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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 .



Posts split from previous thread to create this new thread

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
Quote
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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Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#10: April 02, 2021, 04:14:13 PM
Standing I thought your post was one of the best posts I have read on Barbie's thread.

I hope you get something positive from his post, Barbie.

Hugs
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A quote from a recovered MLCer: 
"From my experience if my H had let me go a long time ago, and stop pressuring me, begging, and pleading and just let go I possibly would have experienced my awakening sooner than I did."

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Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#11: April 02, 2021, 04:49:32 PM
Dad will never get the appreciation and admiration he needs because Mom won't allow him to do good in her eyes........
But is it because Mom "won't allow him to do good" or because he purposefully or unconsciously "doesn't do good" because he is really NOT doing what she is asking for? It sounded like you you were saying if Dad does ANYTHING, he needs a pat on the head, even if it is not what was asked for or maybe even agreed upon.

Example from my house. I asked for a archway to grow grapes on. Gave the size and dimensions, explained what I wanted it for, and XH said he'd build it . Didn't happen. Didn't happen for two years, so I bought a substandard one to have something for my grapes to grow on. Then he decides he's going to build one (insisted S help him with it). So he built a bench with an archway over it, in the wrong dimensions that won't even fit where the grapes grow and was too heavy for me to move myself.  It was beautiful, and I said so. But it did not fit where I needed it to and could not be used as what I wanted so I asked if we could put it somewhere else, where it's beauty would not go to waste. When I asked for it to be moved to a place it would fit, H was angry because I wasn't using it for the grapes and he would not move it. That beautiful bench is still sitting where it was built to this day, on the edge of the patio in a ridiculous location because I cannot move it and he would not.

So maybe sometimes what looks like an act of "service" to someone on the outside might only be service to the individual doing it to make them feel good about themselves. Or it might be an act of defiance doing it their way, not your way because "you're not the boss of ME". Or it might be something that the other person likes just fine, but it isn't what they need.

You father may not be some poor man who cannot do "right". He may be a man who chooses to do something different than what he was asked to show he's not "whipped" in a passive aggressive way. Or your mother may be a shrew, I don' t know them. I just know that things are not always as an outsider would interpret them.

You can give and give and give everything that you think someone wants, and if they choose to be unhappy or just do not like or want what you have to give, you cannot fix it unless you choose to ask what the other person wants, do EXACTLY that, and if they still aren't happy, it's not on you. And on the flip side, why would you continue to accept things you don't want if you never get what you do want because the other person thinks they are "giving"  what you want, when it is really what they want?

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« Last Edit: April 02, 2021, 05:07:30 PM by OffRoad »
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Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#12: April 02, 2021, 05:36:36 PM
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 .
This entire paragraph lays it all on the table.
You believe you have no other options (short of divorce)
You are not getting the emotional connection you want and/or need.
Without emotional connection, physical connection it of no interest to you.
You are lonely.
You feel left out (his "secrets")

I don't believe avoidants "win". There is no win in this situation as it stands, and it doesn't help when part of your emotional support (your daughters and grandchildren) are not available to you in an in person way. The only choices we have are to accept what is, change ourselves, or change our situation. Accepting what is seems untenable for you. Is it? 

If he is so afraid that something he has done will make you think less of him that he makes you think less of him by withholding that information, what kind of Hell do you think his mind is going through? That if you know, you will hate him, or might leave? If his mask falls, you will see all that he is and it isn't perfect? That if he reveals all, he cannot put the worms back into the can and pretend like he "can manage just fine"? That YOU will get to judge everything that he is? I cannot imagine the terror that someone might feel to think actual reality might escape and they'd have to face it all if they have been avoiding all of their life.

If you thought of your H as a man terrified of his own memories and thoughts, what would you say to him?
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Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#13: April 02, 2021, 09:24:23 PM
Ohhhhhh OffRoad.....those were two really awesome posts....... that tickles my brain  ;D

Small lesson in men, and maybe it will be applicable to Barbie's sitch as well......
I can't talk for the younger generations (they seem very different to me in many ways), but Gen Z'ers and before...... I know and understand this type of man (the good ones, not the losers..... and I don't think any of the LBS's had losers before they broke).
"Working men", that is to say, men who are wired to be providers (which is most good men)..... a lot of them don't understand much beyond this act of working. I was this way for a long time. My father is the hardest worker I've ever known in my life.... and that aspect (as a man) I admire very much. He literally will work himself into the grave, I have zero doubt about this. So many men and mentors I was fortunate to know thru my life were the same way...... most of these were what some would consider heroes: War vets, builders, makers, good and great men. Men who built things and did things. Men that had values, defended, stood for and weren't cowards about things. Oh how I miss these men and how I didn't understand or appreciate what they taught me in my young years. Now they are gone, and I doubt anyone besides me can remember what they had to say.
These "working men" as I like to think of them..... they were very deep men, but also men of few words. They didn't wear their emotions on their sleeve, but were easy to rouse to action. I remember they were fiercely defensive of their W's, but do I think they were saints? No, certainly they weren't. Some had done terrible things, most had witnessed terrible things..... but they were men, real men, and they ALL had regret. As I am older now, I can see that look on their faces: regret. It has a weight about it. It's a look I've seen on MLC'er faces when they have opened up about what they have been thru, and what they have done. It is a sad face, one that can't be undone..... not ever.
And so..... while someone could do something for themselves and not really be about the other person (building an arch, putting in cooler or heater, or whatever else it is), what I see is atonement. This is a very manly, or rather a very male behavior. For those who only know how to work, it really is their only expression. Looking back, I remember at the time, the men were running too and fro (seemingly) and the wives didn't seem to move much at all. I was young and thought they were lazy or just old or something...... but understanding now...... those ladies were very smart. They knew men. You see, they let their men work and be productive, and I distinctly remember several of them getting praise from their wives. These were small things, helping setup a banquet table, moving items for the church, or even working to mentor a young boy (me)....who would want to do that? Weren't there better things to do? Was it the value of doing good things (atonement), or was it something else? I know the wives volunteered their husbands for things nonstop, I remember that vividly....  Oh how wise these women really were. They were making their husbands feel useful, and appreciated. I never heard, in years and years a single snide comment between any of these couples. To a man, to a "working man", this praise is worth more than gold..... especially from the person they love most. And they were happy..... the men were. I don't know if the wives actually were impressed by what the husbands were doing, but they loved the attention and affection which was showered back upon them for it. You see, a pat on the head is exactly what a man needs. It does put a bounce in his step, because his work, his effort, is him. To reject that devalues him, makes him feel worthless, makes his efforts futile...... and yet a "working man" will continue because it is all he knows..... but he will be diminished, tired, and sad (I've known many of these men, haven't we all? They are easy to spot). To heal a man, to get thru to a man, and to get him to respond, is to show him a modicum of appreciation without a "but", "or if", "could you", or anything like that. All of that is attaching failure to a hollow "thank you", and it builds resentment in men..... until they believe they can do no right, eventually they are defeated, crushed, broken and unable to rise again.... and yet, they will continue to work in a half hearted manor (like zombies).... it's all they know, it's all they can express. A kind word can rejuvenate a man on the inside like you wouldn't know. Better yet, when you encourage a man such as if he builds you something: tell him you love it (even if you don't), that it is perfect, better than you could have hoped for, and place it somewhere important so he sees you value it. This is precious to a man, and will make him want to do it again. When a man comes to believe his is worthless, he stays there. A rare man can heal and get back up eventually, but not most. No, most need fuel, which is encouragement. What inspires most men to do their greatest work? Most of the time, at it's core...... it's a woman.
This is true for the non-MLC man, why would an Ex-MLC/Post-MLC/Emerging-MLC man be any different? It's just a man...... only broken..... which means he's in need even more.

Women do not understand the power they wield over us, but they also don't know that when a man is sufficiently destroyed that power is lost.

-SS
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« Last Edit: April 02, 2021, 09:26:51 PM by Standing Strong »
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Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#14: April 02, 2021, 10:06:35 PM
SS, part of me thinks that is all so sad. That a woman cannot ask for what she wants if it is different from what the man wants to give. That she will be thought of as unappreciative because she needs a grape arbor and was given a bench that could not fit. That she could truly appreciate the effort and craftsmanship of the item and that would not be enough if she dared say "My goodness this is so beautiful. I can't see a way to make it fit, have you any ideas? Maybe we could put it somewhere else then." And in his mind, all of his work was for naught because it wasn't a unconditional pat for doing something that wasn't what was asked for and literally could not go where it was needed.

How sad that in this example, a woman needs to stuff her wants and needs to make a man have a bounce in his step, and who cares what makes her step bounce.

I hear what you are saying. I have seen many men and women do the appreciation dance, for it is a dance. Mr Flirty at work would give me anything I wanted, when no one else could get him to do anything because I understand the appreciation dance. The more a woman appreciates, the more a man wants that appreciation "hit", at least by general standards. The trick though is that each party not only  needs to give what the other needs, not what they themselves need, but they also ought not to be required to stuff their own needs in the process.

And as a side note, my mother griped her way through life, and my father just shook his head and smiled. No matter how many times she berated him, he knew he'd done right. Because he had done his best and that's all he could do (definitely not a passive aggressive man).  I learned a lot from him.
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Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#15: April 03, 2021, 12:34:42 AM
I hope that Barbie does not mind us slightly hijacking her thread.
I don't know if this discussion is useful to her and I presume she will join in to tell us what she thinks if she wants to.

I recognise a truth in what you posted about men, Standing. I'm not sure I like it much, but it is familiar enough to be recognisable. Maybe not all men, but quite a few. I have no idea what is chicken or egg....if this is something innate or something about how we socialise men in our cultures. Or if it is different between generations. I suspect some of those questions only men are equipped to answer. But it sounds as if your experience is that men need to feel appreciated for what they do more than who they are, and that women play some big role in affirming their value in their own eyes?

At the same time, I am concerned that our wider society seems to have a lot of angry, resentful men....men who 'need' women but also feel a level of what can only be described as rage or contempt towards them. And a lot of women who feel afraid and shortchanged by what seems to be acceptable in male behaviour writ large.

I guess what struck me most was two things.

Men who cede this 'power' to women to affirm their sense of self so much are, of course, exactly the kind of men who find other women (and/or other external stuff) to feed that need. And standard ow types seem to be better at trading affirmation for accountability, attention for control perhaps. Or perhaps it is just the difference between the level of attention or affirmation in a less mature relationship with less 'adult' responsibilities, idk. But it often seems as if MLC spouses simply transfer the 'power' you describe to another person. Which I guess works for them until or unless it doesn't.

The second thing is that many LBS here genuinely seemed to value their pre MLC spouse highly. And to carry a bit more than the fair share of adulting perhaps without necessarily receiving the same level of affirmation or 'go you'? I don't know if that crosses genders, if the male LBS experience is similar. But what seems self-evident to me is that, when a spouse does things unilaterally that fundamentally change the landscape of the relationship, that break trust and safety in it, necessarily all those issues of affirmation and appreciation change too. And that there is something potentially very unhealthy about trying to affirm someone who is devaluing you. (I think Chump Lady calls it a 'b!tc# cookie' lol, when we roll out a parade for someone doing the bare minimum of decent human adult regardless). Which is why the landscape is so different in reviving an essentially healthy relationship with things like Love Languages as opposed to working out what to do with a profoundly broken one that you did not break. My ability or honesty in giving positive strokes to a husband who built me an imperfect arch, say, is rather different in the context of him having stolen marital funds or had an affair or hurt my children or jeopardised my wellbeing without apparent concern than it was before I experienced those things.

At the same time, I recognise that for anyone trying to rebuild a decent marital partnership after such chaos there must be some need to rebuild some respect and appreciation for the person in front of you, just as you say. And I guess the extent to which you feel respected and appreciated as you are too. Which must be rather hard bc I guess the old equations have been upended....ones perspective on the normal flaws and strengths we all have...bc the context is so different. Perhaps that is as true with new relationships as well, idk.

Why do you think so many men might have this 'need' from the women in their life, Standing?
And what do you think about what women 'need' from the men in their life? And reciprocity?

My sense fwiw - and I might be wrong - is that Barbie is struggling less with a fear that her h will do these things again and more with a sense of feeling profoundly unseen and unheard by her h while he requires her to keep doling out the b!tc# cookies. That it is much more about reciprocity and respect than love or fear. Jmo.
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« Last Edit: April 03, 2021, 12:40:06 AM by Treasur »
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Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.
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Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#16: April 03, 2021, 01:59:01 AM
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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.

This does not help how you feel as OR says - you need connection of all sorts and face to face is always the best option. 

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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. 

I understand your frustration - my H is the same.  However I have realised that you cannot push a rope; you can only pull one -gently one inch at a time.

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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.   
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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
I wouldn't want to ask; My H doesn't want counselling; he did have early on in the crisis and he volunteered the counsellor advised him that he had to do what was right for him and that meant OW - sigh!

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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".

This ....
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If you thought of your H as a man terrified of his own memories and thoughts, what would you say to him?

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he knows not what he does. Or he simply does not care about what I need........Maybe his MLC is not over .

Maybe it isn't - maybe he is still in depression.  This crisis exploded much more than just an affair and financial betrayal - it exploded all of his FOO issues and maybe just maybe he is in so deep that he chooses just to function because he is afraid of putting a foot wrong again with anyone. He gambled a lot of your money away if I am correct - he is tantamount to a recovering addict.

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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
That's the tough choice especially when Barbie's BD was so long ago (similar to mine of 8 years). It would be natural to assume and to hope that by now after such a long time home her H would have shown some sense of truly connecting with her. 

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You can give and give and give everything that you think someone wants, and if they choose to be unhappy or just do not like or want what you have to give, you cannot fix it unless you choose to ask what the other person wants, do EXACTLY that, and if they still aren't happy, it's not on you.

And on the flip side, why would you continue to accept things you don't want if you never get what you do want because the other person thinks they are "giving"  what you want, when it is really what they want?

It comes down to honest detached communication but we tend to get emotionally invested in what we want and so orur wants become demands.
There's a huge difference between saying " I want you to build a wall this way"  to " Let's talk about how to build the wall so that we're both happy with it."

or " H I want you to share with me what you do at counselling" or even "How did it go?"  - this implies control and demand which for a fearful person becomes a non action/response.
instead " H -  I'm listening when you want to talk" - hands over control and creates safety.  Challenge with that is of course - the H may never want to talk. So what does the LBS do then?

This is possibly exactly where you are right now Barbie.

There is still a lot of fear and hurt in you Barbie.  Until that is resolved for you by you, perhaps working on the marriage is still something that cannot take place.  Maybe your H senses your hurt and fear and doesn't understand (not because you haven't probably explained to him every which way) but he too is hurt and afraid.  Two islands set apart by a huge river of doubt, hurt and fear.

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Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#17: April 03, 2021, 06:34:39 AM
[I had wrote this last night but didn't hit post until after hearing from Barbie that this is ok - and sorry Barbie for any hijack]  ;)

Hey OffRoad,

Your father sounds like a very special man, those are rare indeed (I've met a couple of those, not many).

That is a very unique perspective, I think I understand what you're saying. I think that depends on the person, and what their frailties are. Some can take more direction than others, and some can't.... and some need their self-worth and self-perception built up before they can function in a two-way manor.
When someone is weak, anything which can be interpreted as criticism wrecks the whole thing..... but when someone has been built up and has self-value, then positive constructive criticism isn't something which is threatening. I find this in women and men. In the case of this man (me, LOL) one thing which used to be hurtful (but isn't anymore - and I know other men who have voiced frustration with this) is when you work on something (without help) and then it gets shot down. Now I'm a little different in that I like to work on projects as a team (me and W), but most of the time there would be no interest on her part (even if it was her idea) and I'd be left alone to do my best, guess what was desired, and then get blown out of the water once it was all done. This is a very inconsiderate way to treat someone, but I also understand that many men would rather work alone and hope for the best outcome at the end..... maybe they think it'll be a grand surprise and then get let down when they get blown out of the water (LOL!!!).
The takeaway for me is: Good things beget good things, and we're always learning and trying harder for the next time so long as there's a reason to...... but there HAS to be a reason. There HAS to be a motivation.... sick, broken or healthy. Maybe it is a carrot, or a appreciation hit....... is that really a bad thing? I remember how when I was 1st married, W would joke about "training me"..... HAHAHAHA... I know there's nothing special or unique about that. Don't leave dirty underwear around, don't leave the toilet seat up, clean..... you know, all those things us men are famous for not paying any mind to until there's a woman we love. And we change don't we? Is that a carrot? For me, I don't think it was. It was understanding what someone wanted, and willingly adapting to show appreciation and love. In time, this was no longer a thing because we had moved on to bigger and better things to work on........ She appreciated, and I responded. Now if she had been ugly about it, or didn't appreciate it at all and just demanded it..... I would not have been so eager or maybe even compliant. Maybe I would have made messes just to push her buttons if I interpreted her comments as trying to push mine. Everything is reciprocal..... and you know what? I liked being trained. I wanted to be better...... and I wanted the same from her in return. For a time, that's how it was, and it was loving and beautiful. You see, us (men) do want to please, it does drive us. A good man will move mountains for his lady, but does he want something in return? Of course he does.

I was talking to my IC a while back and we were having a fun conversation about all the husbands which come thru his door...... and he asked me what it is that all those men wanted most from their wives. I was curious....... what could it be? The stereotypical suspects: Affection, respect, sex, peace, admiration, validation? No, it was none of those. It was companionship. I thought about it, and nodded my head...... ahhhhh, yes...... wow, how did I miss this? When you boil it all down........ past all the things we want, it all comes down to that. Everything else falls in it's place naturally when you have that.... true, companionship. That's what men really want..... a friend and lover. THAT is what we sign up for when we M. THAT is what we think we are getting.  No arguing, no fighting, no secrets, no damaging barbs, no defenses. I enjoy you, and you enjoy me. I think back to my good years with W, and I see that very clearly....... when you enjoy someone just by being near them and sharing. Companionship. I'm pretty sure she thought it was pretty grand too and had all her needs met and then some.  Then I think about what gets layered on as time progresses and life happens (or MLC)..... resentments, hurts, miscommunications, distance, damage, all of which erode, companionship (or sever it). And so I ask myself, "how do you get back there?". What "blocks" that? I don't know what blocks it in women, but I do know what blocks it in men. I also know that women want an emotional connection with their men. There is no emotional connection with men while they are down. They have to be strong to be emotionally available..... maybe a better word would be healthy. Does a woman have to nurse her "regular man" back to health? Yes ladies, you do. Sorry. Men typically only have one person they confide in and put their trust in. One. Now that's a non-MLC man, what about the MLC one? I was talking to a close guy friend who went thru MLC, and burned up his M, burned up a second M, and finally settled down in M #3. Wasn't wife #1 or #2's fault......... #1 wasn't going to put up with the breakdown, #2 didn't realize she married a madman, and #3 he credits for healing him. One of these days I'm going to ask him what was it that she did, maybe it was just his time to exit the tunnel but I find it fascinating that in his mind, it was a woman who pulled him out and saved him. Interesting. Or maybe he saved himself "for her". We do like being superman, and given the chance with the possibility of success, sometimes we are. We are much more predisposed to save someone else rather than ourselves. I just don't discount the power of women and the magnetism they can have over us...... and I don't think this is exclusive to some "new" R...... I think men desperately want to connect with their W..... MLC or not. They only give up when they think it is impossible (their fault or not). Man (with a few exceptions) will not live without connection: he'll sacrifice almost anything for it. If this one is deemed impossible, and another is deemed possible, he will move towards the possible. I guess most women and men are the same in that aspect (MLC or not).

-SS   
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Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#18: April 03, 2021, 06:46:31 AM
I found the book Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus (1992) written by American author and relationship counselor John Gray, explains the differences quite well.
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A quote from a recovered MLCer: 
"From my experience if my H had let me go a long time ago, and stop pressuring me, begging, and pleading and just let go I possibly would have experienced my awakening sooner than I did."

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Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#19: April 03, 2021, 06:50:15 AM
My therapist wrote this to me last week and it it true for all of us:

I also hope that you know it is my wish for your needs of the heart to always be met with the utmost care, exquisite kindness and devoted attention that I believe they deserve

I see the pattern in several members of the inability of our loved one to express feelings, avoid any talk that isn't superficial....I don't know if they feel anything inside or not.

I have had two huge losses in the last 2 weeks, my dog and my sister. The outpouring from my friends and family and the words and expressions they impart are "real"...they have compassion and emotion and a collective "understanding" because we have all lost someone we love and the feelings of grief are understood.

His contact is totally different. Clinical, the appropriate words but void of any feeling.

Mermaid wrote a great deal about anhedonia, she too lives with her husband and was often frustrated by his lack of ability to meet her needs.

I tried to make sure I was spelling it correctly and this page details briefly what anhedonia is.
https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/anhedonia#symptoms

All the occasions where we know there should be something beautiful, like Easter, is clouded by something we want and cannot have, a connection to them that we cannot "feel".

The article talked about the difficulty of "treating this" and maybe it just can't be.

I wonder, if they cannot express or shown true feelings...are they somehow in them anyway and if so...where do those feelings go?
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"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" Hebrews 11:1

"You enrich my life and are a source of joy and consolation to me. But if I lose you, I will not, I must not spend the rest of my life in unhappiness."

" The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it". Flannery O'Connor

https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

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Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#20: April 03, 2021, 09:41:17 AM
Now I am going to say something that may not seem especially kind at first. I say it with love because it helped me.

You cannot change other people.

My expectations hurt my feeling more than anything else. I could not make rational decisions about my life or marriage while I was in my feelings.

So I did this back and forth examining over and over all the ways in which my H was failing to meet the “bare minimum” that was in reality my own expectations.

I couldn’t see the emotional vulnerability that was being handed to me because it wasn’t the emotional vulnerability I wanted. I couldn’t see the love care or concern that was being given to me....because it wasn’t in a form I understood or saw.

To see it I had to get to a point where I gave up all my expectations of another person and grieved them. On the other side of that grief and acceptance was understanding and an ability to see all that I had been looking for.

My advice.....every time he does something that upsets you, disappoints you or isn’t what you need or want.....tell yourself “I cannot change other people” then journal.....find that expectation you were holding whatever it is (being listen too, having a conversation, your words having an affect on other people ect) write down over and over and over that you can no longer expect that from your H until it sinks in and you begin to grieve that. Let yourself grieve the loss of that expectation. It is only your ego that is wounded really anyway.
Then bring the focus back to yourself. If this is true (I can no longer expect xyz from H) then I must give it to myself. How can I give xyz to myself?

IT SUUUUUUUUUUCKS! I hated it. I hated every minute of that work. It was hard. It hurt enormously. But can you trust me when I say there is so much freedom and love and joy on the other side of all of that work?

Anyways.....that’s my suggestion. Deal with the emotions first then you can make accurate and Untriggered decisions about the situation.

Send you love Barbie.

❤️ Courage ❤️
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« Last Edit: April 03, 2021, 09:42:34 AM by Couragedearheart »
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BD March 31 2019
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Status: I’m done. Stbxh remorseful, texts and apologizes a lot, is in therapy and several treatment teams.
“God allows us to feel the frailty of human love so we’ll appreciate the strength of his.” C.S. Lewis

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Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#21: April 03, 2021, 09:44:28 AM

Hey T  ;D
Super awesome.... love your thoughts and questions. So deep.

But it sounds as if your experience is that men need to feel appreciated for what they do more than who they are, and that women play some big role in affirming their value in their own eyes?
YES!! Men are what they do (many men, not all) and it is who they are and what they are. This is how they identify. "This is what I do, this is what I am". notice how in men who retire, many struggle with it. To transition into just being themselves, many can't do it. We measure our worth by the value we bring others. When that value is questioned, rejected or unable to be provided, then our reason for existing comes into question: "Do I have value? What use am I?".   To go from having value, to not (for whatever reason) is an enormous blow to men.

At the same time, I am concerned that our wider society seems to have a lot of angry, resentful men....men who 'need' women but also feel a level of what can only be described as rage or contempt towards them. And a lot of women who feel afraid and shortchanged by what seems to be acceptable in male behaviour writ large.
Oh you are hitting the nail on the head. This is rearing it's ugliness in so many ways. What you are seeing is men rebelling. I've studied this in-depth as I saw a (male) poster refer the the MGTOW (Men Going Their Own Way) movement which is gaining steam, and is SOOOOOO destructive.
Here is what that is, and a man doesn't have to identify himself as a MGTOW or "red pill" (as they call themselves) to grab on to that these people are espousing.: A man tries and gets burned by a woman, and he checks out, he quits. He is defeated. These people are broken and ruined. They believe in becoming lovers of themselves and turning from what constitutes a good man and embracing what a bad man (a loser) is. They become users of women, and glorify self...... all under the guise (and pain) of being hurt. They embrace their own pursuits, pleasures and work simply because their own efforts (work) bring them satisfaction and safety (without the danger of being hurt/rejected again). They cease being men under the illusion that now for the 1st time they are men. Nonsense. Such a lie. I am ashamed that men have fallen so much...... but they are not solely to blame..... you see, their "shift" has everything to do with women. Whatever pain that laid them low, it always, ALWAYS has it's genesis with a women. They seek to break the magnetic attraction we have for women, and in turn only seek to serve themselves. Such danger, such self-indulgent destructive garbage. It is the destruction of society and the family unit: when men abandon their abode because it no longer provides what it needs. How is this fixed? The solution is with women...... it always has been. Women have changed so much in the last 50 years, some would say for the better and I would say "in ways" but also in terrible ways as well. You see, once a man is not needed, then he has no value..... he becomes disposable. What a man needs, is to be needed. What happens when women "don't need no man"? He loses value, and a man without value, doesn't value anyone else. He turns inwards because their is nothing to turn to outwards. In this, women are losing men wholesale.... and women are getting angry about it. I hear at work (nonstop) where did all the men go? They're quitting, and it's only getting worse...... but the answer is not with men, it's with women.       

I guess what struck me most was two things.

Men who cede this 'power' to women to affirm their sense of self so much are, of course, exactly the kind of men who find other women (and/or other external stuff) to feed that need. And standard ow types seem to be better at trading affirmation for accountability, attention for control perhaps. Or perhaps it is just the difference between the level of attention or affirmation in a less mature relationship with less 'adult' responsibilities, idk. But it often seems as if MLC spouses simply transfer the 'power' you describe to another person. Which I guess works for them until or unless it doesn't.

Nail on the head again (you are so very smart T)  ;)
Men seek connection and companionship. It is a need, not a want. Just as important as food or air, and we starve without it (I'm guessing this is the same for women, but I don't know - I'm not one).  I'm not an MLC'er, so I don't directly know what is in the head of the MLC-man or the intensity of feelings an MLC-man has. What I do know is what a man feels for a woman and how clouded we get. It makes complete sense to me that an MLC-man would connect or rather falsely connect to someone when he doesn't have connection elsewhere (his M). Men are easy to confuse when it comes to emotion. We aren't really good at it, and I can't say enough about the need to be needed. For all the W's with their men in the throws of MLC, I'm so sorry. They really are totally lost while in the middle of it and I say that because I know, I know that I would be lost if I was in the middle of one. Extremes of emotion (real or imagined) and a man gets stupid really quick....... but, when he is receptive (in moments of clarity or if he is coming out).... oh the power you have. You have no idea. Why? Because what he wants, what he needs, is you. Why do MLC-men come sniffing around as they emerge? Com'on ladies, you know the answer..... don't you?


The second thing is that many LBS here genuinely seemed to value their pre MLC spouse highly. And to carry a bit more than the fair share of adulting perhaps without necessarily receiving the same level of affirmation or 'go you'? I don't know if that crosses genders, if the male LBS experience is similar. But what seems self-evident to me is that, when a spouse does things unilaterally that fundamentally change the landscape of the relationship, that break trust and safety in it, necessarily all those issues of affirmation and appreciation change too. And that there is something potentially very unhealthy about trying to affirm someone who is devaluing you. (I think Chump Lady calls it a 'b!tc# cookie' lol, when we roll out a parade for someone doing the bare minimum of decent human adult regardless). Which is why the landscape is so different in reviving an essentially healthy relationship with things like Love Languages as opposed to working out what to do with a profoundly broken one that you did not break. My ability or honesty in giving positive strokes to a husband who built me an imperfect arch, say, is rather different in the context of him having stolen marital funds or had an affair or hurt my children or jeopardised my wellbeing without apparent concern than it was before I experienced those things.

I have not read a single thing from Chump-Lady, but I have heard of her.
To me (and I could be wrong) this is the female version of MGTOW..... a hurt and damaged person who "checks out" in bitterness. It's understandable, but pitiful.
Just as men have the obligation to be men, so too do women. Either side that abandons their station brings down the whole structure.
Can one side be wrong? Absolutely. Does this excuse a situation where the other side cascades into calamity? Absolutely not.
I mean, my W could spin off into destruction at any time. It's possible. Does that give me a pass to quit, cease being a good man, and turn into a dirty, rat-filth, loser? No of course not.
I think there's a big difference in timing, of when to "reach out".... and that is important when dealing with someone who "devalues you". If someone is in the middle of MLC..... detach. Nothing else really to do (although paving the way is a great idea). When they're coming out, have exited or are having moments of clarity..... now that's a different story entirely.


Why do you think so many men might have this 'need' from the women in their life, Standing?
And what do you think about what women 'need' from the men in their life? And reciprocity?
Because that is how we were made. It is how we are designed.
I know some people are not religious, and I don't mean to offend but maybe this will illuminate a point in way that makes sense (for the LBS-W) on the construction of man......  and how we are different:
Adam lost a rib to make Eve...... something was taken from him, to construct her. Nothing has taken from Eve to create Adam. Note the difference.
Man is commanded to love women.
Woman is commanded to respect man. Note the difference.
What does this say? You can see it in your everyday......
Man is incomplete without woman. Hence we seek to impress, to get validation from, to "earn" affirmation from, and get commitment from. That's men. Incomplete. You think a rib was the only thing that was removed? It wasn't.  Incomplete is man.
Woman by contrast didn't have anything removed. The fairer of the sexes does not have the "incomplete" void that man does. What is her attraction for man? The answer is: For what he is. By extension also, what he does.
See the need for his behavior? See how this is changing in women, and what effect it is having on man?
People think that women yield to men because they are physically weaker, this is not true. Men yield to women because they are inherently incomplete and what has removed was the emotional complexity or rather emotional processing/reasoning ability. Why do men attach solely to one? Because she and only she can regulate his emotions and help him understand emotion itself. In this, he gives trust and becomes vulnerable in a way he will never be with anyone else. Companionship. Why do women have a need and desire to have an emotional connection with their H? Because their function at it's core is to connect with man and grab on to his emotions which he can't handle himself. Companionship. Just as he has a need to directly impact her life thru his work, she impacts his life directly thru her work. One physical, one emotional...... both equally necessary for the other to be healthy. Thus both benefit and are satisfied. 


My sense fwiw - and I might be wrong - is that Barbie is struggling less with a fear that her h will do these things again and more with a sense of feeling profoundly unseen and unheard by her h while he requires her to keep doling out the b!tc# cookies. That it is much more about reciprocity and respect than love or fear.
I don't know..... but if he is coming out, or is out, or something like that...... then I know he is a puddle, a blubbering mess, a broken shattered man. Any post-MLC'er man will be this, right? After reintegration has to come healing, and I think the potential groundwork for healing can begin even before this. Some can get up on their own, and most can't. Is it fair? Nope. It is right? Nope. Is there any justice? Yes. A good person only becomes more good as they continue to do good. The bad, the broken, the scared, the shamed...... they know what they are and what they did, forever. Not one day will pass without it crossing their minds at least once. If we love them, then we help them (if we can). It is mercy to forgive that which society says we can never forgive. It is love to forget and forgive that which is unforgiveable and unforgettable.
"Love is patient, love is kind...... It does not envy, it does not boast.... it is not proud. It does not dishonor others... it is not self-seeking.... it is not easily angered.... it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It ALWAYS protects, ALWAYS trusts, ALWAYS hopes, ALWAYS perseveres."

-SS
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Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#22: April 03, 2021, 09:53:02 AM
I sooo appreciate this conversation. I am reading and taking it all in , processing and will add my feelings about it all.  So much to say .  This is not a hi-jack to me , this is wisdom being shared with me .  I just need to think and absorb this wisdom before I respond. I thank you all so much .
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Married April 1985
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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
#23: April 03, 2021, 10:01:44 AM
Wow a couple wonderful, insightful posts here, I hate you are at the end of your thread, Barbie.

You can bring them to your new thread if you'd like.
I would hate to have them overlooked.
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A quote from a recovered MLCer: 
"From my experience if my H had let me go a long time ago, and stop pressuring me, begging, and pleading and just let go I possibly would have experienced my awakening sooner than I did."

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Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#24: April 03, 2021, 10:05:11 AM
To the other conversation that is happening here.....

In a partnership based on love from both parties....there are going to be lots of moments where your spouse does not meet your expectations. Now you are choosing what is more important....my expectations being perfectly met....or responding in love to the effort of my partner?  The answer is not going to be the same for every incident.

If the balance is in responding with love for the most part....then you will get a more gracious response when you need to say “hey....it actually has to make expectations this time”.

This isn’t a black and white issue.

I know a woman who is happily married to the most disaster prone man I’ve ever met....he can literally break things he hasn’t even touched yet. She is appreciative of his effort, his ideas, his creativity and she joyfully giggles at the disasters.....because if you are going to be creative you will have to have a certain amount of failures factored in.

For some people....they cannot handle that. It’s not wrong of them that they can’t....it’s just their comfort level with lack of control.

You have to know what sort of person you are....and then make choices for yourself that aren’t going to have you tolerating things that are intolerable to you.

Men look for approval and praise, and live in a society that tells them there only worth is what they can produce, money, building things, or achievements. It shouldn’t be that way, but it is.
Women are taught to accept the bare minimum. To put everyone else’s feelings before their own. To make themselves small and pleasant and to find their worth externally.

A woman in her power is calm, she receives graciously and with love and warmth and openness. She is confident within herself, she cares for those around her without overextending or breaking herself, she knows how and when to delegate. She is the emotional stability in her home.
 A man in his power is protective, he provides...it is his joy to attend to her needs. He thinks of others, not just self protection. He knows when to delegate and it does not diminish him to do so. He is consistent, forthright and honest....he provides the physical stability in a home and can be counted on.

Most of us aren’t in our own power. We aren’t as healed as we want others to be. But our own healing has a ripple effect in our social circles. And we only heal when focusing on ourselves and our own growth.

Just my opinion....for what it’s worth.

Courage
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EA discovered 3/31/2019
BD March 31 2019
He left 10/6/2020
Status: I’m done. Stbxh remorseful, texts and apologizes a lot, is in therapy and several treatment teams.
“God allows us to feel the frailty of human love so we’ll appreciate the strength of his.” C.S. Lewis

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Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#26: April 05, 2021, 10:17:36 AM
I'm here too!

