Category Archives: Blog

Why You Shouldn’t Hold a Grudge | Adult Counseling in Plymouth, MI

hold a grudge

Forgiveness is hard to receive and even harder to give. No matter how you’ve been hurt, it can be hard to let go of anger. This is especially true after a major event of mistrust, like infidelity or a long-spanning lie.

Holding onto a grudge is not good for your mental or physical health. It affects your sleep, your thinking, your reasoning, and your productivity levels. Let’s look at some reasons why you shouldn’t hold a grudge and what you can do to move forward with your life.

You’re Hurting Yourself More Than the Other Person

The grudge hurts you much more than it hurts the other person. The recipient may not even realize you’re still angry with him or her. If you’re holding a grudge over someone you no longer talk to, you are the person most affected by it. They’ve moved on, and it’s time you do the same.

You cannot afford to rent space in your own head. In other words, you cannot let any person or situation take up valuable space in your mind. Let go of the grudge so you can make room for pleasant members in the future.

The Grudge May Impact Other Relationships in Your Life

Your anger may not be limited to the target recipient. In fact, there is a good change you will take your frustration out on someone you love. This may lead to more arguments in your life or decreased productivity at work. At that point, the grudge has taken control – you are no longer in charge of the situation. By letting go, you can reclaim the throne and remain in charge of your own happiness.

Finding Closure and Letting Go

Finding closure is not always easy. That’s why you have a grudge in the first place. It starts by making peace with the situation. Analyze what went wrong, what could have been done to change it (if anything), and what you can learn from the experience. Rise from the ashes by learning a life lesson about something you will or will not do in the future. Then acknowledge that there is nothing you can do to change the past, and commit to moving forward in your life.

The best way to work through these emotions is with a counselor or therapist. We have several counselors who specialize in adult counseling, depression counseling, trauma counseling, and more. Contact Perspectives Counseling Centers in Plymouth, MI to learn more about how you can benefit from adult counseling.

Stress Management for Children

Stress Management for Children

If you were to tell someone that you were “stressed out,” the other person may not think twice about trying to understand where you were coming from. Kids under 12 years of age may not get this level of understanding about their stress because many deem their lives as too “easy” to get distressed to that degree.  It is important to understand that kids this age do deal with varying levels of distress in their lives, to where they need to give it attention. Kids will experience psychological and physical symptoms of distress that they may not be capable of handling just yet, because they are young and inexperienced with doing so. That is why it is necessary for youth to learn positive coping skills at this point in their lives.

Why is Stress Management Important for Kids?

Managing stress is something to pay attention to due to children’s developmental level. Their brains and behaviors are not fully developed yet to handle distress that comes into their lives. They experience a “fight or flight” response like adults do, but they are not knowledgeable enough to always handle their stress in constructive ways. Therefore, it is appropriate to have stress management skills taught to kids so that they are able to handle distress later on in their lives. It is appropriate so that kids learn how to build resiliency through the tougher challenges that life will bring, so that they can react in proportion to the intensity of the events that they experience.

As adults, we have the ability to positively shape the way in which our kids handle day to day stress. We can coach them on using stress reduction techniques as we would with any other set of skills. We have the opportunity to model the usage of positive coping skills in their presence, while encouraging them to do the same through praise and recognition. If we do these things consistently with our children, then that gives them the best chance to handle their distress. This is the philosophy that is emphasized through the walls of Perspectives.

How Perspectives Can Help

Perspectives of Troy Counseling Centers has a great number of child therapists on staff that are skilled at teaching positive coping skills to kids to help them deal with distress in their lives. This is done through individual therapy, as well as groups and workshops like Stress Busters, which is a five hour workshop in which coping skills are worked on with children ages 8-12 years old. The child therapists that are on staff at Perspectives are well-trained at communicating with children about stress so they can understand at their own developmental level. Parents are welcomed as a part of the treatment process in order to reinforce the skills that are being taught at home. Different treatment modalities can be utilized by our staff to help kids with stress management, including cognitive behavioral therapy and solution focused behavioral therapy. While these are common methods to help with this sort of issue, we as a staff also believe in helping a child based on their own individual needs.

