When you think of yourself, do you identify more with being someone who has been traumatized, or as someone who is incredibly resilient, despite your trauma?
Humans all experience trauma. It is inescapable. But what we forget is that as humans we are built to be resilient, and to rise above our trauma- not get stuck in it.
In this episode, you’ll learn how to create more resiliency as you navigate the choppy waters of infidelity. You will understand how you are getting yourself stuck in the story of your trauma, and leave with a clear path of how to grow stronger, despite your challenges.
Interested in my coaching program? Schedule a free 1-1 call with me here to see if it would be a good fit for you. https://calendly.com/andreagilescoaching/know-in-90
To learn more from me, be sure to join email list at: https://andreagiles.com/lies-about-infidelity/
I’m Andrea Giles and you’re listening to the Heal from Infidelity podcast,
episode number 121, Trauma and Resiliency.
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 for you 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.
Hello, my friends, so good to be here today. I always enjoy being here
recording this podcast for you. I hope it finds you well. Before we jump
into this week’s podcast, I want to give a shout-out and say thank you to
KV8678 for your beautiful, beautiful review on my podcast.
I’m going to read it to you. It’s titled, A Lifesaver. She said, “I wanted
to leave a very thoughtful review for this podcast, but I won’t be able to
do it justice. It’s been more helpful to me than in-person therapy and
antidepressants.” And then in parentheses, “I would never dissuade anyone
from seeking help from those things in a time of need, of course.”
“Andrea is sensitive and compassionate, but also gives actionable advice
for healing for a time that can feel really hopeless. 100% recommend this
podcast to anyone who has had their life turned upside down by a partner’s
affairs. Andrea says, she reads all her reviews. I truly hope she sees
this. Andrea, I just thank you so much for sharing your experience, your
expertise, and your friendship.
You often say in your podcast that you love us and that just really feels
good to someone who is feeling unloved and unrespected. You are really
amazing. We love you too.” Thank you so much. And I do love you. I love all
of you, and that just means the world, and I appreciate it so much. If you
have not left a review, I invite you to do so. It does mean a lot to me.
I love hearing from you, but it also means a lot to people who are
searching, who are trying to find help to hear from other people if this is
worth their time. You guys know there’s so many things out there that are
trying to pull at your attention, and when people can see reviews like
this, they’re going to pause and go, “Okay, maybe there’s something here,”
and they start listening, right?
Okay. So I recently heard something that I loved so much and I’m basing
this whole episode around it. I was listening to a training by one of my
favorite therapists. His name is David Schnarch. I’ve talked about him
before. He has since passed away, but I really, really love his work. And
one of the things that he said is that the hallmark of being human is not
trauma, it’s resiliency.
We live in a time where there’s an awful lot of talk about trauma, about
triggers, generational trauma, all the trauma, lots of trauma. You’ve heard
me talk about trauma. It is real, trauma’s real. And I don’t think any of
us get through life without our fair share. We all experience trauma.
Certainly, infidelity is traumatizing for many, many people, right? Trauma
in and of itself does not define us at all.
It’s a human condition because we are surrounded by other traumatized
humans that in turn traumatize each other, right? Or things happen in this
world that are outside of our control that can be traumatizing, right?
We’re going to hurt each other. Hard things are going to happen. We’re
going to react to each other’s unhealed trauma and cause additional pain,
Sadly, we’re pretty darn good at that. The thing is though, that we are not
meant to identify with our trauma as who we are. Where we can identify is
in our profound resilience to it. You listening may feel like you will
never actually really heal, that you’ll always hurt, always ache, always
wonder what if, never trust again, never feel deep joy again. I know that
that feels very real in the moment, and I have certainly been there.
I really have. But here’s the truth, you are meant to bounce back from
this. You are built with resilience deep in your bones. It’s there. It’s
there, and it is ready to be developed even further. My guess is that if
you could look back on your life, there are times that you have already
acted with great resilience. We just need to activate that now. Okay? What
does resilience mean?
Resilience means, I went and looked up the definition, the capacity to
withstand or to recover quickly from difficulties, toughness. Another
definition was the ability of a substance or object to spring back into
shape or elasticity. Something that I have found is that when we shift our
focus out of healing our trauma and into really moving forward, healing the
trauma is a byproduct of that. It’s pretty cool.
