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Accountability

LifeDestroyer posted 1/18/2020 19:04 PM

During Thursdayís therapy session, I shared with her what happened last Saturday with my husband. I handed her the letter that he had written with his confessions. I then told her everything that transpired after he spoke. I told her how I knew that I should feel anger and hurt by what he told me, but my brain would stop it because I just kept thinking that what I did to him was so much worse, that I had no right to be angry. I told him the same after he told me his secrets. He said that I canít do that, I canít minimize my feelings. I knew I was doing it, but I donít know how to stop my brain.

Saturday night while laying in bed, I started to think about him and the woman from the bar. I started to have questions, but again my brain quickly shut it down. He told me to ask him any questions that I may have and he will do his best to remember it and answer the best he can, but I feel bad. I donít want to make him feel anymore hurt in himself. I explained this to my IC, and she said that I canít hinder his process of owning it. I have to ask him questions.

Those who have been through this, did you ask your BS/WS questions? That was hard writing WS for him. I donít see him as one.

I also spoke to my IC about my guilt for feeling angry. I was honest and said ďI know I have a right to be angry and I should be angry, but it doesnít feel right.Ē Yes, my actions were more severe than his, but they are not mutually exclusive. She told me that we both have a right to be angry and feel. She said that is normal, but itís all sitting there in the back of my mind (the anger/hurt). Eventually it will come out and be ugly, unless I start to process it now and allow myself to feel it.

She pointed out another important thing: I never held people accountable and they never held themselves accountable. My uncle never apologized for what he did to me. My mom never apologized for not standing up for me when I came to her about what he did to me. My dad never apologized for not really being a parent because he was always drunk. I never pushed it. I didnít know how to hold anyone accountable because I never experienced it. I get angry with people, but I donít let them know because I donít like conflict. None of that will help whether we reconcile or not.

She ended the session with this ďRugs eventually blow over and the dust comes flying out.Ē

He came over this afternoon for a few hours. I told him what my therapist said and he agreed with her. I asked him the questions I had. He answered them all. I told him that I felt like I had no right to ask him these questions even though I knew I did. We both agreed on the worst thing he did. I told him when or if the anger/hurt do hit, that one will be the worst because of the situation at the time.

We spoke/sat in silence/looking at each other for a few hours. He worries that I don't really want to be with him and thinks that I'm not really in love with him. I know my words don't mean much. I completely understand why he feels that way. All I could tell him was that I know that what I feel and want is the absolute truth. Nothing he can say or do will change that. I told him that I would still love him even if we divorced and he remarried.

sassylee posted 1/18/2020 23:50 PM

Perhaps you donít feel the typical BS anger because you can empathize with him. Most BS canít understand how a WS could bring themselves to hurt them that way. It takes years of healing to realize the affair, while affecting us deeply, was never about us. That took me 3 years to accept and that was the source of most of my anger. But having had your own affair, you innately understand that his actions, choices, and wayward behaviour stem from within him. Just a possibility.

I think thatís why itís called Madhatter. Itís very difficult to sort through both affairs and can drive you ďmadĒ. Youíve spent so much time figuring out your waywardness that itís hard to switch roles and deal your betrayed-ness.

Justsomelady posted 1/19/2020 07:29 AM

Give yourself a break, you have since the poly done an intense amount of reckoning and wrestling with your misdeeds and with FOO, if makes sense youíd be emotionally -but not logically/rationally - confused now. You were also trained from an early age that expecting any attempt at accountability (from those you loved/ who wronged you) was pointless, so being a child at the time you probably learned to look at yourself too much for fault and potential power for a situation to change - rather than to others to own it. Add to that, it is a lot for anyone to take all the dust from under the rug and clean up to start anew. You are probably feeling overwhelmed by it even as you feel love for him. You do deserve to feel the full range of feelings. It sounds like your IC is a good one and that you and N can talk frankly like this and he acknowledges so much/you both agree on the worst of it - maybe you will have less anger anyway than you expect, as you are receiving his own accountability and see his remorse.

[This message edited by Justsomelady at 7:31 AM, January 19th (Sunday)]

LifeDestroyer posted 1/19/2020 16:39 PM

I don't want to feel any anger about it. Maybe I will one day, maybe I won't. He actually told me yesterday that he will let me know whenever the anger finally hits him.

I finally admitted that our marriage was broken. I didn't let myself see it at the time, or even now really. It's hard to admit that because I still see the good moments. I want very badly to have the chance to rebuild a new marriage with him. We now have all of the missing pieces to our puzzle. We know which piece needs to go where.

IHatePickingName posted 1/19/2020 16:51 PM

I am glad you asked the questions.

