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Neanderthal posted 6/23/2020 11:40 AM

Quick recap:
For those of you that don't know. Lifedestroyer and I are Madhatters. My abuse and infidelity was 7 plus years ago. LD had a 6 month LTA EA/PA last year.

First I'd like to say thank you to everyone on this forum. The support helped me survive the worst thing I have ever experienced.

I know some of you wont believe anything I write, and I understand why. But I am going to try and clear up a few things.

Also those of you that would like to discuss my failings as a human being, here I am....for now.

LD's lease was ending, and we had already decided if divorce occurs, she would get the house. I suggested she move back in and see how things go. If divorce was inevitable, that move made sense, its her house. Could we have handled that better?....probably. But what other options make sense? She stays in an apartment burning money until we decide to divorce, then I move out as she moved in? Like two ships passing in the night? Would that have been better for our daughter? maybe.

Did our daughter get her hopes up? Yup very much so. But she also got to experience some wonderful things. Last Friday we had a bonfire, sat around together as a family and roasted marshmallows. She had a wonderful time. As did LD and I. Was those few hours of happiness not worth the chance?

Lets not forget all the Covid stuff happening. Did any of you want your child living away from you during all this?

Why did I leave SI?
It's simple really. I was weak. I made a fool of myself, was told I have anger issues and I retreated into myself.

Someone telling a normal functioning person that they have anger issues may not have a large effect. For me though, It was devastating. I'll explain.

Do I have an anger problem? Yup I do. What does my anger look like? Not physical, mostly I take it out on myself. Sometimes I lash out verbally at others. As you all have witnessed. What I thought it meant.....I thought I meant I was my father. I internalized it as being as bad as he was. Beating everyone around him, destroying things, practically killing my mom. That was what I thought anger issues meant. That's what he did.

Therefore I have no business being around LD, my daughter or anyone else that I care about. So I drove my car into my garage, closed the garage door and kept the vehicle running. To this day I don't know why I finally shut off the ignition, but I am glad I did.

I decided to take a break from SI. Up to that point it had been 6 months of nothing but infidelity. I lived and breathed it 24/7.

Am I an abuser? I don't think so. Was I an abuser? Definitely yes. I wont defend my actions from 7 years ago. I was a terrible human being.

I don't believe I am stringing LD along. I am still an emotional mess. I don't trust my own thinking. I have inadvertently hurt her more. I have not stopped apologizing to LD. For everything. For my past behavior, for not being strong enough to continue to fight for this marriage, and for filing for divorce.

Some of the concerns you SI members have for LD, I have too.
Is she fighting for a bad mans attention and love?
Is the shame and guilt driving her to hold together a toxic relationship?
Can she truly heal herself around me?
Why is she defending a monster? (past or present)

We are two very broken human beings, who are working to becoming better. Her journey recently started. I believe mine started years ago when I quit drinking. I believe both of us have a better chance of becoming wonderful people and parents, but we must do it separately.

I am still sober. Next month will be a year. I am not in IC. I will probably go back to IC sometime after I settle into my new place. Collectively we burned through $6k on IC visits during the last year. When the finances make sense, i'll probably go back.

I feel I am more self aware than I have ever been. I see it in my interactions with friends and coworkers. I am trying to believe I am redeemable as a human being. My daughter deserves that.

Continuous Improvement....that's the goal right?
LD and I are far better than our parents were. Our daughter has two parents that love her and will do anything to keep her safe. Will she have scars from our parenting errors? Definitely. Hopefully less than LD and I have from our parents.

LD and I are divorcing. I move out this weekend. I am terrified of the damage to everyone involved with this decision.

I am trying to set LD and our daughter up for success through this divorce process.

EllieKMAS posted 6/23/2020 11:59 AM

Keep on keepin on Neanderthal. It is totally fine to be a work in progress - most people are even if they won't admit it.

I am glad that you and LD have seemingly reached a good equilibrium. And delighted that you are both supporting each other and your daughter. Believe me (as a child of divorce from parents who did everything they could to pretend the other didn't exist), you and LD having that support and mutual respect for each other matters in more ways than you can possibly know.

High fives on your sobriety too!

hikingout posted 6/23/2020 12:41 PM

I personally wish both of you the best. I truly believe that you both will come together for your daughters sake and show her families can look all sort of ways and they can have love each other even if they aren't building a life together any more. I am a step-mom too, and I saw that at play with my h's children. Both he and his ex wife remained very good friends, and they picked spouses that were very much on board with making them the center of all of our lives. They had a whole heckuva lot of love and a bigger pool of talents to draw from having more parents.

