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Author Topic: My Story Reconnecting The Heart Behind The Hurt

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My Story Reconnecting The Heart Behind The Hurt
OP: April 01, 2021, 04:00:44 AM
Just pondering some thoughts this morning before the sun rises and the day starts.  The weather is as unstable as everything else it seems and we can go from 17 or 18 to minus 2 in 24 hours. Cold today and H has put a heater in my greenhouse where I have started my seedlings. Been very busy planning my gardens and starting some yard cleanup when weather permits.  It gives so many things...fresh air, exercise and solitude and some yummy garden fresh produce. And I just love it.  Diagnosed with a spot of skin cancer yesterday on my face. Lovely. So this year will be about a good sunhat and sunscreen .

Here in Ontario the covid cases are out of control in this "3rd wave". Today will be the last "normal-ish" day as we are going into a province wide lockdown at midnight.  I am not sure if it will include a "stay at home order"  ( meaning not leaving your property except for food etc once a week) or not. Announcements to be made at noon. I cannot believe that I have not seen 4 of my grandchildren and 2 of my daughters in almost a year and an Easter without kids is just not the same. And no true end in site to get excited about .  I miss my daughters beyond words and nothing is right about living this way . But , we have to do what we have to do. Today will be about my last little bit of stocking up and back indoors.

I often feel that " avoidants" win . Meaning we have no other options ( short of the choice to divorce) but to live the way they want to live. And I feel like that is the way it is in this marriage . All of it goes "his way".   He does not want to engage in un-safe conversations, talk about relationship issues, read or watch videos or work on the marriage . So we don't .  I cannot force him to talk.  I wanted all those conversations and live to learn more .  He will not talk about anything of importance to me.  He refuses to tell me or discuss anything from his counselling sessions. So, we don't .  He gets it his way again...when I desperately want to have those introspections and talks of connection.   He shows no true interest in the books I read, the courses I take online ..he asks nothing that makes me feel seen, heard or respected. If he was to ask anything...it could lead to conversations that create extreme fear and shut down in him. So he doesn't.  I recognize that his actual "triggers" are intimacy and vulnerability . So for me ...we live "his way".   I saw a quote ( Brene Brown ) that said " To avoid conflict is to avoid connection".  Absolute truth.  So , this is a man that has been thru MLC, a staggering betrayal by having an affair, leaving his family , financial betrayal etc ....and nothing has changed in him. He is perhaps even more avoidant . He did not have this massive shift or become anything other than what he has always been.  He got a "free one"... an affair .  This is my reality . Silence ( avoidants) have control in many many ways...you are forced to live their way . Of course you have choices ...you can leave, you can divorce , you are not a victim. I do have choices and options open to me .  Because of so many unmet needs and yearnings for connection , I no longer respond to physical intimacy. I have no interest and after many rebuffs, he no longer pursues this . And he will not discuss any of it either . Wish I had an adult show up in my marriage. That would be nice.  I am lonely , I have deeper connections with girlfriends ( that I rarely see anymore) and have a deep sadness knowing that this will not change for me . He is a man full of fear and seemingly is OK with that.  On the days he attends counselling , I stay away from him when he comes home. Detach . I am so hurt by his "secrets" ( that's what it feels like) and the inability to ask "how did that go?"  and actually have a conversation . For several days I stay away from him and lick my wounds and hurts . There is no chance any deeper connection will ever happen ... he knows not what he does. Or he simply does not care about what I need.  It hurts and many many times I feel "stupid or foolish" to continue ...why would any women accept an affair or attempt to "get past it" , for this superficial marriage ?.  These are men that "stockpile" resentments, unmet needs, complaints etc...because they are avoidants and everything is always "fine"......until they explode . Could he have another affair?  Why not?  The circumstances are the same . I wonder about that. Swears he NEVER would as it was the biggest mistake he has ever made . I guess time will tell. Maybe his MLC is not over . How would we know.  Its just sad .



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https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=11621.0
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« Last Edit: April 05, 2021, 05:16:44 AM by OldPilot »
Married April 1985
5 children
Bomb Drop April 2013
Thrown out of house August 2013
Affair discovered November 2013 (i guessed who)
Home December 3 2013
The Journey Of Reconciliation .. is for the brave .

Anger is like a candle in the wind ... it blows out the light of all reason.

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Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#1: April 01, 2021, 06:31:34 AM
Hello,

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Diagnosed with a spot of skin cancer yesterday on my face.

