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WS mind movies

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ISurvivedSoFar posted 2/6/2020 07:52 AM

Just a thought...MrCleanSlate said something that made me think.

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.

Maybe that's the ultimate form of empathy? Maybe it is amazing growth that you can feel the trauma of what you did to someone you love? I dunno...just new to think of a WS having mind movies. I will tell you that for a BS it is completely intrusive and like watching a horror movie with flashes of the traumatic events filling your mind.

hikingout posted 2/6/2020 08:50 AM

I will tell you that for a BS it is completely intrusive and like watching a horror movie with flashes of the traumatic events filling your mind

That's sort of the way I experienced it as a WS. They are intrusive, unwelcome and brought on deep feelings of pain, remorse, and shame and disgust. I am not sure that trauma can be mentioned, but definitely a deep sense of betraying yourself with your own actions.

This went on for a while for me, and now when it happens (less frequently) I can walk myself back out. Prior, I couldn't seem to just shut it off the way I wanted to. Intrusive, and involuntary are the only ways to describe it.

hikingout posted 2/6/2020 08:52 AM

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 think she is referring to the shame spiraling. This is definitely an enemy a WS has to learn to defeat.

Iamtrash posted 2/7/2020 06:58 AM

What or why was it that it ruined the day?

It wasnít the taking about it or answering questions that ruined it. It was the reality that even after he is done talking and/or satisfied with the answers, then I canít stop thinking about it and replaying It. Even if it wasnít a tough conversation. He could have been 100% satisfied with my answers and focused on us having a decent day, but my mind wouldnít allow me to shut off that part from my brain even though he wasnít having a bad day. I would want to focus on the good because thatís what he needed that day, but couldnít. And I never wanted to bring up these feelings out of fear that he would think I was trying to deter/manipulate him into not asking.

Iamtrash posted 2/7/2020 07:17 AM

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

Ah, yes. The typical ďyou arenít thinking about their painĒ response. I challenge you to find a single post in this thread that states that the BS somehow is feeling less/no pain. You wonít find it. Not everything is a one-up or pain contest. Believe it or not, WSs are also human. They also feel pain and sadness. No one is taking away or discounting the pain a BH feels. That doesnít mean dealing with the aftermath of your own terrible choices is fun or easy.

Not all affairs end the same way and while all APs are terrible people, not all APs ride off into the sunset never to wreak havoc again. Some APs want to take everyone down with them when they realize they arenít top dog. This is a risk WSs take and a consequence they must face for their actions. But to assume that a WS doesnít not have their own traumatic feelings and have to deal with their own feelings while also trying to help a BS through theirs is simply false. Yes, the WS deserves every bit of pain and suffering they caused, their BS certainly has to deal with it and they didnít choose for this to happen. Not everything is a contest though. Itís pretty bold to assume that any WS that struggles with their own feelings is trying to ignore the feelings of their BS. Yes, it does happen, not in every case.

WSs are terribly flawed people that have to deal with helping their spouse while, at the same time, recognizing that they caused this and fix why it happened. Itís a shitty, but earned process. (Donít cheat and there wonít be repercussions.) Itís not an easy process and certainly not a pissing contest as to which person ďhurts more.Ē My own pain never takes precedence over what my BS is feeling and going through. I never have felt that my own issues and trauma trump his.

How can you expect a WS to grow, learn, change, and help their BS if they donít also face their own demons and pain from their choices?

Iamtrash posted 2/7/2020 07:26 AM

Whatís hardest is the shift of it happening during good days. In particular, heís caving a good day. I donít want my invasive thoughts ruining his good moments. I obviously want to talk about how I am feeling, it has been a big learning process for me. I have realized that not talking about how I feel has always been a big problem in our marriage. How do I bring up that I am having a really difficult day with terrible parts of the affair replaying through my head without it ruining whatever heís enjoying in that moment? I am making effort to tell him when Iím struggling with these thoughts even if Iím afraid to, But I know that sometimes good days for him can be few and far between and I donít want to take that away from him. I have already made him suffer enough and I hate the idea of my brain forcing me to think about things that could ruin whatever good days he has.

