Category Archives: Michaela Standhart

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.

Lessons to Take With us After Quarantine

Lessons to Take With us After Quarantine

As I’ve been meeting with clients in my practice in Broomfield, Colorado during Covid-19 it’s been hard to miss the impact I’ve seen in my clients during this time. I don’t even have to ask about it because they’re the ones who usually bring it up. In fact, it seems like everywhere I go I… Continue Reading

How to Show Up for your Partner Beyond the Pandemic

How to Show Up for your Partner Beyond the Pandemic

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Staying Connected with your Partner During COVID-19

Staying Connected with your Partner During COVID-19

In conversations with my clients I have heard one of two things, either COVID-19 has made them feel closer than ever to their partner, or it has put a tremendous strain on their relationship. Maybe you and your partner are learning to balance working from home and homeschooling your children. Perhaps you are an extravert,… Continue Reading

How to Stay Sane While Practicing Social Distancing

How to Stay Sane While Practicing Social Distancing

Thus far, the majority of our conversations about COVID-19 have focused on physical health and how to prevent this disease from spreading. But if you’re like most people, covid-19 has you feeling a little nervous, too. As a therapist, I know that mental health is just as important to consider in these uncertain times. Anxieties… Continue Reading

Self-Love: It’s More than You Think!

Self-Love: It’s More than You Think!

When I ask my clients what self-love means to them, they often respond with the words selfishness, arrogance, and self-absorption. With Valentine’s Day approaching, decided to take some time to define this term and give readers the opportunity to look honestly at themselves and their behaviors. Below are some suggestions for how you can start… Continue Reading

New Year’s Resolutions for Couples

New Year’s Resolutions for Couples

It’s the time of year! A fresh start! A time for you to set new goals and refocus on how you can be the best version of yourself. When we think of New Year’s Resolutions, we often think about creating a gym routine, increasing our emergency fund, or improving our productivity at work. Imagine what… Continue Reading

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