Oh no, please take care of yourself.

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The weather is as unstable as everything else it seems and we can go from 17 or 18 to minus 2 in 24 hours.

Just the opposite for me. It was 85 degrees at 6 pm last night. The sudden rise in the temperature just wiped me out.

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Here in Ontario the covid cases are out of control in this "3rd wave". Today will be the last "normal-ish" day as we are going into a province wide lockdown at midnight.

Our cases are dropping and we have moved to another tier. But for some crazy reason, we don't seem to have any moderation when it comes to lifting lockdowns. If we ease restrictions, everyone seems to think the disease is gone and back to normal. Then the cases rise again and everyone grumbles at the lockdown.

I did go visit my parents. They are vaccinated and both my wife and I have one dose and get our second dose in a few days. They don't leave the house much so I took the risk. In a couple of weeks after I get my second dose, I will go back to the gym, but I will wear a mask. LOL

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I often feel that " avoidants" win .

I don't think so, they may get the early victories, but they lose the internal battle because they never process their issues. Never open up about their fears, their mistakes, and what makes them human.  Think about the recent rise in attacks against Asian Americans in this country. It is all suppressed rage and frustration with one's own life taken out by lashing out against another simply because of the way they look.

Most of my relatives in the south were racists. Raised to think and believe in a structural status that put them on top of others simple because they had less melanin. They may have had the same wins as your h, but the hatred is a disease that eats at the body and all of them died in their sixties. Your h has his own demons eating away at him and while you overtly examine the marriage, he covertly tries to bury what he should openly own.

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Perhaps this is why H "runs" from your "threat of being an unstable wife". He needs to feel peace and calm.  Perhaps his love language of acts of service is all he perceives he has.  I know you need the words - so do I  But your post about H's brother explains a little more about perhaps why he finds it so difficult to give you the words you need.

I read into your brother in law's reaction and your h differently. While your BIL sees your h as a hero, and so do a lot of people. Your h is aware that you know he is not the person they all perceive as the "great" guy. As you have said, his lack of openness is driven by fear. To be discovered as weak as all those around him, worse yet, as weak as his father.

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He got a "free one"... an affair .  This is my reality .

Did he? His silence on the matter really speaks volumes. I don't think he won anything from having an affair. From my perspective, having an affair would hurt me more than my wife as it would go against my own moral code. I think your h still wonders why he did what he did, but his error is that he needs to open up with you and process his failure so that you both can heal.

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Detach . I am so hurt by his "secrets"

I really pondered this statement. We spend an enormous amount of time discussing the need to detach from the MLCer. However, that is during the crisis. However, when does detachment become an obstacle and the need to reattach become the focus?

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I guess time will tell. Maybe his MLC is not over . How would we know.  Its just sad .

I agree that he may re-enter the tunnel again if he doesn't clear his demons. If not another affair, another destructive vice can arise. It is sad because the one person you want to trust, the person you waited for years to return, the person that you want to open your heart for, is the same person that crushed you, and at this point can't even make you feel worthy. That's sad.

You are in a hard spot and I wish I could write something witty or profound. I guess the only thing I can post is that I read what you wrote, I feel your pain and frustration, and as a friend, I hope you find peace in your own heart.

(((((Ready)))))






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Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#2: April 01, 2021, 07:18:44 AM
I'm here too, Barbie.

Fwiw, I think what 'avoidants' 'win' is some level of control....well, perhaps a negative control. They get to control what they don't get, I guess in order to feel safe in some way. But I'm not sure they get much positive control, to get what they most want....to really feel safe...or any of the really good human stuff of life.  Walls keep lots of stuff out, don't they? Not just the scary stuff. I'm not sure you would see this as a 'win' in your life.....although I can understand why you might feel that he is 'winning' more than you in the current situation. Do you want to 'win', Barbie? Is that important in some way to you? And if it is, what kind of 'win' do you want for yourself?

I'm sorry that you are facing another lockdown and that it is creating distance from those you love and miss, Barbie. Normal healthy humans find it hard, don't we? X
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Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#3: April 01, 2021, 07:21:06 AM
He does not want to engage in un-safe conversations, talk about relationship issues, read or watch videos or work on the marriage

I have the same. He complained to the counselor that we only tlked about "practical" stuff.

Counselor gave us "homework" to have a phone conversation with a "keyword" to use if it started to go down the wrong path.

