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Wayward Side :
Stuck in the same place again.

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 MIgander (original poster member #71285) posted at 5:04 PM on Monday, April 25th, 2022

Just don't trust BH or myself or really anyone.

Past week or two felt like I was a walking trigger.

I'm trying so hard and working so hard to be what I need to be to make him happy. I just wanted to hear that I was the woman that he compared others against. Not to be the woman he compared negatively against others.

Now I have to deal with the fact that 90% of my triggers come from childhood abuse and only 10% from him. Do I even like him? Do I even trust him? How much is he going to have to do to prove to me that I can trust him? To trust that he is a good person. Why is he having to pay for how I was raised? Why is he in this when all the triggers keep coming up from my A?

Why? Why are we doing this to ourselves? Why am I narcissistic? Why are we so stuck? Why do I always have to keep working to get better? When can I just take a break and be good enough?

When will I ever be good enough?

WW Dday July 2019

posts: 656   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8731875
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 MIgander (original poster member #71285) posted at 5:37 PM on Monday, April 25th, 2022

Question: do I stay at a job that is a good job, a positive place for me? It includes travel (overseas may be coming up) and AP now works on the same campus (but can avoid him).

I feel like I am trapped between having a job that is good, reliable and reliably good and having a negative, hurtful and lonely marriage (from BH not feeling secure or happy). I quit my job and risk getting into a crappy job or leaving a good team and satisfying work on the rare chance that I could have a good marriage with my BH.

*ETA: Things that would make BH feel more secure:
-not going on business trips
-not working at my company where AP works

HOWEVER, any job I get from now on will have some sort of travel. Any job I get I will be exposed to men who may find me attractive.

Also, called HR and gave them heck when I found out AP was on campus by running into him in a hall (he didn't see me). They promised they would notify me of a location/position change so I could be prepared, instead of cleaning up a panic attack when I had a supplier in a meeting.*

Thing is, I don't really trust anyone, don't trust my perception of reality and don't trust that BH will ever truly see me as a woman worthy of him.

I'm so stuck. Am I not trusting BH because I'm so damaged? Do I just look for reasons not to trust him? Do I just look for reasons to not like him and tear him down as a bad guy?

I don't even feel like I can trust my own sense of reality and am blaming myself for not seeing what a wonderful person he was and am wondering if I'll ever be able to have a healthy relationship.

Now I'm wondering if I'm a narcissist (BH brought it up in discussion) and whether I'm just going to keep doing this in any relationship I'm in.

I'm really hopeless and in the hole again.

[This message edited by MIgander at 5:39 PM, Monday, April 25th]

WW Dday July 2019

posts: 656   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8731884
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DaddyDom ( member #56960) posted at 5:57 PM on Monday, April 25th, 2022

I'm trying so hard and working so hard to be what I need to be to make him happy. I just wanted to hear that I was the woman that he compared others against. Not to be the woman he compared negatively against others

I know you know this, but I'll say it to you anyway. Not only is it not your job or responsibility to "make him happy", it is also not possible for you to control his feelings or reactions. But that's not really the problem here. The problem is that you seem to equate the work you are doing with the goal of pleasing him. The goal should be pleasing yourself, loving yourself, and setting boundaries that allow you to be the kind of person that you yourself trust and respect and admire. How could he possibly be happy with you when you aren't happy with yourself?

I understand where you are coming from. As much as I preach about self-love it is still a journey that I'm making, rather than a destination that I'm at. And there and many, many days (seems like most days sometimes) that loving myself seems like an impossible goal. That's a very normal and reasonable way to feel, given our actions and the consequences those actions wrought. The change doesn't happen overnight. But you need to know that you are worth a lot more than you credit yourself for. If you need a quick example of how you personally are a good person, someone capable of empathy, capable of thinking of and helping others, then look no further than your own post history on this site. You are one the most active posters here, and always seem to take the time and care to share your experiences and advice with others. And that's a good thing. That's something you can and should be proud of. Not because I said so, but because you made that effort, you gave of yourself, and if you deserve credit for your poor choices in life, then you also deserve credit for the good choices. Fact. :)

Now I have to deal with the fact that 90% of my triggers come from childhood abuse and only 10% from him.


