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Wayward Accountability

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FearfulAvoidance posted 8/27/2019 00:34 AM

This is my first post since starting a mood stabilizer in June. At the end of May I found myself sleeping in the 2nd bedroom, with all my clothes in its closet, texting my father that I was terrified my wife was going to divorce me. Within a week of that night I had an appointment with my doctor and got a prescription.

Thank God I did. I am not a religious person and generally save my prayers for the Universe, so the amount of times I've prayed to God to please let this medication continue to work is startling and completely out of character for me. My head and what I feel capable of has shifted in ways I didn't know it could.

The effect it has had in my ability to participate more fully in reconciliation is significant, and I don't want to lose the momentum. Because at some point I will temporarily. Not because I don't care or am getting complacent, but because I am still mood cycling at least monthly as I tweak my medications. And while my lows don't last for weeks, they still can wipe out an entire day and leave some dust settling for the few days that follow. It is these days the momentum stalls and everything feels impossible. It is when the routines and tools I've put in place prior to the crash matter the most, and those tools aren't sharp if they aren't being used consistently.

My wife asked if I had anyone keeping me accountable strictly for my wayward thinking and behavior, and the work I am doing in R. And I don't not strictly. I intend for my IC to be that, but she is also working with me through my diagnosis and medication adjustments (still on a waiting list for a psychiatrist), so my IC is mixed between mental health, A digging, and R work. Which are 3 different things. I imagine there are many Accountability threads out there, and I'm going to add one more.

So here I am trying this again. I want to be able to keep my tools sharp, especially in the R part of my brain, and that can't happen unless I am holding myself accountable for the wayward thinking that still persists. I have this amazing resource that has been right in front of me for 2 and a half years and I have not been actively using it. Reading, yes, but not writing. I'd like to change that starting today.

I hope that as I keep writing, people will call me out on any wayward thinking they see. I want to be aware of what my output actually communicates, not just what I think it communicates.

fooled13years posted 8/27/2019 07:26 AM

FearfulAvoidance, I know you said that you are not religious but there is still a lot of information in the bible that can be helpful to people in your situation.
Proverbs 27:17 says;

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another

This means find someone like minded and in the same or similar situation and hold each other accountable to meet your goals. It may be helpful if you have someone IRL who you can do this with.

Good luck.

DaddyDom posted 8/27/2019 12:59 PM

This is a good idea. I think that using SI as your "accountability partner" is smart, and will give you access to not only a number of people, but also a number of ideas, tips and viewpoints from people who have walked in your shoes and had the same struggles.

In regard to therapy, my only advice is to try and not mix too many things at once. For now, focus on yourself, and even when your concerns seem affair related, do your best to still focus on YOUR part in that.

For example, the fear of your wife leaving you may speak to issues with fear of abandonment. By learning to cope with your fear, you reduce the side effects, such as depression, anxiety, and so forth. If you are less prone to panic, then you are less prone to reaching out to other people to help soothe you, and if you are less prone to reaching out to others for attention and more able to take care of your own needs... well, that makes you a MUCH safer partner to be with. In other words, work on yourself, and the benefits of that will most likely flow into your relationships and your life.

ChanceAtLife35 posted 8/28/2019 09:30 AM

FearfulAvoidance,

What you said here really resonated with me as I can relate to some of the things you are going through. First of all, I hope your days get better and your mind and body can adapt to the medications easier as the days go on. A couple things stood out in your post. "accountability partner."- I am currently in a 12 program and a person in the meeting that I exchanged numbers with became my accountability partner. I would seek advice and support from him, ask questions about my A, compulsive behaviors and addictions. He is far along in his journey so he had a lot of expert help and support to provide me. I found this so beneficial in many ways as I didn't feel alone and it gave me hope that I can get through this, heal and recover to be a better person. He is now my sponsor and things are going very well.

As far as the religion aspect, I never had a good relationship with God or prayed or felt connected to anyone really. Now that I am in the program one of the steps is Step 2 which says "Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity." I believe in a high power who speaks through me, people, things, and experiences. It feels like an energy. I now see my higher power as my accountability partner too. I am in the very early stages of this so I don't feel comfortable giving too much advice. I know IC can be expensive so I encourage you to seek out local support groups in your area. My BS is fully aware of this and very supportive.

I hope this helps and I hope each day gets a little better for you.

