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BH Self-Esteem

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MC64 posted 9/18/2020 09:49 AM

How can I help my husband gain back some self esteem/respect?
He feels that I settled for him. This has come up so many times since Dday 10 months ago. He only since the A has told me he has felt this way since the begging of our relationship (23 years together) and that he had thought he had risen to the occasion until my A. He feels he was not worthy enough for me, that I do not really want him, that I am still just settling for him. For him he says he changed his entire ways when we were young so that he could be the man I deserved.
He was a "bad boy" as a teenager (and early 20's) and I was that "good girl" mostly. He did some very stupid things as a young man and even ended up in juvenile detention just before turning 18. What is hard is that he never told me any of this until my A was revealed. I obviously knew about the bad things he did since we were a couple (living together since 18) but not how he felt about me and changed for me. He now tells me that I was always his "dream girl" and have always been enough for him. But he never told me this until my A. I try to express to him and show him that he is enough, worthy and deserves someone even better than me. He is a smart, intelligent, caring, good man and made me very proud of who he became. I have expressed these feelings to him before and after my A. He is accomplished RN and even working to become a Nurse Practitioner. He says that knowing he wasn't enough kills him and that he was happy with our marriage before.

Is there anything I can do to help him gain some of this self-respect back? He tells me he does not think I would want to be with him anymore because he is just a shell of a man of who he used to be. It breaks my heart because I know he is deserving of someone who would never betray him the way I did. I wish he could see that.

Chaos posted 9/18/2020 10:05 AM

You have no stop sign. And I'm a BS. a BASGU [bad ass sparkly goddess unicorn] of a BS. And before his LTA my confidence had confidence to spare. I was that girl. I walked into every room like I owned. it. Wasn't I worried when WH band played out - Hell Fu*king NO because I knew he was coming home to ME. People came to me to ask how to build themselves up. I've been compared to a modern day Marilyn, every 1940s pin up girl model, called an 11, a bombshell and veritable perfection.

And then - BAM! DDay. For almost 9 months I couldn't walk past a mirror without muttering "no wonder". I couldn't shower without sobbing because I was alone with my unworthy ass naked body. I couldn't put on make up without smearing it from silent tears because "no amount make up can cover this". My shoulders slumped. Every step was filled with dread. I wanted aimlessly and vacantly through my days.

And guess what - I'm 3 years post DDay1. I clawed my way back to BASGU status through Sheer Fucking Grit. Lotus and Phoenix - they got nothing on Chaos. But it comes with a price. There's an innocence about my confidence that is now gone because I know what it cost me. Much like the Littlest Mermaid [think Hans Christian Anderson vs Disney] every single step is like 1000 knives. Every compliment I receive is a thousand shards of glass in my heart. Every time I fake smiling because I'm triggering and don't want anyone to know it 1000 voices scream in pain in my head.

Getting my BASGU status back wasn't easy. It wasn't pretty and it wasn't the result of anything my WH did. He broke me but it was up to me to fix me. And I resented it every step of the way.

Gently, there is nothing you can to do rebuild what you destroyed. Nothing. No one word, no one gesture, nothing. And your attempts at building his self esteem are daggers in his heart. Because all he hears then is "if I was so fu*king great you wouldn't have..." But - keep saying them.

What you can do is make sure you are NC. See my tag line - multiple DDays same AP. DON'T let that be you. You can be 100% all in for saving your relationship. If you aren't you will be doing him a far greater favor by leaving [and be honest about it]. You can start living an authentic life. You can start by understanding his pain.
You can start by empathizing with him. You can start by being honest about every little thing. You can start by reading from the Healing Library and heeding the words of those who came before you. You can start by answering every and all questions he asks (realize no detail is too small). You can start by never doing TT or if you have been STOP. You can start by humbling yourself before him. You can start by cleaning up your social media if not deleting it all together. You can start by being open, honest and transparent. I could go on but you get the point. I hope he is in IC of sorts.

Your question isn't an easy one. There is no magic pill or little red button to push. There is no switch to flip. There is no reset option. Just grueling hard work on his part.

If you really want to help him - help yourself. Get in IC. Figure out your whys. Figure out what was/is broken in yourself. Figure out how to be your best version of you.

Then - when you both are ready - figure out if you want to be a couple and how to go about being the couple you want to be.


HoldingTogether posted 9/18/2020 10:07 AM

How can I help my husband gain back some self esteem/respect?

