Skip to main content

Author Topic: My Story Reconnecting Intrusive thoughts

S
  • **
  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 99
  • Gender: Female
My Story Reconnecting Intrusive thoughts
OP: December 11, 2019, 07:42:05 AM
For those members whose marriages have survived MLC with affairs, is it normal to have intrusive thoughts or flashbacks and trust issues for years.  My husband has been back home three years this month.  I worry I don’t have closure.  Is this normal?  Thanks!
  • Logged
Jesus looked at them and said, "For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible."  Matthew 19:26

  • *
  • Trial Subscriber
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 1127
  • Gender: Male
Re: Intrusive thoughts
#1: December 11, 2019, 08:22:06 AM
Hey!!! It's my awesomely named friend  :P

I can't say from direct experience, but I do know the "standard" amount of time to get over an A is two years.
Since MLC is so much larger than "just" an A..... three years isn't unreasonable to me for starting to improve.

How is it different to you now (three years) as opposed to when he first cam back? Or after the 1st year back?

My SIL had her H go thru MLC and it involved A's also...... went on for years and years (7 if I remember correctly).
H has been much better and more mature, and each day it's slightly better than the last from what she says..... but she says it also hasn't totally gone away. I can't say for sure how many years it's been since he came out (so hazy since there was the really bad years and then they just quietly got better.... slowly).

-SS
  • Logged
W - 40
M - 43
Together 25 years, M 22
No kids
BD - 27th April 2019

  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2173
  • Gender: Male
Re: Intrusive thoughts
#2: December 11, 2019, 08:41:41 AM
I think that at some point, if the person comes home, you need a closure point or a lay the cards on the table point. My fear would be it'd be all let's get back to our old routine and never say anything about it again. I think there's work that needs to be done, counseling that needs to be gone to and so on.

There's a time and place for that though and you need to judge on your own if your H is sincere about his efforts to return. However, I also think the both of you (or anyone) should heal. It shouldn't be about them owing you something or you holding not getting closure over their head. To healthy move forward, it needs to be a joint effort. I'd say that's how everyone ended up in these situations is because they both had stuff they weren't dealing with either alone or together.
  • Logged

  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 5040
  • Gender: Female
Re: Intrusive thoughts
#3: December 11, 2019, 08:49:06 AM
For those members whose marriages have survived MLC with affairs, is it normal to have intrusive thoughts or flashbacks and trust issues for years.  My husband has been back home three years this month.  I worry I don’t have closure.  Is this normal?  Thanks!

Its been 4 years and I still have them. I think it just comes with the territory. The difference is that I don't bring it up to H unless he is doing something that really, really triggers me. And even then, I do it in a kind and gentle way. I don't think you can move forward and build trust if you are going to hold it over the MLC'rs head forever......

That being said, I'm in individual counseling in order to deal with the PTSD,  intrusive thoughts, flashbacks and trust issues!  ;D It has been helping a lot. It has given me back some of my power and confidence.

(hugs)
  • Logged
Married 18
BD April 2012
Left home Nov 2012
Home May 2016

  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 10718
  • Gender: Female
Re: Intrusive thoughts
#4: December 11, 2019, 08:49:58 AM
Do you notice if there are any patterns to it? Or particular triggers? Is it more linked to your h's current behaviour or does it feel more solely about the past? About him or you? And what kind of emotions do the thoughts or flashbacks produce?

No need to answer any of that here...
Just occurs to me that 'mapping' it a bit might help you get a sense of what it is about and the best way to tackle it.
  • Logged
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.
Healing and growing found here https://littleplotbythesea.wordpress.com

"Option A is not available so I need to kick the s**t out of Option B" Sheryl Sandberg

S
  • **
  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 99
  • Gender: Female
Re: Intrusive thoughts
#5: December 11, 2019, 09:09:36 AM
Hello there my name twin! 

Oh gosh, things are way better with our relationship than when he first came home.  Better than before MLC.  Your SIL’s comments sound exactly like me.  Like so many stories on this site, it sounds like you are talking about me! 

