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Do you share your triggers? BS Welcome

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islesguy posted 6/5/2014 12:15 PM

My BS has many many triggers thanks to me. If I am with her, I am constantly looking for triggers because I don't like missing them because I want to be aware. She will occasionally share when she is having one but will often just keep it to herself. If I am not with her, she will almost never share what happened. I hate that she has to suffer now because of me and would rather her not suffer alone and even though I can never feel what she is experiencing, just being aware feels really important to me but she doesn't agree. As a BS do you have an opinion on dealing with triggers?

JustWant2BHappy posted 6/5/2014 13:00 PM

Mine shares. And then asks me to do things that "create" these triggers. And these are things that I did prior to the A not just during it. It's tough to be asked not to do something you always do. But in our situation it's even harder since my BS is very controlling and this is something that broke our marriage, so do I give into it to save our marriage? Hard decision.

Darkness Falls posted 6/5/2014 13:03 PM

Neither of us ever share triggers with each other. XH never speaks of the affair and gets either uncomfortable or angry (depending on his mood) when I bring it up (or anything related to it such as triggers). So, I don't. Nor does he.

At almost 5 years out from the start of the affair (!) I still have many triggers. I have no idea how many he has.

Jovie posted 6/5/2014 13:06 PM

I'm not sure I entirely understand what constitutes a "trigger".

My BS goes through phases of anger and sadness, that don't appear to be triggered by anything in particular, besides his own thoughts. He said so in MC this week. And when he hits these phases, he absolutely expresses his anger toward me. It usually starts out in anger and ends in sadness. I don't really see how anyone could "trigger" and the other spouse not know about it (maybe that's why I'm confused in the whole concept of what it really is). It just seems like not talking about it is the total opposite of what we are all here working toward - an open and honest relationship.

Edit - I trigger when I think about the exercise activities I've given up because of the A, when someone asks me about it or I hear about it or anything. It triggers shame and sadness in me. I don't bring it up to BS because it seems like it would come across as selfish and not productive.

[This message edited by Jovie at 1:09 PM, June 5th (Thursday)]

Darkness Falls posted 6/5/2014 13:20 PM

I don't really see how anyone could "trigger" and the other spouse not know about it

For me, the triggers I am referring to are thoughts, memories, emotions, and references that remind me of the affair and bring up negative feelings of shame, sadness, guilt, and disgust. They range from places to activities to smells to the reference of infidelity on TV, other peoples' experiences with infidelity, to a particular billboard on the freeway that I have to drive by every day, and on and on and on. Even SI is a trigger in and of itself because of the subject matter. XH doesn't know about them because I simply don't mention them.

It just seems like not talking about it is the total opposite of what we are all here working toward - an open and honest relationship.

I agree with you. But my XH is who he is and he's not gonna change now in his mid-40s, much as I sometimes wish he would. At the beginning of our R I would bring stuff up to him. Not in a hurtful, reminiscing way---just in a way of acknowledging the A so as not to rugsweep. Didn't go over too well. We got into arguments. He would accuse me of "focusing on the negative" and more than once asked me why I was "ruining" a nice day or even the entire renewal of our relationship by "bringing up the past." As I see it, there is no reason to be in a relationship with him at all if it's going to be spent arguing and making him feel bad every time I mention the A or a trigger related to it. So, I keep my mouth shut. It's not my preference but it's what keeps the peace.

[This message edited by heartbroken0903 at 1:20 PM, June 5th (Thursday)]

Jovie posted 6/5/2014 13:27 PM

heartbroken - that makes sense. I edited to add what was a trigger for me. I think it's definitely a different animal of WS triggers vs BS triggers. I guess I wouldn't want my BS to hide triggers from me because I think talking about them helps. But if yours doesn't want to talk about them, that is definitely something you should respect!

