‘How did I miss the signs? I should have known. Am I not good enough? Is there something wrong with me? I have been emotionally distant. I am not attractive.’ The list can go on of all the things that can come through the mind of the woman who has just learned about her partner’s addiction to unwanted sexual behaviors. There is nothing that could prepare someone emotionally to learn that the closest person and the one whom they trusted the most had betrayed them.
In a split second, the world as you had known it is shattered. The sense of safety is lost, and the trust is crushed. The agony of confusion is real, the life that you thought you knew is in question; that is the sinking deep pain of betrayal.
Many questions can go through your mind as you navigate the new piece of information that seems to have wrecked your life. Where do I go from here? Do I stay in this relationship? How can I regain control over the roller coaster of emotions? Can I ever build trust again? We will be addressing some of those questions and some of the emotions like stress, depression, anxiety, rage, fear, hypervigilance, etc… in the next few blogs; however, in this blog, I would like to emphasize the importance of owning your own healing journey. Many of the symptoms you experience after the discovery can be features of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Yes, this is the same disorder some of the people who go to battlefield experience. It is no wonder why some of the partners after the discovery experience flashbacks, depression, mood swings and anxiety, which affects managing daily life tasks.
You may ask, where do I start? Great question! Choose not to walk this journey alone because it can get very lonely. I encourage you to ask for help. You may tell me: ‘but I am not the problem and I did not cause this.’ I would agree with you. However, having the support that you need during this time is very important to help you navigate through the roller coaster of emotions. I also would like to remind you that having an abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal. Seeking guidance will help normalize those emotions and it will aid in processing through your thoughts/beliefs about yourself and your partner.
Do you question your perception of reality because of hearing statements like: “Stop being paranoid when I check my phone; you are so insecure when you see me talk to other women; I don’t answer my phone because I am finishing a project for work; you are so jealous”. We call this gaslighting which I will address in the next blog.