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General :
The Turing Test

Topic is Sleeping.
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 InkHulk (original poster member #80400) posted at 4:34 PM on Sunday, September 24th, 2023

And that is what I am concerned for. It is why I have been hammering so hard on how specifically your WW has changed after DD2, when she had such a strong incentive to change. If it is clear to you that she WON'T change, you will walk. But what if it is all too apparent that she CAN'T change. Will your compassion instincts keep you there forever.

Yeah, no question, this is the worst case scenario for me. What do you think I keep you around for, after all? grin laugh grin

People are more important than the relationships they are in.

posts: 2098   ·   registered: Jun. 28th, 2022
id 8809187
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Stillconfused2022 ( member #82457) posted at 4:35 PM on Sunday, September 24th, 2023

I completely agree with IH on the feeling that we see the goodness underneath the maladaptive traits and it makes it incredibly hard to give up on them. It is all down to FOO issues which makes it feel even more appropriate to try to help them get to a better place. I do sometimes worry a little that they aren’t capable of getting to a better place and it will ultimately destroy the BS to keep subjugating your own needs to this person who mistreats you. I hear IH as someone who knows himself and therefore isn’t really threatened by the DARVO and I get that. I feel the same way. When I experience this inability to take criticism I can stay pretty calm because I know it’s not about me. BUT, I worry that I’ve just grown too accustomed to being the « bigger person » in these conversation with my spouse. At some point dont they have to step up and address their own stuff. And what kind of model are we for our children in their future relationships. Yes, we are being forgiving and giving someone a second chance but where is the line? Is this a healthy way to live our lives? I don’t want to give up on my H. I know he’s a good person. But, when are they going to start to realize we aren’t attacking them. How much ego boosting do I have to do. It is exhausting and at times maddening. I guess we just have to do the calculation of what are we willing to endure to get keep our relationship that we treasure. If they are really trying hard, but just aren’t very good at this stuff by nature, then maybe we stay and keep trying to make it better. I guess this is why my tagline is StillConfused.

[This message edited by Stillconfused2022 at 10:41 PM, Sunday, October 1st]

posts: 379   ·   registered: Nov. 27th, 2022   ·   location: Northeast
id 8809188
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 InkHulk (original poster member #80400) posted at 5:08 PM on Sunday, September 24th, 2023

Anyone got any encouraging words for this sorry group of BS’s with spouses drowning in shame? Any success stories of overcoming it? What has worked, what hasn’t?

People are more important than the relationships they are in.

posts: 2098   ·   registered: Jun. 28th, 2022
id 8809193
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 5:15 PM on Sunday, September 24th, 2023

And...I must admit: To those of us on the outside, relationships post-infidelity seem pretty unhealthful and gloomy, at least for the first couple of years (too long IMO).

I think there are parts of this you do miss though. One, they sound gloomy because no one comes and posts the good stuff. The smaller breakthroughs, the shared family experiences.

Secondly, the first year sucks bad for everyone, doesn’t matter if it’s divorce or trying to stay. Once infidelity happens there is no emotional get out of jail free card: and I know you know that. You had to heal regardless of your we’s presence.

Things do get progressively better, it’s not a horrible life for years for most of us unless you are in false R or otherwise. In some ways there are aspects of the connection that are stronger than they have ever been because you are communicating. This of course is not an advertisement that infidelity improves a marriage, it’s more it’s hard to give a balanced picture when you are in it. It becomes a series of hard moments with good moments and just general life mixed in.

The sunken cost thing is a fallacy. Even if you didn’t pull the trigger right away, I think it provides breadcrumbs to some things that are important for you to learn about yourself. You can of course do that in a divorce scenario too but life I believe is effected either way. It sucks no matter what the outcome. Both people have to heal no matter that the outcome. That’s never going to sound rosy.

