X

Cookies on SurvivingInfidelity.com®

SurvivingInfidelity.com® uses cookies to enhance your visit to our website. This is a requirement for participants to login, post and use other features. Visitors may opt out, but the website will be less functional for you.

more information about cookies...

Return to Forum List

Return to Wayward Side

SurvivingInfidelity.com® > Wayward Side

You are not logged in. Login here or register.

Helping my BS

Bulcy posted 6/7/2020 10:58 AM

Hi, My BS and I have spent a huge amount of time trying to unpick and understand my affairs. We've been through so may steps in looking into me and trying to fix me that we have neglected her.

We are now nearly three years post D-Day 1 and I have wasted so much of this time not helping the recovery and resenting her attempts to help. My wife has read extensively into understanding what the hell I was doing and why. I, eventually, got my head out of my arse and myself out of the fog and have been working on me too. (I will write my story in another post).

The thing which has been neglected is her recovery. We're hoping that some of this will come from fixing me, but everything we read suggests we need to work on her too. That is where we need help. Our councilor was, until lock down, focusing on me and us. NOT her. We're thinking of switching to someone new when we can. Unfortunately we cannot do this at the moment. We have been looking for books that focus on healing the betrayed but have not found anything which is working. Can anyone recommend something that helped your betrayed? We're working together on re-building trust but really need help on her.

This forum has been fantastic for both of us. While most of our reading has been on fixing me and us we spoke today about the need to help her.

Any help will be appreciated.

FYI The books we've read/reading fro me/us are:

Infidelity why men and women cheat - K Rosenberg
Infidelity Exploring the myths - J Moore
Out of the Doghouse - R Weiss
I love you but I don't trust you - M Kirshenbaum
Healing from a affair - Doug and Linda
Recovering from Affairs - P and J Vaughan

There are others, but they're on a similar theme. I think what were after is help in rebuilding a shattered self worth, I've done so much damage to her that we do not think these books offer quite enough to help us begin to rebuild her.

Hopefully that makes sense to you guys?

Stinger posted 6/7/2020 12:50 PM

How on earth were you ok with her not getting help for 3 years? Talk about self focused.

landclark posted 6/7/2020 18:04 PM

How on earth were you ok with her not getting help for 3 years? Talk about self focused.

I donít think this is fair at all. You see waywards on here told over and over that they canít heal their BP, all they can do is fix themselves and the BP has to heal themselves. I honestly cringe whenever I see it because I absolutely think you need to work together in this way and yes, you should try and help heal each other.

Anyway....

Bulcy, is she asking for help? Or do you just think she needs help? What are some of the specific issues? For me, the best thing I did for myself was getting my own therapist and confiding in a couple of friends. It made a huge difference for me. Is that an option for her?

My WH is also very open to my feedback and insights. If youíre still acting resentful, that needs to stop. You donít always have to agree with her insights, but you should appreciate that three years in she is still trying to help you.

Does she post here? Having my own posts and getting my own feedback has also helped a lot.

Overall, best thing would be her own IC.


[This message edited by landclark at 7:57 PM, June 7th (Sunday)]

GuiltAndShame posted 6/7/2020 18:05 PM

Thank you, Bulcy, for writing such a detailed post, and especially for recognizing your BSís needs and listening to them and considering them. To me it shows good communication and openness, which are awesome and essential.

Bulcy posted 6/8/2020 05:11 AM

Bulcy, is she asking for help? Or do you just think she needs help? What are some of the specific issues? For me, the best thing I did for myself was getting my own therapist and confiding in a couple of friends. It made a huge difference for me. Is that an option for her?

My WH is also very open to my feedback and insights. If youíre still acting resentful, that needs to stop. You donít always have to agree with her insights, but you should appreciate that three years in she is still trying to help you.

Does she post here? Having my own posts and getting my own feedback has also helped a lot.

Overall, best thing would be her own IC.

We have considered IC and I will bring the subject up once again, but only after this Covid thing is over. We have been in marriage guidance and some of this was focusing on her, but it was not effective. The books we're working through focus on both of us, but I've noticed that she is still suffering greatly from lack of self esteem (I know I shattered her and that this is entirely my doing). That is what triggered a discussion between us both. I'm trying to be that person she needs to help her heal and understand the irony that its me who has dealt the damage and who is attempting to fix it. I see her pain and want to do everything I can to help.

