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 Post subject: Is it me?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2014 12:25 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2014 9:01 pm
Posts: 9
After 3 years of recovery work, I found out a week ago my husband has been communicating with a coworker since April. I've been in a downward spiral. I know they connected emotionally and would text almost everyday all night long. I discovered texts that were very flirtatious that hit me to the core of my soul as he was telling her how beautiful she is and how he makes her smile, which he hardly ever tells me. When I confronted him about this he initially said I'm sorry and then proceeded to say "but I didn't act out". I tried to explain to him that it hurts my feelings that he is emotionally connecting with another woman and I feel he has crossed boundaries. He got really defensive and his apology felt void of any emotion or sincerity. We went to therapy last night and again I tried to explain to him how I felt and that by him connecting with another woman, it takes away from us connecting. He was so angry at me and said he felt resentful, this is bullshit, and that he has worked so hard in recovery why don't I tell him he is doing a good job. He proceeded to tell me that I don't open up emotionally and that I take him for granted, don't support him, or don't thank him for things he does around the house. I understand his feelings and see that I have things I need to work on but I feel he is missing the point that what he did crossed my boundaries. He is so angry and I am so scared. I have never seen him act like this. I don't know what to do, how to act, or what to say. I don't know who he is right now and I miss my partner. Has anyone gone through this? I would really love someone's perspective to help me see if I am missing something.


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 Post subject: Re: Is it me?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2014 1:42 pm 
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Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 661
Quietstrength, I am so, so sorry for what you are going through. It sounds so painful.

I see your husband's behavior as a betrayal and not a good sign at all. His reaction is so classic: blameshifting, defensive, gas lighting, minimizing, rationalizing, refusal to take responsibility, denying and invalidating your feelings, and not showing empathy. I think we have all gone through similar situations with our partners at one time or another. It feels familiar.

It's not you. We know that in our heads, but in our hearts, it still feels like there is something wrong with us. You did nothing wrong. I can't see the things that he says you have to work on (which, I guess, is appreciating him more) can compare to an inappropriate relationship with someone outside of your marriage.

Do you trust your marriage counselor? Did he/she have anything to say about all of this that provided you with clarity or comfort? Can you do something today to take care of you? (I know, easier said than done...).

With compassion,
dnell


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 Post subject: Re: Is it me?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2014 2:03 pm 
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Partner's Coach

Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:36 pm
Posts: 1291
Quietstrength, I am sorry you are dealing with this.

This is not you. It sounds like he hasn't fully committed himself to recovery. I know that is disappointing and hurts, but it sounds like the truth.

I understand trying to get him to understand, but really if he isn't in recovery that isn't going to happen. He is protecting his addictions with anger, blame shifting etc. He isn't in a place of listening and reciprocating in a healthy way. Sure you probably aren't perfect and have things to improve on....that's the human condition right? But that doesn't excuse his poor behavior ever. As a friend of mine told me, a relationship is like a street and each of you have to clean your own side of the street. In other words, you both have to be invested and committed to the relationship by actions not just words or motions.

Your best bet is really to think about what you can do to take care of yourself. If he is really unclear about your bottom lines, you could simply state those once again. But I have a feeling he knows and is throwing a tantrum because he has been exposed. You will be okay through this. It's traumatizing yes. But you have the strength to heal yourself. Hugs.

_________________

"What day is it,?" asked Pooh.
"It's today," squeaked Piglet.
"My favorite day," said Pooh.


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 Post subject: Re: Is it me?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2014 9:12 pm 
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Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 12:40 am
Posts: 663
Quiet Strength,
I am so sorry you are going through this. Many of us know how you feel and where you are. My husband did almost exactly the same thing--after "recovery" for a few years, he began acting out emotionally and to some extent physically, with other women, whom he labeled "friends." And like yours, he said almost those exact things word for word--"you neglected me," "I have worked so hard", "You're discarding all the work I have done," (Actually, the conversation went like this:
me:"What about all the work we did in counseling?"
Him: "What's this we stuff?" -- essentially, saying he worked harder than me! As if I did no work at all and he did everything!) "You don't notice what I do for you,"and "You lied about your feelings and are closed off emotionally" etc etc ad nauseaum.

