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- Suzie Johnson, Cpc -

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Regressing Rather than Progressing

Answered by
Suzie Johnson

Question

Thank you for the opportunity to serve. I would like to individually take a look at some of the  statements you made in your email, to see if we can bring some comfort, as well as clarity, to your heart and mind.

You wrote: “I feel like I am not progressing, but actually regressing…”

Tips about Healing and Recovery

Infidelity recovery closely follows the patterns of grief. The 1st rule in grief counseling is: Each stage of grief is healing, even though it may not look that way or feel that way. So, even the feeling that “you’re not healing” IS a part of healing.

Sensations of regression can also be a kind of emotional vertigo (disorientation). This is often experienced by people in trauma recovery when they’re unable to tell if things are getting better or getting worse. This is because it’s impossible to be objective about your own recovery process.

From a recovery standpoint, “regressing” may actually be a good sign because it could mean that rather than “sweeping” grief under the carpet, you’re allowing yourself to access it. To process a negative experience, you have to experience the negative feelings. Some of those feelings go way back. If this is the case, then please consider the possibility that some of your feelings of “regression” may simply be the first true sign of processing grief.

The healing and recovery process isn’t linear. Many people think that healing is a step-by-step process where each day successively gets better. But this isn’t the reality. The truth is, healing can appear to be circular. You can take two steps forward and one step back — while still moving forward. Just ask anyone who’s ever recuperated from a major illness or surgery. They’ll tell you that sometimes, the healing hurts worse than the hurting. The thing to keep in mind is that you’re in recovery. It’s a process — not a feeling.

My question to you is this:

Can you allow yourself to lean into this discomfort? Can you give yourself the breathing room to process these negative feelings… without judgments? Because I’m NOT concerned that your feelings of  anger, resentment, bitterness or “regressing” are still present a year after the affair. What does concern me is your (seeming) “unwillingness” to accept them, even though they’re there.

If I could give you one thing, here’s what it would be — the  willingness to allow the feelings. Because (in my opinion), it’s your resistance to feeling what you’re feeling that’s causing most of your  discomfort. Let go of that resistance and a lot of the pain will go right out the window as well.

Next.

You wrote: “I feel angry, depressed, negative about myself ,and pressured not to feel this way because I’m supposed to be responsible, responsive and moving on.”

Personally, I find your observations of yourself (as you watch yourself go through this process) interesting. Here’s what I observe from your statement: It seems to me that you have some genuine feelings to deal with here — anger, depression, etc. — but you also have a belief (a judgment, really) that you’re not supposed to feel this way. And it makes me wonder… why are you so sure you’re not supposed to feel this way?

Here’s something else to think about…

In recovery, sometimes the things that would normally be considered responsible are in fact irresponsible, and the things that might look irresponsible are in fact responsible things to do. Many people find it hard to tell the difference.

For example: In recovery, it’s responsible to make your well-being the top priority. And it would be irresponsible to feel guilty about this. It’s responsible to allow the healing process to unfold the way it needs to, and it would be irresponsible to get in your own way.

So here are the key questions: Can you allow your feelings to just be? And can you allow your healing process to unfold in the time and way it needs to? I know you can.
Until we speak again…

Remember… Love Wins!

 

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