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The true me???

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Need2Do posted 2/4/2020 15:54 PM

An addition...my husband and I had seen an mc (the most unconventional one at that) who described me as being 'emotionally flat' but 'very expressive' (I think I am saying that correctly). What he meant was I sounded flat, but he could read my facial expressions easily.

Like you, I have worn mask, upon mask, upon mask, after a while, you have to wonder who you really are...what is the real you? I think that is who I am afraid of myself...

I would love to have my H be apart of my IC, he is far more insightful than I am at times. But it would be at my invitation.

Zugzwang posted 2/4/2020 16:28 PM

I don't know. I guess I just see this differently. If you have been in IC for some time and are not sharing or being vulnerable...then they are left with what you give them to work with. Which I can see might give them that inquiry. Especially if you never confessed this until then

I tried to explain to him that when I don't show them it's because I don't feel confident in my feelings. I am insecure. I am so used to masking my feelings that I don't know how to show them
Which for an IC wouldn't be the first time patients snowballed them or just lied. We have seen WS here that admit to lying in IC. So, they are left to go with other explanations. Have you admitted to him or been vulnerable about the above quote before, or was it only when challenged with having to fess up till now?

ManishsDad posted 2/4/2020 17:13 PM

My wife is on the spectrum. The oft-repeated notion that people on the spectrum donít have empathy is a myth. They have it and in some studies they seem to have an excessive amount of it. They just donít understand nor express empathy in the same way the rest of us do which makes it seems as if they have none. Itís not an excuse for crappy behavior because if someone has an affair theyíre in the wrong whether they are on the spectrum or not. It might provide some explanation for some of the thought processes the person has. It doesnít justify anything.

I donít know you and have no idea whether you are on the spectrum or not. I do know that a lot of times men and women present differently. My WW is a twin, and her brother was diagnosed far earlier than she was. He was easily identifiable as having Aspergerís Syndrome. My wife slipped the cracks for years because she was able to ďpassĒ a lot better than her brother.

My wife is sensitive (maybe too sensitive) and she is caring. But she can come off pretty cold and uncaring for those who donít understand her. And she is not very tactful though she is working on it. Thereís nothing wrong with being a person with autism. It just takes patience and understanding.

I do know that only a qualified professional can make a diagnosis and that at best your therapist was just sharing a hunch that she had. She could be absolutely right or she could be absolutely wrong. Either way her opinion is simply that. You would need to be formally assessed before anyone would know for sure.

LifeDestroyer posted 2/5/2020 08:45 AM

LD, if you don't mind, what did your IC say?

I have trouble looking at adults in the eyes when we are talking especially about emotional things. I look all around, past their eyes, focus only on some other part of their face, anything but their eyes. I have done that for awhile. If we're just talking about trivial things, then I don't have a problem. It's when I'm questioned or discussing anything emotional.

During our first meeting, and even with my other therapists, the first thing I told them was that I have trouble looking at people in the eyes when really talking. That was her first red flag for thinking I was on the spectrum.

Since I have difficulty expressing raw emotion, she also thought it could be a reason I'm guessing. For instance, during our last session, I had read her an email he had written me asking questions about empathy. I felt frustrated with them because I honestly feel like I do show empathy. After I was done talking I said to her "I'm sure happy now that you finally got to see me frustrated." She went "Oh, that was you frustrated?!?" She said she had no idea because I looked the same as I did when I was happy, animated and smiling. I told her that I get awkward when frustrated and try to be funny or say sarcastic crap to break the tension. That's exactly what she saw. However, when I showed that frustration to N the following day, he didn't see me being funny, he saw me being pissed and didn't know how to react.

When we spoke after he saw her, he told me that he never really sees emotions from me, except that frustration. I told him that in my head I feel that I am showing emotion, but it's not showing on my face. Instead I give this stupid smug smirk, which I don't even try to do.


I don't know. I guess I just see this differently. If you have been in IC for some time and are not sharing or being vulnerable...then they are left with what you give them to work with. Which I can see might give them that inquiry. Especially if you never confessed this until then

I have been very vulnerable with her. She knows absolutely everything about past. I have cried over things that I have never cried over before. She knows that I don't feel confident in what I feel or say. She knows that I don't want to hurt people's feelings over my own.


Have you admitted to him or been vulnerable about the above quote before, or was it only when challenged with having to fess up till now?

I want to say that I have told him that before, but I could be wrong. He has mentioned before me not showing emotions during this, and I know I told him that I do feel everything but have trouble showing it. That would be a question for him. He is posting on this thread. If there is a question that I can't answer, then he can absolutely answer it or give his thought on something.

hikingout posted 2/5/2020 09:35 AM

Neandrathal -

I don't think anyone thought you have done anything wrong or conducted yourself wrong.

