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Author Topic: My Story Reconnecting Working it out 24: Inhaling the future and exhaling the past

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7.5 yrs on and there is a genuine moment of reconnection more so than any other.  It was nice.

This made me smile Song. Thank you for sharing.

There is something left inside of them that is still them. I think we always knew that..but there is so much of them that are buried beneath the ice that it's very hard to remember who they once were...until they show us.

I hope you have a better day....there are so many things happening to cause us stress right now.
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S
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.but there is so much of them that are buried beneath the ice that it's very hard to remember who they once were...until they show us.
#

True and the longer they take to show us that original person, the less we are likely to want to share anything with them. 

It's almost as if we become hardened to that part of ourselves when we're with them so that we don't know how to then be authentic in our sharing. 

I must add though that none of the venting was about our R or our situation or him personally.  It was about grown children, cars and finances.   

The sharing with  him about the R etc is quite possibly one of those things I have become hardened to not share.  Not because I won't but because at this moment in time it is not as important as my other concerns.
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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.

S
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Just a bit of an update.

H has begun a shift in his behaviour. It's nothing major but there is a little shift.

We have an old dog who has had two vestibular syndrome attacks since the last post. Vestibular syndrome is like a mini stroke or TIA and he has in all reality now lost the use of one his back legs and the other is getting weaker (so tough decisions lie ahead). However he still wants to eat and loves his time with us all.
The drawback in the early days of the first attack is that he developed diarrhea.  H was home one evening and poor doggie pooped.  H flipped and drove off saying that he couldn't bear the smell leaving me and S to clear it up and reassure poor doggie.

I was cross with H on his return and even when he tried to feebly apologise later , I wasn't prepared to listen.

Fast forward 4 weeks and Doggie has second attack.  Same situation - pooped in his bed but not as bad.  This time H stood there and asked what he could do.  By this time S and I were a well oiled machine of action and so I said - nothing other than to light the scented candle and get some fresh spare towels.  Once we were all cleared up and back to normal H said "Sorry I can't bear the smell - it really upsets me"
My reply " I get it - I'm like that when people vomit - I can't deal with it. " Totally true.

The following day H said " I've been thinking why I reacted that way." and proceeded to explain that his elderly aunt who lived in his parents house when he was a boy had developed incontinence and the smell reminded him of her and the fact that his home always smelled bad. 

I Said " it was a trigger? "
H - "Yes a trigger. I didn't realise it until I reacted when doggie pooped. I'm sorry - I will try to help"
Me - " I get it.  Triggers are always there. Thank you for recognising it.  If it happens again, you can help by doing as you did, lighting the candle, fetching towels and more importantly showing doggie much love"
H - "of course"

He is devoted to doggie and also said that he often thought he would die before doggie does.  H always had such thoughts about himself - but now he's voicing them.

He has also agreed that he needs to do a lot of work on the house as we discovered that it is pretty unsellable at the moment for completely unexpected reasons.  He also said that he still wants to be on his own so two houses need to be afforded from the sale of this one.

There was a horrible situation one evening though where S (who claims he hates H) exploded at me and talked about H in the third person as a waster, loser, liar and other contemptuous names. The challenge was H was standing there and S knew he was.  He turned his back on H and said it all to my face.  I was angry but as you all know I am having difficulty with S's rage at the moment.   I felt for H though. Yes he has been a liar etc but it was such a horrible way for S to behave.

Finally on a brighter point H texts or phones me most days and our conversations are lighter, more fun and more like we used to be long long ago. 

The path of reconnection is not easy and sometimes it feels like freewheeling downwards but it does get easier. It does get better and it does so because the LBS has continued to grow and maintain boundaries and be realistic about the situation.
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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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S&D -
Great update.
I love that H is confronting his own triggers, how they feel, why they occur and how he can deal with them.
Glad that you’re in communication every day.
I think it will probably be a big, positive step for you each to have your separate residences - AND perhaps S will become appreciative and less angry and difficult.  I have a S22 who is very similar.  And my youngest is also similar to your younger son.

Keep us posted on the reconnection and the sale of the house and eventual move.
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Seahorses have one mate for life...

b
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Very similar situation here with a cat that apparently is now diabetic.  That cat has peed on more than one rugs in this house and try as I might I am far from sympathetic.  Not that I am mean, not that I don't care about the cat ... but , geeeeeze , smelling cat pee is just all wrong.  Apparently this will stop once they stabalize  sugar etc etc  otherwise , decisions will need to be made here too.   Its my daughters cat and would NEVER agree to "decisions"  to be made , so she is on major pee patrol.  Ugh.

It is very interesting and positive that your H can express his connection with that trigger.  I wonder if he then understand or is aware that you have triggers from his shenanigans ?

