Infidelity is, unfortunately, a common and profoundly damaging occurrence in intimate relationships. The emotional pain and anxiety it generates have as great an impact as other traumatic life events. In fact, it’s symptoms often mirror the loss of a loved one, exposure to violence, or a severe accident. One of the key differences, however, is that betrayal trauma, can be exacerbated and extended indefinitely because you still have to deal with this person in your life. You might try to repair the relationship but feel troubled by anger and resentment. Or, you may try to start over but the deal with debilitating anxiety at the idea of falling in love again.
Betrayal trauma has its own unique challenges to address. EMDR, or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy, may bring more relief than talk therapy. Consider these benefits:
Minimizes Fight Or Flight Reactions
One of the key characteristics of PTSD and trauma is the heightened sense of the fight or flight response. For many people dealing with trauma, the fight or flight response can interrupt an otherwise peaceful or happy experience.
Seeing the person who your spouse cheated with at the same grocery store can turn an ordinary errand run into a nightmare. You might feel a sudden surge of anger or fear. You may want to run to a safe place. However, with EMDR therapy, you may learn how to turn off that fight or flight switch and resume your life despite the present circumstances. EMDR therapy isn’t always easy, but you don’t have to be incapacitated by your experience.
Tolerance of Traumatic Reminders
Because a traumatic event shouldn’t define a person, it’s important to learn to deal with reminders of that trauma. EMDR can help you resolve uncomfortable emotions surrounding those people, places, and things that conjure memories of infidelity.
EMDR offers you a chance to explore your trauma, its triggers, and memories while distancing yourself from the experience directly and thus, not having to re-live it. By eventually coming to terms with your trauma, you become empowered to recognize the trauma yet rise above the reminders.
Alleviates Feelings Of Being Stuck Or Entrenched In Memories
Trauma can be especially troublesome because it impairs a person’s ability to move past the experience. Thoughts of future betrayal, the numbness, detachment, isolation, guilt—they’re all factors that can prevent you from moving on. Just feeling stuck or entrenched in your memory is enough to make you feel like progress is impossible.
Fortunately, EMDR allows the participant to explore their trauma in great detail and in doing so, separate themselves from the guilt, shame or fear that is holding them back. By focusing directly on the experience, the victim can learn to alter the feelings of responsibility or embarrassment entrenching them.
Wards Off Anxiety And Panic Attacks
Another benefit of EMDR therapy is its ability to ward off potential anxiety and panic attacks. Trauma often is characterized by the associated symptoms of anxiety. An automobile accident may make your heart race when you get in a car. A violent attack may make you feel vulnerable in public or in your own home. Or you might have anxiety when dealing with new love interests after an act of infidelity.
EMDR can help manage feelings of stress and panic so they don’t interfere with resuming your life.
Reduces Numbness and Withdrawal
Victims of trauma can often engage in isolationist behavior or feel an overall numbness in their lives that impedes healing. By withdrawing from those you love, you may think that you are avoiding the potential for loss. However, that numbness and isolation can hurt those that wish to move forward with you.
EMDR can help you overcome betrayal, loss, and trauma by processing the information of your trauma in careful detail. Once you can understand your trauma rationally, you can become more emotionally available to those around you.
Calms Hyper Vigilance
Another particularly difficult aspect of trauma and infidelity is hyper vigilance. This occurs when the victim of trauma is suddenly on guard, looking for a repeat of the traumatic event. This can lead to assumptions of wrongdoing or impending catastrophe in otherwise ordinary circumstances.
EMDR can help break this cycle by providing a place for trust to grow again.
It may take some time to see your partner or the next potential partner in a different light, but it’s possible with guidance and support.
Schedule An Appointment
If you have experienced betrayal trauma EMDR therapy can help you reprocess these memories. Schedule a free 15-minute consultation through our secure Client Portal to get to know our EMDR specialists.