Welcome to your new thread!
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A quote from a recovered MLCer: 
"From my experience if my H had let me go a long time ago, and stop pressuring me, begging, and pleading and just let go I possibly would have experienced my awakening sooner than I did."

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Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#27: April 05, 2021, 10:22:30 AM
Hello barbiedoll and all, I’m just checking in and catching up. Great sidebar on appreciation, etc.

barbie, back to the conversations you’ve had with your h’s brother — I served as the protector of my siblings too. It took decades for me to unhook from that role, and I was surprised and stunned and glad to, finally. And it was only just a few years ago that I did.

I’m wondering if on top of a native consideration to shield his younger siblings and not trouble them with whatever he faces or feels, it might also be that your husband feels or perceives that his siblings (at least this one younger brother) are still dependent on him for something. They shouldn’t be, really, but old family dynamics and roles are difficult to step down or away from. Not saying it’s something that needs to be addressed or that isn’t being addressed in its own way; just reading this part of your story with one of my own filters.

When I think that my own h might ever return, I strongly suspect there won’t be much discussion about “what happened”. I’ve seen him do many minor atonement actions prior to the latest hard separation, so I know those humble, ordinary, consistent actions are part of his ask for my forgiveness and trust repair. My own atonements were mostly written or verbal, or gentle touch or to receive affection; at present, I’m overwhelmed and at a loss, so my “atonement” now is to leave him alone. I don’t know what I would even say; there’s way too much to be said.

I can see us living in silence a lot, with nothing really explicitly explained except by those measures. And it isn’t the same as before, and also isn’t what I previously thought ideal. In my case I am pretty sure it was words that started the trouble between us, so in some way, I am ok if the solution turns out to be not so verbal.

I know maybe that doesn’t sound ideal to you either. Those of us who have a lot of words deserve to be heard or read and understood when we put them forward, especially when full of feeling or unanswered questions. We all deserve to have especially our most vulnerable questions answered, or at least acknowledged. It sounds to me (through my family filter) like your h may be still operating in an old protector role, sort of mixing it up so that he shields (or shields from) “everybody”, including himself.

That’s got to get old. He may not realize he’s still carrying that assignment, or how. Anyway, if any of it rings true for you, I can tell you that the protector role is really isolating, and for me it took my siblings establishing their own might and independence, for me to realize I hadn’t had to watch over or worry about them in some long time, and didn’t need to anymore. I guess what I’m saying is it sounds like your BIL has some dependency issues or some area in which he hasn’t taken the lead in his own life. And if that perception is correct, I hope there will be healing in other parts of your and your h’s family so that his focus can return to self, you, your marriage enjoyments, and your kids.

For sure, I am always hoping the best for you. (((HUGS)))
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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#28: April 10, 2021, 07:30:00 AM
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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.
 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..

Yes. It is entirely possible that he may never process his issues. Period. If a person is extremely skilled at compartmentalization, perhaps they can “box up all issues” and never take the lid off. What a waste of a crisis. What was the point of it all then? . IF my H has “demons eating away at him” , he is brilliant and masterful at hiding this. To be fair, our marriage counsellor emphatically told me the same…he is in much internal pain, guilt, anguish etc about the things he has done and things he cannot address or talk about. Surely these are very “unsafe” man as I see none of that in our daily lives and interactions. This is why so many LBS suffer such extreme shock when life explodes…we saw nothing of the internal storm brewing…until it blows up our lives.
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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.

I am certain my H would be suicidal if he was to become his father. Nothing would or could ever be worse. His number 1 driving force his entire life has been NOT to become his father . It was extremely difficult for my H to have made mistakes ( huge mistakes) and they became public knowledge.  It’s a huge fall off that pedestal . But I believe he neatly compartmentalizes this mess into a mental box and does not then need to feel it or deal with it.  I only know he detests anything similar to his father because he told this to the counsellor in my presence..more than once .

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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?
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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


They “get to control what they don’t get”…this is very interesting to me. My H does not “get” a lot of things from me . Living with someone you see as avoidant does not bring out the warm fuzzies in a women.  It creates distance from me …and isn’t that what avoidant want?   How very interesting this statement is.  Yes, walls , secrets, silence absolutely keeps out all the good stuff too. Seems OK with them , otherwise something would change ( one would assume) . When I say “win” it really is meant to describe my deep frustration and a kinda throw up your emotional hands in defeat . You win because I quit . I quit ( detach) because it is far too painful, it ignites rage, it exhausts me and I made a decision to look after ME rather than keep knocking on all your closed doors.  Zero expectations for change at this point .  I need to rest in every way imaginable .  It is important to also recognize that the “pursuer” in me ( I have an anxious pre-occuppied attachment style) has left the building. I have done years of work on myself and I can say with total honesty that the need to pursue is gone. I believe I have healed many wounds that kept me in that role for a very long time. I simply no longer am driven by that any longer.

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

No , you cannot make it up . Thanks for this.  It is in fact that avoidance/pursuer dance is common in a lot of marriages ( so I am told ). Avoidants do not marry avoidants etc etc.  .  Sad but true. We are certainly not alone .
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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?

No. I am done trying to talk . We have read / listened to atleast 50 books, watched 100’s of pocasts, been to every kind of counselling etc….and never has he entered into a conversation on his own . I stopped doing all of that last year because it never resulted in conversations, sharing thoughts or opinions, likes or dislikes or anything else . Silence.

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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”

My H has been extremely clear from the start about what he wanted and still says the same. He wants to “fix what he broke”, he wants his marriage desperately , wants his family …no matter what it takes or how long it takes . He has never said differently .  My H will do anything for me , and I do mean ANYTHING.  I could make a list but it would take up the entire post as to the things he does for me.  If I even mention something that I like…. he finds it, builds it or buys it. There is nothing he cannot build , fix or renovate. Last week I said what a pain it is to search for the bedroom lamp in the dark . There is no ceiling light.  There is now!   And as much as I am grateful and appreciate this , it is not what I wanted. I just wanted him. That’s it . To talk to me , to show up, to be honest and open, to share , to be vulnerable and present. When I say that …he blankly stares at me and gets emotional.

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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).
Some truths in this story. My H has said that the affair – OW made him feel very appreciated . I asked him “ for what ? what did you do for her ?”.   He could not think of 1 thing .  He felt appreciated in some twisted way by how “happy” she was when he showed up. Wow!.  My H love language is words of affirmation.  Sounds like the distancer/pursuer dance is alive and well in your parents marriage and perhaps not giving the other what they need instead of what they want to give each other .  My H appears to need to be “celebrated “ for every nice thing he does. Exhausting.  My H feels judged and criticized by me . He has extreme reactions to criticism , it is a huge shut down trigger . But he can twist everything into a criticism .   I truly do avoid ( I will call it detach) at this point in my marriage. 
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do you think he would see avoidance in you?
Very likely he does . He has never said..likely never would. He is just happy for “peace” at any cost , so he would never do or say anything to change “peace”.   He is mistaken of course . When a women stops talking or interacting  she is either done or very close to it. 

The stalemate has to be broken by us
Many things I have read say that the “pursuer” ( me ) needs to change.  Has to “go 1st”.  That is just sick, trust me ..it is just unacceptable in everyway. But that is the advice given

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How to Avoid the Pursuer-Distancer Pattern in Your Relationship (gottman.com)
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But his departure and affair shifted her reality and the marriage

Yes. This is absolutely true. I can tell you that when BD happened , he repeatedly told me that I “settled” for him, that he could not make me happy. Why did I settle for him, he asked over and over. I denied “settling” …even though in many ways , I did. And he must have been aware of this. Now I am not able to “settle” for less than a real connection, for openness and vulnerability.  I am not sure what will ever happen if I cannot achieve this . I do not believe it will happen . Then I have some massive decisions to make. I have told him all of this.

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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.

I think maybe he went back into the “tunnel”  or , he just gave up. There was a change from talking , reading etc and back to “shut down”  emotionally. He “triggers” more than I do …according to our therapist . My triggers are messy and loud and his reaction to triggers is to shut down . He is “flooded “ apparently , but this “shut down “ is a trigger response. A defence mechanism from FOO. My presentation triggers him….I turn into his dad. It is no secret that I have been enraged for a long time. I am aggressive , blunt and can swear like a sailor if pushed far enough. He needs “ Tinker-firetruckin_belle , and I am not her. He turns into my mother …cold, disconnected, dismissive and emotionally abandoning and that is my triggers. I have healed many many parts of this and am not nearly as reactive …but I sure was. I am not “safe”.   He is full of shame . Not just from his affair…but deep shame from childhood.  Again, I only know this because the therapist told me .   I gave him an article to read . It was about what it was like to live with an avoidant person. It was about ME and my experience and how I feel.  He took it as 100% criticism and a list of all the things he “does wrong”. Conversation over.
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And on the flip side, why would you continue to accept things you don't want if you never get what you do want because the other person thinks they are "giving"  what you want, when it is really what they want?

Question of the year right here !. I ask myself this many times.
I don't believe avoidants "win". There is no win in this situation as it stands, and it doesn't help when part of your emotional support (your daughters and grandchildren) are not available to you in an in person way. The only choices we have are to accept what is, change ourselves, or change our situation. Accepting what is seems untenable for you. Is it?

I accepted who he was and how he was likely 20 years ago.  I did not know the reasons he shut down ( like I do now) . I did accept it and stopped pursuing that from him. I “settled” and got on with it .  I sometimes felt guilty for doing that …maybe that’s why he had an affair . ( my thinking at BD) . Marriages with little emotional connection are vulnerable to affairs afterall. Accept it again??.  Hmmmm ?  It is curious that a person ( my H and other avoidant men) avoid or are not capable of true vulnerability or connection, and then THEY become unhappy with their marriage . Huh?.  At BD he had a 100 complaints about his marriage . It was staggering .  I fully understand that his MLC, his shut down , his defences are NOT and never were about me or my marriage and accepting that fact set me free from blame and guilt. I don’t want to accept it again.  I just can’t . So for now I am involved with only ME .

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If he is so afraid that something he has done will make you think less of him that he makes you think less of him by withholding that information, what kind of Hell do you think his mind is going through? That if you know, you will hate him, or might leave? If his mask falls, you will see all that he is and it isn't perfect? That if he reveals all, he cannot put the worms back into the can and pretend like he "can manage just fine"? That YOU will get to judge everything that he is? I cannot imagine the terror that someone might feel to think actual reality might escape and they'd have to face it all if they have been avoiding all of their life.

Thank you Offroad . This is what it is all about really . If he is tormented, full of shame and terror…I don’t see it. Period. He spent a lot of money …a lot.  He was caught in a casino many many times while he was gone ( I had access to his bank account online) . I had no idea . Trust me ..none. He has refused to offer a full explanation of where this money went. He admits to gambling . But when? For how long has that been going on? Why?  How did you not know that a day would come when you have to explain?   Why would you do that to us?  A million questions that he will not answer. Shame and guilt , I have been told by therapists and he is in much internal pain as a result . Tormented . I have actually been told to “leave it alone” as it could result is some “physcological break”.   So I have .  BUT there is nothing right about accepting a man who refuses to be accountable or explain or show remorse for what he has done.  In fact if he is pushed ..he will blame me. Are they not red flags to any self respecting women?   The pile of bank printouts he needs to explain has been on the corner of his desk for years . The therapist is “working on this” with him.  Sure.
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If you thought of your H as a man terrified of his own memories and thoughts, what would you say to him?

It would be something I would have to “know” myself.  If I tried to talk to him from this point of view , he would deny it. Then I am not sure of myself. I believe it is true…but I would need to remind myself and remember. It’s a helpful state

I am tired . Exhausted and flat . I have more to comment on , trust me , but it is overwhelming and I will come back to it later. I so appreciate everyone.  We were placed into an "emergency brake" lockdown.  And all health officials and those in the "know"  felt it was far too lenient . So now we have new restrictions. Ontario is under a state of emergency with a stay-at-home order . It will be enforced with fines etc. ALL non-essential services closed and all items deemed non-essential have been roped or blocked off in stores . No restaurants open period.  Only 5 people outdoors and NO one allowed in your home. Its tight...its scary at this point . This is the 3rd time and getting harder and harder to do.   My daughters were born in Jan, Feb, March , April and May. ( imagine?) . This is the 2nd year I have mailed a birthday gift and not been able to see them .  I cannot see an end .

I picked-up the cream for this skin cancer ..516.00 dollars. Holy!  . Now its a big scabby mess . Ugh!.  So I am careful now with sunscreen and a baseball hat ( no where to buy a cute girlie sunhat!) , hair tied up and out in the greenhouse. I tell you , I am one sexy looking garden pixy today !   Had enough of it all.   The slightly good news is that H's counsellor called to say she was still permitted to see him and set an appointment for him. She had to change offices to accommodate the "rules", but he is to continue to attend.  That surprises me...but its good. Onward we go ...
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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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#29: June 25, 2021, 06:37:36 PM
Hello my friends . Been awhile since I updated my story although I have attempted to several times.  I find I am very easily overwhelmed and left with an inability to find the words to express myself clearly.  It is very frustrating to me as I have always been the opposite , always felt sharp , on my game and easily described emotions etc. Not so much anymore and I am not really sure why that is. Regardless, the last string of conversation was overwhelming and I have just bowed out for a bit and looked for ways to find myself again. A little lost perhaps . What I do recognize internally is my own journey of "transition or "mid-life crisis " ( if you will ) , a need to be alone , a need to just be quiet and reflective.  Alone with my own thoughts is where I am most at peace it seems.  I have been rather inactive here on HS as I have felt very little to offer at the moment ..but I do read along at times.

Life for me right now is spent in the garden or busy at some crafty idea on the porch .  I am content with my own company . I often listen to Ted Talks, books or videos that help me continue to figure out who I am and what I want to do or accomplish as I move forward. Funny, being in lockdown has been rather good for my tired soul . I have done some online courses, talked with my therapist occasionally and been ...for the most part...content.  I no longer believe I am a crazy "pursuer" , in fact the exact opposite . I have no more questions, I have very realistic expectations of what he is and is not capable of  and I have come to a place of acceptance of who he is and why he did what he did. I think I understand now ...although it does not erase the pain, the anguish and the deep breech of trust. But I understand.  And I simply do not "fight it " anymore.  In many ways I am aware that I will not get all of my needs as a women met .  I am very aware and perhaps that is what much of the thinking is about.   The reality is there is not 1 person that can meet all your needs anyway...maybe I need a village too. But specifically , the need wives have to feel safe, to feel heard, to feel desired and to be a safe place.....none of that will be available to me in this marriage .  Hard to say out loud...but in many ways an incredible relief to stop pursuing those things .  I no longer feel any need to do that . It is simply gone.  My rage that kept me stuck for years is also simply gone.  And I had the deepest rage ever imaginable ...ever. For a very very long time. I understand that now as well and it has resolved and left me some peace. Atleast I hope so . Hopefully it is not still lurking somewhere and re-visits because it was indeed killing me and anyone that tried to come near me.  I am in some period of change internally and hopefully it leads me to some happiness , gratitude and calm acceptance.

I have been listening to the Empowered Wife . I have not finished nor do I have a final impression on what I think.  Since I frequently feel like spitting, and have several times told this book to firetruck off and I hide it from my daughters ...its not looking good.  It frequently makes me feel like if I can act like some kind of firetrucking dumsel in distress it will bring out the rescuing hero in my husband and all will be well in the world.  Sounds like the act the OW presented  and my Knight In Shining Armour took the bait. So it worked for her...just saying.  I taught my daughters none of this.  None of these ways of rather manipulating a man to get what you want. To lower yourself etc etc.  However, having said all that , there are some truths in this book as well so its rather a bag of mixed emotions. She talks about who men have a high need to have a "happy" wife.   I cannot tell you how many times my husband has said " I could not make you happy".   Many women ( including my brilliant , independent , career friend) say it saved her marriage.  Hmmmm?  Anyway, I will finish the damn book.  Much of the previous conversations  were similar to what this book is about. 

My H continues in therapy with our marriage counsellor. Even thru lockdown, she has seen him.  She says I will be "invited to return" when she thinks he is "ready". So far it has been a year.  She will see a change in me as I have no doubt she has never dealt with such unpredictable rage as she witnessed with me .  She asked him to read  Recovering From Emotionally Immature Parents  by Alison Gobsin so we downloaded it and listened to the entire book. Eye opener...could have been written about my H word for word.  His idea to listen , he downloaded it and he brought it into the den several times a week to listen to ...I am done with pushing any of it.  It was a great book and answered so many of my questions... another step to acceptance of who he is and why.   He ( of course) says nothing personal or insightful . We listen to a chapter and he disappears.  Always dodging interactions or opportunities for connection. So what he thinks or feels about this book....no clue.  He is a man with a broken voice.  It was broken by his father who was far more than just emotionally immature. I think he beat the voice out of him.  I have no control over whether or not he will ever find his voice .  He has asked me why I am so quiet ... I told him " you have told me a million times that I am not safe. I believe you now ".   And I carry on.  That confuses the hec out of him ... but it is the truth.  And a further truth is no one is safe to him. He has never experienced that .

He appears happy. He has lost 25 lbs and has decreased his his insulin and finally has his horrible diabetic problems under control. He is cancer free. He has a hobby for the 1st time in his entire life that is not about me and kids . He spends quality alone time and has improved his selfcare ...that he previously knew nothing about. He will do anything for me, he seems to follow me and sit close by ....in silence .  He can sit is silence  beside me for an hour and just watch .  Odd . But I am finally ok with this . He is behind at work as he has not been able to travel due to covid ...so he has been home 99% of the time . He will be a busy man once he can fly.  All is well ...at least externally. He has many internal secrets  I suspect.  Broken voices do that.

I am hopeful to see my counsellor soon as well but we are the only region that will not be entering Phase 2 as a result of an outbreak and cases of the variant increasing.  So I still cannot see her for a bit . I have much to talk to her about and was hopeful things were easing, but no such luck.    I continue on my journey and he on his . They are not tightly intertwined anymore . I am separate from him and learning more about ME and not so much about us.  Perhaps not ideal in terms of reconciliation , marriage, intimacy etc....but it is my reality. And I am OK.
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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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#30: June 25, 2021, 09:57:33 PM
Ah, Barbie, you sound good, really good. That kind of peace which is pretty hard to describe in words but such a relief to feel after years of turmoil. Acceptance is a kind of strange superpower, isn’t it? So pleased for you....x
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T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.
Healing and growing found here https://littleplotbythesea.wordpress.com

"Option A is not available so I need to kick the s**t out of Option B" Sheryl Sandberg

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#31: June 25, 2021, 10:06:42 PM
Good to hear from you Barbie. You sound like you indeed found your peace. Thank you for sharing. I am myself still in limbo land. Sometimes I want to divorce my H and sometimes I feel like continuing doing where we’re at which is he comes to my place whenever he feels like. I’m trying to still figure out why I am accepting this although deep inside I want to get away from all this. I don’t know what’s keeping me from leaving; ok perhaps fear of being alone. One day I will be where you are now, acceptance. Hugs
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Me 45
H    48
Married 13 yrs no kids
BD May 2019 (I moved out Nov 2019)
EA or PA with ex gf (not sure), H spent 3 nights with the hoe during our vacation in July 2019, it was a friendly encounter according to H
H wanted D April 2020 but didn’t file it
Contact never stopped, H now wants to reconcile
Me not sure

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#32: June 25, 2021, 10:54:02 PM
I'm not so good with the "a man needs a happy wife". That's not your job to make him feel good by being "happy". My xh kept telling me I was unhappy, when I wasn't until he started acting like a jerk. So he behaves in a way that causes me to be unhappy due to his behavior, and I am supposed to ignore it? Not for me. Maybe not for you, either, but maybe there is some gem in the book.

I'm glad you are finding what you like, sitting quietly with yourself. Finding your own center can be very peaceful. I find music helps me, as does creating, so I get the crafting and garden part of your forward movement.

You should be proud of all you have accomplished.
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When life gives you lemons, make SALSA!

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#33: June 26, 2021, 07:28:47 AM
Wow Barbie,
Reading through your story so much resonates with my situation except my XH left and is with the OW although is trying to hold on to me emotionally. I finally had to go NC as it is unhealthy. I decided he needed to live his life and I need to live mine as if it is over. If he hasn’t worked through his issues it is not my job to so his emotional work for him at my expense and while some other woman is wined and dined.

It takes really strong women/men to stick by spouses that cheat, lie and gaslight. I think I held on to the hope that I could save my family. I like you also can self reflect and also realize that I was unhappy with his inability  to communicate and fill my needs which also made me more critical of him. In the end you can’t  save a marriage on your own and you cant beg someone to want to communicate and work through issues. I know the baggage he carries is continuing, but with more weight into his new relationship( if you can even call it a relationship. He calls it filling time and a distraction) 

I have told my XH that I hope when the fog clears that he can see the love that was there in the 30 years and that he can stop rewriting history. What I do know without a doubt is at some point he will realize he was searching for love he had within his family, but most importantly within himself.

The love and dedication that men and women display to those that leave is the same love and dedication we deserve. They will never find more dedication and love. I have also many times told my RH that I wish I had a ME in my life. Someone that stuck by me at my worst and still loved me through it all. I will never understand how they dont appreciate it and realize how good they have it. What I do know is I do have a ME in my life and it is ME.

Barbie you have shown strength, dedication and you have really put yourself behind the needs of your H. I did that also. It did not pay off for me. At least at this point. I am more and more detached as the weeks carry on. I hope your H comes out of the fog and things begin to change for you both. Would love to see a another happy ending on here

M 1991
B-28 D-30 D-14 ( deceased cancer)
Moved out Jan 2018
BD march 2018
Moved back Oct 2018
BD Nov 2020 OW yes
Filed divorce Dec 2020
Divorced Feb 2021


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H-54 W-58  M 7/6/91 Kids d-30 s-28 d-14 (dies 2009)
2013- moments of disconnect start
Aug 2016 promotion requires travel   
Oct 2017-total disconnect
Jan 2018- moved out H
Mar 2018- BD1 found old phone 3 EA ‘17-H in therapy
EA ow1-49,  EA-ow2 57, (EA- ow3-58 not reciprocated)
Sept ‘18 -2nd Home in new state H new job
Oct 2018-H moves home
Oct 2020 BD2 does not return home from B trip
Nov 2020 H move to 2nd home in other state OW4
Div filed-Dec ‘20   Div final-Feb ‘21
Oct 2021- XH moves in OW4
https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=11796.

b
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#34: June 26, 2021, 08:40:06 AM
Thank you for your comments . Tornup, I have been here a very very long time . I am an " oldie" .. since 2013.  In the beginning my H also left our home to pursue OW ..although he would deny that .  The OW was a family member which created betrayals in many people and there is a permanent non-fixable ( forever) split in the "family".  I have lost many people that mattered to me very much...I guess I never mattered as I thought I did. We had been married 25 years and we have 5 daughters that were profoundly impacted by the betrayal of their father and their so called "aunt".   So my story started as many do with a monster , a skilled liar , gaslighting , cheating spouse that I had met was I was 12 years old.  He was out of the house approx 4 months ...and then begged to return....uncommon , but that's the story.   I am a firm 100% believer in no-contact and that is what I did ...as you say , the trauma of seeing him was so extremely painful, I refused any contact with him.  I have discovered in my travels many many things that have carried me to where I am now ...and I thing that seems to be true of men that have extreme MLC's is that they have a deeply rooted avoidant attachment style and they come from deeply traumatic childhoods.  Neither thing has anything to do with us...the wives. But we will pay a cost for loving these troubled and broken men.   We have been years and years trying to recover , to understand, to keep a shattered family together . Sometimes I believe the wound was too deep and I never ever should have tried to "fix this".  Somedays I think I just might make it after all....it changes still.  I struggled with a rage that controlled every cell in my body, was diagnosed with PTSD and spent months in a trauma facility , thru him out several times ( they do not suddenly start telling the truth by the way) and loved and hated him all at the same time. And in that mix he was diagnosed with stage 2 kidney cancer, his father died and he lost his brother who he loved with everything in him.  Been on a rocky road for a very long time.   I am peaceful now ( mostly) , I concentrate on ME as a priority , my daughters are my focus and my healing is where I do my work.  It has taken me a very long time to get here...to this space and  time in my life.  I have started writing a book of sorts ....and then I stop, and then start again. It really is about Broken Voices in men that have been traumatized and not recovered, that are avoidant and "run" rather than deal with their pain ...I truly belive it .  Thank you all.   ( especially my friends here on HS who have supported me and walked thru my fire with me since 2013.)  I thank god everyday for these people .  I try to give to others what they gave to me ......
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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.

T
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#35: June 26, 2021, 09:23:01 AM
Wow, well you give me hope. I first noticed issues in 2013 when our oldest daughter got married. His realization his youngest would never marry as she passed in 2009. My daughter divorced and she announced she was remarrying and the cycle started again with the BD soon after . 6 years of extreme issues and 3 EA the. 4th OW PA. I wish I would  have found this site years ago. I did the begging and tried friendship, but I agree 7 mths in that NC is the way to go.  Thank you for sharing your story. Knowledge is everything and I get stronger with every story .
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H-54 W-58  M 7/6/91 Kids d-30 s-28 d-14 (dies 2009)
2013- moments of disconnect start
Aug 2016 promotion requires travel   
Oct 2017-total disconnect
Jan 2018- moved out H
Mar 2018- BD1 found old phone 3 EA ‘17-H in therapy
EA ow1-49,  EA-ow2 57, (EA- ow3-58 not reciprocated)
Sept ‘18 -2nd Home in new state H new job
Oct 2018-H moves home
Oct 2020 BD2 does not return home from B trip
Nov 2020 H move to 2nd home in other state OW4
Div filed-Dec ‘20   Div final-Feb ‘21
Oct 2021- XH moves in OW4
https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=11796.

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#36: June 28, 2021, 09:30:32 AM
Wow Barbie you have come a long way in your own healing!  I am very happy that you are finding peace after such a long and painful journey.  That's all we can hope to get out of this in the long run I think.  I see many similarities between our situations and I still find myself nodding along. 

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What I do recognize internally is my own journey of "transition or "mid-life crisis " ( if you will ) , a need to be alone , a need to just be quiet and reflective.  Alone with my own thoughts is where I am most at peace it seems.

This is a new thing for me as well.  After raising so many kids and trying to be super mom I never took anytime to be alone with my thoughts. Now it is a must for me to find peace. 

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I have no more questions, I have very realistic expectations of what he is and is not capable of  and I have come to a place of acceptance of who he is and why he did what he did. I think I understand now ...although it does not erase the pain, the anguish and the deep breech of trust. But I understand.  And I simply do not "fight it " anymore.

I see myself heading here as well.  Hanging up the weapons and waving the white flag of surrender.  Lots of peace to be found with this.

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I continue on my journey and he on his . They are not tightly intertwined anymore . I am separate from him and learning more about ME and not so much about us.  Perhaps not ideal in terms of reconciliation , marriage, intimacy etc....but it is my reality. And I am OK.

We are here as well.  We both are starting to express this.   He continues with therapy and just recently told me he is working on his character.  He wants to be a better H, Boss, father and friend.  I see signs of this more and more.  I continue to work on myself and my voice.  Calmly stating what my needs are a new relationship.   

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I am in some period of change internally and hopefully it leads me to some happiness , gratitude and calm acceptance

It feels you are headed on the right path for this.  I know none of this has been easy for you Barbie.  I am so happy to see you start to shine. 

Roo









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Husband 55
Me 55
Kids 3 sons 29, 27, 25 1 daughter 20
BD #1 Spring 2016
BD #2 Winter 2017
married 33 years.  Together 35
H never moved out except 3 weeks after BD #1
OW 30 year single mom employee-He says EA only I don’t believe him.

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#37: July 12, 2021, 06:57:23 PM
Thanks for the comments as always .  We are all struggling to move forward to a better place , each in our own way and pace.   I have told my H ( right or wrong) that at the end of the day, I believe we will separate and go our own way. I have been unbelievably honest with him because my personality just knows no other way. I have told him this calmly and so he "knows" and will be prepared for what will likely happen  in the future. I am not angry I am tired of struggle and feeling like there is no further place to grow and change... not for him or with him.  I have nearly 90 year old parents that I need to look out for , provide care and I know they can not take any big changes at this point in their lives. They love my H as if he walks on water and have held him as a son for near 40 years....even after he did what he did.  I have my youngest daughter still here and working flat out on year 3 of her PHD.  I have to let her finish unbothered and calm.  She already has some measure of PTSD as she went thru the storm with me . I will not and cannot do anything until she is done because I KNOW it will derail her completely. I have told him all of this . I am not hiding money in a cookie jar preparing to leave behind his back.... he is aware of all of this. It is not constantly talked about , I have told him twice and he basically has ignored me twice.  He has little to say. He just continues on as if nothing was said , takes me for surprise supper treat ( with cheesecake), buys me things , builds fabulous things all around this mansion of a house and has now rented a cottage on the ocean for 2 weeks.  It is if my words are invisible.  I just cannot find explanation .

Yesterday he asked me " why do you think we are so stuck and can't move forward?".  Ahhhh , I was just shocked as he has never voluntarily brought up an " unsafe" conversation before.  I asked him to let me think about that for a bit . He said "ok, no problem".  He will do the same.  I found this article on the printer today . I thought it was very telling of him and me that live by "man rules". I was surprised to see he is reading and researching apparently, its nothing he tells me about.  He is a closed door that I believe I could knock on forever and it would not open. So very sad indeed.

https://brickelandassociates.com/break-man-rules-talk-about-trauma/
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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.

H
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#38: July 12, 2021, 07:11:59 PM
Thank Barbie for sharing the article and I am sorry about how closed off your husband is.

As for the man rules, I definitely think there are a lot of men who live by the man rules.   As a male LBS, I have been careful which of my male friends I talk with about my marriage breakdown.   I have found two close friends who are able to talk about it but several of my other male friends can't handle it.   I have just backed off and decided to keep things with my two male friends.

Maybe someday he will eventually open up to you.  Wish you the best as you move forward to a better place with or without him.

HF
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M - 46
Together 19 years, M 17
2 kids
BD - July 2020
W Left Home - January 2021
W Filed for D - May 2021

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#39: July 13, 2021, 05:28:01 AM
I am really sorry barbie  :'( For whatever reason, your husband, mu husband and so many others cannot respond or react openly or connect fully...leaving us without our needs being met. I appreciate you sharing so well what he is like and how you feel. Not much else to say except that this road is a really difficult path.
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"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" Hebrews 11:1

"You enrich my life and are a source of joy and consolation to me. But if I lose you, I will not, I must not spend the rest of my life in unhappiness."

" The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it". Flannery O'Connor

https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

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#40: July 13, 2021, 06:36:37 AM
I suspect he HAS heard you, Barbie....he just has no idea what to say or do in response. Although his question and the article are some kind of hunting around for it probably in his own way.....

Is his IC a trauma specialist? Can’t recall.

Lot of truth in the ‘Man Rules’, I suspect, and that many men delegate emotional intelligence jobs to their wives. The sad thing is that many of us had marriages that worked pretty well with that as part of the overall partnership....but that our h’s choices just blew up the old way of being married. So we LBS can’t go back to playing that role bc they changed the name of the game completely and they don’t quite know how to adapt to that....I suspect many, including your h, wish they could.
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T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.
Healing and growing found here https://littleplotbythesea.wordpress.com

"Option A is not available so I need to kick the s**t out of Option B" Sheryl Sandberg

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#41: July 13, 2021, 06:52:21 AM
Barbie, thanks for your honesty.  You are showing us all that reconnection doesn't always lead to reconciliation.  I am a bit behind you and have no idea what is on the horizon for me as well.  I think we are both getting to a place of not being afraid of something new perhaps?  I know in my case showing my H that I have changed and the status quo of the last 34 years may not work anymore for me is totally freaking him out. 

Quote
Lot of truth in the ‘Man Rules’, I suspect, and that many men delegate emotional intelligence jobs to their wives. The sad thing is that many of us had marriages that worked pretty well with that as part of the overall partnership....but that our h’s choices just blew up the old way of being married. So we LBS can’t go back to playing that role bc they changed the name of the game completely and they don’t quite know how to adapt to that....I suspect many, including your h, wish they could.

This is spot on for me.  I hear often from my H "But ,I've always done that, or I've always been this way"  He would give anything to have us go back to the relationship we had, unfortunately it won't work for me anymore.   The entire relationship has been changed by MLC, there is no going back for me. 

I think it is important to show newbies and all others that just because our H's are back does not mean our marriage is back.  Everything has changed and we are different people. 

You seem calm and composed and at peace with whatever decision you chose to make.  Peace is a great thing to come to. 
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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#42: July 13, 2021, 10:47:58 AM
Hello,

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I think it is important to show newbies and all others that just because our H's are back does not mean our marriage is back.  Everything has changed and we are different people.

This is so important. In the early days, I followed a fantasy that if she just came back, everything would go back to normal. That's not how it works. Reconciliation is hard work and re-establishing trust when trust is lost is even harder.

((((Ready))))
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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#43: July 13, 2021, 02:10:29 PM
I think for many of us, we adapted to coexist over the years - as we grew together, we learned to compensate for differing ways of communication (or lack thereof). We trusted because we’d never been given a reason not to trust. But once that trust has been broken, we can’t simply go back and unbreak it. Rebuild it, maybe… but it will look different and be marked by the lines where the prior breaks occurred. Same with the relationship in general. We can’t just rebuild what used to be perfectly acceptable to us because now we see all those fault lines and places of vulnerability that can lead to breakage, and we can’t unsee them. And I think that if the MLCer is truly healed or healing, they see those faults too, and they also want to rebuild something different, something that avoids those faults. If they want to slide back into the exact same patterns as before, they aren’t healed yet. They might be trying, they might even be looking for answers in the right places, but they aren’t there yet.
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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#44: July 13, 2021, 11:43:43 PM
I think for many of us, we adapted to coexist over the years - as we grew together, we learned to compensate for differing ways of communication (or lack thereof). We trusted because we’d never been given a reason not to trust. But once that trust has been broken, we can’t simply go back and unbreak it. Rebuild it, maybe… but it will look different and be marked by the lines where the prior breaks occurred. Same with the relationship in general. We can’t just rebuild what used to be perfectly acceptable to us because now we see all those fault lines and places of vulnerability that can lead to breakage, and we can’t unsee them. And I think that if the MLCer is truly healed or healing, they see those faults too, and they also want to rebuild something different, something that avoids those faults. If they want to slide back into the exact same patterns as before, they aren’t healed yet. They might be trying, they might even be looking for answers in the right places, but they aren’t there yet.

This is so true! My H is definitely not healed yet. He wants to come back but also wants to go back to how it used to be. The only thing that’s changed is that for him what matters at the moment is just himself and his plans. Everything else is garbage.
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Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#45: July 14, 2021, 01:13:13 AM
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I have told my H ( right or wrong) that at the end of the day, I believe we will separate and go our own way. I have been unbelievably honest with him because my personality just knows no other way. I have told him this calmly and so he "knows" and will be prepared for what will likely happen  in the future. I am not angry I am tired of struggle and feeling like there is no further place to grow and change... not for him or with him.