What I really find interesting is your son. Now keep in mind I have no sons, no brothers and rarely understand the man-child that I live with...so I admit I know nothing about "boys".  Something sets him off to get very angry about your H  ( I fully  understand anger) and he looses control and rages out . Do you know what triggers you son? .  And your H listens to him and stays silent ?  Does he respond at all?   I would be very nervous if that happened here and one of my girls called my H a loser, liar etc.  I am fairly certain it would go bad very fast .   Seems your son knows no fear when he gets truly angry .  This is part of the hurt and betrayal that happens to our children and perhaps sons handle that differently than our daughters.
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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.

S
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I wonder if he then understand or is aware that you have triggers from his shenanigans ?

I doubt it because I learned to walk away when I was triggered so he wouldn't have a reaction from me but at least the trigger word is now out in the open and so I can now use it for me.

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hat I really find interesting is your son. Now keep in mind I have no sons, no brothers and rarely understand the man-child that I live with...so I admit I know nothing about "boys".  Something sets him off to get very angry about your H  ( I fully  understand anger) and he looses control and rages out . Do you know what triggers you son? .  And your H listens to him and stays silent ?  Does he respond at all?   I would be very nervous if that happened here and one of my girls called my H a loser, liar etc.  I am fairly certain it would go bad very fast .   Seems your son knows no fear when he gets truly angry .  This is part of the hurt and betrayal that happens to our children and perhaps sons handle that differently than our daughters.

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AND perhaps S will become appreciative and less angry and difficult.  I have a S22 who is very similar.  And my youngest is also similar to your younger son.

The challenge with S is three or many fold. He is sadly a drug addict (cannabis) - which of course over a period of time adds to the mental confusion and deep deep brain fog.  He has told me that when he was at uni he also tried much harder drugs and this has been backed up by his sister to whom he confided in when at uni.
He has not been able to find a job in these recent times so is struggling with a sense of purpose.
His music career which looks so promising has been held back as he has not been able to perform the gigs he had planned for the year
He saw me at my worst after BD and I dumped on him. I tried not to because he was only 15 but my heart was very very large on my sleeve and he saw me broken and in pieces so he felt doubly betrayed - not just by the man who he had up till then adored but by his mother who he thought was undefeatable.   Betrayal when you're young is hard to take and no wonder he doesn't trust H - he doesn't trust himself anymore.
During the darker days of the crisis H and S did get into a physical confrontation and H overpowered S.  I was not there but I do know it was ugly and completely contrary to both of their true natures.
He has used me as his rock and I have let it go too far so have had to clearly establish boundaries with him which he resents and can often try to break.

S has also many good points - he is incredibly empathic; he adores his neice; he adores the pets and has been a tower of strength as older doggie has declined; He does know when he is in the wrong and he will apologise. He is at heart the lovely young man I hoped I had brought him up to be - he has just lost his way for many reasons and BD started it all.

In a way I look at S when he rages and see his father in him, I see a crisis, I see a young man who feels lost and alone. I see a young man that also has to grow up a lot more and understand that he is truly responsible for his actions and his words and if he wants change ie stop smoking etc... he is the only one who can do it.

On a self pitying note - I feel as though I am in constant crisis warfare.  This is another reason for selling the house.  I need my space from both of them.  I have told S that he won't be living with  me: I will make sure he can live elsewhere (early dip into his inheritance).

My 2 Ds,who live away from home and who are much older than S, are in agreement with this. They have been urging me to motor on and the oldest has been able to talk some sense into S at times but they don't see him raging and they don't feel his anger (which is a huge trigger for me)

So I am playing a balancing game most of the time  H being reasonable and when he is S storms and rages in front of him and to him. 

H doesn't react because I think he knows why S does what he does but yet again he is not fully prepared to acknowledge and take responsibility for his role in all of this.  Not yet.....
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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.

C
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S&D, I want to thank you for telling your story. My timeline is much shorter and the situation different since my W was at home but has recently moved out into a short term rental apartment. But I was re-reading the early part of this thread, your posts as well as those of some other veteran members of this forum, and the discussion of Escape and Avoid felt really timely for me at this point in my process. Apologies for the long discussion here on your thread, but I feel like it's relevant since I had been stuck on the thought of "is it a touch and go/still in replay/attempts at reconnection?" and your discussion of E&A helps me to understand the inconsistency a bit better.