 At first, he still had a lot of anger.  He was still in contact with the ow for a while, still considered her his “friend.”    That did not get better until he had individual therapy for 6 months and we got couples counseling another 6 months after that.    So, I’d say the last couple of years have been really fun to be together again. He’s much more like the man I first met in college in the early 90’s.  He’s kind, funny, loving, and much more mature.  He has done a ton to help himself, with Prayer, diet, much less drinking (ow encouraged drinking) therapy, medication, meditation, and even neurofeedback.  he actually learned from an EEG all the lasting effects of sports related concussions in his youth that could be helped with neurofeedback.  I have wondered if concussions can increase risk for MLC.  He knew something was wrong with him, and he wanted to fix it.  He was Dx’ed with Major Depressive Disorder and ADD, like most of his family.  🤔

So, I agree with your SIL, it gets better every day. I feel good about our relationship.  It helps for me to rehash all of that to put things in perspective.  I am just bothered that I still have triggers.  Guess that will just take time.

Thank you!

  • Logged
Jesus looked at them and said, "For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible."  Matthew 19:26

  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 5040
  • Gender: Female
Re: Intrusive thoughts
#6: December 11, 2019, 09:13:44 AM
Do you notice if there are any patterns to it? Not really, it can come out of the blue Or particular triggers? It can be a word, a place, a song, a phrase....Is it more linked to your h's current behaviour or does it feel more solely about the past? The past. About him or you? And what kind of emotions do the thoughts or flashbacks produce?I think that goes without saying, remember bomb drop?

No need to answer any of that here...
Just occurs to me that 'mapping' it a bit might help you get a sense of what it is about and the best way to tackle it. My counselor is doing a good job with that  ;)
  • Logged
Married 18
BD April 2012
Left home Nov 2012
Home May 2016

S
  • **
  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 99
  • Gender: Female
Re: Intrusive thoughts
#7: December 11, 2019, 09:17:35 AM
Gosh, you all have great points to consider!  Thank you for your input.  We have both come a long way.  I was in therapy for like all the years through the crisis.  I feel we have both swept our sides of the street.  Mine was anxiety primarily.  But it is astoundingly better! 

I think it’s mostly about past events that make me feel uneasy.  But he does occasionally run into the ow at work.  That makes me uncomfortable, but  that will improve when we retire and move back south this summer.   I kinda think it’s sort of like mourning the death of a loved one.  The emotional triggers eventually fade.  I still occasionally cry for my dad who passed away 4 years ago, and my baby that died 18 years ago. 
  • Logged
« Last Edit: December 11, 2019, 09:22:50 AM by Standingstrong1 »
Jesus looked at them and said, "For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible."  Matthew 19:26

A
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 3401
  • Gender: Female
Re: Intrusive thoughts
#8: December 11, 2019, 09:42:31 AM
I still occasionally cry for my dad who passed away 4 years ago, and my baby that died 18 years ago.

I wonder if it helps to frame the triggers related to MLC shenanigans as a part and parcel of your life, such as the examples you have given above, rather than putting it in a special basket, labelled in thick red marker, ‘LOOK!  MLC goodies’.   

I’m only saying this because it helped me tremendously to consciously remove the special status I had granted myself (yes, it’s all in MY head, not H’s) to MLC related wounds.  I do realize the betrayal of one I trusted implicitly was the most painful experience I’ve ever had.  However, it is true that one cannot change the past but he/she can remodel how he/she views and reacts to it.  Yes, it’s hard work...  Lots of thought-shaping and walking toward ‘It’s life. Let’s move on.’  I’m a work in progress in this aspect.  I’d imagine I would be endeavouring to do the same had we separated or divorced. 

Just my 2 cents’ worth.  :)

  • Logged
« Last Edit: December 11, 2019, 10:16:41 AM by Acorn »
My first thread:  https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=8164.150

My reconnecting thread:  https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=10524.msg699615#msg699615

Live-in MLCer

Feb 2015: BD. 
Oct 2015: ILYBINILWY.
Apr 2016: Affair discovered
Dec 2017: Seriously reconnecting

S
  • **
  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 99
  • Gender: Female
Re: Intrusive thoughts
#9: December 11, 2019, 10:07:25 AM
That is a very thoughtful and helpful perspective Acorn!
  • Logged
Jesus looked at them and said, "For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible."  Matthew 19:26

S
  • **
  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 99
  • Gender: Female
Re: Intrusive thoughts
#10: December 11, 2019, 10:14:12 AM
Do you notice if there are any patterns to it? Not really, it can come out of the blue Or particular triggers? It can be a word, a place, a song, a phrase....Is it more linked to your h's current behaviour or does it feel more solely about the past? The past. About him or you? And what kind of emotions do the thoughts or flashbacks produce?I think that goes without saying, remember bomb drop?

