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Author Topic: My Story What am I dealing with here?

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My Story What am I dealing with here?
#140: May 04, 2024, 07:21:10 AM
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My reasons for not initiating a divorce are 3 things.

1 - I love my W. I believe in long suffering, and the commitment I made in marriage. What if several months or years after a D she comes back around? Unlikely I know...
2 - I've said over and over to my kids that I don't believe in divorce. I think they'd hate me and lose respect for me if I was the one that initiated it.
3 - I have some serious religious and moral beliefs around divorce. The whole Idea of it is a complete moral and spiritual failure in my mind...

But, on the other side, my W has said clearly that she's done, and she doesn't love me. And she backs it all up with treating my like dog sh%$ every day in front of our kids. On top of it, we have some serious business and financial issues that she's completely uncooperative with and leaving me to try to resolve them all alone without any help or input by her...

This is seriously the toughest spot I've ever been in...

I understand very clearly your beliefs about divorce. I still share those beliefs many years later.

I cannot change this, even though he left our marriage...still doesn't mean that divorce was the right thing.  I was able to obtain a legal separation which allowed us to divide our assists...he filed for a divorce 9 years after we separated. He never explained why, he sent me a text message to tell me.  :(

It changed nothing really, he continues to be in contact with me. He owns that divorce, not me.

There is a Christian movie I watched called Fireproof...at the time, I thought it was rather hookey but after sleeping that night, when I woke up the next morning it struck me "you never leave your partner behind in a fire".

It is said that MLC is the mother of all depressions, a crisis of identity. Even living it, it is hard to comprehend...yet we see the changes in our spouses, the 180 degree change in them.

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We used to always joke about how we each have half a brain and together we make a complete brain of 1 person.  There's probably some codependency involved in each of us. Whatever...

Our best friend became a stranger and has done wild and painful things....many reasons and a combination of many factors but I also believe that there is spiritual factor as many here have written how their spouse turned away from their faith.

We must not allow this to destroy us...and so we "preach here" or some do that we focus solely on own lives.....I have been able to do that yet still remain aware, that the person I loved for 35 years is in a bad way...and his crisis, in some ways similar to other developmental stages  ( the terrible two's, adolescence, perhaps even menopause/andropause) is something that happens to them. We are the collateral damage.

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It seems like MLC's coming from a traumatic childhood is a common theme around here.  I know its a huge part of my W's issues.  I'm wondering if there are any MLC'ers who haven't had traumatic childhoods?

From what I know, my husband had loving and caring parents and he was very close to them. I felt his mother was emotionally distant and I have some suspicion of things that might have happened to himn during his childhood......MLC is a perfect storm, biological, hormonal, developmental and spiritual factors that all create the perfect storm.

Thanks for posting and expressing your beliefs about marriage and divorce.
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« Last Edit: May 04, 2024, 07:22:37 AM 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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What am I dealing with here?
#141: May 15, 2024, 05:59:47 PM
It seems like emotional abuse is a common theme among MLC'ers. I really haven't seen my wife's behavior for what it is >>abuse<< until recently.  Below is a very concise and general list of her behaviors that happen in front of our kids, this is not including the heap of abusive or demeaning behaviors she's displayed to me privately.

Withholding Affection: Deliberately ignoring or withdrawing affection.

Silent Treatment / Stonewalling: Refusing to communicate or engage in meaningful conversations about relationship, finances, or the kids.

Rude & Disrespectful Behavior: Never a greeting or a goodbye. Short, snippy, rude one word answers when spoken to, or ignored altogether.

Constant Criticism: Regularly criticizing my actions.

Undermining Self-Esteem: Making me feel worthless and incompetent.

Undermining Parental Authority: Disregarding my parental decisions, rules, morals, and financial / budgeting suggestions.

Badmouthing: Speaking negatively about me to the children behind my back.

Harmful Accusations: Insisting that I’ve been an abusive father, even though kids deny it.  “Diagnosing” me as a covert narcissist and telling our children to keep it a secret.

Excluded from Holiday Celebrations: Will not celebrate my birthday, and refuses gifts from me, and excludes me from holiday celebrations (mothers day, birthdays, anniversary, valentines day, etc.)

