I Admit I’m Acting Crazy Since My Husband’s Affair. I Know It’s Not Like Me. But I’m Having Trouble Controlling It

By: Katie Lersch:  I often hear from wives who don’t like the way that they are behaving or acting after discovering their husband’s affair.  Most of us like to have control over our actions and emotions.  But when you get this kind of shock and disappointment, it’s quite normal to lose control for a bit.  Many women are shocked and dismayed about this – especially when they are having a hard time stopping it.

A wife might say: “I don’t want to clarify myself as a control freak or ice queen.  Because neither of these things would be quite true.  However, I am not someone who becomes overly emotional.  I am pretty reserved and unemotional in most cases.  I like to respond to logic rather than emotion.  I suppose I’ve never been a typical woman in that way.  And my husband has always liked this about me because his mother has always been lead by her emotions.  My mother is the same way – and maybe that’s why I am the way that I am.  But ever since I found out that my husband cheated on me, my logical, rational self has left me.  I am a wreck.  I am constantly crying and acting like a crazy fool.  I threw my husband’s phone in the pool and ruined it.   Yesterday, I followed him to work to make sure he went straight there.  When he called his uncle to wish him a happy birthday, I actually picked up the phone to make sure he wasn’t talking to the other woman.  Last night, he was trying to answer a question that I had asked him, and I interrupted him and told him to shut up – that I didn’t want to hear one more lie out of his mouth.  I am appalled at my behavior.  And in the middle of it, I am thinking to myself that I must stop.  But I can’t seem to.  Because my husband’s reactions make me even more angry.  What can I do to get control over my emotions and behavior?  I don’t want to act like my  mother or his mother.  I am better than that.”

I understand what you are going through.  I consider myself controlled also, but I went through the same thing.  There were days when I felt like a raging lunatic.  I even caught myself lashing out at my kids in a way that I never had before.  And that is when I got serious about finding a different outlet.  Because I knew that I couldn’t allow my behavior to punish them for something that was hard enough to begin with and most certainly not their fault.

It’s Hard To Control The Thoughts.  But You Can Learn To Control The Behaviors: I learned that it was more difficult to control my thoughts than it was to control the behaviors.  It was nearly impossible for me to keep the nasty thoughts from popping into my head.  But with practice, I could learn to stop before I engaged in the behavior that followed the thoughts – if that makes any sense.

A couple of things that helped me was to tell myself that I was going to write what I was going to say / yell into my journal instead of letting it fly out of my mouth.  I wrote those nasty words – quite fast, in big sloppy writing, and as though my pen was a sword. So instead, of following my husband out to his car and yelling at him as he was pulling away to go to work (like I was tempted to do,) I would stop myself, grab my computer and journal all the nasty things I wanted to say.  I took to keeping a computerized journal because of the password protection.  I didn’t want anyone getting ahold of a paper journal and reading it.  This allowed me the luxury of just letting it all hang out and not censoring myself.  These things needed to come out – but not in ways that were going to make the situation worse for myself or my kids.  I also learned to physically walk away if my journal wasn’t accessible.

Finally, I would encourage you to cut yourself some slack. It is normal to feel a little out of control.  You did not ask for this situation.  It is more shocking, upsetting, and life-altering than nearly anything.  It turns your world upside down. And when your world is askew like this over something you didn’t do, that can magnify your feelings of a loss of control which in return brings on that “out of control,” crazy feeling that so many of us experience.

If you can find ways to take back control by releasing those feelings via journaling, sharing with a trusted friend, or counseling, you may find that the feelings are more manageable and not nearly as frequent. And while I think it’s important to take responsibility for controlling the feelings, I don’t think it’s your fault that you are having them in the first place.  You’re simply reacting to something you never asked for and that isn’t your fault.  But it will say a lot about your character if you are able to channel these feelings in more constructive ways.  That’s an important skill to develop in many aspects of your life.

I am not proud of how I acted initially after the affair.  Frankly, I shocked myself and others. But I am proud of how I was able to eventually regain control, retain our family and pick up the pieces eventually. You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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