Skip to main content

Author Topic: My Story Reconnecting The Heart Behind The Hurt

b
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2643
  • Gender: Female
My Story Reconnecting The Heart Behind The Hurt
OP: October 05, 2020, 10:44:54 AM

I am anxious to respond and hoping I am ready to go on my new thread and that it is properly linked.

https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=11381.0
  • Logged
« Last Edit: February 20, 2021, 02:36:27 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.

  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 23683
  • Gender: Female
Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#1: October 05, 2020, 11:25:51 AM
You're good to go Barbie.   :)
  • Logged
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."

  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 12029
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#2: October 05, 2020, 02:54:42 PM
I sort of agree with Nas about this. If someone doesn't have a sense self of or self confidence you can not give to to them. Encouragement, a sincere compliment yes. (Sometimes you even have to be careful with that.) But a constant flow from one to another is draining.
  • Logged
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.

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.

b
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2643
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#3: October 08, 2020, 10:52:52 PM
StandingStrong
 :o
Thanks for responding, it just means alot to me .

Quote
I have a lot of wonders and thoughts along the same line........ these FOO MLC'ers, do they actually heal? I know we're told they sort it all out, but I'm starting to wonder if there's a different class of MLC'er...... those with totally screwed and destroyed pasts (FOO) and those with only moderately destroyed pasts (the ones that become something better). OR if it's a "failed" MLC where they never get to the end goal, but raced to where they were and are stunted.
.

So interesting..oh my! I wonder constantly about this exact thing. I would imagine I could be described as having a "moderately " screwed up childhood , and am capable of learning, changing , understanding etc. I CAN make changes ...but I will admit, some have been damned hard and painful. Some I have failed as ...so far . But I am "teachable". And I am enthisiastic and eager because I see that the answers I seek will eventually bring me healing and peace.

My H , on the otherhand has suffered severe abuse in everyway ...everyway . The more I research, the more I learn about what exactly I am dealing with. My own therapist has  helped me in a million ways try to understand my H or how severe abuse affects a child. I am just so sad about what I have come to understand and really have not processed what it will mean to me and the true relationship I will be able to form with my H. What I have found and been taught ( repeatedly) is that trauma and abuse "changes the brain structure". Physically changes the brain.  So lets be real. How can that be reversed ?  My H has suffered "developmental trauma" and has missed some of the developmental stages as a result of the envinroment he was born into.  I do not currently have an understanding of how "healing" can change physical changes in the developing brain of a child. There are countless articles about the permanent changes abuse creates in an adult.

https://www.verywellmind.com/childhood-abuse-changes-the-brain-2330401

Quote
actually it's much easier not to deal with it, all they know is to avoid it..... they've been practicing that their whole life.
.

This is the saddest of truths isn't it?  So many lives destroyed as a result of deeply ingrained avoidance used as a defense mechanism. My H is the captain of the avoidance ship, it my opinion. It is how he navigated his childhood so not to feel the profound pain emotionally. He is still able to do that ... and he does. Its what he knows.

Quote
As for your H..... he's a man, and men (well, us "old school" men) are taught not to be weak (to one extent or another). This is a good thing and a bad thing. I can say that I was very open with W and with it brought criticism. I know for me, it was like "what the heck? You say you want openness and then beat me up with it". I hear that from a lot of other men too. We learn not to be open from our experiences, and if someone was already beat over the head while growing up...... yeah, he could have a serious complex. How do you deal with that? Hmmmmmm, I'm not sure. I know for me, before W went all MLC, she would want certain details and talks and I would just stare, because I knew if I was totally open I'd just get slammed. Men want a helper, not a critic.
.

My H was 100% punished for crying or being "weak". He was expected to be tough, " get er'done", walk it off, I will give you something to cry about" kind of mentality . You can imagine an alcoholic trucker raising 5 boys?? . He tolerated ZERO emotion or "sissy-sh&t" from any of them. Period. My husband has talked about this many many times in therapy. He was the oldest and he was expected to "man-up" by the time he was 5. I was fortunate to have daughters because my father-in-law never treated them any particular way ( he never really bothered) but he absolutely started to "toughen up" his 2 grandsons.  My sister-in-laws put a stop to that and it was a horrible situation ... he lost his mind when he was told not to talk to his grandsons that way ...he said "you wh*res that rock the cradles will never raise a man ... maybe a bunch of ****". He went into a rage about having very limited access to his grandsons.  Society has also contributed to what it means to be a "man" and it has caused much damage.
Ugh.. My husband has said these exact precise words "  You want me to talk and then you sh$t all over me ?".   Yes. Many times.  What I see as "criticism" and what he does ..are 2 very different things . He has EXTREME sensitivity to criticism and everything you say to him is perceived through that filter . He also has extreme reactivity to feeling "attacked"  and that is just a pile of bull in my opinion. It is shocking to me , absolutely shocking what he perceives as an " attack".  One of the articles I posted talks about the brain of abused adults hears / feels/ perceivers "attack" in many circumstances . It makes it extremely difficult to talk to him as he is almost hypervigilant watching for criticism and attacks.  And his response to me is a silent stare over 80 % of the times.  He apparrently "freezes or is flooded " or he is utterly scared to death. Because this silent stare triggers and firetrucking enrages me....I now avoid many interactions with him. For now... that has been my decision. Until I do more of my own healing around "rejection", I just cannot risk situations where I feel rejected. Refusing to answer or interact ( or so it appears ) is a rejection button for me . ... and round and round this hell goes .  I have withdrawn from the dance .

Quote
I don't know the dynamic of your relationship before MLC but it sounds like he is deathly afraid of being wrong, making a mistake, or being criticized. I gotta say, men HATE that. That's why men like to talk to other men....... that's where they can openly talk about their mistakes and get ribbed about it, but not beaten with it. Make sense?
It also is difficult for men to be open with their W's because more than anyone else in the world..... an H wants the admiration of his W. He wants and needs to be her Super-Hero. When he loses that, he doesn't believe he can ever be that again.
Sometimes we try, but if it's met with resistance, it reinforces that belief and then men stop trying. A reinforcing loop.
.

He is indeed afraid of being wrong , criticized or making a mistake.  You must be a fly on the wall in my house ...because this is 100% accurate. It is incredibly hard for me to understand as I care ZERO about any of that. None of that has any affect on me ...I just don't react to those things and its tough to understand how paralyzed he is by those things. But he is . He does not present like that whatsoever...but underneath his mask , he is full of fear . It is truly beyond my comprehension. I have been told by therapist he has been raised in ridicule, abuse and is indeed a very wounded individual. I appreciate your input...I understand exactly what you are saying.  It seems hopeless to me .

Quote
Here is what I would suggest: Build him up.
Look at the good, and compliment him on it. Do not point out the bad. Point out the good, all of it. This will make him want to try...... and then try harder.
Once he's on a roll trying, THEN tell him something YOU really want. Start small.
One thing that needs to happen, is your compassion and admiration has to be build too........ he wants it, desperately..... actually he needs it and will feel like a complete failure without it. He has to be the Super-Hero.... let him. You are Lois Lane, and what won't SuperMan do for her?
Focus on the good, focus on the good, focus on the good.
Point it out or he will think you take it for granted.
.

It has been a very long time since I have felt like I am " ready to play nice". I have been so angry, so hurt and shocked ...it just destroyed any compassion or faith in him . I have not felt "safe" either, to say the least, although that has changed as I feel very safe inside of me. No matter what he ever does in the future, NEVER will I suffer the same way. I will be fine and of that I am so gratefully positive of.  I know that everything you say is true and I wish I was "that person" ..I just have a very hardened heart . I still have much to work on inside of myself. I hope I grow into a softer version of who I might truly be.  His top love language is "words of affirmation " and yes... he wants compassion and is starving for admiration . It is evident to me but I am still stuck in shock and the deepest loss I have ever experienced. I have very little to give ...so it seems. I am not happy about that but it is the truth. His loss of being respected as the keeper of our family gate, to keep us all safe , to put us 1st and to protect a family of 6 women from harm...is his greatest loss.  I know he has deep shame about this .  I understand what you are saying . Thank you . 

Song ...greetings! I am happy to see you here and I do appreciate your post .

Quote
It is clear that he had serious gambling issues which have still yet to be resolved as he has caused her endless moments of grief on this. There are many underlying issues that are not just FOO related and that would have probably broken a marriage regardless of MLC.  So the fact that they are both working on their marriage albeit very very cautiously is to be applauded.
.

It is very true that I discovered a gambling issue just shortly after BD. Again...the shock was profound.  And , I will also agree that is still has not been resolved to my satisfaction. He has never ( in my opinion) taken full responsibility for the money spent, and it was significant amount of money.  All the bank printouts of withdrawals has been on his desk for years...and although he has promised to explain , he never has fully.  What is confusing to me is the fact he simply quit " gambling" or going to the casino.  He handed all access to bank accounts to me , bank cards etc when he returned home. If he uses our visa , an alert comes up on my phone. His pay goes directly into my account  . It is still this way and he has never asked to change it back. I have caught him 1 time in a casino. I am told by therapists that he never could have quit on his own if it was a true "addiction" . Not without treatment etc etc. I have no idea if that is true or not. Regardless, I see no indication whatsoever that he is gambling...it would be hard to get it past me , trust me.  But what I will clarify is that addictions ARE absolutely tied to FOO issues . 100%.

Quote
Oh if only it were that simple SS.  I have compassion abundant for my H (too much possibly) and have never negated what a clever man he is, irrespective ofhis MLC but I am most certainly not Lois Lane to his Superman because time and again she needed rescuing.  I had to rescue myself from myself; I don't need my H to rescue me.  That concept keeps you constantly in the victim drama triangle.
The MLCer doesn't need "rescuing"; this is their journey and they have to rescue themselves too.
.

I understood what he was saying. I truly did. I also understand there is much truth in " they have to rescue themselves".  We cannot do that for them . But what SS was referring to ( in my understanding) is the "nature " of men . I have read a million times exactly what he has said ...and I agree with it.  I am not sure why there cannot be an understanding of both ...one does not need to negate the other.  To be positive, show compassion and admiration ( See the Love Languages ) could not possibly be a negative while he is "rescuing himself".  Not sure if that makes sense .

Treasur

Quote
Barbie's challenge it seems to me is working out how to rescue herself....and she has walked a very hard path in dealing with a h who perhaps she used to see as Superman, but who is so very far from that. Perhaps 'focus on the good' is more useful for Barbie looking at Barbie and Barbie's life in her circumstances?
.

Yes indeed ..I am working hard on ME. My internal wounds , my FOO hurts and my understanding of who I am now . Separate from him. I can only rescue or "fix" myself. That was the single hardest thing to learn and accept. I wanted HIM to fix what he broke. He can't.  BUT he can provide certain things that support that .  Providing an environment that is safe and secure , being honest , being accountable for his time and whereabouts ( initially), participating in counselling, showing remorse etc etc.  Only I can do the internal work on myself but he can create an external environment free from threat or repeat behaviour.

Quote
At the same time, I do recognise something in what you said about some men wanting/needing to be that Hero. Perhaps that is why some run and never look back....bc they know that their wives and children will never be able to see them that way again....but other people might.

Perhaps this is true Treasur. I believe with all my heart that for my H to return was by far the hardest single thing he has ever done. I never thought he would or could face what he had done or the people he hurt. It would have been far easier to keep running ...and I thought thats what he would do .

Quote
I have no idea if he feels like a Hero now in his own rewritten story, or if ow makes him feel that way,
.

I believe the OW in my H's case DID make him feel like a hero riding in on a stallion saving the damn dumsel in distress . He has admitted that.  She made him feel many "new " things about himself and it seemingly had very little do do with what he actually felt about her.  He felt hero-ish, admired, "looked up to", desired  and appreciated . Only " positives"  came out her mouth. Hmmmm, I guess like SS says. (?) . It was temporary , it was a fantasy not based in real adult life. 

Quote
.Barbie's is perhaps currently more about deciding what she wants to do with the kind of Non-Hero she has right now in front of her nose. Jmo.
.

Yes. This is absolutely true.  He was the keeper of our family gate. He left his post for his own selfish arrogant pursuits . The most horrendous pain came from inside our family ...places I was not looking.

Quote
Some men do need a little bit of building up from their woman, but not in a fake, manipulating way.  Not feeding their ego, but maybe helping a little with their self-confidence.  They may never have gotten that growing up.
.

I absolutely agree Thunder.

I absolutely agree that you cannot do the healing  work for another person. It is their responsibility.  However, being able to add some positives ( acknowledgment of change, praise , admiration, Love Language style) can never be a bad thing.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   











  • Logged
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.

  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 11198
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#4: October 09, 2020, 12:10:34 AM
Are there things about your h as he is now, Barbie, that you can honestly and comfortably affirm him for?
Have you ever said, for instance, that his choice to return rather than keep running seems like a brave one to you?
I'm not suggesting any kind of false 'puffing him up' but is it possible that your rage about what he did has got in the way of small bits of 'focusing on the good' that is also part of the reality of who he is now?

It's so messy isn't it?
I see here that your feelings of betrayal and rejection sit awkwardly in a way with your head telling you, as you have learned more about childhood trauma, that your h did not do this TO you or BECAUSE of you or as some kind of fun escape full of high selfish jinks as it perhaps seemed at the time. So your head knows it isn't personal but yet it feels so personal at the same time....which is messy. Plus, if you can bring yourself to accept that he is who he is, what do you want to do with that?

I am not an expert in C-PTSD but I do believe, based on what I have learned, that people can rewire traumatised brains significantly with the right kind of professional support. But that it is a long road and a confusing, tough one. Brain was a poster who shared a lot of his own experience of doing just that; he was brave enough to share some of that journey here, even though sometimes he took some flak about how strange a journey it seemed to those of us who hadn't walked it. I don't know how Brain is doing now but I think he felt he had made tremendous progress. But it took years and some heavyweight expertise iirc. Can that kind of recovery completely undo the damage? Idk....maybe not....but can it rewire some bits of it? Maybe.
Does your h want to heal that damage in himself, Barbie? Does he think it is possible? Does he think he has made any progress with his current IC support? (I think he sees an IC, right?)

It seems to me fwiw that there is a place of grace and a kind of peace in that space between accepting the worst reality of who someone is and also accepting that there is still good to be found in them. Maybe not enough or solid enough to bet One's own farm on it lol...but something in that space in the middle. That accepting the reality that severe childhood damage simply limits the tools in their toolbox so their choice was never an entirely 'free will' one.....they needed a screwdriver but only had a set of hammers  ::)....and having used the hammer on their own life, they now are trying to find some glue which seems to be missing too. Can one feel compassion for that while at the same time feeling angry and distrustful about the kind of person they seem to be? Maybe...but it is hard isn't it? And it must be harder if they are right in front of your nose as opposed to no longer being around much.

Last night my neighbour chum with the terminally ill h (and a teenage daughter and nine year old son) came over to tell me that his oncologist had told them both that, instead of the 6-12 months she/he thought, he will almost certainly die within two months. Maybe less. She has been so angry and frustrated with him....for good reason...his long-Standing alcoholism, his denial, his avoidance, his unreciprocal neediness, his stonewalling and lack of regard towards her, his consistent failure to do what she feels he should be doing as a father....long and entirely reasonable list. And then angry with herself for feeling so angry with a dying husband that her kindness bucket was just empty....so tbh most of the time she feels silent resentment or numb to the point of feeling nothing at all. And now? Now they have to tell the kids....now, for both of them, reality can't be avoided quite so easily. But listening to her, I could also sense that there is a space in between them - maybe bc her h's physical reality has forced him out of some of his denial, maybe bc there is some common ground they have as parents which is more similar than they could see before - where compassion and grace might bring them back to being some kind of shared team that I think my chum at least felt no longer existed. Does it change anything at all about what has happened or what is actually happening now? No, probably not. But I can smell the possibility of a kind of grace that might make a huge difference to HOW they handle what is happening......I wish with all my heart that they can find that place together, even if it feels like a small square foot of ground in a hurricane. It would probably make a real difference to my chum, and her kids, and maybe her h if they can find it. And I am praying for them that they do. It certainly sent me to bed with some rather sobering reflections on some of my own experiences and hopes and beliefs about just how messy life and love and damaged humans can be. And what my focus might be if I were measuring my life left to live in weeks.....

What does Grace mean to you, Barbie, in your situation? If, without changing the reality of who your h is or who you are or any of what has happened, you could find it, would you want to? Or does it cost something you are not prepared to pay? And does what you have come to learn about trauma (for both of you) help or hinder that?

I don't want to come across as a Pollyanna here.....even with a long-gone xh, I seem to drift in and out of that Grace place....the personal and not is messy...l.and that it seems to be something that comes if I allow it in as opposed to chasing it down lol.....but I do think I have felt patches of that kind of 'peace which passes all understanding' and seen it in others enough to think that it is worthwhile. But fwiw ....which may be not much at all lol....I am quite convinced that Grace is more than a little noisy grey cat  :)

  • Logged
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

b
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2643
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#5: October 12, 2020, 12:26:02 PM
Quote
Are there things about your h as he is now, Barbie, that you can honestly and comfortably affirm him for?
Have you ever said, for instance, that his choice to return rather than keep running seems like a brave one to you?
I'm not suggesting any kind of false 'puffing him up' but is it possible that your rage about what he did has got in the way of small bits of 'focusing on the good' that is also part of the reality of who he is now?
.

To truly be honest , painfully honest ..there are things that I see as "good".  I do see attempts to fix the mess that must be excruciatingly hard to do ...over and over and over . I do believe that to come back and face the mess would likely be the hardest thing he has ever done...I likely would have never turned around to face that devastation, but rather continued to "pretend" I was happy with my choices whether I was or not.  Imagine facing that kind of failure as a man and a father ? For a man like my husband who was so proud of who he was as head of a family ...it had to be life or death .  Yes, I do see good. But I have not said anything out loud. And it is true as well, that my anger, my hurt and my never ending shock has blocked my ability to say anything positive. How sad is that truth. I see that . Sadly I just have a deep inability to address the positives . And to further look at the truth...he has told me this . He has said there is "never any positives ..ever". I am never given credit for trying my best to make it right, do the counselling, face what firetrucking mess I have made.   I have had some nasty retorts to those remarks . Sometimes it seems like he wants credit for doing what he "should " have been doing all along ...being a good man, husband and father .  I need to really look at this and figure out what has me so blocked and my heart has become so hardened to him.

Quote
It's so messy isn't it?
I see here that your feelings of betrayal and rejection sit awkwardly in a way with your head telling you, as you have learned more about childhood trauma, that your h did not do this TO you or BECAUSE of you or as some kind of fun escape full of high selfish jinks as it perhaps seemed at the time. So your head knows it isn't personal but yet it feels so personal at the same time....which is messy. Plus, if you can bring yourself to accept that he is who he is, what do you want to do with that?
.

It is excruciatingly messy , endlessly painful.  And Treasur...it is that I have taken it so personally ...so much so that it just tore everything I am as a women apart. I swear ...every part of who I am , who I thought I was and what I thought I was to him...gone. It was deadly personal . Is there really LBS or women who have been cheated on, that do not feel a personal attack? . It is so intimate a betrayal, so private , so deeply personal , I knew no other way to respond. I do believe that is the case for many LBS. Initially atleast. Overtime and with counselling, education and reading etc , you come to realize , it just was not personal at all. It just takes a very long time and then more time to accept and live your life fully knowing it WAS NOT personal. Ugh. I still swing between the two beliefs . I know it was a bound to happen ( maybe not an affair) ..but to "fall apart" was indeed incubating inside of him.  I wish I had known . I NEVER could have known...but imagine if we had been able to see this coming.  Still, it would be very unlikely we could have prevented it.   Accepting "he is who he is " means it is very unlikely I will have the close intimate connection I so desperately want to have. Rather a lonely prospect.

Quote
I am not an expert in C-PTSD but I do believe, based on what I have learned, that people can rewire traumatised brains significantly with the right kind of professional support. But that it is a long road and a confusing, tough one
.

I recently spoke to my own therapist about this and she pretty much said the exact same thing...it would take years of intensive deep therapy and is indeed painful and deep. She believes it can be done but the long term commitment is staggering and the results are never guaranteed. My husband was working for years with a therapist until Covid stopped his sessions in March . He has not returned as of yet and I am not sure if he will. As I have said ...he never talked to me about his therapy and I stopped pursuing this .  He is now seeing a different counsellor and rarely says anything about it to me. Always feels like "secrets" to me.  It is his decision tp pursue long term counselling ...or not.

Quote
Does your h want to heal that damage in himself, Barbie? Does he think it is possible? Does he think he has made any progress with his current IC support? (I think he sees an IC, right?)
.

Yes. He came back highly motivated to find out "what the firetruck happened to me ".  I have never been that kind of "man". I truly believe he was in some kind of emotional shock.  He believes he has made progress . He has learned alot about his childhood, trauma , ACE scores and the situations that may have contributed to his behavior.  I have NOT seen a huge , earth shattering change ...but then again , I am not "safe". I try not to take that personally either as I believe he does not believe anyone is "safe".  You cannot have an close intimate connection if you view your partner as "unsafe".  There is no getting around that .

Quote
That accepting the reality that severe childhood damage simply limits the tools in their toolbox so their choice was never an entirely 'free will' one.....they needed a screwdriver but only had a set of hammers  ::)....and having used the hammer on their own life, they now are trying to find some glue which seems to be missing too. Can one feel compassion for that while at the same time feeling angry and distrustful about the kind of person they seem to be? Maybe...but it is hard isn't it? And it must be harder if they are right in front of your nose as opposed to no longer being around much.
.

It is very very difficult. Can anyone hear me ? This is excruciatingly painful , frustrating and sad all at the same time. This is wanting what you cannot have...ever. This is the result of extreme child abuse in adult men and the "tools" that they never had , never learned and never even had a chance to grow into an emotionally healthy adult.  This is wanting a partner that has so desperately screwed up to suddenly become emotionally mature, connect in deep meaningful ways and trust you. The reality is ..it will not happen. I firmly believe with all my heart that the only way to save many of these shattered marriages is compassion. If compassion is felt as the strongest emotion ..I believe the magic is inside of acceptance and compassion. It is the only way ...in my humble findings. 

Quote
And then angry with herself for feeling so angry with a dying husband that her kindness bucket was just empty....so tbh most of the time she feels silent resentment or numb to the point of feeling nothing at all.
.

Yes.  I have looked in the mirror and asked myself this . Truly , I have . Why am I void of compassion and kindness?  Empty.

Quote
What does Grace mean to you, Barbie, in your situation? If, without changing the reality of who your h is or who you are or any of what has happened, you could find it, would you want to? Or does it cost something you are not prepared to pay? And does what you have come to learn about trauma (for both of you) help or hinder that?
.

This will require some thought.  And I appreciate the question very much. Who knows what doors it may open or thoughts it may change. I will examine what "grace" means to me ...I just do not know at this moment. 

Quote
peace which passes all understanding'
.

I love these words and how they sound when they are all put together. Makes me want to cry... I want that kind of peace in my life.
  • Logged
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.

  • *
  • Trial Subscriber
  • Sr. Member
  • Posts: 361
  • Gender: Male
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#6: October 12, 2020, 01:31:33 PM
HI Barbie,

      I love reading your story because you are raw and real. I too am angry to the point I don't know if I will ever be the same again. As hard as I try I don't see me being compassionate or forgiving at the moment. I would have hoped this would have changed by now but it hasn't. Thank you for being so open and honest.

  n.
  • Logged
Together 12 yrs Married 5
5 kids 3- Step (21) (20) (18) Two together ( 8 ) (9)
BD1 March 2018 - I wish I could give you more of what you need
BD2 Aug 2018 - I want a divorce sent by text ILWYBNILWY

O/M Discovered Nov-18

  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2175
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#7: October 16, 2020, 08:18:10 AM
Barbie -
Attaching and following along.

I just want to re-emphasize that the traumatized brain has neuroplasticity that they, in the past, thought didn't exist.
So yes, he can become rewired, despite all the pain and trauma that he's been through.

Sending you hugs and peace...
Sea
  • Logged

b
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2643
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#8: October 21, 2020, 05:31:51 PM
Thinking alot lately about how long this journey to " feeling better"  takes.  Maybe it could be called acceptance or forgiveness or some other fitting word , but I am just calling it "feeling better ".  It is staggering when I face that nearly 7 years of my life has been altered and irreversibly changed due to the actions of someone else.  When you really think about that , it just is beyond understanding.  There has not been one SINGLE DAY in nearly 7 years that I have not thought of what he did, his affair, his monster words, his lies etc etc . Not one day have I ever felt recovered and happy and fully able to put it in the past and move forward in a positive and happy way.  Lately , this has truly been a very shocking reality and a more urgent need to not allow 1 more year to be sucked away on something I had no say in, no way of controlling and have no responsibility for.  Not one more year without finding the magic of making this end and gluing the final piece of who I am now back in place.  Many of us have been at this for YEARS on end, some have been sidelined for close to a decade. To have your thoughts and emotions held hostage by the actions of another ...it just cannot be right. But it seems that it is what happens. I want to be free of that . But I am not .

Can you even imagine ( and this continues to shock me ) that in a split second decision to unbuckle his pants and without one single thought ... pursues a temporary "happy " and that 7 years later it still hurts.  I cannot find impactful enough words. That one act , that one selfish choice , that one decision changed the course of my life for all these years. Why?. I mean I know why in many ways ...but really ??  Why??.  Could he have ever imagined the pain and devastation to his life that one action would inflict?.  Could he ever forecast that years and years would go by and still it hurts . Still that decisions carries such deep heartache .  Had he ever understood what it would take to repair this damage , if he ever knew it would be years to overcome and I sure he would never turned around and came back. It is so close to impossible  to "fix".  He was very very naive  about the depth of his "mistake".  So was I.   NEVER did I imagine it would hurt for so long or that it would be so difficult to overcome . I would not have reconciled had I had a glimpse into how difficult it is.

And the women in this world that sleep with a married man? Can there be a more foolish or cruel groups of humans?  Are they really without emotion or care for other humans, children, families etc. Are they so desperate to believe whatever these married men tell them that it overrides any sense of human decency. Are they truly void of any feelings of the children that are so desperately harmed ? Do they even know the depth of pain their actions will inflict on another women?  It is as if women that cheat with married men have never read a book . Have never heard about the facts that married men lie , that they rarely stay with affair partners, that they are often used and deposited into recycle bins, that they will have very low probability of a successful long term marriage?. The OW my husband got involved with cared nothing for all the people she would hurt . He was the 3rd time she had an affair with a married man and even told him this . Almost bragging that somehow these men saw them as "better" than their wives. Look what these men are risking to be with them ...they MUST be better . I was told she cried for months after my H dumped her. Nothing compared to the damage she participated in.  I just cannot imagine what these women say if they are ever confronted with a sister or a friends anguish if they have been cheated on.  How do they feel about themselves to know what they have done?  I just cannot begin to understand women who sleep with married men.  I hope it happens to them someday ... but I doubt they have the character or emotional maturity to truly feel that depth of pain.

I guess I am just tired of all of it. That my brain is always "on" and chances are high it will be ruminating about the events of the past 7 years.  No matter what I do ... garden, bake, go for a walk, shop, sleep ...it will "think" about all of it. I resent the time it has stolen from me, I resent intrusive thoughts that never leave me alone . I resent that it takes sooooo long to feel "normal" again.  If there had have been a camera crew from some reality show following me around for the past 7 years ...no one would ever cheat again. People have no real and true idea of the life altering changes affairs and cheaters create. 

I have had moments in the past that I thought of walking into my church and weeping at the alter and beg god to take the unrelenting sorrow away. To give me some space for happiness or joy again because the anger takes up all the space. I have thought of my pastor and how he may be able to give me something better than what life has handed me the last several years.  I just have no idea why it is taking sooo long to overcome?  What am I doing or failing to do that will help me break free from the hurt .  Desperation.

I have experienced every single thing in this article... and still do from time to time. 

https://drkarenfinn.com/divorce-blog/surviving-infidelity/461-why-infidelity-is-so-painful-to-the-betrayed-spouse




  • Logged
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.

W
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 5258
  • Gender: Male
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#9: October 21, 2020, 07:34:06 PM
Hi Barbiedoll.

I don't think your supposed to forget about it and coining it "feeling better" is perfectly fine. As a fellow LBS, I'm all about justice, fairness and accountability. Unfortunately I don't think it works out that way. So we carry it as our burden. Yeah I know how you feel.

Obviously your in a different place as your in reconnection and I'm getting divorced. Sometimes men like adversity. They like when they are the underdog and their backs are too the wall. Sometimes they need to figure out how to fight for something.

Reconnection seems like another phase of limbo as I follow you. I wonder if Barbie the individual can find happiness and joy for herself first. I know you are living with him and its not easy. I don't know if I have a reconnection in me.

I remember the day I received a court summons for child support. She forced me to get an attorney and I knew the outcome. She forced me to sink or swim. So I chose to swim and filed. Now I have adopted that sink or swim analogy on her.

Again I'm not in reconnection but if I was, she would have to sink or swim and find a way to reconnect with me. I would focus on making myself my number one priority. Happiness and Joy can be found within yourself.

Wishing the best for you  :)
  • Logged

t
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 779
  • Gender: Female
Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#10: October 21, 2020, 08:53:01 PM
barbiedoll, (((HUGS)))

What that article does not say is that infidelity literally hurts us in our physiological brains. There is a trauma component that is often overlooked and definitely never served by all of the psychological or emotional talk; this kind of betrayal hits at our native physical system’s need and primal urge for safety and trust. No amount of talking it out is going to treat that or make it better — it’s a felt sense, a body energy understanding. And I’m not sure what makes it better — for me as a traumatized person, I’ve seen a lot of benefit and progress in EMDR, sort of almost therapist-free. But really, the restorative actions and reliability and even-tempered-ness or solidity and tender/patient/caring behaviors of the betraying partner can really help a lot, if it is consistent *over time*.

The main thing is that this kind of trauma or violation hits so hard and elicits a dissociation; it means two separate brain systems are fighting to work together, but they literally biologically can’t. It’s not possible to bond/attach if also in defense/fight/flight activation. And that is absolutely not your fault, and it also in no way means you are broken. It means what your husband did was THAT DESTRUCTIVE to you. Not emotionally or psychologically, either, although both of those too. His destructive actions caused your physical brain to be in pain and physical conflict with two separate and distinct parts/functions/systems in itself.

For my own case I’d say it’s like my h’s careless thoughtless or deliberate harms to me poured a Coke on my brain and fried the motherboard. That implies something needs to be replaced, and it can’t really be (any part of it). So what’s left is the very slow and meticulous process of drying it out and removing the damaging input, and rehabilitating the damaged systems.

This is brain biology and physiology, neuroscience, the organ of the brain itself. It’s not just emotional or psychological or mental; it’s our wiring as human beings and it’s a high loud signal that especially your h now has to be very gentle and careful with every part of you. And I’m no expert, just a student, so you will want to seek more info or clarification on your own — but what I know is that your traumatized brain does not mean you are weak or fragile. On the contrary, you are blessedly strong, barbiedoll, and as a person traumatized in childhood, I am certain your husband is too. You just both need the right care and support and psychoeducation from your therapy providers. Your h is not getting a big pass just because his childhood really super sucked. He caused damage to the literal brain systems of his beautiful loving wife, and it’s on him to overcome his own stuff enough to be cognizant if your pain and to be a rock for you.

