August 31, 2011
August 31, 2011
Most people understand that they need closure and have some kind of funeral service to help them accept the loss of a loved one. However, most people do not realise that closure is also needed in other circumstances where there is a loss of a relationship.
When a couple decides to continue their commitment to each other after one of the partners has cheated on the other; this constitutes a loss equivalent to the death of the partner/relationship for the devoted partner. There needs to be a type of closure that will allow trust to begin for a second time so the former vows can flourish again.
ACTIVE LISTENING is the answer to helping closure. What the spouse feels as a result of the loss of the caring towards him/her is the most important aspect. Not apologising as that is useless when the person is no longer trusted to follow through with the actions that the words signify. Instead one needs to put oneself in the shoes of the other person. If you are the transgressor, ask your self what would you feel and how would you react in a similar scenario? Be honest with yourself and then project the vocabulary that illustrates your true concern.
For example, the damaged spouse feels, unloved, abandoned, hurt, angry, in addition to lowered self esteem which in some cases is caused by the fact that the victim blames him/herself.
Only when the person is truly sorry that s/he has wounded their partner and portrays that with active listening coming from his/her heart, does the damaged person begin to feel whole again.
Mourning is felt in different stages at different times; there is no pattern of priority, only those sentiments as they are triggered within the damaged person. The 5 stages of mourning are outlined here:
Guilt is one of the 5 stages and there is grief until there is closure. Any type of emotion is often projected in anger such as: frustration or helplessness because of the inability to repair the relationship. Nor does it mean that the hurt partner will forget the issue any more than we forget our departed love ones, but the distrust will soften and allow loving feelings to return as the transgressor illustrates hs/her understanding of the myriad sentiments of the hurt party.
Bargaining is another stage of mourning which translates into using the betrayal as a way to create a new group of guidelines in the relationship to hopefully make it continue.
Sadness is a given in any type of mourning and the again active listening helps alleviate that.
Denial is another characteristic of mourning. Withdrawing or putting up an emotional wall is part of the denial process.
Finally Acceptance of the situation arrives when the 5 stages have been worked through properly so that the relationship can continue strengthened by the new aspect of the procedure.