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the trauma is real

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cantaccept posted 8/21/2013 05:58 AM

I have been denying to myself the reality of this trauma.

I have been so hard on myself. Believing that I am overreacting, I should be getting better, I should be further along, I should be functioning better at work, I should...

There are no shoulds allowed anymore. I am where I am.

I just couldn't seem to have compassion for myself.

I have been reading about PTSD, I have read some posts here about it before and always dismissed it.

I think that the a and all of the horror that occurred with it has triggered every trauma I have ever been through. All of the things in my life that I have never dealt with. Everything at once.

I am struggling with getting through each day. Sleep disturbance, nightmares, waking too soon and repeatedly through the night, not eating well still, intrusive thoughts, panic attacks, avoidance of places and situations, isolating myself.

I think I need help. I will talk to Ic this week.

Anybody else like this? This far out? It is ten months since dday. Although it was absolute hell after dday until about 3 months ago. It is still not consistent. It is still unpredictable.

madsadalone posted 8/21/2013 06:26 AM

While I am 4 months from D-Day this is exactly where I am. except will add that I have now lost my job, as I absolutely could not function.

My days consist of getting up at odd hours, drinking coffee, smoking way too many cigeretts and then going right back to my cave( room) I have no energy for conversation or really anything at all.

I do need to take my ass in hand and find an IC, when I am motivated to do so it is 2-3 am..

stronger08 posted 8/21/2013 06:26 AM

It took me many months after D-day to seek help. And let me tell you it was the best thing I could have done for myself. Every aspect of my life was affected by my XWW cheating. My career took a nose dive as I could not concentrate, my health went downhill as I developed bleeding ulcers to the point of passing out from blood loss. I was smoking and drinking to numb my pain. Man, I could go on and on. But after I accepted the fact that I needed help things changed. I went on A/D's and started weekly therapy. At first I did not notice any change and started to get discouraged. It took around 6 weeks to get my dosage correct and for the meds to be regulated. But after that I was a new man. I no longer put up with any of my XWW shit. I could concentrate on work. And I slowly started to heal. One thing I did was to inform my employer of what was going on. They noticed my work was suffering and in telling them I also received much support. I took some time off to get myself together. I strongly urge you to seek help. It does help.

PhantomLimb posted 8/21/2013 06:27 AM

Yes, I had all of this. Particularly through the three weeks of False R we went through. It took me about 2-3 mos to eat and sleep somewhat normally again. I'm still not working well and find it difficult to get through certain situations/tasks. Thankfully I'm at least not crying *as* much... but it's still almost daily.

I've been in IC since the first week and that has helped a lot. We've also been NC since DDay2 and, while it was hell for the first 4-5 weeks, it was a good decision. I have the luxury of not having kids and our finances were already pretty separate (only one shared account, no property, etc).

I also had a significant case of amnesia in the early stages. Couldn't remember major portions of the last ten years. Would look at a photo of the two of us and remember we took that trip, but not remember anything about it. It took at least a month before the memories started to come back. Each week a little more returns. I'd say I'm at 80-90% now, thank God. It was so disorienting!

When he posted a new photo of himself on FB with his niece, I actually threw up. My IC said it was because I now saw him as a predator/threat.

It's amazing what we go through. I don't think they have the first clue most of the time. I know all my WS could manage to say to summarize my experience was "I know I damaged you." Ya think?

blakesteele posted 8/21/2013 06:42 AM


Man, I seem to really relate to you right now.

is a link to forgiving yourself. It is a link from me but refers to Janis Springs there is actual useful information within this post.

This is serious trauma.

I have read 20 plus books on infidelity, adultery, betrayal of this nature.

I have read personal accounts of people who were held in concentration camps during the war...later, their spouse cheated on their own admission that betrayal was more traumatic then the camp. This tells you it is traumatic.

I have also read about people who have lost loved ones to cancer, spouses were alcoholics, people who have lost children, been raped, gone bankrupt...lots of really tough trials......and those have said adultery within their marriage was by far the most traumatic event of their lives.

My point is this trauma is real.

WS, I believe, simply cant comprehend this. Because, while they understand our experience of the A is different, in their mind they just were not traumatized by their actions. I think the key being it was their was a choice they made. We had no choice.

The trauma is made worse if your WS was slow to repent....continued lying, continued the affair, minimized our marriage, etc..

I have not been diagnosed with PTSD, but have uncovered that I do have PTSD tendencies. I think there is some sort of qualitative threshold to have full blown PTSD.

I am struggling with getting through each day. Sleep disturbance, nightmares, waking too soon and repeatedly through the night, not eating well still, intrusive thoughts, panic attacks, avoidance of places and situations, isolating myself.

