Master Mu is a stone Zen cat that sits on my desk. He's kitschy...but I love what he represents: Stillness. Serenity. Awakening. A way out of suffering. (And, perhaps, too much disposable income?)
But especially that one about a way out of suffering. Master Mu comes complete with a little booklet that offers up a whole lotta common sense in its teensy pages. Master Mu tells the story of a girl who didn't finish her homework. She tosses in bed, worried and anxious about what will happen in school the next morning when her teacher finds out. Her mother will get mad if she gets out of bed so she thinks her only choice is to stress about it. Until! Until it dawns on her that, right now, she's not in trouble. Right now, she's in her cosy bed. Tomorrow, she will suffer when her teacher finds out. But that's tomorrow. Why suffer dozens of times over when we can only suffer once, suggests Master Mu.
What does this have to do with the endless loop of mind movies we betrayed wives all too often subject ourselves to? You know the ones! The ones that serve absolutely no purpose and likely have no basis in reality because nobody, not even porn stars, can have the type of passionate, agile, continuous sex that we imagine our spouses engaged in.
So please, stop doing this to yourself. And you are doing this to yourself. Your spouse may have hurt you with his betrayal...but you're now hurting yourself over and over and over.
Try these ideas:
Imagine a huge red stop sign every time your mind starts to go down the path that ends with your husband having sex with someone else. Or whispering I love yous. Or whatever particularly fetid fantasy you have. If you can, give yourself a stern out-loud "Stop!" It might take a few times (or a few dozen times) but eventually the stopping will become automatic and you'll be able to head-off your thought process before it takes you somewhere dark.
Or consider wearing an elastic band around your wrist and giving it a good snap whenever you start to think things that damage your psyche.
You can replace the mind movies in which you play voyeur to your spouse's affair with something that feels empowering. Remember that constantly focusing on the "other" – spouse, other woman, whatever – disempowers you. One thing that worked for me was replacing my mental sex tapes with mind movies of me behind the wheel of my car chasing the OW naked down the road. I imagined the fear on her face. I imagined her flabby butt jiggling. I knew, of course, that I would never do such a thing. But imagining it always ended up making me giggle. Which was a helluva improvement over the tears that the other mind movies elicited.
If you're a better person than I and can't fathom imagining inflicting pain and/or humiliation on the OW, try a mind movie of you doing something that makes you feel good: winning an award, running a marathon, hanging with your kids. Anything that replaces painful images with positive ones.
Have you been able to successfully control mind movies? Share your success story...or your hopefully-soon-success story with us.