request to move a topic to a more open forum...
1 comment posted: Wednesday, September 28th, 2022
Showing up as your whole self
I have been thinking this one over in the back of my head for a while. For those who struggle with avoidance of hard discussions, because of fear of hurting the other, have you done any work around that, and if so, what does that look like?
I ask because that's one of the dynamics in our M. Stuffing, being upset and taking our hurts off like an animal taking its kill to its den to eat it alone in safety. We've been talking about resentments lately, and this is one of the key ways it plays out in my M in particular. Negativity stuffed for fear of hurting the other (H) and/or stuffing of resentment over enablement (me).
What if we just accepted that our negative feelings and hurts are part of us? That we can't be fully present, fully offering of our selves unless we offer up our sufferings at the hand of the other? How is it fair for us to give our spouse only 1/2 of our selves if we bottle up the bad. And let's not fool ourselves- I KNOW when H is upset and angry... even if he says that he's nervous about being late AGAIN (oh yeah, he's nervous, but still- your foot is twitching like the tail of a pissed off CAT!)... We've been M too long for me to be gaslit on his anger tells.
I mean, there's gotta be more productive ways than others to do this (I'm still working on this... for like EVER... when am I going to be done??). But aside from having to learn the tactics, isn't part of being present in an M being witness to the ugly too?
Anybody else struggle with this concept too?
4 comments posted: Sunday, September 18th, 2022
Good Quotes for Healing
Hi everyone, I'm not going to mention the unmentionable here. I'm looking to start a thread on things you have read regarding healing yourself and your soul in all aspects of life.
I've struggled with boundaries in pretty much all aspects of my life. This quote I heard today was especially good:
"Boundaries are not about pushing the other away. The boundary violator CHOOSES to PUSH you away when they violate your boundaries."
What quotes have helped you in life?
7 comments posted: Thursday, September 8th, 2022
Soft 180 for MH's?
In a situation I'm not going into detail about, but does anyone have tips for soft 180 while part of MH club? I am working for R, H says he is too, but have had some backsliding lately. Not sure if it's because of A season and triggers (most likely is), but there's no ownership over behaviors and justification/attention/validation seeking going on that are only getting worse.
How do I preserve my sanity while sill being loving and healing the M?
63 comments posted: Wednesday, September 7th, 2022
Taking a break
I'm taking a break from the site. Something has come to light and I need to focus on WH and my M.
Thanks for all the help and advice given.
Nothing changes if nothing changes. And something's gotta change big now.
12 comments posted: Saturday, July 23rd, 2022
MH question to fellow BS's: to 180 or not to 180?
Long post with background of the sitch. Posting here because I'm WW/MH and don't know if it goes in General? Definitely not JFO. Kinda a similar situation as Sammich, but complicated more by my A.
My A has complicated work life *world's smallest violin* . Monday I had to go in for meetings and lab stuff. H was triggered. Then he had lunch with his "gal pal" J and unblocked her. Now they're texting like teenagers over one of her colleague's sexual harassment lawsuit involving... her COW's A with the CEO of J's company (she doesn't work with my H anymore- not for over 2 years now)!! H got his lawyer sister to send him the filing, which contains all the gory text messages, cringey emojis and all. Ugh. Talk about a trigger there with my A. H and J started texting back and forth lines from the filing to each other and laughing emojis... after H made it clear he had left the window open on his screen hoping she would text him. Like they were starring in their own little fantasy play. The kind of banter we don't have and haven't had in like... never.
H needs to read, "Not Just Friends."
Younger, blonder, childless, early 30's, teeny tiny petite well dressed designer label woman. Who likes to trash "friends" behind their backs, makes "friends" with people in A's (there's another gal from her work who ran off to Mexico w/ her lover ) and then MOCK them to H as a way to gain ego kibbles. Typical play from the mean girl playbook. What a B. Likely had an A with her BF and broke up his M. They started dating RIGHT after he D'd his wife... he's in his mid 50's. Talk about a sugar daddy- she lives rent free with him and he buys her purses when he hits her (according to what H tells me she shared w/ him). I've told H to be careful- if she's mocking them, she'll be mocking you. He's not too emotionally invested in her, it's more a banter thing to keep his mind off us and himself entertained. Thing is, she's like instagram- the more he's talking to her, the more discontent he is with his life and situation. And the less invested in the M he is too.
Doesn't help that H is displaying the same behaviors my dad did with his A with our family friend- right in front of my mom. Also, J doesn't know he's married to me. Or at least she didn't while they were having their 3 vodka tonics at weekly lunch just the two of them the year after Dday. H doesn't mention me at all. Not badly (which is a HUGE red flag for an A), but not positively either (orange flag). I've asked him to drop me into their conversations so I could feel more respected and safe, but he doesn't.
H is defensive around his relationship with her. Just like I was prior to my A's with my "friends." Am I paranoid? Am I making a mountain out of a mole hill?
I've communicated all this (mirroring my dad's A, her unkindness, my unhappiness with him texting her). He disagrees that there's anything wrong with it. Reverse back to me (anyone play Uno here?).
Says I still go to work in the same building as my AP, so he understands where I'm at but doesn't see a need to stop talking to J since I haven't stopped going into work. I have a responsibility to go in maybe 1x/2 weeks, AP works in a lab away from my areas that I can avoid. Oh, and AP disgusts me. And I've let HR know that on no uncertain terms is he allowed to contact me. They said he will be disciplined if he does. Also made it VERY clear to HR that by them moving him to MY facility (I moved campuses 1st to get away) and NOT TELLING ME, they created a HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT. Basically, if AP crosses a line, I'm going to sue. And probably have a good chance at success But I'm not... until he does. I like my job, company and creative freedom I have. It's definitely what I've worked my way up to my entire career and not something I'm going to let go of in the absence of equal or better work. Oh, and I have looked.
Anyway, deflection on H's part- well played, manipulation there, well played. H hasn't worked with J in almost 2 years, and he's attracted to her (has told me he likes her figure, her blonde hair and how she dresses and SMELLS). Also wants me to BE MORE LIKE HER: wear heavy perfume, designer clothes and be more snarky and "fun". But, yeah, no reason to worry or be jealous. Or for me to be concerned after he told me 2 weeks ago that he wants me to compete against other women for his attention like I apparently did in college. SOOOOO... he has absolutely no responsibility to be with her at all. He's deleted texts from her before (several months ago was the last time to my knowledge) and has started hiding his phone when I approach with guilty, furtive movements.
Hmm... yeah... and he's told me a month ago that I've got to December to make him happy in our M.
I'm not my mom. As much as H likes to compare me to my mom negatively, I'm NOT her. I'm not a narc and I sure as hell am not going to walk around like her in perpetual victim mode. I'm not going to end up like my mom- disrespected, betrayed and a laughing stock of my father.
Yeah, I'm not doing too well either. I've decided to temporarily 180 him until he gets his head out of his ass, off his phone, into a book (NJF is a good start) and back into IC and MC. We were doing well for a while, but seems like each time we have a few good days and some good sex sessions and some laughs and bonding on dates and good communication around finances and kids... yeah. Brick walls up, and now he's throwing grenades. His emotional brain is equating my work with his EA.
But it is my fault, per H. I was the one who went to work and I know how that feels, so even though I have a responsibility to my job... I could just get a new one. After all, EVERYONE says I need to go full NC with AP. Well... I did. Switched campuses, positions, WFH 90%, nearly sued company for hostile work environment, made it clear to HR that he's not to talk to me (HR made it clear to them) and I WILL SUE if he so as much as TRIES to talk to me.
But you know, H can still get all chatty chatty with blondie because it's no where near as bad to me as my going into work is for him. Yah, you know, starting an A with a younger woman isn't as bad as the 2x/ month I have to go in to DO MY JOB and pay bills that BUY YOU WATCHES. Whatev.
Doesn't help that I went to MC alone today because H wanted to visit his old watch salesman in his new position selling lab equipment to a plant he doesn't have direct responsibility in. Priorities. I enabled him though? Maybe? I told him I would prefer he come, but understand he wants to see his friend. They really are friends, and he's a great kid who was selling watches to get himself through college.
Old strategy: blow up, tell H what to do and make demands.
New strategy: talk calmly, tell H how I feel, why I feel it and let him make his own choices.
I'm in this to fight for it. I'm doing the work, showing up, going to counseling and making bids for time and attention. H is not doing that. Frequently when I offer to do things he wants to do with me (basement refinishing, shooting clays, going to fancy places), H either finds himself too tired or it's too expensive or he'd rather take the money and buy a go-pro with it. Then goes back to me and expresses his discontent with us not going to the expensive places and complains about how MUCH he DOES for EVERYONE and how he just WANTS to be TAKEN CARE OF. And how LONELY he is. UGH, get out of your own way!
He tells me he's where I was at the year before my A. I know the territory very well. This time... I know myself much better and know what I will and will not tolerate.
Ugh. I don't want a cold war. I don't want to 180. I'm afraid if I do, he's going to go further into his hole and have less reason to be in the M. If I don't I'm going to keep trying to compete with a 30something woman with no financial or family responsibilities, a nasty personality and few morals for my H's attention. Just writing this makes me wonder why I'm hanging in here anyway if HE is that kind of prize. What do I really do? What kind of things? Soft 180 for a soft EA?
