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WS stuck in guilt having trouble getting out.

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2married2quit posted 5/16/2013 15:54 PM

So this month makes it a year since the A got full force. Every single day is a reminder. The problem is that she has gotten in the mode of guilt and has been there for quite a few months now. She has slowly moved a bit towards remorse, but not enough. How can one make the move?

She accuses herself, can't handle the fact she did such a thing and hurt so many people. She's really hard on herself to the point of self loathing.


Jeyana posted 5/16/2013 18:21 PM

Been going through that off and on with my Wexfiance. I sometimes have to explain things to him as a scenario for him to get it. Last night I painted this picture for him. We are at war..on the battlefield. Fighting side by side. I get shot and go down..bleeding out, and reaching out asking for help. My wayward sees the pain, the danger, the hurt. And instead of helping me, turns the gun on himself and fires. Yes he now knows what it feels like, but now he cannot help me. He took my pain and made it his own. That is what it feels like for me when my Wexfiance drowns himself in guilt. He cannot help me, he cannot help himself. Hope that made sense.

Mrs Panda posted 5/16/2013 20:21 PM

Honestly, I feel like it is OK to go through this period of self-loathing. I still have moments of this. But it reminds me of the pain I inflicted. I need to feel that pain. It's important to me in order to move forward.

She has to do this on her own. I don't think it's your job to help her. If you "poo-poo" her guilt and try to comfort her too negates your pain. It is OK for her to know how badly she hurt you.

Guilt is the stage (hopefully) before remorse. Can't force it. Stay strong to. Your beliefs and truth. That's how you help her.

hardlessons posted 5/16/2013 21:00 PM

2married, what is she doing to move through this? I, like panda said have this come up from time to time, but I try to not let it slow my growth down. Easier said than done....

She has to move herself out of it. Also, understand that people use that guilt to shield themselves from going any deeper. I see it IRL and here on SI, "Oh I am sooo horrible, OMG, dirty, filthy, I wear a scarlet A, lordy have mercy". That is a wayward setting off a bomb before you can drop it on them. Or it is so they can get external validation. "Oh no honey, its ok, you is smart, you is kind, you is important."

Whether it is lingering in guilt or either of these last two ways its not healthy or helpful.

Someone who said it better...

good luck

[This message edited by hardlessons at 9:00 PM, May 16th (Thursday)]

wert posted 5/17/2013 08:41 AM

I lived this hell for a while. It sucks.

I not only think that the guilt stage is good I think it is needed. They screwed up and should wallow for a while is what a piece of crap they behaved like. Different from shame in that they are not actually a piece of crap, but they certainly behaved like one and should feel bad about it for a while. That is the motivation to learn from it and not do it again. Guilt is good (I did something bad) shame is bad (I am bad because of what I did.)

Then they need to move the hell on. They hosed everything up and now they need to stop feeling sorry for themselves and take action. That is truly where AD's helped my W. Something you may consider.

IMO your role in this is get yourself healthy, if you really are 2married2quit tell her that, but tell her that she needs to open the hell up, find out who she is and what she stands for and then tell you about it and live it. It's on her.

She's really hard on herself to the point of self loathing.

If that is really true than she and her IC need to figure that out not you. Her life, her crazy ass brain and her pathology. Not yours. You can't love her back to health, her self talk and demons are her own. Let her fight them out.

Take care of yourself...

7yrsflushed posted 5/17/2013 08:56 AM

I am not in R and headed towards D. Just wanted to chime in and say that I agree with Hardlessons and Wert. My STBXWW was stuck in guilt for a very long time. She never got past it to address the core problems so the guilt eventually became rughsweeping and something else bad that she needed to shove deep down in her and never think of again. Eventually she said she wanted out of the M but never took steps to leave. I ended up doing that myself a few months later when I filed.

This was my situation and I am not saying this will happen to you. I am just saying that feeling guilty doesn't really resolve the problem and she needs to work through it with the help of an IC if necessary. Otherwise she hasn't truly done anything but feel guilty while remaining in limbo. Begin stagnant, even in guilt, is not the same as moving forward towards fixing things. Just my 2 cents.

Pudding posted 5/17/2013 09:32 AM

This is exactly where we are stuck too. My FEH is truly remorseful and stuck in guilt. I have forgiven the ONS and the not telling me for so long. In man man ways we are very happy and virtually reconciled, but he won't move on. I want him to let go and move on with me together, but the guilt gets in the way.

