Daniel has had a hard day at work. He couldn’t wait to get home. He fought through hours of traffic but he finally made it home. He pulled into the garage, shut off the car, and went into the house. Sitting at the kitchen table, his wife Karen sits, eyes red and puffy, with mascara stains streaking her pale skin. Daniel trying to be the “good” husband starts to say something but is cut off by Karen saying: “How could you!” Instantly Daniel knows that he has been found out.
Sadly, situations like this one happen all too often. One spouse finds out about an affair, compulsive porn usage, or other such actions. A feeling of shock and disbelief hits the offended partner, feelings of shame, guilt, and maybe even anger strike the offender. Regardless of the feelings, this discovery charts a path for each individual and the marriage that is difficult to recover from; trust has been broken.
There is nothing like having trust broken in a marriage. Broken trust instantly throws lives, relationships and family into chaos and trauma. If one looks at the DSM-5 criteria for PTSD, many of the offended partners exhibit seven of the eight Diagnostic Criteria for PTSD, the only one not being met being exposure to death, serious injury, or sexual violence. One could even agree that watching the possible death of relationship could qualify for the last criteria, but regardless there is significant trauma in the relationship.
So what now?
This is the beginning of a four part blog that will address the specific stages of a relationship where trust has been broken. These stages are the crisis stage, the healing stage, the choice, and the recovery stage. Every relationship that experiences broken trust will not go through every stage, but in order for a relationship to heal, and trust to be established, all four stages will need to be experienced.
If you have experienced broken trust and feel as though you are in crisis, please contact CPCC. We have many trained counselors that help you through these difficult times. If you can wait however, over the next couple of weeks we will explore the stages of broken trust: crisis is next.