Got Triggers?

Hi Chump Lady,

Well, this week has seen an unusually high number of triggers. Although it was many years ago, I still have days where I’m consumed by the events of the past. My therapist believes that because I never got the answers I needed I have a bit of an obsession and can’t put it to rest.

Admittedly, I have to agree with her. I feel very badly for some of the members of CN who, in my opinion from reading their stories, had it way worse.

I often get these “trigger” days and recently started compiling a list of some of them. Then I wondered: What triggers others?

So as a Friday challenge suggestion I’d like to share triggers with the group. It might be therapeutic;  it might open a wound or two.

New York Nutbag

***

Dear New York Nutbag,

None of us get the answers. And we don’t need them. Really, you’ll make yourself completely bonkers if you predicate your healing on a liar telling you the whole sordid truth. This gives FWs a lot of power. Ooh, no, please I need to know do you have one love child or 14? Did you do it on a box? With a fox? Eating green eggs and ham?  Don’t give them the centrality. The goal is meh (indifference) which is achieved through no contact over time.

can’t put it to rest

Yes you can.

Look, I totally understand being gaslit out of your wits and going on a impassioned hunt for the truth — but in the early days, you need the truth (or as much of it as you can gather or stomach) to take informed ACTION. Like calling a divorce lawyer. Or divvying up assets. And, okay, to truly comprehend the depths of the betrayal. (See also “Trust That They Suck.”)

But once you’ve hit a tipping point, and have chosen your course of action — leaving — why continue to kick yourself in the teeth? Trust that they suck. Lean into the suck. Lay your burden down. TRUST it. Yep, nothing to work with. Unacceptable. Can’t go back. SUCK.

Next.

You make it sound so easy, Tracy.

No, it’s a bitch. Takes forever. It’s trauma. But as you wanted to talk about triggers, I just wanted to tease apart triggers — odd things still make you flinchy — versus Needing All the Answers, Must Replay This Shit. You don’t need answers from a FW and triggers fade. They really do! I am completely unmoved by Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Exist! See if I care!

Bully for you, Tracy. Some of us are the walked wounded over here.

The pain is finite. But I’m happy to discuss triggers as a Friday Challenge, even if the word “triggered” is triggering. It seems to have been appropriated by right-wing trolls. Which is a whole other discussion. What is it about pointing out an injustice, or source of emotional upset — that freaks cannot handle? Does vulnerability trigger them? Anyway…

Triggers. What raises your blood pressure, CN? And what do you do for it? EMDR? Kick boxing? A good walk around the block?

Lay it on me. And TGIF!

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Rebecca H
Rebecca H
9 months ago

I used to have loads. Someone near me got a text. I went past a pub we used to go to. Someone mentions a band he’s worked with. At first, I needed all the answers. A wrote a 10,000 word timeline (in a week): a dissertation of deceit. Now it’s four years ago and I don’t have any triggers. It happened, I’m better off, whatever. I focus on my life now – which is amazing and so much better than what I had with FW – and there’s nothing else to it. It wasn’t love, it was an illusion, oh well! At least I am capable of pure love and all of that love in the relationship came from me. I can feel it again. He will not. He’s broken, return to sender! If ever the circumstances do pop into my head, it actually make me laugh at the absurdity of it, how I tried for so long. A ha silly me, I’d never do that now!

Motherchumper99
Motherchumper99
9 months ago
Reply to  Rebecca H

THIS 👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻

Sandy
Sandy
9 months ago

I’ve just hit 90 days no contact today, 5 months since D-day. It’s been a struggle. Everything is a trigger. Cycling round my beautiful city, London, I’m reminded of experiences FW and I shared over the past 10 years. But fuck it. I’m RECLAIMING ALL the beautiful places. Just started the process of buying a flat in the neighbourhood FW and I always fantasised about living in. Sadly for man-child (who always refused to take any financial responsibility), the assets were all mine, so he has to go back to renting a room in a flatshare at the age of 35…

MamaFox
MamaFox
9 months ago
Reply to  Sandy

I love that you stated you are reclaiming those places! That is a big thing that I had to learn. I will shy away from things, things I love, because it reminded me of FW. The one day I was like NO. I want that. I’m only a year out so it’s still taking time. But that’s a huge step. 🙂

Cas
Cas
9 months ago
Reply to  Sandy

Omg similar. Except I’m in the US. But at 35 he went to nothing and I got most of it.

NotFromVenus
NotFromVenus
9 months ago
Reply to  Sandy

Beautiful London! It is a city full of life and inspiration. I hope the city will help you get rid of all the triggers.
I live in a very, very small city. There are only a few places you go and a few things you do. I could not go to my favorite places for a long time. I did not even want to take a walk in my neighborhood. I was triggered in my house all the time. I couln’t go out, I couldn’t stay in. Horrible times. But a couple of years after I left my ex, I have started reclaiming my favorite cafes and restaurants. It was scary at first but as time went by I even began to enjoy going to those places.I am still in the same house and I made it my own. I have much less triggers now, much less. I gives me great hope about the future.

Fern
Fern
9 months ago
Reply to  Sandy

https://www.chumplady.com/2017/10/chump-lady-takes-back-paris/
This was one of my favorite posts from CL. I’ve reclaimed quite a few places. They are all mine now. But, it does take a while – took me years. I was still a shell of a human at 5 months in.

Motherchumper99
Motherchumper99
9 months ago
Reply to  Sandy

Early days… you are MIGHTY! 😘

MightyWarrior
MightyWarrior
9 months ago
Reply to  Sandy

Greetings from the end of the Metropolitan line, Sandy.

BTAW
BTAW
9 months ago
Reply to  Sandy

Yes! You’re an inspiration.

Fourleaf
Fourleaf
9 months ago
Reply to  Sandy

Yes! Reclaim those spaces!

FormerlyKnownAs
FormerlyKnownAs
9 months ago

-Womens lingerie
-most of the hotels in town as I walk by
-Seeing happy families
-hearing about couples doing fun things
-weddings/wedding rings

This is getting better but I used to have such bad PTSD that I couldn’t:
-watch TV
-see a bank statement (how I discovered the cheating)
-eat off the plates in our pantry

And this week I was triggered because:
-our daughter who lives with me turned 17. Her father sent her a weak text message and nothing more
-she told me her father bought a house and if she comes to visit now she must accept the girlfriend because she’s very important to him

This is from a man who cheated for all of our 25 years, stole money, won’t pay child support, got a good settlement from me and moved to a different city because, you know, I was mean to him and he deserved to start over.

It gets better and then bad again. I hate that it has a hold on me too and I can’t wait until I feel like I don’t care what he did. But for now I feel really shafted despite moving on. We can do this!

Zip
Zip
9 months ago

Yes, couples doing fun things ugh

DrDr
DrDr
9 months ago
Reply to  Zip

My one friend who is 12 years my senior. She and her husband retired and bought a condo in Florida. They took all their adult children and their partners to Hawaii for a big anniversary. I love her, but I feel ill when she updates me on her life. I’ve stopped reaching out to her.

Brit
Brit
9 months ago
Reply to  DrDr

I have friends who post photos of their family vacations. Photos of the couple with their children and grandchildren at their beach house, family cruises, celebrations. I quickly scroll past their posts without commenting. I’m happy for them but it’s also a painful reminder of the life I looked forward to but will never have.

KB22
KB22
9 months ago

I know this isn’t a popular with a lot of people but when your ex is hurting or being dismissive of your kid (s) I am all for having a frank (age appropriate) discussion with the children. Let them know, unfortunately they got dealt a shitty hand in the (mother/father) department. It happens. After that sinks in do not let the children go into victim mode. I would make fun of anything the shitty parent did to make the kids feel unworthy. Have a shared laugh at shitty parent’s expense. Great release and will prepare them for the all the future let downs.

DrDr
DrDr
9 months ago
Reply to  KB22

One of my kids is furious with ME. He says why did you marry him???? Does anyone else get anger from their kids?

Dirty Water
Dirty Water
9 months ago
Reply to  DrDr

Yes unfortunately. Twenty years after divorcing ex-FW, my thirty-something daughter still occasionally lashes out at me for not leaving him until she was sixteen.

FormerlyKnownAs
FormerlyKnownAs
9 months ago
Reply to  KB22

KB22, I’m with you on this. I’ve stopped protecting my daughter (17) from her dad’s shitty narc behaviour. I used to say “well he loves you” etc but now I say what I feel, like “that’s horrible” or even “he’s acting like an ass”. This is way better for her to see a real reaction to his antics because she’s old enough to handle it but also she was becoming a complete doormat. I was starting to worry about her when she said things like “I just wall off my emotions and let dad have his narrative.” Strategic but also- Dangerous! I don’t go around bashing her dad all the time, but when he does something, I call it. No more sweeping it under the rug and pretending “it’s okay your dad loves you.” Love is a behaviour and he demonstrates none of it to her. It’s like victim boot camp training for her if I don’t chime in with some truth to let her know it’s not okay. My worse fear is her getting into a relationship with a guy just like him. I’m protecting her by not letting her gut instincts get extinguished like mine did. It’s working – she is starting to see that she can love him as her dad but also not accept his horrible actions. She is learning boundaries.

auschump
auschump
9 months ago

Totally agree.. I’m working with my 11yo on strategies to deal with this. She loves her father but can totally see his actions for what they are. I continually have age appropriate conversations about how his actions and words are a reflection on him not her, and we laugh and go about her day. Many conversations end with “dad is not an example of what a true loving relationship looks like, a partner/father who is all in with you would never say/do/treat you this way”.
Then we find something to laugh about or sing along at the top of our voices and move past it.

ChumpOnIt
ChumpOnIt
9 months ago
Reply to  KB22

I think it’s a good strategy so that they grow up knowing no one is allowed to be truly terrible to them — not even those closest to them. I think it’s what made me think husband/partner = ally. I could not wrap my head around what he did and tried so hard to reason it away/gloss it over.

ISawTheLight
ISawTheLight
9 months ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

I honestly feel very fortunate that my FW died a few years ago. Life go SO much easier, and the stress of worrying what my child was dealing with in the other home is gone. I was seeing some things, even at his young age (8/9) that were extremely concerning. My son’s depression and thoughts of self-harm have dissipated, and he is a happy, well-adjusted child. I dealt with “co-parenting” for 5 years, and am so glad to be done with the threats, criticism, bullying, harassment, being stymied at every turn, everything being a huge fight, etc. My deepest sympthies to everyone still going through that.

I’m not normally someone who would be happy at someone else’s death, but I can’t say I’m sad about it

2nd Gen Chump
2nd Gen Chump
9 months ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

My ex-husband wasn’t even my longest relationship; I reached meh about him lonnnnng ago. I still lurk here because it helps me sort through trauma from my cheating mom (trust she sucks trust she sucks trust she sucks) and how her influence poisoned my relationship with my sis.

