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Alexisk17 posted 5/26/2014 10:45 AM

There was a thread on this not too long ago and I haven't been able to find it so I apologize if this is repetative.

I have begun to purposly seek out stories and posts about bad relationships, infedelity. I'm not sure why, it triggers me, has anyone else gone through a stage like this?

R is going well, maybe this is a form of self sabotage? It's almost therapeutic to feel the hurt resurface but feels extremely disrespectful to those going through recent trauma to be "getting off" on their stories. I'm carrying a lot of guilt over this right now.

I haven't had a lot of blow ups at WH since dday, only once have I actually expressed real anger towards him for the damage he caused. I often don't bring up the A or him leaving unless it is in context ("I have seen that movie, I watched while we were separated..."). Could this just be a way of my letting some of that hurt and anger out? A way of letting off emotional steam that feels safer than directing it my WH?

Months ago WH and I were watching a TV show when the theme of infidelity was introduced (one of the main characters slept with a married man). At the time it was too much and I turned it off in tears. Last night I purposly searched for that episode and watched it while home alone. It brought me to tears and made me feel like crap. So why the hell was I compelled to do something like that? WH was very understanding when he got home and saw me upset, comforted me and apologized again for the A.

Any insight?

AML04 posted 5/26/2014 11:13 AM

I do this too sometimes. For me I know it's because I haven't let my emotions surface enough. This is a way for me to feel the hurt and anger I tend to suppress. I also find myself reading sad or sappy stories online just so I can feel.

Morhurt posted 5/26/2014 12:20 PM

It doesn't sound unhealthy to me personally, but maybe because I do it too. I've noticed that if feel OK for a while I get nervous and almost need to have a bad day. I will occasionally "pain shop" to help those feeling resurface. I don't know, I mean, you're not manufacturing those feelings by reading the sad stories, you're just helping yourself feel what's inside you. That's my theory at least.

JustShine posted 5/26/2014 16:31 PM

I do this, too. But I don't think pain shopping is necessarily a bad thing. I figure that if it still causes pain, then I haven't fully processed it yet.

I've been working on trying to balance this mode of processing with more positive, "healthy" approaches. But I think, for me, I need both methods to make sure I'm getting everything sorted.

It hurts until it doesn't, right?

Chinadoll30 posted 5/26/2014 16:40 PM

I just did this with H. Asking the really dirty questions. Searching for a blow by blow (pun intended) of their encounters. I also think it is a way of processing. Coming Into touch with feelings I've shoved down.

titanfour posted 5/26/2014 17:27 PM

Interesting concept... Trying to process your feelings is NOT something to feel guilty about. You are feeling like you hope you are not the only one, and we get comfort in that. I feel guilty after bring it up with my W, I feel guilty if I don't. So I fight guilt constantly on this, and pretty much dismiss at at this point.

You are looking for answers and you are probably trying to identify the feeling of the pain and source of emotions. Just me, but sometimes I think when we believe WS is really remorseful, and we love them, we WANT to forgive them and move on. But the reality is they still did it. You think about it even though you don't want to, get upset again, and then feel guilty, all the more because they are so damn sorry. You start feeling like you are the one bringing the pain back. I struggle with this still, sometimes a lot, sometimes all days are sunny.

FWIW, I was able to push it down and "forget" for over a decade. I mean really forget, never really even thought about it. I literally told myself over and over that it never happened whenever I thought about it. Keep in mind I was deployed and had no ability to communicate (no skype or even internet back then).

And then I had the mother of all triggers and it all came back like yesterday. So, now after all these years, I deal with most of this alone again. Not so much because W won't talk about it (certainly she strongly prefers not to), but she is emotionally in a different place than me on the subject now.

(Although I don't recommend the amnesia approach, it seems now like it was a sort of blessing!)

Thanks for this post. It helped me more to write this than I expected.

... Maybe that's why we read all these: to get that one extra bit of clarity toward seeing our situation, both in differences and similarities.

Raspberry posted 5/26/2014 19:27 PM

I seek out sad songs, bring up past good memories and days just so I can get angry again. I purposely say mean things to him to try and make him feel like an asshole and to make myself feel better (never works). But I hear you...I don't know why I do this.

Chinadoll30 posted 5/27/2014 18:11 PM

Just talked to my therapist about this. She said the icky, empty, dreadful feelings can be too much, so we seek catharsis. Anger we can handle. Even crying. It feels good to let it out. But she suggested that true healing takes place when we sit in that awful icky place and feel it. Not try to escape from it.

hopefull77 posted 5/27/2014 20:34 PM

I think I painshop because I am afraid to feel safe...despite the fact my H is doing everything right...but...but....for 2 years I WANTED to believe is FRIGHTENING to let go and believe that NOW he has seen the error of his ways...please know that I use the word error in light....

theroadahead posted 5/28/2014 09:22 AM

I do this too. Sometimes when I'm feeling good about my marriage I start pain shopping. It's almost as if I forget then I can be hurt again. As long as I keep the pain alive I am reminded of what can happen. If I let go of the pain then I am vulnerable again. And that's a scary place to be.

BrokenheartedUK posted 5/28/2014 09:33 AM

I agree with hopeful and the road ahead. I know I do it when I start to feel good about things--almost as a pre-emptive strike against the pain that I know is still there. I don't trust the happiness.

Alexisk17 posted 5/28/2014 11:42 AM

If I let go of the pain then I am vulnerable again. And that's a scary place to be.

Yes, a very scary place to be indeed.

I also think letting go of the pain would equal (or lead to) forgivness, and I'm just not ready for that yet.

fst86411 posted 5/28/2014 12:14 PM

I am guilty of this too. Like others have said, if I'm feeling to normal it just doesn't feel right. Really strange feeling.

hopeful325 posted 5/28/2014 16:47 PM

This is my first post, I find this to be a very interesting thread. For the first several months I did this and wondered if it was normal. I think that I was so busy with work and my kids that I didn't allow myself to Feel the pain. So when I thought I needed it, I would get a glass of wine and mt ipod and sit in the tub and intentionally listen to songs or re-read letters between WH and I so that I could cry. I thought of it as purging my feelings. Eventually I needed it less and then it didn't work anymore. Good to know Im not alone.

Alex CR posted 5/29/2014 06:03 AM

I did this a lot when I started to slip back into getting comfortable with H hindsight I can see it kept my defenses up....reminded me no matter what he was saying or doing then, that for five years he had lied and cheated and betrayed took a long time before I began to feel safe enough to stop reminding myself by reading stories, old emails, etc.....tearing off the scabs over and over.

But I discovered my safety came from within, not from H. As I healed and became stronger, I realized I am the one that keeps me safe....I am the one who decides how to respond to H or anyone else and I am the one who chooses how I will be treated......It's freeing and powerful and scary and places a lot or responsibility on me to be open with H, letting him know what I need and what I don't.... what I expect from our life together, but I am more at peace today than I have been in years. I love my H and am glad we are together, but know I will be fine with or without him....

Alexisk17 posted 5/29/2014 10:35 AM

As I healed and became stronger, I realized I am the one that keeps me safe....

I needed to read this today, thank you!

seethelight posted 5/29/2014 14:44 PM


As other have alluded to, IMO, what you describe is simply fear.

Perhaps, you are fearful of trusting and once again experiencing all indescribable horrendous pain and rejection of learning of the affair.

Personally, I hear so many horror stories of faithful spouses who have reconciled, only to learn ten years down the road that the spouse is once again having an affair, that I am fearful of letting go of the fear that it will happen again.

[This message edited by seethelight at 2:44 PM, May 29th (Thursday)]

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