Iím not sure that there is much that you can do to help him with this. Self-esteem is something that has to come from within (itís right there in the word self).

Is your BH a member here on SI? If not, I would encourage you to encourage him to join. If he is (or once he does) I would suggest he try going to the Betrayed Menís thread in the ďI can relateĒ forum and honestly and openly posting about his feelings there. It is a safe space with men who can relate to and understand his feelings. Many of whom have struggled with those same feelings. He can get great advice, feedback and empathy there from some people who have already walked through the fire and come out the other side.

Ultimately, he and all men (and all women for that matter) need to be able to come to the realization and understanding that their ultimate worth is measured by who they are and not by who they are or are not with.

HT

hikingout posted 9/18/2020 10:31 AM

As per usual, I like what HT had to say in terms of your BH.

As a fellow WS, I would like to point a few things out to you.

1. The best things we can do to help our spouse heal is to focus on what we can control. We will never be able to control how our spouse feels or what they choose. Nor should we aspire to.

2. Understand that likely you also have low self esteem and respect as the WS. I don't think people who love themselves or respect themselves have affairs. They instead find healthy ways to be responsible for their own happiness. So, understand when you are trying to help him with something you lack, how do you think that reads to him? You are better to be in it with him rather than trying to fix him.

3. Also understand that our healing effects one another. Become the person that he thought you were, or maybe even a better version of that because YOU want to be a better person. I think it's very hard for a BS to accept us back into their heart. How do they regain respect for themselves if they stay with someone who hasn't gained respect for themselves? Gained Integrity? Understands why they did the things they did, how they were comfortable with it, and what they can do to change? There are no guarantees or outcomes but you will not have a better relationship with him or anyone else in the future until you have a better relationship with yourself.

In other words, find humility in your own issues and share from a place of partnership, rather than trying to talk him into feeling a different way or becoming his therapist. Share your plans of how you are going to work on your own self esteem. Work on your plans. The broken can not fix the people we broke. We have to heal and fix ourselves and be there for the people we broke. Fully there.

I found that I was able to sit in compassion much better when I found it for myself, but man it was a long ass journey. This is not something that can quickly be fixed, it's going to take a lot of patience - especially with ourselves.

[This message edited by hikingout at 10:32 AM, September 18th (Friday)]

thatbpguy posted 9/18/2020 10:51 AM

Well, let's face it, you kicked him to the curb in a way one really doesn't recover from. You proved he was valueless to you, and as a person, beyond any doubt. Now, in an about face, you tell him something entirely different and he's asked to believe it? After all the lies & deception?

That's one tall order.

What can you do? Nothing.

He will either regain his self-esteem and respect on his own or he won't.

You have made known for the world to see his being meaningless to you. You cannot reverse it. It's been done.

So what to do?

First fix yourself. And keep working on it. Second, just be there. Show him you're willing to stay with him. That should help a bit.

But he has to learn to cope with the new reality. Maybe he can and maybe he can't. You provided him with the ultimate rejection a human can offer within a marriage. Give him a wide berth to see if he can find himself again. He may come around.
I mean, here's hoping.

[This message edited by thatbpguy at 10:58 AM, September 18th (Friday)]

MC64 posted 9/18/2020 10:54 AM

Chaos:
Thank you for everything you said. No stop sign because I need to hear what BS have to say. Your words and the pain I feel in those words, made me cry big sobbing tears. I know he feels terrible about himself and he after dday lost 50+ pounds. It really does destroy me knowing that I caused his already existing low self-esteem to crash enough to not even register on a scale, it is excruciating. But I am sure no where near the amount of pain he feels.

Gently, there is nothing you can to do rebuild what you destroyed. Nothing. No one word, no one gesture, nothing. And your attempts at building his self esteem are daggers in his heart. Because all he hears then is "if I was so fu*king great you wouldn't have..." But - keep saying them.
Thank you for this. I will keep on telling him. I have questioned many times if I am helping or hurting him.

I have been NC since Dday. I did TT some and left out my EA had some kissing involved and that was the third biggest mistake I had ever made. Second was not coming clean and we all know the first
I am doing all of the things you mention: open, honest, transparent, answering all questions, understanding my whys, reading/listening to every podcast, book, article I can find, and am trying my very hardest to empathize and understand how he is feeling. I know I can not truly since I have never been betrayed in this manner.