We're hoping that the work we are doing, now with me "in it", will help her. I was hopeful that there would be something out there to focus on her fully rather than me. I'm not sure if it even needs to be 100% affair related necessarily?!!?

She does not post on here, but does read. She introduced me to this forum.

gmc94 posted 6/9/2020 10:40 AM

FIrst, this is TRAUMA. I spent countless hours w/ an IC who represented herself as specializing in infidelity....and made VERY little progress. What helped me the most was an IC who specialized in TRAUMA.

Most CSAT (certified sex addiction therapists) now work from the relational betrayal trauma model, so a CSAT should be in a position to treat the trauma through the lens of infidelity. Like any therapist, not all CSATs will "'click" with the client. The only CSAT in my area who takes my insurance is good, but has a personality/demeanor that I find somewhat cold or distant, and I don't think she pushes me hard enough. So, I see an IC who specializes in trauma healing. Started with neurofeedback, but she also does EMDR and IFS (internal family systems) therapies. She's been a Godsend to me. It's difficult, hard, soul pounding work.

Everyone is different, and we MUST keep in mind that the BS brings their own emotional baggage to the table that is dday. What the particular baggage contains is unique to each BS.... FOO, abandonment, past sexual trauma, etc. All of those old wounds can be reopened by dday, so the BS is not "just" coping with the new (and giant) wound of sexual betrayal, but may also be coping with the feelings of all the betrayals and hurts of the past. For me, it meant that tons of IC work I'd done in the 30+ years before dday basically went out the window. Every damn scar from my life was now also in need of cleansing, sutures, and time to heal. One of the tricky things is finding and identifying all of those old hurts and how they impact the new, giant, wound in my heart. It's about as fucked up as anything can be.

I also want to comment on the books you list, but particularly in conjunction with the idea of the relational betrayal trauma model. One of the tenets of RBTM is that BS can be re-traumatized by the advice/therapy they get after dday. A common one is being labeled codependent. A BS' trauma response may look like CoD behavior, but it's really a trauma response that is triggered by dday. Personally, I had CoD tendencies before dday, so that label wasn't particularly retraumatizing for me, but it can be for others who did not have CoD issues before the trauma of dday. I bring it up also bc when the message a BS receives post dday is there is something wrong with them, it can be another layer of trauma (and I think most of us intuitively go through a period of thinking it's somehow our fault, we aren't enough, etc., making it a double whammy). That message almost always comes from a WS. But it can also come from an IC/MC. And in my experience, there is ZERO question in my mind that it can come from any number of the plethora of books out there on infidelity. I have a 2-ft tall stack of infidelity books - and those are only the ones I had to buy bc my library didn't have them... if I added the library books it would probably be a 5-foot tall. And out of all of them, the only ones I got real benefit from were How to Help your Spouse Heal From your Affair, and Not Just Friends. The rest may have had a some useful insights, but nothing solid. Nothing that resonated like MacDonald and Glass.

This may or may not be the case with your BS. I will say that for me, everything from Mira Kirshenbaum (which I didn't even read until year 2) felt like BS blaming. I don't have the books in front of me to quote directly, but in at least two of the books there was stuff that basically said the BS needs to look at his/her role in the A. I don't believe that stance helps OR gets to the core of healing from the BS' perspective. It's like it skips steps. I do agree that a BS does need to dig deep into their own behavior in the M. But that part of it comes as part of R, or part of what s/he wants from a new relationship going forward. IOW, it doesn't address and process and heal the trauma itself. It's like putting a cast on a broken bone before it's been set back into place. It may heal, but not in the most effective and long lasting way.

Many books will use the term "vulnerability" and what made the WS "vulnerable" the A, and then looking at the M or the BS as one (and sometimes even the primary or predominant) source of that vulnerability. IMO that is utter and complete bullshit. The things that made a WS vulnerable to an A are the WS' own crummy coping skills, own sense of entitlement, etc. I think this is especially true of those who have LTAs or have multiple As/ serial cheating. To me, the problem with the language is yet another way to rope in a BS to accepting responsibility for the WS choosing to life a secret sexual life, choosing to lie to their BS, and choosing to engage in the A(s). another way to judge and pathologize the BS when s/he is in a headspace that likely needs the exact opposite.

Of course a BS has a role in M issues (tho I have never subscribed to the premise that it's 50/50, as no one can be 50% responsible for actions when their very reality is nothing more than quicksand). It just seems to me that delving into the BS' "role" in the pre-A problems in the M is an exercise that happens after there has been some solid healing on both sides of the street. Most BS will automatically blame themselves for at least some period of time after dday (and how much and how long depends on what's in that baggage we all bring to the dday table), so adding to that mountain can be counterproductive to the BS healing.

