Triggers Part Two

Triggers can be excruciating. They can steal away your quality of life. Triggers position unresolved emotions and unforgiveness to annihilate any situation which should be enjoyable or at the very least organic.

Without taking anything away from the pain of triggers experienced by betrayed spouses, I want to make it known that unfaithful spouses suffer from triggers as well, albeit at our own hands.

Just last week, Samantha did something that triggered me in a way that was both alarming and infuriating. I had to remove myself from the situation to get my feelings in check for fear that I would lash out.

In the blink of an eye I was transported back to long forgotten feelings of rejection, insecurity and a deep desire to feel affirmed.  My anger at my perceived rejection, which at one time was a huge source of justification for my affair, was center stage and I was stunned at some of the things I was thinking and feeling.

I decided it was time to think very clearly about my emotional state. It was a time to forgive on a deeper level.

You see, forgiveness has layers. Several layers. The healing of infidelity is never just a one-time choice to forgive. We are human beings who store layers and layers of memories and feelings and reactionary emotions which cannot be addressed or undone in one simple thought or choice of forgiveness. I believe in miracles. I have experienced true actual miracles. So has Samantha. Our marriage is a miracle, 18 years later.

But today, what I speak to is the normal grind of recovery that so many of us have had to walk through, both betrayed and unfaithful. Some days it’s electrifying. Some days, it’s just a grind of hashing through fields of emotion with nothing but a machete.

We can all get triggered. We can all find ourselves smack dab in the middle of fresh emotions which can lead us astray, or fresh into the arms of forgiveness and mercy. You mean, I the unfaithful spouse, needed to forgive Samantha, the betrayed?

You’re absolutely right I did. Numerous times. Just the other day, as the story above paints. Samantha would own that as well. She did in fact, reject me.  She placed unreal expectations on me. Of course none of this justified my betrayal (though it was convenient to blame my affair on all of this). I still had to identify what inner turmoil I was feeling so I could turn around and fight for my marriage knowing exactly what demons I was fighting.

When we are triggered we have a choice. To forgive or to forge ahead in our bitterness, self-righteousness and absolute blindness.

I hope and pray you choose to forgive today. I hope and pray you choose to understand what you truly are feeling, dissect it and then forgive it all, down to the innermost, smallest level of anger, hurt and pain.

It will free you to love deeper and truer, as well as cause you to react differently when triggered…..I had some forgiving to do, and perhaps you do today as well?


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Thank you for this article. I have been dealing with Triggers for over 2 years now and they can bring me down very quickly if I let them. You are right about forgiveness being a mufti-layered process. I am choosing to forgive on a daily basis.


Robert, you are a right friend, it is a process and i heard once before that the power is in the process. as you forgive, you gain more and more ground, more and more momentum and find healing along the way. i think as you pursue progress and not perfection you realize it is a process. also, its ok to admit you struggle and you're a mess. My wife admitted many times she was a mess, and then kept going. as long as you keep going, i think you're fine friend. have you read some of the articles rick has posted on triggers? there are a pretty good amount in the free resources page that will help for sure and if you need help with more i know you can email the staff for any helpful pages or articles to read to keep the momentum going. i think samantha dealt with triggers for about three years or so off and on, but we fought through them. she has them now and laughs or talks back and says nope, nope i'm not going down. that was then, this now. for her, she had a certain mantra she developed when she was triggered. she would literally talk, or pray back against it. she'd say many times, no, no no, i'm not going to believe that. uhuh. she would even cuss sometimes, hhahahaha and say no, not today. then keep going and get busy, or work out, or journal or pray or clean house. she would do anything to keep going forward. it gets easier friend. it does and it will keep going and keep getting help and perspective. i'll pray for you for sure too.


"We can all get triggered" well as our children . It is heartbreaking at best to hear their pain as well as the pain of each spouse. As if the betrayal's were not enough ,our children were betrayed as well. Some of our four kids have hid it well, a little too well in my opinion and others are right out there with it. I would rather have the later and address it openly than to have them stuff it and suffer in silence. It is easy to think our marriage is reconciled so therefore our children are just happy with that. I do not believe that is true on some levels. As we are forever changed because of our betrayals so are our children. For the good and for the bad parts. The trust that I/We speak of in a reconciled relationship is also true for our children. It is the back of their minds that maybe this will happen again, after all they thought everything was fine when their whole world got ripped from them. If I allow myself to spin with the permanent damage to my children I would loose my ever lovin mind. Yet I hold fast to the promise that God can make ALL things right and give purpose for the pain to be used in a good way, even for our children. Noting but intense counseling , reverent prayer and constant action on our part will as a family can help them. They are 26,24,18 and 13 now and still we have along way to go to healing even almost 3 years later. I would appreciate any help you have on this as I know your Infidelity was public along with prayers for my children's recovery. Thank you for dedication to AR, although I don't always agree at times. You are a great asset to healing along with Sam and her willingness to allow you to speak of her hurt so openly. Jana


jana, that's a tough one for sure. my kids were very little when it all came crashing down, so it was different. they are now, younger than yours, but older indeed. there's just no easy answer. i do know that Rick does help with kids of unfaithful's and betrayed and has some insight for sure on it. do you have access to his weekly q and a session on the site? i'd email in a q about it and see if he can answer it. i bet he will as I know he does his best to answer any and all q's about that sort of stuff. for me, i'd encourage you to model recovery and restoration. kids never want to be away (long anyway) from a house that's loving, kind, and full of support. id model a sense of healthy and wholeness in your own health to help them see God can restore and redeem and HEAL. as they see that and watch it, i think they will grab hold of what they see. the proof is in what they SEE as i worked with high school and college kids for 10 years. they love to see healing in front of them. if they see continued hurt and continued residue, it keeps them stunted and stuck as well. i hope i said that right, but as you model what it means to be healed, they grab hold of it and its like a sense of comfort to them. they heal as they see you are healed. that's my perspective anyway. i sure hope that helps in some way. im so grateful for your support and time here on the site. please let me know if there is anything I can ever do to help you and your family in any way possible.

Triggers-part one???

Is there a part one still available???

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