The Triggers Aren’t Done With Me Yet

Feeling Broken. Tyler Knott GregsonDuring the year following my D-Day triggers were expected. I hated them, but I expected them. I bought him new underwear so I didn’t have to think about Bat Shit’s hands pulling them down, touching him. I destroyed a pair of his jeans with a Leatherman because they aged to display the worn outline of the iPod Touch she gave him.

When the triggers became more sporadic I saw it as a sign of progress. I was healing and not everything reminded me of my husband’s affair. Even after a year I was still being triggered to think about Bat Shit when I wanted nothing more than to forget about her. It seemed as though I could erase every physical trace of the affair but I would never fully remove Bat Shit from my memory. Just after the one-year mark from my D-Day I wrote about how Bat Shit was still a daily passing thought. No longer was she a trigger for pain but she was a ghost haunting my mind, appearing and disappearing without warning. She was not doing damage anymore, just lingering around.

Then one day she was gone, in my mind, anymore. The mind triggers were lessening. I was replacing thoughts of her with positive, new thoughts. My mind was filled with authentic moments and memories in my life that she could not touch. People that she did not know about and she could never connect with. Bat Shit’s power over my life was gone. My life was my own again.

I haven’t been triggered in months. I recall breaking down in tears about the affair just after Christmas. I remember telling my husband I needed him to go to therapy on his own. I needed him to figure out the answer to Why and How he was able to cheat on me. And so he went. He found a therapist, made the appointments and he’s been going for three months now. My triggers seemed to diminish in direct correlation to my husband’s efforts to better self-understanding.

Dave Matthews Space BetweenThen two weeks ago I was triggered. It wasn’t the affair; it wasn’t a remnant of the affair or a reminder. It was the way my teenage son treated me that pushed me over the edge. He told me that he had been lying to me for over a month about a romantic relationship in his life. The type of secret I kept from my parents at his age. But this was different to me. My son lied to me because he was afraid of my response—a response he could anticipate but did not want to hear. The same exact reason my husband chose not to tell me about his “friendship” with Bat Shit.

I was falling apart. The trigger was not about the affair this time. My son triggered me to feel how I felt in the days just after D-Day. My son assumed my reaction and made the decision to lie to me about something he’d been honest about prior to this relationship. In that moment, I felt everything had changed between us: mother and son. It wasn’t necessarily the lie that bothered me; it was the intent of the lie.

I did not anticipate being triggered back to that feeling of insignificance. Maybe it hurt more because this is the same child that held me in his arms as I cried uncontrollably on my D-Day. Maybe it hurt so deeply because I thought our relationship was different. (How did I get caught up in that notion again?) Regardless of why I was triggered, this was a reminder that the affair and its aftermath aren’t done with me yet.

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24 thoughts on “The Triggers Aren’t Done With Me Yet

  1. I can relate to this so much. My teen also lied to me (well, just held VERY pertinent information) about his relationship as well. It wasn’t so much what he held from me, it was the fact that I was dooped yet again by someone I love very deeply just under my nose! AGAIN! It hurt so bad, and I was nearly knocked off my seat again…luckily I don’t view my kids as saints and know they will make mistakes as I did at their age, but the triggers came in so hard fast and painful, THAT’s what caught me off guard.

    Love those triggers 😉

  2. Oh hell yes. We heard from someone yesterday that Alisha is pregnant. The one person who sided with Argyrodes, who gave me the blog name. And this after years of telling everyone she was infertile, trying to convince us to divorce, whining that when we didn’t initially for the kids that we were wrong and shouldn’t protect the kids. Honestly, she’s the last person who deserves to be a parent. And it makes me so sad that she gets rewarded. And that I was cheated out of our 3rd child by the affair. It makes me want to get pregnant. And yet I don’t want a child the same age as hers. I don’t want any more excuses for her to have anything to do with us. I hate triggers.

    • I always hold on to my belief in karma but sometimes it is difficult when you get slapped in the face with news like that. I hope you are okay. It doesn’t surprise me that she lied about being infertile too. Liars lie. I feel like I learned that lesson from Bat Shit too. Eventually, I was able to let go of my hatred for Bat Shit though. Well, if you ask me I would say I still hate her but I just don’t care to expend energy on her ever again.