And, while it might have had a positive overall impact on the way you see LD, that was a gamble as a professional she should not have made. It could have gone either way and she had no idea which way it would go.

And, if your were to have believed her and gotten something positive from having some new explanations - there was still a gamble that if she was wrong that would cause a huge shift only to be shifted again. This IC has made a huge misstep in my opinion.

LifeDestroyer posted 2/5/2020 09:51 AM

I did email her telling her that I was upset that she told him that without really discussing it with me first.

She replied apologizing for doing that. She also said that it was great and showed progress that I wrote her. She knows I normally wouldn't haven't done that. I would have just let it go and fester inside of me. She apologized for the issues it may be causing me, and that while she challenges clients, which is part of the process, she didn't intend to challenge me in a way that causes unproductive movement in my mind.

We will be discussing all of this Thursday. I do still feel comfortable opening up to her. Yes, we absolutely should have discussed this more first before mentioning anything to him, but I also believe she didn't do it to be malicious in any way or inappropriate. In addition to wanting to help me, she does want to help him in whatever way she can even in just one meeting.

Neanderthal posted 2/5/2020 10:03 AM

Zugswang,

Before her affair and DDay, LD never talked about her feelings. She would never have admitted something like this:
I tried to explain to him that when I don't show them it's because I don't feel confident in my feelings. I am insecure. I am so used to masking my feelings that I don't know how to show them
So she very well could be snowballing me and her IC.

Hikingout,
Thanks, it wasn't you specifically who made the "they" statement.

I do agree, her IC made a big mistake. I think it's correctable though. LD made a good first step by telling her IC how all this made her feel. IC apologized and I suspect she will be way more careful in the future.

I am doing my best to remember that the comments her IC made were just possibilities and her opinion. Hopefully LD has the same mindset.

Something I said to LD shortly after the meeting. Whatever the cause of it, whether it be learning to repress emotions due to FOO issues, a clinical diagnosis, or just plain minimizing and lack of empathy. I really don't care. She just needs to work towards correcting it. I NEED to feel her emotions. If that means I have to learn to see it differently, so be it.

So far the jury is still out. I am trying to be patient though.

This may not make sense but I'll say it anyways. It was a relief and a breath of fresh air hearing from someone IRL that my wife actually wants me. That was the biggest takeaway I had from the meeting.
I don't trust LD directly, I don't completely trust internet strangers. LD convincing an impartial person face to face of her feelings for me, seems harder to fake.

[This message edited by Neanderthal at 11:27 AM, February 5th (Wednesday)]

Neanderthal posted 2/5/2020 10:05 AM

Cross posted with my wife on a surviving infidelity forum. Boy o boy has my life changed.

Zugzwang posted 2/5/2020 16:51 PM

IDK, but to me it just seems you are frustrated with people not seeing your true feelings because you are uncomfortable with showing them and have spent a lifetime avoiding or perfecting masking them...then are upset that it is working while not understanding why they would be baffled or think other things to explain your lack of emotion on a more identifiable level. I wouldn't get so upset he asked about being on the spectrum...in an unintentional but sort of intentional way...you wanted it that way. To be aloof from it to avoid real intimacy. So, in all he is left with what revel you have decided to give him.

Though we lie to ourselves and manipulating becomes second nature, at this point you very well may not even know the truth if it bit you.

As far as the looking thing. Good God there could be plenty of reasons why a person doesn't look another in the eye. That is grasping at straws to me. Prior abuse by adults as a child can really impact that. A simple lack of self confidence. An introvert. Plenty of good reasons why a person will not look another in the eye. The fact you addressed it first should probably make it clear you have some introspection and maybe clear that up that it isn't spectrum related. Though I am not sure if someone on the spectrum would generally have that introspection or readily available reason for not looking someone in the eye.

Neanderthal posted 2/5/2020 17:09 PM

I didn't ask the IC about the spectrum thing. The IC mentioned it to me. It wasn't on my mind at all until then. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

pearlamici posted 2/5/2020 18:20 PM

I tried to explain to him that when I don't show them it's because I don't feel confident in my feelings. I am insecure. I am so used to masking my feelings that I don't know how to show them.
While I haven't read through each and every post of both you and N's thread, I think I've read enough to respond to this .... given the earlier history of your marriage - it seems you always tried to please ... I feel I want to respond because I've been told I don't show emotion and the exact opposite is going on inside me - I am full of emotion but not about myself - trying to see things from the eyes of whomever I'm dealing with - and I don't feel confident in my feelings either because I'm so caught up in the feelings of others that my feelings are on the back burner ... so in conclusion the exact freaking opposite of someone on the spectrum.

He doesn't know if he has the patience to meet the true me while he is trying to heal himself.
As a betrayed spouse, I totally understood most of N's previous posts but again given the unusual nature of your early marriage - I find this just bullshit.

