Best Description of Betrayal EVER! (must read)

I found this article from my dear friend at Journal of a Sex Addict

Whenever I come across someone who does not understand what I am going through I have them read the article below. I hope you find it just as helpful. ***Warning*** You may cry because someone wrote exactly how you feel.

When betrayal is disclosed, an array of long lasting physical, mental and emotional symptoms occur.

They say processing and recovery of these symptoms take 2-5 years provided the betrayed and the betrayer do what is required and both put in extreme effort and hard work. After 2-5 years – MAYBE you’ll start to feel like the old parts of you that you loved creep in.

But what happens before the 2-5 years? If you’ve discovered you’ve been sexually and/or emotionally betrayed, you’ve got one hell of an up-coming journey regardless if you stay or leave. It doesn’t matter if you were betrayed once or a thousand times; the symptoms and effort with processing are the same. If you’ve been betrayed, you will experience the following for 2-5 years – which your spouse won’t understand but may if it’s spelled out in black and white:

  1. You will ask many many details of what they did, and
    • EACH answer will cause you to question more to try and connect the dots
    • EACH answer will cause you to rephrase the question to make sure they’re telling the truth
    • EACH answer will take minimum 7 days to process
    • EACH new discovery/answers to questions that have already been answered sets the betrayed back minimum 7 days

If you have 261 simultaneous thoughts and questions about the betrayal (I had/have more than this), and each take 7 days (or more) to process, there’s your 5 years.

Keep in mind, one thought takes 7 days, but we are not only thinking one thought. We are thinking and feeling:

  • a hundred thoughts at a time and ruminating about them all
  • about their afterthought guilt and shame and trying to find a fiber of compassion for them (seriously, I don’t know how we do it)
  • like zombies as if someone has taken over our bodies and minds

All the while – we’re:

  • working
  • taking care of parents
  • taking care of kids and really trying to stay patient
  • helping with homework
  • playing games with our kids
  • taking our kids to activities
  • playing fake happy face life with friends, family, co-workers and children
  • cooking
  • cleaning
  • grocery shopping
  • angry
  • enraged
  • resentful
  • anxious
  • disgusted by our spouse
  • thinking about hurting ourselves
  • blaming ourselves for being so stupid
  • suffering a severely diminished self esteem
  • ruminating about what they have that we don’t
  • in pain because of a STD
  • worried we’ve been exposed to HPV and need to go through screening for years
  • spending thousands of hours and dollars in counselling
  • spending thousands of dollars on medication
  • reading books and blogs on “How to Forgive Infidelity”
  • stalking the OW
  • conjuring up revenge scenarios
  • worried we’ll be homeless
  • worried the OW is pregnant
  • paranoid that he misses her/them
  • paranoid that he’s still talking to her/them
  • paranoid that he’s still meeting up with her/them
  • worried about what will happen to our children
  • hating our spouse
  • loving our spouse
  • suffering from PTSD
  • suffering nightmares of the affair(s)
  • suffering insomnia because of rumination and fear of the nightmares
  • drinking
  • doing drugs
  • not taking care of ourselves
  • feeling dirty
  • losing our identity
  • feeling like we want to run away
  • feel like we want to stay in bed
  • losing weight
  • fending off questions from our friends and family about what’s wrong
  • physical ailments from all of the stress hormones running though our bodies but still need to do all of the above patiently and gently so no one knows or sees your pain

And we don’t really remember doing ANY of the above because those 261 questions and thoughts are rolling around in there each with their 7 days of processing TAKE OVER OUR LIVES. You could be on day 5 for one, day 3 for another and day 7 for a new one which may cause the day 3 processing thought to reset and start the 7 days over again.

And then we get triggered – DAILY – by a song, driving by a place they met that was OUR place, frantically (and repeatedly) scouring though old emails, photos, texts, phone records, banking/credit card statement, pockets, drawers, behind couches and receipts trying to figure out the timeline and remember what exactly was going on that exact day, which causes more triggers, processing days and hours and hours of a domino effect of spiraling and going “there”.

Betrayers: hopefully this will help you understand that we can’t just “get over it”, why at year 1 we still have items that need 7 day processing, why at year 2 we’re starting to feel ok but still go “there”, why at year 5 we still aren’t ourselves and why we will never be ourselves again.

Passenger on a Train (At Home Therapy Exercises EMDR) Part 7

When you suffer from betrayal trauma and/or PTSD it can be very overwhelming to be in public places.  There could be a million different things that can cause triggers that send you into a downward spiral that is hard to get out of. For a better description of what it is like click here. Below is another tool I use when I am at home or in a public place.

When I am out in a public place I can and will get triggered by lots of things. There are over a million things that can trigger me  I learned to be a “Passenger on a Train”.  I visualize my train down to every little detail. It is good to get a good visualization of your train before you are in a public place.  Make sure your train has a window you can open so you can hear the noises too.  It is also important to smell the smells as you travel on this train. When you are getting triggered you can put yourself as a “Passenger on a Train”.  Watch the trigger go by from right to left or left to right.  Smell the smells, hear the noises and feel them go by as you travel on your train. The idea is to train your brain to take your triggers and process them in a way where you acknowledge them but do not let the feelings send you into that dreadful downward spiral.

The hardest part about this tool and other tools is to remember you have them available. Make sure you keep a list of different tools and exercises that work for you. This list should always be handy.

“You will never be the same, but you can be better.” -Lauren Beth