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Newest Member: Stillconfused2022

Just Found Out :
H is a complete stranger with a second life.

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redrock ( member #21538) posted at 2:45 AM on Sunday, September 25th, 2022

I can’t add anything to the discussion but I wanted to send you hugs and mojo.

The beagle image is so touching. It’s weird how joy can make your heart ache…..

You guys are going to find your new normal. It’s so incredibly hard. You trying to find your bearings in chaos. No matter how rudderless you feel in moments, you will, bit by bit move forward. Maybe not the way you hoped or envisioned, but to a good life.

The secret thing kept itching at me. It’s hard not to wonder about the origin of your sons worry. Where did that came from, has he seen something he was encouraged to keep from you or is it just a coincidence……. It’s hard not to over analyze things sometimes in threads..,

Sending hugs!

I don't respect anyone that can't spell a word more than one way:)

posts: 3504   ·   registered: Nov. 6th, 2008   ·   location: Michigan
id 8756951
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truthsetmefree ( member #7168) posted at 3:41 PM on Sunday, September 25th, 2022

My first XH (not the wayward) was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. While always present, lurking in the background, he was what I would call episodic. He’d have weeks were he seemed perfectly normal…and then he’d go into an "episode". It was like watching the Jekyll/Hyde transition happen right before your eyes. He would become paranoid, angry, aggressive - and ABSOLUTELY totally illogical. I tried so hard to understand what was going on in his brain, how he was thinking - as much to try to pull him out of it as to comprehend. I finally had to reach a point where I just accepted that I was never going to understand him, it wasn’t going to make sense, because it was insanity - and my brain was not insane.

All that was nothing compared to trying to understand my XWH’s (2nd H) brain/thinking. I had never been so confused in my life. (I’m fairly certain he’s a covert narc. He lived a double life that started BEFORE our first date. I learned after the D that he was actually engaged when he first asked me out!)

I think part of the reason for such confusion was that the behavior with my second X was not episodic. Unlike my first X, he wasn’t a "normal person" experiencing a "glitch" in his brain. This was who he was in every single interaction in his life…this was who he was at his core. It wasn’t an "off/on" flip. It was an overlay…that he could hold both sides of this simultaneously…and more importantly, that he wasn’t conflicted in doing so.

That’s the big deal with these types of people…they don’t feel *guilt* - and at the root of that is the inability to feel empathy. That’s the fundamental piece that’s missing. Like a synapsis that was never formed and the nerve endings have now become cauterized. They know there’s something wrong - they’ve had enough life experiences to recognize that not feeling guilt (and empathy) is not socially acceptable. So they have learned how to adapt their behavior/responses…but the genuine feelings that should guide that are forever absent. It’s why image is so important to them. It’s the shield for what’s lacking underneath.

Trying to understand this is what’s so difficult - it’s incomprehensible to the normal brain. And he cannot give you any real answer because to do so threatens the core of his existence. Narcs only give you answers when they simultaneously believe that by giving you an answer they are in a better position to control the narrative/image. It’s why they will only ever admit to what you can prove and it’s why they want to know what/how much you know before they give anything up. They are literally using any admission of truth to just further their next lie. Many of them will even proactively lie prior to any potential discovery so they are ahead of controlling the narrative (ie, the "crazy stalker" that is actually an AP). You may actually get some truth from him but it will likely be followed by another lie that dismisses any value of the truth. You’re often just left more confused. It’s an endless cycle that can obviously make you feel insane yourself.

I’m not surprised by what you felt after d-day (not wanting to save the marriage). You had a massive amount of discovery to try to reconcile. Please forgive me when I suggest - many of us weren’t that "lucky". You also had the added benefit of SI experiences prior to discovery…that allowed us to accurately predict his next behavior that he simply then confirmed with his responses. It was simply confirmation of a horrible picture that is likely even worse than his cheating. It’s extremely disorienting - and not every "average" BS can truly relate to this. It rocked the foundations of EVERY single pillar in my life. The Dateline shows I had always loved became horror stories on a different level. Were aliens also real? Were was God - was all that just BS too? When I first began to really comprehend things about my XWH (which was 14 yrs post R and 1st year in the D process), I threw up for days. It wasn’t like any of the d-days…it ran much much deeper than that. It was just sheer horror. I know no other way to describe it. And four years post D, it’s still something I haven’t resolved. I’ve simply had to reconcile it through accepting that I will likely never understand it. I don’t know that I any longer even wish to.

It’s perfectly fine that you are not ready to make logistical decisions. You have a blessing right now in the garage space that allows you distance and time. I see nothing wrong with availing yourself of that benefit. It can even be beneficial to use this time and space to gain clarity and direction. My XWH drug the D out for two years which actually benefitted me in that the woman he divorced at the two year mark was very different than the woman he would have divorced at six months. I had a much better understanding/acceptance of who he was and that made me a much more formidable opponent.