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These rules include: Don’t be weak, don’t ask for help, don’t cry, don’t show emotion and be brave.

Barbie - I think you and I actually are now in an identical situation. We are on the same timeline - we have Hs who won't/don't/can't move forward and deal with the damage that they have received when younger and the damage they inflicted.
H and I are separating because he cannot commit to our relationship (can't even call it marriage anymore). However H's stroke has made him more vulnerable and emotional as he knows now his time is potentially short.  Nevertheless he actually said those rules above to me last week; I sat there and asked why he thought that that maintaining those unspoken rules would be helpful to his recovery.  I posed the question that was it possible that by bottling all that emotion up over the years he had brought much of his stress upon himself and by ignoring his own health he had brought his own physical crisis upon himself.  He actually agreed.  But refused the idea of finding someone to talk to out of fear.

It's tough and I think it's also generational.  I fervently hope that the increased understanding and awareness of mental health among men will eventually poke a hole in those rules and that men will begin to understand the need for healthy emotional development and what it takes. 
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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#46: July 14, 2021, 06:31:18 AM
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I am really sorry barbie  :'( For whatever reason, your husband, mu husband and so many others cannot respond or react openly or connect fully...leaving us without our needs being met. I appreciate you sharing so well what he is like and how you feel. Not much else to say except that this road is a really difficult path.
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Xyzcf, thanks for your comments . If I recall correctly , I think you have said in the past that you have never really received an explanation as to why your H did what he did. That he never "talked " about his actions. I also recall a time where you were trying to get responses from him by typing with an Ipad or something. I could be wrong and perhaps I read it somewhere else. Regardless, I know you also have a man of "few words" locked up emotionally.  To me, there is nothing crueler or rejecting. The years lost , the pain and hurt because a man "follows the man rules" is epidemic and will contribute to the ever growing divorce rate. I know my H was forbidden to show emotion , especially cry . It would result in physical consequences.  He talks of a time when he cried saying good bye to his grandmother and boy, he "sure got something to cry about" down the road.  This is who he is.

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I suspect he HAS heard you, Barbie....he just has no idea what to say or do in response. Although his question and the article are some kind of hunting around for it probably in his own way.....

Is his IC a trauma specialist? Can’t recall.

Lot of truth in the ‘Man Rules’, I suspect, and that many men delegate emotional intelligence jobs to their wives. The sad thing is that many of us had marriages that worked pretty well with that as part of the overall partnership....but that our h’s choices just blew up the old way of being married. So we LBS can’t go back to playing that role bc they changed the name of the game completely and they don’t quite know how to adapt to that....I suspect many, including your h, wish they could.
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I agree , he heard me . He simply did not respond , not 1 word. It is similar to a "deer in the headlight " or almost like he becomes paralyzed . He is triggered and all emotional system fail and shut down.  That is my understanding. It is still not the stuff you can build a marriage on ...let alone a marriage that has been shattered. Its counter-productive and damaging. Another thing that has nothing to do with me and I cannot change. But I cannot build anything with it either.  Our therapist has told me that he "triggers"...its about fear and its involuntary. And it creates extreme pain.  It also ends marriages doesn't it?. To act from your boyhood wounds as adult blocks any chance of a successful marriage. So even though my H has been in therapy for over 7 years ( including today) he has not healed.

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Lot of truth in the ‘Man Rules’, I suspect, and that many men delegate emotional intelligence jobs to their wives. The sad thing is that many of us had marriages that worked pretty well with that as part of the overall partnership....but that our h’s choices just blew up the old way of being married. So we LBS can’t go back to playing that role bc they changed the name of the game completely and they don’t quite know how to adapt to that....I suspect many, including your h, wish they could.
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This is absolute truth. I did manage to adapt and make my marriage work prior to his affair. I knew he was emotionally distant and closed , but I could still find ways to get what I needed and so many other parts worked very well. And then the affair.  Life as I knew it will never return and I will not accept that emotional disregard and disconnection again. The game has changed entirely and I do not want the "before" marriage.  He on the other hand trys to go back . There is no going back ever again. . I think it is very interesting that my H could not or would not tell me anything prior to his affair. He never once said " I am unhappy, lonely, worried etc etc" . Never did he say a word. But he told the OW didn't he. She knew before I did . He managed to tell her that he was sooo unhappy , his marriage was bad , he wanted a divorce etc.  She must have been " safe' .  I will never stay in this silent marriage, this "risky" marriage for the rest of my days on earth.  Imagine being married for 37 years and now you just cannot. 

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The entire relationship has been changed by MLC, there is no going back for me.
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No. There is no going back . Not ever.

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If they want to slide back into the exact same patterns as before, they aren’t healed yet. They might be trying, they might even be looking for answers in the right places, but they aren’t there yet.
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Yes. This is the truth and the reality of my situation.  The "old patterns" are VERY old, long before our marriage. They were programmed in a boy that lived an extremely traumatic and abusive life ...and brought into the marriage.  The belief in ACOA survivors is " do not think, do not feel , do not talk".  Those with high ACE scores ( my H is 9/10) will have a life filled with problems in relationships .  He is programmed this way and not even I can alter or change any of it....and he has not.  I could go on and on and on about this subject because I fully understand it and I live it. I can feel some compassion and understanding . But there is nothing for me here . Everything I write...I have said to my H . He has an extreme fear ....and I do mean extreme , that I will leave and he cannot "fix" what he broke. And yet, here we are.  I love the example Gottman Theory talks about . Men who can "accept influence" from their wives ( who are far more emotionally advanced) come out with the most positive marital changes. If I ask him why I have no true influence or impact on his thinking....he does not answer me. 

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hey might be trying, they might even be looking for answers in the right places, but they aren’t there yet.
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And may never be. How long might this "wait " be?.   It is best not to have expectations that they will be this" stunning re-birth " some day and all will be well in the world. It does not happen that way I am sure . He does not "do the work" ...and the therapist tells me " ohhh, Barbiedoll, he IS , oh but he is !"  Trust the process......

Avoidant men avoid the process . Thats my response to that.

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Barbie - I think you and I actually are now in an identical situation. We are on the same timeline - we have Hs who won't/don't/can't move forward and deal with the damage that they have received when younger and the damage they inflicted.
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Yes Song . I agree with that BUT with a few exceptions.  My H has been extremely 100% clear that he wants his marriage.  Even if divorce is brought up in therapy ( by me) he does react to that. He absolutely believes " things will get better"....with no real effort from him of course. It will "fall from the sky".  He has committed to long term therapy ...even thru COVID he has been going. Of course it is top notch secret what goes on there.  He has brilliant "actions" that show commitment and purpose . He is affectionate ...even if I am enraged. (?) . But he has a broken voice. He has no emotional connections that I can see or feel .  At the end....it is the same I suspect.  I am told he is "working on stuff".  I do not see it at all.  But then again , I am apparently "unsafe". 

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Nevertheless he actually said those rules above to me last week; I sat there and asked why he thought that that maintaining those unspoken rules would be helpful to his recovery.  I posed the question that was it possible that by bottling all that emotion up over the years he had brought much of his stress upon himself and by ignoring his own health he had brought his own physical crisis upon himself.  He actually agreed.  But refused the idea of finding someone to talk to out of fear.
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And there it is Song. What I have known and been told. Crippling fear.  So we have the " he-man kinda guy" ...show no emotion, be brave, don't talk about how you feel etc , the guys that are programmed with the "man rules".   These men are also full to the brim with fear.  The chances of "change" looks grim to me . Would we not avoid that kind of fear?  would we avoid breaking the man-rules?  I can only guess , that maybe there is so much pain on the other side...we could not go there . STILL.... a marriage you cannot make .

I have been told much of this by my/our therapist . 

https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/hlg-she-cries-he-shuts-down-why/




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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#47: July 14, 2021, 08:49:19 AM
From the article:

When you realize that what is preventing you from seeing the man behind the mask is a kind of shyness, a vulnerability women can understand, you will know what to do. You’ll be gentle and sympathetic with his internal struggle to come to grips with his own feelings, patient and accepting of his denials while continuing to see the emotions beyond them, recognizing their reality until he too can see and feel them.

Yeah...no, I won't.  ??? The premise of this article seems to be "assume what your man is feeling, or that he is feeling anything at all, and then, while dealing with your own feelings, also assume responsibility for him and back off, show compassion and forget that you need him to express himself but the poor thing just can't.  After all, it's your fault he's in anguish - your emotions have stirred a feeling of fear in him...
 ::)

Perhaps I'm just uncompassionate or my expectations are too high, but I don't buy the whole "men are from mars, men are incapable of facing their emotions, women must accept this and not only deal with it, but realize their 'fault' in making men feel afraid and change their own behavior to accommodate it" idea. I was really accepting of my former H and did a lot to make him feel safe and accepted by me no matter what. The idea that he had some insurmountable barrier to dealing with or expressing his emotions, and that my healthy ability to express my thoughts and feelings actually contributed to his "emotional turmoil" and made him fearful of me is a bit annoying.
Yes, there is a longstanding societal pressure on men to "man up" and that plays into a lot of men's behavior (many, but not all). But if there's "more going on inside these guys than they would have us believe," the onus is on them to tell us (not vice versa). This article seems to speak of a universal fear in men and a universal inability to handle emotions, with no evidence that it actually exists. 
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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#48: July 14, 2021, 05:30:28 PM
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Yeah...no, I won't.  ??? The premise of this article seems to be "assume what your man is feeling, or that he is feeling anything at all, and then, while dealing with your own feelings, also assume responsibility for him and back off, show compassion and forget that you need him to express himself but the poor thing just can't.  After all, it's your fault he's in anguish - your emotions have stirred a feeling of fear in him...
 ::)
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I hear you Nas.  Parts make me gag.  I know. 

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The idea that he had some insurmountable barrier to dealing with or expressing his emotions, and that my healthy ability to express my thoughts and feelings actually contributed to his "emotional turmoil" and made him fearful of me is a bit annoying.
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And yet he was fearful and I would bet other LBS would say the same . Husbands that are afraid of their wives BUT what I really liked was the statement "

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Men have difficulty with emotion — not their partner’s emotions — but their own! Although men like to think it is a woman’s feelings that give them trouble, it is actually a man’s own emotional reactions to a woman’s feelings that are truly problematic.
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Love that. And I do believe it is true with some men.  Mine specifically.   If a boy is raised with no mother and a father who will not allow ANY emotion and physically enforces the "man rules" , then this is what you get in and adult.  Regardless, it is his responsibility to heal his wounds and I believe some men are not capable of that .
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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#49: July 14, 2021, 10:44:24 PM
Hi everyone,

I wanted to offer a little insight to what you are talking about. Great discussion!

I was the kid who couldn’t even look like he was upset let alone be angry. The “ you wipe that look off your face “ was a regular occurrence.

As a kid I was an angry dyslexic but highly athletic person. I acted out constantly as I was a latchkey kid by the 3rd grade. I would get in fights got terrible grades and even made a first year teacher cry in the 5th grade.

My mom was so afraid of what my father would do she wouldn’t do anything at all and I knew it. I learned to be a decent human by getting my face bashed in by some guys that were tougher than I and a police officer that put me in jail for a very minor infraction. Looking back these couple of events saved my life. They got me to hang with a different crowd and to be a good man. The saying goes if you go looking for trouble somewhere you will find it I found it and I didn’t want it anymore.

 As I grew up after everything that has happened in the last few years I have realized I have no understanding of my emotions. I am afraid of anger because I feel it’s to much and isn’t acceptable. Being sad is weak and weakness isn’t just not allowed but the shame I feel the absolute gut wrenching shame of crying. That my father knows my wife cheated on me. When I thought I was doing everything right.

  All I ever wanted to be was the hero. Especially in my wife’s eyes. The feeling that I wasn’t and am not is the hardest pill for me to swallow. However none of this is on her this is my emotions and my problem. I am working on fixing them and it is a very hard process as it’s all I have ever known. 

  I certainly hope your husband finds his way. It took a severe ass whooping for me and it might take something similar for him, but it is all on him.

 I don’t mean to ramble but I thought a male perspective on this might shine some light on what it’s like. This is a sample of one of course.
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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#50: July 15, 2021, 03:34:13 AM
Father5, I appreciate your comments more than I can say . Much of what your say, I have herd from my H

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As I grew up after everything that has happened in the last few years I have realized I have no understanding of my emotions. I am afraid of anger because I feel it’s to much and isn’t acceptable. Being sad is weak and weakness isn’t just not allowed but the shame I feel the absolute gut wrenching shame of crying. That my father knows my wife cheated on me. When I thought I was doing everything right.
.

This is so true in my H's case , I cannot say that enough times. He has NO understanding of his emotions. When he 1st returned he carried a book around with descriptive words and the corresponding emotion given to him at Retrouvaille .  I remember him saying " I missed all this somehow ?".  How does it happen that men have no understanding of emotions? . I know my H has a deeply shame-based way of surviving or living in the world .  "I thought I was doing everything right" has come out of my H's mouth many many times. My H is very afraid of anger, he will shut down everytime .

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  All I ever wanted to be was the hero. Especially in my wife’s eyes. The feeling that I wasn’t and am not is the hardest pill for me to swallow. However none of this is on her this is my emotions and my problem. I am working on fixing them and it is a very hard process as it’s all I have ever known.
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Yes. My H lost so much and just is filled with shame....to the point he shuts down if he feels that gut wrenching feeling arise. I totally believe this BUT it appears he is not " doing anything about it".  But maybe he is in therapy , I am not privy to that.  Shame is a powerful thing. He always wanted to be seen as my Hero , there is no question that this is true. And thru his own actions, it is no longer true.

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I don’t mean to ramble but I thought a male perspective on this might shine some light on what it’s like. This is a sample of one of course.
.

I appreciate you very much . It helps alot.



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Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#51: July 15, 2021, 05:55:57 AM
barbiedoll, just catching up and two things jumped out:

1) Who in the barbie/H/IC triad is saying you are “unsafe”? Has that been said recently by him or the IC to you? Because that’s a pile of sh!t. That is so undermining for a traumatized betrayed woman to hear about herself, especially from a husband whose role traditionally is to shield her from harm but who rather boldly just exposed her to it. Enough to land her in in-patient trauma treatment, no less.

If the IC is endorsing this perception that you are some kind of big bad to your poor H, after 7 years with not a lot of progress, I’d say that IC is just enabling.

If it hasn’t been said to you by anyone recently and you are just saying it to yourself, remembering how awful it is to hear something like that from someone who harmed you or who was enlisted to help heal you? Stop saying it to yourself. That is such a bad message for a hurt person to hear about itself. Don’t internalize it.

2) That article about how men respond to women’s tears is only part of what’s going on. Tears are chemical signals with chemical signatures. The physiological or neuroscience maybe doesn’t make for such an appealing storytelling; response to tears initially is not about psychology or a story told, but how a body itself chemically shifts at the other‘s chemical cue, the essence of which is utterly invisible. In neither party are these chemical signals voluntary.

I don’t know whether to say we humans all are mysterious, or, really, we all are just walking bags of meat with some electrical impulses and circuitry that would be good to know about. I guess we all are both. That doesn’t mean anyone is off the hook for poor response to tears, or that we should feel sorry for anyone who doesn’t know how to cope with its own internal chemical shift in a given moment? But it does mean that the stories we (all humanity) concoct to explain it may be complicating things.

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#52: July 15, 2021, 08:13:58 AM
Terra.... oh my Terra

Something exploded in me today after I read this . Isn't it magic how someone else's validation and words can change so many things?  Its emotional magic , I swear. Just had a huge weep ( no kidding) , explosive let go of something I see I was carrying that is not mine to carry .  Its not mine at all.  It is a huge pile of firetrucking BS that me being "unsafe " is the reason for a million "blame" statements he throws at me .  I semi- took ownership of that because of my anger and rage . Anyone that has followed me KNOWS that I raged , smashed up his truck, broke glass doors at the therapists office and lost my mind over and over and over for a very long time.  That makes me rather "unsafe" doesn't it?  So I did "own" some of it and tried to pretzel myself into this "safe" person.  When the utter truth is : Betrayal can create rage never experienced before , betrayal is soul breaking , betrayal is life is forever altered without your consent or knowing , betrayal is an inability to stay "you" but a forced event to re-build from ground zero up , betrayal feels like my very own DNA was changed . Betrayal almost killed me . I WAS enraged Terra . It made me unsafe ...or so I hmmmm ..came to "own".  Even though all the reactions to betrayal are so deep and profound, written in countless books, life alterring etc etc and I reacted "normally" , I let him use that as me being " unsafe".  Let me tell you...I am NOT unsafe. I have deep understandings of people, I intuitively can see pain in others and do offer what I have to help. I feel compassion, I have sobbed from pain of others , I am a a strong loyal friend , I would walk thru fire for my daughters , I am emotionally complex as women are and I love deeply. I am NOT "unsafe".  I have soaked the keyboard ...just having an emotional purge of dis-owning a title he has projected on to me .  I am so grateful.
It is BS and never again will I allow him to muddy who I am with that statement.  It IS the emotions that come up inside of him whenever he is faced with emotions, confrontation or conflict . It IS the emotions that live inside the little wounded boy that show up in the man ...those emotions / feelings that cause him to shut down ...that is what is UNSAFE and scary. Its NOT me . I am OK.  I let him make it about me ( to a degree) and I have just evolved into a better understanding.  I have more to share...I have come across a new horizon . But right now ...I need to be still.
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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#53: July 15, 2021, 08:39:36 AM
This is what I was getting at in my post, B. My husband also told me that he had been afraid of me the entire time he knew me and made statements similar to the “unsafe” ones that you heard. in the beginning, right after BD, these words were so devastating that I still get a sinking feeling when I think about it.
The fact that anyone would tell me that his deep rooted shame/anxiety/fear is mine to own is frustrating. I have compassion for others but I am not “to blame” for the feelings of others (especially not the feelings of someone that I spent years loving and having compassion for - and walking on eggshells for). And neither are you, nor is anyone.
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#54: July 15, 2021, 10:12:39 AM
Hello,

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Betrayal can create rage never experienced before , betrayal is soul breaking , betrayal is life is forever altered without your consent or knowing , betrayal is an inability to stay "you" but a forced event to re-build from ground zero up , betrayal feels like my very own DNA was changed . Betrayal almost killed me .

This is so true and especially after you made so many sacrifices of your own needs to "accept" him as who he was prior to the affair. It's funny because my ex stated in counseling that she was afraid of me and that I would hurt her. However, if you were "afraid" of me, then why would you dare have an affair and let me find out about it? I think the "fear" has nothing to do with us, but the true fear is facing the reality of who they really are.

And yes, the betrayal shook me to the very core. Of all the things you trust and believe in is your spouse. We made a commitment before God. Of course, she tried to state she never really understood her vows.

In the end, no matter what they try to say, throw at the wall, or push a new narrative, the affair had nothing to do with us. It was all about them and their immediate satisfaction of their needs without any regard to anyone else including the affair partner. I am not saying the affair partner is an innocent because their goal wasn't honorable either. It is just that the MLCer from the get go was all about me, me, me.....and to hell with you, you, you.

You shouldn't take any responsibility for his affair nor should he point any fingers in your direction. He needs to own this and any attempt to push the load on to you will leave you feeling disrespected and he will never fully recover either.

I hope you continue to focus on your trauma and finding and enjoying your life as barbiedoll. You have a lot of power and choice as well. In the end, he is either going to face himself and his actions, or he will face life without you. After all, you are not asking for a pound of flesh or for him to grovel like a worm. You want him to look you in the eye and tell you the truth-everything. Once he opens up, honestly and answers all your questions, you both can move forward.

I wish I could write a quick manual for you to read or a great youtube video to watch, but people are complex and when we try to simplify; we never get to the root of the problem; we just treat symptoms.

Have an amazing day and enjoy the wonderful daughters that you raised,

((((Ready))))
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#55: July 15, 2021, 10:30:05 AM

 It is just that the MLCer from the get go was all about me, me, me.....and to hell with you, you, you.


My former H actually said (and I suspect he got this from his like 4 whole sessions of therapy) "Nas, you're a good person and I'm not. You think about 'us,' I think about 'me'."
(I maintain this is maybe the only true thing he said to me.)

Barbie, it sounds like your H is beyond this point of only thinking of himself, and maybe the problem is that he can't actually think of himself - he can't bear to acknowledge and access that deep shame he has that stems from FOO. Facing the shame of his affair is hard enough, but facing the shame of his childhood, well, that's what's really terrifying him.
I don't mean in any way to invalidate what he's feeling or that he might truly feel "unsafe" communicating because of his deep rooted fear.  I'm just saying that it's all of these messages that you're getting that tell you that it's about you, that you (and all of us LBS) are indeed are unsafe, that's all wrong.  We matter just as much as the MLCer.  We have to own and face our issues and they have to own and face theirs.

Many of us LBS also have deep rooted heavy trauma, same as MLCers.  If someone were constantly giving me the message that I need to work harder to understand that my former H hurt me in unbelievable ways because of his fear and pain and that I must make him feel "safe," I would feel a sense of "blame" and also really wonder where in the hell is the person who's supposed to make me feel "safe"? Don't I have just as much need to feel heard and safe and loved as he does?
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#56: July 15, 2021, 03:50:30 PM
Barbie, it sounds like your H is beyond this point of only thinking of himself, and maybe the problem is that he can't actually think of himself - he can't bear to acknowledge and access that deep shame he has that stems from FOO. Facing the shame of his affair is hard enough, but facing the shame of his childhood, well, that's what's really terrifying him.
When I read this, I got a weird flash. What if the narcissistic behavior seen in many MLCers is really exactly this as you explain it. They cannot actually think of themselves and the behavior seen is because they have absolutely zero idea how to behave as any kind of emotionally intelligent human being. Take away emotions and what do you get?

I know I'm on the low side of the emotional intelligence scale. I have to keep asking people why they do what they do, because I have no frame of reference. People speak of this being a male issue, but it's not necessarily. I grew up in a family of 3 girls, and boy howdy, you kept your emotions to yourself. I walk through life trying to figure out why someone would do X because it makes no logical sense. Except people are not just logical beings.

Is it the shame of not REALLY knowing how to relate to people? Fear of trying to connect and being unable to do so because there is no frame of reference to work with? Fear that you will be rejected? Fear that you won't measure up?  That you are "scared" of the other person because they could reject you when you've given it everything you have? And since you can't be the "scared" one and cannot be "scared", the other person must be "unsafe".
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#57: July 15, 2021, 07:08:18 PM
Wow, some really great insight. Some of this deep insight gave me a flash back to when early on after the last BD when  my XH had left and I was still trying to understand what happened. I had a phone conversation with him where I was trying to just ask the simplest questions on just WHY? What is happening? Can you explain?
He got extremely upset. Almost desperate and slightly enraged in his response ( completely out of character) He yelled back in high distress. You just can’t stop asking. You don’t care that this destroys me!!!
That was one of my lowest moments. Right then I realized he couldn’t see that I was the one that was the LBS. my pain did not matter. He could only see his pain. He was the victim ( in his mind ) in a situation that he created. It was that moment that I realized he is not ready to accept what he is done and being reminded or asked about it made him face it and that is not something he wanted to do. That is why he left

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« Last Edit: July 15, 2021, 08:17:21 PM by Tornup »
H-54 W-58  M 7/6/91 Kids d-30 s-28 d-14 (dies 2009)
2013- moments of disconnect start
Aug 2016 promotion requires travel   
Oct 2017-total disconnect
Jan 2018- moved out H
Mar 2018- BD1 found old phone 3 EA ‘17-H in therapy
EA ow1-49,  EA-ow2 57, (EA- ow3-58 not reciprocated)
Sept ‘18 -2nd Home in new state H new job
Oct 2018-H moves home
Oct 2020 BD2 does not return home from B trip
Nov 2020 H move to 2nd home in other state OW4
Div filed-Dec ‘20   Div final-Feb ‘21
Oct 2021- XH moves in OW4
https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=11796.

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Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#58: July 16, 2021, 03:29:50 AM
Quote
When I read this, I got a weird flash. What if the narcissistic behavior seen in many MLCers is really exactly this as you explain it. They cannot actually think of themselves and the behavior seen is because they have absolutely zero idea how to behave as any kind of emotionally intelligent human being. Take away emotions and what do you get?

Spot on as usual OffRoad.  Agree with this.
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#59: July 20, 2021, 05:40:40 PM
Quote
This is what I was getting at in my post, B. My husband also told me that he had been afraid of me the entire time he knew me and made statements similar to the “unsafe” ones that you heard. in the beginning, right after BD, these words were so devastating that I still get a sinking feeling when I think about it.
The fact that anyone would tell me that his deep rooted shame/anxiety/fear is mine to own is frustrating. I have compassion for others but I am not “to blame” for the feelings of others (especially not the feelings of someone that I spent years loving and having compassion for - and walking on eggshells for). And neither are you, nor is anyone.
.

It is absolutely devastating to be told , on top of everything else, that they are "afraid" of you and always have been.  My H has always been afraid of me or so he told one of my daughters.  He is afraid of my reactions . I felt some responsibility for that as I am aggressive, outspoken and speak without pixie dust. I have been told I am intimidating by other people so I have made effort to tone it all down. That was my choice and a good one . A type of self improvement. For the record....it changed nothing , I am still a very "unsafe " person.   I see it all very differently.

The therapist has told me that he "triggers" a lot. More than I do. Honestly, that alone was shocking to me. For whatever reason, I only saw triggers as loud, out of control, screaming , crying. Never did I associate experiencing a "trigger " with silence. But it absolutely is . A trigger can manifest as silence, shut-down, withdrawal, withholding.   He is triggered frequently..if not always if any kind of intense emotion or conflict happens or if he "thinks" it is going to happen.  No win situation ...because then I am triggered by his withdrawal or refusal to engage ...and he shuts down more and wallah! ... no one wins. Its a hellish place.

Quote
The fact that anyone would tell me that his deep rooted shame/anxiety/fear is mine to own is frustrating.
.

Yes. Nas , this is so absolutely true. I was somehow blaming "me" for raging ( like his father) and creating an "unsafe " place. But in truth, it has always been there . I have been with him 40 years and it has always been there in some degree or another . It is NOT mine to own . His reactions inside of him ( fear, anxiety , anger, shame) are from his unhealed childhood parts.  I just hit them from time to time and he is triggered into A: complete shutdown or B:  denial, blame and defensiveness.  That is the behaviour of his childhood. It does not work at all to developed a healthy , mature relationship. It cannot happen.

Quote
I think the "fear" has nothing to do with us, but the true fear is facing the reality of who they really are.
.

Yes. I agree. The feelings or emotions that are activated inside my H create extreme pain that he cannot manage, process or deal with.  So he shuts it all down as he did as a child to survive his childhood.  But he believes I caused this to happen. I did NOT.  He projects his anguish on to me .

Quote
In the end, he is either going to face himself and his actions, or he will face life without you. After all, you are not asking for a pound of flesh or for him to grovel like a worm. You want him to look you in the eye and tell you the truth-everything. Once he opens up, honestly and answers all your questions, you both can move forward.
.

He will face his future without me. He knows. He shuts down when I tell him this . No response . I am invisible ...my trigger from my mother ....and it just keeps going around.  However, I have managed to heal many of my own triggers and can just walk away. It still does not "fix" a very broken marriage does it?

Quote
Barbie, it sounds like your H is beyond this point of only thinking of himself, and maybe the problem is that he can't actually think of himself - he can't bear to acknowledge and access that deep shame he has that stems from FOO. Facing the shame of his affair is hard enough, but facing the shame of his childhood, well, that's what's really terrifying him.
.

No matter what anyone says ...this is the truth, the bottom line, the core problem.  Terrified  I was told if I continue to "push and demand " answers to the money issue, I risk a complete psychological break in him. That I am encouraged NOT to touch that shame that is inside ..leave it to professionals. So I have , for the most part .  I guess the struggle between divorce and compassion is hard to decide.  To be fair, he has NOT blamed me for his affair .

Quote
I don't mean in any way to invalidate what he's feeling or that he might truly feel "unsafe" communicating because of his deep rooted fear.  I'm just saying that it's all of these messages that you're getting that tell you that it's about you, that you (and all of us LBS) are indeed are unsafe, that's all wrong.  We matter just as much as the MLCer.  We have to own and face our issues and they have to own and face theirs.
.

Thank you Nas. This is the rock solid truth.

Quote
Many of us LBS also have deep rooted heavy trauma, same as MLCers.  If someone were constantly giving me the message that I need to work harder to understand that my former H hurt me in unbelievable ways because of his fear and pain and that I must make him feel "safe," I would feel a sense of "blame" and also really wonder where in the hell is the person who's supposed to make me feel "safe"? Don't I have just as much need to feel heard and safe and loved as he does?
.

I have found a sense of "safety" inside of myself.  That I will survive and thrive ..no matter what. But it comes and goes in lows and highs in my life. It does not provide the same sense of safety and connection that could be found in a mature, healthy union with another human. I miss that.

Quote
. They cannot actually think of themselves and the behavior seen is because they have absolutely zero idea how to behave as any kind of emotionally intelligent human being. Take away emotions and what do you get?
.

Interesting . He has had no heathly emotional bonds or modelling as a baby or child. As I have said , he was born to a 15 year old mother at a whopping 3 pounds . Spent months in an barbaric incubator that permanently damaged his eyes. By 18 his mother had 2 more babies and ran for her life, never returned for them.  His internal fight or flight gauge has always been activated in "survival mode".  He knows no other way.  He "copies" what he sees others do that seems to be "right"...that is how he has survived .  And here we are.

Quote
Is it the shame of not REALLY knowing how to relate to people? Fear of trying to connect and being unable to do so because there is no frame of reference to work with? Fear that you will be rejected? Fear that you won't measure up?  That you are "scared" of the other person because they could reject you when you've given it everything you have? And since you can't be the "scared" one and cannot be "scared", the other person must be "unsafe".
.

ALL of this ...yes , yes and absolute yes. Every word. I have seen signs of all of it.  And the "Man Rules " are deeply ingrained. He could never be the " scared one". NEVER.  Such valuable insight and I thank you.

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. You just can’t stop asking. You don’t care that this destroys me!!!
.

Avoidance . He wants you to "stop making him feel so bad".  Blame. Its your fault . No, he cannot see anything past himself , except blame and YOU are the reason he is in such pain. Yes..this is indeed why many of them leave.  Its why asking anything is fruitless.

https://www.michaelregier.com/emotional-withdrawal-5-reasons-men-open/

This article says it all.  But personally, the struggle is about "settling" .  I just cannot do that anymore . I want my needs met or heard and acknowledged . I want an emotional connection with an adult male. I want to feel "safe". I want to stop experiencing feelings of rejection, loneliness and abandonment. ...because they are still there even though they no longer have the power to send me into a PTSD spiral. It still hurts. I now understand my H telling me a million times during BD. YOU have "settled for me Barbiedoll, I cannot make you happy".












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The Journey Of Reconciliation .. is for the brave .

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#60: July 20, 2021, 09:04:28 PM
Quote
I just cannot do that anymore . I want my needs met or heard and acknowledged . I want an emotional connection with an adult male. I want to feel "safe". I want to stop experiencing feelings of rejection, loneliness and abandonment. ...because they are still there even though

This has me thinking, because on the one hand, we should be ok on our own but on the other hand, we have needs and desires and want that intimacy from another.

I am not sure it's that easy to find another person to met those needs.  My experience is that there are many many single women my age and very very few men. Maybe because women live longer, or maybe because men my age are looking for younger women.

And so I ask a very sticky question ...is is "better" to settle or take a chance of being alone for the rest of your life?

Now many people will disagree with me, but I have talked to many women in the past 12 years and what you have to go through to find someone is a great deal of work.

For myself, I work at being ok alone. Maybe, because what we had was so really good that I don't want to settle for less than what I had with him.

If you feel you need to leave Barbie, that is what your heart tells you then breaking away for you could be the right thing.

I just caution you that wanting  what you are looking for, just might not be as easy as you think it will be.

Sorry just my thoughts tonight. The isolation I have felt during COVID has been dreadful and I envy my friends who have a partner, although some of those marriages are quite awful..but many are very sweet....caring..and kind people who take care of one another so that the things I have had to face in the last few years, you just don't have to face them totally on your own.

I also have a different situation here as I do not have one family member nearby so that might also be a factor in how I feel.
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#61: July 21, 2021, 01:08:49 AM
Just wanted to say how struck I am by the progress you have made in healing some of your own wounds, Barbie. It jumps off the page and, whatever choices you make about the shape of your life next, that can only be a good thing. I hope you feel proud of yourself.
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#62: July 21, 2021, 05:22:27 AM
When the utter truth is : Betrayal can create rage never experienced before , betrayal is soul breaking , betrayal is life is forever altered without your consent or knowing , betrayal is an inability to stay "you" but a forced event to re-build from ground zero up , betrayal feels like my very own DNA was changed . Betrayal almost killed me . I WAS enraged Terra . It made me unsafe ...or so I hmmmm ..came to "own".  Even though all the reactions to betrayal are so deep and profound, written in countless books, life alterring etc etc and I reacted "normally" , I let him use that as me being " unsafe".  Let me tell you...I am NOT unsafe. I have deep understandings of people, I intuitively can see pain in others and do offer what I have to help. I feel compassion, I have sobbed from pain of others , I am a a strong loyal friend , I would walk thru fire for my daughters , I am emotionally complex as women are and I love deeply. I am NOT "unsafe".

Barbie you are such a compassionate person. I think we are the same. I am also a very loyal person, to my family and friends. I would do everything to help someone. I've been through the lowest moments with my H's life when he was diagnosed with burnout. But like your H my H also called me in the past during the height of his affair with the OW that I was a dangerous person. He even closed his room (our former bedroom) during the night when he slept so he would hear me when I come in because he was so scared I would hurt him. He told me in my face that he was scared I would kill or stab his OW even with the facts that I was so thin and the OW was like a goliath compared to me. Her arms where like my thighs. He believed this even after the fact that the OW attacked him physically and left him with bruises all over his arms and body which I have never done during the course of our marriage and even after I found out he was with the OW. So everytime my H tells me he's scared of me, I would shut him down right away and confrot him with all the bs he's done. I don't know if this is just their way of trying to shift the blame on us but that's how I feel.

How does it happen that men have no understanding of emotions? . I know my H has a deeply shame-based way of surviving or living in the world .  "I thought I was doing everything right" has come out of my H's mouth many many times. My H is very afraid of anger, he will shut down everytime .
Quote

My H shuts down when I start to ask questions about the affair. I get his standard answers which are: I don't know, or I forgot.


