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Fears and avoidance

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islesguy posted 12/3/2018 13:36 PM

I am paranoid with fear of setting my wife off every time I interact with her and often do set her off even when trying not to. I avoid her both because of this and also because she doesn't want to be around me. I don't know how to break this cycle and it is just getting worse and she is just getting more and more frustrated with me and this situation she/we are in. I just don't know how to speak with her.

SelfishCheater posted 12/3/2018 13:52 PM

Can you give an example?

I know what annoys my BS is if I keep looping the conversation of the past. i.e. "I cheated because I did not fully appreciate the gift that was staring me in the face" ... His response "you knew who I was and what I had to offer and you knew enough of what the OM had to offer and you made a choice. You made a winner and a loser."

Ultimately there is no "fixing this" for him and me trying to "alter reality" only pisses him off.

ibonnie posted 12/3/2018 15:46 PM

Not trying to be an asshole, but..... if you're afraid of setting your wife off every time you interact with her, maybe it's time to stop interacting with her.

According to you, no matter what you do, it invariably ends up being wrong.

From what you've repeatedly posted, it doesn't seem like she's interested in having a marriage-type relationship with you.

Have you considered a formal IHS situation, where you peacefully coexist as roommates/co-parents?

thatbpguy posted 12/3/2018 15:56 PM

Sounds like she's had it. If so, why not just say what you want to and let her get upset. I mean, what have you got to lose?

pinkpggy posted 12/3/2018 17:35 PM

What on Earth are either of you holding on to? It sounds like a misreable existence for you both.

DaddyDom posted 12/3/2018 17:52 PM

Hey islesguy,

Just a quick question. Given the facts that you did cheat on her, lie to her, betray her, and so on, and that now, years later, she still isn't happy with you or the relationship and that things are not looking like they are getting better... why do you think she's staying with you? There must be some reason? Is she just hanging on for the kids? Or is financially unreasonable for her to bolt right now? Or does she still hold out hope that things might change and work out?

My wife and I had a "big talk" a few days ago. One of the things she asked of me was to tell her how I was feeling about things - about anything, everything, but mostly about her, and us. My response to her was the same as yours, more or less... I said, "You keep telling me that you want to hear what I'm thinking and to share those feelings with you, but then when I do, I hurt you, you get upset, then I get hurt and upset, and how is this helping anyone? It's just making things worse."

Here's a few take-aways I have that I hope might be of help to you.

1) Note the "victim" mentality in my response. It was still all about me. Not about what she asked me for, or what she needs, but about my pain and frustration because dammit, she just won't let it go and love me like she used to! Sure, in my head, I'm thinking that I'm doing all I can to help her, but in truth, I'm doing it because it is what "I" want. I want her to be happy so that I can be happy.

2) BS's have built-in "bullshitometers" that are more accurate than anything science has produced yet. I promise you, she knows more about you than you know about yourself. When your mouth utters the words, "How are you feeling?" to her, she knows whether you are asking because you really care about how she feels, or because you are placating her and hoping that by asking about her, she'll be more receptive to you. What she hears is, "How are you feeling? And please say something positive because I'll feel really badly if you say you feel sad, hurt and angry like you always do".

3) Another clue is in the implication that is being set (a.k.a blame). In other words, while you didn't come out and directly say, "It's my wife's fault that she feels like shit and in turn makes me feel like shit", that is still essentially what you are saying. If she were to read your post, what her brain would see is, "He is saying it is my fault that he's miserable because I refuse to be happy. He's making me the bad guy. He's also more worried about how hard it is on him, and didn't even once mention how hard it must be on me, how terrible it is that he cheated on me and now I need to be sensitive about HIS feelings while he still can't even empathize with MY feelings, at all".

4) That level of frustration also sounds like you are "giving up" or close to doing so. Again, this may make her feel like you don't value her enough to keep fighting for her, or that you care more about your own comfort than hers.

