his week, Imagine Hope Counseling Group wraps up our blog series on anger. As we have discussed earlier in the week, anger can often times be what we call a "secondary" emotion. This means that what looks like anger is really secondary to another feeling that is underneath the angry reaction. If you haven't read the earlier blog parts from this week, I encourage you to check out part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4. So, read on if you want to learn about why you or someone you love might REALLY be angry.
As Natalie discussed yesterday in Part 4 of our blog series on forgiveness, it's important to try and hang onto forgiveness, once you have gone through the steps of the process. While she discussed some different ways you can make the commitment to forgiveness, what happens if you are struggling with this, and the memories continue to come back?
This week, we are discussing the ever sought after goal of many of our clients— peace. Peace of heart, peace of mind, a peaceful home, peaceful relationships, or a peaceful work environment. The issues we see in our office that bring couples, families and individuals to therapy may vary, but underneath the presenting problem is usually the same core struggle: Whatever is going on in their life feels chaotic, unsettling, insecure, or just simply without peace.
The Imagine Hope ladies have shared some great statistics and information on infidelity, and how to affair proof your marriage, but what can you do if an affair has already happened?
- Seek out a professional counselor that has knowledge and experience in healing from infidelity. This one is imperative, because if you can't heal from the affair, it will cause more damage to your marriage on down the road! It's important to understand how your relationship got to this place, and without professional help, it can be difficult to do so. We all have blind spots-- that's what makes us human. Most of the time, it's necessary to have someone who is a neutral party help us understand things from an outside perspective.
Infidelity is an issue we work with multiple times a day at Imagine Hope. Unfortunately it is an epidemic that is plaguing America's marriages and relationships. This week Imagine Hope is digging deeper into this issue to give you a glimpse of how to protect your relationships, how to heal if you have experienced this, and whether or not your relationship is at risk for one.
Affairs happen in many relationships. It causes deep pain and destruction for all parties involved with it's ripple effects going much wider than people think. Media and society put many wrong ideas in people's heads about adultery that we want to help clear up this week. We will be exploring 4 myths that people commonly believe about affairs.
Getting too close with someone of the opposite sex is definitely a slippery slope in your marriage. We see this happening more and more with the boom of social media. It's so important to protect your marriage. That is why we felt it was important to talk about the warning signs of emotional infidelity. Hopefully by now you are getting a feel for what they look like. Here are a few more. 7. Not engaging in normal family activities with your spouse, kids, or even work
If you are experiencing the "natural high" from an emotional affair that we have discussed this week, it makes sense why you would continue to go after that. As you do, the things that once gave you joy will pale in comparison. What is the natural thing to do when something isn't as exciting as a "high"? Disengage.
If you find yourself not wanting to do the things you used to or even dreading when your partner does try to do the things you used to beg them to do, you are probably disengaging. Or if you find yourself in another world when you are with your kids, you may be disengaging as well.
8. Keeping secret activities and covering it up
I always tell my clients, "If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to hide." It's always difficult to understand why someone will look at you point blank and justify an "innocent" friendship yet they didn't tell their spouse about hanging out with them or calling/texting them. If there was nothing wrong, why is there a secret?
If you find yourself hiding where you've been from a spouse, you again, are on a slippery slope. Even if you are 10 minutes late because you stopped in the grocery store parking lot to have a text conversation and you lie about being late. Technically you weren't with anyone but you were engaging in an activity that you don't want your spouse to know about.
I always tell people to not say anything to the opposite sex that you wouldn't say with your spouse standing next to you and don't go anywhere that you wouldn't feel comfortable if your spouse showed up.
9. Making sure you have a list of all the reasons that say what your doing is okay
The most deadly combination of feelings a person can feed to open the door to an emotional affair is ~Resentment ~Entitlement ~Justification
When a person is unhappy in a marriage and they continue to focus and re-focus on those circumstances that make them unhappy, they form a breeding ground for these feelings. When they feel resentment for their unhappiness they start feeling entitled to something that will make them happy. This only gives them justification to move forward with talking to this person, meeting this person, or even fantasizing about this person.
The fact is, if you are unhappy in your marriage you are responsible to talk to your spouse about it. I understand that you may have done that and there has been little to no change. This still does not justify an affair. It's important at that point to gain the help of a third party- a Therapist, not a co-worker or friend, to support you and devise a plan for you to cope with what's happening in your marriage. Even if that person won't change, they deserve the right to know that you are no longer interested in working on it and have decided to move forward with another relationship (We do not recommend this by any means. I am just saying they have the right to know).
If you find yourself in any of these situations or even close to any of these situations, please seek help. It is so important to talk about it before anything happens rather than after the devastation of an affair.
Tomorrow Joleen will share 3 more warning signs. See you then.
*Source: Warning Signs That It’s Emotional Infidelity- And Not Just Friendship by Athena Staik Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling. We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville