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Forcing Triggers

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spond posted 5/19/2014 08:15 AM

I am just curious if anyone has experimented around with forcing triggers to happen, like playing a song, driving past a location, reading old emails/texts, etc.

The purpose would be practicing dealing with the emotions and thoughts that come with the triggers, to get better at dealing with the trigger.

Or am I just crazy.

blakesteele posted 5/19/2014 08:27 AM

I absolutely did this and it was 100% the right thing to do for me.

One example: I sat in the driveway of the remote farm house where the lustful affair went to PA status after my first DD.

Threatened silver-back gorrilla rage hardly covers how hard I triggered. By the grace of God her AP never showed up while I was there. I was not fully in control after triggering this hard. He engaged in another affair shortly after dumping my wife....I suspect this love nest was a regular part of his formula. I still occasionally go by this house and tell my wife each time I do. I just feel deep sorrow now.....rage does not occur. Anger hardly peeks out either.....I have learned to sit and feel pain without reacting. I am learning to use feelings ONLY as indicators, not dictators. This technique is and will continue to serve me well.

I would sit with my painful feelings as long as I could....then sit a bit longer (as trained by therapists and reading books). Finally I would give in to full on rage. Sometimes I would call my wife, most times this was a solo event. Rage would pass....and deep saddness would return. I much prefer saddness as I can process and heal from it.....rage and anger, while necessary, are secondary emotions and you can't really heal while in that emotional state.

Another trigger was walking our girls to school. It was immediately following my wife doing this that she would meet up with her AP and feed their lust. That one took more our girls were a part of this trigger. I worked up to doing this, but I chose to do it too.

For me, I needed the details....I needed the extra pain to get me out of my codependent ruts that had felt comfortable for years.

Change occurs when the pain of same exceeds the pain of change.

You know how I reacted upon my that alone was not enough pain for me to change what I can control in my

Thats my thoughts.

God is with us all.

[This message edited by blakesteele at 8:31 AM, May 19th (Monday)]

jo2love posted 5/19/2014 08:31 AM

You aren't crazy. During R, I would drive past certain places they went to try to work through the trigger. I've mentioned on other threads that after dday, I found a new hair stylist who was excellent. She had the same name as OW. Over time, it helped OW's name become less of a trigger.

All of that said, I had to be far enough out from dday to try to lessen the triggers and learn to deal with them. Your idea is a good one. Please keep us posted on how it goes.

blakesteele posted 5/19/2014 08:35 AM

jo2love makes an excellent point...and one I tried to make with the recounting of walking my girls to school.

Time is a factor.

I tried too early on to walk our girls to school.....saw AP, and got angry very quickly. The added sense of needing to protect our girls in ways my wife saw no need while choosing adultery exponentially increased my speed to rage!

I visited with my wife on this....we decided for the good of our girls I needed to NOT walk them to school for a while. A very hard decision as I really enjoyed this task (or picking them up and tapping into that brief but excited energy from a day at school) but it was the right one.

Find ways to reach out to your spouse when you can during these intentional triggers.

Keep posting....we got your back.


[This message edited by blakesteele at 8:36 AM, May 19th (Monday)]

karmahappens posted 5/19/2014 08:51 AM

I did it too.

I found the pain easier to manage. I was going to the trigger and taking it when I was ready, I didn't let it smack me upside the head unexpectedly.

I did it with songs, restaurants, dates, locations.

It is so much easier to do battle head on, IMO.

[This message edited by karmahappens at 9:14 AM, May 19th (Monday)]

spond posted 5/19/2014 08:55 AM

Thanks for the comments. I was thinking about it while I was mowing the grass and listening to my iPod. A sing came on that triggered me, but I continued to mow and then started thinking about intentional triggering myself.

I told my wife about it later that day on our little dinner date.

deena04 posted 5/19/2014 09:01 AM

Raised hand here. I don't know if it is me dealing or pain shopping. My hubby says he is determined to help me never trigger by making me work through it-good intentions, but not going to happen.

steadfast1973 posted 5/19/2014 09:05 AM

desensitization by repetition. it's a real treatment for PTSD. it works. When I got treatment for my agoraphobia, my treatment was to go door to door and introduce myself to my neighbors. It worked. And purposefully exposing myself to triggers has helped immensely.

blakesteele posted 5/19/2014 09:15 AM

Ahhh PTSD.

I remember working through PTSD-like symptoms with my first therapist.

Transcending Post-infidelity Stress Disorder (PISD): The Six Stages of Healing was a book that shed much light on what this thread is about.

Surprised how many folks are proponents of intentionally triggering.....seems like when I was doing this the group was split on the effectiveness of this. Several suggested it was pain shopping and nothing more.


bionicgal posted 5/19/2014 09:40 AM

I have had some anxiety issues, and it is far better to face the fear/pain head on than to avoid.

Now, I have heard stuff I wouldn't do - like having sex in the same hotel that the AP and WS did, because that wouldn't feel right to me. But, I went to a meeting at the hotel my H and AP went to, and as painful as it was, I think it was ultimately healing.

