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Codependency & Loving Too Much

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FamilyMan75 posted 1/2/2019 19:34 PM

This describes me to a tee. For so long I thought about keeping my marriage together at any costs was what I should be doing as a husband. I made excuses after excuses for my wife, and no matter what I did, she kept pulling away, kept cheating and I'd keep forgiving her. I was co-dependent, in denial and thought she could do no wrong.

We are still married and reconciling. But this time is different. She wanted to separate, which we did. After begging her to reconsider, I finally said okay if that is what you want, I'll let you go. So I started to slowly detach from her, even after she found out she was pregnant with our youngest. I asked for a DNA test, which I found out was mine, yet I slowly kept accepting this is what she wanted.

Then she wanted to try again. Instead of me begging her, she was approaching me. She was in counselling, was being vulnerable and showing me that she wanted me, desired me. I'm starting to call her out on her bullshit, and standing my ground. I still have my moments of weakness, and I still have moments where I don't hold her accountable, but I'm working on that through my counselling. I'm the supportive husband I need to be, but I'm learning not to let her or anyone walk all over me.

onlytime posted 1/6/2019 08:06 AM

@FamilyMan75

I am glad you found this thread. Thank you for sharing part of your experience.

I'm starting to call her out on her bullshit, and standing my ground. I still have my moments of weakness, and I still have moments where I don't hold her accountable, but I'm working on that through my counselling. I'm the supportive husband I need to be, but I'm learning not to let her or anyone walk all over me.

What kind of boundaries have you and your IC been working on? When you say you have moments of weakness, are you referring to maintaining those new boundaries you're establishing? What do you mean by "holding her accountable"?

Are you and your IC working on uncovering and dealing with the root causes of the codependency? How has that been going?

FamilyMan75 posted 1/6/2019 11:37 AM

Are you and your IC working on uncovering and dealing with the root causes of the codependency? How has that been going?

It's been a few weeks since I have attended because life has gotten in the way. But I have gotten quite a bit of 2 x 4 from others on this board too, so I'm starting to recognize the signs.

When my wife says or does something that is selfish, wayward or I don't agree with her I stand up to her. Before a lot of things, I'd just agree with her to avoid an argument.

The hardest thing to do was take a step back, and defend her at every turn. I never wanted to tell my family about my daughter's true paternity, even though they all suspected, and the only reason was that I knew they'd react badly and they did. But it has been a relief in a way to not hide that. She is reeking the consequences and she is dealing with it. She is accepting that she put herself in that situation, and I don't need to pacify her. That has been hard.

I have told her if she has another affair, I won't beg her to stay and I'll let her go. I know myself to know that I won't get angry, and we can divorce amicably.

[This message edited by FamilyMan75 at 11:39 AM, January 6th (Sunday)]

betrayalbrokeme posted 1/11/2019 08:34 AM

I am realizing that I fall into this category and I'm grateful to those who have posted in this forum- reading some of the quotes and passages from books has given me this whole new understanding of myself. I will definitely be doing a lot more research on this and discussing it with my IC...

I think I have been co-dependent with my H- but not to a dangerous level and something that I think we've been fixing without even realizing it with all of the work we've been doing. (By no means is he a saint obviously since I'm on SI- but looking back, I do not think he took advantage of my nature. I truly believe he is a good person who lost his way for a very short period of time. I actually think I was much more co-dependent to others before I met him- he helped me to be a bit less. And now he is constantly encouraging me to put myself first- to not make excuses for anyone including himself. To demand to be treated better by everyone in my life.)

However, I have definitely been super codependent with pretty much every friendship I've ever had- especially the OW. Also with my ex boyfriends and my siblings. And I think that has had disastrous effects on my well-being.

I have always put others first, made excuses for bad behavior, blamed myself for what went wrong... and I never understood why my 'friends' always hurt me.

Now I'm thinking maybe shitty people have a sort of sense of who is codependent and they seek us out because they see that they'll be able to get away with anything for a long time. I was easily used and abused and I kept going back for more. Over the last few months, I couldn't understand why I let it go on for so long with XBFF and how I didn't notice it until after this nightmare... Now that I see there might be some answers as to why, I'm feeling less alone and a little less like an idiot.

IDK- really I just wanted to say thank you to all who have posted in this forum because it's already given me some insight into my own mind.

Somber posted 1/20/2019 22:29 PM

Only time, I am grateful for you reaching out to me which has led me to this thread that you started.

My goodness, the first page of this thread is so insightful. I have realized how codependent I am and it is frightful. I categorize myself as a CSV -4 and my WH as CSV +4. My relationship certainly is toxic to say the least.

I have invested all my time helping others, putting their needs first and avoiding conflict. I constantly choose other people's happiness over my own as it is easier for me to do so. I am praised for it so I may see that as some sort of reward and an expectation of me so I repeat it over and over in all areas of my life.

