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actions vs intentions - organizing thoughts. Long post.

MIgander posted 9/28/2020 09:06 AM

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?

JBWD posted 9/28/2020 12:47 PM


This is sad news to be sure. It is hard to see the continued pain and damage weíve inflicted take its toll, and I know the uncertain future is scary as hell.

Iím trying to not take one perspective over the other, but tend to think that his need to be perceived as ďnot a bad guyĒ continues with pursuing resolution beyond simply agreeing to divorce. I think we all need to remind ourselves of the perspective that when R finally fails, itís not a bad decision, itís just a decision.

You have articulated a lot here, and your question comes down to a simple fact- You own your responses. If you donít arrive at the conclusion that heís genuinely expressing love for you, so be it. That will not change ground truth- You cheated, you havenít met his requirements for R, and D is next. I agree that you all need to arrive at better communication methods to effectively parent, but that can very simply be started with restraints on communication.

So all that said- Donít waste your time resolving his actions and intentions. That wonít happen overnight, but it is worth it to understand that what you control is you and your reactions/reactivity- When you feel out of control and directionless, I know how terrifying that prospect can be. Do you owe him gratitude for his life-saving? Yes. But it doesnít mean you owe him blind faith in his intent. I donít know if these thoughts help, but the bottom line is that if you spend time worrying about his thoughts, you neglect your own, and they deserve your attention right now. Quite honestly, the words I never thought Iíd say a year ago come to mind right now and begin ďGod grant me the serenity...Ē

Itís not easy. You both have struggled and continue to. Iím rooting for both of you for a direction that is fulfilling. Strength and honor.

MIgander posted 9/28/2020 15:42 PM

Thanks JBWD.

It's scary right now. He's scheduling an appointment for us to do a joint session with his counselor for sometime this week. To talk about why he's not trying to control me with these, "if you just did xyz, I'd be happy with you" kinds of things. And that he's not trying to control the situation by being the one to initiate the divorce this time around.

Fun times. I'm working hard to keep what little sanity I have left intact and to be able to give him the grace of his own stated intentions in the pain I'm experiencing right now.

After the hell I put him through, it's the least I can do.

Still, I just wish one day we could be in a marriage where I feel loved, accepted and cherished. Preferentially by him. If that's not reality, then so be it.

MIgander posted 9/29/2020 12:14 PM

Further discussion w/ BH. He brings up the continued wants/needs for himself during "good" days because he is hoping that I am well enough to address them, not to beat me down with them.

The feeling of being beaten down comes from my own shame at having been labeled as defective, deficient and undesirable for so many years as a child, adolescent and into my young adulthood. So, he's not trying to shame me, but his actions touch on my shame and self loathing.

We've agreed to get joint counseling to help us communicate better our wants and needs- especially for him to be able to do so. The goal is to eventually have him communicate his needs in such a way that is well timed and in a constructive criticism manner rather than a download dump which he currently uses. I'm going to work on clarifying and not assuming he is trying to shame me. To communicate my shame and not to blame him for triggering it and to accept my limitations and flaws without the shame that was put into me during my childhood.

Here's to hoping this helps. I really don't want him to have another year like this one. EVER.


Rose2206 posted 9/29/2020 14:06 PM


there is an audibook that I think maybe able to help you and your BH for ideas in order to have a "safe" way of communicating that will nurture both of your guys healing.

It is: The Good Fight by Jana Kramer and her husband Michael Caussin! Check it out and I hope it will give you both some ideas for improved communication and way of living.

Wish you lots of strength.

hikingout posted 9/29/2020 15:16 PM

I want to help you but I have no idea how to or where to start.

When I read from you, I can't tell what the truth is about your husband either. Whether or not you are being gaslighted or whether it's your mental health that skews how you view him.

Either way, each time I read your posts, I feel like there is no room in there for his grief over your affair. Like you take up a lot of the emotional space with your struggles and feelings. That might be good if you are indeed in a relationship in which you are being gaslighted or controlled. But, overall I think it's something for you to evaluate, because there are a lot of downsides there and I would think it might speak to your tendencies.

It seems like to me that professional face to face is probably more helpful because they will have both of you there and might be able to assess the situation more closely. It seems you still have a tremendous amount of resentment towards him, and very little reflection on the infidelity in your posts. I try and not read too much into that, but it's difficult. You seem to spend more time analyzing his behavior and shortcomings than your own. Again, if he is abusive and is truly gaslighting you then it does make sense.

