You Can't Make Them Change
Not that this is a surprise to anyone, but you really can't. You can hope. You can lay down expectations. You can set boundaries. But the only one who can make the change is them.
I have waited 5+ years to see any TRUE changes in Mrs. Cap. The MC we are still with, that we started seeing 18 months ago, has helped considerably. She has held Mrs. Cap's feet to the fire, has dug deeper to find issues pre-A, has not let Mrs. Cap off the hook when it comes to empathy. In short...she's good...REALLY good.
The last few sessions, we have covered my stuff, my low "connection" numbers (higher than the 0-1 from a few months back, but still not generally above a 5), and have been getting to the heart of the issues.
Yesterday, we talked about the times across the last 28 years where I have been scrutinized at the molecular level, nitpicked to the extreme, held to impossible standards with the "bare minimum" being absolute perfection. I talked about the feelings of unfairness, of feeling unloved & unwanted.
And for the first time in the MANY years of off and on MC, Mrs. Cap cried. She cried and she actually said "The reason you feel like the villain is because that's what I did. I did do all those things."
(FYI, she had NEVER admitted to doing any of that before, always saying that it was my misperception).
Then she did some things that even further shocked me. She said "I was a terrible person then. I am so sorry that I did that to you for so many years. I can't believe that I allowed myself to do that to you. To go through all of that, capped off by my A and then how I continued to treat you afterwards...that is more than anyone should have to bear. I can't imagine the burden that must have been to carry. I don't ever want to do that to you again. Will you forgive me?"
And I thought...who are you and what did you do with Mrs. Cap?
She didn't deny anything. She went on to talk about what she was feeling through those years (not defending anything, just saying things about her bitterness and anger and, on some level, hatred of me...that was hard to hear) how she did everything she could to tear me down.
And unlike times past, she did it with remorse, with what looked like true sorrow, not driven by shame, but driven by actual care about what she had done, who she had been, and what she wants to show up like now.
It was a peek into the cha ges she has been working on in herself.
And it felt good.
33 comments posted: Wednesday, July 13th, 2022
Advisor gets 6 years
That was the headline in a story I read today. A financial advisor who stole $6M from clients, spent $4.2M on "women with whom he was romantically involved." Got sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison for stealing $6M.
His BS gets much longer than that...
7 comments posted: Saturday, June 25th, 2022
Around Every Corner
Not that it's a surprise to anyone here, but infidelity is seriously sitting just around every single corner in this world.
This morning, my business partner walked into the office and asked if I would come over to his office. Not an unusual request as that's how we typically start most days.
Today, he said that his daughter asked yesterday if the family could have a conference call. My immediate reaction was "Awesome! She must have been telling everyone that she was expecting (it would be their first grandchild)."
Well, that wasn't exactly what the call was about. Seems her med school husband of 2 years was having an A. And in typical med school fashion, it was with another student in his program.
Needless to say, I was shocked. I tried to be as supportive as possible. Told him I knew, as a dad, that his first instinct was probably "I'll kill him." He said "Yep...but I weighed that against spending my retirement in prison...I like not living behind bars."
I told him to let me know what I can do to make everything easier for him. If he and his wife go to see their daughter (who lives in another state), I'll take care of office stuff. If he needs me to see clients for him for a while, no problem. Whatever he needs, I'll take care of it. He stepped up big time for me in the first 18 months post D-Day v1.0.
It just sucks. My heart hurts for him (he went through the same thing with his wife and one of her co-workers 20+ years ago) and for his daughter.
And I'm pissed off. I'd love to drive out to his son-in-law and just beat some sense into him. WTF is he thinking!?! I know, there's only enough blood flow in the body to run one brain at a time...and we all know which one was in control at the time.
So, I sit here, heart both heavy and full of anger. Sad for my partner, for his daughter, and anger towards his SIL.
Writing is very therapeutic. I think I'm going to ask my partner if he wants to cut out early and go spend time at the gun range. I'm pretty sure what the answer will be...only if I'm paying for the ammo! 🤣
24 comments posted: Friday, May 27th, 2022
And then, it clicked...
The last (roughly) three weeks have been an interesting ride. If I use the MC session from 3 weeks ago as the starting point, what was basically 1 1/2 days later, something in Mrs. Cap "clicked".
We had a conversation the next day about her countenance, her being silent (for roughly 24 hours) and the unfair expextations placed on me (you should do X for me because I didn't do X for you and you know how that felt).
As I went through the "your reasoning is a bunch of selfish BS" response, something in her changed. The look in her eyes was different. It seemed as if someone totally different was inhabiting her body. She immediately stopped her "woe is me" and had a look of concern on her face. She opened up and said that what she had done, how she had treated me was horrible. She lost all concern for herself and was sad about how she had treated me. She used the phrase "I can't believe I was that kind of monster." She seemed genuinely heartbroken about having treated me like garbage, yet asking for grace in how she was being treated.
I have to say, I'd never seen that before. Ever. As in for 33+ years kind of ever. I was shocked.
Since then, we've had 2 more MC sessions. At last week's session, she thanked me for not walking away and not giving up. This week, she apologized for the "stolen years" as I had called it, as well as for being my harshest critic throughout the years.
She apologized for not responding the way I needed after her A. She apologized for all the hiding & lying that happened.
She told me that she was sorry for ignoring my pain, for minimizing it, and frankly, for not caring about having inflicted it.
And that is just the MC sessions.
Over that time frame, Mrs. Cap has smiled. She has been intentional about touch & words of affirmation. She has genuinely shown care about my stress levels, the causes, etc.
It's a totally different person at my house.
One of the biggest things is that she hasn't run away or gotten silent when I've voiced my concerns about whether this is real or an act. And I have voiced that concern. Multiple times.
She has said that she understands why I would be wary and that she is going to keep showing up to demonstrate that consistency over time.
And for the first time in years (yes, plural, and not exaggerated) she said "I love you."
That hit hard. My initial internal reaction (not surprisingly) was "I don't believe you." I didn't say it out loud. But I thought it.
And she continued with "I don't expect you to believe that. I wouldn't if the roles were reversed. But I do. And I want to show you that every day."
There have been discussions regarding the sadness she feels for the pain inflicted and the things that I still struggle with. There have been discussions where she has asked what she can do to help with my sadness/stress/whatever is going on.
This woman has NEVER shown up this way for this long before.
I don't know what happened with Mrs. Cap. I don't know how things clicked. I simply don't know.
But I'm not jumping out to grab on to hope, either. There is a glimmer that I have allowed. Everything is still being viewed with a wary eye. But that wary eye is open to trust IF there is consistency over time.
I've seen the "I'm all better" movie before. I know the facade doesn't last long.
I'm open to the possibility that it has clicked, for real, this time. Time will tell.
But I can tell you this: it has been close to 20 years since she went to a baseball game with me. She's never gone to one since we moved from the Chicago suburbs 15 years ago.
But she went with me this past Sunday (yes, we did Easter at Coors Field). And she said she enjoyed it. She liked being with me at a place where I found joy. And she wants to go back. And she wants to plan a trip to Chicago so I can go back to Wrigley Field (haven't watched a game there in 15 years). She wants to see me enjoy things AND she wants to share in the experience.
I don't know what clicked or how with that discussion. But I am looking for that consistency over time. Three weeks in, and she has shown up every day thus far.
25 comments posted: Tuesday, April 19th, 2022
That's not the way it works...
There have been ups and downs the last 13 months as we've been back in MC.
Over that time period, Mrs. Cap has spent probably 75-80% of the time with the platform during sessions. That's fine. I have let her bring up things from the past 25+ years that she has needed to discuss.
The times when I have had the stage, I have used it to discuss topics that were important to me.
And often, when we are asked for our level of "connection", our numbers are pretty low. For me, the last 6 months, my number has basically been a zero. Mostly because ther has been little to nothing that she has done to truly pursue a relationship in years, including doing her best George Costanza impression in the years post D-Days v1.0 and v2.0.
