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I don't understand my brain, I thought we were friends!

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ILINIA posted 2/13/2014 19:53 PM

I wish I had a better understanding of how and why my brain makes these shifts. Since Christmas, I have felt like I am on the mend and turned a corner with R. I was also able to leave my angst with the COW in 2013. January brought only one big trigger and we also had a breakthrough. I was doing so good!

Last week I literally woke up one day mad and it has continued. It is that mad where it is hard to make eye contact and I am furious about everything again. Nothing has changed with WH actions and they are still in line with R. I cannot pinpoint a situation, a trigger, a conversation that would have set-me me off. I feel like my brain just flicked a switch. This current stretch is somewhat comparable to the anger I had in month 5 and we are starting month 9.

I don't get it. I have learned to go with the feelings and not fight it, but I am baffled.

Any insight or advice? Are there others who have had this happen? Should I just expect an anger stage every 4-5 months?


[This message edited by ILINIA at 7:53 PM, February 13th (Thursday)]

unfound posted 2/13/2014 19:58 PM

Should I just expect an anger stage every 4-5 months?'ll be at random times cause knowing when it will come is wayyyy to easy .

One of the hardest things was knowing that there were times that Mr Unfound was doing everything I needed, consistently, and I still was pissed.

I think it's just part of processing. Sometimes it's obvious what's causing the anger, sometimes I had to dig, and even then, there were times that I was just. plain. angry.

WeHadItAll posted 2/13/2014 20:30 PM

Oh, how I feel you on this. Congrats on getting to 4-5 months between bouts! For the first time in our 15 months of R, I have made it 3 months without a total meltdown. Nothing short of a mental miracle!

There doesn't have to be a trigger for your brain to suddenly sense danger. Literally *nothing* - the absence of any stimuli - can itself be a trigger. What does that say about the brain? That after suffering PTSD, it will find danger regardless of what's going in the real world and fire off a fight/flight response. For me, that fear of being hurt/abandoned caused deep despair and frenzied plans to escape (flight). For you, I guess it's anger (fight).

The problem is, once you're in it - that rage, despair, panic - it's really hard to get out - days, weeks. For me, the trick is to NIP IT IN THE BUD. It sounds like your R is going really well and that this anger doesn't make rational sense - trust this feeling. Anger doesn't make sense anymore. It doesn't have a place in the rebuilding of a relationship.

As soon as the first thought comes in ("That jerk ruined my life..." or whatever), recognize it for what it is: an overactive limbic system in your brain going through its fear response. And discard it. You are capable of this. You (and your H) should not have to live with emotional minefields scattered around forever!

DixieD posted 2/13/2014 20:43 PM

Ilinia, unfortunately you can hit these stages more than once. Just like with the grieving process, you can bounce around between the stages and revisit them.

It's hard not to, but don't get too discouraged when the same old emotions show up again and again. It takes time.

R is not linear.

ILINIA posted 2/13/2014 21:00 PM

unfound and Dixie D - You both are right, it would be way too convenient to know that mid-April I should expect another bout of anger. Unfound - you summarized it so well, I am just. plain. angry.

WeHadItAll- It was interesting reading your response about PTSD. I think I get a mix of the fight and flight responses. I hadn't in a long time, but just this week (along with my anger), I searched available condos and narrowed it down to one. In my head I needed the comfort of having a plan B, just in case I needed to move ASAP with the kids. I think I know both responses are irrational and unnecessary, but I haven't been able to control them or maybe I have assumed that I could not control them. I am impressed that you can just shut it down. I am going to try your advice!

[This message edited by ILINIA at 9:02 PM, February 13th (Thursday)]

WeHadItAll posted 2/13/2014 23:51 PM

The PTSD model really helped me make sense of what I'm going through. And these cognitive methods of controlling my anxiety before it starts - took some time to figure out, but nothing has been more effective for me so far.

Dixie - wise words: R is not linear. I know I'm not done with having really bad days, but it feels so wonderful to have my first three-month rest from the nonstop rollercoaster of last year! Determined to stay on my toes and not get loose about letting in these thoughts.

sisoon posted 2/14/2014 05:00 AM

Actually, Dennis Ortman wrote Transcending Post-infidelity Stress Disorder (PISD): The Six Stages of Healing.

Not my cup of tea, but it's discussed in the Book Club forum on SI.

olwen posted 2/14/2014 05:05 AM

I am the same but on a much shorter cycle. I get a good few days where I am focussed on moving forward then BAM! I am a mess again for the next few days, angry, questioning, tearful, pretty much a mess. He helps me through it....rinse and repeat.
I can see the good days are lasting longer and the bad ones generally are shorter and getting milder but then - just cos my brain thinks it's a good idea- I get a really bad one and wonder if we should even be together.
I guess it's a process.

blakesteele posted 2/14/2014 05:23 AM

This is a factor of pain still needing to be felt as well as PTSD.

I know because this is me. $4-5k on counseling to date, lots of prayer , and reading have helped me recognize this cycle. 18 months out and it doesn't rattle me to my core as it once did.

That PISD book Sisoon referenced? Was a big component of healing for me.

My original IC was skilled in PTSD....I was NOT full PTSD, but had "strong PTSD-like symptoms". She gave me helpful anxiety-managing tips and exercises that work. But there is a component to this that simply has to be felt....can jump in you so quickly you have no chance to prepare for first anyway, but you can learn to tune into the most subtle differences in you. By doing this you reduce the amount of "surprise attacks".

I still spontaneously cry.....still can't always note those small signs my pain is coming up.

I post a lot on here.....I read a lot on here. Both serve to keep me grounded and help me find courage to face and feel the pain within.

I read books and articles.

I have one really good close friend. I also have a very good Pastor.

I find myself discussing and sharing with my wife more.

Keep the are in pain but you are processing.

Feelings never get buried dead....they get buried alive and require daily feeding. So find ways to NOT bury feelings.

I am much better suited to "think" than to "feel".

But I have learned I can't think my way out if this....I gave to feel my way through this.

God be with us all.

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