I had done IC (before COVID) and we have done some MC. But due to finances we had to stop both. He just started working (off since March) this past Monday and I am hoping we will be able to resume again after a while. He refuses IC and I will not push this manner on him as he has made it clear he does not feel he needs it.
I really appreciate you being very frank with me. Thank you so very much and I am truly sorry that I caused my BH to join you in this involuntary club.

BTW I love that you are BASGU [bad ass sparkly goddess unicorn]

MC64 posted 9/18/2020 11:02 AM

HT:

Thank you. I am not sure if he is a member here or not. He actually sent me here because I was struggling to find somewhere I could go.
I will suggest to him about the forum you are referring to. I am not sure he would feel comfortable since I am a member here. He does belong to some Reddit forums but from what I have read there they are not always the best and give some very bad advice sometimes.

I do think he struggles with this

Ultimately, he and all men (and all women for that matter) need to be able to come to the realization and understanding that their ultimate worth is measured by who they are and not by who they are or are not with

gmc94 posted 9/18/2020 11:12 AM

I don't have much to add, other than to emphasize a couple of things:

What you can do is make sure you are NC.... You can be 100% all in for saving your relationship. If you aren't you will be doing him a far greater favor by leaving [and be honest about it]. You can start living an authentic life. You can start by understanding his pain. You can start by empathizing with him. You can start by being honest about every little thing. You can start by reading from the Healing Library and heeding the words of those who came before you. You can start by answering every and all questions he asks (realize no detail is too small). You can start by never doing TT or if you have been STOP. You can start by humbling yourself before him. You can start by cleaning up your social media if not deleting it all together. You can start by being open, honest and transparent.
In the midst of the enormous triggers in the early days after dday, my WH would always ask "what can I do?" and my answer was "fix yourself". I think Chaos' words are a really good description of what "fix yourself" meant for me, and means for a LOT of BS.

find humility in your own issues and share from a place of partnership, rather than trying to talk him into feeling a different way or becoming his therapist.
This is super super important - and I would call it the north/guiding star for all things post dday. I can't remember where, but I recall reading somewhere that if the work of a WS to rebuild had to be limited to one word, it would be humility.

Understand that our healing effects one another. Become the person that he thought you were, or maybe even a better version of that because YOU want to be a better person.
This can sometimes seem counterintuitive - to both BS and WS. I guess I was able to get this pretty early on, but I don't think, even today, my WH really "gets" this. I think a lot of WS have hated themselves for so long, they can't even see they also "deserve" to heal themselves. So they all too often focus on their BS, and put their own needs aside (a pattern they may have had since childhood). It's also not "just" that self loathing... it's also some awareness (probably DEEP down) w/in the WS that the "fixing" of themselves will be even more painful than what the WS has experienced since dday (which is really about fear). All on top of the basic common sense thinking of - if I can heal my BS, then this will "all" be better, I (the WS) will feel better, and BS will "be" better.

As a BS, I'm a firm believer that the real key is EMPATHY. Empathy requires humility (esp when it's empathizing with pain we caused). It requires awareness & mindfulness. It requires shame management. It requires living in the moment. This list could go on & on, but in my brain, the components of empathy are the components of healing. I don't know where getting that skill "comes from" for a WS. It does seem to be elusive for many WS.


HellFire posted 9/18/2020 11:14 AM

Reddit will do more harm than good.

What are your reasons for cheating?

MC64 posted 9/18/2020 11:15 AM

hikingout:

You always have some great advice. I read a lot and post very little.

I am working hard to improve myself. I always thought I have a pretty decent self-esteem until my A happened. And then I realized how little self- esteem I actually had. It was a real eye opener. And really its not gotten much better since (probably actually worse knowing what I was capable of). I am though working to try to love myself and be a much better version of me. I know that broken people cannot help other broken people.
I feel that my journey to self love is going to take some time and I have just barely started on this journey. I am having a hard time dealing with shame as well. But I am trying hard to keep that under control as I know its not good for anyone.

To everyone else: Seems as though the majority of the answers are to work on myself and to not try to fix my BH. Only he can do that. And that makes complete sense. Its hard for me because I am a fixer. And really own up to my mistakes and want to do everything in my power to correct them/make it right again. I guess letting go that I cannot fix what I destroyed in this particular area will be something I need to deal with.
Thank you everyone!!

[This message edited by MC64 at 11:24 AM, September 18th (Friday)]

Thissucks5678 posted 9/18/2020 11:40 AM

It is very difficult for a WS to build the BS back up because as far as the BS knows - everything is a lie. You can say anything you want, but youíve already proven your words donít mean anything. Consistent actions will help build trust, but that doesnít help the bs build their self esteem.

