Relapse, lapse and acting out are all distinctively different behaviours—a lapse like this doesn’t automatically mean that a relationship is ruined. It serves as a reminder as to how sinister the roots of addiction are and also the marathon effort it takes to heal from a lifetime of unhealthy behaviours.
What’s needed now is a re-routing, and readjustment to continue on our path of recovery.
The pain of this blow out is real, for both of us. We are prayerful and hopeful that our repair work is sufficient. As long as we continue to hold space for one another and keep turning towards each other before, during and after conflict, chances are that we will reap the fruits of our effort. The absence of conflict is rarely a sign of healthy loving relationships, rather it is how we continue to show up for eachother and mend rifts or—fill in the potholes, this is what is important.
Dave’s fighting shame and despair after this sinkhole and learning that conflict avoidance is a destructive relational habit.
I’m fighting voices in my mind that say things like—I don’t look anything like her in my gym gear, if Dave’s eyes focus on skinny women, he must be repulsed by what he sees when he looks at me—If we weren’t together, he’d be free to stare at who he wants for however long he chooses—I’ll do for now, enough to satisfy him until he decides to go elsewhere…
These are awful thoughts and although the feelings are absolutely real at the time, they are distorted and unbalanced thinking, they are also not true, they’re a bunch of lies. Even though our rational minds know all of this, it’s a battle which is part and parcel of trauma experienced in the brain of a betrayed man or woman. Our primitive brains scream “this is not safe”.
The only way to overcome PTSD from betrayal is to face it front on and move through it. Fight, flight or freeze—the limbic system gets an almighty workout on this journey. There are techniques we can learn to ground ourselves, we get to choose what we need to do to feel safe.
If you can relate to this, my only advice is to be kind to yourself, take time for yourself, and do the healing for yourself. Speak up, in truth with love and don’t be a slave to unhelpful thinking styles that keep you stuck.
You can do this, you’re stronger than you realise! One day at a time…
“And this too shall pass”