She asked what we could talk about and suggested some things (like a trip we'd like to take, he poo pooed that saying "there is no way we can have a conversation like that")

So, then she said "well, what can you talk about?" He said "normal stuff and then named some benign PRACTICAL crap like the new gym memberships and the AC guy calling to do the yearly check up"  ;D ;D

You couldn't make this stuff up if you tried.

The skin cancer is a bummer. They will cut it out and you will heal up. Actually, they "may" even have some new topicals they use, did she mention that? My sister's doc just told her to come back in three months to try it. (her spot is returning, I have no idea why 3 months)
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Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#4: April 01, 2021, 08:19:03 AM
I am sorry for all of the distance you are facing - physical as well as emotional. Between the pandemic isolation and the effects of MLC, I think we are all particularly hungry for connection, and it is particularly hard when our spouses are still at a place where real, meaningful connection is beyond their capability.

Wishing you swift and uncomplicated healing from the skin cancer. Not sure what type it is but often they are very treatable.

I am trying to figure out whether avoidants do actually “win.” They might seem to win the battle but they lose the chance to connect. If they don’t actually want real connections (or if they are in denial about wanting them), do they actually win? My feeling is that whether we realize it or not, we as humans actually need those real connections. This perhaps is why so many MLCers seem to age so rapidly, or even if physical fitness is a part of their replay, their eyes look so dead and empty. There’s no room for true happiness without some sense of connection - to a spouse, to kids, to family, to friends, and in many ways even to pets. By making and cherishing those connections where you can, by just being aware of the importance of connection and vulnerability, I think you’re the one who “wins” in the long run.
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Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#5: April 01, 2021, 06:24:01 PM
Worth trying?  There are numerous seasons of "Married at First Sight" for streaming. Though a contrived show, the couple dynamics are gems for conversation starters and in your case could remain in the "safe space" of talking about the show and not getting into your own relationship but... you would be cracking open the door to those conversations. Could you see yourselves watching it together and talking about the episodes?
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Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#6: April 02, 2021, 07:25:44 AM
Hi Barbie,

That is very rough....... yes, the "avoidants" win...... or maybe just ensure everyone loses. That is a tough, tough business.
So you want connection? That's good!! I am curious as to what you perceive that he wants? Well, besides avoiding that is.  ;)
I see he put in a heater for you..... that's nice. Why do you think he did that? To be nice? To give you a safe space? Just curious if he is trying, and if he's trying in an area that is not "what you want".

I'd like to share something with you that I've been learning..... I hope it is a little helpful:
I have discovered thru talking with my mom these last 2 years....... that my dad can do no right (in my mom's eyes). There is just so much resentment built up in her. Each day she tells me what she wants him to do, most days he doesn't do whatever this is, but then on certain days...... he does (probably by accident). Instead of being happy, she finds something else to complain about on these days (such as "yes he did it, but he didn't do it exactly the way I wanted him to" OR "Yes he did it, but it didn't result in what I actually wanted"). He can never "do right" (and I can sorta understand it, he's done so much wrong over the years). I actually had a conversation with him about this a week ago, using myself as an example and not him...... so he would be "safe" (dad is private and avoidant - very "old school" about men being tough and holding things in). For a moment he was totally open and described his life as a husband in one word...... "suffering". I know they love each other, very much...... but they are two ships passing in the night almost all the time. It's so sad because it doesn't have to be that way but neither knows HOW to reach out to each other. Both stuck in their ways. Mom wanting an emotional connection, Dad trying to show love thru work and giving what he considers acts of kindness (work). Both are miserable most of the time. Mom will never get the emotional connection she wants because Dad is always on defense due to her attacks. Dad will never get the appreciation and admiration he needs because Mom won't allow him to do good in her eyes........ both wanting what the other has and unwilling to give what is needed before what is wanted is received.
I bring this up, because I wonder..... how often does this happen? Could this be (part) of the case here?

I have a theory, and it could be wrong..... could be very wrong  ;) but I wonder if we have to learn where to meet our spouse and appreciate what they have, what they give, and then work to bring them forward from there. I know in Mom's case, she has the need to be shown that Dad cares. His need is to be "useful" and to be appreciated. He (I'm sad to say - because I love my dad) feels like a failure because he can do no right, no matter what he does and in his mind mom can never be happy and that translates to mom will never be happy with him. That is his fault, and he knows it..... she reminds him every day.  Mom on the other hand wants to be loved, and never will feel the love she wants because her list of expectations will never be fulfilled by the promises he made to her and the ones she placed on her list (herself) and a laundry list of resentments. They are too advanced in age to accomplish all the things they wanted to, probably never was enough time even 30 years ago to accomplish it all. And so they BOTH avoid...... and both are blind to the others avoidance (fascinating).   

