What do you do when everything shifts after an affair? How do you recover when the bottom falls out of everything you’ve known about your relationship in the aftermath of relationship infidelity?
Often post-traumatic stress, as it pertains to the hurt partner, is linked to the unknowns connected to the betrayal. The pain of discovery and all the associated, unearthed secrets give rise to symptoms that mirror those who suffer other forms of PTSD.
If intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, and hypervigilance persist, despite your efforts to move forward, the support of a therapist like my guest may help.
How Can a Hypnotherapist Help Couples Cope with Infidelity?
My podcast guest and member of my team of experts, Yael Haklai-Neagu, is uniquely qualified to help us answer these questions. A licensed marriage and family therapist and colleague in my private practice, Yael specializes in couples therapy, relationships, and affair recovery. She supports recovery from infidelity trauma via her knowledge and skills as a certified hypnotherapist. I am thankful that Yael agreed to share her expertise.
Yael was attracted to working with couples and the infidelity niche, noting that her work addresses what you might be experiencing. In particular, she helps partners navigating the crisis and loneliness that characterizes infidelity. Such pain and anxiety aren’t emotions easily shared with others.
She realizes, as she helps couples, that everything they’ve known about their life changes- or shifts. They have to rebuild their understanding of who they are, who their partner is, and how they relate to everyone in their life.
When you begin to face the aftermath of the betrayal the experience is often traumatic. You may endure painful emotions, panic attacks, intrusive thoughts, and more. Hypnotherapy can be a highly effective way to alleviate these symptoms, relate to them differently, and manage your life in more comfortable, healthy ways.
It’s important to put aside preconceived ideas about hypnosis. Responsible hypnotherapy simply helps you put aside your internal resistance to healing. The mind simply opens and allows you to connect with your qualified therapist freely. You are never without control or input.
How Can You Start to Recover If You Are Experiencing Post-Traumatic Stress After Infidelity?
Pay attention to your symptoms. Accept that they are a result of the trauma and not because you are resistant to the healing.
As a hurt partner, you could find yourself feeling “stuck” in the intrusive thoughts, nightmares, flashbacks, etc, unable to quickly move through them or past them. Perhaps you blame yourself or fear the symptoms are interfering with your healing.
It’s important to acknowledge that everything you’ve known about love, trust, and your support system may no longer exist the way you knew them. Everything is different. The crisis is real and may affect all aspects of your life. Thus, your internal reaction is understandable.
The result of all this?
You have to learn how to “be” again. To experience and acknowledge infidelity as trauma is not resisting recovery. It is honestly recognizing a completely justifiable response to a huge mental and emotional disruption.
What we’ve learned is that, as you and your partner start to heal appropriately, your trauma symptoms will likely start to fade. However, if this does not happen, a trauma-informed therapist should be your priority. They should have the knowledge base to guide you.
Moreover, utilizing the services of therapists who are on the same page is invaluable for sorting out obstacles to your recovery. In other words, a hypnotherapist who can merge their individual approach with the methods of the couples’ relationship therapist ensures cohesive, productive progress.
Make a Mind Shift Happen
This isn’t easy, and will likely require therapy but it does make all the difference for healing. Instead of trying to get rid of the painful emotions, you can benefit from doing the following to recover:
- Be curious about your symptoms
- Explore your emotions and needs
- Use the resulting knowledge to relate differently to your experience
We all have a natural tendency to push away emotions that are intrusive, uncomfortable, and even painful to us. Do you push away fear, anger, stress, sadness?
It’s natural to try and avoid them. We try to get rid of them, we resent them. Yet, if you think about it, the more we try to push them away the more energy we expend. And the result of all that effort? Fear, anger, stress, sadness usually become even more present and troublesome.
Yael suggests that it’s okay to let yourself explore these unwanted emotions. In fact, it’s very productive to delve deeper and get curious about the messages being communicated internally. What information are your mind and body providing you about your needs?
Sometimes, as you connect to those uncomfortable moments, you can connect to your true wants and needs in life. So, try to look at emotional discomfort like this:
- Don’t let unwanted emotions organize your thinking and being.
- Do let unwanted emotion be a messenger guide on the path to explore and reconnect you to yourself.
For example, ask yourself what your mind and body are trying to tell you when you’re stressed. What do you need that you are not aware of?
To be clear, this is not a to-do list. It is simply a call to respect your symptoms, your story, and yourself. All that you’ve seen as intrusive or hindering the healing of your relationship should not be resented or discounted. If you shift your thinking about them, your trauma symptoms and negative emotions can help open the door to new options, perceptions, and paths toward healing.
New information regarding your needs and wants can then materialize and help form a new, satisfying, post-infidelity relationship.
Be kind to yourself! Allow change to happen as a process. Recovery from infidelity PTSD is a shift from your old thoughts and perceptions about your past. The goal is to explore, heal and grow, into comfortable awareness in a new relationship with your partner.
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We do hope this discussion was helpful. We know how tough it is to begin affair recovery.
Please consider a 45-minute free consultation to see if my infidelity recovery program can help you heal and establish trust. Simply visit here to pick a time to meet with me for an in-depth consultation via Zoom.