FearfulAvoidance posted 8/29/2019 01:17 AM

After writing that post and reading your responses I'm realizing I need to define what an accountability partner is to me, and what does accountability actually mean?

What kind of boundaries do I need to have in place before sharing vulnerable things with a person who isn't my wife or therapist?
Sharing personal details with a stranger under the guise of vulnerability is what started my A in the first place. This is why having an IRL accountability partner doesn't feel like a safe option yet.

I tried to find that in a 12 step program, but I found it was making things worse. My self focus became obsessive and I started to rationalize wayward thinking. Didn't help my anxiety either.

Speaking of which...

If you are less prone to panic, then you are less prone to reaching out to other people to help soothe you, and if you are less prone to reaching out to others for attention and more able to take care of your own needs... well, that makes you a MUCH safer partner to be with.

This hit home for me. Thank you.

I am grateful for SI because I just started to rationalize avoiding finding an accountability partner, and then realized I couldn't rationalize avoiding something that I was already using. See, it's helping already!

FearfulAvoidance posted 8/29/2019 11:15 AM

An example of current wayward thinking and behavior:

A few weeks ago we were downtown shopping on a Sunday before a camping trip. The city recently changed parking bylaws and I thought it was still free on Sundays. BS trusted me even though she thought otherwise. I was wrong and we got a ticket. $20, no big deal in the grand scheme of things, but unnecessary and easily avoidable. I told her I would pay it right away and be more vigilant about parking downtown.

After we got back from camping I found the ticket on my desk at work and thought I'd paid it. A few days later I thought about it again and checked. It wasn't paid and was now $40. Frustrated with myself I paid it and went along with my day and didn't think about it again.

Yesterday we got home to a payment reminder from the city. I told her I'd paid it and explained why it was late. We went ahead with our evening.

This morning she saw the stack of mail and asked why I hadn't told her I paid the ticket when I did instead of letting external factors tell her. That it felt like I was trying to hide something from her and like she didn't need to know because it "wasn't a big deal".

This is the kind of thinking that I engaged in for years before my affair, and led to me more easily being able to hide inappropriate communications that turned into a betrayal. I had primed my brain to decide what was "important" and cherry picked the information I would share. The fact that this thinking is still present in me makes me uncomfortable and disappointed in myself. And also acutely aware that the smallest of things can build unnoticed until they explode.

thatwilldo posted 8/29/2019 12:35 PM

FearfulAvoidance,

You said:

This is the kind of thinking that I engaged in for years before my affair, and led to me more easily being able to hide inappropriate communications that turned into a betrayal. I had primed my brain to decide what was "important" and cherry picked the information I would share. The fact that this thinking is still present in me makes me uncomfortable and disappointed in myself. And also acutely aware that the smallest of things can build unnoticed until they explode.

Me too! What a great realization this is on your part and you explained it so well! It's a very damaging thing to keep secrets because they're "not important". What I've learned is that that thought is a red flag to me. It's so important for me to share everything with my BS. It's all important.

Thank you for pointing this out and your example was great!

FearfulAvoidance posted 8/31/2019 13:38 PM

This morning I had an overwhelming emotional reaction to the realization that I am no better than my aunt's husband who was an alcoholic that physically abused her. And my judgements about her staying and working things out despite his horrible transgressions communicated that my wife should be judged in the same harsh manner.

My response to this immediate and intense emotional flooding was to say, "I need a minute" and leave the room to cry alone in the bedroom. I left my wife alone with our interaction hanging in the air for at least 10 minutes. We talked when I came back, but I focused more on me and what my judgemental attitude towards spouses that hurt their partner does to keep me in a separate bracket. Realizing that I am no better felt like I was drowning.

The point is that I left in response to an emotional reaction. It is one thing to remove myself when my mood shifts and I get angry/irritated/panicked, that is what I am supposed to do to calm down and get regulated. But in response to feeling a wave of emotion of sadness/guilt/shame? No. That is what I did before and during my A. I escaped extreme grief by removing myself from my life with my wife.

When I show her that now, it is a reminder of what I am capable of.

FearfulAvoidance posted 9/4/2019 21:00 PM

I am feeling symptomatic right now and it is hard to see up from down so I apologize in advance if I sound crazy.