I have no fucking clue what to do with this here. I'm trying to let go of the outcome- let him carry his own weight, see what he can can learn on his own about himself and me too. He has to decide what he wants out of life. Right now that looks like flirting with J and avoiding internal reflection or MC.
I'm so torn though- I am 100% both oars in the water wanting to fix this. BUT, when H is bantering about and entertaining himself with J and distancing himself from me, do I have anything to really R with? We are offered R as a gift and I've definitely done what I could to trash that gift. Isn't doing a 180 a contradiction to that? Or will this be a good way for me to let him grow and do what he can do for himself (and get us out of codependency)? I've pushed rope a lot lately. Doesn't help it's A season either.
I told H the only competition I'm going to have for him is a competition to be better than my old wayward ass self. I'm seeing more and more that I am a very flawed individual, yes, but I AM A PRIZE. I'm 40 years old, have proven myself as a mother, career woman and am now proving to myself what kind of human being I can and want to become (with LOTS of work to go!! UGH- that's a post for another day). I'm smart, sexy, pretty, got a low tolerance for mean people, enjoy building others up and making connections between people, a good mom (now my wayward head is out of my ASS) and gosh, I think I may just be a good friend too.
See how demoralizing this is? I have to use my anger to build myself back up. Sucks. I'm sorry all you BS's out there that had to go through a triple decker club sandwich of what I'm having right now.
Sometimes I think God is asking me to stay in this because I need to learn empathy for the other side to truly heal and truly "go and sin no more." That and a huge helping of humble pie too. You are what you eat. Humility and patience are virtues, right? And empathy is a good thing to have more of, so... bring it on? Sigh.
Please give me some perspective here, mind is spinning and didn't get jack shit done today at work.
For now, I'm going to do things for me for a bit and do what I can do for H during A season... without condoning or enabling the J thing. What ever the hell that looks like in action.
36 comments posted: Wednesday, July 20th, 2022
Old demeaning of spouse- how to take it back?
Before and during and recently after my A, my best friend (RW) was my main support. Her family has kids our age and our H's get along. They're good people and I do miss having them in my life. We had a falling out when a mutual friend revealed her A. RW was sworn to secrecy about it (their H's are good friends). The friend swore me to secrecy, but considering my past, I decided to tell my H. The friend was beyond hurt (of course) and RW was upset too. RW decided not to tell her H. The "friend" was just going to heal on her own and never tell her H about her A. Well... this was about 2 years after Dday and really... I know better now what a crock of shit that is. My H and I agonized together over what to do about it. RW said that I would wreck their family if I told. I told her, "friend already wrecked her family with her A." Eventually I told RW's H about it. RW cut me off and stopped speaking with me. "Friend" told her H a month later- I credit RW's H with giving her an ultimatum- tell by x date or I will.
Anyway, all that to say... A's completely suck and I lost a good friend to not just my own actions (I'll get to that in a min), but the A of another.
ANYWAY... My actions... I would bitch and complain about my H for HOURS. All the stuff we had trouble with- finances, his lack of respect, selfishness,v lack of affection, comparisons of me to our mutual friend "D" and on and on. H was very hurt by this, knowing that one of my good close friends must have thought that he was a horrible person because of what I told her. H was uncomfortable to be around RW and her family. RW insisted that she didn't have a completely negative view of H, that she knew him herself and saw him as both good and bad.
Thing is, no matter how I justified my complaining to RW about H, it hurt him and he felt disrespected by it. My complaining and my resentments around H's behavior were what I used to justify my A. Now I'm VERY careful who I talk to about what and VERY careful about saying ANYTHING negative. Going forward, I'm working hard to build friendships that are positive for BOTH of us. But that doesn't fix the past.
Current day- we saw RW and her H at a mutual friend's kid's grad party. It brought up a TON of pain in H. It took him right back to the days I was bitching about him to her. He was hurting too since he misses their friendship. Thing is, I don't know what to do to make it right to him. Do I go and talk to RW about what I said and did (and apologize for how much of her energy and time I sucked out of her life?)- that's really needed any how. But, I'm not sure how to help heal H and heal the friendship. My family isn't good at mending fences (and really neither are H's), so I don't have a good example to go on. I don't want to make things worse than they are and don't want to have unrealistic expectiations either.
2 comments posted: Monday, June 13th, 2022
bad news comes in threes...
What's going on lately? 2 of H's coworkers died- one of cancer, one of heart attack at 50.
Then, another coworker at his company is getting divorced and I talk to the developer of the sub next door (he's looking at where to plant trees for privacy of his residents) and he's getting a divorce too!
I'm just waiting for the 3rd of each...
All in the past 2 days too!!
2 comments posted: Tuesday, May 17th, 2022
Another kind of dream
Last week has been a very good week for BH and I and last night was one of the better nights. Felt like we were companions and hanging out in our bedroom together as a cozy team. I blew it a bit today with a selfish comment I made... but, that's the ups and downs. Going to make it up to BH and show him a really good time out tonight.
Anyway, I had a really interesting dream last night. I dreamed I went to Russia and was in the desert- a barren lonely place with nothing but rocks and sand surrounding me. Then, I had to drive alll the way to China (yeah, it's a dream all right ). The road was just being paved, under construction, rocky and terrifying. Funny enough, I was in my own car (guess my Acadia is my dream car? ) In China, I was guided around by a Chinese person around some of the most beautiful places and gardens, seeing things my soul had longed to see. I was crying for joy in the dream. All the while, being mildly terrified of being a stranger in some very strange land, where I barely spoke the language and knew no one. I had to rely on my guide to get me where I needed to go so I could get home. Thing is, I never went home and never looked back.
I've been thinking about the dream all morning. It's a pretty good metaphor for my life. Starting out in a dangerous wasteland emotionally with my FOO. Then, a long and perilous road to a place of beauty, life and joy. A land I barely knew, but was joyful to be in. First time I remember crying tears of joy in any of my dreams.
Maybe things are shaping up in my life? I know BH isn't anywhere near satisfied with our M yet. Things are better. The good days are getting longer, the bad days shorter and father between.
Anyway, thought I'd share and maybe give somebody hope today.
4 comments posted: Friday, May 13th, 2022
May the 4th Be With You!
Thought I'd post this for all the Star Wars fans out there. For some fun, what's your favorite character and why? From any of the Star Wars series.
Favorite: Yoda of course! Wise, doesn't rise to the bait and really funny to watch with a light saber :).
Least: Jar Jar Binks. Need I say more??
4 comments posted: Wednesday, May 4th, 2022
Ohhhh the DARVO was strong with this one! Disclaimer, this is a topic involving abortion but NOT ABOUT abortion. Whatever your opinions are, I promise you I will give you more respect than what I got from my own mother.
My mother is firmly in the pro-choice camp. Had 2 abortions. I am prolife for various reasons, main one being, I could just as easily been one of the kids aborted by her.
ANYWAY, there's some stir in the news about Roe v Wade. Whatever, it will be decided as it's decided. Nothing I can do about it but offer my opinion. Opinions are like assholes. Everyone's got one.
So, mother decides to send a loving group text to me and my sisters where she blames me for future women dying in back alleys because the "tax exempt organization" I belong to (Catholic) is pro-life and actively speaks out against abortion. My sisters (also pro-choice) even chimed in on the group text telling mother that she's out of line blaming me for future deaths. Mother even outed me and shared content about the forgiveness letter I sent her about the abortion situation. Looking back, I should have wrote it but not sent it (I did under my therapists advice... therapists are human too ).
I wrote a heartfelt response telling her how her behavior has affected me over the years and how I can't allow her to be an intimate part of my life. I told her how I felt sorry for her that her reactions got in the way of her having a relationship with her own daughter. I told her that I have spent many hours in therapy, prayer and mourning over the loss of our relationship.
She responded, "My hurtful behavior? That's rich coming from you."
So yeah, I proceeded to block her, ask her husband to only contact me regarding their health and told my sisters that I won't be seeing mom when she's in town and to only tell me if something of a health emergency comes up.
SOOOOOOO.... who's with me in the NARCISSIST parent club? My misery could use some company right now.
21 comments posted: Tuesday, May 3rd, 2022
Stuck in the same place again.
Just don't trust BH or myself or really anyone.
Past week or two felt like I was a walking trigger.
I'm trying so hard and working so hard to be what I need to be to make him happy. I just wanted to hear that I was the woman that he compared others against. Not to be the woman he compared negatively against others.
Now I have to deal with the fact that 90% of my triggers come from childhood abuse and only 10% from him. Do I even like him? Do I even trust him? How much is he going to have to do to prove to me that I can trust him? To trust that he is a good person. Why is he having to pay for how I was raised? Why is he in this when all the triggers keep coming up from my A?
Why? Why are we doing this to ourselves? Why am I narcissistic? Why are we so stuck? Why do I always have to keep working to get better? When can I just take a break and be good enough?
When will I ever be good enough?
6 comments posted: Monday, April 25th, 2022
Bullying, teasing and conformity
Wellll... we watched the Netflix Abercrombie documentary last night. Very interesting.
Anyhow, H and I got on the topic of exclusion, he doesn't think it's a bad thing when you know, a store is targeting a certain audience. I didn't think much about that- it's one thing to market to a demographic, but completely another animal when you base your hiring practices off that exterior "look" you're going for.
