The Wayward and Defensiveness
I posted some thoughts on defensiveness in another thread and thought I'd share them here. I'm interested in how both Betrayeds and Waywards feel about the topic.
My comments are driven by an irksomeness I feel when folks say "the wayward is in a shame spiral, that's why he won't talk" or "try asking it this way or that way to avoid her defensiveness."
When I think defensiveness (persistent prolonged defensive) is a wayward mindset. It is to me, high destructive to any type of recovery let alone reconciliation. Here is what I originally wrote:
Defensiveness is complicated because it's usually a mix of feelings. Defensive is the act of defending. What is he defending? Perhaps feeling of guilt or shame, sure. How about entitlement? This early on he likely still believes his reasons for having the affair were somewhat legit, even if wrong. He hasn't let go of his entitlement. How about fear? He's defending against that one detail or two that pushes you right to a divorce lawyer. He's trying to control the outcome. And in some cases, Waywards are defending the fantasy. Nothing spoils sexy fun time memories than watching your wife crumble under the details. Worst of all, he may be defending his AP by not betraying her by opening that affair wall they hid behind and letting you in.
I'll add here that defensiveness is usually a big red jumbo flag that someone is still lying.
Cool story bro: My WH is on a radical honesty tour in the hopes of changing our story's end. He told me recently that on DDay he felt nothing for my pain. Zero. Nada. DID NOT CARE. In part because he had so convinced himself that I was the cause of all of his unhappiness that he didn't much care that I was now unhappy. In part, because his thoughts were elsewhere. Where I asked (eternally curious)? "Myself. What was going to happen to me? What if you outed me publicly? To family and friends? What would my daughter think of ME? What would my Dad think of ME? All I could think of was how to control the situation so I ended up as unscathed as possible."
From there on out, his defensiveness was about protecting himself and controlling the outcome to his best benefit. Never was it a shame spiral or what have you. It was pure self protection and of course, continued lying.
I'm curious what others have experienced. Did you find that defensiveness was anything OTHER than self protection? Was there a an effective way to deal with it no matter the cause?
20 comments posted: Tuesday, January 25th, 2022