In the field of psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort (psychological stress) experienced by a person who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values.
A week ago today I had the last conversation with my wife. Since that time, I’ve been struggling to come to grips with the fact that I’ve been in a very unhealthy relationship for the last several years. The most troubling thing I’ve been challenged by over the last week is the cognitive dissonance I’ve been experiencing as I try to wrap my head around the fact that my wife has been using me for most of that time.
Even writing this right now, I’m experiencing it. All the facts are telling me that this actually happening but, as I write that she’s been using me, I still don’t believe it. And that’s the dissonance. My brain understands that this dysfunction has really been happening while simultaneously simply not believing that such a thing is possible. It’s very weird and very difficult to work through.
I’ve been researching what has happened to me and this sort of cognitive dissonance is not unusual. It evidently takes some time to get over as well. My biggest problem is that I will often convince myself that I am the one screwing everything up. This, too, is not unusual. Once I get to the point of blaming myself, I ‘check the facts’, I reach out to my support network, I read up on my situation. It’s hard though.
I don’t know what it is about the emotional abuse I’ve experienced, but I have felt ‘crazier’ over the last week than I have ever felt before. I mean, my reality has been severely rattled by this whole thing. I have appreciation for being healthy enough to handle this. I look back and I am fairly certain that I would be blowing up if this had happened a year ago. And I do not like writing ’emotional abuse’… it’s accurate but my self-doubt/cognitive dissonance is twisting it all around in my head.