There are valid reasons and results for both R and D, and they are very nuanced. I also think of the marriage was very good before it’s harder to make that decision right out of the gate. And you can’t figure it out sometimes in a year.

I liked what this is fine wrote- and that is IH is getting stronger. There are aspects we should just trust him on because he is there everyday living it. I am pretty sure he knows the risks and rewards of that. The rewards are enough to matter to him. And with four kids at home, it might be a brighter picture for him to see if they can all stay in the home together. The difference between things last spring and today that maybe is visible here is IH is gained experience and knowledge and seems to be a clear thinker - and that is what we want to see.

I am not saying don’t post your thoughts just adding contrast and counterbalancing. I personally haven’t found R to be all bleak. It starts off that way and then different shades fill in. We just don’t tend to come to this site and paint in our happier moments. It’s more of a place to vent and commiserate. It’s difficult to improve and change, and if there was no struggle in it everyone could just snap their fingers and poof!

The people who do R, sometimes come out with better marriages than they started with. To me to start over brings me the same feelings of bleakness and sunken cost. All that shared history, your family, trying to date in your older years -And I know it’s a fallacy on that aspect too. People who divorce also report having a happier more fulfilling life. I believe them because I think happiness is something we all have to own for ourselves. A relationship can enhance it but at the end of the day we all should strive to have joy in whatever path we choose. Neither is bleaker or better, it’s a huge life shift for everyone who comes to this site.

[This message edited by hikingout at 5:19 PM, Sunday, September 24th]

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

posts: 7259   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8809195
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MintChocChip ( member #83762) posted at 6:18 PM on Sunday, September 24th, 2023

HI it sounds basically to me like your wife is doing the work, just slower and less fluidly than you'd like. I feel like you sound okay with that generally.

My WS was not doing the work at all. He had not been to IC, he was ignoring the books, we did not have a weekly talk. He was doing big, fat, nothing in terms of "the work". And that's very different.

I felt it was turning me into someone I didn't want to be (which was angry and sad).

So I left.

Even with all that taken into account, I agree with HikingOut that R isn't all bad even when R is not anywhere close to going well I found that to be the case. I will also have memories of the person who stayed up all night hugging and comforting me no matter how irate I was and did this for months on end. The man who came looking for me if I stormed out in tears to make sure I didn't come to any harm. The man who HATES emotional conversations and still managed to spend three years having them constantly. The man who was so angry once that he stormed out out, and then came back, in his rage, to kiss the top of my head before he left. Two people who were completely screwing R up, but would also ceasefire instantly if the other person was not okay.

What I mean is there was also enormous love there and I am not sorry I was there for that.

I completely agree with IH on the feeling that we see the goodness underneath the maladaptive traits and it makes it incredibly hard to give up on them. It is all down to FOO issues which makes it feel even more appropriate to try to help them get to a better place. But, my worry is they aren’t capable of getting to a better place and it will ultimately destroy the BS to keep subjugating your own needs to this person who mistreats you.

I came to that point and I left. I trust you are all smart enough to know where that line is. When it came for me, I deeply knew it. I deeply knew that if he couldn't / wouldn't learn what he needed to do to make things better and take tangible steps like booking IC or setting aside time each week happily to read affair books etc, that I was not capable of staying with him without resenting him.

D Day: September 2020Currently separated

posts: 273   ·   registered: Aug. 20th, 2023   ·   location: UK
id 8809203
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gr8ful ( member #58180) posted at 8:57 PM on Sunday, September 24th, 2023

Just curious IH: do you identify with Hosea?

posts: 373   ·   registered: Apr. 6th, 2017
id 8809218
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WontBeFooledAgai ( member #72671) posted at 2:39 AM on Monday, September 25th, 2023

Yeah, no question, this is the worst case scenario for me. What do you think I keep you around for, after all? grin laugh grin

Yep no worries I will be right back to my regular scheduled programming laugh

[This message edited by WontBeFooledAgai at 4:22 AM, Monday, September 25th]

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id 8809254
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WontBeFooledAgai ( member #72671) posted at 2:40 AM on Monday, September 25th, 2023

Yeah, no question, this is the worst case scenario for me. What do you think I keep you around for, after all? grin laugh grin

Dupe

[This message edited by WontBeFooledAgai at 4:23 AM, Monday, September 25th]

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id 8809255
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 2:53 AM on Monday, September 25th, 2023

Anyone got any encouraging words for this sorry group of BS’s with spouses drowning in shame? Any success stories of overcoming it? What has worked, what hasn’t?

