For every pain there’s relief, they say. As consoling as that sounds, the sad truth is, not all bad things end; and sometimes, pain lingers on longer than we hoped it would.
Those who have been cheated on can attest to that.
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Infidelity does not end the moment you discover it or the day your cheating partner finally admits to seeing someone else. Even when you’ve talked about everything, apologies said and accepted, it does not end there. For the one cheated on, there is a possibility that they will suffer from post-infidelity stress disorder.
But what exactly is post-infidelity stress disorder?
Post-Infidelity Stress Disorder: Everything You Need to Know
Although not an actual diagnosis, several cases of post-infidelity stress disorder have been recorded. The symptoms of which mirror that displayed by patients of post-traumatic stress disorder.
While the pain a PTSD patient suffers from is brought about by a near-death experience or sexual assault, a PISD sufferer was made to deal with something that threatened their emotional safety and security. The worst thing about it is that it is caused by the person you love the most. Realizing that your source of happiness has suddenly become the person that’s causing you too much pain can be overwhelming for anyone, even those who claim to be strong. This is where the symptoms of PISD start to make its presence known.
Symptoms of Post-Infidelity Stress Disorder
The symptoms of post-infidelity stress disorder vary, but most of them involve emotional conflict. In psychologist Dennis Ortman‘s book Transcending Post-Infidelity Stress Disorder: The Six Stages of Healing, he likens PISD to PTSD, as like post-traumatic stress disorder, PISD has symptoms like irritation, anxiety, emotional numbing, and irritability.
One of the most common symptoms of PISD is having intrusive thoughts. Unwelcome images like flashbacks and nightmares that are often related to the incident of betrayal. Sometimes, even the simplest task like watching a movie or listening to music will have you recalling a painful experience.
The patient tends to withdraw from other people or walking away from the whole idea of building a connection with others again. They avoid any possibility of them being placed in the same situation that led to the betrayal.
A post-infidelity stress disorder sufferer can also become very sensitive and alert. As a way of protecting themselves from being hurt again, they see the littlest mistake as a danger sign. They start drawing a lot of lines, and it looks like there are suddenly countless boundaries that can’t be crossed.
Dealing with Post-Infidelity Stress Disorder
There are a lot of ways you can do to get past this insufferable stage. Surviving infidelity is not easy, it can even be more difficult than when you were just trying to figure out if your partner is actually cheating on you. But if you have the will to try and come out on the other side better and stronger, you can do it.
One of the things you can do is as simple as writing down your own thoughts. Things can get really unbearable, but it will eat you up if you just keep it all inside. If you can’t talk about it with your partner, grab a pen and paper and let the ink do the talking. Also, try to find something that can distract yours from those negative thoughts. Adopt a new hobby. Try things that will help get rid of those bad images and replace them with something better.
Another way is to see a counseling. It might feel like it’s hard to talk about it with someone, but this is a situation where hearing an unbiased opinion can really help. You can go see a counselor alone or take your partner with you.
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