Category Archives: anger

Anger and Letting Go of Adultery

Is it possible to view anger positively?

Is letting go an essential aim in the healing process?

angerContinuing my quest for a fuller  understanding of adultery and looking at sources not directly related to the issue I have found two, totally unrelated books, that have enhanced my perceptions with regards to anger and to the notion of ‘letting-go’. When first confronted with the reality of my husband’s adultery I raged like I have never raged before.  I became like one of the Furies in Greek mythology; a female spirit of justice and vengeance. They were also called the Erinyes (angry ones). They punished their victims by driving them mad.

Although far less angry than I was (it has been almost three years since D-day) my memories of my anger remain with me and I won’t forget how they threatened to engulf me.  Equally, the anger has not gone away, it remains a burning ember.  The metaphor is apt.  Burning embers can glow very hot, sometimes as hot as the fire which created them. They radiate a substantial amount of heat long after the fire has been extinguished, and if not taken care of properly can rekindle a fire that is thought to be completely extinguished and can pose a fire hazard.  Being told to ‘let go’ can re-ignite the anger!

Although it is nearly three years since the discovery I have not been able to let ‘it’ go, although let goincreasingly I am becoming confused as to what ‘it’ actually is and what letting ‘it’ go might actually mean.  I remain deeply troubled that someone I loved and trusted could betray me, cheat and lie.  I am troubled that his adultery was normalised by ‘friends’. I am troubled by how women treat other women so cavalierly. I am troubled by how the trauma and tragedy that is a direct consequence of adultery is swept under society’s carpet. I am troubled by the web sites of the Ashley Madison kind.

If letting go is forgiving and forgetting then I resign myself to a life of holding on.  The best I have achieved is acceptance and in order to affect this I have needed to firstly bring it all in.  Bring in every nasty detail of his actions. Make a diary of the events and align then to my journal of that time.  Gather pictures of Pig Shit, find out about her sorry life.  Go to the depths of my own emotional barrel and examine my deep rooted insecurities.  Read and read and read and then read some more about adultery and infidelity and betrayal. Go on to the internet and find the experiential stories of other people’s adultery.  Share the trauma and pain.  Contribute to the kaleidoscope of fear, anger, hurt and hope.    Learn to recognise what my body does when I think about the shitty mess that my marriage became.  Maybe, one day in the future I will have this sense of letting go BUT maybe it can only be let go of when the time is right.

“There are times in life when people must know when not to let go. Balloons are designed to teach small children this.”  Terry Pratchett

Interestingly I have reconciled my anger and letting go (or not letting go) by putting together two quite separate ideas.  One is the idea proposed in the book ‘The Anger Habit’ by Carl Semmelroth and Donald Smith who suggest that anger is a kind of insanity in everyday life, with the hallmark being loss of self-control.  “Most of what is commonly seen and labelled as anger (aggressive tigerlanguage and overt attacks), as well as most of what is experienced as anger (angry thoughts), are really habitual behaviours.”  If, as they suggest, anger is a habit then it is something that I can have control over.  But this is rather contrary to our common assumptions of anger which considers anger as a force that drives our behaviour and dangerously builds up if not released.   “The resulting manoeuvres which aim at countering, deflecting, and releasing anger… wreak havoc on people’s lives.” This view of anger suggests that angry behaviour is involuntary and results in a chronic struggle among people and/or within people over their behaviours and feelings.

This book suggests an alternative view.  Instead of thinking of anger as a force they consider it to be information.  The feeling of anger tells us information about our self and the world around us.  It is aninfo indication that we are making a transition from distress to attack.  It is this transition that they label the anger habit and it is something that we have learned and practiced over our lifetime.  However, if we recognise the gap between distress and attack we are in a position to control our response.  We have the opportunity to choose our behaviour, whether to attack or to consider other solutions.  In order to have other solutions to consider we need the appropriate information to make that deision.

“It may be strange to think about your own anger as a warning signal about what you are about to do.  But seeing anger in this way is the first step to preventing anger as a habit. It is our blindness to angry feelings as information that makes it so easy for us to view anger as out of our control”.