The reason it resonates in me at all is one of our grown children feel they were abused by their mother. They have the same confusion around them because I suspect she is a narcissist and had done things that are hard to prove. Always made everything look legitimate. I have listened to her a great deal on it. She asks me what we thought was happening, and I was honest with her that any struggle she seemed to be having with her mom seemed sort of normal mostly. I am in a place with it that I don't know if our daughter is creating something sinister out of her behavior or if it really existed. This post is very much like that. I am hoping my daughter will go to therapy and make some more definite conclusions. It sounds like you have been because you are able to trace the roots of your behavior.

Under normal circumstances, I would continue to encourage you to try and focus on the damage you caused him, working on yourself, and hold off on fixing the marriage. I have given that to you as advice in the past. You do seem to be understanding more your patterns of behavior. I think there is more to the story here because if there wasn't something already dysfunctional in place I am not sure you guys would still be together. What that is, I don't know.

[This message edited by hikingout at 3:24 PM, September 29th (Tuesday)]

MIgander posted 9/30/2020 12:05 PM

I think there is more to the story here because if there wasn't something already dysfunctional in place I am not sure you guys would still be together. What that is, I don't know.

Thanks HO, you have good questions as always. The above is what I am trying to figure out. I'm seeing more it is my reactions to my husband that are out of line with reality. I still don't understand though how I can be so capable in some areas of my life and yet so devastatingly incompetent in others. I feel my own sanity and abilities slipping away in this. As we progress towards him wanting a divorce in a year since I have still failed to show him the gratitude and appreciation and unqualified remorse and non-defensiveness to his critiques, I just don't trust my sense of reality or worth or even to be able to help him heal in this. The more I look at the pain and damage I have caused and the more I look at myself through his eyes, the more I see the ungrateful, shrewish, selfish bitch I am. The more car accidents, panic attacks, screaming reactions and meltdowns I have the less I see myself as capable of ever being worthy or valuable to him (or anyone else).

I'm so worried that if I divorce, it will just be another proof of my unworthiness and validation that I am a twisted disgusting bitch who is incapable of gratitude for decency and kindness shown to her. That I'm incapable of loving, unworthy of being loved and incapable of handling life as a rational adult. That I've thrown away with both hands the only shot I was given at having a normal life with a loving family and a shot at getting into heaven. That I've taken all the immense gifts I've been given and thrown them away because I was just to stupid and sick and blind to see it, put faith in it and trust in it as given to me by God.

I can't drive (more on that... really I am a terrible driver no matter how hard I try to work on it), can't barely hold a job down, can barely get my kids fed, through homework, into bed and help them feel loved. Can barely shower, get up and force myself to do some work, maybe work out. This happens every 2-3 days.

I am so ashamed of myself and it just confirms all the things my sister told me and my father affirmed: I'm a piece of shit (sister) and incapable of handling life (father).

Sorry. Been another rough day.

And now after my panic attack, shouting match and yelling at him to get him to own that he wants a divorce, he's wanting to take a nap with me and smiling and being friendly with me and kind to me.

I don't understand it. I am not worth being kind to- he wants to divorce me in a year if I don't shape up and I so clearly blew it today. I had an affair on him and am such a worthless human being and he's still being nice to me. Either I'm wrong and I am a good person (which he agrees- God made me and therefore I am worthy of respect and dignity) or he is manipulating me into these reaction states so he can be satisfied with himself as the sane, kind good and rational one.

I don't know if I'm being gaslighted or if it's true - that I'm really so insane that I'm not fit for life.

This is why I am having a hard time letting him grieve the affair and having a hard time giving to him what he needs in terms of gratitude, companionship and just basically falling on my knees and begging everyone in a humble manner to help me to keep him to stay.

I don't know what to do anymore and feel like such a failure and don't trust my sense of reality anymore. I just want it to stop, but I want to heal and I want to be able to have an intact family and enjoy happiness in a close family relationship. I just want to love securely knowing that I'm worthy of love and the love I can give is valued too. I want to stop screwing up all the time and be able to live more than 3 days without collapsing into hell again. I just want this to stop.

hikingout posted 9/30/2020 12:38 PM

Are you in therapy? What has the therapist suggested?

You sound like you are in a bad place. I know sometimes that it's a vicious cycle when one has meltdowns, then recovering from that emotionally, and then feeling worthless. The meltdowns come from the worthless feelings and then the worthless feelings are fueled by the meltdowns.