For example, if we learn how to give ourselves space to feel rather than
reacting to our feelings, we will be able to sit in uncomfortable
situations longer without needing to slip back into our usual trauma
responsive flight, freeze, or fawn. What this does is it teaches us that
we’re not actually in danger, which in turn helps us to heal trauma. We
learn how to create safety for ourselves.
We learn to allow the big, big emotions, the big things that we need to
feel because we know that it’s not going to sink us. We know that we’re
going to bounce back from it. And the safer we feel, the more we will
venture out into the world. Okay? This is resilience in action. That’s what
it looks like. So how do we develop more resilience? I went and did some
research for this episode. There is a lot of information out there about
resilience, lots of ideas.
There’s lots of good little acronyms, and the seven Cs of resiliency,
right? There’s so much out there. I found one that I really like the most.
It is an article in Psychology Today called The 8 Key Elements of
Resilience by Shahram Heshmat Ph.D. Okay? Out of all the things I read,
this really, really resonated with what I do, how I coach, my philosophies
around coaching, my philosophies around infidelity.
Okay? So I’m going to go through these elements. I took the key elements
from this article, but then I wanted to make it relatable to you around
infidelity. So you’ll hear how I did that as we go on. Okay? Number one,
pursuing a meaningful goal. The very first thing I have my clients do when
they join my program is spend time really deeply discovering, identifying
and owning their why.
Why? Why now? Why do they want to set down their normal responses and look
deeper at the situation they’re in? What are they hoping to accomplish? Why
does it deeply matter to them now? Okay? What’s going to keep them going?
Without a strong motivation, we tend to back down. We tend to go back to
old ways and old patterns when things get hard. Having your eye on
something deeply meaningful to you will give you the push to begin and to
Okay? You can go back to that why. You can go back and go, “That’s right.
That’s right, because I really want this thing, and so I have to do this
thing in front of me now and allow all of this discomfort in service of the
thing that I actually really want.” Number two, challenge assumptions. We
humans are meaning makers. Something happens and we attach a meaning to it.
Even if that meaning is completely false, it’s what we do. Often, the
meanings we attach create a whole lot of pain for us, but we do it anyway.
To build resilience, we have to be able to challenge the meanings and
assumptions that we have. For example, sometimes these are some of the
meanings that we come up with. “I must not be enough, I must not be smart
enough, pretty enough, or he must be a terrible person because only a
terrible person does this. He must not love me or he’d never do this.”
Right? We come up with all kinds of meanings.
We want desperately, desperately to make sense of what happened, and so we
create a meaning to connect the dots, and it’s often false. It’s often not
real, and it often creates a lot of pain. To create resilience, we grow our
capacity to push back on our assumptions and look at what else may be true.
Okay? Again, inside my program, this is something we do all the time.
One of my main trainings inside the program is about discovering the lens
in which we view the world. It’s really, really powerful to see because
what we can do when we can see the lens in which we are viewing the world
is we can actively try on new filters and see the world in new ways, which
means that we can see the infidelity through a new less painful lens, which
is pretty awesome, right?
Number three, cognitive flexibility. Acceptance of our reality, this is
what cognitive flexibility is. Instead of arguing with it, we accept it and
decide what to do next. What now? We tend to avoid or deny or argue with
reality, and what it does is it creates more suffering. It keeps us
continuing to be a victim. Denial and avoidance are coping strategies. And
while they may absolutely bring some relief in the moment, they will not
take us where we want to go.
When we get to a place of accepting what is, we can then start problem
solving for it. Okay? Cognitive flexibility. Number four, growth through
suffering. I’ve been listening to a book. You can buy the book or listen to
the book, but I’ve been listening. It’s by Ryan Holiday. It’s called The
Obstacle Is the Way. It’s Excellent.
It’s an excellent book, and he talks in there through many, many examples
of many people throughout time about how people that have been the wave
makers, the rain makers, the people who have moved things forward, feel the
discomfort, feel the pain, feel the frustration of the obstacle, but then
they use it as a means to move forward. They see it as an invitation into
deeper understanding and a different way of looking at things, becoming
more aware, asking better questions, all kinds of things, right?