Whilst reading this book I became aware that their antidote to the anger habit is something that I have been unconsciously applying whilst dealing with my feelings of anger around my husband’s adultery.  The antidote is quite simple: seek information in order to make more informed, better choices!  For me, when I first discovered the adultery my anger turned my distress into attack.  On many occasions I felt totally out of control.  However, over the years I have done a lot of work whilst my husband has done all that he has needed to do in order to manifest his renewed commitment to our marriage.   My work has addressed two issues; understanding the universal concept of adultery, and examining my feelings of self-worth.  It helps to know that I am not on my own, that I am not insane and that you don’t have to be in an unhappy marriage for adultery to occur.  It helps to know that being the OW is a wretched business no matter what ribbons and bows might be attached to the idea.  It helps to know that many people deeply regret their adultery.  It helps to know that his adultery had nothing to do with me or our marriage but was rooted in his emotional immaturity and lack of personal boundaries.

I still feel angry, of course, but I do not blindly attack any more and I am aware of the need to take care so that the embers do not ignite.  Having accumulated all this information on adultery I feel quite an authority and this helps when listening to others whose views are not compatible with mine.  It has given me a quiet confidence.  But this has not been easy.  I have travelled down some very dark alleyways and have not always been sure that I’d find my way home.  I think adultery cuts you to your core in a way that you’d never expect, and facing this despair has been life changing for me.  I have reflected upon what might be deemed to be my obsession with adultery but after reading the second of my books, Gillian Rose’s book ‘Love’s Work’ I am able to better understand the method that may lie in my madness.

hellActually, it was my second reading of Rose’s book. The first reading was in 1996.  Reading it in 2015 in my current personal context the book offered so much more.  The theme that runs through her book is “Keep your mind in hell, and despair not” a phrase attributed to Staretz Silouan, an Eastern Orthodox monk of Russian origin. The book offers an autobiographic and philosophical perspective on life and love, and knowing that she wrote it with the cancer that would eventually kill her at the age of 48 adds a melancholy to her erudite and scholarly work.

For Gillian Rose, denial and unexamined suffering are the two main reasons for unhappiness.  “It is the unhappiness of one who refuses to dwell in hell and who lives, therefore, in the most static despair”. There is no letting go of emotional stuff here.  Instead it is a full embrace of that which threatens to annihilate us.

“When something untoward happens, some trauma or damage, whether inflicted by the commissions or omissions of others, or some cosmic force, one makes the initially unwelcome event one’s own inner occupation.  You work to adopt the most loveless, forlorn, aggressive child as your own, and do not leave her to develop into an even more vengeful monster, who constantly wishes you ill.  In ill-health as in unhappy love, this is the hardest work: it requires taking in before letting be”.

You see, she has summed it up for me.  I have made my experience of my husband’s adultery my own inner occupation and made it my adopted aggressive child, preventing it from becoming a bigger, more frightful monster in my head.  This activity has created an accumulation of knowledge and understanding of adultery which has offered me a sense of grace and turned my personal into a universal experience.  This in turn has provided me with what Semmelroth would describe as an antidote to my anger habit.   However, whilst I keep my mind in hell I am aware that I want to remain a good human being and to be this I have to accept my continuous vulnerability.  This will never go away.

“To be a good human being is to have a kind of openness to the world, an ability to trust uncertain things beyond your own control that can lead you to be shattered in very extreme circumstances for which you were not to blame. That says something very important about the condition of the ethical life: that it is based on a trust in the uncertain and on a willingness to be exposed; it’s based on being more like a plant than like a jewel, something rather fragile, but whose very particular beauty is inseparable from that fragility.” Martha Nussbaum

Image Credits: Angry Calendar by Stuart Miles; Hand With Butterfly by Salvatore Vuono; Dangerous Angry Leopard Tiger by khunaspix; Shattered Face by hyena reality; all via



The Baggage of Adultery

luggageI sometimes feel as if I am needlessly carrying bags and bags of luggage around with me on the road to healing from my husband’s adultery.

Sometimes these bags weigh very heavy.  I’m not sure what’s in them and I don’t think I need to have them all with me.  I actually wonder if I might just throw them all away.  Well, at least get rid of those that don’t serve me anymore.  Learn to travel more lightly.    I also have a sneaking suspicion that some of these bags may not even belong to me.  Maybe I just picked up other people’s baggage on the way or possibly some people threw their luggage at me and I just accepted it?

I didn’t realise I carried so much personal luggage around with me but there’s nothing like facing the reality of adultery and being betrayed to realise what a Pandora’s box can be opened.  My husband’s rank stupidity has led to severely detrimental and far-reaching consequences for me.  I am an holding caseintelligent, well educated, resilient woman who has faced her fair share of tragedy and difficulty in life.  I have also achieved remarkable things in my life.  So why has my husband’s infidelity been able to rock me so badly?  Why is it proving so difficult to overcome and to move on?  I think it’s because it stirs up all the shit that I thought had settled.  Did I really think that I had offloaded all that unwanted baggage?  Yes, I think I did. Ha-ha joke!  I also realise now that this feeling of being weighed down is probably significant and I do need to learn how to travel lighter.  It is not just for my mental well being either.

