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Are triggers a sign of unforgiveness?

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MB08 posted 8/7/2014 08:18 AM

Is there a correlation between triggers and ones ability to forgive?

I thought not but WBF and IC think so.

My understanding was that triggers are something that a BS has to go through and learn to get over, over time during reconciliation but does not reflect forgiveness or the the lack of it?

Are they as independent as I think?

10yearsafter posted 8/7/2014 08:26 AM

Triggers have nothing to do with forgiveness.

I forgave my FWW and ten years after I still trigger on certain things.

And forgiveness does not mean that you move on and forget about it.

But forgiveness can help you heal and help you be whole again. The bible says you must forgive to be forgiven.

Forgiveness can take time.

Lucky2HaveMe posted 8/7/2014 08:31 AM

Triggers diminish in intensity over time. But they will be with you forever. You cannot *unknow* anything. So every time you pass the park where they met up, drive by the hotel they stayed in, see a word that brings back those memories, the A will come to mind.

With healing, the pain diminishes and dare I say most triggers are simply *blips* on the screen. But I do not think triggers & forgiveness are intertwined at all. Basically his IC is saying you should stuff your feelings if you have truly forgiven, and that is not healthy advice for anyone.

ETA - your dday was just a few months ago. I need to add that this diminishing of triggers takes YEARS. Forgiveness takes TIME with a lot of effort by the WS to deserve being forgiven. Is this IC experienced dealing with infidelity? It sure doesn't seem so. Might be time for a new one.

[This message edited by Lucky2HaveMe at 8:34 AM, August 7th (Thursday)]

forgivingnow posted 8/7/2014 08:35 AM

No correlation. Triggers are you processing/dealing with trauma/pain/painful memories or thoughts consciously or when painful memories "leap" from our subconscious to conscious (trigger). These memories "do not mean you have not forgiven. It simply means that you are human and remembering a painful experience." This is from the book by Gary Chapman 'Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Got Married'

PrtyInPink posted 8/7/2014 08:37 AM

I view our feelings as sort of a PTSD. We had an extremely traumatic experience and anything related to that experience sets off the PTSD. I think it has nothing to do with forgiveness.

Take my dad for instance...he was in the Vietnam war and suffers from PTSD. The 4th of July is a trigger for him. The movie Platoon was a trigger for him.

bionicgal posted 8/7/2014 08:40 AM

More a biochemical event than an issue of forgiveness. Think about a car crash -- if you've ever had one, you are twitchy for a while going by the same scene, or when cars drive up to you in a certain way, or a certain speed. It has nothing to do with forgiving the driver!

But, I do think triggers decrease in intensity over time, and perhaps with forgiveness as well they are easier to deal with.

[This message edited by bionicgal at 8:40 AM, August 7th (Thursday)]

MB08 posted 8/7/2014 08:42 AM

Thank you for the advice.

I thought as much and all the pressure on me to have forgotten and feeling condemned for not doing so has been building intensely for the last couple of days.

It has only been 2 months 3 weeks since the A and I did feel that that was a tall order. On the other hand, I told myself if they are true that triggers are linked to forgiveness, I may be a failure of sorts for not being able to forgive and forget.

I have forgiven and that I am sure of, else I wouldn't be pursuing reconciling. But the forgetting is what I am struggling with as a result of the triggers.

Thanks for confirming that I am sane, for not forgetting - especially seeing that it has taken years for some.

HardenMyHeart posted 8/7/2014 09:03 AM

But the forgetting is what I am struggling with as a result of the triggers.

In my opinion you will never forget the affair; however, you can control how you react to the thoughts. The emotional suffering caused by painful thoughts and memories of the past usually diminish over time as the mind learns to adjust to the trauma.

Don't beat yourself up, or let others beat you up for having to deal with the painful aftermath caused by the betrayal of someone you believed would never hurt you. Reconciliation requires much patience. Give yourself the precious gift of time to heal.

MissWhoKnew posted 8/7/2014 09:12 AM

MB08...I am only a few months out myself. I will say that my IC has never said anything like yours has. I hate that your IC has made you doubt yourself like that. We have enough to handle without that kind of burden.

I'm not sure if I have truly forgiven my WH or not. We are working through things. I have had him read things from The Healing Library. I asked him to read the book How to Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair. Surprisingly to me, he did. My WH reading these has made a big difference. They explained the BS feelings and that what we are going through is very traumatic and cannot just be brushed aside. It has to be dealt with by both people to make the necessary changes.