Your disconnect isn’t your fault and isn’t even necessarily an indicator of whether or how much you love or “should” trust him. The brain is finally sort of just its own self and a very neutral thing, not emotional. It’s job is literally to make sure you are safe. Take any emotionality or thought process out of it and the brain just knows that this person in your life has cost you so much hurt and ability to feel safe/vulnerable with him.

Good on you for all the help you have sought, and all the actions you have taken on your own behalf for your own healing, self knowing, and pleasure.

About ow or any mate poachers, I think some of them are snowed by our betraying partner, but I know others are not only complicit but also the active agents and pursuers of other people spouses. The really weird thing I understood tonight while reading your most recent update is that for as much as I’ve read/seen/heard about/witnessed in real life, books, movies, music, clinical cases, or even just dreamt or had thrust at me in nightmares in my sleep?

Literally NOTHING in over four decades of taking in all the stories of all the years and all walks of life and even counseling others EVER prepared me for what deep and harrowing pain a marital infidelity would cause.

NOTHING, and NOBODY’S stories, real or well-written or acted out fiction, EVER gave me even close to a CLUE what this would feel like, if it ever happened to me. And I never expected it to.

And then it did.

And now I am a completely changed person, because of it.

And I couldn’t stop or avoid or avert it, and no matter how deeply I look back and think on it, I still don’t see where I could even have seen it coming.

You are rightfully in a lot of pain. And it’s not your fault. And your physical brain IS resilient enough to recover from it — and so is your h’s. But both of you, like all the rest of us, need to have good support and care from each other, yourselves, and the people around you. And time.

It’s easy to bolt and do something else instead and that might even be the best or most practical solution in some cases. But any healing you do in therapy or self-care or in relating to Self or to each other, is going to be good effort, no matter what.

Finally, I just want to notice to you — you are actually a person of deep grace and compassion. We see that all the time from you here, not just in the way you speak to other board members but in the way you speak about your life. I’m sorry your therapists are having trouble identifying or fully addressing your pain, and I know the trauma arena is difficult for even really great therapists to address or understand. So the more you know about your own physical brain and how it works will be helpful both in structured treatment and in your self care and self nourishing choices.

Your h can heal, and if he’s the one who is “most” broken or unsafe, it’s to his benefit to get really busy with that. Because his errors cost you in ways that require him to now be your rock and patient with your healing. It may take a while and maybe you decide to chuck him, and whatever the case, just know that you can always unchoose that, too.

I feel like I’ve watched you really grow as a soul and womanly spirit in the past year or so, leaps and bounds sometimes. And I know you are fierce and soft and generous in your compassion and willingness to understand others and their themes. So just know that in some way, here you are known. And here you are Beloved, and it doesn’t even matter that we have never met or spoken in person. Your Spirit and heart and wisdom all shine through. Sending loves.
  • Logged

  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 11476
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#11: October 21, 2020, 09:09:32 PM
Absolutely incredible terra. Thank you. What you wrote to Barbie also applies to many others here.
  • Logged
"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
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2643
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#12: November 27, 2020, 04:25:13 PM
Been awhile my friends since I updated my story ..so here goes. It will be choppy as I will come and go thru out the day as I just have too much on my plate today to just sit.  We had a huge wind store last week ...and I mean HUGE , and we had a tree come down smash out the entire backyard fence, the gazebo and the tips of the branches just brushed down the sides of our brand new truck.  So today I have tree cleanup crew carting this mess away and the city is saying there is a tree that they will completely remove.  My H has already chainsawed up the tree and temporarily put the fence back together until spring . Just an awful mess.   Christmas is coming of course and I just love the entire thing ...I decorate this old Victorian house to the 9's and people just love to look at it , take pictures and feel like we time warped back to old fashioned christmas . It takes a huge amount of time and effort ..but ever so beautiful. Last year I sat 33 people for dinner and we were still missing 4. And then there is this year. Our area has been moved to RED catagory ( 1 step from complete lockdown) and indoors only allows for 5 people total. Well, there is 3 of us , so I guess I can invite 2. None of my girls coming home for christmas ...what could be the point of hauling all those totes out of the basement?  No one will see it.  So I have decided to only decorate the mantles and have a tree. Thats it for this year. I am now told that Christmas is only to be celebrated within your household and the people you live with. Just hard to even comprehend what has happened with COVID and it continues to get worse everyday. I think christmas will be about jammies and old movies this year. All somewhat depressing.

I have been feeling unwell. Really unwell . And to see a doctor at the moment is damn near impossible , especially with no specific complaint. I am continually exhausted, no motivation ( even to talk) , just flat out ....flat. I am not sure if it is physical or just emotionally done-in. I got a bad case of the BLAHS I guess. But I have chronic insomnia ...no matter what , I cannot sleep and it is just the worst thing. ...ever. I roam around half the night and average 4 hours of sleep a night. It is getting me down for sure and I have found no solution.  H tests his blood pressure daily ( 1 kidney needs close watch on rather high blood pressure) ...and he has it under control. By fluke , he said " come, lets check your blood pressure". Well , ladies and gentlemen , my H had himself a fit when he saw the result. I was not really paying attention. Turns out he insisted on hospital trip...it was that high . He did it 5 times and it came down a bit but by then I am full of anxiety.  He called the nurse , she called the doctor and wallah...now on blood pressure medication that I need to report daily. Imagine? . Doctor also ordered blood work etc etc , that I did yesterday.  H says he has never seen such high blood pressure ... maybe that is part of feeling yukky. I dunno. I have been far FAR more stressed in the past than I feel right now ...but , none  the less , I have very very high blood pressure and I am dealing with it .
Things have been very quiet and peaceful here . Not "happy " kinda peaceful, more I surrender , gave up the fight and find myself very quiet.  I just truly have nothing left that needs saying (its all been said ..more than once) and I am done with regurgitation.  And it is not an angry silence as it has been for a very long time...it is just acceptance for what is. If you have tried a million times in a million ways to solve a problem and you just cannot....it is likely a time for acceptance. And for a person like me ...that is profound. I have just found myself in a place of acceptance , that no matter what I do..I cannot change it.  It feels like relief...that I can drop the sword , that I am done with the struggle and I do not have to engage in unresolvable circumstances. A good part of me really likes this place ...I am OK here.  I have accepted the avoidant child that is alive and well in this grown man and that it will always be there . I have accepted that he does not feel "safe" and done alot of reading and researching about that . What a sad sad thing...but it is my reality. He has been hurt and betrayed in EVERY SINGLE relationship he has ever had ...so relationships are all about fear and protection, hardwired from childhood. Even I have no power to change that and it has been there for all of our marriage.   I remember he said to me one day ..." I realize its not MY job to make you happy ".  And I reminded him " neither is it my job to make you feel safe".  He just stares at me ..as always .  And of course I have raged and screamed and raged over this affair , missing money, the liar that lives in him and all my losses and that I am sure damaged his "safety" further . So be it ...every tear, every firetrucking cuss word, every threat, confrontation etc was well justified and he earned it. Just sayin.  I could never have stopped my anger .

I have told him " you got a free -one".  What do I mean by that ?.  Many times I have read from other women who have navigated affair recovery that they have a "far better marriage, an intimate connection they never knew existed ...some even say his affair was worth it to have this fantastic marriage. I rarely believe such statements . But it has not been the case for me. Nothing fabulous and new has grown making his affair in some twisted way..worth it.  It is the same as it was before in many many ways ...the avoidant and the anxious pre-occuppied ( me).  And for what its worth..you can not solve anything with avoidant partners. They shut down, resist connection, stay silent ( even if they are utterly miserable) , fail to connect, have deep fears of vulnerability and will NEVER bring up an issue to be resolved . EVER.  His silence and withdrawal is rejection , it feels like a "punishment"  ( for bringing up an issue) and it is abandoning the relationship. Over and over a million times ...for decades . I never understood it before like I do now, but it has always been there . These are the guys that will have affairs , abandon their families etc  BEFORE they will talk to you about anything that might be wrong.  They rob you the opportunity to be a wife, to be a help-mate or to "fix" anything.  They are self reliant , they solve their own issues ....sometimes in ways that brings devastation on anyone that ever tried to love them.  It will never be possible to have any emotional connection, any emotional faith or trust in them or to love them as you could have.  I have told him all of this many times.  And so has the therapists in their own words . He cannot be other than who he is .....acceptance is the only way to live in some sort of peace. And it has worked for me . There have been no issues for months and months.  Of course there have been no conversations other than superficial and meaningless babble. To do otherwise is not in my best interest or in the interest of good selfcare. 

Those who have followed my adventure to the land of lies and affairs may recall our Gottman Marriage counsellor refusing to work with us as a couple .  What she really meant was ME.  He is a silent passenger and I am the noise, the snot, the screamer and the "difficult" one . She said she wanted to only work with him for awhile . WOW!.  I was darn happy about that request as his original therapist has been COVID unavailable.   So he alone has been seeing the "marriage " counsellor for months and ( of course) says ZERO about it. Top notch secret ..whatever goes on there . She told me that she would see us again as a couple when he was "ready". Ha! . She tells me I am wrong to accept his avoidance , that he can do better just needs to feel "safe" because she believes he has never ever felt safe in the world. Apparrently, she believes that he must come clean about the unexplained money or it will sit like poison between us and he needs to be accountable for that. I have not spoke to him directly about that for years as the rage I feel ...is astronomical.  I know in my heart of hearts what he did with it ...I know . She understands " where his closed doors are".  Hmmmm? . Suffice to say I have not received an invite to return to "marriage counselling".

I am working on ME.  And for the 1st time , he is far from my focus.  I am taking an online course to use my covid quarantine time to good use .  He knows I am taking this course and he has looked at the webpage...he has not said a word. Exactly as expected and I am happy working away on me .  He does not like my silence . He does not like that perhaps this anxious - pre-occupied women is moving closer and closer to a strong , independent , proud secure attachment style . He can feel the shift and is suspicious of change. He asks why I am so quiet , he touches me every single time he goes by, he hugs me everytime he is able and he wants to know what I am reading. I no longer answer him . If I did talk to  him about this course , he would shut down ( possible unsafe topic) and that would trigger me and a round and around we go. I have withdrawn from that circle  and he tries to pull me back . But I am not going back. That part of my interaction with him is done.  This is a very interesting website on attachment trauma and I have been actively working on some online learning. I can feel myself growing ....

https://www.heirloomcounseling.com/







  • Logged
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

  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2706
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#13: November 27, 2020, 04:32:41 PM
You know what Barbie, I love the fire and passion that I hear directed towards yourself.
You know I think you’re a bad ass. It’s Barbie’s time to do what Barbie wants.
  • Logged

C
  • *
  • Subscriber, 12 Month
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 588
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#14: November 27, 2020, 04:56:52 PM
Yes, feeling passionate about doing the work on yourself... that is so often exactly what we need, whatever we decide about the relationship in the end. I think we try so hard to make it work for our spouses and the relationship, but we too often put ourselves last. And it’s so important to get to the place where you are.
  • Logged

  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2175
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#15: November 27, 2020, 07:14:00 PM
Barbie - I have been thinking about you lately - wondering how you've been doing...

First - your Victorian house sounds amazing and beautiful.
I think that the mantle and tree will be just perfect for your intimate gathering, AND will be a break for you.  You deserve it... 

I am sorry about the wind storms.  I am  happy that the city is willing to help to a degree.  Glad that the house itself was preserved and not damaged.

Physically - I hope that you get your BP under control.  Stress can wreak havoc on the body - and you've been under quite some stress for quite awhile.
I was initially happy to hear about how you've surrendered, but the more I read the more unsure I was about whether it was a healthy, happy place.  I feel like you've surrendered out of exhaustion and defeat, although mixed messages if you truly do feel relieved about it. 
You deserve to be happy and stress-free, and I wonder if continuing in this relationship is healthy for you right now?
How would you feel if you were to live apart for a year, for instance?  Can you visualize that for yourself?  Would it be peaceful for you or would it be added stress?
I just want to be sure that you're not settling "for the devil you know".

I apologize if I am speaking out of turn, but it just doesn't sound like your acceptance is a happy acceptance, however I could be completely wrong - in which case, please forgive me.

I'm so happy that you're doing this online work.  It could be a great pivotal point for you.  I hope so, at least. 

I hope that you're feeling better; I think once your BP becomes normalized it will help.

Sending hugs,
Sea
  • Logged

9
  • *
  • MLCer Type: Clinging Boomerang
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 716
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#16: November 28, 2020, 08:02:20 AM
Barbie,

Thank you for continuing to share your journey of reconnection and the difficulties that it can bring.  I find myself nodding along with you often.

This morning I am surrounded by boxes of Christmas decorations I pulled out yesterday.  I am sitting here with my cup of coffee wondering if I don’t decorate will anyone really care?   I’m trying to convince myself they would and trying to remember that I do it for myself as well. 

Your journey shows us all that MLC is not just about the journey of our spouses but one that we must go on as well.  I believe if both people in a relationship that has been in MLC don’t complete their own journey there can be no completeness to being together again.  (If that makes any sense).   I know my H and I are struggling to put something of our marriage back together . Calm Communication has been key for us.  I could not have attempted this a year ago because I was still figuring myself out and my H was still deep in the tunnel. 

My H too is coming out of his tunnel to a completely different wife.  He is confused by my strength and wisdom.  Our MC called it the “thawing of our relationship”.  We both put up walls of ice to protect ourselves and now that they are beginning to thaw we have to figure out where they will flow.  Not an easy process. 

I commend you for taking the steps YOU need to become full again. Taking a break from putting your marriage back is probably a good thing right now while you explore who you are at this point. 

Again, thank you for your honesty and openness. 




  • Logged
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.

C
  • *
  • Subscriber, 12 Month
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 588
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#17: November 28, 2020, 09:02:35 AM
Seconding what Roo said so eloquently. Thank you for sharing your story so openly. As much as the LBS can bend over backward to promise changes at BD, some of us also get to a stage of “what do I need to change? I’m fine; I’m not the one who blew up my life.” But however it came about, the crisis happened, and both people involved have to learn the lessons and do our own work. Your reminders of the importance of the LBS healing process are essential, so thank you.
  • Logged

t
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 779
  • Gender: Female
Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#18: November 28, 2020, 02:35:18 PM
barbiedoll, I think of you a lot and I’m so glad to see your update. I cried; I feel a new acceptance also, and it feels strange.

I love Victorians and so does D; we have a local artist friend who decorates her art studio and home to the nines every time there is a holiday to do that with. It’s lovely to see and to treasure the visual delight and all the work that someone like you will put into it; that’s such a gift. So I’m sorry C19 puts a crimp in it this year, and at the same time, gosh, you deserve a good rest.

The bit about your MC p!sses me off. I’ve been the “difficult” one also and, just saying, it sounds like the MC has a bias. Not your fault, and nothing personal, just that the therapist doesn’t sound experienced enough.

I’m fond of the Gottmans and for what it’s worth, the Gottman MC from my first marriage sided with xh too. I held my ground until it was finally bad enough that I started walking out of sessions halfway through them. When D’s dad had me served with divorce papers, I called her and said so: “I told you this was on the way. You said no. I just wanted to call and let you know I was right.”

She had moved out of state and become a golf coach. So.

I am still fond of the Gottmans.

What I want you to know is that although one of their credentialed therapists did not work well for me, or for you, as it stands, I continued with their work in my own manner. I have attended all of their clinical trainings for licensed therapists, to get at the info straight from both Drs.

Look up “blood pressure oximeter Gottman”, just for kicks. That health symptom in you is ostensibly a direct result of your h’s relational and financial infidelities, dishonesty, stonewalling.

The Gottman therapist ought to know that, I think it’s covered in the very first level and in every subsequent one. I want to say too, it sounds like she hasn’t done the training on treating affairs and trauma. Your husband can take that training himself; it’s online for about the price of a 1-hour therapy session. At any rate, I’m glad that he saw directly and got you to hospital — now if he and the Gottman therapist can sort out how even the Gottmans themselves would counsel or signal to him that your BP has plenty to do with the stress levels his own actions caused.

I am hoping for all kinds of good peace in your direction, and good on you for self care and your own self interests. (((HUGS)))

  • Logged

b
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2643
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#19: December 01, 2020, 09:30:07 AM
Quote
Yes, feeling passionate about doing the work on yourself... that is so often exactly what we need, whatever we decide about the relationship in the end. I think we try so hard to make it work for our spouses and the relationship, but we too often put ourselves last. And it’s so important to get to the place where you are.
.

It took me a very long time ( years) to get to this place . I mistakenly believed for years that my happiness or recovery depended on him.  If he said  "this", I would feel better. If he said "that" or did "this" , I would feel better .  Now there is a tiny bit of truth in that I must say, but if you depend solely on that to put your broken self back together ..it will not happen.  It certainly has helped that he took full accountability for what he had done, it helped that he apologized a hundred times, it "helped" that he willingly went to counselling and it helped that he apologized to his daughters . All those things matter ...but will not replace the "work" I need to do to heal myself.  He cannot fix me anymore than I can "fix him".   The greater part of this journey to heal "self" must be done by yourself ..and that is scary .  I know that in my case , his choices and actions exploded all my FOO issues that were buried inside ...he is not responsible for that pain or hurt . That is mine to deal with , just as his FOO issues have nothing to do with me.

Quote
I was initially happy to hear about how you've surrendered, but the more I read the more unsure I was about whether it was a healthy, happy place.  I feel like you've surrendered out of exhaustion and defeat, although mixed messages if you truly do feel relieved about it.

I am exhausted by years of stress , PTSD reactions and times of deep confusion. It has been the most excruciatingly painful experience , but everyone here knows that pain.  It does sound like a mixed message , I understand what a reader might interpret . I don't do "defeat" ..trust me.  It truly feels "right" to me, where I am now. I feel a contentment and internal peace about myself ...not always about my marriage, if that makes sense.   I think it has something to do with changing the " anxious pre-occupied " attachment style to a far more secure one.  I no longer feel compelled or absolutely driven to pursue , question, demand , chase or "need" him to do anything for me. I am OK inside of me, I can deal with myself with no expectation that he needs to be doing anything .It is very difficult to explain. Some of the changes I feel just happened on their own ( it seems) . There was a time , that if my H took his laptop to his shop in the garage or if he stayed at his desk with it ...I had the most insane all consuming panic attack ever. Then I would attack and demand ( ANYTHING ...to make the panic stop) . EXTREME panic , pacing, sweating fight or flight , needing to FLEE NOW . Why??  . Because he was ignoring me , he put something ahead of me , he was likely chatting to OW, he was gambling, he was "hiding" stuff, I am going to "miss" something bad happening again.  I wanted to die and better dead than living like that.  I am no longer triggered by that ..not even a tiny bit. Its gone completely and utterly ...and you have to believe , it was killing me. Now what happened internally to make that trigger utterly dissappear?  As my therapist would say " Barbiedoll, you have done SOOO much work, you have processed and integrated so many wounds , so much hurt ...now you reap some of the rewards ".  And I have many examples of  this new internal peace inside of me. It is not so much about my marriage.  I fully understand  and believe that no matter what he may ever do in the future ( I cannot control him) , I will infact be totally 100% fine in finding my own way. This has to be a happier healthier place!!

Quote
You deserve to be happy and stress-free, and I wonder if continuing in this relationship is healthy for you right now?
How would you feel if you were to live apart for a year, for instance?  Can you visualize that for yourself?  Would it be peaceful for you or would it be added stress?
.

Stress free ?  I honestly and truly believe that this is a total illusion.  Stress-free ? I do not know 1 single human ( adult or child) that is stress free.  It perhaps is a dangerous thing to strive for..as it does not exist . I only have to see my middle daughters phone number on my phone and I feel stress . That girl can send me to stress-ville in a flash ...and she is pretty permanent in my life. My 21 year old grandson just moved to Los Angeles for an "adventure". WUT? . In a pandemic?. My 86 year old parents create enough stress to make me want to rip my own headoff.  There is no stress free "island" . You ( of course) need to find ways to manage your stress depending on your personality ( I am a very intense passionate person) thru selfcare, awareness , calming strategies or improved coping skills. Running away will never be the answer. 

Now , I must say , that the biggest , most regretted decision I ever made was to allow my husband to return home so quickly . NEVER should I have done that . I should have used a "year or 2" apart from him at that time.  I will not do that now.  I have been asked by various therapists if I think "healing" would be different if he was gone..or if he was home.  i was very very quick to answer .." it would be far easier if he was gone . All the triggers would be gone". I would not have to deal with these tortuous unrelenting triggers ...if I just got away from HIM. I fully believed that . Sort of like a MLC'er who believes they have to "run" to be happy and get away from their spouse.  A geographical change ...will change nothing at this point.  What I do believe is there would be an entirely new list of stressors on top of the ones I carry inside of me . No matter what ...I will NEVER leave this house until my youngest daughter flies away on her own.  Imagine me leaving and leaving her with him .  He would cause her ZERO harm ( I am not saying that ) but she certainly would be trying to fill that space with groceries , laundry, cleaning blah blah and having to deal with him alone. She would also be questioned to death by her siblings . This girl is working online teaching at 2 Universities and 2nd year PHD student . The universities have very high hopes for this protege . She is extremely attached to me ...to family, to God and she has been hurt enough .  NOTHING will make me disrupt that path...and me leaving would absolutely derail her . Not happening...ever.  My family has been deeply hurt by what he has done ...not unlike many of yours . I still have a 12 year old grandson that I facetime and he asks " Is poppa in your house? Can I see him?". I have daughters that if I say " I need to talk to you?" ...they cry. Imagine ? Adult girls.  If I seem "off" they all have a little pow-wow and try to figure out what is wrong with me .  So...NO. The relationships that would shatter mean far too much to me ...not to mention my 86 year old dad.  It would hurt him . I am just not of the belief I can " do what ever I want as long as I am happy " and to hell with anyone that may not like it . I am NOT that person.  And would I be happy???  .  Big risk . I have "forethought "...maybe far too much. He on the other hand has very little.   There is absolutely no guarantee that I would be "happier" living somewhere else. As far as I am concerned "happy" is over rated and can be a very selfish thing. Its internal after all ... and I can feel that changing inside of me irregardless of him.  Just to add a thought and an observation. It is not an easy thing to leave someone that you have spent your entire adult life with ... it just is not. I see friends truly suffer with being the deepest lonely, feel regret in painful waves, wish they had done this or that , wish they had tried harder , wish they had forgiven and suffer with a deep loss inside of a shattered family . Where they hear thru the grapevine what thier ex is doing, or they cannot attend a birthday party because HE will be there , or the loss of ALL of their extended family memebers etc etc .  So ..no thanks.  The point is , there is NO easy way. Once this happenes inside of a marriage , nothing ever again will be easy . Easy is gone. Its hard to stay ( truly, I have packed , I have had this house up for sale, I have a file with a lawyer) and it is equally hard to leave.... just "different .  EASY is gone. Much is gone.

Quote
I apologize if I am speaking out of turn, but it just doesn't sound like your acceptance is a happy acceptance, however I could be completely wrong - in which case, please forgive me.
.

No need to ever apologize to me ! I think you are the bravest little Seahorse and I love that you will ask the risky questions. How honest is that ??  I do appreciate you.  Last year I would have floundered with this question...but I am "new" again this year and I do believe you are wrong. I have to be damn sure to say that because I examine myself without a spec of mercy.  I have found a new place inside of me and I am still exploring what it all means ...but I feel deeply comfortable , I like the possibilities in this space , I like the calm and in control of myself  ME.  Yikes... that made me cry.  Some shift is moving inside of the new me .. I think I like it .  I am going to stay in this place of exploring acceptance until I have learned what it has to teach me .

Burning my extra-soft Molasses cookies now . My dad loves them. To be continued later ..... I thank you all. I truly do .
  • Logged
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.

9
  • *
  • MLCer Type: Clinging Boomerang
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 716
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#20: December 01, 2020, 09:45:45 AM
Nodding right along Barbie to almost everything you are saying.  Truly remarkable. 

Quote
I fully understand  and believe that no matter what he may ever do in the future ( I cannot control him) , I will infact be totally 100% fine in finding my own way. This has to be a happier healthier place!!

This right here is what I believe we all need to get to as an LBS in order to continue into reconnection.  I talked about this in MC last week.  I told him I was staying by choice to have a new relationship  not because of desperation to save my marriage.  I would be fine either way, and for the first time in 4.5 years I believed it. 

You have done the work and are continuing to do the work on yourself.  A new self awareness is difficult to achieve but oh so necessary to move forward. 

Thank you for continuing to share. 
  • Logged
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.

  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2175
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#21: December 01, 2020, 05:06:21 PM
Barbie -
As always, you post with such honesty and deep introspection.
I can see that there is a change in you from what -- maybe a year ago -- when you were distraught with questions to your husband...
You do seem more at peace and settled, but alas, PTSD is a never-ending gift - like MLC.
You, and only you, know within your heart where your true happiness lies, and I'm glad that you were able to articulate that. 
I agree that it's impossible to have a completely stress-free life, but I strive to decrease my stress by trying to accept what I have been given and to realize that I can't control everything.  AND -- to give it all to God which has been a major stress-reliever to me...

Let us know how your on-line course is going.
Proud of you for pursuing it...

Sending you many hugs,
Sea
  • Logged

  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 11198
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#22: December 01, 2020, 11:35:50 PM
Quote
I no longer feel compelled or absolutely driven to pursue , question, demand , chase or "need" him to do anything for me. I am OK inside of me, I can deal with myself with no expectation that he needs to be doing anything .It is very difficult to explain. Some of the changes I feel just happened on their own ( it seems) .

This is a big deal, Barbie, a big shift. I completely get that it is hard to explain but that you know it when you feel it.
And I am so so glad that you feel it.

Imho, as a fellow PTSD sufferer, that shift - ephemeral as it might seem - is real and more vital than what you do or choose from here. And yes, strange how we chase and chase it out of desperation and then it seems to come without us chasing, isn't it?  It is a state of mind, of being, that gives you a completely different foundation to work from. Will it ebb and flow a bit? Maybe. But imho and experience you never drop back to the old foundation entirely even if you dip a bit. And you may find that all kinds of new positive feelings that have nothing to do with MLC/PTSD et al pop up....moments of joy....bc you are standing on different ground. (I remember being a bit surprised by these; it was rather like really enjoying a glass of water after being thirsty for a long time or learning to walk again after being on crutches and feeling delighted by it.)

Of course normal life is not stress-free. But as you know stress and PTSD are completely different things, chalk and cheese. Like you, I find it hard to explain but I knew deep down when I started to live without a PTSD brain. I could feel it. Didn't mean I didn't/don't have triggers or PTSD moments....but they were different with a non PTSD brain, a brain that wasn't mechanically stuck somehow. I guess it felt like I had a PTSD experience sometimes without having PTSD or more accurately it having me. That's about the only way I can describe it.... ::)

Keep going, my friend. It gets better and easier from here, and there is good stuff on the other side of it.  :)
  • Logged
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

S
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 6257
  • Gender: Female
  • Strength and honour are her clothing;
Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#23: December 02, 2020, 12:54:01 AM
Quote
It truly feels "right" to me, where I am now. I feel a contentment and internal peace about myself ...not always about my marriage, if that makes sense. 

Quote
It is not so much about my marriage.  I fully understand  and believe that no matter what he may ever do in the future ( I cannot control him) , I will infact be totally 100% fine in finding my own way.

Yep and on reaching this point you are able to deal with so much more. You are able to decide what your responses are; you are able to decide what to walk away from and you are able to say "Meh - whatever"  and get on with what matters to you.

Quote
As far as I am concerned "happy" is over rated and can be a very selfish thing.

This is what MLC teaches us as LBSers.  Happy is a place to aspire to but it is very hard to maintain if the reason for being happy is not solid, shifts and becomes unreliable.   Content or at peace with oneself is a much better place to be. 

Happy is ephemeral  Happy is the little child who opens the longed for Christmas present and then notice how quickly that happiness changes  if the gift breaks or if a better gift is given a few minutes later.
Contentment and joy are found when the child cherishes that small unexpected gift more than the expensive big toy, which might have given them happiness on opening, but actually they'd rather cuddle the little teddy.......

Perhaps that analogy applies to the MLCer and LBS......


Great progress Barbie.
  • Logged
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.

A
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 1113
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#24: December 02, 2020, 09:31:38 AM
Quote
  I have found a new place inside of me and I am still exploring what it all means ...but I feel deeply comfortable , I like the possibilities in this space , I like the calm and in control of myself  ME.  Yikes... that made me cry.  Some shift is moving inside of the new me .. I think I like it .  I am going to stay in this place of exploring acceptance until I have learned what it has to teach me .
Wow, Barbie - what an incredible leap forward for you.  Your post almost made ME cry too, lol.  I read your posts frequently and this post is the best I think I’ve ever read  from you.   :)
  • Logged

  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2867
  • Gender: Female
  • Time is a Gift! 🎁
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#25: December 02, 2020, 07:10:55 PM
Celebrating with you on such a positive shift!
  • Logged
Survival Instructions for Newbies

The Apology Every LBS Deserves

My Journey

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass - it's about learning to dance in the rain."

"Don't become a container for bitterness.  It's a toxin that destroys what it's carried in."

b
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2643
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#26: December 03, 2020, 02:50:30 PM
Is it not true that the very second you believe you are finally on solid ground , you will be tested ?  Is it not true that  even though you "thought" you were over it , you can still have times of circling the top of the big black hole? .  Is it not also true that healing is somewhat "teeter-tawtterish"...sometimes you are up and sometimes you are down ?  Healing is messy.  And today was messy ... just as I wrote about calm, content, shift etc.  I am just going to laugh at this point.

Messy only lasted 2 minutes for me but with incredibly high anxiety and likely blood pressure to match. This is actually a repeat performance of the same issue 2 weeks ago. Maybe its me ...maybe its him. I am not sure. Here is the scene.  He ( as I have said before) is seeing the marriage counsellor by himself and I was to continue to work with my therapist . This is at the request of the marriage counsellor . ( he has not seen his own therapist since march due to covid ) .  The idea was he was to go on his own every 2nd friday and I would be invited back when she felt he was ready or we were on the same page . I was perfectly satisfied with that arrangement . He on the other hand did not say yay or nay ( very typical) but he did go and has been attending.   Two weeks ago , I asked him what time is your appointment on Friday ? . He said he never made one, never thought about it , does not have to be fridays etc etc . That did not go well.  I told him that there was a plan that he attend every 2 weeks as I understood it and I was not sure why he had not followed the plan ? He just had a total fit...honestly it was shocking . I went outside, he followed me and it was more than obvious that he was triggered by something . He said " there was never a plan ".   I replied "yes, there was a plan ". Boom...he was gone. Twenty minutes later , he comes back out with an appointments time for the next day .  I never said a word.