PS Our MC said that if more of his patients were willing to walk towards their pain, then he'd be out of business!

[This message edited by bionicgal at 9:41 AM, May 19th (Monday)]

sisoon posted 5/19/2014 09:42 AM

I did it (and will do it again) when an A association was keeping me from enjoying something I experience frequently.

One of my favorite walks takes me by a specific store - I desensitized that. I'd hate to walk by a different store, but it's miles away, so I'm not going to put in any effort to desensitize myself to that store.

Strangely, my W used a restaurant that I had decided never to go to again even before the A....

RomanticInnocenc posted 5/19/2014 10:28 AM

Yep, I've done it. I have even been surprised by thinking something would be a major trigger and it not being that bad. My WH and I have done what I call the affair tour where he took me to the places they met and I just asked question after question. Those places are just places now, there is a small amount of pain but it is more the memory of what happened not the place being theirs or something. Our IC said that it's actually a technique they learn in their training and thought this was very healthy! :-)

blakesteele posted 5/19/2014 10:49 AM I ponder this post. I did have my wife drive me through the route she used to meet him and have sex. I asked her questions and she volunteered how she was feeling at various spots on the way out to this farm house.

It was kind of surreal, painful and sad. It helped though.

My analytical mind will piece together details regardless of their truth! So it was important that my wife be radically honest with me....which is why trickle truthing and lies were so very hurtful for the first couple of months after my DD's.

Encouraging to hear that some therapists recognize this as a healthy thing to do. I found it to be, but is nice to know a professional skilled in helping others heal feels this way too.


2married2quit posted 5/19/2014 10:57 AM

I've forced triggers. Still do from time to time. I'm trying to figure out why?

Perhaps to remind myself that things aren't perfect? To remind myself nothing is back to normal and nothing will be the same? Or being in the place of pain is all that I know and feel comfortable in for the moment? I don't know how to be happy anymore? Or perhaps it is a pre-empted way of triggering myself and I can control it instead of random triggers without my control? I don't know. But I have done it. Gone to the places, played a song, ..etc.

It's hard to let go of what happened because it was SO painful and therefore moving on means your pain was no big deal? Cause I cried tears every single day. Hurt like no other pain I've ever felt. And to walk away from it and act as if nothing happened is way too hard. But something I must do eventually.

Or maybe it is to remind you that what happened WAS real. It did indeed happen.

Furious1 posted 5/19/2014 11:13 AM

Yes, I do it. It has helped me become less sensitive to that particular trigger. It's the same approach my IC uses with my PTSD. It also gives me some measure of control over the situation. As someone else mentioned, I am able to deal with it when I am able instead of being blindsided by it.

spond posted 5/19/2014 11:16 AM

Thank you everyone for your comments!!

BetrayedbyONS posted 5/19/2014 14:34 PM

Ditto for me - For the first couple of months after D-day I kept a journal and wrote in it daily. My WW and I would “talk” each night after the kids went to bed. Invariability, these talks were about her ONS or the problems in our marriage that resulted from her ONS. In the first few days/weeks I peppered her with questions and got every detail she could remember about the ONS and wrote it all down. Soon after each new bit of information I would write a new entry in the journal. I would then go back and re-read the journal from the beginning. This allowed me to fill in every detail in the mind movie that was the 24 hour period encompassing her ONS.

I have gone back and re-read that journal so many times that every detail, every flirtatious remark or gesture leading to point where my WW agreed to go back to the OM’s room and every physical act the OM did to her and she did to him is etched in my mind. I had my WW describe the encounter using all her senses, (what did it feel like, smell like, taste like, sound like, etc.) and I had her tell me what she was “feeling” emotionally (i.e. she felt naughty because they had to try and be quite so as not to wake up the person in the room down the hall, etc.)

For the first two months while I went through this process of replaying the movie in my mind I would trigger hard and often. My body would often spasm or shake and I would sometimes lash out and slam my hand against my desk at work, clench my jaw, or clench my fist so tight my fingernails would cut into my palms. This allowed me to work through my anger and rage. Eventually, maybe by month three, I got to the point where the anger and rage was replaced by sadness when I think of her ONS. That is where I am now. I still think of her ONS every day in some way or another but if it does evoke any kind of emotional response it is usually just sadness.

My struggle now is my anxiety and fear that this incident has exposed a weakness in my wife and that she could, if the circumstances were perfect again, succumb to temptation and give into her base instincts and have extra material sex again.

2married2quit posted 5/19/2014 15:35 PM


My struggle now is my anxiety and fear that this incident has exposed a weakness in my wife and that she could, if the circumstances were perfect again, succumb to temptation and give into her base instincts and have extra material sex again.

Yeah, this is my fear. She's a new person. Changed. Like this animal within came out. Now she doesn't know how to deal with her new nature. Maybe it was in denial for too long, however the lesson has been very very a HARD one. The suffering, the pain, the shame, the guilt, and then the pain caused on the other BS. I'm sure next time it is something to reconsider and think it through or just quit the current relationship. I've questioned her many times. Do you want to do this? Do you want to explore? I can NOT deal with another DDAY.

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