Triggers Triggers

Triggers, Triggers, Everywhere Triggers - Part 2 - Death By Paramore

After I found out about the affair, I went back and analyzed any flags that I failed to address at any point in our marriage. One of the flags I ignored, were the the times he listened to Paramore. I noticed a shift in his mood and behavior when he listened to their music. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but it was as if he was tapping into a secret, fantasy-like self, that he wished he could be. I don’t know how else to describe it. It was heavy, felt dirty, and made me feel extremely uncomfortable, but I blew it off.

It wasn’t until recently that he was able to recognize and own that listening to a particular album brings to mind a previous inappropriate relationship.

“Music acts like a magic key, to which the most tightly closed heart opens.” ― Maria Augusta von Trapp

A couple of days ago, I was shuffling through YouTube on our AppleTV, looking to catch up on some John Oliver, when I noticed a subscription for the first time; the band Paramore have their own channel and my husband is a subscriber. Seeing this subscription on our account not only reminded me of those uncomfortable moments I mentioned above, but it made me wonder if he was listening to their music recently.

Anything Paramore = Trigger

My heart began pounding as loud as the voice inside my head that screamed, “Burris is listening to Paramore’s music! He is cheating on you again!”. Right away, I asked my husband when he subscribed to the channel, and though his answer was what I had hoped (a long time ago), it was too late. I was triggered, and I didn’t believe him.

Not only did this trigger bring me immediate pain in the moment, it also brought forth the archived pain from last fall. That means I was getting a double dose of pain.

Triggers, though abundant, and raw in the moment, do not have the final say over me or my marriage. 

Any song, music video, iPod list, or magazine article that feautures this band is off limits to me, perhaps until my life is finished, but as I share certain triggers in light of our story, it is important to remember the main purpose of them in my story (and yours), which is their ability to drive me to the cross. The biggest event in history, when God put on flesh and died 2015 years ago for heinous sins like adultery, means that His love is more powerful over me than any pain a trigger can cause.

The only, and I truly mean only reason I am able to stand and face the day in light of moments that buckle my knees, is the hope that lay before me in Christ;

"he has sent me to bind the broken-hearted." (Isaiah 61:1)

Let's head back to the counselor's office, where we received some practical tools that help us navigate the difficult moments after a trigger happens...

Triggers, Triggers, Everywhere Triggers - Part 1 - Death By Carwash

I winced when I saw all the bugs that had collected on the front of my black Honda Odyssey. It didn’t come as a shock, since traveling 1300 miles from CO to MI will do that, but having to wash my car doesn’t come easy for me these days.

I remember 10 years past when cleaning my Plymouth Neon brought me great joy. There really is nothing like driving a freshly washed and detailed vehicle. Holding the pressure washer without falling, racing the clock with the shampoo brush, and even better is the automatic car wash that allows you sit back and relax. I have fond memories of the days when I was hopeful for the future, cruising around in my little car.

Now when I wash my car, all I think about is how my husband cheated.

You see, my husband was working as a manager at a local car wash when he began his affair. At first I figured managing a car wash seemed like it a silly job, but with all the technology these days, most of the equipment is controlled by computer. That being said, there always seemed to be an emergency happening at that place. Managing the car was was easily a 60+hr/week position.

This is how he met her. She was assigned as a tech specifically to him, in order that all things be documented in one place. What began as casual flirty comments, turned into full blown emotional work affair. And now I hate getting my car washed.

When I pulled Vanna Black (Yes, I named my car) into the bay to give her front-end a good pre scrub before parking her in the automatic wash, I became another person. Feelings of anger and insignificance began pouring over me, as I asked myself how and why they could do this to me. I wanted to vandalize that place!

It was as if I was finding out about the affair for the first time all over again.

This is the nature of the beast, also known as a trigger. Moments that remind us of our most painful event(s) in life and get us to face them all over again. While I have heard (from seasoned wives who have been in long time recovery from sexual betrayal) that triggers will ebb and flow in intensity depending on the season of life, I have also heard they may never go away.

I grieve the fact that a simple act, like washing my car, will forever make me wince and, for the time being, bring me a kind of rage that frightens me.

I can learn to deal with triggers in a healthy way, but riding them out authentically is a necessary start.

