Most of us experience some degree of emotional numbness as the truth about our partner unfolds. For most of us, this numbness is temporary and protective. We will feel more as it is safer for us.
For others, the numbness has become a key tool for coping with life’s pain. Remaining emotionally numb for the long term is damaging. We lose touch not only with our negative emotions but with our positive ones as well. We may be saved from feeling the raw anguish of betrayal, but a part of us is also shut off from life’s joys.
The real danger, however, is that when we become numb we allow the pain to continue. We do nothing to protect ourselves. We no longer draw back instinctively when we are burned. When that happens, we end up more severely burned.
On this journey, we will find others who understand our circumstances; we will listen to their stories. We will hear their pain even if we can’t fully understand it. Eventually, we will share our stories. We will learn to use the tools of acceptance and choice and self-examination. Eventually, our numbness will begin to be replaced by emotion.
This hurts. Our first instinct may be to flinch, to retreat into numbness again. If we are committed to healing our lives, we will find the courage to move forward. We will be delivered from our half life to a full life. And the joys of a full life outweigh the temporary discomfort we will experience on the journey.
I won’t get from this place of numbness to a place of true emotion without experiencing the pain I’ve suppressed. But I can get through it. I can reach joy and freedom.
From Surviving Betrayal: Hope and Help for Women Whose Partners Have Been Unfaithful * 365 Daily Meditations by Alice May
Dr Janice Caudill is the founder and Clinical Director of McKinney Counseling & Recovery. MCR offers individual, couples, group therapy and 3-day intensives for partners of sex addicts and wounded hearts struggling with sex addiction, infidelity, love addiction or love avoidance, intimacy anorexia, or relational trauma in the McKinney, Plano, Allen, Richardson, Frisco, Prosper, Carrollton, Lewisville, Dallas and surrounding areas.
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