Triggers suck, they just do, and in my personal experience, they never seem to really "go away" so much as you just learn to recognize them better, and train yourself to react better to them. Because of my own FOO, where I was always demeaned and belittled and made to feel stupid and "wrong for just existing", I am insanely sensitive to even the most mild critisicm sometimes. For example, I might be driving the car, and my wife might remind me that we need to turn at the next exit, and instead of simply thinking/feeling/saying, "Thanks for the reminder, I appreciate it", I instead feel as though I was just treated as if I was a complete idiot, as if I'm too stupid to read the road sign and the GPS which are both already telling me which way to go, and my frustration level goes from 0 to 60 in a split second.

But you know what, that's MY problem to correct. And if I'm to be honest, I have a terrible memory and tend to get overwhelmed easily, so having her remind me of small things is honestly the most helpful and loving thing she could do for me. But then I get aggravated at her and feel bad about myself for doing so. Sounds as if you do the same thing.

Every time a trigger comes up for you and you catch yourself doing it, please be loving to yourself. Treat yourself as you would treat a friend having the same problem. Give yourself a break. You didn't ask for these triggers. You didn't ask for the abuse that caused them. So stop blaming yourself for having them. And for what it is worth, stop being "actively" angry at whoever did cause them. Anger, while earned and deserved, doesn't do a thing a single, helpful thing for you. Instead, note the reaction you had to the trigger, as if you were your own therapist, and then consciously choose the correct, desired reaction. In my example, where my wife told me to turn, as soon as I get frustrated, I stop and have an inner conversation with myself. "You aren't angry at her Ddom, and you know it, so stop it. You are feeling stupid, but she didn't imply that, YOU did. And you may have your faults Ddom, but stupidity isn't one of them. She loves you and is showing you that by caring about you and offering to help. So don't get angry, love her instead, and make sure to take the next exit while you are at it".

It really does work. You know, after going through that same inner conversation a few hundred times first :) After a time, my trigger reaction DO start to go away, and my desired reactions take over instead. It's a reprogramming of sorts, but in a healthy way.

Why? Why are we doing this to ourselves? Why am I narcissistic? Why are we so stuck? Why do I always have to keep working to get better? When can I just take a break and be good enough?


All fair questions. All deserve answers. Again, understand that YOU were abused before you hurt anyone else. In the same way that what you did to your husband was unfair, and what he did to you was unfair, what was done to you was also unfair. So go ahead and scream. Cry. Punch the wall. Whatever it takes to help process all that frustration and anger and exhaustion that you feel. You deserve your moment to scream and to be heard. Just know that at the end of the day, fair or not, it happened, to you, on purpose, and yet, no one else can clean up the mess other than you. Take a break if you need to, sure, but the problem is that until it's fixed, it remains. No one wants to live in a messy house, and our houses are f'ing filthy, so we either keep living in slop or we keep cleaning up until the mess is dealt with. You can't run from yourself.

When will I ever be good enough?


You were good enough the day you were born, and nothing has changed since then. Your value has never changed, you just had people that convinced you otherwise in order to feel better about themselves and their own shortcomings. I believe that you are a good person. I know a lot of people on this forum feel the same way. We probably love and respect you more than you do yourself, and we barely even know you. It takes a pretty special person to get people they've never met to respect them. But you did that, and you do it every day. So let your brain and your heart in on that secret.

Me: WS
BS: ISurvivedSoFar
D-Day Nov '16
Status: Reconciling
"I am floored by the amount of grace and love she has shown me in choosing to stay and fight for our marriage. I took everything from her, and yet she chose to forgive me."

posts: 1269   ·   registered: Jan. 18th, 2017
id 8731890
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 MIgander (original poster member #71285) posted at 6:04 PM on Monday, April 25th, 2022

Thanks DDom, your post really helped me today. Really needed to hear that. And also really need to see my IC on Wednesday!

Thanks for the encouragement.

WW Dday July 2019

posts: 656   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8731894
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 6:22 PM on Tuesday, April 26th, 2022

Could you have written these posts before your A? or before you ended your A? Aren't you a lot more aware of your thoughts and feelings now? Doesn't that awareness make it more likely you'll stay honest now than earlier in your life? Isn't the awareness actually being honest?

