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Amnesia


I sometimes wish I could induce amnesia and completely forget my husband’s affair. I’ve been plagued with thoughts recently about the affair, the details, and my mind has been swarming with visions of the details he’s given me. I’m not sure why they are surfacing now, 15 months after discovery. All I know is that I am tired. I am tired of these thoughts consuming my every day. It is like torture. It is something I can’t clear from my mind and the pain, while no longer an acute sting, has become a dull pain that lingers and is ever present. It’s like a headache that mulls just under the surface. If you distract yourself, you can almost forget that it’s there, but then you turn your head, step into a lit room, hear a noise….something always brings you back. There are triggers everywhere.

I’ve been wondering lately about amnesia and whether it would be physiologically possible to induce amnesia. I know you can’t forget specifics – you’d have to wipe
it ALL. Start over. Begin again. I am willing.

The pain of living with this event in my life is so overwhelming that I almost wish i could forget. Wiping my memory would mean forgetting my childhood (not a bad thing), forgetting how I met my husband, forgetting my schooling knowledge, forgetting my children…and sadly I would trade all of that to never remember the affair. I’d give it all away for reprieve from this pain. It’s just too much.

I love my family and adore my husband. Rebuilding our relationship no matter how painful has been intensely rewarding as well. Unfortunately, all the love in the world doesn’t erase the fact that he is a trigger for the affair and every day that we are together it is a reminder of the pain and the agony that I suffer. If he wakes me up with affection, no matter how wonderful, I am reminded that it is a tainted love that we share, no longer a pure one. When things are going well, no matter how happy I am, on the backburner is he sadness that there was a betrayal and that what we have has been broken.

Imagine for a moment your favorite childhood toy. For some it’s a doll
or figurine. For others it is a game. When that prized possession breaks, we desperately try to fix it. We glue it, we tape it, we try painstakingly to put it back the way it was. No matter how good of a job we do on the surface, each day that we see it, we see the crack, the glued on bits, the tape – the knowledge that it is no longer whole. It now feels second rate, hand-me-down, bargain basement. Can we ever reclaim the pleasure we had from it when it was whole, or are we destined to see “broken” everytime we look at it?

This plague is why I wish there was a way to forget…to make it all go away…even if I’d lose everything else in the process. Most days, I’d make that trade.

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Comments

  1. The only way that you are ever going to forget this horrible event that took place in your life is 1st – accept that it happened and forgive it if you can. I don’t think by blogging about it will release your hurt and pain. You have to be able to forgive him fully and completely and by haveing a constant reminder of what has happened (blogging about it) you are able to re-read those memories that you have written over and over, and refresh them in your mind and heart – causeing you more pain.

    2nd…..Forget…this comes in time, but you have to stop reliving them over and over and over again. The brain is a miraculous thing, but it is able to cause you pain as much as you want it to. I.e. reliving those memories over and over again, makes it feel like it just happened yesterday. believe me, I too have gone thru something similar, but I will ever know for sure what the extent was. I applaud you and your husband for sticking it out. Mine didnt, and has move away from his family, wife, and yes…the other person involved – however innocent he may have made himself out to be.

    This is just a suggestion,….and I am sure that your husband would also like to not have the memory posted all over the internet for the world to see. He is also hurting, trying to forgive himself and do the best to forget what happened, but these posts also keep it fresh in his memory. Please let it go, make a committment to never talk about the past again, or blog about it, and commit to building your relationship with him, otherwise, you may be in the same situation some day.

    Hugs…and good luck………a friend.

  2. Foolish Woman says:

    Rather than a dose of amnesia, I used to wish that I had a time machine and could reset the clock so we could both do things differently. However, in our case, if the infidelities hadn’t happened, we wouldn’t have had to focus on improving our relationship and would still be drifting along, not particularly unhappy but not living our marriage to its full potential. The shock of nearly losing something certainly makes one realise its value.

    I do know your pain – and I can truthfully say that it won’t always be this intense. It sounds like you may have hit the lowest point – and the only way you can go now is upwards.

    When I was at one of my lowest points, I developed a useful coping technique.

    I’d read about a tactic to deal with mind movies and adapted it for my own use.
    When I’m aware that my thoughts are beginning to go down that dark road, I imagine a STOP sign at a T junction. There are another two other signs at this junction. One points to the right and reads “Going back to Sadness”. The other one points left and reads “Moving on to Happiness”.
    When I get to that junction, I have a choice about which way I go.
    Because I’m used to driving on the left, it’s far easier to turn in that direction than it is to go right, back towards sadness.