My advice to you is don't make her shame your issue. You can't hold back what you need to say or do because of it. At the same time, if you wish to keep trying you also may have to find a way not to get triggered by some of the shame based responses, so long as they are not malicious or abusive. Meaning, you might say what you need to say and then she may be able to opt to delay the conversation after a reasonable cool down or processing point. I say that not because that's what I think you are obligated to do, but as a realistic approach to be able to communicate and work towards things when someone isn't emotionally flooding. I think when the BS floods, it's the WS's responsibility to learn what they need, and comfort. I think when it's the WS, it's more detaching until they are ready to resume. I wouldn't coddle a WS over their shame, but realizing it's there can help you manage the situation better for yourself.

I can better answer this with my BS hat I don't wear it often here but it's easier for me to illustrate what I am saying. So, I asked whatever I needed from H as a ws and I said whatever I needed to say whenever I needed to say it. There were times he didn't know how to respond or he flooded with emotion. I didn't back off the statement of what I needed, but I did give him time to respond to it. The reason that was my approach is because when I was in his shoes, I wanted to respond or feel or do the right things, to not hurt him anymore, there were things still lacking in me to accomplish that consistently. The consistency grew of course and I *think* it was rather steadily by my recollection, but it took time and practice. Failing, regrouping, etc. I learned the most from my failures honestly.

I knew his shame wasn't just about his affair or me finding out about it. We all accumulate shame in our lives just like we accumulate trauma, if it all remains unexamined. Have you ever grieved something and found that it brought up grief from other times? Like you lost someone close, but then started grieving your mom or dad again? Or you had a traumatic experience and some of the trauma that you experienced in the past reverberated through the experience? Shame is like that, and has a tremendous impact on our self-worth, behaviors, etc. And having just cheated and done horrible, awful things it's triggered all the unresolved at the same time.

I mentioned before "Rising Strong" by Brene Brown helped me sort a good deal.

I will also say that I would often confuse shame, guilt, and remorse. I think often we think showing our shame or swimming in it shows how badly we feel for what we have done. But it's not productive for the ws or the bs. It actually hinders connection. For me to get out of feeling overwhelmed by it I needed to put together a new recent history. It's hard to boil down shame when you have all this recent history of being a terrible person and watching the effects of that on your spouse. So, what it actually takes is mindfulness over every day to keep trying to do the best right thing in each situation you find yourself. And of course when we fail, it recoils and hits many of our toxic thinking traits - catastrophizing being a big one. As you practice this, you should add extending grace to yourself in your thoughts and actions. The days become weeks, the weeks become months, and you can start to appreciate the better aspects of yourself and feel proud of being engaged in doing the right thing in your life. That new recent history starts to repaint a picture of who you are to yourself.

I am going to say shame was what I wrestled with the longest. I still feel shame because it's the spectrum of emotions part of the human experience, but it's tempered and I have many coping mechanisms around it to notice it and let it pass and change my mindset.

I don't know where my husband sits with shame today, but he doesn't exhibit signs of it inhibiting his daily life or his connection with me. So, it's not always about abolishing it, I think actually whatever we resist persists. It's about changing yourself talk, and giving yourself grace, but often the only way that sticks is if you have defined your value system and are living within it as much as possible. To have integrity, you first must decide what it means to you and practice it until you feel you have mastery over it. To have remorse for what you did to another person, the feelings you have about what you did have to quiet enough to have capacity to take it in and be able to accept what you did. The more your capacity for all that grows, the less you live in your shame.