Sorry brother, I am definitely not trying to give you a hard time or throw you under the bus here. I only recognize what's going on becuase I've been in the thick of it and doing the exact same things for quite some time now.

I know this is hard for you, and we're here for you to whatever capacity we can be. It sounds like you struggle with empathy (again, like me) and without empathy, it is almost impossible to put yourself in someone else's shoes and feel for them, or understand what they need. So it is something you need to practice and "re-learn".

It is okay to tell her that you feel really badly, in fact, I think she needs to hear that. It is more the "why" or "how" of it. Do you feel badly because you feel sorry for yourself? Or do you feel badly because you fucked up and ruined her life and yours and likely a lot of other people as well? What she needs to know is that you feel badly because what you did to hear was horrendous. If you feel badly because there is no love and intimacy left in your marriage, well, that's your fault and your doing, so she'll have no sympathy there and will only feel that you are more worried about you than her again.

Fear is about you. Avoidance is about you. Sadness and regret is about you. All those things are selfish. They are all good motivators but not if you don't get past them and on to doing something about it.

One last quick story. My wife has been asking me to clean the garage out for... a long time. Years. I've stopped and started but it never went anywhere, and soon enough, it ends up worse than before. Anyway, to this day, it's not cleaned out, not even a half-assed attempt.

A few weeks ago I bought a new motorcycle (which is a story in itself). The day I bought it, I drove it home and realized that I had nowhere to safely park it outside, so I grabbed my nephew and daugter and we went to town clearing out just enough room to fit the bike in the garage. No more, no less, just enough.

The point is, the garage got cleaned when it was important to ME to clean it, not when it is important to HER. And even then, it was only cleaned enough for MY needs, not what she asked for. To be fair, we need to build more storage and shelving to be able to clean it properly, but I haven't even laid out any kinds of plans or timeline for that... nothing. Even if I went out and cleaned out one box a day, at least she'd see effort and progress.

The story is not about the garage, or the mess. It is about me placing my priorities over hers every single time, and when I do intend to do what she wants, somehow it gets put on a back-burner or an excuse gets made and never rectified, etc.

Don't be me. Be better than me. During the affair you showed her she doesn't matter to you at all, and if you aren't fighting for her tooth-and-nail now, then she's still getting the same message from you. Don't get me wrong - cleaning the garage won't save my marriage. But NOT cleaning may end it, because it only goes to show her that I haven't changed my way of thinking or acting, and that she still ranks well below me in terms of what's important in my life. Whether that's true or not doesn't matter, what matters is that is the message she's getting and the only message she has to go on, so... unless given another message...

Hang in there. Go cry it out in the bathroom if you need to feel sorry for yourself, but not in front of her. Show her that the reason you are miserable is because of what you did to HER, not because of what you did to yourself.

Just my 2 cents.

ibonnie posted 12/3/2018 19:38 PM

but about my pain and frustration because dammit, she just won't let it go and love me like she used to!

Not to t/j, but I don't think it's possible for any BS to love their WS like they used to, because they didn't fully realize who you are or what you're capable of before d-day(s). No WS will ever be the same person in a BS's eyes... and even if we let go of the hurt/anger/sadness (which is extremely difficult when random triggers happen), it's just... it's impossible to love someone that has repeatedly betrayed you, put your health at risk, and possibly has caused you to have PTSD, the same way.

We're not the same people we were before d-day. That's not to say that a BS can't love their WS deeply or passionately, but we will forever be changed. It's not about, "she won't let it go and love me like she used to," we just can't.

[This message edited by ibonnie at 7:39 PM, December 3rd (Monday)]

islesguy posted 12/4/2018 08:36 AM

DaddyDom,

So much of what you said rings true to me and my BS.

why do you think she's staying with you?

This was not the case in the past but in the present my BS has stated very clearly to me that it is only about the kids and otherwise she wishes she could be rid of me forever.