Sunday evening BS and I were having conversations surrounding my A and the relational aspects of it. I don't remember how but the conversation turned to my past porn use. Probably 10 years ago or so was the first time we had a confrontation about porn. She was hurt and confused by the kind I was watching. I told her it wasn't a constant thing, and happened mostly when I was depressed. Which was and has been true. I didn't watch it again for a long time and found other ways to distract myself.

Last year while I was going to SLAA meetings I disclosed that my porn use had continued off and on after that first time, and that when I was active it felt like a compulsion. We didn't dive deep into it then because we were focusing on my A and also trying to navigate the unhealthy preoccupation I was having with a coworker.

So Sunday it comes up again. I am sharing with her about what my habits were like and when it was happening and answering her questions. She then asked me, "how did you watch it?" to which I replied nonchalantly, "an app on my phone". I was incredibly startled that her response was one of shock and hurt that I had not told her I had downloaded an app to keep my porn hidden from her.

She has asked me many times over the past 2.5 years, "is there anything else I don't know?" and not once did that app ever come to mind. To me, it didn't matter the vehicle in which I was watching porn that mattered, but the fact that I was watching and hiding it, which is why I disclosed it. I truly never thought about how. Apparently I was and am very wrong about that.

This has led her to say that sunday was another Dday and how can she know that there isn't more she doesn't know because I didn't think it was "important" to tell her.

Now I find myself racking my brain about every and any thing I've ever done over the past almost 13 years that I didn't tell her about because it "didn't matter". Do I need to remember and tell her about every time I told a white lie about traffic being worse than it was because I was late? Every time I thought another woman was pretty? Any time I used to sleep all day when I was depressed but didn't want to worry her? All of those white lies by omition that don't hurt anyone? Where is the line for past things that happened waaaaay before my A?

Current things, yes. Anything that has taken place during and after my A? Absolutely. But if I try and think about the decade prior when my thinking was all sorts of jacked, my world outlook wasn't healthy, and I had trouble taking responsibility for anything there are likely a million seemingly insignificant things that I have no idea about. How can I share and disclose things if I don't understand their relevance?

maise posted 9/5/2019 09:17 AM

FearfulAvoidance,

I wanted to take the time to respond to your most recent entry because it's hitting many things that my wife and I have been discussing these past few days.

So I know that some spouses feel betrayed by porn use just as if it had been an affair with someone else. Based on your comments, it seems fair to say that your wife was hurt by your usage of porn in the past...therefore I believe that when she asks for disclosure, she asks for full disclosure regarding things that impact her directly. Things that you did to betray her trust that caused her pain. The comment regarding white lies and whether there was heavy traffic or not is a bit 'all or nothing' sort of thinking in correlation to what she's actually asking for.

I'll try to use an example in hopes to clarify:

If porn had been a person some of the questions that may be asked would be...

*When did it happen (a general consensus, and of course if you remember a time when it happened that you haven't mentioned then offer to disclose it but give a heads up that it is an affair/porn related disclosure so she won't be sidelined with such painful information)

*How did it happen/did you do it/get away with it (this is where I believe your wife may be upset in the phone app disclosure, the phone app is a how)

We need the "how's" so that we can not only understand the ways by which we were betrayed, but with exposure of every way that you did what you did and got away with it - you essentially arm us in what to look out for. Hiding the how's is equivalent to the wayward holding back ammo that can be used against us again. When the how's are disclosed it's as if you're forfeiting all of your weapons, information, and ammo against us. Remember, we are trying to build back trust.

And of course the typical; why did it happen, why did you do it, what caused it, where did it happen, who was it with, etc.

So remember, that just as you disclose your affair(s) and all info on that, porn is no different, as to your wife - this is a painful betrayal just the same. Therefore what she is asking of you in your disclosure of affair(s) she is also asking regarding porn usage.

I know one comment you stated was should you disclose when you believe a girl is pretty...see for me, my wife needed to disclose what she was thinking when she looked at women's asses in front of me. Back then I thought nothing of it, but now? Of course I want to know because it wasn't 'harmless' like I had assumed. My wife looked at women with a completely different intent and completely different thoughts than what I thought. Therefore I ask about these things to get a better understanding of her thinking patterns, how they manifested, why they may be this way, and what she can do about them, and what I can look out for in her behavior should I offer her the gift of R. It may seem redundant and silly to explore such a "minor" offense like looking at another woman's ass in front of your wife...but I promise you it has exposed so many deeper rooted issues she's had that eventually led her behavior to become more and more extreme due to the thinking patterns she held even while checking women out.

