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:
- 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:
- 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
- grocery shopping
- 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
- 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.