Infidelity can 100% be an obstacle that none of us ask for, right? But an
obstacle nonetheless, that we can grow through, that we can have a better
understanding of ourselves, that we can live more intentionally on the
other side of and have relationships that are much more alive, much more
intimate, all the things that we want. Sometimes what we do is we medicate
ourselves through various means to avoid the suffering. We don’t want to
Alcohol, sugar, drugs, porn, sometimes even things like obsessive shopping,
things that we do to avoid, right? Food. These things can give us some
temporary comfort, but it’s not going to help us move past the obstacle and
use it for our good. Right? When we step right into the pain, it is
actually the way through to be able to grow on the other side, to get to
the other side, into our growth and into a deeper, wiser version of
ourselves, a more resilient version of ourselves.
Number five, acting despite fear. Acting despite the fear, excuse me.
You’ll hear me all the time, talk about how important it is to take
courageous action. My very last episode was all about that. It doesn’t mean
you’re waiting until you aren’t afraid or waiting until you feel more
confident. It means that you are taking those courage inspired actions that
you know will get you closer to your end goal now.
Okay? This can look like saying something you’re terrified of saying,
because you know the alternative is to stuff it down like you always did
before the infidelity. Fear will say, “Stuff it, stuff it, stuff it. It’s
too scary.” Courage says, “Say it. Even if it’s scary, even if you don’t
want to and stand in the truth of who you are, how you feel and what you
want.” There is so much resilience on the other side of this.
You’re going to learn that you didn’t die, that you said the thing, you’re
still here and that good things came from it, even if it is having a little
more respect for yourself. Okay? Number six, emotion regulation. This is
all about learning to respond, not react, right? Choosing how we want to
feel by choosing our thoughts.
This is such a superpower, such a superpower to be able to feel really big
emotions and not avoid them, to be able to sit with them, to be able to
learn from them without making them wrong for being there, being able to
soothe ourselves with big emotions, to sit with ourselves and love
ourselves through them. This is a huge, huge part of resilience.
Again, this is something that we spend a lot of time on in my program
because obviously probably all of you listening are feeling some pretty big
emotions and need to learn what to do with them, right? It’s really, really
important to creating this resiliency. Number seven, this one is a big one,
and I loved that it’s in these keys, the feeling of agency. So many of my
clients feel acted upon.
They feel like, “This thing happened and I had no choice.” They feel like
a victim and that they really don’t even have a choice moving forward.
Sometimes they’re looking at their future and going, “I can’t actually
leave because of X, Y, and Z, and I have to stay, but I have to stay in this
marriage that sucks that I don’t want to be in. I’ve lost so much respect
for him. But since I can’t leave, I just have to suck it up and stay.”
There’s no agency in any of that. Or, “He chose to leave. He’s choosing to
stay with her, and I have no choice in the matter, and I just have to be
miserable forever.” Okay? That might feel totally real to you, but what I
want to challenge you with is that we always have a choice. Okay? You may
not have chosen to end the marriage, but you can always choose what you
want to do next, always, always, right?
We do need to validate ourselves to learn how to validate ourselves in the
hurt that we feel, but we still get to choose, okay? In the moment, maybe
we were a victim to somebody else’s choices, but we don’t have to stay a
victim. There’s always something we can do. There’s always a next choice we
can make. We don’t have to stay married.
We can figure out a new way to create a life we want to be in besides the
one that we know. We can stay married and choose to do so fully because we
genuinely want to be there, not because we have to. Right? I really can’t
emphasize how important this is. When we feel trapped and stuck, we have
forgotten that we have a choice. We step into resiliency when we remember,
“I can always do something. I always have a choice.”
Okay, onto number eight, social support. How many of you have not told a
soul or have only told a handful of people and feel very alone and feel
embarrassed and feel trapped? Right? Social support is so important. It
does so much for us. It reduces anxiety and stress. We are able to face
hard things easier when we know we have others by our side. Okay?
Especially after infidelity I can’t tell you enough how important this is.
For so many of my clients they feel so much shame. They’re so embarrassed
that it happened. “This was not supposed to happen to me. What? Look at me,
I’m amazing. How could this happen to me?” Or, “Look at me, I must be
nothing. I must not be good enough. I must not be pretty enough. I must
not…” on and on and on, right? So much shame. There’s thoughts about no
one really understanding, being embarrassed. Right? You need a network. You
need social support.
Okay? I invite you to reach out, to find somebody you trust and share.
Create your own social support. Okay? In my group, I’m going to talk about
my group again, because there’s just so much in there that creates this
kind of resilience. I see it every day in my clients. It is a built-in
support network. Once you join, you’re in and you have an army of women
that love you, that care about you, that are there for you, that are
walking the same path.