Ok...here we are today . Same thing . His appointment is supposed to be tomorrow . He has not said 1 single word about he is going or he is not going . Period.  I will admit...I need a "plan" . I want to know what, where , why and how. I am the anxious -pre-occupied one in this relationship and I want the plan. It honestly fills me with anxiety until I can barely breathe ..no matter what I do . So in my brain I am arguing with myself.  "do not bother to ask, not my appointment, his responsibility, let it go, look after yourself etc etc.   And then the other side  " he should have stepped up and said " I have an appointment tomorrow at 4 OR, I did not make an appointment , I will go next week instead etc . Either would have been fine. But he says absolutely nothing and I am in full anxiety over it.  This has been a re-occurring problem. 

He comes into the kitchen and says ..." do you want to go get some shopping done ?".   I agree ...but I feel shakey and sick and now this blood pressure thing is scaring me . And I do not want to go feeling like I do.  So, I decide ( or my anxiety decides) that I have every right to ask, to know the plan and to be respected by being in the "know". It will ease my anxiety...maybe. The truth is more that I could not stop myself and feel physically well.   So I asked him if he had an appointment tomorrow and that not knowing gave me anxiety and stress . He is immediately defensive ...wow. He has no appointment ..period.  So, I ask  " what is the plan then?  I just need the plan .  Holy... he is having none of that . "there is no plan, if its not this week it will be sometime before christmas , not a big deal , talked to _______- ( the therapist ) and it does not need to be every second friday! .  oh... " so what you are saying is you will go whenever you want, whenever it crosses your mind, whenever you have time or feel like it ...and you will not tell me anything about it.  I guess I missed the part where _____ ( the therapist) said " you can do whatever you want".    And I finished with " so the plan is ...YOU will do whatever you want. And you have no plan to tell me ".   I was calm, never raised my voice, never went on and on and left it at that .  Told him we will do shopping another day .  And he went back to his office.  I had to go thru a list of self-soothing sh$t .    So, now we have a little tension. He has not come out of his office.  And yet again...there is no way to solve even the tiniest problem with an avoidant person. OR  the anxious pre-occupied should never ask questions or need a "plan".   So ..forward, backward, forward ....and a little backward.   HE will not EVER bring this up again. He cannot solve or discuss or resolve . So I expect this issues to re-visit in the future .  What should have been done differently ?   No clue.

Now I shall take a bath and watch a christmas movie in my bed on my IPAD. I simply cannot be around him when I feel like this . To me , it is so simple . Talk , agree, comprimise , figure it out , swish hands together ...there all done! . Ridiculously simple mature and done. He cannot do that and he will ignore until he dies. There ya go.  The typical way he responds to this kind of minor dispute ? He will sleep for hours. Another way to avoid. It is the anxious attachment style that suffers far more in relationships. Far more .
  • Logged
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
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 779
  • Gender: Female
Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#27: December 03, 2020, 05:51:16 PM
:/

(((HUGS)))

I get it, about being “tested”, and I value your honesty about that because I go up and down a lot too, just when I think I’ve got a clean grasp on equilibrium again. Maybe part of it is the little challenge of can we recalibrate or pivot when the blood pressure and anxiety start to rise.

But more, barbiedoll, it sounds like what you need from both h and this MC is transparency. It also — I don’t know whether to say this or how, exactly, but — if it were me, I think I would be feeling like the MC is triangulating, and I also would not respond very well to “her” deciding the terms of “our” marital counseling. You know? Because isn’t that part of the problem you and h are trying to heal from? Together?

I don’t think many of us want the full inside scoop on what our spouses talk to therapists about. But knowing at least the appointment schedule does not seem like too big an ask. I’m sorry you are getting grief from your h and remotely from this MC. I don’t remember if that was the one who was preparing you both for a Gottman weekend, but if it were me struggling with this, I might contact the institute and ask them what usually happens when an MC carves off time for only one part of the couple.

You both need support and it sounds like this MC is lax in helping you, the partner that needs more significant care in all this.

I’d be mad too, is what I’m saying, for whatever that’s worth.

Your peace will come back, I know it. (((HUGS)))
  • Logged

  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 11198
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#28: December 03, 2020, 10:54:20 PM
Quote
Is it not true that the very second you believe you are finally on solid ground , you will be tested ?

Oh yes  :) ::)
But I'm going to offer a different angle on it, and call it 'refined'.....

Another way one could look at it (from the cheap seats far away lol) in case it is helpful.
With lots of oversimplifying bc you can't see the detail from up here in the theatre 'gods'  ::)

You realise that you have been caught in a loop trying to find your healing in the head/hands of your h and that this hasn't worked as well as you hoped. And you feel you have invested a lot of effort in trying to heal a joint endeavour that you didn't break and with a less than equally energetic spouse. Which you sometimes feel resentful about bc that hasn't produced what you hoped for either. You decide to step back and focus on just you....your IC, your healing, your self care and your life.....and feel a sense of peace with that choice.

And then you feel a burst of anxiety bc you feel your h is not sticking to a previously agreed plan about his IC. And his reaction feels like more of the same avoidant gaslighting BS so now you feel even more anxious. And that anxiety monster wants to be soothed and it wants to be soothed now, damn it.

But what if, Barbie, just a 'what if' you DID see it as your PTSD testing you? And a chance to refine your approach?
You could say to yourself something like this....
Well, it is HIS IC.....and it arguably wasn't entirely MY plan but his/the MCs.....so maybe it just isn't my monkey.....whether he goes or doesn't, has a plan or doesn't, sticks to the plan or doesn't......why does that change anything really about my focus on me, for me? Surely that would only logically matter to me if I was still thinking that MY progress is contingent on HIS in some way? Or if I was making his actions part of MY plan? Or if I was still looking for evidence that he had changed so I felt safer in some way....which might keep me on that old loop that I have already decided doesn't work for me?

What if I just shrugged my shoulders, said 'whatever, nothing new to see there, keep walking' and let it go as not my business and not my plan? Just an old PTSD trick in my brain trying to keep me hooked to my old loop....and I'm not doing that anymore....ha ha caught you, silly PTSD brain (I called mine Lucy the Lizard when she was getting creative but irritating  :) ).....eyes away and back to me  :)

What if it looked like that, Barbie? Is there peace and relief there?
Just a thought fwiw....which may be nothing at all, of course  :)
  • Logged
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

S
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 6257
  • Gender: Female
  • Strength and honour are her clothing;
Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#29: December 04, 2020, 01:44:13 AM
Quote
Is it not true that the very second you believe you are finally on solid ground , you will be tested ?  Is it not true that  even though you "thought" you were over it , you can still have times of circling the top of the big black hole? .  Is it not also true that healing is somewhat "teeter-tawtterish"...sometimes you are up and sometimes you are down ?

Yes. And what can you decide to do about it that looks after you - not the situation, not H and not your marriage?

Somewhere in your "plan" I infer that there is a whole bundle of expectations.  I like to plan too -I have even done a spreadsheet of costs in selling the house, % commissions, tax etc to see what I may have should we actually sell the house.  It's called "safety planning". It keeps you focused when you wobble and trust me there will be a whole lot of wobbling.  However I have reduced the expectations to achieve a certain level of income and now just expect to sell the house at some point.

With your H - you expect him to attend counselling so that he can move forward which helps your plan in moving forward too. 

Detach Barbie - detach.   The more you push the more he will resist.   The more you seek a plan even something as simple as whether he is going to counselling or not - the more he will disappoint. 

Do some safety planning instead - what if he doesn't go to counselling, what if he resists - how does that affect you and your plan? Can you rethink your plan.........
  • Logged
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.

M
  • *
  • Trial Subscriber
  • Full Member
  • Posts: 161
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#30: December 04, 2020, 05:28:30 AM
And yet again...there is no way to solve even the tiniest problem with an avoidant person. OR  the anxious pre-occupied should never ask questions or need a "plan".   So ..forward, backward, forward ....and a little backward.   HE will not EVER bring this up again. He cannot solve or discuss or resolve . So I expect this issues to re-visit in the future .  What should have been done differently ?   No clue.


Oh my Barbie. I feel this so much! This is where I am with my H.  He's so conflict avoidant that the minute I push anything, away he runs. I'm working hard on not being the anxious type person but it is hard. It feels like things will never get better. Like how can you have a relationship with someone who can't even have a conversation even when it's about tough stuff. I'm sure your H is feeling a bunch of uncomfortable feelings about having to go to therapy. And that's his issue, but being able to talk about it without defensiveness would be helpful.

In my situation, my adult step-children don't like me. I don't know why. My H tells me he can't be in a relationship with me because he's afraid of losing his kids. So I ask (what I believe is a very rational question): why not sit down and talk to the kids?  They are adults after all and they have such a good relationship with their dad there is NO way that they are going to withdraw from him. I do know the oldest made that threat, but she won't actually follow through with it. Anyway,...I ask the question why not sit down and talk to them about it. I point out that I'm reconnecting well with the step-daughter that lives about an hour from here. It all seems reasonable to me. But, first, my H isn't super reasonable about this, and second, he is a massive conflict avoider. So my calmness was met with massive defensiveness and deflection. With the final being "we are going to be done because I can't risk losing my kids."  It's sooooo difficult. Like you, I just want a plan. It sure feels difficult.  Back into the oven he goes while I try to walk away from the kitchen and just focus on me. Not an easy task either after some solid months of reconnecting. You are right...reconciliation is not for the faint of heart. *Hugs to you.*
  • Logged

  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 4272
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#31: December 04, 2020, 08:49:15 AM
The first thing I saw was that you have zero idea if the therapist actually said what your H said was said. Maybe the therapists suggested plan was to come whenevet and maybe it is not and he is *gasp* lying because he's avoiding something at the therapists. So anyone theorizing the MC might be triangulating would be based on conjecture, not facts.

The second thing I noticed was you handled the situation very well, considering. If progressing in your marriage is contingent on both of you keeping your obligations to each other (and how can you trust someone who won't own their obligations), and an obligation was to attend counseling on the schedule decided upon by both of you, then he has not met his obligation, you had every right to call him on it, but you also do not control what he does. You know this and self soothed (which is an additional chore you would not have to do if he'd met his obligation).

We all have a right to have expectations. We also need a plan for when our expectations are not met, and to know if we are getting what we need from another individual. If that which they do give is enough for us, or if we want to give up any expectation of someone saying what they mean, meaning what they say, keeping their word, telling the truth, honoring their obligations, etc. 

It IS disrespectful to agree to something, then try to twist it into something different. It is also a gaslighting behavior ("I never agreed to that").  Not to mention that you might be planning to do something while he was gone that if he weren't gone would matter (mopping floors, painting furniture, playing music and taking a bath and not being interrupted).

A plan between people is based on courtesy, caring that what you do might affect someone else. One person changing it without informing the other is self centered and rude.

That you were triggered is expected. That you handled it well is laudable. That you were able to self soothe is incredibly wonderful. That you have a man who is incapable of basic courtesy in this situation is sad. For him and you. You are worth courtesy. And that is what this is really about.
  • Logged
« Last Edit: December 04, 2020, 08:52:54 AM by OffRoad »
When life gives you lemons, make SALSA!

b
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2643
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#32: December 04, 2020, 10:13:13 AM
I continued on with my day yesterday, although anxiety was hard to manage , but it eventually subsided. I made supper, we ate in silence and he most certainly is very unhappy that I continue to "create problems where none exist".  Not attending your counselling plane IS a problem. During the initial conversation , I asked him WHY he has not booked an appointment. He is working from home, he had no where else he had to be and he apparrently had time for christmas shopping.  So WHY?   His response is always like a trip thru communication torture ..."what do you mean WHY? ".   It very simple , WHY did you not book your appointment . He will tell me there is no reason... he does not need to follow a strict schedule of every second friday  blah blah.  But that was the agreement I reminded him. He tells me that was not the agreement , that the therapist said he could book whenever.  So, I simply said it was very very hard to believe that she said " H You can do whatever you want ".  And secondly, you then needed to TELL me the "new plan". Which you did not do.  He is so frustrated now ..he is red faced , on his feet ...highly triggered and in attack mode. This is not typical. This may be one of a handful of things that trigger him...so I am still rather shocked.   Later in the evening , he came into the den ( where I was painting rocks watching Christmas movie) and spit out ..." I have an appointment tomorrow at 1 ".  I said nothing . ZERO.   Then he says " did you hear me ?" .   Yes..I heard you . 

What I need to say , is about ME.  Despite huge anxiety, hands just shaking and reluctance to even bring it up....I did. I was not angry . I was not ANGRY ...wow. Just huge and I was very surprised that it did not turn to anger.  I was physically struggling , I can tell you that . Adrenaline , dread , hot flashes , fear , all present. BUT I need to ask and get this issue solved ...with a person that does not do " solve" very well.   I am going to take it one step further . There is a boundary in the making here in this situation that may help ME in the future.  What my H will do now is this ..... He will come home form counselling ( tight lipped ...no conversation about any secrets that happen there) and he will say " lets go grab a bite and get the tree tonight . Do you want Fish and Chips? . Where is your list ..maybe we can get some of that done . etc etc ".  He will be "fine".  He will mention nothing about anything that matters. And I will typically go with him and get stuff done etc. This is how it goes.  BUT , I am putting an end to that starting today.  Many many times I go but still anxiety filled , resentful, faking "nice" ..when really I have just allowed life to go on without solving the issue at all.  This will be an issue again in 2 weeks because he will not "clarify the plan".  I am not doing that anymore as it really just plays a part in allowing his avoidance. If it directly affects MY life and well being...I need a boundary .  SOOOO, I will be telling him that before we eat out, shop etc , I want to have a discussion about this " plan " problem.  I want to actually address a problem ( its only a problem for me apparrently) all the way to an actual solution or understanding on how its going to go.  Problem = SOLUTION. 
No more "acting " as if it is all fine ...when it is just not. This can be calm , easy agreed plan ..or not. If it cannot be understood by both of us ...I really prefer not to go for dinner or shop ...when inside of me I am unhappy and anxious. He can either participate in this conversation. Or not. Either way ...I am done with  carrying problems and "playing nice".   He has gone to his appointment now ... and worth noting , he was carrying a bunch of papers. She likes to give "homework" or things to read to discuss or ask his thoughts about. I would bet that is what he was doing in his office...damn, he just could not "avoid" that .

The therapist is lovely and very intelligent . I am not going to spend time imagining "she" is the problem...she is not.  And he very much likes her.  COVID has screwed up his regular counsellor as he does counselling out of his home and has not continued on since COVID started .  The marriage counsellor ( who also does a list of other things..not just marriage counselling) agreed to work with him ( because he could not see his regular counsellor) and I was to continue on with my own.  It was my idea. I asked her about this arrangement.  She is working specifically on his avoidant attachment style , how it effects marriage, how he can work towards a secure attachment etc etc .  I was very very happy when she agreed to this request.  The plan is to come together as a couple when she believes he has done some work in understanding that part of himself.  I am VERY happy she is working with him as covid has changed our original plan and she stepped up to help as I asked her to.

I will comment on some things said by you lovelies .  I am very aware that this could be a "ME" problem. A problem of a anxious-pre-occupied attachment style. Maybe its me that needs to let things like this go ...maybe not.  I have done extreme amount of work and have detached in ways I never ever imagined possible . BUT ... I am borderline avoidant now , if that makes sense to anyone.  What is the differance between avoidant and fully detached??    I often wonder this very thing. I feel like I am becoming him. An avoidant person. Something to ponder.

I hear you Surviving ...I do. I will comment . Thank you .
  • Logged
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

  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2706
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#33: December 04, 2020, 10:24:15 AM
My two cents, fwiw.
I really do not think it is a very big ask at all. Your husband has been home for several years. He has come back to the marriage and said he wants to do the work. Committing to and following through on setting a standing every other week appointment with a therapist is literally so simple, such a small thing he could do to make you feel heard and safe. I completely understand why you are upset about it. It must be extremely frustrating to try to understand why he cannot do this one simple thing. Or why, after several years, he is still not at a point where he can see that something as simple as setting a standing appointment would show you he is making the effort you need.
I am sure for him there is a reason, but I completely feel your frustration.
  • Logged

  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 11198
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#34: December 04, 2020, 11:02:48 AM
I DON'T read this as a YOU problem (and I hope my words didn't suggest that)....but it sounds as if it may be a YOU solution  :)

Golly, you did well, Barbie. So well.
And I am sending calm power to your elbow as you begin to show your h that, regardless of what he does, you are changing your approach to one that works better for you  :)
  • Logged
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

b
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2643
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#35: December 05, 2020, 04:45:56 AM
As totally expected, he arrived home , said he had an email to answer and then we would go for diner , grab the christmas tree and " get you out of here for a bit". Good?  Hmmmm"..No, actually. It will depend on the outcome of a conversation we need to have . So I am not agreeing until we talk and actually arrive at a solution. "  He went to his office.

Twenty minutes later ,he came and sat and stared at me. I have no idea why there is soo much adrenaline and anxiety involved in trying to talk to someone you have been with for 40 years.  Just awful.  I told him that I am very unhappy with having "no plan" in terms of his counselling and it was an issue 2 weeks ago, an issue now and using forethought, it will again be an issue 2 weeks from now. It is not acceptable to me that you will go " whenever you feel like it etc" and on top of that , tell me nothing.  I need a solution or an agreement that suits us both before I do anything .

Silence . That evil rejecting triggering message that says " I am not going to engage, connect , talk or look for solutions because it will end up in conflict . It is not safe to talk to you ".  This behaviour of an adult man CAUSES 100 % of the conflict.  Silence . He has utterly and completely shut down . I am told this is NOT on purpose but an involuntary defense mechanism that was formed in childhood and happens if there is a perceived threat.  And ANY communication that is not about the weather is a threat.  And this is the most triggering thing to me. It is rejection and abandoning behaviour that pushes my reactivity .  BUT , I am very aware of this now....so, I take deep breathes , I went and got an ice pack to play with...and I will be damned if I am going to succumb to rage and attack.  I think they call that "protest behaviour".... I think I have finally got this.  But physically , it just kills me.

So I wait .  And in a completely monotone quiet voice I say " if you are not able to have this conversation, just say so.  Even that would be better than me sitting here waiting for you to respond".  He finally tells me that he never agreed in the 1st place to seeing _______ ( the therapist) , so that is why there is no real plan etc etc.  And he is nasty defensive ..wow!  He is just mean and aggressive and is rubbing the skin off his forehead ( another indicator of extreme stress) .  "I am not sure what you mean.  I did not hear you say I DO NOT WANT TO see __________.  I told you what she suggested and you went. No where did you say I DO NOT AGREE. "
He insists that he said " maybe he might try to see his old counsellor, covid was a problem, he needed to contact him at some point etc etc... but then I changed the process "
I tell him " YOU did not say NO. YOU did not say I do not want to see the marriage counsellor . YOU did not clearly express what you did or did not want to do because would have been in the kitchen baking a firetrucking cake...if you stood up for yourself and said what you wanted or needed. I have been waiting for that ... and YOU did not say NO.  YOU are just as responsible for what YOU do not say , as well as what YOU do. 
He says " You do not listen"
Me:  I am a fantastic listener . I worked for 30 years as highly paid listener . That remark has no impact on me.  If you did not agree with the plan it is your responsibility to make sure you are heard . If you say nothing, it is assumed you agree.
Him:. Why would you assume its OK just because I say nothing ?
Me:  ( in my brain..WTF?) . Because thats how it works, that how the human brain works....I have no other answer. If YOU say nothing..its assumed you are fine.
But , what I am hearing is you saying , you do not want to see ________. So we need a different plan . I am having a "plan".
 Him.  For now , I will continue to see ________ until I can see my own therapist . I can do that . No problem. If you need me to pre-book every second friday as a standing appointment, I can do that . No problem.
ME:  I want you to know that never ever did I realize my blood pressure could be so high that it is a "medical emergency". It is from living in a very stressful marriage and not getting what I need . I have no intention of dying over this marriage and neither should you. I need to take selfcare far more seriously and one of the issues is lack of ability to agree on solutions..that has to change asap as it causes huge resentment and stress for me.  Otherwise, we will need to look at an entirely different way to live after covid is over.  The stress is killing both of us , its no way to live.  "
Him:  Silence .
ME: OK, lets get something to eat , I have what I need from you, thank you. Lets get on with our evening , I feel better now and can enjoy a trip out.

Boom... he is out of that room like a shot of lightening. It is the FIRST TIME  i was not sucked away in extreme reactivity . Absolutely the 1st time that the extreme physical discomfort did not spiral me into rage/attack. It was the 1st time in months I have had to have a serious conversation... and I controlled myself . If I stay with a low monotone voice ,  breathe , be aware of the trigger and why its there ... i had control of it.  Wow!

To add to that , he was opening car doors, he took my hand in the truck and kissed it...long time since that happened . WTF?

Somewhere in the conversation he said "when do you ever reach out to me ?"   My answer has always been the same ... "I have tried to talk to you a million times ".   He has said this ( or asked this ) many times... and again last night.   " how is trying to talk to me , reaching out?"  he says .  HUH?  What other way is there to try to connect and understand a person?. Silence.   So I have asked him..."what is reaching out mean to you?" . Silence . I have never got an answer that made sense ..but he frequently says this.  No clue what he means .  Exhausting... suck the life out of you , it is all so hard.





  • Logged
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.

  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 11198
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#36: December 05, 2020, 05:10:38 AM
That's a big deal, Barbie, wow, well done  ;D
Occurs to me too that it's about how one measures success. In the past, perhaps it would have been about 'getting' him to see the IC regularly. Now I suspect you measure your success entirely differently.......and that might come as a bit of a surprise to your h who is accustomed to the old you perhaps.
Really well done. I hope you feel proud of yourself and encouraged by seeing how you did it....
  • Logged
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

T
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 1868
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#37: December 06, 2020, 06:09:56 AM
Good for you for telling your husband what you need and making the conversation happen.  That is a big step, my friend. I hope you did indeed have an enjoyable evening.
  • Logged

  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2175
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#38: December 06, 2020, 06:51:07 AM
Barbie -
I agree with the others - great work!
Your honesty and openness about your needs and your understanding seemed to be what your H needed to hear.
I am happy that he was treating you as you deserve to be treated after that conversation, and I hope that his actions are sincere and continue.

I will try to remember how you reacted and conversed in the event that I am ever in a similar situation.  All of your hard work seems to be paying off.  Two steps forward, one step back...

Hugs,
  • Logged

  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 4602
  • Gender: Male
  • Back to being #1 for my daughters!!!!
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#39: December 06, 2020, 06:59:14 AM
Hello,

Communication is so hard even when all systems are good. I have a bad habit of letting my paperwork and stuff overwhelm me at home and work. So when it comes time to clean up, I get to the point of just putting everything in a box and putting it in a closet or out in the garage. When I left my first school as a principal, they would go into a closet and find one of my boxes and they would laugh, "One of Mr. Ready's buried treasures!"

 In your case, you have someone who is trying to avoid his life's pain and disappointments by just putting it in a box and hiding them. He doesn't want to go to therapy or discuss his therapy with you because that means unpacking the boxes and going through them in detail. That takes time and lots of reflection when his own core essence is saying to him, "Just put it back in the box and I don't have to feel this way."

I am glad that you did make your stand with him and it didn't send your body into overdrive. It has taken years, but I find myself getting much better at moving ahead and confronting the issue. Now, I still take my time to mentally prepare myself and get my talking points in order so that I don't let my emotional side get the best of me. It seems that you did do that as well and the outcome was a major step forward. That is amazing and clears an obstacle for you. (((((Hugs))))

Quote
What is the differance between avoidant and fully detached??

I think the main difference between the two is that when the avoidant doesn't lead to resolution. Avoidant is like carrying a 50 lb sack of rice on your shoulders and to try and avoid the fatigue, you pretend it is not there. But in reality, it still is and the fatigue is real. Detachment is when you put the sack down and go and get a wheelbarrow to carry it.

((((Ready))))

  • Logged
"Always look in the mirror and love what you see."

9
  • *
  • MLCer Type: Clinging Boomerang
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 716
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#40: December 06, 2020, 07:12:05 AM
Barbie, I have been reading along carefully as I find myself and my situation almost mirroring yours right now.  My H and I are working in MC about avoidance from both of us.   Great insight here.

Quote
I think the main difference between the two is that when the avoidant doesn't lead to resolution. Avoidant is like carrying a 50 lb sack of rice on your shoulders and to try and avoid the fatigue, you pretend it is not there. But in reality, it still is and the fatigue is real. Detachment is when you put the sack down and go and get a wheelbarrow to carry it.

This is one of the most profound things I've read on here in a long time.  Thanks Ready. 
  • Logged
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.

b
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2643
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#41: December 06, 2020, 07:26:40 AM
Quote
I think the main difference between the two is that when the avoidant doesn't lead to resolution. Avoidant is like carrying a 50 lb sack of rice on your shoulders and to try and avoid the fatigue, you pretend it is not there. But in reality, it still is and the fatigue is real. Detachment is when you put the sack down and go and get a wheelbarrow to carry it.
.

WOW!  I will remember this as a major clarifying statement . This is very powerful and I thank you . Printed and  on my desk for future use!.
  • Logged
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.

b
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2643
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#42: December 09, 2020, 04:08:51 AM
Quote
In your case, you have someone who is trying to avoid his life's pain and disappointments by just putting it in a box and hiding them. He doesn't want to go to therapy or discuss his therapy with you because that means unpacking the boxes and going through them in detail. That takes time and lots of reflection when his own core essence is saying to him, "Just put it back in the box and I don't have to feel this way."
.

I believe this to be the bottom line. Its the 1st time I have seen it in print and so black and white , but it is how I have felt all along .  He can avoid "things" that is almost super-human" in my opinion. Of course it would seem that way to me who choses to avoid very very little as I see no point to that . Period. I detest avoid problems and to continue to sit in " problem-sh$t" endlessly.  Detest it ..and it has been the core issue and source of deep frustration.  And what could be the point or value in that choice?? . I have raised 5 girls and I can tell you , we as "females" avoid very little , atleast my girls.  If something " is bugging them ", it is addressed. They have been taught that there are solutions to everything..you might not like the solution but its better than ignoring and sitting in sh%t.   Maybe its a gender thing ( more men compartmentalize than women) but maybe its just his thing. I hate it because it forces me to live "his way". If a partner refuses to enter in to uncomfortable converstaions to address issues, YOU are living their way. The problem cannot be solved. Its like attempting to play tennis with someone who refuses to pick up the racket.  Game over. It ( in my opinion) is some sort of mental illness ...atleast that is how I see it here . And yes, I would bet a million bucks he is trying to avoid this therapist . She is holding him accountable , she is pushing him, taking down his walls etc. Suddenly he may want to go back to his own therapist ( after covid) and I saw no progress with that counsellor.  He wants to avoid this counsellor.

I remember atleast 25 years ago, the car was re-pocessed right out of the driveway. To say it was shocking, embarrassing and inconvenient is an understatement.  He had not made a car payment in 3 months and NEVER SAID A WORD about it. Who does that ?  When I asked him...not much came out of his mouth as an explanation. He was behind in contracts that were owed to him and not paid, so he did not pay car payment. As if it would go away? As if that is the solution...just put it in a box in your brain and float it away. As if consequences will never come.  These are men that can ignore and avoid problems or issues , become desperately unhappy ( and never say a word, never look for solutions , deny anything is wrong) and have affairs as some insane attempt to feel "better".  He would rather have an affair that traumatizes his entire family....rather than TALK? .  I will NEVER understand that thinking as I can sniff out a "maybe" problem 10 years from now and get busy finding a way for that not to happen.  My girls just hated that ..I could read their intention almost. It was common to hear me say  " do not come back here with any kind of tattoo on your body  or there will be consequences that will be unpleasant"  ( I just "knew") . Or " If you had to look ahead and forecast the outcome of that choices...what do you see ?".   Forward thinking..problems can be created by YOU and will need solutions ..by YOU.  He was never ever taught that ...or anything for that matter . Adult Children Of Alcoholics ( ACOA trauma syndrome) are taught from birth...do not think, do not feel and do not talk.  And that is a pretty good description of what I have. 

If you are so damaged in your FOO issues , that you have learned to rely ONLY on yourself ( no one is ever to be trusted and no one is safe) , if you learned thru extreme ridicule and shame , that you are always "wrong"  ( you cannot face being or doing wrong as an adult) . If you learned you are NEVER heard or seen ..you stop talking . Silence is safe.  I could go on and on as he has ALL of the scars of ACOA trauma syndrome ( and has been diagnosed with this ) ....then this is likely not going to change. As bad as he says he wants this marriage , wants to "fix" what he broke desperately ...he has not been able to change many  ( all) of these behaviours. He lives in internal fear, constant hypervigilant fear inside of relationships.    So do all his brothers . The difference is that all his brothers have extreme addiction issues  ( drugs and alcohol, porn , etc)  My H does not so he appeared to be the only Hero, the only unscarred high functioning one, the "best" man . He was the "catch".  Hmmmm? Not so much.  At 55 he utterly fell apart and he still struggles to put himself back together from a huge fall off his pedestal.   I do not imagine I will ever be the "safe" one.  And it is fair to assume his OW was not "safe" either or he would have stayed . This will be my life if I stay in this marriage. I could also write a lengthy description of some very kind, gentle and admirable qualities. Regardless... these are hard men to love.   At this point , he has been unable to find a way to "avoid" this therapist . That sucks .
  • Logged
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.

b
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2643
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#43: December 09, 2020, 05:38:13 AM
  • Logged
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.

  • *
  • MLCer Type: Vanisher
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 3401
  • Gender: Female
Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#44: December 09, 2020, 05:47:13 AM
Wondering if his comment about reaching out refers to gestures and touch vs. a conversation. Maybe he has to feel physically safe before opening up the conversation. A hand on the shoulder, lower back, knee, holding hands, caressing his face, neck massage, hand massage?
  • Logged
me 51
H 51
M 27
BD 1/15/ 10 then BD 8/21/10
D final 8/13

b
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2643
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#45: December 09, 2020, 06:32:18 AM
Quote
Wondering if his comment about reaching out refers to gestures and touch vs. a conversation. Maybe he has to feel physically safe before opening up the conversation. A hand on the shoulder, lower back, knee, holding hands, caressing his face, neck massage, hand massage?
.

UGH!!  I have to think on this ...was hoping this was not what he means by " when do you ever reach out to me ".   I "think" you are right . My therapist has also said similar.  And its a problem for me .  I have been far too angry , too disgusted by scenes of him and OW  , too feeling "compared " and just plain paralyzed by so many things that I have NOT done any of those things . Not once, not even close. I was going to start some EMDR on this apparent block ..and then COVID.  I need to think more about this as the therapist has challenged me to do. I just cannot ...
  • Logged
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.

b
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2643
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#46: December 19, 2020, 04:14:53 AM
 Hello my friends ..just some thoughts and ponderings this morning as I sit here in the dark. Sleeping past 4 or 5 am has not happened in years , so I have cranberry muffins in the oven , laundry going and ready to bake some shortbread and just decided to sit for a minute .  We are on the cusp of a total lockdown that is likely to happen on monday , so I have filled the cupboards and freezer , shopping all done and ready for whatever kind of christmas I can have.  None of my daughters are coming home due to covid restrictions and that is very difficult to manage emotionally. I miss my middle daughter terribly and it will be the 1st time in their lives that my 14 years grandson and 11 year old grandaughter have not been here for christmas.  My typical christmas dinner is just over 30 people ... I am now allowed 5 inside.  Monday may change that to zero. 