Humans flounder. I see no reason to kick while people are down at things they can not change. You have full control to continue to work on yourselves here moving forward. I hope that both of you will allow us to continue to support you as you keep trying to figure out the next best step, and who you both want to grow into.

Life is difficult, there is a lot of pain and we don't grow in comfort. Take care, and rather than swim around in your mistakes just keep doing better.


A fellow work in progress

pinkpggy posted 6/23/2020 12:55 PM

I think you both did the best you could do in the situation you had. No ones children come out of any of this unscathed. I commend you both for being brave enough to take the leap and divorce, overall it will probably have a more beneficial result on your child. I say this as someone who has ridden this roller coaster for over 3 years and my children have unfortunately been there too. You are both doing the best you can under awful circumstances. None of us are here to judge. Best of luck to you both.

Buck posted 6/23/2020 16:13 PM

I donít know you personally N. You sound sad and defeated. I can relate to most of what youíve just posted. My dad was a POS too. Best thing he did was abandon us when I was 10.

I remember thinking I would never be anything remotely like him and the horror I felt when I realized I had done some of the same shit he did. Unlike him though, I realized I was fucked up and I saw I was hurting those around me. So I set about fixing myself. It sounds like youíre on that path too. Thatís nothing to be ashamed of, in fact you should see how awesome that is because thatís not the easiest path. It takes guts to look inward and see the shit youíve done. Getting sober is a huge deal in itself. It seems to me youíre on the right path for yourself and your daughter.

Iím also a MH. I was the BS and now Iím the WS. Itís a complicated fucking mess. I let infidelity take over my whole life. Iím just fucking exhausted by the whole thing. I too had rage issues but now Iím tired of thinking and talking about it. I canít really carry it anymore. I stayed in my M too long. Now the nest is empty and Iím thinking maybe itís time for me to go. Iím 50 and Iíve been married to this woman for 27 years. Itís a hard choice to make. It scares the hell out of me wondering how it impacts everyone. And itís not my wifeís fault either, I made my choices, sheís completely turned herself around too. Iím just tired of dealing with it all.

I guess Iím trying to say, donít give up on yourself. Donít do stupid self destructive shit. Love your daughter and respect your ex wife. Thereís a certain peace that comes from doing the right thing and living with some integrity. I wish Iíve would have realized that sooner. Get your shit squared away and start enjoying life again. If youíre a work in progress youíre ahead of the curve. I truly wish you the best.

landclark posted 6/23/2020 16:36 PM

You honestly don't owe anybody an explanation. Infidelity is devastating. We need to allow ourselves to act in a way that may not be our normal way after such a betrayal. I know I felt like I was swimming through mud, being pulled back, I'd get a breath and then back down. I chose to stay so I was labeled as CoD right after DDAY, when all I was really trying to do was just not drown until I found my way. People like to place labels, or make others fit into their story somehow. If they felt that way or they were that way, everybody else must absolutely be the same way. I think your wife was also trying to find her way.

Anyway, I've followed your story from the start. It may have taken awhile, and sure, from the outside everybody can sit there and say mistakes were made, BUT, you were both just trying to find your way. Sounds like you found it.

Who knows what the future holds. All you can do is be there for yourself and your daughter. You'll get through it. Glad you turned off that ignition!

Best of luck to all of you!

Bigger posted 6/23/2020 17:51 PM

Divorce is fine. Itís a good solution if the marriage has issues that canít be addressed or if both donít believe reconciliation can take place.
However, Iím going to ask you both to do one important thing:

If you divorce, then divorce.

For a long time, you and LifeDestroyer have been behaving like a divorced couple while still married.
Donít do the mistake of behaving like a married couple once divorced.

Divorce and start your separate lives. With each other as efficient co-parents BUT NOT AS PARTNERS.
No joined Thanksgiving, no sleepovers, no nose in each otherís business. Divorce if you want to divorce. Reconcile if you want to be married.

Neanderthal posted 6/23/2020 21:30 PM

Thanks for the kind words. I am trying.

pinkpggy We've talked a little in the past. I know you're hurting with how things went for your family. I hope to avoid some of that. Even though I know divorce wont be easy either.

Buck I am sad and defeated. All of this is just so exhausting. Its still a fight to get up in the morning sometimes.

