What Women Grieve, Part II

In part one of What Women Grieve, I covered how painful a reminder a wedding ring can be in betrayal trauma. This post delves into the other painful reminder: photographs. A partner who has experienced betrayal (and this can still occur if the discovery wasn’t recent but is more common within the year of discovery) is going through her life and cataloging all the happy occasions. Some questions she might ask herself: Was he watching pornography when I was pregnant? Was he chatting with women online during that anniversary vacation when I thought we were really happy? Was he lying to me when we wrote that family Christmas letter together? Who is he really? What is this life I thought we created? Was any of it real?

Photographs are tangible evidence of those memories. She will inspect each photo carefully wondering if any of it was authentic. Life and her version of events take on new meaning when seen through her pain and trauma. If you find that photographs are really triggering you, I recommend you take them down and put them a safe place for a short while. Your young children might question this behavior and it is acceptable to tell them you are thinking of getting new frames or another appropriate explanation that will not cause them immediate alarm. Reassure their worried hearts because sometimes children interpret marital strife as their fault. Older children or teens will require more truthful communication but understanding that putting photographs away is the best bet for you mentally is in order.

There will come a day when you can look at those photographs again. With time and with better understanding of the betrayal, they will take on a new meaning but will not be triggering. You will be better able to put your situation in perspective when you look at them again. Hopefully you will create new memories and you will hang those up with the old ones. The pictorial timeline of your marriage and family will make sense and not hurt you so much in time. If you have experienced this in your life, please feel free to comment. I would love to know more.

Interested in counseling? Click here to contact Mending Hearts Counseling.

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