It has been rather peaceful here for the past 6 months with the odd ripple ...but all in all quiet and thoughtful.  My H would likely say it was "wonderful" to finally have some peace , I on the otherhand have just found ways to look after myself, practise detachment and focus only on what I am trying to achieve for myself. A quiet wife does not automatically mean a "happy" wife but it is how he would interpret that . Sometimes you should be a little concerned about silence.  I have ( finally) become far FAR less reactive , focused only on my side of the street and  leave him to whatever goes on inside of him.  Its hard to not see "avoidant " men as just people that have many many secrets.  They do not want to be "known" ..its just too risky and unsafe.  He represents a 1000 conversations that just cannot happen... he will shut down completely and utterly if there is a hint of an issue.  And to me ...intolerable, immature , lonely and futile and will trigger such insane feelings of rejection, loss , abandonment etc. I understand the dynamics, I understand the dance ....I am just NOT participating in that in any way shape or form. Not ever.  And to him ...that is "peace".  I am working hard online to change my attachment style and educate myself etc etc

When you live with an avoidant person who sees the world and relationships as "unsafe" you live a very shallow superficial life.  The conversations are brief and revolve around the weather, COVID, household tasks  etc, ..nothing of substance or significance.  I call it "fluff".  He is a "fluff" talker and appears to be happy with that level of interaction only.  The chances of a deep emotional intimate attachment ?.   It will not happen when all that is "safe" is fluff.  I understand that I will not have that type of connection with him. I have accepted that 100 %. If I do feel prompted to bring up a subject that his radar will trigger as potentially unsafe .... I simply do not do it.  Sad in ways ( it really is) , but to do otherwise will end in extreme frustration , "attack" and resentment.  I read this quote on facebook yesterday ....

Quote
Emotional pain is at the root of our tendency to withold and this causes pain to the people subjected to it.
.

It is the truest thing I have read in a long time. It is indeed painful to feel " pushed away" and isolated from the person you are married to. But my reaction to that is now 90%  under control and I am able to accept that he is not capable of letting me in. I see that there has not been I stable relationship in his history that was "safe" or did not cause him extreme pain and distrust. His mother and father ...both , caused injury that has not been healed.  Even his 1st wife cheated and presented herself as "pregnant by another man " while they were married.  I know that years ago he hired a young guy as an apprentice and spent years training him, teaching him and befriending him. At the end , this young man betrayed him and bid on jobs behind my H's back... and won the contracts. He was desperately betrayed by this relationship. Seems to happen to him time and time again.  But it is the FOO scars that have locked him away from relationships . That is how it is .  Nothing to do with me ... I am just another "unsafe" person that  he tries to love. It is no longer all that personal to me. I understand.  Now the counsellor totally disagrees.  Says he is capable of a deep intimate connection and to "show up" emotionally and feel safe. I utterly and totally disagree. And have found some peace in not striving for more.  Right or wrong..I have given up the chase.  The counsellor is working with him separate from me and says she will invite me back to "marriage " counselling when she believes he is "ready" .  It has been 6 months and I have not been asked to return.  Interesting .  I am grateful for her...I truly am , but I still believe she is wrong.

Now this is the question .. the "pondering".  What does it mean to stay in this marriage. I will have to accept that I will never experience the emotional bond or  deep connection that I so desperately have wanted .  Its a result of my own FOO ...pursuing an emotionally unavailable mother has left many scars . I feel as though I have healed significantly from that pain.  Regardless...I will never have what I want in this marriage .  I just will not..plain and simple. It is not to say that it is an unpleasant  marriage , it is far from that .  There is no abuse , no drinking , no dugs, no "affairs "  ( hopefully) and my H is very kind, hard working etc etc.  He is a "good family man" .   BUT he will never be emotionally connected or available to me.  I will need to find ways to live happily in "fluff". I will need to find ways to have my emotional needs met in other ways...thru other relationships , friendships, etc.   Am I prepared to live like this ? Can I accept what he simply is incapable of ...without hurt, anger and lonliness. Is it worth taking a chance shutting down my marriage, my family and pursuing this emotional connection and bond in a new " relationship? . Or is my silliness and Hallmark Movies overated and  elusive. Maybe I am just a romantic dreamer and there is nothing better for me. Can I blow up the world and destroy so many people on a whimsical whim that I will find MR Emotionally Available and deeply connect with him?   Are the losses worth the "possible " gains? . I wonder why we are "shamed" for seemingly settling for this kind of marriage. If I tell anyone this story, I immediately will get challenged as to why I would "settle" and not want more for myself. Like there is something wrong with me .  I feel very judged ....

Lastly, my ponderings include the utter shocking ability these men who have lied, had affairs, cheated , abandoned and abused there wives ...dare to say they feel "unsafe".  Initially there was many "firetruck you and this marriage"  as a response to him saying he did not feel "safe".  Its just bizarre in so many ways ... I am the "unsafe " one?   After all YOU have done...I am unsafe".   Are YOU for real ? The biggest risk I will ever take is trying to love an adult man that  lives his life thru the lense of a battered and abused little boy.   I am "unsafe" has been the most hurtful and shocking information to process.  It feels like some attempt once again at "blame".  These types of men will always be risky because you NEVER know who they are, how they feel, what they want or need, if they are happy or internally brewing .  They will never say. And is that not risky?  Lets face it..90% of us are faced with men ( or women) that suddenly want out, are having affairs , wanted to "leave for years" etc etc... and they NEVER SAID A WORD.  My H never ever said 1 single word about being unhappy . He just left, had an affair and the entire MLC thing. How would I know that the same thing is not brewing inside of him now ?   He "could be" profoundly unhappy, looking for an out, making a plan etc etc... and I would not know because he " will never say a word".   Now that my friends is an "unsafe "  secretaive  and risky person to love.    I seem to always be "thinking and pondering" what is best for me   VS  what i
  • Logged
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.

  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 4602
  • Gender: Male
  • Back to being #1 for my daughters!!!!
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#47: December 19, 2020, 09:31:52 AM
Hello,

Quote
What does it mean to stay in this marriage. I will have to accept that I will never experience the emotional bond or  deep connection that I so desperately have wanted .

Now, I can be completely off base so if I am, please feel free to shut me down.  From what I am reading, you accepted this from the start of your marriage. You sacrificed this need for him. In fact, had it not been for the affair, you would have "settled" peacefully with him.

Let's drop MLC for just a second. Let's just focus on one thing? The affair. He may have had his fair share of betrayals, but something in my heart feels you've had your fair share as well. The affair left a huge wound. For all that you gave up for him, all the emotional needs you left on the table so that he could feel secure, and now he leaves you emotionally wounded and won't even offer you a band-aid.

Once again,  I may be completely off, but of all the things he could have done to you, the affair was the biggest hurt, and he knew it. 

Neither of you are at peace, you are at detente at best.

Just keep journaling and continue to post. This is part of your journey, processing your pain and grasping that even though he is in the house, he is not in your home.

((((Ready))))
  • Logged
"Always look in the mirror and love what you see."

C
  • *
  • Subscriber, 12 Month
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 588
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#48: December 19, 2020, 09:51:26 AM
Barbie, I always appreciate the insight in your thread. It speaks to me about trying to heal in the face of ongoing trauma, and about how trauma can have many different faces. My perspective is from a very different place but I still feel like many of your truths resonate with me, which I think is a big part of the value of this community. Leading up to BD, I felt like my W had become noticeably avoidant. In response, I (who had probably tended toward some avoidance in most prior relationships myself) became anxious and clingy, which made her even more avoidant. In our marriage counseling sessions, what the MC noticed was that my W wasn't detached and cold - she was dissociating when talking about relationships and the future and what she wanted out of life. She wasn't non responsive out of a lack of caring; it was excessive anxiety that I didn't see because of my own anxiety about the detachment I was perceiving from her. Obviously, this knowledge and understanding didn't stop the crisis or even minimize it; we have all learned that it doesn't work that way. But for me it was a bit of insight into just how not-normal this process is; just how broken their coping mechanisms are. Which is not to say that your H is the same as my W, and which is not to suggest that you don't already know this. I guess I'm just thinking through it again based on your description of your H, and sometimes a little more distance gives us different perspective so I appreciate that you're discussing this. I feel like the very idea that you could be seen as "unsafe" to him, when exactly the opposite is true, is the biggest example of the "not-normal" in your post.

The idea of what the marriage should be is further food for thought. Even for those who get to reconnection, a variety of outcomes seems to exist - from MLCers who come through the crisis wiser and more loving than they had been before, to those who come through it still broken but committed to the relationship. And for the LBS, who has done so much work to heal his or her own fractures - fractures inflicted by the MLCer - sometimes even the thought of being there to support the MLCer's healing when they were the ones who inflicted the damage on both themselves and their families is just too much.

I'm glad that you're stocked up for the lockdown; sorry it's restricting your holiday gathering and particularly your time with your daughters and grandchildren. But I am glad you have found peace and time to think further about your life and needs and goals. Whichever direction is right for you, you can only know through this type of introspection. Sometimes I wish there were ways to be sure of the right decision; the idea of taking a leap (either to commit to reconnecting or to decide to move on) is terrifying. I suspect you have more insight than I do on this, as do many of the veterans on this board. I suspect that at some point, the idea of taking the leap becomes less terrifying and maybe even becomes a necessary next step? Anyway... I just wanted to thank you for your thoughts which are always so insightful.
  • Logged

  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 11198
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#49: December 19, 2020, 11:54:54 AM
I have no thoughts at all about what you will or should choose to do with this new vista, but I do have a deep trust that you are probably finally able to make real choices in a good way. This last post, Barbie? I don't know if you feel it, but it is so different; you sound like a different kind of Barbie altogether. And as a fellow PTSD survivor, I have nothing but admiration for every sinew you have strained to get to here. If it is not too presumptuous, I am tremendously proud of you and inspired by you xxx
  • Logged
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

  • *
  • Trial Subscriber
  • Sr. Member
  • Posts: 361
  • Gender: Male
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#50: December 19, 2020, 01:36:52 PM
Hi Barbie,

      I don’t post much in your thread but I do read it. I too was married the Catch the sane one. The one that had it together.  You know the story ! I don’t have much advice to offer but I wanted to say thank you for your honesty in all of this. You have helped so many wether you realize it or not.

 God Bless you in all you do !
  • Logged
Together 12 yrs Married 5
5 kids 3- Step (21) (20) (18) Two together ( 8 ) (9)
BD1 March 2018 - I wish I could give you more of what you need
BD2 Aug 2018 - I want a divorce sent by text ILWYBNILWY

O/M Discovered Nov-18

9
  • *
  • MLCer Type: Clinging Boomerang
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 716
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#51: December 19, 2020, 01:42:26 PM
Barbie, I read your post this morning at 5am with my quiet cup of coffee and had to reread it later to digest it all.  So close to home once again.  After 35 years of being with my H and raising 4 children I am now just coming to realize how much of myself I gave up for my marriage, my family and for our business.  Before BD I willingly did so because I based much of my self worth on what I could do to make things better for everyone else.  There were many things I let go because of this, things now that I realize that I shouldn't have.  When BD hit, my world as I knew it ended.  I was stunned that after I gave and gave I got an affair and 5 years worth of pain to muddle through. 

Quote
Let's drop MLC for just a second. Let's just focus on one thing? The affair. He may have had his fair share of betrayals, but something in my heart feels you've had your fair share as well. The affair left a huge wound. For all that you gave up for him, all the emotional needs you left on the table so that he could feel secure, and now he leaves you emotionally wounded and won't even offer you a band-aid.

This right here I relate to completely.  I know my H feels bad about his behavior, I know that he regrets ruining the trust we have.  His solution is to try and put it back where it was.  For me where it was, was me giving more of myself to him then him giving himself to me.  This is something we are starting to address in MC.  Our old relationship cannot work anymore, it was broken before BD and we have to figure something new out.   Sometimes new scares me.  Sometimes my growth scares me.  I want things back where they were when it was safe.  I could hide behind other people and not focus on myself. 

I think often that this is my Midlife transition.  Where do I fit, where do we fit.  It's a new path.  The old path was bulldozed by my H, maybe it needed to be to get me started to something else.  I love my H and I know he loves me.  Our MC said he sees this but we BOTH need to start figuring out how we BOTH get what we want out of our marriage.  I don't know if my H will be able to do this because he was so used to me being the one to sacrifice to make us work. 

I just wanted you to know I understand where you are.  It's scary in some ways, yet very freeing in other ways. A focus on ourselves is so necessary in order to be part of a partnership.  Finding a sense of being a complete person.  My H is not done cooking, I am not done cooking.  I know change and growth are coming our way.  Reconnection is not what Hallmark movies are made of for sure. 

Wishing you new and continued growth for 2021. 

  • Logged
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.

  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 4272
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#52: December 19, 2020, 02:30:07 PM
  I wonder why we are "shamed" for seemingly settling for this kind of marriage. If I tell anyone this story, I immediately will get challenged as to why I would "settle" and not want more for myself. Like there is something wrong with me .  I feel very judged ....
This popped out at me, because I'm not sure I understand.  The person I see judging you is....you. if you tell anyone this story, it includes how you feel and how you feel is emotionally disconnected. Anyone who cares about you wants you to have a good, quality, contented life, but if you tell your story, it is anything but.

Is it judgement to ask why you would settle for this kind of life, one of emotional detachment and anger, or is it concern as to why you think you are only worth having this kind of life? A person on the outside cannot know if there is something FOR YOU that makes all the pain and rage and disconnect you have been through worth it (is the juice worth the squeeze, as the saying goes). As an example might be If a person believes in one marriage for all time no matter the cost to themself,  then saving their marriage at any cost to them would be worth it. It would not be worth it to others, so they cannot understand. If a person is proud and content with where they stand in life, it doesn't matter who thinks what about us.

IMO, when we feel judged, it's because we place some kind of importance on someone else's opinion. If we are good with our choices, someone else's opinion doesn't really matter. It's when we are unsure of our choices that someone elses opposing opinion makes us uncomfortable. An opposing position makes us wonder if we made the right choice or if there is anything we haven't thought of yet that can be done. I don't think that is always a bad thing. That is part of what makes us take a hard look at ourselves and helps us to grow. Again, JMO.
  • Logged
« Last Edit: December 19, 2020, 02:31:29 PM by OffRoad »
When life gives you lemons, make SALSA!

S
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 6257
  • Gender: Female
  • Strength and honour are her clothing;
Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#53: December 20, 2020, 01:16:07 AM
Quote
When you live with an avoidant person who sees the world and relationships as "unsafe" you live a very shallow superficial life.  The conversations are brief and revolve around the weather, COVID, household tasks  etc, ..nothing of substance or significance.  I call it "fluff".  He is a "fluff" talker and appears to be happy with that level of interaction only.  The chances of a deep emotional intimate attachment ?.   It will not happen when all that is "safe" is fluff.  I understand that I will not have that type of connection with him. I have accepted that 100 %. ....................
I am able to accept that he is not capable of letting me in. I see that there has not been I stable relationship in his history that was "safe" or did not cause him extreme pain and distrust............
 Seems to happen to him time and time again.  But it is the FOO scars that have locked him away from relationships . That is how it is .  Nothing to do with me ... I am just another "unsafe" person that  he tries to love. It is no longer all that personal to me. I understand.  Now the counsellor totally disagrees.  Says he is capable of a deep intimate connection and to "show up" emotionally and feel safe. I utterly and totally disagree. And have found some peace in not striving for more............

Interesting points Barbie and good that you have reached this level of acceptance. It's been a very tough journey for you so far.

Now this is the question .. the "pondering".  What does it mean to stay in this marriage. I will have to accept that I will never experience the emotional bond or  deep connection that I so desperately have wanted .  Its a result of my own FOO ...pursuing an emotionally unavailable mother has left many scars . I feel as though I have healed significantly from that pain.  Regardless...I will never have what I want in this marriage .  I just will not..plain and simple.
This is so sad. if That is what it means to stay in the marriage is it worth it?  What do you want from the marriage though?  What do you want from any relationship?

 BUT he will never be emotionally connected or available to me.  I will need to find ways to live happily in "fluff". I will need to find ways to have my emotional needs met in other ways...thru other relationships , friendships, etc.   Am I prepared to live like this ?
I so get this.  My H will never apolgise for the hurt he caused me. But then he is still talking about being on his own so he is still in a form of denial, guilt and shame.

Can I accept what he simply is incapable of ...without hurt, anger and lonliness. Is it worth taking a chance shutting down my marriage, my family and pursuing this emotional connection and bond in a new " relationship? .
Would a new relationship make you whole?   Looking at a lot of my divorced friends who have found a new love it has become clear to me that all of them found their new love when they were completely healed and whole themselves. Their new love appeared out of nowhere - they didn't go looking for it; it came when they were ready.  Perhaps you need to be ready first Barbie before you make that decision but then again it's a chicken and egg situation - do you leave first to become whole and healthy or do you stay until that someone appears and there is no other option? 


Can I blow up the world and destroy so many people on a whimsical whim that I will find MR Emotionally Available and deeply connect with him?   Are the losses worth the "possible " gains? .
Your world has already been blown up - what more damage can be done?


I wonder why we are "shamed" for seemingly settling for this kind of marriage. If I tell anyone this story, I immediately will get challenged as to why I would "settle" and not want more for myself. Like there is something wrong with me .  I feel very judged ....
I'm with OR on this one- The judgement comes from a need to "be approved". You have to do what is right for you and not right for the outside world.

Lastly, my ponderings include the utter shocking ability these men who have lied, had affairs, cheated , abandoned and abused there wives ...dare to say they feel "unsafe"............... It feels like some attempt once again at "blame".  These types of men will always be risky because you NEVER know who they are, how they feel, what they want or need, if they are happy or internally brewing .  They will never say. And is that not risky?  Lets face it..90% of us are faced with men ( or women) that suddenly want out, are having affairs , wanted to "leave for years" etc etc... and they NEVER SAID A WORD.  My H never ever said 1 single word about being unhappy . He just left, had an affair and the entire MLC thing. How would I know that the same thing is not brewing inside of him now ?   He "could be" profoundly unhappy, looking for an out, making a plan etc etc... and I would not know because he " will never say a word".   Now that my friends is an "unsafe "  secretaive  and risky person to love. 

So with you on this at this moment in time.  My H has never said he feels unsafe but his actions show that he is feeling that way.  He still asks permission to have some food from the refrigerator, he still asks if it's ok to use the washing machine......   And all the time I am beginning to believe more and more and accept more and more that if he isn't prepared to face up to what he's done - we have no marriage.

  I seem to always be "thinking and pondering" what is best for me

And that is the healthy response.  What is best for you Barbie?  Thanks for giving me further food for thought.

Let's drop MLC for just a second. Let's just focus on one thing? The affair. He may have had his fair share of betrayals, but something in my heart feels you've had your fair share as well. The affair left a huge wound. For all that you gave up for him, all the emotional needs you left on the table so that he could feel secure, and now he leaves you emotionally wounded and won't even offer you a band-aid.

Once again,  I may be completely off, but of all the things he could have done to you, the affair was the biggest hurt, and he knew it. 

Neither of you are at peace, you are at detente at best.

[/b][/color]

Ready - thanks I needed that too.
  • Logged
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.

b
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2643
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#54: December 26, 2020, 05:34:49 PM
Even though Christmas was very different for me ..it was nice, stress free , calm and very very quiet. Where I usually feed over 30 members of my family, there was 6 people this year. That has never ever happened. I used one 8 ft table instead of  4, plus a 6 foot table.  The clean up was like any normal meal.   We are now in full and total lock-down as of midnight and about to venture into the longest January in history.  It snowed for the past 3 days and it is really lovely to see it instead of dirty dead grass.   All in all...I had a nice christmas other than missing my daughtesr being together and the silly entertainment they provide.  I talked on skype to all of them and it is the best we could do under the new restrictions.

Ready:

Quote
Now, I can be completely off base so if I am, please feel free to shut me down.  From what I am reading, you accepted this from the start of your marriage. You sacrificed this need for him. In fact, had it not been for the affair, you would have "settled" peacefully with him.
Yes. It is true that he was emotionally “avoidant”  or closed or unavailable from the start. Of course he did not develop a fearful avoidant attachment style in his 50’s . It has always been there . I met him in my teens initially and started a relationship with him over 40 years ago. As a teen or even in your 20’s or 30’s ( maybe more) what could/did w ever know about “attachment styles” or being “avoidant” or being the anxious pursuer ?  We knew nothing…less than nothing. I loved him with such fierceness and intensity , I never would have seen those wounds and how they would manifest in my marriage. Neither did he I am sure . No one in their youth and inexperience sees those things. I guess its hard to agree that I “accepted” this , as I was unaware of what any of it really meant. But at some point along the way I became more and more aware that he was emotionally limited or “hidden” from me. I absolutely heard this from most of my friends….” My H will not talk to me” , he is not emotionally connected to me , he says “nothing”.  There are thousand of books written about “ getting your man to talk to you or open up” and I do mean thousands . By the time I understood it was a huge issue for me , I also heard the same issue my girlfriends had with their husbands . Seemed a rather universal problem in marriage with closed off, unemotional, with-holding men. Men that did not talk, share or allow themselves to be vulnerable seemed to be the “norm”.  I did accept it I guess, not quietly at times .

Quote
Let's drop MLC for just a second. Let's just focus on one thing? The affair. He may have had his fair share of betrayals, but something in my heart feels you've had your fair share as well. The affair left a huge wound. For all that you gave up for him, all the emotional needs you left on the table so that he could feel secure, and now he leaves you emotionally wounded and won't even offer you a band-aid.

Yes. By far , his affair was likely the biggest wounding I will ever experience in my life.  Everyday it is with me …I think of it everyday.  I do not believe anything will hurt me more. I have had significant betrayals in my life…huge and painful. I can see , looking back, that I had PTSD from a work incident 10 years ago. It was a huge betrayal . I also had a bratty 18 year old girl give me a run for my money …I did not support her getting married at 18 to a boy that she knew for 6 months.  Utter and complete insanity and told her NO.  She hopped on the bus with her boyfriend and walked into city hall and got married by the justice of the peace….behind my back. To say that hurt beyond measure is an understatement. It hurt..lots of hurt, more than 1 betrayal.  I often think of a saying that I have heard many times. ..” the universe will not leave you alone until you learn what it is trying to teach you “.  I have had repeated betrayals in my life… what is it I am not learning??

Quote
you would have "settled" peacefully with him.

Its funny you used the word “settled”.  At BD and for weeks , he told me that I had “settled” for him.  He just went on and on that I had “settled”.  I never really understood why he kept saying that … he felt “not worthy “ I suspect.  Would I have settled with him had there been no affair….I am not sure , but likely yes, I would have.  I have a very hard time imaging destroying a family , decades of history and hurting so many people because my husband “ won’t talk “.  Life is really not a Hallmark Movie afterall. In ALL other ways he was a great husband, worker, father etc…  But emotionally, I was unhappy. That is the truth.  I remember a therapist talking to us about “affairs”…she talked ( or asked him) about “exit affairs” ..that maybe this affair was his way of getting out since he could not “talk” about anything. He said “No, absolutely not, I lost my mind, my purpose etc”. I on the other hand said “ perhaps his affair is my opportunity to exit”.  Because it is isn’t it ?   We get to decide to reconcile or ..not.  She had never heard that before .   In many many ways , I am back to “settling”. I have told him that .

 Curiosity :

Quote
Leading up to BD, I felt like my W had become noticeably avoidant. In response, I (who had probably tended toward some avoidance in most prior relationships myself) became anxious and clingy, which made her even more avoidant.

Yes. The more we “pursue”..the more they avoid and so goes the insanity dance.
Quote
n our marriage counseling sessions, what the MC noticed was that my W wasn't detached and cold - she was dissociating when talking about relationships and the future and what she wanted out of life. She wasn't non responsive out of a lack of caring; it was excessive anxiety that I didn't see because of my own anxiety about the detachment I was perceiving from her. Obviously, this knowledge and understanding didn't stop the crisis or even minimize it; we have all learned that it doesn't work that way. But for me it was a bit of insight into just how not-normal this process is; just how broken their coping mechanisms are. Which is not to say that your H is the same as my W, and which is not to suggest that you don't already know this. I guess I'm just thinking through it again based on your description of your H, and sometimes a little more distance gives us different perspective so I appreciate that you're discussing this. I feel like the very idea that you could be seen as "unsafe" to him, when exactly the opposite is true, is the biggest example of the "not-normal" in your post.

I appreciate this comment very much.  I think it was very interesting when our therapist told my husband that he “triggered” more than I did. Shutting down is a response to a trigger . And yes, ( I have been told ) that this shut down is the result of extreme anxiety, “emotional flooding”, fear, “freezing”  , dissociating. It does not “look “ like that at all…but I am repeatedly told that this is the reason he shuts-down.  Apparrently it is extremely painful broken defense mechanism to protect himself…all FOO wounds I am sure . My reaction to that softens when I remember these things …otherwise, it feels “on-purpose, punishment and how to get “control”.  I have greatly improved my reaction to this “shut down” …but we still cannot solve, move ahead, talk, become close or fix.  It is “not normal” and not “intimacy friendly”. Its apparently the most  common push pull within relationships. Awful. To add further injustice , the person who has to change ?  If the “dance” or dynamic is to change , the “pursuer”  ( me) has to change .  I have read this many times….it reeks of injustice in everyway. 

Quote
The idea of what the marriage should be is further food for thought. Even for those who get to reconnection, a variety of outcomes seems to exist - from MLCers who come through the crisis wiser and more loving than they had been before, to those who come through it still broken but committed to the relationship. And for the LBS, who has done so much work to heal his or her own fractures - fractures inflicted by the MLCer - sometimes even the thought of being there to support the MLCer's healing when they were the ones who inflicted the damage on both themselves and their families is just too much.

My H did not return heaped with wisdom and change. He came back extremely committed ( almost terrified to not be able to fix what he broke) and still broken . He is still in some stage of MLC without question. How that changes?  I do not have the answer.  My H does not talk about his healing, growth, understanding things etc etc…. not much to support.  He has talked about those things initially and will answer the therapist ..but it is not things he randomly shares with me . He would likely choke to death than to “ask for support or help and finds it hard to accept if its offered. He is a self-reliant island. He requires very little from me and I have often felt cheated out of what wives in a truly intimate connection can give to a husband.  He looks after himself as that is what he learned as a child…no one else was reliable or “safe”.

Treasur

Quote
ave no thoughts at all about what you will or should choose to do with this new vista, but I do have a deep trust that you are probably finally able to make real choices in a good way. This last post, Barbie? I don't know if you feel it, but it is so different; you sound like a different kind of Barbie altogether. And as a fellow PTSD survivor, I have nothing but admiration for every sinew you have strained to get to here. If it is not too presumptuous, I am tremendously proud of you and inspired by you xxx

Ohhh indeed I feel it. I do feel “changed” and still rather cautious and curious. I feel far more stable, far more in charge of my responses, recognize the signs of the “big black hole looming” , have stronger self-talk, more selfcare and ability to accept that he does “not feel safe”.  And many other things that are rather awesome.  I “work” on courses online and just never stop trying to learn about myself, my attachment style and how to change it as I rather dislike it.  Thank you for always validating , sharing kind words and making me feel like I just might be on the right road ..finally.  ( I say with caution)



  • Logged
« Last Edit: December 26, 2020, 05:56:06 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.

  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 11198
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#55: December 26, 2020, 06:59:08 PM
Fwiw, my friend, that sense of caution is normal imho for PTSD recovery too.
I remember it but rarely feel it now. I think we have to learn to trust ourselves again, don't we? And PTSD is so hellish that a bit of us is perhaps frightened that we are not out o the woods yet.....normal....you will notice it changing though.
  • Logged
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

  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 11198
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#56: December 27, 2020, 02:04:37 AM
Belated PS.....I think the issue of working out, as honestly as we can, the kind of person we married, why and what we found acceptable before in our marriages is part of the healing process too. Both to work out what we feel was/is real and to hold ourselves accountable - albeit with a kind eye - for our own life choices bc that imho is part of reclaiming our own sense of control and agency in our lives.

And that unpicking and reviewing process is a very personal one. Perhaps even a unique one bc no one LBS or MLCer are identical, despite some of the 'textbook' bits we all recognise, are they? But it is part of making some kind of peace in ourselves with things we cannot change isn't it?

It was/is a strange thing for me that the very relationship that I had seen as a source of love and joy before BD now became probably the worst mistake of my life if I looked at it rationally post BD. Even with a very tough eye, I had no way to predict in the twenty years before BD that my h was even capable of doing much of what he did, let alone that he would want to. I didn't see it coming, no one who knew us saw it coming, not a single person since has said 'well, it makes sense now bc'....or...'well, tbh, I always wondered if....'.....so any red flags were obviously tucked well out of sight lol. I am also pretty comfortable that what happened in my h was quite extreme and that nothing I did or didn't do created it.....whatever it was, it had nothing to do with my habits or failings or assumptions as a normal human being.

And yet....
From what I can see, my then h became someone who saw no value in me or his previous life and felt no obligation to it all. Tbh he behaved like a sociopath pretty much, although I have no idea what he actually felt or thought at the time. He acted like someone who was content to cause any kind of damage to others if he got what he wanted, whatever that was.
This is not normal for normal humans imo; it just isn't. For all our manifold weaknesses.
So how did I live with someone who had that in them and not see it? Not know?
The best I can come up with is that I chose to share my life with a young man who I knew had FOO baggage and earlier trauma bc I really enjoyed the person I saw in front of me then. And I was rather naive about the long term effect of this kind of baggage bc it was so far from my own life experience. It was so much more than the odd bit of conflict avoidance or a bit of low self-esteem occasionally. I simply did not comprehend the potential darkness of it....or the risk I was taking or exposing my other loved ones to....until the lid was off and it was off to the races  :)

And then having seen it in all its glory, I couldn't unsee it.
Which is why, for me, Standing was not an option eventually bc I believed that I would never feel safe with my then h again. Or more accurately perhaps, safe to be myself without looking over my shoulder which is not how I would want to live. Bc I had seen the darkness and seen that he was some kind of level of ok with it. That it was to some degree acceptable to him, or acceptable enough as a way to live. And it never could be for me bc I am a person from a different kind of world with different values entirely. Again, very personal decision, a sample of one.....but I think for many LBS, much as we chew it over and over, perhaps the real question is not why we couldn't see the darkness in them before, but what we do once we really see it as part of the wider whole of who they are....?
  • Logged
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

b
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2643
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#57: December 31, 2020, 08:14:26 PM
Thank you Treasur.. invaluable words as always . I appreciate you over and over...

I have been thinking about an odd moment on christmas morning .  It was a christmas unlike any we have ever had when we have raised a large family. It was only my H , my youngest daughter and myself.  He unwrapped a gift from my 2nd oldest daughter who lives in another province and it startled me into a memory that was long forgotten or buried.

