Letting Anger Rule

When my affair was exposed, Samantha was far more hurt than she was angry.  Initially what showed were hurt, shock and overwhelming grief.  Our youngest was roughly 4 weeks old, so she was in the process of breast feeding and caring for an infant as well as processing the trauma of it all. Life was absolutely turned upside down.  As she regained the ability to function and started to get her wits about her, she became angrier and angrier.  As the realization of what happened for two years began to set in, hurt began to surface and be revealed, and then anger became the expression of that hurt.

Anger wasn’t the primary emotion. 

It looked like it was, sounded like it was, and felt like it was.

The stuff she threw at me, as well as the couple of punches she threw, would say it was all about the anger.  Looking back in a healthy way though, hurt was the primary emotion, and anger was the manifestation of that hurt.

For many it’s the same way.  I’ve seen them get lost in the anger.  Anger rules the day and they go from zero to 180 mph in a mere word, a text, a phone call, misunderstanding; you name it and anger is in charge. But it’s really the hurt that’s at the wheel and anger is trying to run the show. 

It’s when we can somehow, some way, get behind the anger and find out what the hurt is, that the unfaithful spouse can take responsibility and own the pain we’ve inflicted. Then we can eventually see some sort of ground gained. 

I know this for sure:  until we own the pain we’ve inflicted and take responsibility for what we’ve done, we’ll continue to see anger. 

If we want to see less anger from our spouse, perhaps we need to take more responsibility for what we’ve done. Listen, absorb, and understand that anger is usually the secondary emotion and not the primary.  Note to unfaithful: this takes more than a few weeks friends.  You’ll need help to do this and this site and the programs offered here will help immensely.  If you get into recovery with a third party expert, you can expedite this painful process to a certain degree. 

When I was able to get to the root of what was producing the anger, though I wasn’t able to make it all go away, I was able to help Samantha feel safe. Slowly but surely, I was able to help her extinguish the anger and get to the point where I could comfort her for the pain I caused.

I’m sure you know what I’m going to say next. And it’s true. It wasn’t overnight. It was a process. And it did take longer than I would have liked. But we were gaining ground.  Much needed ground to function in life.

In the spirit of the season, recovery is much like football:  it’s a game of inches.  Progress, not perfection must be the goal early on. 

If we allow anger to rule, we’ll constantly go back and forth with each other and with ourselves.  It becomes a cycle that you can’t break. But it’s a smoke screen.  It prevents you and your spouse from seeing the roadmap to recovery.  Though we have a right to be angry, it doesn’t mean it will promote healing or recovery.  It will frustrate all parties, till someone decides to give up and quit, not even from the infidelity, but from the anger and frustration at the dysfunctional process that is killing you both, slowly but surely.

I encourage you today, friends, to seek what your anger is seeking to cover up. The primary emotions are typically more difficult to deal with, which is why we wrap them up in anger. Dealing with that primary emotion, scary as it may be, will get you to healing much faster. 

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This is a very timely article. My wife had affairs with 4 different men and lied to me about them for almost 3 years. In my anger I acted out and had an affair. It was the absolute worst thing I have ever done in my life. Now we are trying to get better, but our anger is so high sometimes that I don't know if we can make it through.

Still dealing with it

After a year, an EMS weekend, and taking Harboring Hope, I am still dealing with my anger. I am having trouble with the knowledge that I will probably never know the complete truth of what happened. He finally a few weeks ago answered some of my written questions with the help of his mentor, and to read the answers, one would think it wasn't even an affair! If his answers were genuinely true ( and I question that) he allowed me to suffer for an entire year knowing full well that the issues could have been worked through within a week or so of confrontation (which was Christmas Day2012) and he did nothing but stonewall, evade, and abuse when i begged and pleaded for answers. My health has suffered, my self esteem is almost nonexistent. I feel damaged beyond repair, like my feelings didn't matter, I wasn't worth the explanation, or he just likes to watch me suffer. I am so hurt and angry that he would be that cruel to just let it go when he could have so easily fixed this mess at confrontation. He stood by and watched me hurt for an entire year and did nothing. That's not love. Don't I have a right to be angry about that?

The stonewalling has been

The stonewalling has been very difficult for me to deal with too and it has made my anger and hurt even higher than it would have been had she come clean initially. I am sorry you are going through this.

I just found out yesterday,

I just found out yesterday, Jan 1st that my husband has been having an affair for a yr. I'm numb right now. Dont have a friend to get support. Lonely and afraid. Scared. Feel hopeless. If anyone is out there, please help me

Please call or email

Please call 888-527-2367 or email us at support@hope-now.com. We are more than willing to help you through this difficult time.

You have found the right place

Lynne , first of all, I am so sorry you are having to go through this. There is no pain as horrible as the pain of infidelity. I wish I had some words of wisdom to say that would make it better, but even a year out from my disclosure day, I am still experiencing pain, although it has lessened to some degree. I am unique because most people get full disclosure right away and can start to heal. I still do not feel I have full disclosure and I have been getting info in little bits here and there or just getting lame answers to questions and downright verbal abuse for asking them for over a year now. My full healing is still not happening, although I am beginning to get back some of my self esteem. You have come to the right website for help, and the people who help here and at the Affair Recovery Center are wonderful and can help you understand your situation and how to deal with the affair and the fallout. Just know that the affair was HIS CHOICE and you are in no way to blame for his bad choice. It is not your fault. I found all the articles in the free library to be extremely helpful and of course, Samuel's blog always offers me insight. The courses offered here are very helpful as well. I will be praying for you and please know that you are not alone in this.