Over the next few posts I’m going to share some triggers that I regularly have and what I have learned through them. An important part of dealing with a trigger is being real about how it makes you feel. Authenticity and being honest with yourself is going to be difficult in the beginning, but denying your feelings and shoving them away will only make the healing process longer, and its a recipe for futility.

As someone who is in the thick of processing everything, I can tell you that my darkest hours of suffering through sexual betrayal have been the most honest with the Good Lord. As I talk about triggers, we must remember that we have hope. Hope in Christ who knows what is like to suffer greatly. You are not alone.

And PS. I didn’t end up vandalizing the car wash. In case you’re wondering...

How do you know when it is healthy to avoid something that triggers you, and when it is healthy to face it head on?

From One Love to Another: Just Say NO to Smileys/Emojis!

In our most recent post I shared my list of boundaries and expectations for my husband in light of his affair, but forgot to mention one; No using smiley faces/emojis when texting/emailing other women. 


Yeah. No. Not allowed.

Sure, we have access to one another's devices at all times, but aren't able to get away from communicating with people altogether. Especially when it comes to being in the workforce. Therefore this one had to be discussed;

Is using a smiley face or emoji with the opposite sex cultivating grounds for secrecy and shame or love and safety in our marriage?

For us, it creates the former, so we are stearing clear from it entirely. This may feel extreme, because it is. But I cannot deny the truth;  I don't feel safe or cherished when my husband uses smiley faces or emojis with any other woman but me. 

Our culture celebrates being fun/flirty/kind with one another (myself included), but have we crossed the line by choosing the thrill of being flirty/friendly rather than creating safety and loyalty with our significant other? 

These are the kind of conversations we are having these days. We decided that individually we are too easily tempted to reach out for affirmation to/from others (especially in a difficult marital season) rather than going Jesus and one another in candid discussion.  

While this boundary has no power to change our heart, it provides a type of security for our marriage and healing.

Also, it just plain ol' feels good to invest in one another. 

 What says you? How do you feel about your spouse using  :) ;) 😏😉☺️😍😊😇 with the opposite sex via text or email? 





My Daughter is a Trigger - Can We Talk About That?

I had a blog scheduled to be posted today that explains how I came up with a list of boundaries and expectations for my husband after he shared the full disclosure letter. However, I need to share with you something that happened just yesterday (5/27/15).

I have had this nagging disconnect with my middle daughter (Fallon) for months...

I refuse to reminisce her beautiful birth, I won’t look at her baby pictures, and engaging with her on an emotional level has been difficult to say the least. Even as I write this I am tempted to sugar coat my real thoughts; that I sometimes feel like she isn’t my kid. I haven’t been able to put my finger on it, until yesterday it dawned on me while watching her eat breakfast; my daughter is a trigger.

A trigger is something or someone who reminds a person of a traumatic event they experienced. 

It sends them into a frenzy of pain as it puts the person back into vivid replays of the event itself. I have lots of triggers and they can be paralyzing.

My daughter was born last October. Last October my husband was in the deepest part of his affair, engaging with the other woman for roughly 2 hours per day. I didn’t know that at the time of her birth, but it was a traumatic finding when I caught my husband. For a while I needed to protect my heart from seeing any pictures from that time of our lives, but it has most definitely had an impact on life with my little girl.

I didn't want to be known as a bad mother.

I panicked when I realized this was happening, but trying to figure these feelings out alone is not an option. I had to tell my husband. I needed to talk it out. When I told him how I felt about her, his response was shocking and freeing;

”Leslie. I am so sorry you are feeling that way, it must be awful. Fallon is innocent. She didn’t text/email/talk inappropriately with another woman. I did. It is not her fault. When you feel that disconnect with her, I want you to remember that I am the one who caused you to feel that way and put the burden back on me. Let me carry it. I am so sorry I did this to our family. Thank you for telling me. I love you. Please enjoy your daughter, she is a gift.”

My husband and I are still deeply affected by this traumatic event, and possibly always will be.

But this morning I woke up free. Free to love my daughter, kiss her madly, listen to her giggles and know that she indeed, is my daughter. Thank God that he can and does change a man’s heart. My daughter may be a momentary trigger, but we can talk about that.

Back to our sceduled program, folks...

If you are familiar with triggers, would you be willing to share one of yours with me? How do you commonly react to them?