It was June , it was Fathers Day. All my daughters were home to celebrate Father Day.  It does not happen very often , that all 5 are home at the same time, so it was rather special and rare.  It was the worst time of my life and I did not want them there. It was 7 weeks after BD and I thought I was dying of anxiety and shock. None of them knew that this father they were honoring was in fact looking to leave our home and our family was never going to be the same .  Someone brought out a camera and wanted a "family " picture and started to tell everyone where to stand etc etc .   My H did not want me in the picture. He saw no reason for a "family" picture when he was "done".  He was angry and irritated wanted nothing to do with family pictures however grudgingly agreed to a picture with his daughters . I managed to stay out of the picture as I had no idea what he might have said otherwise.  On christmas morning , he opened this picture from our daughter. It was blown up and framed and there he was under a huge tree with all of his daughters around him ...not knowing what he was really doing behind all our backs.  I felt the entire memory zap back into my mind...I have not thought of it since the day it happened.  He knew. He stared at me .... locked eyes.  I said " that is very nice, you and your girls!".   The picture has since gone missing .. likely in his desk drawer. It hurts to remember that day , but that is all. A sadness of a memory , a time of deep confusion and a hurt that has re-visited time and time again.. a deep and lasting loss that for all time will be in the background of my life with him.  But it was not tears, harsh words or a PTSD spiral . It floated bye with momentary flash of hurts of the past and residue of the damage a man in MLC can do .
  • Logged
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.

  • *
  • Trial Subscriber
  • Full Member
  • Posts: 207
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#58: January 01, 2021, 03:01:53 AM
I‘m amazed and somehow inspired to hear this story Barbie. It gives me hope that one day I can truly heal like you. I hope that day will come when I can say bye to those hurtful memories. I‘m happy that you keep on posting here as it helps me on my road to healing as well and somehow keeps me grounded.
  • Logged
Me 44
H    46
Married 12 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

b
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2643
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#59: January 01, 2021, 03:47:01 AM
Quote
Barbie, I read your post this morning at 5am with my quiet cup of coffee and had to reread it later to digest it all.  So close to home once again.  After 35 years of being with my H and raising 4 children I am now just coming to realize how much of myself I gave up for my marriage, my family and for our business.  Before BD I willingly did so because I based much of my self worth on what I could do to make things better for everyone else.  There were many things I let go because of this, things now that I realize that I shouldn't have.  When BD hit, my world as I knew it ended.  I was stunned that after I gave and gave I got an affair and 5 years worth of pain to muddle through.
.

oh yes. I too felt like I was the glue that kept everything and everyone together ( and I was ) and the reward for that was an affair? Said this out loud many times. After everything I gave up , after everything I put aside that I wanted  and all the sacrifices ....an affair is what you dared to do ? . Of course those were all my decisions in some ways but in many ways I was on my own as a parent , houseworker , maid , cook etc etc , because he travelled most of our marriage. Sometimes 2 and 3 weeks at a time.  To raise 4 or 5 kids , run a home, a fulltime job and all that goes with that is just huge. I never had time to indulge in myself . While he travelled for work , I kept the home fires burning ( which allowed him to travel) and for all that ...I get an affair in return?   I feel like I wasted my life in some ways ... if not for my kids.  When we 1st started MC, he told the therapist that we were in a "child-focused " marriage .  At the time ( and still at times ) I hear "blame " in extreme ways.  It felt like he was blaming his affair on the fact that this was a child-focused marriage and somehow he was so pitifully neglected.  So when I look on my living room wall and see 5 University graduation pictures , girls that are successful, no drugs, no drinkers and no one waddled in her pregnant...I say firetruck that and YOU.  There was 5 of them and 1 of me . And I sacrificed everything being a mom starting in my teens. Infuriated by any percieved blame ....all the way to extremes of being irrational. How about a "thank you?". Rant over. Injustice creeps in whenever there is the slightest opportunity.

Quote
Sometimes my growth scares me.  I want things back where they were when it was safe.
.

I can truly relate to this in an odd way. I feel like I will ( or on my way  ) "out grown him".  And that will lead me to divorce after all this time of trying to fix this mess.  I know I read, take courses, come to HS and endlessly "working on myself".  As far as I can tell, he does none of that. How can you change or heal without those things? How is he "working on himself".  The therapist says we all do that in different ways and he is growing and changing....hmmm?   I have my doubts about that .  He can avoid being avoidant and I do not see that changing ...at all. But I am changing and it is rather scary.  To feel safe ( like in my old marriage) means never having intrusive thoughts . I would give anything to return to a time where I never saw my husband with another women ...where I never wondered where he was and believed in him and everything he said. Where he was my protector and would have set himself on fire to protect us. I had that trust and faith and safety once apon a time...

Quote
I think often that this is my Midlife transition.  Where do I fit, where do we fit.  It's a new path.  The old path was bulldozed by my H, maybe it needed to be to get me started to something else.  I love my H and I know he loves me.  Our MC said he sees this but we BOTH need to start figuring out how we BOTH get what we want out of our marriage.  I don't know if my H will be able to do this because he was so used to me being the one to sacrifice to make us work.
.

I "know" that his crisis absolutely created an extreme crisis in me . So I believe you are also in some kind of crisis or transition inside of yourself.  I am not sure about my "love" for my husband...that is hard to type. I just do not know if I truly love him or if this "crisis " is hiding what I feel. That makes little sense. I know that I once loved him with such passion , deep respect , such intensity and pride ..he was everything for a long long time. I am not sure anymore what this is or what it might grow in to.  But this "love" word ..does not feel the same at all.  For now I believe love is a decision and I have decided to keep my family together while I figure out what the future might become. That is the best I can do and as honest as I can be. The "love" I once had for him is gone.

Quote
I just wanted you to know I understand where you are.  It's scary in some ways, yet very freeing in other ways. A focus on ourselves is so necessary in order to be part of a partnership.  Finding a sense of being a complete person.  My H is not done cooking, I am not done cooking.  I know change and growth are coming our way.  Reconnection is not what Hallmark movies are made of for sure.
.

I thank you Roo...I appreciate your words so much . So much wisdom developing inside of you and I thank you for sharing with me .  Yes... no one here is done "cooking" either ...who knows who we will become?






  • Logged
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.

9
  • *
  • MLCer Type: Clinging Boomerang
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 716
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#60: January 03, 2021, 07:40:05 AM
Thanks for the feedback Barbie, and Happy New Year!

I don't mean to highjack your thread, but I find it interesting our similar situations.  I too pretty much raised our 4 children on my own.  I look back now and realize these 4 humans are amazing, well adjusted, educated, empathetic people and I had a big part in that.  My H also tells me that every time I say "We have great kids" he says "That's because of you"   My H also traveled a lot and also built what has become a rather large company.  I thought we were a team.  I was doing my part, he was doing his.  We were a well oiled machine with lots of respect for each other and what we contributed.  This was all working fine until he decided to quit the team and go out on his own and find another team member with the OW who was an employee.  He was working with her to build up another part of his company.  They were using each other. She is still an employee, still in the background.  My H can't fire her because there could be a lawsuit.  He tells me now she doesn't even take up any part of his brain space.  To me she is still a reminder of the pain I went through.  I want no part of anything she is a part of. 

We are dealing with this in MC now.  I have decided to quit the company team completely.  I gave a lot to help build what we now have, but I don't feel like I want any part of it anymore.   I want to be on my own team.  I am learning after giving myself to so many people I stopped taking care of me.  I am learning to love myself and give myself credit for what I have accomplished and what I have to offer the world on my own, not part of a team. 

I wonder sometimes if our marriage will make it though this new self awareness of mine.  I wonder if I too will "outgrow" my H.  He has so much work to do on his own to become a complete person, I don't know if he is capable of doing this.  I too have been reading, working, writing and thinking so much on this subject.  I feel like he is trailing along behind me expecting me to "fix" him like I have always done in the past.  I'm done fixing, he is on his own. 

So, I'm holding onto our marriage in hopes of creating something new.  We have an outstanding MC who is really focused on the need to be two individuals in a partnership.  He is big on individual responsibility and breaking co dependent habits.  I like him, my H likes him and we are inching forward. 

I hope this New Year gives us all a fresh perspective of ourselves, our abilities, our strengths and our weaknesses.  I believe this is so necessary in order for us to move forward as an LBS and as a MLCer.  Hoping this new perspective brings peace, weather we remain in a marriage or not. 

From what I have seen on here Barbie, you have gained so much wisdom and strength in your journey, I hope you can give yourself credit for how far you have come.  For those of us reading along you have dug deep and are completely honest on what you find.  I for one appreciate your honesty. 

Hugs to you for the New Year.  Onward we go.
  • Logged
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.

b
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2643
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#61: January 05, 2021, 04:43:37 AM
Roo, seems we do have much in common as we try to get thru this MLC rubble. Some thoughts come to mind as I read your response.  I see your H says he had EA only  and you are doubting that is the truth. So how do you deal with that ?  Do you just roll your eyes and mutter under your breathe and walk away or has it been a huge issue. I know that after an affair, there needs to be total truth and transparancy ...but what if there is not?   I know I have never gotten the full truth about many things and to this day there are still lies floating around and things that are impossible to believe.  I find that very difficult to accept. It is a difficult battle when your intuition or "knowings"  are denied . I have found it difficult to respect someone that is still to unwilling to be 100% transparent.

Quote
He tells me now she doesn't even take up any part of his brain space.
Quote
.

My H tells me the exact same thing and has since the begining. The OW never enters his thoughts , he never thinks about her and has no need or intention of ever seeing her again.  Period.  The only time my H thinks about OW is when I bring it up. Imagine?   Maybe she is in some compartment in his brain that he rarely visits ..if there is any truth in that at all.  My H has admitted never thinking about me when he was involved with OW. Compartmentalization or lies? Rebuilding trust is tested over and over because its hard to believe much of what they say.

Quote
He has so much work to do on his own to become a complete person, I don't know if he is capable of doing this.  I too have been reading, working, writing and thinking so much on this subject.  I feel like he is trailing along behind me expecting me to "fix" him like I have always done in the past.  I'm done fixing, he is on his own.
.

I wonder about this as well...these men have "work to do on themselves" . I wonder how they do that ?  In my case my H went to a therapist asap...his idea. He needed to know what happened to him. He needed to find the reasons that he "dropped every ball"  that made up who he was.  I know he felt bottomless shame and his loss of integrity and respect by so many people hurt him deeply. I know that much without question. He spent alot of time internally beating himself up. However, he did not and would not share what went on in therapy.  It was a bad move on is part as it felt like more secrets, more "hidden" relationships . I never saw any huge dramatic changes as a result of therapy and since he would not talk about it..I resented this more than I can say.  He attended therapy until COVID shut it all down and his therapist has not opened for business since. We listened to books , read stuff , went to marriage counselling ...you name it , we did it. But he never said anything. No personal input, no comments , no revelations.....all "top notch secrets" ( that how it felt) . Withholding is a great word. It frustrated me beyond words.  So , in the best interest of ME , I have stopped all of it.  I now wonder how he "works on himself"  and really, I just believe he doesn't at all.  He is not a reader, he is not learning anything as far as I can tell . Where would he learn anything from if there is no input?  No books, groups, videos , conversations, articles etc...so how does a person gain new skills, perspectives, understandings etc. How can change happen?.   How would you "know" someone is working on themselves short of being struck by a lightening bolt?   It confuses me .

We have a great Gottman trained marriage counsellor and I like her very much. She has been working only with him and will invite me back once she feels he is ready . Interesting. He has been seeing her by himself for several months and now we are under complete lockdown ..so that has stopped again.  I am not sure when he will return.

Quote
From what I have seen on here Barbie, you have gained so much wisdom and strength in your journey, I hope you can give yourself credit for how far you have come.  For those of us reading along you have dug deep and are completely honest on what you find.  I for one appreciate your honesty.
.

I thank you for saying this . I am able to congratulate myself from time to time especially in terms of my extreme reactivity. It is rare now that I respond in extreme fight or flight mode and to me that is proof of huge change. I am grateful I am no longer in that prison.   It has been peaceful and calm here for the majority of 2020 and that is just short of a miracle , trust me. I never thought I would ever stop reacting in extremes to the pain and anguish that I felt..but I have.  He sees that as "peace" finally and never ever brings up anything that might change the "peace".  That is just sad to me . We have a very superficial relationship as a result. It is not so much about peace ..it is about me understanding that he does not feel "safe" and likely never has in any relationship, its about changing from a " anxious pursuing" attachment style to more secure and utter acceptance that he is not capable of more . Sadly. He is able to avoid being avoidant...if that makes sense. I have no power or control over that . But he does mistake this "peace"  as a good thing . It is not. 

  • Logged
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.

  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 11198
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#62: January 05, 2021, 05:15:16 AM
Quote
It is rare now that I respond in extreme fight or flight mode and to me that is proof of huge change. I am grateful I am no longer in that prison.   It has been peaceful and calm here for the majority of 2020 and that is just short of a miracle , trust me. I

It is a big deal, Barbie, and you are right to acknowledge where you have got to now. Fear was my thing, rather than anger, but I honestly never imagined I would be able to live again without it running through my bones and in every breath. It is a huge miraculous thing that I too am no longer there, and yes, it did feel like a prison with no doors to me too  ::)

I guess from what you say the peace may be jolly good for you and mean nothing at all about your marriage. Apples and pears in a way which your h does not see....but I am very glad that you have found some peace apples anyway  :)
  • Logged
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

9
  • *
  • MLCer Type: Clinging Boomerang
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 716
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#63: January 05, 2021, 06:21:48 AM
Barbie I agree with Treasur, you are finding peace again and that is huge.  I'm working my way towards that as well.  Some days are more difficult than others.  I have been dealing with my own reactivty as well.  Owning it and recognizing it is part of healing in my opinion.

Quote
I see your H says he had EA only  and you are doubting that is the truth. So how do you deal with that ?  Do you just roll your eyes and mutter under your breathe and walk away or has it been a huge issue. I know that after an affair, there needs to be total truth and transparancy ...but what if there is not?   

This is something we are dealing with in counseling.  The counselor is letting me decide how much I need to know.  The knowldge I do have is bad enough.  I saw texts between them at BD talking about what they were going to do to each other when they saw each other next.  There was also a text that she loved him. (He did tell me that he never told her he loved her,never made any life plans with her and I believe him) There has been a huge breech of our sex life and our personal life.  We both know this.  He is the one that has to deal with what he has done, he has to answer to himself and to God and that must be a very difficult position to be in.  I don't think finding out that they actually had sex is going to help ME at this point, in fact it will cause more damage.  Maybe sometimes ignorance is bliss?  Right now it feels like information will pour salt on an open wound. 

One of my 2021 goals is to find myself again without a focus on my marriage and where I fit there.  Before covid I was doing this actively by traveling on my own and volunteering more.  I've been forced to slow things down and focus more on what I need going forward.  My marriage is not my priority right now.  As long as we can live respectfully together maybe healing will take place on its own?  Maybe I will find that my marriage isn't worth holding onto?  Who knows, anything can happen at this point.  Making sure that no matter what happens I'm going to be ok is what I am working towards. 

Here's to peace for all of us!  Onward. 

  • Logged
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.

  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 4602
  • Gender: Male
  • Back to being #1 for my daughters!!!!
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#64: January 05, 2021, 06:44:24 AM
Hello,

I find myself coming to this thread because of the tremendous work that involves reconciliation. I never came close to reconciliation and during my worst times, I would fantasize about how good it would be when her journey brought us back together. Everything would be perfect. Of course, I now realize I was fantasizing about a fantasy.

In your situation, I have been pondering you h and his background. Yes, you played an instrumental part in raising five wonderful daughters. But if you think about your H's background, how did he ever reach the point of marriage and having a family? Reading your thread, I would expect your h to be a basket case and having severe issues with addiction and coping mechanisms like most children of extreme trauma.  Instead, your h has shown remarkable resilience.  How? I found a research article by Henry from 2008 that studied resilient children and centered their coping skills around five central themes. Attached is the link:  http://ndl.ethernet.edu.et/bitstream/123456789/34717/1/30.pdf.pdf#page=43

The first theme was loyalty: Despite the the abuse, the child/adolescent still maintains a loyalty to the parent and believes that the parent loves them and they love the parent. 

The second theme was normalcy: The child developed a perception that through acceptance of the abusive environment it provided them a feeling of not being trapped. It is a an adaptive use of denial to establish a child's perception of control in a terrible home environment.   

The third theme and the one that got my most attention was invisibility:  This is a skill developed by the child to become "invisible" to avoid the abuser. This was a physical act by going to their room or staying out of the way. It also was a mental move. When confronted, they could be physically present, but mentally check out to a fantasy world. They could effectively shut down a conversation simply by disappearing.

The last two were based upon success of the first three. Self- Value was the perception that they had value and a positive perception of self. Based upon your thread, I think your H avoids discussing the affair because it conflicts with his self-value. He probably never saw himself as having an affair. He was a good man- great father and husband. Having an affair doesn't fit well with this positive perception of self.  The final theme was future visualization. The child's capacity to see potential success and capabilities that developed an optimism that they would be okay in the end. 

The part I found fascinating is the invisibility aspect. You speak of him shutting down and you are absolutely right. He may be standing in front of you, but he has checked out to another world. He doesn't respond because he isn't avoiding. He doesn't respond because he hasn't heard a single word of what you said.

The fact is that many of the skills your H developed and honed to survive an abusive childhood may very well be inhibiting his growth as a man now.

Hope this helps,

(((((Ready)))))



  • Logged
"Always look in the mirror and love what you see."

9
  • *
  • MLCer Type: Clinging Boomerang
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 716
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#65: January 05, 2021, 07:17:41 AM
Ready this is all very interesting and fits in with my situation as well.  My H has often expressed that his affair was just a fantasy.   He still has a long way to go to accept all the damage the "fantasy" left behind.  He is the king of compartmentaliztion. 

Barbie.  I read this long ago and just reread it again.  Many of the points made here are what I relate to.  What good is it going to do ME to dig up the dirt? 

https://thestagesandlessonsofmidlife.org/the-midlife-affair-you-do-not-have-to-know-the-details/





  • Logged
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.

  • *
  • Trial Subscriber
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 1320
  • Gender: Male
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#66: January 05, 2021, 07:37:34 AM
Hi Roo and Barbie,

Don't mean to hijack either..... this is a really great subject about what if your spouse doesn't come clean.
I'm going to be in that area soon as well, and it occupies some of my thoughts (and I say some because I don't want to get stuck there, but I can see it could be that way when I totally get there).
I don't know if mine will deny, or avoid, or not come clean.... but I can easily see her trying to go that direction and want to just "start over" or "begin at this point and move forward" or whatever. She's already hinting.

Not sure if this is right (the time isn't right yet anyway, but it is on the way)..... I will NOT go along with this. Everything will be flushed out, and I will be putting my foot down on this. Why? Personally I think that it has to be disclosed or MLC will return again later. How can they totally resolve their problems if it is not completely released? Well, that's what I'm wondering..... if something is kept secret, then it's still in there. Still being held inside. Still festering. I'm NOT going to go thru another of her MLC's..... and when the time comes, I'm going to tell her that. You get one, no more. To do so means you don't give a crap about me. How inconsiderate, how MEAN to even chance it. Yeah there's a lot of shame, guilt, and whatever else (pain)...... well too bad. I'm going to make that very clear. I'm sure if there is resistance, it will come down to her word against my intuition..... and I'm standing on my intuition. If I have to say she's lying, I will. I've never called my W a liar in all our years..... but I will. The oneness isn't on me to prove, it's on HER to prove..... on HER to explain whatever I need..... and she will (when the time is right) OR she will risk everything. I can and will walk, right up to the very end because it's not over until it's over..... and I'm NOT doing this again later. One time only. Once is more than anyone should be asked to do. They don't get to arrive at the end and then quit. Finish the journey.

Well, that's what I think.

(oh I see Roo just posted a link - I don't think you need to know the nasty details...... I think that's harmful. Just the basics: Who, how long, why, what did it mean... the basics for understanding, coming clean and closure. Honesty and hopefully real regret. What else is needed?).

-SS
  • Logged
W - 40
M - 43
Together 25 years, M 22
No kids
BD - 27th April 2019
Start of Shadow - Feb 2012

9
  • *
  • MLCer Type: Clinging Boomerang
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 716
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#67: January 05, 2021, 08:26:39 AM
Quote
Not sure if this is right (the time isn't right yet anyway, but it is on the way)..... I will NOT go along with this. Everything will be flushed out, and I will be putting my foot down on this. Why? Personally I think that it has to be disclosed or MLC will return again later. How can they totally resolve their problems if it is not completely released?

Standing, I was right where you are when we started to reconnect.  I wanted answers, I demanded he face up to it all.  I have since learned that my demands and my needing answers pushed him back further, pushed us back further.  I’m coming up on 5 years now and I am learning that I don’t need the answers anymore.  What I do need and what we are working on is a full responsibility for the ripple of damage on our marriage.  Once this responsibility is taken I believe we can start to heal.  For me The Who, , the what, the when the don’t   matter to me anymore.  In my case full responsibility and understanding takes time.  Pushing, pulling and needing answers did not serve me.  If my H does go back into another MLC I am fully prepared to walk out that door. 

To me the affair was the product of a broken person.  His choice if wants to continue to be broken, my choice to leave if he does. 
  • Logged
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.

b
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2643
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#68: January 05, 2021, 08:30:22 AM
For whatever reason( and I need to figure it out) this makes me very emotional. I have some really profound  thoughts about disclosure , some regrets and some " I should have done this and not so much of that " scenarios .   I do want to share ( there is some truths in "flushing " it all out) but I just need to stabalize, calm , and figure out this reaction. I will be back. And I do appreciate every person that interacts with me . How lucky am I ?
  • Logged
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.

9
  • *
  • MLCer Type: Clinging Boomerang
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 716
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#69: January 05, 2021, 08:50:50 AM
 :)  Barbie.  Taking time to step back and flush it out is new for me as well.  Just had to share a story.  Part of flushing things out for me is running.  I used to run with headphones and now I run with my thoughts.  My kids and I are all in a running app so we can all see each other’s runs and progress.  We all make each other accountable 🙂.  At Christmas my D was expressing how she is having trouble with things and I told her how I started to run and work things out instead of listening to music.  I told her I always run faster when I’m thinking hard things through.  This morning I posted my run on the app and my D just texted me because I just PR’d on my run.  She said “You must be thinking something big out out this morning”.  So, thanks for making me think!  I came off looking pretty good to my kids!  Processing in a good and healthy way.  All good.
  • Logged
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.

  • *
  • Trial Subscriber
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 1320
  • Gender: Male
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#70: January 05, 2021, 08:54:10 AM
Makes sense Roo...... I think it's normal to want answers, and I think too that over time the answers don't matter as much (especially if there's healing).

I've always found that it's a dance, a two-step.....
They break --> we break
We get stronger --> they get stronger
They heal --> We're suppose to heal, but do we skip this part sometimes?

Just like the LBS will often *POOF* when they get to the "We get stronger" part.... they MLC'er wants to *POOF* when they get to the "they heal" part. It's an incomplete process.

I'm a little curious about the "Sweeping under the rug" concept. I haven't seen it yet, but I think it's on the way in my sitch. That flashes DANGER to me.
What is the best way to deal with that? It's theory to me, not application (yet). I know RCR had to put her foot down, and that has to be a scary place. On one hand, you did it.... they're there, they say they want to work, they want to move forward. Awesome. What is the right way? A restart  from that point and that's that? I think you do have to get there eventually, it is required at some point. Somewhere the past has to be the past and only move forward. What happens if the LBS doesn't get what they need before then? They have to heal too. I wonder if it's easy for the LBS to be afraid of this area because you don't want to risk what good is there, but on the other hand you also need what you need. That would be very tough. Add to that the burning desire for it to be over and concluded.... just make the pain and uncertainty STOP (who knows how many years are burned by this point). It's totally understandable.
I have some thoughts about that, but I'm very curious to see what Barbie says (and sorry to hijack..... just working thru thoughts on this - another very deep topic to explore - and one which is not documented well).

-SS
  • Logged
W - 40
M - 43
Together 25 years, M 22
No kids
BD - 27th April 2019
Start of Shadow - Feb 2012

9
  • *
  • MLCer Type: Clinging Boomerang
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 716
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#71: January 05, 2021, 09:20:01 AM
Standing,  In my situation we both did a lot of sweeping it under the rug for quite awhile.  It did neither of us any good.  I think we both thought that if we didn't deal with it then it would magically disappear and things could go back to the way they were.  We have both come to realize that the way they were doesn't work anymore.   It took me ready to walk away to make us both decide we needed help if we were both going to make the decision to make it work.  We have found a very good marriage counselor (One who knows about MLC and midlife couple problems)  and we are in weekly therapy over zoom.  I was skeptical at first but slowly it is showing that it is working.  We now have an understanding that we both have individual work to do as well as trying to rebuild.  I had a lot of pain I had to get through on my own before I could talk about what happened without a full blown breakdown. 

We don't talk about our marriage everyday.  Sometimes it just needs room to progress on its own. (We made a pact at Christmas we don't talk about our R for 2 weeks and it was heavenly) We both seem to be taking bits and pieces of what we learned in MC and applying it throughout the week.  I'm learning to have a voice that isn't hurt and angry and he is learning how to listen.  It isn't always easy.  At the end of each MC session our counselor congratulates us both for coming back and opening up.  We also thank each other for dealing with the hard stuff.   Don't know if this helps or not.  Just what I am experiencing at the moment. 

Roo
  • Logged
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.

b
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2643
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#72: January 06, 2021, 03:31:39 AM
Quote
It is a big deal, Barbie, and you are right to acknowledge where you have got to now. Fear was my thing, rather than anger, but I honestly never imagined I would be able to live again without it running through my bones and in every breath. It is a huge miraculous thing that I too am no longer there, and yes, it did feel like a prison with no doors to me too   

Anger is a mixture of fear, frustration and the deepest of human hurts . I would add some ego wounds to the mix and fight or flight does of extreme adrenaline …and with that all mixed together it manifested in bottomless fury and rage. I am far more prone to anger if I have anxiety that I cannot calm. But I did deal with fear . Fear that everything he said during monster was actually true. Fear that I was never going to recover …ever. Fear my family would disintegrate without having any say in the matter. Fear that I was likely the stupidest women on the planet ..blind apparently. Fear that trust on this earth was gone forever. And extreme fear of anymore losses. It was all mixed up with sorrow and grief and shock so deep , I thought I was going to live in some disconnected surreal trance forever. I understand …fear hurts .

Quote
The counselor is letting me decide how much I need to know.

As a wise counsellor should . I was also told the same …however , I was warned that it is best NOT to know some things . I cannot remember the exact wording. I was warned that I can be “re-traumatized” from knowing too much. That the “knowing” will hurt me more, deepen the trauma, give me “pictures” in my head and to use extreme caution with what I need to know. And my response to that wise counsel ?  Firetruck you and him and anybody else that takes any more choices from me . I will know what I need to know and he better firetrucking answer me .  Deadliest of mistakes right there . It was like picking up my own shovel, digging the blackest of holes and throwing myself in.   I infected my life with details …to this day come into my mind. To this day harm me .  However…I did not know how to “not know” . The need to know was so extreme ..I have never experienced anything like it in my life . The only way I would have been able to not have needed to be answered was to stay separated and physically away from him for maybe a year ( or more) to work on myself, my PTSD diagnoses and had a chance to heal to some degree. Time IS a gift…whether people agree or not. I had no time …not once….to get my feet under me and to emotionally crawl back up.

https://www.aftermyaffair.com/do-you-need-to-know-all-the-details-of-her-affair/

Asking questions ( over and over and over ) was a way my heart or wound was attempting to process trauma , to make sense of this, to understand the impossible and I imagined he would say something/anything that would make the pain go away. I felt like I was constantly on fire and he held the pail of water and if he would just “help” me …the horrible anguish , anxiety, ..would go away. I would finally “get it” .  I remember many many times screaming that nothing matches …what he was saying happened did not match what I remember happening.  I could not make anything “line-up”…it was like pushing your hand into the sand and leaving an imprint . And then you go back and you cannot line up your fingers and thumb…it does not match no matter what you do. And it has to match !   I cannot understand it any other way.  My H chose to lie during this “disclosure “ process , twice in fact. Both times , he was told to leave and found himself sleeping on his uncles couch. They lie at both ends of this tragedy.

Quote
I don't think finding out that they actually had sex is going to help ME at this point, in fact it will cause more damage.  Maybe sometimes ignorance is bliss?  Right now it feels like information will pour salt on an open wound.

You are right.  How would it ever help?  I admire that you are able to be so wise, so self-protective and controlled.  I could not do it. Its far more important than you even realize. I applaud. This is hard stuff.

Quote
Making sure that no matter what happens I'm going to be ok is what I am working towards.

Absolutely doing the same . I believe I have achieved this ..trusting myself, relying on myself, finding ways to give myself what I need ( never ever rely on anyone else to throw that pail of water on me again) . I will be brilliantly OK , no matter what happens.  I am walking this path too sista…!

Quote
In your situation, I have been pondering you h and his background. Yes, you played an instrumental part in raising five wonderful daughters. But if you think about your H's background, how did he ever reach the point of marriage and having a family? Reading your thread, I would expect your h to be a basket case and having severe issues with addiction and coping mechanisms like most children of extreme trauma.  Instead, your h has shown remarkable resilience.

I remember a counsellor telling me that she was in absolute awe of my H and how successful he has been in life despite a very very rough childhood. She believed that had he ever decided to be a drinker ( like his father) he would most certainly be in prison . My H does not drink at all. ..because of his father . All four of his brothers are alcoholics, drug addicts and struggle with a variety of addictions. I have more ex-sister in laws than anyone needs as between his 4 brothers there are 9 divorces. My H is VERY different than his siblings …externally at least. He is not a victim ..he is a survivor and he views it exactly like that.  I know that he “copies” people and has copied me for decades . The very 1st therapist we saw told me ( alone) that he was having an identity crisis and I remember saying “ what identity ? He does not have his own identity , he copies me and always has. My opinions, observations, sayings, beliefs …he incorporates them as his own”.   She said “ what better reason for a crisis?”.  Children of trauma will “copy” what they believe is a “good man or person” (even a TV personality)  and take on that identity or traits as their own…because their own has not hit all the developmental stages to form their own. I know my husband watched The Rifleman growing up for years and years….and Mr Rifleman was a “good solid man and father “ and someone to emulate . Mr Cleaver ( Leave It To Beaver) would be an example of what a “good man and father SHOULD be “….. another example to form an identity that is not your own. His football coach took him in at 15 when the school realized he was living in the locker room , another “good” influence in his life.  It all fell apart in his 50’s … and here we are.  I believe compartmentalization saved his life…it is just not healthy or useful as an adult in a marriage. 