[For the non-Seinfeld fans, that means she was doing the opposite of what should have been done]
So, last week was a pretty decent week as it pertains to connecting. She made an effort to try to connect. She made an effort to pursue me. She made an effort to listen to what is going on in my world. Basically, she made an effort.
And that takes me to today's MC session. The MC asked us to rate the level of connection. Mrs. Cap said the same thing she always does...Cap needs to go first.
So, I was honest. I said 0 heading towards 1. In my mind, it was a good week. But it was 1 good week out of the last 300. So, it moved the needle...but not much. In baseball terms, it was a guy who had a 5 for 5 game after an 0 for 50 slump.
Mrs. Cap lost it. "My best will never be good enough." "It's like trying my hardest and failing a project." "Why should I even try?"
Can someone really believe THAT is how relationships work? That you can do nothing to connect for years, then have one nice week of connection and everything should be "perfect"?
Even the MC tried to tell her that it took 25 years to get the connection to 0, it will take more than a week to get to an 8.
So what have I learned? That A.) being honest about things ISN'T what she really wants to hear and 2.) if it's hard work, she isn't willing to put forth any actual extended effort over time.
I know. So many "I told you so" are headed this way. It's OK. I deserve nothing less.
I'm so frustrated...
99 comments posted: Wednesday, April 6th, 2022
Wanted to pass along this quick bit of news.
For those of you who know/knew NtV, his wife passed about a month ago after her battle with breast cancer. I just learned this evening when he posted via social media.
This has certainly been a long, hard road for him & I am sure that prayers for comfort are appreciated.
NtV, if you're visiting back here at all, my heart go out to the family my friend. We love you!
3 comments posted: Monday, March 28th, 2022
It's a Cliche for a Reason
"The body keeps score."
We've heard it said many times over. Someone posted a thread on it recently. And it's not like it's a surprise to any of us...except when it is.
I woke up in a funk this morning. Couldn't figure it out for the life of me. The weekend was nice. I got to speak at a church in town on Sunday morning where I've been to speak several times over the past 5 years or so. Had a lot of fun being able to reconnect with the congregation & pastors there.
At the end of last week, MLB and the players association came to an agreement and baseball is back in action. I'll be in the Phoenix area next week for business and to watch my oldest daughter run in the Nike Invitational. Have a couple of open days and Spring Training games will be in full swing at that point.
I love this time of year. The true signs of spring aren't the swallows returning from Capistrano. It's spring when you hear the cracks of the bat and the pop of the glove.
But I digress...
Anyway, I've just been down all day long, seemingly ready to crumble emotionally at any moment, and couldn't figure out why. This evening during my workout, it hit me...
This week is 4 years since D-Day v2.0. The brain had totally blanked that out. But the body was remembering.
So, I go to bed with that remembrance. Not a pretty day (because I did the detective work to find out about 90% of what happened...and the other 10% trickled out over the next 9 months). Not the happiest of memories.
But tonight I will sleep. Quite a change from 4 years ago.
2 comments posted: Monday, March 14th, 2022
Brutal Honesty...and it hurt...
This afternoon during our "date" time, we sat down and had a discussion. Talked about some A things, some today things, and some non-A things. Talked. Listened. That's it. No defensiveness. No blameshifting. Not trying to explain anything away.
And then, Mrs. Cap decided it was time to share something. She said that for the better part of 5 years leading into her A (and for about 4 years post D-Day v1.0), she hated me.
Yep. She hated me.
Not disdain. Not resentment. Not anger. Hate.
Haven't felt a gut-punch like that since D-Day v2.0.
She didn't say it with malice. She didn't say it to purposely inflict pain. She was just doing something different. She was being honest.
Said that she doesn't feel that way now and hasn't since about a year ago when she was 6 months into her new IC sessions. She apologized for feeling that way and how it kept her from doing anything remotely healing (except in one-off situations) for so long.
Even though those aren't today's feelings...damn, that still hurt.
It sure explains a lot.
And I know there are several who now get to say "told you so..."
Yep, you did...
30 comments posted: Sunday, February 27th, 2022
Another Reason to Hate Sam Hunt
Sam Hunt sucks. How he ends up on country radio is beyond me. Half his songs aren't even sung. He speaks his autotuned lyrics against techno beats.
I hate Sam Hunt.
And today, news breaks that his pregnant wife has filed for divorce...citing his infidelity.
Did I mention that I hate Sam Hunt. I'd love to punch him in the face...multiple times.
I hate Sam Hunt...
15 comments posted: Tuesday, February 22nd, 2022
The Waiting Game
The waiting game sucks. Let's play Hungry Hungry Hippos.
Happened to be listening to some 80s/90s country music and Billy Dean's Somewhere in my Broken Heart came on. It was tough to listen to, but I think it expresses my "waiting" well.
I realize that not everyone wants to (or even ought to) wait on their WS to "come to their senses". Not all will, and you can certainly prolong a great deal of agony.
But for those who choose to wait, I offer you these words from Billy's song:
You made up your mind it was time it was over
After we had come so far
I think there's enough pieces of forgiveness
Somewhere in my broken heart
I would not have chose the road you have taken
It has left us miles apart
I think I can still find the will to keep going
Somewhere in my broken heart
So fly, go ahead and fly
Til' you find out who you are
And I, I will keep my love unspoken
Somewhere in my broken heart
I hope that in time you will find what you long for
Love that's written in the stars
When you finally do, I think you will see
It's somewhere in my broken heart
Girl, I, I will keep my love unspoken
Somewhere in my broken heart
I hope that in time you will find what you long for
Love that's written in the stars
When you finally do, I think you will see
It's somewhere in my broken-
Somewhere in my broken-
Somewhere in my broken heart
2 comments posted: Wednesday, February 16th, 2022
"Loving" Your Spouse
Been thinking about this for many weeks now. I have a very difficult time saying "I love you" to my wife. Since D-Day v2.0, I could probably count on one hand how many times it's been said by me and still have fingers left over.
But does that mean that I DON'T love Mrs. Cap? No. Just that after D-Day v2.0, it changed.
In English, we have 1 word for love. That's it. I can love ice cream, my kids and watching replays of Kyle Schwarber hitting a ball into the stratosphere in 2015 against the RiverChickens in the NLDs...but those are all different types of "love".
So, I've been working through the Greek words for love.
Eros: romantic, passionate
Philia: authentic friendship
Ludus: playful, flirtatious
Pragma: committed, companionate
Agápe: empathetic, unconditional
Many years ago, I would have classified my "love" for Mrs. Cap as "agape". But apparently, fidelity actually WAS a condition. Now, I struggle to classify it.
Is it "storge"? Possibly. There is a "shared family experience" between us.
"Pragma" perhaps? There is still compassion & companionship at some level.
At the moment, I think "philia" has too deep an emotional connection to be appropriate.
Definitely not "eros", "ludus" or "agape" at this point. Maybe one day, but certainly right now.
What about you? Anyone else as confused/curious as me when it comes to love these days?
22 comments posted: Wednesday, February 2nd, 2022
Need Some Insights
Had a combination "proud dad" and "huh?" moment last night.
Last night, my oldest daughter accepted a full scholarship to be a college athlete at a school that is more than 2000 miles from home. She had offers from two schools (neither within 1000 miles of us). We visited both. She met the coaches and athletes at both schools, spent time with the specific departments she would be studying in, and made her choice last night. I'm very proud of her for the way she went through her decision-making process and how she reasoned out her choice. Very mature.
My wife absolutely melted down. Sobbing. Inconsolable. Had to leave the room.
When I asked her about it, she said that she couldn't believe our daughter would choose a school so far away (it's not like the other one that offered her a full scholarship was "close"). She wasn't ready for her to be going away to school. She had so much more time with our oldest before he left (he turned 21 about 3 months after leaving, this one will be 19 about 3 months after leaving). Everything that came out seemed to be Mrs. Cap focused.
