I wouldn't be at all surprised if he hasn't been reading this thread.
I would! Let me tell you why. I have gone to reddit with this "affair issue" a couple years ago. I didn't get this kind of response then as I am now, but I confessed to my husband that I went to online forums for after-affair-advice and he did not like that. Like it was another affair. I would definitely know if he was reading this stuff. Oh lordy, he would be devastated. In fact, the other day he asked me a question and I told him that I have responded to posts online about our shit, but I meant I did it back then, and he thought I meant I am doing it now (which I am but I'm not telling him that)! I heard him bawling in our room because he thought this. He never cries. He was devastated, seriously heartbroken, but he didn't lose his shit on me. He was triggered because it felt like another betrayal. It's real to him. I asked my IC about that today and she said that "seeking help is not betrayal, it is individualization." I agree. But I can't argue that with him, so for now, in the dark he stays.
Looking at your situation, the fact that you're seeing yourself as primarily a wayward spouse and not a victim of abuse shouts to how badly you've been gaslit in your life- first by your father and now by your husband.
Yeah, I guess I just want to own up to my own shit. I did honestly have a secret relationship and I met up with the guy for sex. I could have instead left my husband, or put my foot down and forced counseling or something else that wasn't so unhealthy. I do see how I barely belong here now. I have much bigger issues. Now, I really don't feel gaslit by my father, but I definitely do by my husband. One day I'll go into that with my IC when I'm not so focused on husband stuff.
If your dad is even slightly narc, you've likely grown up being used to be belittled, put down, ignored and gaslit. You likely had training in taking more responsibility for negative situations in your life than you were really owed.
If you listen to the audiobook or read the book "Attachments" by Tim Clinton, the part about the Avoidant Attachment style, my dad is exactly the "narcissistic" shade of the avoidant type. I am the "exiled" shade of the avoidant type. He also doesn't have a short fuse, doesn't live off drama, and you can reason with my dad. In this way I feel he is not your textbook narc. But this explains why he tried to "empathize" about losing someone he cares for with me - because he is not even capable of that empathy. I honestly wasn't that offended by it, just kind of eye-rolly. I know he means well and is doing his best.
Now about the taking responsibility for negative situations in my life, I would say yes, but I have yet to learn where I picked that up. Mom, dad, sister? TBD.
Have you started letting this leak in your family's church?
No and I don't plan to. I do not intend on airing out our dirty laundry for the sake of lighting a fire under anyone's ass. If anyone's ass should be lit it's mine.
It's the fact that you had to drive yourself into the shameful circumstances of fucking 3 guys in one day in order to get some physical touch from him... that's FUCKED.
YES girl. Yes it is. Fucking repulsive.
Remember what he did to you. This interlude of him being polite and helpful is like alligator tears from unremorseful serial cheaters. It's only going to last as long as it needs to. Once you're calmed down, he's going to go right back to his controlling abusive self. The real test of it would be you talking openly to him about separating.
I think you're right. My IC and I talked about this today too. I can tell he can sense I have one foot out the door and that's why he is on good behavior or whatever. Basically, she wants me to think about telling him "I have been enabling you to keep all these secrets and all this trauma. I love you, and I hear you. If you are not ready to walk into the fire with me, then I will do it alone. I'm dying to heal. If you want to heal, I'll do it with you, but if you're not willing to be authentic and true, I'm going to heal by myself." By this I mean going to some counseling and being truthful with everything, not just some of the stuff.
Why does he want to change churches? Is your church the same one your dad is pastor at?
Yes it is the church we met at, the one my dad is pastor of. Honestly my dad's church is sort of dying, and there are not really any people we can connect with. My husband hasn't taken the lead to go elsewhere because it would offend my family, they would see it as rejection. I feel the same way, so it's just kind of awkward. So my husband wants to try to alternate between my dad's and a new one.
You ignoring him and shutting him out is like a turtle retreating into its shell when a predator is attacking. It's a NORMAL AND NECESSARY SURVIVAL SKILL. You're not abusing him, you're reacting to his abuse in the fight, flight or freeze mode. Combination freeze and flight- turtling up and detaching.
To a smaller extent, my husband would do this when I was being verbally aggressive/abusive (yelling and losing my shit). Totally NORMAL and expected- being attacked, feeling unsafe, we flee from the aggressor.
Okay, thank you for saying this! This is exactly what I thought - a trauma response! My husband for sure does not see it this way. To him, I have done this since day 1 of our relationship.
What the ACTUAL FUCK??? Do they know the full truth? Do they know about the 3 men in one day? Do they know your husband required you to record your fucking strangers? Did they hear about how he would have you bring men to the house and fuck them while he was around? What did you actually tell them?
No they do not know the full truth. They know my husband had a fetish, coerced me to have sex with strangers in our home with him present, and I got fed up and cheated, and he has been verbally and emotionally abusive since, including threats of suicide and kicking me out, and actually kicking me out. They don't know nasty details and my IC agrees with me that they probably don't need to. They know enough for now, IMO.
My dad helped me write a letter to my husband for when I go, and offered to pay my lawyer's retainer so we can have a temporary custody arrangement, should we need one.
Until he's a safe person, you need to get out. Who knows, maybe he can change and be safe. He's NOT THERE NOW AND YOU NEED TO GET OUT. It's going to be YEARS of hard work before he's safe enough to share a home with.
I feel in my heart it is inevitable. My IC is working on a plan of what to say to my daughter and stepkids for when I go. We talk again Wednesday. She is going on vacation from April 1-13. I planned on leaving after my daughter's birthday which is coming up rapidly, and unfortunately, when my IC is unavailable. My daughter's birthday is a big reason why I'm sticking around at the moment.
how do you think he is going to feel when your daughter starts puberty and her own sexual awakening? Is he going to need to control that? How about when she (normally) starts detaching from her parents and Daddy no longer gets hero kibbles from her? How will he treat her then?
Great questions. From watching him with his now teenage daughters, he will feel rejected and abandoned and just let her live peacefully until there is a conflict, and he will handle the conflict with grace, but their interactions will decrease. He blames his ex for stealing them away from him, and while some of that is fact, he could have done more and still could! He will say he is always there for our daughter, but reality is he will give up on her just as he has with them.