So, I guess the bottom line is be careful about the ways in which books and IC/MC can pathologize the BS in a way that basically increases the trauma. It can be very subtle or subliminal, but our lizard brains can pick up on that crap..

For me, one of the biggest lightbulb moments was listening to Marnie Breecker's 2-part interview on Duane Osterlind's "The Addicted Mind" podcast. There was a thread on SI with approved links, but you can google it. I was probably around 6 months when I stumbled upon that thread. One of the biggest gifts there was giving language to the things I was feeling, like it being an existential crisis (which it sure as heck was for me). It was the first time that I felt someone just understood what I was going through. Breecker and Osterlind have since started their own podcast, called Helping Couples Heal, that focuses on the relational betrayal model. I recommend both podcasts.

Other game changers were Rick Hanson's Resilient, which is about finding and incorporating joy into your life, being a friend to yourself,etc. I still use his techniques. And The Body Keeps the Score by Bassel Van der Kolk. That book is solely about trauma. Again, it put language to the things I was feeling and many unhealthy behaviors. Validated what was going on and helped me to see that the fact I was not healing in the way I wanted was not bc something was inherently "wrong" with ME, but that it was TRAUMA, and trauma is some tricky shit to address and process and heal from.

I became a huge fan of Brene Brown, and have read and listened to just about anything I could get my hands on. I think all humans would benefit from reading her work.

This is probably pretty long. Not sure if any of it will be helpful, but this has been my experience.

hikingout posted 6/9/2020 12:56 PM

I donít think this is fair at all. You see waywards on here told over and over that they canít heal their BP, all they can do is fix themselves and the BP has to heal themselves. I honestly cringe whenever I see it because I absolutely think you need to work together in this way and yes, you should try and help heal each other.

Landclark, but he wrote:

We are now nearly three years post D-Day 1 and I have wasted so much of this time not helping the recovery and resenting her attempts to help.

I think what we are told as WS is we heal ourselves and we take the lead on healing the relationship. We do everything in our power to provide an environment and circumstances in which the BS can heal. We can not fully heal a BS on our own. There are circumstances when the WS does have to be reminded they can't do all of it, depending on what is being written.

I don't think we know enough about this poster to know where the problems are. Is it that he hasn't changed his behaviors? Is it that he trickle truthed until last week? I know his post states dday was 3 years ago, but it doesn't say if there was other activity after that. I mean, he just made a post about an AP contacting him on linked in, is that 3 years later or is this a newer AP than his dday? I am 3 years out too, I can't imagine a scenario where the AP would still be contacting me or vice versa. But, I do know there are some crazies out there.

I have seen WS who come here that truly have wasted 3 years. And honestly, sometimes they have to get to that pain point where they are no longer going to sit in their shit and not fix things. I tend to believe that if someone is fixing themselves that will show up in their relationship, in their attempts for R.

So, I am really not arguing with you landclark, I am using your comments to illustrate he hasn't painted enough of a picture for us to really be able to advise him fully.

Bulcy, when you are fixing your own shit you should already be gaining:

empathy skills - wanting to know more about how she feels and why, initiating conversations about it, noticing when she is hurting, apologizing for specific things, etc.
honesty
transparency

These are things that would be there if you were working on yourself as a person.

And, you should be able to articulate why you had an affair. What qualities and thoughts you have that need to be worked on. Did you trickle truth her until she still doesn't feel like she has the full truth? Did you give her a timeline? How much IC have you had?

AintGonnaLose posted 6/9/2020 14:00 PM

I just wanted to say Iíd be thrilled if my WS put 1/10 of the time and effort into fixing himself, and allowing me to be a part of that, that you have. Iíve been left entirely on my own to heal with no support at all from him, while he claims he has nothing to fix, that a month before d-day, he stopped the behavior, (that part is true), hasnít even been tempted to return to it (that I find very difficult to believe), and heís fine, all of our trust issues are my problem. He ďtakes responsibilityĒ for what he did, so I should stop being affected by it and leave him alone about it. No need for introspection, no problem for him to fix. Thatís the true self-Involvement. If he focused all his time on his healing, it would be doing wonders for mine, because that is what Iíve needed most in order to heal myself. As it is, Iíve made great strides in the last 3 years in healing on my own, despite the fact that he continued pile on the pain with his shitty attitude and lack of care. I warned him all this time that I would heal, with or without him, but if he made me do it on my own, heíd more than likely be ensuring that the marriage would never recover. Donít forget there are 3 entities that need to heal, you, her, and the relationship. But from my experience the WS healing is over half the battle in all those areas

landclark posted 6/10/2020 07:48 AM

A BS' trauma response may look like CoD behavior, but it's really a trauma response that is triggered by dday.

