A Strategy on How to Diffuse from Reminders, Triggers, and Emotional Flooding after Infidelity

Samuel provides a strategy for those trying to manage triggers and intrusive thoughts after disclosure.

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Good Days

2+ years down the road we have more good days than bad days. I still have triggers and flooding and moments of intrusive thoughts. I see a counselor for that, but it would be helpful to be able to talk about it with my husband. The problem is two-fold. I can't talk about it in a helpful or constructive way when I'm triggered--flooding--or struggling with intrusive thoughts. And, I don't want to ruin good days. I care about my husband -- I don't want to see him suffer just because I want to talk about my suffering. This is hard to choose to lean in to having some conversations on good days. What advice can you give for HOW to get this ball rolling?

i discuss it in the video...

in the video i discuss bringing it up when things are good and having a plan.  i would also tell him that this is normal and part of the healing process and you need him to be safe for you.  affirm him but also tell him you need to be able to process this and if you can't, it will only delay healing and momentum.  getting the ball rolling means talking to him when things are peaceful and good and explaining to him that this isn't going backwards but actually moving forward.  maybe ask him to watch the video as well.


Groundhog day :-(

Thank you Samuel. It isn't often that I'm triggered enough to share with spouse, but I'm triggers big-time this year. We are three years out from first of three D days. Since D-Day 1 is February, and our wedding anniversary is March, the last two months have been BRUTAL for triggers. I'd add that sometimes, many times, good things can even be triggers. Our baby born last August, can be a trigger, birthdays, street signs, all of it. Currently, my husband is recovering from knee surgery and is doing this in our basement. Although this is necessary for a time, it is a trigger, sleeping without him, I'm not concerned at all about this covid-19 crisis, as many can relate. It's on my radar, but the real crisis is in my marriage, as we plow through this together. I try to talk to my spouse when kids are asleep, and talk calmly, yet he still.goes into a shame/.rage cycle. His anger and shame become palpable in our home, even our kids have become anxious from his moods. It's sticky territory. I know that when I approach him, this will be the response. We have not made love in a month, due to intense triggering I'm feeling about women he's been with. He has said he doesn't understand how I feel, in his mind it's in the past. He was with one woman off and on for almost 8 years! She lives a few miles away. I'm confident he's not been involved with her since sharing with me, but my grief and rage ebbs and flows...I pray he will listen to me, hold me and stop being so defensive and selfish about the healing process. Sending this video to him no God bless and keep you all safe HH and H4H community!

thank you

hi there.  thank you for the note.   what have you done to help you heal and what have you done to combat the reminders and triggers my friend?  

I don’t want to reconfigure

I don’t want to reconfigure reality or my values in order to merely survive, so 1 yr and 8 months after D-Day #1, I am leaving my SA partner, and he’s having a very difficult time dealing with that. He out of town on business while I am packing out, which is terrifying him (but, that was his choice. He couldn’t bear to watch me pack when he was here), and he’s been sending me AR’s videos all the time. They really do give him hope. But, it’s false hope. Also, since he has issues not uncommon with SAs, he is really taking this “abandonment” hard. I would really like to see some videos that old help SA’s deal with the end of a relationship. Thanks!

i'm so sorry for the pain of it all

thank you for the recommendation and i'm very sorry you're having to go through this.  

My husband has never asked how I am doing

I wish I could talk to my husband about his EA (one more "business trip" away from sex) with a younger woman that worked for him but he can't handle it. Unfortunately we do run into her from time to time as she is loosely in the same social circle. Always a gut punch for me but my husband falls apart and I end up putting Humpty back together AGAIN; spent 34 years doing that kinda over it. I wonder what it would be like to have a real partner for life. I am always so shocked at my husband's self absorption. It is truly amazing.

i'm so sorry....perhaps this article series will help

I usually point people to this article as it explains more about what's going on in them and what you can do to heal as well.  i sure hope it helps at least some:  https://www.affairrecovery.com/newsletter/founder/infidelity-recovery-understanding-the-paralysis-of-shame

I want them to stop

Thank you for this. It's only been 7 months since D-Day. My husband has done a 180 within himself and our relationship. We're seeing a great counselor together, I've joined Harboring Hope but I'm still struggling with the intrusive thoughts and deep sadness. My husband had 2 one night stands and was in a sexual relationship with my best friend on and off again for 3 years. While I haven't asked for vivid details, my imagination runs wild. I visualize things I really shouldn't. My husbands told me that I'm making it into something it really wasn't and while part of me believes this and I've tried telling myself that this isn't real, I've taken comfort in his arms while I'm struggling with this these thought keep entering my head when I don't want them to. While I understand what happened and what took place within him during this time I cannot shake the deep sadness and intrusive thoughts. It's such a mess the damage that the tornado of what they did has created.