Making Kids the Go-Between: Not communicating family events, or holiday plans directly with me, but instead telling the kids only.

Financial Neglect: Not cooperating with needs to create and maintain a family budget during a critical financial time.

Blame Shifting: avoids taking responsibility for any of her own actions and makes me the scapegoat.

All of this is happening in front of the kids, and has been witnesses by them.  When I actually list it all out, it seems much worse than I make it in my head. I think it's because I've been trained to believe in all of her blame shifting, and me and my kids do see me as the problem a lot of times...

Well, ChatGPT thinks that all of this is very abusive, regardless of what I did to "cause" it.
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#142: May 15, 2024, 08:36:58 PM
Hi hopeful5,

The same person I'm quoting on my signature also wrote "it's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters".

The big question is how are you reacting? How are you making sure your and kids wellbeing is not compromised in this abusive enviroment. 

Your options are pretty much a mixture of playing defence (setting boundaries),  letting her run the show (allowing abuse), running away (no contact, moving out), fighting fire with fire (warzone), or getting outside help (child welfare, therapy).

If thinking the kids and family, none besides setting boundaries, getting outside help, or running away shows a good example and the value every person should place to their well-being.

So you now have a list of what is going on in front of kids. Where do you draw the line?  For me it was the moment my XW physically assaulted me in front of kids. Don't let it progress to stage like that (and yes, you did succesfully describe my XWs behaviour to her core with your list).

alvin

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« Last Edit: May 15, 2024, 09:30:12 PM by AlvinTheMaker »
At time of BD.... Me: 43, XW: 41
Kids: G19,G18,G14,G12,S5
Together - 20½ Years, Married 19 Years

BD ("I don't love you"): Feb 2019, 
BD2 ("I don't want to fix this marriage."), Mar 2020
D filed May 2020, D finalized Dec 2020
I have moved on, and am in new relationship.

Lessons from Stoicism and REBT helped me to exit the chaos zone and become a better person. 

"Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: Some things are within our control, and some things are not. - Epictetus"

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#143: May 15, 2024, 08:47:17 PM
It's not healthy for this type of abuse to go on.
The kids will either take abuse like this when they are older or dish it out thinking it's love.
Abuse isn't love.
Emotional abuse might be common but you do not have to put up with it. MLC or whatever her issue is there is no excuse for abuse.
You didn't do anything to cause it. No one deserves to be abused
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There are two ways of spreading light:
Be the candle; or the mirror that reflects it

Don't ask why someone is still hurting you; ask why you keep letting them.What you allow continues.

At some point you have to get sick of going through the same sh!t.

Women are NOT rehabilitation centers for badly raised men. It is not your job to fix ,parent, raise or change him.
You want a partner not a project.

W

WHY

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#144: May 15, 2024, 09:15:30 PM
Omfg Hopeful do you know my wife?   You just described her to her core.  It’s scary accurate. 

I’ve been dealing with this mental torture for over 2 years.   I have more good days than bad these days, but every now and again she still manages to get her claws in me. 
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#145: May 16, 2024, 04:12:41 PM
Hi hopeful5,

The big question is how are you reacting? How are you making sure your and kids wellbeing is not compromised in this abusive enviroment. 


The best I can do right now is no contact. The most peace our family can have is for us to not communicate at all, which is still incredibly broken and dysfunctional. As far as boundaries, I've told her and the kids that her behavior is unacceptable, but she doesn't give a sh%$.  I've tried communicating important info via text/email, but she won't even answer those.  She literally acts like I don't exist. I've been waiting for her to serve the D papers but nothing yet. She paid a legal retainer in Feb.  If at all possible, I want her to be the one to file for the divorce and take the angry fallout from the kids. This is ALL her deal. I do have my limits though, and I won't let things drag on forever like this...

It's not healthy for this type of abuse to go on.
The kids will either take abuse like this when they are older or dish it out thinking it's love.
Abuse isn't love.
Emotional abuse might be common but you do not have to put up with it. MLC or whatever her issue is there is no excuse for abuse.
You didn't do anything to cause it. No one deserves to be abused

I completely agree. This is the most absurd thing I've ever experienced. The kids are so confused right now, because they see how she treats me, but then she blames me for it all. They love their mom and me. It's all a total mindfu$% for them.

