Archive for betrayal

Building and Repairing Trust

As we watch with astonishment the battle that is being played out between Clinton and Trump and the bitter attacks that are being thrown at each other, its very difficult to believe that we can trust either of them to fulfil the role of President of the United States.

Being able to trust your partner is one of the cornerstones of a healthy strong relationship. Without trust it’s difficult to build a strong connection that helps deepen and grow a relationship. We need trust to feel safe and secure and have confidence that our partners are there for us physically and emotionally.
Building trust in a partnership is a gradual process and requires commitment from both parties. It is the foundation of any long term relationship and helps to
make us feel confident and secure with each other. It also helps us cope with challenges that may arise in the future trusting that our partner is there by our side throughout more difficult and testing times.
Being able to trust ourselves is an important element in being able to trust a partner. Perhaps you may have been hurt in the past, which may affect your ability to trust yourself and therefore others.

At Coupleworks we see many couples struggling with trust issues in their relationships for many different reasons such as money, addiction, texting, emotional and physical affairs. Trust is one of the easiest feelings to loose and the hardest to regain. Without it couples find it hard to deepen their relationship.

How to build Trust – Its worth checking out these pointers:

Are we there for each other?
Does your partner listen to you and is open with you?
Do you feel your partner supports you?
Do you feel genuinely cared about?
Do you feel its safe to talk about feelings and you don’t get a negative response?
Can you depend on your partner?
Is there consistency in what your partner says and how they behave?

What happens when we lose Trust

Not being open and honest with each other, keeping secrets erodes trust.

At times lack of trust can be something we experienced as children growing up in our family of origin. This imprint we can take into our adult relationships and may make us feel more vulnerable around trust issues. Its important to understand whether the mistrust is a pre-existing condition or something that has developed in the relationship due to the behaviour of your partner.
Believing that your partner does not have your best interests at heart can lead to a lack of trust creeping into your relationship.
Loosing trust in one another can be damaging and long lasting often creating wounds and scars that prevent closeness and intimacy growing between partners.
Betrayal of trust such as an affair can lead to trauma and injury.

Affairs can completely rock a marriage. According to psychotherapist Esther Perel while infidelity can shatter trust, it doesn’t mean couples cant find a way to rebuild their relationships.

How to repair Trust

Understanding this is a crisis in a relationship
Consider each other’s views and feelings and listen to each other calmly
Engage in positive and constructive discussion
Strong shared motivation to work together to resolve the issue
Understanding and appreciating the damage caused
The more effort put into the repair process the more you will make it through the crisis

Sometimes, despite all efforts, repairing a relationship when trust has been tested is not possible, seeing a couples counsellor may be a good idea if you are stuck and unable to move forward.

“The most precious thing in the world is trust – without trust you have nothing – with it you can do great things”

Dawn Kaffel

Can a Couple Survive an Affair

Many couples believe that an affair means that their relationship is over and beyond repair. They are certain that they will never be able to trust their partner again and they believe that the relationship can’t possibly be viable after their partner cheats. They feel that they know longer know their partner.

There is blame, anger, sadness and a profound sense of betrayal. These are perfectly understandable feelings but what I’ve learned working with couples is that when the story unfolds and both people are able to understand and make sense of the ‘how this might of happened’, healing can, and does, take place. It takes time and patience but couples do have the capacity to forgive and love each other again. There is also a huge opportunity to learn about oneself and their partner through this painful process.
Stages of Healing after an affair:

When discovering one’s partner has gone outside the relationship there is naturally shock and outrage. This is the time when the couples have strong negative feelings towards each other. The reactions that come out may be reactive and forceful or it can manifest itself as one partner withdrawing. Hard though it is to do, this is the time to slow things down and allow the feelings to settle.
Getting to the point where a couple is able to come together and talk effectively varies, and needs to be respected. Once feelings settle, it’s time to talk. Being clear and connected to one’s feelings allows us the clarity to articulate thoughts and emotions, enabling our partner to hear us rather than react and defend themselves. In other words, being clear with our feelings shifts the conversation from blaming to starting to make sense of what has transpired. It’s relational rather than attacking and creates a dialog to start to build trust and understanding again.
It’s important and natural to want to know the facts of the affair because it allows a couple to understand why it happened in the first place. The problem arises when a couple gets stuck in the details because then the underlying feelings and reasons get lost.

Getting to the root cause of ‘why’ isn’t always possible because the person responsible often doesn’t understand why they did it in the first place. There is a feeling that it ‘just happened’ which suggests that they are not taking responsibility for going outside the relationship. This can be frustrating for the other partner because their world has suddenly become unstable and not pinpointing a reason only intensifies this feeling.
I have sat with couples entrenched in this dynamic and I sense the person responsible for the affair really doesn’t have a clue as to why. Staying with the couple’s ‘not knowing’ and gently allowing the process to progress is what allows the understanding to emerge.
The most difficult thing for couples to appreciate in this situation is that both parties are suffering and really do want to understand and most importantly, to get back to the way things once were. Although not always possible, when a couple is able to stay with the difficulty and work forward, the process of letting go and forgiving can and does take place.
Shirlee Kay

Counselling when considering Separation

Couples sometimes contact Coupleworks when they are facing the end of their relationship and have the wish to separate as amicably as possible, and with consideration and understanding.

Counselling can offer support when the grief at the thought of a break-up feels overwhelming and help is needed with managing difficult feelings. This is particularly true if the couple have experienced other significant and painful losses in their lives. Broken attachments can provoke great anxiety – and counselling offers the time and space to think about needs and how to tap resources of support.

Being part of a couple can define and strengthen a person’s identity and suddenly being alone requires a re-figuration and understanding of oneself: ‘Who am I now?’ If there are issues of low self-esteem and low self-worth this can feel a monumental task. When there has been a custom of sharing, now there may be an aching sense of loneliness and panic. It may be important to identify and uncover one’s inner resilience.

If the threat of the end of the relationship has come out of the blue, then a partner may have trouble accepting a future that is not the one that was anticipated. Feelings of well-being and certainty have been shaken to the core and plans will need adjusting. There may be financial implications, child-care issues, even the selling of the home. It can be difficult to grasp the extent of the upheaval – and challenging to find the confidence to face life alone.

If there have been childhood insecurities, or rejections, or abandonments, past memories can resurface and create a worry that this present loss just cannot be managed. Starting over, facing the unknown, can cause panic and dread – but talking to an impartial counsellor offers a chance to think more calmly. Family and friends can sometimes find it difficult to stand back, not take sides, and be detached from their own concerns.

When there are feelings of betrayal, bitterness and anger it may be important begin to understand how things have come about. There can be benefit from gaining an insight into the dynamics of the relationship, the patterns of behaviour, and the impulses and reactions of each partner. Untangling the confusion may alleviate feeling of helplessness and hopelessness and prevent getting stuck in recrimination and blame.

Kathy Rees