These intrusive thoughts came from a client with the life trauma. Her mentally going over and over it pertaining to the infidelity had been prolonging her suffering.
Psychiatrist Dr. Robert Weiss calls it “obsessive review.” He defines it as “constant, absorbing, sometimes maddening preoccupation that refuses to accept any conclusion.”
Obsessing is a normal reaction to trauma. It’s part of the recovery process. It can help one to come to terms with the personal tragedy and accept it as part of one’s history.
There is, however, a pitfall or downside to it. It can make you get stuck or unnecessarily suffer ... thus derailing the progress of your healing.
For example, demanding to know all details of sexual scenes between your spouse and the OP (other person). Catching and staying with these data is not helpful and will keep you from resolving fundamental issues in the marriage.
At times, the real cause of the pain is not the external event, such as your spouse’s infidelity. But rather the way in which you view your self, your marriage, and your future.
You feel what you think.
The principle is: How you interpret or evaluate your experience and situation determines your emotional reactions.
Yes you may have a legitimate reason to feel grief about what happened. Yet you may still be making your self and situation worsen by the way you think about it.
Cognitive psychologist Dr. Albert Ellis refers to it by varied labels - “awfulize,” “terriblize,” or “catastrophizing” about the effects of your spouse’s deed.
When the reality is, it’s only a possibility what you’re thinking, you assume that it’s already happening or true.
Just because your spouse made a mistake or has been unfaithful doesn’t necessarily mean that your marriage or future is doomed.
Changing how you think, seeing what really is, can make you feel better.