Most of us have been conditioned our entire lives with the messaging that we should just be happy and filled with pleasure at all times. When we don’t feel happy all the time, we avoid the negative emotion by buffering from what is actually real.
In this episode, you’ll learn the real reasons why you buffer, and what it is costing you. When we buffer, we give ourselves a false sense of safety and security, but we are missing the opportunity to understand why we are buffering in the first place. We miss what the uncomfortable emotion is that we are avoiding, and why it keeps showing up.
Learning to stop buffering is where life becomes really good. You stop needing false pleasure because you know how to create it with your mind. You aren’t afraid to feel any emotion. You stop hiding from yourself and start creating the life you actually want.
I’m Andrea Giles, and you’re listening to The Heal from Infidelity Podcast,
episode number 32, Buffering.
Hello, and welcome to The Heal from Infidelity Podcast where courageous
women learn not only to heal from their spouse’s betrayal, but to become
the boldest truest, most decisive and confident versions of themselves
ever. If you know there’s more freedom than the life you’re currently
living, but don’t quite know how to get there, you are in the right place.
Stick around to learn how to create a life that will knock your own socks
off. Is it possible? It is. And I’m here to show you how. I’m your host,
Andrea Giles. Are you ready? Let’s dive in. Hey, everybody. Welcome to
episode number 32. I’m so glad you’re here. Before I dive into the content
of today, I just want to thank you for listening. Last week, this podcast
hit 20,000 downloads. It makes me so happy to think of my listeners all
over the world that are listening and learning and sharing, and I’m really
grateful that you’re here.
So thank you for listening. Thank you for rating, reviewing, for sharing,
for being here in my space. It’s an honor. I know there’s so much to listen
to out there, and I’m really grateful that you’re here. So thank you. So
today, we’re talking about a concept called buffering. I learned about
buffering first from my coach, Brooke Castillo, and I use this concept with
my clients all the time. I’m going to teach you what it is, teach you how
it applies to you and what you can do about it, okay?
Going to use examples and teach you what it might look like in your life,
and how you can change it, okay? So basically what a buffer is is something
that we put in place to not fully experience the impact of our lives. Not
facing the music, it’s padding our experience, so we don’t feel the full
impact. So if you think about driving down the highway, sometimes you see
these big orange blocks that are serving as a buffer from hitting the
cement on the other side of it.
If we hit that, it’s not going to have the same impact as hitting the
cement wall on the other side of the orange buffer. Now, in that case, it
is serving us, it is keeping us safe from that brick wall or cement wall,
whatever. But with the case of buffers in what I’m going to talk about
today, it is a false safety. It’s a false security. Now, what a buffer is
it’s when we are starting to feel a negative emotion, we don’t want to feel
it, we’d rather tune it out.
We’d rather distract from it, do something else instead. So we go do
something else to feel something else. Now, where does this come from?
Buffering comes from this false notion that we are all fed, that we should
be happy and feel pleasure all the time. We live in a culture where a lot
of money is made on selling us on this idea, right? We’re sold that this
product can make us happy. Food, the right facial cream, there’s this
messaging that we should be happy all the time.
And if we’re not, we’re doing it wrong and we just need to go buy this
other product and then we’re going to be happy. So we start chasing after
things, right? We start chasing after happiness, instead of feeling a
negative emotion, we’re putting a pad in front of it. Now, what is the
problem with buffering? Part of the problem with buffering is that it
tricks our brain into thinking that it’s really, really important that we
have the thing and that we’re buffering with.
When we believe that it’s really important, we want more of it. And then we
want more, and we want more. The more we do it, the more we want it. I want
to give some examples, okay? Here’s some examples of what buffers are.
Sugar, flour, alcohol, drugs, video games, pornography, people pleasing,
online shopping, gambling, binging on Netflix. Do you hear something in
common with all of those things? They’re all external. They’re all outside
of us. We want to use external things to change how we feel emotionally.
We can become dependent on those outside things to feel a false sense of
stability, but then we need another hit. So let’s take sugar, for example,
this is one that I am working with right now. So a little while ago, I
hired a coach because I love coaching and I love coaches. And I know that I
could figure this out on my own. As part of my certification, I actually
know how to coach around weight, but I wanted extra help. I wanted somebody
who could help see my mind, so I hired a coach.
And I am going through the process of becoming a person who does not eat
sugar and flour, unless I plan ahead. No more impulsively eating it. Now,
this has been something hard for me. It’s been something that I have felt a
lot of negative emotion around, because sugar has been a buffer for me as
far back as I can remember. I remember as a little girl, when I got my
hands on candy, I would pile it up. I would load my pockets up with candy
as if I was never going to have it again.