If you or someone you know could benefit from anxiety therapy or the Stress Busters Workshop for Kids, call Perspectives Counseling Centers at 248-244-8644.

The 3 C’s of Behavior

The 3 C’s of Behavior

Normally we would never strive for C’s, but for this, hear me out.  It’s pretty common that as a parent and a therapist, I find myself repeating requests, directions, commands, etc.  There’s a multitude of reasons this may take place.  For example, someone is not listening, not paying attention, does not understand, or doesn’t want to follow through.  We could spend time focusing on all those different examples but that seems overwhelming.  Why not focus on one change YOU can do?

It’s mostly common knowledge that children need directions given to them in short, one step increments.  Yet I know it’s true of myself that at times I’ll overload the directions with a lot of steps and details.  When that’s the case, it’s almost inevitable that the tasks do not get completed and I find myself repeating directions…a lot.  It’s so easy to say, “They aren’t listening.” Or “They aren’t following directions.” It is not out of the ordinary to label kids as distracted, forgetful, or defiant.

Let’s flip the script.  Let’s say it’s “us” and not “them.”  What can I do differently to improve the likelihood that kids will follow through?  What would happen if I changed how directions, request, etc. are delivered?  How would I do that?  Let’s try the “3C’s” and see what happens.

Directions should be:

  • Clear: This means that they should be easy to perceive, understand, and interpret. They should be free from yelling, assumptions, and implications.   They should be delivered in a language, tone, and context that both parties understand.  They should be void of distractions, yours and theirs.  No yelling out from the other room, as you walk by, or while they are playing video games.  Make direct eye contact.
  • Concise: Directions should be short and to the point, brief but comprehensive. With children, they should come one step at a time and be direct.
  • Complete: Directions should have all the necessary and appropriate parts. They should be specific in their details so that all expectations are known.

A bad example: “Clean your room.”  It’s not clear, not concise, not complete.  There is a lot of information missing.  Clean your room to one may mean something different to another.  Are we talking about dusting and vacuuming or just putting toys away?  We need to make that clear.  A good example: “Put your blue t-shirt on the white hanger.” They, and you, know exactly what needs to be done.  Ask questions to see if they received the message.  Avoid unrealistic expectations for yourself and for them.  Set yourself and your children up for success.  As they grow and improve you can slowly add steps.  And as the behaviors have been repeated and learned then more vague directions can be made.  For example, once all the steps and expectations have been identified and learned (e.g. vacuuming, putting toys away, putting clothes away, etc.) then you can start to say “clean your room” because everyone knows what that means.

If you’re finding that these steps are not working, maybe talking to a professional could help.  There are many reasons people, especially children struggle.  There are also different groups, classes for parents, and individual services available to those in need.

Change These Habits to Stop Food Addiction | Eating Disorder Treatment Troy, MI

stop food addiction

Do you feel emotionally compelled to eat, even when you aren’t hungry? Do you find comfort in food more than friends or family members? If so, you may have a food addictions. The effects of this may not be noticeable at first, but it can lead to health problems, excessive weight gain, and untreated depression. With proper eating disorder treatment, you can bypass these side effects and find healthy ways to cope with your emotions.

Here are some simple habits you can change to fight food addiction.

Only Eat When You’re Hungry

Don’t feel obligated to eat just because it’s a certain time of day. This is a sign that eating has become an addiction, or at least a habit. Only eat when you feel hungry. If that happens in between meals, eat a small snack to hold you over. If you listen to your stomach instead of your natural instincts to eat, you may find yourself going in the fridge far less often.

Drink Water before You Eat and between Bites

Drinking water before you eat will fill your stomach, causing you to feel full faster. We also recommend drinking water between bites to help your food digest and fill your stomach as you eat. If you do not naturally drink when you eat, this is a great way to retrain your body. Bite, chew, sip, sit. Then repeat until you are no longer hungry.