I have spent so much time looking out and no time looking in. I grew up with a single Mom and never thought anything was wrong in my upbringing. However, after reading some content in this thread I am seeing clearer. I was neglected by my father and soaked up and cherish any moment he spared me. Despite his faults I chose to love him and never held him accountable for the pain he caused me.
I am just realizing that that is the exact role of my marriage. I have become comfortable in rugsweeping because I have no skills in addressing my needs. Therefore, boundaries have been loosely enforced. Yet, although it may have been quiet, I have made it clear the pain caused and my marital expectations of fidelity and honesty. They just were never met. Now I am fed up, sick of the game and wanting a real life for myself again.

My WH is a sex addict, pathological liar and binge alcoholic. I have allowed him to mistreat me for 10 years always hoping he loved me enough to stop hurting me. I remember begging him to stop cheating on me as I breastfed our first newborn son. I was stupid enough to believe him each time that he would be the man I dreamed of. I have lived on empty promises and it breaks my heart. I have endured endless false R. I can't handle another one so dream of leaving but haven't done so yet. His actions prove over and over again his lack of remorse or insight into the damage he continues to do. For example, he continues to try to have sex with me within days of sexting another woman. Then gives me the cold shoulder when I turn him down. I sometimes give in just to shut him up but feel like an object and it disgusts me. There is no emotional attachment involved for years. I am so lonely in this marriage. I have stayed away from many social gatherings as it does get harder to pretend to be happy while struggling with the deep pain and lies.

All the while I thought there was something wrong with him (clearly there is) but damn there is something seriously wrong with me too! How could I even allow for such toxicity...

onlytime posted 1/24/2019 17:51 PM

I'm so glad you had a chance to read through this thread and were able to find it helpful Somber.

All the while I thought there was something wrong with him (clearly there is) but damn there is something seriously wrong with me too! How could I even allow for such toxicity...

I really hope you will try to frame it a little more self-compassionately than saying "There is something seriously wrong with me too". Perhaps you might consider looking at it as "I can see now how I have developed unhealthy ways of coping with life and within my relationships, and now that I see this I can heal myself and make better choices going forward".

I have invested all my time helping others, putting their needs first and avoiding conflict. I constantly choose other people's happiness over my own as it is easier for me to do so. I am praised for it so I may see that as some sort of reward and an expectation of me so I repeat it over and over in all areas of my life.

I think here is a good spot to get started on that healing.

Some questions you might want to begin reflecting on:

Why do you put the needs of others before your own needs?

I agree with you that praise is one of the rewards for it, do you think there are other reasons?

Why do you feel you need the praise and approval of others? You've mentioned how your dad neglected you...do you think that is one of the biggest contributors to that need? If so, how do you think you can start healing from that?

Why do you try to avoid conflict? What fears do conflicts bring up in you? What intimidates you about asserting yourself?

I have spent so much time looking out and no time looking in.

Why do you think that is?

I grew up with a single Mom and never thought anything was wrong in my upbringing. However, after reading some content in this thread I am seeing clearer. I was neglected by my father and soaked up and cherish any moment he spared me. Despite his faults I chose to love him and never held him accountable for the pain he caused me. 
I am just realizing that that is the exact role of my marriage.

I'm glad you are seeing the connection between your childhood experience with your father and your relationship with your WH. It's an important insight, IMHO.

In his book, "When The Past Is Present", author David Richo talks about transference - "an unconscious displacement of feelings, attitudes, expectations, perceptions, reactions, beliefs, and judgments that were appropriate to former figures in our lives, mostly parents, onto people in the present".

He says:

If our past was negative or hurtful, we may look for partner-candidates who will re-create that hurt, and then we can blame them, since perhaps we never fully felt or expressed our rage at a parent who wounded us that same way.

I tell ya, when I read that the first time a couple years ago it was a wake-up call - a massive lightbulb moment for me. And I hope it is for you too.

I highly recommend the book for you. It's just over $13 CDN for the Kindle version on Amazon right now. I think you'll find it incredibly helpful in your own healing.

You don't say whether your father was an alcoholic as well, but there is another book that I think you'll find helpful, it's called "Perfect Daughters", and is written by Robert J. Ackerman.

I have become comfortable in rugsweeping because I have no skills in addressing my needs. Therefore, boundaries have been loosely enforced. Yet, although it may have been quiet, I have made it clear the pain caused and my marital expectations of fidelity and honesty. They just were never met.

Is it really that you have no skills in addressing your own needs, or is possible that you are afraid of asserting yourself? And, if, in fact, you are afraid, what are the underlying fears that are at play? What is the worst thing you think would happen?

Now I am fed up, sick of the game and wanting a real life for myself again.

So what do you want to do about it? What does a real life for yourself look like? How do you think you can achieve that?

My WH is a sex addict, pathological liar and binge alcoholic. I have allowed him to mistreat me for 10 years always hoping he loved me enough to stop hurting me.

My H was an alcoholic for three quarters of our relationship. He has been sober, both physically AND mentally for 4 years now. As part of my own healing I had to realize that his addiction, and all of it's related behaviours, such as the lying, were not done to intentionally harm me. They had nothing to do with me at all. He could not empathize with the pain his addiction caused, and therefore was unable to love me in a healthy way, because he didn't know how to love himself.