I am continuing to practice pushing these thoughts out of my head and I do hope that with time it gets better and easier to push through. Even though I cannot stand the thoughts my bigger fear is ruining his moment with my thoughts.

Can you explain more about the shame spiral? To me it sounds like the idea that a wayward spouse gets caught in a cycle of self-pity. I want to make sure I am not misunderstanding the term.

MrCleanSlate posted 2/7/2020 07:34 AM


Ah, yes. The typical ďyou arenít thinking about their painĒ response.....

Well put response.

Brokenlifer appears to have a lot of personal issues that s/he is trying to project onto all others. I wouldn't take it too personally.

You could always ask a mod to put up a stop sign.

[This message edited by MrCleanSlate at 8:26 AM, February 7th (Friday)]

Iamtrash posted 2/7/2020 10:49 AM

Itís ok. :)

People donít come to SI because theyíre in a good place. They come here because they are hurt, broken, devastated, some/all of the above. BS and WS alike. Everyone is going to respond based on their own experiences. I canít be offended by what I read because I donít know what anyone else has lived through. We all speak based on what our own story has taught us.

I appreciate the opinions from both sides and wish I would have learned at the beginning to not be offended if I donít agree with the response. People can only speak on what they understand and most people will understand their own story best.

JBWD posted 2/7/2020 11:27 AM

Just to put my ďdoesnít interfere withĒ statement in context itís because Iím not in R. My BW and I are slowly divorcing. I see her for one hour a week. Youíre right that she is a wonderful forgiving woman.

[This message edited by JBWD at 11:27 AM, February 7th (Friday)]

hikingout posted 2/7/2020 12:51 PM

Shame and self pity arenít the same.

Shame is that feeling that we are inherently bad. Unworthy. Shame keeps us from being vulnerable, it keeps us in a space of not feeling worthy. When we have those kind movies and the invasive thoughts that we can not seem to control itís our shame of what we did and who we are spirialling out of control.

I think self pity is feeling sorry for yourself. I donít think it sounds like you are feeling sorry for yourself. That would be more of a victim mentality, I donít see that in what you are saying.

Shame is good in the way that it can motivate us to change, it also reinforces what we donít want or who we donít want to be. But it can also be bad, because it doesnít let us fully show up for the other person. Itís a process though, where you gain more understanding of yourself. The more you understand yourself the more compassion you can feel for yourself. The more you do the right things the more you might be able to shed the feeling of being inherently bad.

The mind movies are kind of a bad period in tome when you really can see how bad the things you did truly were. You are reliving them with a different emotion attached. You are seeing it with new eyes. Itís reinforcing those feelings of shame. Unfortunately I canít tell you if this can be bypassed or how to move from it. Other than keep digging for how you got here, changing those things, and doing the next right thing. That somehow got me to where I could begin to believe I am not just plain bad. I am all things and I get to choose what to act in, how I see myself, what I decide to focus on. Being gentle with yourself after all this takes a lot of processing.

JBWD posted 2/7/2020 14:36 PM

Shame is that feeling that we are inherently bad. Unworthy. Shame keeps us from being vulnerable, it keeps us in a space of not feeling worthy.

I see shame in much the same way as above, and I think the key element that makes shame destructive is that it compels hiding or aversion.

As such I would propose that this as described...

Shame is good in the way that it can motivate us to change

... might actually be better defined as guilt. I think I view guilt as the emotionless acknowledgment of wrongdoing, and shame as the more paralyzing extension OF it.

I know that may seem like extra nuance, but I think the progression to being able to FACE our wrongs and live in the lives weíve wrought means getting through the overwhelming emotion that drive us to hide. Paralysis occurs in all manner of emotional trauma- To get unstuck we have to get to the point of controlling that paralysis, and as I see it, that paralysis is almost exclusively driven by shame on the cheatersí side of the equation.

Brokenlifer posted 2/7/2020 15:05 PM

I canít be offended by what I read because I donít know what anyone else has lived through. We all speak based on what our own story has taught us.
but yet my response is "typical..." doesn't seem like you wanted to hear my experience or that you dont mind.