I can read your pain. My response is: healing is difficult, but it's worth the effort. And as mcuh pain as you feel now, if I read you right, you can justify some celebration of the work you've done. If I read you right, you are laying the groundwork for a rewarding life.

Still suck to go through the work....

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 27110   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8732088
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 MIgander (original poster member #71285) posted at 7:34 PM on Tuesday, April 26th, 2022

Thanks sisoon,

I'm pulling out of my hole right now. It's hard when I have been holding back on a trigger and more pile on top of it.

The posts I'm writing, I don't think I could have written before, during or even for a good year after my A. I was still externalizing and blaming everyone else for the pain inside. So yeah, I have made progress and that's something to be proud of. It's just that, when the stories in my head are distinctly different from the reality at hand, I don't know to trust my own judgement and my anxiety goes through the roof.

BH wonders if I can trust anyone. That's really, it's not about him so much, but all the abuse and disappointment that I've experienced in my life. He's got a point. I mean, I really have to medicate myself to function right now. To really relax and enjoy time with BH, I can do that sober, but really only experience that lack of anxiety when I've had a cannaboid gummy.

Is my anxiety caused by my childhood only? Or is it triggered by BH? Do I deserve to live in a marriage where I'm always second guessing the narrative in my head? Is it fair to expect him to?

I've had some success with using CBT techniques like DDom describes to reel myself back in with smaller triggers. It's working pretty well now on smaller things. It's just when I have huge triggers (like the bullying conversation we had), I go off into the ditch.

Doesn't help that I may be going to Spain for a work trip and BH is dealing with a shit sandwich from that. It's so frustrating because I know that he is feeling anxious and it's bringing up hurt from another business trip where I went to dinner with a colleague (male) and had 1 drink. Innocent stuff, but, with my history, not going to go over well with BH. I got frustrated with the lack of normalcy in my life (natural consequence of my actions). Where I can't go on a business trip without dealing with BH's anxiety, distance, and hurt. Knowing I caused it. Knowing that really, any job I have going forward, unless I take a HUGE pay cut and major reduction in responsibilities and a major increase in work load (adding stress and exhaustion) that I'm going to HAVE to TRAVEL.

How do you square having empathy for someone for something you did when you still have to do it? Like, normal stuff like a business trip or going into work? I have empathy for him. It would be like him going over to his EA AP's house to visit with her husband who's still his friend while she was home. I would be so hurt and angry and worried about him reconnecting. But my situation is work (I know, world's smallest violin playing for a situation of my own creation). I hate my AP, can avoid him on campus, but still need to go there on occasion to get my job done. I can show empathy, listen to my BH, feel feelings that he's feeling. But, I can't really fix it you know? Not without a major life change- either I quit and we REALLY downsize our life, or I find a job doing lab work (with greater daily stress and less money), I'll be more drained. I could look for a similar position at another OEM, but my field is a specialty field and, really, no one is doing the kind of work right now that I am in a place to do.

How do I show genuine empathy without sounding fake because I'm not in a place to do something about it? I've been doing what I can do about the situation- not going on supplier visits, lighting a fire under HR's ass when they didn't tell me that AP moved to my campus and I spotted him in the hall (great! hostile workplace- had a panic attack!), changing positions, changing campuses, formal sexual harassment complaint to HR. I'm pulling my hair out because my last option is to quit and go somewhere else. And really, I have such a distrust in BH being sole provider from our earlier marriage, that I frankly don't trust him to manage our family on a single salary. Nor do I trust him to not D me eventually (really, he could and it's not something I would blame him for, but it's becoming a lesser concern now that we're stabilizing).

How do I show empathy that's not fake when I really am stuck in a situation of my own making and I've run out of options to mitigate it. That I've done what I can realistically do without throwing our family into more stress and turmoil from a job change or quitting?

How does a WS do that?? Especially one with my history of BH's EA's and financial abuse??

WW Dday July 2019

posts: 656   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8732105
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EmergingLady ( member #79881) posted at 10:13 PM on Tuesday, April 26th, 2022

OP,


"I have to deal with the fact that 90% of my triggers come from childhood abuse"


"Thing is, I don't really trust anyone, don't trust my perception of reality and don't trust that BH will ever truly see me as a woman worthy of him.