H also talked about bullying and teasing. He said there's nothing wrong with teasing if it makes you conform. That if you're getting bullied because you're different in some way, maybe you should change that thing about you so you fit in. He said, "everyone gets bullied and everyone bullies someone else!"
Well, I got bullied (and abused) and DIDN'T bully anyone else. I knew what it was liked to be picked on and decided not to participate in that game. It also makes it easier not to bully others when you're at the bottom of the middle school social food chain .
Anyway, with my sister abusing me heavily from the time I was 6 on, and being bullied heavily from 5th-8th grade (went to an all girls high school to escape, thank GOD!), I didn't have a core group of support to rely upon. H had his parents who basically adored him to fall back on and didn't have to listen to his sister remind him he's a piece of shit every day.
So yeah, H and I have a VERY different perspective on this.
I still can't help feeling like I'm married to someone who's justifying their own bullying they participated in during school.
14 comments posted: Wednesday, April 20th, 2022
Spiritual infidelity sliding into physical infidelity
This has been on my mind recently as we were discussing how infidelity starts off and escalates.
BH and I are working on our boundaries with opposite sex friends outside our M amd I am not sure where they belong other than the obvious: dont discuss your M, dont say anything you wouldnt with your spouse in the room. Still, I have a ton of insecurities from the emotional abuse in my childhood and my dads affair on my mom.
Not to mention BH's crushes on our friends.
I am having a tough time right now forgiving him for the spiritual infidelity with my friend. We married after I came into the church. We were very active in various ministries and really idealistically committed to beimg fully obedient to our faith. Then babies and post partum hit, vasectomy and years of him shutting me out and me shutting him out.
Then friend comes along and the man I thought was a fraud or just into the surface aspects of faith starts talking about how amazingly spiritual she is and how easy it is to talk to her about faith and how he wishes I would pray more like her and be more spiritual like her. All the same shit he used to say to me about me.
BH still maintains that he would not have gotten physical with her because he respected her too much. However, he was sharing with her already the most intimate aspects of his soul which he denied to me. At that point, does it really matter if they went physical too?
At this point I am not sure to just let it go and see it as something we will ever agree on. I have to find my own way to feel safe with BH in our marriage.
Still, I feel very invalidated and gaslit about this. Especially when he was comparing me negatively in a physical way to her.
None of you are in my BHs head and none of you know him. But, generally speaking, has any one had experience with spiritual infidelity progressing further to physical? Am I paranoid PTSD and need to let it go, or is there something to this?
Doesnt help that today he was praising her as one of the best people he knows and how wonderful and helpful she was when they were texting together after DDay. And says how much he misses her friendship.
Feeling very insecure.
39 comments posted: Saturday, March 26th, 2022
The be kind to yourself thread
I am stuck. And I know I am not the only one. Lets share one positive thing about ourselves here. Its my goal this lent to post here every day.
We cant accept from or give love to others, especially our spouses, until we can love ourselves.
Ok. This is awkward, but here goes.
I am resilient and determined. Every time I put myself in the black hole, I evetually determine to pull myself out of it and dont give up.
There. Your turn now.
63 comments posted: Friday, March 4th, 2022
Soooo.... here we are again
It seems like the OT forum and one post (soapt's) in Wayward are giving me particular trouble. Just tried logging out, clearing cache history and logging in and the problems are still there.
I just tried to reply to my own threads in OT and it makes me start a new one...
0 comment posted: Friday, February 25th, 2022
still having problems...
So, the problem is still intermittent for me. Some threads work, some don't. I can't get to other pages on other threads- sometimes. I can't reply to my own thread here still.
1 comment posted: Friday, February 25th, 2022
Drgns right. Site is busted
Haha, just tried to reply to drgn that I am having the same trouble.
I'm on an android phone if that helps diagnose anything.
2 comments posted: Thursday, February 24th, 2022
Looking within and feeling safe
Something that recently came up to me in our counseling is the ability to look within and feel safe. Like, can I look within myself when I'm doing hurtful behavior and feel safe seeing the truth? Can I feel safe in knowing that no matter what ugliness born of hurt I find, I can see, accept and work to heal?
Something different happened to me in MC the other day. BH was guided to look within himself to see how he was hurt (by FOO). He discussed it with me and shared his pain over it. It was the first time in, well, I don't even know when (maybe ever?) that he's done that with me. I suddenly felt safe. Like, here was a man I had thought incapable of internal reflection and ownership of pain that I hadn't caused, reflecting on it and owning it. He acknowledged woundedness from FOO and how that exaggerated his responses to my wounding me. For the first time I experienced relief of the burden of being the cause of ALL his pain and the source of ALL his suffering. That he saw that his parents were flawed humans too, and had hurt him too, and that maybe it's ok to love people who are flawed and hurt you.
Well, I shared that with him driving home from my IC and it triggered him and now we're back at square one with me being perceived as someone who takes pleasure in dragging down his family and only wants to bond over pain.
Oh well, it was nice while it lasted. Maybe next time I'll learn when is a better time to share my relief and happiness that he could be vulnerable with me.
Really though, this makes me wonder why I feel safe around people who are open with their own hurt and damage vs those who bottle it up or pretend. The pretenders just seem more dangerous than those with poor coping mechanisms (and hurtful behaviors) who own up to being hurt people. The pretenders remind me of my sisters who would abuse me at home and enjoy great popularity at school. People who pretended that they're fine and their shit don't stink in my mind are the ones most likely to abuse.
8 comments posted: Thursday, February 24th, 2022
So, I'm probably opening myself up here to a lot of 2x4's... but here goes.
Reading on this site lately and talking with my BS about what needs to be done for saving our marriage, I'm seeing a general pattern emerge.
I've seen quite a few BS's here stay for reasons that aren't clear. They come here and describe horrible marriages, multiple A's, ongoing selfishness and abuse. Often times the WS isn't working to fix themselves after their A, aren't even wanting to acknowledge the hurt and damage they did. Many want to just rugsweep the whole thing. This doesn't sound like R material or even someone who wants to become R material.
For those that stay, WHY do you stay? Knowing that seems to be as helpful to a BS as knowing our whys as a WS does.
Why did you stay through the foggy bullshit we WS's leveled at you? Why did you persist in working through the A and marital issues? Why did you think we WS's were worth a second chance anyway?
23 comments posted: Tuesday, January 25th, 2022
Manipulator vs Manipulative
I'm making a new thread here because I think this is an important topic to separate from my own personal work in my other thread.
My BH has a hard time accepting the actions he does as manipulative. I have a hard time seeing him as someone who is not a manipulator. It's only recently that I'm open to considering him as MANIPULATIVE and not as someone who is a MANIPULATOR.
There's a fine distinction, but one I think would be useful to make.
-participates in manipulative behavior
-is in denial or unaware of the effects the behavior has on those around them
-is genuinely contrite when it's pointed out and can make efforts to change
-has the ability to show some empathy for those targeted by their manipulations
-horrified that their means obtained their ends.
-doesn't care about the effects their behavior has on others
-has no contrition when pointed out, doesn't bother to change
-cannot/will not show empathy for their targets
-satisfied with the results, ends justify their means.
It's so subtle. I'm only now starting to call BH on his manipulations. He has a hard time accepting, but when he does, he is truly sorry and is TRULY working to change. There's hope.
What do you guys think? Is the subtle difference in the terms enough for you to be willing to work with manipulative people who can and are changing? Or are the manipulations themselves enough to make you walk away?
I'm willing to stay with mine, as I am a manipulative person myself. I'm humbled by how much work I have to do and hopeful from the amount I've been able to get done. BH is making progress too, which in turn, is enough for me to continue on with him.
19 comments posted: Thursday, January 13th, 2022
New year, new me?
So, BH and I were discussing what we wanted in 2022. The major things like trips, home renovations, etc that we wanted to accomplish.
It got me thinking more about the person I wanted to be. In our MC the topic of gratitude and validation came up. It is something BH has to try very hard to be conscious of- the need for others to hear good things about themselves from him. For me, it's something that comes more naturally. Validation, appreciation, just a sense of being seen for my contributions is a huge part of my love language. Since that's important to me, it's something I am more willing to give to others, as that's a core part of who I am.
Which got me thinking: what are the core aspects of who I am anymore?
The affair really made me hit rock bottom. I had to confront that there were many dark things in my character and psyche that needed to be corrected and healed. I have had to break out of my "identifying with my pain and shame" and get out of the "victim" mentality I used to justify my A. It's SO HARD TO DO. As evidenced by my recent crawled-under-a-rock-and-hope-to-die shame spiral post. So now I have to rebuild myself from the ground up in a positive manner. It's not enough for me to stop the negative self-talk. I have to fill it with something new and positive.
SO, who wants to join me this year in discussing the core positive areas of our character we would like to rebuild? Anyone up for some accountability partnerships in this? I tried the losing weight thing, but then me and my friend were depressed about COVID and just gave up . Hopefully this will be more successful.
What are 3 main positive traits in your personality/character you would like to emphasize this year?
1. Generosity of spirit.
-I tend to be compassionate and understanding of others who struggle with their mental well being. Since I make many mistakes myself, I can more easily relate to those who do as well. This leads me to be less judgmental of others.
