Thursday, February 19, 2015
Statement Analysis in Romance: Trickle Truth
In part one, we viewed the setting of deceptive betrayal where:
one spouse goes out on the other, while the unsuspecting spouse believed the marriage was sound, and the perpetrator of deception had the expectation of keeping his spouse, but also engaging in deception. This is not to minimize anyone's pain, but to categorize a specific trauma and a specific form of deception that accompanies it. Even in bad marriages, the pain is real, yet it is, in the least, without the acute shock and disbelief that is being addressed here. A small mercy, perhaps, but seeing distance or outright talk of divorce lessens the surprise factor.
We established a foundation of "cheating" being anything in which is deceptively given to another that properly belongs to the spouse. This avoids "sexting isn't real cheating" types of arguments.
We now come to the confrontation. When the shocked spouse learns of the deception, the questions begin. The day that the brain experiences the trauma of learning of the deception is often referred to as "D Day" by sufferers and it is something that the deceived use as the major point of demarcation in life. Everything in life is divided to pre and post D-Day, and then, pre and post affair.
The language is heartbreaking.
The victim of deception, perhaps fighting suicidal ideation, now measures his or her entire life by this one day; the day when the deception was uncovered.
The trauma was because:
the marriage was, according to the victim, solid. The victim of deception did not see any signs, so the shock was complete.
There were no hints of trouble.
There were no arguments or distancing between them.
There was nothing to believe that there were even little problems.
The spouse reported being happy, in love, and content.
These factors all increase the impact of the trauma due to shock. This is more commonly reported by women than by men. It is the "atomic bomb" of marriages (not my wording), self esteem, self worth, peace, contentment, trust, natural security, and so on. It is all "blown up" with little left to sift from the remains.
The language of hyperbole must be understood in context.
Although I remain open for more categories, (and medical/sociological professionals can weigh in and assist my study), I thus find two areas in which hyperbole is used for one simple reason:
The subject does not have the words.
The two categories I have found this in consistently (with lots of backup research) are:
1. Sexual abuse in childhood; specifically either pre-speech and/or early speech
2. The utter shock of betrayal where no signs, signals, or warnings were discerned and the trauma was elongated by the 'trickle truth' of deception and time.
Both show signals in the language of:
PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
Inability to convey meaning through words. (Although I have not had a lot of personal experience interviewing vets with PTSD, those that I have, as well as statements I have read online, seem to indicate an ability to describe the event, itself. This may be due to professional intervention as a skilled therapist or counselor has brought them 'through' the experience and it may be "less unresolved" than previously. This may be why nightmares, for example, slow in intensity and frequency over time for treated vets).
In my research and interview experience with victims of sexual abuse in early childhood, I have found a consistency in language that echoes Dissociative Identity Disorder's various descriptions. The victim does not have the words to describe things because things happened before speech.
The disbelief begins even before denial. The feeling of security in life itself is utterly wiped out. Every holiday, every good time, is now questionable to the victim, because he or she thought they were happy, and the subject simply does not know if "something was going on here..." while looking at a picture of him holding her in his arms, years before.
Note that the trauma is actually made worse due to:
"Trickle Truth" is the common wording used by victims in describing how they learned of their spouse's unfaithfulness. Couples that have long discussed divorce do not have an expectation of fidelity and although it is painful, it does not hold the same damage that comes to those utterly unprepared. They begin by demanding information from the wayward spouse.
It is deception via the editing process.
The wayward spouse often sees the pain now inflicted upon his spouse, and, for whatever motive, gives out truth in very tiny bits. This may be due to guilt, or it may be, as some claim, for the "good" of the victim.
Victims report that this process of obtaining information does more damage rather than giving a "soft landing."
In order to "trickle out truth", there is deception. The "temporal lacuna" is often the indicator (along with the departing of a place) that the subject is not
"The truth, the entire truth, and nothing but the truth" being our standard of truth.