But, these are her concerns to solve. I think it's great you are aware where some of her behaviors and responses come from, it's just not your job to manage it. As I said, if she asks for a break so she can process it better, that's a reasonable request. To use that and not circle back though is gaslighting.

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

posts: 7259   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8809256
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WalkinOnEggshelz ( Administrator #29447) posted at 5:21 AM on Monday, September 25th, 2023

In addition to what HO has already so eloquently stated, I also want to second Brene Brown as a resource to heal shame. She has some pretty great TED talks that really spoke to me.

Another book that I found useful was "Healing the Shame That Binds You". It dives into different types of shame and the origin of it.

I am a firm believer in awareness. Without awareness it’s near impossible to change habits and behaviors. I think we are masters at lying to ourselves, but once you shine that light on the lie it makes it more difficult to repeat.

For your wife, this shame may feel like a protective blanket. What is your dynamic? Do you have KISA tendencies? Does she use it to shut down uncomfortable conversations? Is she confusing her shame for remorse? Is there a cycle of you wanting to have a discussion, she gets paralyzed with shame, you stop the conversation, then repeat?

This may be something for your MC to guide you through it, but my husband had to learn to stop his own KISA tendencies and push through my shame and tears to get across what he had to say. He no longer felt it was his job to protect my feelings, rather it was mine to understand his.

Examining your dynamic both in the past and currently may help both of you get through the shame spirals.

If you keep asking people to give you the benefit of the doubt, they will eventually start to doubt your benefit.

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id 8809266
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WontBeFooledAgai ( member #72671) posted at 7:31 PM on Monday, September 25th, 2023

HikingOut:

I think there are parts of this you do miss though. One, they sound gloomy because no one comes and posts the good stuff. The smaller breakthroughs, the shared family experiences.

That's not what I am talking about though. I am taking about the pain of staying with someone who showed such a capacity to hurt and betray you. Of seeing them every day.

I'm sure prisoners and their captors have a few laughs with each other occasionally but even considering that I sure as hell don't want to be in jail!

The sunken cost thing is a fallacy. Even if you didn’t pull the trigger right away, I think it provides breadcrumbs to some things that are important for you to learn about yourself.

Sounds to me like such an expensive way to get those breadcrumbs though.

[This message edited by WontBeFooledAgai at 7:40 PM, Monday, September 25th]

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id 8809336
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emergent8 ( Guide #58189) posted at 8:56 PM on Monday, September 25th, 2023

And...I must admit: To those of us on the outside, relationships post-infidelity seem pretty unhealthful and gloomy, at least for the first couple of years (too long IMO).

That's not what I am talking about though. I am taking about the pain of staying with someone who showed such a capacity to hurt and betray you. Of seeing them every day.

I'm sure prisoners and their captors have a few laughs with each other occasionally but even considering that I sure as hell don't want to be in jail!

I suppose if you start from the premise that R is necessarily miserable, it makes sense to be anti-R in all cases. You can choose to believe me or not, but I assure you that I'm not miserable. I'm genuinely happy in my marriage and I'm so incredibly proud of where we are and how far we have come. I feel like we are stronger and more honest and have better communication than we ever did before any of this. I cannot change the past, but I know our future will be better because of these hard-earned relationship skills. Lemons to lemonade, you know?

I don't typically bring this stuff up around here because it feels cruel to essentially brag about my happiness while so many people are in the midst of the very worst period of their lives. I assure you, I do not feel like a captor of any kind. I do not feel stuck. He remains the person I have the very most fun with, the one who makes me laugh the very hardest. He continues to be someone I love, and respect, and admire. I have learned through all of this that I do not need him, but I am so grateful I have him. Having been through this, I have learned that our marriage is so much more fragile and simultaneously so much stronger than I had thought it was beforehand, and I will never again take any of that for granted. His words and actions show me that he feels similarly.

