How I Managed to Restore Trust in Myself

restore trust in myself

Moving on to healing, trust and recovery was at a standstill until I could first restore trust in myself.

This is the second part of a two-part series on trusting yourself after an affair.  You can read the first part by clicking here.

In part one I gave you five steps that could help you to restore trust in yourself after an affair.  In my own situation I performed the steps, though I certainly had my own way about doing it. In other words, the principles were basically the same, but my method may have been somewhat different.

At first I didn’t  think I needed to restore trust in myself because I really didn’t  even realize that I had lost trust in myself in the first place.  I just knew I had this feeling of floating up in the air and not knowing what to do or where to go. I didn’t put a label on it at the time but I soon began to understand what those feelings were all about.

How I Really Was Able to Restore Trust in Myself

One of the first things I did was to start a journal. In this journal I wrote all of my thoughts, emotions and feelings, amongst other things.  One thing I did in my journal was write down positive reminders about myself. Things like, “I’m a great mother. I’m educated. I have a good job. I’m honest and hard working. I’m loveable.” This list served to remind me of my purpose and who I really was. I would encourage you to do the same.

I started doing the things that I used to do. One of the most important things that I did was to just start going back into my routine of my life before I found out about the emotional affair. For a long time I questioned things like…Did I spend too much time on my job? Did I spend too much time cleaning the house or with the kids? What did I do wrong? So I stopped doing so many of the things that were part of our life beforehand and that were part of me.

I think the most important thing I did was I started where I felt the most confidence, and that was going back and focusing on my job.  Basically, that helped me to get back some of my self-confidence.  My self-confidence and just putting in the routine – figuring out that it was okay to do that. I gave myself permission, and then I realized Doug was still here and we’re still doing okay. It gave me the security to then move on to other areas that I had questioned beforehand.

I started thinking about our life and thinking about the good memories. So many times we would have a great weekend and afterwards, I would just lose it. I would feel so insecure.  The great weekends were almost like déjà vu to me. Those great weekends were just like the weekends that we had experienced before the affair. We did similar things and we had similar interactions. And that scared me, because I thought if it wasn’t okay then, why is it okay now? Is it okay to act that way or feel that way?

I needed to become comfortable knowing that how we were before the affair was okay. We had good times. The majority of our life together was very intimate, and we communicated and we were best friends. I brought that confidence back.  I celebrated the times that we were having at the time, but also celebrating the times that we had in the past and we talked about them. “We used to do this and that was fun.”

On D-day, as the cheater rewrites history, they can’t remember many good times about their marriage and about their spouse. It helped to remember and celebrate these good times.  When I asked Doug about our past history while he was in his affair fog, he really couldn’t remember many things that were great about us. I know I spent a lot of time trying to remind him of those things which really didn’t have much of an effect on him.  I hoped as the fog lifted and we started doing things together that he would remember, “Oh yeah, we used to do that.” That also helped Doug to remember our history.

In my own mind, I was separating fact from fiction and then justifying to myself that was okay, there was nothing wrong with that. That was good.

I trusted my gut. I had lost trust in my instincts and my gut. Once you start getting a little confidence in yourself and in your relationship with your spouse, then you start listening more to your gut because at times nothing makes sense at all. So you have to start thinking, “It doesn’t make sense because it’s not right; it’s not true.” So you have to have the competence to trust what you’re thinking is correct.

Honestly, I trusted in my gut from the very beginning. But during that time, Doug was lying to me, which was really a trust issue. I trusted in my gut, but I was trying to believe what he was telling me at the same time, so then I stopped trusting my gut.

This is the bind that a lot of spouses find themselves in, because your gut will tell you one thing, the spouse says something that doesn’t line up with it and then you end up believing your spouse rather than believing your gut.

But you’re afraid to trust your gut. You want to believe the spouse because if you trust your gut, there are so many implications. You’re in a bind that way, too.

In the beginning, my gut was almost like having an angel on my shoulder steering me through everything. I would have a feeling that this is what happened that day and I would be right. For months, my gut was like my sixth sense; almost like I had ESP or something.  I think it was probably scaring Doug how much I was really understanding and knowing as the affair was going on because I was so in tune to what was happening, which made him want to lie even more to cover it up.