In my case, i am the one who is more in his spot and my husband is more close to you. My husband hasnt really asked me any i dont think. I tried to give as much info as i could unasked for though.

You may want to read the madhatter thread in ICR since we have talked about the interplay recently there. Your husband posts in it though so i would caution you before you jump in. I know he has expressed struggles with being where you are here.

I struggle to say BH about my husband, because he has never identified himself in that way to me. So I dropped the W and just say husband now because i feel bad only saying WH.

hikingout posted 1/21/2020 09:53 AM

I think sassy is probably right about the dynamic.

But, I want to say what I thought when I was reading it.

I will preface this with the reason I think we see things when reading other people's post has a lot to do with projecting ourselves. There is much about you that I identify with and understand.

I personally think that you don't acknowledge barriers of getting back together. You feel a need to nurture him during this time as a way of bonding. Often when a situation hits us we will cling to the part of it that fits the outcome we desire. So, instead of latching onto your feelings of betrayal, you are latching onto the opportunity to bond and possibly restore your family.

I think that's pretty normal, especially given where the two of you have been. I only point it out because if it's true, you need to be careful to process everything (not rugsweep, as your therapist has pointed out). This is marathon and not a sprint. I can see that you don't want to make a false move and leave your husband realing because he is also quite fragile as well. I think you both really love each other but need to learn to move away from the codependence tendencies in order to have a healthy marriage. That means that both of you have to strengthen your self love, your boundaries, and become more whole so when you come back together the relationship can be healthier.

KingRat posted 1/21/2020 10:41 AM

I can see that you don't want to make a false move and leave your husband realing because he is also quite fragile as well. I think you both really love each other but need to learn to move away from the codependence tendencies in order to have a healthy marriage. That means that both of you have to strengthen your self love, your boundaries, and become more whole so when you come back together the relationship can be healthier.

I very much agree with this. Often, codependents make decisions from the emotional experience of fear. You may have a range of feelings at any given time, but the commonality is those feelings may be the result of tapping into that subconscious fear.

Love, like happiness, is a state of mind. It produces a wide range of feelings and emotions. Because it is a state of mind, it is a voluntary choice or a series of voluntary choices, rather. As those come before us always said, marriage is work. It is making conscious choices in order to water the grass (our emotions and feelings) to make it greener and stronger (positive reinforcement).

When a codependent dynamic is formed, those choices become involuntary. The fear drives actions that lead to choices regardless of how those choices ultimately impact our feelings. It is the opposite of what should happen in a healthy dynamic.

So in your case, the fear of the effect of expressing your feelings is leading you to make choices that are not necessarily in the best interest for yourself. Neglecting your own feelings (rug sweeping) can lead to resentments being formed due to unexpressed feelings (dust). Then a triggering event occurs (wind), and it is blown over everything and everyone.

My suggestion is don't start with the conclusion (we want to get back together) and work backwards. Start by examining the evidence (working on yourselves) to arrive at a conclusion. You must accept it may be together or it may be apart. But do not let fear suppress or color you interpretation. Feel your feelings and tap into your emotions; do not suppress your feelings because you are afraid of their effect may have on others or yourself. Feelings are not right or wrong--they just are. Explore. Learn how to make choices to benefit each of you individually before you make a determination about the viability of a relationship.

LifeDestroyer posted 1/21/2020 12:24 PM

I personally think that you don't acknowledge barriers of getting back together. You feel a need to nurture him during this time as a way of bonding. Often when a situation hits us we will cling to the part of it that fits the outcome we desire. So, instead of latching onto your feelings of betrayal, you are latching onto the opportunity to bond and possibly restore your family.


I am absolutely "nurturing" him because I know the self-hate is feeling right now. I want him to know that he was not a bad husband likes he thinks. I want him to know that he is an amazing man. I don't want him to hurt. I know I have caused that. Did he do effed up things, yes. That doesn't make him a bad person, and that's what he feels.


If we do work to reconcile, I do not want to push aside what has happened in our past. I would love for us to work on everything that we both have done to each other and to our life together.


I know that one day what he did will hit me. I am not trying to stop that from happening. I'm not intentionally doing that now, it is just happening on its own. I try to think about it so that I can see what I feel, but right now all I can feel is what I did to him. We are not excusing anything the other one did.


So in your case, the fear of the effect of expressing your feelings is leading you to make choices that are not necessarily in the best interest for yourself. Neglecting your own feelings (rug sweeping) can lead to resentments being formed due to unexpressed feelings (dust). Then a triggering event occurs (wind), and it is blown over everything and everyone.


These months, I have really been trying to express my feelings instead of bottling them up. I want to say that I have gotten better with letting him know how I feel. I am taking more risks with my words and actions, or at least I feel that I am.


