I'm new to this thread and I hope that anyone that would be willing to reach out to me would do so via PM or whatever.
I have extensive childhood FOO issues. They include sexual abuse, a sadistic brother, physical, mental and emotional abuse both at home and at school, an overbearing and non-protective mother, being forced to apologize to my sexual abuser, enormous loss such as my father/uncle/dog/girlfriend all within a few months of each other... the total story goes on and on. I wrote out a timeline of abuse for our MC recently and it took 5 pages even in nutshell form. :(
When I was 27, after spending 10 years as a drug addict, was self destructive, slept around, got into trouble. I ended up putting a gun to my head. I made a decision that night, and decided that I needed to change my life. I turned everything around, stopped using drugs, left all my friends, got clean, got a job, a career, and met my wife, had a kid, and spent the next 20 years as a happily married man and father. A normal, responsible and loving human being.
But shoving down that kind of trauma and abuse for 20 years is not a healthy thing. Frankly, it is amazing that I got as far as I did without any major issues.
2 years ago, I had a breakdown. I disassociated and went into a deep depression. Life felt like watching a movie. I no longer knew who I was and didn't even feel like it was me "driving the bus". My wife was commuting for work at the time and was only home a few days a week for a while. I did my best to hide my breakdown from my family, but it was hard, I felt like I was going crazy, and about a month in I couldn't even suppress it long enough to hide. I felt ashamed and stupid for feeling like I did. I didn't know why I was crying for up to 12 hours a day, feeling so lost, and absolutely unable to "feel" anyone or anything.
6 months later my affair started. It lasted 5 months. During that time I was cold hearted. I cared about no one but myself. My AP was half my age and childlike in nature, and I flaunted my affair in front of my family which gas-lighting everyone. I was horrible, and completely out of control. This behavior is nothing like me. I have always put my family and my marriage first, never had even the smallest inkling to be with anyone but my wife, had integrity and patience. I was a good man. Until then. I fear who I became.
Fast forward, my affair is exposed and my family, my marriage and my life is ripped apart. The trauma of being exposed snaps me back into reality somehow, and now here I am, me again, most of the time anyway. What I learned recently is that all those years of abuse left me with a "fractured" personality, similar in nature to multiple personality (DID) but more like DDNOS, having not individual personalities but versions of myself at different stages in my life. There is me, there is the 16 year old "protector" and there is the child. The 16 year old is who was driving the bus during the affair. I remember having arguments with my wife where she kept saying, "Who are you? This is not the man I married. This is not the man I know." And I kept telling her that she was right. That I was someone else, someone new. I just didn't realize at the time how true that really was. I thought I was crazy. Turns out I was.
The 16 year old me shows up when fear, trauma and threat is afoot. He protects the little boy who gets scared. He is brave because he doesn't care about anything or anyone but himself. He is angry. He is sick of having no voice, no control, no choice, so he makes sure that he has all of these, even if they make things worse. His "normal" is anger and trouble and hurting others with his insensitivity.
So here I am. Broken in the truest sense of the word. The adult me is back and taking control again, but the mess is made, and I cannot deny responsibility for my actions, even if he was the one in control. It was still me. I destroyed my wife, destroyed her joy, her trust, her love, left her with nothing, no husband, no best friend, even hurt the kids... And when she asks me why, how could I do this to her, what was I thinking...? How do you explain to someone that nothing was rational? That the reason that her faithful husband of 20 years hurt her and that I still can't offer any reasonable explanation of "what I was thinking" because I was out of control at the time. It makes no difference. The damage was done. She was the victim.
I could use some advice, maybe some friends who understand. I'm trying as hard as I can to save my marriage, to reconcile and be me again, be the remorseful and empathetic spouse. Help me.