Please know that this is not you. There may be some level of validity to his feelings, and he probably does genuinely feel those things to be true in his own reality (I say that because it is probably not the actual truth, the true reality of your realtionship, but the way he has skewed it). But please know that even if those things are true to a point (we do all have areas we can improve), they DO NOT JUSTIFY his failure to take responsibility for his actions or for his own recovery/addiction issues. This is an outgrowth of that, and it does not have anything to do with you. Think about your boundaries, your bottom lines, as someone mentioned, and figure out where you want to go from here based on your values an your boundaries.

When dealing with those issues of guilt, and knowing how much of the relationship breakdown is truly "your fault" vs "his fault," I want to pass on something someone just recently said to me about this particular issue that was immensely helpful to me. This woman is an old pastor of mine who I have known for some time, but the advice is not particularly religious. She said, "Why do you feel guilty?" I told her I felt guilty that I left and that I was the one who initiated separation/pending divorce, because I know I did things wrong in the relationship too, and who was I to draw that line and say, "enough!" when both people are culpable for the relationship breakdown. She said, "Unless you were continually involved in things that were fundamentally disrelational, then you were not the 'guilty party.'" That phrase, I thought, was a wonderful way of explaining it. We do all do things wrong in a relationship. But I was not continually engaged in sexual wierdness in some form or other, be it porn or other women, despite the disagreement of my spouse on those issues. I was not continually lying to my spouse, even after (or during!) counseling, about my relationships with other people of the opposite sex. Etc etc. There are some things I do feel guilty for as well, but I have been coming back to that phrase as I have been dissecting our relationship. Fundamentlly disrelational. It's helpful to think about things in that way. As I have been thinking about that, I have realized that anything I did, and there are things I do feel guilty for--I know exactly what you mean--doens't make what he did hurt any less worse. It doens't somehow "make it okay" because we both did something wrong. It doesn't say, "Well, you did X or Y which crossed my line in a big way, too many times, but I have to stay with you because I did P or R or S." Just like, in theory, if he REALLY felt that you crossed his line in some way, one too many times, he would have the right to leave the relationship. I'm not suggesting that. I'm just trying to explain, that your boundaries are allowed to be your boundaries, regardless of the relationship dynamics and the things you have done that you feel bad about.

Sending positive thoughts your way.


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 Post subject: Re: Is it me?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2014 10:20 am 
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Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 661
Guilt. I have it about ME! Guilt for not taking care of myself and putting my marriage above me. Guilt at putting up with way too much bad treatment for way too long. I know I bring issues into my marriage, who doesn't, but I know I was trying so hard, dragging my husband into marriage counseling, changing the way I behaved and thought. I was willing to hear about his issues, to work on my behavior, to improve our relationship. But, he kept his addiction so close to him with his secrets and lies. It was the love of his life. So maybe I am becoming too hard, but right now I do not feel guilt about the way I treated my husband. I feel proud of myself for my faithfulness, my commitment, my honesty, my diligence at trying to make it work.

In the past I got those messages as well: "You didn't try. You didn't love me. You never appreciate me." We'll see if I continue to get those messages.

Here's what I do feel about my husband: compassion. He clearly had a brutal childhood that left him broken. His addiction and trouble with intimacy is a result of early childhood trauma. Does that excuse his abuse of me? No. Does it depersonalize it somewhat? Yes. Do I think he has suffered tremendously from his addiction? Yes. Do I think that connection, true intimacy, could heal him? Yes. Do I think he can get healthy enough to forge a human connection? I have no idea. Do I want to put up with continued devaluation and rejection from him? No. Can he create a connection with me if he continues this fantasy bond with thousands of women? No. It's all so sad and tragic.

Here's what I also feel about my husband: wariness and fear. He has been and can continue to be damaging to me. As the coaches say, living with a SA, even in early and mid recovery, means we have to accept some of painful stuff. Boundaries need to be clear and consistent. It is so hard to know what to do. Will he relapse? Will he truly recover? Once he recovers, can he address his underlying fear of intimacy? How long will it take? So much uncertainty and risk.