The victim has a need to know, and must process the information. Here comes a sad relevancy:
By the time a spouse begins to suspect enough to ask about detecting deception, it is likely already into deception.
It can be so painful that some spouses actually end up preferring a lie.
"These lips have never kissed another. This body has never entered another's."
I was once asked to analyze this statement. The victim married her high school sweetheart and had given credible statements about their marriage and her own fidelity: it was "invisible loyalty", that is, she had no interest and did not return flirts, nor initiate them. She loved her husband. Repeatedly, she asked me to analyze the statement.
*(Whether or not you or I believe her marriage was as good as described is irrelevant to the trauma. That she believed, that she saw no warning signs or anything wrong is what left her unprepared for the shock. That she believed, and expressed this in truthful terms, is what is relevant. Trained therapists in Statement Analysis, can be invaluable to sufferers).
It became evident, over the passage of time, that he had 'confessed' in "trickle truth" (over weeks of her having to cross examine him) that he had texted intimately with this woman and it was a "silly infatuation" at work and that was all it was and he would never interact with her again. He said repeatedly that "nothing happened" and there was "never any physical contact."
This, alone, left her so betrayed that her heart was broken and even as a high paid professional, she felt like a little girl, lost and alone.
She could not tell anyone. If she told her family, they would be devastated. They loved him and often pointed to their marriage as "THE example of a good marriage" in a world gone wrong today with extreme divorce rates.
After refusing to analyze it, but being pressed so, I was ready to give in when she said that after months of suffering, anxiety, depression, poor work performance, weight loss, and crying until her eyes were sore, she felt that she was ready to "move forward." The timing was awful but helps set the stage for understanding.
She was "sure" that he never even kissed her. She was seeking me out to "double check."
I asked what the context of the statement was. This is important. Was she questioning him? Did he use her language? Was there something on TV that triggered it?
She said that he was holding her close and comforting her.
"Did you ask him about kissing?"
No. She had been silent. He had long denied any physical contact.
"Did he offer this statement without any indiction from you?"
This makes it an "open statement", that is, one that is freely offered, and without the language of the other. She explained that it was a wonderful, tender moment. There had been no talk of "it" for awhile, and he offered the statement in an attempt to reassure her of his fidelity and invisible loyalty to her.
*(Invisible loyalty---loyalty when no one is looking, there is no one to catch him, when there is no reason to hide emails, text messages, and so on. It is a loyalty that is when 'no one is looking.')
He offered two things in the negative. One was kissing, and the other was intercourse.
She wanted to know the truth. After many attempts to steer her elsewhere, I eventually told her, "you need to ask him, if this was an open statement, freely given, with him using his own words:
"Did you kiss her?" and be prepared for the answer. Count the number of words beyond "no" and think carefully. There may be some sensitivity since he knows you have your doubts.
She had felt that after the night after night of interrogation, she got all the information of what happened from him, but, to humor me, she would try.
He eventually confessed to "just one kiss."
She was careful in listening and he added the word "just", which is used when one compares something with another of greater value.
She then said that she was satisfied that it was one kiss only and maybe could eventually have some trust towards him in the future.
*Victims, even after years, most always report never regaining trust, in its fullness, ever again.
What one offers in the negative is always important. In a moment of intimate contact, while holding his wife closely, he offered this statement:
"These lips have never kissed another. This body has never entered another's."
When she learned that the first sentence was a lie, she was terrified to even ask about the second sentence, also freely offered, and in the negative.
The "trickle truth" method can be especially cruel as it presupposes that the "missing" information is deliberately withheld.
She was intelligent and at the top of her profession, yet reduced to begging for information.
She did not need to ask me about "this body never entered another's..." but, at the time, decided not to ask him about it.
I understood and respected her decision. She would get to it when she was ready and likely with professional and familiar supports in place.