  3. I think my sons view me as fragile now since my Dday. They don’t know what happened and why I was in bed all day and why I freaked out when I got the fucking text message.

    So, I can predict one of my sons (or both) will hide something from me for fear of upsetting me. And I think I, too, will be devastated at the secrecy.

    Hugs, I’m sure your son’s intent was noble in protecting you. But, the raw result is pain. Oh, what we teach our children, right?

    • And the reason that the cheats don’t tell us include that they were “trying to protect us” from pain. Mine ended his affair, and never told me about it, “because it would shatter my world, and he had worked out how hideous what he was doing was, and stopped it.” As well as just being selfish, protected-by-lies asshats. Truth has always been paramount to me, we were brought up that way, and I have brought mine up that way. I don’t understand lying or liars. They infuriate me!

      My 17 and a half year old son is having nine mates, both sexes, stay at our lake house next week, and I had an honest chat with him about that last night. I know they are wanting to have a lash out before their last real term at school starts, before their last high school exams, and I just said that I want them to be safe. He gets it, and I said, no lies, I just want everyone to be as safe as possible, and that includes safe sex. I think he was a little horrified. But there are some couples and I know they are having sex. No more lies.

      • I hope the lake house slumber party went well. I feel the same way. I keep telling my son to be honest, don’t screw up and he will gain privileges deserved. He seems to get it but I don’t know if the girlfriend does.

  4. This is truly heart-tugging as our son has held me numerous times. He doesn’t know why I cry, he just knows friends of Mommy did not treat her well and broke her heart. I just am crying and he comes and hugs me.
    Oh how our dear boys are truly gems and gifts. I’m sorry the aftermath of this nightmare has hit again, but with your boy. Here’s to kicking aftermath’s ass and being there for your boy, in a way only his Mother could be. I’m glad you only felt insignificant but did not identify with that feeling as that is what you are. Because that boy, your husband, and your blogoshpere know you are far from that. You are irreplaceable and loved ❤

  5. Thank you. It has been one year and one week since D-Day for me and it is such a relief to know that someday, soon perhaps, triggering thoughts of her will be replaced with the new memories I have chosen to stay and make with my husband. I also got rid of all the physical reminders, but it’s still the haunting thoughts that get me. I’m trying to remind myself of how much progress I’ve made in a year, but i feel like i will never understand the the ‘why’ and ‘how’ especially if he doesn’t even fully understand. I think I’m going to talk with my husband about getting some individual therapy, too, so he can begin to face what he’s done and maybe begin to understand it so it will never happen again. Thanks! Reading your blog has helped me through many otherwise unbearable days over the past year!

    • I think wanting to understanding the “why” is a struggle for all of us. I wanted to believe that I could lay all the cards on the table and I would get it. I can point to all the possible reasons or influences that contributed to my husband’s affair. But I just don’t think I’ll ever have a solid answer to why it happened. It was a combination of circumstances that came together to create a perfect storm: his affair. I want my husband to understand himself, why he did this so that he doesn’t do it again. I think it’s great if your husband is willing to back to therapy too. I think therapy is something we all need but most of resist because of the stigma associated with therapy. My husband is learning about himself, his personality and how it affects his relationships with other people.
      I hope the haunting triggers are lessening and you are gaining control over them. Keep going–you are making great progress.

