Do wish that you could be permanently numb, and be able to escape the pain of shattered emotions?
If you do, then you’re not on your own… many spouses who are trying to survive the shattering trauma of an affair wish they didn’t have to go through so much pain. You need to be aware of the two major roadblocks to healing that you need to go through in order to survive the devastation caused by an affair and keep yourself moving forward.
The first question you’ll no doubt have turned over in your mind time and time again is this: is there any hope of being able to survive the agonising blow of an affair? It may be hard to think that this will ever be possible; some people who have been victims of cheaters ask themselves if they will ever feel “normal” again.
It must seem almost impossible to get back to anything like “normal” after the crippling blow of finding out about your spouse’s cheating. But believe it or not, the vast majority of those who do have to go through this DO manage to survive the affair and rebuild their lives- and in many cases life can actually be better than before…
On learning of a spouse’s infidelity, it’s easy to be, or feel caught off guard. When you look at it more closely, it’s not very different to what you might experience in any other traumatic situation, for example, losing your job, or having to cope with the loss or serious illness of a friend or family member. When this sort of news comes to you out of nowhere, you search for all the resources and inner strength just to cope with the situation; your coping mechanisms are tested to the limit.
The first thing you have to do is to work through all the emotions you’re experiencing as a result of finding out that your spouse has been unfaithful to you. A wide range of questions occupy your thoughts and feelings:
Will our marriage survive?
Will I be able to survive?
How could I have believed in my spouse?
How could he/she have done this to me?
What does the other person have that I don’t?
These can be thought to be part of the initial shockwave that you experience when you learn about the affair. It’s a way of getting some solid ground underneath your feet again; when you begin to see some answers to these questions, you’ll begin to feel like you’re standing on firmer ground.
Many victims of affairs seek answers, and some want very specific information about what happened during the affair. If you haven’t already started questioning your spouse in order to uncover the details, I would recommend that you hold back from this for the moment. At this point in time, you already have as much as you can bear just with dealing with the impact of the news of the affair and with the emotional upheaval this has unleashed. These emotions, if they are not properly dealt with, can actually become roadblocks to your healing.
Two of the major emotional roadblocks to healing
It’s undeniably natural to have emotions which send you reeling when you face a situation like this, which is completely unnatural. Some spouses have described their reaction to learning of an affair as being like being kicked in the gut. Others have felt physically sick, when they think about the psychological and emotional damage caused.
But we have to remember that the emotional effects of the affair can remain and potentially be even more harmful, if you don’t try to face them and deal with them effectively. Here are two of the top emotional roadblock that you will need to face up to and deal with if you’re going to survive affair devastation.
The first emotional roadblock is jealousy
If you stumble over this particular obstacle you can end up dealing a huge blow to your own self esteem-and remember it has already taken a battering as a result of first hearing about the affair… Jealousy, in this situation is a completely understandable reaction; after all, you are within your rights to feel jealous about your spouse showing attention on someone else when it should be on you.
Trouble is, though, that there are other problems linked with jealousy, and these include: lashing out in order to feel better about yourself. This is a one-way ticket to feeling even more pain, as it will leave your with regrets about what you chose to do, and all of this is in addition to what you’ve been feeling since learning about the affair for the first time.
If you are feeling overrun by feelings of jealousy, I suggest that you keep a journal to write down, and effectively express or “act out” what you’re feeling. A journal gives you a safe place to work through these feelings, and allows you to release the feelings bottled up inside you, along with any thoughts of revenge, without leading to any actions which could themselves do more harm than good.
The second emotional roadblock is uncertainty
As you can see from the questions above, affair victims often struggle with the uncertainty of the future.
Nothing’s guaranteed in this life, and no one can see the future, but an affair strikes a huge blow to the sense of certainty that life is progressing along a certain path.
Stability may be the last thing you’re feeling after learning about your spouse’s affair, but you do have parts of your life that are stable. So, use your journal to record and remember the different parts of your life which you feel are stable at the moment. It could be your career or business, or it could be special friendships. Make of list of these stable things that you can come back to during times when those feelings of insecurity and instability threaten to dominate or take over your thinking.
All the best to you, as you seek to survive affair devastation and deal with the emotional roadblocks to healing.
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