You can’t push yourself to this place and there is no secret formula to getting there. It takes time for the reptilian part of the brain to calm down - and it has experienced a trauma that makes none of the world feel safe or predictable right now. This is why you have such a strong need for answers/understanding. The reptilian brain is struggling to now know how to survive in a world where something like this can happen, where people can deceive you so well and for so long. And when it can’t understand the outside world then it will start to try to find a problem within you/your perceptions. (ie, "How could I have not seen this??"). It’s just trying to find some order so it can feel safe to move forward. Don’t fight with this part of yourself…just accept that it’s primordial instinct designed for nothing more than to keep you alive. An easy way to readily recognize it is it will frequently push for behavior - what you should do, what you should have done.

As an aside - and take this for what it’s worth - I believe that people who have had a close relationship with a narc are actually being called forward in a spiritual journey. What that looks like for you, I cannot say. But we’ve been given an insight to a different plain within this world - and while our reptilian brain is struggling to get all the pieces back into the same old box, we are called to move forward into a different box. This perspective changed everything for me in how I viewed the actual experience…and what I wanted to gain from it in the long run. ❤️

Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are. ~ Augustine of Hippo

posts: 8919   ·   registered: May. 18th, 2005
id 8756988
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crazycatlady ( member #12849) posted at 4:20 PM on Sunday, September 25th, 2022

I understand you are not ready for divorce but you will be. He is unfixable and the truth will never emerge. It sounds so negative until you realize you*you* have the power to stop the agony. You can and will get through it. We all have on this site, we’ve been there and gone though the horror of infidelity. Our instincts have strengthened and we see yours beginning to turn the corner. We will be here. Kiss that puppy and hug that little boy. They are the best things in the world.

[This message edited by crazycatlady at 4:20 PM, Sunday, September 25th]

Love all, trust a few. Do wrong to none.
William Shakespeare "All's Well That Ends Well"
D-Day: Nov 30, 2006
"For I have sworn thee fair, and thought thee bright, who art as black as hell, as dark as night."
William Shakespeare

posts: 1780   ·   registered: Dec. 4th, 2006   ·   location: Etherville
id 8756993
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NowWhat106 ( member #35497) posted at 6:46 AM on Wednesday, September 28th, 2022

How are you doing, Sigyn? I hope you’re getting some time to process and enjoy your son and the new pup.

Keeping you in my thoughts. NowWhat

Me BS
Him WS
LTEA with old HS GF from 25+ years ago
DD #1: 10/6/2011
DD #2: 10/21/2011
2DS under18
My marriage didn’t survive but I did

posts: 516   ·   registered: May. 2nd, 2012
id 8757315
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 Sigyn (original poster member #80576) posted at 6:20 PM on Thursday, September 29th, 2022

Checking in, I've been going through a really awful set of rollercoaster plunges and not that much bandwidth to reach out to friends or loved ones, it feels like I can just about make it through work and parent and then dissolve into myself at night.

WH was pushing for marriage counseling. I got to use the fantastic and also very true line you guys wrote here - our marriage didn't hire prostitutes. Our marriage also didn't lie for decades. The marriage was a sham perpetrated by one person. It was fake. All of the vows, the promises, the moral scaffold - essentially the heart of the marriage - was an illusion. How does he think that we can get counseling about an illusion? It's like going to therapy with a made up story about someone else's childhood and expecting the therapist to help the real you, whose story you never shared. I don't know the real story of our marriage, therefore neither can a therapist. If WH can't even TELL ME what marriage I was actually part of, then how can I meaningfully participate in therapy related to that black box of a marriage?

WH: breaks down, cries, weeps, tears at his hair, self flagellates and "I ruined everything, everything I loved" and as much as I've been having emotional breakdowns in my car, the shower and twice so far in the middle of a yoga class, when I watched WH breaking down I felt nothing but rage for him. How DARE he?? How dare he subject me to his emotional performance? I don't have any idea if he's faking it. He's definitely crying for himself. He's certainly not crying for ME, or for US.

I told him there is NO WAY I will go to therapy with him. He needs it badly, but I doubt he'll ever do it in a meaningful way. I have no confidence that he has the ability to be honest with himself much less a therapist and certainly not with me. I think he could go to therapy for a decade and still be this lying, sneaking, hiding fraud of a man who wasted an hour a week of a professional's time. Yes, I said that to him. I didn't even care that he was crying during this. I told him I don't care if he 'performs therapy' or not. Make the performance a good one, maybe his family and friends will believe it was real. He could get applause for being such a great introspective guy, or he could get blow jobs of appreciation, or whatever he gets from his other women. Or even better, he can just sit in his car surfing for sex workers and SAY he was going to therapy. Save the copay. Just make up a really convincing story about therapy that he tells everyone. It's exactly the same thing, right? A made up story and reality?