Put Your Utensils down as You Chew

Do you fill up your fork before you’re finished chewing the previous bite? This is a habit many of us fall victim to, but it’s not ideal for food addiction. If you have that bite ready, you’re more likely to shovel food in your mouth. This may cause you to eat more than you were realistically hungry for. Set your utensils down between bites, and you’ll see a drastic change in your eating times.

Talk to Someone While You Eat

Having a conversation while you eat will naturally make the meal take longer. This only works if you’re participating in the conversation though. If you tend to be quiet in conversations, you might still eat at the same pace. If you’re a talker, you will find yourself so caught up in the conversation that you won’t eat bite after bite.

Avoid Watching Intense Shows When You Eat

You can watch TV while you eat, but be careful what you choose to watch. If you’re viewing an intense show that captures your attention, you may throw food in your mouth from muscle memory. Ten minutes later, the whole plate is gone and you don’t remember eating any of it. Watch a show that only requires some of your attention, and then you can focus on your meal as well.

A food addiction counselor can help you find techniques to fight the specific symptoms you face. If you’re interested in eating disorder treatment in Troy, MI, contact Perspectives Counseling Centers to schedule an appointment.

Healing Through Forgiveness (Part 3)

What is Forgiveness

What is forgiveness and what is it not?

Most of us assume that if we forgive our offenders, they are let off the hook, while we unfairly suffer from their actions. While God commands us to forgive others, he never told us to keep trusting those who violate our trust.

  • Forgiveness is returning to God the right to take care of justice. By refusing to transfer the right to exact revenge, we are telling God we don’t trust him to take care of what concerns us.
  • Withholding forgiveness is a refusal to let go of perceived power. We can feel powerful when the offender is in need of forgiveness and only we can give it. However, this is like drinking poison and expecting it to harm the other person.
  • Forgiveness does not mean forgetting. It’s normal for memories to be triggered in the future. When thoughts of past hurts occur, it’s what we do with them that matters.
  • Forgiveness is not letting the offender off the hook. We can and should hold others accountable for their actions.
  • Forgiveness is not letting the offense recur again and again. We don’t have to tolerate lack of respect or any form of abuse. Some people will never change, but we may need to change the way we respond to them and quit expecting them to be different.
  • Forgiveness does not mean we have to revert to being the victim. Forgiving is not playing the martyr, enjoying the performance of forgiving people because it perpetuates our victim role.
  • Forgiveness is not the same as reconciling. We can forgive someone even if we can never reestablish a relationship with them.
  • Forgiveness is not based on the actions of others but on our attitude. People will continue to hurt us through life, but we can choose how to respond. We can stay stuck and angry, or we can keep our minds on our loving relationship with God, knowing and trusting in what is pure.
  • Forgiveness starts with a decision. Decide to let go of the resentment and then start your emotional healing.
  • Forgiveness does not mean we do not do the work necessary to heal ourselves from the pain. Sometimes we find that we say we “forgive” to make “it all go away.” We have to be careful, however, not to simply cover our wounds.
  • Forgiveness is a process, not an event. It might take some time to work through our emotional problems before we can truly forgive. Forgiveness probably is not going to happen right after a tragic event and that’s okay.

Yes, forgiveness is a process, so stay connected to Read Part 4: Forgiving yourself

Submitted by:

Crystal A. Jackson, Ph.D.

Licensed Psychologist

Healing Through Forgiveness (Part 2)

What is Forgiveness

Forgiveness: Forgiveness is the intentional, voluntary decision to no longer allow the offense of another person toward you to dwell in your mind, heart or spirit.

What can happen to our bodies when we hold onto an offense toward us?

Negative thoughts fill our bodies with excess stress hormones of cortisol and epinephrine (which can be harmful), while positive beliefs relax our nervous systems and allow our bodies to heal.  Negativity, suppresses our immune system while positive thoughts and laughter boost our immune system. The bible tells us in Proverbs 17:22 King James Version (KJV):

22 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

Cortisol deactivates your body’s natural self-repair mechanisms, which means that your immune system, perfectly designed by God to keep you healthy, goes kaput, leaving you vulnerable to every germ you encounter.

Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting it to kill the other person. When in fact, we are harming ourselves.

Physicians tell us that stress can worsen just about every physical ailment (cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc.).

In addition, to the physical effects of unforgiveness, the emotional affects are great as well:

Feelings of Anger, Feelings of Depression, Feelings of Rage.

In fact, research from Johns Hopkins Medicine reports that: chronic anger puts us into a fight or flight mode which results in numerous changes in heart rate, blood pressure, and immune response. Those changes then come and increase the risk of depression, heart, disease, diabetes, among other conditions. The research, however, indicates that forgiveness calms stress levels, leading to improved health.

The bible tells us to love one another. It actually gives us a definition of love:

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 King James Version (KJV):

  • Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
  • Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

  • Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
  • Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

Forgiveness is a process, so stay connected to Read Part 3!

Healing through Forgiveness (Part 1)

What is Forgiveness

What is forgiveness?

Forgiveness is the intentional, voluntary decision to no longer allow the offense of another person toward you to dwell in your mind, heart or spirit. Forgiveness is the act of understanding Ephesians 6:12 King James Version (KJV): For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

By understanding Ephesians 6:12, we understand it is not beneficial to use our time fighting against people who do wrong toward us because we understand that behind every action is a spirit.  It is completely understandable, however, that our flesh may want revenge when someone has done wrong toward us, but again, we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against spiritual wickedness in high places. So, if we wrestle against the spiritual then we must use spiritual principles.

What are those relevant spiritual principles we must use?

Just a couple of those principals include Luke 6:28- pray for those who curse you and pray for those who mistreat you and Matthew 5:44- love your enemies and pray for those which despitefully use you and persecute you.  Keep in mind, forgiveness will be extremely difficult if we are not spending time reading and meditating on the word of God or surrounding ourselves and thoughts, on a daily basis, on things that are noble, pure, lovely, and admirable, as the bible says in Philippians 4:8.

Are we to just let the person who offended us continue to hurt us?

That’s a good question. Some people may feel that if they forgive someone, then they have let the person off the hook or somehow excuse or condone the wrong behavior. Let me set the record straight and say this is not remotely true. When we forgive others, we are in fact letting ourselves off the hook from holding on to baggage (i.e., hurt and pain) from the past and allowing ourselves to freely move forward in life in peace, joy, and happiness.

Forgiveness is a process, so stay connected to Read Part 2!

Difference between Anxiety and Anxiety Disorder | Novi, MI Anxiety Treatment

anxiety disorder

What is the difference between anxiety and anxiety disorder? If I feel anxious, does that mean I have anxiety disorder? These are questions we hear all the time at our anxiety treatment office in Novi, MI. To help you understand how you’re feeling, check out this detailed anxiety disorder definition from Perspectives Counseling Centers.

What Is Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety disorder is a persistent feeling of worry, nervousness, or fear. It is normal to experience anxiety before a big test, a job interview or a major life event. This does not mean you have anxiety disorder. If you consistently feel anxious though, you may have anxiety disorder.

Occasional anxiety tends to go away on its own. Once you take the test, complete the interview, or get through your nervousness, you feel better. For someone with anxiety disorder, these feelings are persistent and ongoing. They may develop with no noticeable trigger, and they may get worse over time. It is this persistence that separates anxiety from anxiety disorder.

How Can I Tell the Difference between Anxiety and Anxiety Disorder?

If your anxiety is only temporary, it is most likely not anxiety disorder. If feeling anxious prevents you from accomplishing a task or engaging in social interactions, you may have anxiety disorder. Occasional anxiety can turn into anxiety disorder, especially after a traumatic event. Thankfully, you can learn to manage the symptoms of anxiety disorder through anxiety treatment, regardless of your circumstances.