Some of them are a little further ahead of you, and so they can be a mentor
to you to say, “Hey, keep going. You’re close. You’re close. It’s going to
get real good here in just a little bit. Keep going. Keep going.” Right?
One of my favorite things about my program is the social support because it
really is psychologically so critical to helping us to feel safe, helping
us to feel less stressed, helping us to feel like there are others who get
us, so we’re not so alone. Right?
This piece is so important, so whether you come join my group or whether
you go elsewhere, please go find some support. Lean on people. You’re worth
it. There are people out there who care about you, who want to help you.
Okay? To wrap this up, I want to remind you that you are built to be
resilient. So at the end of this here, I want to ask you, do you
personally, my dear listener friend, do you identify more with your trauma
or more with your strength?
Which one is it? Which one do you identify more with? Do you identify more
with, “My gosh, I think I’m just broken. There have been so many hard
things in my life and I think I’m just really screwed up,” or do you
identify more with your strength and how, “Yes, I’ve had many hard things
in my life and I’ve bounced back every freaking time and I’m going to now.
Watch me.” What’s your answer?
If your answer is identifying more with your trauma, I challenge you, my
friend, to really look for times where you have been resilient and let’s
channel some of that here. Okay? For those of you who identify more with
resilience, that’s awesome. And this is not going to keep you down long, my
friend. You will bounce back. You will feel joy again. Okay? I invite you
to go back to these eight keys to building resilience and pick an area to
Maybe you are ready to start just trying to see the infidelity through a
different lens. Maybe you’re ready to ask your spouse some questions you
have been afraid to ask. Maybe you’re ready to tell someone even if you’re
really embarrassed, okay? These will all grow your resilience. One more
thing before I go. A few weeks ago, I hosted a free class all about how to
choose whether to stay or go after infidelity.
There were so many of you on there. It was so wonderful to see you to, I
didn’t actually see your faces, but I got to hear from you in the chat and
I got to answer some of your questions, and it was really wonderful. I have
been thinking a lot about how it went and some of the things that I want to
do moving forward. I’m going to be teaching this class again, a slightly
different version of it, and I’d love to have you join me.
I will announce that when it’s ready. But what I’m realizing is this, okay?
There are probably many of you listening who have heard of my program, Know
in 90, who are not ready to choose. You’re not there. It may feel super
scary to think of, “Oh my gosh, I have to make a decision in 90 days. What
if I can’t? What if I don’t? What if I fail?” Right? And I want you to know
that there’s no pressure at all inside my program. When you’re ready to
choose, you’re going to be ready to choose.
It’s really about getting a solid foundation back under your feet so that
when you are ready, you can choose and stand in your choice and not bend,
okay? The information and coaching and all the things that are there are
meant to meet you where you are when you are ready. I have so many clients
that tell me that they’ve graduated into my alumni program, and they go
back and they re-watch some of the trainings from those first 12 weeks.
They go re-watch and they redo them because they’re in a different place
and they’re now ready. Okay? For those of you who are ready to make that
decision, that is there, the support, everything you need is there. But for
those of you who just need some support, who just need to even know what is
it that I should be thinking about? What do I need to challenge? What? Who
are just lost in this, I’ve got you. Okay?
There’s zero pressure. At the end of the day, my program is less about
knowing whether you’re going to stay or go and more about knowing who you
are in the aftermath of infidelity. It’s about rediscovering yourself, your
worth, rediscovering your own mind, learning to trust yourself again. It’s
about getting your feet planted firmly on the ground so you can even feel
safe enough to choose, okay? When those things happen, when you feel safe
enough to choose, guess what happens?
It’s like magic and the answer presents itself. And then you feel safe
enough to follow through with it. Yes, it’s still scary. Okay? Yes, it’s
still freakishly hard, but you will feel ready to do it. If this resonates
with you, I invite you to come talk to me. Wherever you are on your
journey, there’s a place for you, okay? There’s a place for you. You’re not
behind, nothing of the sort.
When you think of choosing like, “Oh my gosh, that is terrifying.” Right?
Let’s take that off the table. Let’s look at what support do I need now, and
let’s lean into that. Okay? My dear listeners, thank you so much for being
here. As always, I appreciate you so much. I send you so much love, and I’ll
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.