And to make sure he really got the point, I told him our marriage was essentially a story he told while sitting in a parking lot surfing for sex workers. He didn't actually participate in the marriage story. He just wrote the narrative and convinced me and everyone else it was true. Now he's been caught and like a kid he just cries for himself, hoping he looks pathetic enough to get comforted. I told him to go cry to his other women. Tell them his wife is being mean to him by not believing his made up stories. They can comfort him. Of course he'll have to get cash out of the bank first. Comfort isn't cheap in 2022.

So that ugly ugly interlude is a pretty good depiction of my emotional state right now.

I don't recognize myself. I hate to hear the vomit coming out of my mouth when I talk to him. I am the farthest thing from a wife or a woman I recognize or even like right now.

But I'm also not ashamed of the content because nothing I'm saying is actually wrong! He literally faked our marriage! He walked out of the house with a wife who loved him so he could get attention and comfort and an orgasm from women who charge him money for it. And he wants ME to go to therapy? ME???? With him? That's absurd and insulting and I AM insulted by it and I think he's pathetic for suggesting it and then crying all over me for feeling pathetic when he's forced to face 1% of it.

I just want to be a million miles from here. I guess literally and figuratively. barf

posts: 76   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2022
id 8757541
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BearlyBreathing ( member #55075) posted at 8:14 PM on Thursday, September 29th, 2022

I also turned in to a person I did not recognize, but apparently she was in me. She had never had a reason to appear before, apparently.
That rage will diminish, and you will emerge a stronger version of yourself. A bit of that no-bull$hit will remain— and that is good.

You are doing great. Good work on saying no to MC. And who knows if he will do IC. That’s why watching actions and ignoring words and crocodile tears is the only way.

Keep taking care of you and kiddos—

Me: BS 55 (49 on d-day)Him: WH. 64. D-Day 8/15/2016 LTA. Kinda liking my new life :-)

**horrible typist, lots of edits to correct. :-/ **

posts: 5092   ·   registered: Sep. 10th, 2016   ·   location: Northern CA
id 8757553
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fareast ( Guide #61555) posted at 8:38 PM on Thursday, September 29th, 2022

I agree you are doing great. You have to process the rage. His manipulation tricks that always work, aren’t working. I am sure he is frustrated, but actually humbling himself and being honest is something he just can’t do. His performance is so insulting to you and you see it. Keep it up. Your strength will get you through. Sorry you are experiencing the emotional rollercoaster but it does get better. Always value yourself. Good luck.

Never bother with things in your rearview mirror. Your best days are on the road in front of you.

posts: 3353   ·   registered: Nov. 24th, 2017
id 8757556
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crazycatlady ( member #12849) posted at 8:39 PM on Thursday, September 29th, 2022

You have turned the corner. Keep it up. You behaved perfectly. You didn’t fall for his theatrics and refused to go along with his big lie. You see him for what he REALLY is. Truly, there was never a marriage. He was never a husband. You deserve so much more. Good luck and hug that boy and puppy.

Love all, trust a few. Do wrong to none.
William Shakespeare "All's Well That Ends Well"
D-Day: Nov 30, 2006
"For I have sworn thee fair, and thought thee bright, who art as black as hell, as dark as night."
William Shakespeare

posts: 1780   ·   registered: Dec. 4th, 2006   ·   location: Etherville
id 8757557
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DobleTraicion ( member #78414) posted at 8:48 PM on Thursday, September 29th, 2022

Again, I am so sorry you are so emotionally raw, but how could you not be given what has been revealed and what you now face?

I don't recognize myself. I hate to hear the vomit coming out of my mouth when I talk to him. I am the farthest thing from a wife or a woman I recognize or even like right now.

But I'm also not ashamed of the content because nothing I'm saying is actually wrong!


The terrible duplicity in a CS tears its way through the Betrayed's soul and affects them commensurately. The phenomenon of becoming someone you dont recognize is a refrain oft heard from Betrayeds. Honestly, I didnt like who Id become for the better part of 10 years but then again I handled it all wrong.

Just want you to know youve been heard and I empathize to the extent that I am able.

Virtual brotherly hugs to you (((Sigyn)))

"You'd figure that in modern times, people wouldn't feel the need to get married if they didn't agree with the agenda"

~ lascarx

posts: 92   ·   registered: Mar. 2nd, 2021   ·   location: South
id 8757560
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The1stWife ( member #58832) posted at 9:25 PM on Thursday, September 29th, 2022

For the first time your H is facing consequences. And here is where you will see the kind of man he is.

