Tearing at the Fabric

Of the space-time continuum

Mind movies



Anyone else have mind movies every day, and then the overactive dreaming every night? For six years? Constantly?

I have been counselled about this countless times. The standard advice (once people finally get that I can’t stop them by “just letting it go”, or trying not to think about it….) is to let them run their course and eventually you will be desensitised. But that hasn’t happened for me. I have tried mindfully pushing them away, then sitting with them, letting them play out hopefully to peter out. I have tried hypnotherapy to devalue them. But I had a teary moment again today as I drove home. I saw (and when I say saw, I mean I literally SEE these scenes, very vivid and 3D) how delirously happy I was, back as a young 20-something, talking with him about cheating, how I understood that temptation comes to many of us, throughout life, but that how connected people communicate and work on their connection to bond them to their partner. My movie today wasn’t originally about Leanne – they most often are. This one was about the stag party prostitute he lied to me for over twenty years about. The one I knew he visited, the one I was told (and believed) that he had been pressured into a drunken hand-job with by “the boys” and had felt disgusted about later. The one I never knew he didn’t have the cash to pay, and a friend pressured him into the room and paid (more married men at a brothel doing things that I thought they were better than) and he had to surreptitiously find to pay back at the wedding the week later. I talked to him about it at the time. I was actually okay with it. We were young, he was curious, VERY drunk, and I asked him to tell me the whole truth. He told me when he returned home from that night how awful he felt about what he’d done – the hand job – and until after his affair, I totally believed that story.

So, today’s movie production was of him sweating, drunk, and pumping away on a prostitute in a brothel, with a bunch of young guys, the majority of who should have “known better,” “got that out of their systems before now,” etc…. One in particular disappoints me more than the rest (other than Roger) as I adore him and his family. Dumbass. Him, not me. But I feel like one too. As I told Roger when he finally told me the truth about two years ago (that I genuinely believe he kind of almost forgot about as it was so long ago – in the first year of us living together) I don’t care if he came in her hand, her mouth, or her vagina, or her….. It is all sex. I care that he lied to me about it, and created an atmosphere that seems to have allowed omissions and lies. He swears he never used a prostitute before or after that time, and that it really did disgust him.

But he doesn’t understand fully the repercussions of that lie AFTER he cheated twenty something years later! The first crime was forgivable (to me at least) especially if he told me the truth, but it is material to the second one. He does NOT seem to get that, in fact, it is the one time he has ever got angry with me during our post-affair years, when I have tried to get him to understand that it affects me monstrously because the two events are linked. The first lie set up the rest decades later.

But, I digress. My question is this. Has anyone else struggled with this debilitating problem? If so, what worked to soothe the pain, and reduce the occurrences? Even after separation? After letting the perpetrator go from your life? How do I get some sleep without this? How do I ever re-paper my mind with more pleasant images? Your thoughts, please.

34 thoughts on “Mind movies

  1. Definitely. I have also become expert and pushing them away (in the daytime). At night though they just run. And no it doesn’t desensitise me either. I might have to write a difficult post about that soon, one of my many drafts. It sucks. He just doesn’t think about her I am certain (now, didn’t believe him for years). Lucky him!

    • Thanks, Neph. I haven’t been successful in pushing them away at all. That just seems to intensify things, which was why I was kind of excited about letting them occur, thinking the pain would eventually lessen. I believe this was the number one contributor to me leaving him – I just got to a point where I could no longer keep her out of our lovemaking, and it was terribly emotional and soul-destroying not being able to make love with the only man I have ever been with, ever wanted to be with. Agony, in fact is not a strong enough word. So, the decline of our sex life lead to me needing to be free of him and the feelings he conjured up for me (especially during sex.) But I am not free of the images even without him, and they are not looking like packing their bags yet!

      I look forward to reading your take on this, you always write so well that it feels like I am watching a particularly fabulous scene in a great movie. (Sorry your pile of shit is being compared to great entertainment, that is not what I mean at all, it just helps….)