Was the first year hard? You bet it was. I imagine it would have been hard if I left him though too - presumably your first year was hard as well. I don't think there is an escape from hard after infidelity. On average, I wouldn't call it miserable though. There were certainly periods and days where I would have described it as miserable, but there were also a great number of joyful, loving, and connected moments too - interspersed with regular life of course. As time went on, the happy and the mundane started to outweigh the misery, and eventually the misery faded to a dull ache. If I didn't continue to post here, I truly would not think about it much. His A is basically a non-issue in our current life. WBFA, I have no idea how far out you are from your ex's betrayal but I assume you don't' think of it every day either.

Me: BS. Him: WS.
D-Day: Feb 2017 (8 m PA with married COW).
Happily reconciled.

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id 8809347
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 10:19 PM on Monday, September 25th, 2023

And...I must admit: To those of us on the outside, relationships post-infidelity seem pretty unhealthful and gloomy, at least for the first couple of years (too long IMO).

That's not what I am talking about though. I am taking about the pain of staying with someone who showed such a capacity to hurt and betray you. Of seeing them every day.

I'm sure prisoners and their captors have a few laughs with each other occasionally but even considering that I sure as hell don't want to be in jail!

The WS who did so much damage may be the same person who gave tremendous love and support. A friend is going through a D right now. She loves her STBX, but her STBX is stuck in a cycle of fear and shame that she has finally decided will not stop - but she is very sorry to lose the opportunity to give and get that her M provides..

With R, relationships get both healthier than they were pre-d-day. So do BSes and WSes. Even in false R, BSes can get healthier than ever before. It doesn't happen as quickly as anyone wants. For me, the worst months were from about 3-9 months out. Maybe 6 months out I started to feel better. I kept getting better slowly, but the improvement eventually started accelerating.

I don't want to minimize the pain people have to deal with, and people need to understand R requires some courage, that R requires not being ruled by fear or anger or grief, that R requires accepting pain and processing it out of one's body, that R requires finding the BSes' own proclivities toward living in emotional pain and other ways to self-sabotage, that R requires a lot of work and change from both BS and WS.

But the only difference between D & R for the BS's healing is the outcome of essentially the same work. Of course, the BS doesn't have to heal. Without healing, the BS does a lot less work and ends up with more residual fear, anger, and grief.

But the pain comes from being betrayed, I suspect, and not the outcome, unless wants R and doesn't get it or unless the BS wants D and puts too much effort into R.

There's no one size fits all in recovering from being betrayed.

WBFA, Did you ever share your story? If not, how come?

[This message edited by SI Staff at 10:30 PM, Monday, September 25th]

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: 29994   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8809359
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 InkHulk (original poster member #80400) posted at 12:00 AM on Tuesday, September 26th, 2023

Just curious IH: do you identify with Hosea?

Not exactly sure how to answer this. If I had to answer Y/N, I’d say no, because I haven’t heard the voice of God telling me to be with an active adulteress. On the other hand, the message of this book, as well as other books of the prophets in the Bible, they do use the imagery of reconciliation post adultery as an analog to spiritual salvation.

What that does not mean to me is that I must R. I think it would actually cheapen the whole point of all that if I thought it required R. The point that I take away from it is that R is absurdly hard and costly and can not be taken for granted. (This is another reason it just breaks my heart that the unmet needs, apologize to you WS bullshit comes from a Christian author, he doesn’t even know his source material).

What it does mean to me is that I’m experiencing something in life really hard and deeply tied to spiritual realities that I’ve only intellectually known before. I’ll understand them far better now.

Editted to remove something that could be hurtful to some, apologies if anyone was offended reading it before I removed it.