Dr. Mario Martinez, a clinical neuropsychologist has conducted quite a bit of research into how our thoughts find biological expression.  He suggests that there are only three major archetypal wounds that cause us anguish.  They are shame, abandonment and betrayal.  He says that most people will have one or more of these wounds and they stay with us and influence the way we interpret events that happen to us. As a betrayed spouse I am confronted with a double whammy.  On the one hand, I little girl with casecarry around my own wound(s) as a form of luggage (possibly caused early in my life) but on the other I am faced with all three wounds as fresh cuts because finding out that your husband has been unfaithful inflicts all three wounds at once. Is it any wonder we can’t navigate our way through.  Is it any wonder that the early days post D-day are such a chaotic time.  All three wounds cause fear and pain but shame includes embarrassment; abandonment includes isolation; and betrayal includes anger.  Well, there’s three suitcases named; embarrassment, isolation, and anger.  Heavy loads.

He suggests that there needs to be healing fields created to resolve these wounds.  They are honour for shame, commitment for abandonment, and loyalty for betrayal.  Therefore, in our marital recovery process we need to establish a healing field of all three.  To heal these wounds and to get rid of unwanted baggage requires honour, commitment and loyalty.  I already provided this in our marriage so it is clear that it is my husband who has to work the hardest in creating the healing field.  And he is.

Another useful consideration that I’ve  found in Martinez’s work is his belief in the role of culture and how it shapes our realities.  We don’t develop in a vacuum.  Society bombards us with negative images of betrayed spouses and this undoubtedly has a measurably negative impact on how we view ourselves in this context.  That’s another item of luggage to carry. How others view my decision to remain with someone who cheated.

However, and like Pandora’s box, there is one suitcase that I do want to travel with and am happy tocase and balloons keep it close at hand.  It is called HOPE.  I will get through this. I will commit to my choice to stay in this marriage and between us we will forge a relationship that represents honour, commitment and loyalty. Nothing less will be acceptable to me.

Image credit: ‘Old Suitcases by nuttakit/

Wanting the Other Woman to suffer

smileI’m not proud to be writing this blog post but I am in desperate need to vent my feelings.  I can no longer pretend that 2 years, ten months post D-day I don’t think about the other woman.  I feel that I have to be honest with myself and confront the awful feelings I am harbouring towards Pig Shit. I so get all the advice about being sensible when thinking about the bitch who shagged my husband.  So called experts suggest that I forgive her as well as my husband but I am finding it MORE difficult to get anywhere near forgiving her for helping to ruin my life.  What is the value in forgiving her when she shows no remorse for what she has done? I know, I KNOW, that my husband was the fuck wit responsible.  I know, I KNOW that the other woman is a human being and is no doubt lacking in self esteem etc. I know, I KNOW that having a good life is the best revenge, BUT… the truth is, deep down I want to know that she is suffering.    I can’t discuss this with husband.  He is doing everything conceivably possible to support my healing from his betrayal and I am so pleased to observe glimmers of renewed trust developing from our shared honesty.  The last thing I want to do is bring back Pig Shit between us!

I have nothing but anger and outrage for Pig Shit.  It makes me sick to know that she was divorced from her cheating second husband.  I am nowhere near forgiveness or even pity and I’m not sure that there is a need to extend my forgiveness beyond my husband.  I want her to be miserable, desperately unhappy.  Lonely.  I want her to see couples together holding hands, vampireembracing and kissing and I want her to feel envy and jealousy.  I want her to remember what a fool she made of herself with my husband.  Also the fool she made of herself with another woman’s husband before mine.  I want her to continue to have relationships with men who use and abuse her.   I want her to feel ashamed of herself.  Actually I would like to have a confrontation with her but this will never happen because I am intelligent enough to realise the futility of such a thing.  I am so angry about how little she accepted from my husband and how happy it made her feel.  Naturally, I would like to NOT think about her at all but as you can see, I’m not doing very well and I just can’t pretend anymore.  I don’t think it an abnormal response, just an undesirable one.

dickIt’s not that I’m letting my husband off the hook here.  I have read that being angry at the other woman is just misplaced anger towards my husband.  But it doesn’t feel like that to me.  I have no illusions about who has the responsibility for the betrayal in my marriage.  I accept that his brain was in his dick, that he was selfish, immature and lacked boundaries.  I also accept that he chose to lie and deceive me so that he could shag Pig Shit.  If he had been an honourable man she would not have had any opportunity to hurt me.  However, as Chris Rock once said, a man is as faithful as his options.  If she could have insisted that he leave me before she allowed him between her legs, the adultery would not have happened.  She wanted to be one of my husband’s options and she didn’t care one iota that he was married to someone else.