      • I am flattered Paula, truly. I sometimes feel like my life is a depressing kind of drama. Like GoT, if you like a character they are sure to die or turn out to be a homicidal maniac or something. It is soul-destroying, absolutely. It is part of the “soul murder” as I term it. And that is why criminal analogies ring true. I am sick of being told it’s legal so you can’t judge.

        I have shifted a little. When I watched that first episode of Borgen and the adulterer died in the tart’s bed I cheered. Now, I would just give a chuckle. That’s progress I guess? 🙂

  2. I also tried “making new memories” and all that jazz. Since the kids are little I thought That would help so I didn’t think about their childhoods through that lens. But every time we have a nice moment I see us picnicking in a nearby park a week after D Day, frozen in a mask of pain. Eveything we do is a trigger if you have the “right” lens, a lens I wish I didn’t have.

  3. I am surprised that other people have these. While mine are not tied to my affair (unfortunately I have had worse things in my life) they never go away. Mine seem to diminish when things are good but when things get rough they pick right back up. Sometimes it is the same one over and over and I just want to explode. Other times it is like a tv show and each episode is different.

    Let me know if you find a way to get rid of them. Mine have been going for over 25 years and I would like a break sometimes.

    • I have also had worse things. Rape was pretty horrendous. I never relived that until after my darling boy cheated. Rape is now one of the themes of my little self produced numbers. Vicious, violent rape. Depraved slicing (by her – often accompanied by him) of my flesh and lots of blood. IRL my rape was extremely violent, by someone I knew and trusted. I was ripped to shreds and needed yards of internal and external stitching. There are other griefs too. But this is the kicker. This is what has caused the constant images.

      • That is awful and never something I think I will ever truly understand. I can see exactly how that would create your movie. The reliving of it must be so difficult… I just feel so awful for you. I know what I have to see and it is not to quite that degree but it still affects me tremendously, so it must be so difficult.

      • I think many of us carry burdens of past pain. I felt I had coped, processed and dealt with most of mine. Roger was aware of all of mine. He knew I hadn’t had sex with anyone else when we met (I was just 20, he almost 24) and I told him about the rape, my family circumstances, everything. It didn’t all come tumbling out on our first date or anything, but two years in I’d say he knew EVERYTHING about my emotional past and who I was (strong, capable, loving, forgiving.) The circumstances of the rape were probably the last details of my past I shared. He was devastated for me. But I was fine. It happened. I didn’t cause it. I got help. And I put it down to terribly bad luck – and seemed to quite easily move on! So why not now? My thoughts on this are surrounding trust. Deep, unwaivering trust. I knew and liked my friend’s flatmate (the rapist) but the degree of trust was different. Not deep. But I TOTALLY put ALL my faith in Roger. The man I loved, desired, adored, the wonderful father and my best friend in the world ever. I never doubted him. And my fear of STIs (that he knew about, mostly due to the unsafe situation with my parents in the 80s) was addressed over and over. Any fuck ups you MUST use a condom. I thought I was safe. I thought he understood. But he didn’t care. He didn’t even think about me as he plunged himself in and out of a diseased whore. All of our “communication” counted for less than zero. If he hadn’t ever thought about any of this, if we had never discussed it, okay that would be bad. But he KNEW my triggers and my deepest fears. And he ignored my emotional, and even physical, wellbeing and safety. So he could get his ego stroked by a selfish and uncaring slack fuck. So my mind “solves the problem” by playing movies to try to remind me to take care of myself, keep barriers high. Hey, mind. I get it! Now fuck off and let me have a moment’s peace. Let me learn to feel pure joy again. God I miss being truly joyful.

      • I don’t know if this works, but someone once suggested to me to start my own movies in my head but focus on positive experiences. The thought was that if I can get some of them in the rotation then things would not be as bad. It is worth a try.

      • Thanks bac. I’ve tried a lot of that without any real result. I seem to have one of those minds that is a bit cunning. “Trying to trick me? I’m onto you, here take a bit of hanging from meat hooks through your shoulder blades while she penetrates you with a broken bottle. Take that!” Bastard mind.

