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Cheated on: Coping, Moving on and the Scars That Remain
The Question. Do all men Cheat?
As a "victim" of being serial cheated on this begs the question why do some people repeatedly fall into the same toxic situation in their relationships? For me, I seem to form relationships with cheaters. However, I know many others have different toxic cycles. Such as, alcoholics, abusers or drug takers.
After 2 relationships which ended the same and a string of datees which later materialised to be unavailable because they were cheating on their partners. I began to think that all men are the same and that all men cheat.
However, I knew of people who had seemingly happy and loyal relationships. Thus invalidating my formed presumption of men.
Having witnessed these longstanding, happy and loving relationships. I then began to question what was the root cause, was the root cause me? Am I the reason for the infidelity? What am I doing wrong to be undeserving of a faithful partner?
Upon chewing this thought over I reflected on my previous relationships. The common trend was me. I was unhappy, my partner didn't bring me joy and most likely I projected this and in a sense showed a former of rejection to my partner thus possibly prompting their reasoning for looking elsewhere for happiness. However, this denominator cannot be applied to the datees which I unknowingly dated whom were unavailable as they where cheating. I can not be held responsible for their infidelity or prompting them in anyway.
I would like to say that there was a common personality trait with all the the men such as arrogance. As this would provide an answer to the question. The answer would be that I am subconsciously seeking out these types of men. However, this simply isn't the case. All of the men were different in their own way. I can not pin point a denomination between them. Part of me wished I could as this would provide an answer and a solution to avoid future pain.
The Scars That cut Deep and Remain
Whether I was happy in my past relationships or not this still doesn't damped the blow which comes with cheating. When you are cheated on in a single blow it tears down your confidence, makes you question your self worth, prompts you to reflect on your judgement of others as you should have seen it coming. For you fully trusted you significant other, you were loyal to them and expected the same in return. You perceived them to be your best friend, the one who knows you deeper than anyone else. Yet, you didn't see it coming. You allowed your "best friend" to penetrate your walls of emotional armour and let them in to see the real you. In turn you opened yourself up thus leaving yourself vulnerable. In a nut Shell, to be cheated on totally sucks. Iv always said I'd rather a physical pain than that of the emotional pain which is caused by being cheated on.
So, with such an impact the scars which form cut deep and remain. If we are not careful the scars can always remain open. Open to infection of our current situation. Always visible when we look in the mirror.
The lasting effects are always there in the background almost like a tarnished spot on your soul.
Healing and Moving on
After my relationships were dead and gone, when I fully knew that I had absolutely no feeling for any past 'not so' significant other. I felt fully recovered from the emotional trauma in which I had been subjected to. I tricked myself into believing that because I no longer cared for those people, the things that they had done no longer hurt, thus meaning, they could no longer effect me.
I was wrong, I thought that I had healed but really all that had happened was I had adoped schema's. A schema can be defined as a behaviour or thought that organises learnt behaviours and patterns. In reality, as soon as I saw some behaviour that I recognised from my previous relationships, this prompted a schema. The schema brought back that gut wrenching feeling, those suspicious thoughts, feelings of being made a fool of and feelings of being rejected. I claimed that these feelings which were usually prompted by minor quite innocent things were "vibes" or intuition. Therefore, they were a good thing as they were there to help me. To help me be alert to subconscious clues which I might ordinarily miss.
So there I was, stupidly thinking that I was healed because I had patched up my heart but, my mind was far from healed. I had these schema thoughts and feelings which controlled me. They' re negative and toxic thoughts which when they rear their ugly heads can be deemed as addictive. My own brain is addicted to subjecting itself to further emotional pain.
So, how did I move on. I have to say it's taken me a long time to realise the above points. And truth is, I am still learning to control the ugly learnt cognitive behaviour. I am not yet recovered and still bear the struggles of severe trust issues.
I didn't realise I was being controlled by the thoughts until I was single handily sabotaging my own happiness and healthy relationship. For no apparent reason I began to get the "vibes", and then I became super vigilant. If you look longer enough and hard enough at a situation you will find (or imagine) what you are looking for. I hated feeling this way, it was totally emotionally exhausting. I finally looked for help on the internet and found a self help YouTube channel by a person called jbittersweet. I learnt to use cognitive behavioural therapy CBT to stop the addictive schemas,.
CBT n thin Practice
I will set out below a real situation in which my schemas' started to creep in. I will also set out how I use CBT to help combat them.
My boyfriend offered to buy me perfume at the airport. He told me he had smelt a fragrance as we walked past the isle that he liked and thought I might like too.
My initial thought:
In the first instance gratitude. This quickly shifted to suspicion. I began to think he had smelt a smell on someone else and not in the perfume isle. This thought added a building block to a previous negative thought I had had that day. In my mind, his gesture had quickly turned from an offer to he has been paying someone else attention. Madness I know.
Complete sadness, suspicion, thinking to myself I must be alert and watch out for any further clues which might validate my "gut feeling".
Initial affect on my body:
I felt sick in the pit of my stomach and anxious.
Initial affect on my behaviour:
I became uptight and on guard. I felt like I needed to drop my feelings back, thus reducing the potential damage impact should my vibes become valid. In order to lessen my feelings I behaved cold towards him. I was also extremely passive aggressive, ready for an explosive argument at any point. I was quietly waiting like a spring, plotting, thinking, churning toxic thoughts over, winding myself up and waiting in anticipation to go off.
In order for CBT to work you have to do as I did above. Write down the situation, the thought that it has evoked, the affect on your body and your behaviour.
Then, you have to write down these 4 sub headings again. Take yourself out of the situation, imagine you are advising a friend on the same situation.
So, same perfume situation but alternative thought:
He most likely had just smelt a fragrance which he liked. After all, we had just walked down the perfume isle whereby they bombard you with spray as you walk past. The offer was most likely genuine.
Believe me, the above sounds like an easy task to do. However, as said previously, these bad learnt thoughts are addictive, therefore, they do not shift easily. You really do have to force yourself to write down the above headings each time you feel that way. In most instances, doing the above will make you feel better and will in turn stop you from sabotaging your own happiness.