Omfg Hopeful do you know my wife?   You just described her to her core.  It’s scary accurate. 

I’ve been dealing with this mental torture for over 2 years.   I have more good days than bad these days, but every now and again she still manages to get her claws in me. 

Sadly this seems to be all too common with MLC'ers.  The mental damaged caused by this is unreal, and at times its all so subtle -- rude and disrespectful behavior just picking away at your soul. The saddest part is the kids. My W used to be an amazing mother, and she still thinks she is.  Garbage like this is destroying the kids idea of marriage and her relationship with them. It's already completely destroyed her relationship with our oldest.

I think I've come to terms with the fact that this is the way it is. She's changed and most likely will never return to the sweet, loving W that I was married to for 23 years. I'm also accepting that her behavior is ABUSE, highly toxic and has created a terrible environment to live in. My kids are being taught that this is normal, and it's not okay.
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#146: May 16, 2024, 06:42:01 PM
I said that once too

"Your behavior is unacceptable"

(Whew that wasn't well received)

It gets to the point with whatever you say wasn't what you should have said.

Then I'd be quiet
Then it would be
"Why are you so quiet?" ( ???  >:()

I hope you are out of this situation soon.
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There are two ways of spreading light:
Be the candle; or the mirror that reflects it

Don't ask why someone is still hurting you; ask why you keep letting them.What you allow continues.

At some point you have to get sick of going through the same sh!t.

Women are NOT rehabilitation centers for badly raised men. It is not your job to fix ,parent, raise or change him.
You want a partner not a project.

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#147: Today at 01:18:12 AM
I think you mentioned that you had consulted a lawyer, Hopeful? What did they suggest you can it should do given the situation as it is?

Bc right now it sounds as if you are waiting for another hammer to drop while you and your kids are living in a kind of war of emotional attrition. And yes, it is abuse and yes, it does feel like putting your head in a blender. Sadly, many of us know all too well what that feels like and I am so sorry.

Tbh it most likely changes when you reach a point when you decide to change your current circumstances. And that’s a hard pill to swallow bc changing our circumstances usually involves actions that we never imagined we would choose to take, thinking differently about how we see what we are dealing with that really challenge some of our deepest held beliefs and a plate full of more losses and changes. Plus tbh we humans have an extraordinary ability sometimes to sit in slowly boiling water for so long that it starts to feel normal. I suspect we often don’t quite get how not normal it is until we much later find ourselves on dry land.

The fact that you are now seeing how abusive and plain horrendous her behaviour is, and the real effects of it on you and your kids, is a big step. An awful one, but an important one. That you now have months/years of data that her behaviour is simply not influenced by what you, the kids, or anyone else, says or does. That her reality is simply not your reality, and there is nothing you can do to change that. But I think it is also true that when one sees a situation through a changed lens, things change inside us and we feel ready and able to make different choices ourselves.

All one can do is change one’s own lens on it, and therefore one’s own responses to how it is. Hopefully, your very wise IC is helping you adjust and adapt.

One of your lens seems to be about not moving forward legally bc of a fear about how your kids will judge you? Another seems to be your attitude towards ‘suffering’ as an aspect of commitment. Maybe it’s as simple as you don’t want to be the kind of man who turns his back on those he loves and promised to walk beside? Idk. Will you feel absolved in some way if she is the one who finally pulls the plug? How much worse would things have to get for you to choose to do so? We all know that these are big questions, questions of self and values and perhaps faith; they are not easy and there is no ‘right’ answer that fits all.

But I would humbly suggest that what you DO know is that the current situation is damaging you and your kids profoundly, and that it does not seem to be getting better, and it does not even seem to be making your wife stable and happy either.

What I can see from your previous posts is that your past life was built on a lot of We. A shared business as well as shared finances, homeschooling your kids, a house on a big plot of land doubtless requiring effort to maintain and run from both of you. I find myself wondering how much of Other there is in your life and your kids’ lives….things and people that are not dependent on the We. And your wife has taken a flamethrower to the We, hasn’t she? Fwiw, I would encourage you and your kids to reframe a new We, and one that involves more Other. If only bc the old We is no longer a safe and sustaining place.

