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Expectations and Hope

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BobPar posted 9/19/2020 12:00 PM

then fuck that's all i'm going to do is manual labor.

Did you do any manual labor or just bitch about it?

JBWD posted 9/19/2020 12:06 PM

JBWD; I dont know.

My follow on, because I expected this answer- Then why say it?

The very long, very self-denigrating posts are often very telling. I tend to believe that they’re indicative of a desire to minimize and deflect: “You think YOU have it bad, try being a lying cheating selfish asshole.” Your BW has been married to one, she knows what it’s like.

It’s NOT HER JOB to give you hope. That remains a transactional understanding of love that expects her to make everything better for you. You told her once that her future was unimportant to you, so unless you can invest in your own, you’re not going to magically find it from someone else- And to expect her to reassure you is patently unfair.

Is having a starting point and direction that has a hope of success wrong? Apparently it is if you are a cheating lying abusive asshole.
You have GOT to recognize the distinction between what you stated you were asking for and what you told us you “demanded” of your BW. Trying to find a concrete basis for success (agreed upon assessment points, action plan, emergency actions) is very different from very simply demanding that she promise you she’ll take you back. And when that is reframed as unreasonable, your response of “apparently...” is, gently, DRIPPING with resentment. It reinforces that the words you bring here are, to some degree, parroted from things you hear from others, I’m guessing most notably your BW. All that to say that the word count doesn’t matter if you don’t truly believe any of them- And any time “apparently” pops up it’s a guarantee that’s the case.

My efforts yesterday to reframe my base values and thinking, realign my daily actions to those values and then act with consistency and constantly assess myself to be self aware was my latest effort.

Read this above and ponder the scope of time you’re putting in this. This isn’t going to happen overnight and there’s no actual fixed timeline to improve. I’m a lot like you- I get excited by the prospect of rapid, dramatic, cataclysmic change that will magically bring everything into focus and harmony- I call it the “John Hughes Effect,” where the protagonist just looks sad, mopey, hurt enough for the love interest to see that “he was right there all along.”

I can tell you that after a year of therapy and 6 months of emotional and sexual sobriety I have had MAYBE ONE such a-ha moment. Everything else is a creeping change in perception that softens the edges and refines a minor aspect of how I understand myself.

wantstorepair posted 9/19/2020 12:08 PM


Thank you for helping me...your translation is more helpful than I can describe, and in the future when I hear her speak in terms like that, I will "hear" your words in what she is saying and try and act with empathy can compassion and not get defensive and angry and hopeless.

Thank you.

I believe people can change. I believe I can change.

wantstorepair posted 9/19/2020 12:11 PM


I feel as though I have don a lot of manual labor yes, and I actually like doing manual labor. Are there a lot of things undone? yes. I have a lot to do.

The problem is not I have barred myself from her residence with an exclusive use agreement and it is on her to allow me to be there. I thought I was doing this for her safety and comfort, and to give her control...as it turns out that has backfired completely because now I can get nothing done on the manual labor front.

BobPar posted 9/19/2020 12:19 PM

this was two years ago and I have yet to go replace the key.

I think your behavior really shows your effort level. And I feel that if you can't listen and get a key fixed over two years, I feel that what you feel is a lot of manual labor may not be all that much. Just my perception. But you spend a lot of time playing with thoughts in your head and don't follow through with action/behavior. I think until you really step up, you are in for disappointment. All the best.

[This message edited by BobPar at 12:26 PM, September 19th, 2020 (Saturday)]

wantstorepair posted 9/19/2020 12:20 PM

Is “If you say so” an non-argumentative acknowledgement or rude?

gmc94 posted 9/19/2020 13:07 PM

WTR, You seem to "like" focusing on shame to avoid changing your behaviour.
Think about this.

WTR, I read a lot of your posts as coming from a place of seeing yourself as a victim. It's a viscous cycle: I'm a failure.... I'm a victim... I can't do anything right..... so I won't do anything... so I'm a failure. The TWO years for a key is a good example of that.

And the thing is that ALL of that is within YOUR control. Baby steps, like get the effing key made.

Another oft repeated theme I sense is you internalizing your BS' feelings. It's a pretty basic premise that we all get to feel how we feel. We can empathize. We can have compassion for those feelings..... AND we can do with without necessarily agreeing or disagreeing.

trying to pull an example off the top of my head.... I, as the BS, can sometimes feel my WH is nothing more than an abusive asshat. That's on me. I've learned that my holding/carrying those feelings actually hurts ME... but I still sometimes feel that way. And it's up to me to figure out how I want to relate to or manage those feelings. Nothing my WH can do to change that feeling - only person that can reframe it is me.

AND my WH's "job" (so to speak) in his recovery/healing as the WS, is to find ways that he can hear and see my FEELINGS about him (or really about anything), w/o internalizing it and agreeing with it.