One man reported that it took him grilling his wife with questions for months to get to what he thought was the truth, only to feel a sense of "incompletion." This led him to, every so often (usually around the anniversary of his "D Day") to go after her with more questions. He always felt like a bully asking, and she always felt "attacked" by his questioning. It was not healthy for either, but because he continued for years to suffer nightmares, he knew that, at least for him, it was not closed.
He said that this went on for 6 years, and that 6 years after D-Day, he learned some horrible details which she withheld from him, claiming that she did it out of love since he was so devastated (suicidal). He reported that he would have had a better chance of healing, to some degree, had she come clean years earlier.
This is "trickle truth" in the extreme and professional intervention was necessary.
Going back to his D-Day:
He said that in the first week alone, he could not go to work and talked day and night, losing his sick time. He asked questions and she gave limited answers, with the kids always being put in front of the television or out to play, yet sensing that something was very wrong. He could not eat, nor sleep. He said that he went more than 12 months without consciously smiling, and even that was a forced smile. He reported intrusive thoughts of violently harming himself, and overwhelming thoughts of being a failure. He burned pictures, his diary, and could not bear to see his wedding video. In short, he was seeking to "remove" this pain from various memories of his past, including holidays where he now wondered, "Was she up to no good here?"
Both of these cases reported years of suffering, with similarities in the language of both the female and the male.
Both reported weight loss, depression, self loathing, poor performance at the job, suicidal ideation, and both reported feeling "forced" by extremity to seek professional intervention. Both found skilled therapists to bring them through the trauma. Both reported (post intervention):
a. reduction of suicidal thoughts
b. return to work status, though without the same drive
c. less nightmares, night terrors, etc
d. therapists who made MD referrals who insisted on exercise
e. therapists recommended journaling through pain
f. loss of trust. In the language of both, it was clear that neither believed that they could ever trust with the same type of 'child like' trust that is a basic human comfort.
g. Triggers remained.
For her, it was certain movies where a husband would be unfaithful and this would often cause her to cry and be depressed for up to a week. She also said that movies that showed high school sweethearts had a "trigger" effect.
For him, triggers included certain smells. When asked for a reason, he said that "she made him cookies. To this day when she makes cookies, I leave the house and go for a walk. If I don't, I am almost always going to have a nightmare."
h. Both reported (like many) being hyper vigilant.
This negatively impacted their spouses as they always felt the need to check text messages, emails, etc. The initial shock was too much and the trickle truth made it last longer than it could have.
i. Both used language similar to PTSD sufferers where they spoke or wrote in past tense, suddenly, at the point of impact, moved into present tense verbs: the pain continues.
For more on this, please see analysis of one of Bill Cosby's victims. She guided us by her pronouns, her references to the perpetrator, and was consistently committed to her statements by our formula of reliability ("I" and past tense verbs) with the notable exception of the present tense verbs in impact.
These people suffered trauma to the brain, and it was not just the loss of love, or the loss of trust, or comfort, it was the shock of the event, something they did not see coming.
Some will say that this is impossible. Yet with those I have dealt with, the language was not that of denial, so much, as it was difficult for them to find the words to describe the shock.
The deception was not due to a broken marriage. This is critical to understand.
The deception is due to one spouse wanting both his wife and his girlfriend and wants neither to find out, nor his situation to change. He wants the comfort of home, and the thrill of the conquest. It goes to the core of selfishness, with no concern on how this impacts the lives of others. One woman said, "I will get my needs met. If he doesn't meet them, someone else will."
Yet, outside the one quote, this still does not address:
"How can I tell if my husband or wife is cheating on me?"
The answer should be evident to readers of the blog.
Ask and analyze. Learn skilled listening.
"Nothing happened" is impossible since "nothing" can't take place. Yet, if this the answer to question, or, is it in the open statement, unprovoked? The latter is not a good thing to hear.
"We are just friends" uses the word "just", indicating comparison. Is the comparison due to an allegation? Or, is it in an open, unprompted statement. In the latter, it is not a good sign.
In Part Three, I have chosen a statement anonymously posted, for analysis.