Another part of my healing was realizing that I too needed to learn to love myself, and recognize that the words and/or actions of others do not define, nor should they be connected to, my sense of worth and lovability.

I remember begging him to stop cheating on me as I breastfed our first newborn son. I was stupid enough to believe him each time that he would be the man I dreamed of. I have lived on empty promises and it breaks my heart.

I want you to do one thing right now...I want you to stop with the negative self-talk. When that inner critic starts chirping at you tell it to shut the fuck up. You are NOT stupid.

Ok, now take a moment and reflect on this pattern that your describing with your WH. Now think about your relationship with your dad...

I was neglected by my father and soaked up and cherish any moment he spared me. Despite his faults I chose to love him and never held him accountable for the pain he caused me

It's an almost identical pattern, isn't it?

That doesn't make you stupid Somber. That makes you human.

Now that you can see the patterns you have a chance to address and change them.

I have endured endless false R. I can't handle another one so dream of leaving but haven't done so yet
.

His actions prove over and over again his lack of remorse or insight into the damage he continues to do. For example, he continues to try to have sex with me within days of sexting another woman. Then gives me the cold shoulder when I turn him down. I sometimes give in just to shut him up but feel like an object and it disgusts me. There is no emotional attachment involved for years. I am so lonely in this marriage.

I want to give you another quote from "When The Past Is Present" for you to reflect and ponder on...

It will be tough to let go of the relationship, even when it does not work, if our identity has melded in with another person. Could it be that one of the reasons it is so hard to let go is that so much of ourselves has been transferred onto others? This may account for our belief that we will not survive if we leave or lose a relationship.

I know I've given you a lot to think about. I do hope you'll continue to post in this thread as you work through all of this stuff.

We're here for you.

Somber posted 2/3/2019 20:28 PM

Onlytime, thank you. Yes although this is overwhelming to take in, I welcome it. I will start by trying to eliminate negative self talk. It certainly doesn’t help.

My father wasn’t an alcoholic. He cheated on my mother, she never spoke of it growing up but as a teenager I put it all together on my own by watching his behaviour with women. He dated women frequently and openly flirted with women and even my friends when we were older! Yuck right. When I was a teenager he even expected me to hide his affair while in a long term relationship with a woman I had come to love. I never wanted to marry someone like my father but sure have!
It is an identical pattern. I do soak up when my WH is actively a part of our family. Such as the past week at Disney. It was a fantastic family vacation. Although, I don’t connect with him like I would normally. I refrain from cuddling and shy away from his touch. Although those are things I want but feel so uncomfortable accepting that from him. This I believe is directly due to his ongoing intermittent messages with other women, etc. I no longer feel safe or truly desired. I want those things but don’t want to share those things with other women obviously!!

I am very uncomfortable with conflict and haven’t figured out all the whys to that yet. . I shy away from speaking up and this has enabled my husband to continue his lies and infidelities. I am often nervous to assert myself. Need to ponder that one a bit more.

My mother is very much the same as me in that I rarely saw her speak up. She also always chose to put others first. Her and I are both soft spoken and described as sweet and angelic. Lol, it’s kinda funny because we are just passive not necessarily sweet angels. Or a bit of both...

I suppose in one way I fear rejection, although my spouse continues to reject me anyhow while in our marriage. So it is happening anyways. I feel rather stuck and have built a thick wall between him and I. I am easily manipulated with threats of the damage a divorce will do to our children. I no longer believe his promises as he continues to choose not to change. I have been on SA forum as well. I find it helpful yet i get confused with the addictions part. If sex addiction is one of our problems, some claim it can be fixed... then I feel bad for the damaged boy in my WH and wonder if I am giving up. Then I start to feel guilty for wanting to leave instead of staying and trying to help him overcome his childhood demons.

Struggling to figure it out. I will read that book.

[This message edited by Somber at 8:30 PM, February 3rd (Sunday)]

onlytime posted 2/4/2019 10:15 AM

I really think you'll get a lot out of the book Somber.

I will start by trying to eliminate negative self talk. It certainly doesn’t help.

It's not easy. I still catch myself doing it sometimes and have to stop, recognize what I'm doing, and show myself compassion instead. It takes work and practice, and learning how to feel love for yourself (again).

I am easily manipulated with threats of the damage a divorce will do to our children.

First, how do you feel when you know you are being manipulated like this?

Second, why do you think you are easily manipulated by that threat? Do you really believe that divorce will damage your children? Why do you believe that? Where did that perspective come from? Might staying in a M that is unhealthy damage them too? Might staying damage them more, or in different ways?

What if the kids get damaged no matter what choice you make?

I feel bad for the damaged boy in my WH and wonder if I am giving up. Then I start to feel guilty for wanting to leave instead of staying and trying to help him overcome his childhood demons.

This is the codependency talking.

