I'm so glad you had a chance to read through this thread and were able to find it helpful Somber.
All the while I thought there was something wrong with him (clearly there is) but damn there is something seriously wrong with me too! How could I even allow for such toxicity...
I really hope you will try to frame it a little more self-compassionately than saying "There is something seriously wrong with me too". Perhaps you might consider looking at it as "I can see now how I have developed unhealthy ways of coping with life and within my relationships, and now that I see this I can heal myself and make better choices going forward".
I have invested all my time helping others, putting their needs first and avoiding conflict. I constantly choose other people's happiness over my own as it is easier for me to do so. I am praised for it so I may see that as some sort of reward and an expectation of me so I repeat it over and over in all areas of my life.
I think here is a good spot to get started on that healing.
Some questions you might want to begin reflecting on:
Why do you put the needs of others before your own needs?
I agree with you that praise is one of the rewards for it, do you think there are other reasons?
Why do you feel you need the praise and approval of others? You've mentioned how your dad neglected you...do you think that is one of the biggest contributors to that need? If so, how do you think you can start healing from that?
Why do you try to avoid conflict? What fears do conflicts bring up in you? What intimidates you about asserting yourself?
I have spent so much time looking out and no time looking in.
Why do you think that is?
I grew up with a single Mom and never thought anything was wrong in my upbringing. However, after reading some content in this thread I am seeing clearer. I was neglected by my father and soaked up and cherish any moment he spared me. Despite his faults I chose to love him and never held him accountable for the pain he caused me.
I am just realizing that that is the exact role of my marriage.
I'm glad you are seeing the connection between your childhood experience with your father and your relationship with your WH. It's an important insight, IMHO.
In his book, "When The Past Is Present", author David Richo talks about transference - "an unconscious displacement of feelings, attitudes, expectations, perceptions, reactions, beliefs, and judgments that were appropriate to former figures in our lives, mostly parents, onto people in the present".
If our past was negative or hurtful, we may look for partner-candidates who will re-create that hurt, and then we can blame them, since perhaps we never fully felt or expressed our rage at a parent who wounded us that same way.
I tell ya, when I read that the first time a couple years ago it was a wake-up call - a massive lightbulb moment for me. And I hope it is for you too.
I highly recommend the book for you. It's just over $13 CDN for the Kindle version on Amazon right now. I think you'll find it incredibly helpful in your own healing.
You don't say whether your father was an alcoholic as well, but there is another book that I think you'll find helpful, it's called "Perfect Daughters", and is written by Robert J. Ackerman.
I have become comfortable in rugsweeping because I have no skills in addressing my needs. Therefore, boundaries have been loosely enforced. Yet, although it may have been quiet, I have made it clear the pain caused and my marital expectations of fidelity and honesty. They just were never met.
Is it really that you have no skills in addressing your own needs, or is possible that you are afraid of asserting yourself? And, if, in fact, you are afraid, what are the underlying fears that are at play? What is the worst thing you think would happen?
Now I am fed up, sick of the game and wanting a real life for myself again.
So what do you want to do about it? What does a real life for yourself look like? How do you think you can achieve that?
My WH is a sex addict, pathological liar and binge alcoholic. I have allowed him to mistreat me for 10 years always hoping he loved me enough to stop hurting me.
My H was an alcoholic for three quarters of our relationship. He has been sober, both physically AND mentally for 4 years now. As part of my own healing I had to realize that his addiction, and all of it's related behaviours, such as the lying, were not done to intentionally harm me. They had nothing to do with me at all. He could not empathize with the pain his addiction caused, and therefore was unable to love me in a healthy way, because he didn't know how to love himself.
Another part of my healing was realizing that I too needed to learn to love myself, and recognize that the words and/or actions of others do not define, nor should they be connected to, my sense of worth and lovability.
I remember begging him to stop cheating on me as I breastfed our first newborn son. I was stupid enough to believe him each time that he would be the man I dreamed of. I have lived on empty promises and it breaks my heart.
I want you to do one thing right now...I want you to stop with the negative self-talk. When that inner critic starts chirping at you tell it to shut the fuck up. You are NOT stupid.
Ok, now take a moment and reflect on this pattern that your describing with your WH. Now think about your relationship with your dad...
I was neglected by my father and soaked up and cherish any moment he spared me. Despite his faults I chose to love him and never held him accountable for the pain he caused me
It's an almost identical pattern, isn't it?
That doesn't make you stupid Somber. That makes you human.
Now that you can see the patterns you have a chance to address and change them.
I have endured endless false R. I can't handle another one so dream of leaving but haven't done so yet
His actions prove over and over again his lack of remorse or insight into the damage he continues to do. For example, he continues to try to have sex with me within days of sexting another woman. Then gives me the cold shoulder when I turn him down. I sometimes give in just to shut him up but feel like an object and it disgusts me. There is no emotional attachment involved for years. I am so lonely in this marriage.
I want to give you another quote from "When The Past Is Present" for you to reflect and ponder on...
It will be tough to let go of the relationship, even when it does not work, if our identity has melded in with another person. Could it be that one of the reasons it is so hard to let go is that so much of ourselves has been transferred onto others? This may account for our belief that we will not survive if we leave or lose a relationship.
I know I've given you a lot to think about. I do hope you'll continue to post in this thread as you work through all of this stuff.
We're here for you.