Why You’re Stuck | Ep #2

Do you ever wonder what is wrong with you? You’ve had your trust broken, yet you are left feeling terrible like it was somehow your fault. You know something has got to give, you build up your courage, but end up turning back into familiar patterns.

I have great news for you… you are normal. You are not broken. Your brain is doing exactly what it’s supposed to do, and in this episode I’ll explain why.

Once you understand why you behave the way you do, I’ll teach you how to take steps forward, away from what is familiar and into what you really want most.

Episode Transcript

I’m Andrea Giles, and you are listening to The Heal from Infidelity Podcast, episode number two, Why You Are Stuck.

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. Welcome to episode number two. I’m so glad you’re here. Before I dive in, I have to tell you, I’ve got a cold, so if you hear me sniffle a little bit or if I sound stuffy, that’s what’s up with that. And I have to add, isn’t it lame to get colds in the summer? It’s hot outside, it’s warm outside, and I’m like shivering and cold. What’s up with that? Anyway, moving forward, so episode two is all about why you’re stuck. And before you think that that sounds depressing, I promise you it’s good news. I’m going to explain to you why you’re stuck in a way that helps normalize your experience and lets you know that there’s nothing wrong with you. You’re not broken. Your brain’s actually doing exactly what it’s supposed to do. So what I’m going to start with is I’m going to share with you three different scenarios that I see a lot in my clients, and I want you to listen and see if you recognize yourself in any of these scenarios.

Okay? Okay, so we’re going to start with scenario number one. You found out about your spouses in fidelity. You know it’s been going on for a while, and you have contemplated leaving many times, but you’re so afraid to get it wrong. You don’t want to deal with his emotions about you leaving. You don’t even want to deal with your own emotions about it. You don’t want to have sad kids, and you have a lot of fear. You don’t know how you would take care of yourself financially. There’s just so many unknowns that you don’t have answers to, so you stay, but you feel terribly stuck. You might even be having people, well-meaning people tell you that you should leave, but you still stay. That’s scenario number one. In scenario number two, your spouse decides to leave the marriage and you wonder what you did wrong. You live with a lot of shame, fear, and doubt, and also, you feel angry and mad at him a lot of the time too.

You often go back and forth between the two, blaming him for the situation you find yourself in, and also feeling so much sadness and shame and guilt and doubt as you watch him build a new life without you. You feel small, insignificant, unwanted, and like a victim to his choices. You feel stuck. In scenario three, there has been deception in your marriage, but you really have a desire to make it work. Although you feel good about staying, you still feel so much sadness and grief and you’re so afraid and untrusting most of the time you don’t know how you’re going to trust again. You don’t know how you’re going to even trust your own judgment. Again, you hope and pray that he will change his behavior, that he’ll do all the things that you think would make you feel better about staying. And you don’t want to disrupt anybody’s life.

You want to just kind of keep going the way it’s been and hope that things just get better. In the meantime, you feel really stuck. So do any of those resonate with you? Maybe parts of all of them? If so, I have really good news. It doesn’t mean that you’re broken. It means in fact that your brain is working exactly the way it’s supposed to. Okay, let me explain. So our brains have been created to be really, really efficient and have a really great warning system for when we’re in danger. It used to be that we were in physical danger a lot. So if you think of times of old when people were hunting and gathering and literally putting themselves in harm’s way all the time just to survive, being out where there were predators, if you got cut off from your tribe, it could literally mean death, right?

Sometimes there are long periods of time where there was not enough food. And so if you were around food, you had to eat a lot of it, store a lot of it, figure out a way to prepare for future times when you wouldn’t have food. Now, our brains haven’t changed. Our brains still have primitive wiring. Even though we live in a modern age, they have not been updated. And so our brains are always looking out for danger. But instead of looking for physical danger… Most of us are not in physical danger, hardly ever, real physical danger. So now, our brains are looking for emotional danger. They’re hyper aware of emotional danger. And the thing is that signal that our brain gets that we’re in emotional danger is the same signal that it would’ve given our ancestors of being in physical danger, about to die.

It feels the same. It’s the same chemical release in our body. And so that is what’s going on with you. Okay? Your brain is sending you these signals and telling you that there’s something terribly wrong, and to go back to the cave, go back, go back, go back. It’s dangerous out there. You might get eaten out there. Okay, so now I want to teach you something about your brain. It’s called the motivational triad. This is what has kept us alive, this motivational triad. So if you would pretend like you’ve got a piece of paper in front of you and you have a triangle drawn, I want you to think of these points of the triangle. One point is ease, one point is seeking pleasure, and the other is avoiding pain. Our brains love those things. We are motivated by these things. We’re motivated to seek pleasure.

We like ease. We like to avoid pain. And when we try to step outside of that, our brains are right there to tell us that something bad is going to happen. So this is habitual, unconscious thought. These are the thoughts and the programming that have been with us for a really long time that we’re not really even aware of. It’s just on autopilot. So I’m going to give you a few examples of how this looks. So let’s say that we come across a box of cookies. Our higher brain might say, “No, we don’t really need the cookies,” but that lower brain, that motivational triad, is all about ease. It’s all about seeking pleasure, and that voice is really loud. It’s like, yeah, we need the cookies. We might not get cookies again soon. Let’s eat the cookies. And oftentimes, we cave to that. We get that quick dopamine hit, it feels good, and then later on we might regret it, right?