When to Seek Anxiety Treatment

If your anxiety is keeping you from enjoying an element of your life, it’s time to seek treatment. Perhaps you’ve stopped going out as much as you used to, or maybe you feel unproductive at work. Your anxiety may prevent your from sleeping, or it may make you more irritable than normal. Whatever the case may be, you can regain control of your life through anxiety treatment.

At Perspectives Counseling Centers in Novi, MI, we offer effective anxiety treatment programs for patients of all ages. We have specialists who have years of experience specifically in anxiety therapy. Your therapist will help you get to the root cause of your anxiety so you can tackle it head-on. He or she will also teach you how to control anxiety symptoms so you can accomplish more throughout the day.

To schedule an appointment for anxiety treatment in Novi, MI, call (248) 946-4664.

Communication Tips for Parents of Autistic Children | Autism Counseling in Michigan

communicate autistic child

If your child was recently diagnosed with autism, you’ve probably struggled to communicate for a while. This is one of the biggest obstacles for parents of autistic children. It may take time to learn a form of communication that works for your child, but there are some steps you can take to speed up that process. Here are some tips for how to communicate with an autistic child.

Nonverbal Does Not Mean Unresponsive

Some people avoid talking to nonverbal children altogether because they rarely speak back. When they do, it may not be in direct response to the previous statement. However, children with autism often communicate without spoken language. They create their own form of sign language, where certain gestures or eye movements indicate how they feel, what they want, etc. If you take time to learn this language and adapt it, you will be much more satisfied with your communication efforts.

Use Your Body When You Speak

Nonverbal communication relies heavily on body language. By using gestures while you speak, you can begin associating words with movements. When your child needs to speak to you, he can use those pre-defined movements to convey his desires directly. Something as simple as nodding your head up and down for yes, side to side for no will create a baseline of communication that you can build on.

Speak in Small Phrases

Autistic children cannot always understand long sentences. They may respond better to simple words, phrases and gestures. Instead of asking your child, “Would you like to eat an apple?” just say “Eat apple?”

The golden rule for this is to use one more word than your child uses. If your child normally uses one word to describe something, use two. Apple – Eat apple. If your child is completely nonverbal, use one word as often as possible. If your child is high-functioning with a decent flow of communication, focus on concise sentences that are easy to follow.

Narrate Your Child’s Movements

As your child plays, eats, or does any physical activity, narrate his or her actions. This establishes a connection between words and movements, which will make it easier for your child to “speak” to you in the future. Allow your child to explore his or her interest. If your child is fixated on puzzles, use words to describe the pictures on the puzzle pieces. It is easier to learn when you feel excited about the subject matter. Children with autism are no different.

Find What Works for Your Child through Autism Counseling

Every child is different, and every autism diagnosis is different. The best way to learn how to communicate with nonverbal children is through autism counseling. While the primary focus of autism treatment is on the child, the program also helps parents better understand their children’s needs. You may have individual counseling sessions as a parent in addition to your family counseling sessions. Your autism counselor will give you new ideas to talk to your child and improve his or her life as a whole.

For more information about autism counseling, contact Perspectives Counseling Centers. We have multiple locations in Southeast Michigan, and all of them offer specialized autism treatment programs.  

Post Infidelity Stress Disorder: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

post infidelity stress disorder

In the wake of discovery of an affair, you are likely to experience a wide range of thoughts and feelings, ranging from numb (non-feeling) to feeling completely out of control and ‘crazy’.  This is the result of Post Infidelity Stress Disorder (PISD). These are normal reactions to an abnormal situation, and we want to help you work through some of the reactions. Let’s take a closer look at the causes of, symptoms of, and treatment for PISD, along with some tools to help you minimize the potential damaging impact of these reactions.

What Is Post Infidelity Stress Disorder?

