I had my third session with my EMDR therapist yesterday. I knew going in we were diving into the guts of my trauma. I was nervous, scared and excited all at the same time.
I had to bring up the most painful memory from my husband’s affair. Easy. It is when I found the email and confronted him. When I learned he was still lying to me. When I learned he fucked her.
I had to put myself back in that moment. I had to rip open the wound. I had to feel the anxiety. The anger. The hurt. My heart raced. My stomach dropped. I sat there and let all the emotions drain out.
On the first go round I felt the physical symptoms (heart racing, sick to my stomach, shaky, I cried). I thought about how if I was a better wife this wouldn’t have happened. If I was younger, skinnier, more fun, had more in common with him, etc – this wouldn’t have happened. If I wouldn’t have made him feel rejected this wouldn’t have happened. That I wasn’t good enough and that’s why he cheated. While I sat there and felt all these awful emotions, she tapped my legs in what seemed like a pattern. After a few minutes, she stopped tapping, told me to take a deep breathe and open my eyes.
We talked about what I felt. What I thought. I had to rate how I was feeling. We did the exercise again and again and again and again for an hour. Each time, the emotions became less strong. It was a very surreal experience. During one of the exercises I was starting to find it harder to stay focused on the event (the moment I learned the true nature of his affair). I was almost forcing myself to stay connected to it. I was drifting off to a place of hearing I am and always was worthy. I am and always was enough. That his affair was ALL about him and what HE is lacking inside. That his affair isn’t my burden to carry. By the end of the session all I “heard” from myself is that I am good enough. I am worthy. The message I was sending to myself had nothing to do with his affair anymore; just that I am good enough. Worthy.
I re-created the scene in my head. I saw it like a movie. I relived the most painful memory of my life – the moment I discovered the full extent of my husband’s betrayal – and I was calm. My body was relaxed. My mind didn’t race to all the other fears I’ve had about whether or not he’s been honest. What she meant to him, etc, etc, etc. I just sat there on the couch feeling peaceful. There was no load on my shoulders. No racing heart beat. No tug in my gut.
Even now, a day later I feel quite calm. I’ve definitely thought about his affair. Her. The details. I like finding quotes about life. Sometimes the quotes about love and soulmates would make me feel some anxiety as I believed their relationship to be about love and being perfect for each other. I found some of those quotes today. And while my mind went to them while reading the quotes, I didn’t have the visceral reaction. I didn’t think that must be what they had. I didn’t feel like less of a woman because of some damn words. I had the thought and then without much fuss, moved on.
I do think that I was still hanging on to some of the blame for his affair. I think I’ll explore that more later.
For now I want to enjoy this moment. This is the best I’ve felt in years, even before his affair. I’ve put in ALOT of hard work the past few years between individual therapy both before and after learning of his affair, was on anti-depressants for a short while, martial counseling both before and after his affair. I’ve had serious growth as an individual. And I feel like its really starting to pay off. I’m seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. And it feels REALLY good.