Anger Can Be A Thief

If there is one universal emotion associated with infidelity, it has to be sadness to the point of grief. However, second place goes to anger. For some it’s a flooding anger which spills over into inconsolable rage and even hate as we talked about last time. For others, it’s hostility towards their mate, the affair partner and often times themselves for various reasons.  

Anger is a part of life. It can be used as a defense mechanism when danger is close, or it can be a manifestation of love and concern which prompts anger to be part of the defending process of a loved one. A deeper exploration reveals that anger is almost always a secondary emotion and is actually rooted in being hurt, violated or betrayed. In infidelity’s case, all of the above apply. When we’re angry, it’s usually because we’re feeling hurt or rejected.

What I’m referring to though, is a bit deeper and more complicated. When we’re angry at our spouse and we flood, our anger becomes a thief. It can steal our ability to think clearly and process what our spouse is saying, doing, or trying to do. It often times completely diminishes our ability (which is already strained) to be objective and hear what they are saying to us. We have allowed anger to steal our peace, our security and our ability to see clearly.

When a betrayed spouse is triggered, it literally takes 1/200th of a second to flood and typically that flood is filled with anger and hostility and even some acting out.

Now, I get that anger is necessary at times. Samantha was angry. Any betrayed spouse has a right to be angry. But there does come a point when we need to look at our anger and ask ourselves what it’s stealing from us and what it’s preventing us from doing, seeing, or healing from. If we’re allowing our anger to dictate what we do or say or choices we’re making, it’s stealing from us.

If we’re angry at what’s happened, we should be. If we’re angry at the state of our life, we should be. But for how long and at what cost? Make no mistake about it, as we allow anger to dictate recovery or the process of recovery, it attempts to steal from us and even steal from our spouse.

In my own life, when I allow my anger to rule the situation, I have begun to see where I’m losing and allowing myself to be taken advantage of. As I said last week, anger boomerangs.

While anger has a place in the grand scheme of things, I wonder if we aren’t letting anger steal from us after a while and if it isn’t time to allow forgiveness to diffuse the anger we’re living with?   

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So much anger...

My anger is almost debilitating right now. We're seven weeks past D-Day, and my unfaithful wife is in the withdrawal stage of recovery. I don't know where it came from, because I was doing so well last week, but all of a sudden my anger towards her affair partner has become crippling. I want this kid to hurt as bad as I do! He is seventeen years younger than me, and looks ten years younger than he actually is. He knew she was married the whole time. I've read the emails between them, and she gave him a road map to success. All he had to do was pay attention and say the right things, and he was in like Flynn.
How can she still have feelings for somebody who had an active role in helping destroy her marriage? How can she not see that she not only "affaired down", but she did it in a huge way. People in my support network who have seen pictures, and learned the facts about this guy, literally laugh with disbelief. They just shake their heads and turn away. It's beyond humiliating! Somebody please tell me how to handle this necessary, but extremely frustrating stage of the process...

the anger

Shawn1968, thanks so much for responding. in all honesty, 7 weeks is NOTHING my friend. this is a long road and 7 weeks is no where sufficient for any long term healing. perspective yes, understanding yes, but in terms of just being over the anger and the triggers and reminders etc, it's not long at all. also, while seemingly overwhelming, if she does not grieve the loss of the ap, she will not complete the breaking away stage. she will need to at some level grieve through it, or else, she may go back. you'll also need to grieve for what was lost too or else, you'll stay stuck my friend. i would encourage you to also consider forgiveness towards both him (the ap) and your wife. further forgiveness that is, as forgiveness has layers. the more you process, sometimes the deeper you go and the more you'll need to forgive. all you've described is NORMAL AS THE SUN, but your response will need to be abnormal instead of vengeance or flooding on her or pressing on her. she's going through both detox and completely unable to see how this guy wanted to ruin the marraige etc etc. she just cant see it yet and wont till probably between four to six months, but it will get clearer and clearer as the months, and years go by. it's a long road my friend. i'm sorry to break it to you, but it just is. here's a great article on grieving:, you'll also want to read this article on grief-transforming loss: another source of healing is this article on flooding and reminders which you'll be dealing with for a while:
in short, your way of healing is forgiveness. seems counterintuitive, but unless you take that road, you'll be imprisoned by anger and rage and wanting to get even. realize also at 7 weeks my friend, she is no where near the stage of total health. it's a process. she is on the right road, but i wouldn't expect her to see things too clearly for a while longer. have you taken any programs here on the site? that will help immensely as well. here for you if you want to continue the discussion.

Samuel - This was extremely

Samuel - This was extremely helpful! Thanks so much for the much-needed dose of perspective. I'll take it to heart and do my best to follow your advice. We're still discussing the programs on the site, but I know we'll partake eventually.

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