I Can't Get Past It
(St. Paul, MN)
I have a one year old with my boyfriend. While I was pregnant I found out he had been cheating on me. The hormones made me very forgiving and I let go of it.
But since I had the baby the scenario of his infidelities keeps coming back to me and it makes me so mad! There are times when we'd be talking and laughing and then he says or does something and it triggers the memory and I get mad all over. I talk about the same thing over and over, I call him names and say he's not trustworthy.
This happens two or three times a month and is followed by an episode of a few days of sulky silence where I won't answer his calls or talk to him. We have been together seven years and in that time he has been unfaithful four times that I know of. We had just broken up when I discovered I was pregnant, so we thought we'd give it one more try.
I am torn between ending it for good or letting go of all my anger. I realize the latter means forgiving and forgetting but I don't feel ready for it. I'm ashamed to admit that I feel that he deserves to suffer for the anguish he has caused me over time.
I do love my boyfriend but I am not happy because I feel like he turns me into this uncompromising angry woman. I guess my question is why am I holding on to this anger for so long? And how can I get over it?
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello Liz, and thanks for telling your story here. I will answer your questions as best I can.
1) You ask, "Why am I holding on to this anger for so long?" It's because you've been hurt and betrayed four times that you know of. You have good reason to be angry, and it won't go away because the problem is not solved. The problem would be solved if you broke up, or if you knew for sure that he was faithful--and it does not sound like you trust him yet. So, you are holding onto your anger for your protection--you don't know when the next hurt will come. That's what anger is, a protective emotion, and you're not bad for having it--it's important, however, how you deal with it.
2) You also ask, "How can I get over it?" I'm not sure if you're going to be able to get over the anger until you feel confident that you can trust him. Is he seeking help for his problems? Do you see evidence that he is making every effort to be faithful and true to you? Again, the anger is there for your protection, and probably won't go away as long as you're with him and unsure when the next betrayal is coming.
I know this doesn't solve your problem. I'll offer some suggestions for forgiveness and letting go, to see if that will help, in light of the points I've made above.
Here is the page on my site that I think will be helpful to you: overcoming jealousy.
For your own personal health and well being, and to give you better control over your anger, use the journaling processes on this page, and that will be very helpful to you in many ways.
Put yourself and your baby first, Liz. That is the most important thing I can say to you. You must take care of yourself, your baby's mother, first and foremost.
My very best to you,