Any chumps thinking about staying for their children, please go. They’re learning how to be victims …from their sane parent.

This Shit is NOT My Story
This Shit is NOT My Story
9 months ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

CL, thank God you said this!

Just this week my 6-year-old told me something and immediately followed it with, “but DON’T tell daddy! He teases me even when I say stop.” This was endlessly a point of contention – the fuckwit could say any hurtful thing because he was “just joking” and I was too sensitive. Hearing my son go through the same is very triggering.

I am trying so damned hard to teach him how to not let it affect him, otherwise I know how it goes. He will slowly abandon anything he loves knowing it’s just more ammo for the fuckwit.

When my child hurts, I cannot find meh.

Rebecca
Rebecca
9 months ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

Totally agree with CL!

10 years post-divorce I rarely get pissed but have none of those awful triggering episodes that impact just me. EXCEPT when the ex pushes my kids too far (the MY kids was written on purpose)!

They’re adults with families of their own and ex is barely in their lives. It happens rarely but when it does it causes my kids to hit bottom all over again and the resulting trauma impact them and me.

We are so tight and what impacts one impacts all. Except the ex. Ex does the damage and me and my kids go thru hell to get back standing on our feet. But we get there together. Thank goodness it doesn’t happen often.

When you breed with a ass, they’re almost never out of your life unless you the chump and kids all go no contact. There are family occasions such as weddings and grandchildren life celebrations.

It’s a process and does get much better but every once in a while the bottoms falls out.

The good news in my case is that these episodes become less often and less traumatic. We get better at handling them but triggers and trauma don’t disappear completely until they disappear completely.

Exofanaddict
Exofanaddict
9 months ago
Reply to  Rebecca

I am in a good place of no contact, my son is 29. But I am dreading the inevitable future milestones and encounters ie grandkids, their bdays etc. not prepared at all for that even tho I’m in such a good place with a great life and relationship.

ByeByeFW
ByeByeFW
9 months ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

It’s comforting to hear someone say this. I’m 3 years post DDay and nearly 2 years out from divorce, but we have two daughters together. I always found myself asking, how am I supposed to forgive when the slights (either to me or our kids) just keep coming? I’d be able to go completely no contact and move forward much quicker except for the kids.

This Shit is NOT My Story
This Shit is NOT My Story
9 months ago
Reply to  ByeByeFW

We’re in the same boat and it sucks. I am SO jealous of anyone that gets to have no contact. Sometimes fuckwit will email me 2-3x/day with bullshit and just opening my email app is triggering.
Please no one recommend parenting software – I have heard how narcs can twist this tool and make it worse for “coparenting” than just email.

FormerlyKnownAs
FormerlyKnownAs
9 months ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

I’m finding that pretty hard at the moment. When FWs are horrible to their children and you are up late at night drying their tears it feels like a never ending kick in the guts.

Mighty Chump
Mighty Chump
9 months ago

Oh gosh, I get this so much. I’ve told people what my FW did to me with his cheating and emotional abuse/abandonment was awful but seeing his narc behavior impact our 11 y.o. son is a bigger kick in the gut than anything. It makes it hard to really “get over it,” which is what everyone else around me wants to see and is frustrated I still get frustrated by Fw. But unless someone has been throw this themselves, they just don’t get it.

MB
MB
9 months ago
Reply to  Mighty Chump

My ex bribed/lied to our daughter to get her to live with him when she was a teen. So on top of him being a bad influence on her I had the ‘you must be a bad mother if your child doesn’t live with you’ judgement from many. Fun stuff.

Brit
Brit
9 months ago
Reply to  MB

Same situation with our 16 year old son. Cheater bribed him with $$, freedom and told him they could live like college room mates. He let our son run wild, grades plummeted, he looked homeless If that wasn’t enough cheater had our son emancipated.
Compounded the judgment that I’m a bad mother.
To outsiders cheater portrayed himself as the single caring Dad who saved his son from his mentally unstable Mother. Cheater made sure to tell his story to anyone who would listen, son’s teachers, the school janitor, sons private music teacher, other parents, anyone who would listen. Even the school counselors.
One afternoon I backed into a chain link fence in the school parking lot. After the accident I noticed that parents who normally would say hello were avoiding me. I found out months later Cheater told everyone, including the school that the reason I had the accident is I was driving drunk, which supported his accusations that I’m mentally unstable and an unfit mother. Fortunately I waited for the highway patrol to make a report. I mailed a copy to the school. By that time I was already labeled. So humiliating… I can feel my blood pressure rise as I’m thinking about it.

Pink_Nora_Rose
Pink_Nora_Rose
9 months ago

I’ve got plenty of triggers. However, one thing has been triggering me for months now. FW quit his job and opened a shop, but it is a shop that sells very specific things related to a hobby we shared. That I got him into. Makes my blood boil. Also, couldn’t he just have done that while we were married? I guess I was making enough money for both of us. He used to tell me he “had no idea what he would do with his life if he lost [previous job]”. Now I get to see what he does without it in professional lighting through the window display.

And my (very supportive, very well-meaning) friends telling me “he did not set up a business just to upset you” also triggers me. I know that. It still feels like a punch in the gut.

Principled Life
Principled Life
9 months ago
Reply to  Pink_Nora_Rose

“he did not set up a business just to upset you”

How do they know? From what I know of FWs, their malevolence and pettiness make that a very real possibility. I wouldn’t discount it. Just because a normal person wouldn’t do such a crazy thing doesn’t apply to these disordered people. And for what it is worth, I hope he goes broke in a few months.

Pink_Nora_Rose
Pink_Nora_Rose
9 months ago

I think their main line of reasoning is that none of us has the kind of money to invest in a business and risk having it go bust just to spite another person.

That being said, I always work from the assumption that FW doesn’t care about me (taking my cue from his actions), so nothing he does has anything to do with me, even if it feels like it. And if he does, well… Then it’s even worse than I thought.

Fern
Fern
9 months ago
Reply to  Pink_Nora_Rose

He may not care about you while still caring about your kibbles. and how your kibbles look to other people.
Hate to be that cynical but it’s is what I have experienced.

Brit
Brit
9 months ago
Reply to  Fern

That’s been my experience too.

Pink_Nora_Rose
Pink_Nora_Rose
9 months ago
Reply to  Fern

I don’t think you’re cynical, I completely get where you’re coming from. Caring about my kibbles is a very fruitless pursuit though! 😀

MayDay
MayDay
9 months ago
Reply to  Pink_Nora_Rose

I totally get this. My FW had a life-long dream to open his own business selling whatever he happens to fancy at any given time. Well, he’s finally opening “said business” RIGHT BEHIND WHERE I HAVE WORKED FOR 11 YEARS! Obviously, he couldn’t choose a myriad of other locations in the city. Nope. I can literally see the place as I pull into work each morning. I guess he’s consistent…a consistent ass.

Pink_Nora_Rose
Pink_Nora_Rose
9 months ago
Reply to  MayDay

Well, no, of course he wouldn’t choose a place where you could not see him! That would be a waste of a rental.

Fortunately for me, FW’s shop is not in a place I have to go through a lot. However, not long after the divorce he decided to move to the street right below mine. And no, there was no reason for him to move specifically here (I want to think he lives at a GF’s place, because that at least would make sense, but I have no idea). Now I get to see his car every other day. And seeing it per se does not trigger me… but it keeps him on my mind. And just knowing that he chose to move specifically here (I live in the flat we shared) feels like this permanent trigger.

One day, before I realised FW had actually moved here, I ran into him. I actually walked up to him so I could say hi, just to face my fears. He ran away from me. But he’s the one who chose to come live here! Close to the woman he said was controlling him (me). The neverending mind****.

ChumpOnIt
ChumpOnIt
9 months ago

Sitting at my daughter’s swim class and watching the mommy/daddy and me class with the babies and toddlers happening in the same pool. I didn’t even have one full year of ignorant bliss with my baby before I found out he had been cheating on me the entire time. It makes me so deeply sad to sit there and see these happy families with their little ones that sometimes I just tear right up at the class. I was robbed of enjoying her early years. I’ll never forgive him for that.

DrDr
DrDr
9 months ago
Reply to  ChumpOnIt

I’m so sorry. That’s sucks. But you can enjoy your daughter no matter what. Don’t let the FW ruin your relationship with your child. Hugs!

Alexandra
Alexandra
9 months ago
Reply to  ChumpOnIt

Similar experience. Found out he was cheating at 8 months pregnant.

Didn’t get to enjoy being a family for even 5 minutes before it was ruined.

Stig
Stig
9 months ago
Reply to  Alexandra

I feel you, found out four months into my baby’s life, and they were not four good months. I spent pretty much the whole time having to justify everything I did with my baby, routines etc, while FW had the AP in his ear undermining me and telling him everything I was doing was either, harmful, indulgent and or damaging. The only good thing about finding out is it explained what had been going on. FW had complained to the family helpers that I was anxious and rigid with everything to do with the baby, and they had me in parenting classes for anxious mothers, and a psychologist visiting on a regular basis. As soon as the affair was exposed those people noped out of there like their hair was on fire, telling me I was a good mother. Even they smelled the gaslighting. I too feel robbed of a precious time with my child that I’ll never get back, as well as the illusion that I finally had my own little family that I’d always wanted (deeply dysfunctional and damaged FOO).

DrDr
DrDr
9 months ago
Reply to  Stig

The deeply flawed FOO is a huge motivator to spackle. I was so determined to stay married, to have a family with two parents, I was ready to gaslight myself. And I did for 28 years. But no more. I finally saw FW as the soul-sucking, pathetic, spineless covert narc that he is.

Unicornomore
Unicornomore
9 months ago
Reply to  DrDr

yup, my parents were not good parents and I was determined to give my kids the best life. 26 years I did that

MollyWobbles
MollyWobbles
9 months ago
Reply to  Alexandra

I feel for you. So much.
I found out at nine months pregnant while walking around trying to induce labor. FW took that moment to tell me he had been dating someone else! I told him to get his act together, that I didn’t have time for his shit, and I was about to give birth to his baby (our second, our oldest was a toddler at the time) and then I blocked it out for 15 YEARS. We had the conversation and then I completely forgot about it. Just blocked it out. Literally had trauma to my brain that caused dissociative amnesia! I didn’t remember what he had told me until the final string of Ddays 15 years later when he told me alllllllll the shit he had been doing during our 30 year marriage. I can say now that I finally came to my senses thanks to CL and CN. I’m moments away from the divorce being final. Kicked him out 18 months ago!