    Using this technique gave me some semblence of control over what was happening. Although you and I had no choice in what our husbands did we do have a degree of choice in how we handle the fallout – but it’s not always easy to remember this when we’re in the middle of a really bad spot.

    Your husband is remorseful, he loves you – and you love him.
    There is a huge amount of hope here.

    Courage, ma brave.

  3. Joanne, thank you for your thoughtful reply. Although we both endured similar circumstances, it seems our paths diverged as your husband made the unilteral choice to leave and move on. I think, given that my husband and I are choosing to stay together to work on our marriage daily, with the help of therapy, we are presented with a set of circumstances that someone in your position is not. In the same way that you are presented with circumstances that I am not. I am not working through it alone, or dealing with him selecting the mistress. Those are pains that I don’t face, and hopefully won’t have to face. Conversely. you don’t wake up every morning to the man who deceived you, wonder every time he kisses you if he kissed “her” that way too. Drive by areas that are reminiscent of their time together, and have to revisit the affair weekly during therapy (albeit this is very useful and helpful, not something I dread or avoid). Keep in mind, that if you’ve read this blog from the beginning, it isn’t merely my husband who triggers me, but the mistress who has remained a constant ever-present person in our lives, attacking us legally from all angles for the past 15 months, in an attempt to extort money for a situation that SHE orchestrated and manipulated. It makes it hard to FORGET, when it is in your face attacking you directly.

    I understand how you asking me not to blog about the affair might be something that would appeal to you, given your coping, and your unique circumstances, but we all heal differently and in different ways. I have a set of circumstances that are unique to me, and for me, helping others provides me with a sense of purpose to the affair, and a way that I can use the pain and knowledge that I have gained to help others. Yes, the journey goes up and down, back and forth, and yes, sometimes I am blissful and then weeks later sorrowful, but that is par for the course on this path.

    When this first happened to me, I didn’t know where to turn, and I would have loved to read about someone else’s story. I couldn’t find something that I could relate to, and would have found it helpful to read what others were going through – akin to a support group online.

    As for your comment about my husband not wanting the details splashed all over the internet for the world to read, it seems you may have made the assumption that I made that choice without him. I have his every blessing to do so. Prior to beginning this blog, he and I talked about the creation of a blog for me to use as a vehicle to express myself (I do so better through written word), and he was absolutely on board. He was my first subscriber and receives my email updates within seconds of me posting to the blog. We also discuss every blog entry together and examine the feelings they raise. Our therapist is also aware of the blog and the reasons for it, and provided it doesn’t replace proper communication, we also have his blessing. Thank you for your concern.

    • Words cannot describe how it feels to know that I am not alone or crazy to be feeling the way I do. You stated it eloquently in describing the triggers. It is officially year two since it happened to me and although I have consciously forgiven and at times forgotten there are still times when out of the blue it’ll hit me. It’s never something obvious that’ll remind me. In fact today it was driving home not really thinking about anything that randomly brought on a piercing pain in my chest along with instant tears. Thank you so much for your blog. I’ve just discovered it and like you stated above, it’s nice to have someone to relate to that truly understands the emotions involved.

  4. Foolish Woman says:

    Responding to Joanne’s post . . .

    We all handle life changing events in different ways. What works for one person won’t necessarily work for someone else. I’m glad that you found a way of dealing with this that worked for you – but it wouldn’t have worked for everyone.

    I agree that for most of us there will come a time when blogging about one’s experiences is no longer helpful but initially, my blog was highly therapeutic. The act of writing helped me to deal with what I was experiencing and the blog allowed me to communicate anonymously with many other women who understood what it felt like to be on the receiving end of infidelity. I didn’t care to discuss these matters with real life friends – but fellow bloggers were proof that infidelity could be survived, marriages could be repaired and lives could even be enjoyed post-divorce, if that was the eventual outcome. Those women gave me hope that whatever happened, I would be ok.

    Reading other people’s infidelity blogs it’s apparent that everyone gets to a natural break point where they no longer feel the need to keep writing. That’s healthy; they’ve processed and moved on. I’m grateful that they left their stories online for the rest of us to read.

    My husband knows that I blogged about our situation and that I changed any details which might compromise our anonymity. He’s never wanted to read my blog but knows he could do so at any time.

