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Trauma Of Infidelity Article

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IndianDreams posted 10/22/2013 08:31 AM

I came across an article
which really explained why I felt like I was going crazy all the time.
If you don't read all of it, this section is what helped me understand what has been going on the most and I hope it helps others too

Patterns of deception before the affair was uncovered are often hard for the betrayed to explain in words. The crazy feeling of knowing in your gut you're being deceived, but not having any tangible proof.

Lying by omission is part of this crazy making process - it's lying by either omitting certain facts or by failing to correct a misconception. I also like to call this "playing dumb". If this has been a long term pattern in the relationship, the receiving spouse has been somewhat conditioned to except rational explanations and ignore their "gut instincts" for fear of appearing irrational, controlling, or crazy.

Being unsure of your status in the relationship makes you feel insecure and uncertain.
It appears as though there are two sets of rules in the relationship, one set for you and one set for your spouse.

For Example: Your spouse calls to tell you they have a meeting and will be home late. You may ask some questions about who the meeting is with and what it's about. Your spouse serves up a perfectly valid explanation. You say, "Okay, I'll see you after work." and don't think any more of it.
Later you find a receipt that indicates your spouse was actually out at a restaurant during this so called meeting (not necessarily having an affair, but being deceptive none the less).
When you confront your spouse about being lied to, they say, "Well you never asked me where the meeting was. It's not my fault that you assumed I would be at the office, I didn't know that's what you thought (playing dumb). How was I to know that's what you thought? You never asked me if I was having the meeting in the office."
Your gut tells you your spouse was perfectly aware of your assumption, but how can you prove it? You're accused of being troubled if you think there was any ill-natured intentions.
As you apply logic to the situation, you wonder if you are just overreacting. You tell yourself, "Well I didn't ask if s/he was going to be at the office. Technically I guess I can't call it lying, because I never asked where the meeting was. I guess next time I'll ask more questions."

As you examine the facts, it appears that the explanation made sense and was rational, your feelings then begin to look irrational. You drop the subject and chalk it up to a misunderstanding. The next time, you start asking more specific questions, you are then accused of being overbearing, insecure or jealous. You think, "Gosh, I don't want to be 'that person', the controlling, stalker type." You can't prove that the withholding of information was intentional or malicious. If your spouse says it wasn't, what choice do you have other than to accept what they are telling you?
You begin to feel guilty for assuming that your spouse had destructive intentions. As the pattern repeats over and over again, it erodes relationship trust.
You feel that no matter what you do you can't win, because somehow it will always be your feelings that are at fault.

This psychological invalidation (to reject, ignore, mock, tease, judge, or diminish someone's feelings) is an attempt to control how the spouse feels about the situation. It seems there is never any resolution on your end to the constant lying by omission. Your partner seems fine with that, but you are left with this sneaking suspicion that asking the right question is your only means to get the truth, shifting the responsibility of truth to you.

Lies of omission make you feel as though it is your fault for not asking the specific question that would get you the truth. Invalidation goes beyond mere rejection, by implying not only that our feelings are disapproved of, but that we are fundamentally abnormal When the explanations just don't add up, and pressure is applied to the spouse, their intent to to be less than honest, becomes a side-effect of either, a defect in you, your inability to handle the truth, or, a display of your spouses concern for your feelings.

Often, whichever angle is chosen, is dependent upon the betrayed spouses emotional approach to the situation. If you approach them with indignation at being deceived, their omissions become a reaction to your inability to handle the truth, or their uncomfortableness with your inappropriate reactions:
If you didn't get your feelings hurt so easily, I wouldn't have to withhold the truth.
If you weren't so controlling I'd feel comfortable being honest.
I can't handle your anger when I'm doing something you don't like, so I lied because your so angry.

This approach of course implies that the defect is in you and your inability to handle the truth, not in their inability to be honest, conveniently shifting the blame for their behavior onto the betrayed spouse.
Or, if approached with immense hurt, the omissions become a result of their love for you.

I knew it would upset you, so I lied to spare your feelings
I didn't want you to worry, so I thought it best you didn't know
I thought you'd be sad, and I can't stand to see you like that!
I thought I was protecting you.

This approach implies that their lying is justified, and in your best interest.

Excusing the lying as done out of love. You understand that honesty demands you tell your partner the truth every time you open your mouth, but also that you open your mouth every time there is something your partner needs to know (or would want to know).
Relationships are built on trust, and if you keep something from your partner, you are damaging trust - You understand this, yet you can't seem to understand why you are always getting information in bits and pieces.
Often, those pieces only come once pressure is applied by you. You begin to think - maybe your spouse really didn't think that thing they omitted was very important. If they thought it was important, they would have made a point to tell you, right?
You begin to wonder how you can argue with someone else's perception. If they say, "I didn't think it was important enough to mention" , how can I argue with that? I can't go back and make them think it was important.
It seems as though you are constantly explaining the importance of not omitting parts of the story, yet they still don't seem to "get it".