DrDr
DrDr
9 months ago
Reply to  MollyWobbles

Good for you! You are taking action!

This Shit is NOT My Story
This Shit is NOT My Story
9 months ago
Reply to  Alexandra

Alexandra, I completely hear you and I am sure the fomo is crushing.

I had those first couple years and they were nothing but pain. Years of bullshit and lies as I did all the parenting work on my own with the babies and he just posted prop daddy-pictures on FB. I wish I could wipe him from every fake memory. I look back at any picture from the time when my babies were tiny and feel the pain of being devalued. Yes, my babies were perfect, but I was in such pain while loving them so much. The disconnect sucks. I much prefer the memories since fuckwit left to be with the whore. Looking back and knowing none of it was real is terribly painful.

I don’t want you to feel like you shouldn’t feel that pain, but accept that it also may have been a gift. You get to own every memory and all the pain that went with it as the time you were growing your baby and rebuilding yourself through a horrible loss. You are SO mighty.

ChumpOnIt
ChumpOnIt
9 months ago

I honestly think this is why I’ve been having so much trouble really sitting down and looking through/organizing old digital photos. They don’t even have him in them, but the memories of what it felt like to have been discarded and so sad and angry and tired. I don’t want to not have pictures of that time and my beautiful daughter as a little one, but there is so much pain associated with it. I have two old phone’s worth of pictures and various cloud storage stuff to sift through. Ugh.

DrDr
DrDr
9 months ago
Reply to  ChumpOnIt

Maybe there are just a couple images that you love that you can reclaim as your own. Reframe all the love you have with you child as a real love story. The silver lining.

FormerlyKnownAs
FormerlyKnownAs
9 months ago
Reply to  ChumpOnIt

I’m sorry ChumpOnIt. How awful. He’s the one who missed out on you and your lovely baby.

chumpedlindyhopper
chumpedlindyhopper
9 months ago

yes I have a lot of triggers… Swing dancing (but I stopped doing that now, I am much happier with zumba, less triggered that way), music that we both liked, some books, some specific traditions (for example in our region, when people are getting married, it is common for their friends to bake and bring a cake to the wedding ceremony)… so whenever I bake a cake for friends who are getting married, I remember doing that with FW… He was always super competitive about it, he wanted us to bake the best cake, he wanted us to be the best looking couple, etc
I also found out that he got engaged to be married to OW. I am not going to lie, it still hurt. All the good memories came to mind and I felt that I was on the “woe is me” road
So I opened up my email (where I have written an email to myself) about all the times he failed me as a partner, and about all the times I was there for him as a partner, about all my good qualities and why I am awesome…
and I managed to stop myself from going down the dread “what if” road…
Somewhere, OW is walking around like she nabbed a great prize. She can keep him
I love that my feet are firmly grounded in reality

DrDr
DrDr
9 months ago

I love this! I also wrote down all the shitty things he did (that I knew of) and that helped me release and say good riddance!!

alas rainy again
alas rainy again
9 months ago

Argh! Anytime FW or the narcissists in my FOO leave me hanging, I get angry. But no possibility to plan in advance, oh dear no! Just like Harry Potter has to go home when Big D come home. Earlier is too early, and later is cause of scandal. And I am left hanging. And I seethe. Just writing it rises my blood pressure 😅. I handle it by self care. I stop taking care of my agenda to take care of myself: a walk, twenty minutes of felinotherapy (aka as cat on lap), a bit of retail therapy… Any ME time. Definitely helps 😁

Lulutoo
Lulutoo
9 months ago

I like your idea of self care after triggers. (I also have a cat but he wouldn’t sit on my lap if I paid him to do so! My computer keys, yes.)

BTAW
BTAW
9 months ago

Well, the list is long but distinguished:
-ever seeing him on phone (is he on skip the games)
-seeing a prostitute in movies
-getting an email from eharmony
-seeing a commercial about HPV
-hearing him say I wasn’t there for him
On the flip side, I apparently trigger him a lot too with things like:
-him seeing me cry
-the kitchen not being clean
-trash not being taken out
-me being tired because I wake up at 2:30 every morning still
Yup. I’m pretty awful I guess. Exercising, finding things that make me laugh, taking back my health, speaking my mind, snapping back when FW spews bs, learning new things, and starting to put myself as a priority again have all helped. Tried some breathing techniques too.

Motherchumper99
Motherchumper99
9 months ago
Reply to  BTAW

You’re present-tense suggests you aren’t no-contact yet. Hope you’re lining up your ducks to leave soon.

BTAW
BTAW
9 months ago

Trying. Working on it. Have 5 kids so we will not be no contact for a long time.

Unicornomore
Unicornomore
9 months ago
Reply to  BTAW

oooh yea…mental images of him on that fucking Blackberry. He was glued to it with Susan of Seattle on the other end.,,, at meals out, ballet recitals, endlessly at home with him insisting that he was “working”. I wish I had found that fucking thing and smashed it

Attie
Attie
9 months ago

I’ve been divorced 11 years so no cheating triggers for me (couldn’t give a shit – she did me a favour). BUUUUUTTT AH was just over here from the States (he left yesterday) to see our little grandson. It was civil because I’m indifferent to him. Well not true actually, I found him GROSS. What did surprise me though was how knotted my stomach was – just waiting for the other shoe to drop all the time. You see he was a chaos master and I was forever running round trying to put out forest fires while he ran behind me with a flame-thrower. Like the time he asked me to come to his house (we were already divorced) and my son and I found him lying in the snow in February trying to cool down (I guess lithium and alcohol will do that for you) and he refused to go to hospital. So next time I called the ambulance directly, sat in ER for FOUR FRICKIN’ HOURS while they dealt with him, only to find out later he’d done a runner and left me sitting there. Or how about when he smashed his car up while drunk, and then the very same week wrecked the car the garage had lent him – again while drunk! As I say it was just one thing after another and I was really shocked at how my guts twisted in knots while he was here just WAITING for him to fuck up. He left yesterday and all is right with the world again. I did wonder if latest gf is having to put up with half the shit I put up with but more and more I’m convinced that in respect to creating chaos, at least, this particular leopard will never change his spots!

Stig
Stig
9 months ago
Reply to  Attie

What in The Shining heck!? He sounds like a LOT of asshattery and work wrapped in a shitty package.

Adelante
Adelante
9 months ago
Reply to  Attie

“Waiting for the other shoe to drop” is one of my triggers. I have had so many “out of the blue” dropped shoes, not just from my ex, but throughout my life–starting with a father who could erupt into fury without warning (more like a bomb drop). (This is different from just knowing that life will inevitably deal you unpleasant surprises.) I lived much of my life in a state of constant hypervigilance, and the bombs my ex in the last years of our marriage dropped made this worse, because I trusted my husband loved me and would have my back, and thought my marriage was the one place I could relax my vigilance.
What I find now is that I need control–I want to order my life to the best of my ability to minimize the possibility of other people dropping a shoe on my head. When I have to deal with people I know are unsafe (likely to lash out, act badly, drop shoes or bombs, or cause other emotional turmoil), it’s incredibly stressful.

Attie
Attie
9 months ago
Reply to  Adelante

I think you nailed it with “hypervigilance”! I also found out this time that he had dropped his fantastic worldwide medical insurance provided and subsidized by his employer upon his retirement last August in order to go on latest gf’s medical insurance. My eyes popped out on stalks, so I asked him what happens if they split? Is he covered over here (Europe)? His answer? “I think so”! You think so???? F….ing eejit. His insurance was fantastic and he let it drop. And while of course it wouldn’t be my problem if he had fallen ill over here, guess who would end up having to help the boys sort it out. And that’s not that far-fetched actually as he looked like shit (I think I used the word zombie) as he’s still on the lithium and booze!

Spinach@35
Spinach@35
9 months ago
Reply to  Attie

Yet another example of how they don’t excel at thinking things through.

Tall One
Tall One
9 months ago

This is timely for me…. I too have been triggered more lately.
I’m nearly 6 yrs out. Remarried. New life. Still slightly triggered.

What does it?
– My partner’s texting with her support group and me worried its about me
– My partner’s long conversations with her X re: summer planning for her son
– Bunch of small b.s. that I worry means something more than what it actually is

I’m learning I’ve got a healthy dose of co-dependency and my trauma is exposed BECAUSE I’m in a relationship safe enough for it to present itself. I’ve been doing EMDR and old-fashion couch-therapy. Things are shifting. Its hard work. But I was traumatized.

I appreciate this article.

FormerlyKnownAs
FormerlyKnownAs
9 months ago
Reply to  Tall One

Talk One, I’m not remarried but I’m in a relationship and his phone use triggers me too. He asked me if I wanted to look at it and I said no. Then I got into a spin thinking he was trying to manipulate me. He’s very patient and understands my trauma. It’s hard because I do often question his deep down motives and he’s just like nope – what you see is what you get! No BS. I never thought really good humans would also be triggering! FWs just seem to waltz off without the trauma that we have to work through for years after. You’re not alone.

Unicornomore
Unicornomore
9 months ago
Reply to  Tall One

Some processing waits until you are out of the relationship and some waits until you are trying to find respectful boundaries in a new (hopefully healthy) relationship

alas rainy again
alas rainy again
9 months ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

OoooooooooOh that’s unsettling! Thank you for sharing, and thank you for all your blog! May I respectfully enquire what was your attitude within those nightmares? ( No need to answer the question). I.e. were you afraid or intrepid? Apathic or in action? Alone or supported? Master or slave? I am of the belief that dreams give us a glimpse of our current state of ‘body’ (subconscious) as opposed to state of ‘mind'(conscious). If that makes sense.

DrDr
DrDr
9 months ago

Have you read this book? It’s fascinating! Inner Work: Using Dreams and Active Imagination for Personal Growth by
Robert A. Johnson.

Fourleaf
Fourleaf
9 months ago

Anything to do with adultery in TV or movies brings me down, particularly if it’s played off for laughs. Going to stores and conventions that deal with our formerly shared hobby. I stopped going to those places years ago; I just couldn’t take it and the chance that he and Wifetress might bump into me there is more than I can take, so I just don’t go.

I get a small shiver of discomfort whenever he texts (we have children, so… sigh), but it used to be a lot worse. I used to have a mini panic attack whenever he texted; I had to take a deep breath and steel myself before I was ready to read it. Those were the antidepressant days. The biggest trigger, of course, is seeing him. It hardly happens (like, once a year maybe?) because my walls are high, my boundaries firm, and my social medias are set to block. But when I do chance to see him it makes me feel unhappy and nauseous.

Spinach@35
Spinach@35
9 months ago
Reply to  Fourleaf

I agree about the use of adultery on TV or in movies to make people laugh or sympathize with the cheaters. That’s a “no” for me.