Thank you Karen for your

Thank you Karen for your response I feel like it is partly my fault as we have had no intimacy for years....not even hand holding or hugs. We havent been there emotionally or physically. We are both believers.

there's a difference...

Lynne - you are absolutely correct... two people are at fault for having a disfunctional marriage or communication/intimacy issues, but the decision to have a physical affair was made by only one person. yes, claim your part in the problems/issues in your marriage... but DO NOT claim any part of his decision to have an affair. that was his decision to cross that line and instead of being honest, honorable and fair...he cheated. do not take that action upon yourself. there is a vast difference between the having serious marital problems and having an affair.

Same thing

Lynne, it is the same with us. Little or no intimacy, no hand holding, no hugs or if there were hugs, he would pat me on the back like he would his mother or something. It has been this way our whole 35 year marriage and I have tried many times to remedy it by trying to hold his hand, etc.He just did not do it naturally. And I sure didn't want to force him to hug me or hold my hand, etc. The only intimacy is in the bedroom, and that stopped because of the affairs he had and the resulting verbal/physical abuse when I kept asking him questions. He was not raised in an affectionate atmosphere -- he even shook hands with his grandmother instead of hugging her. It's not for lack of trying on my part, but he just didn't do it. Emotionally, I never knew where he truly was either as he is not a big talker about his emotions. So I guess I should own up to my part at giving up on intimacy.

next steps

Lynne, I'm so sorry for what you are feeling right now. I am however, very glad you have found AR and our blog. The best time to get help is NOW as soon as you can to minimize collateral damage, and to minimize mistakes. I'll see if i can post a link to our 20 Mistakes article which will be very helpful. Try this link: https://www.affairrecovery.com/20_mistakes?utm_campaign=newsletter&utm_m...
its even harder to make it through and process the pain when you don't have a support system to help walk you through it. if you can get a plan, you can then get the help you need to start to find a pathway through this nightmare. it can seem overwhelming and incapacitating right now. but it doesn't have to be if you can get into recovery. quite honestly, a book isn't enough. a professional usually isn't enough either unless they actually have been through infidelity themselves and know how to help you as well. you need people, which you can find here. you can also get into a course, or the ems weekend for specific help which will not 'fix everything' but will at least identify a plan of attack to start to find clarity and understanding. a big word here is clarity and many of the staff use that word frequently as it's about helping you identify what choices you have and whether or not your spouse is safe, or willing to get help and willing to do what it takes to save the marriage, or at the very least, SEE if the marriage can be saved. I know there was a post where you can talk to someone at AR to identify options and insight into what may be the best next steps. what's the mentality of your husband? is he open to getting help? I at the very least, along with a few others are here for you to talk to and get help from.

You are correct

Sammuel you are correct it is a product of hurt. My wife was the unfaithful one and when it was confirmed to me on d-day this Aug. I was broken hurt beyond belief mostly for feeling I had failed as a husband but I was never angry. The other night we went out with some of her new found friends to hear a band and she could dance with her girl friends well she pretty much paided me little attention most of the night well the band finished up and like always we are usualy some of the last to leave well I had gotten all her things together and was waiting for her one of her froieds was still waiting for her ride so I just waited I was watching something on the TV when I turned around I saw her in the arms of the lead singer, I just lost control(for me) and just stormed out got in the car and moved it up just sitting there trying to calm down then I went in to find her joking around with some of the band members finley got her to the car but I did not say much all the way home and when I got home it realy was not good I told her what had happened and she was just so no big deal just friends kind of aditude I slamed the door was going to throw her out of the house and she just closed her eyes and layed the seat back in the car to sleep there, I was just about out of control. Some how and I don't know how I got under control and talked her into the house and into bed were I was able to explain what had happened. By morning we were close again and I was ok. but it was the hurt of seeing her in the arms of another man that hurt so much that lead to the anger add on top her lack of caring and it put me over the top. I hated it I am not the type that get's angry and I do not think she has ever seen me that may before and we have been married 25 years. It sucked.


This is such an amazing article. As always you have hit the nail square on the head. I caused my wife so much pain with my infidelity and sometimes she reacts in anger which is only normal for a human to do. Things are getting better through my owning up to it, me being responsible to continue to apologize and comfort her. It is a long road but w are making head way.
I love your anology of football cause it seems like that very often. Sometimes you seem to only inch along but sometimes you get that long throw and get a few yards. But no matter how you do it as long as your moving forward you will always hit the goal. We had a rather big discussion and disagreement last night where anger ruled from both parties mostly my end cause i felt like this was going on far too long. But today i stepped back and took a look at it, now I dont see it as "Why the hell is it taking so long?", but "Damn I'm so blessed she has given me so long to right my wrongs". It is true she has given me a long time and not all woman will.
This article was very timely and appropriate for much more than just affairs. I was recently diagnosed with Bipolar and this is great advice for that too, helping me control my anger ever day.

Thanks again

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