This is the reason why some cheaters try to find a way to get their spouse to ignore or silence the gut, because so many times the gut gives them away – or makes the betrayed think they’re going crazy!

I started doing things for myself that helped me gain confidence. I took an exercise class. I spent time with friends; someone who could be around people who could put me in my place and say, “You are a good wife. You are a good mother.” Things like that helped reassure me of who I was before all this happened.

Spending time with friends was helpful as it gave me a comfortable place and I was confident around them. As I said earlier, a routine and a sense of security is important.

I think anything that gave me a sense of safety helped, because I lost all my security as a result of the affair. I didn’t have that at home. Other things on the outside that gave me a sense of being safe really helped.

I educated myself. I also feel that the immense amount of time spent researching affairs and reading about them gave me a sense of control and a sense of power. When I read all of the books, they confirmed in my own mind that I was okay. That my gut was right.  However, I think that I focused too much on all the resources,  research and reading. I should have spent more time doing some things for myself.

I would go through a book a day. I spent every minute that I had reading books on affairs. I would be in the car stopped at a red light reading. I would spend my free time scouring the library and the bookstores. It consumed my life trying to gain as much knowledge as I could.

I highly recommend reading books and websites, but you need to limit how much you do.  Like anything else. Too much of a good thing cannot be good. You’ve just got to temper it and focus on maybe just a few authors and a few of their techniques and not try to read 40 different books every week.

I was trying to find the answer. I kept thinking, “This book is going to be it. This is going to give me everything… I’m going to understand everything now.” I’ll clue you in: you will never understand, so stop searching.

We began to really talk. One last very important thing that helped was that when Doug started coming back, we increased our level of communication. We would talk about things that I was insecure about, “I’m worried. Should I clean the house; shouldn’t I?”  Doug would reassure me things were okay and that I didn’t need to worry about those things. Simply communicating my fears and discussing them with Doug helped to bring my self-confidence back.

That’s pretty much how I was able to restore trust in myself after Doug’s emotional affair.  Hopefully, you can see that there are elements of each of the previously mentioned 5 steps (from part one) there.  I found the friend who built me up.  I started exercising again.  I surrounded myself with encouraging people as opposed to fearful people. I started telling myself the truth about a lot of things by reading all the material I could on affairs. And I gave myself the time I needed to make it happen.

I hope that this 2-part post can help you determine whether or not you suffer from lost trust in yourself and provides you with some actionable steps to help get that trust back.  Please leave your comments about your experiences with lost trust in yourself and (hopefully) how you have had success in regaining it.

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Journey to Trust
Rebuilding Trust after an Affair

Discover that trusting again is indeed possible and is a natural process, if you both are committed to putting forth the effort that is necessary.

Follow our own journey to trust and the exact steps and experiences along the way.

 

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12 Responses to How I Managed to Restore Trust in Myself

  1. Natalia July 2, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

    In the 2 years after D-day I have done pretty much all that you have stated above. I feel I’m in a better place with my husband. We have talked and continue talking today about the emotional affairs he had. He realizes how much damage he did and how stupid he was. Every day he tries to do something to show me how important I am to him. I appreciate all his demonstrations and I tell him so. This gives him encouragement. It’s been a long road with its ups and downs but my motivation is within myself. I worked very hard in this marriage to let some stupid emotional affair destroy it. The fact that he acknowledged my suspicions when I confronted him on D-day told me that half the battle was won. About a year after D-day I started a journal. It is the story of what happened to US from my point of view. After I wrote down the whole story (on my laptop) along with quotes from books on EAs and webstites related to EAs I decided to create a collage journal. I glued my story and illustrated it pictures that explained my feelings when my words were not enough. I also included emails he exchanged with several women which show how far aways he had gotten from me and our marriage. I even included pictures of these women. He knows how much pain he caused me and is very remorseful and says he understands my pain. I’m not so sure. He can feel remorse but not MY pain. He knows I’ve witten a journal, a story of us. When I’m done preparing it I’ve told him I will give it to him to read. When he’s done it will be destroyed. That day I will rid myself of my pain and never look back. I will never be the same person I was before the EA but I know I am and will be a better person to my self. When I look at my work in progress I imagine him reading it. I don’t know how he will feel but that’s not the objective of this journal. I want him to see through my eyes what I saw when I discovered what he was doing. There are some things he doesn’t know I discovered much later. I’ve included that also. Perhaps in a way I want him to see that I am not as blind or as naive as he thought I was. I will never let my guard down again.

