This article was first published on KSL.com
The main issue in our relationship is that my husband chooses to believe that I have cheated on him when I haven’t. I have been faithful to him. I hardly ever leave the house. I work from home and have given him no reason at all to think this. People have said to me that usually the accuser is the guilty one, but in my heart I don’t believe he has cheated on me either. I just don’t know what to do anymore. How can I get him to trust me and stop being afraid of this all the time?
You can’t really fix this on your own. Your husband will probably need some professional help to deal with his control, fear and trust issues. I will tell you a few things that may help you to understand where it's coming from though. Most people, who have deep trust issues, have experienced one or more of the following, which have created deep wounds at the subconscious level. See if any of these sound familiar.
Did he have a controlling, fearful, inconsistent, angry parent that didn’t make him feel safe?
Did he experience the loss or betrayal of a parent or loved one?
Did he have a parent who was distant, cold or unloving?
Did he have a loved one with excessive anger or control issues?
Does he have some deep, unresolved self-esteem issues, poor body image, or rejection in childhood that has stayed with him?
Was he controlled by a parent and does he project his fear of being controlled onto you, even though he is the one who is controlling?
People who grow up with a very controlling, manipulative parent or experienced loss as a child are often distrustful of their spouses. This kind of childhood pain can create powerful subconscious anger, rage, distrust or control issues which they may project onto you, even with no evidence to support it.
Some people with these kinds of childhood problems end up with conditions like narcissism or borderline personality disorder. (You may want to read about these conditions and see if the symptoms sound familiar.) If your husband has a problem like this, nothing but professional help is going to change things.
If he refuses to get help and continues to be controlling, distrustful or angry, you will have to decide if you can live with it or want out.
If the situation is not quite that serious — or in the meantime while you are waiting to get help — here are a few things experts say you could do:
Be an open book. Be totally honest about everything you do (and unafraid to be that way). Let him have total access to your cellphone, email and social media. Let him know that you have nothing to hide and no fear about him seeing everything you do. The less scared you are, the more calm you will create in your home.
Stay in trust that your value is infinite and absolute, and doesn’t change based on what he thinks, says or does. You are bulletproof and good enough all the time, no matter what mood he is in or how bad he sees you today. Your value doesn’t change! This will prevent you from being hurt or getting defensive. Let everything bounce off. I know this is hard to do but it is the only way to not get pulled into his drama and anger.
Stay calm and cool. It’s not a fight without two participants. If you are unafraid and calm it will be no fun to fight with you. You must stay bulletproof no matter what he says. When he accuses you, say, "You can choose to believe that but it doesn't make it true. I stand by my love for you." Remember that every mean comment is a projection of his pain. It is not really about you. He is miserable and scared and doesn’t want to own it alone. Seeing this situation accurately will help you not get pulled in.
Remember life is a classroom to teach us love and we always marry our greatest teachers. This is a chance for you to learn to choose love over defensiveness — at a really serious level. You must start seeing past the blame and accusations and see the wounded, scared soul that he is. When you see each comment as today’s lesson to teach you to be calm and loving, you will show up with more love for him. This mature response may calm him down, too.
I have written about this story before, but I think it really applies here. There is an old legend that a man started insulting and verbally abusing Buddha. Buddha let the man go on for a while, then asked, “May I ask you a question?” The man responded, "What?” Buddha said, “If someone offers you a gift and you decline to accept it, who does it belong to?” The man said, “Then it belongs to the person who offered it. He must keep it.” “That is correct," and with that, Buddha walked away. Number five is based on this idea.
Don’t take his distrust personally. It is not really about you. It is about his subconscious insecurity. He has some serious fear and self-worth issues and they aren’t about you. You can try to reassure and validate him, but at the end of the day you cannot be responsible for his issues or fix them. He has to do that. Keep asking him (calmly) to join you in some marriage counseling. Tell him you really want a better, happier marriage and "everyone is doing it these days." This is true, more people than ever are reaching out for professional help. Marriage counseling doesn’t have the stigma it had in the past. Explain to him that asking for help is a sign of his strength, not weakness. (As I said before, if he refuses to get help, you will have to decide if it’s your perfect journey to stick it out or leave.)
Don’t cast him as the bad guy because of these trust issues. You both are souls with infinite absolute value — the same value. He is just scared — he is not a bad person. Make sure you choose to see both of you as the same, struggling scared students in the classroom of life, doing the best you can with what you know. See him as a equal and remember that you have issues and flaws, too. If you always choose to see him as the same as you, you won’t talk down to him, which would make him even angrier.
You may want to consider burying the past together. Get two pieces of paper and each of you write all the things that your spouse has done in the past that you still have pain and hurt about. Put those lists in a shoebox and bury them in the backyard. (Bury them deep.) Make a commitment not to bring those issues up ever again unless you first go dip the box up. Unless you are willing to do that, you can’t bring those issues back. This helps to facilitate mutual forgiveness for many couples.
I know how painful these situations can be and my heart goes out to you. You may want to read my book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" for more tips on eliminating fear from your marriage.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is also the author of the new book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a popular coach and speaker.
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Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.