Saturday, April 23, 2016

"First, Be Good to Yourself" is wise advice especially when surviving "the police knock on the door"...Especially when Forgiving "him" is probably the last thing you had in mind! (from the Greater Good Science news letter/ website)

How Mindfulness Can Help Us Forgive Betrayal

By Kirra Dickinson  
According to a new study, mindful people are more likely to overcome the emotional turmoil and pain of infidelity.
Is it possible to forgive infidelity and to overcome the emotional pain of betrayal?

It is, suggests a new study published in the journal Mindfulnessif you can feel some compassion for yourself.
The study—the first to examine the relationship between mindfulness and forgiveness of infidelity—surveyed 94 adults who had been cheated on by a partner. They reported on their levels of forgiveness, which involves feeling in control of their emotions, having a balanced view of the relationship (rather than vilifying their partner as wholly evil), and being ready to let go of anger and put the affair behind them. They also reported on their levels of unforgiveness—a separate measure that involves withdrawing from their partner, experiencing emotional upheaval, and desiring revenge.
By this definition, forgiveness is something we do for ourselves, to reduce our suffering; it doesn’t mean we condone the affair or even reconcile with the offender. In fact, over half of the participants in the study were no longer in a relationship with the cheating partner.
Ultimately, the study’s findings suggest that people who are more mindful tend to be more forgiving and less unforgiving—for certain aspects of mindfulness. In this study, mindfulness was broken down into five separate abilities:
  • Observing your experience: your thoughts, feelings, sensations, and perceptions.
  • Being able to describe that experience.
  • Acting with awareness—deliberately and thoughtfully, rather than on autopilot.
  • Being nonjudgmental of your experience.
  • Being nonreactive to your experience, able to withhold immediate reactions (like lashing out).
Partners who had a greater ability to act with awareness—to be deliberate and thoughtful—were less likely to be stuck in a state of resentment. It was also important to withhold immediate reactions and to be nonjudgmental of yourself. In these ways, mindful victims of infidelity seemed to avoid getting consumed by negative emotions.
These results held even when controlling for factors that are known to influence forgiveness, including how severe the betrayal was, whether the partner was remorseful, and whether the victim was prone to empathy or anger.

So if mindfulness goes along with forgiveness, what might be the mechanism behind this link?
According to the researchers, self-compassion may play a significant role. Mindfulness is one of thethree aspects of self-compassion, which involves being kind to ourselves and feeling connected to others in the face of painful experiences. Those who practice self-compassion may ruminate less, experience less resentment, and exhibit higher emotional resilience. Although this study didn’t measure self-compassion, it’s possible that self-compassion was the path away from unforgiveness for these participants.
“Individuals higher in [self-compassion skills] may be willing to accept the turmoil and discomfort they are feeling without overidentification with these states and feel compassion for themselves going through this experience,” the researchers explain.
So how might we cultivate mindfulness when faced with infidelity? Here are several tips to keep in mind when attempting to forgive:
  • Allow yourself to feel any negative emotions that come up. Instead of fighting them, simply observe and sit with them. Understand that your negative emotions are not primarily coming from the event itself, but from the hurt feelings, thoughts, and physical upset that you are experiencing now.
  • Alleviate your physical symptoms by practicing stress management to soothe your body’s fight-or-flight response. Consider taking a deep breath, or taking a walk.
  • Make the decision to forgive, not only toward your partner, but importantly for yourself (if you feel this is relevant).
  • View the situation from a different perspective and, slowly and in time, practice compassion towards your partner. Keep in mind that they could have been acting out from a similar place of pain and suffering. See him or her as vulnerable and human.
(These tips are adapted from two longer forgiveness practice, Nine Steps to Forgiveness and Eight Essentials When Forgiving.)
Ultimately, this study unearths some of the complexities surrounding how we view and manage our negative emotions. If mindfulness truly can help us cope with the great emotional pain of infidelity, it must be a powerful skill, indeed.
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Sunday, April 17, 2016

We tell ourselves and say to all the other anonymous women just like us, "We will get through this.We will."

Someday. We will even stop reliving that day, will stop hearing the police knock at our door. The barked orders. Stop remembering the day he called from the jail.  Even our  nightmares of that terrifying time will fade. Our kids will stop asking, where is he? There will be entire mornings when we will forget we were ever betrayed.

We will become brave and dare speak our secrets, We will find comfort in hearing the stories told by the wives of other sex offenders. How they got through it. Are managing to get through "it."  And we will suddenly know that we too are women who will also get through this. But maybe we are still women who for now also sign ourselves Anonymous when we tell our stories, when we like they also still sign our comments, Anonymous.

With 750,000 names on the National Sex Offender Registry there have got to be lots of us hiding somewhere. Reaching out in the dark. Finding each other amid the chaos of our lives.. Even a state like Nevada has 19000 sex offenders. The presence of so many Offenders server as  markers attesting to the existence of thousands of anonymous women and children...each holding tight to the self same secrets..lives torn apart but lately being pieced back together. Rising again from the ravages left in our lives by sexual obsessions  acted out upon the lives of our children.

The after effects  of  pornography, child sexual abuse, pedophilia, even rape. Each offense far more than it's mere legal definition. And all the women betrayed?  Where should they find us? Perhaps standing isolated and anonymous, unknown but next to each other in some long line or other?   In a check out line at the grocery store? Perhaps clutching or food stamps? In line looking for work? Registering the sex offender's children for school? Looking for a day care provider we can trust when we no longer trust anyone? Trying to keep a broken family together, deciding whether to stay or go, but if so where? Anonymously we come and go. Pass one another. Unknowing. Unless we see someone familiar standing, waiting once more in visiting.  As we are.

Perhaps we chose to Google our own address and find other families of other offenders living somehow close by. Curious, we might drive by.Take a look.  Only to see another anonymous woman, Alone, with a face much like our own, looking as though betrayal had made secret sisters of us all. Our sister standing there on her anonymous doorstep,

Just another women who secretly signs herself Anonymous late at night when her kids are finally put to bed. On the internet where she too is free to seek the kindness of other Anonymous women like hersllf somehow betrayed by their own once trusted sex offender..

We might see  a woman much like us, now isolated by secrets, up into the night searching for internet sites looking to find internet places where we may gather to hear each others stories, feel each others anger, staunch each others pain until some night each of us realizes its our pain falling down out of every story, our tears on the keyboard. And we realize we are no alone. ,

And at that moment we know that we will get through this in the company of so many.

Just women reaching out to each other. Late at night.Joining hands with each other because we understand ...