IOW, WS is working to learn ways for his self talk to become something like: well, frack. GMC thinks I'm an asshole and unredeemable, and that must suck FOR HER (empathy here) to feel that way about her husband (and I can kind of relate, bc sometimes I feel that way about her... like when I was in my As). AND I know in my heart that I'm not unredeemable, that I CAN and I WILL change.... but in this moment when she's being vulnerable and expressing it, I can put my feelings of shame & victimization aside (here's where compartmentalization can be a GOOD thing) in order to hear her and see her pain and apologize, and recognize it's a feeling.... that it comes from pain that I caused... and that whether or not it feels true TO HER right now, it does NOT make it true FOR ME.

I once heard a Brene Brown lecture about her trying to listen to her husband or kid ... I can't remember the specifics, but what I do remember is her self talk being "be the container, be the container, be the container". That has always really resonated with me and has become a kind of mantra when I am listening to others express feelings, esp when it's about me (eg when my kid is expressing her pain and vulnerability by describing some pretty effed up things I've done as her mom). I'm learning to just LISTEN to them, to their pain, and to SEE them and the ways they feel my behavior has impacted them.

It can be really hard, bc our brains (or my brain) has a long history of not really LISTENING, but instead moving into defensiveness, or all the coping we do about shame. But man oh man, it's a really WONDERFUL feeling to be able to HEAR another's criticism / hurt feelings, even when I don't remember the history or offense the same way, and to find the strength to apologize for my behavior, even when my brain can come up with all sorts of rationalizations or justifications for it (which I can control and NOT share).

So in practice, my DD can say how I screwed her up bc I did X.... Let's say I never went to her sports games, but WH did. My shame immediately sends my self talk to "that's not true, I went to a ton of those games... and even if it is true, I was working or dealing with something else and she can't expect me to have gone to every effing game... and just bc WH went to those games, it was only bc he's CoD and hustling for his worth and balls deep in his PA and why does he get to be the "good guy" and DD thinks I'm a POS...." You get the idea.

But what I've learned is that NONE of my self talk actually matters TO MY DD when she's in the midst of that pain of feeling abandoned by her mom at her soccer games. She doesn't give a fuck about what was going on with me.... she cares about how that feels FOR HER. And she gets to feel however she wants to about it.

So, when I hear her pain today, I'm able to turn off my shame and do all I can to LISTEN to what she is saying, which is basically "I HURT" and "I NEEDED YOU but you weren't there" or whatever else is going on. And I can chant my Brene Brown to myself: "be the container, be the container, be the container" and accept her pain. Just let it come to and through me. And empathize with her and hurt WITH her bc feeling abandoned by your mom sucks (even if that mom was ME). And I can apologize that I wasn't at the games, and I can apologize that I was not the mom SHE needed me to be. I can VALIDATE her feelings and apologize for my role (even if I don't agree completely), and give her what she needs TODAY. Because I love her and because we both need for me to find strength in addressing this stuff. As the mom / offender, I heal by learning to hold her pain w/o my shame taking over and without making HER pain about ME or my excuses. She heals bc she can feel seen & heard & validated... bc she can find, one small sliver at a time, ways to begin to trust me with her anger & pain & vulnerability.

It can be super hard, esp when that other person is angry and behaving in ways that make it super hard to stop my own self talk. It takes practice.

Dunno if that helps one bit, but I hope it gives something to ponder.

[This message edited by gmc94 at 1:16 PM, September 19th, 2020 (Saturday)]

Chaos posted 9/19/2020 14:59 PM

I'm reading through all this and it sounds like you do the least minimal effort in anything you do to get her off your back and when she calls you on it - your go to is to get defensive and blameshifty - right down making even hope all on her. It reads like a tantruming teen "oh yeah - you don't like the minimal effort I give and instead of praising me for at least doing the 1% I have done you remind me of the other 99% of the stuff I haven't done so there's no hope". Then proceed to berate yourself. Lather, rinse, repeat.

WTR you need to check yourself. Hard. There's no magic solution - no right words - no grand gesture act. This isn't a one time shot. You need to pull your head out of itself, straighten up and fly right. This is going to be proven behavior over time. And each set back adds more time.

Or...call it done. But be honest with her and yourself - it is because you found that to be the easiest route. Not because she watched your repeated behaviors and said there was no hope.

I'm asking with all sincerity what are you expecting from post after post with content that is variation on a theme. You get the same answers - sure somewhat tailored to the specific question at hand yet all variation on that same thing. BS and WS alike all giving you excellent advice yet you seem not to take it to heart. Or try yet again 1% of something and act surprised when there is not real change in dynamic.

Here you are - no different from where you started. Why do you think that is? And what are you going to do about it?

JBWD posted 9/19/2020 15:58 PM

Is “If you say so” an non-argumentative acknowledgement or rude?

It’s condescending and invalidating.

“You betrayed me”
“Well, if you say so...”
Do you see how by shifting to “if you say so” you’re actually refusing to acknowledge?

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