-HOWEVER, I have had a tough time applying this to BH in the past as his mistakes were frequently impacting ME. I had a hard time finding empathy for him as he was hurting me and then blaming me for being hurt. His lack of empathy and self awareness curdled my generosity of spirit.
-This year, I need to keep extending that same generosity of spirit toward my BH.
2. Honesty and accountability.
-I am good at being honest and accountable in my career life. My job rests on me giving honest answers about whether or not design choices are good for the safety of passengers, good for the health of the program commercially or even realistic for the ability of our suppliers to manufacture the parts. This means I often have to speak uncomfortable truths, face pushback and those who would rather inconvenience others than own up to their poor choices or lack of oversight. This makes me unpopular from time to time, but in the end, I'm usually right.
-HOWEVER, I have a difficult time applying this in my family life. It's often difficult or inconvenient for me to own my personal failings to those closest to me whom I am accountable to. My personal failings and difficulties stir up a lot of shame within me. This tempts me to hide (like not telling about speeding tickets in the past or maybe I don't know, MY AFFAIR) or to gaslight and DARVO.
-This year, I intend to work on finding the courage to be completely honest about my failings or actual needs and wants is something critical to my recovery from my affair.
3. Good work ethic
-I am good at tackling complex problems and bringing a lot of energy to them to resolve them. I can do this at work, with house projects and even volunteer things around the school/church.
-HOWEVER, I struggle to apply this to my personal life. Shame, again, and lack of concrete reward hold me back. With shame, soon as I procrastinate on a promise, fall off the wagon (and get another speeding ticket AGAIN) or in general have a bad day, I beat myself up. Then I get ashamed. Then I give up. Also, in a relationship, I can do everything "right" and still not get a commensurate "reward." There's no concrete evidence that doing the right thing has resulted in a positive reward. I get paid well for my work. The school gets money when we run a fundraiser, my friends enjoy a well cooked meal at my house when we entertain, my garden and home are more beautiful after I complete a project.
-This year, I intend to put the same amount (if not more) effort into my marriage as I do my work.
2 comments posted: Thursday, January 6th, 2022
What does this mean? I am so confused
So, I'm confused. BH asked me as we are going to bed how I was feeling. (Shitty- the last week of our break was spent cancelling plans and the entire family being flattened by COVID.) I shared honestly about how I was down since we didn't see anyone and I didn't have enough energy to do anything I really wanted to do around the house.
The conversation went downhill from there where it was discussed that I should have done more of this or that and I wouldn't feel that way and THEN that he was feeling low. BH went on to how difficult it is living with a perpetually depressed person and how if it's not one thing, it's another and it's exhausting.
At this point, I'm thinking "What?? I just said I was bummed about missing out because of COVID..."
I asked him what I could do about it, he said, "I need space, I need to be with other people who make me happy. I just need time apart." To which I said, "I will give you space, I'll sleep downstairs tonight."
There followed complaints about it always being about me and how I need to get him out of his hole and how exhausting it is to be around me and how he needs joy in his life. How he's been with me through fallout with another acquaintance's affair (I told her to tell her BH and my best friend didn't agree and my best friend and I aren't talking) and how he just needs me to pull him out of his hole now. How awful I am to be around because I'm depressed and how draining it is. How I always have to make everything about ME.
All because HE asked ME about MY feelings and I answered him succinctly and honestly.
I'm very confused at this point because, 1. the conversation started off about me and 2. I was being honest and 3. I now feel manipulated/punished for sharing openly (being told how difficult it is to live with a depressed person, how I always make things about me (implying selfish- probably accurate) and how he doesn't want to be around me).
Thing is, if it's not going to be about me (conversation), then why ask me about me? If he doesn't want to hear about me talking about me (and yeah, I get sick of me...), WHY ASK?
I'm also confused as this is obviously NOT the conversation BH wanted to have. I THINK he meant me to ask more the following:
Him: how are you feeling?
Me: bummed about our covid and break being over without doing much that I wanted to do.
(What I would like him to say): That does stink, it's been a bummer week.
THEN ME: What about you?
Him: really depressed about our break being sick. It's adding on to all the other stuff I'm dealing with being around you when you're depressed and I'm really in the hole now.
Me: what could we do when we're feeling better to get out of the slump?
Or even just him starting off with how he feels? The way the conversation went, I just feel ambushed and manipulated into a fight. It's obvious he was hurting, needed some cheering up and wanted to talk about how difficult it is dealing with me when I'm in a depressed mood. Why can't he lead with that? I would love to hear him and comfort him. It's so DANG HARD to do that when it's this DARVO shit- ask me about me, and then turn the whole thing around about how I suck because I'm feeling down?? That he needs to distance himself from me because I'm being honest about being down and then how selfish I am because I pause this tirade to say, "Woah, this was supposed to be about me- you asked me how I felt and I shared honestly."
I get that he's had my entire affair thrown in his face, he's had to go through hell and back. Can he just be honest to me though when HE's the one in need of comfort? This is not the first time this has happened. This is a pattern that has existed and been exacerbated by my affair. And yeah, being vulnerable with the bitch who ripped your heart out is VERY difficult to say the least.
Should I even answer honestly anymore when I'm feeling down about something very rational- being sick and tired of being sick and tired? I'm trying to be very honest, and answer honestly and not just blow it off.
Or should I just say, I'm ok, what's going on with you? You seem like you need to talk.
Thanks for listening to me vent. Just hurt and tired and sick and just tired and sick of the hurtful games. Feeling manipulated, frustrated and really all I want to do right now is cry and hold him so he can cry. Instead I'm crying because I'm frustrated that I don't get the opportunity to comfort him when he needs it. He's hurt me and the minute I react to being hurt, I am rejected.
Happy fucking new year.
66 comments posted: Sunday, January 2nd, 2022
Holiday pressures- performance anxiety
Any one else here have struggles around the holidays with performance anxiety?
We're trying to salvage our M and I'm trying to show my BH he means something to me and I'm trying to make the holidays positive and joyful for everyone- BH, kids, in-laws, my own family, friends. I feel like I'm on a tightrope. I spent Thanksgiving up north with my in-laws and was so stressed out I got a mild case of shingles (and I'm not yet 40! WTF).
All while trying to reconcile the shit childhood I had and emotional triggers of my BH and myself around the affair, divorce, work, finances, gift giving (long story for another post) and in general, the every day struggles of life.
Had a panic attack last night, and looking down the barrel of a few more (they tend to feed off each other).
So, am I alone here or is there anyone else struggling with this too?
5 comments posted: Thursday, December 2nd, 2021
Stay NC w/ AP! Post it here!
In the spirit of madoldbat, I'm starting a thread for WS's to stay NC with their AP.
Rules of thread:
NO BS's. I don't even recommend they read this- it's going to be too triggering.
-Post here if you're tempted to respond to AP's contact.
-Post here if you're grieving the loss.
-Post here your "Dear John" letter.
NO complaining about your spouse
NO comparing AP to spouse
THIS IS NOT FOR WS's WHO WANT TO GO BACK TO AP's. WE ARE ONLY SAYING GOODBYE, ROASTING AP, OR GRIEVING THE LOSS OF THE HIGH WE GOT FROM THEM.
This is a triage thread for addicts in withdrawal.
16 comments posted: Monday, November 15th, 2021
2021-already fun (vent)
-boss has stage 4 cancer- went in for gallbladder surgery and found WAY more than he bargained for...
-friend's mom may need another leg amputation from injuries from a bad fall
-HR investigation into my reporting of hostile interactions with AP post affair stirred up a lot of shit and didn't yield any guarantees on us not being on the same campus ever in the future. basically said (as lawyers told me last year) that there's nothing they can do, work w/ boss to not have to go on my old campus and report any further misbehavior on his end. so much for easing BH's anxiety when I do have to go into work.
-inability to focus on anything and it's affecting my work life
-kids are unhappy with my lack of attention to them and depression
-IC and meds not doing it for me anymore- stepping up exercise, prayer, reading, sharing w/ friends and sisters, still not enough as this pandemic drags on
-BH entering lethal plane of flatness. multiple "tennis serves" over net in form of positive interactions are not returned. Stirring up insecurities in me on our marriage healing and thriving.
-Added to insecurities and anxiety over my job situation now I've reported my affair (and bad judgement and all the fun that comes from being a female and the subconscious judgement that comes with it- really does put my job in jeopardy next round of layoffs).
-Need job if BH decided to D me, which would be just as I deserve after my actions. Don't think he will though, he's been really supportive in the best way he can be lately.
Basically, my basket is empty, my well is dry and it's very hard.
*world's smallest violin playing*
But I'm still alive, healthy and the sun is out in MI in the winter- got a walk with the dog to look forward to today.
In the words of Caddy Shack, "so at least I've got that going for me."
Anyway, how's y'all's 2021 shaping up?
27 comments posted: Thursday, January 21st, 2021
See you in a while
BH and I had a discussion tonight. Looks like I've been bitching about him on an online forum instead of to my friends. It's so blindingly obvious and I wish I had seen it before.
A lot of you will say, DUH .
So, anyway, I'm off.