On a practical level - and I’m so sorry - that’s a whole lot of We to unpick and unravel. Which is why imho you need legal advice on how you might do that without exposing yourself to more legal or financial damage unnecessarily. For example, if it were legally ok, I would start by removing as much dependence on the actions of your wife as you can. Therefore informing her rather than trying to consult with someone who won’t talk to you. Consider ending homeschooling. Remove her from all joint cards and accounts and from any authority over the business. Give her a small personal allowance, but remove her from buying groceries, meal planning, all the practicalities of We life. Let her do as she pleases with that small allowance, inform her that this is the new transitional arrangement until or unless she is ready to talk to you directly or propose via a lawyer a way of unpicking all these previously shared things as part of her plan to live without you. Likely she won’t much like it….but you and your kids do have the right to reclaim some control back over your own lives, truly you do. Bc right now, you are all slightly being held hostage, aren’t you? But all this practical stuff is a bit of a legal minefield so you do need legal guidance.

And again jmo, taking these kinds of steps is based on getting to a different lens on how things currently are. I suspect you may be reaching something close to that, we all tend to know when we do. It’s awful, and it isn’t your fault, but right now you have a wife who seems to want a life without you, a deeply unhappy woman who is blaming you for a whole host of things beyond your control. And who is dealing with those feelings with silence, rage and emotional abuse. And who feels ok enough about that as a way of dealing with how she feels to keep doing it. It isn’t fair and it isn’t your fault and you don’t have to be mean to her, but what if you accepted that your wife simply no longer wants to be part of the old We, that she believes - rightly or wrongly, time will tell - that she wants something different?

What if you just decided to open your hand and let her go, Hopeful? While you and your kids reclaim and rebuild a different kind of life? I am really not saying that any of this is easy, or that your brain hasn’t jumped to a whole list of ‘what if’  fears….thats normal and not unreasonable. But what if you also accepted that the current approach is not really working well for any of you? What might ‘slightly better than this’ mean for you?

Unpicking the old We - and it will probably feel like unravelling the strands of a thick rope - is not an easy or pain free thing. Practically, it may require divorce, it may not. It probably will require separating your living arrangements, work lives and finances. And the law varies depending on where you live. But if you started with two operating assumptions….that your wife does not want to be part of the old We, and that you and your kids no longer want to live under a hammer walking on eggshells of uncertainty….. what do you now feel ready to do about creating something different?

Things may change in your wife’s perspective and behaviour; that’s the nature of life. And you can choose to keep a mental and emotional door open to the positive aspects of that if you wish. But right now it is as it is, and it has been that way for quite a while now, maybe it feels like it’s getting worse, idk, and  the future is unknown, so imho all one can do is make choices that reduce the damaging effects where possible and start to take steps towards a different kind of new normal.
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« Last Edit: Today at 02:57:41 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.


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

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#148: Today at 01:37:42 AM
She's changed and most likely will never return to the sweet, loving W that I was married to for 23 years.

Never is such a strong word. But I would say that 4-8 year timeline of current behaviour is very probable. You can only imagine how much inner energy all that abusive behaviour consumes, and what happens when it all eventually burns out.

I would also highlight that divorce is definitely not a fix-all solution. You just swap some old issues to all new issues, and still get to keep many of the old ones. For example refusing to communicate or engage in meaningful conversations about the kids is in my list too, and I'm divorced and years ahead of you. The fact you share a family with kids (and in the future grandchildren) means that for many issues "getting out fully" is just not an realistic option.

Possibly the best advice I can give is focus even more tightly on you:  your wellbeing and improving things you control directly. Instead of big and fast changes (like hoping all the abuse to stop now), go slow and smaller scale.  As sad as it is, most of the problems the average LBS with kids gets require years and years of gradual progress to turn $h!tee into gold.

Alvin
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At time of BD.... Me: 43, XW: 41
Kids: G19,G18,G14,G12,S5
Together - 20½ Years, Married 19 Years

BD ("I don't love you"): Feb 2019, 
BD2 ("I don't want to fix this marriage."), Mar 2020
D filed May 2020, D finalized Dec 2020
I have moved on, and am in new relationship.