I think I need help. I will talk to Ic this week.

Yep, I have this too. Once I recognized them for what they are I am taking steps to address them.

Example. Avoidance of places and situations. Everyday on the way to work I drive under the overpass that led to my wifes APs abandoned house in the country...where the sex took place. I decided early on that this was a trigger I will take head-on. I would drive out to this house...sit in the drive...look at the room I knew they had sex in, let my imagination run wild....I would cry, scream and carry on. Each time I did this it felt better. Now I still cry when I see this house...but the anger has faded....a deep sadness that is beyond words has crept in.

If anyone doubts this is not traumatic, is not related to PTSD...I would invite them into my world for just one drive out to this place.

PTSD-like tendencies are keeping me from walking my girls to school or picking them up. Something I liked to do occasionally. But I trigger hard when I see my wifes AP dropping his kids off. They would drop their kids off then out to the country to satisfy their lust.

A bright note on this trigger is that coming home from work last night I saw him in his truck at the stoplight...his son with him in the front seat of the truck. My initial reaction was not was a disgust....a disgust that almost made me vomit.

I say this is a bright side because I have also learned anger is a secondary emotion....something always under anger to make anger happen. I am not sure where disgust of this level comes from...but it might be a primary emotion.

Once I have identified the primary emotions under my reactions I am able to deal with the trigger effectively.

I am 11 months out.

Again, it seems you cant post something that I don't immediately resonate with.

God be with us all.

HurtsButImOK posted 8/21/2013 06:43 AM

I was very hard on myself for a significant portion of time.

I expected a lot of myself and didn't want to admit just how traumatised I was. The problem with that method was that I was only avoiding and not dealing with the pain. It kept me mired in the muck.

The best advice my IC gave me was to change the internal dialogue to be kinder to myself during this period. To switch out the 'I shoulds' with 'its understandable that'. When we use 'I should' we can set ourselves up for failure and that is quickly followed by self recrimination, which leads to a never ending cycle of feeling like you are failing.

It helped me to go from 'I should be at my usual level of productiveness at work and get everything done' to 'its understandable that at times I have trouble focussing so I am not able at this point to achieve the level I normally expect'. That also helped me to set more realistic expectations and goals that were achievable each day.

Remember that everyone heals differently and at different times so try not to measure yourself by others. Have you considered why you are or were having trouble showing compassion to yourself?

For me it was rooted in the anger I felt for myself at how long and how much I put up with, coupled with a poor self esteem and that I had never really loved myself so thought I deserved to be treated badly. Until I got to this stage of deep introspection and realising that actually, I am pretty bloody amazing I didn't start truly accepting and moving forward.

I still go up and down, the ups are more sustainable and the downs are less deep now.

blakesteele posted 8/21/2013 06:46 AM

IC was critical for me too. Especially given that first 4, how dreadful were my wifes actions during that period.....while they weren't the caliber of her APs, they were not healthy and continued to destroy what little life was left in our marriage.

Affairs are really two f$%ed up people deluding themselves that the world, God, everyone else was wrong and what they have is so damn special.

yeah...still angry here. 3 hours, then 30 minutes, then 1 hour of sleep last night.

God help us all.

blakesteele posted 8/21/2013 06:51 AM

I also see why many BS wrestle with this idea of trauma.

Society at large takes affairs so lightly. It is portrayed in romantic comedys in the light that two married people simply married the wrong they flirt with each other playfully while their spouses are portrayed in bad lighting (work aholics, cold, abusive). Reality tv shows such as The Mistress, the frequency of high profile adultery, the shear statistics (some as high as 80% of all marriages) of adultery.....all play into minimizing what it is.

It serves to take the edge off. Kind of like Madonna videos of the first it was shocking, now when you watch them you are like. REALLY? That is provocative and shocking? Not by todays standards. I think we are watering down how traumatic this is in todays society.

It is almost water cooler conversation topics now....


Tred posted 8/21/2013 07:41 AM


I was 14 months out and still crying every single day. Nightmares. Shakes. Poor performance at work. All that shit. I had resisted going to IC because it would negatively impact my career - let's just say visiting a mental health professional in my line of work has impacts. I started off with my PCP, and she put me on A/D's and referred me to a brain trauma specialist. I was diagnosed with PTSD. I've been going to the neuropsychologist for almost 8 months now. I'm a little better - kinda at a numb state instead of always a wreck. It's basically my new "normal". I would recommend seeing a specialist. Like you, the A triggered every trauma I had been through in my life. Things I had gotten over many years ago. It broke me. Fixing it is going to be a long journey.

