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WS mind movies

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Iamtrash posted 2/1/2020 07:36 AM

Maybe this is specific to me. I feel like I havenít read anything like this in any other WS post. Iíve been talking to my BS about it, but was wondering if other WSs go through it.

Obviously my BS struggles with mind movies. I feel like it has improved over time, but I know heís not immune from it. We are in a place where we can talk about awful things and it doesnít turn into defensiveness or fighting. I am slowly learning how to best meet his needs and am figuring out how to talk about hard things and still manage to have a good night with him. (I feel like I can talk about hard things, acknowledge his feelings, comfort and reassure him, and still manage to have a good night with him. Before, I felt like any hard conversation was an instant way to ruin any peace we had. I donít feel uncomfortable talking about anything anymore. I actually feel better hearing him and talking to him. I wish I had been this way throughout our entire marriage.)

Now hereís what I am struggling with, I am finding myself struggling with my own mind movies. Not about my BH being with someone else (he has never betrayed me and I fully trust that), but with memories of AP replaying. Theyíre not always sexual in nature, they can even just be memories of his presence. Theyíre not good memories for me. We ended on very bad terms, so I donít enjoy remembering anything with him, his existence is bad enough. Itís not like a fantasy or desiring that moment with him, itís actually a very painful feeling. They donít always hit in a sexual moment, but they definitely hit more so during intimate moments. I find myself having to pause and re-center myself. It keeps me from being able to enjoy moments with my BH and/or makes it hard for me to perform. So far, I have been able to fight back. I take a moment to re-focus. I look into my BHs eyes, I touch him, close my eyes, imagine his face, smell him. I am able to take a moment and kick out the intrusive thoughts.

I didnít have these moments at the start. They only recently started. I didnít talk about them right away, but I really didnít realize how intrusive they were until I found myself wanting to be intimate, but struggling to. I thought it was just a fluke moment, but after it happened again I talked to my BS about it. He doesnít want me to feel pressured into intimacy if I am struggling. (Appreciated, and a great representation of his level of respect for my body, even after all this.) I donít feel that way. I desire him on all levels of intimacy, not just sex. I donít want him to feel like the thoughts of AP are going to overpower my ability to be close to him. I still want that closeness, even when Iím struggling. Iím scared by the thought of not being able to make myself refocus on the good instead of remembering and replaying the bad. I am annoyed with myself because he asked what triggers it and I canít figure it out. Sometimes they hit during intimate moments, sometimes during normal conversation. And again, the thoughts arenít always sexual in nature. So, I donít feel like a certain sexual act with my BH triggers anything. (Ex.: Getting intimate with BH, but remember a non-sexual moment with AP. Thereís absolutely no connection between the two moments, but it still interferes with my enjoying the moment with BH.)

Does anyone else experience this? Iím thankful that Iíve been able to work my mind through it and plan on bringing it up on IC, maybe I can get more resources to help. I am afraid that I wonít be able to power through it.

Pippin posted 2/1/2020 09:30 AM

Hi IAmTrash, yes, I struggled with this and it was terrible. I called them intrusive thoughts. I did not welcome them and it was very hard to stop them. They were not so much memories as new scenarios. I came to understand it as nothing to do with the AP as a person but my mind trying to find a way to resolve whatever was still going on for me, find an escape from the difficult work I was doing, etc. Like waking nightmares. So here is what I did when it happened.

1. notice that it was happening and the "storyline" that my mind was wandering down and remind myself to guard my thoughts and put the shields up

2. remind myself that it had nothing to do with the AP as a person and I didn't like, love or want him and in fact knew and believed that he was a foul person

3. intentionally change the end of the thought. A variety of ways - I imagined doing something violent to the AP, having my husband come in and humiliate the AP, sometimes I put one of my children in the room to understand what it would do to them, etc.

4. Imagine a similar scenario with my husband. Put him the the "storyline," whatever it was

5. Congratulate myself on job well done (this is important, you need to feel that sense of I had a challenge and succeeded rather than thinking of it as further proof that you suck)

6. Process the initial "storyline" with the IC or sometimes with my husband to understand what was still unresolved

I also couldn't figure out at first how to talk about the intrusive thoughts with my husband, because he wanted to know what was going on with me and help, but telling him about them was so painful to him, and I didn't want to lie. We settled at one point on me saying "I'm still working on the intrusive thoughts" with lots of follow up about how much I didn't want them, didn't want the AP and wanted my husband. He particularly liked to hear about me putting him in the storyline. That felt both honest and if not constructive, at least less painful.