For my W, the EA started about a year ago, there was some disconnection going on for probably several months before that, but the EA was when it really accelerated. BD1 was March 2020 (I'm having this EA, we're disconnected, let's go to MC and try to reconnect but I don't know if things can change) and BD2 was May 2020 (ILYBINILWY, I need to explore this EA further but I can't imagine my life without you, you're my best friend). In between, we had a brief stretch of MC and seemed to actually be connecting, but the EA reared its head again in May and thus BD2. Since then, EA fizzled out in the summer but W remained in the fog, wallowed for a bit, then decided she needed to explore dating so she started looking at dating sites. She comes over several times a week, texts most days, but it's always small talk and it's very much focused on her and how she's doing (I'm so tired, I have muscle aches, hopefully I can sleep well tonight...) or it's a funny meme that a friend of hers sent to her. She's clearly trying to keep a foot in this home and this world, to be able to check the anchor, and yet not commit to being emotionally present or attached. With her friends, in her IC, and in her search for a date, she presents herself as someone who is smart and accomplished but not snobby about it, who is seeking joy and new experiences, and who regrets that she put the happiness of others ahead of her own happiness for so long. The image is of someone who is all about getting out in the world and experiencing all life has to offer, but what she shows me is someone who is self-absorbed and hung up on all of her aches and pains and confusion. So I go back and forth between being a lighthouse - living my life by my values, being a safe place for her to process as long as she respects my boundaries - and wondering whether this completely self-absorbed and uncommitted person can possibly bring anything positive to my life.

I know each of our situations is unique, and I know my timeline is extremely short by most people's standards. But I have to say, I so respect the patience that you and the other veterans here have shown, and the grace that you have shown to your MLCers. I admire the healing and growth you have had on your own journey, and I am working on doing the same myself. It helps immensely to know how this is not a linear path - not because it signals that anything will get easier for me, quite the contrary. But there is something about the reminder that it's not linear, it's not in my control, and it's not on any particular timeline that makes it easier to let go and move ahead with my life - still interested in the outcome, still with a preferred outcome - but not attached to any particular outcome and certainly not expecting any particular outcome. So thank you.

As for your recent updates - recognizing that it's still a slow process, the fact that the idea of triggers is out there (and in particular, the fact that your H has personal experience with and understanding of triggers now) seems like it can only be a good thing in his journey. It speaks to greater insight. And when combined with the increase in empathy, it seems to indicate that he is making progress in some positive ways. But still, with your H and your S where they are in their processes, you are absolutely right to be focusing inward and seeking the path that meets your emotional needs best. Please know how much support you have here, and how much your strength has given to me (and certainly to others here).

ETA: In further reading, I see that Replay and Wallowing seem to be parts of Escape and Avoid...still, something about the discussion of E&A feels like it makes sense to me in a deeper way. Maybe because there seems to be so much back and forth between wallowing and replay for my W? Still... I appreciate all of the wisdom in this thread.
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« Last Edit: November 05, 2020, 03:54:41 PM by LBS Learning »

S
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ETA: In further reading, I see that Replay and Wallowing seem to be parts of Escape and Avoid...still, something about the discussion of E&A feels like it makes sense to me in a deeper way. Maybe because there seems to be so much back and forth between wallowing and replay for my W? Still... I appreciate all of the wisdom in this thread.

Thank you for posting on here LBS.

I will answer some of your points on here and then if you would like you can copy and paste onto your thread if it helps.

Let me help you understand Escape and Avoid.  "Technically and if we were to adhere to a staged process of MLC" this is the second stage.  Denial is the first and this is where there are subtle changes in the MLCers behaviour - perhaps more subtle spending or a little more selfishness (the retail therapy syndrome ) so nothing that obvious for the LBS.
Escape and Avoid is the "second stage" although the lines between denial and E&A are very blurred. Escape and Avoid is the longest stage of MLC and it includes replay or wallowing.
Most MLCers are replayers and that usually includes lots of high energy escapades and spending as well as  physical dating/ sex with another person.  Wallowers are the ones who will withdraw -they may spend more in equally useless stuff as the replayer does but they tend to be quieter and usually have an EA rather than a PA. 
It may be that your W is a wallower. Wallowers can also start off  escape and avoid with replay energy but it fizzles out pretty quickly or they will have short sharp bursts of high energy but it isn't sustained.

Escape and Avoid can still be there even when the obvious signs of replay have died down or OP has gone.

I will try and summarise my sitch for you.

Denial - H keeps talking about dying before a certain age because his dad dies at that age
             He starts buying small things but they are for him rather than us
             He picks up flying as a private pilot again and is out most weekends. I was ok with this because this is something I thought would be good for him as he did this a lot in our early marriage

Escape and Avoid - early stages - the spending escalates and he buys one small sailing boat
2 years later sells it and buys a much larger sailing boat over in NC.  We had friends there anyway so it seemed like a good idea to  do this - combine holidays etc.
Then he decides to sail across the Atlantic and over a 4 year period tries 3 times with the third in 2011 ending in a catastrophic storm that appeared out of nowhere and the crew he had couldn't cope. So he abandoned the boat in Bermuda and it was eventually sailed back to NC by the crew.  What was different this time was that he phoned me from Bermuda asking me to "tell him to come home and to use the excuse that his mother was dying"  (She did have dementia and was critically ill in a home)  I refused to lie like that but his voice and behaviour was really strange.  I now know that the storm had frightened the bejesus out of him and it was a form of PTSD.

