Category Archives: anxiety

Common Unhealthy Ways of Coping with Fear After Betrayal

Common Unhealthy Ways of Coping with Fear After Betrayal

Betrayals in romantic partnerships are traumatic. They can leave you in a state of fear, constantly questioning your partner and doubting your own judgment. When a reminder of the betrayal triggers fear, it can lead to a spiral of worse case scenario thinking. This spiral is often followed by ineffective attempts to gain control of the situation. These attempts include anger, acting as a detective, and people pleasing. As much as you would like to, you cannot prevent your spouse from being unfaithful or choosing to leave. Therefore, these attempts often lead to hopelessness and despair. Let’s explore how anger, acting as a detective, and people pleasing can further harm your relationship and hinder healing.

Anger

Anger after betrayal is typically a form of self-protection. You may think that if you stop projecting anger onto your spouse, they will forget the pain they have caused. Overtime anger in the form of criticism and contempt will push your partner away. While experiencing anger is an important part of the healing process, so is learning to process and communicate anger effectively. In most cases, communicating anger in a healthy way starts by acknowledging when we are experiencing it. Engaging in a self-care activity then allows us to calm our nervous system, and communicate anger without criticism.

Acting as a Detective

It is common for betrayed partners to check-in on their spouses frequently or to attempt to catch them lying. For example, you may check your partner’s phone or emails, track their location, or persistently asking whom they are with. This behavior is often brought forth to avoid further pain as well as to avoid missing signs of betrayal. While this behavior makes sense given the depth of pain you have experienced, it can take time and energy away from your individual healing process. For example, if you are spending hours each day checking-in on your spouse, this may infringe on time that could be spent connecting with friends and family members or engaging in self-care activities.

People Pleasing

Not displaying negative emotions, concealing mistakes, and always saying “yes” even if you mean “no” are examples of how people pleasing can present in romantic relationships. People pleasers are often the “fixers” in relationships because they believe that if the problem is their fault than solving the problem is in their control.People pleasing in response to betrayal can also present as spending a lot of time focusing on your appearance, being overly affectionate, or initiating sex more often than usual.

For betrayed partners whom resort to people pleasing there is usually an underlying negative self-belief such as “I’m not enough!”. These individuals try to compensate for this negative self-belief by trying to fit the mold of who they think their partner wants them to be. Overtime, people pleasing can lead to bitterness and resentment because after tireless efforts, you realize that you can never truly control another person’s emotions or behaviors. Despite stereotypes about affairs, they do not always occur as a result of a happy or sexless marriage.

Online counseling for betrayalAbout the Author:

Michaela Standhart is a Marriage and Family Therapist Candidate. She specializes in couples therapy, betrayal trauma, and works with adolescent as young as 12 years old. Michaela stays sane while practicing social distancing by reminding herself how happy her dog is.

How to Show Up for your Partner Beyond the Pandemic

How to Show Up for your Partner Beyond the Pandemic

Showing up for your partner during stressful times has the potential to increase intimacy and trust in your relationship. However in the midst of a pandemic, it is easy to do the opposite and let your emotions run the show. Showing up for your partner, means more then just being physically present. It also means… Continue Reading

STOP Spiraling Thoughts: 5 Steps

STOP Spiraling Thoughts: 5 Steps

At some point, you have likely experienced spiraling thoughts. Spiraling thoughts tend to be when we are experiencing anxiety, having negative thoughts, ruminating on an idea/emotion, or have thoughts that lead us down a rabbit hole of “what-if” scenarios or worst case possibilities. Although these thoughts may initially surface to make us want to feel… Continue Reading

Taming Your Child’s Lizard Brain

Taming Your Child’s Lizard Brain

 I often have parents share with me that their child has “behavioral problems.”  However, a majority of the time, these meltdowns or tantrums are really worry and anxiety manifesting behaviorally.  While a little worrying is normal and necessary to protect us, uncontrollable anxiety can become problematic, impacting a child or adolescent’s emotional, social, and academic… Continue Reading

Anxiety and Your Teen – Black and White Thinking

Anxiety and Your Teen – Black and White Thinking

Everyone experiences anxiety sometimes. Anxiety can be feelings of uneasiness, worry, nervousness, or even dread. It’s natural and healthy for your teen to experience some anxiety at different times. Sometimes, anxiety can even be motivating; like if it encourages your teen to study for that science test! But teens can also experience unhealthy and troublesome… Continue Reading

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