Lostallalone posted 2/1/2020 14:44 PM

Please help me understand. As a madhatter my affair happened after a year of my wife's post pardum depression blaming me for everything wrong with our lives. I had a lawyer. I had my AP for a place to move to. It was an exit affair. But it was found out and yrs of counseling. But 20 yrs later while i was living 3 hours away she had her RA that was rug swept. He was a loser. Explain to me the thinking of sleeping with a guy whom you have no respect or feelings for. I'm sorry for hijacking but I can't post anywhere else. I feel a more BS then wayward.

Iamtrash posted 2/1/2020 16:11 PM

Pippin, all good things to try. Itís so conflicting because it happening during good moments. Good conversations, intimacy. I feel like if we were fighting or I was having a very low/depressed day, it would be much easier for these thoughts to happen. Kind of like my mind would go to bad memories to add to my own depressed thinking. But itís not happening then (maybe I should be thankful itís not). I almost wonder if my mind is trying to remind me of the awful things I did. Itís hard for me to feel like I deserve another chance. I know I donít. Maybe the good or healing moments trigger my brain to remind me why I donít deserve that good moment.

Lost, Itís not about actively and willingly thinking about the AP. Nor is it about thinking about sexual acts with him. Itís about trying to reconcile and repair with your BS and having uncontrollable thoughts pop up at terrible times. Theyíre not good feelings or memories. They happen and make it hard to enjoy the moment and/or focus on just your BS. The thoughts interrupt the good moments. Itís like a haunting of the mind and theyíre always things Iíd rather forget, sexual or not.

Lostallalone posted 2/1/2020 20:06 PM

I know they are terrible memories that are haunting you. But you went so far out of your way to commit these acts. I just need to know why. Or what you wanted out of it.

Iamtrash posted 2/1/2020 21:22 PM

I mean this is a non-snarky tone, so please donít take offense.

If you had an affair, Iím not sure what makes you more of a BS than a wayward. (Again, not saying it to be rude. Just rhetoric.) You're a madhatter, so why did you? Affairs take work, no matter the reason, couple, circumstances, or excuses. Some people invest years and decades into an affair. Some people invest months. For some itís a drunken ONS. Maintaining lies and keeping secrets takes a ton of effort. Some are caught, some are outed, some admit it to their BS. Damage control and refusing to admit everything also takes work.

Iíd give my reasons, but my reasons wonít be the same as anyone elseís. Same for anyoneís affair. I have an extensive list of whys. Reality, none of them are acceptable excuses for what I did. To me, answering whys does nothing more than give me a list of bullshit excuses and justification. (This isnít the case for everyone, just my own experience.) Instead, my whys pinpoint all of the character flaws that need to change, no matter the outcome of my marriage. Also, at this point in my own journey, I look at my whys and think ďWTF. Stupid reason. What character flaw needs to be changed because I wanted to fulfill this Ďneedí?Ē I threw away my marriage for nothing. Thatís what it comes down to. What an ultimate insult to my BH. Now my job is to fix the terrible things within me, not make excuses for ďwhyĒ I threw away what I had. My past has shaped who I am, my choices were still my own. I canít blame anything that happened in my life for my decision to destroy my BHís existence.

Lostallalone posted 2/1/2020 23:57 PM

Plz no offense taken. Maybe I do have an issue of how I view my own affair. I was verbally abused and was planning my escape. I guess I justify to myself. It just seems different to me to to be in a happy marriage yet invest myself to have a full blown affair or even a second relationship life. I'm trying to learn.

Iamtrash posted 2/2/2020 06:16 AM

To me, nothing justifies an affair You have two choices, divorce or put work into your marriage. If it still fails, at least you know you tried. Having an affair should never be an option, no matter what the circumstances are. I realize this wasnít given to you as you were also cheated on, but none of us should put our BS is a position to not have control of their life. Thatís what having an affair does. He has lost all trust, his sense of security. Heís lost everything he thought he knew about me and us. He has to constantly question me and even himself. Itís nearly impossible to trust me even when I am showing I am capable of doing the work. I did that to him. It wasnít fair and it wasnít right. Divorce is much less painful than the aftermath of infidelity.