It's absolutely right that they do feel guilt and shame, which leads to the remorse and the desire to do everything to make us stop hurting, but there comes a point when our marriage has to be about more than that one stupid night. I don't want him to take all the blame. I want him to see that OW was part of it too. Want him to move on, define what his boundaries are, explain them to me to me and stick to them. Wallowing in grief for what happened does not help establish behaviours so it doesn't ever happen again.

Do think that the have to go through the guilt stage though.

brokenniceguy posted 5/17/2013 09:59 AM

Thanks for the battlefield analogy Jeyana. Gave me a laugh and helped me understand the thought I just can't figure out well enough to communicate. I will be borrowing that line.

2married2quit posted 5/20/2013 16:16 PM

Thank you guys for the great response. Any more please? This is a major issue right now in my M.

Rebreather posted 5/20/2013 16:22 PM

Don't help her. Read what HL says over and over. She must do this on her own. You can tell her you love her and believe she can do this, but don't let her guilt consume you. She MUST do it herself. It is not your job to help her with it. In fact, it is counterproductive if you do. Hang strong, man.

Pudding posted 5/20/2013 16:34 PM

I hear your plea and don't really know what to add other than its exactly where I am.

With my FWH, I think he has/ had a low sense of self esteem. He was the BS in his first marriage and felt rejected. I was B in m first marriage as well and we got together and helped each other through our really bad times. We both used to say we couldn't believe that we had found someone who truly loved them after the hurts we had been through. When OW threw herself at him, he was flattered and responded, which led after a bit of an EA to the ONS.. He says that he was filled with remorse and built almost immediately. My reasoning at the moment ( and we are in a good patch jus now) is that if a sense of low esteem led to the ONS, then I need to build p his sense of self esteem again, but appreciating him and recognising the good bits and qualities. He has been through all the guilt and shame and ow needs to move on. He can't do that until he respects himself again. He can't respect himself unless I do and that means forgiving him. That is not to say its all OK, but that we have to move on together and not let what he did (for me, once 6 years ago) wreck the rest of our lives.

I know that man here will think I am gullible and letting him off lightly, but he is truly remorseful and wracked with guilt and this is not getting us anywhere.

If you are strong enough, can you show that you love her and appreciate some good things about her, show her you want to R and explain why you love her in spite of what she did.

Can you encourage her to think about ways of making you feel safe and better rather than focusing on her guilt. If she does begin to do things to make you feel better and shows some commitment to R that is something you can praise and appreciate her for, which might help her esteem. She needs to think she is not a bad person, but just did a bad thing, which is now over and she will commit not to do again. One thing I have thanked my FWH for is putting ip with my ranting and raging, calling him names, swearing, souring, screaming. I am not proud about how I have behaved in my extreme grief, but he has stuck in there held me and insisted on sticking by me to get us through. If your WS has done any of that, thank her.

Some will say that I am wet and wimpy, but there doesn't seem much point screaming for ever.if we are to R, we have to work through this together and that might include building up their self esteem just at the point we don't want to. This might not help a all, as your situation may be completely different. I am only trying this out myself, so it might not work for me either, but its just a thought. I guess it depends on the really "why"

I think I can posted 5/20/2013 19:45 PM

Not to be mean at all, but to me this sounds like she is still "me-centric"--her feelings overwhelm everybody else. And you do sound like you want to fix it for her. Both of those things are negative patterns. My FWH and I also had these patterns.

Can you guys work on her doing things for you and you letting her? That has really been such a positive change in our marriage. FWH has discovered the happiness in GIVING, and I have learned how to ask for what I need. We still work on this--example:

I had a migraine last week and FWH offered to rub my head. It is hard for me to accept something like from him (which is crazy, 'cause I'd let a homeless guy give me a backrub I love them so much. ) But he sat on the couch and he rubbed my head and it was wonderful. I said thank you that was wonderful and he said--"it is embarrassing that we've been married for 20 years and I've never done that before. I am happy to help."

IMO your wife needs to focus on you rather than her feelings (at least some of the time) which is a HEALING thing, not a punitive thing.

2married2quit posted 5/22/2013 13:56 PM

Any more suggestions?

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