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Author Topic: My Story Reconnecting The Heart Behind The Hurt

b
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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
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Married April 1985
5 children
Bomb Drop April 2013
Thrown out of house August 2013
Affair discovered November 2013 (i guessed who)
Home December 3 2013
The Journey Of Reconciliation .. is for the brave .

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

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Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#1: October 05, 2020, 11:25:51 AM
You're good to go Barbie.   :)
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A quote from a recovered MLCer: 
"From my experience if my H had let me go a long time ago, and stop pressuring me, begging, and pleading and just let go I possibly would have experienced my awakening sooner than I did."

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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.
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There are two ways of spreading light:
Be the candle; or the mirror that reflects it

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

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
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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#3: October 08, 2020, 10:52:52 PM
StandingStrong
 :o
Thanks for responding, it just means alot to me .

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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.
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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

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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.
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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.

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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.
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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 .

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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.
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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 .

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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.
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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 .

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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.
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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%.

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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.
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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

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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?
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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.

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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 .

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

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.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.
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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.

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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.
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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.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   











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Married April 1985
5 children
Bomb Drop April 2013
Thrown out of house August 2013
Affair discovered November 2013 (i guessed who)
Home December 3 2013
The Journey Of Reconciliation .. is for the brave .

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

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#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  :)

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

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

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#5: October 12, 2020, 12:26:02 PM
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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?
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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.

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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.

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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
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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.

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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?)
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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 .

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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.
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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. 

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

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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?
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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.
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The Journey Of Reconciliation .. is for the brave .

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

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#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.
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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...
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#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




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The Journey Of Reconciliation .. is for the brave .

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#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  :)
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#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.
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#11: October 21, 2020, 09:09:32 PM
Absolutely incredible terra. Thank you. What you wrote to Barbie also applies to many others here.
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"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" Hebrews 11:1

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

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

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

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#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/







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Married April 1985
5 children
Bomb Drop April 2013
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Affair discovered November 2013 (i guessed who)
Home December 3 2013
The Journey Of Reconciliation .. is for the brave .

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

N

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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.
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#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.
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#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,
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#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. 




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#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.
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#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)))

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#19: December 01, 2020, 09:30:07 AM
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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.
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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.

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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!!

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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?
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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.

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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.
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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 .
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Married April 1985
5 children
Bomb Drop April 2013
Thrown out of house August 2013
Affair discovered November 2013 (i guessed who)
Home December 3 2013
The Journey Of Reconciliation .. is for the brave .

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

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#20: December 01, 2020, 09:45:45 AM
Nodding right along Barbie to almost everything you are saying.  Truly remarkable. 

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

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#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
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Seahorses have one mate for life...

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#22: December 01, 2020, 11:35:50 PM
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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.  :)
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T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.
Healing and growing found here https://littleplotbythesea.wordpress.com

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

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Re: The Heart Behind The Hurt
#23: Today at 12:54:01 AM
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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. 

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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.

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

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#24: Today at 09:31:38 AM
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  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.   :)
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"This too shall pass.  It might pass like a kidney stone but it will pass."
"Don’t blame a clown for acting like a clown.  Instead, ask yourself why you keep going to the circus."

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The Heart Behind The Hurt
#25: Today at 07:10:55 PM
Celebrating with you on such a positive shift!
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M-42
H-44
S-20 (mine)
D-18 (ours)
S-15 (ours)
Friends 7y before M
Married 14y
BD 12/14/15 - 2 weeks after 14th anniv.
Divorce final 4/13/16
EA - 9/15-4/16
New GF 12/16
Engaged 6/17 (I found out 8/10/17)
Moved to her State 4 States away - 7/13/17 (told me 4 days before)
Eng. off 8/20/17
Moved back to our State 8/24/17
New GF 2/29/20 (Told me 4/22/20)
Married her 4/24/20 (Told me 4/22/20)

Link to my journey: 
https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=11618.0

"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."

"Sometimes - some things have to break apart so better things can be built."

 

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