That mentality has stayed with me. Sugar, candy, treats almost feels like a
security blanket. Like I’ve got to habit to feel okay in the world. So I am
working on stopping buffering with sugar. Now, how do you know if it’s a
buffer, first of all? How do you know it’s a buffer is if it has an overall
negative effect in your life. It’s got a net negative, overall negative. So
when you think about sugar, a little bit of sugar here and there is not
going to do you in, right?
It’s okay. Planning ahead to have a piece of your daughter’s birthday cake
on her birthday is not going to be a problem. But when we are impulsively
reaching for the bag of candy, because we’re feeling uncomfortable about
something. That becomes a buffer. Instead of looking at what we’re feeling
uncomfortable with, we are buffering with sugar. Now, what this does to our
brains is it gives us a really fast dopamine hit. It gives us quick relief
and our brain believes that it’s really, really important.
Like, “Oh, that was good. Do that again.” In the case of sugar, and most of
the examples they gave above, the buffer is the concentrated version of the
real thing. For example, sugar is a concentrated version of the natural
plant, sugarcane. By itself, sugarcane is not a problem, right? Have any of
you ever had real sugar cane? It’s a little bit sweet. I have it’s a little
bit sweet. Might give you a little tiny release of dopamine, but when it’s
in its concentrated form, it gives you a really fast, quick hit.
Our brain likes it, and we want more. This quick hit tells our brain we’re
winning that. You’re wonderful. That you’re so great. Think about video
games. How many of you know people who play video games? Often people can
use video games as a buffer because it gives them the sense idea that
they’re winners, that they’re succeeding? “I won that game. I’m so good at
this game,” right? It gives us this false pleasure, this false sense of,
“I’m okay. I’m good.”
But they are ignoring what’s underneath that. Why they need to seek out
video games to feel good, instead of creating that in their own life.
They’re essentially taking away their power. Okay, so how do we know it’s a
buffer? The net negative effect, right? Okay. So I have a husband who
really likes Dr. Pepper. He really, really loves it actually. Sometimes my
husband will drink Dr. Pepper and watch a show. So does this mean that he’s
buffering with Dr. Pepper and TV? Not necessarily.
And here’s why, okay? Sometimes he just really likes Dr. Pepper and wants
to watch a show. Maybe he worked all day and was looking forward to
watching a show and drinking a Dr. Pepper and just relaxing at the end of
the day. He’s using it as a way to wind down. He’s using it as a time to
relax. There’s no emotion that he’s escaping from here. And in general,
there’s no negative impact on his health, on his life. He’s having maybe
one Dr. Pepper here and there, okay?
Now, where this could be a problem, let’s say he’s feeling a lot of stress
and he’s hiding in the room with Dr. Pepper, distracting himself from the
stress, avoiding his family, avoiding me, avoiding his kids, avoiding
getting stuff done that he needs to get done, and not eating the things
that are going to help him, but just guzzling down Dr. Pepper. That’s a
buffer. If he did this often, it could result in health issues, it could
result in relationship issues because he’s hiding from his family.
And underneath that is maybe some stress and anxiety that needs to be dealt
with. And until he’s willing to deal with it, he’s likely piling on more
problems for himself because he’s avoiding really looking at what is
causing those thoughts in the first place. He’s avoiding the problem. And
what we inadvertently do is we create more of what we don’t want in this
space. So back to the sugar example, for me, I’m sure some of you will
Let’s say I’m trying to stop eating sugar. Let’s say that I stop, and then
I slip up and I eat sugar. And I’m like, “Oh, that was really good. Let’s
have some more of that.” And then I eat more, and then I beat myself up and
think, “Oh man, I really messed up. Why don’t I have any willpower? Why
can’t I get this? What is wrong with me,” right? And then I might just
throw in the towel and say, “Ah, forget it. Just give me all the sugar.”
And then in that situation, I’m not actually looking at what’s underneath
Why I went and had the sugar anyway, and I’m avoiding what I really want.
What I really want is to be a person that doesn’t need sugar to feel good.
I want to be a person that is willing to feel all negative emotion, process
my emotions quickly, and create the emotions that are going to move me
forward. I am blocking myself from that. I am blocking myself from my own
growth and keeping myself in this loop. Now, how does this apply to
infidelity? Let me tell you, okay? An issue I hear many of my clients talk
about is their husband’s use of pornography.
Sometimes this use of pornography has created this appetite for more, more
and more and more until sometimes it becomes a physical affair. Now, the
thing with pornography is that for most people, it did not actually start
out being about sex. It’s less about sex and more about escape. It’s about
wanting to get out, wanting to avoid a feeling, wanting to not feel a
certain way. So let’s escape it to feel something else. So let’s talk about
own the emotion of shame, okay?