  2. livingonafence July 3, 2012 at 6:20 am #

    I can relate to reading everything and anything related to affairs. I couldn’t get enough. At first it validated that I wasn’t insane and that my reactions were normal. The book “After the Affair” was like shining a very bright light in a very dark room. I read the section on the typcial reaction to an affair about 30 times, daily. SOMEONE UNDERSTOOD!!

    After I accepted that my not eating, sleeping, staring into space, obsessing on everything was normal, I kept reading. I told myself it was to understand why he did it, but in hinndsight I was hoping to find a magic paragraph that would make all of this make sense. I really struggled with the reason why, which was there wasn’t a reason. The A meant nothing to him, it was all fantasy, he wasn’t carrying a deep love for her throughout our marriage, all of it. I couldn’t accept that he crushed me for nothing. Did I mean that little?

    thankfully, I tired of reading about affairs obsessively, but I can very easily relate. And you are correct – you will never understand. Yes, we understand the reasons why they cheated. What we will never understand is how they could have done such a thing. How did they not care? How did they have no problem lying to us? How did they find any joy in being sexual (be it mental or physical) with someone else? How was all of it possible with them, let alone enjoyable?

    This is where we all break off. We find a way to cope with the fact that, although we don’t understand how they did it, we know that they did it. We know we stopped being their companion, best friend, the love of their life, and became an obstacle to their happiness, be it real or imaginary. We have to accept that we didn’t matter.

    Any posts on that?

  3. tsd July 3, 2012 at 7:01 am #

    This is a tough one for me…I’ve been thru all the stages and this is where I’m stuck. Just when I think I’m about to get out of my funk, another obstacle hits me. My latest is the facebook issue that I just posted. The affair is not troubling me, it’s the attempts to repair marriage. I have realized the ea has made me expect more from my husband, and my expectations now were much higher than before his affair. He has made me feel like dirt, so I want more from him but he is not giving it. I still don’t trust him because he promised to change and make marriage priority and he hasn’t. I now have lowered my expectations and have lessened my control because I am not sure anyone could rise to the level I envision. I deserve better than he is giving me but I gave up thinking he can do it all…and my way…

    So I am now focusing on the small gestures he is doing. SMALL and infrequent but he is beginning to start making the marriage a priority. I need to remember to compliment the good so I get more rather than bitch at the bad, which I am the queen of doing!!!! So hopefully these small moves can add up and I can trust him. I trust myself…oh yeah, I trust that I can be fine without him should he choose to be a numbnut again. I trust that I did nothing wrong, I trust that I am working on myself confidence again, I trust that I am a good mother that shows her children “monkey see, monkey do”, and they learn by my good examples, I trust that my journal(if husband ever read would cry like a baby seeing my pain) shows how I went thru each stage ON MY OWN without him helping me at all so I really am strong, I trust that My reading and education into affairs has given me a wealth of knowledge that husband has no clue about, I trust my gut…oh yeah, this is a biggie…and I’ve been teaching this to my kids for years….your gut knows!!!! Believe, hear, respond….thanks for this post Doug and Linda

    • WriterWife July 3, 2012 at 7:39 pm #

      tsd wrote, “I have realized the ea has made me expect more from my husband, and my expectations now were much higher than before his affair.”

      I couldn’t agree more! At this point in the recovery of our marriage I’ve found that I want my husband to make the big gesture. To make up for what he’s done. I don’t feel like it’s enough to go back to the way we were before (which, to be fair, we’re in a better place than before but I feel like we’ve gone back to interacting the same as before). I want him to make a bigger effort for a while — I want him to act like he has to fight to keep me.

      And the thing is, he has been fighting in that he’s been going to MC, he’s been working hard, etc. And, like tsd, I do want to acknowledge those efforts and I am happy about them.