Madhatters certainly have a fucking nightmare worth of things to deal with. It appears most BS's believe all heartless WS's are incapable of having there heart broken. Or they just believe we deserve it. Like somehow because of my past, I'm not supposed to feel pain. For instance its been less than a year since Dday for me. Most BS's are only expected to be surviving during this time. But as a MH, I get questions like: What is he doing?" "How is he becoming a safe partner?" Like WTF! I am just trying to get my shit together. Im proud I shower regularly. lol

Landclark Oh yeah I have been labeled many things since I arrived here. Reading my words and some folks can diagnose me with things my IC wouldn't dare touch after 20 sessions. COD, NARC, Rapist, etc. In a PM a member even said I manipulated her. lol

Watch there actions, not words. That is something that will never leave me. I can honestly say I see LD changing for the better. I hope she continues that for herself. Not for me or anyone else.

Bigger! As always you have something very pertinent to say. I am divorcing to do just that....Divorce. LD doesn't agree this is best. But like you said, it takes both of us to believe in reconciliation.

numb&dumb posted 6/23/2020 21:32 PM

I wish you the best

whatIknowNow posted 6/24/2020 06:10 AM

Neanderthal, I have followed your story and I'm sorry that the happy ending is still to come.

None of us are as perfect as we want to be, I think almost everyone struggles to be that person and almost none of us will succeed totally.

But we can get better and better and that is good enough. A will coupled with a way is powerful and I know you will harness both.

Bigger posted 6/24/2020 08:16 AM

I have a stepson whose wife demanded a divorce.
Wasnít what he wanted, but they divorced. Been together nearly 15 years and had 3 kids.
Despite moving out and finalizing the divorce, with him paying CS and buying her out of the family-home they kept doing all sorts of family-things together.
They would spend holidays together, she would borrow his car, she would spend nights in the kidsí room at his house, they would go to family-events togetherÖ Everything done to make things ďeasierĒ for the kids. I know for a fact that there was no romantic aspect in this Ė despite his strong yearning to get back together. She was determined to divorce. HeckÖ my wife and I got asked for some years after the D if they were still marriedÖ

This went on for nearly three years. Three years where he didnít change his home just in case she came back, three years of him taking her car to have the oil changed, three years of holidays and festivals with her and the kids. Then last Thanksgiving she asks if itís OK that her ďfriendĒ Joe comes alongÖ

Iím OK with divorce. I think itís great if people can divorce and remain on amicable and even friendly terms. But for the love of God: detach, realize that divorce is not an alternative form of marriage. This isnít a computer-game where you can restart and think that D will enable you to have a great interactive relationship.

I am NOT suggesting animosity and confrontation. Simply that you both emotionally detach, establish a new life, and THEN see what role other than co-parent you can have in each otherís lives. It would be GREAT if in the future your daughter would be OK with her mom and ďbonus-dadĒ sit at the same table as her dad and ďbonus-momĒ at her wedding, without fearing they are going to tear each other throat out.

This vision of the ďfinalityĒ of divorce is also good for you if there is even the slightest wish to reconcile. Realizing that jumping off the cliff Ė even with a parachute Ė makes staying on that ledge impossible can be good for both of you.

Neanderthal posted 6/25/2020 07:52 AM

Your stepsons story sounds horrible. I hope now he has moved on. Its hard to imagine he didn't have romantic feelings for her. That would at least make his actions somewhat understandable.

To be honest I worry about this. I don't want to give LD false hope, or take advantage of her anymore. She suffered enough because of me.

Neanderthal posted 6/25/2020 08:42 AM

What if the labels are true? This is me thinking out loud.

I am a manipulator. I convinced LD to do terrible things that she didn't want to do. I continued to manipulate SI, but omitting info. I'm sure my daily life is riddled with examples of it as well.

I am an Abuser. Of LD, alcohol, food, etc.

After DDay I immediately became codependent of LD. Trauma dependency maybe? or just temporary dependency I suppose.

Am I a Narcissist? A quick google search says I could be. Would a NARC even be capable of seeing that in them-self?

Rapist This one is tough to swallow. Its admitting I am the worst kind of human being. LD and I discussed it the other night. Having a daughter and imagining someone doing to her what I did to LD.....I immediately saw it as sexual assault (rape). She did not.

