Imagine being chained to a chair in front of your television, forced to watch a disturbing series of horror-drenched shows that are upsetting and leave you emotionally distraught. You struggle, but you’re unable to break away from viewing them.
Welcome to this scenario’s equivalent: post-affair images. After the affair, affair-victims want to know how to eliminate the negative images.
Learn how to yank the plug on these horrific, affair-induced images—and reclaim your interior, mental television. Keep reading for your negative image elimination plan.
How Negative Images Fit Into Post-Affair Trauma
In the last blog, we looked at the negative thought/negative emotion connection. How do negative images fit in?
Negative images sparked by your spouse’s cheating are closely intertwined with the negative thoughts and emotions you are experiencing. Think of these negative images going around and around in your mind as being the illustrations that go along with the words in a book. The pictures and text (your inner dialogue) go hand-in-hand.
Unfortunately, this means every time you have a negative thought, you will experience a negative image to go along with it:
- Thought: Your spouse’s paramour is sexier than you.
- Image: A glamorous woman or a ruggedly-handsome man.
- Thought: Your spouse enjoys their company more than yours.
- Image: Your spouse happy and smiling, eyes shining as they sit with the paramour.
- Thought: Your spouse and the paramour having sex.
- Image: There’s no end to the torturous images this thought can take.
Negative images like these are just a different head sprung from the same beast. Both images and thoughts can take on an obsessive nature, an incessant negative inner dialogue coupled with slideshows and films of affair-related imagery.
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Without the traumatizing occurrence of an affair, our thoughts are normally made up of memories of good times, or images we create in anticipation of future events or things we want to have happen.
After the affair, a round-up of post-affair images wipe out these more pleasant images, repeatedly taking control of the remote and forcing their way in. As the victim of your spouse’s affair, it can feel like you’ll never be able to reclaim the interior of your mind.
This is exhausting for the victim, as it literally takes over your life. To have these negative thoughts and images after first learning of the affair is normal. It’s when you can’t seem to find your way back to “normal” that you need to focus on active steps to yank the plug on these affair images and replace them with the types of images that bring you peace and a sense of security.
The Post-Affair Negative Image Elimination Plan
Let’s see about changing the channel, getting your hands back on the remote control so you can manage what’s going on in your mind. Here’s what to do to get started, using three steps to help you pull the plug on negative images:
Step 1: Separate Affair Fact from Fiction
Just because your mind is playing an image does not make it real. You may know this on one level, and yet, because the images can be so vivid, you can start to believe that what you see playing is a reflection of reality.
The negative images playing in your head are more than likely—unless you have actual pictures and films of all the events of the affair—an embellishment of the facts.
Step 2: Challenge those Negative Images
Once you have an image come up, step back from its emotional pull for a moment and ask yourself: is this a fact, or is this an embellishment, a creation of my own brilliant imagination?
Every time you have a haunting image crop up, focus on getting into the habit of hitting the “pause” on the remote control and asking yourself about what you’re visualizing: is this fact, or is it creative noodling of a particularly painful nature?
Step 3: Take Complete Control of Your Remote Control
Many affair victims feel they have no control over these negative images cropping up. The post-affair images pop into their mind constantly, no matter where they are or what they’re doing: working, shopping, cooking, driving, sleeping.
If you want control over these nasty images, turn the tables on them by designating a time for them to come. Schedule it: “At 3 pm today, I’m going to sit in my favorite chair, and let the reels roll.” Then, at the designated time, sit down and invite them in.
These negative images are an unwanted guest, and remind yourself that you are the host. You can play the reel any way you like—there are no rules. If you want to hit stop/start 50 times, do it. If you want to leave one particular image on pause, do it. If you want to play the reel faster and faster so it sounds like gerbils talking, do it.
The point of this particular exercise is to show yourself that you really do handle the remote control when it comes to what is allowed in your mind and what you create there.
Negative images can become a bad habit, so these steps will help you get back to good habits that include images that are positive and healthy for you.
My very best to you as you heal from the post-affair trauma of negative images and take back control of your inner vision.
Are your negative images based on concrete fact, or is it an embellishment of the facts that have been created by your own imagination?
How real have your negative images become to you?
If you’re able to share such a painful thing, what is your most challenging recurring image?
Do you feel as if negative images have become a bad habit—one that you have control over?
Please share what you’ve been going through during this time of post-affair distress.
Wishing you hope and healing for your marriage,