I can see that my statements about setting her off are about me and not wanting to deal with her anger but every time I have any kind of confrontation with her about anything, it just feels like more failure and more reason for her to just be done. Maybe I don't understand the definition of failure, maybe what I see as failure when she gets angry, she would see as yes something that angered her but also something that showed taking responsibility, I don't know, it is all so confusing.

"How are you feeling? And please say something positive because I'll feel really badly if you say you feel sad, hurt and angry like you always do".

I agree this is how she has interpreted it every time I have asked her how she is doing. But, then how can I show her that I really do care how she is doing?

If she were to read your post, what her brain would see is, "He is saying it is my fault that he's miserable because I refuse to be happy. He's making me the bad guy.

I would hope this isn't the case because it wasn't meant to be about her, but I can understand what you are saying about how it could be interpreted. She has said this to me before about other posts.

That level of frustration also sounds like you are "giving up" or close to doing so. Again, this may make her feel like you don't value her enough to keep fighting for her, or that you care more about your own comfort than hers.

I am not giving up, I just don't know how to turn this around and it is frustrating to see it slipping further and further away.

I absolutely struggle with empathy, not just for my BS, but in general. I do feel really badly for destroying my BS's life but she doesn't believe me because she has never seen actions to back up those words.

Fear is about you. Avoidance is about you. Sadness and regret is about you. All those things are selfish

I know it is and it is upsetting that I am such a coward.

ibonnie posted 12/4/2018 08:53 AM

But, then how can I show her that I really do care how she is doing?

This was not the case in the past but in the present my BS has stated very clearly to me that it is only about the kids and otherwise she wishes she could be rid of me forever.

You should show her that you care by leaving her alone -- stop trying to engage, stop coming up with Saturday night plans -- you only interact about the kids, you don't make small talk, you stay in your lane and let her stay in hers. Because "how can I show her that I really do care" is still about you.

In your previous post about Saturday night fails, she said that she just wanted to be left alone, right?

And you're saying here that she has clearly told you that she wishes she could be rid of you forever.

Can you file to legally separate in your state? I don't know your insurance situation, but assuming she's on your insurance through work, she should be able to stay on it. Maybe if you want to stop making it about how you feel, and how you supposedly want her to know that you care while simultaneously ignoring what she's telling you, you could start the process to legally separate. Maybe that would give her some peace of mind and some comfort.

[This message edited by ibonnie at 8:54 AM, December 4th (Tuesday)]

watersofavalon posted 12/4/2018 12:47 PM

Why are you still together? There seems to be no joy or love between you. Itís ok to call a halt if there is nothing left.

islesguy posted 12/5/2018 04:59 AM

SelfishCheater,


I cheated because I did not fully appreciate the gift that was staring me in the face

I have saiid many times to my BS that I didn't appreciate her and took her for granted, I didn't realize this could piss her off but I know it diid sometimes.

islesguy posted 12/5/2018 05:01 AM

ibonnie,

According to you, no matter what you do, it invariably ends up being wrong.

This is how I feel but isn't because of my BS. It is because I have either fooled myself into thinking I was doing something or didn't listen to my BS when she told me what she needed or expected.

islesguy posted 12/5/2018 05:02 AM

thatbpguy,

why not just say what you want to and let her get upset.

I am not sure what you mean by this, my post was about me trying to avoid triggers and the fear involved which leads me to avoid her, it isn't about me holding back something I want to say.

islesguy posted 12/5/2018 05:05 AM

pinkpggy,

What on Earth are either of you holding on to?

I know that I am a very screwed up person and maybe don't even have the right to say these words, but I love her very much and enjoy being around her when things are not at a high tension, which isn't often anymore. She is the best person I have ever known and I will never give up hope on a different path forward but I know I am also not helping change that path because I haven't done anything to do so. I really need to get back to therapy, I know I do.

pinkpggy posted 12/5/2018 09:09 AM

Here is the issue. You know your wife reads what you post here, in fact, she tells you to post.