Is LD suffering from Stockholm Syndrome? I always thought the movie Beauty and the Beast was an terrible example of that. A captive falls in love with her captor. Defends the beast and tries to protect him.

Given what I have done to LD, her inability to see my actions for what they were, and her need to love and protect me. Its definitely a possibility. Its also an idea I have tossed around for awhile now. Not just because someone else just recently mentioned it.

Trying to become self aware hurts. How do I even attempt to comprehend all the damage I've caused. Why am I even thinking about my pain and suffering!

At best, I should view myself like a drunk driver who hit and killed someone. Although not intentional, our decisions caused immense damage and pain. And there is no overcoming it. You just live with what you did somehow.

At worst I am just a cold blooded predator. Not deserving of anything but to be put down like a rabid animal.

This is all just a mental exercise. I'm good.

MIgander posted 6/25/2020 09:08 AM

Hi N,

Narcissism is a possibility for all us WS. I definitely have narcissistic tendencies and definitely have an entitlement and responsibility problem.

Narcissism isn't a death sentence though- if you can look at yourself in the mirror and really dig deep into the sources of it, you can work to overcome your tendencies. Becoming self aware is the first step toward that.

Example- I had an engineer on a project that was a PITA to work with- made everyone's life difficult. We all disliked him and dreaded him coming around. That all changed one day, when, with self deprecating humor he apologized to us, "I know I'm a real pill to deal with, thanks for hanging in there with me." After that, at least hearing his acknowledgement of himself and his own nature, made it actually easier to accept him and work with him. We all ended the project on good terms with each other.

That's the irony of the Greek myth- Narcissus fell in love with his own surface reflection (like we do in our affairs), but failed to reflect on what truly matters- his heart. He eventually died from his self-obsession.

You have an opportunity here to grow- becoming aware and seeing our patterns of behavior for what they are is the first step. I'm still working on that and, wow- it's an eye opener.

The hardest part is modeling the change you need to make and do. I'd suggest getting a life coach and or IC with cognitive behavioral therapy- it's been a Godsend for me.

Good luck, I wish you guys the best. Divorce isn't good bye for ever and you always have your daughter that you can cherish together, even apart.

*edited, had a brain fart

[This message edited by MIgander at 9:15 AM, June 25th (Thursday)]

leavingorbit posted 6/25/2020 10:02 AM

Hey, N. Hope you and your family are having as peaceful of a Thursday as possible under the circumstances. A few thoughts I had:

Narcissism is the hot psychological buzzword right now, it seems. Before that it was borderline, before that it was maybe bipolar or schizophrenia. Anyway, have you read about cognitive dissonance? How about ďothering?Ē If not, I think it could be helpful for you. People may fear and label things that are different or outside of their experiences. I think we dismiss things based on our immediate standpoint and we all do it all the time based on our own insecurities and trauma. I feel trauma is still not well understood by a lot of people. Narcissism is rare. If youíre worried about it, get evaluated. And then get evaluated again. And then try to trust the results.

See, I think that you and LD could have had a great shot if you each had worked on loving yourselves. Healing the numerous wounds that you both carry and supporting each other through it. Turning off your dependence on external voices and shame, and instead tending carefully to your broken parts without judgment.

I agree with Bigger: divorce is fine. Is divorce for you based on ďshoulds?Ē Or is it truly what you want, to be without your wife, to be without your daughter a large percentage of the time? If itís truly what you wish, then go for it. If itís because youíre saying, ďtheyíre better off without me,Ē then get into therapy ASAP and learn how to forgive yourself, man. Get into MC and learn how to communicate with your wife. Accept that youíre both messy and imperfect and crying inside. Thatís what Iím doing, anyway. It feels a lot better than the ball of rage and pain that I used to be. I thought I ďshouldĒ divorce my MH husband for a long time, too. I thought heíd be soooo much better off without me. My self esteem was gutter level and had been really my whole life. But it didnít have to be that way.

I wish you the best either way.

forgettableDad posted 6/25/2020 13:40 PM

theyíre better off without me

That's a comfortable lie a lot of people tell themselves. I totally agree with leavingorbit; if you and her want to work things out then you can and you will.

All choices have consequences; make sure you really want to live with your choice to leave.

hikingout posted 6/25/2020 15:08 PM

I was glad to see that was a mental exercise.

I do not agree with the assessment you are a rapist. H and I lived out some of that alternative lifestyle prior to marriage, and while it was at his suggestion (encouragement?) I had my own curiousness about it. When I didnít like it, we stopped. I heard zero complaints about that. He did approach the topic a a time or to later on, but I knew I had choices and so did LD.