1 comment posted: Tuesday, November 10th, 2020
adhd and hopelessness
Did it again. Screwed up again. BH got my new credit card in the mail, handed it to me and said, "Activate it and let's put the new one back in the vault with the old one." I don't have the combination to it, so it's out of my reach for spending anything on it.
Anyway, my knee jerk emotional overdrive reaction said, "No, I'm not going to do that, I don't agree with this."
He was upset because, yet again, I showed that it was more about me and my paranoia over his controlling behaviors than about his hurt and paranoia over my using the credit card on something we didn't discuss (like paying a lawyer). We are also working hard to get out of debt and in the past I would use the credit card for unexpected expenses between paychecks like extra food or gas. We're trying to pay that all off and he's frustrated that there's no real ground being covered on the credit cards I have. He wants me to obey him in this unquestioningly and gracefully after all I have done to him. He doesn't trust me. I asked him how he expects to build trust in our relationship if he doesn't extend the opportunity for building it. That was selfish of me again- telling him how to run his recovery.
As a lot of you know, I have baggage with the way money was handled in our relationship and have ADHD. The baggage came up and my ADHD sped it out of my mouth before my brakes could be applied and I could say to myself, "Gee, shouldn't you honor his wishes over your own? After all, you fucked another man and need to be making BH a priority."
Anyway, just another case of emotional reflexes ruining what was turning out to be a good evening.
I'm so sick of this. My overreactions from my ADHD brain made it difficult for me to control my responses to my BH and my kids, made it difficult to filter my responses to impulsive buying (I'd go to Meijer and buy stuff we didn't need like ice cream or chips or extra ingredients for meals I wanted to try to make. I'd even come home with jeans for the kids which were on sale or extra cleaning supplies that were on sale). This put my husband through no end of pain (from my emotional over reactions) and frustration with my lack of discipline. And now, instead of seeing that he wanted my cooperation and respect, I flinched and went back to my own pain and problems with being made to feel like a child for buying extra groceries. And made to feel like spending any money purely on myself in an impulsive manner was selfish and dangerous.
So, yeah, putting the credit card in the vault now, but missed completely on the opportunity to build good will.
I'm so sick of ADHD. The more I find out about it, the more I'm convinced it's going to be a life-long struggle. My BH is already overburdened with pain from my affair and now he's staring down the barrel of a 30-40 years worth of dealing with my ADHD shit on top of all that (even when medicated and compensated for, ADHD is hard shit to live with). It's not going away, it can only be managed and now he's got extra dose of PTSD on top of trying to keep me from being suicidal all last fall and then having to put up with this.
I just want to give up. He tells me there's no real reason for him to stay, that he's a chump for staying this long when there's been so little reason (aside from the kids). He's looking for me to give him reasons to keep going and I can't provide any. I'm stuck with my brain the way it is, I'm working with my psych to get my meds in a good balance, I'm working with my IC to stop the self defeating internalizing I do, but it's going to be a life long struggle. Sometimes I think it would be easier to walk away and not have to live with the disappointment, frustration and internalized shame I build up with each fuck up.
Further evidence I'm not built to be in a family or be loved or cherished or cared for- I just take whatever is good in my life and turn it to shit. Either with my shitty time management, my shitty impulse buying, my shitty emotional overreactions, my shitty driving (just ask me how many accidents and speeding tickets I've had in my life- I'm lucky to have a license still!). I just shit in everything I touch and don't even have the old, "well, I'm smart and make money and am physically attractive" to fall back on. I'm stupid for having an affair, money doesn't fix the fact you're an impulsive shrewish bitch and how can I be attractive to any one after they learn I've spread my legs for so many guys?
I'm very discouraged right now and exhausted and ashamed of myself and still somehow able to be angry at the injustice of all this shit I've had to live through and am likely going to continue dealing with the rest of my life. If I am being selfish in hanging on here, then I should let him go and divorce. My heart says we can break the shit past of our families' way of doing things and that if I just try hard enough, I can be the woman he wants and deserves to be. It says that giving up now would be another cop out and another failure to add to my pile and a further confirmation that I am not worthy of love, that I am toxic and a burden to those around me.
He has no reasons to stay, is disgusted with me and my actions, feels used and a fool for putting up with what he has. I only look for the wrong and have knee jerk self-protection reactions that only further damage him. If I keep trying to protect myself or live up to my own standards or try to have any sense of self autonomy, I'm just going to hurt him and fall on my face again. It's not about me. My feelings and wants don't matter. I am not worth the fight he's put into this. If I don't straighten up now, I'm not going to be able to have anyone who wants me in their life, unless, as my husband pointed out, "they're trailer trash like my AP." Maybe we deserved each other? I'm a piece of shit and he was attracted to that because he was one too.
0 comment posted: Wednesday, November 4th, 2020
guilt and more shame
BH shared his pain, disgust and visions of me with AP again last night. Something finally clicked with me and now I'm feeling the shame and guilt I should have felt from the beginning. Maybe finally I'm in a place where I can deal with it.
Anyway, it's a hard day and he's still being nice to me and I don't understand why. Don't deserve him and don't know if I can ever make it up to him or ever be good enough for him after what I've done.
I don't understand someone who's felt so much hurt and disgust (visceral disgust with me during sex and yet still persevering in holding me at night while we sleep) can be nice to someone who's done that to him. He's a better person than I am.
So yeah, finally starting to get it.
7 comments posted: Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020
letting go of past hurts
How many of you are having trouble as you're dealing with your own affair and actions letting go of past hurts from the marriage before the affair?
I have trouble at times with the words that stick in my head (negative) from both my family and my husband. We had an argument the other day and he called me a terrible parent. His anxiety has always been for the best interests/outcomes of our family. My daughter was upset coming home from cross country practice learning she was expected to shower for the 3rd time this week . She's 8 and more interested in horses and dragons than making herself "pretty" although she is- very beautiful. My sunshine and daisies girl. Anyhow, she was in a right fit because I didn't back down from the requirement of a shower. My husband was upset about her being upset, and also stressed out about the grades situation with our kids. They have ADD and getting higher in grades gets more HW responsibility. The in-class work is increasing. Overall they're having trouble tracking and keeping up with it. We are cracking down and working directly with the teachers on this. Kids aren't happy with the new lack of screen time during the week...
Anyhow, we had an argument about my daughter being unhappy and the grades. I said he was controlling and too anxious about these things- there's no shame in getting the extra help from the support teacher and counselor for our kids. It's what we pay the school for and they obviously love and care for our kids. He was upset about being called controlling, and said while looking in my eyes that I am a terrible parent with a great deal of anger in his voice. I know this to be objectively untrue as I have been sacrificing much of my time for their homework, getting ready in the morning, putting them to bed, insuring they're provided with all the food, hygiene and attention that I can provide them with. I've actually been able to become a better parent this past year to them than I have been in prior times.
Anyhow, argument aside, the "terrible mother" is stuck in my head. Along with all the times he's said he doesn't care about all the cleaning, cooking and care-taking of the house that I do (he didn't want to see me get stressed about it on his account, just had a terrible way of going about it ). He would also get frustrated with my own ADD and inconsistency with it and the clutter... His recent comments sharing what his friend said about his wife being so hot (training for a marathon, not eating carbs or sugar) and the past negative comparisons he's had of me physically to my friend brought up all my physical insecurity and emotional insecurity with him. Now when I shower, all I see are my flat boobs, the small amount of spare tire I've gained this year, the fact that I had to dye my hair and damage it (as I'm using my hair mask to keep it from breaking off) to please him because he didn't like it brown, going from deep wavy brown to blonde to show him I care and am trying to please him. I see when I shave all the hideous hair he is disgusted with and wants me to laser off. Just hearing that I had horrible hair (on my head) that had to be "fixed" in the first place, not hearing how beautiful he thinks I look with blonde hair. I know objectively that I am an attractive woman. Size 4-6, athletic and objectively in good shape (plastic surgeon was very positive- said women approaching 40 like I am are typically in MUCH worse shape when they come to her). I can only hear the negative, the critical and rejecting comments he has made to me over the years.
I tend to cling to criticism and negative statements. Even when they're said in the spirit of honesty or correction or are in his mind just to make me feel better (the saying that he doesn't care about my house work so I don't stress about it). He says he isn't interested in my gardening and is often critical of how I put the gardens together. His interests are objectively not in gardening. My gardens in the past have been untidy and poorly weeded. Even with all the positive things he's said about me physically now (nice hair, like the clothes, proud of how good a hostess I am) and all the non-sexual physical affection he's given me and the apologies for his past criticism, it's so hard to trust the positive that he does send my way. The negative- past and present- just overwhelm the positive that does come my way.
I just keep hearing as I go about my day all the negative things that he's told me over the years. All the pain just keeps coming back, even on good days. I live inside my head with all the negativity, criticism, abuse and downright meanness I've lived with over the years both with my family and with my BH.
Anyone had to deal with this? It's interfering with my efforts to reconcile and he is hurt sometimes because it seems like the positive efforts he's making are not enough either.
I forgive him for the past hurts and understand where they come from on his side. I just want them to stop hurting me. I'm trying to use the cognitive techniques my therapist is working on with me (countering the negative voice in my head with the truth and daily prayer, self care, self acceptance, etc).