Let’s say that somebody’s feeling shame. They feel like they’re a bad
person. So to avoid feeling shame, they go look at porn, and then they feel
shame for looking at porn. And then they want to stop feeling shame, so
they go watch some more and round and round we go, until that person is
willing to feel shame and not react to it. It’s not the shame that’s the
problem, it’s the reaction to the shame. So when that shame comes up,
instead of just going, “Oh, I want to get out of this. Please take it
They’re willing to feel it. They’re willing to look at the thoughts that
are creating the shame in the first place. What are you believing about
yourself? What are you making true? Now, porn use can have an overall
negative effect by what it can teach man’s brain over time about what is
normal. It can create distance in a marriage, it can create a lack of trust
on and on, right? Now, let’s say that the woman involved may not like her
husband’s poor news.
And when she starts to feel uncomfortable, rather than facing the
discomfort, evaluating what she’s making it mean, trying to understand her
own mind, she rushes to her computer and she online shops. It suddenly
feels very, very urgent. That’s the thing about buffers, is in the moment,
it’s like, “Oh, my gosh, I have to do this now. I must go have a cookie.
Now I must go play this video game now. I must do it. It’s very urgent.”
This may affect the family by having less money, or even by racking up a
lot of debt.
She may feel shame because she got her family in debt and then she feels
shame, and so she goes and spends more money. Can you see that? Round and
round it goes. So what is the solution? The solution is for both parties to
take responsibility for their own feelings, their own actions, tell the
truth, feel the truth, back up and be willing to feel unhappy long enough
to find the thought patterns that are creating the feelings in the first
place. Because when we buffer, we block ourselves from the information we
need to move forward, and we keep ourselves stuck in that same pattern.
So how might this show up for you? I’ll give you some examples from
clients, okay? So all of my clients and all of you listening are innately
wise. You just have wisdom that lives inside you. Every answer to every
question you have is already inside you, right? The second you have the
answers for what to do next that you’re looking outside yourself for. So
let’s say that a woman knows that her marriage is not healthy. She knows
that she wants to leave her marriage.
She knows from her highest self that she wants more, and she aches for it.
But she’s so afraid of rocking the boat, she’s so afraid of hurting people.
She’s so afraid of the judgements of other people. She’s so afraid of her
own negative emotion that she keeps herself very busy taking care of
everybody else. Her children are her world. She does everything to serve
them. They are her world. She is on every committee.
She gives 110% in everything she does. But the problem is that, she’s
blocking out her discomfort. She’s blocking out this truth of what she
really wants, which is to be free from this marriage that she knows is not
working for her, but because she doesn’t want to face that and all the
discomfort that comes with that, she buffers. So what happens when we are
honest with ourselves? What happens is we feel the feeling, we look at it,
we sit with it, we allow it, we solve for it. We tell ourselves the truth.
We ask ourselves now, where did this feeling come from? It came from a
thought, what is the thought? We stop prolonging our pain cycle. That pain
cycle I talked about earlier, where it’s like, “I’m going to do this thing
that I don’t actually want to do to give me a temporary quick hit, and then
I’m going to feel bad about it, and then I need more to stop feeling bad.”
That’s a pain cycle. We’re keeping ourselves in pain, okay?
We’re using buffers as a way to tolerate what is actually unacceptable, and
what is unacceptable is when we are denying ourselves, when we’re denying
what we actually want. That’s unacceptable to us, and so we buffer. It’s
too hard to look at the truth. When we know we want more and feel like we
can’t have it, we may buffer to tolerate the pain. But when we are willing
to feel all the discomfort, we learn some things. What do we learn? We
learn how to allow our emotions.
We learn to process emotion. We learn to get better at questioning
ourselves and finding the thoughts that are causing the pain. We learn to
create new emotions on purpose that take us where we want to go. Learning
to stop buffering is what will release you from suffering, beating yourself
up, devaluing yourself, feeling small. You start creating instead of
reacting. You become proactive in your own growth.
So instead of reacting to negative emotion of letting yourself down over
and over again, you get busy creating, you get busy working towards
creating the life that you actually want with the emotions that you
actually want to feel and that drive you forward. Now remember from past
podcasts, I’ve talked about how life is 50/50, okay? 50% positive emotion,
50% negative, even in the best case scenario. It’s a good thing.
Now, many people, because of our thoughts, because of not knowing how to
manage emotions, have a higher ratio of negative, but even in the best
managed minds, it’s still 50/50. Here’s the catch though, when we learn to
manage our minds, we are using that negative emotion in our favor. We’re
using it on purpose. We’re using it to grow. So you can have a 50/50 of
stagnancy in being stuck. Or you can have a 50, 50 of growth. It’s like
this, pain now or pain later.
“I can rip the Band-Aid off now and feel all of this discomfort now, or I
can just prolong it and then feel it later.” So as you are trying to find
the buffers that you have, what your buffers are and trying to more fully
feel what’s underneath that, I want to tell you what to expect, and you’re
not going to love it, okay? Expect to feel terrible. Isn’t that fun? Expect
to feel really uncomfortable. You’re ripping the Band-Aid off. You’re
looking at what’s under it. It’s uncomfortable, right?