I asked "Can't you just be happy for her? She is getting a full athletic scholarship. She is going to run for a championship caliber program. She is going someplace that she loved from the moment the plane touched down. Can't you just be happy for her?"
"I don't know...I'm just not ready for her to be gone..."
I get all of that. But maybe I'm a little to "man". Maybe I just don't get all the emotion. Am I missing something in this? If the A never happened, I'd probably just chalk it up to momma being sad about her babies growing up. But knowing the selfish, self-centered thinking of a WS, I honestly don't know what to think. Is it as simple as a mom not ready for her kids to grow up, or is it something else? Is this an inability to share in the joy & happiness of someone else because she is being so self-focused on her "loss"? Or is it just a "mom thing" that I quite frankly don't understand?
I could seriously use some input here.
47 comments posted: Friday, January 28th, 2022
Glasses & Conversations
Believe it or not, we all wear different colored glasses that add a different color (perspective) to conversations.
Big reveal, I know.
I was struck by the stark differences that we can have from a remarkably honest conversation (that also referenced another very honest conversation) I had with Mrs. Cap a few days ago.
We were discussing "trust" and I was getting to the point that her short trip to "trust" sailed 5 years ago when she refused to be transparent, demanded privacy, and also demanded to be trusted.
I hadn't asked for anything out of the ordinary. Passwords to email/social media. Lock code to the phone. That was it. It was not only denied then, it was ADAMANTLY denied. And the foolish MC we had at that time agreed that Mrs. Cap should be allowed to have privacy.
So, I gave up. Didn't make a big deal out of it.
When D-Day v2.0 rolled around 14 months later, I again stated that I needed those things, especially after she had continued to lie and hide things for that year plus.
Denied again. Ok. The choice she was making was to remain "private" and to not become trustworthy.
Forward to 18 months ago (2 1/2 years post D-Day v1.0 and about 18 months post D-Day v2.0). We had a conversation where I told her that my level of trust regarding her commitment to our relationship was absolutely 0, and I had no doubts that, given an opportunity, that she would throw me under the bus again in a heartbeat and would walk away from the family if it suited her purpose.
I used those exact words and said them in a very calm, matter of fact type of tone. Nothing in anger. No increased volume. Just a regular conversational tone.
Forward again to our conversation a few days ago, and I learn about her perspective and how she personalized it.
She took my statement as an assault on her character. She said that she became very depressed and even planned out her suicide attempts several times, only to not go through with them.
Ultimately, it would lead to her seeing a new IC, facing her anxiety & depression, making changes to her beliefs, and us re-starting MC.
Having known nothing of her suicidal intentions, hearing that was somewhat shocking. I've been ruminating on that for a few days, thinking mostly about how the "processing" of information is so different, totally based on those filters we have in our minds. Something that I thought was simply me being totally (but not brutally) honest was taken as a character attack and was used to drag her mind all the way done to believing that death was the only way to ease her pain.
Does that mean that I stop being totally honest? By no means. It does mean that I have come to realize just how messed up her filters are and that the amount of solid IC work still needed for her is sizeable.
Gotta keep the grace glasses on and focused as it all continues to be navigated, especially as she continues to reconcile with herself.
15 comments posted: Thursday, January 6th, 2022
Five Year Insights
This week marks 5 years from D-Day v1.0. I could not have imagined then what those 60 months would look like (or, quite frankly, how LONG they would really be).
For those who have followed, you've ridden the ups & downs, you've seen the hopes and the hopes dashed, you've listened to me gripe and complain, be at my lowest and my best. Thank you for taking that ride with me. To quote the late, great Jerry Garcia...what a long, strange trip it's been...
So, what have I learned thus far?
1. Whatever you think your time frame is for recovery, you're wrong. I thought "I'll beat that 2-5 years thing. Nope, didn't happen.
B. You can't reconcile by yourself. It takes two. Every. Single. Time.
III. You can't make your WS get it, no matter how hard you beat them over the head with it. Best to detach and work on yourself. That was a long, hard lesson I had to learn. Thanks for sticking with me on that one, Unhinged.
4. Give yourself grace & time to heal. Powering through a 22 hour road trip is one thing. Taking care of yourself while in the midst of this storm is another entirely. Healing is messy. It leaves a lot of scars. Those may or may not lead to a good story someday.
🖐. Not all IC/MCs are created the same. I've had experience with both all over the spectrum. Bad ICs make things worse (we are still unraveling things from my wife's first IC who convinced her that I was abusing her and she needed to leave immediately...because I yelled at her when she sent a text that said "Heartsick. Miss you." just 2 days after D-Day v1.0. Our original MC agreed that it was "abusive". The current MC laid out the difference between "abusive" and "traumatic". She's doing a great job working with Mrs. Cap to understand the difference. My current IC is also working with me on a variety of things, including being able to trust again. I'm quite grateful for our current counseling lineup. Experience truly does matter.
F. There are going to be some great internet strangers along the way that you will eventually call friends. Oldwounds, sisoon, ISSF, DaddyDom, W2BHA, and many others, you have walked alongside so wonderfully over these years. I cannot say thank you enough. And even an old RiverChicken fan like Unhinged can be a great guy to watch a ballgame with at 20th & Blake.
VII. Patience is a virtue...but it does ebb and flow. I've had patience. I've lost patience. I've had to get it back. Then I've had to change focus to regain a new patience. Dealing with your wife's A, especially with a story that changes/trickles out over 24 months isn't a straight line. Messy, messy, messy. It takes a lot of work, a lot of stamina, a lot of perseverance...and a lot of SI support to walk that path.
8. You will want to quit. More than once. And that's OK. We all get tired. This stuff wears you out, even if you have a perfectly remorseful WS from day 1. It's exhausting mentally, physically, emotionally & spiritually. Be kind to you. Eat. Sleep. Exercise. Cry. Vent
Rest when possible. Be good to you. You're the only you that you have.
I. When there's a REAL change in your WS, you will know it. It won't look or feel forced. It will be at a core level. They will be 100%, 180° different. You won't have to guess.
X. And sometimes...they are incapable of change. That is the one thing our first MC said that has actually resonated with me the entire time. What if Mrs. Cap CAN'T change? What if she is incapable? I didn't truly understand what was being asked, nor could I understand what the MC meant at the time. Now I understand. We are two broken people. One of us made the stupidest, most hurtful decision of their life. The real reconciliation is about what am I willing to accept and what glasses will I be wearing? They won't be those old rose-colored ones (moment of silence for Betty White...aka Rose Nyland), but they can be filled with either grace or bitterness. And I get to choose each day which ones I pick up.
There are many more things I have learned along the path. It's full of turns, potholes, detours & puddles. Sometimes you trudge forward slowly, sometimes it feels like a racecourse. Either way, it is an adventure, so enjoy the company of your fellow SI travelers along the way. Bear one another's burdens when possible. Be excellent to each other. And party on, dudes!
24 comments posted: Tuesday, January 4th, 2022
Sometimes I'm So Confused...
New MC session again today. It's as if last week never really existed.
Session started with MC saying that she didn't actually check in with me at the end of the last session, knew that Mrs. Cap had thrown a lot at me, and wanted to know how I was doing.
Told her that I felt pretty beaten up and downhearted. Felt like I got blindsided by things that I never knew were issues and that I got painted as the villain. Said that, deep down, it felt like we were right back to where we were pre-A.
MC said that was what she was afraid had probably happened. Mrs. Cap told the "story" that I had left without saying anything. I corrected it to say that I did leave, I did tell Mrs. Cap that I was leaving. When asked where I was headed, I answered "Not sure. I just need to get away and process things." Mrs. Cap then had an a-ha moment and remembered that I did, in fact, say that I was leaving for some alone time.
At one point in the session, I brought up how I wasn't able to talk about painful issues because Mrs. Cap runs away from them and how that further destroys any semblance of connection. Mrs. Cap said "I won't run away, I want to be able to support you."
