I was stuck. I kept going back to the same issues. The same feelings. I would get triggered and get sucked into the abyss of feeling I wasn’t good enough. That my husband cheated because I rejected him both sexually and emotionally. That it was my fault somehow. At first I felt that if I was 10 years younger like her. Taller like her. Blonde like her. More willing to get drunk all the time and high like her. If I wasn’t a mom. If I was thinner. Anything! Every time I was triggered the emotions came rushing back. I FELT the pain like it was the first time I discovered his affair. My heart would pound so hard I thought it would beat right out of my chest. I’d get that sick feeling in my gut. The air would get sucked from my lungs and I couldn’t breathe. I felt like I was drowning, choking on all these emotions. I couldn’t stop making it personal. I couldn’t stop making it about what I lacked. The problem wasn’t the memory (although I’d like to erase it permanently), its how the memory was stored. The memory of the moment I learned the full nature of his affair was etched in my soul. And it was painful. I associated that memory (and subsequently everything that made me think of that memory – so pretty much everything) as me not being good enough. Every trigger of his affair made me feel like I wasn’t good enough.
A person cheating will find a way to justify their actions. Unless they’re a sociopath or narcissist, they feel some level of guilt (even if we as betrayed’s don’t see it or believe it). They make their affair their partner’s fault so they can go through with it.
An affair is a symptom of bigger problems in the marriage, yes. But ultimately an affair is a shortcoming in the person that cheated. Its their insecurity. Their insecurity is their trigger. They have to identify the trigger and deal with it.
So, how did EMDR help? Before therapy I knew all of this logically. But I never quite believed it. I didn’t feel it. There was always a little doubt. A tug at my heart. That lingering feeling that I just wasn’t good enough. EMDR re-processed the memory. Me not being good enough is no longer associated with the memory. The intense pain is no longer associated with the memory. I still remember. I still hurt. I still hate it. I still have anger. I still have triggers. But none of that makes me feel like less of a person. None of that makes me feel like I wasn’t good enough. I’ve always been good enough. Now I know it in both my head and my heart.