Quote
The third theme and the one that got my most attention was invisibility:  This is a skill developed by the child to become "invisible" to avoid the abuser. This was a physical act by going to their room or staying out of the way. It also was a mental move. When confronted, they could be physically present, but mentally check out to a fantasy world. They could effectively shut down a conversation simply by disappearing.
He has always described his childhood as “ laying low, stay under the radar, don’t be the “one” , don’t draw attention to yourself, don’t stir the pot, just say “yes”, always keep the “old man happy”, smile and nod etc etc.   Hypervigilant to drawing attention to yourself . All the boys disappeared on the weekends to friends homes or to a fort they built or an abandoned house they found…because their father was a trucker who was home on the weekends. Anyway to be “gone” ..out of sight. My husband was the oldest and the expectations of him were different than the others …it was harder to hide because he was the “man of the family” thru the week , even at 7 and 8 years old. His brothers say he saved them over and over …”ran interference” and caught the worst of it many times .   Interesting that childhood ways become adult ways… any issue or problems in our marriage….he disappears, shuts down …almost trance like or hypnotized.  I am abandoned everytime something “might” turn into an issue.  Extreme internal fear.  To say it frustrates and angers me ?  I could not explain it if I wrote a book …. But I understand . 
 
Quote
Having an affair doesn't fit well with this positive perception of self.

He hurt himself for this very reason…even more than he hurt me. If that is possible.

Quote
The fact is that many of the skills your H developed and honed to survive an abusive childhood may very well be inhibiting his growth as a man now.
I agree with this 100% .. as fact actually.  These are hard men to love.
Thank you Ready …your input and understanding helps in ways I could not express.  The link is amazing.

I do want to address other statements... and I will . I am just exhausted by it all at times.  So I will leave it for now and back later with some thoughts .
  • Logged
« Last Edit: January 06, 2021, 03:33:54 AM 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.

S
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 6257
  • Gender: Female
  • Strength and honour are her clothing;
Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#73: January 06, 2021, 04:39:32 AM
Just reading through this and the links made me realise I have never wanted to know the details of who, what where and why.

I know enough. Sometimes I am triggered especially when H mentions having been to a place (thinking that we had been there together) and I pointedly say - Nope not with me you didn't.

The details are not important. The bigger picture is.

Perhaps though this is why I am ambivalent about my marriage ever returning to a new place or being worked on.  I thought that all I wanted was a remorseful apology and then let time do its work.  Nearly 8 years on - still no apology but he is doing little things that show he wants to be trusted again.  Things like telling me where he is going and texting me if delayed.  Things like clearing up after meals or working on the house.  And even then I'm cynical - is he cycling towards because he wants to show "good behaviour"  before he cycles away again.

It's so hard to know what is the right thing to do.  All I do know is that I have to look after myself and my needs are few. I would still like a sincere apology even though I doubt our marriage will ever move forward and he would be open to MC.

Look for the bigger picture and let the little things go. What is your bigger picture for you Barbie?
  • Logged
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.

M
  • *
  • Trial Subscriber
  • Full Member
  • Posts: 161
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#74: January 06, 2021, 07:02:58 AM
I agree with you Song. I just don't want any more details. When I first discovered OW, I snooped and snooped which was worse for me. At this time, I don't ask questions because I really don't want to know. If at some point he wants to tell me, he can. In the past, he has told me some things. I trust that he will tell me what I need to know.

I do believe that some people do need all the information. For me personally, it was too damaging so I do not need any more then what I already know.

We will see what the future holds as my M is currently on the rocks after an 8 month what I thought was reconnection, but maybe only a long touch and go. :-(
  • Logged

b
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2643
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#75: February 12, 2021, 02:15:44 PM
Hello my hero-friends . A good day for an update from me on this snowy freezing cold friday.  We are still under a stay-at-home emergency order and I honestly cannot remember the last time I went anywhere , other than for a walk. I know my truck has not moved since mid-december. On the 16th, we hopefully will be moved out of the order and back into a color code and then those rules to follow.  I am not sure what colour we will be placed in . However, the new variant has shown up in Ontario and that is causing great concern. I have a daughter living 5 hours north and an entire apartment building has been quarantined with the new variant present . It is 1 block from her home.  This  has been extremely difficult on my 86 year old parents whereas I am relatively OK at home keeping busy. I hope new rules at least allow them to visit .  Husband and daughter both working from home . Daughter has been preparing for 10 months for an exam while doing her PHD. The exam was last weekend and she was the 1st to ever have to do this thru Zoom/ online.  It was 5 hours on Saturday and 5 hours on Sunday . Then the waiting... . She finally had email from 2 universities and 4 marking professors that her final mark was 86 percent ! So I was very pleased and glad to have that stressful event behind us !   

H continues to see marriage counsellor by himself . He went today despite the lock down status they are making mental health services available.  He just came in with a nice hot coffee for me and back to his office.  I know he will say absolutely nothing . He will not share or talk about counselling and this has been the case since this all started. Last year I would have lost my mind over this ( and I did) but I no longer feel anything about it. No anxiety , no questions . It would not change a thing and I no longer feel any need to pursue this.  I am not sure how or what changed ...I just no longer have any need to know. It feels like an internal understanding that he is a separate person from me. He will do things his way for himself ...I do the same. In my heart of hearts , I believe it is a mistake , a missed opportunity for connection or to get to "know" a person ( even if it is your spouse) or to have a conversation that has some meaning . However, it is not my decision , it is yes . If consequences result , they will also be his.  It feels like there is always "secrets " with avoidant partners , that you are always locked out from knowing anything about them.  It is in fact, the truth. I do not believe you can truly have a connected intimate "soul-mate" experience with an avoidant partner . I am very aware of that .  I have stopped pursuing this connection . I am ( again) just not sure when that happened or why . It simply stopped .  i experienced some shift or awakening or some such internal change that I no longer have the extreme need to connect, pursue, talk .  I am content with quiet, my own inner thoughts and plans.  My therapist and I have spoken on the phone. I send her an email to update her and then we talk on the phone. She believes I have healed , integrated and worked hard on my own attachment wounds and now there is some peace. She warns me that a "shift" in me will create a "shift" in him and that it is fairly common for a spouse to try to pull you back into previous ways of interacting. Interesting.  And to be aware of that.  I continue with some online course with Heirloom Couselling and it does help me tremendously .  My H is aware that I am doing this online course , but never asks me anything about it . That rumbles some hurt ..that he is not curious about me , that he does not care what I am learning or who I am now. It hurts me. But...he does not want to talk about anything unless its his job, the weather, impeachments, covid  etc. He will only talk about "safe" subjects ...mainly superficial topics.  That was absolutely intolerable to me last year ...and I mean "triggering" insanity . Now it simply does not. I feel nothing in particular about it and am in awe that my reactivity is gone.  I believe I have accepted that I am "not safe"  and until he finds ways to heal his own wounds and changes his avoidant defence mechanisms , I will remain some sort of ghost of relationships that have let him down all his life.  It has little to do with me.  Relationships are not safe to him.  For now, I am busy with me and not the marriage at all. 

https://www.heirloomcounseling.com/

He now has been seeing the "marriage" counsellor by himself since last July.  She is amazing and I felt well understood by her . I still have not been invited back to attend as a couple.   Not sure how long she will take working with him alone. She will meet a whole new me when I go back as I am nothing similar to last year.  My H continually comes in and out of whatever room I am in. He continually hugs, touches, rubs my back and leaves again.  Not sure what that is about but he is always "checking" or so it seems.

I have been asked " why would you stay in an unfulfilling marriage".  That is a very valid question.  Avoidant partners cause lots of pain, rejection and disconnection.  They tell you nothing. If they are unhappy....they will solve that themselves and never share with you. I see repeatedly that 90 % of the men in MLC are avoidant . How could it go any other way ?  They are not "solution" orientated...that would involve vulnerability and talking. They are islands , performers and injured beings .  They are not easy to love ..at all. They are statistically proven to have more affairs . Of course. They do not turn "towards " their spouse during hard emotional times. They rely on themselves. I am aware of all these things . I am not certain I know the answer to the question...it is complex and emotional. But I do know that I can leave this situation anytime I want. I have choice. I am not locked in here . For now.....I am doing far better than I have in a very very long time. A for right now ...that is enough . I am not sure of the future always .
  • Logged
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.

Z
  • **
  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 41
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#76: February 12, 2021, 05:57:30 PM
Barbie,

You are amazing!  Thank you so much for sharing your life and wisdom!

Your husband sounds like an Intimacy Anorexic, which must be so painful for both parties.  Clamming up might feel safer because being intimate emotionally is painful, scary, and he probably doesn't even know what emotional intimacy looks like.  He is probably terrified that he will not get it right and lose you, which is a valid fear because he has no idea what to do.

Keeping you physically present is likely soothing enough to him that he doesn't want to rock the boat and make the situation worse. 

It is as if he needs to learn the language of sharing his thought and feeling...even at a basic level.  Is he able to identify how he even feels? 
  • Logged

  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 11198
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#77: February 13, 2021, 12:32:04 AM
Quote
For now.....I am doing far better than I have in a very very long time.

Yes, you are. That jumps off the (virtual) page, Barbie. It is quite difficult I think to describe that kind of shift in words, but one feels it in ones bones when it happens. Where will that take you? Idk....I suspect there is a space between recovery and rebuilding where we are just getting used to our new feet and new stable ground under them. A kind of pause, rather than limbo, if that makes sense. You'll know when or if your feet start to itch or want to dance to different music imho. But I hope you are enjoying the pause and feeling rightfully proud of yourself for getting to here.
  • Logged
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

S
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 6257
  • Gender: Female
  • Strength and honour are her clothing;
Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#78: February 13, 2021, 01:39:15 AM
Quote
She believes I have healed , integrated and worked hard on my own attachment wounds and now there is some peace. She warns me that a "shift" in me will create a "shift" in him

Yep - very true and I deliberately omitted the latter words in this sentence because this statement alone will help those who have serious clingers.  However the shift is subtle, it creeps upon us and it cannot be created deliberately.  This kind of shift is sustainable, do-able and right for us.

Quote
For now, I am busy with me and not the marriage at all.

Perfect!
  • Logged
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.

9
  • *
  • MLCer Type: Clinging Boomerang
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 716
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#79: February 13, 2021, 10:51:25 AM
Thank you Barbie for posting and opening up.  You and I have very similar paths.  You have helped me see things I’m going through as well as my H.  I hope some of what I share helps you as well. 

You and I both I think are in the process of finding ourselves.  Self that we lost with kids, marriage and life.  I think this would have happened without MLC forcing it to move a little quicker. 

My H has been forced into facing himself in a quick and abrupt manner.  The turtle pace turned into a road runner pace in almost a week.  I thought he shared with me this morning.  He told me he doesn’t want to hurt me anymore and thinks he may have to leave to fix himself. I told him I would support what he needed.  I think maybe your H by complete withdrawal from you doesn’t want to hurt you anymore.  They have to face themselves and facing themselves while facing us is a huge undertaking.  Your H reaching out to you to touch you I believe is his way of saying “I know you are still here but I have work to do”.  It’s true that at this point in the journey the LBS has to be the strongest.  You are getting stronger which in turn is making him have to withdrawal and face himself.  He knows you are strong. He sees it.  Maybe he has been putting it off because he feels responsible for your pain and couldn’t do both you and him at once. 

I started with a new therapist yesterday.  She knows a lot about MLC and has worked with it before.  She did say I have to let my H be right now.  Just go on with my life.  She is going to help me with trauma and triggers. I do believe our H’s have so much to get through.  Right now I believe we are both doing the best thing by self focusing.  The marriage can come back together if both partners do the work.

These are just my thoughts from the cheap seats.  Your H doesn’t want to cause you more harm by sharing himself yet.  As my H said this morning, “I don’t even know who I am”.   

I can see your strength.  You are kicking some butt and taking names.  You are getting your power back.  It’s a pleasure to watch.

Go Barbie Go. 

Hugs,
Roo
  • Logged
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.

9
  • *
  • MLCer Type: Clinging Boomerang
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 716
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#80: February 13, 2021, 10:59:50 AM
Also wanted to add congratulations to your D.  She sounds like a strong woman just like you! 🙂.  I hope you take some credit in setting the stage for her success.  You were there for her when her F wasn’t.  You were an example of perseverance.  You were an example of grace, and calm when waters were anything but.

Please give your yourself a pat on the back.  You deserve it.
  • Logged
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.

b
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2643
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#81: February 13, 2021, 05:53:58 PM
Zion, thank you for responding and lovely compliments.  I really appreciate your feedback. My husband has  great difficulty identifying his own emotions.  I never realized just how much until we went for a weekend retreat with Retrovaille . During this time I repeatedly saw him "freeze" and be completely unable to describe an emotion or a feeling he was experiencing.  I was shocked.  I have been married to him for a very long time and of course was aware that he was not "very emotional" or was perhaps one of those " emotionally unavailable men" and it did cause issues many times. I heard the same from many of my girlfriends and certainly their are thousands of books and articles regarding how to get your man to talk to you. I thought he was or it was fairly typical . But it is not true, there is something more at play with my husband for sure.  During our weekend away, there was a booklet handed out listing "words to describe your emotions"  and he used that book for over a year.  I remember him saying" how do I not know this stuff".   If he is asked by a therapist how he feels about something , she will NOT get an answer without helping , prompting or suggesting. He completely freezes. She tells me he is "triggered " and he shuts down, or he is "flooded " .  It just is shocking . He has emotion . It is not like he is a zombie or flat ( he cried thru daughters weddings, he shows tremendous compassion to people who are hurt, etc) , he will NEVER admit to anger ( even if it is so obvious that he is furious) and he becomes very defensive if he is pushed to answer emotional questions.  It is baffling and very frustrating...at least it was. I seem to no longer react to any of this .   I have watched the therapist ask him a question and wait. Ask him again ..and wait. A good 5 minutes .  He is very very uncomfortable ..he has shut down.  I do not believe that will ever change ...sadly. I am fairly certain he has been diagnosed with "something" by his own personal therapist, but would set himself on fire before he would tell me.  I have found this article to be true in many of its points.  It is what it is ...I cannot change it.  I can only accept it and make decisions based on that .

https://www.thetalko.com/15-reasons-men-have-difficulty-sharing-emotion/

We have just completed a huge renovation . He used his "lock down time" to completely gut and redue a big family room/sunroom in the back of the house. It included new bookcases. I have been going thru the house collecting books from every random corner , side table, box etc to put on my new cases. In his office I found a dozen books , hauled them all to the new room and put them on the coffee table. They are books about Adult Children Of Alcoholics,  Every Mans Marriage , Intimacy, Learning Resiliance and a variety of childhood trauma books.  I asked him ..."when you get a minute can you go thru those books ?  There is a bag for the Goodwill by the back door , for the ones you do not want ".   Now in hindsight, I never should have done that. I am in purge mode and that is why I asked him to sort, but these books will sit there forever. He will not touch them. They represent fear, subjects he does not want to talk about, he will be fearful to commit to reading them and will be worried I will ask why he won't read them etc etc.  They represent a " possible issue".  He can avoid until the end of time.   I should have simply put them on the shelf and I will if they are still there in a couple of days.  I no longer have any expectation he will change ...I am not sure if that is good or bad, acceptance or just facing reality.  It certainly feels peaceful inside of me and that is a good thing for me , for now .
  • Logged
« Last Edit: February 13, 2021, 05:58:16 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.

  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 11198
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#82: February 14, 2021, 12:24:46 AM
Quote
I no longer have any expectation he will change ...I am not sure if that is good or bad, acceptance or just facing reality.  It certainly feels peaceful inside of me and that is a good thing for me , for now .

Maybe it isn't good or bad or any kind of 'value', Barbie, maybe it just is.
That it feels peaceful in you is probably a good feeling though bc I guess it is a long time since you have felt peaceful.
I wondered if, reading your post, it is rather like the process you go through in accepting someone else's disability perhaps....like they had a stroke, or dementia maybe? And then you find ways to live around it regardless or what you need to do to adapt to it. Or how much of it you are prepared to live around or with, of course.

There is usually a big debate here when it comes to the issue of volition, isn't there? And I'm not saying that seeing someone in crisis is always about seeing them as disabled....or even un-abled....tbh often that pulls not so useful LBS rescuer/obligation strings which can hurt us terribly imho bc it is usually quite fruitless. That terrible soul-sucking desire to 'save' someone from themselves, often while they throw metaphorical hand grenades at us without caring about the damage, is not a good place to be  ::).

And their textbook MLC behaviour with affairs etc can distract our emotional eye, the terrible betrayals, of course, making it difficult to use our own judgment and instinct or see the wood for the trees. And of course not all situations here are the same, are they? Not everyone is the same as your h. But I do wonder if your h went from 'strong and silent gatekeeper of an outside wall' to 'weak and silent wall turned inwards' after something in him just imploded.....and what he is now is what he is now. Disabled. Might that change? Well, idk, you don't know, probably he doesn't know. But it makes sense to work out how to live with what he is - or isn't - right now, doesn't it? If it changes, I guess you'd see that lol.

I do wonder sometimes if acceptance is more liberating than forgiveness tbh. Not easy at all, even painful, but also freeing. Peace is a fine thing and perhaps we value it highly having known what it is like to live without it. Like they say in church "the peace that passeth all understanding"  :)
  • Logged
« Last Edit: February 14, 2021, 12:32:15 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

S
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 6257
  • Gender: Female
  • Strength and honour are her clothing;
Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#83: February 14, 2021, 12:59:32 AM
Quote
I do wonder sometimes if acceptance is more liberating than forgiveness tbh. Not easy at all, even painful, but also freeing. Peace is a fine thing and perhaps we value it highly having known what it is like to live without it. Like they say in church "the peace that passeth all understanding"

Interesting point here Treasur and I think I am inclined to agree that acceptance and inner peace is more liberating than forgiveness.   I think both of those are more liberating for our sanity and well being too. After my mum died way back in early 90s in her mid 60s, I was distraught.  Three weeks later I had a really vivid, strong dream in which my mum came to me.  I woke up crying but at the same time, I felt an incredible sense of peace.  It was stunning as it was such a visceral feeling too.  Since then, whilst I have missed my mum and a mixture of cancer and severe early onset dementia took her too soon, I have not regretted or wished "if only" at any point.  I didn't get that with my dad who died four yrs later and who I adored and, who again, was taken too soon but I am ok with his parting because I know I can be.

I think the shock of BD and the long playing out of MLC creates in us not just symptoms or actual PTSD (the way death might)but perpetual grief and the bereavement of our marriage is something to be actively mourned.  Therefore the peace that we seek is similar.

I have found it a little hard to forgive because the more I think about what H did the more I don't understand.  Yes I understand MLC but as he is currently cycling towards me and being so kind and sweet, the more I don't understand how forgiveness might help me.  However I am at peace with myself and I have accepted that we may not be together any more so I am ok with his cycling behaviour and I am in control of me, my responses and my life.  That is for me what peace and acceptance is.  Perhaps I have forgiven - who knows.  If I have it has been a passive approach that has snuck up on me.

So Barbie - the peace is to be relished and it will grow and sustain itself if you allow it.   The peace is healing in itself and the peace frees you to just be you and to be happy being you.
  • Logged
« Last Edit: February 14, 2021, 01:01:04 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.

  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 11476
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#84: February 14, 2021, 07:20:00 AM
Quote
I do wonder sometimes if acceptance is more liberating than forgiveness tbh.

Or both.

As with so many other things, our situations, thoughts, feelings are different.

Forgiveness wasn't something that I struggled with. I think because I always have and continue to see that his crisis is something that was beyond his control...as we so often say..this was not about me. The evidence to me was his turning away from our daughter as well, and several other things that clearly showed me that there is something missing in him, I suspect something happened to him a very long time ago.

Acceptance was harder.

Peace definitely came with acceptance. And acceptance is tied into the same belief that something is broken in this man that I love. The impact of whatever is broken in him, broke me as well.

Just to throw this out, but can the ability to forgive also be tied into one's values?  My faith teaches me that I am to forgive, so perhaps that is another reason why the discussions about "forgiveness" have never really applied to our relationship.

I also found the idea of unconditional and agape love important in how I wanted to live and how I would respond to him.

I also have not had to struggle financially as so many others have had to.

  • Logged
« Last Edit: February 14, 2021, 07:23:50 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

  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 4272
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#85: February 14, 2021, 12:13:03 PM
There is an incredible peace that comes with knowing "This is what the situation is. Since the only person I control is me, what do I want to do about it?"

I don't know about anyone else, but when circumstances beyond my control mess up parts of my life, I get angry because there in not a darned thing I can do about someone or something throwing a monkey wrench into my life. If it's too much at once, my brain goes on overload and I can't even decide what I want to do. Then it's like digging your way out of a corner, on thing at a time. Bite size chunks until you can once again decide "This is my situation. How do I want to handle it?"

If a partner has an avoidant personality type, and one knows one can't make them more emotionally available, then one gets to decide how they move forward. But one can only decide that when one knows what they really have, that it likely will never change but it might, and decide if that is what one wants in their life, or what one might even need in their life (for various valid reasons).

I think sometimes waiting for something to change that never is going to is what keeps the peace away.
  • Logged
When life gives you lemons, make SALSA!

M
  • *
  • Trial Subscriber
  • Full Member
  • Posts: 161
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#86: February 14, 2021, 04:54:17 PM
I don't know about anyone else, but when circumstances beyond my control mess up parts of my life, I get angry because there in not a darned thing I can do about someone or something throwing a monkey wrench into my life. If it's too much at once, my brain goes on overload and I can't even decide what I want to do. Then it's like digging your way out of a corner, on thing at a time. Bite size chunks until you can once again decide "This is my situation. How do I want to handle it?"

Me! Me! Me! My anger is something I have had to deal with during this whole crazy journey. Having someone (H and his kids) doing things they throw wrenches into my life with absolutely nothing I can do about it is hard. Lots of reminding myself that I can only control me. When it’s many things, I also feel very overwhelmed and have to take it one little bit at a time.
  • Logged

Y

Yo

  • ****
  • Sr. Member
  • Posts: 306
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#87: February 14, 2021, 10:21:53 PM
They represent a " possible issue".  He can avoid until the end of time

Interesting...
because I always related MLC with family issues the MLCers have, I always thought that when they were out of the tunnel these issues were worked and done, but in your purple status Barbie and your H still struggling with those situations, my perspective changed completely
Acceptance or facing reality as you said, any of these that you are doing, is great! You made me realize that at the end if they are out or not, anyway is not going to be as we dreamed, maybe better or not, but not as we imagined
So acceptance or facing reality, and forgiveness is something neccessary to us to have peace definitely
  • Logged
« Last Edit: February 14, 2021, 10:24:49 PM by Yo »
Yo ❤

  • *
  • Trial Subscriber
  • Full Member
  • Posts: 207
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#88: February 17, 2021, 12:33:44 PM
Acceptance is something that I still struggle a lot and this is the reason that until now even though my mind says I want to forgive my h, my body tells me otherwise. I wish I could read that point where I can be at peace and where I can accept that these horrible things happened to me and I will finally learn to focus on what can I do with what I am presented at the moment. It is a difficult journey indeed and it needs a lot of energy to get to that point.
  • Logged
Me 44
H    46
Married 12 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

b
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2643
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#89: February 19, 2021, 06:38:49 AM
Just journaling an experience from yesterday before I respond to previous posts. Something that really hurts me and fills me with such sadness and longings for something different in my life. It came from out of the absolute blue and I was shocked at the rolls of despair that surfaced.  it was a realization of something missing in my life that I need and I did have a little cry about it.  I rolled around the rim of anger and "attack" but that faded and disappeared.  I guess it was a trigger that I really never experienced before.

I have been working on a course online and my husband is aware that I am doing this . He has never asked one single thing about it.  He always  asks me " what is you plan for the day?" .  If I say I am going to purge the pantry or paint the small bathroom, he chats away and engages in a conversation.  If I say " I have some computer work to do, some videos to watch or will be working on my course", he will NOT engage . The silence , the refusal to comment or ask anything ends the conversation and he is gone. It would be an "unsafe" conversation to him. He is a man just full of fear .  He has no curiosity about me , how I think , what I am learning etc. He runs everytime. He abandones ship. he fails to "show up"... he rejects connection. He leaves me.  As fate would have it, later in the day my therapist called and does this bi-weekly during covid to "check-in".  Again, he asks nothing even though he is aware that it was my therapist I chatted to for 20 minutes.  When he does re-appear , he asks about what colour I want for a new couch for my newly renovated family room. That is his effort to "make me happy"....   It feels like I also need to become "avoidant" when I desperately need to talk . I seem to process things thru words or language or connection. He is unable to do any of those things.  I felt physical waves thru my body of painful emptiness and the reality that I am alone.

"Meet your own needs, be your own best friend, the only person you need is in the mirror etc etc" . We read these kinds of quotes don't we?   that is difficult to do and times when we want a connection with another human . I struggle with this .  I remembered the most humiliating experience yesterday as I searched in my past about where this reaction might be coming from ( that's what I do) . I was 18 and little size 5 me had just delivered a 10lb 2 oz baby girl. to say that was traumatising...it was . Lol . My mother came in to see me and the new baby at a time that the lactation nurse was teaching me about breast feeding my new baby. I asked my mother if she breast fed and her response was " THAT is none of your business !".   The shock sent the lactation nurse out of the room and I burned in tears and humiliation. I was so shocked ...I was numb.  My mother proceeds to address my tears with " listen girl, you better " buck up" and stop bawlin...lots of hard things now , get moving". Until she left. It was the absolute 1st time in my entire life ( EVER) I recall my mother touching me ...she gave me an awkward hug and was gone. The lactation nurse returned ...deeply sympathetic to me. I never breast fed this 1st baby of mine. Why that memory appeared ...I am not sure. It is a refusal to connect isn't it? It is reaching out to a human and getting rejected....I certainly know better with my mother . It hurts to this day and I have been 1000 % different with my girls who freely nursed in front of me and we have talked about the most intimate parts of being a wife and mother .  My mother finds me "vulgar" and not everything needs to be talked about ...  Yesterday was a confusing day . Had my cry and get on with it. I made no effort to bring up his uncomfortable "places" as experience tells me , no good will come of it.  Lonely. I believe I come here for conversations of significance in my life. And I am thankful that I do find places to have that need met. Just wish I could see an actual human with words to share with me .

  • Logged
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.

  • *
  • MLCer Type: Vanisher
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 3401
  • Gender: Female
Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#90: February 19, 2021, 07:07:32 AM
He has no curiosity about me , how I think , what I am learning etc.

Barbie, who is to know that the above is true or not? What if his fear outweighs his curiosity about you? Would it be worth an experiment to take an on-line course that is a completely innocuous topic and see if he asks about that? That would let you know if it´s his fear of rejection or his lack of curiosity. The upside to you is that you get to take a course that interests you.

Your mother must have some very deep emotional wounds of her own to have treated you in such a way for so long. My mother was of the same generation and died without ever trying to heal her own wounds. If you think of emotional wounds as pus infected wounds, these people go around spreading the pus/infection instead of addressing themselves as a source of infection. Just because we cannot see the wound does not mean it isn´t having a huge effect on people. I never did figure out how to help my mother heal. Her fear of opening her own emotional box was just too overwhelming. How does one lance these wounds?

  • Logged
me 51
H 51
M 27
BD 1/15/ 10 then BD 8/21/10
D final 8/13

  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 11476
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#91: February 19, 2021, 07:46:22 AM
Barbie,

I was nodding my head as I read your thread this morning, for several reasons. When I do see my husband, we can chat about many things, his work, politics, our daughter, tv shows, food...never once Barbie has he asked about me how I am doing or acknowledged this "event" of the destruction of our family, never once in 11 years has he expressed his own thoughts or feelings. The topic is taboo. I mean, it's done, he got what he wanted, why can't we talk at all about the elephant in the room?

So an example. I got my COVID shot last Saturday. He offered to drive me to my appointment stating that he knows I sometimes have a "reaction" to things..I respectfully declined his offer....then he texted me Sat, Sunday and Monday to ask how I was feeling. I swear, what kind of craziness is this? There have been much greater issues, health issues that I have faced in the last 11 years where he has said nothing to me...but "this vaccination"...safe territory I guess.

If I have a disagreement with someone, especially someone close to me, it doesn't take me very long before I talk with that person and resolve the issue. Yet that has never happened and I don't see it ever happening.

I am struggling with extreme loneliness. In the last year, there are only a handful of times when I have had a meal with another person, when we could eat outdoors..every meal I sit and eat alone. The only place I allow myself to go is to the grocery store, and fortunately I can golf when the weather is good. I have not seen my daughter for a year and I don't know when the borders will be opened between the US and Canada. These COVID restrictions are extremely hard to bear.The lack of human contact is real and very harmful.

Your post affected me most of all
Quote
I asked my mother if she breast fed and her response was " THAT is none of your business !".  and Until she left. "It was the absolute 1st time in my entire life ( EVER) I recall my mother touching me ...she gave me an awkward hug and was gone. "

My heart contracted when I read this..and I sit here knowing that nothing I can say to you would heal this wound...

The comment about breastfeeding is perhaps related to the era that she lived in. At 7 months, my daughter weaned herself as I had returned to work. When I told my MIL, she responded "it's about time you stopped doing that" and I was shocked. I was a public health nurse, taught moms to breastfeed. I was doing the absolute best for her granddaughter but in later years, that comment has stayed with me because it explains some things about my husband's crisis.

Quote
Just wish I could see an actual human with words to share with me .

One day, when I am free to come to Canada, we shall have a lovely lunch together..in the meantime...I honor you openess and willingness to share these very painful experiences. I can only say that for a mother not to have physically touched her child, there was something in her life that affected her, something you were never privy to.

I don't know what else to say...your words just made me want to reach out to you Barbie, for this is our community, where we are safe to talk about real things and to give one another a virtual hug when needed.
  • Logged
« Last Edit: February 19, 2021, 07:48:31 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

S
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 6257
  • Gender: Female
  • Strength and honour are her clothing;
Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#92: February 19, 2021, 08:22:01 AM
I can't really say much Barbie even though I feel so angry for you that your mother would say this to you at such a new time in having your baby. 

My mother was quite tactile and fairly open about some things but she kept any conversations about intimate situations very brief and factual.  So all I knew was that she hated breastfeeding and didn't do it for long and both my sister and I went on the bottle very quickly.  End of.

It is a generational thing too. 

When I was teaching one of my favourite plays was "My Mother Never Said" by Charlotte Keatley.  It is a clever four women play where the four generations cross and come together on specific occasions.  Cleverly Keatley uses time shifting in Act 1 to show how our own paradigms of one situation affect the paradigms of another in a different time or era.  The play ends at the earliest time 1928. It is a beautiful series of observations of how women treat their daughters based on how they were treated.

I won't go into any more details but when I first taught it way back in late 1980s I could see my mother in the character Margaret and I identified with her daughter Jackie.   It's a text I have taught often and as life has taught me I have found new things or understanding of the many layers of these characters. 

As XY says - your mother reacting that way suggests that something must have disturbed her to the point where she could not talk about it.  And I am so sorry that she has rarely been tactile with you - that must be a really big wound to close.
  • Logged
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.

  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 12029
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#93: February 19, 2021, 10:25:15 AM
I'm sorry too Barbie you were just trying to connect with her. Her response was what someone of that generation might have. I'm sure it was very shocking that her response was so terse.  Those in that generation  seem to be somewhat "hung up" when it comes to just about anything.