Is he willing to do whatever it takes to repair the damage?

Or is he just going to whine and act like a spoiled child who can’t understand that he’s being told "no" (maybe for the first time) and he doesn’t like it.

My H saw the handwriting in the wall in dday2. He wanted therapy snd I laughed in his face b/c when I begged him to go he refused. I remember saying "I’ve been working in myself the last year and I’m good. I’ve not been lying snd cheating - you have. Clearly you need to address those issues".

Like you, I was angry that now all of a sudden he wants to go to marriage counseling after I told him I was D him and please leave.

I understand your pain and anger. You could always go to counseling (once) and call him out on every lie he tells in front of the counselor. That might be an enjoyable afternoon and get some of your frustrations out.

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.

posts: 12780   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8757562
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BoundaryBuilder ( member #78439) posted at 11:48 PM on Thursday, September 29th, 2022

I don't recognize myself. I hate to hear the vomit coming out of my mouth when I talk to him. I am the farthest thing from a wife or a woman I recognize or even like right now.

Righteous anger can be a positive thing. Let it light a fire under you to keep moving forward - to continue doing what's best for you and your kid. Of course, you don't want to stay angry forever. The goal is to channel the anger and then eventually move through it - to a calm place of acceptance. After about a month of post D-day shock and denial (who the heck is this man? wtf am I dealing with?) I too got angry. It was almost a relief! The awful highs and lows on the emotional roller coaster were brutal, but having righteous anger in the emotional mix kept me focused. Helped me do what I had to do - for ME. Thankfully, I skipped right over the bargaining phase. smile Experiencing that righteous anger is like entering a hot forge. The anger tempers you - you'll emerge stronger. With newly defined boundaries and a no-nonsense attitude. I didn't particularly like the angry person I was during the D-day shit show. In hindsight, the pre D-day me wasn't much better - I was a pushover who ate a lot of conflict to keep the peace, and kept my needs very small. I definitely like the post D-day no-nonsense me more than the old no boundaries me! Righteous anger is what's needed now. No shame! Use it.

I don't have any idea if he's faking it. He's definitely crying for himself. He's certainly not crying for ME, or for US.

Sounds like he's heavily tuned to the SELF PITY channel. Sigyn, manipulative people typically use the same three channels to manipulate those they hope to manage:

Rage, Self Pity, and Charm (being nice)

He may surf through these channels randomly to hit on the most efficient method to manage you in any given moment. It's maddening! You are a functional human being with intact emotional wiring, so pushing your emotional buttons to get a desired reaction may be standard operating procedure for him. His button pushing was probably more subtle before, so the manipulation flew under your radar. Glad you aren't buying into his pity party! You are so right - the tears are for him, not your marriage. Agreed the tears are a performance - designed to manipulate you.

"30 Covert Emotional Manipulation Tactics" by Adelyn Birch is a quick, concise 61 page read that covers most of the ways manipulators take control in personal relationships. Learning the game so he can't play it with you is key to keeping your sanity. Seems you're already up to speed on the generalities and have an innate ability to spot baloney, but learning the terminology to name what you're dealing with is always helpful. Google terms like DARVO (Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender), false equivalencies, minimization, rage/charm/self-pity, etc. etc. and read up. You may find some of these emotional manipulation tactics were always in play during your marriage. I know I did. I just didn't have the tools to identify these behaviors or the motivation to name them pre D-day. And once you've seen these behaviors and named them, you will never un-see them. Which is a good skill set to have when dealing with ALL kinds of people.

Keep it up Sigyn! Agreed it sounds like you've turned a corner.

(edited for spelling and clarity)

[This message edited by BoundaryBuilder at 7:53 PM, Friday, September 30th]

Married 32 years w/one adult daughter
ME:BW 64 HIM:WH 65
13 month texting EA with high school X who fished him on Facebook 43 years later
PA=15 days spread over final 3 months
D-Day=April 21, 2018
Reconciled

posts: 146   ·   registered: Mar. 4th, 2021
id 8757577
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 11:54 PM on Thursday, September 29th, 2022

You are doing great. Good work on saying no to MC. And who knows if he will do IC. That’s why watching actions and ignoring words and crocodile tears is the only way.

Agreed with BearlyBreathing. You're doing great. Good work on turning down MC. And what are his ACTIONS?? He's had how long now since dday to get counseling for himself, to read books... and TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS. That's what you asked him for. That's pretty much the only thing you've asked of him. So, where is his comprehensive report of everything he's done and what the hell he was thinking while he was doing it??

