Overcoming My Emotional Disconnection

Tyler Knott Gregson Typewriter Series #573When I was seventeen years old I would listen to this one U2 song on repeat with the volume maxed out in my car. My life was completely uncomplicated at seventeen. Yet there was something that drew me in to the soothing vibration from the car speakers. The blaring of the car stereo filled not just the car, but my mind. It was a way to abandon the thoughts, maybe even the doubts that fill a young woman’s mind at seventeen. Doubts that even a girl that seems to have the world in the palm of her hand. Sometimes it was easier to turn up the volume, let the noise fill my brain and just have five minutes where I didn’t have to think.

Immediately after D-Day I would have killed to reach that moment again. There is nothing I wanted more than to shut off the incessant chatter in my mind. I look back now and I realize how much I shut down. I pushed away emotional connections. I focused on what needed to be done: the kids, the household duties, work, commitments and trying to figure out my marriage. It actually seems like a long list now but at the time I was in survival mode. I pushed away friendships and anything that required authenticity. I didn’t want anyone to see beneath the surface, because I was broken. That same girl that once believed she had the world in the palm of her hand had been pushed down to the ground and the wind kicked out of her. I was gasping for air and there were times I questioned if I would survive the betrayal. I couldn’t allow myself to be emotionally vulnerable to anyone but myself, my husband and this blog. I erected walls around my life. I figured if everything in my life was susceptible to destruction then I would prevent myself from feeling pain.

Just like sitting in my car at seventeen with the volume turned so high I couldn’t hear my own thoughts, I was living my life without feeling anything except what emanated from the affair. Every moment since D-Day somehow related to my husband’s affair and our recovery. The good, the bad and the ugly were all connected to my husband cheating. Life was redefined: Pre-Affair and After-Affair. It’s unfortunate because betrayal does not destroy marriages as much as it destroys people.

There’s a struggle within a betrayed spouse after D-Day. We struggle with how long can we live like this; torn by the affair and feeling like life is now seen through betrayal goggles. For over eighteen months I would have given anything to eliminate, or even just dampen, the white noise in my brain. And then, it happened. A few weeks ago, I suddenly, without intention, broke out of the emotional prison that was keeping me captive. I didn’t realize it at first because I just noticed feeling lighter, freer and happier. I thought it was just a phase but after a few weeks I realized that I’ve exchanged destructive thoughts for more playful and carefree banter within my mind. I am not claiming to be free from the pain or even thoughts of the affair but I have a new outlook. Once I was able to open myself up emotionally again to my friends and family, I realized that they could fill those parts of me that were still aching.

I still have moments when I feel like there are shattered pieces of me that need to be found and glued back together. I am not “fixed” but I do feel like the cloud has lifted. I am opening myself up again to friendships, relationships and allowing myself to just live in the moment. Not everything in life needs to be defined by the betrayal. I exist with or without my marriage. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that I am an individual. I live and love independently of my marriage too. People and relationships are not responsible for my happiness; I am.  I must live fully from within always.

Sometimes it’s not about letting go of what happened to us–it’s letting go of our original belief of what defines a perfect, happy marriage.

The process of healing continues… but perhaps, this is a new chapter.

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25 thoughts on “Overcoming My Emotional Disconnection

  1. So what did you do to turn this corner? My dday will be 3 years next week and there isn’t one day where it doesn’t hit me in the face…

      • Yeah, I’ve heard, “your still not over that yet” like it’s some kind of illness that just goes away. The really is no timetable, to each his own. It has gotten easier to live with, but it’ll never go away.

    • Hi Kris,
      I am not sure if it was anything I did specifically but I opened myself up to allow some friendships into my life. I didn’t tell them about the affair but these friends are good for me because they truly are positive influences and accept the good, the bad and the ugly. In speaking with one of my male friends I realized that my husband never meant to hurt me. His actions had little to do with me or our marriage. They were attached to that need to feel desired. Sometimes we find ourselves wrapped up in relationships that would never have been brought to life if we were at any other point in our life. My husband got caught up in the flirtatous banter, the feeling that he was needed and her hero… He never expected it to be an affair and because of that he wasn’t prepared to say no when the line became fuzzy. Nothing excuses the lies or behavior but understanding how things spiral from seemingly innocent fun to a full-blown affair is huge.
      The daily triggers suck and I think allowing new or old friendships in and just letting go of everything weighing me down was the first step. I don’t know if it’s permanent but I am not having those haunting thoughts right now.