Earlier in the week he had asked me some questions about my shame. I went on to answer them, but he didn't agree with them. I did answer all of them truthfully ...
No wonder you don't feel confident in your feelings. How can someone disagree with your feelings?

LifeDestroyer posted 2/5/2020 18:34 PM

Zug, he never asked me about being on the spectrum. He told me what my IC spoke to him about. When I got frustrated with him, that was before they met. That was about the questions he had asked and my answers to them.

As a betrayed spouse, I totally understood most of N's previous posts but again given the unusual nature of your early marriage - I find this just bullshit.

It doesn't matter what happened early in our marriage, he is still a betrayed spouse trying to heal. He has shown me patience, lots in fact. However, asking him to stand by me while I figure out my shit while he needs to figure out his own shit is a huge task.

For the feelings, it definitely sucked that he didn't agree with my feelings, but that's just it, they are my feelings, not his. He also apologized for that and said that he can't tell me if my feelings are right or wrong because they are mine.

Neanderthal posted 2/5/2020 20:07 PM

He doesn't know if he has the patience to meet the true me while he is trying to heal himself.
As a betrayed spouse, I totally understood most of N's previous posts but again given the unusual nature of your early marriage - I find this just bullshit.
I can understand why you think that is bullshit. Especially after all I have done to her. But LD has been telling me she's been wearing masks her whole life, now she has an affair and blows up our life. She then realizes the masks have to come off, and I am supposed to wait patiently for her to figure out who she is? Oh and somehow learn how to tell if she's being authentic through all of it.

D or R, I will see what she becomes. Thanks to our daughter, we will be in each others lives for a long time.

How can someone disagree with your feelings?
You never disagreed with your WH after DDay? While he was getting his shit together, you never once called something he thought or said bullshit? After he got his head out of his ass, did he not come around and say: "yeah, that was bullshit thinking".
I do have to work on listening to her and taking it at face value. I assume most BS's can understand the difficulty in that.

Things I can do:
Don't ask for or expect perfection from LD.
Continue to feel empathy towards LD.

pearlamici posted 2/5/2020 20:28 PM

UGH, I hope this doesn't double post ....

You never disagreed with your WH after DDay? While he was getting his shit together, you never once called something he thought or said bullshit? After he got his head out of his ass, did he not come around and say: "yeah, that was bullshit thinking".
You're absolutely right - I did call him on his bullshit when he contradicted himself - and he did admit being full of shit... All I'm saying as an outsider looking in - I see you as freshly wounded, but I see your wife as chronically wounded - To me it seems two people in pain that they caused each other. So maybe it is an SI double whammy - she has to help you heal from the recent infidelity but you have to help her heal from the old wounds as well. Oddly you both seem so broken down to the bone that maybe it is all authentic now. No advice, I'm just telling what I see.

Zugzwang posted 2/6/2020 17:40 PM

he never asked me about being on the spectrum. He told me what my IC spoke to him about. When I got frustrated with him, that was before they met. That was about the questions he had asked and my answers to them.

I meant him as in the IC. I thought the IC was a male.

LifeDestroyer posted 2/6/2020 18:34 PM

Sorry Zug, I thought you were talking about my husband.

LifeDestroyer posted 2/7/2020 10:15 AM

I had my session yesterday. She was very concerned that I wouldn't feel safe or comfortable anymore speaking with her, but I told her that I still do. She told me about the things that they spoke about, and she said that she gained a much better understanding of him. She was able to see how he feels about things and what his biggest concerns are.

One of the big ones is how to get me to show him depth in my emotions. She told him that when she and I speak, she can clearly see and hear my emotions.

She did tell me that she can't and wasn't diagnosing me. She isn't qualified for that. She explained that she was trying to give a suggestion based on what she has seen and has experienced with her husband.

So, why do my emotions go blank and flat with him? I know I don't feel confident. I know I worry that they won't be good enough. I know that I get stuck in my head going through every possible situation and think about how each word will affect him. I know that I don't want to hurt him with my feelings or words.

[This message edited by LifeDestroyer at 10:07 PM, February 7th (Friday)]

Zugzwang posted 2/7/2020 22:02 PM

^^^I don't understand. This type of stuff sounds like what our MC did. Not our ICs. ICs are about you, why does she need to understand him? I mean if it works, I am all for it. I just wonder if she has experience with MC and juggling more than one pt. We had separate ICs and MCs.

IDK, maybe it is just me. It just seems like you two could at this benefit with an experienced MC in infidelity. Ours helped us how to talk and communicate better. Well, actually pretty much me. Though she did help us see FOO patterns we brought into the marriage individually.

LifeDestroyer posted 2/7/2020 22:06 PM

She does do MC as well.

She said she wanted to learn about him so that she can help me communicate better with him. She's trying to help me with all of my issues (foo, infidelity, marriage, communication).

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