That all has to come from within. The best thing I can offer is to lead by example. Be healthy, encourage exercising together. Maybe start a new hobby together or encourage your bs to start a hobby. For me, creating something was a big deal. Iíve never been interested in that and I learned and developed a whole new skill and got decent at it. My WH started something different as well that he is proud of. These things are small, but help you gain confidence as a person. Encourage him to set a goal and accomplish it. Thatís about all you can really do from my perspective.

Good luck.

MC64 posted 9/18/2020 11:41 AM

Hellfire:
Reddit is not my favorite place but there are several users there who are actually great. (No Soliciting) I must say this is NOT someone who believes in reconciliation and has a very black and white view on WS. I found it was not helpful. Ok sorry for the rant.

My Why's? There are a lot. I could list them all and I have a feeling a lot of WS spouses would have many of the same. But I would say the biggest is something inside me was broken. I felt disconnected (emotionally and in other ways) from my BH. I felt we were living 2 separate lives and that I was taken advantage of and for granted. I have always been a pretty selfless person and felt I was entitled to some selfishness. And I acted in the most selfish manner possible.

Thissucks:
I like your advice to start a new hobby together and leading by example.
I think once he graduates from grad school it may help him gain some ground in his self-esteem.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 9:34 PM, September 18th (Friday)]

hikingout posted 9/18/2020 12:14 PM

I feel that my journey to self love is going to take some time and I have just barely started on this journey. I am having a hard time dealing with shame as well. But I am trying hard to keep that under control as I know its not good for anyone.

Yes, all correct.

And, I don't have the answers, I can only tell you what I have learned. Shame is a hard thing to eradicate. I have learned over time (after it was less overwhelming) that I have to watch for it because it sneaks up on me. Shame controls us. Our actions, our fears, our thoughts. Self love is a journey and it's always going to be up or down at any given time. You are trying to raise your baseline on it, not eliminate any struggle you may have with it because that is not possible. Keep doing the next right thing, and it will build up a lot of respect for yourself. It simply feels better to do better.

Also, shame is something we accumulate through our lives. Some of the shame I had to heal was from my youth. Shame is ultra high and overwhelming after dday. I did not mean to indicate it was easy or something you should be able to get past quickly. More my post was about how to best use your efforts.

I felt we were living 2 separate lives and that I was taken advantage of and for granted. I have always been a pretty selfless person and felt I was entitled to some selfishness. And I acted in the most selfish manner possible.

Same. Very much so. What you are talking about is entitlement. I think that's the gasoline that many use initially in starting the affair.

So, what do you plan to change that keeps you from getting in that space again? I am not trying to put you on the spot, I am really more wanting to help you on some concrete next steps.

HellFire posted 9/18/2020 12:19 PM

So your "why" is that you felt disconnected from your husband, and that he was taking advantage of you and taking you for granted?

You're blaming your husband, partly. And he is blaming himself completely. Its no wonder he is struggling.

Almost all waywards feel selfish and entitled. You need to dig deeper. Working on yourself is helping your husband.

[This message edited by HellFire at 12:19 PM, September 18th (Friday)]

NotMyFirstRodeo posted 9/18/2020 13:07 PM

You can't fix him but you can help his healing by limiting the new damage that so many WS's create post DD. From a BS's vantage, I'd suggest working very hard to be respectful, patient, empathetic, express your remorse and CONSISTENT.

annanew posted 9/18/2020 13:37 PM

Sounds like there was not great communication between the two of you, if he never in your 23 years told you this.

So that's the silver lining now. The lines are open. Keep listening, and keep him talking. Institute some strong relationship communication practices, and keep them going. That's what will help.

MC64 posted 9/18/2020 14:22 PM

Hellfire:

So your "why" is that you felt disconnected from your husband, and that he was taking advantage of you and taking you for granted?
You're blaming your husband, partly. And he is blaming himself completely. Its no wonder he is struggling.

Almost all waywards feel selfish and entitled. You need to dig deeper. Working on yourself is helping your husband.


But I would say the biggest is something inside me was broken. I felt disconnected (emotionally and in other ways) from my BH. I felt we were living 2 separate lives and that I was taken advantage of and for granted. I have always been a pretty selfless person and felt I was entitled to some selfishness. And I acted in the most selfish manner possible.

