11 June 2012

I Haven't Forgotten You

Dear Anonymous-
I read your comment and my heart went out to you.

How many triggers can there be out there?... a reminder of a moment of past trauma sneaks up and surprises you with a dose of emotion. Completely overwhelmed, and usually including unexpected crying. Each trigger is a new journey to crawl out of the emotional pit of pain. How long do the triggers last?

I can relate, especially to the unexpected crying.  I've been thinking a lot about what I can say, and I consulted with April/Scabs.  We talked and I'll share my thoughts (which might also be her thoughts.)

Regarding triggers, I know there is scientific evidence that they are subconscious, that we have no control over them.  And I believe this is true.  But we do have control in our response to them, and I also believe that as we learn to cope with our response the triggers lose their power. 

April pointed out to me that very often, triggers are lies, lies that act as fuel for our negative emotions.  They are feelings of hopelessness, lack of control, despair and hurt.  But we know there IS hope, we DO have control over our emotions and we CAN heal from despair and hurt. 

I think triggers are also based in fear.  We are afraid of what it will feel like when we are reminded of the indescretion of our husband.  We are afraid of what it will feel like when he relapses.  We are afraid of relinquishing our feelings of resentment, lest we forgive too quickly or lose our self-imagined influence. 

Why can't I put all this away? He's been clean for a few months. He thinks he will never use again. He says there are no temptations. How many times has this happened and then the cycle begins again? Will the worry about when the next bomb will drop ever release its hold?

It took Pete years, yes YEARS, to realize that a few months without temptation did not mean he was free from the addiction.  Marlee just posted the other day that her husband went 2 1/2 years sober.  I don't say this to discourage you, just to give you knowledge.  I've said it so many times but I'll say it again.  Ignorance is bliss, but knowledge is power.  This does not mean it is your job to convince your husband of this knowledge, let him come to it on his own.  But tuck it away in your aresenal so you can be prepared and accepting of the future.

There is a good chance he will relapse, and YOU WILL BE OKAY.  Ask Mac

I believe you CAN put it all away.  I know I don't worry about when the next bomb will drop anymore because I've let go of my fears about how badly that will hurt.  I know I will be disappointed and hurt, but I also know that I don't need to have anxiety about it.  I can cope with disappointment and hurt, I have faith that I will be taken care of by a loving Savior and Heavenly Father.  And I don't mean they will care for me by curing my husband, they will care for me by giving me an endowment of strength and peace during those difficult moments.  

These feelings don't come naturally.  I've had to discover them, nurture them and carefully select the emotions I want to keep around by making a deliberate effort to discard the ones I don't. The negative emotions still come to me.  For me it comes in the form of self-pity.  I fight it daily and sometimes I don't fight at all, I just wallow.  Those days are miserable.  I hate them.  But it is the path of least resistance, and unfortunately, we all know, it is resistance that builds strength.  So I try to resist the lies that creep in, and in doing so build strength against them.


  1. So many awesome things going on blogs today! And this is fantastic, what an amazing discovery! Like were all kind of mental telepathy collaboration. I love it.

  2. Right? Amen to Scabs and Jane! Fantastic telepathic collaboration around these parts. Mac and I were having some of that in May, too, regarding triggers. Our telepathic collaboration involved Zumba and pomegranate jam. That might sound funny, but they were each triggers for us. And in the end, I RULED the trigger instead of letting it rule me! Sometimes, if we can do that, it is sooooo empowering. Not always possible, I know. But it is something I'm working on. (Post-marriage, pre-divorce limbo is not the coolest place for triggers ...) It's okay for us all to be patient with ourselves!

    Here's that post:

    Love you ladies!

  3. Thanks for not forgetting me. Frankly, I didn’t think my ramblings merited a response. Writing is a process I haven’t tapped much. When you think, things just ramble around in your head, difficult to harness. When you write, your thoughts crystallize in a way that you hadn’t before organized. My counselor encouraged me to write for a while. I did. But I was scared about what came out. What should I think about five pages of the scariest thoughts I have ever read. After sharing some of it with my counselor, he said maybe I should be careful about writing too much if it resulted in such negative thoughts being given further life. It was odd that when I wrote my comment to your prior post, it just blurted out as an emotional response to what I had read in your post. When I read your new blog post responding to my post, it was as if I wasn’t even reading my own thoughts. I went back and read my comments and wondered what kind of an emotional state I cycle into that I would have written those things that don’t even sound like rational thoughts. I know I wouldn’t have said those things out loud but they were obviously in there. If these things move through my mind uncontrolled, it is no wonder I feel absolutely horrible so much of the time. Thanks for the reply though. It gave me some food for thought and made me think that even though I don’t know any of you, maybe there are other souls out there that care about the scariest pain I have ever faced.

    1. That's the beauty of anonymity! We can pour our hearts out without being embarrassed or worried about it influencing people's opinions of us. Here, it is all love.

      My online friends started out as strangers whose faces I'd never seen and I didn't even know their real names. I hope you feel welcome and loved here. We care because we know how crappy it feels to be alone, and truthfully we need you for support and understanding as much as you need us.