Surviving an affair

Surviving an affair

By Herbert Mtowo

Introduction

Many a times people ask, whether they are married or going through courtship, they ask now and then,” How do you help people to survive an affair, “Tell me what would you really tell a couple when this actually happens to them? I am often asked this so many times in my travels and conversations with many people, black or white rich or poor. We all at one time or the other face infidelity issues of our partners, talk me good people what are your reactions and how do you handle such sensitive relationship matters?

Both men and women have different reactions to these issues, some they go nuts, to even want to kill their partner or the one they were cheating with. With men this might be very difficult to take, some may never recover and others may hurt for a very long time. Others can even begin to abuse drugs, alcohol ,withdrawn from any social activities. With women the reactions vary too, cause of how they are wired, but most women recover early from infidelity than me, not that they would not have been hurt by the cheating of their partners. But it is common knowledge that both male and female experience the same betrayal, and both feel rejected and mistreated. I am going though to dwell not on the reactions or other matters, but mainly on survival skills during this period, and how your relationship can forge ahead despite cheating. What has made infidelity such a thorn issue now is the dreaded HIV/AIDS, so we need to look at it and deal with it, amicably.

It is important to take note that people who are caught in the web of an affair need tender loving care especially the betrayed spouse. At the same time, if you discover that your spouse in an affair, do not resort to hand wringing or hysterics. If you want to save your marriage and relationship it is time to act and act decisively. The first question that you must ask yourself and be able to answer is this one:

Do you want to survive?

Be able to ask yourself if you truly want to survive the storm. Most possibly your marriage/relationship has been in serious trouble for a long time, whether or not you realized it or not. The truth is one of you or both of you had unmet basic needs, which gave the affair a chance to develop. They vary from sexual needs, financial needs, lack of affection etc you name it. Most pf the time the wronged person will be tempted to point an accusing finger and almost always prematurely and foolishly, simply wants to call the marriage/relationship quits. Are you aware that affairs start mainly because the Love bank accounts have slowly and gradually emptied without somebody checking on the love deposits. Difficult to comprehend as it seems but that’s the reality, the victim of an affair often has to ask these questions: 1. How did my account get so low in my spouse’s investment account bank? 2.What are the needs that was failing to meet ?

Don’t put up with affairs.

A lot of religious people tend to spiritualize affairs and most people feel trapped in such set ups. Affairs must be cut in our relationships, it takes you and you alone to cut affairs. You may have failed to meet certain needs for your spouse, but that doesn’t mean he (or she) is not also to blame or responsible for the extremely destructive behavior. Marriage is an exclusive relationship in which two become one and should stay one and three is a definitely a crowd.

The challenge is with most women, whereby they decide to put up with their husband’s affair, in order to stay married. I don’t buy into this theory at all, infact I am one who strongly believes love must be tough. Those who have strong religious convictions tell me; “My church doesn’t allow divorce “ “God wants us to stay married !”Yes the bible clearly teaches against divorce, I agree .I do sympathize with these view points, because they are similar to my own values and convictions. But at the same time people must understand that once an affair has begun, the marriage or relationship has already been breached. The truth is hat God had joined together some man or woman has put asunder. Yes it can be healed and restored but one must be prepared to take definitive action. I encourage and urge women a lot to take a very hard, independent line and be willing to separate from their partners temporarily until they can solve this matter and put their house in order. I tend to think most women are too soft to their partners that’s why affairs will always be tolerated. Women must be able to make it very clear to the straying partner that they will not put up with this lifestyle. Love me faithfully or go after your mistress, men must be told you cant get away with affairs. Most men don’t want to hear this, but believe you me it works.

Know what to expect in affairs.