Tears and snot-bubbled promises to change are not going to accomplish a single thing and are NOT what you've asked of him. It wouldn't take him an hour on the internet to find a site like this one and have someone tell him to TELL THE TRUTH. He can work the internet. He's proved that he can, repeatedly. Step one in making amends is to LISTEN. There are people all over the world who can say what the first thing on Sigyn's list is, but the guy who says he's desperate to make amends apparently has no clue.

I'm so proud of you, and I know every one of us feels the same, that you are valuing yourself enough to see past the crocodile tears. And I'm so sorry that you have to.


((hugs))

BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)Married 38 years; in R with fWH for 7

No one can make you into a liar but you.

posts: 6167   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8757580
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jb3199 ( member #27673) posted at 11:31 AM on Friday, September 30th, 2022

It wouldn't take him an hour on the internet to find a site like this one and have someone tell him to TELL THE TRUTH. He can work the internet. He's proved that he can, repeatedly.

Here's the problem--All of his internet searching in the past, and the forums that he has read(and been part of) have drilled home the golden advice to REVEAL NOTHING. Deny, deny, and if grilled harder---deny even more. NEVER tell more than what your partner already knows. THAT is the 'counseling' that he has used for over a decade.

Now he's been caught and like a kid he just cries for himself, hoping he looks pathetic enough to get comforted.

Sigyn, make no mistake--he IS miserable right now. Everything that was fun in his life is not the same. There is no way that his prostitutes and internet status are enjoyable right now, because the fake facade has been exposed. I will even go further, and state that through HIS eyes, he is suffering more than you. Why wouldn't he think that way? Without an empathy chip, he will never know your suffering. Never mind that he kept your agency from you for your entire marriage, it is HE who feels like he is losing everything. The mindset is so ludicrous, it's enraging.

And yet here you are, probably over a month since exposure, and he has not done one rational(through our eyes) thing to want to make himself a better person. Not one thing to give his wife the respect she deserves, and give her the answers that she has asked for. I know that you may not be liking yourself as a person right now, but I think that this person is the one that you need most right now. Once the emotions and detachment from your WH settle, you will again transform....hopefully in the direction you seek.

BH-50s
WW-50s
2 boys
Married almost 30yrs.

All work and no play has just cost me my wife--Gary Puckett
D-Day(s): Enough
Accepting that I can/may end this marriage 7/2/14

posts: 4122   ·   registered: Feb. 21st, 2010   ·   location: northeast
id 8757657
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Butforthegrace ( member #63264) posted at 12:40 PM on Friday, September 30th, 2022

I commend you for the clarity of your grasp of your reality. I don't think what you said to him is monstrous in the least. Remember The Truman Show, that movie with Jim Carey? That is essentially your life. The magnitude and monstrosity of what your husband has done is almost beyond comprehension. Clearly he's a sick individual in need of a ton of medical care/therapy, but you are 100% a victim of his lies.

You ought to be proud that you're not wallowing in your victimhood. I think it's great that you are telling him with brutal honesty exactly what you think about him.

"The wicked man flees when no one chases."

posts: 3985   ·   registered: Mar. 31st, 2018   ·   location: Midwest
id 8757660
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swmnbc ( member #49344) posted at 12:57 PM on Friday, September 30th, 2022

Ugh, I can just see your husband patting himself on the back for being willing to go to counseling with you. He doesn't want to, of course, but he'd rather perform for a counselor once a week than lose the marriage. And then you have the audacity to see through him. Poor baby indeed.

Hang in there. I'm sorry that he has put you in a position to have to act in ways you don't like. You signed up for the marriage in good faith, but he didn't. You would have never signed up if he'd told you the real agreement. He tricked a good and faithful woman into a marriage with someone who is anything but.

Anger is a catalyst to get us out of situations that don't serve us. You have it, and it will help you get through this time of limbo.

Hang in there. We're all rooting for you.

posts: 1822   ·   registered: Aug. 27th, 2015
id 8757661
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BigMammaJamma ( member #65954) posted at 2:21 PM on Friday, September 30th, 2022

My initial dday (although I didn't really realize it at the time) was in 2017. GOD, I wish I had just an ounce of your clarity and self-respect. I allowed myself to accept a comforting lie (in hindsight was such an obvious lie) to avoid accepting the ugly, painful truth. I went through (still going through) YEARS of bullshit and reading your personal insights has brought so much clarity to my own situation. You have articulated things here that I had not yet managed to put into words.

I am sorry that you will never be able to go back to the way it was before you discovered the truth about your WH. I think that you are going to absolutely thrive once you are ready to move on from this situation. I hate this happened to you, but I am so thankful for your voice on this forum. You have served as a living instruction manual on how to deal with this type of cheater and even after you have moved past this and on with your life, your words (and the words of so many wise posters) will benefit those who will come here in the future. Just keep swimming, Sigyn. We are all rooting for you.