        If they had the mind washing procedure from the above movie commercially available, I actually would be first in line! No question. I don’t care if I never remember those wonderful twenty-one years pre affair. This is a special kind of hell.

  4. Paula, not sure if you shared it before but did you ever have a confrontation with the OW after you found out? I mean, real confrontation, in person where you were able to unload your pain and disgust on her?

    It’s a dream I have that one day I’ll rip the bitch’s hair out and deliver the ball of bloody hair to her husband.

    • No. I tried. Desperately. Roger even tried to trick her into a meeting by saying (with my full knowledge) he wanted to meet to talk (and I would turn up and my fantasy back then, before I understood her sociopathy, when I still thought she was my friend and would empathise with my devastating loss.) I drove to her house with brownies, flowers and a small gift for her son once. She slammed the door in my face and sent me a fake restraining order. I was desperate for her to understand that she had torn apart several decades of love and true passion and commitment for what??? But she doesn’t care. She has no idea how truly wonderful we were. How gaping the wound is. So telling her wouldn’t change a thing. You see, her mother has put up with her serial cheating father her whole life. She has never had a real relationship in her 48 years. None! So she has ZERO understanding of my loss. Zero. She can’t understand how you nurture and grow deep love and commitment. And how you sacrifice for and soothe each other. How we slept entangled in one another for 25 years, dreading even one night apart. How we beamed at each other at the end of most days, pleased at a job well done. The true passion in our embraces, our deep and fulfilling kisses. …… she isn’t human enough to get any of it. I so get your desire. If she had a husband he would know. I would ensure that. I ensured her mother knows. That she has three out of three cheating children. That feeds my need to be my own person. I don’t want my three to end up like hers because their stupid mother stayed with a cheat.

      • Well, I would still like to rip her hair out. She can’t comprehend emotional pain so maybe a good ass kicking is what she would understand.

        I’m thinking part of your trauma and looping movies is the fact you didn’t kick her ass!

        Perhaps it would be GOOD medicine xxoo

      • I think that I have made most progress since I’ve had my “revenge”, albeit that it isn’t of the kickarse kind. I don’t actually see it as revenge, just bouncing back at ger the consequences of her actions. But every time in the past 2 years that she has intrudes in my world she has had consequences that bite. I fronted up and told her husband in person which was pretty gutsy if I say so myself (even if my Mum was watching at a distance). I told people in her workplace and professional circle. And even though she doesn’t know all those consequences (it would put those people at risk of retalliation if she knew they knew), damn it felt good and still does. They tell you that it won’t make you feel better and they are oh so wrong.

        FWIW the arse kicking might backfire, i would feel i gave her a way to get sympathy she doesn’t deserve. But strictly legal consequences are a joy I tell you. Time is on your side Paula, your moral high ground doesn’t expire. You never know when you might have a chance to get some of the karmacake delivered to her. C.O.D. Obviously.

      • I wished she was married. But she has never even lived with a romantic partner. She is unlovable, lol. I just keep clear of her mess. She actually is of little relevance to me. Karma would be great. But I”m not wasting any time waiting for that bus.

        Funny story. She applied to become a member of our local ski club so she could stay cheaply on the mountain when she took her son skiing. Nothing to do with me. I don’t really ski. I found out last year that a friend of ours, a committee member, kept throwing her application in the bin. For three years. She eventually got accepted. But I love he did this. No instructions from me. He just hates her whoribgt ways. No one likes staying there while she is as her son is out of control.

      • I know what you mean. I love that story! In a similar vein Paul was on the organising committee for a conference in Europe and they got each a share of papers to read and recommend or not. Only when he uploaded his did he see she had submitted and been rejected. The comments were hilarious. The person did not know about the affair but he commented “this continent isn’t big enough for that ego, and all for a mediocre paper”. LOL Then without us asking there was Mary who went to war for us. See, time tells Paula. Time is on our side.

