I spoke to her afterwards and said "did she see how short dresses are now adays. That is too bad."
    The response I received was "I was wondering if you were going to say anything".
    And her explaination as why it would set me off.

    Unwarranted fears in my mind. I never messed any thing with kids, fantasies, porn, nothing. I strictly advocate for children. But it seems this is now a new trigger for her.

    What am I missing?
  9. TryingToHeal

    TryingToHeal Fapstronaut

    In my opinion, as a spouse of a PA, this is about trust just as much as it is triggering and her feelings are totally warranted. I will just give you my view here, because I can't say how she feels, but I can give you how I feel as a spouse. Finding out my husband had a PA changed my view of who he was. He and our marriage wasn't what I always thought it was. I thought it was he and I against the world, him always having my back, keeping my feelings in mind, him being the one person who promised to love and cherish me and not hurt me. No, he betrayed me and did it for 16 years. That really throws a person for a loop and you don't even feel like you know them anymore. My husband no longer gets that level of blind trust that he got before and probably never will. Yes, we can build up trust, but not to that level. I no longer assume that there are lines he wouldn't cross. In my mind, if he can do what he did and hide it and lie to me for 15 years despite how he acted outwardly, he is capable of anything. So, it may not matter to her that you never did anything involving those that are young, in her head this is still triggering. (And as a side note, to me, it is also all part of the same machine, it's all P and by watching it even if he wasn't watching young people, I feel my husband was unknowingly and indirectly supporting that. She may feel that way as well.)

    Also, my eyes have been opened to the world in a way that can't ever go back. I see things now that I never noticed before, and I see it constantly. You know how like you can get a new car or shirt or something and you've never really noticed them before but now that it is part of your life you start to see it everywhere? Yeah, that is how P/sexualization/objectification etc. became to me after finding out about the PA. It all stood out everywhere now. She is may not only thinking about that in regards to you but now her son. He's going to have to deal with all this that is thrown at him daily. That was always there, but now she may notice it much more.

    I totally get how this is frustrating for you that it can seem like literally everything can trigger her. But in my experience, it really truly absolutely can. So many things remind me in some way of the broken trust, the marriage issues now, the lying, the P, etc. It can be like a constant barrage of stuff all day long depending on what I'm doing for the day. It has even infiltrated things that have nothing to do with it like music, TV, movies, going shopping, etc. It sucks and it is hard to face this every day all the time. Most of the time I can shrug things off and just move on after giving it a second or two of my time, but sometimes I can't and it can be consuming for a bit. I know all situations are different, but I hope somehow seeing another spouses viewpoint may be helpful.
  10. Reverent

    Reverent Fapstronaut

    That is so terrible that it is now a constant barrage. Yes we caused that, and yes it must suck. My heart goes out to you.

    What would you wish your SO to do to help you deal with this new barrage? How can a SO be supportive of this trial and ease the torment?

    I can not change the past, but I'm here now willing to work, I just don't know how to help. I try and never to cause triggers, but anything could set her off I'm discovering. I made her life hell.
    hope4healing, Torn and TooMuchTooSoon like this.
  11. Couldn't agree more. Suddenly it’s everywhere we look, in everything we hear, almost inescapable. It’s like we’re suddenly thrust into the PA perspective, looking at the world in a new and disturbing way, like unwanted goggles have been fused to our eyes. Whatever the opposite of rose-colored glasses would be. As much as a PA could get a high, we get a soul crushing low. While the world might be an oyster for PA’s, full of near constant potential for pleasure, for SOs it has become an unending hopeless pit of despair and degradation.
  12. TryingToHeal

    TryingToHeal Fapstronaut

    I commend you for this. You are right, you can't change it, it is done. But you are here and you are asking for help and that is awesome. Honestly, there isn't that much that you can do about the triggers. Those are just part of her life now and they just happen. As she heals, they lessen over time. To help her with healing, you can be understanding and it may be helpful to her for you to be validating. Something like, "I'm sorry that my past actions caused you so much pain and that it still triggers you even when we are doing something as innocent as watching an award show. I'm not that person anymore, I love you and I'm going to do everything I can to not cause you any more pain" or something like that. Obviously something you actual feel, not just empty words. If she's feeling triggered and letting you know, I think that is a plus. She could just be bottling it up and not saying anything and that tends to come out even worse. Is she on here? If she doesn't know about NoFap, maybe mention it as a place she can find other SOs for support?

    Also, if she is anything like me, she's already thinking of all this all the time, so it is definitely helpful when you bring it up. To show that you are working on this, you know in your mind that she is being hit with these triggers left and right. We really just want to know that you 100% really truly GET IT. That you get the depth of the pain, how far reaching it goes, and how much strength it takes every day just to get through the day, and that you are sympathetic to that. Sometimes it is hard for me to even look at my husband. It makes he and I both feel like shit. It's terrible. But if she's there, she's working on it, and so are you. You're doing great at 250+ days. Hopefully that has come with a lot of changes and I'm sure she sees that. The best thing you can do is be transparent... anything you can let her know ahead of time like when, where, why you are doing what you are doing or the plan you have to avoid possible issues that will come up, it keeps her from having to question your intent. Every time you interact with her is a chance to build trust, use it. Be honest. Be impeccable with your word (that saying is from a great book, The Four Agreements). Over time, this will build trust, which will help everything else. She has to work on healing as well, and you can't take those triggers away, but you can make that healing easier on her and comfort her when she is triggered.