Am sure we all know that most affairs do not lead to divorcé, they lead to reconciliation. But during the months or years that lead from an affair to reconciliation, the whole process can inflict almost unbearable pain to you. If you do prepare for what is to come you will not only suffer less, but your relationship/marriage has the chance to survive too. Sounds confusing to say this but this is the truth, the best ways to prepare yourself is to know what to expect. There are common threads in affairs, on of them is the spouse’s resistance to give up the lover. Most affairs are addictions, so one must stay from the addiction if they want to control the addictive behavior. The best way to become disentangled in an affair is to avoid all contacts with his/her lover/That’s were most struggle here, to cut ties with their lovers. Time and again, people in affairs fail to make drastic and decisive breaks with their lovers. They can go on the wagon for a while, but they inevitably they find their way back to their lover’s arms. The permanent effect of an affair cannot be ignored. The cheating spouse rarely falls out of love with the ex lover. The feelings may lie dormant, but ready to snap back as soon as they are reacquainted. The investment love account for the ex lover remains very high and vibrant because few opportunities for balance withdrawals exist. It must e noted in relationships that only unpleasant or painful experiences can withdraw love units, and most of the times it’s a proven fact that when a lover is in competition with a spouse, unpleasant experiences are deliberately avoided.

Be advised that the lover will simply never be able to take the place of a spouse, but the spouse can always take the place of the lover. Hope you remember the 80-20 principle from the movie, “Why did I get married, by Tyler Perry.?” Take time to watch the follow up version “Why did I get married too.” Profound truths in these to those I relationships .Don’t lose the 80 % you have for the 20 %,it’s a regrettable swap.

Life With an Abuser

Life with an Abuser (Batterers)

I hope these articles on abusers/batterers will be of help to many women. There is no need to endure the pain, shame, and all that one has to go through y putting up with an abuser. Women are never meant to be abused but loved, that includes men and children they are all meant to be loved and appreciated than abused. The effects and impact of abuse on an individually can be so damaging that it may take a lifetime to recover from it. With a lot of reference from Bancroft, a renowned mental health professional expert, read through and get some insight and help and have your attitude changed towards abuse. Relational Abuse is taking place in almost every country and continent on planet earth, in all races black and white and cultures and tribes all over the world. You and me can play a part in reducing the continuity of this evil in relationships, homes and marriages.

Most men need to go through anger management classes, or therapy as well as some women need to be healed, the challenge is not too big to be dealt with. To men I say we cant love and hate at the same time, we cant be kind and violent at the same time, we have to deal with our inside evils and pain to be able to love freely and wholeheartedly.

So many experts write on this subject the world over, but we seem to having more and more victims of abuse in our time than any other time in the history of mankind. Bancroft, like numerous other mental health professionals, fails to identify pathological narcissism when confronted with it. Astonishingly – and tellingly – the word "narcissism" is not mentioned even once in a very long text on abuse.

"Although a percentage of batterers have psychological problems, the majority do not. They are often thought to have low self-esteem, high insecurity, dependent personalities, or other results from childhood wounds, but in fact batterers are a cross-section of the population with respect to their emotional make-up."

PROFILE of the TYPICAL ABUSER

"The batterer is controlling; he insists on having the last word in arguments and decision-making, he may control how the family’s money is spent, and he may make rules for the victim about her movements and personal contacts, such as forbidding her to use the telephone or to see certain friends. He is manipulative; he misleads people inside and outside of the family about his abusiveness, he twists arguments around to make other people feel at fault, and he turns into a sweet, sensitive person for extended periods of time when he feels that it is in his best interest to do so. His public image usually contrasts sharply with the private reality.

He is entitled; he considers himself to have special rights and privileges not applicable to other family members. He believes that his needs should be at the center of the family’s agenda, and that everyone should focus on keeping him happy. He typically believes that it is his sole prerogative to determine when and how sexual relations will take place, and denies his partner the right to refuse (or to initiate) sex. He usually believes that housework and childcare should be done for him, and that any contributions he makes to those efforts should earn him special appreciation and deference. He is highly demanding. He is disrespectful; he considers his partner less competent, sensitive, and intelligent than he is, often treating her as though she were an inanimate object. He communicates his sense of superiority around the house in various ways.