Quote
.  But personally, the struggle is about "settling" .  I just cannot do that anymore . I want my needs met or heard and acknowledged . I want an emotional connection with an adult male. I want to feel "safe". I want to stop experiencing feelings of rejection, loneliness and abandonment. ...because they are still there even though they no longer have the power to send me into a PTSD spiral. It still hurts.

I feel you on this one Barbie. Exactly what I want for the last couple months now.  But like you said, avoidants get what they want all the time and how they want it to happen. These are the exact words I told my H a couple of days ago. He gets to decide to leave the marriage, to have an affair and to come back as he pleases and acts like he is now so in love with me and tells me everything he did was wrong because he had a midlife crisis and now he is ready to continue the marriage with me but refuses to talk about the BS he did.

I just wish you will one day be healed wether it be with your H or just by yourself. For me it is still hard to imagine a life without him even for the fact that I know I will make it without him. We only have two choices I guess, do we settle for what we have now and hope that one day it will change, or dowe move on without our H?
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H    48
Married 13 yrs no kids
BD May 2019 (I moved out Nov 2019)
EA or PA with ex gf (not sure), H spent 3 nights with the hoe during our vacation in July 2019, it was a friendly encounter according to H
H wanted D April 2020 but didn’t file it
Contact never stopped, H now wants to reconcile
Me not sure

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#63: July 21, 2021, 06:16:45 AM
Unrelated story to share for a moment. My daughter number 4 ( 42 years old, married , 2 pre-teens) came this past weekend for the 1st time in 18 months. I talk to her daily so I am up to date on her life and the kids but she lives 6 hours away and due to Covid has not been allowed in our "hot zone".  It was a wonderful visit all smoochie and talky. This girl is very bonded to me and is verbal about that ...will come and kiss and hug right out of the blue . Just truly an amazing and steadfast daughter .

She tells me that for years she is filled with dread and fear when she sees the sign " welcome to the City of __________.  She is triggered by her hometown . She feels she needs to be " on guard" as the OW lives in this city and she feels she will "run into her". Remember , the OW is a family member and been in her life since she was born.  She is nervous to be approached by her as if everything is "normal and forgotten" ...and it never will be.  She has a practised response in her brain, but the "feelings" are real everytime she comes.  She scans stores and people driving by , she cannot relax. I never knew this . Trauma is real in the next generation no matter how old a child is . It affects them profoundly. She was indeed betrayed by the OW who spoke with her many many times while she was involved with my H. Asked her questions that in hindsite were to get information about me or our family. Devastating to come to know that.  I am glad she told me and we did talk about a response that she could use if that was to ever happen. ....and it could because this OW is indeed capable of approaching her with $h!te chat as if nothing ever happened .  My daughter says " to me she is dead".  She is a deeply christain girl and struggles with the need for forgiveness . She says "the OW is NOT at the top of her list of people to forgive". And the day may never come. Such hurt still lingers years later .
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The Journey Of Reconciliation .. is for the brave .

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#64: July 21, 2021, 06:25:42 AM
It is sad indeed that kids are also affected to something they never wished to happen. I cannot imagine how painful it is for all of you involved especially that the OW is a part of your family. That is hard to avoid. Trauma is real, and I am triggered by it all the time,the name of the place, the beaches, everything that my H did with the OW. The country where the OW lives, I never want to go there anymore. Maybe someday, these triggers will lessen.

I see you have a very close relationship with your kids. I wish I had that with my mother. Happy you were able to see your daughter Barbie.
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EA or PA with ex gf (not sure), H spent 3 nights with the hoe during our vacation in July 2019, it was a friendly encounter according to H
H wanted D April 2020 but didn’t file it
Contact never stopped, H now wants to reconcile
Me not sure

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#65: July 21, 2021, 08:32:16 AM

Quote
I just cannot do that anymore . I want my needs met or heard and acknowledged . I want an emotional connection with an adult male. I want to feel "safe". I want to stop experiencing feelings of rejection, loneliness and abandonment. ...because they are still there even though

This stuck out to me.  I want this also.  In fact, ONLY this.  I would never again settle for less than this.
I recognize that any feelings of rejection, loneliness and abandonment would be mine, caused by my own issues and insecurities (which I'm currently working on and wouldn't be in a relationship until they're well in control). But I would/will never be with another man who hasn't also worked on his own issues and who doesn't understand that humans react based on their own issues - i.e. sometimes our partners get triggered and react rather than respond, and it's not because we're scary and unhinged and dangerous and directing that at our partner because we don't love them, it's because we're human and works in progress.

Something I remembered recently, one of those WTF things: I for a time was really into watching the Investigation Discovery channel.  I love those true crime shows.  There was a show called Deadly Women (not sure if it still airs) that I watched regularly.  After BD, my husband, in complete seriousness, said I made us get life insurance and then watched those shows to get tips on how to "off him." No joke, he was absolutely serious. 

That wasn't as hurtful because it was so absurd.  But the constant jabs about being afraid of me (first it was "for the past x time" and then it became "our entire relationship") were much more hurtful because that wasn't an absurdly paranoid "oh my God you're going to kill me the way that woman on Dateline killed her husband."  It was "I am afraid of who you fundamentally are.  You, as your true self, the vulnerable, real you who opened up to me and only me over these past two decades...that woman you let me see in full, I'm afraid of her." 

So I hear you, B.  That cuts to the core.  But I assure you, you are not scary.  I am not scary.  We are both "safe." 
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#66: July 21, 2021, 09:19:57 AM
A big factor in my “ recovery” was my daughter.  She lived far away from both her dad and I ( we had left her when we moved to the US, her choice but she was only 17 years old). Our children are very wounded by what their fathers have done. I wanted to be “ whole” so that she and I and her husband could become a family unit, as small as it is.
I am on my way to see her for the first time in 17 months. Since COVID she has asked me twice to move back to Canada because she misses having a family. I left her in 2003. It has been a long time.
I do not wish to return presently but I also understand why she would want me to.
His crisis continues to create situations that are difficult for both of us.
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" The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it". Flannery O'Connor

https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

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#67: July 21, 2021, 10:56:35 AM
I am so pleased, Barbie, that you were able to have such a lovely smoochy visit with your daughter. What a blessing.
And i’m so sorry that you had to hear about her trauma and hypervigilance bc it must have hurt your heart so as her mum. Hugs.
(And if you managed to walk through the door of your home without punching your h in the face after it, please award yourself a million good healing human points  :) )
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#68: July 22, 2021, 03:14:43 PM
Quote
on the one hand, we should be ok on our own but on the other hand, we have needs and desires and want that intimacy from another.
.

And I do struggle with sayings like " meet your own needs, be there for yourself, trust yourself". And I do understand the meaning and have worked on this internally for a long time. However, humans are not meant or designed to be alone. We are meant to be bonded , connected and have intimate relationships with other humans . I do NOT believe we can " meet all of our own needs".  And certainly I do not mean just marital relationships....close intimate connections are not just found inside marriage but in friendships, children , siblings etcc. We were not designed by god to be islands or to stand alone.  I do understand some choose this but the yearnings and desire to be bonded to someone are still present . It is in our humaness.

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And so I ask a very sticky question ...is is "better" to settle or take a chance of being alone for the rest of your life?
.

I do struggle with this on a daily basis ...deeply and painfully. Swore I would NEVER settle again for less than a deep connection and a "changed " relationship. Many say that after MLC many men are "changed". They are more emotional, sensitive and wise ..and I guess I had an expectation that I might experience that change. It has not happened in my marriage and it was part of my "thinking" when I decided to reconcile.  It did not happen . My H remains fearful, alone in his struggle and secretive .  However, if this makes any sense , he is a huge list of great attributes and actions. He is very kind and gentle , will do anything to "fix or build " ( I live a very nice life in a very nice house), he plans surprises, buys everything I need or talk about , he is consistently affectionate and never wanders from the family center. He spent 70.00 on "treats" for our grandchildren when we finally saw them this past weekend and was soooo excited to see their reactions. We keep a "home center " for a very large family ...that's important. It would affect a lot of people if it was "gone".  So, the good , the bad and the one thing I need the most ( it seems) is missing.  I believe I would be OK alone . But we just have no real proof that that is true until we actually live it...do we?  What would be the reaction of some of my family....over 30 people. What might I be changing in the lives of my grandchildren that will mark them or change them for life. ?  It is NOT just about ME ME ME. I do not think that way. I just don't.  There are MANY articles written by women that deeply regret divorcing or leaving a marriage after infidelity...we just don't read them. I have.  Its a brain firetruck.

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I just caution you that wanting  what you are looking for, just might not be as easy as you think it will be.
.

I am full of "caution".  Thats why I still remain . I agree with you ...I truly do.  I do not believe I would find this elusive "connection"  out there in the world because I would be too "cautious" or untrusting to look for it. I would choose to be alone I do believe.  I am 63 . I am not a women in my 30's or 40's that would start a new relationship . I cannot even imagine another mans hands on me .

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But like your H my H also called me in the past during the height of his affair with the OW that I was a dangerous person. He even closed his room (our former bedroom) during the night when he slept so he would hear me when I come in because he was so scared I would hurt him. He told me in my face that he was scared I would kill or stab his OW even with the facts that I was so thin and the OW was like a goliath compared to me. Her arms where like my thighs. He believed this even after the fact that the OW attacked him physically and left him with bruises all over his arms and body which I have never done during the course of our marriage and even after I found out he was with the OW. So everytime my H tells me he's scared of me, I would shut him down right away and confrot him with all the bs he's done. I don't know if this is just their way of trying to shift the blame on us but that's how I feel.
My H is not physically afraid of me , he has never said anything like that to me.  He out weighs me by 100 lbs and is muscled up strong . Even in my craziest rages he has never backed away from me or appeared to be afraid in any way. He is emotionally terrified . I see that the feelings and emotions that come floating up inside of HIM and shuts him down ...is exactly the source of his terror. It is crystal clear to me . He becomes "flooded" and I would guess almost dissacociates to avoid those emotions. I have seen him do it in therapy . And the therapists has said he is absolutely flooded and its like a switch that he is "gone". I can see the physical changes that happen to him...and then he will not respond, answer or engage. Will not ? Can not?   I am assured that he cannot . Part of his brain is shut down and he cannot access it.  The issue is this :  He blames me when that happens . He says that I cause it . I am "unsafe".  We absolutely know 100% ( finally) that is false . He is "unsafe " to himself. Knowing this changes a lot of things for me . But as long as it (he) continues with this ...there cannot be a true connection of any kind .  It is a tactic of blame shifting. It is a victim mentality. It is using your reactions to their extreme disrespect, lies and affairs against you. It is manipulation . . I am aware ...but is he?  When he is triggered ( like you and me ) all rational and logical thought is gone . Trust me , I have experiences this myself Dragonfly , many many times when I am triggered . And I do know you have spoken of the same. 

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Teach your kids , especially your sons, to verbalize emotions so they do not grow up to be adults who do not shut down when they feel anything other than happiness.
.

A quote I came across that is meaningful to me . Says it all really . Although he once told me he believes he has "never truly experienced what happiness is ".

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We only have two choices I guess, do we settle for what we have now and hope that one day it will change, or dowe move on without our H?

It has been my struggle for several years. We are not alone in this as I have seen women in marriages that have NOT suffered MLC/affairs that also ask themselves this....something is missing in their life and they believe it is the marriage. Sometimes it is ...

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I see you have a very close relationship with your kids. I wish I had that with my mother. Happy you were able to see your daughter Barbie.
.

I do not have any sort of close relationship at all with my mother...trust me. It is the source of all my own wounds and trauma.  But I try 100% to validate, listen to, ask questions, share and be available to my daughters . My mother taught me what NEVER to do to a daughter .  That is certainly not to say I have not had my struggles with the 5 of them , I have . But I am wired emotionally VERY differently than my mother .

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But I would/will never be with another man who hasn't also worked on his own issues and who doesn't understand that humans react based on their own issues - i.e. sometimes our partners get triggered and react rather than respond, and it's not because we're scary and unhinged and dangerous and directing that at our partner because we don't love them, it's because we're human and works in progress.
.

I do not believe you can always ( or ever ) "know " if a man has worked on his own issues.  How would you ?   I had no true idea "I had issues to work on until my world blew up".  I thought I was fairly "normal"...but apparently I had lots of "guk to work on".  Anyone could enter a relationship or marriage and completely be unaware of the other persons issues. You know...the "mask thing".  I was with my husband for near 30 years and had no idea he has sexual abuse in  his history . No clue whatsoever.  You could be getting involved with yet another man who will experience his own MLC, who "appears" all put together , mature, brimming with wisdom etc etc . No, not ever for me.  If MY H can do what he did ...then any man can. 

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  After BD, my husband, in complete seriousness, said I made us get life insurance and then watched those shows to get tips on how to "off him." No joke, he was absolutely serious.
.

How shocking ?? Seriously , never in a million years could anyone "predict" the craziness that come out of someone you loved, trusted and felt safe with.  To risk that happening with another man ?  Not in a bazillion years.

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So I hear you, B.  That cuts to the core.  But I assure you, you are not scary.  I am not scary.  We are both "safe."
.

We ARE indeed safe . I have that sorted now and it has lost its reactive charge. I now "know better" and what is really going on.  I will never react to that again. He is not safe from his own emotions...the ones he has NOT healed yet. If ever .

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am on my way to see her for the first time in 17 months. Since COVID she has asked me twice to move back to Canada because she misses having a family. I left her in 2003. It has been a long time.
.

THIS makes me incredibly happy for you.  I know you have been desperately lonely and waited soooo long. What a wonderful thing ! 

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We have to teach our children how to love, how to bond, how to deal with their emotions, and how to have healthy relationships, and how to leave relationships that are not healthy. Our relationship with them is how they will come to base all relationships on, so lets not base it on fear, ridicule and control.
.

Adult children of abuse and trauma have not learned any of theses things. This is what we have in many of our MLC'ers and I believe this with all my heart.  This is what I have in a husband .

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(And if you managed to walk through the door of your home without punching your h in the face after it, please award yourself a million good healing human points  :) )
.

I get the points as I managed not to punch his lights out . But I told him what she said. He gets a very pained look , he stares at the sky and turns red ...that is what he does. He sat in silence . Never said a word. I just went inside and carried on with my day. 

Offroad:Fixed the quotes
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« Last Edit: July 22, 2021, 03:21:15 PM by OffRoad »
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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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#69: July 22, 2021, 06:34:53 PM
Quote
am on my way to see her for the first time in 17 months. Since COVID she has asked me twice to move back to Canada because she misses having a family. I left her in 2003. It has been a long time.
.

THIS makes me incredibly happy for you.  I know you have been desperately lonely and waited soooo long. What a wonderful thing ! 

Thanks Barbie. Our first day together has been wonderful and I am experiencing every minute as such a beautiful thing. Very very happy tonight as I head to bed. She is my flesh, my family, my little one and there really is no other relationship in my life like the one I have with my daughter.
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"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" Hebrews 11:1

"You enrich my life and are a source of joy and consolation to me. But if I lose you, I will not, I must not spend the rest of my life in unhappiness."

" The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it". Flannery O'Connor

https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

b
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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#70: September 16, 2021, 06:45:24 PM
Hello my friends . It has been a long time since I have updated my story but I feel the need to do that today while I am enjoying a day alone. Alone time is how I re-charge and recalibrate myself and during Covid this has been hard to find. My H has been mostly working from home for 18 months as well as my daughter . Alone time is exciting and greatly anticipated when the opportunity arises . Its all about Me and what I want to do for an entire day!  So I shall come and go today and add some discoveries , awareness and experiences as I walk my journey forward.

Its an excruciatingly painful place , to be a LBS. I have frequently read others stories that can take me “back” to parts that are thankfully behind me . I feel the pain of others very deeply and at times I stay away from HS for this reason. It is “triggering” at times and can fill my day with anxiety as it takes me back to places that were so profoundly painful. I never want to go backwards . It is part of selfcare for me and I know when I am most vulnerable to suffer for others and remember my walk thru unrelenting pain and shock.

Shockingly , it has been 8 years and still I have days that I struggle to keep my equilibrium. I know my “bad days” …something tells me to handle this day with care because I am going to struggle to stay with the lessons I have learned and the new perspectives that have taken me out of the blackest hole I was stuck in. I have to stay vigilant with my thinking, my goals and who I want to be. Not 1 day has passed that I do not think about what happened…not one. It used to be “not a minute , not an hour” freed me from the pain. Not so much anymore do I live in that desperate all consuming place but neither has it completely left me. Anxious -pre-occupied people ( such as myself) create added pain in their lives as a result of their attachment style . I work hard to change that .

Where to start ?   As many know my H’s affair “person” was a family member as shocking as that is …it really makes sense in hindsite. My H is a construction supervisor and trainer . He works 100% with man and has never had a women on his crews. He has very little contact with women on a daily basis most of his career. But then there is this “family member” who has been cutting his hair for decades . Every couple months he went for a haircut, listen to her never ending self-inflicted problems and tried to “support” her small business.  She was not “selected” but rather was “just there” as she has always been with her never ending drama and problems. Suddenly he sees her in a different way and the great White Knight felt the draw to rescue , be a hero and feel appreciated , admired and respected. She was fresh out of jail, on probation and the universe aligned to have these 2 broken humans to somehow do the unthinkable. I think when you have been a “dumsel in distress “ your entire life, have never stood on your own two feet , you become an expert at this strategy. And along comes the broken rescuer . If ever there was an “ affair down” this is truly my H digging his way into a dumpster. And from this perfect storm, everyones life changes. I a man in crisis could allow a word of advice ?  Find an OW that is a stranger because the catastrophy triples.

My H has been seeing the “marriage counsellor” for an entire year by himself. I have been working with my counsellor sporadically due to Covid.  I have now been invited to return as a couple ( wich was the plan ). So next week we will attend together. I will go , however, I do believe that it will be very short lived . She will not know me this time. I am a “new” creation and have changed dramatically in the past year…perhaps more change in 1 year than in the other 6. I have a deep understanding of what has happened to my H to make him the way that he is today. I have detached in ways I never thought possible , am far FAR less reactive , I can calmly state how I feel and stop. I no longer respond to any nonsense . I am stronger, wiser and in charge of me. I no longer respond to blame, his “shut down” tendencies or his withdrawal. I no longer “pursue” anything from him . I hand him back his “sh$t” on an imaginary plate and get on with my day. I know it likely sounds odd that I would be practicing detachment in a marriage that is supposed to be reconciling ( or whatever) but it has saved my life. Perhaps acceptance is a better word. I have accepted many many things that I previously fought like a warrior …its freedom , its calm and it is in my best interest. I think I have stumbled across some inner wisdom perhaps. He, on the other hand, really does not know what to do with this new me.

There is great relief in accepting with all your soul that this crisis has absolutely nothing to do with you. Say it everytime you feel your head will explode . My H is a separate person from me …he is the product of his history, his trauma , his experiences and his own emotional responses and perceptions. None of that belongs to me, is because of me and cannot be changed by me. It has given me great peace to finally truly accept that I am powerless to change or alter anything about him. I only need to look after myself, become who I want to be and change myself accordingly. It was the hardest path, the most devastating soul crushing walk into myself .

Unexpectedly , the total commitment to accept that I cannot change another person, that lowering expectations ( really low) and to only work on my growth has ended the “pursuer” in me . That ugly pursuer -distancer dance ends when one person refuses to participate. Detaching emotionally and honoring me and all of my own complexities , needs and interests has truly released me from being a crazy assed angry pursuer. I feel no need or pull to pursue and that has been incredibly freeing and healthy for me . Rather like good “selfcare”. I not longer feel profound reactivity and rage when he “shuts down.”  It has little ( if anything) to do with me but rather the echos of his history, his defence mechanisms and his “little boy” strategies to survive his childhood….appear in his marriage. So I either avoid getting into a situation that I know will shut him down or I walk away when he does that. But I do tell him . “you have shut down . It is extremely damaging to me and our marriage and I am leaving the conversation as nothing positive will come from your silence”. And I go find things to do.  A wonderful gift for ME. Prior to fully being able to do this …the rage was so deep , so unpredictable and I believe I experienced hatred ..deep hatred.  I have had much back and forth and confusion regarding men who “distance or shut down “.  Is it on purpose ?  is it involuntary ?  .   I am still unsure , but the end result is the same . It is incredibly damaging and I am (was) desperately triggered as it is my childhood wound from an extremely unemotional rejecting mother . I understand and for the most part have healed and continue to make progress.  Aren’t humans so incredibly complicated??  . I do believe ( and have been told ) my H “shut down” is involuntary.  Tomorrow I might feel it is deliberate. 

https://www.couplestherapyinc.com/stonewalling/

I do have a very interesting story …maybe tomorrow I will share . Just exhausted after typing away . I appreciate my HS friends.

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« Last Edit: September 16, 2021, 06:47:53 PM by barbiedoll »
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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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#71: September 16, 2021, 08:32:23 PM
Great post!

Looking forward to the interesting story.
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#72: September 16, 2021, 08:53:05 PM
Wooooo Barbie  :D

What incredible growth, and healthy detachment  8)

I wonder how he will adapt...... grow himself I hope. What a marvelous change in you.

Staying tuned for the next exciting episode  ;)

-SS
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W - 40
M - 44
Together 25 years, M 23
No kids
BD - 27th April 2019
Start of Shadow - Feb 2012

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#73: September 17, 2021, 12:58:41 AM
"Mirror work" at it's finest...



Seriously, that is a LOT of HARD work that has happened, Hats off to you!
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Me - 58, xW - 50
Together 19 years - Married 17 at separation & 21 at D-Day
S - 14, D - 10
2 Dogs
BD#1 - August 2015
Atomic BD - 13 Dec 2015
House sold & separated - Mar 2016
Divorce final 30 August 2019

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A "friend" will not "stand by you" no matter what you do. That is NOT a friend. That is an enabler. That is an accomplice.
A REAL friend will sit you down and tell you to your face to stop being a firetrucking idiot before you ruin your life and the lives of those around you.

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Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#74: September 17, 2021, 02:30:33 AM
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There is great relief in accepting with all your soul that this crisis has absolutely nothing to do with you

THIS and .....

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I only need to look after myself, become who I want to be and change myself accordingly. It was the hardest path, the most devastating soul crushing walk into myself .


THIS....

Can't do GIFs the way UM does but this is all that a newbie needs to read, repeat and repeat until that message gets home into the head, heart and soul of the LBS.

Good work Barbie.
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BD march 2013
Stay at home MLCer
OW for 3.5 years - finishing Autumn 2016
Reconnection started 2017 and still going with no sign of reconciliation.

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#75: September 17, 2021, 08:17:34 AM
This is a remarkable thread. Thank you, Barbie.

Plus, I know that I get triggered by some things in other HS threads, but didn't even think of the idea that my story is triggering others as well. It's like I'm flailing about in the water, reaching for a life preserver. You guys are throwing me a life preserver, but you're in the water and struggling as well. That means a lot.

JB
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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#76: September 17, 2021, 08:25:40 AM
Barbie,
 This post is so good, seriously so so good.  Thank you. 

Quote
  I know it likely sounds odd that I would be practicing detachment in a marriage that is supposed to be reconciling ( or whatever) but it has saved my life. Perhaps acceptance is a better word. I have accepted many many things that I previously fought like a warrior …its freedom , its calm and it is in my best interest. I think I have stumbled across some inner wisdom perhaps. He, on the other hand, really does not know what to do with this new me.

I am right here now as well.  My H is looking for the same person who I was 6 years ago.  She is gone, and new Roo stands before him.  It will be interesting to see if a new marriage can rise again. 

You have a gift of writing to make us all see how you feel.  I hope you continue to post and maybe use this gift in your new life in other areas.  Thank you again.
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Husband 55
Me 55
Kids 3 sons 29, 27, 25 1 daughter 20
BD #1 Spring 2016
BD #2 Winter 2017
married 33 years.  Together 35
H never moved out except 3 weeks after BD #1
OW 30 year single mom employee-He says EA only I don’t believe him.

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#77: September 17, 2021, 08:51:51 AM
Barbie, this update is such a wonderful thing to read - for the wisdom it provides to us, but mostly because it shows just how much growth and healing you have done.
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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#78: September 17, 2021, 08:59:50 AM
Wow, what insight and wisdom that came with time and experience of the situation. Thank you for always sharing to help others. Specially for us newbies that are looking for that much needed connection and insight into what we are in for. A good reminder to frankly not kid ourselves that it is a long road ahead and no quick fix. 
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H-54 W-58  M 7/6/91 Kids d-30 s-28 d-14 (dies 2009)
2013- moments of disconnect start
Aug 2016 promotion requires travel   
Oct 2017-total disconnect
Jan 2018- moved out H
Mar 2018- BD1 found old phone 3 EA ‘17-H in therapy
EA ow1-49,  EA-ow2 57, (EA- ow3-58 not reciprocated)
Sept ‘18 -2nd Home in new state H new job
Oct 2018-H moves home
Oct 2020 BD2 does not return home from B trip
Nov 2020 H move to 2nd home in other state OW4
Div filed-Dec ‘20   Div final-Feb ‘21
Oct 2021- XH moves in OW4
https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=11796.

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#79: September 17, 2021, 09:45:23 AM
I know it’s a bit presumptuous, given that you are a stranger in RL, but I am so proud of you, Barbie. Those of us who have been in the PTSD trenches know the reality of every moment of grit and effort and pain and bewilderment and fear and despair that you stumbled through, day after day, year after year, to get to here.  It’s a hell of an achievement.
And it is inspiring.
And it is a gift of hope to everyone who, just like me and just like you, never believed it could be possible, so thank you.
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T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.
Healing and growing found here https://littleplotbythesea.wordpress.com

"Option A is not available so I need to kick the s**t out of Option B" Sheryl Sandberg

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#80: October 01, 2021, 09:49:22 AM
Thank you kindly my most important friends. Years I have been talking to you all and never have I laid eyes on one of you . It seems odd in so many ways how treasured and valuable you are to me. I am grateful for every one of you as you have helped me walk thru the darkest days time and time again. 

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I wonder how he will adapt...... grow himself I hope. What a marvelous change in you.
.

How will he adapt?  Its such a great question. My therapist has warned me that he may attempt to drag me back to the old dynamic, to what was "know" and what was comfortable etc. That I needed to be aware and wary of that and stand in my new wisdom and growth. To not let myself be dragged backwards.  It will create a change in him. If one person changes , it creates a shift or change in the other. We shall see and I will watch for all she mentioned. I need to stand in this new place because it released me from extreme frustration, anguish and pain.  As Treasur says ( and she surely knows)
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Those of us who have been in the PTSD trenches know the reality of every moment of grit and effort and pain and bewilderment and fear and despair that you stumbled through, day after day, year after year, to get to here.  It’s a hell of an achievement.
. No one wants to be dragged backwards to that hellish place.  However, I am aware that healing can wobble, that it is not perfectly stable or without times of struggle . I can see and feel days when I am very aware that for whatever reason, this day will be a bit of a struggle and I will need to do more for ME and less for him. Selfcare, time with a friend or in the garden , or some creative painting project usually puts me back on the right path .  I also have this vision I use to " un-trigger " me ( so to speak) or to stop myself when I know nothing positive is going to happen. I have what I refer to ( in my head) as my " emotional scissors" and I use them to detach , leave the situation or change the conversation. It truly works well for me . I am far more interested in who I am becoming and less focus on who he is or is not.

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She is gone, and new Roo stands before him.  It will be interesting to see if a new marriage can rise again.
.

Yes Roo, the old Barbiedoll is gone. Long gone into my rear view mirror. It will indeed be captivating to see what emerges.

Some ponderings and thoughts:

My dad. There is no more loved dad than mine. I have had the best of the best in Gods design of dads. From a motherless start ( his mother died when he was 3) and a shabby start in life , he still knew how to be a kind, gentle, steadfast hero. He protected me many many times from my mother. They are both 88 and these past 2 years I am watching him suffer and become frail and need so much care. I am at the hospital, at dr's appointments, repeating and repeating what he cannot remember , checking medications, baking cinammon buns and trying to work around my mother to make sure he has everything he needs. Today we drove into Toronto to visit family visiting from Florida . Its hell driving in Toronto ...nuff said about that . As we were walking up the steps into my cousins home , I was carrying a pot of fall mums and a chocolate cream pie and failed to "watch" my dad. When I turned , he had fallen from the 2nd step, into the shrubbery and on to the rock pathway. I just screamed ...I was so upset I shook for an hour . My adrenaline system is so sensitive , so PTSDish that "shocking" things put me into extreme fight or flight. My physical body is still so reactive , my startle response still on high alert ...it was awful. Awful. He was trying to get up himself when I finally got to him but he could not. He was embarrassed, could not catch his breathe , and I knew he had hit his head. Finally got him to a chair and he ( of course) says he is fine ...but he is not. I still have a splitting headache and this happened hours ago. $h!te-daughter am I. I know he will have some bruising on his hip tomorrow and it just may involve another doctor trip...which he refused tonight. How hard it is to have roles shift in life ...from a man that looked after me in a thousand ways a thousands times ...now is dependant on me . Another life change that is going to hurt to my core.

An interesting happening on the weekend. Actually, this has happened to me several times . I must be a "trigger" to other people to remember that I am married to a husband that cheated. They remember that as soon as they lay eyes on me . Is that nuts or what?  And they are compelled or lack boundaries and actually say something out loud ...to me. Not to him. But to me. Again this past weekend , a family member approaches me at a family function , puts his arm around me and proceeds to talk to others that are within hearing range about "what a true warrior I am after all the $h!te I have been thru,,,its a wonder I am still standing". He continues " No really, Barbiedoll..you have been thru it , not sure many could do what you made it thru " and on and on . Hmmm?  Uncomfortable to say the least and just curious about all the freefloating internal judgments that are floating thru everyone's mind. What do they all REALLy think about me?  Last summer , someone dared to say the OW's actual name to me and how "sorry they were that happened to me ". UGH!. And this at a family BBQ with people listening . Apparrently she was drunk. But the fact is , I remind people of what happened. It comes into their minds . The ripple effect goes on for years ... and it had nothing to do with me. Of course , that is not what others think.  Just an observation in the life of a women who stays with a cheater. St another event , a family friend looked at me , gave me a squeeze and said "men will be men".   Injustice .

The marriage counsellor who has been seeing my husband alone for the past year has asked to see him a couple more times before I return. That made me laugh ...what could you possibly "fix" in 2 additional hours?. Not sure why..but that is just funny. He who he has years of therapy has changed very little. Its far more likely she is afraid to deal with me again.  But , I believe she will see a change in me that will be hard for her to believe. Last year I broke the glass in her office door when I slammed it. It cost 180.00 bucks to fix plus 120.00 bucks for half a session I managed to tolerate!.  The rage and grief has taken years to purge from my soul...it truly has. I am better now. ...... I surely hope I am not wrong about that .

I saw my own therapist yesterday . I had a list of things to talk about that had been on my mind . Instead , I just was utterly overcome with seeing my dad fall and that I wasn't paying attention. Sobbed up such fear and grief ...seeing him weak and helpless. Seeing him not be able to catch his breathe...I just wept. Can barely type . She made me sit with the emotion...just breath, just feel it . Omg. Such a pitiful mess . It put me into fight or flight...so she tells me , and I do see that. I have had unrelenting anxiety , headache , insomnia since it happened. It is hard to have PTSD and get "shocked".  I am still struggling to get my feet back under me . I explained what I did ... when I got home. I never told my husband . I just cannot make right in my brain , how I can be "rejected" and shut out by him telling me I am "unsafe" ... and then somehow "need " anything from him. Does that make sense at all. Its the only way I can describe it. Or am I doing tit-for tat in my hurt. Where does detachment end I guess.   He found out of course and wanted to know why I never talk him that my dad fell. I told him why ...tired of being the only vulnerable one. Tired of getting nothing from him....not even a discussion about counselling not matter how or how many times I ask. He wants what he cannot give. I just cannot.  He is and can be very supportive, he would have listened to me, hugged me and likely went to check on my dad.  But he gives nothing as he is an avoidant stonewaller ...a closed book. He  is a top secret kinda husband.  Its very lonely way to live. But that's it.  He was angry and silent about what I told him. Has not talked to me since. But that was my truth...and I was calm / not angry.  We do not have a "sharing" kind of relationship as he either will not or cannot. I DO understand that I am safe ....its not about me. But it is his perception and therefor his reality ... or his made up excuse ( as my sister likes to say ) .  It makes having a close intimate connection impossible.  Adult children of severe trauma are hard to love or to accept love. Everyone is the enemy or to be wary of ...everyone.

Edited only to reduce the big blank at the end of the post
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« Last Edit: October 02, 2021, 03:49:22 AM by Songanddance »
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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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#81: October 01, 2021, 12:31:22 PM
Wow, barbie. I don't know what to say, but I'm listening.

Thank you,

JB
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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#82: October 01, 2021, 12:49:56 PM
Quote
how I can be "rejected" and shut out by him telling me I am "unsafe" ... and then somehow "need " anything from him. Does that make sense at all. Its the only way I can describe it
  Makes total sense to me!!

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He is and can be very supportive, he would have listened to me, hugged me and likely went to check on my dad.  But he gives nothing as he is an avoidant stonewaller ...a closed book. He  is a top secret kinda husband.  Its very lonely way to live
It is a lonely way to live. I often wondered if my XH came back if that would change and most likely not, however it wasn’t always like that. He was always a great listener and I felt heard, but since MLC not sure that person would ever come back. Avoidant and non conflict personalities I think will always remain. What I do know is no one would or will work as hard as I have to try open him up. I think that is an element many come back to the spouse if they are avoidant and non communicative. It’s a lot of work for them to open up.

What an amazingly raw post. I always love when others share their therapy as well. Not all are fortunate enough to afford or to find one that is helpful.

Thank you for sharing BD
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H-54 W-58  M 7/6/91 Kids d-30 s-28 d-14 (dies 2009)
2013- moments of disconnect start
Aug 2016 promotion requires travel   
Oct 2017-total disconnect
Jan 2018- moved out H
Mar 2018- BD1 found old phone 3 EA ‘17-H in therapy
EA ow1-49,  EA-ow2 57, (EA- ow3-58 not reciprocated)
Sept ‘18 -2nd Home in new state H new job
Oct 2018-H moves home
Oct 2020 BD2 does not return home from B trip
Nov 2020 H move to 2nd home in other state OW4
Div filed-Dec ‘20   Div final-Feb ‘21
Oct 2021- XH moves in OW4
https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=11796.