I hope this helps.

FearfulAvoidance posted 9/7/2019 16:04 PM

Last night my wife and I drove around for 5 and a half hours talking, mostly about my past porn use and when it was happening, collectively making a timeline together. And I'm so grateful.

Something that at times has felt like it took over so much of my life was in fact something that took over small chunks of time that equated to 8 months spread over almost 13 years, with 3-4 years in between of nothing. I think why it felt so all encompassing is that when I was using I would spend entire days while she was at work doing literally nothing other than sleeping, eating, and watching porn. All those hours felt like they stretched over so much time, when in fact it was very concentrated in chunks.

Understanding this has helped me immensely to put things into perspective. And by the end of the conversation my wife sounded like she could manage this better than the thought of 10 years of her life being a complete lie.


In going through this porn timeline I realized I had never been specific about a past "preoccupation" with a coworker at my last job. This led to some hard talk and understanding of what that, and the most recent "preoccupation", actually were: I was grooming them, and myself, to start an EA. And in doing so with real people in my real life it would have most likely led to a PA, regardless of inital intent.

Getting hit with a ton of bricks while driving a vehicle at night is an interesting experience...

I was shell shocked. I had no arguement, and for the first time the "why" of my preoccupations made sense. Horrible, sickening sense. Furthermore it has forced me to look at myself through different eyes. I have been staunchly adamant that I would and could never have a PA. That was a line. I might be a cheater but I'm not THAT kind of a cheater, and my cheating wasn't as bad because it happened through a phone. Ugh. It is all bullshit.

Acknowledging these thought patterns and false beliefs has been a trial, and an inconsistent one at best. I come to these realizations, I flood with shame, and then I downplay their importance and validity, and so they repeat. At least that is what I have done in the past. I am determined to not let that continue. We can only change if we can learn from our past, no matter how dark and ugly that past may be. I am only now after over 2 years beginning to understand just how dark that past truly is for me.


BraveSirRobin posted 9/7/2019 17:20 PM

Furthermore it has forced me to look at myself through different eyes. I have been staunchly adamant that I would and could never have a PA. That was a line. I might be a cheater but I'm not THAT kind of a cheater, and my cheating wasn't as bad because it happened through a phone. Ugh. It is all bullshit.
This is such an important moment, FA. I've had to confront, more than once, the ways in which I've constructed false walls to separate myself from "that kind of cheater." There will always be several WS here whose actions were "better" or "worse "than mine, depending on the metric used, but focusing on that just allows me to hide from the most dangerous parts of my wayward brain. Minimization is my gateway drug to bigger lies. I do it skillfully and almost thoughtlessly unless I work hard to counteract it.

The distinctions ARE all bullshit. I'm so glad for you that you can see that.

FearfulAvoidance posted 9/9/2019 10:57 AM

There will always be several WS here whose actions were "better" or "worse "than mine, depending on the metric used, but focusing on that just allows me to hide from the most dangerous parts of my wayward brain. Minimization is my gateway drug to bigger lies. I do it skillfully and almost thoughtlessly unless I work hard to counteract it.

I have been hiding for the past 2.5 years. I looked around at all the WS here and thought, "What I did is not as bad, thus the same rules do not apply to me". Since Dday2 (real Dday) I have cherry picked what was applicable and what "the work" meant in the context of what I was presenting to my BS and to myself. My ability to compartmentalize, shut down, and push away the things that were too hard to look at is astounding.

At the beginning of our healing journey my BS said she didn't want explicit details. She meant in terms of reading a transcript of my A sexting. I convinced myself, over and over despite her clarification each time, that she didn't want details of the affair at all. She wanted the high level overview and the big things of what and when. So I was always vague and general about a lot of stuff. Specific when it came to the big stuff and whenever she would ask specific questions. But that's the issue, I was the one who decided what was big. For 2.5 years I have continued to decide that I was the judge of that. Recently I have been struggling greatly to understand what that actually means about how honest I have been.

If I am the judge, I decide what stays hidden, and I convince myself that it isn't lying because it doesn't really matter. It is insignificant. This weekend after much talking, reading and writing, I became firm in the resolution to stop being that judge. And in that realized I had been hiding 3 major things from my BS this entire time, that would have drastically altered the way the past 2.5 years have gone.

