You’re watching a movie and there’s mention of someone having an extramarital affair. Suddenly you find yourself replaying all of the fantasies and feelings that you had when you learned about the details of your partner’s affair.
Your heart begins to race. You may feel a tightness in your chest or gut wrenching pain in your stomach. All of the body sensations and anger and hurt race through your body and mind.
You realize that you are reliving the horrendous emotions that swept through your body when you learned that your partner had been cheating
Let me emphasize here that you are not just remembering. Instead you are almost picked up out of the present moment and moved back into that first moment as the bottom dropped out of your sense of reality.
What you are experiencing is a flashback. After 9/11, people would become afraid just looking at beautiful blues skies because that’s what their body remembers seeing right before the planes decimated the world trade center.
You are having an like experience that registers in the brain like the Post-traumatic experience similar to a soldier wakes from a dream of his buddies being killed in a war.of a soldier who’s gone though an attack.
Others who have not been through a serious trauma will struggle to appreciate your feelings of vulnerability and defensive anger.
Your partner will feel staggered by the amount of hurt that this flashback has triggered. He or she may urge you to move on out of these feelings. He may demand, now that he has expressed remorse, that you to just get over it.
Even though couples do find the strength and courage to overcome the pain, it may take as much as two years.
Research reports that 80% of the couples who stick with the support of relationship counseling do build a new marriage. They often are amazed at the increase of meaning and joy that comes from their new relationship.
Seek help as early as possible to get the tools and skills to make this less painful. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel in order to understand the dynamics. Learn as quickly as possible what works.
To read more about the healing from the challenges of infidelity click.
To set up an appointment with a seasoned infidelity recovery specialist, call Dr. Jim Walkup at 914 548 8645 in NYC or Bronxville.
To read more about flashbacks click: Coping with Flashbacks by Matthew Tull