[This message edited by Jovie at 1:38 PM, June 5th (Thursday)]

holesinmybucket posted 6/5/2014 14:12 PM

BS here
My 1st dday was 6 months ago, so I still have many triggers. I finally am having less of the triggers that send my heart racing and panic attacks...this is progress. Sometimes, now when I trigger I become very introverted and sad. I feel myself pulling away and withdrawing from the pain. In the beginning my husband would try desperately to pull me back, because he was terrified that I would never find my way out. So, I began to fight against these feelings of anger,pain and withdraw, honestly I was scared of them myself. It seemed the more I fought them the longer it took for me to come back. Our MC said " this is very normal and the body knows what it needs to heal" He explained it like this " it is like a pendulum that swings in two directions and meets back in the middle, something like a dance within our psych and eventually the momentum will slow and the mind will find acceptance and balance back in the center" After understanding that I do not need to fear them and allow myself what I need, we quickly noticed that my triggers, while they ran very deep would find balance much more quickly.

Now, I have reached a much more angry phase, so sometimes I am not able to discuss the trigger with my husband right away. It is not that I won't or do not want to share them, it has more to do with me getting control over my anger before I open my mouth and say something I will regret.

I have the up most respect for your concern for your wife, but I need to say Please be very careful not to add any pressure on her. This is what my husband did, while his intentions where very good it made me fear my own healing process.

IMO the best thing you can give your wife is constant "heart felt" reassurances. This can be helpful and soothing at just about anytime in the healing.

these are only my experience and we all process and heal differently.

I hope this has helped some

islesguy posted 6/5/2014 14:57 PM

Thanks for your comments. My wife has no issue talking about a trigger when it is obvious. It is the ones that I am missing that she is holding to herself that I am referring to. There are literally thousands of triggers so I don't expect that she can discuss all of them with me. I was more or less just asking if you as a BS would rather discuss them or keep them to yourself.

HerrTrubheit posted 6/5/2014 15:36 PM

my wife shares her triggers, thank goodness. I'm not really very adept at picking up those sorts of connections, whereas she is quite adept at making them.

So, anything my wife and I have enjoyed doing in the past - hiking, for instance - becomes a trigger if that's also something I did with the other woman while skulking around. Things like this are a crime, because I've ruined for her something the two of us really loved doing. But it's better to know as many specific triggers as possible, in my opinion, especially at the outset of recovery. If I know that such activities are an issue, I can avoid some things without having to ask down the road, and her emotional healing might be better for it.

edit - I'm assuming everything that could possibly be a trigger at this point IS a trigger, and hoping I can discern patterns. It's also highly dependent on mood of my wife, of course; if she's surfing the top of her emotional sea, then it may not even occur to her. If she's drowning in it, it'll just be another concrete block dragging her down.

I'm extremely grateful in retrospect that I never took the other woman on a motorcycle ride. That's something my wife and I did endlessly during courtship and dating, less so with kids now but we still try to make time for it. If I had taken the OW for a spin, I'd be selling the bike right now whether my wife asked me to or not. Because it would be a huge trigger.

[This message edited by HerrTrubheit at 3:39 PM, June 5th (Thursday)]

bionicgal posted 6/5/2014 15:58 PM

At first, I was triggering 24/7, and often having big, physical & psychological reactions. I told my H about many of them. Certainly if we were together, but it gets old calling someone on the phone and telling them some dinky thing triggered you. If he is with me, he can generally tell.

Now, at almost a year out, I have learned that most triggers now will pass after about 1.5 minutes if I just don't feed them. So, if they pass, then I'll only bring it up if it feels significant. Sometimes, one will stick with me and put me in a bad mood, and I'll tell him then. That usually means for me there is something there that needs processed - some hurt there that needs expressed. (Sometimes, repeatedly.)

It is kind of you to try to anticipate triggers. I'd talk with your BS about how she feels about that. Also, a book I read says often the triggers are just psychological remnants of the trauma that was inflicted, and that often they don't need processing. So, be wary of trying to analyze every little thing. Sometimes they are just something that needs to pass.

[This message edited by bionicgal at 3:59 PM, June 5th (Thursday)]

Restartting posted 6/5/2014 16:07 PM

I was more or less just asking if you as a BS would rather discuss them or keep them to yourself.