MC asked "what was that look about?" [Because yes, I flashed a look]
I said "That's odd because last week you said that you didn't feel safe discussing anything with me unless we were in session, and just one week before that, you made the statement that you aren't willing to talk about anything. So that look was one of 'I don't believe a word that was just said.' Basically, I'm not a believer in that statement."
MC said "That's fair. You have good reason not to trust what has been said."
MC then looked at Mrs. Cap and said "There is a lot of pain still in him. The only way this gets resolved is if you are willing to sit, to listen, to not be defensive, to not make excuses, to be willing to not use his pain against him. You need to simply be present, to hear his heart speak, and to recognize that you caused it. You can't say 'yeah,but...' You can't say 'well, you...' And you can't say 'that was the old me.'
Then, the MC went on to say that if Mrs. Cap has actually changed, then her actions need to show it. She can't just say "but I'm different on the inside" because the same bad actions with "different" motives are still bad actions.
Mrs. Cap finished up the session saying that she was sorry for how she held me out as the bad guy last week, that she didn't mean for it to go that way, and that she was glad that I was willing to come back and share. Then she told the MC the EXACT thing I posted last week...she can't go that long between sessions again. I just shook my inner head (because I couldn't ACTUALLY do that in session).
Had to table the discussion about our sex life until 2 weeks out. MC suggested that we go back to 90 minutes because 60 leaves too many loose ends.
12 comments posted: Monday, October 4th, 2021
Too Long Between Sessions
A very frustrating MC session today. It has been 8 weeks between sessions for us (and I don't know how many weeks between IC session for Mrs. Cap...I go every 2 weeks for mine) because of COVID, delivering a kid to college and just a general lack of actually making it a priority (Mrs. Cap, not me, I asked every few days if she rescheduled).
Eight weeks is definitely too long for her to go in between sessions. Today, I was back to being the villain in her story. She's too afraid to talk to me because I voice opinions on things like bad drivers and people making non-sensical decisions. She won't be physically affectionate and pursue me because I have "objectified" her sexually (nevermind that we only have sex once every 10-12 weeks and she always has an excuse as to why she wants a "raincheck"). And she doesn't feel like connecting because I don't say "I love you".
I'm tired of being the villain. I'm tired of the round and round about how horrible I am as a husband. I'm tired of always being the scapegoat.
31 comments posted: Monday, September 27th, 2021
Sad & Frustrated: A Dialog
Today was a very long day. I generally try to have 10 business/client meetings throughout my week. I did 5 of those today. A week after getting over COVID. I'm exhausted mentally, physically, and emotionally.
It's been several weeks since our last MC session (we were 2-3 weeks between, but COVID canceled our session last week & it isn't on the calendar for the next one yet). I would say that there has been a fair amount of growth since we re-started MC earlier this year. Tonight's dialog is a good example.
Getting home after 8, my wife could see that I was clearly worn out. She also asked if I was sad about anything. I told her yes, I'm sad. She asked if it was about her. I said more or less. She asked what that meant.
Me: Three of my five meetings today all told me the infidelity stories in their lives.
Mrs. Cap: I'm sorry. Ill bet that was hard.
Me: It was. The hardest part is not being able to show empathy. I'd love to be able to say "I'm so sorry. I know that must have been hard on you." but I can't do that. I have to sit there with my poker face on. Otherwise, I know that they will be able to read it all over my face as well.
MC: I'm sorry that you can't connect with your clients because of what I did.
Me: I know. It's just one of those unintended consequences.
I will say that Mrs. Cap handled that 1000x better than she used to. A. she had an actual conversation about it, and 2. she didn't find some way to blame me or to defend herself. Definite progress there. But, onto the real purpose of my writing this evening.
I hate those unintended consequences. It just sucks that there are so many things that we as the BS have to deal with, all because of the choices our WS made with absolutely no regard for us whatsoever. It's frustrating and all part of that sandwich we are force-fed. Just once, I'd like to have life say "you know what Cap...I'm giving you a break on this one." Maybe there are breaks I don't know about or realize. But dadgummit, I just want that break shown to me at some point.
Yes, I'm tired. I'm exhausted, really. I need to sleep. But today took a lot out of me.
17 comments posted: Thursday, August 26th, 2021
Today's Session: Unbelievable...
Years ago when I was teaching my marketing students, I told them that the perfect answer to questions like "How are sales?" or "How is business?" is to respond with "Unbelievable."
Could be unbelievably good, could be unbelievably bad. Who knows? But it's unbelievable, regardless.
So, that's the word I use to describe our MC session today. Unbelievable. In this case, unbelievable in a good way.
I discussed how being "opportunistic" in discussing things comes across as minimizing whatever I have brought up to tell me how I should be better at approaching conversations.
This eventually moved into a conversation about my hesitancy to discuss anything because for 20-something years, the typical response has been to minimize and steamroll.
The MC turned to Mrs. Cap and asked if that was her recollection. To my utter amazement, she answered "actually, it was probably worse than that."
Mrs. Cap then went on to describe in detail how she would look for a weak spot and then exploit it to the Nth degree, finding ways to tear me down and crush my spirit.
I was shocked. For the first time in however many years, I wasn't the only one in this reality. Not only could someone else see it, but she flat out confessed to DOING it.
She talked about how she did everything she could to tear my self-confidence to the ground and that she recognized that her affair absolutely razed anything I had built up over all the years.
She owned it. And not just from a minimized "I did some things that weren't right..." perspective that is her MO. This was an "I've come to understand that everything I was supposed to be as a wife...I did the exact opposite...and I did it on purpose..." confession.
She had great sorrow in her eyes. She apologized in ways I've never heard her apologize before. Specific. Owned. Heartfelt. Recognizing the depths of the knife stabbing over and over and over.
For the first time in a long, long time, I truly felt seen. This wasn't a "poor me, I was a bad person" thing. No, this was an "I have hurt you for such a long time. I can't begin to even ask forgiveness. What I have been was such a horrible person and I can't begin to imagine just how deeply I have caused pain, not just from the A, but in all the years prior."
I must have had some look on my face, because the MC said "What are you feeling right now? Because it looks like shock."
Yeah. I am shocked. Because I never thought I would hear anything like that.
At one point, we had discussed the Codependent/Narcissist scale that goes from -5 (CoD) to +5 (Narc). My wife said "For most of our marriage...I'd give myself a +5...or more...especially when I was stramrolling him about everything." I'm better now. More like a +1.5.
What!?! She RECOGNIZED that behavior?
That was the point when the session ended & the MC said that we will pick up from there the next time.
So, yes, today's session was unbelievable.
39 comments posted: Thursday, July 29th, 2021
I'm Not The Thought(less) Police
So we are currently between sessions, but I have brought a few items to my wife's attention that I just need to vent a little about.
I did bring up her comment a few weeks ago that she made about inviting one of my friends from out of town to go workout with her. I didn't have to remind her that she went on workout dates with her AP. She said that she was sorry, that it was only a joke and that she was thoughtless with her words.
Just over a week later, we went to a concert for a country band we haven't seen in 30 years. We were having a great time until she decided to talk about how great it would be to be a groupie for them. I just turned my head and looked at her. And she continued to talk about it. How great it would be to go from town to town and enjoying all that time with the band and how she would really love to wait for them at the bus after the show. When we got home. She couldn't figure out why I wasn't interested in talking much.
So on Saturday, I finally had time to bring it all up.
Cap: You know when you asked why I was quiet when we got home and I didn't answer you?
Mrs. Cap: Yes
Cap: Do you have any idea why that would have been?
C: Why don't you go look up what a "groupie" is.
MC: [after finding the definition] Oh my. I'm so sorry. I didn't mean that I wanted to travel with the band and have sex with them. I guess I didn't know what the word meant.
C: How are you almost 50 years old and have no idea what that word meant?
MC: I guess I'm just thoughtless. I didn't mean to bring up old wounds. Just tell me when it happens. I need you to do that so I can learn.