  5. Love that tempted a good ass kicking !!

  6. Can we get a posse together, tempted? NH has a lovely friend who would LOVE her ass kicked too!

    Sadly I could not inflict enough pain to make any difference. I couldn’t kill her slowly enough! I try not to think of her. It doesn’t help. But yeah. If she had understood, even felt sorry (yeah, right) it might have helped. Who knows. All I know is I was a fantastic friend to someone that no one else wanted as a friend, and she repaid my love and kindness with fucking with my head and gifting me chlamydia and HPV which led to several invasive early cancer procedures. But she owed me little. HE owed me for twenty plus years of 100% support and unpaid wages!

  7. I know I don’t have the dimension of her having been a “friend”, though I did give her help in the period she was planning the affair. But even without that element it would definitely help to see she “got it” and “felt awful” for having wrecked a genuinely happy marriage. Paul feels awful about it but she still feels entitled. An apology, a genuine one, would have gone a long way. I know people say it wouldn’t, she is irrelevant blah blah. No one who assaults you is irrelevant, and this is just a form of assault, in our case ongoing. If she had any capacity for shame she would have got down on her knees to you to apologise. She clearly doesn’t. And apparently that goes with the territory- look at the OW blogs for a second (before you puke).

    BTW I am in that posse right? I think just locking her in a room for a couple of days first would help. The helplessness. The not knowing what is going on. The fear. Then again, never underestimate the sociopath. They are fundamentally not like us.

    • Oh yeah. Of course. And an apology is not irrelevant. It is mild balm to partially soothe a very broken heart. I don’t believe it would be a magic bullet, but her harassment and lack of remorse exacerbated an already appalling situation. A heartfelt apology would have helped.

  8. I suffered terribly from the mind movies for the first six months, then they started to slow down unless I was really triggered (like in Japan). I am happy to say now, 16 months later I rarely have any during the day, maybe once or twice a week and I have nightmares maybe once a week. I hope they all go away some day. Most of them were about the OW and I think I am done letting her have any part of my conscious or subconscious. I used to have nightmares that she stabbed me in the stomach, or my husband stabbed me in the heart. Then I had nightmares that she kidnapped my children from elementary school… she didn’t even meet my husband until they were in middle school. I am so sorry you still have these mind movies. I wish I had some really great advice for you like you always do for me, just virtual hugs. 😦

  9. I think the mind movies will ease for you, Kat. They already are and that seems like a great sign. Thank God!

  10. I am sorry you are going through this, I know how difficult it is to stop involuntary images that are tormenting you. I have a similar problem, at times of difficulty I tend to escape to my perfect imaginary life, to live in a daydream, or to dream up a different outcomes of past scenarios… Unfortunately I do not have any advice how to stop it. There is tons of advice, I tried but it really didn’t help that much. Making a decision to stop, accepting something happened that cannot be changed, not resisting it, but also not dwelling on it- just let the images and thoughts float by, distracting yourself during the day, live in the moment (the power of now), meditation, writing and art helps to get it out….(((Hugs))) Gia x

    • Thank you gia. I know there is no fix. I sure have tried a few methods. I accept this is the hand I was dealt. Just trying to play it out carefully. I push myself along, even if everything is dragging, just a little more every day. I appreciate your thoughts and agree that beauty or something that challenges the mind is helpful. Meditation is something I have always struggled with as I have difficulty emptying my mind and keeping it empty!

      • You are welcome, I know meditation is not that easy! I find guided meditation better, there is plenty of that on youtube, if it’s just music, forget it-it becomes a soundtrack to my “mind movie” :-p I hope one day there will be a cure for it! Take care! Gia x

  11. I still get them about the affair now, my husband was told he had to go to barcelona for two weeks in june…wow what a blockbuster! Reading all of these comments makes me realise how lucky I am that the cuckoo was not in my life and I don’t have to deal with her now.
    Paula you must be exhausted, it sounds exhausting . I know when I have my ‘movies’ I feel emotionally knackered. x

    • I am knackered. Absolutely wrung out. But you have to get up the next day, rinse and repeat. So I do. Mindfulness constantly is exhausting. I just wanna few moments to just BE.