This is an amazing statement. I can't tell you how many times as a BS I've been told I'm just CoD. It's like you're not allowed to be a little off after DDAY. I think there are certainly cases where this is true, but it seems to be a widely shared armchair diagnosis on this site, and many others. It's infuriating.

hardtomove posted 6/10/2020 08:12 AM

You went about it backwards. Your BS should have been working on herself after discovery. After my DD I could care less about my BS. I was so devastated that I had to get help. I couldn't function. Do you understand what you have done? Your BS has lost trust, self esteem, love, and belief in one's self. That is very difficult to repair if ever.

hikingout posted 6/10/2020 09:16 AM

I was so devastated that I had to get help. I couldn't function.

Same. I am not sure how I kept my job, or how peripheral things didn't fall apart worse than they did. I was a basket case and I could not, no matter how much I willed it get my shit together.

Stinger posted 6/10/2020 12:04 PM

I think a remorsefulmcheater should bend over backwards to help the CBS heal, at least aid in any attempt. Waiting th hree years to address the incredible trauma seems nuts. Shows A lack of empathy, IMO.

Stinger posted 6/10/2020 12:08 PM

"Honey, I just recalled a repressed memory from my childhood. Sorry you have lost 40lbs in 2 months, cannot sleep and have PTSd. Can we work on those problems in a few years. I think I am having a breakthrough regarding my FOO."

Bulcy posted 6/11/2020 13:29 PM

Thanks GMC94. We're looking at your recommendations and have now got some of the books on our iPads. Will take a look at the pod casts too.

Bulcy posted 6/11/2020 13:54 PM

I think I need to clarify a few things. Over the next week I will add my story. For now (last three years)

1) Still worked with AP for six months post d-day. This made breaking the affair impossible. Contact reduced significantly but still seeing on a daily basis. Any self reflection or healing not attempted at this time. Massive denial, refusal to accept emotional affairs existed (for the first couple of months), resentment towards BS for attempting to discuss. I did finally accept these things and tried to heal both BS and myself. Still lied and TT's throughout.

2) New job - This was the start of recovery. Although probaly 12 months before I was really in the game at all. Started to write time line, but missed out important details and was lying to myself as much as BS. TT still going on. It was around 18 months that I started reading and trying to fix me and understand what the fuck happened. There were attempts by me to comfort to BS, but this was probably "rug sweeping". There was genuine empathy, but I found it difficult to express. I also wanted it to just be forgotten and we should just "move on".

3) Head out of my arse - I was given final chance to do everything I needed to. I wrote a detailed timeline, read and digested everything I could, we had calm discussions (without rug sweeping or fits of anger), MC and just thinking about me. It was really only at this time did the train hit me full on. We were talking one evening when I suddenly broke down. The realisation of everything I had done was shattering. My head was indeed firmly knocked out of my arse. We've reconnected in such a huge way since this day. We're working together to heal both of us. I posted this because I see that my BS is struggling with-in herself and I want to do all I can to help and catch up for the wasted time. It's so frustrating reading books and forums as seeing the advice to avoid the mistakes I have made. If only I had done it sooner.....Easy to say now.

Thanks everyone for the comments, both positive and negative. It shows that SI is not bias in any way and people can comment openly and honestly. The truth often hurts but needs to be said.

gmc94 posted 6/11/2020 15:33 PM

Bulcy - Thanks for some of the explanations. One thing that may be hard to swallow is that all the time spent with the TT and your head up your arse can be retraumatizing to a BS. You can't change those aspects of the post dday past, but it my be helpful to have awareness of that possibility.

My WH's CSAT recommended Out of the Doghouse (which was on your list) and another book called Help.Her.Heal. by Carol J Sheets. Help Her is a workbook focusing on learning empathy.

Return to Forum List

Return to Wayward Side

© 2002-2021 SurvivingInfidelity.com ®. All Rights Reserved.     Privacy Policy