      But I still want him to have that moment of saying, “I made a huge gesture that could have ended my marriage by having an EA, I have to make an equally huge gesture to prove to her how much I love her, how special she is, and what I’ll do to keep her.”

      • Teresa July 4, 2012 at 12:57 am #

        Writer wife and TSD….it took my H about 15 months to start showing signs that he FINALLY understood how much this has effected me! At 16 months, when I told him I didn’t think we’d make it 5 years down the road, is when he finally agreed to start counseling.
        EA recovery is a long, painful process….and when your spouse drags their feet at helping you heal from THEIR betrayal…it makes it even more difficult!
        My hope is that all CS will wake up and see that they can’t just brush this aside and make it go away!!

  4. tryingtoowife July 3, 2012 at 8:05 am #

    I also did all this things myself! After being completely crushed emotionally and physically after being “informed” of his affair, and specially after the initials, Why? and How could you? I cannot understand it! – I read many books on adultery I found, or was mentioned in this site. In therapy I relieved some of the burden I carried around and could not share with anyone. We started therapy as a couple and we talked a lot about his affair and the reasons he “thought” he had.
    At about after 4 to 5 months after DDay, I begin an intense reinventing myself and with my husband reinventing US, and changing the direction of our relationship. It was like a “spring cleaning” of what we used to be. I made important decisions about my work life, changed offices, followed, immersed, study about some interests to keep my mind busy and sane, got rid of photos displayed around the house, threw away things that were triggers, started spending money and time on myself. I did for myself more in 1 year than I had done in 18 years of marriage.

    I started pushing/sharing housework, ironing, cooking and taking care of our children to my husband. Became less available physically and more emotionally. I did everything in one breath, because I needed moving action, although many times I felt completely stuck, I also felt like my life, our marriage, depended on these changes down to a tee.
    Than, slowly it downed on me, as months passed, that, this process is long, very long, it is tiring, and it will always be part of our lives. The things I can not understand, like: Why did I deserve it? And how could you be intimate with someone else? and lied to me, day in day out for months? There are really no answers that would make sense. It is a case of acceptance and hoping the inward questioning dye. Because the truth is, he changed his mind! About our marriage and me, and he wanted it, and he did it. Selfishness is blinding!
    Although we are now settled in rebuilding, sadness is part of my life. I accept it, even though we have many happy moments and we are good together, we enjoy each others company. But we lost the things that we had and made our relationship special, now is bloody hard work! I did not feel like that before, but then I was naive!

    I am changed. I still don’t trust myself entirely, but I am learning daily in over 2 years of recovering!

  5. AngelWings July 3, 2012 at 3:42 pm #

    Wow I’m a year out from Dday and I can see now that I still don’t fully trust myself or my H. As much as I have tried to regain my self confidence, I can see now that I am a long way from it. I’m in a place where I feel stuck from these last triggers and can’t seem to move on. I suppressed so much anger and sadness after Dday that it’s just now hitting me. I refused to let my H see how sad or hurt I really was and tried to work on the marriage that I did not allow myself to cry. I did become depressed and was on anti depressants for a few months. However, with these last triggers my depression is back full force. I can’t bring up the EA with my H because he gets defensive and we just don’t get anywhere. I don’t trust myself enough yet to let him “in”. I’ve built a wall and don’t know where to start to break it down. My H has done so much right, but he refuses to talk about the EA. Leaves me stuck. When I do text him something about the EA, he turns it around and pretty much says wants to know “what did I do now”. I feel like I’m the reason he thinks of her. I don’t know how to get over this stump I’m in. I used to be a very emotional person and cry over the smallest things but now I refuse to cry over anything least of all let him see me cry. We are getting ready to be empty nesters and I want to find a way to get passed all this so that we can enjoy our time together. How do I get him to see my pain and hurt without getting so defensive about it. I know he feels guilty but this is not about him its now about me for now. Gosh, it took years to get our relationship to where things were so good and now here I am again having to work on my self esteem again and his! How can I make him understand that I don’t want to leave, I truly do want to grow old with him. He feels like I’m going to leave him at some point especially when I bring up the EA. I too am changed. I just hope I can find myself again and trust myself again. I’m working on it slowly oh so very slowly.

