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Struggling, Again

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badchoice posted 5/14/2013 11:42 AM

So I am struggling right now, yesterday was a huge trigger that set both me and my BW down a spiral.

Long story short, BW has been sick, and I have been taking more time watching the kids while she rest, and feels better. Sunday I dropped the kids off at MIL and BW picked them up from there. BW and I have not seen each other in over a week.

BW called me yesterday, she was feeling a little better and went for a walk, 1/2 way throughout the walk she started to feel sick and called me and asked me if I could pick her up and drop her off at home. I said yes, and went and picked her up. On the way home we were talking and BW said "You know I must really be sick if I call YOU for help". Well that sent me into trigger city. I got cold, dropped her off at home, and then later texted her asking her to do something when she picked the kids up from school.

That text triggered her, because she felt like it showed little empathy towards her (one of her biggest issues with me). I wound up picking the kids up from school keeping them last night. and then we had a conversation last night about the whole thing.

Another long story, but I realized something big in that conversation - as soon as she told me "You know I must really be sick if I call YOU for help" in the car, I mentally checked out and said to my self "well fuck you then, if you don't appreciate everything I have been doing the last coupe of weeks, then fuck you". I remember a cold feeling come over me in the car.

Beyond that, I realized I have been doing that my entire life. When I feel slighted, or not appreciated, I say fuck you and then just passively aggressively exact punishment on that person. Towards my wife in the past I became distant, cold, uncaring, mean, had affairs, all sorts of shit. I have done this at work, with my family, even towards the father I never knew.

So I got it. I just give up when the going gets hard. When I am challenged, when my feelings get hurt. I really get where my weakness is now. So now I get to work on that too. I am glad I have IC today.

Does this make sense to anyone? Has anyone come to a realization that they have an internal dialogue, and then react without telling the other person? I know my communication is lacking. I know that my old ways of being aren't going to just go away. I would like to think that I can put them in the past, and start communicating in a healthier way, but I am finding the old ways so automatic.

Finally10 posted 5/14/2013 12:08 PM


There is a book called "Hold Me Tight" that goes to great lengths to describe the various demon dialogues relationships can settle into. The one you describe is very common and one of the main dialogues engaged in dysfunctional relationships. I don't remember what she calls it exactly, but she has quirky names for them like "two step polka", poke/withdraw.

The bottom line is to recognize them and make an active choice not to engage. For example, my BS would "poke" me with some sort of snarky comment and I would get defensive and withdraw, not really hearing the message her initial comment was intended to convey. My withdrawal and defensiveness would then fuel her belief that she needed a more forceful response to get me to respond, which fueled more withdrawal, defensiveness and snarkiness on my part and the cycle repeated until she got to a point of major frustration and blew up.

Once I recognized what was happening, after reading the book, I changed how I replied to her comments (now with more empathy and understanding of her feelings), even if I still felt her initial position was wrong. Once the emotion was somewhat diffused, we could discuss things more normally without all the baggage.

The key is to listen to what she is saying and process it before you react... In the case you described, instead of the "fuck you" attitude, an "I'm sorry you are still not feeling well, I want you to know that you can ask me for help anytime you need it and I will be there." And follow thru...

hardlessons posted 5/14/2013 14:28 PM

Your issue is something I struggle with ALL the time and that is expressing your feelings IN THE MOMENT. Wish I had a buck for every time I have shut down or stuffed my feelings. Coulda bought Walmart by now.

I don't think you were passive aggressive this time, I think you were hurt and didn't express it properly, there's a difference. So I think it is great that you recognized that you shut down when you were hurt, but be aware and honest with yourself as to the role you played in this situation.

but I am finding the old ways so automatic.

I think being separated it can be harder as you are not working through the "New" way of doing things with your spouse. I think that has been a huge help for me to be able to put into practice what I am learning real time.

If your still headed to D then you have to establish boundaries for yourself and soon to be X.

Dust yourself off, keep heading in the direction you are. Wont be the last time unfortunately for you or I!
good luck

knightsbff posted 5/14/2013 18:34 PM

Bad choice,
Thanks for posting this. My BH and I have struggled with much the same dynamic throughout our marriage. We will add, "Hold Me Tight" to our reading list.

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