Life is calmer when he comes back home - he still takes trips to the US to look after the boat but all is calmer. The irony here is that I used to joke his MLC was now over............2013 he starts an affair with OW and his mum dies leading to BD 5 weeks later.

My H was a high energy replayer.  He remained in escape and avoid until about 2017ish - affair with OW dwindled to a stop late 2016 but he was still searching for something else.   I have begun to think that he was still in escape and avoid along with liminality and lengthy touch and goes until probably 2018.  So 5 years from BD in 2013 (and if denial could ever be pin pointed it would have to be approx 2005 which is when he proposed buying the first boat).

Touch and goes are common in escape and avoid but that is all they are - anchor checks, touching base etc.....

When the touch and goes are lengthier and more concerned about the LBS or the family or the home and it is clear that replay is pretty much done then reconnection is possibly on the way.

For you LES - I would say that your W is very much in escape and avoid and she is using touch and goes just to keep the anchor firmly in play.
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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.

C
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Thanks so much for the response, S&D... one of the really great things about having so many people willing to share their stories is that sometimes, someone processes and explains their situation in a way that just hits home for another LBS. I will copy your post over to my thread and address it further there. But I do want to say that I appreciate all that you have to say. Patience has never been a strength of mine, and being comfortable with uncertainty is also difficult for me. These are among the big lessons I have to learn in this process and I thank you for teaching by example.
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S
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And so this is the post I never thought I would write. 

I am dropping my stand.  After 7.5 years I know that I cannot continue standing.

After today I know that H and I will never reconcile whilst H continues the way he is.

It started very simply.  My old dog has poop accidents because he is still recovering from his second stroke.  He  has also lost the use of his back legs. Why not make the decision I hear you ask.... because he still wants to eat, he still loves attention and he still is interested in what is going on. However he has accidents and I explained in an earlier post that H cannot cope with the smell (that's ok - I cannot cope when people vomit) 

Today though H excelled himself. As S and I are dealing with the mess H says " FFS - has he done it again? I'm eating"
S shouts - "stop making this about yourself and shut up"

H - " Don't tell me to shut up - how dare you?"

S " Oh why don't you just go and  F'ing die?"   Yes he said that or rather shouted it.

Meanwhile I am keeping my dog calm and washing him down sensing his stress.

S then rants and raves at me about how much he hates H and how much he wishes he would die.  I know from experience that anything I say will provoke further anger.  He rants at me for being quiet and when I say "I am concentrating on the dog" his reply
" Yeah that's right always clam up when you can't f'ing deal with it. It's your fault that we're in this mess. You should have kicked him out years ago - I hate him etc......" and so the diatribe went on. Talk about being hypocritical  S made the situation all about him

Dog is cleaned up and put back into his favourite slot.  S still screaming " When is this all going to end?"
Me - "Right now" and I walk to find H in his workshop. 

Me  - Word of advice to help me - if dog has accident - please say nothing. I know you hate it - walk away but please keep silent"

H - Why should I? It's my house and my right to speak.

Me - Oh be the adult here - S wouldn't have reacted the way he did if you had kept your mouth closed.

H - what right does he have to treat me this way? 

Me - Every right to be angry with you after everything he's had to go through.

H - Like what?  He's a lazy scumbag and no son of mine. I wash my hands of him. I disown him"

Me - Ye gods - you two are as bad as each other and both of you will regret what you are saying. I wish I could put you two in a locked room and let you fight it out. I am so angry with both of you. "

H - It's his fault - no respect and no ability to be a human being.

Me - Well it's very simple then isn't it.  I am now putting the house on the market. We sell and I don't care if we don't get the asking price - I want out of being the piggy in the middle.  You have your space and I have mine and I will ensure S has somewhere else to live."

H - Fat chance of that. S will wheedle his way into your house.

Me - Oh give me a break H. Grow up and face the consequences of what you have done.

And I walked out. I promptly contacted 7 estate agents and already have 4 valuations for next week with a view to on the market in the new year. 

Since then S has become quiet and acquiescent.  H trying to be cheerful and normal.  Me quietly angry and whatsapping my 2 Ds who agree it's time I was away from the toxicity of it all.

And there's the poor doggie who did nothing wrong and who had to sense such anger when he probably only has a few weeks left...... That makes me so angry and sooo disappointed.

I cannot continue my stand. What I saw in H was complete arrogance and bluster.  The old H is not there and I am seeing replay H all over again.  An H that refuses to accept what he did and any man who can say such horrible things about his son is not worth my time.
Equally S needs help and I have to distance myself from him too as I did not raise my S to be like this.  I do not like my S at this moment in time  - so sad..... :'( :'( :'(
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« Last Edit: November 19, 2020, 09:17:10 AM by Songanddance »
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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