Sometimes it isnít always because youíre in an ďunhappy marriage.Ē Yeah, that seems to be a top excuse for WSs. We were unhappy, he/she quit listening, we were always fighting. Theyíre all nothing more than excuses. What is comes down to is individual accountability. Fact is, happy, healthy functioning people donít look to affairs to ďfixĒ their problems or fill the voids in their life. If I had worked on myself a long time ago and fixed the way I think before I had an affair, would having an affair ever have been an option or ďsolutionĒ for me? Probably not. We arenít suffering because of an unhappy marriage. We are suffering because I made a decision for myself that impacted everyone around me. That isnít my marriageís fault or his fault. To be honest, even if he met all my bullshit criteria for making me happy, I was still a dangerously flawed person. Would anything he did/didnít do have been enough? Probably not. When you are in the mindset of focusing on flaws instead of seeing the good or looking at people as a whole, you will never be in a position to be happy or thankful for the blessings you have.

Lostallalone posted 2/2/2020 08:12 AM

Thank you for not talking down to me. I enjoyed our chat.

hikingout posted 2/2/2020 08:52 AM

Yes. In many ways this even makes sense on your timeline. I am not sure if I have steps to share like pippin, but I just want to say that as I became more present in the marriage and we openly discussed the affair in the way you are talking about - this same thing started to occur.

In hindsight for me it was rewriting the story with remorse. We are unpacking all that happened and reliving it with new understanding. Sometimes it sent me in a shame spirali, other times it just made me sick and sad and sorry. I sometimes in those moments could not believe how stupid I was, how callous, and how much my husband did not deserve any of it.

I think the story rewriting was important in my learning oersonally. I would just offer we donít grow in comfort and that pain will make you reach deeper and understand yourself more. Itís a phase and I believe itís a normal one. Pippin has maybe given you some advice I didnít have at the time so I donít discount what she is offering. For me it cycled away in its own in time.

Iamtrash posted 2/2/2020 15:19 PM

That actually makes a lot of sense. I said to my BH today, I can finally talk openly and answer any questions without it ruining the entire entire day or putting me in a dark place. I donít hesitate to answer questions and explain whatever he needs to know. That part is becoming increasingly easier. But now the intrusive thoughts are taking over. Maybe there is a correlation between freely/openly talking and your mind creative new problems for yourself.

JBWD posted 2/2/2020 18:17 PM

Iíve just started to experience the same, sadly. Doesnít interfere with time with my BW, mind you, but itís as unwelcome nonetheless. Sleep is becoming elusive and Iím definitely feeling physical repercussions that I hadnít previously- Fatigue, illness, legit stress eating that has NEVER been a mechanism in my life... There WERE dreams previously, and my IC pointed out that this is likely a phase of better facing my decisions and repercussions as I unpack more. All I can say is that I feel like there may be value in it, and hopefully that value is in increased awareness and an increased ability to confront your past actions. Right there with ya.

ETA might be worth trying to reframe as NOT your mind working against you but perhaps an ďunstoppingĒ that may lead to greater progress, as always at the least towards a better you.

[This message edited by JBWD at 6:19 PM, February 2nd (Sunday)]

MrCleanSlate posted 2/2/2020 19:15 PM

Went through similar thing about 3 years out. My BW and I got to talking about A sort of matter of fact like. Our M was improving immensely. I really started to feel the guilt and remorse of what I did. And the mind movies started.

I felt guilty. Of a whole new level of understanding the A.

I think it is a sign of growth.

RocketRaccoon posted 2/3/2020 00:48 AM


Note: Armchair psycho babble below.

Just an alternative possibility of why the mind movies are happening to you.

Do these mind movies only crop up at any other times, apart for intimate moments?

Could it be that you are in a state of remorse, and your subconscious is reminding you of what you could have lost? The reason for the possible loss crops us when you are intimate with your BH because it reminds you of who you had initially chose instead of the one who is right in front of you?