Your WH is an adult. If he wanted to heal and overcome his childhood experiences he is capable of doing it. If it was truly important to him he would be doing whatever it took to heal. He could be looking for free or affordable IC, he could go to your local public library and find books to help himself, he could look up books, articles, videos, podcasts, etc on the internet. He could be looking for tools to help himself, but he's not, right? He is making that choice, and as an adult he has the right to do that.

It is not your job to try to fix him, and the reality is you can't fix him anyway. The only person you can help is yourself.

Let me share a story with you:

When I was in my early 20's I dated a man who was very abusive to me and cheated on me regularly. He had an absolutely horrific childhood full of severe abuse and neglect. I felt bad for him and thought if I just loved him enough, if I showed him that I wasn't going to abandon him, if I could help him heal, then we would have the relationship I dreamed of.

The worse things got, the harder I tried. I excused the abuse because in my mind he didn't know any better or any different. I convinced myself that abuse would stop if I could just help him to heal. The thought of leaving him caused me to feel so much guilt - I would be just one more person in a long line of people to give up on him.

And that's what he counted on.

He used his history of childhood abuse to garner my sympathy/empathy/guilt so that he could maintain control over me and manipulate me into staying in the relationship.

He ended up going to jail for a period of time, and even though I still maintained a relationship with him while he was in custody, the distance allowed me to see things more clearly. It gave me the chance to start healing myself. When he got out I discovered he had been having an EA with someone else while in jail, and I because I had begun working on myself and was able to recognize the patterns and the manipulations, I was done. DONE!

When you are able to extract yourself from the situation (even temporarily) you can see the dynamics more clearly - you can see the roles each of you have played in maintaining the unhealthy cycle. You can focus on understanding YOURSELF better, and ultimately find your own healing.

He can choose to heal if HE wants to, but that is 100% on HIM. You cannot do it for him. He may not ever do it. Again, that's all on HIM.

I hope you'll keep posting, and please let me know what you think of the book, and if you find it helpful!

Somber posted 2/4/2019 17:27 PM

I will read the book and let you know what I think.
I thank you for this insightful journey you have encouraged for me.

In response to how I feel when I am being manipulated into staying in my marriage is that I feel frustrated, guilty and then confused on how to move forward.
I think I am easily manipulated in this regard as I do think divorce has many negative affects on children. I may be projecting my own experience onto the one my children my or may not have. I never wanted to be divorced, so shattering my dream of being a family unit for life is disheartening.

Perhaps they will be affected with either choice though. We are not role modeling a happy healthy marriage either. I just want to protect my children and wonder if being selfless is better for them. As in I feel selfish leaving just for my own happiness.
I am still trying to wrap my head around what exactly codependency means. I do agree that in wanting to stay and help him is a factor of codependency. I am learning that his choices are out of my control. I am realizing that no matter what I do, say or boundaries I try to enforce, it is ultimately up to him to make the changes in himself. I note that I can only change how I respond and work on healing the parts of me that have allowed such disrespect to continue.

Thank you for sharing your story, I am sorry you suffered through that relationship as well. Your experiences have provided you wisdom which we on here are certainly benefitting from.

My WH has often used his abuse, anxiety, depression, addictions and even threats of suicide to manipulate me. I always wonder if it is intentional or if he has no insight into his unhealthy ways. I am only starting to really recognize this all now. Our pattern has become more and more obvious. I feel we are stuck right now but in the quiet I plan to work on myself and read that book. .

[This message edited by Somber at 5:32 PM, February 4th (Monday)]

onlytime posted 2/5/2019 08:41 AM

I think I am easily manipulated in this regard as I do think divorce has many negative affects on children. I may be projecting my own experience onto the one my children my or may not have. I never wanted to be divorced, so shattering my dream of being a family unit for life is disheartening.

Some questions...

Have you discussed your negative experiences with having divorced parents with your WH in the past, and is this the exact information he is now using to manipulate you with? Do you feel he knows exactly what buttons to push to keep you under his control? If he wasn't manipulating and trying to control by using your own experiences against you do you feel making a decision would be less confusing for you?

If you look at the negative effects your parents divorce had on you, is there anything that you think could have mitigated those things, such as therapy, peer support, a positive male role model in your life that wasn't neglectful, etc? Can you see any positive (or perhaps less negative) effects you had in your life from your parents divorce?

Did you have friends that had divorced parents, and if so do you know what their experiences were like? Did you have friends that had an intact family, but there was a lot of conflict, addiction or infidelity in it, and if so do you know what their experiences were like? Were there things that either mitigated or aggravated their experiences - e.g. positive coparenting in divorced parents vs neglectful parent(s) or animosity between the parents; therapeutic interventions for parent(s) and children (ie. family counselling), etc.

If you knew there was a way to mitigate or lessen any damage to the children would that make your decision easier? Do you feel that would make you less likely to be manipulated?

What if you stay, and down the road HE is the one that chooses to divorce? How do you think you would feel and what would you do to try and mitigate the damage on the kids in that circumstance?

I know some members here talk about not wanting to be/look like the "bad guy" by breaking up the family. Do you feel that is an issue for you?