Me- born in 1984
Him- born in 1979
We both have 3 kids from previous marriages and we share a four year old. I might be a BS, but at this point, I don't know if I'll ever know.

Update: As of 5/8/2020, my WH confirmed I belong in this club

posts: 254   ·   registered: Aug. 23rd, 2018   ·   location: Deep in the Heart of Texas
id 8757689
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NowWhat106 ( member #35497) posted at 4:49 AM on Monday, October 3rd, 2022

Hi Sigyn, I hope you’re finding some peace this weekend. Like so many here, I’ve been thinking about you and admiring how clear your thinking continues to be.

I’m sure that you’re tired of hearing that and also, that you don’t really believe it. If you’re anything like I was, I imagine that your thoughts feel chaotic, erratic, and unstable at best. I remember the swings between problem-solving, despair, desperate sadness and loss, fury, and such fear over the future for both me and my kids. I read and analyzed endlessly. I spent far more time than I should have obsessing over the psyche of the stranger that I’d spent my life with and over how I could get him to SEE what he’d done and get his ass in gear to support the people that he had crushed.

So I’ll say again that you have responded so much better than I did at the time. That’s probably because you have understood much more quickly than I did what your WH is doing. I knew the selfish, completely self-focused, unempathetic person that my WH was, but for some reason, I thought that looking at the utter devastation and ruin that his selfishness and dishonesty had caused and realizing that I knew what he had done would utterly change him. AFter all, it utterly changed me.

You have seen clearly much more quickly than I did that discovery didn’t change your WH; it just made him dig in more deeply to his horribleness. Mine did too, but it took me a long time to accept that it wasn’t that my WH was struggling and trying to get on the road to owning and figuring out his shit. Because how could he NOT know that he HAD to do that for his sons. I deluded myself because I just wasn’t ready to believe that the person I had thought I was married to would not give a shit about anyone but himself and would not only not want to change and get rid of whatever part of himself made him into such a dysfunctional person but would dig in HARDER to not have to change.

My WH is driven by terror of becoming a real person. He doesn’t want to. It looks too hard. It would require him to alter a self that, for whatever reason, he is desperate to protect even though it is a fraud, a liar, a manipulator, and a child terrified of grown up reality and consequences. He will always fight to hide from himself. And you just can’t reason or illustrate or prove anything to a person who is so damned good at lying to himself and making himself the victim of everyone who doesn’t like being treated like a pile of shit and enforces consequences or boundaries.

He is also an expert at taking the shame that hits him when he is caught and turning that bad feeling back on the person that made him feel it. They are the enemy. He is the victim. And then the wallowing in shame becomes an endless, self-indulgent, resentful dance of victimhood and poor-me-ism. The people that point out his flaws are mean. The people that hold him responsible for his actions are mean and vindictive and unforgiving. He spirals into being a child and does not hold himself responsible for any of it.

And I bought right into it over and over. Because there was something about me that took responsibility for making him feel bad when he pushed it at me. So while you are looking so strong and finding your anger, I worry that you may also be feeling sick to your stomach over that unaccustomed holding him accountable. Because you are probably not someone who would normally not respond to someone’s tears and breakdown (which he knows).

Good for you if you’re not. If you’re fighting that feeling at all, it’s fertile ground for work with your IC. I found that feeling responsible for his feelings was a good part of my work. Feeling responsible for taking care of everyone’s feelings. Feeling like the strong one. Pushing my own needs into the background to feed the narcissists in my life.

It’s that part of me that probably drew my WH to me. He recognized someone who would "fit" his needs.

You are doing amazing. Truly. I don’t want to overlook that you’re also certainly suffering and struggling minute to minute, second to second. I just wanted to acknowledge that too. It’s the knowledge of how horrific the situation is and how unfathomable the inner turmoil is that makes what you are doing and how clear your head is so admirable and amazing. You are doing what you have to to protect yourself and especially your son. Appreciating yourself is important to do in a time that doesn’t do a lot to promote confidence in your worth.

One final thing, I too was concerned about your son asking if he would have to keep something from his dad. You are his strong and trusted place. It could just be the general anxiety and uncertainty, but he could have also revealed something to you. You may want to keep your eyes and ears open for clues because your WH could already have begun manipulating and/or grooming your son to fill his needs too. Again, I speak from sad experience. My WH was in no way above using my kids. He wasn’t above lying to them, grooming them to be emotionally co-dependent, using them against me, getting their support. It was like a contest for their loyalty and affection. Your son’s question may just be checking the new rules, but it could also be that he’s been asked to hold something back before or has held something back to keep from upsetting you or making you mad at your WH.