I'm really not trying to minimize my feelings. I know that I have every right, just as he does, to feel those feelings. I know he hurt me in the past. I know that if he had told me about of the things he kept secret when they happened, I would be looking for a site like this to help me, but I probably would have rugswept it as to not rock the boat anymore.


The boat has sunk to the bottom of the ocean. There is no more rocking it. There is only rebuilding it bigger and stronger to stand up to any future big waves. He needs to want to pick up his hammer and build with me. I'm certainly trying to hand it to him.

hikingout posted 1/21/2020 12:46 PM

I am absolutely "nurturing" him because I know the self-hate is feeling right now. I want him to know that he was not a bad husband likes he thinks. I want him to know that he is an amazing man. I don't want him to hurt. I know I have caused that. Did he do effed up things, yes. That doesn't make him a bad person, and that's what he feels.

I think that you can look at this two different ways. And, I think your therapist is pushing you a bit to see if you can get to the line here.

Nurturing in this sense can also translate to enabling him as well. I think him taking accountability for the ways he was not an amazing man is needed for him to come to terms with the things he must fix in order for him to be healthy. If he is healthy then you can move forward in a healthy relationship. This paragraph to me reads in a ways that you want to rescue him from those feelings. There is forgiveness and there is rescuing. There hasn't been time to forgive (even though I fully understand how you would have empathy - we know as WS how little the A had to do with our BS). In a rescuing situation, that's erasing your need for him to be accountable because you do not feel worth his accountability.

Again, I can understand this, I know I have done this as well at times, so I am not trying to shame you or make predictions. I am just asking you to reassess where the boundary lines are here.

I think its good for him to answer your questions, and you do deserve the answers for it. In many ways, he needs that too.

The other thing I think it's important to remember is often our shame is that rock bottom place where we want to be different moving forward. We feel we are worth being different for ourselves. So, allowing him to decide that rather than rescuing him from it is a gift for him to grow. These negative feelings you both have are not necessarily the enemy - they can be a very big motivator for change, and you both have to feel you are worth that.

I am not at all advising you to scream and yell at him or be punitive. In fact, in that way I would probably think it was a bit hypocritical. But, by both of you taking accountability for your bad behavior and making a commitment to self growth and change that feeling will have been useful. Your need to rescue him still shows you do not feel you have worth, you are not worth apologizing to, you aren't worth him reconsidering the way he has been living. And, I don't think that's the foot you want to be on going forward into a new relationship together.

Instead of telling him what an amazing man he is (which isn't going to ring true to him right now -it's going to come across as you being ingratiating rather than authentic) encourage him to get assistance (I am not sure if he's given up drinking again yet), tell him he is worth making these steps to be the man he wants to be. I am not saying he isn't a good man and isn't amazing, I am just saying that he does have room for improvement here and he's not blind to that aspect of it. I actually think in reading his stuff I get the sense that he wants you to hold your boundaries more. It's so counterintuitive but those are the things that actually will make a safer partner of you as well. You will not be reliant of others to get your feelings, you will be able to curate your own happiness and then share in that joy in the umbrella of a healthier relationship.

And you have been inauthentic in telling him that he shouldn't have to answer those questions while knowing he should. He can sense that dishonesty from you, it then reads to him like manipulation would be my guess.

And recognize you are worth the woman you are becoming and that your therapist is pushing you to be. I am only pushing you here because I am really rooting for you, for him, and even for your marriage at this point. Just don't go back into it with some of these codependent mentalities, that's what gets us here to begin with. Anyway, I have seen a lot of progress in your understanding of self, I think you have picked a good therapist and are on a good path to conquer what it is that I am talking about. I am concerned you don't fully see it yet, but it does take a lot of time. It took me a full year to see most of what I battle now.

Take care.

[This message edited by hikingout at 12:49 PM, January 21st (Tuesday)]

LifeDestroyer posted 1/21/2020 17:28 PM

I completely understand what you are saying Hikingout, and I'm sure my therapist would agree with you.

He is not drinking anymore. He hasn't since D-Day which unfortunately broke his sobriety. He hasn't touched it since and has also said he hasn't had a desire to.

I do have to correct one thing, I never told him that he shouldn't have to answer my questions. If I have any, he absolutely should answer them. I told him that I felt like I didn't have the right the to ask them, because of what I did, even though I knew I did have the right. Feeling vs Knowing is my struggle with this.

I can see how my wanting to take care of him can translate to me enabling him. I emailed him when he drank. I knew he had a problem early on, but I didn't stop it. I drank along with him. I would mention it here and there, but never really forced the issue. Not until I had our daughter, that's when I kept bringing it up more.

