How could I not have seen it coming?

Eilis Dunne
2 min readDec 23, 2021


Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

This morning I read a passage in The State of Affairs by Esther Perel about a powerful part of infidelity called “Trauma Denial.”

Perel writes “It is actually a sophisticated self-protective mechanism known as trauma denial- a type of self-delusion that we employ when too much is at stake and we have too much to lose.”

Something I’ve dealt with, and countless others have encountered, is the feeling and thoughts of “how could I be so dumb?” or “how could I not have seen the signs?”

Post discovery, I have felt awful. Sometimes people tell me I should have seen it coming. My therapist even encouraged me to go back in my memory and look for the signs.

It’s such a shocking thing, an affair. I can’t believe that this person I have trusted almost as much as I have trusted myself, the person I called my rock, could do this. How could he deceive me like this?

And how could I not have seen it coming?

But it’s a real psychological thing called trauma denial. For me, there was so much at stake that I employed this protective delusional mechanism to survive.

I lied to myself and it wasn’t conscious or intentional. There was nothing I could have done about it. This was my body and mind’s way of protecting me. And that’s ok.



Eilis Dunne

An anxious girl’s mindful way through love, sex, and life.