No need to answer any of that here...
Just occurs to me that 'mapping' it a bit might help you get a sense of what it is about and the best way to tackle it. My counselor is doing a good job with that  ;)

You answered pretty much as I would answer.  Thank you for the input. We just had not really addressed triggers because I haven’t seen a therapist since our couples counseling.  I like Acorn’s thoughts about how to reframe these triggers. 
  • Logged
Jesus looked at them and said, "For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible."  Matthew 19:26

  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 10718
  • Gender: Female
Re: Intrusive thoughts
#11: December 11, 2019, 10:50:03 AM
Do you notice if there are any patterns to it? Not really, it can come out of the blue Or particular triggers? It can be a word, a place, a song, a phrase....Is it more linked to your h's current behaviour or does it feel more solely about the past? The past. About him or you? And what kind of emotions do the thoughts or flashbacks produce?I think that goes without saying, remember bomb drop?

No need to answer any of that here...
Just occurs to me that 'mapping' it a bit might help you get a sense of what it is about and the best way to tackle it. My counselor is doing a good job with that  ;)

You answered pretty much as I would answer.  Thank you for the input. We just had not really addressed triggers because I haven’t seen a therapist since our couples counseling.  I like Acorn’s thoughts about how to reframe these triggers. 

It always helps me to pin down if they are more about grief or fear bc they seem to benefit from different approaches.....allowing the first to wash through and challenging the reality of the second. What helped me too was to view them without focusing so much on the content....what colour were they or where did I feel them in my body for instance? Bc grief and fear came out quite differently for me. Just in case that is helpful.
  • Logged
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.
Healing and growing found here https://littleplotbythesea.wordpress.com

"Option A is not available so I need to kick the s**t out of Option B" Sheryl Sandberg

S
  • **
  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 99
  • Gender: Female
Re: Intrusive thoughts
#12: December 11, 2019, 11:02:14 AM
Yes, I see what you mean.  May be a little of both fear and grief, fear if it happening again, and grief that it happened at all.  Makes me feel 😢. 

I’ll try to focus on those feelings. Thank you.
  • Logged
Jesus looked at them and said, "For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible."  Matthew 19:26

b
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2522
  • Gender: Female
Re: Intrusive thoughts
#13: December 11, 2019, 11:33:03 AM
My husband has been "back" for 5 years. Five years ago TODAY to be exact. I often feel I may never be rid of intrusive thoughts and images, remembering horrible things he said and my "imagination" as to what really happened when I was not looking. It has been terribly difficult to stop the thoughts and the accompanying anger, fear and sorrow. I would have to say it has been the hardest part of recovery. I still am triggered or sometimes a memory-thought comes into my head and I see it ...but I no longer "feel it". The reactivity is now controllable ( for the most part), the entensity is weaker and it comes and goes much faster . But it does still happen. I know my own triggers or situation where I am more likely to have issues and that awareness is very helpful to me . I no longer mention these out loud to my husband but sometimes he sees it on his own and does ask me about it . Otherwise , I do manage them on my own . I did NOT do that initially...he felt every trigger I felt because I shared in a flurry of rage , tears and honestly...grief. I am grateful those times are gone now. I believe EMDR and continued counselling helped me tremendously.

I have read it takes 6 months to recover . That is utterly absurd and however wrote that is a unfeeling swamp-donkey. I have read up to 2 years. I still see that as ridiculous but for some, it may well be true. I do not believe I have recovered or healed . I listened to speaker Paul Young talk about his experience of recovery with his wife . He said it took 11 years to completely heal from his affair, deceit and injury to his family. That makes far more believable sense to me .
  • Logged
« Last Edit: December 11, 2019, 11:34:32 AM by barbiedoll »
Married April 1985
5 children
Bomb Drop April 2013
Thrown out of house August 2013
Affair discovered November 2013 (i guessed who)
Home December 3 2013
The Journey Of Reconciliation .. is for the brave .

Anger is like a candle in the wind ... it blows out the light of all reason.

S
  • **
  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 99
  • Gender: Female
Re: Intrusive thoughts
#14: December 11, 2019, 11:42:43 AM
I can see 11 years.  My friend who was studying psychology at the worst of our crisis said it takes twice as long to recover as the number of years the affair lasted.   So that means 8 years minimum for us to fully recover.  The affair lasted at least four years, like 2012 to 2016, but maybe even 5 years, so make that ten!  Yikes!  We are in the infancy of recovery.  So, at Least there is hope these triggers will lessen and this is likely normal! 
  • Logged
Jesus looked at them and said, "For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible."  Matthew 19:26

