It's really hard to follow the PORA sometimes, especially in regards to these triggers.
My biggest trigger is anything that even closely resembles dishonesty. Whereas before the A, I would accept any logical explanation, now I get suspicious and have to snoop to verify.
The problem with the PORA in these cases is that my wife does not respond well to anything that sounds even remotely critical. While she accepts that her behavior is what made me not trust her, she still responds with despair that I don't "just believe" her.
When I try to be honest about how I feel so that we can talk about it and come to a mutual understanding that makes us both feel better, she responds with tears and crying (no matter how nicely I say it). In turn, I feel bad for making HER feel bad about the way I feel.
More often than not, even after reaching a mutual understanding, me being honest with her withdraws love units from her love bank. There is almost always a noticeable distance between us after one of our talks when I'm triggered. I almost always have to be the one to extend the olive branch and act like nothing is wrong and show extra affection to get us back on track again.
Is it wrong of me to want HER to be the one to make ME feel better? (I kind of already know the answer here...just venting to anyone that is still listening).
I sounds like you are already trying to be kind and careful when you are honest with her, but you may find an article that Steve Harley wrote about it interesting and helpful. It usually helps to review, even if you are already doing well.
The Policy of Radical Honesty: It�s not a Hammer!
By Steven W. Harley, M.S.
It�s a sad commentary about our society when we have to have a
rule called �The Policy of Radical Honesty.� It is difficult
to pinpoint, but somewhere along the line being honest became
I believe that the trend toward dishonesty got its foothold
when experts or advice-givers began selling the idea that what
your spouse doesn�t know won�t hurt them. (In other words,
sometimes it�s acceptable to lie and deceive.) Following with
the added punch that being completely honest will just hurt
your spouse, which should be avoided at any cost. (Again,
meaning that sometimes it�s acceptable to lie and deceive.)
Unfortunately, those ideas were bought lock, stock, and barrel
by most people, leading to the creation of secret second lives
and untold secrets between husbands and wives all in the name
of �protecting my spouse�s feelings.� All of which allow
cancers to form in the marriage.
On the bright side, when couples are introduced to the idea
of radical honesty, most tend to see its value and importance
within the process of creating a mutually enjoyable marriage.
Couples understand that if true connectedness and emotional
intimacy is ever going to be achieved, nothing short of
complete honesty will work. What most couples also understand
is that there is some work involved in getting used to the
true intent behind Radical Honesty.
Contrary to common belief, Radical Honesty does not include
bludgeoning your spouse with your unprocessed thoughts and
feelings. One of the most common misinterpretations of this
policy is believing that it is a license to dump raw opinions
about, then say �Hey, I was just being honest with you.� This
response is the product of a misguided belief that the Policy
of Radical Honesty trumps all other Marriage Builders� concepts
(i.e. Love Busters). There is no policy that truly trumps the
most important tenant of Marriage Builders�: you must protect
your spouse, which includes protection from yourself. All
policies are meant to help you more effectively and
successfully achieve that primary goal.
So, what about being truly honest about your thoughts and
feelings? It almost sounds like I�m contradicting myself by
saying that on one hand you must be completely honest with
your spouse yet on the other hand I�m saying don�t hurt your
spouse. I am a firm believer that you can do both. For
example, if your husband is showing you a tie that he picked
out himself and wanted to know if it matched his suit, what
would you say if you were thinking that it was the most
ridiculous idea to think that the tie he picked out would
even come close to matching not only that suit, but any suit
in his closet? I would suggest that you use a processed
response such as �Honey, I believe that you would look much
better in the tie that the kids gave to you for Father�s Day
because a solid color goes better with that suit and will
make a much better impression in your meeting today.�
Notice that the response I suggested did convey a dislike for
the tie he chose, but was done in a thoughtful and sensitive
way instead of a cruel and insensitive way.
Even in situations when your spouse tells you to be brutally
honest with them instead of candy-coating your thoughts, your
marriage is far better served by understanding the Marriage
Builders� mandate to protect each other and agreeing to never
be brutal about anything.
I�m not necessarily telling you to disregard your spouse�s
request, but I do recommend that a discussion take place
regarding how you want to make every effort not to do anything
that will potentially harm the safety of your marriage.
The bottom line is that it is not ok to commit a Love Buster
under the guise of any of the supporting policies or concepts,
which includes Radical Honesty. Again, this does not mean
that you are not to be completely honest with your spouse, it
means that you must honestly convey your thoughts and feelings
in a controlled, thoughtful, and sensitive way.
End of Article
I hope things continue to improve.