It’s horrible to have to think that way, but in order to protect and help our children through this, it’s important to understand the very real probability that they too have been affected and influenced to smooth the way for their wayward parent. Your son has you, and you’re awesome. Just being aware and watchful will help you know when you need to be there for your son and will help you see the dangers when they present themselves. Please don’t assume that your WH is above hurting your son or that he’s capable of putting your son above himself. He doesn’t know how to do that with anyone else in the world, including his wife. It’s sadly unlikely that your son would be the sole exception.

Knowledge is power. It’s horrible, disgusting knowledge, but I know from experience that it’s better to have that knowledge than to ignore it or deny it. Your son has an amazing mama bear. You’ll know what to do with the knowledge as it comes to you even though it doesn’t feel that way.

Sending you huge hugs of strength and support.

Me BS
Him WS
LTEA with old HS GF from 25+ years ago
DD #1: 10/6/2011
DD #2: 10/21/2011
2DS under18
My marriage didn’t survive but I did

posts: 516   ·   registered: May. 2nd, 2012
id 8758016
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 Sigyn (original poster member #80576) posted at 1:45 PM on Monday, October 3rd, 2022

My WH is driven by terror of becoming a real person. He doesn’t want to. It looks too hard. It would require him to alter a self that, for whatever reason, he is desperate to protect even though it is a fraud, a liar, a manipulator, and a child terrified of grown up reality and consequences. He will always fight to hide from himself. And you just can’t reason or illustrate or prove anything to a person who is so damned good at lying to himself and making himself the victim of everyone who doesn’t like being treated like a pile of shit and enforces consequences or boundaries.

He is also an expert at taking the shame that hits him when he is caught and turning that bad feeling back on the person that made him feel it. They are the enemy. He is the victim. And then the wallowing in shame becomes an endless, self-indulgent, resentful dance of victimhood and poor-me-ism. The people that point out his flaws are mean. The people that hold him responsible for his actions are mean and vindictive and unforgiving. He spirals into being a child and does not hold himself responsible for any of it.

How can there be multiple men who fit this description so exactly? Because this does describe my WH perfectly, too. It's not that I didn't see bits and pieces of this in our marriage because I did. I saw him give up therapy when it stopped being about the joy of listing all of the ways he was victimized by his upbringing and instead turned to the ways his upbringing manifested in himself, his ways of relating to others and handling conflict. He shut off. Wouldn't go back. Wasn't "quite ready" to dig that deeply, he said. And we laughed about it, mostly because it WAS Wh in a nutshell and I thought he would gear up to go back after some private self reckoning. That never happened. He will do backflips to avoid looking too closely at the negative parts of himself, or anything internal. When I see him clearly, he hates it. He hates that about me. He considers it one of my greatest flaws as a wife, that I want to see him clearly including his flaws. He says it's painful and feels like deliberate cruelty to him. That was already well established between us.

So when we're where we are now, I can't be overly shocked at his refusal to acknowledge this massive gorilla riding an elephant while banging a gong through the center of our marriage. But I'm still shocked anyway! Avoiding invisible things we'd rather not look at is one thing, but this is the most visible, life altering thing in our lives right now. He's physically living in an apartment behind the house, he needs to be invited to come over while I'm home. How can he keep hoping he can distract me and that it will go away, be absorbed and eventually invisible again? It can't be. It can't ever be put back in the closet again.

I worry that you may also be feeling sick to your stomach over that unaccustomed holding him accountable.

The things I say to WH when we're arguing shock me. I actually have been physically sick to my stomach after we argue, I have never, ever in my life stood while someone has sat openly crying in front of me, much less kept throwing painful words at them. It feels inhuman! It's like I feel numb and those words just fling right out of me and then when he leaves the numbness fades and I have to deal with the things I said to him. They hurt ME. The things I say actually hurt, even though they're true. I have to seriously think about whether I can live with myself being like this. It's shameful, but then I also know that I have to tell him how I feel and if he cries through it, I can either stop expressing myself or I can keep going and live with the consequences of hurting him. It's a lose-lose for me. But he absolutely will not hold himself accountable in any way. He continues to manipulate because that's the only coping mechanism he has left. I have to rationalize that he is CHOOSING that pain over the pain of telling me the truth. That self honesty would be more painful to him than what is currently happening. This blows my mind.

The goal is to channel the anger and then eventually move through it - to a calm place of acceptance. After about a month of post D-day shock and denial (who the heck is this man? wtf am I dealing with?) I too got angry. It was almost a relief! The awful highs and lows on the emotional roller coaster were brutal, but having righteous anger in the emotional mix kept me focused.

I feel this. I have no control over which part of the roller coaster I wake up with each day, but the angry days are at least directed and focused! Today I'm feeling resolved and I have to use days like this to get stuff done. The breakdown days are impossible and I cannot believe the life I'm living now in which rage days are for getting things done and breakdown days are for nothing more than forcing myself to eat once.

