Intrusive Thoughts We all deal with trauma differently. Some people haven’t had to deal with major heartache until finding out about their spouse's infidelity. Unfortunately, I had a traumatic experience early on in my life that shaped how I deal with trauma. I can always find somebody who has had a harder life than I have, but to dismiss the traumatic experiences I have had over my lifetime is not helpful to me or my family. When my husband first disclosed his extramarital activities, I dealt with it in the way I always had, I stuffed it in. I mentioned in an earlier blog that this backfired on me when we were at EMS weekend and my body physically started twitching and shaking. I have learned over the past few months that trauma doesn’t just affect our emotions but it also affects our entire bodies, especially our brains. In the beginning, I dealt with intrusive thoughts daily, several times a day, in fact. The first week I was not functional at all. I am so glad I opened up and let other people in to help walk me through this, my trusted friends who had been through this several years ago. One of my friends asked me if I was struggling with intrusive thoughts and, of course, I told her yes. She told me something that Rick told her in the beginning that helped her tremendously. Whenever she had an intrusive thought about her husband engaging in his “activity,” she would start praying for God to let her see something different or give her His perspective on what she was seeing. I remember the first time I tried this. I had taken my daughter to a park and while I was sitting down watching her play, I had a very vivid thought of my husband engaging in his “activity.” Thankfully, I have never caught him in the act so my thought came from something he had told me. I stopped and prayed for God to show me His perspective on it all. Almost instantaneously, in my thoughts, my husband was changed to a little boy. It made me think of my own son doing something like that and it made me so sad for him. What would cause somebody to do something like this? My husband grew up in a very strict, hyper-religious, and abusive home. Just like I have dealt with trauma in the manner I have, my husband ended up finding his release in his own way. When I saw him as a little boy doing this, I also felt compassion for him, the way I imagine God feels about us when we are doing something that is destructive and not good for anybody. I wanted to pick him up and hold him and tell him that he was loved. Then, I remembered my husband, on the day of disclosure breaking down and crying for the first time in front of me. He opened up and told me his narcissistic talk was just a façade. In reality, he didn’t feel like he deserved anybody’s love. He didn’t believe that anybody could love him, especially because of what He has done. Now, 9 months later, intrusive thoughts are few and far between. I may have one a month but, when I do, it is easy for me to turn it off or turn him into a little boy doing it. It helps to know that my husband is working hard to stay “sober” but either way, I won’t allow that activity to affect my emotions any longer. In order for me to be the healthiest person I need to be I know that dwelling on those thoughts doesn’t really hurt anybody but myself.