I know that's a lot of questions, I'm really bad for that, I just think it's important to look at things from many different angles. You definitely don't need to answer them all here, just wanted to give you some food for thought as you work through all of this.

Lastly,

My WH has often used his abuse, anxiety, depression, addictions and even threats of suicide to manipulate me. I always wonder if it is intentional or if he has no insight into his unhealthy ways. I am only starting to really recognize this all now. Our pattern has become more and more obvious.

And if it is intentional? How would that make you feel?

How likely do you think it is that he has zero insight into what he is doing? If he knows what buttons to push to manipulate you, doesn't that require insight and/or intention?

Ok, enough questions.

I'm happy to hear that you are going to use your quiet time to focus on YOUR healing!! I think that's an excellent plan!!

Somber posted 2/5/2019 11:48 AM

I love the questions, they have been more helpful than anything I have done so far to try and sort out the whys...

When I have reacted to his behaviour in the past and threaten divorce, he often has said of course you want a divorce as you come from a divorced family. I have at times expressed that I never want a divorce as it wasn't fun living with a single Mom and going without. Or it wasn't nice to feel neglected by my father. I had step sisters and brothers at times in my life and it was hurtful to loose them when the relationships ended. He does know that but doesn't use specifics of it to manipulate me that I can think of. However, he is very much aware that I never wanted a divorce or to repeat that childhood for our children.

I think therapy would have been paramount in helping me process things that happened in my childhood. Things I have buried deeply without really acknowledging that I was doing so.

My decision would 100% be easier if I knew my children would be okay after it all. I would certainly be less manipulated if I saw what a separated future could be. One major fear is that he will make things difficult and use the children against me and play mind games with them. He already has. For example, around Christmas our son asked what divorce is (a family member recently divorced so he heard the word). Then he had our son ask me if we were ever going to get divorced. Putting me on the spot like that in front of a group of people was uncomfortable. I never really answered as a friend answered for us saying of course not. I just envision things worse things like this. Or him saying he wants us to be together but Mommy doesn't. So yes, I don't want to look like or be the bad guy I guess.

One last question I can answer right now, is if his actions are intentional that makes me feel angry and ashamed for trying to understand him, support him and trying to forgive and trust him many many times.


Lovehurts777 posted 2/5/2019 13:43 PM

OnlyTime,

Hey - thanks for pointing me in the direction of this thread. I've read through and there are so many good pieces of info to soak in.

Reading through the posts, I can identify parts of myself in many other stories.

Since dday last October, I've definitely realized how codependent I am and have always been. Then over this past weekend, I read a thread about love addiction and did some of my own research on that... and wow. So yeah, that's all me.

Sometimes I feel bad when reading other posts because my WH's affair was so long ago and I am told by friends and family that I should be happy that WH wants to love me and be committed now and going forward. "Just be happy with what you have." That I've been loving him too much and I've been living in my own fairytale, and I can't expect him to be "in love" with me after 15 years of marriage (or even after 7 when he had the A). Well, that doesn't help me now - even if I was loving him in an unhealthy way, I was still blindsided on dday and it killed me because I believed he felt the same way towards me our whole marriage.

When WH tells me "But I'm recommitted to you now and I love you now". It gives me so little comfort. Actually, it reopens the wound for me. It reminds me "Oh that's right, you didn't love me and weren't committed before."

Even if it kills me to know this now, in a way its a relief to know that was his "why". Why did he cheat on me? Because he didn't feel the same love for me and was complacent & bored in our marriage. He wanted excitement of some kind, even if it was cheap and unemotional. And even though I thought what we had was great.

Plus, his alcoholism and addictive nature didn't help. He wanted that dopamine hit, as they say. I guess I got my dopamine from thinking I was constantly "in love" and not letting go of that fairytale butterflies in the tummy love, even after 15 years of marriage. 26 years after I met him at age 14, when I latched onto him like a moth to a flame.

He never felt he could ever come to me to discuss his true feelings, because I would NOT have any of this negative talk about OUR happy perfect marriage. I'd stick my fingers in my ears and say "la la la la laaaa, I don't heaaar yoooou. We're happy. We're in love. Fantasy world, la la laaa."

Actually, now that I look back with my new perspective on things, he did try to tell me. He threw words out like "going through the motions" and "more like room mates" and "maybe I'm just not happy"... and I would either get mad at him for talking negatively about things when I KNEW he loved me and things were fine. I wouldn't let him have his own feelings. I would make sure he remembered how he TRULY felt. I was controlling/manipulative in that way and still am. Because now I've been controlling/manipulating the way he remembers the A and his feelings about things now. When I ask him to just talk to me about the A, I turn it around to jab him some more. And then twist stuff around to suit me.

I don't feel that deep "in love" feeling now. Which might end up being a good thing. If I'm knocked out of my "fantasy world" that I've been living in for over half of my life (The Matrix), then I can live in reality and make the best of it. Just not exactly sure how at this moment. Waiting to see where this takes me.