When does this stuff stop hurting? This is what drove me to seek the outer validation and positivity from my affair. Praise and validation given externally will never be enough- that is a well that will run dry and make me eternally thirst again and again. How do I internalize it so I don't require it from others? How do I love myself enough to not need it from others, especially my BH?
6 comments posted: Friday, October 9th, 2020
need some help
2 comments posted: Thursday, October 1st, 2020
actions vs intentions - organizing thoughts. Long post.
So... looking further into the way I interpreted my marriage pre-affair... I have trouble with my BH in reading intentions into his actions that he says are not there.
BH had emotional responses that closely mirrored those of my father (who was a serial cheater it turns out...), especially in regards to how he coped with my mental illnesses and rage/anger/insecurity resulting from them.
My father was emotionally and physically distant from us kids and my mother. Rarely showed her affection, put his arms around her voluntarily or gave any of us unearned/unasked for praise or positivity. He was distant with us at home. That is, unless lecturing us kids on how, if we were just more "normal" we wouldn't get bullied so much by classmates or abused by our sister . As though it was MY FAULT I was abused and bullied from the time I was 6 until HIGHSCHOOL. Still have some anger to work out on that one . Basically he tried his best, but mainly taught us that the reactions of others to ourselves was our fault and it was our responsibility to manage the emotions and reactions others had to us by better molding our behavior to please them. Sigh.
My BH's refusal to touch me/ hold me/ sleep with me for 1.5 years after the birth of my (3mos too early from his planning) daughter, was to prevent another unplanned (by 3 months) pregnancy when I was clearly overwhelmed with PPD. Once he had his vasectomy (so he wouldn't worry about it and I wouldn't continue to shrivel up and die inside from lack of touch), he could sleep with me again. He also had difficulty being physically intimate with me when emotionally I was an angry overwhelmed wreck of a person during my postpartum depression. His intentions weren't to hurt me, but protect himself from having to be physically intimate with a wife who he couldn't be emotionally intimate with, and protect me from becoming pregnant again and sent into a deep PPD hole again and trying to cope with 3 young children, when, with my lack of mothering skills, I couldn't mother the 2 I had already sufficiently.
So, his response was rational and my reaction to it came from the deeper well of my childhood watching my father ignore and detach from my mother who was likewise depressed and crazy.
BH also refused to do counseling with me through my PPD because he saw the problem as primarily mine (it was) and that he didn't want to be made out to be the problem when it really was mine to work on. This mirrored all the times my mother tried unsuccessfully to drag my father into counseling to work on their marriage. We even went on a few family sessions together as kids. My dad mostly sat back and smirked because he thought my mother was the crazy one and he was fine. My mother was crazy, but she was made crazier by my father's lack of willing participation in her healing and his active affairs throughout the marriage. Oh, and the sister who abused me developed anorexia from being my mother's whipping post and the emotional neglect from my father. I happened to be her convenient target for venting her rage at my parents. Childhood was fun. It's a miracle we survived and are still talking as sisters.
So, when BH refused counseling and marriage retreats (for years and years and years of me asking) it was a logical response of his to me not fixing my stuff first with the PPD and his desire to not be painted by me as the bad guy, when clearly he wasn't- he was sane, rational and healthy and trying to cope with a wife who was none of those. His response mirrored that of my father's, but the reasons were rational and justified? He also did not want to go on vacations together alone or spend time at retreats alone when he didn't enjoy his time with me since I was so angry all the time.
Then, when he became emotionally attached to my good friend at our prayer group, that too mirrored my father's years-long affair with our close family friend. My mother got to watch my father carrying on, putting his arm around, leaning over into, gazing longingly at, laughing at jokes only they understood and generally thinking she was brilliant (he even praised her cooking over my mothers!). I got to watch as my husband slowly started seeking my friend's company, attention, and approval. Slowly watched as he would stare longingly at, lean over to and make laugh my friend. Got to live through negative comparisons in appearance (you should grow your hair as long as hers, get highlights like hers, go shopping with her so you can get clothes like hers, go shopping for house decor like hers, get her recipes because she's such a better cook than you, her kids are so well behaved, you should learn how to parent like her, she is so spiritual, we should pray like her family does). All this so I could more closely model the woman who would be the most pleasing wife to him.
Didn't matter at that point who I was as his wife or what I was going through that made me so hard to be around, I was expected to model my reactions and responses to better control his emotional responses to me so I wouldn't get put down constantly and abused... just like my dad used to tell me when I was having problems with my sister or the kids at school (they used to put dog food in my lunches, bark when I tried to talk in class, throw rulers at me, when I was older, I was told I was ugly, stupid and disgusting). Yeah, my marriage mirrored the situation I had growing up. The negative responses, hurt feelings and reactions of others were again, in response to my failure to be pleasing.
I watched this happening and panicked- I did NOT want to live through an affair shoved in my face like my mother did. It was when my husband said that the only reason I switched jobs so much (the one point I really valued myself is on the level of work I am capable of), was because I would jump positions before they would fire me. That I was incapable of maintaining a job and that I left because I was incompetent. That, combined with his behavior with my good friend, snapped something inside. That is when I should have asked for a divorce, but at that point, I felt so worthless (bad mother, unattractive, bad cook, bad homemaker, bad Christian), that I wondered if anyone would ever want me again and I did not want to be lonely.
So, my husband's attachment mirrored that of my father's to my mom's good friend. Only his was borne out of great respect for her (she is a good mom, cook, homemaker, Christian and is beautiful). That it "NEVER would have turned physical" . He's insulted that I thought it would even go in that direction. He became so attached to her because I was so angry all the time, so insecure, and always so tired at the end of the day that I would go to sleep around 10 (so I could get up at 5 for work...). He was lonely without my companionship and was depressed at what our marriage had become and wanted me to be more like her so he could be happier in our marriage. So, unlike my father (who may actually have had similar reasons for pursuing his LTA), he was seeking companionship with a woman he greatly respected and admired.
Flash forward to this year. He's had a rough year, watching me struggle through my depression, anxiety, self hatred, FOO issues, suicidality and still somehow hold down a job, keep the kids fed and cared for, keep the house somewhat sanitary and manage to somehow keep living. 2020 SUCKS!!!!!!!!! Anyway, with all of this, there's a 3-4 day cycle of us having 2 good days, followed by a crap one or 2 days. Either my anxiety spikes, or I'll have a day of depression where I can't get out of the hole. Usually this is in response to him reminding me (after a good day or two) that the small things experienced (good dinner, good day out, good sex, good companionship, good hair/makeup/clothes) were not enough to ever pay him back and make right the hurt he's experienced. He's wondering when it is going to be about him.
This most recent one was a horrible one. I had panic attacks all day, hyperventilation, crying, fetal position for an hour on the floor, shaking hand the rest of the day and non-stop crying. It came after I had to be in office for 2 days to present at an industry conference (virtually- couldn't have background noise/distraction from kids and dog or unreliable internet). This was at my new campus, no one by myself, my boss and a handful of colleagues were there. I understood the keen anxiety he would be feeling that day and made it a point to be in near constant contact via skype or text, letting him know when I left to come home and when I got there. It wasn't enough (of course it wasn't!!!) to help him through his anxiety and stress having to deal with the kids for 2 days straight, his job, the dog and the TRAUMA I INFLICTED ON HIM.
The following day was ok, we got a beautiful lunch, walked around and enjoyed companionship with each other. We hung out as a family that night and had a good day. I visited the plastic surgeon for a lipo/breast procedure I was open to having for his benefit (and my own- not implants, just, um... rearranging the deck chairs?? ). It was a stressful experience for me, having my body handled by the surgeon (female) like it was well, what she actually deals with it as, meat. Her staff and herself were kind and warm in manner, seemed genuinely interested in my health and mental condition and weren't pressure selling the procedure. Still, having a stranger lift the things that are sagged and pointing out the bulge acquired, it's rough. I came home though and gave my family positive companionship and enjoyed the evening. I thought we had moved through the difficulty and were on our way to actually making traction on our relationship.
The day after that was when he asked for a divorce. He has had a long hard year, has worked too hard and too long to make this work, has done counseling, lived through my retaining a divorce attorney, feels like a chump for staying when so many others would have left, is terrified of having another year like last one and hasn't seen progress on me showing gratitude for his support and all the hardship he has lived through being married to me all these years. He said the only thing that was keeping him in the marriage over the years was the security he had in me and that it was gone. That what I was doing for him (saving for a watch just for him, applying and seeking new jobs, going before the plastic surgeon, cancelling divorce paperwork, constant contact and accountability, new clothes, hair, makeup, improving my mothering skills, seeking help and medicine and spiritual support to be a better wife, mother and person, owning my shit and taking responsibility for my actions, reducing defensiveness- work in progress there still- increasing calm while having emotional discussions, decreasing my anger and showing my pain instead) all of that was not enough to heal him from my affair. That the work I've shown has come too little too late. He said he wanted to start the paperwork so he would have the security of not having to endure another year such as he's had. That we could stop the divorce if things were going better and I was doing more to heal him.
Of course I don't get a chance to poor me for this as I had spoken to a divorce lawyer behind his back and done this exact same thing to him. In his panic he went to his father, called the counselor I found for him and became responsible financially (both to his dad and to me) to pay bills on time and stop his spending.