 If I remember correctly they used to treat childbirth more an ailment in her generation. Fathers were not allowed to be in the room. They anesthetized  the mothers so there was no real experience of having to give birth. Then most babies were bottle fed so no natural bonding with nursing.
I'm pretty sure that's what happen with your mom. I know that's what happened with mine.
  • Logged
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.

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.

  • *
  • Trial Subscriber
  • Full Member
  • Posts: 207
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#94: February 19, 2021, 11:20:12 AM
Barbie I would like to give you a hug right now. I truly feel you. I just have no words to say but we are all here for you. You are such a good person and you have a good heart and You deserve all the love in this world.
  • Logged
Me 44
H    46
Married 12 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

C
  • *
  • Trial Subscriber
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 656
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#95: February 19, 2021, 07:19:10 PM
Barbie,

First of all I’m so sorry.....it’s a particular kind of loneliness to be alone in your marriage....even worse when your love languages are touch and connection.  It sucks. It’s okay to say that. I wish I could give you a big long bear hug right now.

Do you have some friends that are huggers...you need them. I have some work friends that are huggers and it helps.

So in contemplating what about your husbands behavior bothers you your brain plucked forth a memory of your mother, of rejection, of her sustain for touch and affection.....and her obvious projection onto you as if somehow it were someone else’s problem that she sustains being touched. What a brutal conversation at a very emotionally charged time.  You deserved more than that. I’m sorry she wasn’t willing to give that to you.

I cannot ever get over how closely our stories match. Our mothers sound like peas in a pod....and so do our husbands.
Xh is terrified of conversations....it’s where he holds lots of deep rooted trauma....between conversations that were and excuse to ask questions and beat him bloody before he could answer....or tough ones like “your mother isn’t coming back home”. The fear is that the conversation will trigger emotions he doesn’t have tools to deal with. And if he thinks it will be a tough conversation....he dissociates into either muteness or garbled babble that is just word salad. I’d bet good money your husbands the same.  Every time xh wants to talk I ask the same question....”do you have any questions for me” he never has and never does.....it’s my gauge....until he is emotionally ready to ask questions with unknown answers....there really isn’t any point in talking....cause all I can do is listen to a monologue and he’s got a therapist for that. 

I will never suggest that you “just need to learn to be alone”. It’s unhelpful....surround yourself with people who are open with love, people who listen and validate, people who don’t judge and ask you questions that cause you to dig deeper and think. Find a friend that suits every unloved part of you and let them love it. Show yourself that you can find love even if H at this moment has none to give or is incapable of giving love in your love languages.

You are not unlovable, you never were unlovable.  You were just surrounded by people who don’t have the capacity for it. I am rooting for you. You are doing such hard work on all fronts right now. I’m sending you hugs and love and encouragement.

Courage
  • Logged
Me 37
H 37
S16
Wallower/Chaos kid
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

b
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2643
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#96: February 22, 2021, 02:12:27 PM
Quote
Barbie, who is to know that the above is true or not? What if his fear outweighs his curiosity about you? Would it be worth an experiment to take an on-line course that is a completely innocuous topic and see if he asks about that? That would let you know if it´s his fear of rejection or his lack of curiosity. The upside to you is that you get to take a course that interests you.
.

He will chat endlessly about anything..to anyone, he is extremely friendly and personable. As long as it is "safe" , he will chat to me endlessly.  He will not connect, engage, reciprocate or ask a question if it is about relationships, has emotional tones or feelings.  He simply freezes and will rub his forehead , close his eyes or stare at me. He does this with the therapist as well....when I am there. I have no idea how or what goes on there because he sure will not talk about counselling. It actually has become worse . If I persist or push , he becomes extremely defensive and revert to blaming .  When you are told repeatedly that you are not "safe" ...I guess that's the answer. I am not safe to talk to .   Now, to be fair , have I raged out for several years ?  Yes, big time. Does that make me safe?  Depends who you ask .  I would expect anger and rage in response to cheating and lying. Seems normal to me.  But to him it would support being" not safe ".  I remind him that I have never been safe ...this is not new. I suspect if I was "safe" and he turned to me with all his unhappiness, discontent etc etc, maybe there would not have been an affair ( not sure I believe that but it follows some sort of logic).  Really, it is so wacked it is almost humourous.  HE cheats, lies, leaves, spends a fortune  etc etc...and I AM THE UNSAFE ONE?   Who makes this sh%t up? .  I do not believe this will change and that is the sadest thing.  I have no expectation that he has the capacity to change...or it would have happened by now.   

Quote
. When I do see my husband, we can chat about many things, his work, politics, our daughter, tv shows, food...never once Barbie has he asked about me how I am doing or acknowledged this "event" of the destruction of our family, never once in 11 years has he expressed his own thoughts or feelings. The topic is taboo. I mean, it's done, he got what he wanted, why can't we talk at all about the elephant in the room?

I find this almost like living in the twilight zone , just utterly impossible to believe….but I do believe it for sure . But how does this happen with these men?  I am stomping my foot like a 2 year old…I WANT to know why. How can they behave like this?  What could be the logic behind it?  And how painful for people around them.  What would happen if you asked him about any of it?   Have you ever attempted to “talk” to him about what happened and why?.   Imagine if all this time he felt he made a huge error but shame or fear held him back from approaching any of it. That is very possible I have discovered from experience. I am so very intolerant of this ….triggers me actually.

Quote
f I have a disagreement with someone, especially someone close to me, it doesn't take me very long before I talk with that person and resolve the issue. Yet that has never happened and I don't see it ever happening.

This is also how I deal with things, at warp speed. Or I can “for-see” an issue and nip that right in the bud.  It is impossible for me to be around someone who I may have hurt or is angry with me without addressing it and solving it. It is who I am.  It is absolutely NOT who he is. He keeps us in problems until they fester into huge wounds , that cannot be fixed.  Avoidant people cause great pain to those around them ,people trying to connect with them .

I read this today and it really says it all to me .

Quote
When you are dating someone, try to figure out how they were raised. A lot of people were not raised in love. They were raised in survival mode. That is why you see so many men and women who are not able to love properly and they hurt other people.  You will find a lot of good looking people damaged inside because of their past and you won’t realize how damaged they are until you try to love them. If you think a persons past does not affect how they see life , then you are sadly mistaken.

Quote
The comment about breastfeeding is perhaps related to the era that she lived in. At 7 months, my daughter weaned herself as I had returned to work. When I told my MIL, she responded "it's about time you stopped doing that" and I was shocked. I was a public health nurse, taught moms to breastfeed. I was doing the absolute best for her granddaughter but in later years, that comment has stayed with me because it explains some things about my husband's crisis.
Yes, I suspect it does have to do with that generation…my mother seemed disgusted by it all and offended that I would dare ask something so personal apparently.  It was as if I asked about her sex life!  And it has stayed in my memory of yet more proof of my childhood wounds . I nursed the rest of my daughters and never spoke to my mother about it . I have never connected with my mother . I no longer react about it when I am with her .  I remember being a child at our family cottage summer after summer . My sister and I were NOT allowed inside of my grandfathers cottage or outhouse under any circumstances ever.  She said ..” If I catch either of you inside that cottage , I will kill you both”.  All of my other cousins never had that rule and frequently were inside with my grandfather while my sister and I waited on the dock feeling very angry and treated unfairly. Years and years later , my “girl” cousins admitted being molested by my grandfather .  My mother must have known “something” or it happened to her.   She denies anything happened to her .

Quote
One day, when I am free to come to Canada, we shall have a lovely lunch together..

Oh indeed we will! Won’t that be something??  I cannot imagine how wonderful that will be. Canada welcomes you!
 It is a beautiful series of observations of how women treat their daughters based on how they were treated.
Generational pass downs . Interesting stuff. My mother was one of 16 children …. Likely that says it all.

Quote
If I remember correctly they used to treat childbirth more an ailment in her generation. Fathers were not allowed to be in the room. They anesthetized  the mothers so there was no real experience of having to give birth. Then most babies were bottle fed so no natural bonding with nursing.
I'm pretty sure that's what happen with your mom. I know that's what happened with mine.
That is 100% exactly what happened to my mother …word for word. My dad did not even stay in the hospital, they were sent home.

Quote
Barbie I would like to give you a hug right now. I truly feel you. I just have no words to say but we are all here for you. You are such a good person and you have a good heart and You deserve all the love in this world.
.

Aww!  What a lovely little Dragonfly you are . Glad you are flying around my life ! 

Quote
Do you have some friends that are huggers...you need them. I have some work friends that are huggers and it helps.
.

My husband is actually very affectionate … he touches me every single time he walks by me . He hugs daily actually. I am not as likely to initiate this as he is ….I was never really taught this and was never touched by my mother. My dad would hug when she was not around …she did not like him to pay attention to me .

Quote
Xh is terrified of conversations....it’s where he holds lots of deep rooted trauma....between conversations that were and excuse to ask questions and beat him bloody before he could answer....or tough ones like “your mother isn’t coming back home”. The fear is that the conversation will trigger emotions he doesn’t have tools to deal with. And if he thinks it will be a tough conversation....he dissociates into either muteness or garbled babble that is just word salad. I’d bet good money your husbands the same.  Every time xh wants to talk I ask the same question....”do you have any questions for me” he never has and never does.....it’s my gauge....until he is emotionally ready to ask questions with unknown answers....there really isn’t any point in talking....cause all I can do is listen to a monologue and he’s got a therapist for that.

Courage !  They are mute-twins!   How do you stand it?  I understand that what is a trigger for some is simply not for others. It is a huge trigger for me ….it feel like instant adrenaline surges . Like I am being “punished “ that I dare bring up something that he does not want to talk about . It feels like rejection and dismissal or what I want or need matters zip nothing. It feels like a person who will not participate in solving problems . It can be so extreme , so intense that it feels like pure hatred. My reaction….I own it and I do work on that with my therapist. Soon I will become avoidant because trying to talk to him is torture.  How do you respond when he will not answer you ?    I think it is indeed terror inside my husband , but I am not responsible for that .  No…my husband never asks me questions because I am likely to bring up “safe” things .  It makes it all hopeless . Sometimes I am able to walk away from his silent rejection, other times I truly do attack out of utter frustration and an inability to understand that when you ask your spouse, an adult or someone who apparently loves you , a question …just firetrucking answer !   If I remember his past and his trauma , I can just walk away. However, this means problems will never be solved .  Thank you for sharing . .









  • Logged
« Last Edit: February 22, 2021, 02:16:46 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.

  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 11476
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#97: February 22, 2021, 06:08:57 PM
Quote
What would happen if you asked him about any of it?   Have you ever attempted to “talk” to him about what happened and why?.   Imagine if all this time he felt he made a huge error but shame or fear held him back from approaching any of it. That is very possible I have discovered from experience. I am so very intolerant of this ….triggers me actually.

When I have asked any questions it is like a deer in the headlights. There have been some important times when I have asked ( he had not lived near me for 10 years so our time together has been minimal).

He is living a life that he choose. A very successful life. He works and that is his life. That is what he loves. He is past retirement age and has absolutely no plans to retire but we don’t talk about that either.

Since there is minimal contact between us, and most of that contact is initiated by him....I try and initiate contact and sometimes he will join me and sometimes he will thank me for my “ kind invite” but  decline my offer.

He never gives me an opening. Once, after he took me away for a week and said nothing about “us”, on the plane home I actually tried writing out my thoughts on my IPAD and tried to get him to answer some basic questions. It was not successful in the least.

So why do I continue to allow him in my life at all? It is complicated. I just know that until the day I don’t want to see him, he’s welcome in whatever capacity in my life.
It is hard.
  • Logged
"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

S
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 6257
  • Gender: Female
  • Strength and honour are her clothing;
Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#98: February 23, 2021, 03:14:53 AM
Quote
Years and years later , my “girl” cousins admitted being molested by my grandfather .  My mother must have known “something” or it happened to her.   She denies anything happened to her .

Truly awful Barbie.  And yes I think it would explain a lot about your mother - an awful lot.  Of course she will deny anything because if she had been molested then the trauma must be very deep because generationally you didn't talk about this.
Equally she may not have been molested but became a non tactile person out of a very fierce fear of letting tactile actions becoming perceived as close to molestation.  If she "didn't touch she couldn't cause harm" syndrome.  Fear and guilt are something that previous generations are often too keen to suppress and deny.


Re being the safe one - what does the word safe mean to him?  It might mean something very different from your understanding.  Safe might mean no judgement, safe might mean practical support, safe might mean acceptance, safe might mean silence and calm, safe might mean anger that is purposeful.
It might mean anything..... safe to one can mean something else to another. 
 
  • Logged
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.

b
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2643
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#99: February 24, 2021, 09:43:43 AM
Quote
When I have asked any questions it is like a deer in the headlights.
.

I know the look well . I have the donkey-in the head lights living here . He always appears "shocked" when he is asked something and then utter dissacociation or flooding or shut-down or whatever word you want to apply.   He is gone. Jumps ship and emotionally abandoned the relationship over and over again.  Its hard to take Xyzcf.  I am sorry you never got the answers you needed. I find it emotionally criminal ..if there is such a word. I am intolerant of it completely and fully  and it certainly pushes the anxious pre-occupied wound in me . It is the making of the avoid-pursue dance that I for one have left the dance floor.  That appears to make an avoidant person very happy ....  but maybe not. Who would actually know?

Quote
He is living a life that he choose. A very successful life. He works and that is his life. That is what he loves. He is past retirement age and has absolutely no plans to retire but we don’t talk about that either.
.

My husbands priority is his job as well.  He will not discuss retirement even though several of his friends have taken early retirement.  They tell me " your H will die on a construction site "....he will never retire.  I believe that.  His work ethic ( that I once admired) is actually a work addiction, a way to feel validation from other men, to be the alpha dog, to fix what no one else can and the "trouble-shooter " they fly all over the world to fix problems. This is the job he quit just after BD and they eventually called HIM to return.  What I have witnessed is a "shift" in this area . He once told a counsellor that the cause or issue that pushed him over the edge was job related ...not his marriage . That he felt they did not "use him for the skills he had" etc etc and it enraged him and he quit. He reports a long list of "change"..he no longer needs to be the best, the strongest, fastest etc. He no longer has an extreme need to prove himself or impress anyone.   So, he did not come back as a "whole new man" but he is a "whole new employee".   Imagine that conversation?   All this over a job? 

Quote
He never gives me an opening. Once, after he took me away for a week and said nothing about “us”, on the plane home I actually tried writing out my thoughts on my IPAD and tried to get him to answer some basic questions. It was not successful in the least.

I have thought about typing out a sheet of paper with my questions and little boxes with check "yes or no".   How sad is that ?   what is that telling me that I am not listening to?   ( I never did it because of course it would not work )

Quote
Re being the safe one - what does the word safe mean to him?  It might mean something very different from your understanding.  Safe might mean no judgement, safe might mean practical support, safe might mean acceptance, safe might mean silence and calm, safe might mean anger that is purposeful.
It might mean anything..... safe to one can mean something else to another.
 
.

Of course I have to guess or assume . He has never described "safe" .....I would get the "donkey-stare".   But I believe safe would be free of anger, a "perfect tone of voice" , a certain "presentation", no judgement, no criticism ( EVERYTHING is a criticism) and no questions.   Now , imagine talking to that ?  You cannot . Thats a pretty good description of his communication with his father .




  • Logged
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.

C
  • *
  • Trial Subscriber
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 656
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#100: February 24, 2021, 04:15:21 PM
How do I stand it. I don’t have too...he left. When he was here.....it was actually realizing that the conversations about work WERE in fact conversations about feeling and emotions. So I learned to just validate his feelings in those conversations.

When the conversation had to be had....I gave him a written outline. And made him chose a timeline for discussing it.  I shut down conversation as soon as he started to freeze. Every single time.

I had him practice over and over and over again...interrupting me and stopping a conversation. He learned to trust me that I would be in control of myself enough that I would keep my word and wouldn’t push him. That security made him start to open up and explore his own feelings about a lot of things.

But also just general education about emotions.

An emotion is a sensation in our body that we labeled. Every single person on earth has the same emotions but they may manifest slightly differently in each of our bodies. The fear of an emotion is the fear of that sensation being too big to handle or never stopping.

Since freeze is a far younger fear response than fight or fawn....it feels frustrating to me to deal with a person who freezes whenever they are triggered....because while this body is there....the ability to interact has left the building.  Which triggers my own stuff. I just walked away when I got triggered. No matter how much I wanted to yell and beg and try and beat down the walls he erected every time he was triggered....it only made it worse and last longer.

Now....I have given myself closure....I have nothing else to say, nothing to add, nothing to change, no expectations.....I don’t care anymore.  So now....he feels uncertain....and wants to talk about things, he wants answers and explanations and understanding. Which I’m not offering.  Perhaps he just wants closure from me...I don’t know. Either way....now that I’m done....he is finally trying and doing the work.....which I guess bully for him. It will make him a better father.

That’s the problem with women....we try until we are utterly exhausted and give up and are done forever.....not men....they give up before trying and only try after they decided giving up was the wrong choice.

Bless it.

Courage
  • Logged
Me 37
H 37
S16
Wallower/Chaos kid
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

b
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2643
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#101: February 24, 2021, 08:05:46 PM
Quote
Since freeze is a far younger fear response than fight or fawn....it feels frustrating to me to deal with a person who freezes whenever they are triggered....because while this body is there....the ability to interact has left the building.  Which triggers my own stuff. I just walked away when I got triggered. No matter how much I wanted to yell and beg and try and beat down the walls he erected every time he was triggered....it only made it worse and last longer.
.

I bow to your self-control and ability to walk away.  It is no easy task , to walk away when you are triggered. I have been able to do that a handful of times but other times not so much . I can go to full blown attack in under 1 sec because it triggers my stuff like a bullseye. It is awful beyond description.  If I do manage to walk away, it seems he is very happy and relieved and got exactly what he wanted....and that just enrages me . All that aside , the problem or the issue trying to be talked about is still there . It never gets resolved . Because he will never bring it up and why would I just to repeat the same shut-down dance?.

Quote
.I have nothing else to say, nothing to add, nothing to change, no expectations.....I don’t care anymore.  So now....he feels uncertain....and wants to talk about things, he wants answers and explanations and understanding. Which I’m not offering.  Perhaps he just wants closure from me...I don’t know. Either way....now that I’m done....he is finally trying and doing the work.....which I guess bully for him. It will make him a better father.
.

Mine does the same . If he senses I am at the end , finished , past frustrated etc, he suddenly sends me articles to read, ensures I know he booked another therapist appointment. If everything is calm, he does and says nothing .   

Quote
That’s the problem with women....we try until we are utterly exhausted and give up and are done forever.....not men....they give up before trying and only try after they decided giving up was the wrong choice.
.

this is the absolute truth .   It truly is .





  • Logged
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.

C
  • *
  • Trial Subscriber
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 656
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#102: February 25, 2021, 10:01:11 AM
Now I’m going to say something highly controversial....feel free to disagree with me entirely.

Why not just give up on the marriage?  Do you like this particular marriage, are your needs being met? It this what you want from a marriage? If the answers no.....stop trying to save it. He’s not trying to save it. So you spend all your time doing life support on a marriage  and you are the only one trying. Let it die.

Then go about your life. Put yourself first. Do what brings you joy and peace and happiness. Drop all the sh!t you do cause you are married and expect eventually it will be reciprocated. He wants to be a roommate....let him. But wife stuff come with marriage...and if he wants that back....there are terms.

I did....it was the most freeing calming stress relieving thing I ever did. It doesn’t mean run out and get a boyfriend....it means let that old marriage die already. Then decide for yourself under what conditions you would accept a new marriage from him. Don’t ask him for that... just go about the business of doing it.

What are barbies terms? What will she tolerate.

He broke the old marriage, if he wants a marriage with you....what does that look like???

Anywho....if it makes sense....

Love you.

❤️ Courage ❤️
  • Logged
Me 37
H 37
S16
Wallower/Chaos kid
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

9
  • *
  • MLCer Type: Clinging Boomerang
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 716
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#103: February 25, 2021, 11:30:35 AM
Barbie, thank you again for being so honest in your posts. 

My H, I think unlike yours, is a clinger and an over sharer.  As he is working his way through MLC he is doing what he always does and sharing with me.  He forgets often that I am the one he hurt with all of his actions.  I have heard many things from him lately about his journey, many things I really wish I didn't hear. He does tend to shut down when I express hurt or frustration, but then will soon start up again.  I've started to have to enforce new boundaries on what he does actually share with me.   I often stop and remind him to stop talking. 

I totally understand where you are coming from with him shutting down when you need him not to.  You wanting him to answer questions when he doesn't seem to have that ability.  Something I have been working on in counseling, what do I actually need to know from him that is stopping me from living my best life?  When questions come up I ask myself this question.  Is how he answers going to affect the life I want?  Is his inability to answer stopping me from going forward with myself?   If this is the case then I take a step back and analyze it.  His actions or lack thereof should not be affecting my movement forward.  My H and I have been joined at the hip for many years, I'm learning how to deal with my life the way I want it to go.  I would love to have him along for the ride, right now he is learning to put his training wheels on by himself so he can do so. 

I'm learning how to do this while still staying married.  Not always an easy task to work on yourself with your H right there.  I'm learning how to not look to him for anything right now.  Our old marriage is dead for sure.  Hoping a new one will take it's place but he still has a lot of work to do, and honestly so do I.  We do have a base of 35 years of shared history.  We do genuinely like each other, we can still laugh together.  I'm starting with that.  Deep emotional connection is still a ways off. 

Whatever you decide to do or not to do is up to you.  What is your base with your H?  If there are good parts focus on that, but more importantly focus on yourself.  You are the best investment you can make. 

Hugs,
Roo
  • Logged
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.

  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 4272
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#104: February 25, 2021, 11:48:38 PM
Re: what Courage said. Me wondering out loud. Can you (the royal you) stay legally married, let the old marriage die because it is no longer what it was, and create a new marriage out of what you have? Even if what you have isn't currently what you want?  What if your old marriage never really was what you wanted, and you just didn't realize that before because it was "good enough"?

I cannot imagine how hard the reconciliation road could be in some circumstances.
  • Logged
When life gives you lemons, make SALSA!

b
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2643
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#105: February 28, 2021, 10:49:11 AM
I read something today. It has had a profound impact on me as I try to understand my avoidant husband. It will change everything and yet its just a group of words. I finally "get it" .  And as I have always known ( despite his blame) , it was never about me . Not ever.  This is why, without 1 spec of doubt , he shuts down, is flooded and dissacociates.  Nothing will be the same now.

Quote
Attachment wounds reside within the nervous systems experience of vulnerability and intimacy . This means that intimacy and vulnerability ARE the trauma triggers.
  • Logged
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.

  • *
  • Trial Subscriber
  • Full Member
  • Posts: 207
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#106: February 28, 2021, 02:12:49 PM
Big hugs to you Barbie. I think our H’s are almost the same. My H still blames me about what happened, although he said he is not blaming me. He never starts the talk and it’s always me who wants to talk about us and our situation. I feel like they probably hope it will just disappear and they don’t need to face it anymore. And us LBS suffer from this kind of behavior. My H at least said he was always scared of me and my reaction. He feels pressured when we talk about it.
  • Logged
Me 44
H    46
Married 12 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

b
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2643
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#107: February 28, 2021, 11:25:44 PM
I have found some very interesting information today that confirms I am not insane. I have never read anything that has resonated so much and I understand now why I cannot make this marriage make sense to me.  It was never about me deciding " do you want your marriage or not" ...I knew there was never really a marriage to decide about, that something "else" was at play.  My frustration is so extreme , my loneliness so profound that there was some possibility this IS all my fault . Until I found this information that explains my life with my husband.   I have no doubt that far more than MLC is going on underneath my H and it just is beyond sad .  This is my life... blame and all.  I get it. I live it . I am not insane after all. But it is unlikely to change .

https://www.loveaddictionhelp.com/12-distancing-strategies-the-love-avoidant-uses-to-avoid-intimacy

https://www.christian-marriage-counselling.com/avoidant-personality-and-silent-divorce.html



  • Logged
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.

  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 11198
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#108: February 28, 2021, 11:41:51 PM
It's a funny old thing that we come to these significant shifts in our own time and circumstance, regardless of the reassurance or challenge that others may have given us along the way. When it's time perhaps and when we are more able to use the insight? Idk.

I hope, dear friend, that this new insight is one that liberates you from some of your struggle and pain. (We, of course, never thought you were insane  :) )
And that it helps you see a different kind of path forward for yourself, whatever you decide that might look like.
  • Logged
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

  • *
  • Trial Subscriber
  • Full Member
  • Posts: 207
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#109: March 01, 2021, 01:49:19 AM
Barbie, if this helps at all, you are not insane. I feel the same way. I also believed once that I was a needy person that I was clingy. But I realized now my H was just an avoidant. He said it himself he doesn’t want to much closeness. We can hug for a couple of seconds and after that it would be too much for him. I  pray one day we will all find healing and a way that’s best for us. Keep going Barbie.
  • Logged
Me 44
H    46
Married 12 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

d
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 607
  • Gender: Male
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#110: March 01, 2021, 12:02:09 PM
Very interesting articles. Which after thinking about it explains my W to a T.
thanks for shareing..
DW
  • Logged

T
  • *
  • Trial Subscriber
  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 38
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#111: March 01, 2021, 01:26:24 PM
Barbiedoll,
I was excited to see that you feel that you are making progress toward finding an answer as to why things have occurred for you and your H.  It seems that I spend too much time, less now than in the past, but still too much time 'figuring' things out for me, my H, and our situation. I  have always believed my H to be conflict avoidant.  My IC has suggested that he is a covert narcissist, and after reading more about it, he has many of the characteristics. Though I know there are pertinent differences, I am having difficulty distinguishing between the two for my own sense of purpose.  While his transgressions, devaluing, and disrespect are obviously of his own choosing, I am torn.  If he is narcissistic, it seems that he did these things on purpose.  If he was just conflict avoidant, he was incapable of reacting to his issues and acted out, because of his inability to process inner conflict. I  have always believed him to be a good person, but time has past, and I doubt continually my perceptions of him and our life together.  I just don't know anymore.  I don't know how much is intentional or unintentional in MLC behavior.  I guess that is a big question.

I know that this may sound like I am talking in circles, but how can I know if his actions were because he was the self-serving 'nice guy' who promoted his own agenda or a troubled person running from problems rather than trying to keep his emotions at bay?  Does feeling like you know more about why your H has behaved like he has make a difference for you-- not that you are excusing it, but that maybe you have reached an "Aha' moment that is helping to validate your opinion of him and your circumstances.
  • Logged

M
  • *
  • Trial Subscriber
  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 96
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#112: March 01, 2021, 01:53:37 PM
Barbiedoll,
I was excited to see that you feel that you are making progress toward finding an answer as to why things have occurred for you and your H.  It seems that I spend too much time, less now than in the past, but still too much time 'figuring' things out for me, my H, and our situation. I  have always believed my H to be conflict avoidant.  My IC has suggested that he is a covert narcissist, and after reading more about it, he has many of the characteristics. Though I know there are pertinent differences, I am having difficulty distinguishing between the two for my own sense of purpose.  While his transgressions, devaluing, and disrespect are obviously of his own choosing, I am torn.  If he is narcissistic, it seems that he did these things on purpose.  If he was just conflict avoidant, he was incapable of reacting to his issues and acted out, because of his inability to process inner conflict. I  have always believed him to be a good person, but time has past, and I doubt continually my perceptions of him and our life together.  I just don't know anymore.  I don't know how much is intentional or unintentional in MLC behavior.  I guess that is a big question.


I don't want to hijack the thread, but I know quite a bit about narcissism and wanted to chip in here.  Not all narcissists do what they do on purpose, and in fact, narcissism wouldn't "work" as a defense if they did.  Basically, narcissists are incapable of self-reflection because what they find might be too terrifying.  Narcissists instead create a fantasy that they are infallible, perfect, and good and choose to believe in that rather than do any introspection or self-improvement.  They can't know they're narcissists (at least most of the time) because realizing this would require self-reflection.  So everything a narcissist does is to maintain this false image of themselves -- basically avoiding any evidence that would bring that facade crashing down.  I've lived with narcissists and let me tell you, heaven help the person who asks them to reflect, grow, and change.

I know less about conflict avoidance, but I think that exists more on a level of discomfort with conflict, but the individual involved probably doesn't actually believe in a false version of themselves, if that makes sense.  They may know what the problems are but lack the emotional resilience to face them, whereas a narcissist would deny the existence of the problem altogether.

I'm not a mental health expert -- just offering my best understanding.
  • Logged
"One day you will tell your story of how you overcame what you went through and it will become someone else's survival guide."  -- Brene Brown

Me - 62
H - 62
Married 1984
OW - 2013 or earlier
BD - 2013
Divorced 2014
Married OW 2016

3 kids
S - 24
D - 32
S - 34

  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 11476
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#113: March 01, 2021, 06:16:55 PM
It is tempting to label our spouses with a diagnostic title and forget the decades of years prior to BD when these traits did not exist, or certainly not to the degree that occurs in MLC.

This discussion has occurred over and over again and the following has been quoted from many sources:

Narcissistic personality disorder affects more males than females, and it often begins in the teens or early adulthood.

At age 55, it is highly unlikely that my husband developed a narcissistic personality disorder. That doesn't make sense from the 35 years we spent together.

He did a 180 degree change almost overnight although in  retrospect the previous year he was withdrawn.

Really the only "diagnosis" that makes sense is MLC.

Just my two cents worth.
  • Logged
"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

T
  • *
  • Trial Subscriber
  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 38
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#114: March 01, 2021, 07:32:14 PM
Thank you Marian! Your explanation helped a lot in clarifying the difference between the two. I wasn’t trying to hijack the thread either, or diagnose spouses.  I just wanted to know the difference. Also, I thought that part of MLC was the emergence of traits which were maybe there, but hidden or well controlled—that maybe the tendencies were there but the sense of entitlement that MLC brings triggered those tendencies.
  • Logged

b
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2643
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#115: March 02, 2021, 12:42:56 PM
Dogwalker.

I am glad you found the articles helpful and perhaps gave you some answers that were missing. At the very least some new insights to consider. I am also sorry...I do not believe many avoidants  ( at least to the degree my husband is) can change. 

Quote
I  have always believed my H to be conflict avoidant.
.