TheRealDeal posted 8/21/2013 07:56 AM


here are no shoulds allowed anymore. I am where I am.

I just couldn't seem to have compassion for myself.

Yes, the trauma is real. it is like PTSD and that's the exact term my IC used.

Every week IC gives me 'homework'. for several weeks told me I needed to practice "self-acceptance". That it was okay to be undecided, unsure, unclear, in pain, and reeling from the hurt.

I didn't fully understand what he meant but tried. And after a few weeks of this he added in some words..."co-dependent". And after I got past being pissed-off I really began reading about it and saw myself in those pages.

It's not a mirror I wanted held up to my face, but it's what I needed. He knew before I did that I couldn't even accept/feel my true feelings because they were masked by long-standing FOO issues. I immediately began working on my FOO issues, really going thru the pain instead of avoiding/denying it.

I am growing stronger day-by-day by working through these things. Do I have setbacks? yep. Do I question my own sanity sometimes? yep.
Do I still feel out-of-it on certain days? yep Do I feel sad and in pain a lot? yep Do I feel "ok" at other times? yep

But ultimately, it was time for me to face the reality of everything, not just about the shitstorm by WS but also FOO.

IC said to me at last session: WS was the catalyst for me to begin therapy but therapy is ultimately about each individual finding their own strength. My homework this week: keep doing what I'm doing no matter how painful it seems because its better to go "thru it" than deny it.

And that's exactly what I'm doing. While I still love my WS and want us to reconcile I am coming to accept that I cannot change anyone but myself. So I will continue down the IC/group therapy road because each person needs to find themselves first, and I'm just beginning to find my true self.

The trauma that we've all had inflicted upon us is beyond imaginable; no one will ever be able to comprehend the pain unless they've walked in our shoes.

As each of us travel this terrible path laid out in front of us may we all find peace in our lives.

lifeishard24 posted 8/21/2013 08:03 AM

One year, 21 days and coun ting Just when you think things are over, phone is password protected....again. Yet I need to trust her. Yes, I'm told the problem is ME. I would love to just pretend the whole thing never happened, but it did. Hard to forgive when the whole process replays itself over and over again. Obviously things happen for a reason, but I'm getting sick of being used as an excuse for bad behavior. People who have not lived through it probably don't understand how it affects you...emotionally, physically. This past Saturday evening I went into another episode of tachycardia for over two hours. The internal stress an affair can put on you is devistating. I personally haven't found a productive way of dealing with it yet. Hoping to find some ideas here also.

Sadwife222 posted 8/21/2013 08:17 AM

Four months out and I still cry every day. I would never have believed this could cause so much damage to me and my feeling safe. One minute I want to R and the next, I'm thinking about making an appointment with an attorney.
I experience panic attacks when I think of something new that "could" have happened and that he could be lying about. If I can't reach him, I nosedive into fear.
I read, read, read, looking for answers and a way out of this hell he put my life into. He's been so good and so remorseful. I can't imagine how horrible it would be to have a WH who is not...

hathnofury posted 8/21/2013 08:22 AM

I so identify with this. And I am more than two years out for Dday.

I did not get IC until about ten months out. That was way too late. By then, the trauma had taken serious physical toll. I did blood labs, and many levels of things were critically low. I wound up needing Vitamin D, magnesium, etc and I also needed AD/anxiety meds and a sleeping aid. Now at two years out I have developed a chronic condition due it part to the stress I have had to endure.

When you don't have good sleep for that long, regardless of the other trauma damage, that can mess you up tremendously and even moreso if you have other physical things wrong with you. I strongly recommend sleep aids for BSs the first year if they can take them. Even if it's just OTC benadryl or low dose melatonin. If you have more serious PTSD symptoms I strongly urge consulting a doc for AD or anxiety meds. And I encourage everyone to get full bloodwork done to ensure all your nutritional and hormone levels are ok so you don't wind up in the hospital unexpectedly because something went too low.

You are absolutely not alone. It takes a long time to recover from this.

rachelc posted 8/21/2013 08:25 AM

I also have PTSD and take ADs. IT took a while to find a therapist who would listen to me. Most said I had PTSD symptoms but did nothing...
Finally, I looked up one who specialized in this.
She always emphasizes that it is indeed a trauma. The brain needs to heal, like a regular organic body part.
I feel so much better after PTSD treatment...
Only when the brain is healed can we then make some decisions....