The subconscious is a powerful thing, and it can cause a lot of havoc if left to play by itself. Might be worth asking your IC about this.

Iamtrash posted 2/3/2020 19:23 PM

JB, Itís super upsetting. Iíd pay for a lobotomy to forget all this nightmare I created. I wouldnít learn anything that way though.

MrClean, I hope itís a sign of growth. I feel like Iím constantly in a state of one step forward and two steps back. The roller coaster for both of us is real. Itís hard, sometimes, to feel like Iím making progress.

Rocket, Theyíre more prevalent and harder to break during intimate (sexual or even just conversation) moments. However, they can hit at random times. I have a lengthy time driving our oldest to school. Sometimes, I feel the entire affair replaying over and over. I had previously felt this happening, but it was easier to break. Sometimes the thoughts hit at random times. Sometimes thereís a clear trigger, other times thereís not.

I do feel the remorse connection when it happens during intimate moments. I donít feel worthy of those close moments with my BH. So it makes sense that good moments could trigger it.

RocketRaccoon posted 2/5/2020 03:19 AM

I donít feel worthy of those close moments with my BH. So it makes sense that good moments could trigger it.

Yeah, it's a bitch isn't it? That the good/intimate times triggers the negative thoughts.

It would be easy to bash you on the head with a 2X4, but I think you already know what I would have bashed you about.

As to the memories, they usually fade with time and age (I can attest to the age part ), and with some work with an IC, it can possibly be damped down.

If you had any lingering gifts/mementos/clothes/perfume that was used during your A, might be a good idea to get rid of them. Scents especially can trigger a lot of memories.

Iamtrash posted 2/5/2020 19:09 PM

It would be easy to bash you on the head with a 2X4, but I think you already know what I would have bashed you about.

Exactly. The 2x4s are much easier to see these days.

I hope time lessens the triggers. I especially agree with the IC part. I feel like I have to make a list of things I want to work on and prioritize what to address each session.

Thankfully, there was nearly nothing to be rid of. There were no gifts or anything special from my AP. Nothing material tied to him. No perfumes, clothes, or anything special for him. Immediately after d-day, I pitched anything purchased during my affair. Even stupid, irrelevant things. Like a map I had from the trip. I didnít want anything that reminded me of that time or the affair itself, so it was easy to throw it all away. That also means thereís nothing material in my home that I can be rid of to make the thoughts stop.

pearlamici posted 2/5/2020 20:06 PM

BS here and a little off topic but you keep mentioning being able to talk about the affair without it ruining your day? What or why was it that it ruined the day? I remember those days that ended up "ruined". As the betrayed spouse, i just needed to talk - whether it was about my feelings or his or more questions I had ... from my perspective I felt when the day was "ruined" - it was really all a ploy to shut me down. If I wanted to have a nice evening then we couldn't "go there" ...aka manipulation.

DaddyDom posted 2/5/2020 20:12 PM

Itís not like a fantasy or desiring that moment with him, itís actually a very painful feeling.

I didn't experience these kinds of thoughts, so unfortunately I can't relate, however, I'm wondering if this is perhaps just part of your own "shame" or "self-blame" kicking in? Perhaps you are afraid to be happy or to love yourself, and when you get close, your brain rejects the thoughts and reminds you of the ugliness that once existed?

I don't know about you, but for me, the hardest thing about "the work" is constantly reminding myself that I am the sum of my parts, not just the parts I don't like.

Brokenlifer posted 2/6/2020 06:57 AM


Doesnít interfere with time with my BW

That's because your 'mind movies' aren't really mind movies. How about your wife's? I bet her interferes with her time with you, and oh yeah, everything.

Bet it doesn't interfere with you though. How is your side by the way? His is she coping with the trauma of being intimate with you.

Not sure who said they can talk about the A without it ruining their day, but just wanted to let you know I figured out why of any other WWs want to know why and if it's possible-

It's because you weren't cheated on. So why would it ruin your day?

You don't have to think about it. You don't have questions because you know and controlled everything.

And you have a wonderful forgiving spouse who you probably wouldn't forgive had they done anything like this to you. You BH/W is there loving you, being intimate with you, giving you attention.

Why would it ruin your day?? and more importantly why are we talking about that and not about how difficult THEIR day is?

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