Trust can take years to build, but only a moment to break.
When our partners first learn about our infidelity and addiction, they are nearly always emotionally traumatized. Even if they suspected that something was amiss in the relationship prior to discovery, they are blown away when they officially learn the truth. In fact, research shows that betrayed partners who learn about their significant other’s cheating typically experience stress and anxiety symptoms characteristic of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). If you’re unfamiliar with PTSD, it is a very serious, potentially life-threatening problem. Symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, hyper-vigilance, and powerful mood swings (including flashes of extreme anger, insecurity, and fear). So, if we notice any of these behaviors in our partners, it’s our fault, not theirs. They are simply responding in a very normal way to the pain and hurt that we have caused.
Task for Today
Instead of reacting when a loved one gets angry, think about how you (and your betrayal) may have caused that anger. And then respond with empathy instead of rancor.