Right now, I'm processing this as best I can and not angry at him, am hurting for him as he's hurting and understanding where he's coming from as he's in a place of great pain. The deep physical reaction I had was to to abandonment I had as a child, the self blaming/loathing I was programmed with between my father (blame) and sister (loathing). During my panic attacks, he tried to comfort me with hugs and touch and I would flinch and curl up in a ball and hyperventilate. It was purely a physical reaction. That night, I asked him not to sleep with me, to not touch me and to leave me alone. He was worried I would be suicidal and followed me upstairs. I shrieked and cried for him to go away and he wouldn't leave. This mirrored the times when my sister would not respect my cries to stop, to leave me alone to go away and she wouldn't. She would keep on torturing me, calling me a piece of shit, telling me I was ugly, worthless, stupid, no common sense, no wonder I had no friends, that no one would ever want me because I was so stupid and ugly and awkward.
My husband's actions came from concern, my reaction came from my PTSD from my childhood. Not because he was trying to continue to control me, or abuse me with his talk of all the things I wasn't good enough at and therefore too painful to be with in a marriage.
That night I slept on the couch in the open with no door to give me assurance of him leaving me alone. He wanted the bed, needed to be assured he would not be locked out of our room. He left me alone after he was assured I was not going to harm myself. The next day I was calmer and we were better able to talk about it. He wants to pursue divorce paperwork now as it takes a year to process in my state, to go to a mediator to work on it together (as opposed to my unilateral retainer). I said to him the reality of the situation, we need a counselor to work on our communication. Either way, divorce or not, we needed to learn to work together for the sake of our children going forward. That I refused to be in a contentious divorce that would further harm the kids. He at one point said we could divorce now with the idea of getting together again in the future once we were healthier. I said that would not work- that if we divorced we would divorce. I would not put my kids through the back and forth hell my closest friend grew up in with her parents' married/divorced/married/divorced roller coaster. He balked at the joint counseling- that if we got divorced it would be unnecessary for him to work on a relationship that was dead, that he's done enough already. He said if we worked out that he didn't want to be made out as the bad guy and be blamed for anything after the affair. I said that I would not cooperate with the divorce paperwork without it. He said, fine, then we're going to have a divorce right now, right away. I kept my calm during the whole thing at great cost to me and said, it is a reality that if we are at this point that we need counseling, the accountability and professional perspective that it provides to sort through this in the least destructive manner possible. After we paused the conversation (I was overwhelmed and asked to stop before I became worse), I went into the basement, fetal position, crying and hyperventilating for over an hour. I had 4 panic attacks that day as he pursued the conversation over and over.
The next day, he wanted to hold me, comfort me physically with touch and hugs. He wanted to see me doing better and being better with his help- physically calming me with his touch. I told him it was very difficult for me to accept his touch and comfort as he was the one who had hurt me. That I doubted the reasons he wanted to comfort me. I asked him if he wanted to comfort me because he genuinely was concerned, or if he wanted to get rid of his own guilt over seeing me in the state I was in. He said it was because he was a caring person who wants to care for people when they're suffering.
That mirrored his dad's response to finding out about the affair, calling me disgusting (no wonder...) and saying the only reason he was being cordial and polite to me was because he is a cordial and polite person. None of my BH's response nor my FIL's response had anything to do with care for me as a person. My BH's response had nothing to do with him experiencing concern in particular that the anxiety and pain I was experiencing was because he was causing it.
Kind of like my lack of empathy and remorse the first 6months after the affair as I was reorganizing my thoughts, getting out of my mental illness and working on seeing BH from a new perspective.
So, I'm trying to wrap my head around the fact that, though my husband reacts and acts in similar manners to the way my father did and treated my mother, that he in fact is a good person, with right intentions, normal reactions to my mental illnesses and traumas and foolish pride. That my efforts are appreciated, but they're not enough. That he needs to see the desperation in my eyes and voice and action to fix this (after I had been desperate for his warmth, touch, support and approval all those years).
How do I reconcile the fact that he has hurt me so much over the years only through good intentions and natural reactions and that it is in fact my mental illness and insecurity and trauma from childhood that are to blame for his reactions, choices and it is up to me to adjust my behavior to suit him better in order for him to stay in the marriage. That he has made enough adjustments (becoming less critical of the children, more gentle in his corrections of me and no longer seeking out the company of other women he finds more appealing).
What do I do? I feel like I've been gaslighted my entire marriage and am experiencing a breakdown in my reality again. What do I cling to in this? My emotions and perceptions are so clouded my trauma from my family that I can't see my husband for what he says he is and that his actions are only for his best, the kids best and my best interests. I am having trouble trusting my instincts which tell me I'm being manipulated again and that he is causing this pain and trauma in me again only to so he can see him self as the healer again, the good person, the one who does the right thing always for the right reasons, regardless the cost to himself. How do I reconcile that with the real pain and trauma I am going through? How do I turn that into more empathy for him and the unmitigated gratitude that he wants from me (I do have gratitude- he has kept me from committing suicide several times over the past year).
How do I live in security and trust knowing that although I react adversely to his actions, that his intent is only my love and care?
9 comments posted: Monday, September 28th, 2020
why can't i just accept my failures and cherish myself in spite of them? why can't i just love myself in spite of all my weaknesses? why am i so dependent on my husband's good opinion of me for my own mental well being? why do i have to earn every bit of affection and care i get? why am i married to someone i know i'm just going to keep disappointing and keep needing to satisfy before i can be satisfied in myself.
anyway, just a vent after a rough day.
8 comments posted: Thursday, September 24th, 2020
growing, but apart?
Anyone find this happening? As you heal and they heal that you're growing apart and it's really not a fault on your (BS) part, nor is the differences really the WS fault, just you're finding yourselves to be different people?
What do you do as a WS to help your BS heal after everything when it's looking like you're not the right people for each other after all and that you likely shouldn't have been married in the 1st place? How do you make up for wasting their time and all the pain they've been through?
Not sure we should separate or if any of this is really without hope, just been having a rough month and wondering what to do to make it better for him.
23 comments posted: Thursday, July 16th, 2020
divorce?? building trust??
This might be a long one, I'm good at those . Tune it out if you don't want to be bored. BS, please, your input is needed.
Husband and I discussed divorce after I contacted a lawyer yesterday. Things are not moving forward, and I am at the limit of what I can work on in the marriage by myself without the outside help of MC for us and IC for him. Husband his wounded by my anger (after all the help and support he has given me recovering from my anxiety and depression), still doesn't trust me and does not want to be vulnerable with me in MC, and is having trouble opening up to a stranger in IC. It looked like we were going no where, so I called a lawyer and made an appointment to discuss D proceedings.
I gut punched him with this action, he was blindsided again as he was in the affair and again I had dropped a bomb on my husband.
I have been contemplating this move for a while. For the last 3 months I have been coming to my husband for MC for us and IC for him and clearly and calmly saying that I cannot any longer live in this financial distress. My requests went unheard, my husband is not satisfied my anger has gone away, has not acknowledged progress I have made and efforts I have put in to make myself safe for him. He does not see the anger and defensiveness eliminated and now with this move on my part, has lost trust in me again.
I need professional MC help to move us forward. He needs counseling to help him move forward. We need financial counseling from a dispassionate source to move us forward. This is the reality we were in, and he was not ready/willing to move on it because of my anger. We've been drifting apart, I've been shame spiraling, anxiety attacking and in general getting more depressed about the situation. He is depressed, hurting and feeling unheard and unloved and un-cared for.
We are both so unhappy. BH doesn't deserve to be unhappy anymore. I need help to move past all this, to learn how to be vulnerable to him without using anger as a shield. He needs the anger gone and trust rebuilt.
I found an IC for him and he has an appointment. I am looking for a MC for us. I'm calling the lawyer and cancelling my appointment. We are scheduling a financial planner.
What can I do in the mean time to drop the anger and build his trust in me?
31 comments posted: Friday, June 26th, 2020
Embarrasing s*** WS deal with
Just a vent. Had to deal with some anxiety inducing and shame inducing OBGYN stuff. Guilt over something potentially being transmitted to BH, only to find out I was clean and he had the cold sore version. I've had cold sores since I was 9. Looks like that form was lurking and waiting for a prolonged period of stress to come out.
Either way, all that emotional exhaustion, shame and embarrassment I went through on Monday/Tuesday is worth it if it gives him peace of mind.
It's the least I can do.
4 comments posted: Thursday, June 25th, 2020
Five stages of grief
Anyone here read up on 5 stages of grief and have any insight on how it applies to your own grief over:
-Loss of personal integrity in affair
-Loss of innocence in marriage
-Loss of esteem/respect of spouse
-Loss of spouses sense of safety and self worth
The 5 stages were:
I seem to be cycling between the anger, depression and bargaining stages. Much like an item can circle the drain...
4 comments posted: Thursday, June 18th, 2020
Anyone here deal with personal issues relating to self esteem/validation/jealousy of BS and their inner peace?
