The Haunting

Affair victims suffer from post-affair, haunting images of their spouse’s lover, frolicking about, all smiles for the interior camera of the victim’s mind.

It’s torturous to have these images, and yet, many affair victims struggle to make them stop.

It’s not unusual to carry around these images in your mind, but it doesn’t mean these images should not move along, making way for positive thoughts and feelings so you can heal from the pain. I’ll give you 3 steps for ridding your mind of those painful images so your emotions can get on a healing course. Read on…

The Nightmare Landscape of Post-Affair Images

Eventually, the power these images hold over your interior movie set will fade. The horror movie will wear out, and you will move forward.

But right now, while you’re in the midst of this raw imagery of your spouse’s cheating, the fresher and more painful those images will be. You don’t even have to know specific details of your spouse’s affair to create the script: your imagination runs amok, filling in the blanks in heart-rending detail.

For victims of cheating, there are many reactions to this onslaught of images:

  • Loss of sleep
  • Lack of appetite
  • Inability to focus on tasks
  • Struggle to save the marriage

You may not know anything other than the fact that your spouse cheated, and maybe some other vague details, but that won’t necessarily stop you from having images that include:

1. A picture of the other person as being perfect in every way.

2. Your spouse and the paramour in various states of undress.

3. Your spouse gazing at the other person in a way you never received.

4. The other person being treated better and valued more than you’ve been treated.

These images are truly haunting, clinging to your mind as they begin taking over your days, infiltrating your dreams at night, and generally making you miserable.

What you picture is probably a good representation of all the emotions you’re also going through, including fear, distrust, and feelings of betrayal. The images and the emotions begin a damaging cycle of feeding into one another, leaving you feeling absolutely drained.

This is the rollercoaster of emotions so many victims of an affair are talking about. Ultimately, this can derail any efforts or strides you’ve attempted to make to survive the affair and save your marriage. You’re simply too drained.

Stop the Emotional Drain of Haunting Images

As the cycle of recurring images and negative emotions drain you, you begin to feel more vulnerable and find the images even more difficult to escape. The further down you go, the longer it takes to climb back out.

From wherever you’re starting from today, it’s going to take a big push on your part to stop the cycle. But remember: it’s your mind, and you have the power to manage what goes on there. The following steps will help you regain that power over your own mind, while eliminating the power of those haunting images:

Step 1: Schedule the Images To begin to take back the power of your own mind, set a time during the day when you can sit down and let the images come to you. This might not work every time, but if an image begins to come up at a time outside of the set schedule, remind yourself that it’s not time for haunting images yet.

What this will do is help you begin to manage when you allow something into your mind, and what is allowed there. It’s a subtle shift, but can be very empowering. Think of it as standing up to a bully.

Step 2: Open the Door at the Designated Time

If you have to, think of yourself opening a door and saying “Come on in” to those images. Let the images troop in wearing whatever form they want. You are only temporarily tolerating these unwanted guests, and at the end of the designated time, you can push them back out the door. But not before you’ve had some fun at their expense.

Step 3: Rewind the Image

Take one of the images, and pretend it’s on a movie reel. Start at the end, and imagine the whole scene running backwards. By playing with the structure of the image, it may help you to feel better—because the image can be manipulated in the way that you want. It will show you that this image has no solid foundation—it’s subject to the whim of your mind and what you choose to do with it.

Again, it will take time to diffuse the power of these haunting images, which will in turn help your battered emotions to heal.


– Stephanie Anderson

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