Even the occasional email is a trigger, so I can’t imagine how I’ll react if I ever have to see him again. Will I need a friend to keep me vertical, or will I not give a flying f**k? Hoping for the latter reaction. Better yet, I’m hoping our paths will never cross. #deadtome #meh

SadderButWiser
SadderButWiser
9 months ago
Reply to  Fourleaf

“Anything to do with adultery in TV or movies brings me down, particularly if it’s played off for laughs.”
YES. I really hate when this is done.

LookingForwardsToTuesday
LookingForwardsToTuesday
9 months ago

There are a couple of things; one very much focussed on me and a second on our now adult kids.

Firstly, Ex-Mrs LFTT was an alcoholic and very much prone to “secret drinking,” quite often from early on in the day. It’s not as if it wasn’t obvious (both for the rate at which bottles emptied in our house and for the impact that it had on her), but the trigger for me is when I am with someone whose speech is in any way affected by alcohol I get incredibly uncomfortable and need to leave … like immediately.

The second is that, while I am pretty much no contact with Ex Mrs LFTT, she does still have occasional contact with out three now adult children (19, 24 and 27). While I know that her relationship with them is for them to manage, it is very difficult to remain objective when her actions adversely affect them. It really is a case of “step back and take a deep breath” when she does this. There have been a couple of occasions in the last year when she seems to have gone out of her way to hurt our youngest daughter; all I can do is help her to put the pieces back together.

LFTT

Unicornomore
Unicornomore
9 months ago

LFTT, dont underestimate the benefit of your presence to help her recover from traumatic moments. Having someone validate your perceptions and experiences is helpful. Both of my parents are disordered but in different ways, I never had one of them to hold me up or validate the inappropriateness of the others actions towards me. I have benevolent envy for your daughter having you.

LookingForwardsToTuesday
LookingForwardsToTuesday
9 months ago
Reply to  Unicornomore

UNM,

Thank you. Out of our three children it is our youngest daughter who still tries to see the best in her mother ……. but inevitably gets let down. I actually get quite worked up when I know that Ex-Mrs LFTT is meeting up with the youngest, as I know that it’s only a matter of time before the hammer falls.

LFTT

MichelleShocked
MichelleShocked
9 months ago

I had so many triggers in the beginning. IE: Stopped listening to music — especially Frank Sinatra (FWs favorite) and any and all love ballads and country music. I also used to be super jumpy post DDay — if someone approached me from behind or opened a door without knocking, I’d scream. It was awful.

Now those little things don’t bother me almost 8 years out. The main triggers that linger:

I still can’t watch any gruesome movies or tv — nothing too violent. I became very triggered post DDay and I still can’t tolerate violence and gore. I literally have to cover my eyes or turn it off.

anything my boyfriend does that is too much like FW…. Especially running into me/clumsy hurting me. My boyfriend is generally pretty normal around me and graceful… but sometimes he’ll step on my foot or run into me in the kitchen and I flip out. FW was a complete oaf and would run into me all the time. ALL THE TIME. I became scared to death to move around in the same room as him. Some of it was outright clumsiness (my mom always called him a bull in a China shop). FW broke everything too. 6’5” and clumsy is crap to live with. My boyfriend isn’t like that at all…but when he does accidentally run into me or something…. Oooooo I’m triggered.

How do we deal with that? I’m working on it. I was going to therapy — recently stopped. He goes to therapy as well. We also are just working on discussing things and maybe doing some therapy together. We both have triggers from our past.

And honestly I just need to calm down. I hope as time passes I’ll be less reactive.

As for the gory violent shows? I’m fine without them. I have no desire to go back to watching violence.

bread&roses
bread&roses
9 months ago

Many of my initial triggers have faded, too. One that bizarrely (and unfortunately) hasn’t: classical music. I can it tolerate it, which is ridiculous and a shame.

FormerlyKnownAs
FormerlyKnownAs
9 months ago

Michelle I have that hyper vigilance thing too. I have what I like to call a hugely developed amygdala “lizard brain” now and I flip into flight fight freeze fawn mode in a half second and for no apparent reason sometimes. I’ve explained this to my boyfriend and we now joke about it. He’s like “are you in lizard mode right now?” And we can laugh about it. Then I take 5 breaths to calm the system down and it helps. 🦎

Stephen
Stephen
9 months ago

The news and current events. My ex was obsessed with Trump & Fox, etc. So was her family. That should have been my first indication that we were not ever going to work as a couple or family. I blew past that red flag though, politics don’t need to be discussed, right? But Trump & Fox transcend “politics” & are truly bellwethers on a person’s morals & ethics. The truth has been on trial since 2016. Reasonable people let this all play out & with the facts rolling in are in disbelief that there are still people in the world who think the only person telling the truth is Trump (& his disiples). Even when confronted with real facts, tape recordings, pictures, admissions of guilt, court rulings, the Trump & Fox crowd cannot get past their devotion to their lies. Trump cheated on every wife & girlfriend; even while his wives were pregnant & having babies. He equates military service to avoiding venereal disease while he was getting deferrments from the military. He denies rape & sexual assault by saying his accusers aren’t his type. He denies knowing anyone who says the truth even after having long term relationships with those people that include pictures.

My ex lied about having a boyfriend in the background, ran away from home to do drugs, spent 5 days drugging & sleeping with the boyfriend, stole my money & time, took drugs when she thought no one was around & even after she got caught she acted like she did nothing wrong – it was a mistake. Even after her own teenage children caught her lying & took pictures of things she did & does she continued(s) to lie, cheat, steal, & deny deny deny. It’s not that her family believes her, they just don’t want to not believe her when she lies because she is their mother/daughter, etc.

Is everyone like this? No. But like Trump & my ex you have to smoke the truth out of them now to see what their morals & ethics are. Right now only middle-aged uneducated white men seem to want to let everyone know who they support & what they think. Everyone else tries to keep it a secret. But that secret is who they really are & it is exhausting to smoke the truth out of people when you meet them.

Mardi Meh
Mardi Meh
9 months ago
Reply to  Stephen

What was it (the Republican) Rick Wilson called them? “…childless single men who masturbate to anime”
(It’s almost lyrical, that description.)

ExWifeOfSparkleDick
ExWifeOfSparkleDick
9 months ago
Reply to  Stephen

Stephen, it seems that FWs come in all political flavors. Mine was a raging Democrat with a degree in political science. He would pontificate on the latest leftie talking points, never allowing anyone to bring in a contrary view. Once on his soapbox, he proudly declared that “we” voted for Candidate X, didn’t we? Out of my mouth it popped out, “I’ve never voted for a Democrat.” Later that night, he shoved me into a door for cancelling out his vote, calling me stupid, etc., you get the gist. Needless to say, I could have gone through my life thinking lefties were philandering, pompous, violent bullies. But I think there’s enough division in our country that we don’t need it here, too.

Do I agree with you politically? No. I never will. But I do know that you loved your spouse with your whole heart just like me — a flag wavin’, bible thumping, gun totin’ conservative. And that’s something. A BIG something.

Y’all vote for whomever you wish. I’ll still love you.

Stephen
Stephen
9 months ago
Reply to  Stephen

By the way, people will tell me to stop watching the news. But as a Jew who also studied history I think that is a mistake. I have come to believe that it was apathy & the initial overall denials of the truth that led to the rise of Hitler in the 1930s – not a majority of support for Hitler. I think we are all obligated to stay informed & involved to avoid such a calamity in this country. Given that 75% of republicans continue to support Trump in spite of the truth & facts; & that Trump still has an overall 40%+ approval rating I’d say we are on the brink of “going there”.

Conchobara
Conchobara
9 months ago
Reply to  Stephen

100%! I’ll get the quote wrong but we know that if we don’t learn from our past we are doomed to repeat it. In all aspects of life.

Orlando
Orlando
9 months ago
Reply to  Stephen

My politics run in “the middle”. I believe there are good & bad on both sides. So I don’t vote for a party, just the candidate. My ex didn’t like that, he thought I should pick one side. Which is funny, you’d think a FW wouldn’t be loyal to one party!! FW never did see that irony, but of course, there’s no insight there whatsoever….so any “closure” a therapist talks about comes from us, not FW’s!!!

damnitfeelsbadtobeachumpster
damnitfeelsbadtobeachumpster
9 months ago

i’m happy to report that fewer things trigger me, but it’s a morphing thing, triggers. lately, the distinct sound of my X’s car in the driveway, when he returns my daughter home, has strangely triggered me. it feels ominous, him out there and me in the house; i do not like it. this is 2 1/2 years out.

but the triggers of seeing families together, places we used to go together, TV shows that are adultery centric, etc. etc. all give me pause, sometimes more than others. if i’m really stuck, i do some EMDR with my therapist, but most of my EMDR sessions involve casually cruel things X said to me during the discard phase.

i have asked my daughter to always take the car when she visits X so he doesn’t drop her off at the house anymore. it’s just what i need. i mean, i never drop kids off at his house; in fact, i don’t know where he lives except in the abstract.

TitsAndAssAndAllThat
TitsAndAssAndAllThat
9 months ago

The smell of alcohol on a man’s breath.

Certain colors.

Loud unexpected noises.

Cigar smoke.

Everything I’ve moved past. These which remain are too pronounced and will always make me fearful or totally piss me off.

Dirty Water
Dirty Water
9 months ago

The “smell of alcohol on a man’s breath” just triggered a long (twenty years) buried memory…the sound of ice clinking in a glass (exFW was rarely without a vodka tonic in his hand). Both of my daughters share this trigger.

Phoebe
Phoebe
9 months ago

My ex would talk about the other women in front of me, like, hey, if I talk about them openly I couldn’t be having an affair with them, who would be so obvious? I dated a guy a few years ago and we agreed that we were not in a committed relationship. I enjoyed his company and having someone to go out with on occasion. I understood that he was probably seeing other people. One day we were together and he mentioned this girl he knew. I couldn’t believe how it triggered me. I immediately went home to get away from him. He sent me a text to ask if I was okay to which I replied that I wasn’t feeling well and I apologized for my quick departure. I assumed that it was someone he was seeing and he was wanting to make me jealous. I mentioned it to my therapist and she pointed out that talking about other people (women, men) was normal. As you can guess, there was a lot to unpack around that and I am still working on it.

ChumpOnIt
ChumpOnIt
9 months ago
Reply to  Phoebe

I started a casual, non-committed relationship and found that it’s not for me. Even when we were being open and honest with each other, I was triggered by mention of anyone else in that way. I felt like some interchangeable part once I found out that my ex was cheating on me the entire relationship. I don’t want to feel like I am not the sole focus of any romantic relationship going forward, regardless of how casual it is. I made my feelings known.