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#83: October 01, 2021, 06:46:30 PM
An interesting happening on the weekend. Actually, this has happened to me several times . I must be a "trigger" to other people to remember that I am married to a husband that cheated. They remember that as soon as they lay eyes on me . Is that nuts or what?  And they are compelled or lack boundaries and actually say something out loud ...to me. Not to him. But to me. Again this past weekend , a family member approaches me at a family function , puts his arm around me and proceeds to talk to others that are within hearing range about "what a true warrior I am after all the $h!te I have been thru,,,its a wonder I am still standing". He continues " No really, Barbiedoll..you have been thru it , not sure many could do what you made it thru " and on and on . Hmmm?  Uncomfortable to say the least and just curious about all the freefloating internal judgments that are floating thru everyone's mind. What do they all REALLy think about me?  Last summer , someone dared to say the OW's actual name to me and how "sorry they were that happened to me ". UGH!. And this at a family BBQ with people listening . Apparrently she was drunk. But the fact is , I remind people of what happened. It comes into their minds . The ripple effect goes on for years ... and it had nothing to do with me. Of course , that is not what others think.  Just an observation in the life of a women who stays with a cheater. St another event , a family friend looked at me , gave me a sque

Hi Barbiedoll,

It's only been a little over year since BD and I already have had many people tell me that I should left my W a long time of ago.   The truth of matter is most people have no concept regarding MLC and the brokenness that we LBS's feel and experience.   I am still standing for M and am sure that I was fill face the same ridicule and inappropriate comments if my W ever comes out of her MLC.   

You are strong and are doing so well so it really doesn't matter what others think.   You know the truth and and that's what's most important.   Keep growing and moving forward with your life and I hope your husband opens up in due time.

HF
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M - 46
Together 19 years, M 17
2 kids
BD - July 2020
W Left Home - January 2021
W Filed for D - May 2021

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#84: October 02, 2021, 01:21:10 AM
I wobble too, Barbie. And just like you, I am very grateful that I know how to un-wobble myself and that now it takes a few hours at most not days or weeks. Still don’t like it though and tbh I resent it a bit sometimes  ::)

My thought fwiw on the comments from others....
Most likely, it sounds as if people want to say ‘go you’, give you a kind of version of a hug and tell you that they are on Team Barbie but don’t quite know what to say. At the same time I can completely understand why you might feel like saying ‘go talk to my h bc it’s not my s$it to carry’. Maybe you should do that next time lol. But, from the cheap seats, it sounds as if their intentions are good....as if they want to acknowledge YOU as opposed to just go la la la and pretend it never happened. But of course only you can decide if it matters what they think or if you want to metaphorically hold up a big Stop sign.  :)

I cried a bit about what you wrote about your Dad. Like you, I had a great Dad and I miss him. It was heartbreaking to watch his decline and to feel so helpless about so many things. And, at the same time, it was a strange kind of gift to be able to care for him and love him and see him as who he was. A painful kind of love, but love all the same. No different with my mother now. Every cinnamon bun for him, or fudge with my mother, is an act of love and respect isn’t it? A kind of ‘hello you’. But oh my word, the emotions are complicated and painful.....I can completely understand why you might only want to expose them in safe, kind places and that your h no longer feels that to you. I have a few friends who have parents with dementia, at various stages, and sometimes it just helps to share or listen to someone who gets it absolutely, where less words are needed, where you know that they get it without judgment. So I get it, I hear you and I am sending you one of my best quality hugs xxxx
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T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.
Healing and growing found here https://littleplotbythesea.wordpress.com

"Option A is not available so I need to kick the s**t out of Option B" Sheryl Sandberg

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#85: October 03, 2021, 09:40:39 AM
Quote
Avoidant and non conflict personalities I think will always remain. What I do know is no one would or will work as hard as I have to try open him up. I think that is an element many come back to the spouse if they are avoidant and non communicative. It’s a lot of work for them to open up.
.

As much as I would like to disagree with you , I cannot.  I believe he will always and forever be avoidant and fearful of conflict.  When I say this to the therapist she adamantly disagrees with me. I think she is wrong too and I have told her that . I believe he will live out his days with this way of dealing ( or not dealing) with life as he has been "programmed " this way since birth . Perhaps even before that . He was under 3 lbs , born very pre-maturely to a 15 year old mother ...no doubt absorbed stress , adrenaline etc in the womb .  I do know that MRI can show physical changes in the brain of children raised or who have survived repeated trauma.  I have been told many many times that my H survived his childhood by staying in a continual state of survival mode. That changes a person ...forever. And then we marry them with no clue about who they "really " are.  They do not know who they really are ..the blueprint was changed and altered by trauma...over and over again.  My H is ( and has been consistently) absolutely desperate to save his marriage ...and I mean desperate. He says he will never ever quit trying to "make it right", refuses to even consider separation etc.  But everything he "does " or fails to say sabatoges the very thing he so desperately wants . He is just not "right" and having PTSD ( both of us) and his ACOA Trauma Syndrome makes for some deep swings between compassion and utter frustration fed rage.  I do not believe he has the capacity, emotional IQ or tools or ability to be other than who he is.  That is sadly a reality that I have accepted ...and it surely hurts my heart. 
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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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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#86: October 03, 2021, 09:50:22 AM
Just to add .... ACE scores . ( Adverse Childhood Experiences ) that some may not be aware of .  My score is 1 . My husbands score is 10. 

https://vancouveremdrtherapy.com/ace-adverse-childhood-experiences-score/
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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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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#87: October 03, 2021, 10:06:37 AM
Barbie, I want to acknowledge everything you feel, but at the same time, and while also knowing that you have to put a lot into therapy to get something out of it, I read your posts and do sometimes wonder if your H has the right therapist for him. Just an observation.
My ACES score is also high, not counting other factors outside the home that ACES doesn't factor in. So I don't think that a high ACES score automatically means too much damage to overcome.

It's off the charts unfair what he endured as a child. From my outside view with limited knowledge of your situation, it looks like he spent his life enacting an "undamaged" persona, because being seen as "damaged" is shameful. Then for whatever his reasons, he had the affair and it obliterated his "undamaged" status, and that's a huge stumbling block for him now. He'd likely be content to sweep it under the rug and go back to enacting his old pre-affair persona.  (I also want to note here that I don't mean to in any way minimize the time of his affair as simply "an affair" at all.)

It makes me wonder if a different therapist could get him closer to facing down his childhood trauma.  He's been at it a long time and seems still 100% avoidant where it would seem at some point he might even make a baby step.  It's interesting that your H can verbalize his desire to make things right but not exhibit the behaviors or say the words that for you will make things right. 

Anyway, just some thoughts, I hope they're not overstepping.
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« Last Edit: October 03, 2021, 10:09:11 AM by Nas »

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#88: October 04, 2021, 07:53:07 AM
Thank you Nas . I love hearing from you my friend .

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Barbie, I want to acknowledge everything you feel, but at the same time, and while also knowing that you have to put a lot into therapy to get something out of it, I read your posts and do sometimes wonder if your H has the right therapist for him. Just an observation.
.

I cannot tell you how correct you are . I have searched endless hours for a therapist for ACOA Trauma Syndrome.  I have searched a two hour commute radious all around us . I have NEVER found a therapist that deals with this specifically . Some do have it listed in the 50 things they counsel people for...but nothing is stated as a focus on the Adult Child of An Alcoholic. I am just frustrated and shocked by this as the incident of being raised in a home that is being led by an addict is staggering. The therapist that my H was seeing for years stopped due to COVID about 18 months ago ...he was doing therapy from his home .  I have found 1 therapist ( in Maine USA) that deals with ACOA.  Not helpful at all.  I absolutely agree with you .

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It's off the charts unfair what he endured as a child. From my outside view with limited knowledge of your situation, it looks like he spent his life enacting an "undamaged" persona, because being seen as "damaged" is shameful. Then for whatever his reasons, he had the affair and it obliterated his "undamaged" status, and that's a huge stumbling block for him now. He'd likely be content to sweep it under the rug and go back to enacting his old pre-affair persona.  (I also want to note here that I don't mean to in any way minimize the time of his affair as simply "an affair" at all.)
.

Again, I cannot tell you how right on you are.  In his family of origin of 5 boys , he was the ONLY one that had no glaring addictions, NEVER drank, smoked , drugs etc. He was the oldest, fastest, most together, successful second in command in his family. When his father was on the road ( trucker) ...he was the "man of the house" and remembers forging school notes for his brothers, forging his fathers name on pay cheques so they could get some food, taking himself to the doctor....some of this at 9 and 10 years old. He is his brothers " heroes"...always running interference to protect them. The stories they have told me...shocking. And became the star quarterback in our high school for years as he slept in the locker room. His persona is absolute "hero and the chosen one " ...his brothers say that out loud to him and protect him like he is god. He screwed up. He fell off his pedestal. He shocked himself. Its a long fall from " persona of perfect" when he was actually a struggling , hurt little boy internally.

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It makes me wonder if a different therapist could get him closer to facing down his childhood trauma.  He's been at it a long time and seems still 100% avoidant where it would seem at some point he might even make a baby step.  It's interesting that your H can verbalize his desire to make things right but not exhibit the behaviors or say the words that for you will make things right.
.

He is deeply avoidant ...he believes all emotions, problems, solutions ( might turn to conflict) and is terrified . He "freezes" ...almost dissacociates I would say. He will not answer ...therefore you can never get to solutions . Period. He has no adult problem solving skills as do many ACOA ( especially emotion provoking issues and males) . There is nothing I have not read or listened to.  So problems just regurgitate time and time and time again....and that seems "normal" to him.  He was raised this way....
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don't talk, don't feel, don't think.
..is normal. Living in high tension and anxiety, problems, fear ....all " normal".  It almost kills me. So NOT normal.

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Anyway, just some thoughts, I hope they're not overstepping.
.

Never overstepping my friend. I appreciate anyone that helps me...and you have many times over .




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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
#89: October 04, 2021, 09:44:45 AM
Hello barbiedoll, just catching up here and agree with Nas and you about maybe a different therapist. My two cents for what they’re worth — might he trend better through EMDR with a trauma specialist? The ACOA aspect is heavy for sure, but the avoidant and non thinking non talking about things sounds like maybe a therapy that is less “talky” would make quicker or deeper progress. It sounds like a lot of internal shame, which we all know can be brutalizing and very hard to articulate, even to experts who are “good” “safe” etc. and who know how to draw the client out of itself. I know some of my trauma I couldn’t speak really at all, and in retrospect I wasted probably a good decade on trying and basically re-traumatizing myself in talk therapy that just wasn’t suitable, no matter how expert and lovely and safe and good those therapists very much were. EMDR made short work of things that had destabilized me for most of my life. Just a thought.

My ACE score is 7 but feels higher sometimes. Some of it, I’ve worked through neatly with EMDR. Some of it, though, the things that are triggered or re-enacted by h, well. Those are on the list to return to EMDR. In the meantime I don’t actively give him opportunity or access to me, for now.

This might be overstepping, so I mean it both frankly and with a ton of deep respect for you both — it kind of sounds like your h could benefit from an in-treatment trauma recovery period, in the right place. I understand that would have to be his own decision and would be expensive and also a very different idea than h as hero or protected stainless god, but gosh, he sounds tired. And I know you are sometimes tired as well.

You sound strong these days but more than that, you sound very balanced and as though you’ve found your ground. I’m always rooting for you and your h and I hope he will find the therapeutic path that really works for him; as Tom Robbins said, “it’s never too late to have a happy childhood” — and if we find that somehow we can’t, it is always ok to shred up those old negative bits and leave them truly behind us.

His trauma doesn’t have to be permanent or a life sentence. I hope he will understand that more and more each day, and that ultimately it features rarely for you both. (((HUGS)))
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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#90: October 04, 2021, 11:05:15 AM
My experience of EMDR was much the same as Nas reports.
I am more and more chary of the benefits of talking therapies for trauma tbh.

I think iirc Barbie that you are scheduled to be joining in - oh joy  ::) - with a shared session with his therapist at some point in the non too distant future? Perhaps this might provide an appropriate opening to raise the question about whether a different trauma-focused therapist and something like EMDR might be more useful now if your h says that we (he) feels ‘stuck’ after years of working with the current therapists approach.....
If you can be bothered to open up that particular window given that it isn’t your window or your responsibility..... ::)
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T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.
Healing and growing found here https://littleplotbythesea.wordpress.com

"Option A is not available so I need to kick the s**t out of Option B" Sheryl Sandberg

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#91: October 04, 2021, 12:08:18 PM
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It sounds like a lot of internal shame,
.

This is perhaps the only comment he has made to me. He told me he was working on "deep shame" issues with his therapist ( before Covid) . As I said , that therapist has not been seen since this covid mess started. So, yes , he has a shame-based soul somewhere inside that needs so much healing.  I cannot do anything about that and being " avoidant" by nature and attachment style...I think he works hard to avoid pain.  I cannot change a thing . I know that .

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I couldn’t speak really at all, and in retrospect I wasted probably a good decade on trying and basically re-traumatizing myself in talk therapy that just wasn’t suitable, no matter how expert and lovely and safe and good those therapists very much were. EMDR made short work of things that had destabilized me for most of my life. Just a thought.
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I too have had EMDR and it certainly helped . I am not certain he would do that ...more likely not . He very rarely talks about specific childhood events . Very rare. But his brothers and more specifically his 2 uncles tell horror stories. If I ask my H if those stories are true , he will say "yes".  But little else.  A therapist would have to suggest EMDR to him , not me. I am not sure anyone would ever manage to have him be that vulnerable. I cannot change that either.  And I more than agree that he should be in a residential treatment center . It would never happen. Ever. Again, it is nothing I could suggest to him. However, if I ever truly left him and moved on with my life , there is NO doubt he would end up at the bottom and likely hospitalized in some way. He has an extreme fear of abandonment .

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You sound strong these days but more than that, you sound very balanced and as though you’ve found your ground
.

I have found my ground. It took years to get where I am ...but this "ground" can be terribly wobbly some days. I am not standing straight and strong everyday I can assure you , but I am in a FAR better place.  I can generally stabilize fairly quickly and back to a comfortable place. I think in many ways I just feel heartbroken. After all that has happened , still I see he cannot be who or what I need.  He cannot be who he needs to be for himself...it just is.  If I stay long term in this marriage , it is about accepting or "settling"..... his capacity for change is very limited.  It is about acceptance and finding ways to get your needs met in other things and relationships. Makes me ever so sad. There are things we just cannot change no matter how bad we want it.  I am in charge of me and only me .

My H believes I am " un-safe".  Indeed he uses this term whenever he is overwhelmed , angry or feels trapped . He absolutely believes this and uses it . And that's it ...all doors close. Of course I KNOW that is not the truth. I am so many good , solid things and I am not unsafe . But, what difference that makes is ZERO . His "perception" is I am unsafe. Or his "excuse" is I am un-safe to talk to etc .  Cannot go anywhere with that said. So funny story .. Last week I went to the doctor and my blood pressure was way way too high. I was put on blood pressure medication 3 months ago , and now they have doubled it.  Gives me so much anxiety...I cannot tell you.  Now I have to record my blood pressure and call it in to the doctor once a week. Have I done that ? NO.   Why not?.  I swear...the anxiety , fear and stories in my head are off the chart when I even look at the monitor. I can work myself into shaking...insane. The fear it brings up ..crazy. So, I was telling my therapist this story . She listened and said  " that firetrucking blood pressure monitor is UNSAFE !!. Looks at how much fear it makes you feel ! Damn thing is UNSAFE!".  Now, she has NEVER swore and it was just so funny . This Barbiedoll, is what your H means ......all the emotions, feelings, anxieties, overwhelming fear , shame and failure ...he feels all those things when you ask questions or confront him . He is able to bury all that thru distraction etc until YOU talk to him . So you and the blood pressure monitor are just damn unsafe !"    I get it...I do.  I cannot change that either .

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is trauma doesn’t have to be permanent or a life sentence. I hope he will understand that more and more each day, and that ultimately it features rarely for you both. (((HUGS)))
.

So true. But we cannot do any other persons "work" .  Can we?   So this is it until I choose another life for me .





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Married April 1985
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Bomb Drop April 2013
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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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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#92: October 04, 2021, 12:18:25 PM
Bb-

MY XH has deep internal shame and went through talking therapy and EMDR. On his 5th session the DR. said. Do you even want to get better? He said, I don’t know” she said well have an answer by your appointment next week. He dropped both talk and EMDR therapy and left me that week. He would rather abandon his family than talk about his internal struggles. He admits that.

 They have to want to open up and fully. I found that mine went, but picked and chose what he wanted to share or was vulnerable enough to share. If they want to get better it is all or nothing. Normally what they hold back is what needs to most addressed. I agree that avoidant non communicative men will have a much more difficult time deciding to work through it all. 
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H-54 W-58  M 7/6/91 Kids d-30 s-28 d-14 (dies 2009)
2013- moments of disconnect start
Aug 2016 promotion requires travel   
Oct 2017-total disconnect
Jan 2018- moved out H
Mar 2018- BD1 found old phone 3 EA ‘17-H in therapy
EA ow1-49,  EA-ow2 57, (EA- ow3-58 not reciprocated)
Sept ‘18 -2nd Home in new state H new job
Oct 2018-H moves home
Oct 2020 BD2 does not return home from B trip
Nov 2020 H move to 2nd home in other state OW4
Div filed-Dec ‘20   Div final-Feb ‘21
Oct 2021- XH moves in OW4
https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=11796.

b
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#93: October 04, 2021, 05:49:00 PM
Quote
MY XH has deep internal shame and went through talking therapy and EMDR. On his 5th session the DR. said. Do you even want to get better? He said, I don’t know” she said well have an answer by your appointment next week. He dropped both talk and EMDR therapy and left me that week. He would rather abandon his family than talk about his internal struggles. He admits that.
.

Honest to god...its just shocking to read this. But I totally and completely get it because I believe my H could do the same. I really do. It is hard for those of us who do not struggle with overwhelming and deep core shame to understand....we would walk thru fire for our families and cannot imagine what would stop us. But...it prompted me to look a little further into "shame". Maybe I need to understand it better...because I do not truly get it.  This is the only thing my H has told me ..." I suffer from a lot of shame".   So on this rainy day , I went to Utube and listened to the 1st video that came up . Guys name is Tim Fletcher. I can tell you that this video is a game changer for me . He is talking 100% about MY H. Its as if my H is standing on stage with him....this is the piece I have been looking for . This man is a brilliant speaker, has a huge web page, is Canadian and does on-line therapy.   I only watched this 1 video and it appears he has a series of them.  I finally "get it".  This could easily describe many many MLCer's without question.  I would love some input ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfr-jBjQ9Wk
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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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#94: October 04, 2021, 10:22:47 PM
Wow, I feel I need to watch them all, but yes! It does tend to explain why and how doesn’t it. In the simplest of terms. I think the most under estimated thing for an MLC’r and I wish he would have touched more on was the body's chemical ability to self medicate. Affairs happen with an MLC’r due to the chemical imbalance and what that new relationship does to lift those chemicals in the body that depression meds would do if they were treated, but an MLC’r learns quickly that the rush of an escape relationship does that for them. That is why it could be anybody.

I am going to watch then all. Thank you for sharing. He does have a good handle on what happens with trauma and the shame that results and why. 
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H-54 W-58  M 7/6/91 Kids d-30 s-28 d-14 (dies 2009)
2013- moments of disconnect start
Aug 2016 promotion requires travel   
Oct 2017-total disconnect
Jan 2018- moved out H
Mar 2018- BD1 found old phone 3 EA ‘17-H in therapy
EA ow1-49,  EA-ow2 57, (EA- ow3-58 not reciprocated)
Sept ‘18 -2nd Home in new state H new job
Oct 2018-H moves home
Oct 2020 BD2 does not return home from B trip
Nov 2020 H move to 2nd home in other state OW4
Div filed-Dec ‘20   Div final-Feb ‘21
Oct 2021- XH moves in OW4
https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=11796.

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#95: October 05, 2021, 01:15:24 AM
Well, I think this guy gets trauma, particularly CPTSD.

I also think there is a horse to water principle and a danger for LBS, maybe particularly new LBS, of confirmation bias and the limits of usefulness about what you can actually DO with your insight into somebody else’s head. Particularly if you are more committed to it than they are.

Having said that, I think there are some LBS here carrying their own CPTSD baggage and many of us suffered PTSD in the aftermath of BD, and the underlying effects are similar perhaps, so it could be a useful resource for folks here, Barbie. Thank you for sharing it.

I think I would just encourage folks to watch the videos thinking more about their OWN trauma than speculating about someone else who does not have that insight or wish yet. Bc you can DO something about your own healing but i’m not sure you can do anything about someone else’s healing. Other than maybe choose not to add unnecessary pain, hold a bit of detached compassion from a goodly distance that allows you to not see their dysfunction as personal to you or support them in a slightly more informed way (if they/you want to) if they ever decide to deal with it.

And for newbies....
Please resist any temptation to forward any of these videos as an ‘ah ha’ resource to your spouse  :)
We’ve all (mostly) had those moments. Some of us acted on them. Sometimes even at the request of our sadz spouse. Don’t think I have ever seen a single story here when the spouse goes Ah ha back  :) ::)
Horse and water. Just saying.

PS I also want to flag what Chump Lady calls Hopium https://www.chumplady.com/2021/10/this-is-your-brain-on-hopium-3/ as a common trauma response for many LBS. A kind of advanced bargaining with the universe that imho can extend our exposure to traumatic events, maybe even changing the ‘simple’ trauma of a marriage ending to the ‘complex’ trauma of being stuck in a situation where you feel helpless and unsafe for a long period of time. I honestly believe that it is a healthy choice for any LBS to look hard at where they might be exposing themselves to more trauma and to try to move away from it where they can. Got the t shirt though so I do understand that it is easy to say but hard to do until you firmly put YOUR wellbeing first and centre, regardless of what else is going on around you.
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« Last Edit: October 05, 2021, 01:49:17 AM by Treasur »
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.
Healing and growing found here https://littleplotbythesea.wordpress.com

"Option A is not available so I need to kick the s**t out of Option B" Sheryl Sandberg

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#96: October 05, 2021, 06:58:29 AM
Treasur-
I agree with viewing in aspects for our own trauma, but even to further understand theirs. The element at least for me to have partially blamed myself for some aspect of XH being in the position. Just like the MLC’r has to come out of the fog or have an aha moment to start their recovery, I think we as LBS’s do also. I know I did. I had to want to stop inflicting his pain on me. I had to start wanting to put myself first and not feel bad for leaving a obviously struggling man behind. For me the videos help me to further understand it is not me it is all him. The relief and validation on this is helpful for me to move forward in my own recovery. You are right also. The PTSD is real and here to stay for a long time. Probably forever in some aspects.
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H-54 W-58  M 7/6/91 Kids d-30 s-28 d-14 (dies 2009)
2013- moments of disconnect start
Aug 2016 promotion requires travel   
Oct 2017-total disconnect
Jan 2018- moved out H
Mar 2018- BD1 found old phone 3 EA ‘17-H in therapy
EA ow1-49,  EA-ow2 57, (EA- ow3-58 not reciprocated)
Sept ‘18 -2nd Home in new state H new job
Oct 2018-H moves home
Oct 2020 BD2 does not return home from B trip
Nov 2020 H move to 2nd home in other state OW4
Div filed-Dec ‘20   Div final-Feb ‘21
Oct 2021- XH moves in OW4
https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=11796.

N

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#97: October 05, 2021, 08:03:51 AM


I think I would just encourage folks to watch the videos thinking more about their OWN trauma than speculating about someone else who does not have that insight or wish yet. Bc you can DO something about your own healing but i’m not sure you can do anything about someone else’s healing.

Second this emphatically. I'd also say that once you start to reflect on your own trauma and heal that, you'll likely find the overwhelming need to "know" exactly what happened goes away, or at least lessens dramatically. Because, as Treasur says, the quest to figure out the unfigure-out-able keeps one consistently exposed to the trauma they're trying to heal from.
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#98: October 05, 2021, 02:06:08 PM
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I think iirc Barbie that you are scheduled to be joining in - oh joy  ::) - with a shared session with his therapist at some point in the non too distant future? Perhaps this might provide an appropriate opening to raise the question about whether a different trauma-focused therapist and something like EMDR might be more useful now if your h says that we (he) feels ‘stuck’ after years of working with the current therapists approach.....
If you can be bothered to open up that particular window given that it isn’t your window or your responsibility..... ::)
.

We are scheduled to see the marriage counsellor together this week. He has emailed to request app.t time as he always does so he can tell her the days he is free ( Thursday and Friday this week). Interestingly he asked her again if it was just for him or us together . I am not sure she has answered yet.  Seems rather reluctant to go together ...but that could be my imagination.  I will mention my feelings about trauma therapy. It will "not make him happy" as he interprets everything I say as " there is still stuff "wrong" with you" and apparently believes I am saying there is nothing wrong with me .  What I have found in his reactions are very very predictable . His defence mechanisms are well practised to protect himself . He uses extreme defensiveness, deflection ( always changing the subject away from him) and denial. Most conversations include a repeated " I never said that, I never did that ".  Very frustrating . What I started to do was repeat back what I heard him say and I write it done. That solved much of his denial. 

Quote
Wow, I feel I need to watch them all, but yes! It does tend to explain why and how doesn’t it. In the simplest of terms. I think the most under estimated thing for an MLC’r and I wish he would have touched more on was the body's chemical ability to self medicate. Affairs happen with an MLC’r due to the chemical imbalance and what that new relationship does to lift those chemicals in the body that depression meds would do if they were treated, but an MLC’r learns quickly that the rush of an escape relationship does that for them. That is why it could be anybody.

I am going to watch then all. Thank you for sharing. He does have a good handle on what happens with trauma and the shame that results and why.
.

I found him to explain trauma related shame in a way that I completely and finally understood. A powerful video and I indeed will be watching more from this guy. It is helping me understand how my H "ticks and thinks" because it is utterly stunning to hear some of his logic. More importantly , it validates more and more....it was NEVER about me . It is helping me to continue to detach as I know a lot of his thinking and reactions are shamed based . ...and I need not take that as a personal affront or attack. This is his shame and only his. 

Quote
I wish he would have touched more on was the body's chemical ability to self medicate. Affairs happen with an MLC’r due to the chemical imbalance and what that new relationship does to lift those chemicals in the body that depression meds would do if they were treated, but an MLC’r learns quickly that the rush of an escape relationship does that for them. That is why it could be anybody.
.

This is very interesting .  And just breaks my heart with sadness and hurt . Perhaps it should not..but it endlessly does.  I know from statistics and stories that I have read that many women that have been cheated on are FAR more effected by emotional affairs and the possible emotional bonds that are formed with affair partners. For whatever reason ( and I would love to figure that out) , I am not one of these. I am deeply affected by the physical relationship my H had with his affair partner . I can see the movies in my heart of them together and now know that he has memories of a secretive sexual relationship with another women....inside of my marriage and history.  Does he think about it? was it the best ever because of these chemicals etc? Does he long for that ?   He says he never ever thinks about it and it was not some spectacular moment like on TV.  Why would he ever tell the truth about that . I have done extensive EMDR to rid myself of these horrific pictures... and it has lessen the pain a lot. But ..it is there in my soul. Kinda off topic , I know.  I knew somewhere inside that my H was not able to form any kind of truly healthy mature emotional connection.... he has not been able to truly do that even not in MLC.   Thats if I thought about it at all. Odd.  And indeed, it could have been anyone. I wish it had have been "anyone " else.   The more I listen about deep core shame...the more I understand what he got from her .

Quote
I also think there is a horse to water principle and a danger for LBS, maybe particularly new LBS, of confirmation bias and the limits of usefulness about what you can actually DO with your insight into somebody else’s head. Particularly if you are more committed to it than they are.
.

I agree . There is nothing I am prepared to "do" with this insight or new understanding.  I am not going to share this video with my H ...and that is different because we have watched hundreds of videos. I am listening ( at this point ) for myself . It is to educate myself about what core shame or identity shame really is. I need to identify my own "shame" as I am certain I have some . BUT I do not have shame to the extent of my H.

Quote
Bc you can DO something about your own healing but i’m not sure you can do anything about someone else’s healing. Other than maybe choose not to add unnecessary pain, hold a bit of detached compassion from a goodly distance that allows you to not see their dysfunction as personal to you or support them in a slightly more informed way (if they/you want to) if they ever decide to deal with it.
.

Yes Yes and Yes.  Words out of my mouth.  Could not have said it better.

Quote
And for newbies....
Please resist any temptation to forward any of these videos as an ‘ah ha’ resource to your spouse  :)
We’ve all (mostly) had those moments. Some of us acted on them. Sometimes even at the request of our sadz spouse. Don’t think I have ever seen a single story here when the spouse goes Ah ha back  :) ::)
Horse and water. Just saying.
.

Absolute truth Treasur and thank you for saying it out loud . As I said, I will not be sharing this video with my H . It truly is deep and impactful and I believe that it would hurt him at this time.  Perhaps in the future , but for right now , every instinct tells me not to do that . Its for me right now...my insight, my growth , my own shame recovery and to see my H in perhaps a more compassionate way .

Quote
PS I also want to flag what Chump Lady calls Hopium https://www.chumplady.com/2021/10/this-is-your-brain-on-hopium-3/ as a common trauma response for many LBS. A kind of advanced bargaining with the universe that imho can extend our exposure to traumatic events, maybe even changing the ‘simple’ trauma of a marriage ending to the ‘complex’ trauma of being stuck in a situation where you feel helpless and unsafe for a long period of time. I honestly believe that it is a healthy choice for any LBS to look hard at where they might be exposing themselves to more trauma and to try to move away from it where they can. Got the t shirt though so I do understand that it is easy to say but hard to do until you firmly put YOUR wellbeing first and centre, regardless of what else is going on around you.
.

Hopium . Too high a dose would be a fatal . Thank you for this link. I am a fairly black and white thinker and if I am bluntly raw and honest ...my marriage was fatally destroyed , I did not want to ever reconcile because I am a women that will NOT ever recover from infidelity . I knew and have know.  BUT , then you decide all kinds of contrary things by going to counselling ( they give you gobs of hopium....) and Retrovaille ( women there that have healed from truly disgusting situations that were hidden for decades) ...so why can't I?   And of course , your kids, grandkids , your 40 year history , your fear of leaving, being aloneetc etc...pushes you back to hopium. How long do you accommodate someone else damaging behaviour? .... and on and on and on. I realistically do NOT believe he is capable of deep meaningful change. I either accept this ...or move on. Hopium sucks .

Quote
reasur-
I agree with viewing in aspects for our own trauma, but even to further understand theirs. The element at least for me to have partially blamed myself for some aspect of XH being in the position. Just like the MLC’r has to come out of the fog or have an aha moment to start their recovery, I think we as LBS’s do also. I know I did. I had to want to stop inflicting his pain on me. I had to start wanting to put myself first and not feel bad for leaving a obviously struggling man behind. For me the videos help me to further understand it is not me it is all him. The relief and validation on this is helpful for me to move forward in my own recovery. You are right also. The PTSD is real and here to stay for a long time. Probably forever in some aspects.
.

Agree with every word times a million.  I too carried "blame myself for some aspect of his behaviour".   Especially for his feeling " unsafe".    To stop allowing his pain and blame to be inflicted on me .... and absolutely these videos help me do exactly that . Amen !

Quote
Second this emphatically. I'd also say that once you start to reflect on your own trauma and heal that, you'll likely find the overwhelming need to "know" exactly what happened goes away, or at least lessens dramatically. Because, as Treasur says, the quest to figure out the unfigure-out-able keeps one consistently exposed to the trauma they're trying to heal from.
.

And I had the worst case of severe " need to know".  Debilitating in every way.  I would say I am relentless in my pursuit of "WHY?".  Almost kills me and adds to my anguish , pain and perhaps trauma . "letting things go" is absolutely a foreign language to me . And I have started to understand many many things ...many of the "whys " have been answered and it absolutely lessen the pursuit.  I feel like I have a "secret" now ( silly I know) ...but some knowledge up my sleeve that will change my reactivity, protect me like a shield from blame bullits and become a calmer, kinder and more compassionate human. Thts who I want to be at the end of it all. 
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« Last Edit: October 06, 2021, 03:59:21 AM by UrsaMajor »
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.

T
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#99: October 06, 2021, 08:16:40 AM
Quote
I am not one of these. I am deeply affected by the physical relationship my H had with his affair partner . I can see the movies in my heart of them together and now know that he has memories of a secretive sexual relationship with another women....inside of my marriage and history. 
My XH has an ED issue, but the attempt for that is happening and he has told me that he could care less who it is at this point. It could be anybody. I said well, that is why you have an issue. You have to have to want to. Have intimacy. I believe your H that he doesn’t think about it. They could be anybody.

I am like you. My need to know everything sabotaged my healing and sanity. I am finally at a place to understand that the OW are nothing. They truly are an escape and bandaid of their pain. Does that remove those movies? NOPE, that is the hardest to erase. That’s where our need to know why always comes back to bite us.
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« Last Edit: October 06, 2021, 08:39:12 AM by Tornup »
H-54 W-58  M 7/6/91 Kids d-30 s-28 d-14 (dies 2009)
2013- moments of disconnect start
Aug 2016 promotion requires travel   
Oct 2017-total disconnect
Jan 2018- moved out H
Mar 2018- BD1 found old phone 3 EA ‘17-H in therapy
EA ow1-49,  EA-ow2 57, (EA- ow3-58 not reciprocated)
Sept ‘18 -2nd Home in new state H new job
Oct 2018-H moves home
Oct 2020 BD2 does not return home from B trip
Nov 2020 H move to 2nd home in other state OW4
Div filed-Dec ‘20   Div final-Feb ‘21
Oct 2021- XH moves in OW4
https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=11796.

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#100: October 06, 2021, 08:31:10 AM
I thank you Tornup

Quote
I am like you. My need to know everything sabotaged my healing and sanity. I am finally at a place to understand that the OW are nothing. They truly are an escape and bandaid of their pain. Does that remove those movies? NOPE, that is the hardest to erase. That where are need to know why comes back to bite us.
.

Nothing is more true than this ...I sabotage my own healing and sanity with an unrelenting need to know .  It is ( I assume) part of the "anxious pre-occupied" attachment style that I have. More and more it becomes clear that I still have that tendency ....anxious about all of it and pre-occupied with the state of the relationship, secrets, ruminating and on and on"  I still have things to work on to release myself from that horrible place, as I still visit that painful mindset.
It does come to bite us ...oh indeed it does.
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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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#101: October 16, 2021, 09:28:26 AM
Unfortunately , the meeting with the marriage counsellor ( after 1 year of him seeing her alone ) was not at all pretty .  It started with her asking how things were, things I felt unresolved or needed to sort out etc. I suspect I am expected to lie and say "fine". Well, not a bone in my body that knows how to do that or even believes that I should . What would be the point of that ?  It is however, how my H has lived his life ...everything is always "fine" and always has been . Look where that got him?.   I told her that I no longer need to talk about "the affair".  Nothing will ever erase it, nothing will change it and there is no need to discuss that at all. It is not about the affair any longer .