Vivid details

From having some of the vivid details of my unfaithful spouse, I encourage you to stick to the facts and not get involved with the stickiness of their lies. Working with a CSAT getting a full therapeutic disclosure will save you many more layers of pain going forward through this incredibly difficult journey. Holding the 24 hour rule of asked for more details? This would have been invaluable to me earlier on going to disclosure.
Having him tell you that you are making it into something it really wasn’t? That is for you to decide for yourself. If it wasn’t that big of a deal, then what made him choose to hurt you in such an unbelievably cruel way?

Triggers & Intrusive Thoughts

Wow! The times I have triggers/intrusive thoughts is similar to what was described in the video. Its during physical intimacy with my husband. Thoughts and images of faces of the other women he committed adultery with enter my head. To be honest, I don't want to discuss with him that I have these thoughts because then I feel if it do that then every time we're intimate, I feel that he's now going to be thinking if I'm having these thoughts; so that if ever I don't have them, he may ask me and then cause me to think about it. I find that I try to "run" the thoughts away. These people have damaged my life long enough. This is still new to me, but recently I started to chant to myself in my head that these people (affair partners) don't matter and in my head, I chant "he's my husband", "my husband", "my husband"....he always belonged to me & I deserve to be happy. In the eyes of heaven and in the law- I am right! So, in my head, I claim my territory in an attempt to battle those evil, intrusive thoughts. Like I said, this is all still new to me; its been 4 months since DDay. We recently signed up for EMSO & he's started individual counselling too. I hate the thought that I have to battle with these thoughts, especially at the time of being physically intimate which would ruin really good sex. This issue of intrusive thoughts has more recently become a challenge; but I'm going to try to continue to mentally claim my territory every time those thoughts come. I'm also open to any other ideas or techniques anyone else has in the future.

Triggers and Intrusive Thoughts

I cant stop thinking about them I know many of the details as self destructive as it was I wanted too know what she gave him that I couldn't . No matter what someone says, it could be about our last vacation or din net somewhere, I automatically go to: OMG he was with her then, he was with her when we were in Hawaii, he was with her at my sons college graduation My husband knows immediately when I go to that dark place I shut down, sometimes in the middle of a conversation Someone said there is actually something physical that happens in the brain? Is it Trauma? If so can someone explain it Thx

yes it's trauma

here is an interview that explains more about the trauma you're experiencing:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZ8sdPQZpWI&t=650s   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxBpetWtJJg&t=638s

Unsolved anger

Thank you Samuel for another video. You have been a guide through our affair recovery.
1st 1 year we tried a lot. There were lots of talks, we were taking EMSO. There were opportunities to talk. from 12-18 months now, we do not talk anymore and I explode, as a betrayed, with a small matter such as financial disagreement or some information my husband did not disclose, I started ti explode with anger. He argued back that I am bringing up and reminding about his affair every time and hammering him, being unfair, bullying him. I realized that we have not talking about it, avoiding it even though it has not even been 1.5 years after DD with 2 years of affair.

My husband said "You could not even complete Boot Camp within 7 days although the instruction says "Do not talk irrelevant thing" "Focus to the topic and do not talk about other things", you could not even discuss things normally".
I pointed out that even Samuel and Samantha could not complete Boot Camp within 7 days, because they got heated up too. My husband is asking the video you mentioned it as a proof and I am now watching many of your videos. Could you please tell us if you did Boot Camp within 7 days? thank you for your help.

Emotional Flooding

Hi Samuel
I have been listening to you for about 15 months. I so enjoy your honesty and your humour.
I am the betrayed, D day was January 3, 2019, after 18 years of marriage he informs me he has been addicted to porn since he was 13, he is now 54.
I was more angry last year but this year seems to be more emotional flooding and intense sadness.
My husband does not know how to be emotionally supportive as he blocked all emotions and feelings when he was sexually abused at the age of 6 and subjected to porn at the age of 13.
I liked this video, it spoke to me and I am going to ask my husband to listen as well, in fact he is going to begin listening to more of the videos from Affair Recovery.
He is in therapy once a week and has been on and off over the last year.
My most difficult decision is whether to stay or leave the relationship, I feel if he cannot be supportive and do as this and other videos say, then the choice may be made for me.
This past year has been the most painful I could ever have imagined. My heart has been shattered, torn apart and stomped on, some days I feel like it will never mend.
However, with God's help, books, blogs and therapy, it has to become stronger and be better then it ever was.
Thank you again for you honesty and candidness.

so glad it helped

i'm so glad you're here and getting help.  i would consider going deeper before any significant decisions.  what you're describing is normal and understandable.  doing once a week therapy usually isn't enough.  have you considered one of the courses or intensives?  it's kinda like you have cancer....do you wait or casually approach treatment or do you go all in?  you both need to go all in, particularly your spouse of course.  how open is he to doing more work do you think?


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-D, Texas