Spoonriver
Spoonriver
9 months ago

Used to be my triggers had triggers. After nearly 35 years of marriage there was no part of my life that was not touched. Now divorced and 6 years out I only experience ghost triggers. Like a phantom limb where I think I should feel something but I don’t. For a while there were places I could not go because I was in such grief the last time I was there. That is fading also.

tallgrass
tallgrass
9 months ago
Reply to  Spoonriver

You give me hope. Thank you!

MightyWarrior
MightyWarrior
9 months ago

Almost any Smiths track. So sad, especially today.

Spongebetty
Spongebetty
9 months ago
Reply to  MightyWarrior

That’ll be one of my triggers as well. Morrissey

Orlando
Orlando
9 months ago

I just got triggered yesterday…. but really it was just a memory. A nice one in fact. I just enjoyed it for what it was & stopped myself for spiralling down the rabbit hole. “Oh that was a nice memory (or a bad one) but now I have to get on with my day & go grocery shopping”! Memories come & go, traumatic recollections come & go…all I have is control on how to manage them. Time has made it easier, but so has distracting myself when memories come up. Also I will deliberately minimize the trigger/memory to snap out of spiraling . “Ah yes that was a fun time with the ex, too bad he turned out later to be a douche” kind of wraps it up for me now. In the earlier D-days this was harder, but practice does make perfect.

Alexandra
Alexandra
9 months ago

Anything adultery or pornographic on media.

Any time my current husband has to go out of town. Anything about prostitution/OF.

CHRISTMAS. I was cheated on Christmas Day when I was pregnant with a prostitute.

I really hate Christmas and Mother’s Day. (Abusive Mother’s Day incident one year).

Magnolia
Magnolia
9 months ago
Reply to  Alexandra

If it’s what you want, I hope that eventually you can reclaim both Christmas and Mother’s Day for yourself and those you love!

IcanseeTuesday
IcanseeTuesday
9 months ago

Since ex FW and I still live in the same town, there are decades of memories. I’ve reframed the ones that I thought were “good” and replaced the others. Healing comes from intentionally replacing experiences with my own positive effort. And reminding myself that the world didn’t start and end with FW. Nature, classical music, my family’s genealogy, my values, my friends are still here.

Erin
Erin
9 months ago

FW enjoyed banging hookers in Asian massage parlors. I was triggered every time I passed an Asian massage “spa.” My former house with FW had 3 Asian spas within a half mile of our house. I moved to a new “rural” town where there are no massage places and no Chinese restaurants.

I’ve lost 30 pounds in the past two years since D-Day by not having Chinese take-out. Silver lining and smaller jeans for the win!

ChumpOnIt
ChumpOnIt
9 months ago
Reply to  Erin

Ex wanted to handle the credit card bill I had been handling on month. Want to guess why? I took that explanation of the charge (and the admitted “happy ending”) and swallowed it for the next several months.

Erin
Erin
9 months ago
Reply to  ChumpOnIt

Dipshit FW put an $80 charge for a “cam girl” on our joint credit card. He said it was really no big deal and not what he hoped it would be. Loser!

Spinach@35
Spinach@35
9 months ago
Reply to  Erin

He charged the credit card? They aren’t the brightest bulbs. Are they?

“He said it was really no big deal and not what he hoped it would be.” 🤬 Classic minimization. My ex would roll out a similar excuse every damn time.

Even after D-Day, he told me that sex with the AP wasn’t even that great. WHAT????

With that statement, I actually think he was trying to hurt me more because he wanted me to know their relationship was so much deeper than a merely physical connection. And, I suppose, it was a way for him to feel better about the affair.

ChumpOnIt
ChumpOnIt
9 months ago
Reply to  ChumpOnIt

*one month

NotAnymore
NotAnymore
9 months ago
Reply to  Erin

I am triggered by these places too. There was one within view of our old home, and I used to laugh at the men stumbling in at 1 or 2 am for a “foot massage” and marvel about how these places operate openly without repercussion. Of course I found out later that my ex went there. He swears it was “just a regular massage place.”

Riiiiight. Just a regular massage that you went to go get while I was out of town. That you paid in cash for so it wouldn’t show up on a credit card. That you kept a complete secret, because that’s totally normal.

I stayed for years everyone – because I didn’t feel that was enough “proof.” I am triggered when I see these places because I am reminded of how I repeatedly believed his far-fetched explanations over the obvious facts. I am triggered because I am ashamed of my naiveté and trusting heart that looked for “the best in everyone.”

Doingme
Doingme
9 months ago

At times I’m triggered by the ease of the con and lack of accountability. I remind myself that his inability to think past instant gratification cost him in retirement. Never once did he consider how hiding assets would reduce his social security.

On the other hand I did and made sure to use the past nine years in planning. I made sure to keep my pension in the settlement.

ChumpedForANewerModel
ChumpedForANewerModel
9 months ago

I am just over 6 months out after an almost two year battle. There are a few things that trigger me like constant texting on anyone (FW made sure after DDay 2 that he was always texting or on FaceTime with Schmoopie). My current also chumped boyfriend is never on the phone when we are together because, well, we are together and interacting.
The other triggering thing is having absolutely everything planned out and written down including times and how long everything should take. This was for vacations and errands and everything in between. My boyfriend does a bit of this and I had to tell him that it really bothered me which was hard, but he understands because he has a few triggers even after almost 20 years after his FW ex wife left him.
It also triggers me when FW tries to contact my son (27 years old and wants no contact). My son always gets bothered by this and he made his desire for NC known to FW but FW has to be a FW so will randomly try to contact my son. Naturally, it is my fault that son will not bother with FW. I have learned to live with that.
Many triggers have disappeared but a few randomly show up. I process them as they come and am pretty close to being fully healed. I will have scars but that is ok.

Squeaks
Squeaks
9 months ago

I had a weird one last night. I was fed a podcast by Spotify’s auto-queue feature, which was about “5 heroic fathers” who sacrificed for their kids. As I listened to the first couple of stories about dads who threw themselves in front of bullets and fought a bear to protect their children… I couldn’t help but wonder what FW would do in this sort of situation… and I couldn’t shake the feeling that he’d protect the OW over his own kids. Leave them vulnerable and alone if it suited her.

It made me sad, and angry. I only made it through the first two stories before having to turn off the podcast.

tallgrass
tallgrass
9 months ago
Reply to  Squeaks

I found this same thing with the movie, “The Croods.” I watched the first one at the theater with the extended family and grandkids and we loved it. The kids quoted the movie for months afterwards. The sequel came out a year after D-Day. I went to the theater by myself to distract my mind for a couple of hours. This is when I noticed that the whole theme of The Croods is how the father will do absolutely anything for his family.

It just emphasizes how thick my rose color glasses were for decades – that I thought we were a good family. We were nothing like a good family. We were a group of abuser narcs and their numbed up victims.

Dirty Water
Dirty Water
9 months ago
Reply to  tallgrass

For an antidote, try watching watching “The Avalanche,” a movie about the picture perfect family whose lives are changed during a ski trip when the father runs away from an approaching avalanche, leaving his wife and children behind.

KeyWester1
KeyWester1
9 months ago
Reply to  Dirty Water

I tried. Found two movies named “Avalanche” on Amazon Prime. The newer one had zero 5-star reviews so I watched the older one, which had decent ratings. But everyone was cheating on everyone else, and a lot of people died in or as a result of the avalanche. I don’t have the heart to go looking for the one you suggested.

DrDr
DrDr
9 months ago
Reply to  tallgrass

Yes. I look back and think we were hostages.

Brit
Brit
9 months ago
Reply to  DrDr

Now that you mention it, I was a hostage and didn’t know it. I was brainwashed.

Motherchumper99
Motherchumper99
9 months ago

It’s been 8.5 years since Dday, 6.5 since divorce finalized. I’m living solidly at Meh. I’m no longer triggered by anything. I don’t want to learn anything new about X— from our 26 years together or now. I’m no contact for me. He’s truly just someone I used to know (but apparently never really did). I’m lucky I got away at 48 and didn’t waste a second more on him. He sucks, by definition. Youngest child’s HS graduation is coming up— he abandoned us when she was 10. Gone for years of her life. He never parented her. He’ll likely be at the graduation – Ho hum- I’ve built a great big life in the past 7 years— new career, new partner, bonus kids, new friends who never knew me with X, new home, new dog, new car, a boat…. Everything. Time takes time to heal— about 3 years after divorce to get to this place. I choose to live free of thoughts of X.

Ginger_Superpowers
Ginger_Superpowers
9 months ago

What are your strategies when you have to be “in the same” room at events? This is my concern.

I am 6 years post DD#2 and tomorrow is the day I married Satan in 1993 and also divorce final in 2018. I am solidly NC since 2019, pretty much at Meh (got a hoover this week and I just rolled my eyes) but dread the thought of having to be at potential future events. I know I shouldn’t put energy into something that may not happen but I want to be prepared so I can respond and not react.

Little Wing
Little Wing
9 months ago

This is just what works for me: slow deep belly breathing. (Like focus on breathing deep-into-the-very-bottom-of-your-gut. There are lots of nice instructions on YouTube.) And when things get “icky” around me, and I do not feel safe, I actually count the moments of breathing-in and breathing-out. (IN-2-3-4-5-6; HOLD-2-3-4; OUT-2-3-4-5-6.) (And it also helps me to keep my mouth shut.)

Cam
Cam
9 months ago

Certain songs on the radio (that were playing at the time when the **** was hitting the fan and I was in the process being discarded). Eight years on and they still trigger me. Also, at random times, when I look at my kids, I’m flooded by grief that they had to go through what their mother inflicted on us. Once, my ex came to the door to pick up my then-12 year old kid, and my kid refused to go with her. My ex actually walked into my house to go find him. My PTSD took over and I lost my s**t. I was screaming for her to get out of my house. My kids had never seen me react to anything like that. I’m still embarrassed by that event (and it happened three years ago). The “shouldn’ts” still haunt me (“I shouldn’t have yelled and acted like an idiot”, “I shouldn’t have grabbed her wrist to escort her out of the house”, “I shouldn’t have yelled”, yadda, yadda). I hate it when my amygdala goes diva like that.

Mardi Meh
Mardi Meh
9 months ago
Reply to  Cam

You have the amygdala and the frontal lobe of a person with a moral compass, a person who is not a sociopath. Don’t dis your neuro(!) and don’t regret behaving imperfectly once in a blue moon. To me (a person with unreliable judgment and sporadic poise) your self-control qualifies you for canonization, practically.
(And BTW you absolutely SHouLD have grabbed her wrist to escort her out of the house. That was the best option of many: you should feel gOOd about that! Don’t be so judgmental about yourself.)