For me it truly depends on the trigger, the day, and the context. There are times when I trigger and need to talk it out, knowing that if I do not it will fester. FWH can tell, at this point, if I'm holding something like that in. Other times, especially when we are not together, I don't want to talk about it later. I've dealt with it, it affected part of my day, and in my mind opening it back up as a topic of conversation is just going to give the A more space in my day.

For example, last weekend we were doing yardwork together and I ran out to grab a few items and get lunch at a place that is a trigger. It had been a great day to that point, beautiful weather, a rare full day together, etc. I triggered pretty hard while driving through that place, to the point that I was almost in tears. Did my errands, picked up lunch, fully intended to talk it out when I got back. But then .... The sun was shining, a great song was in the radio, and by the time I pulled into my driveway, I just wanted to eat lunch with my husband in the sun without the A in the air. So I chose to put it away. At that moment, in my mind, talking it out was the opposite of what I needed to feel whole and happy.

Long way of saying that this, for me is very specific to the trigger and the situation.

yearsofpain25 posted 6/5/2014 16:38 PM

Hi islesguy. I saw your question to me over in the other Trigger thread in General. Figured I would answer you here as I had seen this thread too and to avoid some t/j.

Getting to your question...

Not sure if you know my story or not but it's not the typical one here on SI. I'm not a WS or BS. I guess I would fall under the category of betrayed child. My triggers are not the same as a BS, but I do have triggers. No I don't share them with anyone. My W knows when I am having them though and several things can happen to me. My mother's voice is a trigger, any thing by Peter Gabriel is a trigger, Sitting alone in my car on the way to work can be a trigger. I have a few more.

The biggest one's come to me when I'm alone. Usually either in the car or in the shower. The "mind movies" play like a black and white movie in my head. It's almost like I'm watching a movie about someone else's life. I'll get an image in my head anywhere from 5 - 10 seconds. It will then fade to black and then the next image will come up. This can go on for anywhere from 30 seconds to half an hour depending. And then of course there's the negative emotional state that I'm in afterwards.

I have been in IC now since Feb. I have officially been diagnosed with PTSD. We haven't gotten to treating that part of the PTSd yet. Been mostly dealing with my anger and getting past that. That has been helping. One of the tools I can use for that is to kind of put myself in a grown up "time out" for a couple of minutes to cool down so I don't say something I regret.

As far as the "mind movies" and dreams, something that has been mentioned in IC is EMDR therapy. Here's a page I visited to get more info on it...

My C tells me that the "mind movies" and dreams are the brains way of :"working the poison out" or unresolved issues. I'm thinking of changing IC anyway as she doesn't push me that hard and I think I need someone to do that.

Hope that helps to answer the question a bit.


rachelc posted 6/5/2014 16:50 PM

if I shared every trigger with my husband we'd be talking all day long. I have about 25 a day. Today, driving by the Cadillac dealership, which is what OW1 drives now, our SIL works there. Today, at the country club pool, wondering if either OW will walk in, today - working out at my crossfit gym, wondering if the fake boobed twins who are friends of OW1 know anything. Yep, all day long. These are all very fleeting thoughts but they still occur.

The big ones yes, and today I'll tell him I had a triggery day but that's about it. He'll comfort me and apologize. Hoping time helps.

If I saw either OW I would talk about it as those are huge trauma inducing triggers for me.

He shares his bad dreams with me. That's about all. Or says he had a bad day. I try to comfort and do something nice for him.

[This message edited by rachelc at 4:51 PM, June 5th (Thursday)]

DrJekyll posted 6/5/2014 17:23 PM

I can never feel what she is experiencing, just being aware feels really important to me but she doesn't agree.

Just a thought, I think that you have the answer to your own question right here. SHE DOESN'T AGREE.