      Like I used to. (Thank you for recognising that, owlie x)

      Hope the Barcelona trip goes well – for YOU – for both of you 🙂

  12. When I am in front of a big screen again I will post a photo I took the other day of the new black shadows I have developed under my eyes! Tragic, lol!

  13. I hate the mind movies. To an extent I can block them. I stop what I am doing, go to different room or even outside and try to find a distraction. It is exhausting. It’s the same feeling that you get when you are walking along and suddenly trip and take a nasty tumble. One minute you are walking along and the next you are sprawled on the ground, banged up, bleeding and wondering how that just happened.

    My worst recurring nightmare is horrible. I wake up to realize the house is on fire. I manage to get all four kids to the front door only to realize it is locked and we can’t open it. Then we realize the windows are jammed shut too. The smoke is overpowering us. The older two are holding their younger siblings on the floor trying desperately to shield them. I am frantic knowing that time is almost up. I look out the window and see my husband and his affair partner embracing in the yard. Smiling. Kissing. Happy. And I realize what is going on. I begin to scream frantically for them to let the kids go. I will gladly stay in the house if they will just take the kids out. I look down at my teenage daughter and she has so much sadness in her eyes. She reaches for my hand, asking me to lie down on the floor with them and accept our fate. I sink down to the floor and gather my babies. This is the point I always wake up, sobbing and gasping. I have to get up and check on all the kids. Often I have to go out the front door and sit or stand outside for awhile, regardless of the weather. When I come in I have to leave the door and windows unlocked. Fortunately I have not had this one for awhile, but it leaves me shaken for days.

    • Oh God. That is gut wrenching, EG. I haven’t had many about the kids. Even when they all lived at home. Mine are more (selfish?) personal. Often rape or violence, but sometimes them making AMAZING love – never the fairly ordinary sex he speaks of. He says their best sex was okay. But they never had spectacular or moving sex. Mostly a bit of him getting her off while she just lay there, then “his turn.” She never helped him. And he even had mild ED a lot of the time. He has onky once been a little “slow” getting going in all our years together, and I was a bit surprised. Yours sounds extremely disturbing and I hope they fade soon xxx

      • My husband had ED too with his whore, but didn’t have it with me. This doesn’t surprise me in the slightest because I really think it was never about the sex. Shitty sex is just the price she made him pay for all the attention and adoration he received. That’s what he really wanted in the first place. She pushed for the affair to become physical. He didn’t need that part, as we were still having regular sex. But the thrill of someone new hanging on his every word, wanting to spend time with him and being his little attention-giving whore was what enticed him. Sad, but true.

  14. Pingback: I don’t actually know what is real | try not to cry on my rainbow

  15. Just read this post and it hits close to home. I hate the mind movies. The are debilitating. The nightmares are the worst, when you wake up crying and think it’s really happening. 9 months after dday for Christmas my husband decided to buy me a handgun. Any man who buys his wife a gun after he’s cheated on her is really brave. A couple weeks later I have a horrible nightmare that I went to his work to surprise him. He had stepped out for a minute so I decided to sit in the back of the restaurant to surprise him. In he walks with HER on his arm, looking at him adoringly and laughing and giggling. Him smiling down at her. Immediately I’m in front of them with that handgun in her face.
    He did that to me. Making me hate someone so much to the point that I wanted to kill them. I would never ever think of doing that before. Waking up gasping and crying thinking I was about to take someone’s life with a gun scared the crap out of me. I have yet to shoot the damn thing because of that dream.

    • Not living in a gun culture makes that so scary. I could never fire a gun. We have rifles and shotguns for hunting ina gun safe. I never learned to use them. I abhor the idea. I do not need to hunt, I guess I have a real aversion to it at all. My mother was shot through the ankles as a teen and we have always avoided them as a family.

      I agree he had a lot of faith in you to buy you one! ;-). And the murderous rage, yep. Get it. Have had plenty of disturbing dreams about torturing and killing her. But they are only our subconscious working through the shit, foreverchanged xxx.

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