Triggers – the ultimate battle

Just read a great post from The Aftermath on how she is managing her triggers. I have had my share of battling. In the first six months after D-day, they were hiding behind every corner waiting to get me. At first I was completely and utterly unarmed. They won each and every battle. After six months the only ammo I had, was to systematically try to rid our life of any physical trigger in my way, a pretty hard and drastic route to take. His truck went, his wedding ring lost. Vacation home, avoided as much as possible, I have yet to sleep there. I thought that ridding myself of the material things that came in contact with the OW was the best and only route to take. The problem with my battle strategy was that the triggers are physical, they are geographical, they are situational. Just when you think you have one area defeated, the others show themselves and knock you back a few paces. I would very often be doing completely mundane things and then put myself in that exact same space and time in the past with the knowledge of what was happening. It was impossible, it was heartbreaking.

I used to view triggers like stealth ninjas waiting to pounce on me but I have come to understand the battle is with me and myself. The battleground in my head. As I have moved through the last almost two years since D-day, the triggers seem to have diminished some over time. I wish I could say that they are gone or that I have complete mastery over them, alas this is not the case, but yes, for those of you in the early stages, I promise they do start to fade. You never really know when one will strike, and it is all up to you how you choose to deal with them. I have learned the art of self talk, when something comes up, I tell myself to push it out …and I imagine myself slamming the door or pushing the memory out of my brain.

There are also times when my H’s touch is a trigger. I recoil and disappear into myself…often unnoticed. This one has been the absolute hardest one to overcome. Our physical relationship is poor, the worst it has been in our 15 years together but our communication has improved. We are more careful of each other, and slip ups get discussed rather than fester. I know it is only a matter of time before this too may cause a breakdown of our marriage and I am aware it needs to get solved. I feel when he treated me badly, cheated, lied, something inside my soul just simply broke, and I have not been able to fix it. Am I unwilling? Is it anger? Affection is present, sometimes more than others, and I realize I am afraid. Afraid to open myself up to him, afraid the minute I do…

My H is out-of-town. I have come to terms with his time away, although the first year was a trigger each and every day he was gone. I came home the other day, and noticed my H had left his trimmer out in the bathroom. For some darn reason, in the week prior my mind had been toying with the signs I missed (or ignored) one of which was my H grooming his (lets just say, “bathing suite area”), and how I had felt so foolish not understanding his sudden fastidious habits. The trimmer out didn’t really trigger or so I thought until I woke up at 5 am, crying in my sleep from a dream of his stuff in bags at the door, screaming about burning his belongings in our driveway. I was so distraught in fact that I called him at 5am, it was that upsetting. I was so angry in the hour that followed that he had put this kind of horror on my radar. I realize that even on a subliminal level, his cheating is still affecting me. Will this always be the case? Do spouses ever really “get over” the fall out of such a deep betrayal?

I am over the episode, I was over it in an hour in part because he took ownership, I knew he felt badly and I know he understands it is still with me,  but it made me realize, being betrayed really becomes part of  you, almost like a part of your DNA sadly, but it does not have to rule you. The trick is to find out how to release the damage, find the trust, allow yourself to let down your guard. If anyone in the ether reads this….advise and words are always welcome:)

10 thoughts on “Triggers – the ultimate battle

  1. The triggers are horrible! I have struggled with them for far too long but my home is and has been the biggest trigger since she was my friend and neighbor and she was here in my house all the time, and then I step outside my yard and neighborhood triggers me, she would help pull weeds out of my flower beds, sit on my deck with me and have coffee UGH!
    Hang in the girl ❤️ Your doing really for 2 years out 🙂


    1. Hi BB, thanks for reaching out…its good to hear from others like me in the ether. I see you are four years out and its still a struggle. I often wonder how long this fight is going to last. I am so sorry your triggers are all around you, I know how super hard they are. So much of what you have penned is exactly the same experience I am having. Looking at H is different at different times. I still have revenge fantasies.

      Do you still discuss your feelings with your H? What steps have you taken to move forward? Do you mind me asking what made you stay?

      I am pensive and retrospective tonight for some unknown reason…UGH is right!!!!


      1. We do still discuss how I’m feeling but not really about the affair just more about how it still hurts me and I really don’t have to say anything he can tell when I have not had a good day.

        Steps…lost of counseling, lots of meditating, lots of talking about the affair and asking guestions and finally getting answers that took 2,5 years he just couldn’t tell me the truth about it and I still don’t think he got honest about it all which I feel is why I’m so stuck, lots of date nights, lots of quality time together, lots of journaling, I took meds for a while, I also drank for a while something I never done! Lots of Searching the internet and reading any blog or article about healing from infidelity which I didn’t really found anything that helped but just validated my feelings to let me know I wasn’t crazy and what I was feeling was normal.

        To be honest I stay out of fear…it’s just easier to stay. Finances are a big reason I stayed. But he has tried so hard to make this right I thought he deserves a second and we could get through this but it has proven to be much harder than I ever imagined.


      2. Oh a lots of me time time and doing things for myself because I have never done that before. That always helps – only temporarily but hey I will take what I can get 😀


  2. Yep. Triggers are hell! Even over 4 years out, I still get them. Last month was particularly weird in that I hadn’t had one for ages then bam! Loads in rapid succession. It probably explains why my mood is so low at present after a few months of positivity. I still struggle to be vulnerable with my OH. After 18 months of the initial trauma and hysterical bonding, I caught him out in yet another stupid lie. That stopped recovery in its tracks. I haven’t told him I love him in almost 3 years as I am still processing whether I do or not. I still swing wildly between thinking we will make it one day, and wanting him out of my life another. A rollercoaster is a very apt word for this state of being. Good luck! X

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  3. Triggers. Gulp. I will never be whole again. Every gosh darn TV show story line is cheating. Watching him delete an email on his cell or a notification is freaking me the hell out. I used to be strong. Now I am not even interested in being strong. Year one was a cluster fuck, excuse the language. I don’t know how year two from DD is going to be.


    1. Hi Mona, I hear your pain, I have felt it. Let me say that it just takes time. The triggers were horrible for me the first year, and they still make me squirm from time to time but it is lessening over time. When we were in therapy I spoke of the pain and triggers. I asked when they were going to stop, when was I going to start feeling better and she rather quickly and bluntly said…”about three years”.

      Year one is as you say a cluster fuck. Year two gets a bit better. I am over two years out and I can tell you, I still think of it, I still get triggered, but not as much…work on your thoughts. Work on yourself. At the end of the day, you need to come to understand your strength will be knowing that you cannot prevent cheating, and you cannot police your husband 24/7 but you can decide how you would handle things if it happened again. I know, if my husband ever betrays me, I will not stay, I will not consider counselling, I will just end it and be done. There is a certain freedom in that decision and knowledge. It has set me free to a certain extent. I am here in the ether if you need advise or to chat. You are not alone. You will be strong again, you just need to decide to be.

      Liked by 1 person

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