Posted in Her story

Stepping Off The Hot Coals

By KM

I finally feel at peace. I’ve been in therapy for almost two years. One year and eleven months, to be exact. When I told my trauma therapist that I feel peace and that all the mental background chatter has stopped, she said it’s like I’ve been walking on hot coals for the past two years with very intense therapy sessions and now I’ve finally stepped off.

In the beginning, I would sometimes have two EMDR sessions per week. If you’ve never done EMDR for trauma, I’ll describe it as intense. Sometimes my therapist would have to remind me to breathe. Very often I cried. It’s amazing to learn how we store trauma in our bodies and to feel that being released during a session. Often it would make me tired. It’s emotionally draining, but it’s worth every second.

When I say the background chatter is gone, I’m referring to the constant barrage of negative thoughts, questions, and hyper-vigilance that accompanies betrayal trauma. If you’re the addict, please understand that your spouse or significant other lives every waking moment in torment after discovery or disclosure. It would stop when I went to sleep, although I’ve heard others say it invades their sleep via nightmares. I knew I felt crazy, but I didn’t know just how bad it really was until it stopped. I finally got an answer and clarification about something I’ve been asking my husband. There was quiet and my mind wasn’t filled with constant worry and questions. I wasn’t replaying conversations or scenarios over and over. I went shopping with a friend and I wasn’t constantly scanning for threats. I can concentrate better at work. I almost feel “normal” again. I wish it hadn’t taken this long, but here I am off the hot coals and feeling the grass beneath my feet.

2 thoughts on “Stepping Off The Hot Coals

  1. Thank you for sharing this. It resonated so deeply with me. Just a couple of weeks ago, while attending a wine tasting, a young woman arrived and my attention kept averting to her. When I tried to talk to my husband about it, he said the girl’s presence hadn’t even registered with him, which he always assumes should be the same for me if he’s not triggered (or, at the very least, should bring me immediate peace of mind). When I explained that the trauma means that his betrayal and my triggers dog me 24/7, that the negative thoughts and painful messages loop and re-loop relentlessly in my mind, he was a bit incredulous. “Every moment of every day??” I corrected my statement to not include sleep (except when the nightmares invade or prevent sleep, as you correctly noted can and do happen) or when I’m intently focused on a project (though that focus can, and definitely has been, affected and broken by the “chatter” trying to invade or by the sirens that blare in warning inside my head when a perceived threat–aka young, attractive, or “physically fit” female–enters my once-safe zone). Unfortunately, my husband wasn’t able to encourage me to share these hard feelings let alone respond in a compassionate manner. I look forward to the day when I can find an informed therapist and when my husband has learned empathy so that I can feel safe enough to step off the hot coals.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think we should write a crash course handbook for addicts to understand what their partners are going through. Yes, every moment of every day for years. You’re an amazing woman and you deserve the same relief that I finally have. I also look forward to that day for you.
      ~KM

      Like

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