C: [inside voice...I'm not the thought police...how about you just think about what you say before you say it...you're a grown ass woman for crying out loud...]
37 comments posted: Monday, July 19th, 2021
Session 10...I think...
It had been a few weeks between sessions this time and this one was a little different than most from the past. We did more of a "check-in/check-up" type of session where a couple of things were explored, but not a great deal of depth.
One piece discussed was the blow up I had on the Sunday following D-Day v1.0. Yes, I exploded. I instantly Hulked out, punched a hole in a door, and spent 20 minutes spewing more swear words than I had in 20 years.
I talked about how I wish that hadn't been my reaction, that I wish I had responded in a more calm fashion and how I replay that 30-45 minutes daily in my mind, even 4 1/2 years later.
The MC asked me what I wish I had done differently. My answer was hard for Mrs. Cap to hear. I said that I wish I hadn't said anything after seeing her text to AP that said "Heartsick. Miss you." I wish I had simply gone to the bedroom, packed a few days worth of things and just left. Would I have come back? At some point. But what I really needed was to cool down.
Mrs. Cap didn't say anything at that point, but I could tell that there was emotion. It could have been from just remembering how traumatized she was. It could have been the thought of what she did potentially leading to me leaving. Who knows?
She did say that my response that night is what caused her anxiety to explode and wouldn't allow her to do anything R related until this past January.
Interestingly, the MC actually called her out on that saying that anxiety is a mask and an excuse that people use to not do something that is hard for them. Not that the MC was saying anxiety doesn't exist, but saying that not addressing the anxiety and the issues surrounding it allows the anxiety to stay and be used as an excuse. Basically, the MC told Mrs. Cap that the event may have caused the anxiety, but she is the one who hid behind it instead of taking a healing path. I found that to be a very interesting part of today's discussion.
I did open up again and allowed emotion to come out. Next week, we were tasked with bringing anything else that we needed to still talk through, A-related or otherwise. My list is long. There are one or two that I feel OK with bringing up (such as her joke about inviting my buddy from out of state to go workout with her...a thoughtless, insensitive joke; the trust issues I still have because aof a lack of transparency on her part) but the hardest thing that I know needs discussed from my perspective is the "I've never really loved you" statement. To this day, it still haunts me. Not because it was said, but because in the 4 1/2 years since, I've watched the actions and have seen that, while Mrs. Cap says those words aren't true, her actions pre-A, during, and post-A all tell a different story, all pointing to those words being absolutely true.
That one is going to be a hard one.
Overall, a good session today. Here's to next week.
34 comments posted: Wednesday, July 7th, 2021
Session 9: Back to the Wall
Spent today's session talking about my wall and the lack of emotion shown through most of my day.
If you've seen the movie For Love of the Game, everytime Kevin Costner's Roy Chapel starts to pitch, he shuts out the crowd with the phrase "clear the mechanism". That allows him to focus only on the hitter and the catcher, closing out anything else that would be a detriment to him emotionally.
I have cleared the mechanism for years.
We got into my unwillingness to share. The MC asked if it was from any sense of fear. Nope. Not from fear. What about guilt or shame? Nope. Not any shame or guilt. At least not my own.
I stopped sharing things because I kept getting shot down. For almost 3 years, anytime I wanted to talk about something that dealt with my emotions, I was told "not now" or "I don't have time" or "I have to do X"...or just completely and totally ignored as if I didn't even speak.
The MC looked at my wife and said "He TRIED to connect with you?"
Mrs. Cap said "Yeah, but I wasn't able to handle it."
The irritated part of me says "No, $#!+ Sherlock. You were too busy being wrapped up in yourself that you couldn't see anyone else." I didn't actually say anything, though.
The MC then asked "Well, when do you think you were finally able to handle it?"
Mrs. Cap: Well, not really ever. Maybe back in February. But not really because I turned down a conversation yesterday because it was too close to bed (about 9:15pm).
Counselor: What has been the issue?
Mrs. Cap: The 40 minute tirade he had when he punched a hole in the wall.
Counselor: And that was back when he first found out?
Mrs. Cap: Yes
Counselor (to me): So you haven't been able to share anything, really, the last 4 1/2 years and because Mrs. Cap couldn't handle hearing it?
Counselor: So you just stopped trying to communicate anything at all about a year or so ago?
Counselor: That makes complete sense. I can see exactly why you would put up that wall and not ever want to come out. There was no safe space for you at all with Mrs. Cap.
Me: Definitely no safe space.
We finished up with planning to discuss "The Event" (when I turned into the Hulk) at the next session. I will be anxiously awaiting that.
Before anyone asks, yes, I did display emotion today. As always, I tried to hold it back, but it did escape. Interestingly, Mrs. Cap did reach over a couple of times to hold my hand while we were sitting. There were a couple of tears from her as well. The ice cold exterior did crack slightly.
17 comments posted: Monday, June 21st, 2021
Session 8: Real Remorse...I Want To Know You...
Today, for the first time since D-Day v1.0, I saw remorse. Real, true remorse. Not only for having the A, but for how she has/hasn't responded for the past 4 1/2 years.
These weren't crocodile tears. It wasn't some show. This was real, heartfelt, and specific. Mrs. Cap apologized for lying and hiding things those first 15 months (she had never really owned that). She apologized for blowing me off when I would tell her what was needed for healing. She actually apologized for never truly confessing & asking forgiveness.
She finally...after 4 1/2 years...finally read "How to Help Your Spouse Heal". And she apologized for not reading it, for not being able to see ME when she read it, until recently.
And from there, she said that she wants to know me, wants me to open up, wants me to see that she is safe. Time will tell. Track record for 27 years isn't great on that. Swears that she is a totally different person, even from a year ago.
Now, I just have to take that step & be willing to be known.
22 comments posted: Wednesday, June 16th, 2021
Session 7: You Don't Know What to do With That
Today was more rubber + road = reality. Last session, I was left with a question: What could Mrs. Cap do to make it safe to come out from behind my wall.
In short, my response was that she needs to stop putting a spin on things, trying to put herself on a pedestal while stepping on me to get there.
In particular, I brought up something she said in session #2 when she was telling her story. In her telling of the A, she said (and was very adamant about it) that there was "nothing sexual".
Today, as part of my "safety" ask was for truth to be spoken without spin. Was there physical penetration sex? I have no idea. But there was plenty discussion of what was being worn, what was purchased at Victoria's Secret, looking forward to me being out of the picture so they were free to have sex, etc. That isn't "nothing sexual".
I shared how that spin, coupled with expecting 100% disclosure of anything and everything in my life leaves me feeling treated unfairly because I'm held to a different standard.
I also brought up that I really don't feel like I can ask for anything because everything I've brought up over the past 4+ years has either been ignored, conditions get attached, or I'm told "no" outright. I spoke about how that feels like continued rejection, how it feels unfair, and how it leads me to feeling unwanted and unloved.
Ultimately, I expressed that everything that I want from the relationship, everything that is being held back from me...was freely given to the AP. And that is the source of the underlying sadness, that layer that is just below the surface, that sometimes makes its way to my eyes.
She was expressionless. Sat there with cold, dead eyes like a great white shark (I love sharks). Totally void of emotion.
Our counselor looked at her and said "Cap just gave you everything you've asked for. He just sat here and shared his heart with you. He has laid all of this out, been vulnerable with offering you his heart...what are you going to do with it?"
She adjusted on the loveseat a little, was totally without expression/emotion...and started defending her actions.
The counselor cut her off and said "This isn't about you...this is about Cap. He just offered up everything you've asked for. What are you going to do with it?"
Again, she sat speechless.
Counselor: You don't know what to do with that, do you? You don't know what to do with knowing that everything you have withheld from your husband, you gave freely to another man. You don't know how to hear his pain and respond, do you? You don't know how to say "I hear and see the pain that I've caused...and I'm sorry." You don't know what to do with it.
Mrs. Cap: I don't know what to say because it will just make Cap angry when I tell him that I've already worked through it.
