The Roadblocks to Healing

Last night, I saw HT for the first time in a month. We had some ground to cover.

I told HT how Carol and I ‘graduated‘ from marriage counselling. That felt good but sometimes I’m not so sure about how far we’ve come.

“She knows you two have the tools you need to continue healing together,” HT said.

We’ve been a little cranky while training our new puppy. I don’t expect Carol to be perfect and I’ve told her it’s okay to be cranky while we’re busy trying to potty train him, as long as we know how to handle it and understand that we are there for each other.

“You don’t want her to be fake by acting like the perfect wife all the time. You’re perceptive enough that you’d pick up on that and it’d do neither of you any good.”

I explained the difference between marital issues and affairs, that they should be seen as two separate things. I told HT about how MC tried to bring the affair back to marital issues and this time, Carol defended me by saying she was always a bitch to me, that she wouldn’t let me make the marriage better.

“Yes, the affair is a problem for the individual. Some people are in a great relationship and one partner is devoted and nurturing the relationship but the other partner, due to their own personal issues, sabotages the relationship. They feel that they are unworthy of what they have and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Carol wanted you to be cruel to her help her justify her actions,” HT replied.

Finally, I was getting some agreement from a therapist that the marriage issues didn’t lead to an affair, it was her own personal issues. I gave examples of our marriage thriving while Carol was further away from Rick, demonstrating that it truly was her damage and his influence on her that were the problems, not me ‘not meeting her needs’.

When asked about our sex life, I explained that it is healthy and yes, we’ve had sexual intercourse a few times in the past month. HT was thrilled to hear that and asked if the hypnosis helped. I couldn’t say for sure because we were already making great progress in that area and it was just a matter of time before success. Maybe hypnosis helped speed up the progress, I don’t know.

I spoke of how the extra irritation of house training the puppy made my mind wander to angry thoughts more frequently and how I hugged Carol more often to reduce my anger at her. I also mentioned our spooning in bed and how Carol has requested to snuggle on a few occasions.

“That’s great! It was a very awful thing that happened but because of it, your marriage has a chance to thrive in a way that many can only dream of! You’ve been married for what, 12 years? How many people who have been married that long are having a healthy, adventurous sex life? Who take time to snuggle and spend quality time together? Often, people get stuck in the same old routine, just coasting through life. You have a new marriage, a second shot at this. I know, it sucks to have been betrayed like this, but it was a shock to the system for both of you. Don’t you feel you may have been coasting too?”

It’s true that I got to the point where I was just putting in time, waiting for the kids to grow up so I could say, “See ya!” and be free of her. These feelings came in cycles. Sometimes things would be going fine, other times she’d be just awful to be around and I’d think, I can’t do this anymore. Then I’d convince myself to hang in there, that she’ll get better again or I’d just keep my focus on the kids. It wasn’t a way to live. It wasn’t the marriage I wanted, but neither is this. Yes, we’ve made some amazing progress as a couple but I never wanted to be dealing with infidelity on the path to marriage greatness.

“Life rarely turns out the way people imagine it will. You just have to work with what you’ve been given. You are not trapped. If you want to, you can leave her and find someone else who would see you as the great person you are, but it’s clear that you love Carol and want to make this work. You’re still conflicted, however. What do you think you need in order to move on?”

To forgive.

“Do you think you can forgive?”

I told her I didn’t know, that I hope to and want to, but this isn’t something I can fake or force. I need to feel it and believe it fully, in my soul.

“Remember, you can forgive her but not the act. You can hate cheating, you can hate what she did, but you can forgive her. She did you wrong, it was an awful betrayal, but she is remorseful and she is seeking help to be a better person. You can forgive her as a person. Do you understand what I’m saying?”

I told HT that, like many things, I understood but could not yet apply it.

“You do have a deep understanding of many concepts. You may not realize this, but you’re far more insightful than most. You could be a therapist and you’d help a lot of people. Still, we have work to do so you can get to the next level. Forgiveness is about freeing yourself. What else must you do to move forward and be free?”

Learn to trust.

“You must trust your wife if you want the relationship to work. You must trust that she is a better person and is dedicated to making your marriage work. You can’t spend your days anticipating betrayal. Trust that she won’t but know that if she does, you can leave the relationship and you will be alright.”

From there, HT did hypnosis to bring me back to the time where I first lost my trust in other people. Of course, it was the moment my mom left. Like the other sessions, I was to take the younger version of myself to my safe place and help him heal.

HT wanted me to tell my 7-8 year old self that it was okay to trust again. I couldn’t do this. We spoke about how when my trust was fractured, I also felt unwanted since it was the rarer case of the mother leaving the children with the father, that it broke my trust with women, that it made me feel unwanted by women.

“Did you feel unwanted in your marriage?”

I replied that I did.

“Do you see that without trust in your partner, you are setting yourself up to repeat the patterns of failed relationships?”

I replied that I did not. I had lost my trust in people, but with Carol, I think I did feel safe to trust her. That was, until she began her downward spiral. It was hard to communicate this while under hypnosis. Images that showed just how deep my mistrust and paranoia are keep floating in my mind. I became confused as to what “trust” even meant and I had HT explain it to me, all the while the images were showing me that I didn’t even trust myself. By the end of my marriage, all I was doing was fighting to keep the family together so I would not fail like my parents did many years ago. When HT asked if I was afraid that Carol would leave, I realized that I was more afraid that I would leave. I can’t trust myself to keep the family together? Is that what I realized?

It was such a mess of thoughts and images and we weren’t getting anywhere. HT had me visit my cabin and read some messages in jars. This is the most interesting part of my hypnosis because it feels like I’m actually reading messages written by someone else, as opposed to making them up.

I opened the first jar. “Trust,” was all the message said. That was self explanatory. The second jar’s message was illegible. The third one said, “He’s not there.” This meant that Rick was no longer a part of Carol’s life. The fourth one said, “Don’t look for something.” It was saying not to go searching for reasons not to trust someone, or you’ll end up finding reasons, whether they are real or not. If someone is untrustworthy, the reasons will come to you.

All the while, Joe remained locked in his corner, smiling knowingly. I left the cabin.

HT asked me to bring Rick into my safe place, and so he appeared.

“Can you forgive him?”

Oh, hell no.

“This is just his weak, confused physical self. That is not all of him though. He has a higher self that is beyond this weak, hurting version, just like you have yours. Can you forgive his higher self?”

Not at all.

“What would you like to say to him?”

Words won’t do anything.

“Can’t you see that even though he caused you such pain, you’ve also learned and grew so much because of what he did? In a way, you should be thanking him.”

Oh, really? You know what, I’d like to return the favour then. I want to give him a lesson to help him grow. A real good, painful lesson.

“Do what you need to do.”

I threw a wild haymaker that connected with his jaw. He dropped like a sack of bricks. As he lay there snoring, I thought, how anticlimactic.

“Now, put him in a box and send him out of your safe place.”

Next, HT had me go to the tree of wisdom, I began to feel so silly and petty for what I had done. She had me repeat some phrases about healing and forgiveness and that was the end of my hypnosis session.

I told HT I felt stupid and like I was wasting my time with revenge fantasies. She told me that I shouldn’t feel stupid and that revenge fantasies are a way to cope with anger. Then I told her that there are things I haven’t told anyone yet that are probably related to my trust issues. She said we can explore those next time.

Can I trust her enough to share my biggest secrets? The things I never spoken of or written of? What will she think?

I’m thinking about one of the images that kept floating in front of me and how close I came to telling her about it. I don’t know if I’m going to end up telling her or not.

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