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
Yes. One thing that came clear when I discovered my WH’s years of infidelity and lying was how much resentment he had for me for pointing things out. I was his adversary before, and moreso after I discovered his secrets. I was the mom to get around and feel smarter than.
I felt like our job as partners was to encourage each other to grow and be better people, especially after we had kids. This engendered nothing in him but anger and panic. He doesn’t deal with negative emotions, so those feelings were turned on me.
If your WH resented you before, imagine how he’s feeling about you now. Imagine how much fear and corresponding fury you inspire. Not a pretty picture. Not a safe picture for you.
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.
How can he keep hoping he can distract me and that it will go away, be absorbed and eventually invisible again?
Keep in mind that this has only ever been invisible to YOU. It has ALWAYS been completely known and acceptable to him. So you’re the problem now. As you’ve pointed out, you knowing now is just you being mean and seeing him clearly in the worst possible way. Since he’s always known about it, the problem is YOU knowing about it and not letting go of it. Focusing on you and how mean and unsympathetic you are allows him to continue not facing anything that he’s done. It fuels him feeling sorry for himself.
Of course he hopes that he can distract you, wait it out, gaslight you, or guilt you into letting it be invisible (to you) again. That is how he has lived for ever. You KNOWING and you REFUSING to pretend it doesn’t exist ARE the problem to him. Think about it: he’s made no steps to help you or tell you the truth even when he knows that you basically know it already. Instead, his dysfunctional self is telling him that if he can just find the right approach, you’ll be back in his control like always, and things can go back in the box for him. Yes, he is Just. That. Delusional. He has been able to control you forever. I’m sorry to say he has been able to do it because you helped him. Don’t be embarrassed. I did the same fucking thing. Many of us did. And they USED our best nature against us. Let this knowledge help keep you angry and vigilant.
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! . . . .
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.
I would like to suggest that what hurts you is the trauma of horrific betrayal. Your words are just a manifestation of how traumatized you are. How would you not expect yourself to rage at this point? Would you really like to be stuffing your feelings down again? These are your REAL feelings right now. And you must also know that he HAS to hear what he’s done to you and your son. It’s really a sacred duty to manifest your outrage and horror at what he’s done. You are showing up for yourself and speaking your truth. DON’T BE ASHAMED OF THIS!!!! IT’S YOU FINALLY REALLY BEING TRUE TO YOU AND TAKING HIS POWER OVER YOU FROM HIM. IT’S CRITICALLY IMPORTANT. Take it to your therapist and talk it through with her. She will help you get to an understanding that this is NOTHING but right and fair for you.
Yes, it is raw and grossly uncomfortable: you are in HORRIBLE PAIN and OUTRAGE. You are expressing your trauma and his betrayal. Please don’t edit and censor yourself. You can see that your words don’t reach where they need to with him, but forget him. You need to say these things for YOURSELF and for your son. You will likely look back and see these moments as the birth of the new you risen from the ashes.
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
That’s exactly what he’s doing. Again,no surprise. Hasn’t he ALWAYS chosen himself over everyone else? Hasn’t he been dishonest with himself and everyone else basically as long as you’ve known him? I know that the real confusion is that you can’t imagine pretending at this point, but he has ALWAYS picked avoiding self-honesty over Every. Single. Other. Option. It is priority number one. This again is not a change or a new development to anyone but you. He has always understood this imperative. In the saddest, sickest possible way, he is being true to himself.
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
Me too, my sister, me too. The first sentences here just hit so hard because I did exactly this too, complete with the awareness that that’s what I was doing. I come from a family of addictive behavior. I was not an addict or user, so there was only one job for me: holding up the world and helping the addicts around me to avoid their own agency, responsibility and flaws while putting up with their abuse of me. What about your previous life set you up for this role? For me, it was my (also non-addict) mom who groomed me for it.
What I really want you to see here is that YOU’RE the one who hasn’t been true to herself before now, as you described in your post. What might being true to yourself look like amid this mess? Do you think it might not look like shouting things that are COMPLETELY TRUE at the person who has committed abuse crimes against you? Revealing to him that you see him now very clearly and he won’t be able to continue the abuse?
You are DONE making yourself smaller. You are DONE accepting his lies about himself, his complete lack of character, and yes, his lies about you—that you are not able to see through his lies. That you aren’t smart enough to catch him. That you will stay and rugsweep all of this AGAIN, like you have rugswept many things that bothered you in the past.
Please see your blunt, fearlessly honest, not-in-any-way-conflict-avoidant truth telling as as sign of both your rejection of the role of smaller self for yourself and the rejection of whatever vision of himself he’s still trying to push at you. There are no revelations coming from him. He is just being consistent.
The revelation here is YOU. You are not going to stay in the role you’ve been in for so long. You have officially announced that and then backed it up. You are still living in the vicinity of the WORST THREAT to your existence and soul that you’ve ever experienced. This relentlessly, ruthlessly honest person is the you that will not let him continue to treat you with utter disregard and disrespect. When the threat (your WH) is gone, your inner defender will be able to stand down a bit, but right now, this is the you that you need. Don’t feel ashamed of that. Embrace it. Be PROUD. You are speaking truth and drawing your line to your abuser. You are protecting your son.
You have already acknowledged that this is what you need to be doing. Now, you just need to lose the shame. I think you’ll eventually see this as your cleanse and purge that allows you to move on clear in the knowledge that you left everything on the table and stopped sparing him from the reality of who he is and what he’s done. In the end, if he were able to hear any of it, this would be the kindest and most caring thing that you could do for him.
He’s not able to hear it. It doesn’t matter.
You are done making yourself smaller. Now if possible, stop feeling shitty about that.