Let’s talk about exercise. How many of us have started and stopped an exercise program? We can be so motivated and be like, yes, this time, it’s going to work. This time, I’m really sticking to it. We get into it, we’re sore, we get up early, and our brains are like, wait, we don’t really need to do this. It’s easier to sleep in. It’s easier to not have our bodies hurt. And so we give up. We do that again and again and again. Another example is having difficult conversations. We might really want to have a conversation about something, but we worry about handling our own emotions. We’re worrying about their emotions, what they might think of you. The fear of judgment of other people can feel so scary. It can feel painful. It can seem like a painful thing. And so we often just don’t do it.

We’ll just not say it. We’ll just keep silent and avoid the pain altogether Now. Now, let’s talk about how we self sabotage ourselves in our relationships in this way. So back in scenario one, you know about the infidelity, right? You know that something’s got to give. You know that something has to get better. But whenever you think of leaving the marriage, you get scared, you get worried, you feel other strong emotions come up, which are the equivalent of sending you back into that cave, going, “No, go back, go back, go back.” And even though you might not like that cave, and it might feel really uncomfortable, at least it’s familiar, right? At least it feels familiar. In scenario two, your spouse has left the marriage, he seems to be doing well, and you are left with a whole lot of unresolved pain. It seems that it is him moving on without you and that you’re being left behind that is causing all the pain, but I promise you, it’s just your thoughts about it that are causing the pain.

It’s what you are making it mean. That’s causing you the pain. And even though it feels miserable, it’s easier to dwell and ruminate on all the reasons why you weren’t enough or that he’s a jerk, maybe going back and forth between the two. And that’s keeping you stuck because it’s not allowing us to move forward from that, set those things down and step into the kind of life that you want. Scenario three, you know you want to stay, but you are waiting on him to help you feel better about it. If only he says or does the right thing, then I get to feel better. So our brain’s way, our equivalent of that motivational triad of making things feel better for us is giving all the responsibility of change to the other person. That’s the safety net. It’s like, okay, if he just does this, then I get to feel better.

The thought of really changing something ourselves is the equivalent of kicking ourselves out of the cave, out into the wild where we might get eaten up by a bear. This is why when we say, “Oh, I want to learn how to trust, I want to trust,” but really trusting feels like exposing ourselves. It feels like standing naked in front of a crowd. It feels very threatening sometimes to learn to trust again. And that primitive wiring, that primitive part of our brain doesn’t want us to do anything remotely threatening. Okay? So what is the way out of this? How do we get out of that motivational triad? It is powerful. We are really, really hardwired to stay there. So how do you get out? The good news is that if we are the problem, we are also the solution. So all of you listening have had circumstances. You’ve had things happen in your life.

You wouldn’t be sitting here listening if you didn’t have some experience where you maybe have been hurt at the hand of somebody else. But how we think about that makes all the difference and gives all of our power back. So how is it done? So we have this part of our brain that only humans have that separates us from animals called the prefrontal cortex. This is the powerful goal setting part of our brain where we can receive revelation, where we catch glimpses of what we’re capable of, and this is also the part of our brain that overrides impulses. The way to tap into that is to get really, really clear about what you want, getting really clear about who you want to become, glimpses of this version of you that is there and that you just really, really want and are willing to do anything for.

So the way to do that is by spending time looking to your future self. So let me talk about that for a minute. I grew up on the Oregon coast. I grew up in Oregon, and then moved right before my junior year to the Oregon coast and spent a lot of time just hanging out on the beach. I loved it so much. So you’re going to hear me talk a lot about Oregon and using ocean analogies because I love it. Okay. So the motivational triad is kind of like you’re out in the boat. You’re out there in the ocean, and you’re just kind of rowing around. And you know it well. You’re very familiar with it. It’s not necessarily comfortable, but you’re really familiar with it. Now over at the shore, you see a lighthouse. In that lighthouse is you. There’s this wiser, more knowing version of you that’s in that lighthouse.

She can look to you and tell you what you’re capable of. She gives you glimpses of that. She has wisdom that is right there, ready to share with you as soon as you’re ready. She knows what is best for you. Now, the way out of this motivational triad is really connecting with her, really connecting with the things that you want, the desires that you have, really reaching for them, and stating them and owning them and claiming them. So you see this person out in the lighthouse, and you catch a glimpse of what you are capable of, what life you’re capable of. But in front of you, you see a whole lot of water. And sometimes that water is calm, and sometimes that water is really, really choppy, but that person over there, this wise version of you, this is that prefrontal cortex that’s like, what if I’m capable of this thing?