I'm super stuck right now in whether I want to accept his current feelings for me, trust them, and continue on my journey in life with him - the one who hurt me so badly - or let go. I am still angry and hurt. I still have images of them together. And I still haven't completely accepted it all yet. But I think I'm slowly moving in the right direction? Hopefully my new IC person will help me become confident in whatever I decide to do.

onlytime posted 2/6/2019 10:11 AM

I'm glad you had a chance to read through the information and posts in this thread Lovehurts777.

Sometimes I feel bad when reading other posts because my WH's affair was so long ago and I am told by friends and family that I should be happy that WH wants to love me and be committed now and going forward. "Just be happy with what you have." That I've been loving him too much and I've been living in my own fairytale, and I can't expect him to be "in love" with me after 15 years of marriage (or even after 7 when he had the A). Well, that doesn't help me now - even if I was loving him in an unhealthy way, I was still blindsided on dday and it killed me because I believed he felt the same way towards me our whole marriage.

I am sorry that your friends and family have been invalidating your hurt and pain, and giving you unhelpful advice. Please remember, this is your life, and your experience, and they only have a very limited window into it. They are in no position to be telling you what to do or how you should approach things or be feeling.

Ask yourself this question:

When they say "that you should be happy that WH wants to love you and be committed now and going forward", do THEY even KNOW what "love" and "committed" mean and look like? Do they know what a healthy relationship looks like? Does them encouraging you to sweep everything under the rug seem like a healthy thing to do? (Because that's exactly what they are doing!)

When WH tells me "But I'm recommitted to you now and I love you now". It gives me so little comfort. Actually, it reopens the wound for me. It reminds me "Oh that's right, you didn't love me and weren't committed before."

Can you expand on how that reopens a wound for you? What about this is so painful for you, and why do you think that is the case?

Even if it kills me to know this now, in a way its a relief to know that was his "why". Why did he cheat on me? Because he didn't feel the same love for me and was complacent & bored in our marriage. He wanted excitement of some kind, even if it was cheap and unemotional. And even though I thought what we had was great. 

If he thinks that these are his whys, he has a very, very long way to go before he gets it. These "whys" not only try to place the blame on the state of the M, but they are incredibly superficial. There is no depth in any of those responses at all.

Plus, his alcoholism and addictive nature didn't help. He wanted that dopamine hit, as they say. I guess I got my dopamine from thinking I was constantly "in love" and not letting go of that fairytale butterflies in the tummy love, even after 15 years of marriage. 26 years after I met him at age 14, when I latched onto him like a moth to a flame.

Dopamine hit- again, that's very superficial. Addiction is more than just getting a dopamine hit. It goes way, way deeper than that. The dopamine hit is to numb the feelings we don't want to face - fear, shame, self-loathing, etc.

Now, if we look at you holding on to the fairytale as your dopamine hit, what deeper feelings were YOU not wanting to face or acknowledge? Why was it so important to you to believe you had this fairytale relationship? Why did you need to deny reality?

I would either get mad at him for talking negatively about things when I KNEW he loved me and things were fine. I wouldn't let him have his own feelings. I would make sure he remembered how he TRULY felt. I was controlling/manipulative in that way and still am. Because now I've been controlling/manipulating the way he remembers the A and his feelings about things now. When I ask him to just talk to me about the A, I turn it around to jab him some more. And then twist stuff around to suit me.

I did the same thing.

The good thing is that you can see things a little more clearly now. I know, it doesn't feel like a good thing at the moment, but it really is.

The first thing I want you to do is try and feel some compassion for yourself, okay?! There are some mod-approved links to Kristin Neff's videos on self-compassion in my profile, please take some time to watch them.

Ok, next I want you to think about why you felt you had to control and manipulate? Dig deep, because it's likely you've done most of this subconsciously. Chances are the roots are back in your childhood, and are linked to the need to have things perfect or fairytale-like. What fears and feelings are you able to connect to this?

then I can live in reality and make the best of it. Just not exactly sure how at this moment. Waiting to see where this takes me.

I think if you can work through and process the things that have kept you needing to live in a fairytale you will have a better sense of your way forward.

If you have some free time I would recommend that you check out some of the mod-approved Pema Chodron videos I have in my profile (I recommend "Dealing With Difficult Emotions" to start), and maybe the mod-approved Gabor Maté and Mike Robbins videos on authenticity that I are in my profile as well.

I'm super stuck right now in whether I want to accept his current feelings for me, trust them, and continue on my journey in life with him - the one who hurt me so badly - or let go. I am still angry and hurt. I still have images of them together. And I still haven't completely accepted it all yet. But I think I'm slowly moving in the right direction? Hopefully my new IC person will help me become confident in whatever I decide to do

Slow down. You are still trying to rush yourself into a decision. Of course you're still hurt and angry - it's only been months since you found out. Of course you still have images of them together - this was a traumatic experience for you. Acceptance will happen (or not) organically, you cannot try to rush it.

