By Amy Reast via SWNS
A licensed clinical psychologist says you can develop a form of PTSD – after your partner has an affair.
Dr. Kathy Nickerson, 48, revealed a lesser-known condition you can develop after the trauma of your partner’s cheating — called PISD.
The condition — which stands for Post-Infidelity Stress Disorder — can leave you with PTSD-like symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, trouble sleeping and a constant feeling of dread.
Although it is an informal term and not an official diagnosis, the condition recognizes the long-term trauma that an affair can inflict on a partner.
Nickerson, from Orange County, Calif., said: “When you’re in a serious relationship, your partner is the foundation on which many aspects of your life are built.
“When you find out your partner has cheated on you, the foundation cracks and you feel like everything in your life is insecure, unstable and insecure.
“People are extremely reluctant to talk about infidelity because of the guilt, shame and judgment they experience when they share their experiences.
“As such, most people don’t know when their friends or family have been cheated on and didn’t know someone was suffering from PISD.
“There should be more awareness for PISD and more compassion for both the traitor and the betrayed.”
Nickerson explained that the condition arises when a person chooses to stay with their partner after being cheated on by them.
There are many symptoms, including feeling depressed, hopeless, anxious, isolated and angry – as well as struggling to sleep and having unusual eating habits.
Though little known, Nickerson said it may be more common than we realize – because of the trauma a person can go through after being cheated on.
She said: “Everything feels wrong because the world as you know it is falling apart, and that is incredibly, incredibly scary and painful.
“But many betrayed partners feel foolish, weak and misguided by well-meaning friends and family when they reveal an affair.
“These betrayed partners are very unlikely to share the ongoing pain they are feeling out of fear of further judgment and harassment.
“As such, most people don’t know when their friends or family have been cheated on and didn’t know someone was suffering from PISD.”
The psychologist and relationship expert said it is possible for a couple to get over an affair leaving the other with PISD.
But she explained that it’s not easy – and it takes a lot of effort, time, deep conversation, transparency and security.
Nickerson, also author of “The Courage To Stay: How to Heal From an Affair and Save Your Marriage,” said, “The most valuable thing a lost partner can do is talk to the hurting partner about their feelings.
“They must validate what they heard and reassure their partner that they are safe now.
“The misplaced partner should also no longer have contact with the loving partner and be very transparent about their time, location and communication.
“They should do some deep thinking about why they strayed so that they can make different choices in the future.”
PISD SYMPTOMS (suffering from three or more for more than a month is an indicator of PISD):
- be constantly worried
- constant anxiety
- feeling depressed
- overwhelming thoughts
- feelings of hopelessness
- Feeling a sense of dread
- Difficulty sleeping – too much or too little
- Difficulty eating – wanting to eat too much or not eating at all
- Easily scared
- isolating yourself
- A lot of repressed anger
- Intrusive thoughts about the case
- Irritability and fluctuating emotional states