I have been an enabler my whole life unfortunately. I would go into the liquor store for my dad to get his giant jug of sangria. I would help my mom lie to my dad. I kept my asshole uncle's disgusting secret so his kids could still see him as a God. I talk a lot of shit, but I really don't like conflict. Trust me, I know that's a big thing that I need to work on and change.

Justsomelady posted 1/21/2020 20:18 PM

Yeah, second what hiking out said. And youíve reached so many important insights, it is good you are committing to speaking up and digging into the enabling issues, and all those times you could not advocate for yourself in a healthy way.

It is important to be real with each other and not ingratiating, I agree. He did not deserve what he got from you at all but I venture to say it does not sound like he actually was always such a good husband as youíve been telling him. Despite clearly loving you he really put you down and... damaged you in complicated ways for a very impactful period, taking his inner pain out on you. And you did in so in kind, later. It doesnít ring true to say otherwise. But he had great moments I am sure and you did too, otherwise you wouldnít love him so. But I do wonder how much is mixed up with trauma bonds on all sides. It is not clear to me how much the relationship was healthy and happy for you both.

Regardless, you are on a good path. He is too. You are both working on reconnecting and reestablishing bonds in a healthier way. This separation has been so hard, I can see, but it is also an amazing open window to bring fresh light and air to the relationship.

Who knows what the future holds for your marriage, but with the sorts of talks and accountability you are each having alone and with each other lately - that all speaks volumes to each of your core characters and to a reconciliation being (maybe) possible...but only with continuing on the hard path you are both on. It is exhausting as a climb but the end result will be beneficial - no matter whether you reconcile or not.

Wishing you both well.

[This message edited by Justsomelady at 8:19 PM, January 21st (Tuesday)]

hikingout posted 1/22/2020 07:53 AM

Life Destroyer -

I am glad that you took my post in the way it was meant.

However, this:

I told him that I felt like I didn't have the right the to ask them, because of what I did, even though I knew I did have the right.

I understand what you are saying here better especially if you told him this full quote. But you told him "even though you know you have the right" or did you only tell him the first part?


So, assuming it was the whole thing that you told him, that makes sense. the knowing/feeling thing doesn't catch up at first. In fact, it's somethin you may struggle with for a long time. I have found that when I KNOW it it's better to act on that inclination because the way I feel is unreliable. In other words, learning to make more decisions with your mind than your heart. I am not saying the mind never has to consult the heart on certain things, but not on everything. Feelings are changeable, they lie to us, and they often are a result of our internal self talk. Changing the self talk is the hardest. I had to literally tell myself, "okay you are your own best friend - would you say that to your best friend" or another thing I learned in therapy is that I need to be the adult the child me never had. That child me needs protected by my adult self. So, I will think about advocating for her and that helps me gain clarity.

The more you stand up for yourself and your boundaries the easier it will become. You will learn to respect yourself more because of it. And, you will start feeling like you deserve more. It's a long process, but worthwhile.

[This message edited by hikingout at 7:54 AM, January 22nd (Wednesday)]

LifeDestroyer posted 1/22/2020 07:59 AM

Yes, I told him that whole quote.

IHatePickingName posted 1/22/2020 08:17 AM

Wow, this thread just blew my mind. LD and HO, you are really hitting it out of the park here. Some really great work is happening and i am so happy to see it because i am also rooting for both you and your husband, together or separately.

You really inspired me to dig in deeper myself. Thank you.

[This message edited by IHatePickingName at 8:18 AM, January 22nd (Wednesday)]

LifeDestroyer posted 1/23/2020 21:35 PM

Whenever my therapist brings up my parents, I instantly start to cry. She doesn't judge them or talk down about them, but I immediately feel defensive. I feel the need to correct her and excuse everything away.

I felt the tears starting to form as soon as she said the words "your mom and dad." After she was done speaking, I told how I was feeling and when exactly it happened. I also told her that I really do need a whole session just dedicated to my parents. I've got a lot of shit to work through and acknowledge.

Jesus, I seriously needed therapy a long time ago. I should have said something. I should have demanded something for myself.

Justsomelady posted 1/23/2020 21:54 PM

So sorry LD. You are doing an admirable job digging in now. How many never dig deeper where it hurts, to understand?

Sharkman posted 2/1/2020 05:14 AM

It sounds like you have a really, really good therapist.

Consider yourself fortunate! There are plenty out there who seem to exist purely to make thing worse.

LifeDestroyer posted 2/1/2020 09:07 AM

I am happy that I found her. Third time's a charm I guess. She does challenge me on every answer I give her. If she asks me a question and I just don't understand it, she will break it down for me in a better way. She uses real words, not those multi-syllabic let me grab a dictionary type words.

I actually enjoy going to our sessions. I can also email or text her any day, and she will respond quickly.

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