“For several months now we’ve been trying to re-build our marriage,” Liz said, “but I’m still having a hard time with those dark memories. It’s been 10 months since he had the affair. In fact,” she continued, “that period was the worst in my life.
“Jack and I were going through a bad patch for at least a year before his affair. And then I found out about it…” Going through a bad patch in your marriage is bad enough, but then to find that your spouse is having an affair on top of everything is enough to twist anyone’s mind. Suffering through this turmoil, sifting and analyzing the facts, do you find yourself thinking;
1. What could I have done differently? How can I effect an affair recovery?
2. Maybe I should have married someone else instead, then this wouldn’t have happened.
3. Why didn’t I see what was going on?
4. I wonder if they enjoyed talking and laughing together like we did?
Every day, we produce memories of all sorts of things. Every single one is stored in our minds and often leaps, quite unbidden, into our consciousness. Someone we saw at the supermarket the other day. That beautiful car that glided past us a week or so ago. No reason for them. They just pop into our minds.
But of course there are the much darker memories that simply won’t let go. The affair your spouse had will have your mind in a stranglehold — if you allow it. On top of that, there are sights, sounds and scents which can augment the memories.
The first hint you had about Jack’s affair was when he walked in, smelling of this woman’s perfume. The sight of his angry face when you confronted him and he admitted to the affair. There was a particular song playing on the radio at the time. So there you have a scent you’ll always associate with the affair. You certainly don’t want to see that look on Jack’s face again, and the song on the radio. You’ll have to turn it off if it ever comes on again. So let’s have a look at 3 ways to help pull you back on balance.
1. Don’t Resist.
Allow the memory to present itself. It’s going to come anyway, whether you like it or not, so don’t resist it.
2. How Do You Feel?
How do you feel about this memory now? Sad? Angry? Indifferent? The point of all this is to loosen the powerful grip this memory has on you. If you keep repeating this exercise, you’ll find the intensity will start to fade until you’re indifferent to the whole thing.
3. Your Story.
Tell yourself the whole story. No-one knows it better than you. Then say something like; “Well, I lived through that all right. I took a bit of a hammering, but I’m fine now. I still have a house to live in, food on the table. I’m much luckier than a lot of people who’ve lost everything in a fire or flood. My marriage will heal and now I know how to be rid of those awful thoughts.”