*Not their real name
Patricia* come home early one day and was shocked to find that her husband, Larry*, cheating on her with their helper. She feels betrayed, angry, and confused. She fired the helper and the couple began couple therapy.
*Not their real name
In a relationship, couples weather many problems and issues. For couples where 1 partner is struggling with some mental health issues (e.g., depression, anxiety, Asperger, ADHD, OCD, etc.), they experience additional stressors which other couples do not have to undergo. Many of them, however, do not have awareness about these unique stressors. Instead, blame would often be attributed to the affected partner personally, i.e., being uncaring, selfish, unkind, or even abusive.
“For better or worse, through sickness and in health, till death do us part.” Extra-marital affair, without a doubt, would be categorized under the “worse” part in the marital vow. Its damaging effects are due to the fact that it shakes the very foundations of the relationship: Trust and Commitment. The discovery of an affair in a marriage often leads to a crisis full of emotional struggles for all parties involved. Eventually, should a couple decide to continue their marriage, some of the questions that would surface are “Where do we go from here?”, “Will things ever get back to normal?”, etc.
Whether a marriage would survive an affair is dependent on the strength of the couple’s emotional bond, as well as the efforts both put in the recovery process. The tasks facing the couple are two: rebuilding the marriage and personal healing. Here are some tips on rebuilding a marriage after an affair:
Often we seem to be trapped in the repeated cycle of doing unhealthy pattern of behaviours, over and over again, despite the pain and suffering we go through. Sometimes we might even have the insights that these behaviours came from unresolved issues from our past and yet felt helpless in changing them. Here's a poem for us to reflect upon.
As therapists in our work with clients, if we are doing real therapy instead of managing a current crisis, we would often uncover stories of pain, suffering and trauma. It never ceases to amaze us the strength of the human spirit in overcoming such adversity and part of our joy in our work is to be witness and part of the process of bringing to blossom this strength within a person.
One trauma that is usually a deep secret that is rarely told until the process of therapy is that of sexual abuse. Survivors of sexual abuse often carry a lot of shame which should not be theirs, but nonetheless became deeply embedded within them. Dealing with shame and absolving them of blame are important steps they need to take to transform from survivor to victor. So how can you do that?
Ms Ho Shee Wai