1. I told BS the phone sex happened only on the couch and never when she was home. Blatant lie. It happened in our bed twice, the 2nd time I was drunk and she came home while I was on the phone. I came out to greet her with a smile and said I'd be just a little longer, and then I went back to our martial bed and phone fucked another woman while my wife was in the next room.
At Dday2 I was terrified of losing my marriage. My best friend. The way she saw me was already tainted by the things she knew that didn't feel "as bad". So I hid it. I knew we couldn't afford a new couch and bed at the same time so I left it. Eventually we moved and got rid of the bed, so I convinced myself that it really didn't matter now.

2. I told BS that after false Dday1 I took a break from AP and I wanted to try and fix what I'd done, but that AP reached out to me and I got sucked back in. Blatant lie. The night BS found out, I told AP "I don't know what's going to happen but I'm not losing you". I effectively took my A underground before I even got home to face the consequences. It was all a charade, and continued to be for the next several months until I ended it.
Over the course of the past 2.5 years I rewrote that night. I didn't let myself think about the active and intentional role I played in continuing my A. I let myself believe the lie I told my BS.

3. This feels like the biggest one. After Dday2 I told BS about my secret email account and blog, and told her I had deleted everything. Half truth, because I didn't delete the email account, or apparently, everything that was in it. I lied at first because the thought of her ever seeing the conversations I had with AP made me sick to my stomach. Not out of embarrassment, but because of the sickening content that I knew would change forever how saw me as a decent human being.
I struggled a lot with this from the start. After I lied I tried to go in and actually delete the account, but I didn't because that felt like doing something even worse. So I left it, and made a vow to myself that I would never look at or think about it again. And I did an overall good job at making myself believe that it didn't exist to the point where before yesterday I didn't remember what, if anything was still there. But after disclosing the first 2 things I gave BS the username and what I thought the password was, and told her it was hers now.

I had taken away her choice at seeing the details and what actually took place and instead had been controlling the narrative of her reality the entire time. Again. When I thought I had changed, was growing, and believed we were in R and moving forward trying to build a new marriage from the rubble. It was all under false pretenses. At this point I had convinced myself of so many lies.

I kept them hidden because as time passed I convinced myself they weren't big enough deals to retraumatize my wife with. That I could do the work and help her heal without her needing to know. And I buried them so far down that I rationalized that as being true healing and being in true R. I was wrong. I have failed my wife, my sham of a new marriage, and myself.

So here I am, fresh from Dday3. This time with my authentic self. There is nothing left to hide. Not about my A, my porn use, or preoccupations with other women. 13 years of half truths, minimizing, and gaslighting are now out in the open. Never again will I need to be vague in fear of letting details slip that I've been hiding to "protect" her. She has it all now.

She is giving me until I leave for a worktrip in October to show that I can give her the most amazing marriage ever, on her terms, with me leading the way 100%. If she feels like she wants to see more, I'll get 1 more month. She is refusing to start another year of her life like this. She has given me countless chances over the years. I see in her eyes this is truly the last one. I will be damned if I let myself fuck it up.

gmc94 posted 9/9/2019 12:03 PM

FA, I'm a BS, and no stop sign....

I had taken away her choice at seeing the details and what actually took place and instead had been controlling the narrative of her reality the entire time.
IMO, this is a really important realization. No matter what happens in the aftermath, I see returning her right to make informed choices as a really positive thing.... something I wish my WH had given me.

IF you have now truly come 100% completely clean with your BW, today is the first day of the rest of a life that can be lived with integrity. Coming here to expose yourself is pretty courageous IMO.

sisoon posted 9/9/2019 12:33 PM

What is 'the most amazing marriage ever'?

If you don't know exactly what she means by that, you need to ask her, IMO.

thatwilldo posted 9/9/2019 13:10 PM

FA,

You made some amazing progress that you described in your last post.You've been really brave. You'll most likely remember some things that you still haven't disclosed to your BW. A good way to remember details is to write a detailed time-line. Many of my memories that I had kept hidden came back to me in the middle of the night and then tortured me until I shared it with my BS. I congratulate you on your understanding of how you minimized.

I think, to my BS, I'm the worst one on SI because I'm the one who hurt him.

BraveSirRobin posted 9/10/2019 00:47 AM

I could have written so much of your post around this time last year that it's almost eerie. The justifications, the minimizations, the rewrites, the lies to protect my BH that were really to protect me, the selling myself on those same lies, the illogical rationalizations, the "s/he only wanted the big picture," the "it's ok, it no longer matters," the panic as I realized I had to come clean, the terror and defensiveness of giving up control of the outcome. It's all so, so familiar.