    And lastly, this may seem extremely obvious, but have you asked her what will help her heal? What her opinion is of what you should do?
    I wish you the best of luck! I love that you are here asking this question!
  13. TryingToHeal

    TryingToHeal Fapstronaut

    Oh I guess I should have noted, me saying there isn't much you can do about triggers assumes things like you aren't ogling other women, still looking at P or psubs, aren't lying etc. All of those would clearly still be triggering for her and each of those would set back her healing. But it seems like you are beyond that point from your posts so I just assumed that. If not, definitely start there. :)
  14. Reverent

    Reverent Fapstronaut

    To the recovering P addict I assure you the world is no oyster. It's plagued of constant assaults and reminders of the pain we caused as well as the selfish shame we indulged in. The world is disturbing to us both, I find no pleasure in that.
    Dealing with a lifetime of regret and loss of self-mastery enslaves our preoccupation in every spagetti strapped, long legged, media marketed day. It is no picnic.

    It is remarkable that you women even put up with us really. Porn kills love.
    The glasses @TooMuchTooSoon are jade colored. Because from now on the beautiful innocence of the world is jaded with tint of objectification and debauchery. Sorry we forced you to wear those glasses. You never deserved to. Wouldn't it be nice we call could just see clearly again.

    I have hope in healing.
  15. Reverent

    Reverent Fapstronaut

    This reply is so very scrumptious I just want to gobble it up and make it part of me.

    Thank you. What you say here feels so right! I very much needed this.
  16. I was definitely referring to a non-recovering PA (person or the addiction itself) seeing this world as a non-stop pleasure palace. And yes, jaded indeed, though jade is typically translucent to opaque and boy would I love that (lack of) visibility sometimes ;)

    PAs in recovery such as yourself are so very much appreciated. You’re the only source of hope current and even former SOs have until we can expose just how unhealthy P is. But it’s so ingrained as ‘normal’ I’m scared it will never be truly rejected - much like cigarettes.

    People like their vices and don’t like being told they’re bad even when the truth is smacking them in the face.
  17. Perfectly said. At the end of the day showing commitment to recovery and commitment to her, that you are actively thinking about how to improve both your lives and truly considering her and her feelings... that’s the best you can do. Neglected/ignored/rejected is how SOs feel so everything you can do to counter that is a positive step. Show her you’re actively thinking of her and trying to understand how everything affects her. Just walk the walk, be sincere in words and actions and day by day, moment by moment, you can prove to be a man she’ll be glad she supported and stuck by through this awful crap. I wish you both the best. :)
  18. I really appreciate this sentence ... at the same time, I very much believe that an SO has a really hard time to appreciate PA's in recovery that are their spouse.

    Seeing and appreciating other PA's in recovery is easy [and helpful to those PA's] .. but I think most times, a PA's SO does not see or appreciate his recovery. (or maybe she does and just doesn't say anything about it--that is my case at least)
  19. In early stages (timeline is different for everyone) it’s hard to appreciate anything from a partner who has so deeply hurt and betrayed you. I’ve seen many SOs mention how horrible it can feel to be expected to applaud their partner for not ogling women, not ruining their sex life, not visiting prostitutes, etc. It’s difficult to be immediately grateful they’re finally acting the way we feel they should have all along, the way we originally viewed them before our illusions were shattered. If you threw a vase on the ground, would you expect to be thanked profusely for putting it back together? If you broke something in the first place, fixing it is the bare minimum to get back to a baseline, let alone more.

    That said, the ability to appreciate other PAs is a hopeful sign for everyone. That the SOs can believe change and recovery are possible. That the PA may find redemption and forgiveness in time. @TryingHard2Change has your wife seen just how helpful and open and dedicated you are on here? It is apparent to everyone who reads your comments how badly you want to make this work, and how consistently which is a major factor.

    20 years of lies cuts deep, though. When you find out half your life has been false, and the person you trusted and so wish you could safely trust again has betrayed you, it’s hard. That is most certainly a drastic understatement. I was not married to my SO. We had no kids together. We were months vs years in when I found out so I can’t say I know how she feels. With 6? Kids no less. @Kenzi could better chime in there. So one year of recovery vs. 20 years of addiction and secrets = 5%. I think all SOs do so badly want to trust that the change is real and permanent but it’s terrifying to put yourself out there when you’ve been gutted by that person. Many times in some cases. Again why lying is the worst. Each time it’s back to square one.

    Some people cannot forgive, others can. Some leave while others stay. It’s so hard to see people on here doing what you wish your own partner was doing, whether it’s seeing someone like you so devoted to recovery when my own SO was not. Or you reading about SOs battling alongside their PAs in a fight to save their marriage. We see what we feel we are missing in our own situations. We want to know where we stand. Limbo sucks.

    I don’t judge anyone for staying or leaving because we all have to walk our own path. If she’s too hurt to ever forgive and love and trust freely then I hope you can start fresh with someone who can. There may be too much water under that bridge to rebuild in her eyes. But just as she can’t control your addiction or recovery, you can’t control her healing and recovery. At the end of the day it’s her choice to stay or leave, just as it is yours. But I do hope for the best possible outcome for you, whatever that may be. You’ve proven to be a shining example to those of us who have been burdened with PA, addicts and SOs alike. You are seen and appreciated and applauded for your efforts. I hope that your recovery continues to progress and we’ll be cheering you on every step of the way.
  20. Thanks...I really appreciate everything you said.

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