[This message edited by InkHulk at 12:12 AM, Tuesday, September 26th]

People are more important than the relationships they are in.

posts: 2098   ·   registered: Jun. 28th, 2022
id 8809379
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 12:09 AM on Tuesday, September 26th, 2023

That's not what I am talking about though. I am taking about the pain of staying with someone who showed such a capacity to hurt and betray you. Of seeing them every day.

I think that people can be widely different in how they feel about that. My husband would still tell you at the time he would have been in more pain had my presence not been there. He felt like he had a way of seeing what was happening with me, rather than imagining it. He also didn’t want to make that big of a decision in that state. Some of it was fear based of once I was out it would be harder to let me or get me back in.


Sounds to me like such an expensive way to get those breadcrumbs though

It’s a matter of perspective and preference. For us, our divorce would have cost us much more financially. And we would have lost out on this new chapter we are both savoring. Everyone is different. Their circumstances and value systems are different. Doesn’t make one better than another just different preferences and perspectives.

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

posts: 7259   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8809380
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 InkHulk (original poster member #80400) posted at 12:27 AM on Tuesday, September 26th, 2023

That's not what I am talking about though. I am taking about the pain of staying with someone who showed such a capacity to hurt and betray you. Of seeing them every day.

In case anyone is worried about t/j, please don’t be. I’m getting a lot out of this part of the discussion.

People are more important than the relationships they are in.

posts: 2098   ·   registered: Jun. 28th, 2022
id 8809386
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 InkHulk (original poster member #80400) posted at 12:36 AM on Tuesday, September 26th, 2023

For your wife, this shame may feel like a protective blanket. What is your dynamic? Do you have KISA tendencies? Does she use it to shut down uncomfortable conversations?

I don’t think I have too much in the way of KISA when it comes to her shame, I just fucking hate it too much now. It makes me want to just give up when I see it. Because, yes, she shuts down all manner of uncomfortable conversations and has for our entire marriage. And this affair HAS to be the end of that. Has to. It must go away during R or R will not be successful.

Is she confusing her shame for remorse?

I’m honestly not sure right now. Maybe.

This may be something for your MC to guide you through it, but my husband had to learn to stop his own KISA tendencies and push through my shame and tears to get across what he had to say. He no longer felt it was his job to protect my feelings, rather it was mine to understand his.

This seems life giving, somewhat obvious, and possibly unreachable in my marriage.

[This message edited by InkHulk at 12:36 AM, Tuesday, September 26th]

People are more important than the relationships they are in.

posts: 2098   ·   registered: Jun. 28th, 2022
id 8809387
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 InkHulk (original poster member #80400) posted at 12:48 AM on Tuesday, September 26th, 2023

And I just got a text from my wife saying

"Vulnerability and honesty will be two of the pillars we rebuild our marriage on".

So that happened.

People are more important than the relationships they are in.

posts: 2098   ·   registered: Jun. 28th, 2022
id 8809392
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WontBeFooledAgai ( member #72671) posted at 4:29 AM on Tuesday, September 26th, 2023

Well it *is* a *little* better than "The beatings will continue until morale improves".

PS Talk is cheap anyway.

[This message edited by WontBeFooledAgai at 4:38 AM, Tuesday, September 26th]

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id 8809415
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WalkinOnEggshelz ( Administrator #29447) posted at 7:00 AM on Tuesday, September 26th, 2023

This seems life giving, somewhat obvious, and possibly unreachable in my marriage.

Vulnerability and honesty will be two of the pillars we rebuild our marriage on".

These two statements contradict each other, yet strangely if she were to allow herself to become vulnerable, she could also learn to let go of the toxic shame.

Brene Brown has stated that the most vulnerable people tend to be the happiest.

If you keep asking people to give you the benefit of the doubt, they will eventually start to doubt your benefit.

posts: 16686   ·   registered: Aug. 27th, 2010   ·   location: Anywhere and everywhere
id 8809424
Topic is Sleeping.
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