The only real difference is that I didn't write my version of your post. I didn't have the guts to do it on D-Day 2. I processed the early stages as a lurker because I couldn't bring myself to put it all out there like you just did.

I had reservations about your declarations on your other thread, but what you describe here, if you can hold to it, could be the breakthrough that saves your M. It's likely that you haven't disclosed everything yet, no matter how good your intentions, because you haven't faced it all internally. You can't tell someone else about something your wayward denial is still trying to convince you isn't there. But you can overcome it and retrain your brain to understand that fear and guilt are a necessary part of the work. Even after the truth is out, there's still such a long, long way to go.

But at least for me, once I finally started to live with authenticity, and to put my BH first, it's like the world turned Technicolor. I never understood how much I was forcing both of us to live in black and white.

Tentwinkletoes posted 9/10/2019 01:02 AM

You're getting it. And you're being accountable to yourself. I think it's TRUE you need to be accountable elsewhere. Wh uses me. I'm happy with this others may not be. He tells me when he realises something like you have. Its painful to hear but telling me "forces him to act on it" rather than allow him to bury and pretend. He went to ic so he could use him instead but still tends to lean on me. In your case I'm guessing you bs your ic as well? So fess up time to ic and tell them you want to be accountable and right now saving the marriage is your priority you cant focus on everything at once and priority with your time frame is R.

I think you've made great progress. I dont know if it's enough in he time you have after the amount of time you've wasted. But telling her alot of this while risky is the only way for her to see the changes she needs

FearfulAvoidance posted 9/18/2019 01:07 AM

Thank you all for your posts. It was helpful to see those things in the direct aftermath of Dday3. This past week has been... a lot. I've been posting everywhere but on this thread, which is where I needed to be posting the most. So here we go...


IF you have now truly come 100% completely clean with your BW, today is the first day of the rest of a life that can be lived with integrity.

Every single thing I have kept hidden from her about the A is now out. As is everything regarding historical porn use, and the times I was EA grooming (preoccupations sounds minimizing to me now) before and after our marriage. More details and changes/edits/timing of original story have been given while building verbal timelines over the past week.

I had no idea how much I was still keeping back. Truly. The level of self deception I've been participating in is terrifying. Seeing those emails again, photos, the last conversation... it brought back so many things that I had to correct. Things I didn't even remember. I have basically spent the past week correcting a false narrative that I perpetuated for almost 3 years. Or more accurately, slicing my wife open and taking her sense of reality and twisting it up. AGAIN.

I have made every mistake one can make in this process and my poor sweet wife is the one to suffer. She is in so much pain. And yet, she is still here, trying so hard to find healthy reasons to stay. She wants to believe in me, and in us. She is giving me one last chance to do this right. She wants this to work. I keep showing her that it is a bad idea. I will be better, and radical honesty is only the first step.

So yes, yay for me being brave and getting to live with integrity finally at the expense of my wife. The greatest disservice I could do her is to not show up and stay stuck in old patterns these next 1.5 months. Being honest doesn't make that happen, but it's impossible without it.

What is 'the most amazing marriage ever'?

Great question. Lucky for me my wife has only gotten more blunt and consice with her requests and boundaries over this R process, so she made it very clear.

A good way to remember details is to write a detailed time-line.

I have been trying to write a timeline for the past 2 years. I never did one with details, only generalized whens and whats. I shut down everytime I tried to include any detail; I have 3-4 versions of bits and pieces. I wanted so badly to forget, that I would physically shut down so I couldn't write anymore, and my brain would trip over dates and conversations and everything was muddled.

The sick thing about the timeline is that it was literally all right there in that email account. I exported entire days worth of conversations from the app I used. Photos, voice clips, actual emails, everything that took place. It was ALL there in that secret email, from the end to a few months in. But I "couldn't remember" and refused to acknowledge the existence of that email to myself, so instead I kept my wife tortured with no way to know if a damn thing I was saying was true for over 2 years, as well as no sense of closure or choice in even getting a detailed anything from my memory. She trusted I would tell her the worst parts. She trusted I would tell her any details that would severely change how she saw me and/or our story. I stuffed down those things, and told her versions of everything else.
I don't really know what to do about this now. Do I ask for access to the account so I can read every disgusting conversation and finally write a timeline of what actually happened and not the lies I've been feeding both of us?

the panic as I realized I had to come clean, the terror and defensiveness of giving up control of the outcome.
once I finally started to live with authenticity, and to put my BH first, it's like the world turned Technicolor. I never understood how much I was forcing both of us to live in black and white.