As a WS myself, I did the same actions. I tried to issolate the triggers. Trying to limit the pain. In some attempt to try and make things right. But here is the real truth. She didn't agree with you having an affair, and if she doesn't agree that she needs to share the triggers. That is her choice. She gets to decide. My BS triggers at remembering any type of good memory. As my Behaviors went on for 4 years. every memory over that time is a trigger. 1 of my AP is from work, so every day I go to work is a trigger. 1 AP was my cousins wife at my house, so the whole house is a trigger. You have to let her do her thing. As I had to let my BS do her thing. Asking her what would comfort her and reiterating it back to her so that she knows you understand. And then work on that the way she asks. One thing my BS and I did was start painting and rearranging our home. This helped us create new memories and things look different. It helps, doesn't cure, but helps.

I get excited on the days when we have less than 10 triggers Most of the time my BS doesn't share the triggers anymore, I can tell she had one by being attentive to her emotions. And I ask if she is ok, or if she wants to talk about it. and then accept her answer.

Best of luck, strap your boots on. Its going to be a hard road.

redsox13 posted 6/5/2014 18:32 PM

No I don't. I limit myself to saying something like I had a bad day like one of the other posters.

If my wife knew how much I think about the A 5 years after the fact she would be shocked.

MystiKay posted 6/6/2014 00:26 AM

I am two years out from DD2 and almost four years out from DD1. I still trigger, after DD2 I would share triggers, but this far out I just deal with them. Sometimes I let him know, but there isn't really anything he can do.

I still don't know the name of OW1. It was an EA that when he he tried to take it to a PA she shot him down. Well that is what he said anyway and I choose to believe him. He told me she quit and as we both work at the same place, he never saw the reason to tell me her name. I have quit asking, but if a woman comes up to me and mentions working with FWH I trigger wondering if that was her. That happened to me a few weeks ago. I had to go out to my car and sit and work past the feelings. He couldn't have helped and really her name wouldn't matter now as I didn't know that other woman's name that came through my line.

I think sometimes you just have to deal with some of this crap yourself.

blindsided14 posted 6/6/2014 00:41 AM

I share them. I want her to know how frequently I think about the A, how random and not so random things trigger me and that even she - herself - is a trigger.

Her phone is the biggest trigger. I hate the sight of it. The sound it makes when she gets a text message.

I want her to know that the reminders are always there. The burden of seeing the A everywhere should not just be mine

iwillNOT posted 6/6/2014 01:03 AM

For me', I needed to share my pain and triggers as they came. Sometimes I could not, because it felt too vulnerable to share the depth of my pain with the person who had caused me such harm - like letting the enemy in. When I did share, what helped was him listening with no defensiveness, he would bear witness, hold me, apologize, ask how he could help. These reactions from him helped me open up more. Perhaps she feels too vulnerable to share with you, at the moment.

I once sat down with my WH and said I want to tell you things that trigger me. I listed I don't know how many things and situations. It felt like hundreds. I think he was truly floored at the depth and diversity of the triggers, and he said it helped him know what to be conscious of so he could at least be aware of what I might have trouble with.

Maybe, if she doesn't want to share right now, she would be open to sitting down during a calm moment and sharing the things that trigger her. So you can be aware and proactive.

Also - gently, I think you need to be less worried about how you think this should be handled, and simply do what she asks for. If you try to convince her to do what you want instead of doing what she has asked for, it is going to tell her she can't trust you to hear her and honor her wishes. It will be all about you and not about her. Let her follow her own healing course and be steadfast and there for her, on her timetable.

I wish you the best.

Sadjacey posted 6/6/2014 04:31 AM

Mostly I don't share, and I think he doesn't realise how often, how many, how hurtful. It might help if I did share more. Last week when I shared a big one - after a major upset - he took steps to help deal with it. Eventually, some things he cat do anything about. It happens more when I'm by myself or not involved in something else. Which is one reason I'm still working full time even though he isn't, and retirement is attractive in some ways,

islesguy posted 6/6/2014 06:26 AM


As far as the "mind movies" and dreams, something that has been mentioned in IC is EMDR therapy. Here's a page I visited to get more info on it...

Have you tried EDMR yet? Is it helping with the mind movies? Mind movies really haunt my BS as well.

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