Curlychump
Curlychump
9 months ago

Not too many triggers left… but I hate golf, lol. Never was a sport for me before everything happened, but seriously the way my ex had prioritized golfing again & again over his family has put me further off the game. By the way, he’s not on the tour, he’s an accountant, lol.

Used to have problems w/ruminating in the early days. I had to do the work & make the effort to train my brain to think differently. Couldn’t listen to certain music for a long time. Listened to audiobooks instead. New stuff for my brain to focus on. If he still came up in my thoughts, snap a rubberband on my wrist and force myself to think about something else… the weather, new recipes to try, organizing my garage. Your brain gets used to running on certain pathways.sometimes you have to force it to create new ones.

bread&roses
bread&roses
9 months ago
Reply to  Curlychump

LACGAL requires mental gymnastics, and I’ve come
to the conclusion that even though it sucks, rumination and skein untangling are inevitable for a time. I don’t think it’s abnormal, and the process shouldn’t be stigmatized or pathologized. I agree with Curlychump that chumps have to work hard to retrain our brains deprogram and from abuse.

Now 3.5 years out from dday1, I’m past ruminating, but it’s as if I’ve acquired a sixth sense. There’s a constant vigilance/awareness, and different kinds of “triggers” are everywhere, although they continue to evolve, as do my reactions to and perspectives about them. I’m checking in about where I am, who I am, why I’m here, what really happened, what comes next, etc. I’m guessing this exists, to a certain extent, for everyone reading here: Even chumps who are financially secure, physically and emotionally safe, have loving families, have found trustworthy and compatible partners, are years/decades out, and are totally meh/Tuesday still come here every day.

bread&roses
bread&roses
9 months ago
Reply to  bread&roses

I should add (sorry!), *even chumps who are contentedly independent/romantically unattached. I get it.

May Sarton on the Art of Being Alone (the marginalian): https://www.themarginalian.org/2017/12/01/may-sarton-canticle-6-considerations/

Informal
Informal
9 months ago

I think I handle any triggers pretty quickly plus there are fewer now.
I still have to process the occasional nightmare.
I have to process the occasional call from a number he may use or a voicemail that I chose to hear from the ex. Any new number is blocked and voicemails saved if needed for court.
I never know what his actions will be with a call. He usually lasts a couple of years in between calling or using court abuse.
Following his pattern, I did get a few calls recently. After the final call, I received one from my attorney. BIG trigger. She was only cleaning house and want to know if I wanted my personal things that I submitted and apologized since she didn’t know he’d been calling.
The box will never be opened and stored outside my home. A friend knows to destroy them if anything happed to me so the kids won’t have to go through them. It did trigger some things he’d done to me.I had a good cry and shared my feelings with a friend and it’s done.
Until this month I avoided the area we previously lived. He still lives on the road with his parent. It became more convenient to take that route due to traffic so I’ve used it a few times now. When I drove it alone I had to self talk that he does not own that highway. I only felt happiness knowing I am no longer living in that depressing area.

Chumpy VonChumpster
Chumpy VonChumpster
9 months ago

I have a couple of lingering triggers that oddly present themselves with my work… When Schmoopie views my public business Instagram account stories from her fake profiles, my blood boils.
I also have a very low tolerance for pathetic, blame shifting excuses to avoidable situations with negative consequences, that don’t show accountability or responsibility for someone’s actions or inactions in the workplace. This clearly has manifested itself from FW’s pathetic, blame shifting excuses for being a garbage human.

The Ex-Mrs. Sparkly Pants
The Ex-Mrs. Sparkly Pants
9 months ago

My second husband strangled me nearly to death and then dumped me on the highway. So yeah, touching my neck is a trigger. Even the feel of a crew-neck T-shirt on my neck used to trigger me. I’ve gotten used to that after 36 years. But if someone touches my neck, like my primary care provider palpating for lymph nodes, etc., I have to grit my teeth and tough it out. Once I had a rapid heart rate and blacked out, woke up with the paramedic taking a carotid pulse. On my neck. I’m proud to say I didn’t punch him.

Vacuuming used to be a trigger, because ex would scream at me for being such a fat, lazy pig every time he pulled out the vacuum. I had injured my back in 2006 . . . I couldn’t really walk — just hobbled a few steps at a time. So ex had to do the vacuuming. He’d scream and vacuum, vacuum and scream obscenities last with name-calling and insults. He’d throw shit around and break shit — always my things, though. Never his.

The sound of a knife sharpener used to trigger me. Ex would get out his multiple knives and swords and scream at me while he sharpened them. At first, I didn’t get it. You’d understand the threat if someone was cleaning their gun while screaming at and threatening you . . . but eventually (after he slashed the Swedish Ball I was sitting on with a sword, and I’m not sure if missing me was an accident or his intent) I understood the threat. I bought a few nice kitchen knives when I moved into my own home and I just recently noticed that they were getting too dull to slice a tomato without squashing it. I had forgotten about the knife sharpener trigger. Until I started sharpening that knife. Only the one knife got sharpened the other day . . . I still have three more than need it. Maybe in a few decades I’ll get over that one, too. It’s only been about five years.

ISawTheLight
ISawTheLight
9 months ago

Professional knife sharpening service. It costs a few dollars per knife, and I think in your case would be money well spent.

That all sounds awful. I’m so sorry. I dealt with the screaming, name calling, and breaking my things too.

RobinBob
RobinBob
9 months ago

I had forgotten about knives. I remember when my ex (not the cheater but still) was in the kitchen getting angry or annoyed and I always took notice of any knives that were within reach. I would chide myself a bit for over-reacting, but not having that fear in so long I realize that there was a reason for it.

OHFFS
OHFFS
9 months ago

I’m so very sorry for the horror you endured.
I suggest you send your knives out to be sharpened. That would be a hard trigger to get over.

Adelante
Adelante
9 months ago

I am so sorry for the abuse you experienced and the terror you felt. And I hope the karma train flattens your ex, but not without torturing him first.

Leftbehindlily
Leftbehindlily
9 months ago

Cheating jokes. Why does anyone think these things are funny? Cheating in media, in books, in music. I get up and leave the room, stop watching the series, throw out the books. I get terrifically anxious when I have to leave the home to shop: last AP stalked me and showed up nearly everywhere I went. I didn’t know at the time I had to drive past her home to reach the shopping district. I really have no hopes that any of this will resolve. I’ve started doing my shopping in a nearby town across the state line.

Conchobara
Conchobara
9 months ago
Reply to  Leftbehindlily

We were having a group lunch at work (office of mostly women) and some of the women were teasing the younger guy about his on again/off again relationship with his gf and saying maybe he should find someone he could be more committed to. The other guy (very obviously joking) said “just get yourself one of those sugar babies and then you don’t have to worry about it.” I burst into tears and the two guys panicked.

They knew I was going through a divorce but not everyone had the details (I was about 2 months post-Dday). I had to explain that on DDay I discovered not just that he’s been cheating for 7 years but that four years ago he found himself a sugar baby. She is the current child mistress and the one he spends every spare moment with, openly dating her while refusing to move out of my house (shared property state and he doesn’t have to until the house is officially awarded).

The two guys were so apologetic and kept reassuring me that they were “just kidding.” I knew they were but it didn’t change my gut reaction. Or the fact that I have never and certainly will never find infidelity funny, and I find sugar baby-ing to be a version of prostitution (money exchanged for sex). The younger guy has pledged to kick FW’s ass if he ever comes around the office so that made me feel a little better. He is a high-protein, weight-lifting, gym rat and FW is a lazy, pudgy, jackhole who wouldn’t know exercise if it kicked him in the head.

Elsie
Elsie
9 months ago

Weddings are tough for me because of all the “pie in the sky” sentiments. Most of the ones I’ve been to lately use the Christian song “When God Made You” by Newsong which seems pretty presumptive to me. One of the lines is, “When God made you, He must have been thinking about me.” Similar thoughts were said at my wedding, and it ultimately messed with my thinking. If God had brought us together, why did the marriage go down into a disordered whirlpool until it ended in a high-conflict divorce? Why did the “dream come true” end that way?

Mostly, I keep my mouth shut with such things, but I mentioned that song to a pastor/therapist friend of mine who counsels and marries a lot of young couples, and he discourages that particular song and others that assume a bright future, blessed by God because you say it is so. You can have a romantic, spiritual wedding without that, of course. I went to one in April where he had done the premarital counseling, and it wasn’t triggering at all, just lovely.

But yes, weddings.

RobinBob
RobinBob
9 months ago
Reply to  Elsie

I never liked weddings even before all the trauma. So much over the top false hope was how my cynical mind always felt about them.

ISawTheLight
ISawTheLight
9 months ago
Reply to  RobinBob

I am SO cynical about weddings now, and I have to bite my tongue sometimes when people get engaged or post something about their wedding on social media. Even if (heaven forbid) I found another partner, I’d never get married again.

Zip
Zip
9 months ago
Reply to  RobinBob

Same.

Dracaena
Dracaena
9 months ago

I don’t seem to have them anymore, I’m just trying to live my life. Though it does send me into a bit of a funk when I walk down the street and see The Other Woman. Fuckwit decided to move in with her down the street from me.

I recently discovered that Fuckwit has a huge trigger: seeing me get anything nice.

I revealed recently that I was trying to buy a house and Fuckwit had a MELTDOWN over it, threatening to sue for custody if I didn’t give Fuckwit full control over what house I was buying and where, pretending to be concerned about where the child would grow up. Immediately stopped caring about the child when I signed a lease on an apartment.

It explains so much about our relationship. I can see now how much effort Fuckwit went to over the years to make sure that I did not get to enjoy anything that made Fuckwit jealous– a satisfying career, a decent paycheck, a group of friends, even a supportive therapist.

Of course, Fuckwit was entitled to have anything and everything, and fuck me if I objected to, oh let’s say, the secret girlfriend and credit card debt and double life and whatever else the fuck I didn’t know about. Of course.

OHFFS
OHFFS
9 months ago
Reply to  Dracaena

“Fuckwit decided to move in with her down the street from me.”

He wants to mess up your life and keep an eye on you. He sure has trouble letting go of control.

“I revealed recently that I was trying to buy a house and Fuckwit had a MELTDOWN over it, threatening to sue for custody if I didn’t give Fuckwit full control over what house I was buying and where, pretending to be concerned about where the child would grow up.”

Wow. More control freak nonsense, and to a psychotic level. I’d expect him to try to move into your neighborhood next. Hopefully OW will say no.

Dracaena
Dracaena
9 months ago
Reply to  OHFFS

Hopefully not! I’m moving far away in hopes that Fuckwit will lose interest once I’m out of sight, the way a baby loses interest in a toy when you hide it under a blanket.

