When did it finally hit you that you destroyed the very thing you cherished about your BS’s connection with you?
My IC tells me I don’t have to continually remind my husband that he destroyed my feeling of safety and the reminders (please don’t bash the therapist I actually agree that the manner in which I do it isn’t healthy for any of us) because the WS won’t ever forget the magnitude of their screw up.
If I sigh or a tear begins to well up in my eyes because my favorite song comes on the radio that expresses undying love and I switch it off he feels so low. I just can’t listen anymore.
If your spouses pain never leaves how to you handle your pain from that?
This is a tough one.
That first year is a bumpy ride. Your therapist is asking you to try and be more productive in your communication, rather than just going on a tirade I suppose?
That's asking a lot. But, I wouldn't take it as you can't discuss your feelings, ask questions, etc.
Your WS is in IC I take it? He should be working towards healing his shame, finding some self-compassion, and changing his behaviors to the person he can be proud of.
What you are talking about is your WS's shame over what he has done. Shame was a difficult hurdle for me because I had accumulated shame through my life and it was one of the things that kept me from having a good relationship with myself. One could actually trace that shame probably had a lot to do with my conflict avoidance, people pleasing. And, ultimately feeling worthy of the relationship I had with my husband. Self worth is a very hard foundation to build.
So, I do see how from a WS perspective we do have to have some room to work through that.
However, I think it's natural for that to also collide with a BS's need to grasp what has happened, to be able to express their feelings about it, and they are sadly scouring the ashes of what we burned down to find some semblance of security. Some of that security has to come from the WS being able to acknowledge the pain they caused and take full accountability. Shame keeps us from fully doing that because we are used to being avoiders.
This is why getting to the point that you are beginning R is so hard. R can't begin until the WS has healed to a certain degree, and the BS has healed to a certain degree. Until then both people are mostly just reacting and that doesn't help feelings of bonding or security.
I think you have to concentrate on your path and he has to fix his own. It's perfectly fine for the therapist to help you communicate your feelings more effectively rather than staying in a place where you are berating. At some point all BS who are trying to successfully R do have to make that transition. At the same time, you should not feel shut down from being authentic. Not being able to listen to a love song is normal. Not wanting to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, other holidays also very normal. That is not punishment, that is natural consequences.
You can figure out strategies on your communication, nothing wrong with that - but he has to figure out his own way out of shame. You are not in control of his shame. And, by stuffing your feelings you would not be doing yourself or him any favors. You can't rugsweep so he doesn't feel shame.
You can change some of your ways of communicating, but in many ways that helps you as well. I tend to think that when we are lashing out that it hurts how we see ourselves. It becomes a pattern and one we don't enjoy. It makes you feel guilty when you shouldn't be having guilt. So, being able to say things differently in many ways helps you build your own self-compassion and self-respect.
I would focus on your own benefits of changing the behavior from tirades (I am assuming) to more productive ways of communicating. I would focus less on hurting his feelings or stirring up his shame because it's him who is responsible for that.
Shame, guilt, regret, are how we feel about what we did, or who we are. Remorse is about how we feel about what we did to someone else. I find remorse to be more advanced because to take someone else in you can no longer fill the entire space with just how you feel. There is a tendency to avoid empathy in that state. And, your tirades or berating (again guessing) is probably because that lack of empathy is triggering you. I don't disagree with the MC, but I would argue both of you might benefit from stopping MC and going to IC for a little while longer.
I had done IC for almost a year before we did MC. The truth is we didn't need as many MC sessions because I had done a lot of work on myself prior. Just some observations from my own experience YMMV.
[This message edited by hikingout at 10:20 AM, October 7th (Wednesday)]