Surviving Infidelity: Understanding How Compartmentalization Plays a Role |

Most people have used the art of compartmentalizing sometime in their life. It’s a common practice in many occupations such as law enforcement or military service. It’s the brain’s way of determining an action is more important than the consequences. Our brains detect that an action is wrong (shooting/killing) but necessary (criminal/war). So, we box up our guilt and honor and pain, tie a pretty bow on top, and continue what we’re doing. As in the above examples, sometimes it is necessary for survival. When dealing with infidelity, what is actually happening is we are actually selling out our own morality and character and shattering the worlds of those we love.

Not all, but many people who are guilty of affairs learned to compartmentalize at a young age, as a means of survival against harsh or abusive situations. They may have suffered sexual, physical, or emotional abuse as a child and so their ability was already firmly in place.

Much of the time, their compartmentalizing carries over to other areas of their lives. They usually are irresponsible with money or may have a poor work ethic. They may be viewed as insensitive or even callous at times, although at other times they can be quite charming.

Why do they do this? The bottom line is they are empty and afraid: afraid of being vulnerable to themselves and others. They are also afraid of loving themselves. It’s much easier to seek love and validation from external sources such as in the arms of another than take a good, long, hard look at themselves. An affair is ALWAYS about the betrayer.

In more cases than not, it takes hitting rock bottom and facing the undeniable proof of what a mess they have made of their lives and the lives of their families before healing can begin. Therapy and self-examination can be of the utmost benefit at this time. The good news is that if they have the will to change it can be done. There are plenty of success stories out there but it won’t happen without hard work and dedication. Whether their issues are low self-esteem, a history of abuse as a child, sexual addiction, or something else the ability to compartmentalize is not the disease itself, but rather a symptom. The core illness and issues must be addressed before real healing can begin.

Source by Martha Edwards

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