On Becoming Unstuck

In the 2010 American thriller movie Frozen, a group of friends are stranded on a ski lift when the attendant closes down the chair lift for the night. As a winter storm sets in, and the resort’s lights go off, the three friends realize they are stuck on the hill. They’re in a desperate situation, which requires desperate action – and spoiler alert – the final outcome isn’t pretty.

And like these three unlucky skiers, a spouse who’s been betrayed can find that they are stuck on their journey towards healing.

What are some potential causes that might need to be addressed?

1. Trauma: A betrayal by a person who you truly loved and trusted will usually be traumatic and can cause PTSD.  Thus, you will need help from a person who is trained to work with trauma. It requires specialist knowledge; not just general counselling.

2. Not working on yourself: We know the sex addict needs help; that is absolutely clear. But the spouse who’s been betrayed has been shocked, and deeply wounded. These wounds won’t simply heal. You’ll need to be intentional.

For as Jay Marshall has said, “The truth is that time does not heal anything. It merely passes. It is what we do during the passing of time that helps or hinders the healing process.”

Some areas that will need to be addressed may include: confronting and working through the process of grief and loss; coping with anxiety and panic attacks; dealing with triggers; working on your self-image and damaged self-esteem; learning, and being willing, to trust again.

3. Not establishing boundaries: In order to feel safe, you need good boundaries in place. Defining what you won’t accept can help create security.       

4. Being consumed by certain questions: Full disclosure is a must; you deserve to know the facts. But some questions are destructive, and will only lead to torment. (For example, how do I compare physically and sexually to these other women? What did you specifically like about them?)

5. Being ‘forced’ by others to forgive before you’re ready: Forgiveness is important but forgiveness is a process. It can’t be hurried up. There are steps you must work through.

6. Continuing to see yourself as a victim: You truly are a victim. Someone else has wrecked your life. You didn’t ask for this to happen, or to have PTSD. But you also have some strengths – and these events must not define you. It’s important that you’re able to claim your power again.

Keep working on affirming, and claiming, all you are.   

13 thoughts on “On Becoming Unstuck

  1. “These events need not define you.” Yes! Betrayal trauma happened to you, it does not have to “become “ you. Personalizing things, in such a scenario, is understandable, but we shouldn’t get stuck there.
    Most of us are tougher ( more resilient) than we think.
    Baby steps 🐣

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s so good when we can get to the place of seeing it as something that happened to you, and not the one thing that now defines your whole life. Not easy to get there – but possible. Thanks for highlighting this David!

      Liked by 2 people

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