    • Foolish woman (I always feel weird writing that because I don’t believe you to be), I agree wholeheartedly. Writing is therapeutic, and my writing has lessened. I was writing daily and now it is much less frequent. It will live online like a legacy for others to find, and I hope it is helpful.

  5. dotcablogger says:

    Amazing. I say good for you, and for the 2 of you as a couple & an “us”. I think you’ll recover with more time. So it’s okay to have anxiety and flashback memories. What’s your therapist’s experience with giving help to a situation like yours? If you’re experiencing anxiety, upset and flashback memories like that of Post Traumatic Stress then actually some exposure therapy will desensitize you to your own memories of the affair. I read that this works, and also have experienced it.

    So the ex-mistress revisiting you through her odd legal actions could be helpful exposure therapy for you. Her ugly actions make her ugly to you and with that judge her. Or I mean over time her affair will mean less as her current insane, ugly, stupid behavior will stand out to you, and her as any kind of past romantic thing will be a joke to you. Always strive to overcome your flashbacks by looking at this idiot’s gross current actions. She’s not a past lover, she’s a current ugly slug.

  6. I have read this blog many times. I am still formulating a longer response, but just for the time being, please realize that these are not new thoughts or ideas. Many of us have wished for the same thing and had the same turmoil. In other words, you are not alone in this.
    Until later,
    Peace tp you.
    LFBA

  7. Sometimes the words we say to others are the hardest to believe for ourselves, As a therapist, you have counseled others. But the counnsel you gave to them is hard to accept for yourself. Sometimes finding who we are—or getting back to who we were is the most difficult part of the journey. Amnesia becomes the goal, To forget the pain. To forget the betrayal. To forget the mistakes. To start fresh.
    But we never really can. Life rarely has movie endings. The Greek tragedies were more real that Sleepless in Seattle. We see those, and we wish.
    Your marriage was damaged. Most marriages will not survive this, but yours has. As much as you want to forget and trade that amnesia for the pain somewhere down deep you must know that you are closer to that movie ending than most.
    The only way to trust, is to trust. The only way to believe is to believe. Sometimes we get burned. Sometimes (like my case) we get burned again. But, for me, I do not regret trying to put my marriage back together after my wife’s first affair. Even though doing that made the 2nd round so much more painful. I believed in her and she let me down. People are flawed. We have all let someone down.
    You believe in your husband, and hs is working toward health with you.
    Honesty with your distress is important. Feeling what you feel is necessary– but it does not have to be consuming.
    These words you wrote “I am reminded that it is a tainted love that we share, no longer a pure one”…ring and resonate so deeply with me. I KNOW this turmoil. But if you can, please try to look at this a different way. The love you have now, is a chosen love. It is not innocent. It is scarred. It has been though battles. It has been tested by fire. It survives. It grows. It defeats naivete. It is still pure love…but now it is pure love with knowledge and brutal honesty.
    You are doing well. The journey is hard. Cuts, scrapes, bruises, open wounds, fire, ice—all of them taken on to continue what you started.
    Revel in that. Rejoice that your vows were so strong that you continue. hand in hand.
    I am envious.
    Peace to you
    LFBA

    • Thank you so very much for taking the time to reply. My eyes welled up reading your reply for so many reasons. I think there is a lot of truth in what you wrote, and I am going to re-read your comments again and again because there was a glimmer of hope that I felt when you mentioned “chosen love” – I just need to solidify in my mind why that felt the way it did so that I can remind myself. I am so grateful that you took the time to write such a well thought out comment, and wanted you to know how much I value and appreciate your readership (everyone) and comments.

      • RMM. I’m hopeful that you can remain hopeful. There is such strength in the journey you have travelled together. The love you have may be different than it was, but in some senses it is stronger for having survived this trial.
        Believe me, I know about daily reminders, wonderings, insecurities. Was he/she….were they…Did he/she….All of those though, are negated by the fact that you and your husband are working through this together. It was a time of insanity and sickness. A mistake does not define a person, unless they let it.
        oh…and please feel free to correct the typo’s I made in my last comment. 😉

  8. Hello, I just read.. that was 2011.. now its 2014.. but we can read same situation.
    How was it now a days?
    I hope you have surpassed the turmoil of life.
    I pray it is over and in great life now.
    Regards

    • Thank you. My husband and i have healed from the affair. He has restored my trust and we both now understand The factors that led him to be vulnerable to an affair. We’ve attwnded counseling, both individually and as a couple, and we now both assist as coaches in affair recovery programs. We are happy and back to “us” again. Thank you.

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