The unifying principle is his attitude of ownership. The batterer believes that once you are in a committed relationship with him, you belong to him. This possessiveness in batterers is the reason why killings of battered women so commonly happen when victims are attempting to leave the relationship; a batterer does not believe that his partner has the right to end a relationship until he is ready to end it. Because of the distorted perceptions that the abuser has of rights and responsibilities in relationships, he considers himself to be the victim. Acts of self-defense on the part of the battered woman or the children, or efforts they make to stand up for their rights, he defines as aggression against him. He is often highly skilled at twisting his descriptions of events to create the convincing impression that he has been victimized. He thus accumulates grievances over the course of the relationship to the same extent that the victim does, which can lead professionals to decide that the members of the couple "abuse each other" and that the relationship has been ‘mutually hurtful."

CONTROL is the root cause of violence..

Control is the root cause of violence, those who violently behave and cause harm and injustice, first control their victims before they can abuse them. You cant put up with a control freak forever, God never intended any human being to control others. Not that violence is not bad, it sure is, but we must be able to deal with the root cause which is control, before we can be able to deal with violence properly.

"A significant proportion of batterers required to attend counseling because of a criminal conviction have been violent only one to five times in the history of their relationship, even by the victim’s account. Nonetheless, the victims in these cases report that the violence has had serious effects on them and on their children, and that the accompanying pattern of controlling and disrespectful behaviors are serving to deny the rights of family members and are causing trauma.

Thus the nature of the pattern of cruelty, intimidation, and manipulation is the crucial factor in evaluating the level of abuse, not just the intensity and frequency of physical violence. In my decade of working with abusers, involving over a thousand cases, I have almost never encountered a client whose violence was not accompanied by a pattern of psychological abusiveness." "An abuser’s desire for control often intensifies as he senses the relationship slipping away from him. He tends to focus on the debt he feels his victim owes him, and his outrage at her growing independence."

RIGHT vs. NEED

"Most batterers do not have an inordinate need for control, but rather feel an inordinate right to control under family and partnership circumstances."

But the distinction Bancroft makes between "need" and "right" is spurious. If you think that you have the right to something, you concomitantly feel the need to have your right asserted, accepted, and enforced. If someone violates your rights, you get frustrated and angry because your need to have your rights respected and enforced hasn’t been met.

I also strongly disagree with Bancroft – as does a huge volume of research – that control freakily can be limited to home. A control freak is a control freak everywhere! Control freakily, though, manifests in a myriad ways. Obsessing, acting compulsively, and being overly inquisitive, for instance, are all forms of exerting control. We have control freaks at work, in the church wherever there are people control freaks will always want to dominate. Sometimes controlling behavior is very difficult to identify: a smothering or dotting mother, a "friend" who keeps "guiding" you, a neighbor who compulsively takes out your garbage … This is exactly what stalkers do. They cannot get someone to commit to a relationship (real or delusional). They then proceed to "control" the unwilling partner by harassing, threatening and invading his or her life. From the outside, it is often impossible to identify many of these behaviors as abusive control..

NURTURE vs. CULTURE

Bancroft observes that "…battering behavior is mostly driven by culture rather than by individual psychology." Though I strongly believe that both culture, society and psychology play an important part to abuse/violence against women, children and men or workmates. "The abuser may be functional or dysfunctional, a pillar of society, or a peripatetic con-artist, rich or poor, young or old. There is no universally-applicable profile of the "typical abuser". "Abuse and violence cross geographical and cultural boundaries and social and economic strata. It is common among the rich and the poor, the well-educated and the less so, the young and the middle-aged, city dwellers and rural folk. It is a universal phenomenon."

Still, it is wrong to attribute abusive behavior exclusively to one set of parameters (psychology), or to another (culture-society). The mixture does it. Lundy Bancroft on batterers, David Hare on the subject of psychopath (and, modesty notwithstanding, others on pathological narcissism) represent a breed of mavericks, rejected by the "experts" and "professionals" in their fields. But they are both, to my mind, authorities. Their experience is invaluable. Whether they are good at constructing theories and generalizing their experience is a different matter altogether. Their contribution is mainly phenomenological, not theoretical. There has never been anytime that you and me can stand up against abuse, gender based violence, domestic abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse than now. We must stand up, speak against these and other evils on abuse that can negatively shape future generations. The need to respect human life is never debatable. Read 1 Corinthians 13,and understand what Love is.