  6. Better July 3, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

    Angelwings,

    I was reading your post and wondering if I had written it and not remembered. So many similarities to whats going on with me!
    I am 1yr from my H last contact.

    I started writing a response to you…but honestly…we are in exactly the same boat and I dont have an extra paddle…

    Everything you have described is like a reflection in the mirror for me. H not wanting to talk, feeling like you built a wall you cant take down, deep sadness that you cant share, defensive reactions to your questions or thoughts, H thinking your going to leave because you bring up the EA..etc….

    We will be empty nesters in 4 more years…young ones at that…I cant wait to spend those years with my H. But sometimes I feel like I will never be able to trust myself enough to let him completly in. Last week was a bad one for me. I could not stop the questions or insecurties in my mind. I became very scatter brained, so to speak…forgetting what people had told me right after they said it, forgetting what I was suppose to do that day, even forgetting what day it was..I was so overwhelmed with everything I was feeling and I had NO ONE to talk to. My H even comented to me that he had noticed I was (in his words..and I didnt like it either) scatter brained latley. I guess that could have been my opening for a conversation about what I was going thru…but honestly…Im scared to bring it up..I dont trust my feelings right now and I dont want to say the wrong thing and give him the wrong impression of how Im feeling.

    If I figure whatever “it” is out, you will be the first to know. Maybe one of our friends here will have some good advice 🙂

  7. angelwings July 3, 2012 at 5:38 pm #

    OMG Better! Your post brought tears to my eyes. It’s nice to know that someone else out there understands me. Besides my H only one other couple friend of ours know about his EA. So yes, I truly feel that I have NO ONE else to talk to also. So I’m thankful and grateful for sites like this one where I can come and relate to others and know that I really am not alone. I, too, don’t trust my feelings lately. The EA has taken over my thoughts once again. I NEED to talk to my H about this but don’t trust how things will turn out. We are both in our early 40s so we are young empty nesters. Adds to my depression honestly. I love my children and as much as I am proud of them for going to college and becoming independent adults, I miss them and our family being together all the time. Now not only do I need to find my own way again and rebuild my self esteem, I also need to work on reconnecting with my H. In all honestly, I love him, and like I said I want to grow old with him. I see myself with no one else but him. A positive in all this mess.

  8. last2know July 18, 2012 at 9:11 am #

    Hey Linda/Doug, it’s been a while huh? I am doing great (We) are doing great but it will be 3 years in September since my DD and for some reason this past week I was thinking that it was this time of the year that my H was having his EA and I was clueless. It just goes to show that the memories are deep within me and they still have the same effect so many years later. We still have to work hard at the communication piece and it has slacked, we have had two weddings (my step-daughter’s), a new grandbaby, and a high school graduation (our son) in the last year so we have been busy. Our “weekly talks” have gone by the wayside. But we both know we have to get back on the path. I have no reason to believe that there has been any communication. But you never know. He certainly is not acting like he did back then, he is very loving to me. And he knows that any contact that I ever become aware of is deal breaker for sure. I couldn’t ever go through that pain again. I miss you guys but I am so happy to see all of the resources that are available to the “new-bee’s” that weren’t readily available for us. None of us had anyone to turn to and EA’s were just becoming “popular” LOL!. I am very proud of you both. Talk about taking a traumatic event and making something positive…….it’s pretty awesome.

    • Doug July 18, 2012 at 8:26 pm #

      lasttoknow, it is great to hear from you, I am happy that everything is going good. I hope you don’t mind but I sent you an email so we could catch up. Linda

  9. Broken2 October 2, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

    I know thus is an older blog but I have been struggling with this lately…..trusting my gut or is it nothing. My husband has been fanastic to me. We have had wonderful weekends together and we get along great at night after he is home from work….we talk alot. Because I dont trust him I think every little thing means he is seeing her again. My latest is that recently like the last 3-4 months my husband has had a really hard time sleeping and wakes up sweating. I have been obsessing lately that he is kying to me and that is why he cant sleep? Am I crazy?

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