I wish I understood WHY. I just want to be left alone.

OHFFS
OHFFS
9 months ago
Reply to  Dracaena

It’s because these abusive little shits hate it when you slip out from under their control. Even if they don’t want to be with you anymore, they still want to control you in any way they can. If all the control they can get is to force you to run into them by moving into your neighborhood, they’ll take it.
He probably won’t go through the bother of following you if you go too far away. Thankfully, most of them are lazy AF. Just a thought; does he even have to know where you live, given his history? Could you perhaps use a relative’s home when he’s to pick the kids up and drop them off? Could he also send child support through a relative?

Dracaena
Dracaena
9 months ago
Reply to  OHFFS

That’s a good thought. The apartment is a temporary landing spot; maybe I won’t disclose my new address when I get my forever home.

OutButNotDown
OutButNotDown
9 months ago

My top triggers 2.5 years since my first D-day and 20 months after getting out:

-Catholic prayers and someone crossing themself (OW is Catholic)

-Hearing the spoken foreign language, the native language of the OW

-Weddings or romantic social media posts, especially anniversary posts

-Any time I get a text from or must interact with my cheater (we have grown kids who are in both of our lives)

Hands-down worst one: Seeing my cheater texting and sending pictures on his phone. He had conducted an intense affair with her, his underling at work, even while I was in the same room or car as him, while on his phone. Of course, he tried to get me to think they were only communicating for work.

Taking walks in beautiful nature, moving to a new city and making new friends, spending my time and money the way I deem best (so empowering!), picking up a new hobby of taking care of plants….these are some of the ways I have been steadily working towards meh.

Conchobara
Conchobara
9 months ago
Reply to  OutButNotDown

I feel so stupid and blind in retrospect but FW was texting and sexting for years right under my nose. He became attached to his iPad and phone and would be on them ALL THE TIME. Now I know he was talking to her or hunting for other hookups. Usually at the table while I was cooking or doing something in the kitchen with him (back of the iPad facing me). I would tease him about his addiction to his devices and he would say he was just watching train videos (he is a little obsessed with trains). But no, he was woman shopping (all his APs were found online). If I ever date someone again (we haven’t even divorced yet), attachment to devices is going to be very problematic for me.

SortOfOverIt
SortOfOverIt
9 months ago
Reply to  Conchobara

Conchobara, If it makes you feel any less stupid, I’ll share my “how could I be so stupid?” story. STBX was having a long distance affair for YEARS that I was unaware of. So obv, most of it was via his phone/texting. We were on vacay and went to an amusement park with our kid. He wanted to go on a scary ride, we didn’t, but told him we were happy to wait while he did so by himself. You couldn’t take phones/hats/sunglasses on this ride. He wouldn’t let me hold his phone for him. He insisted in putting it in one of the lockers they provide. I didn’t even have his password. He used the facial recognition feature!! I couldn’t have gotten into that phone if I wanted to. Yet he walked an extra 50 feet to lock it up. It wasn’t until much later, when I knew about the affair and then remembered that day that I actually put two and two together. The fact that he insisted on using a locker when I was RIGHT THERE was obv incredibly ODD and should have been a reg flag engulfed in flames, but he also wasn’t at all smooth about it, he was cagey and looked like a deer in headlights. And yet, I was clueless. In hindsight, I think I was in denial. I had to of suspected something was amiss there. The thing is, he was almost never out of the house, and when he was, I KNEW where he was. Since she lived across the country and 98% of the affair was emotional, he wasn’t doing other more obvious things, like suddenly staying at work late, those typical “tells”. So I think if the phone incident did get me thinking, I would have dismissed it as he wasn’t physically in a position to cheat. Little did I know how much betrayal can be done via the internet alone!!

marissachump
marissachump
9 months ago

My biggest trigger is having others put my health, safety, and life at risk, taking aim particularly at my compromised immune system. Needless to say I have NOT been okay through all of the Covid inaction, gaslighting, and removal of all data and protections.

Zip
Zip
9 months ago
Reply to  Spinach@35

Yes, most anything written about cheating is hugely triggering.
It’s the abuse that keeps on giving.

Juniper
Juniper
9 months ago
Reply to  Spinach@35

Remind me to never purchase any of Samantha Silva’s work. Hate this. I can hear my X saying something like exactly like this. Gross, just gross.

bread&roses
bread&roses
9 months ago
Reply to  Spinach@35

NYT is a trigger for me. I read it because I get a free subscription via school, but I have to refrain from sending Tracy UBT fodder every single day. And not just from the reliably shit sections like Opinion, Modern Love and Style. It’s worse than the fucked narratives that permeate tv/movies/social media, because it’s THE NEWS. They have a centrist/left reputation and are perceived as being objective.

M1
M1
9 months ago
Reply to  Spinach@35

Lots of words for lots of people in that one, but not one word about David’s wife as a person, after she was “told.” And before that she and the writer had been “close” for years.

Spinach@35
Spinach@35
9 months ago
Reply to  M1

There’s a lot of:
me, me, me
I deserve happiness,
me, me, me,
people are SO mean and judgmental and punishing
me, me, me
frantic, raw desire–the pull was too great
me, me, me
I’m so big that I represent “all mothers, all wives, all women, across time” (so my affair was a feminist act)
me, me, me
and what’s her name (David’s wife)
and my ex (oof, his name almost escapes me, too)

And that therapist: I actually helped him, such is my narcissistic view of the world

NotAnymore
NotAnymore
9 months ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

A better headline: “How I traumatized everyone I know, even my shrink”

Bees
Bees
9 months ago
Reply to  Spinach@35

I read this awful piece this morning, too, Spinach (sigh).

Alwaysforward
Alwaysforward
9 months ago

Its been a few years now but odd things pop up now and then. The most recent was buying a house. I had no idea they list titles as ” name, an unmarried woman”. I stewed over that for awhile and it brought back feeling of “I didn’t want to be unmarried” but luckily they fade because its overshadowed by “I got a house!”

BeenThruIt
BeenThruIt
9 months ago
Reply to  Alwaysforward

You could think about the house buying in a protective way – “Name, an unmarried woman” – proves there are no spousal rights issues. It’s clearly all yours, and just yours!

I’ve gone to some new health care providers recently and don’t like the way medical offices always ask for my marital status. How could that possibly have any bearing on my blood work, or my mammogram, or my digestive system, etc.? It doesn’t!

OHFFS
OHFFS
9 months ago
Reply to  Alwaysforward

Hey, congrats! Buying your first house post divorce is a wonderful thing.

Bees
Bees
9 months ago

His phone…I want to throw it into the ocean.

bread&roses
bread&roses
9 months ago
Reply to  Bees

You should.

StandFast
StandFast
9 months ago

Hotel chains he took the hookers to even if the hotels are in a different city. (As found on the secret credit card.) But I’m only 2 months past D-Day so maybe there’s hope

Spinach@35
Spinach@35
9 months ago
Reply to  StandFast

Yes, there’s hope!!
It’s early days for you. Give it time.

StandFast
StandFast
9 months ago
Reply to  Spinach@35

Thank you Spinach@35. This was my first CL post ever, so much appreciated.

OHFFS
OHFFS
9 months ago

It’s actually not the things that remind me of the FW himself so much as it is things that remind me of what I don’t have because of the FW. Sometimes seeing an apparently happy couple or intact nuclear family gives me a sharp pang. I just wait until it passes. It always passes. I don’t miss the mirage, but I do feel a sense of loss for not having had the real thing. I suppose I always will.

Chumpcat
Chumpcat
9 months ago

Having read through the comments so far, my heart goes out to my fellow chumps. You have truly survived the worst examples of mankind and womankind. My triggers have decreased over the past 7 years but there are two stubborn holdouts. Infidelity in tv/movies (most recently I have to leave the room whenever the show yellowjackets is on), and the use of “baby” (it seemed to be the universal term all of the flaming dumpster shits used when sexting my wife).

Zip
Zip
9 months ago
Reply to  Chumpcat

Spoiler alert if you haven’t seen Yellowjackets. This is a perfect example of what makes me sick. Girl betrays her BEST friend by sleeping repeatedly with BF’s boyfriend and gets pregnant. Who does everyone sympathize with? You got it! Not one ounce of sympathy for the chump- it was her fault; she was too perfect.
The FW friend was embraced by all.

SortOfOverIt
SortOfOverIt
9 months ago
Reply to  Zip

This is really interesting. I am also triggered by infidelity in tv/movies. But not always. I watch YJ and that situation didn’t bother me as much as say, the new Fatal Attraction remake. Maybe it just depends on the situations, and how much they hit home for ME personally. I watched Daisy Jones and the Six and it broke my heart, I am not sure why I put myself through that. There was something about the way the wife was portrayed as damn near perfect and lovely, and yet, this OW was shown as being “who he really SHOULD be with”. That series was not entirely about cheating though, it was different, to me anyway.

Lollipop 🍭
Lollipop 🍭
9 months ago
Reply to  Chumpcat

Wow Chumpcat this just triggered me.
When I found out about the cheating, before I found CL, I was big into the pick me dance. Then he called me ” babe”. For the first time in 33 years. I flipped out. I realized at that moment I was done, we were done. It just clicked. I realized right then that he was just a creepy, slimeball SOB. Thankfully I soon stumbled on to this site and all of you wonderful chumps, you showed me how to get the hell out! ❤

Chumpcat
Chumpcat
9 months ago
Reply to  Chumpcat

Correction: with my wife at the time

Spinach@35
Spinach@35
9 months ago

I’m 3 1/2 years from D-Day and almost 3 from finalization of the divorce.

My triggers might not even be full-blown triggers at this point. At first, even the sight of a Jeep would initiate a spiral downward. Now, my triggers are more muted–no real spirals but rather an occasional passing, sinking feeling that comes on when I have a memory that might simply pop into my brain for no apparent reason or come up when I see or hear something that is undeniably ex-related.

And then there’s that damn hotel I have to pass every time I visit my hometown. They say to create new memories at a place to help erase old associations. That makes sense to me, but there’s no way I’m stepping foot into that hotel.

Some memories can’t be so easily erased.

Orlando
Orlando
9 months ago
Reply to  Spinach@35

Yeah I would have to buy a Ford 150 if I was try to immersion therapy lol. I guess I am triggered every time I see one! Even in places where FW would not be.

Zip
Zip
9 months ago

Huge trigger for me was how cheating is portrayed on TV shows/film.
Also, how cheating is talked about on talk shows….. it’s become very clear to me that people don’t get the trauma it inflicts on people.
Basically, for me it was a # 100 in terms of my mental health, devastation, trauma, pain it caused my children, work involved in terms of selling / moving and paperwork, time off work because I couldn’t function… but the messages from basically everybody except CL is that it’s really no biggie. Even therapists can add to the pain.

