What’s playing in your mind today? Is it the same thing that played there yesterday? And do you really look forward to seeing it again tomorrow?

I’m talking about obsessive, post-affair images. If you are the victim of an affair, it’s highly likely that you’re experiencing a non-stop show of images that include your spouse and your spouse’s paramour. These images play themselves repeatedly, until you feel like you’re going to lose your mind.

These images become obsessive in nature, because they’ve gripped you and you can’t seem to release their hold over you. In this blog, we’ll look at the #1 way to overcome these obsessive images—and the three steps to help you accomplish it.

Filling in the Affair Details with Fantasy

You may not have received any specific details about the intimacy between your spouse and their paramour. Unfortunately, your mind is filling in those blanks.

This filling in of details is pure fantasy. Intellectually, you know they aren’t based on any foundation of fact. And yet, this fantasy script is playing over and over, and it seems very real—almost as if you’re playing an actual reel of events.

This fantasy script can play a wide range of scenes, such as:

  1. The spouse in an intimate setting with the paramour.
  2. Your spouse gazing adoringly at the paramour.
  3. The paramour with a perfect body.
  4. Your spouse, looking happy and content as they share a meal and a laugh with the paramour.

Once these images begin to play, it’s hard to let them go. You may be drawn to letting them play over and over because you’re trying to figure things out: maybe you’ll see something in these images which will make everything clear. It could solve the riddle of why your spouse decided to cheat, or what the paramour’s appeal was, or how your spouse really felt about what they were doing.

At the same time, you wonder why you can’t control this awful fantasy script from playing throughout your days and into your nights. While you may be drawn to these images on one level, on an entirely different level, you know how damaging it is to your self-esteem and your peace of mind, and the cost is a serious emotional toll that you’re taking.

Ultimately, you feel powerless in the face of these obsessive images that have taken over your mind.

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Obsessive Images: Take Creative License

Understand something: the mind is very powerful. Think of all the things in the world that started out as a simple idea. But what the mind can create, it can also manipulate.

When it comes to the fantasy script, you are the one who decides if it’s welcome to come at will, or if you’re shutting down the theater. All of those obsessive images have power over you only if you tell yourself that they really represent reality. And since you created these images, you’re also free to create different images to replace them or recreate the ones that won’t seem to let go.

So, the number one thing you can do? Manipulate the images that have such a hold on you. Here are three steps to help you accomplish this:

Step 1: Schedule the Next Screening

Right now, you’re experiencing images showing up whenever they happen to appear. This contributes to your feeling of being powerless in the fact of them.

So, tell yourself that you’ll be viewing them at a certain time, and that you are only giving them a specific block of time to play.

Step 2: Prepare for a Private Screening

Set aside a period of time that you can sit quietly by yourself without interruption. Find a spot where you can be alone, and also be able to relax. This is your “private screening” area, where you have chosen to allow the images to be shown. Start the reel going.

Step 3: Play with the Fantasy Script

You authored this script, so you have a right to edit it, as well. As the director, you can decide to put it in color or black and white; you can show it forwards, or run it backwards. You can costume the participants in any clothing you want, including masks that make them look like pigs or alligators.

What you’re doing here is feeling the power that you ultimately have over these images, and proving to yourself that these images are just a figment of your own creative imagination. Once you’ve toyed with the images, they begin to lose their power—because they are within your creative control.

It will take time to loosen the grip of obsessive images, but keep replaying these steps until you no longer desire a private screening of this fantasy script.

My best wishes for you as you break free from obsessive images.

How would you describe the images that have come to you after the affair?

What affect have these obsessive images had on your quality of life and ability to move forward? Have they lessened with time, or strengthened?

Do you feel powerless to control the fantasy script?

Please share your thoughts and experiences regarding obsessive images by leaving a comment below.

Wishing you hope and healing for your marriage,

Stephanie Anderson

Editor-in-Chief

Marriage Sherpa

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