I know it feels wretched to sit with all of these overwhelming and horrible feelings, and I can tell you still want to run from them, but please slow down. Breathe. Do not allow yourself to be pressured into anything. Focus on getting you into a healthier place so you can make a decision that is not based in fear, or guilt or anything like that. You want to make a decision that comes from a place of wisdom and self-love/self-respect.


Somber posted 2/6/2019 17:12 PM

Lovehurts777,

I understand how you feel. The shock of realizing your codependent is a hard one. . I don’t think you can put a time line on healing from such a painful betrayal. For me, I continue to see my WH reach out online to other women so it’s an ongoing issue. I always wonder why I haven’t left yet but this codependency is making the most sense to me.

Best of luck. Try not to listen to friends encouraging you to rugsweep and move on. Not many people truly understand how much of our world and identity is flipped upside down. I rugswept many times and it did not get me anywhere! Instead resentment and pain grew and my personality became numb because of all the undealt with emotions and feelings. That is why I am so grateful for this site. You get honest advice from others who have been where we are. Also, stick with IC that should help you heal and process everything as well.

I never realized the journey to healing was so lengthy but it sure has been.

Somber posted 2/6/2019 17:35 PM

Onlytime,
I was off today and started reading that book. It is informative and interesting.

I believe I have transferred my father onto my husband and have ended up with a spouse exactly like the man I was trying to avoid. It is shocking to think that we do these things subconsciously. My WH never was who I dreamt and wanted him to be. We did have that soulmate “feel like i’ve Know you forever” beginning to our relationship. It is all so bizarre!!
When I reflect on my WH, the signs of mistrust and infidelity were there when we dated. I was too blind or too hopeful for some fairytale with him that I chose to ignore it. I feel that I have often ignored things as the reality was too painful to deal with. Now that reality haunts me daily and I don’t know where to start to deal with it. I know he will never change, he has made no effort this far.
Well our pattern would have him pretend to change once something was discovered and brought to his attention by me. The trickle truths would insult my reality and I would be left wondering if I was crazy. Then things would settle and I would see his mild efforts and slowly it would happen all over again. He just found better ways to hide things over time.
I have certainly made excuses for his drinking and have stayed despite all the emotional and psychological abuse. That all screams codependent doesn’t it?

So when you realize your codependent and there is no change in sight for your current marriage...then what??

Such as the book says “when the pain of continuing our old patterns is greater than the pain of stepping out of them, we are ready for the liberation of the ego and enlightenment of mind.” I see that “remaining stuck in unconscious motivation and projection is itself a form of pain.”

I acknowledge that “ a partner who continues in his dysfunction or abuse is no longer a partner but a threat to our well-being.” I relate deeply to that quote from the book. My fear of the unknown, possibly unstable, future has paralyzed me and I am terrified to make a move and it not work out or my situation become worse.

[This message edited by Somber at 5:40 PM, February 6th (Wednesday)]

onlytime posted 2/15/2019 08:37 AM

So when you realize your codependent and there is no change in sight for your current marriage...then what??

You focus on healing YOU. You make yourself the priority and you get to a place where you feel stronger. You make the choices that need to be made for your own well-being.

My fear of the unknown, possibly unstable, future has paralyzed me and I am terrified to make a move and it not work out or my situation become worse. 

One thing I've learned about fear over the past few years is this: it is at the root of a great deal of suffering.

We allow fear to keep us stuck. Frozen. We try so hard to put ground under our feet. We are desperate for a sense of safety and security. We want to have a guaranteed outcome before we make decisions.

Life doesn't work that way.

That nothing is static or fixed, that all is fleeting and impermanent, is the first mark of existence. It is the ordinary state of affairs. Everything is in process. Everything—every tree, every blade of grass, all the animals, insects, human beings, buildings, the animate and the inanimate—is always changing, moment to moment. We don’t have to be mystics or physicists to know this. Yet at the level of personal experience, we resist this basic fact.
― Pema Chödrön, The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times

When we resist the groundlessness of the human condition we create further suffering for ourselves.

The future is unknown. Even if we think we can control it, manage it, whatever - we can't. Things can change in a heartbeat, and all of our plans can go out the window in a split second.

I know you've talked about wanting to protect your children, and that is part of the reason you feel stuck. But how much can you really protect them from this thing called life? Will protecting them from the negative impacts of a divorce guarantee their mental and emotional well-being in the future? No, because you have absolutely no control over what is going to happen to them and how it will shape them and their lives.

It's tough to let go of this idea that we somehow have control over people and situations, of the future. It really is. Four years out and I still struggle with it.

I spent my children's entire lives trying to protect them from harm (physical, emotional, etc). I thought I could keep them safe. When my DD was killed I blamed myself for quite sometime afterward. Thoughts of "If only I had..." filled my grieving mind, and took me to very dark places.

My DS is still struggling with those types of thoughts. He's become addicted to drugs as a way to numb his pain. He battles suicidal thoughts almost daily. And that protective instinct in me kicks in and I think "If only I can...".

But I can't.