At one time, you mentioned you are a high earner, six figure salary. That is an accomplishment that far less people reach than do. Here you say you can barely hold down a job. I am not trying to call you out, but I am really trying to help understand some baselines of what is going on.

leavingorbit posted 9/30/2020 12:58 PM

Quickly, Iím in between stuff here - have you read about attachment styles? From what Iím reading, you seem to have a very preoccupied and anxious style while your husband is avoidant. Thatís not a criticism or an indictment. Your attachment is just your attachment style from FOO/imago. They can be changed, although itís very difficult to change an avoidant attachment. Itís in the name. But I think reading about this could be very helpful for you. It was for me (Iím anxious, trying to become secure).

Edit to see I just reread and your post mentioned it. Disregard, Iím sorry!

[This message edited by leavingorbit at 2:28 PM, September 30th (Wednesday)]

MIgander posted 9/30/2020 15:49 PM

Thanks LO, I am anxious and he is avoidant. Lovely combination. The affair really jacked up the dynamics to an incredibly unstable extreme level.

Thanks HO,

I am holding down a job. I'm in a new role in my company and barely keeping up with the work due to the stress I am under at home. I am overwhelmed and afraid of losing my job. Reality says, my boss is aware of the situation at home (potential divorce, did not tell him about my affair at work- it would pretty much torpedo my career- ha, should have thought of that earlier...). I am considering taking my computer to a Starbucks or library (they're open now) and just doing work there during the day so I can focus and not be panicked about always having the right reaction to whatever it is my husband is wanting/needing/expecting of me when he walks into my room.

The fear of losing my job also comes from the many times I've switched roles due to being bored (last move to the OEM- Tier 1 had little that was hands on or of value to do for a whole year). My husband said to me 2 years ago that the only reason I changed jobs so much was that I would leave before they could fire me, that it was impossible for me to hold a job more than 2.5 years because I was incompetent. I can't tell you the level of hurt and pain that caused me. This was after I got my job at the OEM and was proud of the years of roles with increasing levels of responsibility and compensation to match. I worked my ASS off to get where I am, and he took a shit over all of that. I forgive him now, though it still stings, because he was lonely (job was 4 10hr days and he had kids to himself 3 days on the work week- lab had to be staffed 7days/week, so each shift had a Sunday or a Saturday shift). I was also giving him much pain from my complaining about the car he bought that we couldn't afford- couldn't forgive and forget it and let him be.

So, reality and the evidence provided of my success over the years says, yes, I can hold down a job. It's difficult right now when I'm overwhelmed with everything going on in our life.

I'm in therapy. My IC asks me whether the reactions could possibly be because BH is repeatedly traumatizing me with his demands.

It was traumatizing to be in the 2nd house because I had to deal with all the foreclosure notices. However, it was logical for him to keep us in that untenable situation and me so vulnerable at home not working with two babies and PPD since, well, the house was a good investment and we eventually made money when we sold it.
It was traumatizing for me to be alone all day with young children when I was PPD and hearing regularly (daily) from his mother what a crap job I was doing (she was always making suggestions on how I could be better at mothering... only trying to help, it's logical to see a struggling mom and point out her flaws and give suggestions...). He supported his mother in everything, since, logically, I was a bad mom, she was a good mom and I needed to listen to her. No support or show of solidarity with me.
It was traumatizing to me to be left without affection, touch or positivity during my PPD after the birth of my daughter for over a year. It was logical on his side, because I was an emotional raging wreck of a woman that he couldn't get close to.
It was traumatizing to me to have the vasectomy forced upon me, but logical for him to want it as I was overwhelmed with all my problems.
It was traumatizing to me to be left alone in my therapy to recover from the PPD, but logical for him to not participate as he was not the source of the problem.
It was traumatizing for me to watch him become attached to (someone who was supposed to be) my good friend, but logical for him since he was so lonely in our marriage and she was so good/beautiful/holy/excellent mother/good decorator.
It was traumatizing for me to hear about him wanting a divorce in a year, but logical for him because the last year was so bad and he doesn't want another. BUT!!! he doesn't want a divorce- only to get the paperwork started in case I fail to fix myself to his liking and fix the marriage. He also doesn't believe a marriage counselor will help in this either, that we should be able to do it without a professional and that he's done enough going to his counselor already.
I'm traumatized by his suggestion that, since I have become a high risk driver over the past year, I shouldn't drive anymore. I will lose my driving privileges and ability to go to work, drop kids off at school and go shopping and care for myself in the middle of a divorce filing. But it's logical to him because the accidents I have been in show that I am a danger to my self and others on the road.

So all the overboard reactions I've been having lately are in reaction to his repeated traumatization of me. He doesn't mean to traumatize me, but he does. He doesn't understand why his logical and reasonable requests (and even some of his more unrealistic ones- plastic surgery, expensive watch...) aren't met instantly with gratitude and desperation to please. He doesn't understand why his wants and needs end up traumatizing me so deeply and then doesn't understand why I have such a hard time fulfilling them since they are so reasonable.