 I am wondering what it means to "make a person accountable". That we need this to heal. To be " transparent " and lay it all on the table ...to start healing, forgiving, moving forward etc. She agrees ..it is important part of reconciliation process. BUT ..you cannot MAKE a person accountable can you?  And if they fail to do so on their own steam , it is red flags to me. So again...its about another betrayal that happened at his hand that he has consistently refused to be accountable for, has never apologized, never explained etc.  Financial betrayal . Its HUGE.  He has ( under huge pressure) admitted to lying about it ( not sure for how long this was going on) and used some money for gambling , some for his business etc. The stack of bank printouts has been on his desk for years and apparently its my fault that he has not been "able" to explain it. I get angry, I don't listen and on and on and on it goes. He has refused to "come clean" and I have much resentment about it and there is no rebuilding from a "clean - slate".  Isn't that the way it goes ?  It is to me. The therapist wanted to talk about "ways around it or over it".  Is she kidding me?  Am I the only one that sees this as a huge issue ? He will never ever own it. He has had years to do so and he is a solid avoidant . He has shame about it I am sure. So instead of sitting in a lovely cottage by a lake or sailing around in a boat ....I have none of that . Huge pile of money that he was spending perhaps 10 years before BD . I was so pushed by her...or so I felt ...that I just said its a dealbreaker to me . How can a therapist not see that or deal with it ? I do not understand .  I am NOT going "around it or over it" . How DARE she even say that out loud. I am not capable of that without huge feelings of contempt, disgust ,further distrust ...and I will "beat myself up" for accepting or tolerating such deceit. I do not like how it makes me feel about ME. What in the hell is wrong with ME that this has been tolerated ?

But I can for sure tell you all , that I amDONE with marriage counselling /  therapy .  I will NEVER go back . No more money, time, anxiety or expectations to be wrapped up in therapy. It truly has not changed much. ..if anything. I guarantee you I have over 50 grand wrapped up in therapy that changed nothing . Period.  He has refused to tell me anything about his therapy or have discussions about anything. He feezes, avoids, becomes overwhelmed ( apparently) and dissacociates or something similar . So no solutions or understandings are ever reached. There is not one problem that he cannot sabatoge or make worse . Not one. The avoidant/persuer dynamic is an issue that has never ever been resolved and has always been in my marriage to one degree or another . Even this , I am not certain is 100% true as I have detached in ways no "pursuer" has been able to do. I have worked hard to change this in myself and do not believe I am a crazy ass pursuer .  He has never ever been anything but avoidant .  The therapist has said " he needs to feel safe to tell you things...so we need to work on creating safety for him ".  LET ME TELL YOU MS THERAPIST ..." NEVER , not one firetrucking time has MY safety EVER been discussed . NOT EVER. I am the one that was cheated on and financially slaughtered by his deplorable actions ...and NEVER has it been discussed about MY sense of safety ? That is so twisted and shocking ...I cannot find the words . And YOU want ME to find some way to " build a safety net " for HIM ...so he can confess to what he has done?".  Firetruck that ...and YOU for that matter . That is NOT how things work in my world. So NO, I am not interested and will not ever be.   I did not yell, I did not scream ...I did NOT freak out . I stated my opinion in a deliberate monotone voice so MR HUNK could feel " safe" .  And further to that ...let me tell you something else ..." when my H and I came to you for therapy , you treated us as if we were just another married couple that husband got restless and had an affair .  Like it was a " common thing" and you see it all the time.....despite me telling you otherwise. He had an affair , he abandoned his family of 6 women , had zero contact with several of his children, he QUIT HIS JOB, he moved to a different city , he gambled himself into near bankruptcy and even HE IS TELLING you that he had a " mental breakdown". ....all this within 8 months of seeing his father after 17 years of no contact.  Something triggered internally and this is NOT a typical "affair" situation PERIOD.  So for you to have dismissed my MLC / identity crisis statement was disgracefull and unprofessional and therapist better get up to speed on what exactly happens to some men with identity issues, trauma and shame... and what that does to relationships ." Done.

Regardless... he left the marriage counselling office just furious . He was crazy angry I can tell you .  HE was angry?  Boggles the normal brain. He had said he believes "I just want out of the marriage , no matter what".  Huh?  He absolves himself from the problem that he refuses to clean up. He has lost respect for me apparently . blah blah.  Have not felt respected in a very long time...he was angry and that is very very rare.  Not sure what exactly put him into this rage ...but there it was. And the minute we get home ..there is water coming thru the dining room ceiling with an 11 year old grandaughter standing there in shock. My daughter ( the babysitter ) is in a Zoom meeting and told my grandaughter not to interrupt. Oh fun times... toilet overflowed upstairs and into the dining room and boom...he is running up the stairs and then to the basement to shut off all the water . Three hours later he has it snaked out, new "seals" and fixed. He has done all this in absolute stone cold raging silence . He refused supper . He has not spoken to my grandaughter who thinks its all her fault. Awful evening . Awful.

True to form with my H , he is "right as rain" next day, back to " Barbiedoll pleasing" as if nothing happened. He will NEVER bring it up..ever . Suddenly I have 150 tulip bulbs that I happened to mention earlier in the week. He wants to know if I want to go for a drive to my favorite Country Market Store , he touches me every single time he walks by, he hugs me several times during the day. It boggles me ...it truly always has .  I just have no understanding of him .

And then something happened ...to me.  My daughter told me about something that happened to her at work and that she felt a "surge of shame ". WUT?? What do you mean ? And as mothers do , I am all ready to blame myself...because surely I have done something for her to experience "shame". I start to realize ( again) that I have a limited concept of shame . A Brene Brown shame understanding. So I decide to google . The very 1st person that comes up is this Tim Fletcher as I previously mentioned. He is a Canadian Pastor who deals with addiction, CPTSD and Childhood Trauma.  I have now listened to all 7 of his videos regarding shame .  And there it is ...my "awakening". My gift . The understanding or information that I have been searching for for 8 years . The answer to "why did my H do this?". I am a person that MUST know , accept and truly understand WHY. There is no peace until I " get it".  I am telling you all...my H might has well have been standing on stage with this man as a poster boy for the destructive thinking, actions, reactions, defence mechanisms of deep toxic identity shame.   It was all about my marriage of nearly 40 years. This is what has been the silent ghost inside of my husband , this is what he is fighting internally ...it was an exact description of all the things I have never been able to understand or accept.  It was the very 1st time in 8 years that I have felt the deepest , most genuine surge of compassion ...true compassion ...for him.  I felt compassion...it made me cry. I have not been able to find any compassion , just rage and hurt .  I have learned more from this man in 10 hours than I have learned in 8 years.  For free.  This is the start of a new path for me.

So what am I going to do now ?  Absolutely nothing...for awhile. I am going to rest because I feel like I have somehow "won a battle".  I am going to think . I am going to listen. I am going to dig out my own shame issues. I am going to walk in the woods, mull over my new understandings and make some homemade soup. I am going to pile on selfcare like never before. I am going to stay in my pyjamas all day .   I have an appointment scheduled with my own personal therapist and I am going to share this with her...see what she can "see in me" that I need to see. 

I am sorry if this is all muddled and choppy with spelling mistakes and hard to follow. This is hour 3 at the emergency department with my dad who is having trouble breathing. This is hard...this hurts me. He has fallen asleep now , waiting for the doctor. It makes me so emotional and afraid ....I sure love my dad. Forgive my long winded rant .... but I think there is a new creation in me .
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Married April 1985
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Affair discovered November 2013 (i guessed who)
Home December 3 2013
The Journey Of Reconciliation .. is for the brave .

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#102: October 16, 2021, 10:29:49 AM
You have been through so much Barbie. Reading your post struck me deeply. So rest now as much as you need the internal stuff is exhausting
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"You enrich my life and are a source of joy and consolation to me. But if I lose you, I will not, I must not spend the rest of my life in unhappiness."

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https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#103: October 16, 2021, 10:38:34 AM
I am wondering what it means to "make a person accountable". That we need this to heal. To be " transparent " and lay it all on the table ...to start healing, forgiving, moving forward etc. She agrees ..it is important part of reconciliation process. BUT ..you cannot MAKE a person accountable can you?  And if they fail to do so on their own steam , it is red flags to me. So again...its about another betrayal that happened at his hand that he has consistently refused to be accountable for, has never apologized, never explained etc.  Financial betrayal . Its HUGE.  He has ( under huge pressure) admitted to lying about it ( not sure for how long this was going on) and used some money for gambling , some for his business etc. The stack of bank printouts has been on his desk for years and apparently its my fault that he has not been "able" to explain it. I get angry, I don't listen and on and on and on it goes. He has refused to "come clean" and I have much resentment about it and there is no rebuilding from a "clean - slate".  Isn't that the way it goes ?  It is to me. The therapist wanted to talk about "ways around it or over it".  Is she kidding me?  Am I the only one that sees this as a huge issue ? He will never ever own it. He has had years to do so and he is a solid avoidant . He has shame about it I am sure. So instead of sitting in a lovely cottage by a lake or sailing around in a boat ....I have none of that . Huge pile of money that he was spending perhaps 10 years before BD . I was so pushed by her...or so I felt ...that I just said its a dealbreaker to me . How can a therapist not see that or deal with it ? I do not understand .  I am NOT going "around it or over it" . How DARE she even say that out loud. I am not capable of that without huge feelings of contempt, disgust ,further distrust ...and I will "beat myself up" for accepting or tolerating such deceit. I do not like how it makes me feel about ME. What in the hell is wrong with ME that this has been tolerated ?

Hi Barbiedoll,

I am sorry that your MC was a complete waste time.   For what it's worth, I felt the exact same way with my W after we went to MC this spring.  It's been a little over one year in and my W has still not come clean and been honest about her deceit and betrayal.   I have compassion for you as I know your time has been much longer.   

I will not go to any MC or even talk about what has happened until my W is ready to be honest, transparent, and apologize for her abhorrent behavior.  She needs to own it and there is nothing to discuss until then.   As for the therapist, I think she needs be fired.   There is no way around or coddling with  your H's actions and behavior.   He needs to own it period and deal with his poor behavior and decisions.  No more running.

Wish that you have may peace in your life as rest and think about next steps.   I am trying  to do the same in my life.  Take care.

HF
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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#104: October 16, 2021, 11:13:38 AM
Rest, dear girl, rest. You deserve a rest from the struggle of it all.
I am so proud of you for pretty calmly stating your truth of how it is for you in the face of so much pressure to not.
To say No to all those things which were never ever yours to own or figure out or wrestle with.

I hope your father gets the help and comfort he needs. And you. Xxxx
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« Last Edit: October 16, 2021, 11:15:34 AM by Treasur »
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.
Healing and growing found here https://littleplotbythesea.wordpress.com

"Option A is not available so I need to kick the s**t out of Option B" Sheryl Sandberg

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#105: October 16, 2021, 11:22:29 AM
Quote
This is what has been the silent ghost inside of my husband , this is what he is fighting internally ...it was an exact description of all the things I have never been able to understand or accept.  It was the very 1st time in 8 years that I have felt the deepest , most genuine surge of compassion ...true compassion ...for him.  I felt compassion...it made me cry. I have not been able to find any compassion , just rage and hurt .  I have learned more from this man in 10 hours than I have learned in 8 years.  For free.  This is the start of a new path for me.

While I was reading the above, I had this image of a tight knot in the centre of your heart being loosened. 
Dang, girl, you made me cry as well. 

Wishing you strength as you sit by your ailing father. 
((((HUGS)))))
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Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#106: October 16, 2021, 12:05:07 PM
Rest, take time for you and your dad. Focus on what really matters which is your well being and ensuring that your dad is looked after well. 

What you have learned needs to process through your mind, body and soul.  Time is the gift here. Nothing your H can do or say that will make a difference; because he too is processing.

I would suggest that his anger surprised even him and to protect himself he  followed it up with his "Back to normal" behaviour. The sense of personal denial is very deep in your H. 

Time, time time and self care are absolutely the order of the day. 
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OW for 3.5 years - finishing Autumn 2016
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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#107: October 16, 2021, 12:26:55 PM
Just got back from a walk in the dark by the beach here. No one around and I found myself thinking about what you posted.
Both sides of the coin.

I think for some of our spouses here - not all perhaps, but certainly your h - they are profoundly damaged people who did their best for a long time to live well despite the damage. The damage wasn’t their fault or of their choosing, even if they made choices in how to live around it. Or not. Or did until they didn’t or couldn’t.
And
These people abused us. Often they turned the very best parts of us into weapons against us. At a bare minimum, all of us here have been lied to, stolen from and betrayed in ways which removed our own sense of safety in our lives and in our selves. It seems tremendously unreasonable that anyone should ask us to be responsible for creating a safe place for the very people who threatened our own safety, to hold us accountable in any way for their inability or unwillingness to create enough safety in themselves to acknowledge what they might need to see and change.

It seems to me that any therapist who cannot - or will not - hold these as equal truths worthy of equal compassion and equal respect is simply unable to be in the reality of this space.
And if they can’t honour both sides of the coin, why on earth should they expect us to be able to do so?

If years, in your h’s case, of therapy with this professional have not led your h to build the skills and insight to create his own more honest safe space, why on earth would he/she think that you can do so as a non professional with a vested interest?  That’s just nuts imho. :) (Ha Ha technical therapy/coaching term!) and not YOUR bag of nuts  :)

I suspect, Barbie, that some level of detached compassion and self-compassion is necessary to honour both sides of the coin. To reach a place when it isn’t so either/or, where we stop looking for answers in the wrong places or asking ourselves questions that are unanswerable bc they don’t belong to us. And Song seems so right to remind you that you have time to let these new thoughts chug along.....and that your h’s anger may be a useful part of his own chugging along.  ::)  I hope that, wherever these recent insights take you, it helps you to accept that the coin has two sides and that you can make peace with only being responsible for yours while wishing your h a fair wind with his.
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« Last Edit: October 16, 2021, 12:47:00 PM by Treasur »
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.
Healing and growing found here https://littleplotbythesea.wordpress.com

"Option A is not available so I need to kick the s**t out of Option B" Sheryl Sandberg

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#108: October 20, 2021, 05:22:10 AM
Quote
Just got back from a walk in the dark by the beach here
.

I want this . It is what I have craved since this happened . Alone, solitude , be with myself with no distraction other than the noise from nature . The urge to "flee" has never really left me but is now less desperate. I need ( and will ) find a way to make this happen for my soul and to sort out who I am and what I need in my life now.  I am envious . But ..unlike a MLCer, I just cannot run from my responsibilities to my dad and my kids . Somedays I wish I could ..just run away.

Quote
I think for some of our spouses here - not all perhaps, but certainly your h - they are profoundly damaged people who did their best for a long time to live well despite the damage. The damage wasn’t their fault or of their choosing, even if they made choices in how to live around it. Or not. Or did until they didn’t or couldn’t.
.

This is the absolute truth and sums up 40 years with this man. I have often heard him say " I thought I was doing the right things".  I know he "copied" the actions and behaviours of other people ( especially me) as he did not really have his own identity or his own way of being. His choices were almost always based on what he saw others doing...so it must be " the right thing ".  And then it wasn't enough and it all crashed into an extreme internal crisis. The mask fell off, the confusion surfaced, the anger that has festered since childhood exploded and there he was all painfully raw and running. What is most concerning to me is seemingly nothing has changed. I read so much about "awakenings" and a whole new man that I partly decided to reconcile because of this possibility. It did not happen as far as I can tell. So likely there is more to come.

Quote
These people abused us. Often they turned the very best parts of us into weapons against us. At a bare minimum, all of us here have been lied to, stolen from and betrayed in ways which removed our own sense of safety in our lives and in our selves. It seems tremendously unreasonable that anyone should ask us to be responsible for creating a safe place for the very people who threatened our own safety, to hold us accountable in any way for their inability or unwillingness to create enough safety in themselves to acknowledge what they might need to see and change.
.

Tim Fletcher spoke of this in the videos I have been watching. Shame based people or traumatised adults will and do " traumatise" others.  He listed many example and has made reference to midlife crisis implosions. I guess it goes with "hurt people hurt people".  I simply was not in the "know" about who he was or what he was and never ever saw this mess coming. I still can feel waves of shock in my physical body when I think about his affair. I have never not felt the shock. To hear the counsellor say " he needs a safe place before he can talk " and that is where we start...creating safety.  She asked if I would talk to someone that I did not feel safe with? . To be blunt and honest to how I feel...." If I did something wrong, I have to tell the truth no matter what ...if I want to move forward and fix things. Thats it. Thats how I see it and perhaps that is very simplistic.  I just do not have a deep understanding of this " safety " thing...I have not ever felt "unsafe" talking to someone. Not at all. Perhaps it is because I am very assertive/aggressive and could care less about "safety". No one is going to die after all. To put some responsibility on me to build "safety" is nuts.  I was shocked and just tried to process what she is saying.  The money issue..." we need to learn how to go over it or around it". No and no. Not doing either thing and its just shocking to think she is not making my "safety" a priority . I don't need high doses of safety for whatever reason. I feel as if the reactions I had to his affair and spending is now used against me . Manipulation in many ways. I raged . And I do mean raged ..I was so hurt it cannot be put into accurate words . So those reactions have made me " unsafe?" . Thats what I hear .  And I even bought into some of that ... but the factual reality is that he has NEVER felt safe...ever in his entire life. I do not own his fear and shame and I surely cannot fix it. Nothing I could do would "build him safety" ..that is his own internal work and job. Not mine. I do not think this therapist really gets just how damaged he is . Its as if she treats us like " another couple with a cheating kinda guy".  We are far from typical. Anyway...bottom line is NO. I will not be returning to marriage counselling.

Quote
It seems to me that any therapist who cannot - or will not - hold these as equal truths worthy of equal compassion and equal respect is simply unable to be in the reality of this space.
And if they can’t honour both sides of the coin, why on earth should they expect us to be able to do so?

Exactly. Priceless

Quote
If years, in your h’s case, of therapy with this professional have not led your h to build the skills and insight to create his own more honest safe space, why on earth would he/she think that you can do so as a non professional with a vested interest?  That’s just nuts imho. :) (Ha Ha technical therapy/coaching term!) and not YOUR bag of nuts  :)
.

It is just nuts...beyond nuts ! And I told her exactly that , and more. I have ZERO issue saying NO, I can speak my mind effortlessly (trust me) and cannot be led down some inappropriate road called " Nuts Lane".  Done with her and marriage counselling at this point in my life.  It feels like relief.  Not that I have any clue where to go from here..but I do know where I will not go.

Quote
I suspect, Barbie, that some level of detached compassion and self-compassion is necessary to honour both sides of the coin. To reach a place when it isn’t so either/or, where we stop looking for answers in the wrong places or asking ourselves questions that are unanswerable bc they don’t belong to us. And Song seems so right to remind you that you have time to let these new thoughts chug along.....and that your h’s anger may be a useful part of his own chugging along.  ::)  I hope that, wherever these recent insights take you, it helps you to accept that the coin has two sides and that you can make peace with only being responsible for yours while wishing your h a fair wind with his.
.

As I said ...I will do nothing at this moment . I am all about ME for a bit and that feels good and right. Selfcare, treated myself to a new hairdoo and some lovely cuddly winter sweaters. I have been going to bed early after the best hot bath and pampered in baby powder and a new book that has zero to do with "self-help".  I am in the garden preparing for winter and in the greenhouse wondering what I could actually grown over the winter months. I am out for supper with my sister and I have some new recipes for homemade soup to try. I have not brought up anything to him , and do not intend to. Just letting it all go for a bit and relaxing. I have no idea what is next for me anyway...so I will do nothing. I will see my own therapist this week and see what her input will be.  I can do hard things ..with a little pampering !

This is so very interesting...wow !

https://www.affairrecovery.com/newsletter/founder/infidelity-recovery-understanding-the-paralysis-of-shame







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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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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#109: October 20, 2021, 06:02:20 AM
Quote
She asked if I would talk to someone that I did not feel safe with? . To be blunt and honest to how I feel...." If I did something wrong, I have to tell the truth no matter what ... 
Frankly, what a bizarre question, honestly. As I am sure you have and did talk to someone who did nothing to make you feel safe, right??? HIM!! You were already a safe place. They make it an unsafe place????  I went to 2 therapy sessions with my H after the first BD when I found out more lies. The therapist when I revealed the lies said they were unimportant???  I found a receipt where he had bought OW coffee. She said the coffee was unimportant?? I got livid in that session. The second session was an emergency session after he lied to her and me and I found out a business trip was actually a wedding he was attending the OW and her husband would be at. Then the therapist told him she felt manipulated by him… really???? I never went back.

That is the problem. They don’t know them well enough and the MLC’r can manipulate and decide what they say and what they don’t want to. That is why it really is up to the MLC’r to stop lying to themselves. We can’t be the safe place all the time for a person that has made us feel completely unsafe??? IMHO  I have went back and read all your thread and there is just so many things I can relate to and resonate with me and I love how you own every feeling and emotion as that is how I am. Sometimes that can come off as me making grandiose statements that change. It’s not that. I just own the yo-yo journey I am on. That involves a constant change in feelings and reactions. Keep talking BB !!! I’m listening!!!!
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H-54 W-58  M 7/6/91 Kids d-30 s-28 d-14 (dies 2009)
2013- moments of disconnect start
Aug 2016 promotion requires travel   
Oct 2017-total disconnect
Jan 2018- moved out H
Mar 2018- BD1 found old phone 3 EA ‘17-H in therapy
EA ow1-49,  EA-ow2 57, (EA- ow3-58 not reciprocated)
Sept ‘18 -2nd Home in new state H new job
Oct 2018-H moves home
Oct 2020 BD2 does not return home from B trip
Nov 2020 H move to 2nd home in other state OW4
Div filed-Dec ‘20   Div final-Feb ‘21
Oct 2021- XH moves in OW4
https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=11796.

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Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#110: October 20, 2021, 10:09:37 AM
Hello barbie, I am in the middle of your latest update but am jumping in because it stands out so much that the therapist keeps trying to persuade you both about “safety”.

This is really the wrong word. I’m a traumatized person well before ever becoming a wife, so with plenty of respect and care about what you or your h feel at stress or triggers? What should be being discussed especially to him is the need for REALITY.

It sounds as if the therapist is kid-gloving in favor of one person’s perceived fragility. The reality is that nobody on earth is so fragile that they cannot take responsibility for their own actions and activities and their own lived wrongs. It sort of sounds like even the therapist has not been able to address the elephant in the room — or all the massive sh!t it has left behind or keeps making. I wouldn’t go back to MC either. Or if I would, it wouldn’t be to this one. That probably sounds like I’m really triggered, but I feel very matter of fact about it, and it sounds like you do, too.

The reality may have been that your h endured an absolutely horrific childhood. The reality is also that whyever he did, he transformed it into absolutely crashing your sense of safety. The reality is that you are still impacted by that destruction, and do not fully trust at all, and guess what! That’s realistic, after all. That is a reality of most all living things.

The reality is, too, that with time and considerate consistent positive actions, your h may be able to re-engage your trust, and make it possible for you to regain a reasonable sense of safety. But not if everyone is still going on about how scary it is for him. Way to elevate and protect a perpetrator. I know I’ve spoken against the therapists before but it does sound like this particular one has both a bias and a blind spot, and is serving one part of the couple more than the other or the couplehood itself.

That would be a fast No, for me. Just remember it’s always ok to end therapy. If there is a financial lack of safety, we don’t “work around” that — we want transparency. Any accountant would understand this; it’s normal. If there’s a fidelity lack of safety, we don’t “work around” that either. We agree to boundaries and hold them securely. Maybe it takes discipline but listen, even little kids and puppies get that.

In my first marriage, we went to MC for almost a year. Same unhelpful stuff, with a therapist who had both a bias and a blind spot. A big one. I finally said (because I was footing the bill) I couldn’t see having a therapist along for the ride for all the years; marriage isn’t supposed to need a third party in order to succeed. That didn’t sit well with that h or MC and I did find myself divorced pretty soon afterward, so, maybe a cautionary tale, me. But in retrospect I wish I hadn’t attended past the first session.

What I can say here, though, is that in your latest update even as you still are saying the reality of your circumstances, I see a lot of love for your h, between the lines.

I’m always rooting for you and I know it’s been tough a long time now. The reality is that you sound clear and good, knowing yourself well, and you’ve come a long way. Even if sometimes still uncomfortable, you sound clear and good. Also reliable! Also SAFE.

Would I talk to someone I feel unsafe with? I’ve done it all my life. Doesn’t everyone? And if I’ve done something wrong, yes, I have to tell the truth, no matter what. If only so I can look myself in the mirror and so I can sleep at night. My trauma history requires reality. I don’t know how others don’t have the same conditioning, or how anyone can “work around” it. My thought is that Being Real, and being stationed squarely and consistently in Reality, is how we get Safe.

I hope your sense of safety — and his — continue to come forward. (((HUGS)))
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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#111: October 20, 2021, 11:31:23 AM
Quote
Would I talk to someone I feel unsafe with? I’ve done it all my life. Doesn’t everyone? And if I’ve done something wrong, yes, I have to tell the truth, no matter what. If only so I can look myself in the mirror and so I can sleep at night. My trauma history requires reality. I don’t know how others don’t have the same conditioning, or how anyone can “work around” it. My thought is that Being Real, and being stationed squarely and consistently in Reality, is how we get Safe
I am all about this!!!!!  You know the other great thing about speaking the truth at all times?? You son’t have to remember any story but the actual story and how it happened. Lying does not relieve stress. It creates it! I have told my XH that so many times. Of course you are cracking!!! You can’t remember the story of your life, because you made it up.
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H-54 W-58  M 7/6/91 Kids d-30 s-28 d-14 (dies 2009)
2013- moments of disconnect start
Aug 2016 promotion requires travel   
Oct 2017-total disconnect
Jan 2018- moved out H
Mar 2018- BD1 found old phone 3 EA ‘17-H in therapy
EA ow1-49,  EA-ow2 57, (EA- ow3-58 not reciprocated)
Sept ‘18 -2nd Home in new state H new job
Oct 2018-H moves home
Oct 2020 BD2 does not return home from B trip
Nov 2020 H move to 2nd home in other state OW4
Div filed-Dec ‘20   Div final-Feb ‘21
Oct 2021- XH moves in OW4
https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=11796.

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#112: October 21, 2021, 05:25:09 PM
Quote
Frankly, what a bizarre question, honestly. As I am sure you have and did talk to someone who did nothing to make you feel safe, right??? HIM!
.

Yes. What man is more "unsafe" than a man that has had an affair and has financially betrayed you?. Thats my question. And is there more that I just have no clue about? One has to wonder based on the above.  And yet I am expected to take a "risk "....but he is not? What BS is this ? I am the "unsafe" one ?.  I fully understand that my anger and rage made me rather unpredictable and scary....I get that . However , I reacted as many many ( if not most ) betrayed partners react to such a devastating event . Everything I have ever read talks about a rage that is bottomless, shock, trauma , PTSD and for some suicide. It is that traumatic. So, not even for a second do I own the label of "unsafe". I just refuse. I do know that he has NEVER been safe . He was "broken" , abused, abandoned, sexual abuse and deeply traumatised in " relationships "....those that should have kept him the safest in the world, his mother , his father and family members. Relationships that require transparency, honesty, connection, emotion etc....that is what is "unsafe". I was told that if you are deeply wounded in relationship, the "healing" must take place in relationship.  But it apparently must be with a safe person....and that is not me. Or so he says.

Gottman therapist believe in building a "safe house". Perfect. And from there the relationship can grow become more connected etc. Perfect..in theory. But in what world do you build a "safe" house on top of a dirty slate...full of lies and secrets ? How is that possible?  I need all the truth to DECIDE FOR MYSELF if I want to build a safe house . And the construction of that house should be led by HIM.  She really has the tail wagging the dog in my opinion. So, NO.  This is certainly where the OW's have the advantage isn't it. They are starting with a clean slate ( because they know nothing) and just soaked in slurpy dopamine and limerance . Stupid cows.

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The therapist when I revealed the lies said they were unimportant???  I found a receipt where he had bought OW coffee. She said the coffee was unimportant?? I got livid in that session. The second session was an emergency session after he lied to her and me and I found out a business trip was actually a wedding he was attending the OW and her husband would be at. Then the therapist told him she felt manipulated by him… really???? I never went back.
.

Lies are unimportant?  HUH?  Yes indeed , me and livid have a close relationship.  I am never going back either . Never .

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We can’t be the safe place all the time for a person that has made us feel completely unsafe???
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Exactly 100% the truth . And a therapist sees that differently somehow . WTF?   No...really . How is that possible?  I thought I was entering the twilight zone.

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It sounds as if the therapist is kid-gloving in favor of one person’s perceived fragility. The reality is that nobody on earth is so fragile that they cannot take responsibility for their own actions and activities and their own lived wrongs. It sort of sounds like even the therapist has not been able to address the elephant in the room — or all the massive sh!t it has left behind or keeps making. I wouldn’t go back to MC either.
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Yes. She does not want to or could not get the "elephant " gone.  And I have been told by 2 therapists that forcing him may create some kind of added shame based trauma or breakdown.  So , I guess emotional fragility is what they are saying. Not sure I believe that at all.  But there it is.  And she wants me to " work around it or go over it" .  NO. 

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The reality is that you are still impacted by that destruction, and do not fully trust at all, and guess what! That’s realistic, after all. That is a reality of most all living things.
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That is the absolute reality.  Him continuing to lie and hide is NOT the stuff we rebuild trust with ...is it? 

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Way to elevate and protect a perpetrator.
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Yes!  That is exactly how I felt. And rather betrayed by the therapist truth be told.  I have to do more work than he does? How did this get so turned around.

Interesting start to my day. Outside on the deck having morning coffee with H who is talking about new basement windows, the weather and whatever . This is a man who has said NOT one word about the last counselling session...not a word. That is "normal" behaviour from him.  He does not know that I never plan to return to counselling ....because it has never been talked about or brought up.  So he says " I will email _________ today , and book next appointment next week".  This after he heard the exchange between she and I and also heard " I will end this marriage before I do your safety house $h!te or run and jump over anything". This is what he says??  . So..calmly ( I practise monotone communication skills) I say. " I will never go back to marriage counselling. I have no plan to see her again. If you want to see her again on your own, just say that out loud and I will make sure she gets paid." . He says "OK".    I add " If you want to know my reasons and have a discussion about it just ask me and we can talk about it ...but you are on your own and you can do whatever you like. " . He went in the house.  Thats it. Thats my life with him.  Since then he has slept off and on while trying to work. I went shopping and out to lunch with my girlfriend. 











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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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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#113: October 21, 2021, 09:20:34 PM
Thats it. Thats my life with him.  Since then he has slept off and on while trying to work.

Is this normal for him or a stress response?

Have you ever considered the Affair Recovery Team? They seems to have a mix of therapists that have either been the Betrayer or the Betrayed. They also work through FOO issues. I don’t ever plan on reconnecting with my XH but I for sure wouldn’t go to a therapist that didn’t deal with both infidelity and trauma.

I truly commend you. You have worked so hard.
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« Last Edit: October 22, 2021, 12:39:04 AM by UrsaMajor »

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#114: October 22, 2021, 12:00:47 AM
What a classic bit of indirect passive-aggressive nonsense from your h, Barbie. The ‘book an appointment’ comment to test if you meant what you said instead of any kind of sensible discussion or respectful acknowledgement of your POV in the session.  ::)
Even the ‘ok’ said nothing at all, did it? My mouth gaped a bit when I read your post and you did so well to say No so calmly.

I imagine it must be exhausting trying to communicate anything at all with this kind of behaviour, but I hope you are pleased with yourself for not taking the bait or giving into any sense of anger or frustration.

So I hope you had a nice lunch  :)
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T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.
Healing and growing found here https://littleplotbythesea.wordpress.com

"Option A is not available so I need to kick the s**t out of Option B" Sheryl Sandberg

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#115: October 22, 2021, 01:59:22 AM
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Is this normal for him or a stress response?

Yes.  His "shut-down" goes so far as to sleep for hours. I have seen him sleep entire days away.

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Have you ever considered the Affair Recovery Team
.

I have read about that . I "think" that is offered in the states and I am in Canada. Regardless, at this point I am done with therapy of any kind. I believe we have seen 6 different counsellors. I am so far past done ..there are no words. And it is pure relief. I will continue with my own individual counsellor but marriage counselling is over.  He needs to be in Trauma Therapy and do some "shame work".  I have not talked to him about that at all . He will need to figure it out ..or not. 

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The ‘book an appointment’ comment to test if you meant what you said instead of any kind of sensible discussion or respectful acknowledgement of your POV in the session.  ::)
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Yes, to see if I meant what I said. And , oh boy....do I mean it . So done.  Now he has no clue what to do. He will likely NEVER bring it up again. Thats how avoidants work...he just works and sleeps when he is stressed.  To not be "heard" is a huge trigger for me and I have put my healing to the test. I really had no reactivity to that . His rejection , refusal to communicate or connect has enraged me ( triggered) me in the past . I "see" that I am slowly healing and it has less power over me.  NOW he should be afraid because I have left that reactive trap ....fingers crossed.  He slept ...I had a great lunch and came home and sewed 2 vinyle covers for my outdoor planters that are to heavy to store . Wallah!

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I imagine it must be exhausting trying to communicate anything at all with this kind of behaviour,
.

It has been the source of much anger and extreme reactivity. My rage is inside this behaviour as it is my childhood wound from my mother. It is rejection ..a refusal to connect , lonely and has been sooo painful. You cannot communicate with this reactivity on his part...and THAT is just fact.  I am very pleased I stayed in control of myself...I am healing . I believe that.





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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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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#116: October 22, 2021, 07:01:33 AM
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It has been the source of much anger and extreme reactivity. My rage is inside this behaviour as it is my childhood wound from my mother. It is rejection ..a refusal to connect , lonely and has been sooo painful. You cannot communicate with this reactivity on his part...and THAT is just fact.  I am very pleased I stayed in control of myself...I am healing . I believe that
I can relate to everything you are saying, plus the mother connection. Dealing with someone that refused to talk???? It just traps the questions and frustrations in your mind. A sensible mind that wants to resolve and move on. They move on by throwing those thoughts away in a box on a shelf. They would rather burn that box and never open it and all I want to do is take off lid and throw it all on a floor and deal with each thing once and for all. It can make you insane!!
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H-54 W-58  M 7/6/91 Kids d-30 s-28 d-14 (dies 2009)
2013- moments of disconnect start
Aug 2016 promotion requires travel   
Oct 2017-total disconnect
Jan 2018- moved out H
Mar 2018- BD1 found old phone 3 EA ‘17-H in therapy
EA ow1-49,  EA-ow2 57, (EA- ow3-58 not reciprocated)
Sept ‘18 -2nd Home in new state H new job
Oct 2018-H moves home
Oct 2020 BD2 does not return home from B trip
Nov 2020 H move to 2nd home in other state OW4
Div filed-Dec ‘20   Div final-Feb ‘21
Oct 2021- XH moves in OW4
https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=11796.