So, what exactly is Post Infidelity Stress Disorder (PISD)?  It is not an actual diagnosis, however, post discovery of an affair, the reactions often parallel those of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  In PTSD, one of the required criteria is that the person is exposed to death, threat of death, threatened serious injury, or actual/threatened sexual trauma through a number of different means.  In an affair, while the threat may not have been to one’s physical life, it certainly was an attack and threat against the emotional wellbeing of the individual leading to a loss of emotional safety and security.  The person that you trusted the most and expected to protect and care for you was the person that hurt you, leaving you in a state of incomprehension and, as a result, likely leading to a number of reactions.  The reactions that can occur as a result of that realization can often feel so overwhelming that one can either feel stuck and not knowing how to proceed, or so reactive that the decisions being made can be damaging to the self, others, and potentially your relationship if you’re hoping to reconcile.

Symptoms Of Post Infidelity Stress Disorder

Post affair reactions often cluster into three categories: intrusion, hyperarousal and constriction.

Intrusion

Signs of intrusion can encompass flashbacks, nightmares, and obsessions.  It occurs as a result of images (mental or experienced) associated with the betrayal.  Things that you didn’t give a second thought to before the affair become sources of pain.  You can be watching a TV show, listening to a song, having a seemingly ‘normal conversation’, and even seeing ordinary objects and all of a sudden a flood of intrusive thoughts, memories and flashbacks come barging in which can leave you holding your breath, tearing up, “breaking down” and starting to obsess.  You become someone unrecognizable to yourself, which may be part of the reason you feel “crazy”.  Betrayed partners find themselves obsessing over every detail, perhaps developing fixations on details that don’t quite add up, in order to reconstruct the truth.  You likely feel out of control and feeling like you can’t get away from the overwhelming thoughts and feelings.

Constriction

Signs of constriction include inhibiting thoughts, feelings, and activities associated with the betrayal.  This can often mean feeling numb, engaging in detachment/withdrawal from other people and showing no interest/avoidance in normal/once enjoyed activities. Individuals can often shift from excessive emotionality and intrusive symptoms to avoidance and withdrawal.  Often times, individuals are so exhausted by the preoccupation with the betrayal that they come to a state where they don’t want to deal with anything associated with it.  This is typically a temporary state and may seem like it’s providing a sense of relief, sometimes being used as a way to protect the self from something that is too emotionally painful.  However, in order to recover/heal from infidelity, the betrayed partner needs to engage in the process of emotional integration. In other words, gradually working towards feeling the feelings.

Hyperarousal

Long after the discovery of an affair, the betrayed partner can remain super sensitive and super alert, ready to react to any perceived threat.  Reaction becomes overreaction. Protection becomes overprotection.  Manifestations of hyperarousal include physical and emotional hyperarousal and hypervigilance.  Hyperarousal can include being startled by sounds, irritability, outbursts of anger, difficulty with sleep, difficulty concentrating, and changes in eating patterns.  Intense feelings are common, but it is important to be conscientious of how these feelings are expressed in order to avoid further damage. Hypervigilance is one of the most common responses of hyperarousal, it is an appropriate reaction to loss of safety.  This means that you are likely watching for signs of further danger.  Individuals who were once fully trusting and secure can turn into professional detectives, watching out for the smallest of details, becoming paranoid, becoming nagging, all in an effort to protect from further harm.

All these experiences (and the above are only some of the reactions) are normal reactions to a highly stressful and potentially traumatic experience.  However, if left unchecked, they can lead to further unnecessary pain and additional negative consequences.  The section below addresses some of the ways that one can work towards minimizing the potentially damaging impact of these reactions.

How To Treat Post Infidelity Stress Disorder

Normalize your experience:  Perhaps one of the most important things to remember is that obsessive thinking is a normal response to trauma.  As you take the steps to deal with the new reality (with challenging previously held assumptions and integrating them with reality), you’ll likely have intrusive obsessive thoughts.

Writing:  An intervention that has helped when working through intense/intrusive obsessive thoughts includes writing down one’s thoughts.  It may sound cliché, but writing provides an opportunity to be uncensored in one’s thoughts and feelings, allowing for further exploration of self, often providing opportunity to gain new insights and clarification.  It can help you keep track of unanswered questions and can help you clarify your thoughts to be better prepared and in a better emotional state when communicating with your partner (if this is desired).