You eventually reach a point where, it seems pointless to even bring it up. You feel emotionally exhausted from always trying to explain your feelings and not being understood.
Rarely do spouses look at these interactions and break them down into smaller parts. All they know is the interaction has them feeling as though they are the problem, and their feelings are an overreaction to benign event.
Yet, their gut tells them the event wasn't as innocent as portrayed, it feels like intentional deception, but they accept the explanation given.
They want their point of view respected, so naturally they will respect their partners point of view.

When these types of interactions become frequent and common, the spouse becomes accustomed to believing that their perceptions are off, and loose faith in their ability to recognize deception. They look to the spouse to help them understand what is really going on, but are served the same blueprint of the betrayer's interpretation.

They accept the reality served up as truth, yet have this nagging doubt in the back of their minds. Spouses begin to wonder if they are crazy.

Their inability to clarify the interaction convinces them the problem lies with them. As they try to pinpoint the uneasy feeling, verbal explanations of the event seem confusing and impossible to unravel.
That's because there were several things going on during the interaction that would confuse anyone.
Lies of omission - put the responsibility of truth onto the other person.
Invalidation - implies that our feelings aren't valid and an overreaction, because of fundamental flaws.
Shifting of blame - makes someone else's actions a side-effect of some fault of our own, or justified because of some weakness in us.

Defensiveness and Invalidation "All invalidation is a form of psychological attack. When we are attacked, our survival instinct tells us to defend ourselves either through withdrawal or counter-attack.

Repeated withdrawal, though, tends to decrease our self-confidence and lead to a sense of powerlessness and depression.
On the other hand, going on the offensive often escalates the conflict or puts us in the position of trying to change another person.
One sign of both high self-esteem and high EQ is the absence of either of these defensive responses.
A healthier response, one which is both informative and assertive, without being aggressive, is to simply express your feelings clearly and concisely. For example, you might respond, "I feel invalidated," "I feel mocked," or "I feel judged."

How the other person responds to your emotional honesty will depend upon, and be indicative of:

(a) how much they respect you
(b) how much they care about you and your feelings
(c) how insecure and defensive they are
(d) how much they are trying to change or control you

All of this is information which will help you make decisions which are in your best interest." Source:EQI

[This message edited by IndianDreams at 9:07 AM, October 22nd (Tuesday)]

Bikingguy posted 10/22/2013 08:40 AM

I did not make it all the way through the article, booked marked it for later. But it seems likely that the author is a BS, or they really get it!

I think all WS should read it also.

rachelc posted 10/22/2013 08:41 AM

well that was difficult to read due to the lack of paragraphs but...

They look to the spouse to help them understand what is really going on, but are served the same blueprint of the betrayer's interpretation. They accept the reality served up as truth, yet have this nagging doubt in the back of their minds. Spouses begin to wonder if they are crazy. Their inability to clarify the interaction convinces them the problem lies with them

and this, IMHO, is emotional abuse. If I can't stay in this marriage, it will be because he allowed me to go crazy knowing something was going on. HE had the ability to stop it by telling me the truth. He elected not to.

Thefly559 posted 10/22/2013 08:54 AM

wow , this is great , thank you

IndianDreams posted 10/22/2013 08:59 AM

well that was difficult to read due to the lack of paragraphs but...

I'll try and edit it so it's a bit easier on the eye

sailorgirl posted 10/22/2013 09:07 AM

Great article! Thanks, IndianDreams.

One of my favorite parts:

What amazes me about most of the research, books and articles about infidelity is, these behaviors that have been normalized into terms like, "the affair fog" exclude the fact that these behaviors of blameshifting and gaslighting, are common abuse tactics. "Experts" dodge the issue of these abusive behaviors, calling them "common" and "par for the course". Encouraging betrayed spouses to either take partial resposibility for this behavior in the marriage, or be empathetic to the internal pain of the cheater, all in the name of love and marriage preservation. In either case, failing to point out the obvious ... this behavior is abusive.

My fWH was emotionally abusive to me during the affair. He was actually the first to say that, and call a spade a spade about a month after d-day.

It is not always true that, "Each spouse is responsible for 50% of the problems in the marriage." For example, WS's are often emotionally abusive, creating huge problems in the marriage that are 0% the BS's fault.

IndianDreams posted 10/22/2013 09:10 AM

MOD Please could you tell me if it's ok to post more links to articles or if I should just copy & paste them? I don't want to get in trouble in my first week here

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