About my son and the secret keeping conversation, I'm all over this! He came with me to my therapist and after talking to us about life at home, she has set him up with another therapist in their practice who specializes in children. I'd already told my therapist the situation that happened with the foster dog and son asking if he had to keep the dog a secret and not only do I not want my son to feel like he's got to choose between parents or hide things from us, I also worry that WH's compulsive secret keeping and information hoarding might be something I haven't noticed seeping into daily life and being accepted as normal by our son. So there are all kinds of reasons the mention of secrets alarms me, but is also a signal of an issue that should be addressed regardless. I want a professional to help him - and help me - really internalize that sharing life with others means sharing yourself openly but with boundaries. Finding the line between a healthy boundary of privacy and unhealthy information hoarding and secret keeping is going to be really important for both me and my son. I wonder how blurred the lines are even in my own head, what I've come to see as normal over the years.

I don't feel like I'm handling this well, I feel like this discovery has exposed ugly sides of myself to me, in the middle of the ugliness exposed in WH. I've made myself so small, just a smaller and smaller version of myself in order to keep things flowing easily in our marriage. And they did flow easily, it was a successful tactic to keep things in harmony. I always knew I was doing this, it wasn't unconscious. But I can see clearly that it also contributed to WH being able to live such a massive double life for so long without me detecting it. And now when I tell myself I can express my real feelings, all that's coming out is rage and sarcasm and baiting. This just can't continue. Yes WH deserves it but I deserve to be a woman that I actually want to be and I don't want to be this way. I'm back to feeling like I'm trapped with my arm under a rock and it's either cut off my arm to save myself or keep my arm and stay injured and in pain. Everyone tells me that I have control over this, but they aren't the ones choosing to cut off their arm. At least everyone here has also had that same choice to make. The group wisdom here I think comes from spending so much time evaluating what's most important while contemplating severing an arm to save the rest and living armless forever as a consequence. It's all bad from where I'm sitting.

posts: 76   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2022
id 8758046
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TheEnd ( member #72213) posted at 3:02 PM on Monday, October 3rd, 2022

We don't know you of course and you knowing who you want to be is important but I can't help feeling like you are being too hard on yourself.

You describe a marriage where you made yourself smaller and smaller to keep the status quo. It might have been comfortable for you at the time but is that who you want to be? You're paying a very high price for that (that is not to say your actions caused your WS to be a serial cheater only that your way of being in the marriage caused you great harm in the end. No judgement, I did the very same thing).

I've used this analogy before: he had you in a box. You admit you made yourself smaller to fit in that box even if you didn't realize it for what it was. The box cracked. You saw outside of it which made you realize you were IN IT. You pushed your way out. Scared and hurt and mostly in shock. He continues to try and rebuild the box, around you. Your anger is you pushing back on that, kicking at whatever structure he tries to place around you, to contain you, to imprison you. That is a healthy reaction. That means you are no longer willing to be small. You recognize your worth.

You have every right to refuse the box. It's the only way toward a good life for you and your son. I assume you're not being physically violent. I assume your angry words are the truth. You should not berate yourself for using the truth and your power to stay out of the prison he'd like you back in.

It's uncomfortable for you because it's not who you were. But remember, who you were was someone surviving in a box. The coping skills needed to endure that no longer serve you. You can be righteous and angry and still be a good, loving person. In fact, it seems like that is exactly who you are right now. Never feel badly for standing up for yourself. His tears are for him not you.

posts: 279   ·   registered: Dec. 3rd, 2019
id 8758057
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 3:34 PM on Monday, October 3rd, 2022

I'm back to feeling like I'm trapped with my arm under a rock and it's either cut off my arm to save myself or keep my arm and stay injured and in pain. Everyone tells me that I have control over this, but they aren't the ones choosing to cut off their arm. At least everyone here has also had that same choice to make. The group wisdom here I think comes from spending so much time evaluating what's most important while contemplating severing an arm to save the rest and living armless forever as a consequence. It's all bad from where I'm sitting.

This is when you remember that "feelings aren't facts". You feel trapped, but you aren't. There are so many of us who have felt that way, but we've come through to the other side and found peace and even happiness again. You will too. Whether one eventually chooses R or D, things do come right again. You're not the only one who goes through this period of catastrophizing. It's just part of the grief/trauma for the vast majority of us... a normal, human reaction. You'll get to the point where you don't feel so stunned and things will begin to clarify for you. Have faith that it's all eventually going to be okay.


((hugs))

BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)Married 38 years; in R with fWH for 7

No one can make you into a liar but you.

posts: 6167   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8758059
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