So if these whys are blaming my BH and essentially not good enough whys and I need to dig deeper. What exactly is an acceptable why that's not blaming? Does it have to lead back to FOO issues or some other deeper trauma or possibly a resentment?
I really would like to understand this. And if this is why we are stuck where we are then I need to change, learn or like you said, dig deeper for something else. I would like to do what I can to get there. I don't feel like the way I was feeling was his fault because I never talked to him about any of this (poor communication between us, basically non-existent). How could he even know that I was feeling when I never told him?

Hikingout/Annanew:
Right now my biggest plan is to make sure that I am communicating with him as much as I can. Being vulnerable, open and honest. Now as far as getting him to communicate with me is a tougher thing to do. He is quite the introvert and feels he does not need that deeper connection and intimacy. And has nothing he needs to talk about aside from the A right now.

[This message edited by MC64 at 2:26 PM, September 18th (Friday)]

gmc94 posted 9/18/2020 15:05 PM

Daddy dom has a good post about digging for whys, which I've "bumped" for you (it's in the wayward side called something like 'true process for discovering our whys' ).

ETA:

I'm a BS, so I've not had to personally look at this WRT infidelity (but post dday, it becomes an exercise I find helpful in managing my own emotions/behaviors).

I felt disconnected (emotionally and in other ways) from my BH.
Ok, so WHY didn't you find some way to address that feeling of disconnect - other than engaging in an A? Was it bc you are conflict avoidant? If so, what is it about conflict that triggers something inside that creates a self talk that includes things like: it's not such a big deal, or I'll talk to my BS tomorrow, or I can let this go, etc.

I felt we were living 2 separate lives and that I was taken advantage of and for granted.
Why did you allow that to happen for however long? If you felt "taken advantage of" then why not address it w/ your BS (same as above paragraph )? Why was bringing a 3d party into your M the "solution" to feeling taken advantage of? Were you also building resentment toward your BS bc YOU felt taken advantage of? How is it your BS's "fault" (for lack of a better term) for YOU feeling taken advantage of (and I suspect this is one heckuva humdinger for a WS to process, given having an A basically means the BS is not only taken advantage of, but it was done via lies/deceit, so they had no agency to "fix" or address it... unlike the WS who had such a feeling pre-A and had the actual agency to address it, but chose not to).

I have always been a pretty selfless person and felt I was entitled to some selfishness.
FWIW, this is something HikingOut has a lot to say about, and this is absolutely something my WH has had going on for his entire life. So, what is it about being a "pretty selfless person" that helps you? Are you, as Brene Brown would say, someone who has spent a lifetime "hustling for their worth" ? If that resonates, then what about YOUR internal makeup feels you need to do that "hustling" ? Is it REALLY selfless, or is it also a way to seek ego kibble (both internal & external) ?

My WH has a lifetime of people pleasing behavior or "acts of service" -it's like his defining attribute. The man just cannot say "no", even when it creates conflict with others or hardship upon himself. So - what made this part of his MO? I could probably write an entire effing book on this one attribute. Part of it stems from FOO - always being the "boy scout" who did everything right... his mom was a perfectionist and very critical, so he got kibble from her when he was the star at everything (sports, academics, service work, etc). It became the way in which he felt love from an emotionally distant parent. So, the (presumably unconscious) self talk is: be good & do good equals love.
And, he BRILLIANTLY can rationalize the conflict it creates.... IOW, as his wife, I must be an uncaring bitch if I have a problem with his spending 20+ hours/week on community service on top of his bread winning job, when I was "only" raising two kids and he was "saving" our community.
So - WH is gone all the time, BUT bc he's doing his "good deeds" I can't bitch or am uncaring (not only towards him personally, but toward the entire fucking planet) bc I am not equally willing to sacrifice my "need" to have a husband at home for all the "greater good" he's doing for the "less fortunate".... AND he gets ego kibble from the external (ie non nuclear family) world (and for him, TONS of women... yum yum yum!) AND he can feel confident & comfortable in his own internal self talk that he REALLY is a "great guy".... even tho he's living a secret sexual life (and writing this makes me realize that I think MrCleanSlate talks about this phenomenon really well too).

So - when someone says "I felt entitled to some selfishness", it's usually not "just" bc you are basically a "selfless" person.... it's WHY that selflessness is your MO, what you got from it, the ways in which it's not healthy and then working hard to become mindful of it all.