Gr8Lady posted 8/21/2013 08:26 AM

There is no doubt in my mind PTSD in my case permitted me to be in denial.
Trauma, you bet. Talk to your IC I am still learning and growing.

blakesteele posted 8/21/2013 08:32 AM

It helped me to go from 'I should be at my usual level of productiveness at work and get everything done' to 'its understandable that at times I have trouble focussing so I am not able at this point to achieve the level I normally expect'. That also helped me to set more realistic expectations and goals that were achievable each day

I finally came to this realization too. Through previous personality tests and such I am a classic "over achiever" this was really hard for me to accept. MY FOO issues have established my perspective that if I achieve MORE then is expected I will have some sort of buffer between me and that line where I get fired, relationship abandonment, etc.. It is not a healthy way to exist and the "buffer" I imagined I was creating, the control I thought I was implementing was total fantasy. I recognize this now.

I have to sit on my hands in staff meetings so as not to volunteer to pick up the slack on lagging projects. I miss it, but it has helped me maintain my job and our income!

Therealdeal speaks of dealing with FOO issues. This journey has me working through those as well. My wife and I process differently...but currently I dont feel as if she is working through her FOO. I believe she thinks that since she recognizes them that is good enough. She gets angry when I suggest that she do more with regards to FOO.

But that is for her to decide. It does play into our marriage as our FOO issues are what got us where we are...and my wifes FOO issues are what enabled her to make the choice to committ adultery. I dont believe she has ever allowed herself to grieve or feel the pain associated with her FOO issues. To do this in her mind would be to blame her parents for her mistakes...something she is absolutely not fine with doing. I believe this is directly related to her conflict avoidance perspective on life....but that is her journey to walk. My role is to determine if I can R my marriage to her.

At this point I have hope...but still much question in my mind as to her constitution to doing the work necessary to repair the damage she brought into our marriage...and to put in place safe guards to reduce this pattern from repeating itself...not just adultery, but her ability to get in touch with uncomfortable feelings and to express her needs effectively.

God help us all.

[This message edited by blakesteele at 8:36 AM, August 21st (Wednesday)]

crushed47 posted 8/21/2013 08:39 AM

Yes, the trauma is real but, most importantly, it is temporary. While all BS' will have a permanent scar from their experience, the searing pain and non-functional behavior will decrease with time. You can reduce the time it that it takes to heal and function normally again. Some benefit from counseling, some through talking with friends including those on this board. What worked for me was that I became the person that I always wanted to be (e.g., hit gym like crazy, new hair style, cosmetic dental work, prayed more, new clothes, etc.) because my self esteem was at rock bottom at dday. I can truly say that I am now an improved version of my old self. I can laugh again, enjoy myself again and look forward to the future. The total apathy that I experienced after dday is gone - I now get excited about things! So, my point is that don't give up hope - what you are experiencing won't last forever and there are things that you can do to reduce your transit time in hell.

burnedcanuckEMS posted 8/21/2013 08:40 AM

Yes, the trauma is real. My symptoms are starting to get better (aside from sleep issues) but I too was told by my IC that I had PTSD. I am just over a year out from DD, divorce is final and I thought I was on the road to healing. A few months back I started getting middle of the night panic attacks. Nightmares of loved family members hurt or dying and I can't help them, night sweats, huge trouble sleeping etc. I really realized this was a big problem because I am an emergency responder and suddenly the idea of dealing with an emergency scene was a big problem. I froze. I had to go to my fire chief and tearfully explain that I needed to quit because I felt I was a danger to others at that point. Thankfully he is an EMT himself, and was extremely supportive, offered me a leave of absence and counselling referrals. Thankfully with IC and doctors care the symptoms are subsiding and I am again working as a responder but I still have issues, my IC says "I don't feel safe". I do stupid things like worry about whether or not I locked my door, did I unplug my blow dryer, am I going to accidentally burn my house down etc etc, almost getting obsessive about it. And my symptoms of IBS have returned. I can only hope I will heal from this trauma and I don't wish it on anyone.

cantaccept posted 8/24/2013 05:48 AM

It seems my user name was quite a good choice. It was the first thing that popped into my head as I was registering.

That does seem to be my biggest battle within myself.


Accept that the trauma is real. It just is how I am right now. By denying it, dismissing it, I am not helping myself.

Accept that my h is not who I believed him to be. He is who he is. Who he becomes is up to him, not me.

Accept that this is going to take time. Denying how badly this has affected me is not going to change it, only prolong it. I must take steps to make myself happy with me.

Accept that I am a pretty great person. I did not cause this. I contributed to the problems in the marriage but I did not cause him to betray me. That was all his choice. I was not the reason, I did nothing so awful, I could not have prevented him from making this choice. I did try to reach out to him but if he was not willing to be reached there was nothing more that I could have done.

It is so easy to think these things, to "know them. It is so hard to accept in your heart and "believe" them.

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