I hope everyday the triggers will be less impactful...I think this will always be a work in progress. Some days good, some days not so good.

When I looked for an IC, I looked for one that specializes in PTSD. My SIL was cheated on in her first marriage and has given me very helpful information. I'm sure you have already thought about it, but you might look for a new IC.

Best of luck down this rough road!

tushnurse posted 8/7/2014 10:25 AM

No and to think so is just dumb.
Seriously. It is a visceral reaction, autonomic fight/flight, brainstem thing when a trigger occurs, and for it to resolve, and become a nontrigger you have to retrain your brain that this is no longer a threat, or you desensitize yourself over multiple times of exposure to said trigger.

Your Therapist Blows. Sorry, but that is unacceptable, and then to find out that you are very early in R, and they are expecting you to forgive????
True forgiveness for this shitstorm takes years if ever for most of us that have had successful R, and that is with a WS that does the work of R, and fixes the ugly broken bits within themselves.
DO NOT try to force forgiveness. Tell your spouse you are willing to move down the road of R with hopes of reaching forgiveness at some point, but if you rush it, you won't heal, and then it's just like a festering wound. The scab looks clean, but underneath, it's just getting more and more infected. You have to allow yourself time to heal, grieve, and get used to the fact that the old M is dead, and you are rebuilding a new one.

BtraydWife posted 8/7/2014 13:56 PM

Whose IC is saying that?

If it's yours then I strongly suggest you get a new therapist. That's outrageously out of line. Who the hell gave that person credentials? IC is suppose to help you, not fuck you up more. That pisses me off for you to no end. Beyond messed up. OMG!

Inhale, exhale. Ok after my fit.

If it's HIS IC saying that my first thought is that he is lying to you and probably his therapist too.

As pp stated, triggers come from trauma. A therapist that has your well being as a priority would not ask you to rugsweep a trauma. That's what makes the comments so abhorrent. Whoever made then isn't interested in helping you.

If it is your therapist, get a new one, don't even go back. This is not an over reaction.

I can't even believe someone had the gall to tell you that. Who says that? Somebody cruel, or stupid.

morethantrying posted 8/8/2014 05:49 AM

this is a good topic. Yes, triggers don't have to do with forgiveness IMO too. I sure do have them, but less now...hate them as sometimes I "dwell" and then I have to cry and then...ahhh it is exhausting!

ScarlettA1 posted 8/8/2014 12:36 PM

I agree that triggers don't have to do with forgiveness. They are more from PTSD. My husbands triggers are getting better with time and we try to avoid things that trigger him. I think everyone figures our what works best for them.

LA44 posted 8/8/2014 12:51 PM

MB, I am just going to repeat with the others said about how triggers have nothing to do with forgiveness (and at 3 months out AND dealing with a bf who is not doing the work, you simply cannot expect to be there - even if he was doing the work you would not be there yet). I would print this off and show it to your therapist. This person has clearly done very little work on infidelity. The best thing you can do is hand her the suggested reading material I gave you in my last post, direct her to SI and find someone more qualified.

I like bionic's example of the car crash. Mine is when an infant scream/cries = I immediately tense up and want to cry as my son did this for almost two years due to illness.

Its a visceral reaction. It eases over time and some triggers are known (like a song or a place)and some we just stumble upon (like an unexpected scene in a movie).

seethelight posted 8/8/2014 13:17 PM


I haven't read the other posts but.....

WBF and IC think so.

If your IC thinks triggers are a sign of unforgiveness, you need to find another IC

Is there a correlation between triggers and ones ability to forgive?

No correlation whatsoever.

Triggers are most likely caused by temporary PTSD, which may later turn into entrenched PTSD, if a wayward is unremorseful or trickle truthing.

ReconcilingWife posted 8/8/2014 15:40 PM

My IC used the car crash analogy in my first session with her (7 days after D-day)--she said that I was in shock, just like an accident victim, and I needed to treat myself as such. Even though I'm doing a lot better now, she used that analogy again this week. And it is really helpful. I think it only makes sense to apply it in this sense too.

She's also used some of the vocabulary of PTSD for describing what I'm going through, and has stressed that healing will mean a lot of over and over and over and over.

I would certainly look for a new counsellor--there certainly are some out there who will be more understanding of what you are going through!

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