What if I can change everything? What if I can achieve these goals? What if I can have a relationship that fills me with joy? What if I can handle going through this thing that scares me so much? What if my kids would be more resilient for this experience? And you’re allowing that. You’re looking there. You’re feeling it. You’re feeling from that future self, what you might feel like once you already have it, and then you start to move. So I’ll talk more about this in future podcasts, but our feelings are the drivers for the actions that we take, and the actions we take create our results. So if we’re feeling stuck, what do we do when we’re stuck? Not much, right? Often, we hide, we pull back, we retreat. If we feel a different emotion like courage, or like commitment or determination, we’re going to show up in a different way.

So that person in the boat, she’s picking up her oars and she’s going to start rowing. If there’s a commitment to meeting that person that’s over in the lighthouse, she’s going to keep moving towards it. Sometimes the waves get super choppy and scary, and it might feel like you’re going to get capsized at any time, and you hold on to that person over there that’s saying, “Keep moving, keep moving, keep moving.” It is an act of faith. It’s an act of faith because we don’t know exactly how it’s going to look. We don’t know what currents are going to come. We don’t know who else might show up in a boat beside us, but all we know is that we’re leaning into the trust of what is available to us in the future. So getting so clear about what we want and then why we want it is the way out.

So I start all of my coaching… When I start a new program with brand new clients, we start at this spot of getting clear about what we want and why we want it. And sometimes it takes some doing to even state out loud what my clients want, because they are so used to thinking about what everybody else wants, they’ve forgotten about what they want. But if you can lean into this thought that your desires, your wishes, the things that you want, that those are actually the markers and the guidepost showing you what you’re capable of and where you need to go. And the growth that needs to take place to have that thing, lean into. It’s there for a reason. You are given desire for a reason. Lean into it. So I start there with my clients, and then a huge part of it is going through your reason, your compelling reason.

Why do you want that thing? And nobody else needs to understand your reason but you. You’re the only one that needs to get it, and you’re the only one that needs to answer to it and feel good in it. You have to your reasons why. Other people’s judgment, it’s not enough. Yeah, what others might say, or even your own judgment like, “Oh, I don’t deserve that. Oh, that’s selfish of me,” we’re dropping all of that. It’s okay to want something just because you want it. But you claim it, say, “This is what I want, this is why I want it,” and commit to it over and over and over again. That commitment will be the thing that moves you from where you are to where you’re going. I know for me, when I was going through divorce, what kept me going was this image of a peaceful, calm life where I didn’t feel like I was in chaos all the time.

I didn’t wonder what was going to happen the next day. I didn’t wonder if we would be okay. I had a vision in my mind of a relationship that was loving and trusting and peaceful. I really wanted peace, and I was willing to do whatever it took to get there. And so I moved forward. Even though it was really bumpy at times, I moved forward anyway because I knew that I really wanted what was on the other side of those choppy waters, and I was willing to wade through them to get there. And the reward has been great. So in the next episode, I am going to be talking about how to make decisions. When we’re going through hard times, we often forget our own power, our own ability to choose. We forget how to listen to ourselves, how to make ourselves a priority. And so the next episode, I’m going to be teaching you three steps in how to make decisions from a place that feels clear to you and a way that feels like you can move forward and take action on it.

So in closing, I just want to say that person is on the other side calling to you. There is a person in the lighthouse. It’s you, and she has things to tell you. You have so much wisdom inside you that’s waiting for you to listen, to pause and listen. I understand that it feels scary. I understand that it takes a whole lot of courage. I understand that it feels easier to stay put, but what I want to challenge you with is this, you have so much in front of you if you will be willing to go through the discomfort of getting there. You have so much in front of you, of growth, of happiness, of joy, and it takes jumping into those waters and moving. So with that, what can you do today? What’s one thing that you can commit to? What feeling do you want to feel, and what action do you want to take from that that can help you feel like you’re moving forward?

I don’t care how small it is, one little thing that takes you out of the feeling of being stuck to the feeling of motion and movement. You are worth it. You’re worth your own discomfort to create the life that you want. I promise you, it’s really good on the other side. I appreciate so much you being here. I will see you next week. And if you have friends or other people that you think would benefit from this, I would love it if you would pass it along. And even better would be if you would go in and give me a review and subscribe to my podcast. That’s how other people find me. So thank you so much. I so appreciate you being here. Take care, and I’ll see you next time. 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.

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Hi. I’m Andrea Giles and I am so glad you are here.

Not many years back I found myself in a life I didn’t recognize, feeling confused, sad, and so small. My “forever” marriage was in shambles, and I didn’t know if I could ever trust my own judgment again.  Through my faith and some great tools, I was able to completely change my life and find myself again. Now it is my mission to help others who are right where I was. Click the button below to read more about my story.

Why was I not enough?

Does this question torment you? It did me too until I learned that the actions of my spouse had nothing to do with me, my worth, or my lovability. Click on the link below for a free guide that will teach you the 3 biggest lies about infidelity and why they are keeping you stuck.

Hi. I’m Andrea Giles and I am so glad you are here.

Not many years back I found myself in a life I didn’t recognize, feeling confused, sad, and so small. My “forever” marriage was in shambles, and I didn’t know if I could ever trust my own judgment again.  Through my faith and some great tools, I was able to completely change my life and find myself again. Now it is my mission to help others who are right where I was. Click the button below to read more about my story.