I couldn't have prevented his pain and I can't take away either. I can love him. I can be there for him. But I can't save him from himself, just like I can't protect him from future hurts or pain. None of that is within my control - and the truth is, it never was.

That's a tough pill to swallow, let me tell ya. But it's true.

When you're done reading the David Richo book I hope you'll consider watching some of the mod-approved Pema Chodron videos I have in my profile. I think it may help you to better understand your fears, and how you can begin to work with them.

Somber posted 2/18/2019 16:03 PM

Onlytime,

Focus on healing me, I am slowly trying that. Thank you. Fear sure is a setback! I feel stuck and fear certainly is at the root of that. I still hope for safety and security from my WH, the very one who has shattered both of these needs. It is crazy thinking and allows me to believe his lies and that he has changed. He has not put in the work though, so I know it is only a matter of time before we repeat our history. There is some blissful ignorance to it all but it is really living a lie.


My children are 5 & 7, so yes I strongly feel I can keep them safe still as they are still very much dependent on me. They are dependent on me for the same things I crave, safety & security. I would hate to shatter that for them, I sure know how it feels.


You have lived through some very distressing events which is deeply heartbreaking. I am sorry for your loss and suffering with the loss of your DD. The experience of such grief is life long. May loving memories comfort you daily. That protective instinct to help your DS is unconditional love. Knowing you are not in control is strength and knowledge. I am not there yet but I see that you have done much healing to be able to realize that. It sure is a tough pill to swallow.
You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only option. I believe this is true for you and all the suffering you have endured. You are an incredible person and to be able to put all that suffering into healing and now trying to help others is remarkable.

onlytime posted 2/19/2019 04:29 AM

That protective instinct to help your DS is unconditional love. Knowing you are not in control is strength and knowledge. I am not there yet but I see that you have done much healing to be able to realize that. It sure is a tough pill to swallow. 

I just want to clarify that even though I know (logically) that I am not in control, the emotional part of me still wants and desperately tries to protect him. I catch myself overstepping. It's hard to just sit back and watch him struggle...to wait for him to find his own path to healing. I am terrified that I am going to lose him as well, and I know when those fears get to be too much the emotion overtakes the logic, and the codependency rears it ugly head.

He's an adult, so it frustrates him. It frustrates me too. I have done so good at overcoming the codependency with BetterFuture13. I *know* what I need to do to overcome it with DS, but it is so damn hard. I can see what I am doing after the fact, sometimes even while I am doing it, but I haven't yet figured out how to catch myself before I head down that road. I'm working on it though!


Somber posted 2/19/2019 13:55 PM

In my opinion, that emotional part makes you one caring loving Mother. He is lucky to have your love and support. The detaching part and codependency is an incredible challenging component to overcome. I am sorry you have to suffer in this way on top of being a part of this infidelity group as well.

Addiction is baffling, there comes a time when you realize that you can not help them but they need to help themselves. That is when I realized that I was enabling my spouse as opposed to helping. I wasn't allowing him to make mistakes by always covering for him. I have been trying to detach from this part of my spouse. He is a binge alcoholic and smokes weed frequently. It is another exhausting element of our marriage aside from the cheating and lying. His comments when I refuse to have a drink with him or refuse to eat a weed gummy with him (I never have done that) are irritating. I said to him the other night that I have no interest in the two of us being under the influence of something while we are home with our children. Then he says "where is my fun wife?" Well, I grew up when we had children and responsibilities. I am happy and proud to be the Mother that I am but it is irritating that I can't always rely on him to uphold his responsibilities sober.

Loving an addict can be a very lonely place. It breaks hearts and all the rules. It isn't easy but you are doing the right things. I pray and hope that he will find the strength to help himself.

[This message edited by Somber at 2:00 PM, February 19th (Tuesday)]

Shocked123 posted 3/2/2019 10:25 AM

Somber,
My H who is looking more and more like a SA (undergoing assessemets for a few months) has also mentioned that he'd like to try week, or gummy bears or some sort of cannabis product. It is now legal where we live and easily purchased.
He also enjoys his alcohol a little too much but I'll let his addiction therapist discuss that with hm. I'm done trying to fix him.
When he suggested the week, I was appaled. Really? Another bad habit? Oh, apparently there is nothing addictive about cannabis. It's good for anxiety and depression, it will help him relax. I simply said that it is not coming into our home (we have 3 young adult children) and that is he wishes to acquire yet another habit then he better do it from some other house, no ours. I also got the "get with the times' attitude.
I can't even believe he's contemplating this. My therory is that since his massage parlour habit has been curtailed, he is looking for a substitue escape. Presently he's a dry drunk, looking for a substitue habit.
I am only just beginning to understand codependency as I've finally found a therapist who gets me and has very gingerly thrown the concept my way in a very kind and gentle manner.
The more I read about it, the more examples I look back on in my life and realize I have always tried to please others, looked the other way when I was mistreated, made excuses for my loved ones and kept deep dark secrets to myselfm, including my H's SA and probably alcoholism.
I am so glad I have Si to educate myself and be heard.

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