Counselor: But you didn't work through it WITH him. You worked on you, but you never brought it back for a connection.
Time's Up. Let's schedule the next one with more time. There is a great deal that needs addressed here, both within the A and in the rest of your history as well.
Tough spot to end, but there were things laid out on the table that needed to be.
As we exited the building, Mrs. Cap looked at me, said "I'm sorry for all the pain I've caused. I love you deeply. I hope the rest of your day goes well." There was some emotion for her that was below the surface, but not allowed to come out.
Maybe this is that next difficult step for us. Her feet continue to be held to the fire, and she gets away with nothing with this counselor. I am blessed.
20 comments posted: Tuesday, June 1st, 2021
Session 6: The Wall
Today's session started with a question: 1-10, how connected do you feel?
Zero. Same answer from both of us.
Needless to say, the counselor was shocked. Completely showed in her face. She asked the obvious follow-up of "Why?"
So, she got the story from 6 weeks ago or so of my wife asking me why I didn't tell her about a ticket I got 9 months prior. Actually, it wasn't so much asking as it was a lecture on why it was irresponsible of me to not tell her, especially after she had gotten one.
From her telling of the events, she was loving, kind and felt compassion towards me because she understood why I would keep it hidden.
When it came time for my rendition, I expressed my feelings of being judged and rejected during her lecture. I also presented the events of the following day when I brought up those feelings, only to have them dismissed because she "reflected on it and hadn't done anything to be judging or rejecting". Yep, total invalidating.
After the "presentations", the counselor asked me why I had a wall up, why I felt that I couldn't share my real self. I simply said that it was because it wasn't safe, that my real self had been rejected so many times for so many years, that I simply was in protect mode. It wasn't safe because in being "known", the same old Mrs. Cap came out to lecture and humiliate, just like she had done for so many years.
The counselor looked at me and said "There is a lot of pain that you're holding back, isn't there?"
"Pain from all the years of being treated that way?"
"And all the rejection..."
"Especially the more recent past."
Then she gave me a question to think about. She asked "If Mrs. Cap could just do one or two things to make it safer, what would those be? Don't answer, just think."
She then told my wife something that I had never heard a counselor say, but it made 100% perfect sense. She said "It's perfectly fine to go knock on the wall and ask if he's ready to come out to play. Do not beat on the wall. Do not try to demolish the wall. Just knock. And if the answer is 'no' then sit down against the wall and wait.
And above all else, defend his wall."
My wife was a bit stunned at the statement and asked what it meant.
"If somebody comes along and tells him that he needs to tear it down, that he needs to get out there and do XYZ with his wife, you tell them that it's perfectly alright with you that he is back there because Cap is protecting himself. And when he's ready, he will come out. But nobody gets to force him out."
First, I think my wife was shocked that the counselor didn't scold me for having the wall. And on top of that, I think she was more shocked that she was told to PROTECT my wall.
The counselor finished up by saying "true compassion is seeing someone who is hurt, knowing that they are protecting themselves from more hurt, and defending their right to do that...even though you are the one who hurt them."
Then she said "When Cap is ready to tell you what those 1 or 2 things are that would help him feel safe...do them. No excuses. Just do them.
Feet...meet the fire.
49 comments posted: Tuesday, May 25th, 2021
This week's MC session got rescheduled two weeks out because of a couple kids who were sick. But that doesn't mean that there weren't positive changes noted this week.
I have a new weekly radio show that will debut this weekend. Today, I was live on the station talking about it.
And my wife was listening. She never listened to my other shows. Said it was a waste of her time. But today, she listened.
And she sent me a text during today's show to let me know she was listening.
And...get this...she was ENCOURAGING!
There is still a lot of work that needs done, but she does seem to be making changes that are positive.
8 comments posted: Friday, April 30th, 2021
Session 5: Listening is a Skill
"Short" session today (1 hour instead of 2) that covered some of those basics of active listening. This week, I was the listener and my wife had the opportunity to speak. Her topic of choice was a statement that I made twice in the last couple of years.
For those who have been through the standard MC work, you know that active listening is all part of that communication work that is done. This is the first counselor, however, that I have seen putting the emotion behind the communication into focus. It isn't just hearing the other person and repeating it back ( like at a drive through), but it is also touching the emotions through the entire process.
So, today we covered the statement that I made to my wife that she was solely responsible for the current dysfunction in our relationship.
As you probably know, active listening does not allow for discussion, defense or debate. It is simply listening to the speaker, hearing their emotional response to an event, and allowing their feelings to be expressed and validated as feelings.
The feelings my wife expressed were those of hopelessness, judgment, and being treated unfairly. She felt that it was unfair that I would lay the dysfunction of our relationship at her feet. She felt that it was being thrown before her as a judgment and that she didn't see how she could be put "in charge" of something (my feelings, for example) that she has no control over.
I told her that I could understand how she felt treated unfairly by having the burden of being solely responsible for an entire relationship's dysfunction placed on her. I acknowledged the feeling of hopelessness at being told that you are placed in charge of something that you truly have zero control over.
No defending. No discussing. No debating.
Next week, we open some wounds and discuss. No, not discuss, but whatever it is we did today. I have some apprehension about it. A lot, actually. This will be a rubber meets road moment. I honestly don't know how she will respond. For four years, she has dismissed, minimized, blameshifted or just flat out ignored whatever I had to say about the A.
I will be interested to see how she responds next week.
24 comments posted: Monday, April 19th, 2021
I Feel Like a New Person
Seriously. Totally, 180° different. Yes, it is baseball season and that always makes me a bit happier (even if the northsiders are headed for a 70 win season if they're lucky). But there is a weight that has absolutely lifted, and many of you know what it is. My. Wife. Is. Different. Now.
I know that I have said those words before, only to see them totally dissolve and for her to go back to her "default" position. But with her most recent IC and with our new MC, there truly is change in the air. Both the IC and the MC are with the same group. The IC isn't at the same level of "fame" as the MC, but I can see that she has gotten my wife through a great deal of roadblocks she fought against (or simply refused to see) for a long time. And those following other threads already know the rockstar status the our MC has attained as well.
On my end, I have started back with my own IC who came recommended by the MC. Gotta give mad props to him as well. A month into sessions and I will give him that rockstar status as well. We have worked on things from my past that started as an 8 year old in ways I hadn't worked on them before.
Today, we did a visualization exercise where I walked into the game where I booted a ball as that 8 year old. And before the coach laid into him for losing the game, I stepped in, let the little guy know that I was there for him, that errors happen to everyone, that I knew how bad he felt for not fielding that ball, but that there would be more opportunities for him later, and that he would come through for his team.
We then (the 8-year old and me) went back to my "safe, spiritual place". Now, when the IC asked where that place was, and I told him, he said that he had never had anyone in his 30 years of practice go where I did.
1060 W. Addison St.
As if no one here could have guessed that.
Overall, my head is in a good place (where several have pointed out that is hasn't been for quite some time). I finally see what I believe to be true progress in R. True desire from my wife to own things (instead of blameshifting & minimizing, at least as often as she used to), true desire to begin making amends (where there was none before, only a superficial "I'm sorry" and an attempt to rugsweep), and a true desire to be a team player (rather than paying lip service and then steamrolling me).
In reflecting back on the last 6 weeks or so...I see hope for a good future where there had previously been none.
I like what I see thus far. It looks good from here.
13 comments posted: Tuesday, April 13th, 2021
Session 4: Getting to the Heart
After taking last week off, we did another double session today. This one was a little more "groundworky" as the counselor laid out the cycle in which we need to be thinking rather than the cycles we typically use. She used my wife's "abandonment" issues as the example.
Apparently, a few months ago, I had come home, dropped off the groceries, then went on another couple of errands. In that time, I either told the kids where I was going or I didn't. Couldn't tell you one way or another. I generally tell them what I'm doing, but that day it may not have happened.