  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 10718
  • Gender: Female
Re: Intrusive thoughts
#15: December 11, 2019, 12:02:25 PM
My EMDR therapist chuckled at me being cross with myself that PTSD had taken me over for 2+ years....she said from her experience that was pretty speedy lol. Doesn't it help to know that you are normal eh! I remember the Paul Young talk too....and he came back at rock bottom, no blameshifting towards his w at all...he was in intensive therapy for at least a year I think and said his w was angry as hell for at least two years...and yes, that it took 11 years to heal him, his w and their marriage completely. Your h is very fortunate that you were prepared to do your part in trying to achieve that imho bc it is not an easy path as Barbie says.
  • Logged
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.
Healing and growing found here https://littleplotbythesea.wordpress.com

"Option A is not available so I need to kick the s**t out of Option B" Sheryl Sandberg

b
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2522
  • Gender: Female
Re: Intrusive thoughts
#16: December 11, 2019, 12:06:06 PM
I absolutely believe it is a "normal" part of recovery. I despise writing that actually...this is a "normal" thing that I never asked for and what a horrible thing to be "normal " at. It is offensive somehow. I notice that my husband does not seem to be bothered by triggers or intrusive thoughts. Or atleast if he is, he NEVER says so. I always say things with still some lingering doubt, but as far as I know, my husbands "affair" lasted 9 months. Very short affair as far as I have read...and yet here we are still licking wounds 5 years later. Scabbed over and not nearly as painful, but still evident. As always , it all depends on each couple , the actions of the betrayer and the ability of the betrayed to withstand the storm. I know ( I believe) that my healing would have progressed more quickly if my husband had been able to tell ALL the TRUTH from the absolute start , showed remorse sooner , understood what I needed from him etc etc . All part of the journey I suspect. I did have to learn and accept that I am responsible for healing myself ...not him. That took a very long time .
  • Logged
« Last Edit: December 11, 2019, 12:08:33 PM by barbiedoll »
Married April 1985
5 children
Bomb Drop April 2013
Thrown out of house August 2013
Affair discovered November 2013 (i guessed who)
Home December 3 2013
The Journey Of Reconciliation .. is for the brave .

Anger is like a candle in the wind ... it blows out the light of all reason.

S
  • **
  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 99
  • Gender: Female
Re: Intrusive thoughts
#17: December 11, 2019, 12:39:11 PM
Barbie, I felt the same writing the word “ normal.”  It needs a qualifier alongside it, maybe normal for MLC recovery. Or typical for recovery.    Yes, typical is better?   :-\   Sucks.  Never in a million years would anyone ever have predicted this guy to do this.  As I keep saying, it was the perfect storm.  I somehow weathered it Treasur, but it was not easy.
  • Logged
Jesus looked at them and said, "For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible."  Matthew 19:26

  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 5040
  • Gender: Female
Re: Intrusive thoughts
#18: December 13, 2019, 08:38:28 AM
Quote
I have read it takes 6 months to recover . That is utterly absurd and however wrote that is a unfeeling swamp-donkey. I have read up to 2 years. I still see that as ridiculous but for some, it may well be true. I do not believe I have recovered or healed . I listened to speaker Paul Young talk about his experience of recovery with his wife . He said it took 11 years to completely heal from his affair, deceit and injury to his family. That makes far more believable sense to me .

This makes total sense to me. I'm coming up on 7 years since BD, 4 years in reconnecting/reconciliation and only now am I starting to relax a little bit and not jump at every little word or comment he makes that strikes me the wrong way.

Unfeeling swamp-donkey!!!! Oh Barbie I'm going to have to use that someday!  ;D ;D ;D ;D
  • Logged
Married 18
BD April 2012
Left home Nov 2012
Home May 2016

S
  • **
  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 99
  • Gender: Female
Re: Intrusive thoughts
#19: December 16, 2019, 12:11:12 PM
Thanks slow fade for your reply.  It’s helpful to know it’s not out of the ordinary to have those feelings.
  • Logged
Jesus looked at them and said, "For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible."  Matthew 19:26

b
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2522
  • Gender: Female
Re: Intrusive thoughts
#20: December 16, 2019, 01:53:23 PM
Quote
Quote
I'm coming up on 7 years since BD, 4 years in reconnecting/reconciliation and only now am I starting to relax a little bit and not jump at every little word or comment he makes that strikes me the wrong way.
.