  6. Year and a half after the affair, the crazy lady that threw herself at my husband and wasted everyone’s time is nothing but a bit of litter that blew through my life like tumbleweed. But any behaviour or attitude by anyone at all near me, that can be construed as similar in thinking or logic to that that led my husband into such dysfunctional behaviour triggers me to battle mode, as in never again, Scarlett O’Hara style. So I have lashed out at the school headmaster for not being upfront about what he expected of my son, laid into him for ‘entrapment,” shouted down my aged mother for playing the pity card as my husband did; and I know my sons evade a bit to keep their privacy in an attempt to lead their own lives and grow up. I wish they could be brave and open and I will hope to let them feel the freedom to do so, but doubt they can. It is so hard for everyone touched by an affair to keep their equilibrium, I hate myself for losing it. I’m becoming a truth ninja, and I hate it. But it is impossible to be so strong for so long without mistakes. The damage in ones heart is devastating .
    Someone on the web, maybe even your blog, I wish I could give credit, said “why did you have to believe the mask?” I, at first, violently thought ” because we married and made a promise,” ” because I didn’t know it was a mask as that is what betrayers do, hello” but now I get a bit of that mask idea, if not still agreeing. Why do we need to believe in one and only, or upfront and true from everyone we trust….wiseness and compassion come into the mix, should temper us, I loath to agree, but guess that’s why I’m still here. Understanding foibles. Their not trying harder to overcome is hard to accept.
    I’m working so hard not drown in another person’s mistakes. I suppose it’s my choice, sometimes it wonder why I do it. Anyway, guess this is about milestones and moving on.
    Like driving down a long empty vista, I think it will never end and suddenly there is the horizon refreshed by a new one, I hope. But I do get weary. There was so much more to me to offer him instead of his having an affair.

    • I, too, do not want to get lost in the abyss of my husband’s affair. Sometimes I find it difficult to navigate through the trigger of emotions and other times I feel completely normal again. Then in phase of feeling “normal” I start to question if I am suppressing, masking or making peace with the pain/past? I’m not sure the answer to that question yet. I want to believe I am making peace with the past and leaving it behind but it’s a part of me now. His affair changed me and I cannot be the same woman, wife or mother I was prior to his affair. So I keep driving on that long, empty vista with hope that the horizon brings nothing but beautiful sunsets and sunrises.

      “There was so much more to me to offer him instead of his having an affair.” I agree. I so agree.

  7. It’s four year since D-day, and I am still having trigger that led me to cry. Today, met a client that have the same name as Batshit. I am wondering when will these trigger stops. I feel very tired when I have them. I can’t sleep , read your post , so just Wanna tell someone how I feel.

    • Sorry I am responding to this so late. I hear you. Just when we think we are through with the triggers something unexpected appears to remind us of the damage done. Recently, I decided to make peace with Bat Shit’s real name. I feel as though I cannot avoid her name forever or cut every person out of my life that has that name. Last week, we were at a friend’s house and their neighbor came over that share’s Bat Shit’s name. I noticed my husband shift uncomfortably and he was watching me. I don’t want to feel like every time we hear her name it could be a trigger. So I am trying to let go of her name.

      • Yes!!! I struggle with letting go on the name too. Especially since it’s such a common name. Glad I’m not crazy

  8. D day 1 month ago.
    I don’t know what I would have done without my 25 year old son who was here when I discovered the truth. He held me and cried with me, he has been my rock many times through this storm. He loves me so unconditionally. Some times when I am crying I close my eyes and his touch feels just like my husbands. God has blessed me in so many ways I praying with all that I have to help get me (us) through this.

  9. This post at first bolstered me and then terrified me. I’m 5 months from D-day and still struggling with triggers. I hate the way everything seems to ebb and flow like unpredictable waves. I have more good days than bad now but still wish he could take it back completely.