Watching this has made me begin to question what the nature of avoidance is. It's easy to see how someone else avoids, and I think it's healthy to take stock of ourselves and make sure that we are not doing the same in reverse. So if you put yourself in your H's perspective, do you think he would see avoidance in you? Now that would be an interesting question to ask him.
I think/believe (could be wrong) that when two people both feel like their needs are unmet or uneven that it's easy to get stuck waiting for the other to "do their part" with the belief that when they do their half (1st), our half will rise to meet it and make everything "level" and good...... and so it becomes easy to wait and want and nothing happens the way we want (I am guilty of this at times).
I'm going to look at it from a different perspective: If we are a glass with some water in it (nowhere near full) then it is our instinct to conserve that water. We want more water, and we think they should give us some of their water..... and they are like us: a glass with some water but nowhere near full. Their instinct is to conserve water also.
The stalemate has to be broken by us saying "drink", and hoping that they will understand and in return hand their glass to you and say "Drink". Then both both have their thirst met because we don't drink from our own glass, we only conserve it. What happens in avoidance is: "No you can't have a drink, you haven't earned it and I am very thirsty".
Make sense?

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Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#7: April 02, 2021, 08:20:16 AM
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I bring this up, because I wonder..... how often does this happen? Could this be (part) of the case here?

I have a theory, and it could be wrong..... could be very wrong  ;) but I wonder if we have to learn where to meet our spouse and appreciate what they have, what they give, and then work to bring them forward from there. I know in Mom's case, she has the need to be shown that Dad cares. His need is to be "useful" and to be appreciated. He (I'm sad to say - because I love my dad) feels like a failure because he can do no right, no matter what he does and in his mind mom can never be happy and that translates to mom will never be happy with him. That is his fault, and he knows it..... she reminds him every day.  Mom on the other hand wants to be loved, and never will feel the love she wants because her list of expectations will never be fulfilled by the promises he made to her and the ones she placed on her list (herself) and a laundry list of resentments. They are too advanced in age to accomplish all the things they wanted to, probably never was enough time even 30 years ago to accomplish it all. And so they BOTH avoid...... and both are blind to the others avoidance

Then they both need to read Love Languages by Gary Chapman.
 Explains that we all show love in different ways and yet we fail to understand how our partner shows theirs to us. 

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Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#8: April 02, 2021, 08:48:54 AM
Hello,

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I have a theory, and it could be wrong..... could be very wrong  ;) but I wonder if we have to learn where to meet our spouse and appreciate what they have, what they give, and then work to bring them forward from there.

I think that works great for a healthy relationship. I also think barbiedoll wouldn't be on this forum if it was about Love Languages. From what I am reading is that she was badly hurt by her h's departure and affair. I can't gauge or understand another person's pain. That's why doctor's ask each patient on a scale of 1-10, their level of pain. They don't look at a patient with a broken arm and say, "You know the average person has a pain level of three for a broken arm- so here's you script for Advil."

Prior to the affair, Barbie accepted her non-communicative husband. But his departure and affair shifted her reality and the marriage. From Barbie's perspective, her h left her for another person, and now wants to come back and live as if it never happened. It also set's in motion a deeper fear that unless her h makes changes and truly commits to her, then he is likely to repeat and cheat on her again.

This isn't about acts of kindness or encouraging words, it is about Barbie's healing. Which brings her to a difficult choice: "If my husband won't take the steps to help me heal, then why stay in this unconnected marriage?" Barbie's h is back in the home, but he is not back in the marriage and the pain she felt when he left, she still feels today.

That's why I posted she is in a difficult place and I can't advise her on her choice, but I will support her regardless.

Just my few words,

((((Ready))))
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Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#9: April 02, 2021, 09:23:56 AM
That's not what I'm getting at though.....

Maybe I'm getting stories mixed up, but I thought that Barbie's H has either gotten thru MLC or is somewhere in a latter stage....... trying in some way but not the desired way. If I remember correctly, he started with talking but ended that way too fast which isn't allowing the healing Barbie needs. Like he can't face his guilt and shame..... and now he is shut down (in that area)....... which has to be infuriating, frustrating and extremely hurtful.

Right?

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