Schedule worry times:  Set a specific time each day (try to be consistent) and for an allotted amount of time (no longer than an hour), use that time to worry, obsess, and revisit and frustrating images.  If thoughts creep up during the day, gently remind yourself that you’re saving them for ‘worry time’.  This is to help intrusive thoughts from taking over the whole day. Over time, worry time decreases in length and in intensity.

Change the channel:  Imagine your mind as something that can be controlled by a remote control.  Whenever you’re overcome by undesired images/thoughts, change the channel to something that is more desirable (perhaps a positive memory with someone else, a hope for the future, visualizing something different).

Try to predict and prepare for flashbacks:  Try to identify ‘triggers’ to flashbacks and if possible try to preplan for them.  Try to have the betraying partner involved, validating your experiences along the way and helping rewrite the script (i.e. having a more desirable experience be associated with the trigger).

Replace raging or unhelpful thoughts with more calm and helpful thoughts: When realizing that you’re ruminating or having specific thoughts, ask yourself “How is this helping me or my situation?”  Sometimes the thoughts help keep us stuck and sometimes we feel entitled to the emotions (i.e. anger) that we feel, but try to remind yourself of the helpfulness of the thoughts behind the anger.  What is your goal?

Self-Soothing techniques:  Riding the wave (i.e. instead of fighting against the intrusive flashback, remind yourself of what it is and that the experience will pass); deep diaphragmatic breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, exercising, treating physical illness, eating balanced meals, massages, meditation, prayer are all skills that can be implemented.

One day at a time/one moment at a time:  Perhaps another cliché statement, but it is important to remind yourself that this moment is the moment you are in.  Don’t get discouraged if healing is taking too long or if you have a bad moment.  Don’t get discouraged if things seem fine for a month and you have a setback and it seems like you’re back at square one.  Take each moment/day as it comes, preparing as necessary, but also reminding yourself that you can only do what you can do.

Obtain appropriate support/do not isolate:  Oftentimes, the betrayed spouse can isolate and withdraw from others for various reasons.  Perhaps they feel shame, perhaps they don’t want to deal with being ‘retriggered’ and with others’ questions, perhaps they just simply feel disconnected from others and feel like no one will understand.  It is important to not isolate and not withdraw from the world.  If your goal is to reconcile, find individuals that will support the relationship.  Well-meaning individuals can do much damage when not taking into account where you are on the healing path.  On a more positive side, positive supports can help us step out from the fog that engulfs us, can provide some normalcy in life through the use of positive experiences, and can provide us with a place to vent.  Consider a support group.  Read books related to the topic when appropriate.  Engage in activities once enjoyed.

Counseling:  Last, but not least, consider seeing a professional counselor.  Seeing a counselor does not indicate that there is something wrong with you or that you are ‘crazy’. Seeing a counselor can provide you with an unbiased individual in your corner, a person that can help you traverse the healing process in a way that is less painful.  The healing process will certainly be painful, but a counselor can help you learn some tools that can make the process more manageable.  If you are working towards reconciliation, marriage counseling is also an option that should not be disregarded.

There are many layers in recovering from an affair and the above section is only a piece of the puzzle.  The road to recovery and healing can be strenuous and complicated, but it is not hopeless.  You are not alone, and you need not walk alone.  There is always hope at Perspectives of Troy Counseling Centers.  Call us for an appointment at 248-244-8644.

 

Resources:

*Glass, S. (2003). Not “Just Friends”: Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity.  New York: Free Press, 448 pp.

Harley, W. & Harley Chalmers, J. (2013). Surviving an Affair. Grand Rapids: Revell a division of Baker Publishing Group, 220pp.

https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/PTSD-overview/dsm5_criteria_ptsd.asp

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/talking-about-trauma/201503/love-is-war-post-infidelity-stress-disorder