I feel that if there was just an awareness and an acknowledgement out there that this is very traumatizing and abusive (and that it’s not the chumps fault ) the healing would be faster.

Lastly, I triggered myself by looking at social media down the road… I was sure they would have broken up and instead saw that they had gotten married. Don’t look!

MB
MB
9 months ago
Reply to  Zip

Yup. The expression ‘put on your big girl pants’ makes me want to chew carpets.

If a person has not been through it they don’t know shit

Kara
Kara
9 months ago

THe silent treatment. This is my biggest one and causes the worst pain. I am diagnosed with CPTSD and it came from my abuser who used silence as punishment.

When he went silent during the day, I knew there was an incoming tirade when he got home. I didn’t always know about what, and most of the time it was from some imagined slight that wasn’t even true. The ones that were true were often just something small he turned into an explosion. (I.E. me wearing heels in public.)

Other times if he was mad, or in a bad mood, he would just act like I wasn’t there. There were a few times when he was pulling the silent treatment when he wouldn’t talk to me for hours, all day while he was at work, he’d come home, take hours of silence before bed, go to work again, more silent treatment all day. One of our worst arguments was when he had been pulling this silence and I walked by him in the kitchen and not a word. When he came downstairs I finally snapped and started yelling. I couldn’t take being treated like I didn’t exist anymore. And one of the biggest kickers of that was he said “Well I PLANNED on talking to you when I came down…” Yeah like when? Five minutes after? Another three hours? I could never tell when he was finally going to break the silence and what I was going to be accused of and yelled at about this time. I learned to be terrified of silence.

And this only became worse in future relationships. I tried to be honest with my partners about this. I would upfront tell them I suffer from cptsd, yes I take medication for it, these are the specific things that make me panic and flashback. I would be very honest about how silence makes me trigger, and tell them what helps me feel secure and how panic can be avoided. “If you’re busy and are unable to talk, just let me know.” “If you need to talk about something, tell me we will talk later, and what we need to talk about so I’m not sitting here wondering what’s going on.” Not hard.

Well apparently with some men, that was just giving them the knowledge they needed to hurt me the most. I had at least three men pull silent treatments on me, and when I was actually at the point of panic, in tears, hyperventillating, they would call me crazy. Some of them, in the midst of my panic attacks, would throw it in my face with malicious compliance. “What, do you want a GPS tracker on me? Do you need me to tell you what I’m doing on the hour?” No, these are things I never asked for. I just asked for a little compromise. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask someone you’re seeing to not disappear from communication for no reason for several days in a row, or for them to not leave you on read, or worse, “delivered” for several days, or even weeks. A man I was seeing ignored me for 9 days, one of which was my birthday, and after I had completely broken down and sent him tearful voicemails, all he had to say was “I’ve been busy.” Then asked me if I expected him to be on call with me 24/7.

My last ex played this trigger like a damn violin. At first he seemed to care, but then over time he did the disappearing/silence act more and more, to the point I was having panicked breakdowns multiple times a month. No matter how many times, or how many ways I tried to explain my needs and what he could do to help avoid this happening, he would do it again and again. And every time it reached a breakdown point, he would tell me I was ignoring HIS needs for “me time.” It was all about his needs and his boundaries and how I wasn’t meeting them by being ok with him disappearing from communication for (I think the longest stint of silent treatment was two weeks.) Thankfully I had a very good, supportive female friend who understood both the cause of my trigger, and that I needed someone to listen to me, not condemnation and accusations of being “crazy” to help. She helped me get through the worst of the worst flashbacks and panics. And she helped me realize that no, being able to stave off the panic attack for two weeks before breaking down because he still won’t explain what’s going on, is not a strength. What a real strength is would be saying no to this behavior and walking away from someone who clearly only cares about himself. And she helped me find ways to cope with my trigger, ways to quiet the flashbacks when they start up, and healthy distractions to deal with anxiety.

(In case anyone is wondering, yes, these aforementioned men were cheaters. They were “busy” with other women. One of them was “busy” with an engaged howorker 13 years is junior.)

I’ve gotten really long with this one, but this trigger is the one that has had the biggest, most negative impact on my life. And for a while I felt like it was right. Silence taught me something was “wrong” and I would feel no relief until I heard from the person who triggered it, and in the end, my trigger ended up being right because most of the time, I would end up finding out that yes, there was indeed something “wrong” going on. However, those things often weren’t my fault. But it’s hard to reconcile that information when your brain is in flashback panic mode.

Chumped both sides of the Pond
Chumped both sides of the Pond
9 months ago

Dear CL, thank you. Your wonderful snarky writing has helped me weather the turbulence of the last 2 years since d-day, one year since divorce. Married 29yrs, found out was chumped entire time (and before)….another story…
Chump nation, you are an inspiration, and have helped keep me sane. My gratitude to you all.

My triggers:
1.Ed Sheeran’s “Bad Habits” specifically the lyrics “My bad habits lead to late nights endin’ alone, Conversations with a stranger I barely know, Swearin’ this will be the last, but it probably won’t, I got nothin’ left to lose, or use, or do…”. From the moment I met the ex-husband (in college, 40yrs ago) he said he had “issues” winding down of a night time. Turned out all those nights he played games/computer games/emailed “friends”/”updated” facebook – while I collapsed exhausted in bed (10pm) from demanding job/cooking/cleaning/kids/laundry etc., which he never helped with – I now know he was looking at porn/emailing other women/tracking them on Facebook/trawling through eHarmony/Match.com from 10pm-2am. In the early days after d-day, when we were still talking, I told him this song was written for him and he actually GIGGLED and said yes, it was his song. Turn this awful song off whenever I hear it.

Boy Scouts. The night I caught him he was reminiscing whilst facetiming with (one of) the OW (subsequently found out there were many others) about their weekend in the (big mid-west) city the previous month (during covid/not vaccinated). As the village Scout Master he’d arranged an “extra” Winter Campout weekend as the boys were down on their camping hours due to covid…always had a lie ready to roll out of his mouth. The Friday of their tryst he’d primped in the bathroom for 2hrs, put on his Scout uniform, kissed me and, as he turned and walked away, left a trail of aftershave in his wake.,,a first for winter camping. Knew something wasn’t right, that and the phone glued to his hand. Caught him 3 weeks later. He and the OW were on a call planning another “Scout” trip for his birthday weekend, and another for a few weeks later when I was flying out to meet daughter and drive the 1300 miles back home from college for the summer. Our kids are Eagle Scouts/Girl Scout Gold Award recipient (equivalent of Eagle Scout). I was the Girl Scout leader. All Scout related things trigger me now.
Can’t bear hearing “it’s a joke” or “what’s for dinner” or “I’m entitled”, which he said all the time

Just made it through 2 college graduations (two different states). Both kids told him the latest OW (#10) was not invited. He brought OW to one kids’ college (degree conferring) ceremony…said he was “entitled” to bring her. Kid was fuming. Other kid revised approach and said he could bring OW to commencement (outdoor stadium) ceremony (they didn’t turn up cos it rained!) but OW was not invited to the college (degree conferring) ceremony. He agreed, turned up by himself to college ceremony, took kids photo/added to Facebook, said he could no longer take her out for a celebratory meal and walked off. Kid brushed it off and we (boyfriend/kids and me) went to a different restaurant, ended up by chance sharing a table with another kid from her class (and family) and had a fantastic time together!

Setting boundaries and moving on… 🙂

MB
MB
9 months ago

Triggers:

Weddings. Certain areas of town. Men who lie about military service. Talk about food allergies. Messy lawns.

There are certainly more, but these come to mind

Unicornomore
Unicornomore
9 months ago

My trauma was so big that it feels recent but the trauma of the worst abuse and betrayal was in 2005….18 years ago.

I got a horrid “Im divorcing you because you suck as a wife and this is how ….” speech that lasted 2 hours. I was eveuntually rolled in a ball weeping as he continued to pelt me with details of every mistake I had made in 20+ years. It was in April. In July I learned he had been planning to leave me for his Chinese OW.

For the longest time, I was literally triggered by the words “April” or the sight of a Chinese Restaurant and lots of other things. Thank God that level of triggering has disappeared.

For a while I was triggered hearing the names of cities where they met up Seattle, Salt Lake City, Tampa, Vancouver BC. Im over that.

The triggers I fight these days are more ones from my abusive childhood. My husband very innocently used phrases which are themselves neutral but are ones my parents had deeply weaponized to insult and marginalize me. “Par for the course” is one of them…meant and taken as intentional insult from my mom. Hubby says that and I panic.

Hubby is also VERY thrifty and enjoys cost-cutting as a hobby. My parents weaponized money and resented every dime they spend on parenting.Oddities found at thrift stores are acts of love from him but would have been direct insults from my parents.

DrChump
DrChump
9 months ago
Reply to  Unicornomore

I too had a very abusive mother. FW was everything she was not. Sweet, kind, pretty, and put me first. Over the years FW’s bad child hood caught up. 6 moths before Dday FW started appearing in my dreams as my mom. I thought it was strange. FW started seizing on what my mother would criticize me for. Foolish me believed all those things my mother instilled in me about me being a bad person. It is only in last couple of months I have come to grips with the childhood trauma of being terrorized by a bully parent. According to psychiatrist I developed the only positive trait one could, be an overachiever. Every other personality trait would have been bad. It hurts when mother and FW are both berating you. Mother told her she needed the affairs. I am sorry you went through that as well

Ugh@him
Ugh@him
9 months ago

My triggers are all dumb in retrospect.

Hearing the beeps from a car locking when I’m home gives me a slight panic — I’d know he was home from work when I heard the double beep and I have the moment of ‘oh he’s home’ before realizing what was going on. Commercials for the new Fast & the Furious movie? YUP. Sends me into a thought spiral on how we were supposed to go for my birthday after we spent months watching them all in order and ranking them on their ridiculousness. Going past our favorite restaurants, seeing new seasons of shows we loved come out (that I’ll never finish), paranormal and cryptid podcasts (he showed interest in something I loved but I found out it was only because she was into the weird shit too), anything related to foxes (she has orange hair, he used the fox emoji incessantly when talking to her), the freaking hippos at the Cincinnati Zoo! How does a man ruin a cute hippo?!?!

Today seeing a post on the popculturechat subreddit with photos of Kirsten Dunst & Jake Gyllenhaal sent me to a time when things were great between us and a random woman at the grocery store told us how lovely we looked together… and I spent half an hour crying and wondering where it all went wrong. Logically I know where it went wrong, he ain’t shit. But the thoughts still trickle in.