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Feeling Stuck in Anger/Plain of Lethal Flatness Phase

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Neanderthal posted 12/17/2019 14:47 PM

I just wanted to say I'm sorry you're going through this.

You got this man! Keep your head up. Poly is set, now 180 and do whatever you need to find your inner strength. I have a feeling you have a long weekend ahead of you.

sisoon posted 12/17/2019 15:05 PM

For some time, I thought you were all in your head, thinking in terms of generalities, and really trying to distance yourself from your trauma.

Now I read you to be taking responsibility for yourself, to be figuring out and going for what you want. Taking responsibility is a prereq for using your real power, which is a big step toward healing and a whole lot more.

Knowing you can live a good life whether you D or R is, IMO, a big step toward healing. Setting boundaries for yourself is a big step toward healing.

Maybe you haven't reached 'meh.' Maybe you've reached, 'No matter what, I'm on a path to thriving.' (Maybe both or neither, of course.... )

And no matter what solution you choose, I really hope your W comes clean, if only for hersake. That's obviously very difficult for her, and it will be difficult to recover for her, too - but coming clean and staying clean make life so much more livable than staying stuck in lies.

My heart goes out to both of you.

Thumos posted 12/17/2019 15:10 PM

Maybe you haven't reached 'meh.' Maybe you've reached, 'No matter what, I'm on a path to thriving.' (Maybe both or neither, of course.... )

I like that!

Thank you Sisoon for the heartfelt reply.

Thumos posted 12/17/2019 15:47 PM

I just want to trace the trajectory of the issue with the polygraph because I think through writing and documenting it helps me see a clear unmistakable pattern.

(EDIT: I'm calling this the quintuple D pattern - dissemble, dither, delay, DARVO and delegitimize)

1. This started in August when I first came here to post for the first time. I was feeling desperate and stuck and I poured out my grief and anger.

2. At that time, I gave my wife a package of non-negotiables: STD test (symbolic at this stage but whatevs), Start writing a narrative timeline and give it to me, Submit to a polygraph, sign up with an IC who specializes in betrayal trauma.

3. Over several weeks in late August through mid-September, she began "stepping up" She began by getting the STD. Then she started writing her timeline, then she signed up for IC and had her first appointment in late September (Sept. 23).

4. During this time period she was very clear about agreeing to the polygraph. She went so far as to explicitly say at this time that she wanted me to set the appointment up when Iím ready, as she was aware of stories where WWís and WHís have tried to manipulate that process.

5. After her first IC appointment, she began steadily backing away from the commitment to do the poly -- at first mentioning that the IC partners no longer did polys themselves.

6. Over the next several weeks we went on vacation and I had additional work travel, so no poly was scheduled. Then in late October, she began using the fact that our IC's did not do polys anymore themselves as a reason to delegitimize.

7. I knocked that out from under her by just asking my IC straight up if they had a problem with it. No, he said, and handed me the card of a reputable poly examiner. On Oct. 29th I wrote here in this thread that "She is trying to use our therapists as a way to object, opting for the disclosure process instead. However, I have been clear about a ďboth/andĒ approach for the disclosure and poly ó and the therapists have no objection to this (they simply donít use polys themselves)."

8. Then on November 4, "things took a strange turn," when my WW had her panic attack at the therapist's office after I'd texted her I was calling the poly examiner to discuss an appointment.

9. That night after her ER visit, I wrote: "She did use the panic attack as a reason to refuse the polygraph. I told her no one was forcing her to do it, but if she canít bring herself to do this simple thing for me, then we need to separate. She said 'youíre going to blow our marriage up over this?!' And then proceeded to DARVO me. Why was I doing this to her? Etc. Also saying that sheís done everything else Iíve asked so why am I drawing a line in the sand here?"

10. Then in the face of this, I agreed to wait for the polygraph until after the disclosure process 2-hour session had been held. Because of the way our IC's conduct this, advance appointments with each of our IC's were necessary to prepare. On November 25th, I wrote: "The formal 'disclosure' with the written timeline with our therapists is scheduled. I have talked to the polygraph examiner and have a couple of dates on standby."

10a. I saw the AP again for the first time this fall at a school program. I was triggered something awful by it.

11. Then last week, on Dec. 12, we had the 2-hour disclosure. As expected, no major new information, but a few interesting details I'd never noticed or never heard.

