No one wants to be betrayed by their beloved. There is a reason why you feel the way you do. Anger, rage, and confusion are all things people struggling with the trauma of betrayal deal with. But you don’t have to stay bogged down by depression, anxiety, and other symptoms of trauma. You can rebuild your marriage and truly heal.
Recovering from the trauma of infidelity is a long road, but the steps are worth your while.
Dealing With the Trauma of Infidelity
Infidelity can open gaping wounds in even the most stable of relationships. If you or someone you know is struggling with betrayal trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from an affair, it’s important to seek assistance from an infidelity recovery specialist or counselor. Furthermore, with patience and compassion for one another, you and your partner can take the first step down the road to recovery.
The key here is that you must both be willing to take part in the recovery process. For the partner who had an affair, it’s going to be exhausting. Recovery calls for transparency and communication, something that can be difficult when the traumatized partner continuously wants details and answers. There are also lies that both people tend to tell themselves that wreck the recovery.
For example, the betrayer might believe they will never be forgiven. The betrayed may feel that they are unworthy of love, or that they will do something that tempts the partner to betray them again.
All these things can be addressed, though, if you follow the correct steps towards recovering from infidelity.
Steps Towards Recovering from the Trauma of Infidelity
You have decided to stick together and build a marriage or relationship that is better than what you had in the past. This is a good first step. It’s also vital to the start of the recovery process.
Also, you will hear it often, but the road to recovery looks different for every individual and couple. Visiting an infidelity therapist will introduce you to various strategies that are tailored to your needs.
That said, most of those strategies involve the following:
Acknowledge That Infidelity Causes Trauma
The first thing that has to be done when you want to recover from infidelity and walk away without trauma is to understand that the trauma most certainly exists. There is an untold number of people who don’t understand just how painful and agonizing this kind of betrayal can be. It’s the ultimate stab in the back for the partner who trusted their spouse wholeheartedly.
So when the affair is discovered, there is often a very strong emotional response. People commonly experience anxiety, obsessive thoughts, erratic behaviors, flashbacks, mood swings, depression, anxiety, and sleep problems. These symptoms fit into the definition of PTSD.
While we tend to think of PTSD as something related to war, it can be triggered by the shock caused by infidelity.
PTSD isn’t something you can handle on your own, which is why infidelity therapy is so important to your recovery. With therapy, you can work through the triggers, including past experiences, that made the infidelity so earth-shattering.
Acceptance of Difficult Emotions
Both partners have to realize that there are going to be a lot of unpleasant experiences during the healing process. You might feel ashamed, furious, nauseous, aggrieved, vengeful, distressed, or regretful. Naturally, you are going to want to create distance from this emotional pain, but that will only worsen it.
Hiding the hurt you feel is like attempting to put a lid on a volcanic explosion. It doesn’t work. Rather, you can begin processing the trauma by putting names on the emotions you feel.
If you recognize the emotions, sitting down and talking about it is going to feel a lot less intimidating. And remember, you want to talk to one another. In infidelity therapy, the one who had the affair is going to be asked to tell the whole story, to lay the betrayal bare, and then talk about why it happened.
So it helps to have emotional awareness for better coping.
Be Patient With One Another
Recovering from the trauma of infidelity requires teamwork. Because of the trauma, you might deal with triggers that throw you right back into a pool of negative emotions. For instance, you might see or hear someone who looks like the person your spouse had an affair with and suddenly become enraged or distressed to the point of a panic attack.
As you work through the trauma in therapy, the triggers will lessen over time. Yet, it’s also the duty of your partner to acknowledge those triggers and work with you.
One instance is secrecy. If the betrayer continues to be secretive or refuses to talk about the affair, it could trigger the hurt partner. You will never overcome the trauma of the affair this way. Lying, be it through omission or something else, is only going to echo the betrayal.
Therefore, continued compliance to the new rules you both set forth, as well as clear communication and honesty, are crucial to the success of the recovery.
Recovery Isn’t a Possibility, it’s Fact
Being traumatized after an affair can make reconciliation seem like a fever dream. It doesn’t have to be that way. You can recover from the trauma and rebuild what you once had. In time, you can learn to forgive your partner.
Change your relationship for the better with Couples Academy. Whether you are recovering from an affair or are looking for ways to build a more fulfilling marriage, Couples Academy teaches you effective strategies that work. You and your partner don’t have to rebuild alone. Let us help. Fill out the contact form today to learn more about Couples Academy.