Ever wonder why the pain sometimes won’t stop you’re your heart hurts to much? There is a clinical reason why you can’t just stop the hurt.
Here’s what the experts say:
Has your spouse or a friend ever said “Get over it?” How do you possibly “ get over" the memories of the affair (even if it was years ago?) How do you “ et over" it when it continues to blow you over like you’re a house of cards And just when you think you've climbed a new mountain...they throw another poison dart and sticks it dead center into your heart…or a song plays...or you smell the same perfume in the mall that he used to be drenched in from her.
Lately there has been a lot about the brain and how our emotions and fears and thoughts are supercharged by painful past experiences.
Brain research reveals that "getting over it" is virtually impossible. What this means for the age-old idea of "forgive and forget?" Go ahead and toss that one too.
So what's a person going to do? The solution lies in the brain. Until recently, it was thought that the hippocampus was the most important brain structure involved in memory.
New studies suggest that there are different types of memory, and that different brain structures play prominent roles in these different types of memory (LeDoux.)
Your hippocampus is responsible for declarative memory (memories about facts and details), but the amygdala, which is the small almond-sized structure located at the top of the brain-stem, is mostly responsible for emotional memory (LeDoux.)
That's why the song you heard after your break-up in high school still makes you sad when you hear it years later.
That song was associated to a traumatic experience... so when your brain hears it... it sends sirens warning you that danger may be near.
Neuroscientists have long suspected a brain structure that triggers emotional reactions quickly and independently of the thinking brain.
Again, this explains why a Vietnam veteran who experienced traumatic experiences in combat may suffer a surge of anxiety years later when a helicopter flies overhead.
This also supports why you suffer feelings of anxiety when your spouse comes home late (even with good reason) after you are trying to rebuild the trust after an affair.
The amygdala (or the emotional memory) will actually detect features from current circumstances to decide if they are close enough to past emotionally significant events to warrant an emotional alarm (Atkinson).
So, if you are struggling with anxiety when a thought comes to mind or something reminds you of the painful event, the good news is that you aren't going crazy.
But that's not all...
If that's not enough, research at New York Rockefeller University, led by Bruce McEwen showed that excessive and chronic exposure to stress hormones may lead to the death of neurons in the hippocampus (Siegel).
This supports why some people forget the details of a traumatic experience.
But in contrast, stress enhances the function of the amygdala. What this means is that while someone may forget the details of a stressful event, they still may be emotionally hyperactive to future events.
So even if we may want to "forget it" and we may... we may not be able to "get over it", at least not without a little help.
Dr. Gunzburg has really led the path in this area.
Frank Gunzburg, PhD has been counseling individuals for over 36 years and he specializes in helping couples forgive and get through the past.
According to Dr. Gunzburg, the only way you can forgive and successfully get through the pain of any negative experience is to learn how to accept it...
Forgiveness is possible... but acceptance must come first.
Forgiveness is the natural outcome of a series of specific actions you take to move past the pain you are feeling right now.
That means forgiveness isn't something you can decide to give and BINGO, all is well (remember the emotional memory). After 36 years of research, Dr. Gunzburg has identified the process by which you can make forgiveness happen.
This process is designed to:
- Help you communicate how much the experience hurt you.
- Overcome and end obsessive thinking that won't go away.
- Eliminate haunting images.
- Rebuild confidence in your partner.
- Build a fence around your relationship to protect it from harm.