12. I then let the issue of the polygraph lie dormant through a very busy weekend with kids' activities and a Christmas party (very reminiscent of how things were before D-Day three years, by the way). I only brought it up again yesterday afternoon, purposefully avoiding the subject yesterday morning before her latest IC appointment (I didn't want a panic attack repeat).

13. And yesterday afternoon is when I brought up that I was ready to move forward with the polygraph and that's when I got the "I'm unsure about that and will have to think about it."

14. By this morning, after I made it clear that "no polygraph" was a dealbreaker, she had agreed to it and it is now scheduled.

So if you look at that trajectory laid out like that it doesn't look very good, does it? Her pledge to do the polygraph dates back to late August/early September and somehow I've just been too much of a Mr. Nice Guy/chump to notice!

I'm appalled at myself!

It looks a lot like gaslighting in fact.

Just sayin'

[This message edited by Thumos at 5:05 PM, December 17th (Tuesday)]

ramius posted 12/17/2019 16:04 PM

my WW had her panic attack at the therapist's office after I'd texted her I was calling the poly examiner to discuss an appointment.

That tells you something. Get ready for either a confession, or a failing, or both.

Thumos posted 12/17/2019 16:16 PM

That tells you something. Get ready for either a confession, or a failing, or both.

Yeah well. Back when that panic attack happened, I was actually on the phone with the polygraph examiner when my MIL texted me she was on the way to the ER with my wife. Both myself and examiner felt that I was probably going to get some kind of confession that night or soon thereafter, and I thanked the poly examiner for his time and hung up the phone.

Of course - spoiler alert - I didnít get a confession at all and we proceeded apace with the timeline/disclosure session.

So Iíve stopped making predictions like that.

I will say this extended four month drama feels like it adds up to continued gaslighting when I look at it in the light of day.

Thumos posted 12/17/2019 16:30 PM

Any words of wisdom along the following lines would be appreciated.

1. The polygraph examiner said I should offer going in separate vehicles. I've also offered to let her go to the appt. alone. However, I'm rethinking both of those aspects. I think I should drive her, wait for the results and drive her home.

2. I asked the polygraph examiner when might be a good time for offering a "come clean" moment in advance of the examination. He said two or three days before, I suppose in order to allow her to calm down if she does confess.

Anyone have any insight on either of these issues?


3. I think phraseology at such moments is important. I thought about simply saying "I just wanted to sit down with you and say that if there's anything you'd like to share with me in advance of the polygraph, I think now would be a good time do that."

totallydumb posted 12/17/2019 17:41 PM

3. I think phraseology at such moments is important. I thought about simply saying "I just wanted to sit down with you and say that if there's anything you'd like to share with me in advance of the polygraph, I think now would be a good time do that."

Why do you think you have to say anything to her about this? She is a grown adult woman that should understand what is happening here. Let her do her thing and you do yours. Have you seen a lawyer yet?

BraveSirRobin posted 12/17/2019 18:46 PM

I think you could go together, but you might discuss that if things don't go well and you need a little time apart afterwards, one or both of you could Uber home. It might be that neither of you will be in a condition to drive afterwards. Neanderthal and LD could be good resources for this question. I do not think she should go alone, unless you want to pay a no-show fee.

people do not often see that the reason I know manipulation is because I have been that person.
Yeah, that's the reason I know a panicked WW throwing a Hail Mary pass to avoid facing herself and her BH. I've been that terrified soul who is finally forced to accept that her world is about to fall apart.

Thumos posted 12/17/2019 19:06 PM

BraveSirRobin and HikingOut,

What do you think about the timeline I've assembled of the past four months of her steadily delaying, backing away, renegotiating etc?

When I look at it all lined up like that, it looks very much like gaslighting to me.

BraveSirRobin posted 12/17/2019 19:29 PM

I think of gaslighting more as denying the evidence of your own senses and trying to make you believe you're actually crazy. Her behavior during the A was (among other things) gaslighting, trying to make you think you were paranoid about AP. The process since August is more garden variety avoidance. She's hoping that if she meets most of your other conditions, you'll settle down and agree to forgo the polygraph, so her remaining lies won't be exposed. Her panic has spiked each time you bring it back up and settled each time it gets delayed.

She's lied, minimized, misrepresented, and blameshifted, but I don't know that I'd call it gaslighting.