Panic and terror. Those are perfect words to describe what had been building in me over the past few weeks. I finally got it through my thick skull that I couldn't actually do the work of bettering anything if I was still hiding. I had felt so stuck for so long, exhausting myself (and her) with all my trying trying trying. You can't work to be an honest and safe partner if you aren't actually being honest and safe in every facet of your mind. That's so obvious and yet I thought I somehow could bypass the most basic "rules" of being authentic. I had no idea what authenticity meant, apparently.

And yes to Technicolor also. Last week I felt lighter and brighter and full of a confidence I don't remember having felt before. While I still feel confident, the shine of being free from the burden of lies has quickly been taken over by the dark and raw reality of what I have done to my wife with this final disclosure.
I broke her brain in even more ways than before and retraumatized her. She is back to waking up and not understanding when it is. It took her 2 years to be able to go a full minute without thinking about my A upon waking, back to 0. When we are driving around talking her brain tells her we are driving around in the city where the first 2 Ddays happened and she doesn't understand whereshe is. She goes from laughing and engaged with me to sad/angry/distant in an instant. I threw us right back on that fucking rollercoaster right as it was starting to even out.

I feel like telling her all of this was the biggest mistake, but I know it isn't. The mistake was not doing it in the first damn place. The mistake was waiting 2.5 damn years to grow a backbone and look in the mirror. The mistake was not heeding the advice of this community that I read being given to wayward after wayward, no matter what their betrayal consisted of. The mistake was thinking I wasn't taking away her choice because I wasn't "actively" lying or cheating. So many mistakes. She has paid and is still paying the price for each one.


telling me "forces him to act on it" rather than allow him to bury and pretend
I'm guessing you bs your ic as well? So fess up time to ic and tell them

This is exactly why I never said/wrote/thought a word of the email account. I knew if I let the knowledge out of my head it would become real. And if it was real, I would have to tell her. It was Schrodinger's Email and I refused to ever open the box to find out.

So yes, telling BS or my IC absolutely will force me to act instead of bury. And I did tell my IC everything at my last appointment. I cried and spilled every last drop. My BS is supposes to attend my appointment this week. Not for any kind of MC, but to know with her own eyes that I have told my IC everything and that i will be held accountable. Besides which a lot of spouses of bipolar people have regular checkins with their therapists for various reasons and we haven't done that yet. Seems like a good time to start.

FearfulAvoidance posted 9/28/2019 17:39 PM

I've been delusional.

I thought it would be easier this time. I knew logically that my disclosure would blow everything up. Again. I knew that we'd be thrown back into the rollercoaster and having marathon conversations everyday. I expected this.

But I've been delusional in believing it would hurt less. That we would move through it faster. That I could do ALL the work more easily now that everything was on the table.

Instead I've been remembering things on the daily and telling her. Details I hadn't thought of in years. I did a very good job at tucking the full story of my A way in the dark recesses of my mind. Pretty sure my family invented avoidance, deflection, and denial, and I've been an excellent study. But now it is resurfacing, and I feel compelled to tell BS everything as it does.

I thought that by finally being honest she would see that she can trust me now, that I am safe. How incredibly ridiculous of me. She said last night that she trusts me less now than she ever has. The the blunt truth is that there is so much little of her left for me now than there was at Dday1. Or 2.

How did I convince myself that we could fast forward through the pain of fresh discovery? Because I knew that I am more capable now. The only person this is remotely easier for is me. Further proving how self focused and blind I still am.

BS said last night that I show her the most love and respect when she is miserable. When things are on the verge of going away and I can swoop in at the last minute. KISA bullshit. But when she shows me kindness or affection I become entitled and am prone to defensiveness. In doing so over the years I've trained her brain to understand she can only be loved by me if she is miserable.

Can anyone even remotely relate to this? Because she's right. I can see it. She held a giant mirror up to me last night and I loath what I saw. I want to be better than this. I keep thinking that I'm getting somewhere better, and then discover I am nowhere close.

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