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How to deal with self loathing & doubt after an affair

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WhiteHeart posted 6/22/2013 07:32 AM

I posted this on another forum (LoveShack) and they were very helpful. One poster there suggested I come here. Here is what I posted-

"I am wondering how other WS deal with feelings of self loathing and self doubt?

It's been about 2-3 months since DDay and I am struggling with my own perception of myself. My H appears to have shrugged the affair off and rarely ever mentions it, which I find strange. He says he has dealt with it, he isn't happy with what happened but he can't change it. He believes I am remorseful and that I am trying to make things right. He has no time for my exAP, as far as my H is concerned he is dead to him.

I will give you some background to the affair.

The affair itself only lasted weeks and NC was agreed mutually between us and we have stuck to it. The affair wasn't a full PA, although there was 2 kisses, it was mainly an EA. There was a lot of text & Facebook messages and a picture was taken. We spent most of our time just talking really.

I came clean to my H about a week after NC was agreed, I couldn't live with what I had done. I hated myself and couldn't look myself in the eye. I hated what I had done to my H and felt that he had a right to know.

My exAP and I had talked about confessing and he couldn't understand why I would want to. We came to the conclusion that my H would leave me and probably kill him (they knew each other from school - they weren't close friends but shared mutual friends). We agreed everyone would hate us.

I couldn't understand, and still don't understand, how my exAP could keep quiet. He was of the opinion that since we never had sex there was nothing to tell, however the idea of me confessing terrified him. I felt differently, I was climbing the walls with guilt. In the end I decided that I had to own up to my mistake and face the consequences.

AFAIK my exAP has no idea that anyone knows. My H has no interested in confronting him. I have no interest in speaking to him. Unless someone else has told him then he still thinks it our little secret. He was single so there is no other BS who would deserve the truth.

My H is of the opinion that he got what he wanted (the photo) and that is that. H finds it hard to believe that the exAP feels any guilt as he has always seen women as meat, not people. This is part of the reason my H has never really been close to exAP.

My H was floored when I told him, he had no idea, he wasn't even suspicious. My H appreciated my honesty, but questioned why I came clean and why I did it in the first place. We had a very long chat, he spoke to friend who knows all 3 of us (H, exAP, and myself) and my H decided that he can forgive me and doesn't want the marriage to end.

We spent a lot of time in the weeks following DDay discussing what went wrong, why it went wrong, and what we can do to fix it and ensure things won't go wrong in the future. My H has been so matter of fact about the whole affair. He said that he can see the affair for what it was and he just wants to move forward. He can see how sorry I am and believes I have learnt my lesson and wants me to stop punishing myself for everything I have ever done wrong in my whole entire life.

We have both spoken to others about the affair. The people we have spoken to are all shocked at what I did, a small minority don't think I actually did anything wrong. A few even think I was stupid for confessing. Although the majority of people have been supportive to my H and I. I didn't expect people to be so nice to me.

One thing a lot of people have said to me, including my H is I need to stop beating myself up. I find this hard as I have found myself questioning who I am as a person. I have always been in the 'cheaters are scum' camp and now I do this?

I have been in and out of IC for 10 years. My current round of therapy has been going on for over a year now. I have been diagnosed with depression & PTSD. My therapist is pleased with my H and I progress whilst dealing with the affair but also feels I need to see the affair for what it is, like my H has.

I never loved my exAP, I don't even really find him physically attractive. He was just someone to talk to, I suppose he could have been anyone. I only ever really wanted someone to talk to, a friend.

My therapist and I have agreed that a lot of my issues stem from when I got bullied at school, I have struggled for years to understand what I did to deserve years of torment. My therapist has theorised that as a result of wondering why I was bullied I am prone to self destructive behaviour. I do bad things to validate the treatment I got at school. She says I have 2 choices, I can continue down my self destructive path or I can try and break the cycle.

I want to break the cycle, I want to finally rid myself of all my demons but I am struggling. What if she is wrong? What if I really am just a bad person? Maybe the bullies saw something that no one else can see?

I know this is self destructive but I can't rid myself of these thoughts and I am terrified of what will happen if I don't stop. It has been a month since my last therapy session and I have found it tough. I have tried talking to my husband about this, and he is very understanding and supportive but I don't like bringing the affair up all the time, especially since he claims to have dealt with it."

20WrongsVs1 posted 6/22/2013 08:27 AM

I'm sorry some people have marginalized your EA. You did the right thing by ending it and confessing.

Can you explain what your C meant by this? She...

feels I need to see the affair for what it is, like my H has

But isn't H pretty much rugsweeping?
Saying it's no big deal? It is a big deal WhiteHeart. My concern for you is that unless you start loving and accepting yourself, you may try harder next time to reenact your abuse: i.e. hurt your H the way those idiots hurt you. Because this time you fell short. Not saying by any means it was a conscious decision, BTW, but reenacting the trauma is common in PTSD sufferers.

Your C, has she given you any tools to enable you to stop letting those childhood bullies run your life? Some Cs apparently don't. Mine is an advocate of EFT or "tapping." Google it. It seems like quackery but so far it is helping me. Others have reported good results with EMDR for PTSD.

SI tends to be slow on weekends. Read the Healing Library (top left) and browse the threads.

One more thing. You said xAP was "someone to talk to." Do you have good girlfriends or a family member you can lean on instead? Since H isn't interested in talking (not an uncommon reaction in BSs), you should find another outlet IMO.

WhiteHeart posted 6/23/2013 02:30 AM

Thank you for your reply 20WrongsVs1.

My therapist views the affair as a reaction to how I view myself. She believes that I do things which are bad because I believe I am a bad person. I believe I am a bad person because why else would I get bullied. She think that I punish myself to validate the bullies behaviour.

I know that if I am to become a better person then I need to work on my issues and face my demons. My therapist is taking a CBT approach to my therapy. She feels that I respond well to analysing my behaviour and tries to help me to do it in a more productive way.

I have spoken a lot about my H reaction (or lack of it) over at LS. I am unsure if he is rug sweeping or if he has truly moved on. I am aware that he may be bottling up his emotions and that one day he may release them.

I was very low before the affair. I wanted my mind to stop, I wanted to vanish. I was tired of feeling like the whole world was in my head. I didn't want to speak to my H or my family because they went through so much last time I was feeling low.

I was suicidal and self harming and it broke everyones heart seeing me like that. I wanted to protect them from that, I wanted them to think I was getting better. I was ashamed to admit that I still felt low.

I have since spoken to my family and H about all this and they were hurt that I felt I couldn't tell them I was still feeling low but understood my reasons. I have been trying to be more open and honest with them.

I do not have many friends if I am honest. I find it very hard to accept that people like me and even harder to trust them. I do have one female childhood friend who I have confided in.

She moved away from me and has an amazing life now. I was scared that if I spoke to her then I would be bothering her. She told me I was an idiot for thinking like that and she will ALWAYS be there for me, no matter what.

Since the affair I have spoken to a co-worker as well, she was understanding about the whole situation and said I can talk to her if I need to. I am trying to build a 'safe' support network.

Thanks again for your input, I will look into those techniques you posted and I will check out the Healing Library. I will also lurk around the forums for a while.

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