When I married my husband, I really married up. His family, while they have their own issues (distant/cold/relatively joyless MIL, enabling FIL), are by and large WAY more decent people than my family. (You can read my other posts about that…) They, when my husband's grandma was dying of cancer, showed more love, compassion and support for one another, prayed together and really co-operated to make her death as loving and joyful and peaceful a send off as one could wish for in life. Afterward they rallied around their dad (who had alcoholism-WWII vet w/ PTSD- during their childhood- there are some FOO issues for my MIL to deal with there…) to ensure he was not lonely or depressed, but loved and cared for.
Contrasting that with my family, as my dad died of cancer (around the same time), my mom's family did visit more, as did my Dad's, but there was nowhere near the peace, love and prayerfulness shown at his death. My mother laid upon my father's chest sobbing that he wasn’t to leave her and she didn't want him to die, the very night he was dying. This was after a good 6/7 months of his decline. I resented her not being able to hold it together enough for us daughters (24/21yrs old at the time) to be able to grieve. Instead, she made it completely about herself and spiraled into gambling addiction and adolescent behavior (getting a tattoo while drunk with a co-worker) and jumping into a new relationship less than 1 year later(and sharing w/ her 22 yr old daughter about her 1st time w/ another man ). I was at home at the time and got to watch her and try and comfort her and try and help her hold it together while finishing my senior year at college (commuted to university in a challenging engineering program) and trying to launch my adult life without my dad for a mentor (he was an engineer too) or even a mother to console me. She really was like raising a teenager/ basket case in her grief. I suppressed my grief, swallowed my anger at her behavior and continued to play the role of emotional safety blanket to her through that time.
With that contrast in mind and the relatively unhappy childhood I had, I wanted to have something better for my family. My husband's family has a great sense of faith, strong extended family bonds with extended family all pretty much w/in 30min drive from each other. They do have the usual bickering- but everyone still talks and still helps each other out. My extended family is all out of state, aunts have cut each other out and talked for the first time in years only at my dad's funeral and haven't talked since -far as I know. I really am all alone aside from my sisters, who live near me. However, one is busy with 2 boys with special needs and the other has her own rocky marriage right now.
Take the lack of family resources, the lack of faith background and the glaring lack of marital relational modeling, coupled with the abuse from childhood and lack of "dowry," the only thing I really brought to the marriage was myself and my earning potential.
Only thing is, I really have no sense of my internal self worth- beyond the fact that I'm a human and thus can only expect general politeness from strangers as a fellow air-breather. The list of things I can genuinely say that I have as personal assets is relatively short. Let's see, I'm intelligent, energetic, attractive, hard working, not afraid of physical pain or doing work that is dirty and difficult and I guess I can understand others who are likewise flawed? Doesn't seem like much when you compare that to the list of qualities my husband possesses: hard working, dedicated, generous with his time- gives it to things benefiting the family, parish and school, good father, good cook, faithful to God and family, funny, attractive and sexy.
With these objective deficits (lack of family, moral training, money), I am clearly of lower value than my husband. I wasn't a good parent or a good partner. I didn't (and still don't to some extent) trust God's plan for my life (although that's getting better).
It's so hard being married to someone you know is in the important ways (faith and family) better than you. I thought if I just worked hard enough, or gave enough, that I could one day be worthy and approved and feel like I'm finally good enough to deserve his love for me. Then I would get resentful when he would cut me out. Why did he marry me, knowing my flaws and the huge burden of work it would take for me to meet his expectations? Why was I so rarely (and usually only when financing something) deserving of his affection? Why was I always the problem that needed fixing in our relationship? When was he ever going to look at himself and see a lack, a place that was in need of growth? When was he ever going to come to me for help in working through it? Why was I always the one who was wrong, who was broken and of less importance and value in the marriage.
I got angry, and I'm still angry. I'm angry that my family abused me, angry that God put me in a family who then abused me, angry I idolized my dad so many years after his death when he was a cheater too, angry my mother is a selfish narc, angry that I am patterning myself after them, angry that my husband can be and has been so cold and distant, angry that God has placed in me my ADD, depression and anxiety, angry that He has given me so many gifts yet so many challenges that I can't overcome. I'm just SO ANGRY.
I wanted a better life, I wanted to be a better (different) person than I am, I wanted to be loved for who I am and cherished by a man who chose me. I wanted to be cared for for once and not have to be the damaged one who was always having to work SO HARD to gain so little in terms of the validation, warmth and affection I was craving. I wanted to be able to rest in the arms of someone who liked me as I was and who I could be enough for. To be able to give what I had to give and have it be appreciated as enough to satisfy the other.
THIS is what I chose to have an affair for. So I could take a break from the utter up hill, back breaking climb I had turned my marriage into so I could gain validation from my husband and finally "make it" and be the good Catholic wife I thought I had to be to finally escape my FOO and to be a woman my husband could love and cherish. I was too wrapped up in my poor me and my sense of entitlement to affection and love I didn't deserve and was too prideful to admit to needing to do the work to receive it.
At the end of the day, my husband is human, but a far better human than I and I was jealous of his comfort with himself and who he is, his sense of integrity and value and worth in his family and to his God. I envied that and thought that if I could earn it from him, then I could feel it for myself. That if I was good enough for him, I would be good enough for God and good enough for me. I wrapped my whole sense of identity around his opinion of me and allowed it to rule my life. No wonder I have resentment issues. I made his affection and approval for me my golden calf. When that dried up after the post-partum depression and complete lack of parenting skills I had and my arguing and fighting him on the improvements he wanted me to make for the sake of our kids, I began looking for it elsewhere. By gaining more and more responsibilities and $$ at work, by making inappropriate emotionally bonded friendships with male co-workers and finally culminating in my affair.
So there's my whys and my anger. Thanks for reading.
16 comments posted: Saturday, June 13th, 2020
Boundaries and Reconciliation
Question for those trying to pick up the pieces and rebuild the relationship. I'm feeling anxious about things and need to sift out my reasoning- I need to find out if I'm making decisions based on entitlement or out of legitimate self preservation. Please help me clean up my head .
What do you do when your own poor boundaries- with husband in marriage and AP in affair- were one of the direct causes of the breakdown?
I had poor boundaries in the marriage because it was easier for me to not stand up for myself (enable) since disagreement was terrifying to me- I was afraid of his rejection if I stated a real need and remained firm in it. Then I would use that boundary being ignored (I would bring it up and not enforce it) as an excuse to either get mad or complain (and play victim). This lead to me resenting my hubby and then feeling entitled to an affair. Now that I'm moving away from the enabling behavior that I used to permit me to have an affair, I'm anxious over my choices. Now that I'm examining my "whys" and what allowed me to justify an affair, I'm finding it difficult to place appropriate boundaries within my marriage without my spouse feeling like I'm being selfish or "not playing as a team."
The boundaries currently center around finances and the level of anxiety I had from the horrible state they were in- he has more resources than I in that department, and belittled me frequently when I brought my anxiety to him over utility shut offs and foreclosure notices. While I am giving my all into the financial well being of the marriage (I make 6 figures), I have begun to set aside a small allowance for my own use. Really it's for my own reassurance that I won't be without gas money or money for food or money to pay our utilities if they get shut off again. It keeps my anxiety at bay to have a small pool of cash I can rely upon in extremity.
I am not pursuing this as a form of entitlement, it really is to keep me free of the anxiety and depression (from feeling helpless about the finances), and also free of the resentment I had allowed to build in our early marriage over these issues. I'm doing this to preserve my sanity and for the benefit of our relationship.
Unfortunately, he sees it as me drawing a hard line and not accommodating him and pulling away, when I'm really trying to make sure I am calm enough and feel safe enough to give myself to him. We have had numerous discussions about this where I have made it clear this is about me eliminating my anxiety and resentment towards him, not about me not caring for him. He reacts as though I am not all in for the marriage and is hurting through this all because of the affair I chose to have.
He wants me to "do whatever it takes" when that looks like me having no say in finances (and he's shown irresponsibility there, and I've definitely ENABLED IT). My reality sense is that I am contributing my all (within my limitations for mental health) and that any further going into debt on my part (to pay him back for further output from family money to keep foreclosure at bay) will create resentment from me and endanger myself should we end up divorcing. I do not have the resources he has and I am keeping very little ($50 every 2 weeks) for my self. If I continue to enable this behavior I will continue to resent him and continue to be anxious and continue to not be the woman that I know I need to be for the sake of my recovery and the sake of us having a R at all.
In the past too, I have cashed out my retirement savings with each job move in order to finance real estate projects, so no savings there. I've also given over inheritance monies of my own to pay bills, so have no money there. I am in credit card debt up to my limits since I use them for things like groceries, kids dr visits and the occasional present I want to surprise hubby with. In all, I have one 401k with which to pay him back, while he has considerable family money on his side to keep us afloat in these times.
What do boundaries look like for those in R? Especially when it comes to remedying the background issues within the marriage? How is it best for a WS to handle the changes they need to make for their own integrity (I don't want to be back in that desperate place I allowed myself to fall into that lead me to accept and encourage advances of AP), sanity or just plain well being? What do you do in general when you're a people pleaser at heart and terrified of rejection from stating real needs? I am posting this here as I am quite anxious over standing my ground about my personal allowance and other financial issues as I know how hurt my spouse is and how this would continue to hurt him. I know what I am doing is right for me, even though my husband is struggling. It is just hard for me to watch him struggle with it without doing something to appease his discomfort.
17 comments posted: Wednesday, June 10th, 2020