KingRat posted 12/17/2019 19:35 PM

Iíd imagine he suggested 1 and 2 to preserve the integrity of the results. Itís the same reason police interrogations often have long breaks. They donít want stress levels to elevate to where a person goes into fight or flight mode. At that point, people will say whatever it is they think you want to hear to get out of the situation. Basically the psychology behind false confessions.

Thumos posted 12/17/2019 19:42 PM

I think of gaslighting more as denying the evidence of your own senses and trying to make you believe you're actually crazy.

I meant sheís gaslighting me about the sequence of events about how patient Iíve been and also how consistent Iíve been about waiting for the polygraph ó and also how sheís gaslighting me about how she has played games around it.

BraveSirRobin posted 12/17/2019 21:38 PM

Honestly, I think the question is semantically interesting, but I'm not sure how much it matters in practical terms. Whatever you call it, she's been playing along like she's ready to take the poly while jockeying for enough time to make you drop the idea. And as I've observed a few times before, her willingness to let go of the outcome and volunteer the truth simply because you deserve to know is the critical test of remorse. After three years, she still isn't there, and it looks like she never will be.

Butforthegrace posted 12/18/2019 05:22 AM

I'm curious to know if there have been any further discussion about either "that odd night in November" in particular, or his townhouse/love nest in general.

As to the night in November, she has acknowledged that she was involved in engineering that night so that she could go to his townhouse for sex, undetected. But I gather she is saying that she didn't actually follow through, as evidenced by the group photo she sent you of herself with her girlfriends. Of course the group photo proves nothing. She could have gone to the townhouse, had the sex, then gone to the GNO for the group photo (or vice versa). By the way, what time did she send the photo vis-a-vis what time did you leave home to go to your distant event that night?

Is she saying specifically now that she had a change of mind and decided not to go to the townhouse? What reasons did she give? What did she communicate to the AP, who was almost certainly there waiting for her with his dick in his hand?

As to the townhouse generally, one line of questioning might be to ask her where it's located, and to ask some descriptive details about it: Is it one floor or two? How many bedrooms? Are the floors carpeted? Hardwood? Separate shower, or tub/shower? Furnished?

The point being, how would she know these details if she had not been there. Is she saying to you at present that she never went there?

Sanibelredfish posted 12/18/2019 09:17 AM

Thumos, not sure Iíve commented on your thread before so let me start by saying Iím sorry you are going through this. It seems like you have things well in hand, but I want to make sure youíve thought of your questions for the poly. You only get 3 or 4, right? What are the nuts and bolts issues that matter most? Please donít answer here (I wouldnít put it past your WW to snoop in hopes of manipulating the outcome ), but think about what you need to move forward one way or another. Maybe folks whoíve been through this particular hell before could offer questions via PM? Good luck!

Thumos posted 12/18/2019 09:29 AM

Yes Iíve talked to the examiner and have narrowed it down to three questions.

Neanderthal posted 12/18/2019 11:49 AM

First and foremost you gotta 100% all in with this polygraph. If she thinks there's any chance to get out of it, she will(cause she has).

Whatever your spirit animal is, kick that puppy to the curb for the next week. Have you seen the movie The Revenant? Remember that grizzly bear? That's your new spirit animal. You are the biggest baddest animal on your block and you're not gonna take any more shit!

I never told my wife specifically what questions I was going to ask before the polygraph. I told her if she fails any question, no matter how minor, we would divorce immediately.

So simply everything is on the table. Even before the affair you are currently aware of.

Definitely take her to the appointment. Its an opportunity to come clean. It also drives home how important it is to you.

Over the next week just continue to remind her that she can not be omitting any detail or lying anymore.

I got a night before confession. The car ride there confession. parking lot confession, pre poly confession in the office. And finally the examiner had to tell me what she admitted to him after I walked out. All of these confessions, she hoped was enough for me to call it off. I never waivered.

I sincerely hope your wife just dumps it all out in one shot. Or at least the majority. My wife was afraid a failing test meant divorce. Which it did. So she had a lot of incentive to come clean. I worry your wife doesn't have that incentive. She believes even failing doesn't necessarily mean divorce.

Be prepared to hear things you never even thought of. If she finally comes clean that is. Afterwards I was exhausted, relieved and totally overwhelmed. I'd imagine you will be too.