I do not get any impressions she has Stockholm syndrome. I get the sense that she knows she fucked hi a lot in her decisions and has a lot of remorse and regret. But itís still wise if you to move forward if that is not something you can come back from. Thatís actually best for her and for you. Only you know how that is. But donít throw around they are better off without you, I agree that is a cop out.. You are a flawed human but itís always been obvious to me that you also love them and have made strides forward since you gave up drinking.

No relationship is ever perfect. I wondered if I was a narcissist at one point too. Nope, not at all. I had just numbed my feelings until I had gotten callous, and that is not inherently who I am. I have often wondered if you have traded alcohol with other coping that causes you to avoid and numb as well. That doesnít make you a bad person, but itís self protective. I like the book rising strong By Brene brown in which she talks of practical ways of letting some of that go. I think it will benefit you regardless of any outcome with LD.

Manipulation and persuasion can be entertained. Try and be aware of when you are trying to get your way and work to be more authentic surrounding it. I think thatís just a tweak of remembering to create win win scenarios. Things in life are compromise and negotiation sometimes, as long as you are not asking the other person to give up the things that are important to them.

I do believe that LD has some codependency issues, and I know she believes that as well. I have seen her get stronger during this time, so again the Stockholm thing is not likely. Also I donít think you tried to manipulate this forum. You admitted to a lot very early in your initial threads. It seems to me both of you had withheld truths from this forum for some period of time. People are redeemable if they want to be. Again, I am terribly sorry to see both of you hurting. There is a lot of opportunity for both of you to rise up despite your circumstances. I have enjoyed Pema Chadron when I need ways to think in terms of coping and being lifted up.

anoldlion posted 6/25/2020 22:06 PM

I think there will come a time, when you look back on your life and realize, leaving your wife was the worst decision you ever made. I think after awhile she will be alright but I really don't think you will. I do wish you well.

ChamomileTea posted 6/25/2020 23:11 PM

Trying to become self aware hurts. How do I even attempt to comprehend all the damage I've caused.

You are sneaking up on the truth of R, and it's that no one has a freaking time machine. It's easy to look at the past and say what should have happened, but nothing that's past can be changed. You did what you did. She did what she did. Neither one of you can change it, but the question today is, "would you?" If you could change some of the things you did, would you do it? And do you believe that if she could change some of the things she has done, would she?" Even forgiveness is not necessary when you realize that the person who wronged you cannot pay you back. There's no coin which covers the cost of someone else's pain, and if we stand around with our hand held out, waiting for remuneration, we're stalled. But if we write it off, zero it out of our ledger, we're free to move forward again.

You've opted for D, and that's your prerogative. It's a shame though, because I do think that you two still love each other and as long as that love persists, neither of you will be able to move on. That makes both of you a danger to potential new partners, so I would suggest that if you do go through with this D, you follow Bigger's advice and detach completely. I would also suggest that if you're in any ways unsure, that you slow down until you're more sure of yourself.

In terms of your current search for answers and introspection, try starting with your core values. Examine the things you are still castigating yourself for. Find the core value that you've ignored during each specific incident, and build some boundaries around it. ie. You believe in fidelity and you found out just how valuable that belief was when your WW broke her vow. But you broke it yourself without suffering the same consequence. So, you begin to see that your core value was weak until infidelity happened to you. Your belief in the value of fidelity was small and insufficient. Now you know better, so you strengthen that core value. It becomes a lens to run future choices through. And the boundaries you build around it will reflect it's importance in your daily life.

All these other issues can be resolved as well but tuning into what you REALLY believe, identifying the core value, strengthening it, and building boundaries around it. And you can't fake this shit. You won't honor what you don't truly believe. So you dig deep, sift through all those old memories where you disappointed yourself, find the gap between your stated values and your actual deeds, and go to work. It's humbling and hard, but when it's done, you're likely going to feel better.

KingRat posted 6/26/2020 16:28 PM

I'm not qualified to diagnose you or anyone else. However, for what it is worth, my observation of your relationship is one that is highly codependent. I believe the reason you are at an emotional impasse is because you are focusing on trying to fix the relationship when the only remedy is two individuals working on themselves. I don't think it is because of a deficiency of character or you are a "bad" person. Simply, I think neither of you know how. You have to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you can help others.

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