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#117: October 22, 2021, 01:10:39 PM
I saw my own therapist and told her the entire story of what was said in marriage counselling and that I will not..under any circumstances return. She congratulated my on being ever so brave to speak my truth ( again) and not caving to the pressure of saying "things are ok".  It is a huge pressure . I shook and anxiety thru the roof to again bring up the "elephant in the marriage" and state my truths. Its hard, very hard . And I am tired of pushing a rock up hill by myself . Exhausted and depleted. Almost makes you just surrender and say " yep, its all just great".  But I can't . As my girlfriend sometimes says "feel the fear and do it anyway". And I did. Took me days to calm down.

She ( my therapist ) asked me to explain my feelings about not returning to therapy. In my opinion , it is not a marriage issue.  That always sounds like I believe I am faultless or superior somehow. Marriage therapist just hate that . But I am more convinced than ever before that it is absolutely NOT a marriage problem. Is the problem destroying the marriage ...yes, drop by drop.  Can one person who refuses or does not have the capacity to connect, to be transparent, to tell the truth , to communicate or to take ownership be a "marriage problem ?". No ...it is a H problem that has become a problem to me by proximity and then to the marriage. I am NOT faultless , I do have work to do ...I am far from perfect. It is still not a marriage issue.  I told her the " beginning story "  again ( although she certainly knows it ) . The affair, the monster blame, the abandonment of me and his kids , the quitting his job, leaving town , gambling ....this was NOT just a discontent husband having your typical affair.   She said " Barbidoll, I do think you are right about that ".  Ther is far more than a man having a fling. The marriage counsellor did not want to consider that as far as I could tell.

I told her about Tim Fletcher ( whom she has not heard of ) and about my understanding shame in a deeper way.  She wrote all of it down and said she will listen to him and we can share some thoughts about that. She stated very clearly ..."no child that comes from deep trauma like your H escapes healthy doses of debilitating shame and that I am more than likely uncovering another layer of his limitations".  And its indeed very very sad . I told her I felt compassion...for the 1st time ...ever. She smiled ear to ear and asked me to describe that feeling and what it might mean in my marriage. A great discussion about an emotion that I believed I would never ever feel for him . What will it mean ?  I do not know yet. Fair enough.

I asked her a question that just eats at me. It really truly does. What is "wrong" with me that I am still here tolerating this ?  A real question. What is it about me and my levels of self respect, self esteem etc that allows this in my life. Something is "wrong" with me ...still.  It truly keeps me awake. Why am I ignoring or not acting on the obvious red flags . I hate how that makes me feel about ME. . I beat myself up relentlessly in this position .

Her answer : Barbidoll , many many times you have told me the endless goodness in this man. How he loved and served his children , how he provided tirelessly , how you once felt so loved and valued. You have lit up listing all the things you were so very proud of in this wounded warrior. He did all that for decades despite the wounds and horrific injuries he carried and hid. Perhaps seeing all parts of him...who he is , where he came from and why he is who he is softens the wind to a breeze. Perhaps his determination to rebuild his family , to love and honour you when inside lives a worthless little boy takes the firey brightness off those red flags . Perhaps they have soften to a paler shade of pink and the breeze barely noticeable . Perhaps it is a log awaited flood of compassion and recognizing he is only a human trying to overcome so much pain and hurt. Perhaps it is because you can see ALL parts of this man. She has faith I will see if the winds pick up again.

I shall think about that.
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« Last Edit: October 22, 2021, 01:37:32 PM by barbiedoll »
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.

T
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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#118: October 22, 2021, 01:44:33 PM
Quote
Perhaps his determination to rebuild his family , to love and honour you when inside lives a worthless little boy takes the firey brightness off those red flags . Perhaps they have soften to a paler shade of pink and the breeze barely noticeable . Perhaps it is a log awaited flood of compassion and recognizing he is only a human trying to overcome so much pain and hurt. Perhaps it is because you can see ALL parts of this man. She has faith I will see if the winds pick up again
This is enlightening snd endearing from your therapist. To try and remember what was and that the struggle remains he is broken but fighting. I like that outlook. I like that insight. It gives you something to hold onto for a little longer while trying to move forward. Sometimes, you just need a little something….. to keep going
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H-54 W-58  M 7/6/91 Kids d-30 s-28 d-14 (dies 2009)
2013- moments of disconnect start
Aug 2016 promotion requires travel   
Oct 2017-total disconnect
Jan 2018- moved out H
Mar 2018- BD1 found old phone 3 EA ‘17-H in therapy
EA ow1-49,  EA-ow2 57, (EA- ow3-58 not reciprocated)
Sept ‘18 -2nd Home in new state H new job
Oct 2018-H moves home
Oct 2020 BD2 does not return home from B trip
Nov 2020 H move to 2nd home in other state OW4
Div filed-Dec ‘20   Div final-Feb ‘21
Oct 2021- XH moves in OW4
https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=11796.

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#119: October 25, 2021, 02:45:08 PM
I wonder what you all think about this statement. It was shared with me several years ago by a therapist . She gave me an article to read about it and of course I can no longer find it . But this article has the basic concept. She told me that in all likelihood we all marry exactly the right person according to the " universe" or the powers that be . This person will breakopen your childhood wounds time and time again as a way to have you" heal and be whole".  All this of course is subconscious ...we have no idea that this is happening .  I have not thought of this discussion in a very long time , and something sparked it today.  It really is very complex and I am not sure how I feel about it...except , it seems that is precisely what is happening and what has happened in my marriage .

https://www.elephantjournal.com/2019/10/triggers-and-childhood-wounds-lucinda-gordon-lennox/
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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.

N

Nas

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#120: October 25, 2021, 02:56:31 PM
I wish I had more time to give a better response but I just had to reply briefly in the five seconds that I have right now:
I’ve been exploring the very idea a little bit on my thread. Basically how I subconsciously chose my husband based on something I (or basically my inner child) recognized.
I don’t think the universe had anything to do with it, I think that the experiences with my FOO and other things that I faced in my childhood led me to choose him in a subconscious misguided attempt to heal the trauma I’d experienced. Same reason why I went through the first half of my life with the singular focus on having children of my own, so that I could heal trauma through them. All of this was subconscious even though it seems so undeniably clear now.
Just my very quick two cents…
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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#121: October 25, 2021, 04:43:21 PM
I wish I could remember whose writings included the idea that “we don’t find our soulmate, we find our wound mate.” It seems very aligned with this idea and with the Imago discussion in the linked article. Before BD, I’m not sure I would have thought I had significant wounds… I mean, sure, life wasn’t idyllic, but it was pretty good… even great in a lot of ways. But I think it makes sense in a lot of ways. But I feel like most of us heal incompletely (and some don’t heal at all), so whether the healed versions of us remain compatible is a bit of a gamble. For couples who do the work of growth and healing together, who stay in communication as they heal and who prioritize their relationship in their processes, the odds of remaining together are better. But we end up on separate journeys from our spouses.

The other thing is that sometimes the additional wounds we accumulate over our lives happen to one spouse primarily, or the same trauma causes different wounds in each person. And that can affect compatibility as healing progresses, for better or for worse.

I agree with Nas in that I do think we find a partner based on our own wounds, but I think it’s more a matter of free will than the Universe. But then, I struggle with the idea of the Universe or a Higher Power in general, so my bias is generally toward free will and it’s not specific to this question.
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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#122: October 25, 2021, 05:52:25 PM
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She told me that in all likelihood we all marry exactly the right person according to the " universe" or the powers that be . This person will breakopen your childhood wounds time and time again as a way to have you" heal and be whole".  All this of course is subconscious ...we have no idea that this is happening . 

I have heard this theory before and although I find it interesting I doubt that it is true for everyone or maybe not even true for the majority of people.

I did a search on "theories of who you choose to marry'' and there are many many different views so I guess if it "fits" your paradigm then that is up to you to believe.

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This person will breakopen your childhood wounds

What if you do not have childhood wounds?

Does everyone in the world have childhood wounds that are so severe that someone else is going to break them open.

And how does this explain marriages that do last throughout a lifetime...did these people not also choose to marry someone according to their personal childhood wounding?

I have years of working with children who have been physically and sexually abused and indeed these children have deep wounds that may lead to problems in their future.

I read a great deal here about people's past histories and once again, many posters have had difficult and terrible things happen to them as children and perhaps these issues need to be addressed because our spouses went into their own crisis.....

I had a stable childhood. My mother said I was a happy child and so it seemed and I felt like my life was a happy and relatively stable one until BD. That caused a severe traumatic response in me due to many things, but mostly because it was totally unexpected.

After this trauma, I spent 4 years or perhaps a bit more with 2 different therapists and never "uncovered" any deep wounds from my past prior to BD.

I had a normal if not "charmed life" of mother, wife, nurse with enough financial security that life was pretty easy for us. I felt loved by him, had a close relationship with my siblings and parents.

So personally, I would say that I choose my husband because we had many things in common, we shared the same values and beliefs system, he was fun to be with, we worked well together as a team and we "fell in love" with one another and wished to spend our lives together.

And that worked very well for 35 years.

I am stating this because there is so much talk on HS of looking inward and exploring your own history and that somehow goes against the concept that MLC is not about you...so I am not sure why his/her crisis means that somehow we are to look back into our FOO..because for some of us, our lives had been pretty normal and without any kind of abuse or difficulties.

Introspection is good and weighing in on what we want out of life as we move forward is also a good thing unless it paralyzes you because somehow you start to think that you are "less than" due to something that happened in your childhood.

Perhaps I am grateful for parents who supported me and allowed me to develop a sense of worth. Who encouraged me to be an independent woman, who made sure that I would be able to support myself career wise. Who taught me the values and beliefs that I still live with today. Values and beliefs that I have passed on to my own daughter.

Just a different idea from the concept that "subconsciously we choose someone who would wound us and we would wound them". That was not the case for 35 years and it's not the case in friends I know who have loving and long time marriages...so I would postulate that although this might be true for some, it's not across the board.
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« Last Edit: October 25, 2021, 05:55:34 PM by xyzcf »
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" Hebrews 11:1

"You enrich my life and are a source of joy and consolation to me. But if I lose you, I will not, I must not spend the rest of my life in unhappiness."

" The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it". Flannery O'Connor

https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#123: October 25, 2021, 06:45:07 PM
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“we don’t find our soulmate, we find our wound mate.
.

Interesting. I have never heard this before.

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not sure I would have thought I had significant wounds
.

I thought the same to be very honest. Anyone that knows my family would say that my sister and I had the best life , the best parents and we were envied for sure. I had everything ...beautiful home, travel, huge extended family, cottage every summer, no addictions, no abuse , no divorces and I could go on . It was never about what "happened to me" ..it was about what "didn't happen".  No connection with a very emotionally cold rejecting mother. Took me a very long time to figure that out. It feels like my avoidant spouse is the same.  It is a very deep abandonment wound I finally understood in therapy after BD.

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For couples who do the work of growth and healing together, who stay in communication as they heal and who prioritize their relationship in their processes, the odds of remaining together are better.
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Much better . I thinks its rare , but does happen.

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Does everyone in the world have childhood wounds that are so severe that someone else is going to break them open.
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No. I do not believe at all that everyone has childhood wounds. Some grow up with secure attachment styles and have had healthy childhoods.

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And how does this explain marriages that do last throughout a lifetime...did these people not also choose to marry someone according to their personal childhood wounding?
.

Who is to say that these long term marriages are happy and fulfilling.? How would we know? There are many people that stay together ...for a whole list of not so healthy reasons.

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That caused a severe traumatic response in me due to many things, but mostly because it was totally unexpected.
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I agree that the shock and being utterly "blindsided" is deeply traumatic. There is no question. And to not know why or any reason ...deeply life alterring. It perhaps is not always a matter of our own wounding floating to the surface ..as it was in my case. The event alone would out anyone into a crisis.

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I am stating this because there is so much talk on HS of looking inward and exploring your own history and that somehow goes against the concept that MLC is not about you...so I am not sure why his/her crisis means that somehow we are to look back into our FOO..because for some of us, our lives had been pretty normal and without any kind of abuse or difficulties.
.

Yes, it does "go against the concept that it has nothing to do with you". I get that. However, my interpretation is that "his crisis hurled me into my own crisis" ( and it sure did) and it is at this point , we need to examine our own "stuff".  I needed to know why my reactions where so traumatic, so deeply painful ...to even consider suicide?  And I sure had some. I am not sure what it means to those with a "charmed" childhood other than recovering from being directly and deeply hurt by a 35 year marriage being abandoned ...without explanation.

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That was not the case for 35 years and it's not the case in friends I know who have loving and long time marriages...so I would postulate that although this might be true for some, it's not across the board.
.

I would agree with this . It is all just another theory to consider or dismiss.  It certainly seems the case in many ways in my marriage.










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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
#124: October 25, 2021, 06:59:03 PM
There is a great deal of truth to the idea of us being attracted to or choosing a mate from early childhood experiences and patterns. This tends to be most true when we have not yet examined and learned about ourselves. Whether this subconscious "choosing" is from wounds, or from non wounding experience it is still the same. So even if we had an "ideal" childhood (this in itself I would suggest is a form of denial, no one has an "ideal" anything) we still may model or look for experiences we had or things we saw in our parents. This is not a "radical" or new idea, it is pretty well understood and it does play out in most people.

I believe we are shaped by our past reactions and experiences in ways we do not understand. That is why I believe it is SO important to engage in therapy when our lives are so disturbed. The first reason is to help us find footing, start to parse things and deal with "primary" pain and issues that come up. But if its an option this really can be a life long process, a process of understanding ourselves, seeing the "hidden" things that are shaping our responses in ways we have no idea about.

And choosing who we "love" in a lot of ways is very much shaped by this. It may not be a popular opinion or may even be threatening, but it is simply part of our unexamined psyche.
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No Kids, 23 years at BD1 (4 years), married 21
First signs of MLC Jan '15
BD 1 Jan '17, BD 2 Mar, Separated Apr, BD 3 May,BD 4 Jun '18
First Sign of Waking up-Dec '17, First Cycle out of MLC Mar '18-Jun ‘18, Second cycle Jul '18-??
Meets OM Jan '17 and acts "in love," admits "in love" Jun '18, asks for divorce Jul '18

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#125: October 25, 2021, 07:10:35 PM
In giving this more thought I was thinking about a friend of mine whose husband died suddenly while they were out hiking of a massive heart attack. Our lives were very similar, she also was married about the same amount of time and he died about 10 years ago.

She misses him terribly and they life they shared.

I know that MLC is different and often we say it would be easier if they died…but the loss is in some ways similar. It is also traumatic to loose a loved one by death..and the feelings that occur after that loss are in some ways similar.

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So even if we had an "ideal" childhood (this in itself I would suggest is a form of denial, no one has an "ideal" anything) we still may model or look for experiences we had or things we saw in our parents.

I stated I had a stable childhood…I did not say “ideal”.

Why would I try to find something wrong with my history that doesn’t exist? That is not denial, that is being honest about the family I grew up in.  And the marriage we had.

I did look at my parents regarding what I wanted in a husband and a marriage. As I stated our values and beliefs were very much along the lines of both our families. These no longer are held by him, but prior to his crisis, they very much were.

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#126: October 25, 2021, 07:23:03 PM
This could be very true in my instance. However, you would think that the small triggers than would allow you to process and not have it turn to depression/MLC. So, ultimately if the damage from childhood never gave you the coping mechanisms to deal with what is triggering you then you still don't don't know how to  heal.
You have to have the awareness and fortitude to not only recognize, but be able to work through it.

 If you have matured enough in other aspects in your life maybe than the theory would work. I have FOO issues, but have confidence and reflection. So, I have the ability now to recognize damage I never knew I had and the strength to work through it. My XH knows he has issues, but has no idea still how to deal with them. Escape and avoid!! So, if have childhood trauma and then marry someone who triggers it then it seems like you picked someone to inflict more pain on you. A gluten for punishment scenerio??? Or might just be where my head is right now 😜🤪
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H-54 W-58  M 7/6/91 Kids d-30 s-28 d-14 (dies 2009)
2013- moments of disconnect start
Aug 2016 promotion requires travel   
Oct 2017-total disconnect
Jan 2018- moved out H
Mar 2018- BD1 found old phone 3 EA ‘17-H in therapy
EA ow1-49,  EA-ow2 57, (EA- ow3-58 not reciprocated)
Sept ‘18 -2nd Home in new state H new job
Oct 2018-H moves home
Oct 2020 BD2 does not return home from B trip
Nov 2020 H move to 2nd home in other state OW4
Div filed-Dec ‘20   Div final-Feb ‘21
Oct 2021- XH moves in OW4
https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=11796.

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#127: October 26, 2021, 02:50:27 PM
I have heard the same, but then do the couples who have few issues (because no one has none) just have fewer childhood issues? Or are only the walking wounded the ones who find the match to break open their wounds? If that is the case, IMO, it sounds like a picking problem, where you pick what seems "normal" to you because you have no basis for what "normal" should look like OR we have picked someone who appeared "Normal" because they were actually wearing a mask for all that time. For an avoidant personality, it might be that wearing a mask is preferable to addressing any issues at all.

I, personally, do not believe that meeting/connecting with a person will break open your childhood wounds time and time again as a way to have you" heal and be whole" if that person isn't even presenting all of himself, if he is hiding parts of himself that he feels are not acceptable. That does not follow a logical flow, unless I wanted to think that I magically am seeing the part of him he is not showing to anyone including myself. (makes my head spin).

So perhaps we meet with/ connect with the person who feels "normal" to us and it does turn out that that person "breaks open our childhood wounds". Did we cause that reaction in ourselves? Did we cause them to treat us in a way that we react to? Did we pick incorrectly? Did we pick correctly and we are supposed to live lives of lies and deceit or be blindsided by a person we trust so we can "become whole"? Who defines "whole", anyway?  That is hard for me to understand. Why would I have a plethora of normal, supportive, not triggering friends, then? Why would I not seek out that same kind of relationship with EVERYONE in my life if I so desperately needed to heal and be whole? Or at least every CLOSE relationship in my life. Why would my spouse not have ripped open wounds, until suddenly he did?

Both my mother and father and aunt and uncle each got together because they had childhood wounds, yes. But they stayed together because they helped each other keep the wounds from being reopened. They PROTECTED each other from anyone else opening those wounds as best they could. They certainly did not seek to rip the wounds open themselves. The difference is, IMO, none of them hid those wounds from their significant other because they were afraid it would make them less than. Everyone knew why they were as they were, accepted it as part of their history, did not feel like either party was trying to "one up" them or try to withhold anything because all had places they were broken.

I don't think it is any kind of given that you must end up finding someone to break open wounds. It is just as likely you can find someone who recognizes the wounds (if you have them) and takes care to help you heal without pain. JMO.

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Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#128: October 26, 2021, 03:24:56 PM
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I don't think it is any kind of given that you must end up finding someone to break open wounds. It is just as likely you can find someone who recognizes the wounds (if you have them) and takes care to help you heal without pain. JMO.

Mine as well. I have childhood trauma that I've always been well aware of, and I don't think fate wanted to play some cruel trick on me by putting me in a toxic situation to bubble out the rest of my impurities, so to speak. I do believe that it helps in therapy or counseling, or even our own self-healing, to adopt a narrative that resonates with us. If it helps us to embrace this experience by feeling like this situation is now an opportunity to heal our prior pains, then it's a fit. But I don't think any of it is an absolute (any more than I think our spouses are in a literal tunnel or on a physical roller coaster, as opposed to the metaphors that have helped us translate this experience). We have to also consider not everyone has the same full tank (chemical imbalances, religious beliefs that influence decision making, psychological issues, and just good ol' personality play a role in how we process whatever we've been through). It can't be one size fits all.

When it comes to healing from trauma, childhood or otherwise, I think (and this has been my self-work recently) an approach that's more like diabetes or mood disorders sets more realistic expectations. "Healing" becomes less this giant hill we have to climb and conquer. Just like we wouldn't expect a diabetic to suddenly get the magic dose of insulin that will fix them for the rest of their lives, or a bipolar person to push themselves to create enough serotonin that they no longer have depressive episodes, a person who has survived trauma isn't going to just 'get over it'. It's not getting fired from a job, or not getting a part in a play. It's part of your foundation.

We mitigate, forever. At times this may mean different things. For me, at 21, it meant family counseling with my dad. At 35, it was expecting others to change and having a bit of an MLC myself.  At 48, it is understanding that I'm going to be responsible for how I feel every single day, and how I choose to interpret situations, memories, and my environment. It's a big responsibility, even without a marriage on top of it, and it's harder some days than others. But it's my life - and even if it took this long to learn that the same people who caused it for me can't cure it for me, at least I learned that. And not expecting a "cure" (including some sort of mirror relationship) also takes the onus off of another person who likely couldn't handle their own pain, let alone mine. Just a few more thoughts to add to the conversation.
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#129: October 26, 2021, 04:53:54 PM
Quote
I believe we are shaped by our past reactions and experiences in ways we do not understand. That is why I believe it is SO important to engage in therapy when our lives are so disturbed. The first reason is to help us find footing, start to parse things and deal with "primary" pain and issues that come up. But if its an option this really can be a life long process, a process of understanding ourselves, seeing the "hidden" things that are shaping our responses in ways we have no idea about.
.

Thank you Marvin. I believe this is important and the truth.  To make it all so complicated and painful is the fact that we frequently are reacting to things hidden from our ability to link it to something or that we have any conscious idea about. That is where I always start my " work".  Why am I reacting like this ?.  Sometimes I can figure it out but many times I just have no idea . The same could therefore be said about my H. Being human is hard.

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ultimately if the damage from childhood never gave you the coping mechanisms to deal with what is triggering you then you still don't don't know how to  heal.
.

I agree with this. The way my H dealt with conflict or any issues in childhood was to shut-down ( stay silent...best way to survive) , try to "please" people to avoid another huge conflict, never voice your own feelings or opinions for fear of ridicule, judgement , shame ...basically don't talk, don't feel and don't think. None of that builds any skills to resolve issues. It is still what I have.  My H has said this " I have no tools".

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My XH knows he has issues, but has no idea still how to deal with them. Escape and avoid!! So, if have childhood trauma and then marry someone who triggers it then it seems like you picked someone to inflict more pain on you. A gluten for punishment scenerio???
.

!st of all, getting married in your 20's ( or earlier) you are basically clueless to all this stuff. Atleast I was. I never looked at his childhood and decided that he was a huge risk to be avoidant, be emotionally fearful, have an affair, have MLC . None of it. I "picked " him because of all the good I saw , all the positive and yes, very likely some subconscious reasons. So here I am 30 years later and now I "know" what I never knew.  Never did I have an awareness that we would "trigger each others wounds". I do not believe anyone can know that  .  In some writings on this subject , your "trigger" is described as a "gift, an opportunity to heal" and that is why you married the exact right person. ... to deliver this "gift" (?) . Just saying.

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So perhaps we meet with/ connect with the person who feels "normal" to us and it does turn out that that person "breaks open our childhood wounds". Did we cause that reaction in ourselves? Did we cause them to treat us in a way that we react to? Did we pick incorrectly? Did we pick correctly and we are supposed to live lives of lies and deceit or be blindsided by a person we trust so we can "become whole"? Who defines "whole", anyway?  That is hard for me to understand. Why would I have a plethora of normal, supportive, not triggering friends, then? Why would I not seek out that same kind of relationship with EVERYONE in my life if I so desperately needed to heal and be whole? Or at least every CLOSE relationship in my life. Why would my spouse not have ripped open wounds, until suddenly he did?
.

Mind boggling . Just hurts the brain. I just have no idea ...sigh.. .








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#130: October 27, 2021, 12:55:20 AM
I may be a bear of little brain when it comes to this stuff, but how I see it is perhaps a little simpler.
With all the normal million caveats that my experience is mine and someone else’s might be quite different.

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Never did I have an awareness that we would "trigger each others wounds".
I hope that no one here feels for even a moment that they carry the responsibility of triggering an MLC spouses wounds. That if they had not been married to us as individuals, they would not have eventually fractured. That seems to me to be too painful a burden to carry for anyone and perhaps feeds the blame they throw at us. More likely, from anecdotal evidence here, our relationship kept their demons at bay for a long time....until it didn’t. Neither the wounds nor the fracture were in our control or creation and it seems terribly unkind to be holding ourselves responsible for something we didn’t create or control or even know about

And tbh I struggle to see abuse as any kind of ‘gift’ from God or the universe. I feel a bit the same about the notion of post-traumatic growth. I think one can use one’s life experiences to create good things, true enough, and to see them as hard-earned blessings worthy of celebration but I am rather resistant to the idea that this somehow justifies or makes good the initial trauma as some kind of ‘gift’. That seems to me to carry the implication that we somehow ‘asked’ for abuse and suffering in order to ‘learn’. And I get a bit cross about that bc it feels like a kind of insidious victim blaming to me. Not my idea of how God works.....I think he may roll his eyes sometimes at what we do with our free will lol.....but my experience is that God is much more present in how we drag ourselves to shore and those that give us a hand or a towel than in the storm that hit us.

It makes sense to me that our FOO experiences send us out into the world with a template. Some are drawn, consciously or unconsciously, to people who act in ways that seem familiar and acceptable to us but less so to others bc of those experiences. Some are drawn to the exact opposite bc of those experiences, drawn to breaking their own patterns in how they create their own families.

Barbie, you have mentioned before the idea of ‘seeing through a wound’ and that made a great deal of sense to me. We all do that at times, don’t we? The world feels full of grief when we are bereaved or full of cancer stories when we have cancer or babies when we are focused on pregnancy or miscarriage. I suspect that is what happens to all of us sometimes....that our lens gets skewed by the strength of the wound....and that, if/as we heal the wound, our lens changes. I suspect MLCers live life through a really big wound lens which filters out a lot and that is why, from the cheap seats, they seem to create so much of the very realities they fear and are drawn to the kind of people and situations that fit that lens.

Working out our own patterns, the things that serve us or don’t, is part of our own maturation....it’s normal as we evolve and learn from our own experiences. I suspect most MLCers were drawn to we LBS not bc we triggered their wounds but bc we, knowingly or otherwise, made them feel safeguarded from them. But of course those hidden wounds get noisier over time for some. They implode and perhaps some of their hatred and rage towards us is bc the relationship no longer kept the wounds at bay.....that we/it no longer kept them feeling safe or happy or ok in their own skin.....again not our fault or responsibility though.

And I am always conscious of the danger of transposing ‘normal’ relationship challenges or principles into a relationship situation which is abusive or where one person has become profoundly disordered. Chalk and cheese imho.
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« Last Edit: October 27, 2021, 12:58:37 AM by Treasur »
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.
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Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#131: October 27, 2021, 01:01:39 AM
Isn't this discussion in danger of becoming paralysis of analysis?

I married my H knowing about his childhood and because I loved him and he loved me.  I married my H because I believed he respected and supported me  and I did the same for him. I married H because he believed the good in me and I believed the good in him.   That said we had both been married before for brief periods and perhaps that helped us grow a little.

I used to believe in soulmates but now I don't. I don't particularly hold with the wound mate theory.

Had I been truly aware that MLC existed and that life dealt you lots of body blows from time to time then perhaps I might have been able to save myself a lot sooner. 
Had I been truly aware that my childhood (which was pretty stable and supportive even though my parents ultimately detached from one another in my late teens and Dad was devastated when mum died) was full of learning how to avoid conflict, how not to listen, how to be a people pleaser and ironically how to not ignore my talents.  If I had known that or had society in my teenage years felt it right to expose and discuss challenges, mental health etc, I might have been aware of my flaws and worked on them before I met H.   
AT least now society is beginning to burst the taboos that exist around behaviours, mental health including depression. That at least is something we can pass onto our children - the sense of self worth and a clear awareness of self to ensure a healthier and more balanced life.

It is really hard for you Barbie because you have an H that shuts down on you and that must be as frustrating as hell and certainly must trigger the lack of interest/support in you that your mother has shown you. It must be exhausting and you are so right to protect yourself.  Even if H makes little or no progress, what matters to you Barbie?

What can you do to continue to ensure that your future is filled with joy and living life to the fullest irrespective of your H?
 
I also agree with you not to go to MC and I do have doubts about either the therapist being truly capable of helping you or her chosen form of therapy.
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#132: October 27, 2021, 04:11:03 PM
Thank you Song

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It is really hard for you Barbie because you have an H that shuts down on you and that must be as frustrating as hell and certainly must trigger the lack of interest/support in you that your mother has shown you. It must be exhausting and you are so right to protect yourself.  Even if H makes little or no progress, what matters to you Barbie?
.

He does shut down. Totally and completely ..to the point it is ( to me ) "abnormal".  I have tried to refuse to engage , answer or comment ON PURPOSE and I cannot even do that. Its just not normal. Even for avoidant partners , he is so locked in a desperate need to internally protect himself that he cannot "feel" anything about me ( for example) or risk an opinion ( he might be wrong or get criticized) or  just be free of fear. I have accepted that for the most part and cannot change it in anyway . He says I am "unsafe".  The world ...especially relationships ...are not safe . It is not specifically me. It is beyond painful. It is beyond sad . It does trigger bottomless rage as it did with my mother ..without question there is an exact link. It means there is nowhere to go from here , doesn't it? . It means all doors are closed and I have zero power or control over the doors he has kept shut. Thats it. There is no further need to attend MC whatsoever. I have no interest , in fact I doubt anything would EVER have me return. As has been said a million times...it is not a marriage issue.

For me?  I do not have all my ducks in a row yet . I know my goal is to continue to heal my own child wounds and hopefully that I will no longer react to what my wounds perceive as rejection, refusal to connect with me, abandonment and that I simply do not matter.  I  am told that the more healing work I do the less I will react to those voices in my head. Thought I was doing so much better...I am not. I need to work on finding things that just make me so happy . I need to find my own way, my own joy and look after myself. Hard hard things ...because I wanted to be connected to him as a wife. That is just not in the cards and that is the reality. Avoidant people become over time rather eerie / spooky to me . It is that abnormal to me . I cannot imagine how anyone lives that way...but they do.  They close you into a sealed box with all the doors and windows blocked with self-protection, fear, distrust, superficial conversation, walls ..."un-safe feelings.  Until, you ( in the box) have no other options left but to give up and just make your own way ..by yourself. It is profoundly painful and my heart is broken.
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Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#133: October 28, 2021, 01:20:22 AM
Quote
It means there is nowhere to go from here , doesn't it? . It means all doors are closed and I have zero power or control over the doors he has kept shut.

I hear you Barbie and it is so sad that you are in this current pit.   I am going to disagree and agree with the above here.  Currently as you and your situation is yes - the future looks closed off and your current situation seems that you are on a journey to nowhere and nothing.

Barbie what is your authenticity?  What is it that makes you you Barbie?   Yes you have your childhood wounds to deal with and yes you are constantly facing triggers.

I also am intrigued with your H's comment about "unsafe"  I agree it's not just about you; it seems to be a much wider issue.  Isn't it possible though that bearing in mind his childhood, he feels unsafe about himself.  In you and your marriage he had someone he could rely on, trust and share life with. He blew that apart - isn't that to him the feeling of unsafety?
He thought he had dealt with his past (put it behind him syndrome) but in actual fact it isn't what was done to him that's the issue, it's the fact that he didn't know what to do when it was happening.  No one gave him those skills or help.
So consequently he feels unsafe about himself and his projection is on you and the world because he just doesn't know how to use the skills or help he has now been given. Not because the help or advice is wrong but because he feels that he just can't and maybe doesn't want to because he hurts too much already?

The reason I say this is that my H is a conflict avoider in truth (he would deny it - there's the irony) and yet in his moments of talking to me he says he doesn't understand how he could a) destroy his family, b) share his past with any "stranger" aka a therapist and C) explain what he is feeling, thinking or why he thinks the way he does.  He has apologised, he states that I am blameless and should never have been treated this way, that I have been nothing but kindness etc but he doesn't know or understand what is in his head.  Now my H didn't have the kind of childhood yours did. His teenage trauma was very different.

This is a long drawn out process and tbh he may never know how to feel safe.

However Barbie, how safe do you feel in yourself?  Do you trust yourself, do you validate yourself, do you accept who and what you are (for example I know I have been and can be a people pleaser, I do take criticism personally at times and react badly).
This is what can make you feel safe, accepting that there isn't much you can do to help your H.  As is advised in the beginning of the crisis - leave the MLCer to it.

Can you continue to be bright, breezy and brief with him?  Consider how you can step back even further and just make sure you are "safe" whilst keeping a caring but non commital approach with your H. 

Can you continue to live for the immediate future as "friends" who have shared much over the last few decades and who have children and grand-children and all the joy that that can bring?   I'm not saying that you should do this but how can you ensure that of all the people in your life you are the one that feels safe, secure and assured in who and what you are. 
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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#134: October 28, 2021, 03:02:17 AM
I am very sorry, Barbie, that you feel those closed doors and that you feel heartbroken.
Song probably understands the reality of how it feels to be where you are at right now better than me bc my own situation was so different.

From the outside, I can form a strange logic to your h’s perception of ‘unsafe’.  None of which is to excuse it, but I can see a weird kind of well, duh sense to it. I suspect any safety - and by that I mean feeling that you can say and be who you are without being bludgeoned for it, indeed being appreciated and valued - he has felt in his life was found in his role as a highly capable worker, as a father and as a husband. And then, bc he’s a damaged idiot, he blew much of that up too. And now here he is....in a mess of his own creation. His comment about you being ‘unsafe’ is patently nonsensical and not about you, but it is true that he did things that rightly he sees would be worthy of your anger, contempt and rejection. Bc of what HE did, let me underline that. Not that anything about you is wrong, but that HE did things that and the possible CONSEQUENCES of HIS actions wrt your reactions make him feel unsafe. What a tangled web he’s made, eh?

This isn’t a marriage problem, it’s his cul de sac and separately your set of closed and half open doors. No We in it and I applaud your clear sightedness in seeing that and saying No to MC. You have more than done your bit in the MC trenches over the years at no small cost to your own wellbeing at times. Might that change if either of you choose a different strategy? I guess that’s possib,e but you’re wise enough to know when/if. (Tbh, perhaps unfairly, I felt like that MC bait and switched you rather with some kind of ‘come back later when things are on a different footing’ and invited you back in only to find that it was more of the same  ::) well done you for avoiding short rude words or broken slammed doors, collect 1000 good human points  :) )

If I imagine being in his shoes, once he gets past the initial DARVO stuff eg it didn’t happen, if it did it was your fault and poor old me, he’s in a bit of a pickle isn’t he? He did do these things and it did have some big effects on you, your family, your life together, your finances......Some of which obviously terrify the pants off him. And tbh, his ‘unsafe’ magic wand isn’t very different from a pretty textbook version of ‘the problem isn’t what I did, it’s your reaction to what I did’ is it? Errrr no.  ::) Really in that situation, one would only have a few choices....go back in time and not do it, pretend it never happened, minimise it as no big deal now or find some courage like the Cowardly Lion.  :) As far as I can tell, he isn’t a Time Lord so the first is out, you’ve refused to let him do the third hurrah, he hasn’t found a way to do the last so the ‘pretend it never happened’ has become his daily go to. Your h is basically shooting himself in the foot every day and blaming you for his limp, isn’t he?  ::)

Do you see the logic,  Barbie? That it isn’t that YOU are ‘unsafe’ no matter what he says. It’s that he feels the (understandable) reactions of someone he did these things to is unsafe? Or might create consequences he doesn’t much like and can’t control? The consequences are ‘unsafe’, not you.