And I didnt say it was a contest. My point is that it's not because the betrayeds pain is in a different league. I didnt claim you said the betrayeds pain in less. That would be ridiculous, it's not even equal.

Of course mrcleanslate would dismiss what I'm saying even if it might be how his wife is feeling became he doenst want to help his wife more than he wants to talk about himself and other people. Including how he felt guilty for his ap.

Ws can talk about their pain, which is much less and self inflicted than the betrayeds, but its not in isolation to their betrayeds pain because it's about infidelity which is only infidelity because it's about cheating not their partner so its inherently about their betrayed spouse.

The pain of betrayal is always a feature of the bs lives so why is the bs pain not always a feature of the WS life.

Mr cleanslate you should take it personally so you can learn mor about how you broke your wifes heart instead of being so casual about my pain. I thought all "the work" and posting was supposed to make you kinder buy yet your not being very empathetic especially about the fact that your wife feels similarly to me.
Because yes it DOES ruin your life and you SHOULD be trying to make her happier and showing her love every day, more important that posting to other women.

HellFire posted 2/7/2020 15:15 PM

T/j...Mr CS, yes she has her own personal issues. She was traumatised by a cheater who was unempathetic, and dismissive of her very existence.

Calling her response "typical ", then advising other people to not consider what she has said,is minimizing her, yet again.

I've noticed you seem to enjoy taking a swipe at her,quite often.

You might want to work on that.

[This message edited by HellFire at 3:16 PM, February 7th (Friday)]

Iamtrash posted 2/7/2020 15:50 PM

It is, from my experience, typical for there to always be one poster that compares BS pain in a post that doesnít deny what a BS is experiencing. That does not mean I didnít want to hear your response. Donít find tone that isnít there, I only responded to what you said with my own viewpoint. It was certainly not a personal attack. For the record, Iíve never read your story or seen your posts, so I canít speak for anything youíve said or posted prior to this. You are still welcome to respond to my posts, I donít take offense to you not agreeing. To me, it seemed like you were trying to respond to one poster rather than the question presented.

You say itís not a contest but then say things like.... ďitís not even equalĒ and ďWS can talk about their pain, which is much less...Ē. That is comparing what each side is feeing. We donít know everyoneís affair and experiences. While the WS is 100% responsible for the consequences of their actions, thatís not to say they donít have events that are also equally painful but NOT the same as their BSís pain. I am not claiming this for my story, but trauma comes in many forms. The BS facing bigger trauma does not dismiss any trauma a WS went through. And posting to find solutions/opinions about a problem isnít looking for pity either. Just honest feedback from people that have been there.

Iamtrash posted 2/7/2020 16:12 PM


Everything you post makes sense. It just seems so counter productive.

So, in order to be vulnerable, you need to be able to move through the feelings of shame. For me, I still feel like moving through the shame is somehow ďforgettingĒ or forgiving what I have done to my BH. As much as I hate what I did, I feel like this is a scar. When you look at the scar, you never forget what caused it and it reminds you not to do it again. It worries me that losing the shame takes away from the motivation to change. Or that not keeping the shame makes the BS feel like youíve forgotten the damage youíre capable of. Right now, itís not so easy to be gentle with myself but thatís also going to take time. So is it like the idea that you need to feel shame to change, once you change, you learn to forgive yourself/lessen your shame, then your BH is able to forgive you because they see the change? If Iím wrong, tell me.


With this, I sometimes felt the need to hide these feelings because I donít want to burden my BS with them. And because I feel like the pain of remembering is a very real consequence of cheating. On the other hand, a big problem in my marriage is that I never told my BH how I felt. Iíve hid feeling for years. Been this emotionless wall. Iíve had to really face who I was as a spouse even before the affair. I know I still slip up and my BH will straight up call me out. ďI donít know how you are feeling and that scares me.Ē In my mind it seems so counterproductive to make my BH relive my painful memories that completely destroyed his life. But he needs to trust that I am able to always say whatís on my mind and change that terrible habit. That one is the hardest to break.

hikingout posted 2/8/2020 07:54 AM

Not exactly. I donít know if I will ever forgive myself either.
What you are describing is normal for where you are. It takes time to move through it. What I am saying is as you do your work- you will begin to understand yourself and know yourself on a deeper level. When you combine that with making changes to what is not serving you and hallmark well, you will gain self compassion. To me that means that you can look at yourself more softly. That scar will be there but there will be other things that came from your growth that will make you more humble yet more accepting of yourself. Stay on the road you are on. Keep questioning yourself. It takes time.