My wife gets home, doesn't see me there, asks the kids where I am, they say they don't know. About an hour later, she is headed out and I'm coming back from my errands. She makes the assumption that I was angry and avoiding her (not actually asking the question) and behaves accordingly.
The counselor steps in to acknowledge the abandonment feelings and then asks the question...did you ask Cap what he was doing?
What did you do in response?
Made up my mind that if that's the way he wants to live, then so be it, I'll be by myself.
Do you think that you may have been wrong about his thoughts and why he wasn't at the house?
I don't know.
Let's explore this...
So, most of today's session was spent on retraining thought patterns. The entire purpose is to lay the groundwork for the big "discussion" coming in a few weeks. The counselor was quite straightforward to say that this week and then our next session in a couple of weeks will lead to having the discussion that we haven't yet truly had...how did the A affect Cap?
The counselor looked right at my wife and said "You have not wanted to hear this part, you have not been able to hear this part, but this is where it is leading. You need to sit here, listen to what effects all of this has had on your husband, and you need to FEEL what it has done. This isn't a punishment. This is for bringing you closer together. It HAS to be addressed. You cannot overlook this anymore. You have said that you want to heal this relationship, so this very hard piece is coming up. I will help you with correcting bad thought patterns. I will help you with whatever you need help with. But you have to face this."
A pretty interesting and, shall I even say, bold move for the MC to lay those cards on the table. She is direct and doesn't take any crap (from either of us, I will add.). Too many are the "touchy-feely" variety who wouldn't have said "we are going to do X...this is your notice." Did I mention that I like her?
In a similar vein, we also covered something from this week. My wife has an ear infection. Ultimately, I am the catalyst. She sleeps with earplugs because I snore. The earplugs have led to compacted earwax and viola, an infection.
So, on Sunday, my wife had asked me to look in her ear to see if I could see anything. She said that it was sore, like when you get a pimple on the inside. I looked and said that I could see a red spot, but couldn't see if it was a pimple or not.
Tuesday morning, my wife says that she didn't sleep well because she woke up at 2:00 and was dizzy. I said "well that sucks, were you able to go back to sleep?" She said "yes, around 4:00."
Apparently, yesterday, she went to the urgent care to find out that she has an ear infection. She dropped off her prescription in the early afternoon, then picked up the ear drops last night. When she went to get the drops she said "I'm going to the grocery store, be back in a little bit." I found that odd, but whatever. Didn't let my mind go down the "who is she meeting up with" rabbit hole. That's progress!
Anyway, she comes home and asks one of the kids to put the drops in her ears. Never does she say anything about going to the doctor, getting the prescription, none of it.
Today in the session, she brings it up as to how I wasn't demonstrating care for her. The counselor said "Did you say anything?"
Then how would Cap know that something was wrong?
I asked him to look on Sunday, then said I was dizzy Tuesday morning.
And how was he supposed to know from that? Did you make any requests?
How did you feel?
I wanted to tell him.
So how did you feel?
So, let's look at this. You made a request for Cap to look at your ear, and then you made a statement about being dizzy. But you didn't tell him that you went to the doctor, nor did you tell him about the infection, nor did you tell him about the prescription.
Why didn't you tell him?
I didn't want to bother him.
Wede you afraid that he would say the he couldn't take care of anything?
No, I knew he would take care of whatever I needed.
So you knew he would take care of you, but you didn't ask for anything, and then you felt abandoned.
Do you see that you abandoned yourself?
More and more things are being pointed out and addressed like never before. Yes, it does sometimes feel like I'm simply sitting in on her individual sessions (especially today...I think that in the 2 hours, I may have had 5 minutes of talk time; the rest was the counselor and Mrs. Cap).
I see progress, I see a plan, and I see changes actually taking place in behaviors.
27 comments posted: Thursday, April 8th, 2021
Session 3: An Interesting Twist
Another good session today. Did I mention that the MC is good?
Finished up my trauma story. Filled in blanks that my wife left out. She did not interrupt. That was a big change from the last time we were in counseling. I brought up the controlling & critical spirit as a form of abuse. The MC agreed that it was years of emotional abuse and asked how I felt about it. I said that it may have been abuse, but that I wasn't going to play the victim card. My wife sat in stunned silence. She hadn't ever thought of herself as being abusive. We will probably talk through that at another session soon.
Walked through a concept that the MC called the 3 circles. I have a yard to care for, my wife has a yard to care for, and then we play on the playground together.
Around those 3 circles was a larger circle called trust/security. She described the outer circle as being necessary for each of us being willing to come out to play.
As is typical, we discussed how we are each responsible for our own yard (thoughts, feelings, actions), and we are each responsible for playing well with one another on the playground.
My wife brought up her belief that I have been trying to make her responsible for my yard. She described how I would say things like "If you would make an effort to pursue me, I would respond."
The MC told her that I wasn't putting responsibility on her for my yard, but that I was laying out my boundaries for the playground being safe enough for me to come out. While my wife as trying to say "Cap isn't following the rules, so I won't pursue him." the MC made it clear that I am taking care of my yard, but as long as she is swinging a sword on the playground, I'm gonna play in my own sandbox where it's safe. The MC made it abundantly clear that Mrs. Cap MUST put down the sword (blameshifting, criticism, selfishness) before everything will be safe enough for me to even consider coming out to play.
All this takes place and then MC goes back to drawing on the whiteboard and talking about that Trust/Security circle that surrounds everything (yards & playground). She says "Cap does X, and part of that trust is broken (erases a finger width). Then Cap does Y and some security is shaken (erases another finger width). And then Cap does Z and some more trust goes away (erases another finger width). "
Now, at this point, my wife is shaking her head, agreeing with it all. Now, the circle had about a 24 inch diameter. So far, about an inch and a half or two inches has been erased. That sets the stage.
The MC then says "and then infidelity takes place" and erases 3/4 of the circle. My wife's eyes got the size of saucers and tears started. The MC asked "Had you never thought that infidelity had such an impact on your relationship?" My wife stammered and didn't really say anything.
"Everything before the infidelity, all 22 years, was a blip compared to what infidelity does to a relationship."
Stunned silence again. And more tears.
The MC talked her through a great deal more and we also covered our trigger/response cycle and started to discuss what we needed to do to break it.
Have I mentioned that I love what this MC is doing with us? I am starting to believe that my wife has done some actual & real work with her IC that has broken down some of her interior walls which has allowed the MC to bust through those exterior ones. While the internal "changes" never showed up in our daily lives before, the MC seems to be able to bring it out and get it put into action.
The flame of hope continues to grow.
57 comments posted: Wednesday, March 24th, 2021
Twice in Two Days...
You never know how much some simple words will encourage someone. Yesterday morning, I had a friend speak into me about what I've dealt with and how much just seeing me encourages him.
Then today, another friend posted this on Facebook:
behind the walls I built to
keep pain out,
Yep. Nothing else I could add.
3 comments posted: Thursday, March 18th, 2021
Session 2 Plusses and Minuses
Had a 2-hour session today with the counselor. She is quite good. My wife spent the entire time "finishing" her story (that she had started and had gotten to the place where her mom passed). In all, she covered most of our life together. She tried to skim over her A, started by saying how horrible the marriage was, how she had checked out, then had an emotional thing with a guy."
Counselor stopped her right there and said "What emotional thing?"
Took my wife a little while to say that she had an affair. Still referred to it as "emotional" though eventually she came back to say that they did "kiss each other on the neck". Still minimizing it, of course, but at least she said something. She also skipped over her 15 months of hiding that it was more than text messages and "a couple calls" until right at the end of our session when she said "oh yeah, it wasn't until over a year or so later that it was discovered that it wasn't just emotional, but that we met up." again, downplaying everything. But, she did admit to having it because I didn't think she would.
In fact, about halfway through she (my wife) stopped and asked why I didn't share about it. I told her that it was her story to tell and I wanted to see if she would tell it.