Wow!   Unless you lived it, this is impossible to believe. But it is the EXACT same for me. And I mean EXACT. I feel I am starting to slowly relax in the past 6 months ..very slowly. It is a shift and I am fully aware of it happening and I am grateful. But it took a very long time. It was years before I felt "comfortable" or normal laying in bed beside him and I had laid in bed with him for decades. Very hard to explain.  If intrusive thoughts snuck into my brain, I was out of there and slept elsewhere . It was excruciating to say the very least . I need to say, that for me it was not just "thoughts" , it could be full movies and scenarios . I could see them together in my imagination and it just created questions and anger and deep shame ( I felt shame , humiliation and disgust) . I wondered what he said to her, how the sex was, how it felt to be with someone new after 30 years with 1 person. These questions happen to everyone that has been betrayed sexually . No matter what anyone says...this is extrememly difficult ( if not impossible) to overcome. I still wonder sometimes...and I always come up on the loosing end. All that "newness and passion" had to be exciting. I have read many times that men have a far more difficult time ( than women) forgiving the physical betrayal. I do not know if that is true , because I will never feel peace with any of it. Some friends have said to me " well, it must not be a dealbreaker, you are still with him" . I have not response to that ...it broke a lot of things .
  • Logged
Married April 1985
5 children
Bomb Drop April 2013
Thrown out of house August 2013
Affair discovered November 2013 (i guessed who)
Home December 3 2013
The Journey Of Reconciliation .. is for the brave .

Anger is like a candle in the wind ... it blows out the light of all reason.

C
  • *
  • Trial Subscriber
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 589
  • Gender: Female
Re: Intrusive thoughts
#21: December 17, 2019, 07:14:28 AM
I’m a newbie to this....so I can’t possibly say that I can fully understand the depth of the feeling. To my knowledge H had an EA, my gut and his actions say that it was/is a PA.
For my thoughts....sometimes I just let myself catastrophize it all the way out....then ask if that’s true? Other times I have to actively stop the train of thought. I have to acknowledge that the thoughts I have  are okay, and there’s a reason I have them, it’s not just me being “crazy.”  Here lately I am in a place where my mantra is “love is a choice and at this moment, the one I’m in right now, H is choosing me”.

Whatever happens in the future is out of my control, and whatever that is I’ll handle it when I get there....but I have to bring myself to the truth of the moment I’m in and accept that.

And remind myself that either of us could choose something different at any time, so just try and appreciate the choice that’s happening right then.

That may not be right or helpful....but it’s all I know how to do.
  • Logged
Me 37
H 37
S15
Wallower/Chaos kid
EA discovered 3/31/2019
BD March 31 2019
EA ongoing? 🤷‍♀️ (Who knows?)
“God allows us to feel the frailty of human love so we’ll appreciate the strength of his.” C.S. Lewis

b
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2522
  • Gender: Female
Re: Intrusive thoughts
#22: December 17, 2019, 08:42:09 AM
Quote
love is a choice
.

I do agree with this . Love is a decision not an emotion. We have been taught this by the Retrovaille community that we attend. I am not sure I ever thought about it as a decision...if I thought about it at all. But if love was simply an emotion we all know that changes, ebbs and flows, is fickle and not always within our control. It is far more than an emotional state . It has been my decision and even that ( at times ) is tested.

Quote
there’s a reason I have them, it’s not just me being “crazy.”
.

And it just feels good to really know we are NOT crazy , not loosing our minds . We are in a process of healing . Many say it is very similar to the stages of grieving. We will be OK no matter what happens. Of that I am certain.

  • Logged
Married April 1985
5 children
Bomb Drop April 2013
Thrown out of house August 2013
Affair discovered November 2013 (i guessed who)
Home December 3 2013
The Journey Of Reconciliation .. is for the brave .

Anger is like a candle in the wind ... it blows out the light of all reason.

 

Legal Disclaimer

The information contained within The Hero's Spouse website family (www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com, http://theherosspouse.com and associated subdomains), (collectively 'website') is provided as general information and is not intended to be a substitute for professional legal, medical or mental health advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. The Hero's Spouse cannot be held responsible for the use of the information provided. The Hero's Spouse recommends that you consult a trained medical or mental health professional before making any decision regarding treatment of yourself or others. The Hero's Spouse recommends that you consult a legal professional for specific legal advice.

Any information, stories, examples, articles, or testimonials on this website do not constitute a guarantee, or prediction regarding the outcome of an individual situation. Reading and/or posting at this website does not constitute a professional relationship between you and the website author, volunteer moderators or mentors or other community members. The moderators and mentors are peer-volunteers, and not functioning in a professional capacity and are therefore offering support and advice based solely upon their own experience and not upon legal, medical, or mental health training.