  10. Wow. I don’t think I can live like this. July 16, 2014 I found out my husband has been cheating on me. This discovery happened just 5 days after our son turned 5 months old. I have been on this rollar coaster of emotions. I’m crushed. I can’t sleep. I wake up every night with the nightmare haunting me. It’s killing me. We just had a baby. I feel stupid, I had a feeling all along and I questioned him constantly. It’s crazy how a woman’s intuition is on point.
    July 16, what an awful day. I couldn’t sleep that morning. I kept tossing and turning and something just kept nagging me. So I grabbed my husband’s phone and headed downstairs to our living room to see what I could find. (We’ve been married for 3 years and he was a compulsive liar and gambler. I know I should have left him long time ago, but I kept trying to make it work with him.) he changed his password on his phone. I knew something was up so I woke him up.
    And told him to give me the passcode. He said he had already given it to me and for a few minutes we argued and he finally gave it to me. He must have thought he was safe and deleted everything. He didn’t realize he had accidentally screen shotted a text between the two of them. I questioned him about the text and he denied it. So I found her contact info and sent her number to my phone along with the screen shotted text. He kept saying she was no one. I knew better. It was 5:08 am. I called her. I apologized for waking her up. I asked her how she knew my husband and when she asked who I was I told her I was his wife. She said she didnt know he was married. My husband started yelling in the back round to hang up and why am I calling her at 5am. She asked if he was there with me and I put her on speaker and told her ” yes why doesn’t she tell me what her relationship with my husband is.” She hung up. I snapped! I grabbed my son and a few things and headed out the door. I made sure I gave him a piece of my mind before I left. I went to my mother in laws until he left for work. Me and her had a great relationship and I just couldn’t see me going to my parents and having them worry without me knowing the facts first. Around noon, I called the woman back. Her name was Stasi and she was a stripper. She told me everything. She apologized, she didn’t know he was married. They met just 2 weeks after I gave birth. He went to a strip club with his friends, he was suppose to be with the high school team he coaches for at a hotel for the state championship. He told me he and the other coaches and students were at Dave n Busters. I was staying at my parents with or newborn son until he returned.
    She said they were flirting all night and they exchanged numbers. They texted and facetimed back and forth and met up twice and had sex. This asshole left me and and his newborn son at home so he could go out and have sex with this skank.
    I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. My whole world came crashing down. All those times I questioned him, he lied. I knew something wasn’t right.
    I thanked her and apologized…… What was I thanking her and apologizing to her for??? I called his mom sobbing. “He slept with her, he had sex with her.” I cried. He was there sitting on the couch with his mom talking to her. He was telling her that nothing happened. They came to the house. I already packed his clothes up and told him
    Id be staying at the house and he needs to move in with his parents. I left the house with my son and headed to my parents to let them know about this horrible event.
    It’s been almost a month since this horrific day. I’ve been seeing a counselor and my husband is seeing one too. She told me not to make any decisions yet and to just live day by day. But I’m hurting. I don’t think I can do this. I can’t live my life with the reminder of my husband sleeping with another woman. Our marriage was already hard. He lied constantly. I already didn’t trust him. How can I go on living with him knowing that he was capable of cheating on me and he had absolutely no guilt afterwards. That he did not respect or love me enough, especially after giving birth to his child, to be faithful. How can I stay with him and be plagued with the images every night and every morning of him touching and having sex with another woman. This horror film doesn’t leave my mind. I don’t want to live my life with “triggers.” I don’t want to live it with the constant reminder of his selfish choice. How could he be so selfish?

    • You don’t need to make any decisions right now but if you cannot live under the same roof with your husband then ask him to go. Or if you feel like you need to get away from your home because of triggers then see if you can take your son to a friend or family’s home until you can have some clarity. Clarity may take time. I think it’s hard to know what to do in the moment. It’s hard to know when you have the complete truth. The most important thing is to take care of yourself. Allow your baby to be a distraction from the constant pain. You need sleep, food and try to get a moment for yourself each day.
      I don’t know why your husband was selfish. I can’t answer that question but you deserve an answer. Your husband may not know the answer yet but if he’s seeing a therapist he may be able to figure it out. The question I think you are asking is whether or not you care. Your husband did not cheat to hurt you. He never expected for you to find out–and that doesn’t excuse or explain anything. It was pure selfish behavior.

  11. Triggers are the worst. And just when you are having a good day here one comes to shit on your parade. Tomorrow is three weeks from my d-day and most days o actually feel good. The first week was 100% non stop nightmare. There were no trickle truths. It was a relentless torrent of truth telling no had to know EVERYTHING I needed to know NOW. My husband took quite an emotional beating. Which was 1000% deserved but once it all got out there I’ve been able to turn it over in my head and I feel so much better.

    My most ridiculous trigger this week was eating In-n-Out with the husband. When we came back from our tenth anniversary weekend away we ate there. And the first meal post D-day that he brought me was that too. I was so sick I could barely eat more than a few bites before I laid back down and cried and cried and cried. Of course I shouldn’t have been surprised that looking at a cheeseburger would make me melt down. Again. I just wish the nightmare was over and I could know no matter what happened I will be happy again. At the moment it all feels too hard and sad and devastating. I know I’ll get through it somehow. Because I HAVE to. The other choice is pretty grim. It’s just so unfair the perpetrators aren’t the ones that end up the worst off.

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