Next week, there are some things that I will come back to add things that were either skipped or skewed (i.e. she told the counselor she didn't want to talk our pastor about me not being a good husband because she was "protecting" me...of course when she told me this after D-Day v1.0, she said she didn't go to the pastor because I was "the golden child" and couldn't do any wrong, so he wouldn't believe her). So, there are some things to be corrected/added to.
At one point, the counselor stopped and asked if I was OK. She could see some of my anxiety-induced tics (shaky hands, eyes moving around the room, etc.) and asked if I needed anything. Told her that I was OK, that I was just listening for what was said and what was skipped, and was remembering what I needed to add later.
On a couple of occasions, the counselor did stop my wife and remind her that the trauma associated with infidelity is one of the worst forms of trauma a person can receive. Mostly that was when my wife was trying to downplay the infidelity.
Another interesting note was that my wife recounted traumas such as our #5 in the hospital in 2011, again in 2012, and when she was hospitalized in 2014 when she was pregnant with #6 and had H1N1, Influenza-a and Pneumonia. She recounted being "alone" and dealing with everything by herself. When the counselor asked where I was, she said "at home taking care of everyone else". The counselor then read off the times when I was there, being supportive in the background, and asked "Do you see that Cap was there, holding everything together and trying to keep things normal for everyone else?" Sheepishly, my wife said "I guess." Counselor then asked "are you thankful that he was doing those things so you could focus on the thing in front of you?" Her response "yeah".
Then came the classic...the counselor said "Can you turn and look at him to say that you appreciate all he did and how he has been there in the background supporting you through virtually every trauma in your life?"
She made every excuse in the book as to why she couldn't say that she appreciated what I've done and how I've been there for her. Took her 5 minutes of arguing with the counselor to actually look at me and say "Thank you."
Overall, there were some interesting things that came out. My wife did say that she was ashamed of what she did and that she wouldn't allow herself to get there again. She said that her "a-ha" moment was last summer when I told her that I had no doubt that, given the opportunity, she would throw me under the bus in a second and never look back. She said that she was taken aback by that and used it as the "I need to get into counseling" start.
So, some interesting things learned, glad to see that the MC wouldn't let her just gloss over her "emotional thing". Also found out why she won't say her AP's name. Bad memories. She said that when I used my buddy's name (which is the same as the AP) in a story, she felt physically sick and wanted to throw up.
An asshat would make sure to tell a story about my buddy every day. Glad that's not my MO. 😁
32 comments posted: Wednesday, March 17th, 2021
It's been a while. A long while. A long, long while. Since what? Since I was willing to be emotionally vulnerable with my wife. Like...close to 3 years, long while.
This weekend, we chatted a little. Not about anything I would classify as deep. This week at counseling, we are finishing my wife's story (I purposely did not mention her A because I wanted to see if she would go over that part, what details she would leave out etc.) and then going over some conflict management things (because that's what counselors do).
My wife brought up an issue from about 8 or 10 months ago. My guess is that it was the "conflict" she had chosen for the discussion this week. I listened. No interruptions.
Paraphrased. Asked clarifying questions. Ran the gamut of proper listening activities. She felt heard.
Then she brought up a political issue and asked my thoughts. I told her my opinion and how I will handle the situation if it arises in my world. She thanked me for "sharing" myself and said that she felt really connected.
Now, I am completely befuddled by this, thinking that I hadn't really shared anything that she didn't already know about my opinion. This wasn't something deep and meaningful to me. But she felt like we "connected".
Move ahead to today. We are back in the bedroom before dinner. It is already cooked, just staying warm in the oven. I'm on the loveseat. She sits down on my lap, facing me. She gives me a hug, then looks at me. She says "You look sad."
...now, my mind goes into fast thought mode...do I fake a smile...do I acknowledge and say "no"...do I tell her the truth and say "yes"...do I distract and say something about dinner...
So, I looked at her and said "I am." I chose the opportunity to be willing to drop my walls and open up (she has commented many times about my walls). What response did I get to being willing to share?
She just said "Oh..." and then got off my lap and walked away.
So, why do I ever drop my walls? If the response to me being willing to be vulnerable is for her to separate from the situation and run away, then why do I even bother to share anything? One day she is "so happy" that we are connecting (over nothing of depth in my world), then why does she run away when I actually open up to share what is really part of me?
Am I doing something wrong? Am I reading things wrong? I was the one cooking dinner, so there was nothing she needed to do. And when she got up, she walked into the bathroom, blew her nose, and then walked out of the room. Didn't say anything. Didn't look at me. Nothing. That was it, nothing else spoken about any of it, like that short exchange just never happened.
I have a number of thoughts on this, but I need to know if my perspective is "off". The major feeling I have is that she knows why I was sad, didn't want to address anything, so she figured out how to change the subject as quickly as possible to avoid everything. It would be the same response she has everytime I try to open up about her A and the effects on me. She either tries to take control of the discussion and steer it back to a "well, you..." blameshift or just shuts it down and walks away because she doesn't want to hear it.
So, help me understand...
107 comments posted: Monday, March 15th, 2021
I just have to vent here a little bit. One of my business partners can be extremely petty and short sighted. Yesterday she "took a stand" against a colleague joining us in our office space.
We have 2 empty offices and a conference room that could have accommodated this colleague. The same colleague was willing to pay $250/month and all she wants is a place to have mail delivered and a phone to ring. She doesn't plan to come into the office more than a couple of times a month. We are already paying for the phone ($25/month) that is currently unused.
On top of this, the colleague has said that she would like me to purchase her book of business when she retires. That would add between $250-$300k to my annual income.
But my partner has some strange idea that, if the other colleague joins us in the office, drama will follow her. So, she says "absolutely not". My other partner says "I don't see allowing colleague to use the office as any plus to us, so I'm a no as well." He is the senior partner, so his vote carries a little more weight.
I get nominated to tell the colleague the answer is "no" because I have a good relationship with her.
Her response: well, if they don't want me in there, I won't be able to sell to you because I don't want my clients anywhere near them or profiting them in any way.
Thanks, partners. Because you couldn't see that we would be getting $250/month that was straight profit (because we are already paying for the phone) and because you have some stupid, petty issue that you won't discuss, you have now taken at least $3M out of my pocket over the next 12-15 years.
I am so pissed off about people being so petty that they can't see the positives in the long run...🤬
10 comments posted: Thursday, March 4th, 2021
Session 1 is in the Books
Had our first MC session in a bit over 2 years. Typical first session full of "getting to know" us. I like the demeanor of the counselor. Thus far, she seems to come across the same way she does in her books/videos/seminars. She talked about the importance of being fully engaged (all in, if you will) in righting wrongs of the past hurts, owning our choices, making amends where applicable, and building the relationship from the ground up.
As she put it, the old relationship was like a house that was falling apart. Some people try to build a shiny new addition and just stay in that part. We, however, will be burning down the entire house, hauling it away, and starting from the foundation.
This has been almost the exact word picture I have painted multiple times. I have told my wife that she burned down the house and instead of sorting through the debris and building from the floor up, she just wants to install new trim and pick out the paint colors.
Next session in 2 weeks. We will see how it goes as my wife continues to tell her story. She got up to high school when her mom passed. Next session starts with that and continues through where we are now. I am waiting to see if she mentions anything about her A. I didn't fill in that part of my story. I want to see if she will and, if she does, how she tells it.
13 comments posted: Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021
MC This Week
After about 6 weeks of "waiting", we are scheduled for MC this Tuesday. I am going in with an open mind, hoping that the counselor will practice what she preaches. We are seeing a nationally known counselor who has spoken on many radio programs, has written several books, and who has put together (with her husband) a "marriage intensive" seminar series, and various other marriage-related workshops/small group studies. Total sidebar...I know her brother-in-law and his wife from our time living in the Chicagoland area.
I have read several of her excerpts on infidelity and have listened to a few radio interviews. She talks a good game about holding the wayward's feet to the fire and the heavy lifting of re-establishing trust being on their shoulders. We will see if she really does that in her practice.
13 comments posted: Saturday, February 27th, 2021