Triggers – the post discovery ripple effect.

Just shy of 3 years post discovery and most days are fine. A few are even great. Everyone says that we have to find ways past the anger, ways to forgive and move on. That staying angry will only hurt us and that the anger will consume us.
Most days I think I’ve managed this well, most days I don’t feel angry. In fact I think I’ve probably managed it a little too well. If there were an award for turning the other cheek I’d most certainly have won it by now. I’m successfully co-parenting with my ex-husband, we do family things together every week. We even went on a week-long road trip to visit his family together and nobody had to be medicated or hospitalized. Ha ha ha. But in all seriousness I have forgiven and moved past a lot, mostly for the benefit of our children but also because I know that although he made some poor choices in how he handled things, he was hurting and struggling with his own identity and many other things and ultimately had enough self-loathing and bad feelings about it, and don’t forget, I loved this man, so despite everything of course it broke my heart to see him hurting that way. So I made a conscious EFFORT (effort is capitalized because dammit, it was and is hard) not to beat him up about it or wallow in it forever. With therapy and time I got better at it, and like I said I think I’m doing a pretty good job most days.
But then every once in awhile a day like today sneaks up. Where something as simple as not getting approved for a car loan can turn me into a raging angry and then in short order a sniveling mess of salt water and mucous. Granted, the triggers used to be a lot closer together and come a lot more often so I suppose there has been some progress, but on days like today I can’t help but feel utterly defeated because clearly I’ve been fooling myself, anger is still there. So then I start thinking, does it make me an epic failure of a human being because I haven’t managed to “let go’ of the anger. Whose expectation for letting go am I subscribing to anyway? My friends, family, society? Over these 3 years they have all at one point or another put that pressure on me in some way, I’m sure they are well-intentioned but at the end of the day whose needs are they really serving with that request? I think maybe it’s their own. Maybe they are asking us (straight spouses) to move on, to let go, to get passed the anger because it makes them uncomfortable. Because they don’t want to see it, or think about it. Perhaps it strikes too close too home because it’s an uncomfortable recognition that we are struggling through no fault of our own and that it can happen to anyone.
After all, maybe it’s okay to be angry, maybe it’s normal, and maybe it makes me human. Maybe I’ll continue to be angry from time to time as long as I am living and struggling day to day with the very tangible ripple effect of being a straight spouse. Putting all the emotional betrayal and loss aside, who wouldn’t be angry if they lost everything they worked so hard for, their home, their car, their credit and were now dealing with financial ruin because of someoneelse’s lies and cowardice? (And before you say it’s just money, there are more important things in life, believe me I know and I am grateful everyday for those.If you do find that person, in the words of Letter Kenny, tell them I said, “Get off the cross, because we need the wood.” Maybe they are ready to be a martyr or a saint but I sadly am only human and you know what I am done apologizing for it. Yes I get angry sometimes, this is a hard road to be on, especially because I didn’t chose it but rather was thrown out on to it at 80km an hour. But you know what, I’m walking it nonetheless and I’m doing the best I can, which for the most part is pretty damn good. So unless you’ve walked it, I’ll thank you not to tell me what shoes I should wear. Some day the joys of paying for someoneelse’s poor decisions will be over. But today is not that day.

I’m reminded of The Beatles song. “Happiness is a Warm Gun”, implying that the gun is warm because it just went off.. In that song they get to pull the trigger and experience happiness as a result, instead of being asked as straight spouses are, to rise above their triggers, to get over, or rise above or suppress their anger. I say enough is enough. Our triggers are there for a reason let us be free to experience them for what they are, and if you can’t support us, then I respectfully ask you not to shame us. Better yet, shut your mouth and get out of the line of fire.