Marriage in Crisis
If you or your partner has recently asked for a separation or revealed/discovered an affair, chances are your marriage or relationship is in crisis. You may feel like you are at the end of your rope and there are no options! You obsess over how you will survive the consequences of what is happening! You may feel intense anger, betrayal, abandonment, rejection, shame, guilt, loss of control, fear and anxiety, depression, hopelessness and helplessness, pain and hurt, overwhelmed and want to run away, etc. just to name a few of the feelings that come with a crisis.
Most people do survive a marriage crisis and actually learn something, although at the time of your crisis your perspective is so narrowed you do not think this is possible. The intensity of your feelings, often fear and anxiety, drain and diminish your capacity to think as your emotional self (that little scared kid within you) reacts. Often that reaction is what you have learned as a child and comes automatically to try and protect you and cope.
What you can do
- Decide whether this is an emergency
A fear that a threat of self harm or harm to others will be or is being acted upon.
- Fear of you or someone hurting your children
- Alcohol and substance use or abuse associated with the above conditions increases the crisis and need for intervention
- Call 911 or go to the emergency room
National Suicide Prevention Hotline – 1-800 -273- TALK (8255)
National Domestic Abuse Hotline – 1-800 -799- SAFE (7233)
It’s better to be safe than sorry!
- Talk to your “Self”
You may be struggling to calm yourself down but all you can think and obsess about is the worst scenarios. Remember your thinking can be very distorted and focused on your fear, anger, pain, hurt, rejection, shame, guilt, negative thinking…
Telling yourself things like:
- “I can get through this!”
- “I can soothe my wounded, hurt feelings!”
- “I can cope!”
- “This will pass.”
- “I can get help and support from my friends, family, counselor etc.”
You may think you are alone but there is help and support available. Taking Space is about developing your “inner nurturer.”
- Learn to disengage from conflict
If you are involved in intense and aggressive arguing or fighting with your partner, you can call “Time Out.” Take physical space away from him or her. Go to another room. Take a walk around your home or outside.
- Reach out to others
The next thing I highly suggest is to contact someone you can talk to. Reach out to family, friends, a counselor, your minister, priest or rabbi etc. – anybody that you think will aid you in this crisis. There are several crisis hotlines that you could also call if you feel you have nobody presently that you can turn to.
Medications may help you calm your fear and anxiety, and should be considered if you are struggling. I suggest medications when you feel like you are losing control of yourself and capacity to function and cope with you, your family and children, work etc. Sleep is often the first thing affected as our minds go round and round with worry after worry. Your physician or the local clinic or hospital emergency room can assess this with you.
I offer a Relaxation-Meditation CD on my website (and with the Couples Home Study Course) that could help you calm down and learn to relax. It may not change the facts of your situation, but will help you deal with those facts from a more relaxed thoughtful place of self caring.
Only you can learn to calm your reaction and emotional self!
Managing yourself during a crisis or highly stressful experience is the most important first step!