Lessons from Stoicism and REBT helped me to exit the chaos zone and become a better person. 

"Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: Some things are within our control, and some things are not. - Epictetus"

H
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#149: Today at 01:45:58 PM

All one can do is change one’s own lens on it, and therefore one’s own responses to how it is.

There's a lot to think about here. My lens is changing, albeit slowly.  My priest / spiritual advisor lifted a weight off of my shoulders by saying, "Its not a question of whether or not the decision to D is RIGHT or WRONG, its about how you choose to go through it that matters. Either way, approach the situation with sincere humility, forgiveness & prayer and you'll have a clear conscience & God's blessing on whatever you do."  This was huge for me, as I've been stuck on the issue of right vs wrong.  And yes, my marriage commitment was a serious one that I never, ever intended to break. D has always been a gigantic whopper of a spiritual failure in my mind, and to have my lens changed in regards to this is HUGE.  I do realize that I'm not the one who took a flamethrower (as you so well put it) to our marriage and burnt it to the ground.  At this point, a D would just be a formal acknowledgement of what IS, and moving on from there.

Yes the issue with the kids is huge. I've always told them that I don't believe in D, that I believe that marriage is unto death, and that I have no intention to D. I know they're counting on me to "stand strong", and I feel that if I initiate a D, all of their trust in me will be shattered.  I think they're hoping that eventually things will change.

They've sort of settled into this crappy emotional swamp we're all living in. They seem to have a false sense of security since we're not talking or arguing anymore.  But, at some point, a D will be happening (via her or me), unless there's real change on her end.  There's a lot to weigh out in regards to living in the same household vs D. Financially, emotionally, quality of life, etc..  It will upend a lot of what they know - The property we live on, our living custody arrangements, very possibly homeschool as my W will NEED to get a job regardless of spousal support. That's a lot for a kid to stomach at once.   

I so don't want to be the one to initiate this. But, the only positive that I can see coming out of me initiating a D, is them seeing me stand up for what's right and no longer accept this as an acceptable way to live and treat someone.

Yes I have consulted a lawyer. It was just a short 1.5 hr consultation to get his initial take on things. I'm not ready to plop down the whole retainer yet as everything is in standstill. But given our financial situation, I may need to take the additional step.


I would also highlight that divorce is definitely not a fix-all solution. You just swap some old issues to all new issues, and still get to keep many of the old ones. For example refusing to communicate or engage in meaningful conversations about the kids is in my list too, and I'm divorced and years ahead of you. The fact you share a family with kids (and in the future grandchildren) means that for many issues "getting out fully" is just not an realistic option.

Possibly the best advice I can give is focus even more tightly on you:  your wellbeing and improving things you control directly. Instead of big and fast changes (like hoping all the abuse to stop now), go slow and smaller scale.  As sad as it is, most of the problems the average LBS with kids gets require years and years of gradual progress to turn $h!tee into gold.


Yes, I'm seeing this as a reality also. I'm realizing that her behavior will most likely be a thorn in my flesh for many, many years, regardless of a D.

Right now we are in a very scary financial position, and she's not helping at all. It's all been put on me to figure out without her communication on anything.

The best thing I can do for ME and my kids right now is streamline our business so it runs almost entirely without me (which is possible), and get a job, which I've been working on for quite awhile now.  Then the financial issues will become much more healthy, and I can start to build a life thats independent from her. 

I am beginning to work towards total detachment and building a life of my own. Spiritually I've changed course, in a way that's much more aligned to my true beliefs and values. This has been the most meaningful spiritual decision of my life by far. In terms of work/career, I'm workin on it, but thats a tough one as my entire career was in partnership with her. And my previous experience as a "founder / business owner", doesn't translate well into the job market.  Also, crawling out from the heap of rubble in my soul caused by all the emotional abuse and turmoil is no easy task, and makes mustering up the confidence and everything else needed to hunt for and get a job much more challenging.  But, we're getting there, step-by-step.

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« Last Edit: Today at 02:07:41 PM by Hopeful5 »

 

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