And sometimes when you look at that, we want to hurry up and just buffer
again. We want to put that Band-Aid back on. “No, not doing it. I encourage
you to leave the Band-Aid off.” Allow yourself to feel terrible. It is
temporary. And the more you lean into it, the quicker you will be able to
process it. And here’s something else to know. When you uncover one layer
of buffering, there’s probably another. We’ve been layering buffers on, our
It’s part of human experience. So you might find one, work on it, and then
find another. Now, as far as helping people we love with buffering, you
might listen to this and go, “Okay, how does this relate to me and my
spouse?” If you’re still married, okay?” Or in relationships going forward.
When I work with my clients, I am way less concerned about what their
spouse did. All the actions that he took, I’m way more concerned about why,
why. What was he thinking?
How was he feeling? What was he buffering from? Why was he seeking the
validation? What was missing for him? What does he need to know? What does
he need to take accountability for to grow? What feelings does he need to
process? His awareness is everything, and your awareness is everything too.
And where safety is created, where trust is created in being able to move
forward, is when my clients have some kind of assurance that their spouse
That instead of just being like, “I don’t know why I just did. It just
happened,” that their spouse can take responsibility and go, “This is why.
This is how I was feeling. This is what I was thinking,” and owning it.
Because until we’re aware, we sometimes just go unconscious to our own
behavior, and find ourselves right back with our hand in the chocolate
chips or worse, right? So I encourage you to ask good questions. Ask why,
seek for understanding.
Understanding of yourself, understanding of your spouse, if you are still
married, this can be a good way to gauge where they are on their path to
awareness. Like on their path to growth, how much are they willing to be
aware? That can give you some really good information, okay? Now, speaking
of awareness, I wanted to just talk about something. I happen to have some
one-on-one spots that are opening up here pretty soon in my coaching
Now, most of us are really good at consuming. We’re really good at
listening to podcasts, reading a book. We can do this all day long, but
where it gets harder, is in the application. Why? It’s because we’re all
swimming in water that we can’t see. Many of us have been swimming in this
water our whole life. We can’t see the water that we swim in. Sometimes it
takes an outside person, somebody who’s outside the fishbowl to say, “Oh,
yeah, this is what it looks like. This is what your water looks like. This
is what you’re swimming in.”
And then you have that awareness that’s been reflected back to you and you
get to choose what to do with it. So in my coaching, this is what we do,
you learn a lot. I teach a lot of tools, just like I do here in the
podcast. But the thing that’s even more valuable is that I get to look
inside your brain. I get to bring awareness to where you are, and show you
your own mind, show you what’s causing your pain. It’s not your spouse’s
actions, I promise you. It’s what you’ve made it mean.
It’s all the stories that you’re telling. That’s what’s causing the pain. I
help you see it. I help you learn how to create a safe place for you to
explore different feelings, different thoughts. The more awareness we have,
the more choice and agency we have, if we want to stay swimming in the same
water or not. So if you are interested in having help with the application
part, in having help in moving forward, I’d love to invite you to come talk
You can go to my website, andreagiles.com and book a consult with me. It’s
free, we talk about what’s going on with you, and we decide if we’re a good
fit. I help with the application part. I help you see your blind spots. I
bring awareness. I help my clients find the courage that they already have
to make big, bold decisions and act on them. They quite literally change
their own lives. My clients amaze me. It’s amazing what we can do when we
have somebody who can help us, who’s going, “You could go that way.
You’ll get there. You’ll get there eventually, but I know the shortcut. I
do. I know the shortcut. I know how to get you there faster. And the stuff
that we do together, it will change your whole life moving forward.” Okay.
So to wrap it up, I want to invite you to stop tolerating, false pleasure,
stop tolerating. It you’re worth more. Your life is on the other side of
you’re feeling the negative emotion that you’re feeling, going into it,
telling the truth about it.
What are you denying yourself by buffering? What amazing life are you
denying yourself? The thoughts that you have and the ideas you have about
wanting more, they’re yours for the taking. They have been planted in your
minds and in your hearts on purpose. And there is no limit to what life you
can create. There’s no limit. The only limits are what you put on yourself.
That’s it. So stop reacting by reaching for a buffer and start creating. Go
make it happen.
Go make your life, all right? So much love to all of you. That’s what I’ve
got this week, and I will see you next time. Bye-bye.
Thank you for listening to The Heal from Infidelity podcast. If you would
like to be kept in the know about upcoming free classes, new podcast
episodes, and other ways of working with me, go subscribe to my weekly
email. You can subscribe at andreagiles.com/lies-about-infidelity/. Again,
it’s andreagiles.com/lies-about-infidelity/. I will see you next time.