“The Other Woman” by Lana Del Rey

nailsThe other woman has time to manicure her nails

The other woman is perfect where her rival fails

And she’s never seen with pin curls in her hair anywhere

The other woman enchants her clothes with French perfume

The other woman keeps fresh cut flowers in each room

There are never toys that’s scattered everywhere

And when her old man comes to call

He finds her waiting like a lonesome queen

‘Cause to be by her side it’s such a change from old routine

But the other woman will always cry herself to sleep

The other woman will never have his love to keep

And as the years go by the other woman will spend her life alone, alone


A Difficult Christmas

xmasI have not written a blog post since October and realise that I have gotten out of the habit now.  To be honest, I was questioning my motives for writing about the whole thing anyway.  I had started to wonder if by continuing to write blog posts I was just picking at the scabs of my wounds and preventing healing.  On reflection, two months down the line and a difficult Christmas, I don’t believe that blogging has had any negative effect on my dealing with adultery. I have no idea if it actually helps but it’s difficult to contain the mixed emotions that remain cluttered in my head without some form of outlet.

So D-day for me was August 3rd 2012.  That’s when Pig Shit texted me to let me know what she had been doing with my husband.  So I have been dealing with the knowledge of my husband’s adultery for 2 years and 5 months.  My husband had been shagging this woman since September 2011.  However, I realise now that it’s not the time since D-day that is my problem.  Since D-day my husband has done everything that is possible to make amends.  I cannot fault his commitment to repairing our marriage and could not ask him for anything else.  It is the time span between September 2011 and August 2012 that causes me all my grief.  I still get pulled up short when I realise stuff around the betrayal that had previously gone below my radar.

Twice, over Christmas, events have crept into my consciousness and caused havoc with my physiology.  The shaking, the shivers down my spine, the stomach flip that makes me initially feel sick and then rushes me to the toilet.  The dry mouth, the panic, the rage that starts to burn inside baubleme.  The first event was putting up the tree.  As I was doing this I realised that I had been doing the same thing in December 2011.  I was making all the preparations, getting excited, organising family to come over, collecting the turkey, putting all the twinkly lights up.  My husband was also doing all the Christmassy things with me.  BUT, but… in December 2011 he was doing all these things knowing that he was going to schedule a shagging date for him and Pig Shit.  He would have been texting her and ringing her at any opportunity that he could find.  Whilst I, in all my naivety, smiled and laughed  and sang silly Christmas tunes.  How can someone do this?  How could he have happily done this?  I sat down in the middle of decorating the tree and wept.  My husband wanted to know why and I told him, angrily and violently.  He apologised and apologised as he always does.  Said how much he regrets doing what he did and how he values what he has.  However, the sadness and disappointment in my heart would not leave and it has made me question, again, whether I have done the right thing in staying together.

red laceThe second event is closely related.  My husband and I met on December 20th 2002.  We have always celebrated this anniversary as well as our later wedding anniversary which is in May.  This year my husband organised a dinner and overnight stay in a hotel and I dressed in my new red lace dress.  We did have a lovely time.  However, a few days later, whilst in the shower, it dawned on me that in December 2011 we would have been celebrating knowing each other for nine years whilst he was shagging Pig Shit.  I wanted to put these pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together.  As I have all the dates and whereabouts of their sordid antics it is very easy for me.  I discover that after our anniversary event on the 20th, he arranged to shag Pig Shit on the 22nd!!!!  This makes me feel sick.  It’s funny how this had not dawned on me before.  It’s like all the pieces of the jigsaw have to be assembled somehow.  I was still wet from the shower, with my towel wrapped round me when I attacked my husband for this behaviour.

It exhausts me.  When will the emotions that his adultery triggers subside?    tiredI can see why couples separate after adultery.  It must seem like the easier option.  Staying together is very challenging – well, it is for me.  This in turn makes it difficult for my husband.  No matter what he does he can’t make amends for what he did.  He cannot turn back the clock and make a better choice.  I would just love to forget what he did so why can’t I bury it some place?

Image Credits: Tree by Suat Eman; Hand Holding Christmas Ball & Feet Sticking Out Of Blanket by FrameAngel; all via