Here's also what I feel about my husband: a solid belief that he COULD recover IF he is truly sincere about PERSONALLY wanting to recover.

Here's where our compassion really needs to be focused right now: on us! Do I have enough compassion for both me and my husband? Yes. But, honestly, I am not yet healed and I need that gift to myself of compassion.

Please know how deeply and compassionately I feel for all of us. I wish I could embrace all of us.

dnell


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 Post subject: Re: Is it me?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2014 1:44 am 
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Partner's Mentor

Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:49 pm
Posts: 3834
Quote:
When I confronted him about this he initially said I'm sorry and then proceeded to say "but I didn't act out".
:no:
He did act out. He did cross your boundaries. The active SA's skewed thinking/perceptions allows him/her to justify unhealthy choices. Trying to explain to him that his behavior is hurtful won't register with him. Nonetheless, being heard, just getting it out there is healthy for you. Don't engage if he reacts negatively. His anger is a means of blame-shifting, making you the bad guy. My H said hurtful things, too, and that was his intent. It's emotionally abusive.
Quote:
He is so angry and I am so scared. I have never seen him act like this.
If you don't feel safe, come up with a game plan to leave at a moment's notice. You have to be the judge of whether or not he's dangerously out of control.
Quote:
I don't know what to do, how to act, or what to say.
He may not be open to anything you try to say at this point. I suggest that a 3rd party be present - a counselor, clergy, unbiased friend to help diffuse emotional situations. Do you see a counselor who could help with this?
Quote:
I don't know who he is right now and I miss my partner. Has anyone gone through this?
I totally understand. One night, I woke up screaming, "Who are you? What have you done with my husband?" Frankly, they don't know who they are when their secret world comes tumbling down around them. The SA doesn't expect to get caught and feels out-of-control when it happens. My advice is to keep doing the lessons, focus on yourself and stick to and enforce your boundaries. Don't buy into his game of blame-shifting, and don't expect a healthy dialogue. He isn't there. He's an active SA regardless of what he tries to tell you and tell himself. Old patterns are hard to change. He has to face himself and make the choice to want to become healthy and then do the work it takes.

Hope this helps.
Nellie James


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 Post subject: Re: Is it me?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 11:47 am 
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Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2014 9:01 pm
Posts: 9
Hi Everyone,

Thank you so much for your words and support. They mean the world to me. It's been a rough couple of days as my husband knows what he did was wrong but is not ready to fully accept and feel the pain he has caused. We had a therapy session last Monday and our therapist was very supportive toward me. He basically told my husband that it isn't about him right now but about the betrayal he caused, his part in it, and the trauma I'm going through. My husband keeps telling me he he is committed to our marriage and that he is willing to do whatever it takes to make it work. That's all good and fine but when it's not shown by actions his words mean nothing. I keep verbalizing my boundaries which is a first for me and this feels great even if he crosses them. i had another session by myself with our therapist yesterday and it felt great to be supported, understood, and validated. We were supposed to see our therapist today as a couple but our therapist wants to see my husband alone. Needless to say my husband was not happy. The jig is up and the party is over and my husband knows this and doesn't like it. Whether or not he decides he no longer wants to play is his choice. All I know at the moment is that I can't make decisions in this state and that I have to take care of myself. All of this is so heartbreaking and it really puts things in perspective. This addiction is a beast and wants to take your soul if you allow it to. I will no longer bury my head in the sand, my eyes are wide open.


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 Post subject: Re: Is it me?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 12:37 pm 
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Partner's Mentor

Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:49 pm
Posts: 3834
:g:
Quote:
This addiction is a beast and wants to take your soul if you allow it to. I will no longer bury my head in the sand, my eyes are wide open.
Ok - now build on this. He will either do the work or he won't. It's in his ballpark. Your only job is to take care of you. By accepting that he is still caught up in old patterns is freeing, from my perspective, because it allows you to give him over to himself and allow you to quit sacrificing yourself to his addiction.

Good job!
Nellie


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