I was like you, HataBlacka. I did not understand how to define what was acceptable, what was "fair" to ask of a partner, how to draw a line. My recovery from that self was long and complicated and took a lot of IC; I needed help getting clear on--to be honest--the complicated emotions of guilt, shame, anger, sadness, and rejection that I felt inside when I even tried to draw boundaries with people. My emotions stormed inside of me, mostly due to a narcissist mother who shamed me at every turn by calling me selfish and giving me the silent treatment if I tried to say, "No." I was very confused on this front!
Go back a decade:
So my marriage is a disaster with my H, a person with a lot of good qualities, and he is selfishly taking advantage of me because...I've let him. I mean, I cried and raged and fell into depressions and begged, but ultimately, I did not threaten or start to leave him or anything. So my misery over his actions was something he learned to wait out. After all, I was misersble, but he was doing whatever the heck he wanted. He was fine.
So money is disappearing, and I know that his out of control porn habit has taken a real-life turn. He's also drinking a lot and getting belligerent when drinking, so things were not good. I was a mess.
Then one late morning on a Saturday, after yet another argument, everything suddenly clicked. A calm literally washed over me as a thought ran through my head. "I don't actually have to put up with this. I can just be done. I'll tell my mom that the kids and I need to move in for a while, and I'll just be done with this craziness." There is more to the story because I had suffered a terrible depression and pursued an RA before I got to this point, mostly because my codependency and fear really, really, really, really made me want to change him or punish him but stay M. At any cost. Finally though, I drew that BOUNDARY and said, "Enough."
It was not an ultimatum.
I did not give him a list.
I did not beg him to complete requirements.
I did not argue with him.
I walked into the other room, told him that I was moving out in with my parents and that the M was over. I calmly said, "You can do whatever. I don't want to fight anymore. I just cannot live with the kinds of behaviors you think are fine. I'm sorry."
And I walked out.
He raged, yelled, "What do you want from me?!!!!" and threw the iPad at me. My H does not have a temper, so this was shocking. I was so calm. I wanted nothing other than to control MY life and the crap that I tolerated. It was not an ultimatum, although you can bet your a$$ that my H tried to frame it that way over the next weeks and months. Poor baby was used to getting his way. He tested my resolve at every single turn until I finally did have to file for D. He absolutely positively did not like being "forced" to change. In his particular case, he then--after he had lost it all and we were dating others for months (then years)--started to truly work on himself. He then finally said, "I need to be a better partner in general." There were no promises on the other side. He got help in IC and read books and started growing to survive his pain honestly. But many WS do not do this work. It's too hard and they are too selfish, so nobody should think a story will turn out this way if you stand your ground. No, you stand your ground because you need to live with yourself. And when the pain of allowing people to decimate your boundaries overtakes you--and it WILL because being disrespected by someone you are close to hurts like a S.O.B.--you stand your ground because you just have to. You can't take the knife to your heart anymore. THAT is the boundary.
So for you, when the sharp pain of disrespect brings you to your knees for the millionth time, you calmly say, "Dude, you do you. These passwords and online escapades are obviously really important to you, and I would never want to interfere. But this level of separation and secrecy in an M, especially after suffering betrayal like I have, is just too much for me. I'm sorry. I have made an appointment with a lawyer to start drawing up divorce papers."
That is NOT an ultimatum, that is you sharing your pain and self-protective boundaries.
You are not telling him what he can and cannot do.
You are explaining what hurts too much to put up with.
If he asks what you need to stay M, in an angry voice no doubt, then very calmly tell him, "But only if you want to. I'm not forcing you to do anything." If he's like a typical entitled WS he'll yell, "Yes, you are!!!!"
Then you stand your f-ing ground. For your own self dignity.
"I'm sorry you feel that way. Never mind. No worries. I am going to pack some stuff to stay at my mom's while I make some plans to separate our stuff." And you fiercely implement the 180. This is about defining what and who you let into your life. Whiny babies who want secret passwords are not allowed. Do not argue with him or beg him. You are allowed to say, "This. Does. Not. Work. For. Me." We are all allowed to say that.
I know you don't want to lose your M, sweetie. But you already have. It exists in name alone if he is doing whatever he wants and disrespecting you. He does sound very abusive and manipulative, but that only means you need to get crystal clear about what you will not--CANNOT--put up with. Even if he walks away. Those boundaries will stay with you for life and bring you a better H if this one does not step up. I guarantee it. Strong boundaries bring and keep the best people with us and kick the riff raff out.
[This message edited by OwningItNow at 4:21 PM, July 17th (Saturday)]