  2. Inspiring to read… my D day was 11 months ago and I am very aware of that one-year mark creeping up. Its an anniversary that I wish I didn’t have. Hopeful, though, that eventually the black cloud that is my mind chatter, (though I know its there to protect me somehow) can perhaps subside and make way for new more playful chatter as well. Thank you for sharing.

    • There was a certain hope/excitement I had as I approached my one year anniversary for D-Day. It’s a date that is starting to fall to the wayside. I will remember it was September but lately I forget which day. The last three months that passed I didn’t actually count the month anymore. Maybe it’s like having a baby–you count months for the first year or so but then it seems a bit overkill to count months. There is definitely a feeling in the beginning that a black cloud hovered over me and was everpresent in my daily life. I hope you can shed your black cloud too. 🙂

  3. YAY for you! I am so happy for you! You are right when you say that affairs “don’t destroy marriages so much as they destroy people”. My marriage will be fantastic as soon as I let it–my husband is a completely changed person who is loving and doting and selfless. I still hold on to so many things that prevent my marriage from totally recovering from the affair because I am not totally recovered from the affair. If I let myself be happy and carefree again, I fear I send the message that at the end of the day it wasn’t that big of a deal–something that could eventually be recovered from. I don’t want to give my husband that excuse for his behavior, or let him think that it all turned out okay in the end so it wouldn’t be so bad if he did it again in the future. . . I continue to punish by refusing to be “well” and I know these are things that I need to let go of if I want to be able to move on. And I do want to move on. But letting go is very hard. The process is very slow. I am just three weeks ahead of you in my recovery, and I have felt a bit of a lightening in the past month or so as well. I have wondered a few times if maybe this is it. . . finally approaching healing. But then I also wonder, what does it mean to be “healed”? Will there ever be a day where I don’t think about this and it doesn’t bother me? I’m sure I’ll never be completely okay with it. So what does “healed” mean? I would love it if someone could shed some light on that for me.

    • I wonder that same question–what does it mean to be healed? And is it even possible to ever be fully healed? The journey is part of life story. A story of destruction, breaking, rebuilding and rebirth. I am okay if healing is a perpetual choice/path in my life.

  4. I didn’t stop emotional interaction, actually it’s all I did. I did a lot of thinking and also a lot of talking it through with my close friends and mother. That’s what kept me able to go on. The thing in common is that it swamped my mind. It still does really, I’m just better at functioning than I was.

    • My Lady Somegirlsomewhere, Fear is one of our biggest enemy’s in life. Because you are happy and carefree will not send a message that the affair was in the end ‘not that big a deal’. What it does say is,
      I am a woman and even though you have inflicted pain on me because of your self-center needs, I will not stay down for long.
      Will there come a day when your thoughts are not consumed by the pain of betrayal….. The answer is yes.
      Will it ever go away? I could be wrong but I will have to say no, it is now part of you and who you are.
      You could look at it like stitches in your knee (a lot of them and they fucken hurt) but years after you are able to see where those stitches were, well I think, years later you will still remember the hurt you are feeling now and you will be relieved that you do not feel that way any more, nor can ‘he’ make you feel like this again.
      You were the one who was wronged, you have every right to find some happiness. In the little moment of enjoyment you allow yourself to feel, that is when your healing will multiply.

      • Thank you Sassy Sarah! I haven’t given up, I keep trying. The pain goes away sooooo slowly. I never would have thought something could affect me as deeply and for as long as this. It is nice to know you are not alone. I didn’t reach out to anyone with the exception of a counselor and a few family members for more than a year after my dday. But none of those people truly understood, because none of them had been through it. It’s nice to her the perspective of others that have :).

