One of the reasons that this thread is so very valuable is the stunningly eloquent articulation of so many of the issues surrounding this particular type of WH and the way relationships that involve them tend to function. Over and over I read things that are such a clear description of my life even though I’ve never been able to articulate them quite so perfectly, and you, dear Sigyn, have written many of them, but so have so many other wise people on this thread. It’s really a gift to have such a community of people who really get it.
there's so much in his behavior that seems to originate in what I'm starting to think is maybe deeply embedded misogyny. All of his life bitterness seems to be directed at his mom, and that spilled over onto me as if he's punishing me for his mom not loving him the way he wanted to be loved. He withholds really serious and necessary info for me as a way of keeping control over me, to be above me, to be the one pulling the strings of what should be a marriage of two equals. And it gets this control through the use of other women's bodies. He's admitted to me that he uses withholding information as a form of control, but denies that any of this is woman-centered. I don't believe him. I think it is. And I think that the reason he chose sex workers even when he had what sounds like multiple OW and a wife all simultaneously in his life and catering to him is that he felt above the sexworkers from the start. Like he was in the power position. It never had to be reciprocal.
This all over the place. This is my WH in so many ways. He lacks your WH’s assertiveness in pursuing so many relationships, but the lack of respect for women, the secrecy, the information guarding and covert decision-making as power, the massive veiled resentment behind so many of his actions, the need to feel superior, and yeah, ultimately all originating from bitterness and anger at his mom. My WH deliberately chose to gravitate towards women that he felt superior to. THere were so many relationships that I felt were borderline inappropriate that he would explain away in a kind of "as if" way: she’s so screwed up; she’s a complete mess; etc. He would listen to them for hours about their screwed up relationships, their disastrous lives, and feel smug, but he would also feel powerful, wise, superior. They looked up to him, and he. Looked down on them. Perfect. Ultimately, the woman that he had an A with was a completely screwed up mess too. It gave him power and control.
He definitely preferred the company of women to the company of men since he felt both competitive with and inferior to men. The only men he liked were similarly those that he felt he had some power position over and those that he didn’t feel were a threat. Yeah, he has issues with relationships and vulnerability. Full stop.
On the other hand, women that he felt were smarter, stronger, out of his league, he resented massively. So where does that leave me. As long as he could manipulate me and control me, it was, I think, the ultimate satisfying revenge in a completely subconscious way. We started out on more equal footing when we were younger, but little by little, I became less manageable and grew in ways that he didn’t like. I stopped being manageable, and his resentment grew. Ultimately, when we had kids was a major dividing line. My priorities (and my overwhelming responsibilities as he focused on himself and how he wasn’t getting as much attention) shifted massively, and behaviors that I had soothed and excused became friction points because they affected the kids. That was when I really became the mom, and that role had well-established behaviors and feelings attached to it for him. None of them were positive.
The life we built didn't deserve to be fake. I wanted that life and I was living that actual life. WH was the outsider, the faker, the imposter. I'm so furious with him and so disgusted and just so so so DONE. Done listening to him twist everything and done having every conversation turn into a competition, arguing over semantics, having the 'why did you do this??' conversation become completely shut down by his proxy battles over marriage counseling.
Yes. Yes. Yes. You have come to what you need 5 years faster than I did. I made the decision not to engage in those conversations that turned into competitions, semantic wrangling, blameshifting, deflecting, false equivalencies, and endless detours and distractions onto whatever grievance he wanted to use to try to manipulate me. I made that decision hundreds of times only to get caught off guard again because there was something that had to be raised because it involved the kids or finances or something. Whoever said that they are masters of manipulation and mind-fucking games was so right. How did we live so long without realizing how much we were getting played and gaslighted and disrespected? How did we convince ourselves that we were actually happy with our relationships?
furious with his smugness, his privilege in getting to be what is essentially a forever child with his wife holding down the fort taking care of the family responsibilities as he flew around sampling from various all you can eat sex buffets and then coming home to kiss me and engage in all those totally bullshit pointless conversations about how lucky we were to have a good life and love each other so much. Probably laughing at my ignorance, texting his girlfriends from the bathroom, feeling like king of the world. barf
Raising hand again. As I’ve said before, I ran myself ragged trying to hold things together as the mom of a resentful forever child who complained regularly that he never had time for himself and what HE wanted to do. We (actually it was probably more me, in retrospect) had those "lucky’ conversations regularly. Because I couldn’t believe how fortunate we were to have beautiful, healthy kids, financial stability, a great life, a happy marriage. But why wouldn’t he feel lucky too since he had all of that. . .and more that he got to secretly enjoy and smirk over. My rage and loss over his careless destruction of all that I loved and held most sacred was the ultimate act of petty resentment and disrespect. His destruction of the family that my kids loved and felt safe in is something I’ll never forgive.
But I will say that none of his shitty, dysfunctional behaviors brought him satisfaction or happiness. He felt like a total shit most of the time, I think. Not that he said to himself that he was a total shit. In the ultimate deflection, he told himself and his AP and even me after I found out that i didn’t have time for him, that I didn’t love him enough, that I didn’t make time for him, and any number of other bullshit rationalizations. Like your WH, he knew he was a liar and had articulated the best "technique" for getting away with it. But internally, he knew what he was—hence, his choices of co-conspirators.
I’m guessing that your WH has finally come face to face with his own shittiness too. And like my WH, he’s decided to hide from it completely and double down on not facing it and throwing blame and manipulation in every direction.
You, on the other hand, are becoming truer to yourself. Your strength and emotional intelligence are showing up to protect you and your son. Your integrity is provoking a lot of important revelations that will serve you better going forward. You are discovering that your integrity, compassion, and respect for life must also be offered to yourself. You are awesome.
So you will make a good decision about what to do with the money, ultimately, and that decision will reflect who you are and who are becoming in the fire of this horrible forge. I trust your judgement and you truly can too. You’ve got ALL of this, even though it is horrific and it doesn’t feel like you have it. You do.
And let that anger rage. It’s your friend no matter how uncomfortable it feels. It needed to be heard along with all of the other parts of you that you’ve been holding back. Huge hugs to you, Sigyn.
[This message edited by NowWhat106 at 11:24 PM, Friday, November 18th]