I so understand your need to understand and know who you were married to, but more than that, to know who YOU were in your marriage and to have YOUR needs matter. It comes with the realization that it’s likely your needs, your goals, your values, your very self as a real person, were never part of any thought he had when he was making his plans and decisions. What you are in need of is acknowledgement of your existence, your agency, your RIGHT to have expected loyalty and honesty and love and value and honor from the person who promised you ALL of those things when he married you.
One thing that became very disturbing after confrontation was that my WH said repeated times: You are a part of me. I had a visceral response to that statement in light of what he had done. My response: NO, I am NOT a part of you. I am an actual separate human being with my own rights to make my own decisions about what is and isn’t okay for my life and for my kids and my family. My response came from understanding that what he was really saying was that I didn’t exist as a separate person—I was a possession that he had felt he had the right to make decisions for.
So that was one thing.
The other took me much longer to understand, and to be honest, I’m still discovering pieces of understanding—ELEVEN YEARS LATER. (Believe me, you are so far ahead of this horrible curve, Sigyn) This thread is full of gold for so many of us.
Our WH's have lived a lie for so long, they don't even recognize the lies they tell themselves, the mental gymnastics and rationalizations they have made to perpetrate this charade and any unravelling of their protective coating comes with great effort, pain and time.
This is SO very true. They have lost track of the actual truth if they ever even knew it. That isn’t the same, however, as not knowing that they were lying to you. He clearly understood that he was and had developed a rationalization and a methodology for deceiving and hiding from you. Really understand that: HE DEVELOPED AN ARTICULATED METHODOLOGY FOR DECEIVING AND DEFRAUDING YOU OF AN HONEST AND FAITHFUL MARRIAGE. Imagine if he had put that energy into becoming a better person, husband and father and dealing with the shit that he knew, because he sought therapy, was there. He was led to the doorway, and he decided to turn around and dig deeper into his ugliest center.
My WH did this too, and I can tell you that that decision—to embrace his worst and run from understanding and fixing it—was one that he never decided to walk back from. Telling himself that he was fine and that everybody was like that and that he wouldn’t have needed to do that except for. . .so many excuses and blameshiftings.
The probability is also very high that he will just continue to be the duplicitous spin master that hes been for years. Even in the face of watching his wife fall apart in pain, and torturous grief. All because he is at the center of his own universe. Always has been. Probably always will be.
I’m sorry, but my experience is that this statement is right on. Has your WH revealed a single thing to help you in the time since you confronted? Has he made one attempt to comfort you and acknowledge that your agony is because of him? OR. Has he expressed concern for his own discomfort and distress at being caught? We know that he has had the stones to tell you that you will now be required to focus on helping him more than ever now.
I recognize that we are all too used to stuffing our own feelings and pushing our concerns down to prioritize them, but what about your son? Has your husband expressed any concern over what HIS actions have done to his son? I ask because when I brought this up to my WH, his response was that he hadn’t done anything to the kids. He might have done something that upset me, but the kids didn’t know anything. They were fine. I had to point out that destroying our marriage was also destroying the foundation of their security and of their family unit before it even dawned (visibly) on him that this was a possibility. Don’t worry though—he quickly stuffed that knowledge right back in a box for himself.
Here is the most important thing that I think I’ve realized and that another poster articulated really well:
. For those that are deeply broken, the affairs are rooted in power and control. Those two things are the driving force in ALL of their lives and the affairs are just a manifestation of that need. These are the people that tend to lead double lives - and rather convincingly. They aren’t struggling to reconcile two aspects of themselves. The two aspects are just simply the necessary component to have the ultimate power and control. They write the book of themselves as how they wish you to read it…but they must have the two sides for either story-writing to be satisfying for them. IOW, one can’t exist without the other for them to feel they have the control.
All this to say, you will likely NEVER get the truth from him. It’s easy to think that the horror of their actions is what they are avoiding…that if they will just get it out then they can save themselves. But they aren’t horrified by their actions - or really even fearful of the consequences. They are fearful of losing the CONTROL. So in that regard, the very thing you need most from him is also the thing that’s giving him the most power. Whether consciously or not, obviously or not, he’s getting his rocks off on all this.
This is just SO right on for my WH, and I think it may apply in your situation too. Only you can know that.
My WH had a horrible, controlling, self-centered, narcissistic mom. And he was her favorite. The relationship was disturbing. She was manipulative, selfl-serving, and cruel when crossed. When I first met my WH, he told me a story about how he had once concocted an elaborate charade to talk two older ladies into giving him the address and phone # of a girl that he was interested in who hadn’t given him the info. These ladies worked at the school that the girl attended. What should have been such a red flag to me was that he was proud of his ability to "play act" so well and felt that it was an indication of his charm and people skills.
My WH is ALL about hiding and keeping personal secrets. He is ALL about covert activity as a rebellious and self-affirming practice. Getting away with it gives him power. Guarding and hiding information gives him power. It seems to all be part of some big: you’re-not-the-boss-of-me middle finger to anyone who he resents.
Guess who he resented in our marriage? He turned me into his mom because I asked things of him that he didn’t like to do. You know, like, tell the truth, not hide financial transactions, be responsible as a husband and parent, carry his own weight. He felt like he should have time to himself to pursue his own activities more, but was FINE with me taking care of the kids, carrying all the workload, being responsible for remembering and taking care of all of the WE responsibilities while he focused on his responsibilities to himself.
And he knew that wasn’t okay with me, so he hid his fun and his personal indulgences more and more. It has taken me years to unravel some of the things that he was/is engaged in, and honestly, I know there is so much more. But his firm practice is never to admit to anything that I haven’t caught him in and never to admit anything that I haven’t already had to find out on my own. Of course, there is so much that I can’t find out about—only what is in an email or a receipt or a text message—so he is free to withhold the complete picture.
This withholding allowed him to keep his power. It allowed him to use what he learns from my reactions and my sleuthing tactics to manipulate me and try to control what happened next. It allowed him to blameshift and deflect and a thousand other dysfunctional things.
And yeah, my WH would also endlessly tell me that the WAY that I approached bringing a problem to him—anything from asking him to take out rotten garbage to demanding that he stop lying to me—was the problem. If I would just handle it correctly, not use that particular tone, not get angry, not act like he had done something wrong, or any fucking thing that might distract onto my behavior and away from his, he would respond better.
Guess what? He never responded better, no matter what I did short of ignoring any issue completely and never bringing it up again. But he did accomplish getting me to turn myself into a pretzel and spend tons of times trying to figure out how I could approach it differently to get what I needed from him. I exhausted myself trying to solve the puzzle while he kicked back and enjoyed the break from having to face or change anything.
And he has never really looked at his behavior at all. He still has an unbelievably strong need to operate in secret, and I mean about little stupid secrets as well as big things. He gets off on the control it gives him. It’s like he’s a sneaky five-year-old that feels so very smart, so much smarter than his mom, when he gets away with it. And he is so ugly and resentful when he is caught. In the past, any time that I caught him in a lie, his response was not contrition but bitter resentment. He would often complain that I was never going to let him forget it now that he’d been caught. THAT was his concern.
If any of this sounds like him, I’m sorry to say that I don’t believe you are likely to ever get what you need from him. It is possible to move forward in this knowledge. It sucks. But for me, it wasn’t possible for me to have any kind of relationship with my WH knowing this.
[This message edited by NowWhat106 at 11:23 PM, Tuesday, September 20th]