I'm probably not explaining this very well... my hope is that you can recognize that when trying to unpack our baggage, we can't just stop at some logical explanation and think we know "why" we engaged in any particular behavior. And that why isn't necessarily "just" something from FOO... in my WH example, his FOO was more like a "gateway" to the addiction to ego kibble that he perfected in adulthood.

[This message edited by gmc94 at 3:33 PM, September 18th, 2020 (Friday)]

DaddyDom posted 9/18/2020 16:21 PM

MC64,

I agree with the others that there is nothing you can do to undo the damage done. What I will add however is that fixing "what was" is really no longer an option, for anyone, after infidelity. It's like trying to un-bake a cake. So my suggestion to you is, rather than focusing on fixing what is broken, instead focus on building something new, and better, with what you have now.

My suggestion is to view your marriage as something new. Pretend that you are 18 again. That you just met. And that you want to create a relationship with this man. Similar to how it happened before, but this time, with the benefit of hindsight, you can fill in the holes you missed the first time around. You can be the person he deserved.

The way you show you him that you truly love him is to treat him in such a way that it is hard to doubt otherwise. You said in your original post that you didn't realize the sacrifices and changes he made to be with you, or how he felt about you. Why not? Without assigning blame to anyone here, it sounds to me as if talking about feelings, dreams, desires, maybe wasn't part of the relationship? And it sounds like he ended up feeling as if his needs weren't met or even recognized, because they were never discussed. Perhaps he feels you didn't really love him enough to know him? So... what are you going to do about that? Do you think things might have turned out differently had you recognized those things in him before the A? If so, how can you make changes in yourself to better address those needs moving forward? What else went unsaid or un-addressed? What are your regrets and why?

In my opinion, the one truth in recovery is that each person needs to heal on their own, and at their own pace. I'm not saying you can't be supportive of each other, you just can't do the work for the other person, and you can't change for them either. You need to change for yourself. Not to save the relationship (it might not), but because who you are and how you've been doing things so far clearly has not worked out well, for anyone, and until you make the changes in your life to become someone you can love and respect for who you are, then it will hurt all your relationships (even the one with yourself) moving forward. In other words, you cannot truly love someone else unless you can love yourself.

This won't be easy, and it won't be fast. It never is. Probably the best thing you can do for right now is accept his pain. Allow him the dignity and grace to be hurt. Read what Chaos said above about clawing her way back to being a BASGU. Notice that she didn't mention a thing about her husband's role in her recovery. She had to get there on her own, and hopefully, while she did that, he did his own work. If he wants her, then his job is to become someone worthy of a BASGU. For you, your job is not to be a dream girl, but a real girl, and the one who makes him feel every day that he is your "Dream guy", that you won the lottery for even having someone like him in your life, and someone who is willing to sacrifice for his happiness the same way he sacrificed for you (and he wasn't doing it for purposes of making it up to you, he did it because you meant that much to him. Be that kind of person).

I wish you luck in your recovery. Keep checking in here, especially when you don't want to, as that's when you probably need it the most.

sisoon posted 9/18/2020 16:49 PM

I felt we were living 2 separate lives and that I was taken advantage of and for granted. I have always been a pretty selfless person and felt I was entitled to some selfishness. And I acted in the most selfish manner possible.

So if these whys are blaming my BH and essentially not good enough whys and I need to dig deeper. What exactly is an acceptable why that's not blaming?

Gently, going for truth works. Going for acceptability doesn't.

You were asked about your whys. You answered. That's good so far, but as gmc mentions, you need to go farther.

Among BSes, it's always a Good Thing to say, 'My reasons were ____ and ____, but I now realize my thinking was messed up.' I just went through this with my W 10 years after her A. I got angry because she didn't add the 2nd clause, even though I know she has done a LOT of cleaning up of her thinking.

I also suggest you look into co-dependence, because your posts show a few signs of co-d. That's meant as neither diagnosis or criticism. The thing is, if you are co-d, there's a pretty good roadmap from co-d to authenticity.

*****

I can see why your H withheld his admissions about how he viewed you. I can see, I think, that his SE was particularly damaged.

But his SE is his to nurture. The external validation of an A didn't help you, because your SE was insufficient. No external validation will help your H, for the same reason.

One's SE has to be at or above some level already; otherwise, one is likely to reject the love.

Best of luck.
IOW, your H isn't rejecting your love right now only because he he doesn't trust you. He very possibly rejects it because he doesn't think he deserves it.

[This message edited by sisoon at 5:08 PM, September 18th (Friday)]

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