Good luck and stay strong bad ass bear Thumos.

hikingout posted 12/18/2019 12:23 PM

I thought I responded to your question, but I think BSR answered the way I would. I think at this point it's all avoidance. Manipulation is mixed in. But, to me manipulation can just be about trying to control the outcome. Doesn't mean there is a calculated plan, and there doesn't seem to be one. It seems more that she keeps taking it day by day and figuring out how she can drag her feet in order to serve the outcome she wants. I know that I would feel similar to you by this point in looking at about everything she is doing and seeing sinister. It IS sinister if she is continuing to hold information from you, and she is making it look that way.

I would also not tell her whats on the test if you haven't done so already, Neanderthal makes some good points.

Thumos posted 12/18/2019 12:37 PM

I'm going to lay out some thoughts as clearly as I can.

I'm with BFTG, I think there's a good chance she will take the poly without any confessions. I don't know why she'd do that. I'm not in her head, but she's been pretty strong-willed about this whole thing in case y'all hadn't noticed.

It could be that she's actually telling the truth (obviously I continue to harbor hope this is the case) -- in which case, I do believe I'll be able to put to rest most of my questions about the affair. I'm not naive in believing that a "pass" solves everything for me or is the cure-all for my anguish. But it would solve *some* things and at least would allow me to step forward into a space of a reconciliation attempt with her. It could also be she's willing to gamble on passing without a confession. I've thought about that too. But everything I know about polys tells me that's a bad gamble.

I'm on pins to needles right now to see if she goes through with it or tries to call my bluff and cancels it. I hope she doesn't do that, because I've established a hard boundary here. I don't want to have to invoke it, but I will. The thing I have to keep in mind is that I'm really not drawing a line in the sand over the poly. The poly is just a stand in symbolically for many other things. If she crosses this line, then I'll ask for separation.

I've told her no one is holding her feet to the fire, this is her choice, and if she doesn't want to do it, we can just move on with a separation, and she will need to let me know before Friday so we don't have to a pay a cancellation fee. Obviously, I hope she doesn't do that.

We had a long talk last night about a number of things but not really the polygraph. (EDIT: I had written her a condensed version cataloging the past four months of avoidance and going back on her word - she didn't have anything to say to that because she knows I'm right).

She began talking about her fears with regards to our 10 year old if we divorce. She voiced a lot of the fears that I have, frankly - that he's a deep feeling empathetic soul with a big, good heart, that he's very intelligent (in "gifted and talented"), that he's very attached to both of us, and she's worried about kicking off a failure to thrive academically, getting in trouble at school or worse from divorce. I have these same fears, and given the empirical stats we can see in front of us, those fears are certainly not unfounded.

I did feel she was perhaps bringing this into the conversation both simply to voice her own fears and to play on my doubts should she work her way up to refusing the poly.

She brought up in this same conversation a vague discussion of developing some kind of arrangement between us that would allow us to stay together instead of divorce. I didn't ask her directly, but again I assume this meant she is walking up to the idea of possibly refusing the polygraph and forcing my hand. When I asked her specific questions about what she meant by this, she was unable to be specific. Like I said, "are you saying you want an open marriage where we both date other people?" No, that wasn't it. I should note here this also came up bc she mentioned renewing our vows in her disclosure timeline to me, and I reacted negatively. I simply said that given our past discussions about the sacred marital covenant and vows, it was difficult for me to see how a vow renewal ceremony would be a useful exercise as far my feelings right now.

I think this part of the conversation was also reflective of a deep fear of being alone - she obviously fears either failing the poly or giving me more information would lead to divorce.

Another unusual detail: over the past two days she's brought up providing me with a post nup twice. I have never put this on the table (maybe I alluded to it once very early after D-Day) and I never put it on my list of "demands" in August. So now she's bringing it up voluntarily as the clock ticks toward the polygraph on Monday. Interesting, as I say.

Also, several times the past few days she keeps trying to have conversations about the utility or accuracy of the polygraph, and also trying to bring up information she believes undermines the efficacy of polygraphs in infidelity situations. To hear her tell it, our two IC's disagree about the polygraph. My own IC is netural and supports my decision, while according to my WW, her IC is against it. That could be the case. The two IC's do share a practice together, but they stopped doing polys themselves in their practice a year or more ago. Perhaps it was just a difference of opinion and they decided to let spouses make the decision.

Also things like "what if I fail? have you thought about that?" - that sort of thing. I've let her talk a bit, but mostly don't respond and say that this is what I want, it's scheduled, I'm moving forward, but that she needs to let me know in advance if she's not willing to do it.

Anyway make of this what you will.

[This message edited by Thumos at 1:32 PM, December 18th (Wednesday)]

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