  5. I love reading your posts they do help, and yet I still can relate to somegirlsomewhere x I hope I can feel like you do soon thank you and keep writing x

  6. Reading this brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. I am happy for you and am sending you more positive energy.
    The truth as I am sure you already know is that your life will never be as it was before DDay. And that is ok, You keep picking up those pieces of your heart and get out the “JB Wedl” and put your pieces back together and be fore you know it, you will have your whole heart back and it will be stronger than it was before all this.
    Life is too short to be anything but happy,…….
    Take care MY Lady…

    • Your post brought tears to my eyes. I have indeed shut off friendships. I have constructed walls in my life. I have compartmentalized my life. I want to protect myself from hurts and pain.

      I am glad that you are moving onto the next chapter and I hope that soon, I will be like you.

      • I never realized how shut off I was from the emotional relationships in my life until recently. I knew I was guarding myself, keeping the truth from my family and friends but I didn’t realize how much every single person in my life was impacted. I don’t regret this because I think it allowed me to take care of myself–not all the other people in my life. I had to prioritize myself and I should have done that years ago.
        Keep taking small steps forward and you will reach your destination. Take care of yourself, do small things for you. Make sure there is one part of your day that is all for you and eventually your days will get easier and better. Thank you.

    • Thanks… I always think of you when you told me that I was trudging through the muck but I would eventually reach the light at the end of the tunnel. I always think of those words of hope. Thank you.

  7. I want so much to have a day when I and my marriage are not defined by his affair. I am restrained in my happiness by the knowledge that the man I thought I knew hurt me so badly. In the last six months I’ve discovered on my own that they had conversations of marriage within weeks of meeting and that they have emailed or texted sporadically since we reconciled. It has all set me back in my recovery and served as a caution for me going forward. How do I heal? Why did he hurt me?

    • Honestly, I don’t believe my husband ever meant to hurt me and it’s possible your husband falls into this category too. Infidelity is like an addiction. The high the wayward spouse feels from their AP feeds the addicition. For my husband, it was that feeling of being his AP’s hero, being needed and it feels good to be desired by another person. None of this excuses the decision to lie or cheat though. I think when you begin to lie to your spouse about flirting and exchanged comments with another partner then you begin to walk a dangerous line. Some might argue that flirting is already over the line–and I wouldn’t disagree. But most of our husbands never thought what they were doing would hurt us… We didn’t factor in to their flirtations and seemingly innocent exchanges with other women until they physically crossed the line.
      Did your husband discuss marriage because he really wanted to create a new life or because she returned his affections if he said what she wanted to hear? It might never make you forgive or get over seeing those emails but sometimes understanding his motivations might allow you to move forward.
      Healing takes time. Every time I think I am passing an important mile marker I realize there is more road to travel. Day by day it gets easier. I don’t know if it’s because we become callous to the pain or if it just becomes less important with time.

  8. I don’t think we get callous to the pain. I think the pain makes us stronger and we start taking care of ourselves and our needs. The sad thing is, for a lot of us we would not take care of ourselves like we should without the pain…
    I agree with the addiction part of an affair. I do think there is a high in it. Its still a choice HE made, and by no means should not be accountable for it, but it does make it a little more understandable and not so personal.

  9. Reblogged this on The Girl Next Door and commented:
    Why do I continuously go on about cheating?

    This blog post has a line that sums it up perfectly:

    ‘ It’s unfortunate because betrayal does not destroy marriages as much as it destroys people.’

    That’s what people subconsciously fear the most , more than the actual breakdown of the relationship itself. Finding out about an affair makes you question everything, at the forefront it makes you question yourself as a person. And that is the seed that destroys an individual.

  10. My healing day never came when I stayed and I stayed for 18 months… I had to look at my own safety and the safety of my children and realize we were living a tortured life (by choice, even if we were TRYING to be happy). I finally left and THAT is when the weight lifted and happiness settled back in my mind.

    I wish you all the best and hope you can find inner peace.

  11. Baby girl, you are right, ‘ It’s unfortunate because betrayal does not destroy marriages as much as it destroys people.’ this is so true, I’ve been diagnosed with depression and now bi-polar disorder, I have to laugh really, I’ve even had a minor stroke, all things that make me realize I have to make my own happiness. I am so happy for you, its been quite awhile for me, 13 years, so I can say, it really never goes away, its like death, you never get over it, you just get through it. But it does get better, I’ve gotten better, I still have a long way to go, but I’ll get there, and so will all of you lovely ladies. God bless you all.

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