I'm so stuck. Am I not trusting BH because I'm so damaged? Do I just look for reasons not to trust him? Do I just look for reasons to not like him and tear him down as a bad guy?

I don't even feel like I can trust my own sense of reality and am blaming myself for not seeing what a wonderful person he was and am wondering if I'll ever be able to have a healthy relationship."

I apologize as I don't know your backstory.

I realize none of us may go back and "unring" a bell or something from the past, but the point I'm going to bring up relates to your present and your future too.


I'm sorry for your childhood abuse, I really am.

No one should be or get into a relationship if they've been abused, if they were in a toxic relationship until AFTER they've been to counseling and have healed. It's simply not fair to them or to their partner.

That childhood abuse was NOT your fault, but sadly it is for you to deal with.

You can't go back and not marry your husband but when you say you are stuck, not trusting, can't trust your own sense of reality etc. that means you really aren't able to be in a long term romantic relationship, not when you are feeling like that and not when you have so much yet to unpack, to identify, to address and resolve.

Again, much of this isn't your fault (your childhood abuse for certain) but that and your affair is affecting your present and it will affect your future too.


Again, I don't know your backstory, but is it possible for you to really take a break from each other so you may full concentrate on healing yourself?

I'm not saying that the two of you have to divorce and then come back together later on, a real separation could do, living apart and not seeing each other while you both heal, learn, change and improve.


As you alluded to, it will affect you in future relationships so this must be addressed. Yes, I know you are addressing it and working on it, you're in counseling etc.


I guess what I'm talking about or trying to ascertain is how acute all of this is for you.

When someone is really hurt or sick, sometimes emergency surgery is needed RIGHT THEN. Other times it isn't so they may try other things to heal.


Being that I don't know your backstory, I don't know how acute all of this is to you, for you.

Is it bad enough for you to hit a pause in life, so to speak, where you elevate this (your healing from all you've been through) to your main priority and put other things on the backburner?

Maybe it isn't that bad, maybe it isn't that acute. Again, I don't really know.

I like analogies so if someone had a heart attack and they WANT to get better and they smoke, are sedentary, eat terribly, drink too much then they really need to take immediate and drastic action to change, improve and better themselves after their heart attack or they will get another one soon and most likely die from it. Again, I said they really wanted to improve and with that being the case, after their heart attack, they would begin attacking their recovery full force, making it a priority and making real changes immediately.

Other illness offer more leeway for folks to make slower improvements and changes.


Some people with abusive childhoods and affairs have more leeway with which to improve, they have longer runways based on many factors.

Not everyone has the same circumstances is what it comes down to and again, I don't pretend to know your circumstances.


None of us are perfect, we all may improve, change and everyone should strive to become a better version of themselves.


You know the state of things regarding yourself. What is really needed to make changes in your life? Do you require immediate attention that takes priority over everything else? Or are you able to continue balancing work, your marriage, your friends (children if you have them), your healing from your childhood abuse and your affair all at the same time?


OP,

So I'm clear, I'm not saying that you are half-assing anything. I'm asking you whether you need to shuffle your priorities and elevate your healing to an even higher priority than it currently is, even if that means making other changes and sacrifices in the meantime, be they work, friends, your marriage etc.


Many times in life, people are slowly drowning, running in place on the hamster wheel of life, struggling at work, at home and they know something must change and they begin to work on it.

Other times, folks know things are so bad that they simply walk out of their job because they know it's killing them or that they are about to go off the deep end if they don't, so they make a drastic change to begin making changes in their life.


You have to contemplate how bad things really are for you and what is really necessary for you to change and heal. We all have many balls to juggle in life. At times we have to intentionally choose to put some or even all of those balls down for a while.

And since I don't you or your backstory, I'm NOT saying you need to put any of your balls down or even some of them.

I'm simply asking you to think about whether you should put some of them down, based upon the things you wrote in your posts and comments.

I do wish you well.

Take care

posts: 65   ·   registered: Feb. 3rd, 2022   ·   location: America
id 8732153
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