That means what we type, what you post and respond to are most likely altered to sound the way they should because she is reading. I don't think you can really be 10% forthright and honest knowing she reads your posts.

My husband started reading my posts and I pretty much stopped posting, or posting anything that may upset him. It makes it harder when you know what you say or don't say will be put under a microscope.

LLXC posted 12/5/2018 10:48 AM

I have read your posts for like a year, as you greatly remind me of my ex.

She has told you she is only there for the kids. What are you doing? Why wouldn't she be frustrated with you when you are not listening to what she wants - she wants you to leave her alone. So do it.

You love her? So what? You have clearly hurt her, possibly irreparably. Your love is continuing to hurt her, and maybe it always will. And maybe if you work on yourself, you will be a safe partner for her. You are not right now safe for her, she wants nothing to do with you. So listen to her.

It seems like very often you say you think you are doing the right thing but you aren't. So stop doing it, and listen to your wife. She is very clear about what she wants. Do it.

You want to reconnect with your wife, I can see that. But she is not interested in that.

I highly advise that you go to counseling, as it seems like you are stuck.

I am sorry if I sound harsh.

SelfishCheater posted 12/5/2018 11:50 AM

Dont get stuck in the loop. My BS has said many times, "if you dont have anything new and relevant to say then dont bother." Otherwise we just rehash over things that have already been covered and again this is only a waste of time for him.

I have stolen his youth. I am beating it into my skull that it only makes things worse to steal any more of his precious time with my crap. Now I do not approach him about the past unless I am checking on how he is feeling or if I have a new insight to share.

The other night I thought I had a new insight but it ended up being a time suck and a loop so I stopped and cried to myself for failing (ALSO a waste of time) then when we went to bed I got over my self pity and looked over at my BS' back and just stroked him until he fell asleep.

DaddyDom is right, our BS' could go to work for the CIA with the new lie-detecting abilities they develop. During the conversations I have displayed true (no bullshit) emotions are the times I feel heal him the most. If you go to her with self-serving emotions you will fail. Check your crap at the door and dig deep. Before you say something to her, in your own head ask yourself "is this for her or for me?" ... If you can be truthful with yourself and know it's about her then go for it. If it's for you then keep your mouth closed.

islesguy posted 12/5/2018 15:25 PM

pinkpggy,

I am more concerned about what others say about my BS than what I say because I never even see when I am being disrespectful to her or making her the bad guy, but it makes me very angry whenever anyone calls her out for anything. That is just victim blaming.

islesguy posted 12/5/2018 15:27 PM

LLXC,

Don't be, I need harsh as nothing else ever gets through to me. I agree with the counseling and am searching again for a new therapist.

DaddyDom posted 12/5/2018 16:39 PM

I know that I am a very screwed up person and maybe don't even have the right to say these words, but I love her very much and enjoy being around her when things are not at a high tension, which isn't often anymore. She is the best person I have ever known and I will never give up hope on a different path forward but I know I am also not helping change that path because I haven't done anything to do so. I really need to get back to therapy, I know I do.

I'm just curious, have you ever said these exact words to her? One of the things my wife has said to me is that I never say things like this to her.

The thing is, they get said/felt in my head. But if they don't actually come out of my mouth, then she can't hear them. For example, my wife and I recently had a conversation in which I ended up telling her how very broken I am, which, let's face it, is very true. In my head, I was being honest and open with her, and was providing her with what I thought was the best "reason" that I was being so incapable of empathy.

The problem, she later explained after much discussion between us, was that I ended it there. The part I DIDN'T say, was the part about how very much I love her and will do anything I can to fix this, to make myself into someone capable of empathy even if it took me the rest of my life, that she is worth it and that she is worth fighting for and working hard for.

[This message edited by DaddyDom at 4:48 PM, December 5th (Wednesday)]

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