ISurvivedSoFar posted 2/8/2020 08:08 AM


Believe it or not, WSs are also human. They also feel pain and sadness.
Just a cautionary note here. This line is probably the line that gets a BS most frustrated and hurt. The response it used to evoke from me when my WS said this to me is, Why should I care about your feelings? Because after all my feelings mattered none to you when you decided to betray me, break me, take me down so you could feel better.

It isn't that I don't recognize that we are all human and fallible. It is that there is an incredible sense of entitlement in that statement particularly after a WS is so callous at the time of their affair. It's as if you are asking us to care that you are hurting when the opposite didn't happen.

I'm not intending to berate anybody here and I hope my comments aren't taken that way. Just thought that it might be beneficial to us all to explore why such reactions happen so we can be the best stewards of our own behaviors.


hikingout posted 2/8/2020 08:21 AM

I think too though itís hard for bsís to understand that everytime we try and discuss our pain people come along and say this. Every post. Itís not that we are disregarding the pain of our ba but this is a support group. I personally didnít talk to my h about my pain while he was struggling. The only way I could talk about it was with other waywards. We have to be able to process it. I got to where I would only do it in pms.

I get why it triggers the bs, but itís almost always (and I am not saying this is happening in this post as much) a bs comes here and says ďwell poor little you what about your bsĒ. Itís true - the bs is traumatized, and itís true that they have to be our top priority. But unless you are a ws who participates in this site you may not realize that pain is a four letter word in the ws forum that if mentioned we are always called out on wallowing or not thinking about the bs. Itís not that, we are trying to figure ourselves out. I donít think the pain can be compared but just like we will never understand the extent of bs pain, Itís understandable that many here wouldnít even want to try and understand ours. Itís easy to understand why that empathy would be short and why thatís very triggering. But how are we supposed to process it when we are admonished everytime we bring it up? Especially in this case where the person isnít a newbie itís someone who is trying and is reaching out to try to move past it so she can be better.

[This message edited by hikingout at 8:24 AM, February 8th (Saturday)]

ISurvivedSoFar posted 2/8/2020 08:53 AM

I was sharing to help provide perspective. We need compassion all the way around. "We are humans too" seems derogatory. It seems like there is a swipe at someone who dares to not recognize that a WS can have pain too. Of course pain abounds after infidelity. It is horrific for everyone. And WS's deserve to have a site where they can work out their feelings and issues with others who have walked in their shoes. I didn't imply otherwise in my comments.

I offer that there may be a different way to express that sentiment. As well I offer for a WS to try and understand the impact it has on a BS. In no way do I suggest that a WS doesn't have a right to their feelings and to their pain. But it should be helpful for folks to try and understand the viewpoint of their counterparts. Isn't that what SI is all about?

I'll bow out now.

hikingout posted 2/8/2020 09:04 AM

I want to say I donít disagree with what you are saying by any means. I was sharing my perspective to be understood as well. You had stated that itís as if we are asking you to care when the reverse didnít happen. I donít think thatís what we are asking at all. I think when we are talking about our pain that there is a safe place to share that because we canít lean on our spouses during the thick of it. We have to be there for them and need other ways to process some of what they could never be expected to understand at that point in time. Eventually that dynamic changes as you go through the processes together and you can have different exchanges more productively. I honestly think it might be best practice to post behind a stop sign when we are trying to talk about pain. I think we are trying to understand ourselves and all we are asking is for the ability to do that without being shamed for not talking about our bs for a minute. We have work we are doing at the same time. I do agree some of the comments back to the bs here who actually posted pretty lightly in comparison to some instances I have seen were also unhelpful for what itís worth.

[This message edited by hikingout at 9:26 AM, February 8th (Saturday)]

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