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Newest Member: trustingyou

Wayward Side :
Shutting down/self protection

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 Bulcy (original poster member #74034) posted at 8:45 PM on Monday, August 8th, 2022

I watched an interesting video on YouTube earlier on shutting down. How we waywards shut down as a method of self protection when discussing our affair(s). I realise this is something I do a lot, and need support in dealing with. Have any of you out there suffered from this and have you read anything or used and tools to help you overcome this?

WH (40's) Me. Emotional affair (2017), Physical affair (2003) and online affairs, Two physical affairs (2000). D-Day's 2003, August '17, multiple discoveries through 2018,19 and 20, Jan 21 and 2022

posts: 225   ·   registered: Mar. 12th, 2020   ·   location: UK
id 8748730
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RealityBlows ( member #41108) posted at 9:42 PM on Monday, August 8th, 2022

Although shutting down and turtle-ing up is a natural defensive action we all can relate to when faced with the relentless onslaught of anger, repetitive questions, crying, etc., you just have to understand that this is totally counterproductive.

Your WS is trying to reclaim you and can only do so with emotional intimacy, truth, patience and by making yourself vulnerable to her with your truths. Each disclosure brings you closer together. Increases intimacy. Trust her with the truth and your deepest secrets. Every time my WS confessed something to me, disclosed something very personal and sensitive, sometimes even embarrassing, humiliating, painful, I could feel us draw closer. It was powerful.

She wants you to look deeply within yourself for the Why and the How, the underpinnings of how you could betray her, and fix it. And, she wants to participate to some degree, she wants to witness you doing it. She wants to talk about it, analyze it.
Us BSs are almost obsessively compelled to talk about the A, to ask questions, to explore and study the A from every conceivable angle. It’s the mind’s way of processing the trauma, and you, are in the best position to help with this. Now you, on the other hand, are naturally compelled to do the exact opposite, to sweep this horrible experience under the rug, to just not think about it, to just get far away from it as quickly as possible, "There’s no problem too big you can’t run away from"…but you just can’t do that if you want to reconcile with your WS or, at least, reconcile with yourself.

If you handle this correctly, it is very possible to actually increase intimacy in the wake of an affair as you two are forced to learn how to REALLY communicate, on a level that you have probably never communicated, with anyone-including yourself, ever before. I’m talking communication, in all it’s forms, on very deep levels.

Don’t turtle. Open yourself up. Make yourself vulnerable to her. Trust her with the truth and anything she wants to know about you and your affair. When my WS dropped her defenses and opened up, it was powerful.

[This message edited by RealityBlows at 10:01 PM, Monday, August 8th]

posts: 947   ·   registered: Oct. 25th, 2013
id 8748735
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 11:18 PM on Monday, August 8th, 2022

What realityblows said is what I was going to say in terms of how this is important to your bs. They are never not thinking about it.

We ws tend to believe that by hiding certain things that we are protecting our spouse. In reality we are trying to control the outcome of whether they decide to leave- it’s fear based. But it makes it worse for the bs, who needs to process, and there is only so much they can process at once.

The ws is like that too when it comes to processing. We may logically understand something but integrating it into our hearts and behaviors is a lot harder. So in some ways you have to see these conversations as healing for you too. You need to understand what you did, why you did it, not just in the forest sense but in the trees and branches too. Some of your frustration in these conversations is that you too don’t understand why you did that particular detail or that particular thing. When you don’t have a good answer then you go to your default- trying to shut down the conversation.

Also of course working on our shame is another step because it creates hiding. Recognize the shame you have from your affair is really just added shame to how you have always seen yourself. Our shame doesn’t compartmentalize in individual situations, it just snowballs over the years and becomes bigger. Shedding that and coming into the light is a process that breeds compassion for ourselves and others. It allows us to be authentic, be deeply seen, and that experience promotes future vulnerability which is a key ingredient to intimacy.

Fear of our spouse finally giving up and leaving causes us to want to control and manipulate. In the moment it might help to say "I want to answer all your questions. Let me take a deep breath here and gather myself so I can get myself into the moment you are asking me about so I can answer truthfully" or another thing that I found helpful sometimes is "truth is I have no idea why I did that. I can see now how callous it was and how much it hurts the person you are married to would do that. I want to understand why I did that too, can I think about that more?" But always follow up as quickly as possible, this will show her she can trust you aren’t just putting her off or being avoidant. I think you just become overwhelmed and you need to let that feeling pass enough that you can keep the conversation productive.

There are other things you can say to slow down the conversation so you aren’t overwhelmed. Having some go to things will keep you from being hurtful in that moment. You might ask some suggestion scripts from your IC.

Also, always try and remember what you want most is to be on the same team, so be on her team now. Eventually she may want to join your team again as well. She needs to see you are a good teammate who always has her back consistently.

It’s hard also sometimes to admit the truth to ourselves and accept that we have been very foolish in our decisions and how we structured all our justifications. It may help of you can get very real with yourself. Sometimes early on I found myself answering in a way that was the way I wish It was but that never holds up under scrutiny. It took some time for me to stop worrying about the fact I am the bad guy, and just be the person I wished I had been all along in that moment. The more I did that the more I became the kind of person I wanted to be and that increased my confidence in my overall direction.

Be open and honest with yourself, and allow that to flow into the conversation. If you are honest there are probably a lot of good traits that you have. There are some bad traits. We all have good and bad. We work in the bad things as much as we can l, and we work to remove the obstacles that we have to give and receive love.

Your relationships with others are often a product of our relationship with ourselves. Work on who you are with yourself. Can you find compassion for yourself? If you have that you will find compassion for someone else. Are you honest with yourself? That lends our abilities to be honest with others? Do you respect yourself? When you on ow how to do that you can do it for others. So in and so forth but your external world is always a reflection of your internal world. Keep cleaning that up, keep growing, and keep trying to be on your wife’s team completely and woo and pursue her every chance you get.

[This message edited by hikingout at 11:19 PM, Monday, August 8th]

5 years of hard work
Reconciled
WS & BS

posts: 6202   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8748749
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 11:28 PM on Monday, August 8th, 2022

Also, start bringing up the affair to her. Some of the imbalance caused by your defensiveness is that not only do you get bent out of shape, she is the only one bearing the burden of bringing it up. By you bringing it up, it relieves her burden of being the one carrying the attempted reconciliation. Again that’s just showing you are completely on her team.

Think of things that you might say that can convey to her that you truly understand the ways you have hurt her. Acknowledge and apologize. And then continue to work on your behavior. Your behavior is a result of your thoughts. Pay a lot of attention to your thoughts, you will find that our thoughts and feelings lie to us a whole lot. I have found the book "the power of now" or just listening to some of Eckhart Tolle’s Podcasts to be very helpful in observing myself objectively and mindfulness.

5 years of hard work
Reconciled
WS & BS

posts: 6202   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8748752
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