It's weird- I've been having an almost out of body experience with some of these latest reactions. I am able to watch myself having these reactions, think "this is out of control and crazy! Why can't I stop this? Why can't he stop this? Why can't he be kind to me when I'm not recovering from these??" It's reassuring in one way because I am seeing my reactions and behaviors in response to his. It's still discouraging because I have such great difficulty managing my emotions when in the middle of this.

My therapist thinks that my husband is controlling, can be vindictive, has a difficulty loving and appreciating that which is not to his specification. In example, when he would criticize me for always being late or not wanting to buy big boob implants, he saw my hurt reactions and didn't change his expectation of me. That instead he keeps holding it up to me, that because I am not xyz kind of person, it's my fault that he can't be attached to me or affectionate. That he's really only able to comfort me and be affectionate with me when I'm traumatized by his demands because he's only comfortable being loving when he has full control and the upper ground in knowing he held his cool and therefore kept the high ground in the argument. She points out situations of obvious abuse: the abuser says, "I wouldn't have hit you/lashed out at you if you hadn't done xyz. Come here, it's all better, you can try again tomorrow to be xyz and a good wife to me. Let me comfort you now that you have a bruise/emotional trauma."

BH doesn't see his reactions as abusive because he only intends the best for me and wants the most stability, most beautiful, happiest, most grateful, emotionally stable, caring, giving and holy wife for himself. And if I just keep trying hard enough to change, I'll get there and that he has hope because I've been in therapy and there are some small improvements and I've got the:
highlights and tight clothes and
I'm doing the heavy makeup and
I've gone to the plastic surgeon and
I've explored the HR/lawsuit with a law firm and
I've learned to keep calm when we're discussing painful things (usually) and
I've started taking drugs for my mental problems.


it's not enough because I didn't instantly leave my job after the affair,
instantly sue my consensual AP from another department,
didn't immediately start dying my hair with gratitude and joy,
didn't immediately beg everyone I could for advise on how to keep him in the marriage,
had too many car accidents this past year,
had too much baggage and arguing when he was telling me my flaws that I needed to fix (voicing his pain in our relationship),
didn't buy him the watch when he first wanted it,
didn't agree immediately to a lien that only I would owe the house,
didn't immediately agree to a postnup,
don't come to him daily with my phone to show how I haven't talked to anyone male/inappropriate (I haven't been and he has fingerprint access to my phone and all my accounts).

I did file for divorce behind his back, did have an affair behind his back.

I do still struggle in a marriage where I have to earn and deserve each piece of praise and affection, or be so broken down emotionally that the only decent thing for him to do (and remain decent in his own mind) is to comfort me. And if I don't accept his comfort for the pain brought on by his requests/actions, then I am rejecting him and ungrateful and pushing him away and making the marriage fail.

I am in a bad place. Am I being abused? Or am I being unreasonable and ungrateful and unrepentant from the affair? I just want the pain to stop. To stop inflicting pain on him (at the expense of my own mental health/comfort) and to please him by my actions and give him the gratitude he deserves from stopping me from killing myself and keeping in the marriage instead of exposing me to all our friends and family like he should have done when it first was disclosed. I want to heal our marriage. I want to do anything in my power to save it. I am so consistently wrong about everything that I just have to continue going against my gut and sense of reality to make it work.

Or will I end up destroying myself for a man who is manipulative and abusive?


My BH says I shouldn't trust my IC because she only hears one side of the story, that he talked to other people who've been through affairs in their marriage and my actions are not like the ones needed to heal the marriage. That I'm no where near where I need to be from other people's opinions. That his IC thinks there's nothing wrong with what he is thinking and feeling and expecting of me and that I have bipolar. He says he doesn't want to go to a marriage counselor because I always spin everything to my point of view and that I'm so twisted from my childhood abuse that I wouldn't know a normal relationship, that he is normal and healthy and I have been so twisted by my childhood that I need to get with his program because I cannot have any kind of accurate view of himself or what it takes to be in a healthy marriage.

Am I a manipulative twisted bitch or is he manipulating me? Why is it whenever he has a conversation about his needs (me to quit my job, him to get divorce paperwork to motivate me to work harder in the one year I have left with him, me to stop driving due to my accidents) that I freak out?


My IC says that I have wounds and he has issues and that he keeps putting his issues and discomfort on me to resolve because he doesn't know how to do his own work and change his own expectations.

[This message edited by MIgander at 3:54 PM, September 30th (Wednesday)]

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