Many women ( LBS's or not) say this about their partners or spouses. That has been my experience. I have had many close female friends, sister etc who struggle with men that will not " talk " and can avoid problems until the end of time. But , I see with my H something far deeper is inside of him unhealed or un-processed trauma. Over the years he avoided solving issues unrelated to emotion or sharing etc.  We have had 2 vehicles re-poccessed ( 25 years ago ) because he " avoided " dealing with notices, payments, making phone calls".  Never mentioned a thing to me so you can imagine my shock to find my car gone. He "avoided " himself right into bankruptcy 30 years ago....and did NOTHING to solve or remedy the situation. He was catatonic useless and unable to solve any "problem".  So, I did it otherwise the consequences would have impacted my girls and I in a huge way. So, curiously , my H can avoid if there "might be a conflict" and issues unrelated to emotions between us.  It is like he is allergic to solutions and far prefers to " mire in problems" . I am 100% the absolute opposite. It is NOT new in my marriage.  Now he has a lot more issues ( as a result of avoiding life and its problems) and will not deal with those either. It has gotten worse if anything. It makes perfect sense to me why "avoidant personality types " have affairs and a MLC.  If you avoid ALL problems , all solutions, all conversations, all connections and bonding and circumstances in marriage that is an issue ... how could you not implode ?  If you fail to discuss issues and you are "fine"....how could a happy marriage happen?  Just pondering and thinking...

Quote
Quote
I know that this may sound like I am talking in circles, but how can I know if his actions were because he was the self-serving 'nice guy' who promoted his own agenda or a troubled person running from problems rather than trying to keep his emotions at bay?  Does feeling like you know more about why your H has behaved like he has make a difference for you-- not that you are excusing it, but that maybe you have reached an "Aha' moment that is helping to validate your opinion of him and your circumstances.
.

I have had an extreme shift and ahh-hah moment. I feel huge relief and now fully understand what has been missing  inside of him. The phrase " vulnerability and intimacy ARE the trauma triggers "  make 100 % total and complete sense to me. We avoid triggers with everything in us , some of us more than others. I understand his childhood and frankly have never seen a more violent , abusive and abandoning home that this little boy tried to survive. He is very very wounded indeed and I am sorry ...very sorry all of this happened to him. I am . BUT , I cannot live forever inside of his wounds.   So , indeed I have had a huge wonderful, fabulous and peaceful shift. I KNOW what I am dealing with now. Right now , I feel absolute release of expectations that he will " do this or do that ". He likely will do nothing. The articles helped me understand why or who he is .  I feel some amount of compassion for him....and I have not felt any compassion for a very very long time.  Still, having said all of that ...I suffer in this marriage , I am lonely in a way that I have never experienced, I am in a chronic state of longing and yearning to be seen and to matter and to feel something from him . I know this is still about healing inside of me but we all need connection , care, love and it is hard to be around a human presence that seems to not need any of it . Its hard. 

I am finishing this post a day later. Today I have some sadness and anxiety around the understanding that this will not change . I truly do not believe it can or will change. He will remain avoidant . It creates loss, grief and such sadness to know that he cannot be more than he is . And I need more .  What do you ever do with all that ? I forsee my marriage ending at some point ...not today , but at some point I will need to find a new way for myself.  It is deeply painful acceptance.

I did send the 2 articles that I posted to my husband. He is always saying ( to the therapist) that we are "stuck".   I sent them as a last message  of "why we are stuck".  I also told him that I had no expectation that he will answer ...it does not matter anymore .  That I now longer expect him to comment or discuss anything with me ...its just OK.   He told me he read both articles . Even that was a surprise as I have stopped sending anything to him years ago. He never mentions them and for all I know he may never have read a thing.   He tells me he needs to read them again and we can " discuss them if you want".   Ha !  If I want? . This has happened before and I can assure you he will not bring it up again.  Just his little breadcrumbs , nothing more .  Seems he has moved himself into the guestroom for the past 3 nights. No reason, no discussion , no idea ....he just makes decisions and they are not my business really.  I will not be asking/pursuing.  Off he goes... 

Quote
  I don't know how much is intentional or unintentional in MLC behavior.  I guess that is a big question.
.

It is the never ending question.  Last week, in frustration, my husband said " It is not that I am not capable of connection or talking .......".   So this chronic withholding is intentional. ??   I believe he is NOT capable and how he behaves is not within his control.  It has always been there ...always. We went to counselling about it 20 years ago.  This did not just happen.

Quote
At age 55, it is highly unlikely that my husband developed a narcissistic personality disorder. That doesn't make sense from the 35 years we spent together.

He did a 180 degree change almost overnight although in  retrospect the previous year he was withdrawn.

Really the only "diagnosis" that makes sense is MLC.

Just my two cents worth.
.

I completely agree with this . No ...he did not become a narcissist at 55. It does not help to label ( well, it may help some I suppose) and what I am talking about with my H is an attachment wound, type, trauma etc...rather than a psychiatric disorder .   And , as I have said, my H has always been avoidant ...granted, it became worse as he aged. I believe the unhappiness , emptiness and issues he feels is from not getting HIS needs met...even if it appears , he has none.  Ugh..not sure if anything makes sense.  The articles I posted clearly state that the avoidant has been this way since childhood for a number of reasons including severe trauma, neglect, abandonment, sexual abuse ( my H suffered all of this) and he came into the marriage like this .  And NOT to accept blame for any of his "junk".   And he still tries to blame...occasionally. 












  • Logged
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.

  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 11476
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#116: March 02, 2021, 03:01:31 PM
Quote
what I am talking about with my H is an attachment wound, type, trauma etc...rather than a psychiatric disorder .   And , as I have said, my H has always been avoidant ...granted, it became worse as he aged.


I do believe that there is something from their childhood that has been unresolved. I do wonder though about many other people who have undergone horrific abuse as children who do not end up in crisis. As we have said, it is a perfect storm of several factors.

Anjae talked a great deal about depression being an underlying factor, stress, biochemical changes, fear of aging all seem to be contributors.

There does seem to be several who seem conflict avoidant. I did not realize how dangerous that was. It just seemed like we were on the save wave length and when we disagreed we were able to listen to one another, not always agree, but we would come to an "agreement" that was mutually acceptable. It worked for 35 years until it didn't.
  • Logged
"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
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2643
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#117: March 02, 2021, 05:39:30 PM
Quote
I did not realize how dangerous that was.
.

You cannot have a true marriage with someone who is petrified about everything that a marriage is about .  I do truly belive that " intimacy and vulnerability" are actual threats or triggers and he shuts down completely. This leaves a partner rejected, abandoned . alone in the relationship and very very angry ( especially if those triggers are from her own childhood wounds).  IF you want to stay in a marriage with an avoidant ...you will need to "settle" in many many ways .  Surprisingly , when my H was in monster mode after BD , he repeatedly told me ( 100 x's) that I had "settled" for him when he did not know how to make me happy.   On the flip side ...my H is full on kindness, gentleness, always eager to please , so charismatic and has many positive ways about him.  Hard to leave...hard to stay.

Quote
It just seemed like we were on the save wave length and when we disagreed we were able to listen to one another, not always agree, but we would come to an "agreement" that was mutually acceptable. It worked for 35 years until it didn't.
.

And this is incredibly painful ...when you had a partner you could talk to . And suddenly ...it stops and he refuses to talk or tell you anything.   Ignore the white elephant . Avoid at all costs . Look at the pain it causes?  .  We will never fully understand why . 

  • Logged
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.

  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 11476
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#118: March 02, 2021, 05:51:45 PM
Quote
And this is incredibly painful ...when you had a partner you could talk to . And suddenly ...it stops and he refuses to talk or tell you anything.   Ignore the white elephant . Avoid at all costs . Look at the pain it causes?  .  We will never fully understand why .

Yes. There were several challenging times in our marriage. I went away to school for 9 months, he moved to another city while I was fullfillng a commitment to a year contract.  Another time I stayed in another country for a year while our daughter finished high school. He drove home every weekend, a 6 hour drive after working in a very stressful position all week. For 45 weeks arriving at midnight on Friday and leaving at 2 pm on Sunday.

I was very afraid during that time of what this might do to "us" and this is a moment I will never forget....he held me under a tree in our backyard, this man of very few words at times and he told me "xyzcf, our marriage is so strong that it can survive anything". The right words to calm my fears and indeed we did survive.

The change from this man who showed me much love and caring to one who refused to talk to me and just sent me away ...well you all know...there was no way to touch him..and to this day...no possibility of being heard.

Yes barbie, the pain it causes is very very damaging.
  • Logged
« Last Edit: March 02, 2021, 05:53:51 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

b
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2643
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#119: March 03, 2021, 04:18:14 PM
I read a post a long time ago here on HS . The LBS stated she was separating from her spouse ( they had reconciled ) and she would be filing for divorce.  She further stated it was NOT because of his affair . Stated " unrelated to his 2 year affair or MLC".   I remember rolling my eyes and thinking ...ahhhh...what could be "worse" than those 2 things?   Surely , nothing?  ( short of domestic violence)   . She clarified that she finally understood that he was never going to talk to her , engage or be more than a passenger in the marriage . ( funny...that is exactly what I feel about me husband . A passenger )  He was avoidant .  I have found some of the reasons for my anger that has been a constant companion....and is greatly diminished , but not gone.  It was not just about his affair or his spending.  It is what happens when you try to live with an avoidant person...male or female.  It has kept me in a frustrated angry state.  I see that now.   Still waiting for him to do what he said he would do.... discuss the avoidant article with me . ( his idea....I never asked him to ).  Instead, he has worked at a frantic pace ( at home...so I see this ) , changed the taps in bathroom, fixed the fireplace, now replacing drain in tub and fixed a china cabinet door.   He has not sat in the same room that I am in....

https://avoidants.org/living-with-an-avoidant/#:~:text=Living%20with%20someone%20that%20has%20Avoidant%20Personality%20is,and%20hope%20that%20you%20have%E2%80%94emotionally,%20physically,%20and%20spiritually.
  • Logged
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.

C
  • *
  • Trial Subscriber
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 656
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#120: March 03, 2021, 07:53:50 PM
Barbie
Of course he’s avoiding you.....or rather avoiding the conversation. And now given a little time the idea of the conversation has built up into a monster inside his own head.

The fear of conversation ties in exactly with this are they are narcissist or not subject.

The behaviors of a narcissist are the exact same coping mechanisms of a neglected 4 year old.  There is then absolutely no surprise that our partners when in distress go to the only coping mechanisms in their arsenal....the coping mechanism of a 4 year old....which look exactly like narcissistic behaviors.

You also see that he becomes a very good boy....he does chores and helps and does all the things you have wanted done as appeasement so that you will not have the dreaded conversation. He doesn’t know that what he fears from the trigger(conversation) is that he will feel the way he felt during “conversations” when he was little. And since there’s no toolbox full of tools to deal with the feelings the conversation may cause....he will just avoid it all together.

You drop it and he feels pleased, of course he is pleased...he is safe now, he appeased you (in his own mind without consulting you at all) therefore you are satisfied, and he won’t have to feel any of the awful feelings that always come with conversations.

Of course to you....and the rest of us can attest....it feels like rejection....and that the other person is well pleased with themselves rejecting you.

He won’t ask any questions to discover his assumptions are wrong....so he will be blindsided by all of your anger, hurt feelings ect.....EVERY SINGLE TIME.

Because of course if you grew up with an abusive parent with a substance abuse problem....if you could passive them till their next fix.....they would forget entirely...and you were safe and could go back to your business until the next blow up.

Can he change.....yes....my stbx is now able to withstand difficult conversations.....because he decided to work on it in therapy. Not because of me, not for me, but because he chose too. He is a grown man, and fully responsible for his choices.

So can he change...yes the brain is remarkably good at requiring and building new neural pathways and learning and adapting and growing. But he has to chose that for himself.

But Barbie......YOU don’t have to ascribe to his narrative. I personally chose the calmly stating....you don’t know me, you don’t know how I feel, or what I think.....you haven’t asked” philosophy.  I repeated it like a mantra every time he made and assumption or ascribed something to me that wasn’t true.
It left him in the position of realizing that was true....and then discovering he triggered his own damn self every time he tried to ask.....so that’s why he finally decided to address it. 🤷‍♀️

But that’s a 2 way street because we all make lots of assumptions about what our partners actions, expressions, and behaviors mean.

Let me also say that me asking triggered him a lot....but that’s not my problem. I also had to learn to ask what was really bothering me. Not the surface stuff....but the....I think you are mad at me right now....is that true? Or I feel like your avoiding me right now...are you? It was very difficult as those would have never been safe questions to ask when I was a child.

Anyways....I hope this was at least helpful?

Love you
❤️ Courage❤️
  • Logged
Me 37
H 37
S16
Wallower/Chaos kid
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

b
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2643
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#121: March 08, 2021, 01:54:34 PM
Thank you Courage ..more than helpful.

Quote
And now given a little time the idea of the conversation has built up into a monster inside his own head.
.

It did absolutely swell into a huge scary dread and avoid monster in his head. He ran himself into a tizzy "fixing" an entire list of stuff until he was sweating . And then he decided that the dishwasher drain must be plugged etc etc .  He was certainly hoping I would just go to bed , then in the future he will say something like " Hey, YOU went to bed ".  So I just sat reading ...but it does give me anxiety.  I realize I am trying to "make him bring things up, take the lead etc" , when he never has and by this frantic behaviour he likely never will.    So, in an odd fashion , he "attempted" to bring it up  by asking "what was that stuff you wanted to talk about "....he says standing up.  Not sitting to have a real conversation...ready to run. And the "stuff" already has him defensive, I can hear it in his voice.  Anyway, to make a long story very very short, it was a dismal failure. He feels I only send him things that are critical of him so I can "sh*t on him". Its a "pattern" I have apparently.  It was attempt to make him see how it feels to be me . Thats all.  This is where a great deal of anger comes from ( as explained in the article) . It was information ..not something I WROTE to criticize him.  I left the conversation at that and did go to bed.  There was no point going any further with a very hijacked little boy. 

Quote
There is then absolutely no surprise that our partners when in distress go to the only coping mechanisms in their arsenal....the coping mechanism of a 4 year old....which look exactly like narcissistic behaviors.
.

It shouldn't be a surprise and yet at times I am just blindsided by his reaction.  I think it truly is just information and explanation for some of my feelings ...but he is triggered by it... and becomes extremely defensive and will deny anything else you say .   He does become a little 4 year old and my therapist frequently reminds me . 

Quote
ou also see that he becomes a very good boy....he does chores and helps and does all the things you have wanted done as appeasement so that you will not have the dreaded conversation. He doesn’t know that what he fears from the trigger(conversation) is that he will feel the way he felt during “conversations” when he was little. And since there’s no toolbox full of tools to deal with the feelings the conversation may cause....he will just avoid it all together.
.

This is 100% true fact. It is always what he has done and continues to do the same. This is how he dealt with his father ..."keep the beast happy and maybe he will be nice or not talk to me at all ...either thing would be fine".  It is so glaringly obvious to me....I am not sure he buys that theory or not.   You are so correct about this Courage. My initial feeling is " there he goes, trying to ignore ", but it is more than that .   I need to bring more logic, fact and practical thinking into my interactions with him and FAR less emotion.  We trigger each other without question. But if you "avoid" everything emotional or vulnerable or whatever the correct word is ...you cannot have a true connected marriage. Maybe that is what I need to accept and stop searching ( pursuing) more. I also endlessly wonder this question.... IF a man ( or women) does not read, watch podcasts, lectures, read books or educate themselves , how can anything change ? Like where does the information come from? It is not going to fall from the sky ! . I am always researching and looking for answers. He does none of that that I am aware of . Perhaps they avoid being avoidant? . This says to me " he is not doing the work to change anything ...so the future is pretty bleak ".  I am not sure that may make sense to anyone but me.

Quote
Of course to you....and the rest of us can attest....it feels like rejection....and that the other person is well pleased with themselves rejecting you.
.

Yes. It is a bubble of rejection , this marriage . And that rejection trigger starts all kind of crazy in me . Painful?   OMG , it is so painful. Now, I must say, I thought I had that reaction under control ( even completely gone) . It has been since last August ( 2020) since I have reacted like that. Feels huge step backwards ...I thought I had it under my belt only to have it re-appear with a vengeance.  I even bragged about my wonderful "shift" ( a few posts ago) and now I shifted back to the crazy-zone. Ugh

Quote
.so he will be blindsided by all of your anger, hurt feelings ect.....EVERY SINGLE TIME.
.

And he is...blindsided EVERY SINGLE TIME !   Like he cannot connect the dots and see that coming.  I can see the shock..    What I am sometimes reminded of is a crazy-mom scenario.  You know when the kids came home from school and you were so happy to see them and chatty and nice.  And you say to them.. " darlings..please pickup your school bags and shoes and put them away."  After 1/2 hour , all the bags and shoes are still blocking the door. So you tell them again . Another 1/2 hour, maybe 1 kid has done it. Now its an hour and you have tripped over the mess twice and you yell up the stairs , that these school bags better be gone in 5 MINUTES!  .  Another 20 minutes and you are a raging mother-phsycho whipping school bags into snow banks followed by 5 pairs of shoes as you drool and convulse like a crazy-cow!  And then ( finally) you have their attention.... but they tell you that YOU are crazy, they appear afraid of your nutjob behaviour and walk a wide girth around you ...    Thats what I feel driven to in this avoidant marriage at times.  I feel driven to the brink of insanity only to be told ..." no wonder I can't talk to you !".

Quote
Can he change.....yes....my stbx is now able to withstand difficult conversations.....because he decided to work on it in therapy. Not because of me, not for me, but because he chose too. He is a grown man, and fully responsible for his choices.

So can he change...yes the brain is remarkably good at requiring and building new neural pathways and learning and adapting and growing. But he has to chose that for himself.
.

He has been seeing a therapist for 7 years. He still sees a therapist .  Nothing has changed. What he is working on?   He does not share with me .  If you see a therapist 2 hours a month and do nothing else....whats the point?   Just my opinion.

Quote
..you don’t know me, you don’t know how I feel, or what I think.....you haven’t asked” philosophy
.

Yes, I have said this many many times. Many times.   Because it is true. Sadly , it hurts me a lot.  For him to stay "safe" I will be in a very superficial marriage. How sad is that really?.  He is extremely avoidant ..almost catatonic stare and silence. After any kind of interaction like that ...he literally sleeps for hours. 

Quote
Anyways....I hope this was at least helpful?
.

yes. I appreciate it so much. Thank you. .

modified by S&D to close the huge gap up at the end of the post.
  • Logged
« Last Edit: March 09, 2021, 12:33:15 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.

b
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2643
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#122: March 17, 2021, 02:17:53 PM
Back on stable emotional ground again. Not sure what spiralled me to the "crazy place" but I sure went there .  Sometimes its just all too much to deal with. I am providing care to my parents who are 87 in a month and that creates a lot of running around, fixing TV's that suddenly will not work, resetting passwords constantly , going to endless DR appointments , picking up medication and reminding them to take it and listening to my mothers misery over covid and being locked in. I took them for their 1st vaccine shot yesterday so that is a good start.  My dad is not well and to see him suffer in any way just makes me cry my eyes out. I have a daughter that is off work and they have found something wrong with her heart and she is waiting to see a specialist and that is also a source of stress . I have not seen 4 of my grandchildren in over a year and the cases here in Ontario continue to rise. Some say this is the start of a 3rd wave.  I am done with it all. H has worked from home for months ... and that is also difficult.  Soo many things to manage not just a H that is avoidant and not within my power to make that any different than it is .  I also just simply need to see my therapist and that is not possible while we remain in red.  She does counselling from her home, she is an older lady and is very careful. I respect that ...its just rough.   So this is my life at the moment ...everyone is struggling with similar things I am sure.

H continues to see our marriage counsellor bi-weekly and I have not yet been asked to return .  Not even sure I will at this point . I have to think about that . I really just need to accept who he is and what his limitations are and get on with my life and my own healing journey . That is all I am 100% responsible for . A friend of mine ( who also has an avoidant husband ) told me to read a book called The Empowered Wife by Laura Doyle.  Then she dropped it off on my step. She tells me it has changed her life . Hmmm?   Anyway, I have read the introduction and online description/website and yeah...makes me wanna spit !   Not anything that sounds like I want to be or whatever. Stupid comes to mind. Regardless, she made me promise to at least read it.  We shall see.

H continues to work from home, he talks to me about endless superficial topics , he has now fixed every possible broken thing in the house and now says he is going to "fix up the attic".  Busy busy guy...keeps him numbed out.  He is very affectionate , hugs all the time , brings treats everytime he goes out the door, tells my vacation we will have after covid and asking what I need to start up my greenhouse . As long as I stay away from serious topics ...avoid emotion or questions  ( a whole list of stuff) ... life is calm and "normal".   Any conversations outside his comfort zone will shut him down instantly ...and if I push in anyway , he will sleep for hours. I think it is just another way to avoid ...well, life.  If he is doing any "work" on himself , he would not share it with me .  I just back to working only on me ...
  • Logged
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.

  • *
  • Trial Subscriber
  • Full Member
  • Posts: 207
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#123: March 17, 2021, 02:34:58 PM
Oh Barbie it’s good to know you found your stable ground again. What you said about accepting our H the way they are was exactly what my therapist told me this week. Sometimes some people don’t change and maybe that’s the case with my H and yours. I can understand how hard it is to accept that because that’s how I feel right now. I’m so frustrated about my H but at least he helps me when I need help. I hope your daughter will be ok and it’s nothing serious. i cannot imagine how stressful it is when our loved ones are not well.  The worries we have just can be just so overwhelming. I hope you find something that helps you to relax.

Hugs to you Barbie, you are doing great.
  • Logged
Me 44
H    46
Married 12 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

  • *
  • Trial Subscriber
  • Full Member
  • Posts: 207
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#124: March 17, 2021, 02:42:52 PM
By the way I’ve read that book The Empowered Wife at the beginning of all this $h!te my h caused. For me it was a waste of money. She basically says we women have the power to change the dynamics of of our marriage by respecting our husband, saying things differently not to hurt their feelings etc.  Some are true like setting boundaries but the rest are just BS for me in my humble opinion. I’d rather read Love Must be Tough by Dr James Dobson.
  • Logged
Me 44
H    46
Married 12 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

Z
  • **
  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 41
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#125: March 17, 2021, 06:17:17 PM
Barbie,

I also read "The Empowered Wife" at the beginning of this mess.  I thought it made lots of sense for general marriage issues and unhappiness.  The author was the unsatisfied spouse and she changed her behavior and attitude, which changed her perspective and marriage dynamics.  It wouldn't do a lick of good for a MLCer, WAS, or Exit Affair scenario.  I would give this book to a new bride for sure.

For your situation, you might be able to apply a few things.  It would be very very interested in your perspective, if you do read it.

Since this group has experienced huge marriage traumas, I think it would be interesting for the group to discuss "marriage advice" books... ha ha 
  • Logged

  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 11198
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#126: March 18, 2021, 01:00:02 AM
Nice to hear that you feel back on solid ground, Barbie.
And how wise of you to see that your life - as is true for so many people right now - is full of a lot of other pressures and losses and constraints which can just make it all feel like a bit of a relentless slog with no end in sight. And I am sorry to hear about your daughter; that must be a terrible worry for you.

I do think that one of the residues of something like PTSD is that it can reduce our bandwidth....I know I can juggle much less practically and emotionally than I used to do. And talking to others here, a year after the first lockdown, a lot of folks are saying that they feel exhausted by it all now, that sense of 'enough already' just as you say.

Sounds like your h has found his current coping strategy of 'fixing' anything that catches his eye. (Let's not open up the doorway on his POV on 'fixing' priorities lol!) What about you, dear girl? What have you found to do that sprinkles a little bit of joy or peace or replenishment or good distraction on your soul? Xxx

PS The Empowered Wife? Hmmm. I liked Love Must Be Tough...very good on boundaries and self-respect as part of good love imho. But I suppose what one reads depends on whether one sees a situation as a marriage 'problem' needing a wifely 'solution' or not.
  • Logged
« Last Edit: March 18, 2021, 01:04:26 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

  • *
  • Trial Subscriber
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 1320
  • Gender: Male
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#127: March 18, 2021, 08:08:22 AM
Hi Barbie  :D

So glad you got thru that little bit. Would you chalk it up to processing? Seems to me, you worked it out and are thru to the other side of whatever it was. Right on!! That's really good!!

I had to laugh when you said he's fixed everything in the house.... LOL!! Avoidance can be so frustrating can't it? I think they just get stuck sometimes and don't know how to get thru...... same with us (I think)..... but if you can get thru yours then he can get thru his. It seems like he's come a long way. I wonder if it's all about (for him) trying to make it up to you? Trying to prove?

Just an aside on that book (I haven't read it), but I can say that a wife has tremendous power and influence over her H by the way she treats him and frames reality. Boundaries are very good, but can a woman change the dynamic in the M? Oh yes. Absolutely. In MLC? I think so too, but yeah it'd be much more difficult. I can remember a time when my W was positive, supportive, loving, and what a man imagines a good wife to be like. To me, that is sooooo appealing, so attractive, and so desirable. There is nothing like that, and men want that more than just about anything....... and it's a rare thing to actually receive. To be able to ask "what do you think?", without any concern about a snide comment, negative facial expression, or eye roll.... to share without a care in the world..... companionship. That IS what men want. Real partnership. Genuine appreciation for the things we do. If that's what the book is talking about, then it's right.

-SS
  • Logged
W - 40
M - 43
Together 25 years, M 22
No kids
BD - 27th April 2019
Start of Shadow - Feb 2012

b
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2643
  • Gender: Female
The Heart Behind The Hurt
#128: March 22, 2021, 03:56:35 AM
Quote
I had to laugh when you said he's fixed everything in the house.... LOL!! Avoidance can be so frustrating can't it? I think they just get stuck sometimes and don't know how to get thru...... same with us (I think)..... but if you can get thru yours then he can get thru his. It seems like he's come a long way. I wonder if it's all about (for him) trying to make it up to you? Trying to prove?
,

Well, if nothing else , I certainly will have the most well maintained house on the street!  This past weekend was spring-like and just lovely!  He cleaned out the garage ( 2 trips to the dump from winter renovations) , put in new florescent lighting and hung a new garage door that was delivered in November and had been stacked on my deck waiting for decent weather to install. That was a job! .  Then he removed 2 glass doors and took them to garage to be re-glazed (?) . He just works until he crashes ... so I really just keep feeding and watering and he is off to the work-races. He is "uncomfortable " sitting still . I know it has always been a way to not have to "think or feel"  or to numb out inside issues that need attention . Its how he handles stress ...just keep busy. Family members are always commenting about how he never "sits still" always working , always fixing .  He is admired for this ...such a "good man".  Overwork is glorified and selfcare or relaxing is somehow seen as lazy ...to the men around here. 

Things are calm again and I see the relief he feels when I seem OK again. The threat of an unstable wife has passed and he is very affectionate , chatty ( about nothing that matters) and energized. I have seen other times that if I have a confrontation with him , he shuts down to the point he will sleep the day away...like an entire Saturday. I read an interesting article about children that are raised in "survival mode"  ( he has told me this many times) and what happens to them as adults.  I understand far far more than he realizes. I see him clearly in every article I read...I know who he is .  I know why my marriage is such a struggle .  I know why he had a MLC ..I know . 

https://www.alexandramassey.co.uk/post/2017-07-05-survival-traits-children-use-when-raised-in-a-dysfunctional-family

https://www.drdawnmarie.com/blog/married-to-a-survivor-of-complex-childhood-trauma-can-your-marriage-survive

At times I talk with his youngest brother on-line. Generally he is in some stage of intoxication and is always swept back into his childhood memories.  He was 6 months old when his 18 year old mother ran for her life and never came back.  He talks far more than my H about what happened growing up and has some horrific recollections.  IF he interprets anything I say as a criticism of his brother  ( my H), he explodes.  He said " I LOVE my brother more than any other breathing person in the world. If mot for my brother I would have been dead 100's of times. My brother is the only "good" in my life ...I see him standing in front of me to hide me from my father and he took the brunt of all the beatings to protect the rest of us.  My brother put me in hiding places a thousand times. My brother brought me food . My brother bandaged me ( apparently with toilet paper), my brother is all I have.  Do not criticize my firetrucking brother ever again...my brother needs medals on his chest! .  You do not firetrucking EVER talk sh&t about MY BROTHER. And so it goes.  My H was the oldest of 5 boys ...I know he got the worst of it ...I still live it.  Being in a marriage that has 2 people with PTSD  is never going to be easy ...I just wonder if it is even possible .

Quote
Just an aside on that book (I haven't read it), but I can say that a wife has tremendous power and influence over her H by the way she treats him and frames reality. Boundaries are very good, but can a woman change the dynamic in the M? Oh yes. Absolutely. In MLC? I think so too, but yeah it'd be much more difficult. I can remember a time when my W was positive, supportive, loving, and what a man imagines a good wife to be like. To me, that is sooooo appealing, so attractive, and so desirable. There is nothing like that, and men want that more than just about anything....... and it's a rare thing to actually receive. To be able to ask "what do you think?", without any concern about a snide comment, negative facial expression, or eye roll.... to share without a care in the world..... companionship. That IS what men want. Real partnership. Genuine appreciation for the things we do. If that's what the book is talking about, then it's right.

I appreciate this insight and I believe you.  I have always know that I was able to set the "tone" in our marriage . Sometimes I felt like I could "pick his mood" as he always followed my lead ( as odd as that is ) .  I will continue to read this book and report what I think about it . So far it is much talk about selfcare and " what do I want".   So far so good.



  • Logged
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
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 6257
  • Gender: Female
  • Strength and honour are her clothing;
Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#129: March 22, 2021, 04:08:15 AM
Quote
IF he interprets anything I say as a criticism of his brother  ( my H), he explodes.  He said " I LOVE my brother more than any other breathing person in the world. If mot for my brother I would have been dead 100's of times. My brother is the only "good" in my life ...I see him standing in front of me to hide me from my father and he took the brunt of all the beatings to protect the rest of us.  My brother put me in hiding places a thousand times. My brother brought me food . My brother bandaged me ( apparently with toilet paper), my brother is all I have.  Do not criticize my firetrucking brother ever again...my brother needs medals on his chest! .  You do not firetrucking EVER talk sh&t about MY BROTHER

Fascinating kind of response from H's brother.  No wonder H runs - he has carried the weight of the world on his shoulder and who was there for him when he needed it - no -one clearly. His brother has idol worship because your H has always been his hero.     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.

Perhaps the two of you can move forward because you both recognise in each other the need to feel stable. Perhaps that is the premise to go from rather than to keep digging up the hurt and pain you have both endured.
I'm not saying cover it up and pretend his MLC never happened.  Does it excuse his betrayal and affair - absolutely not. 

Does it perhaps help you both move forward with both of you choosing to work together - maybe
  • Logged
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.


 

Legal Disclaimer

The information contained within The Hero's Spouse website family (www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com, http://theherosspouse.com and associated subdomains), (collectively 'website') is provided as general information and is not intended to be a substitute for professional legal, medical or mental health advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. The Hero's Spouse cannot be held responsible for the use of the information provided. The Hero's Spouse recommends that you consult a trained medical or mental health professional before making any decision regarding treatment of yourself or others. The Hero's Spouse recommends that you consult a legal professional for specific legal advice.

Any information, stories, examples, articles, or testimonials on this website do not constitute a guarantee, or prediction regarding the outcome of an individual situation. Reading and/or posting at this website does not constitute a professional relationship between you and the website author, volunteer moderators or mentors or other community members. The moderators and mentors are peer-volunteers, and not functioning in a professional capacity and are therefore offering support and advice based solely upon their own experience and not upon legal, medical, or mental health training.