But something extra about being accused of being ‘unsafe’ really really bothers you, I think.....not sure what that is about but imho it feeds extra power to his nonsensical words somehow? It’s poisonous BS and I would love you to find a way to flush it down the toilet.  :) I agree with Song. Whatever you decide to do, punching the ‘unsafe’ word in the mouth, burying it and reclaiming your own sense of safe and safety is probably part of the door through to next regardless.
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« Last Edit: October 28, 2021, 03:16:04 AM by Treasur »
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.
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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#135: October 28, 2021, 05:03:42 AM
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That it isn’t that YOU are ‘unsafe’ no matter what he says. It’s that he feels the (understandable) reactions of someone he did these things to is unsafe? Or might create consequences he doesn’t much like and can’t control? The consequences are ‘unsafe’, not you
Treasur is SPOT ON!!!  Barbie, your H and my XH are men cut from the same cloth. I have dealt with the same complete shut down and unsafe issues and the only difference is my XH will admit that he did things that he can’t undo and he can’t live with it if he has to look at me or be reminded of it.That is to much of a burden to bare FOR HIM!

 I have said to my XH that it is unreal that you are making me and your kids pay for the mistakes you made. You damaged your own view of yourself and  how you now think we view you. I have told him if he wants to fix things. He wants to get his on self respect back??? Then he should sit us all down and say… I was an idiot. I lost my damn mind. I am so sorry!! That is not the man I want to be or am and I want to put this family back together and I may fall again, but you are worth it to me to try.

 It’s pretty simple. They can regain their own safety. Ultimately they are unsafe due to their own vision of themselves. They hate what they did and how they see themselves and true remorse and owning it is the only way to change that. IMHO
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« Last Edit: October 28, 2021, 05:07:33 AM by Tornup »
H-54 W-58  M 7/6/91 Kids d-30 s-28 d-14 (dies 2009)
2013- moments of disconnect start
Aug 2016 promotion requires travel   
Oct 2017-total disconnect
Jan 2018- moved out H
Mar 2018- BD1 found old phone 3 EA ‘17-H in therapy
EA ow1-49,  EA-ow2 57, (EA- ow3-58 not reciprocated)
Sept ‘18 -2nd Home in new state H new job
Oct 2018-H moves home
Oct 2020 BD2 does not return home from B trip
Nov 2020 H move to 2nd home in other state OW4
Div filed-Dec ‘20   Div final-Feb ‘21
Oct 2021- XH moves in OW4
https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=11796.

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#136: October 28, 2021, 03:20:57 PM
I kind of liken it to "I can't admit to all I have done because then you will know how defective I am or think I am and I will see reflected in your eyes the reality of what my actions have caused, which will make me feel horrible and I don't want to feel that way, so admitting anything to you makes me feel unsafe in my own skin."

But that is just my take on it.
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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#137: October 29, 2021, 03:52:00 AM
My friends

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I kind of liken it to "I can't admit to all I have done because then you will know how defective I am or think I am and I will see reflected in your eyes the reality of what my actions have caused, which will make me feel horrible and I don't want to feel that way, so admitting anything to you makes me feel unsafe in my own skin."
.

Every word here is the truth. This I do know . This is what shame can do . But even more than "feel horrible" , I have been twice warned that it may create a "psychological incident " or break if I force or push . So I stopped bringing up this huge financial betrayal. It does not mean it is gone. It does not negate my feelings about it at all.  Its another betrayal that I need to "go around or go over". Thats a job for Mother Mary herself. I find that utterly unacceptable. But for now , as it has been for a while, I will be silent. But I can tell you, no healthy truly successfull re-building can happen with the feelings I have about this.

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From the outside, I can form a strange logic to your h’s perception of ‘unsafe’.  None of which is to excuse it, but I can see a weird kind of well, duh sense to it. I suspect any safety - and by that I mean feeling that you can say and be who you are without being bludgeoned for it, indeed being appreciated and valued - he has felt in his life was found in his role as a highly capable worker, as a father and as a husband. And then, bc he’s a damaged idiot, he blew much of that up too. And now here he is....in a mess of his own creation. His comment about you being ‘unsafe’ is patently nonsensical and not about you, but it is true that he did things that rightly he sees would be worthy of your anger, contempt and rejection. Bc of what HE did, let me underline that. Not that anything about you is wrong, but that HE did things that and the possible CONSEQUENCES of HIS actions wrt your reactions make him feel unsafe. What a tangled web he’s made, eh?
.

Yes ! All of it . You are a great listener ! He has absolutely knows and has said he fully understands the anger and rage that I experienced. I once said , in a huge rage .." My anger and rage will far outlast any efforts you put into this".  I do not recall saying that but likely I did as he brings it up . He feels that meant I will be angry until the end of time no matter what. No..it would have meant that "you quit hard things ".  You shut down and quit . And THAT is enraging .  Yes indeed, he has used my reactions as proof that I am "unsafe". Pure manipulation.... that I bought for awhile.  However, the fact is, the feelings internally inside of him whenever I ask him anything or confront him is "unsafe feelings" .  What he feels when he is triggered is so uncomfortable and painful....that is what is unsafe. This is NOT me that is unsafe human being.  What a never ending mess. I have said all of the above to him out loud and that I do not accept his label of me being "unsafe". 

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This isn’t a marriage problem, it’s his cul de sac and separately your set of closed and half open doors. No We in it and I applaud your clear sightedness in seeing that and saying No to MC. You have more than done your bit in the MC trenches over the years at no small cost to your own wellbeing at times. Might that change if either of you choose a different strategy? I guess that’s possib,e but you’re wise enough to know when/if. (Tbh, perhaps unfairly, I felt like that MC bait and switched you rather with some kind of ‘come back later when things are on a different footing’ and invited you back in only to find that it was more of the same  ::) well done you for avoiding short rude words or broken slammed doors, collect 1000 good human points  :) )
.

I have collected my 1000 good human points , thanks!  I am utterly done in , but I crawled to collect them as they mean a lot. Lol!  I will not return to MC and that is utterly non-negotiable. I can wobble in decisions like this...but there is no wobble here at all.  I told her in my calm ranting that this was NOT a marriage issue ... she had no time or space to respond so who knows what she thinks. It is of no consequences to me. I was a.n.g.r.y but in control and very clear.  I cannot imagine seeing her or any other marriage counsellor again..I am so done. I continue with my own personal therapist and selfcare . Thats all I have left in me .

When I say that this is not a "marriage issue", you can well imagine my H reacts to this with extreme defensiveness and sarcasm. He "hears" .." I am the screw up again, I am the broken one, I am the failure ...she thinks she is blameless, perfect and carries no responsibility etc etc etc".  And around and around we go. It is utterly sucking out my soul and I am putting myself in a "time out".  Of course marriage counsellors believe the marriage is 50/50 and I am seen as ever so arrogant to say" this is not a marriage issue"....this is an H issue. Makes me very unpopular with therapists in general. And with H .

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And tbh, his ‘unsafe’ magic wand isn’t very different from a pretty textbook version of ‘the problem isn’t what I did, it’s your reaction to what I did’ is it? Errrr no.  ::)
.

And he has absolutely done this. Many times. He has said ( regarding explaining the money) ..." YOU don't listen, YOU ask too many questions, YOU freak out, YOU get too angry, NO ONE can talk to YOU, YOU don't believe me anyway, YOU could have opened the mail and seen what was happening (??) , YOU interrupt me, YOU talk over me, YOU never let me finish ...etc etc.  .. Can you see the anger I feel?   And the therapist believes I should "build a safe house for him 1st? .   I should do more "work" than him? I would rather burn the house down ...with great glee and a cup of tea. Not happening.

Interesting video yesterday from Tim Fletcher. He was talking about characteristics of unhealed adults with CPTSD from childhood trauma . He said they are/can be  "extremely selfish people ".  There number 1 absolute priority internally is NOT to feel unsafe. This makes a partners feelings and needs irrelevant . If a partner is pushing a "shame button", they will go to extreme lengths not to experience the related shame.  This is the cause of relationships that fail. They "think" with their child-brain of how NOT to get in trouble.  I see this time and time again. Like a married man with the thought process and actions of a single person.

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Do you see the logic,  Barbie? That it isn’t that YOU are ‘unsafe’ no matter what he says. It’s that he feels the (understandable) reactions of someone he did these things to is unsafe? Or might create consequences he doesn’t much like and can’t control? The consequences are ‘unsafe’, not you.
.

Perfectly said! The shame he experiences ( deep identity shame) that come with consequences or being "found out" ..is also "unsafe".  Nothing to do with me. However, if it is only me that realizes this ...there is no future . You cannot keep spinning in this spot .

By the way, I have told him all of the above. Its not a secret that I have handed his "I am not safe theory back to him repeatedly

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But something extra about being accused of being ‘unsafe’ really really bothers you, I think.....not sure what that is about but imho it feeds extra power to his nonsensical words somehow? It’s poisonous BS and I would love you to find a way to flush it down the toilet.  :) I agree with Song. Whatever you decide to do, punching the ‘unsafe’ word in the mouth, burying it and reclaiming your own sense of safe and safety is probably part of the door through to next regardless./quote].
Ugh Ugh... you are so right. Being called "unsafe" is somehow ( I will try to put words to the feeling....makes me cry everytime) a hit at my sense of femininity and who I am ( or am not as a women) . I somehow feel it as a direct hit on being enough as a women ...that I am not a warm , safe place to fall.  I am inadequate ...and from there I can easily jump into the OW and break havic in my brain about "her" being this "safe place" and that was the magic . It is deep...this reaction, I cannot tell you. But it has been there since learning about his affair. I have wrestled with damage to my feminine parts for a long time and being called "unsafe" is another direct hit . I have talked to my therapist about this , still working on what this is all about. It is awful I assure you. It needs the big purge and flush.

So tired of it all.
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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#138: October 29, 2021, 04:15:19 AM
Ah dear lovely girl, I am making big loud flushing noises on your behalf....
I’m sure UM can come up with a great visual  :)

I am sorry that you feel so tired. We get that.
I can see that the Fletcher videos are something you are valuing atm.....my only thought though is that they may also be keeping your eye unintentionally on the conundrum of your h’s inner parts? Do you know what it is that you are finding useful about them? Is it some kind of confirmation about where you are and what you might do next? Are you trying to figure something out still? Song is not wrong when she mentions analysis paralysis...holding my hand up here lol....and I remember it as being exhausting and often draining me of any energy I might need to make different moves than the ones I was making.

I’m glad that your IC is helping you purge this feminine/unsafe wound thing. I can’t claim to get that bc I don’t think I have a bridge between those two things in the way you describe, that being feminine is somehow about being a safe place for someone else to fall. I am not saying that to invalidate your POV, merely to share that it is not an absolute truth that every woman believes. Feminine and more particularly my femininity especially now as a single older woman includes a lot of things, but I don’t think it includes something like that. So there are different lens, Barbie, and perhaps our lens changes at different times of our life, idk. I could probably make a pretty good case in your situation that, in many ways, you actually DID provide your h with a place to fall. Or at least a place to run back to. That it was your spirit that kept some version of your family together, like Boudicca who i’m sure the Romans labelled as very unsafe indeed  :) Your h could have lost much much more than he did, it seems to me from stories here. And that he didn’t, that your family didn’t, that your daughter’s didn’t was at least 50% down to you.....well truthfully, probably more like 80% right?....at sometimes a very high personal cost.

Some people see Boudicca as a rather fantastic example of a woman.....
Ha ha, maybe you should change your name to BoudiccaDoll.... ;)

When I was wrestling with the bits in my own head that, no matter how hard I tried, no matter how much therapy I had, I just could not line them up on the same page.....I got so tired that I decided to just stop trying to line them up. To just say to myself well, I can’t...I might at some unseen point in the future, but right now it seems I just can’t and no more time chewing seems likely to change that......so what do I do now if I can’t? Which strangely, hard to put into words, sort of changed the nature of my problem. If you’re tired,  Barbie, what would it look or feel like if you just stopped trying to reconcile the feeling of femininity with being called ‘unsafe’? If you just shrugged your shoulders and mentally said hey ho, maybe that’s how it is for me? Maybe i’m more of a Boudicca? “described in a 1909 pamphlet as "the eternal feminine... the guardian of the hearth, the avenger of its wrongs upon the defacer and the despoiler". Just a thought.....and a spare hug x
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« Last Edit: October 29, 2021, 05:02:59 AM by Treasur »
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.
Healing and growing found here https://littleplotbythesea.wordpress.com

"Option A is not available so I need to kick the s**t out of Option B" Sheryl Sandberg

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#139: October 29, 2021, 10:34:52 AM
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I also am intrigued with your H's comment about "unsafe"  I agree it's not just about you; it seems to be a much wider issue.  Isn't it possible though that bearing in mind his childhood, he feels unsafe about himself.  In you and your marriage he had someone he could rely on, trust and share life with. He blew that apart - isn't that to him the feeling of unsafety?
He thought he had dealt with his past (put it behind him syndrome) but in actual fact it isn't what was done to him that's the issue, it's the fact that he didn't know what to do when it was happening.  No one gave him those skills or help.
So consequently he feels unsafe about himself and his projection is on you and the world because he just doesn't know how to use the skills or help he has now been given. Not because the help or advice is wrong but because he feels that he just can't and maybe doesn't want to because he hurts too much already?
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I never really considered it "projection"...but I can see this may very well be. I do know that he has very low self-esteem , emotionally he has no vocabulary and truth be told, he cannot identify his own emotions ...so its overwhelming and he just shuts it all down. So I am told anyway. Flooding and all that therapy lingo. I agree that it must be far too painful to look at himself...the kind of pain that maybe few of us experience , the kind that is unbearable. So indeed , to safe himself and protect himself ...I become the "un-safe one". That still leaves us with no solution and for me...an intolerable place. And where there is no"light at the end of the tunnel", or hope or possibilities for change ...I just do not see the point in trying anymore . I just do not. If this is it, then no thanks.

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However Barbie, how safe do you feel in yourself?  Do you trust yourself, do you validate yourself, do you accept who and what you are (for example I know I have been and can be a people pleaser, I do take criticism personally at times and react badly).
This is what can make you feel safe, accepting that there isn't much you can do to help your H.  As is advised in the beginning of the crisis - leave the MLCer to it.
.

This comes and goes for me . I am my own personal internal rollercoaster ride. I am "safe" in knowing that I am ok alone. I can be alone, look after myself, run a household, pay the bills etc. Practical stuff . I am unpredictable ( rollercoasters can do that ) and in fact afraid of my own anger at times . Its "flash-rage" and it can be scary in all ways. I often do not see it coming...although in all honesty this has improved tenfold. I am a person that needs to love deeply, to be needed by someone for comfort, support, conversation...to feel valued as the "chosen one". To feel important to someone. I love to touch ,to hug and feel someone loves and cherishes me. Wow... maybe I should try out for a Hallmark movies. I have non of what my "self" requires to feel loved and happy.  I am severely affected and do suffer living with someone that can ignore all things ....it feels eerie at times that someone can be so hollow . Nothing inside that is allowed to be seen. May not make sense but I feel that HE is empty and nothing there for me .


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Can you continue to be bright, breezy and brief with him?  Consider how you can step back even further and just make sure you are "safe" whilst keeping a caring but non commital approach with your H.
.

I do not know . I have been rather living like this for a long time. Others seem to be able to do this far more successfully than I can . Let me be raw, just gut wrenchingly honest . I react ( still) to feeling ignored ( or being ignored in fact) , that I have no importance or value and that "we live HIS way" , in avoidance, disconnection and silence. My soul cannot be happy in this environment ...I need warm connection, touch , affection... I feel at times like I am dying here. The anxiety is horrific at times and the loneliness so very sad.  So "light and breezy " is hard to pull off and what is the point of "pretending " to live in a way you do not feel?   Funny... ( well, not actually funny ha ha ) But he tells the therapist he is very lonely . I wonder why ? 
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Married April 1985
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Thrown out of house August 2013
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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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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#140: October 29, 2021, 11:07:00 AM
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Let me be raw, just gut wrenchingly honest . I react ( still) to feeling ignored ( or being ignored in fact) , that I have no importance or value and that "we live HIS way" , in avoidance, disconnection and silence. My soul cannot be happy in this environment ...I need warm connection, touch , affection... I feel at times like I am dying here.

I don’t know if you know this, Boudicca Barbie, but that is so normal a need. Just in case you have forgotten. Truly it is. There is nothing wrong with you feeling this way, no failing on your part, no therapy needed to adjust it. I have no wisdom on what you should do about that unmet need for warmth but you are entirely normal to want it and to find it awfully hard to live with what feels like the opposite.
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T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.
Healing and growing found here https://littleplotbythesea.wordpress.com

"Option A is not available so I need to kick the s**t out of Option B" Sheryl Sandberg

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#141: October 29, 2021, 01:01:02 PM
I don’t know if you know this, Boudicca Barbie,

I feel bad enough as an LBS, and now I have to look up words? You people. Sheesh.  ;)

Seconded. I'd be worried if someone DIDN'T need that connection.
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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#142: October 29, 2021, 01:03:25 PM
I agree… there is something about being ignored, dismissed and shut out that can make me literally off the rails insane. It is the numero uno thing I am working on!!!
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H-54 W-58  M 7/6/91 Kids d-30 s-28 d-14 (dies 2009)
2013- moments of disconnect start
Aug 2016 promotion requires travel   
Oct 2017-total disconnect
Jan 2018- moved out H
Mar 2018- BD1 found old phone 3 EA ‘17-H in therapy
EA ow1-49,  EA-ow2 57, (EA- ow3-58 not reciprocated)
Sept ‘18 -2nd Home in new state H new job
Oct 2018-H moves home
Oct 2020 BD2 does not return home from B trip
Nov 2020 H move to 2nd home in other state OW4
Div filed-Dec ‘20   Div final-Feb ‘21
Oct 2021- XH moves in OW4
https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=11796.

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#143: October 29, 2021, 01:47:04 PM
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I agree… there is something about being ignored, dismissed and shut out that can make me literally off the rails insane. It is the numero uno thing I am working on!!!


i too work on this over and over and over. The reactivity that this creates is not explainable . The pain directly puts me into fight or flight ...mostly fight.  To avoid that "fight" tendency is so extremely painful physically, emotionally in all ways. Yes, "off the rails ".   I know it is somehow tied into childhood wounds and that is where I try to work and heal . I have no other idea why I have this intense powerful reaction.  How do you work on this Tornup?  ( if not too personal) . I am looking at some online healing childhood wounds courses at this point. My therapist has been working with me ...and then covid. I was seeing her again ,outside in her garden , but now the weather is preventing that . I need to get this understood and healed .  Right now , I hurt myself ( with my reactions) more than anything else.
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Bomb Drop April 2013
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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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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#144: October 29, 2021, 02:12:41 PM
So, in speaking with XH even after split. I have always said you have to respond. ANYTHING!!! Unfortunately, even with that knowledge he would say I thought I had. I guess I did in my head, but never verbalized it. He also said that he often didn’t feel what he said matched what he meant to say, so he would think about it so much on how to answer that then he would just not.

Instead of reacting now I just let it go for a bit. Breathe….If it was something on text and he replies to something else and ignored the before than I will state. Is there a reason you responded to this and ignored that? Then I would get either I’m sorry I thought I did or…. Somethings are just hard for me to talk about. I find I can then at least get an answer. That was when we were talking. Now he is moving his gf in and I have said I can not be your friend or anything to you as long as you are with her, we are not communicating.

I guess he will have a lot of time in his mind now to work out exactly what I meant to him. Why he has communication issues. What I do know is I have been a constant in his life for 32 years and now I am gone. How will that affect him? How will he deal? We shall see. What I do know is the non response and shut down behavior is something I am not going to have to deal with now. Anxiety drop???? yes!!!!!!
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H-54 W-58  M 7/6/91 Kids d-30 s-28 d-14 (dies 2009)
2013- moments of disconnect start
Aug 2016 promotion requires travel   
Oct 2017-total disconnect
Jan 2018- moved out H
Mar 2018- BD1 found old phone 3 EA ‘17-H in therapy
EA ow1-49,  EA-ow2 57, (EA- ow3-58 not reciprocated)
Sept ‘18 -2nd Home in new state H new job
Oct 2018-H moves home
Oct 2020 BD2 does not return home from B trip
Nov 2020 H move to 2nd home in other state OW4
Div filed-Dec ‘20   Div final-Feb ‘21
Oct 2021- XH moves in OW4
https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=11796.

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Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#145: October 29, 2021, 04:40:25 PM
I agree… there is something about being ignored, dismissed and shut out.....................

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I know it is somehow tied into childhood wounds and that is where I try to work and heal . I have no other idea why I have this intense powerful reaction. 

Your mother?  You have given us accounts of where your mother has "dismissed you, shut you out or up or has ignored you"

You have a lifetime of a seemingly challenging relationship with your mother especially over your H's MLC. Could it be possible that her lack of support and care for your pain and hurt in the early days after BD was so damaging that it  continues to have an impact on you now.  And when your H shuts you out - you "re-live" it  even though it's not a conscious decision.


When your H shuts you out or closes down - can you step back enough to see that he is not rejecting you but he is rejecting what you stand for - truth, loyalty, care, compassion and support. 
We understand that there is still so much that he will not tell you and if he did what would you feel, say or do anyway?

What matters to you about your life Barbie?  You can either accept that he isn't likely to open up and "get on with life" or you can push and push and push until you can push no more. Or a third option which is to decide what is important for you by choosing your battles and, if you lose a few  - so be it; you might just "win the war". 

For me - I have discovered that pushing has given me answers and apologies but it hasn't necessarily given me the results I had hoped for. 
Now I am on a different path. I chose not to push anymore; it was zapping my energy, my time and my self care.  If H wants back in then he has to do all the work. I've done my bit.



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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#146: October 29, 2021, 05:22:10 PM
Yea Song. There is no question that you are right about this. It is where it comes from.

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our mother?  You have given us accounts of where your mother has "dismissed you, shut you out or up or has ignored you"
You have a lifetime of a seemingly challenging relationship with your mother especially over your H's MLC. Could it be possible that her lack of support and care for your pain and hurt in the early days after BD was so damaging that it  continues to have an impact on you now.  And when your H shuts you out - you "re-live" it  even though it's not a conscious decision.
.

I have done much therapy and work on this and I truly "thought" it was 90% healed and for some reason , it has returned in full force. I have a VERY rejecting distant mother  that I was never able to truly have a bond with. She did not like me much . The word I use is she was always " exasperated" with me . Always. And then she just walked away and was silent ...slamming cupboards and things. Silent cold withdrawal of anything. Sometimes she would not talk to me for days.  I don't know why. She was not as much like this to my sister. My H does the same behaviours with his avoidance . This reactivity is no way to live ...trust me the pain and anxiety is deep. I still need work to heal this and I am just not sure it will ever be possible.  And changing him?  Well, its obvious that is not possible either...so it feels like a very painful trap.

I quit marriage counselling as I said and will not return ..ever. That was 2 weeks ago and he now knows I will not go back. He advised me yesterday that he made an app.t with the "marriage" counsellor for himself and went yesterday afternoon. He had been seeing her alone. I was surprised by that but not my deal.  He comes home , eats supper, goes to his garage , has a shower and goes to  bed. Not one word about what was said there . This has been an issue since the beginning . He refuses to share or talk about any conversations that happen in counselling. To me that is wrong. It is a loss of conversations that could create connection, getting to know a person, support etc. But he simply will not. So I do not expect he will tell me anything about "his" appointment yesterday, why he went or what was said. It enrages me ....its another form of rejection. It says " I am not telling you anything or sharing with you . Leave me alone with my secrets etc".  Crazy making. And it is "HIS" way ...no matter what I want or need. He builds walls and destroys any possibility of connection

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We understand that there is still so much that he will not tell you and if he did what would you feel, say or do anyway?
.

I was just dumb enough to believe that maybe some "awakening" happened and I would have a true bond and emotional connection finally.  I was hoping for communication with vulnerability , honesty and change in our marriage. None of that happened , nor is it likely to. He is not capable of feeling " safe" in his own skin and risking anything. 

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You can either accept that he isn't likely to open up and "get on with life" or you can push and push and push until you can push no more. Or a third option which is to decide what is important for you by choosing your battles and, if you lose a few  - so be it; you might just "win the war".
.

I am done pushing or asking him anything. It is just dangerously triggering for me when he fails to respond.  I have detached in ways that I never imagined I could,,,but still not enough. I just stay away from him for the most part. I am a very busy person...always projects and things on the go to keep me entertained . I do my own thing. I truly just avoid and stay away from him 90 % of the time.  That is sad and wrong in many ways. But I see no other option and I truly am just depleted . i guess Mr Avoidant has made me avoidant.  Sad empty way to live ...and he seems just "fine". ( he is far from fine).  If you feel pushed away and rejected enough times ..you simply stay away from that person.  Action vs reaction. 



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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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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#147: October 30, 2021, 05:59:29 AM
Barbie I have nothing to add that others have not already said.  I just wanted to stop in here and offer you a hug.  I too know the pain of living with an MLCer that can’t quite pull himself out of his fog.  You have been doing this a lot longer than I have and I can’t imagine how incredibly tired you are.  Living with a ghost, someone who can’t/won’t connect brings on a whole new level of brokenness to MLC.  I hope you can find your way to happiness, whatever that looks like.   We are all rooting for you.

Hugs, Roo

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Husband 55
Me 55
Kids 3 sons 29, 27, 25 1 daughter 20
BD #1 Spring 2016
BD #2 Winter 2017
married 33 years.  Together 35
H never moved out except 3 weeks after BD #1
OW 30 year single mom employee-He says EA only I don’t believe him.

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#148: October 30, 2021, 06:18:49 AM
Thank you Roo. I helps, it really does.

Since quitting MC , my H made an appointment with her again. For himself. I really have no idea why he would do that ...appeared to me he would be dancing the happy dance to be done with therapy. He went yesterday and came home and of course not one word . He put the bill on my desk and off he went into high gar work frenzy. For 2 weeks he has NOT stopped , not sat down and stayed up half the night. He has torn out basement windows, made 10 pens as gifts for his friends groomsmen, a wooden bowl as a housewarming gift , cleaned the gutters, raked, put up storm windows , spent hours finishing our daughters new kitchen and now says he is replacing the boiler...which was delivered yesterday. He has NOT sat down...he is a moving target.  Familiar to BD behaviour in many ways or a way to not have to deal with me.  I do not know what the MC said to him and likely will not. That just makes me insane. But it is what it is. I have said to him in the past " You must have a theory that the best thing for our marriage is NOT to talk about what we are learning in therapy. Is it the best thing for "us" or just the most comfortable for you?'.   His response  ( and I got one!). " I never thought about it like that ".

I told him I listened to a speaker recently and while listening I felt a waive of compassion for him...for the 1st time in many many years. It made me cry . He stares at me...rather shocked . He teared up and was gone .  I was hopeful he would engage...ask who or why or "talk" to me. He cannot or so it seems . Gone.
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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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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#149: October 30, 2021, 11:06:05 AM
Barbie, you wrote
Quote
I once said , in a huge rage .."  My anger and rage will far outlast any efforts you put into this". I do not recall saying that but likely I did as he brings it up .

THAT sounds like projection to me. You might not have ever said that, but he thinks it and projects it onto you, saying you said it when you may never have said it. This was common with my xh in the ramp up to discard. He'd accuse me of things I had never said or did, many of which could be proven with facts (like I wasn't even in the house when he claimed I had done something.)

 You might want to consider anything he says that triggers you with a different lens. Reverse it so instead of "you" having said or done something you don't recall, treat it as something he thinks in his head, which may have a basis in fact, but is only his own guilt talking. Poor me. She won't accept the effort I give and I don't want to give the effort of what she needs. So I have to say it's her anger that is the problem. ( A little DARVO thrown in for good measure)

My xh had tons of guilt, but he would accuse me of things that I not only hadn't done, but would NEVER do, yet those would be things he had done or would do. That is how I recognized the gaslighting and projection. He really didn't know me at all at that point to accuse me of such. But your H knows your buttons well. He could be gaslighting you, saying you had said something (that sounds enough like you to make it feasible ), when it is just in his head, stuck with a meaning you would never have intended.
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« Last Edit: October 30, 2021, 11:11:41 AM by OffRoad »
When life gives you lemons, make SALSA!

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#150: October 30, 2021, 11:41:01 AM
I have to agree with Off Road on this.
My recollection is that my former h said some very odd things just like that....things that obviously were factually not true, claims to have had conversations we had never had bc he had been ghosting me for months and comments about not being able to trust me (while unbeknownst to me he was stealing money from joint accounts) or that I hated him when my behaviour was blatantly (and unhelpfully to me lol) looking like the exact opposite. A lot of We statements about things I had no involvement in at all, discussions never had, sometimes things I didn’t even know about.

Very odd times indeed  ???
Which only made sense once I understood how projection works. And emotional codependency for that matter when someone assumes that you must feel exactly how they feel.
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T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.
Healing and growing found here https://littleplotbythesea.wordpress.com

"Option A is not available so I need to kick the s**t out of Option B" Sheryl Sandberg

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Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#151: October 31, 2021, 01:22:31 AM
I agree also with OR.

Guilt will almost always drive most MLCers that are in touch with the LBS into projection and gaslighting mode at any stage during the crisis.   Simply because they can and its easier than facing the truth or reality of their situation- which is that it is all down to them.

My H has accused me in the same breath of being difficult, argumentative, pushy and kind!   I see it for what it is - guilt and a complete inability to face the current situation appropriately ( as I'm also now dealing his with post stroke depression and potentially low hypothryoidism)

Barbie - I'm also curious as to why you need to know what was said in his MC sessions.  If you are not prepared to go (which I understand) then why is it so important for you to know what he or she said during that confidential session?
A marital, curious need to know is natural but it seems to have become an urgent need for you - does H perhaps sense that you need to know and so he shuts off because he needs time to process and not only that what could he have said to the MC that will make it all better for you?

Consider all the work he did around the house which you correctly perceive is avoidance behaviour - there is also another reason he did that or possibly two. Either he wants to show through his actions that he is working towards your marriage (for those of us who need the words - that is a killer thing to do but love languages etc...)   Or he is processing, ruminating on the session and he does that best when he is busy.....

Quote
I have said to him in the past " You must have a theory that the best thing for our marriage is NOT to talk about what we are learning in therapy. Is it the best thing for "us" or just the most comfortable for you?'.   His response  ( and I got one!). " I never thought about it like that ".

Interesting - could this observation unwittingly have fed his mind that is how he could approach it.  In other words did this comment feed his sense of it's ok not to talk - because it is comfortable and he wants to stay in his comfort zone?

Sometimes even though MLCers project and spew rubbish - they also pick up on the most bizarre comments we make and use it to their benefit in other ways.

Just my opinion.


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BD march 2013
Stay at home MLCer
OW for 3.5 years - finishing Autumn 2016
Reconnection started 2017 and still going with no sign of reconciliation.

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#152: October 31, 2021, 06:52:52 AM
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Sometimes even though MLCers project and spew rubbish - they also pick up on the most bizarre comments we make and use it to their benefit in other ways
This is so true. I found things I said twisted or coming back at me and used against me all the time in the strangest and most frustrating ways. Not only that, but I could recall the things in the same conversation that I wished he would have absorbed instead. Sometimes it made me think I need to evaluate anything and everything I said as I did not know how he would reprocess my words. It really is all so exhausting
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H-54 W-58  M 7/6/91 Kids d-30 s-28 d-14 (dies 2009)
2013- moments of disconnect start
Aug 2016 promotion requires travel   
Oct 2017-total disconnect
Jan 2018- moved out H
Mar 2018- BD1 found old phone 3 EA ‘17-H in therapy
EA ow1-49,  EA-ow2 57, (EA- ow3-58 not reciprocated)
Sept ‘18 -2nd Home in new state H new job
Oct 2018-H moves home
Oct 2020 BD2 does not return home from B trip
Nov 2020 H move to 2nd home in other state OW4
Div filed-Dec ‘20   Div final-Feb ‘21
Oct 2021- XH moves in OW4
https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=11796.

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#153: October 31, 2021, 07:10:02 AM
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Sometimes it made me think I need to evaluate anything and everything I said as I did not know how he would reprocess my words. It really is all so exhausting

We just cannot live our lives worried about every word we say and how they might interpret it. I feel already shut down by him as there is no real or open communication between us..it's all superficial fluff. If I say something he takes the wrong way, that is his issue.

We have not done anything wrong.

If they misinterpret or give a different meaning to things we say, that is not on us and we couldn't change their interpretation even if we tried.

They see us through a cracked and fogged up lens which in their minds is the "truth".

Song's words are completely true:

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My H has accused me in the same breath of being difficult, argumentative, pushy and kind!   I see it for what it is - guilt and a complete inability to face the current situation appropriately.
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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#154: October 31, 2021, 08:35:12 AM
Quote
Sometimes even though MLCers project and spew rubbish - they also pick up on the most bizarre comments we make and use it to their benefit in other ways
This is so true. I found things I said twisted or coming back at me and used against me all the time in the strangest and most frustrating ways. Not only that, but I could recall the things in the same conversation that I wished he would have absorbed instead. Sometimes it made me think I need to evaluate anything and everything I said as I did not know how he would reprocess my words. It really is all so exhausting

It’s a good reminder, this discussion, on how genuinely strange it is when there seems to be little or no correlation between what you say and how someone responds. It is so far from how normal communication works in real life isn’t it? Let alone with someone you have known well for years and years. It is exhausting and tbh, at least for a while, causes most of us to doubt if we have lost our sanity a bit. Truly one of the strangest experiences of my life. Maybe that is part of why we look so hard for an explanation for it. I had a similar experience as my mother was disappearing into dementia tbh, but there, I had a cause. So it was painful but never as bewildering nor did it feel as personal.

It can be painful to let go, to accept the reality of this kind of mindset,  but less exhausting perhaps than trying to reach someone who has become unreachable in normal ways.

But a good reminder that there are solid, sensible reasons for detaching from the desire to fix, influence or communicate with any expectations of a ‘normal’ response. And tbh to make sure that part of your GAL is to spend time with normal folks who have good intent towards you bc that can be a useful reminder of what is normal for normal folks and what is not.
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« Last Edit: October 31, 2021, 08:40:09 AM by Treasur »
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.
Healing and growing found here https://littleplotbythesea.wordpress.com

"Option A is not available so I need to kick the s**t out of Option B" Sheryl Sandberg

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#155: October 31, 2021, 01:41:56 PM
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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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