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Does working on a healthy R sometimes make you angry?

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Wonderingwhy11 posted 6/4/2013 22:17 PM

Sometimes I think it takes an A to realize we never had a “healthy” relationship. I knew there were problems and I honestly tried to address them. I now realize the source my and WH’s unhappiness is because we were not in a good relationship together at the same time. I look back to our dating and early years of marriage before kids and think we thought we were on the right track but I did not understand why we were unhappy. It took finding out WH was having an affair and reading and learning about how to overcome it I realized why we were unhappy. WH was not the only reason I was unhappy and I realize I wasn’t the reason WH was unhappy. We were unhappy because we did not know how to meet our own needs and talk about what we needed. We were unhappy because we had unrealistic expectation of each other that went back to our parents and their relationship.
I read about healthy relationships and I ask myself is it possible to have this without going through a trauma like an affair. I sometimes become angry thinking why did this have to happen before WH and I could really be honest with each other and address our problems and work together instead of tearing each other apart. Then I realize the anger is harming me and it is not helping me heal. So I try to let go of it but sometimes it is like a boomerang that comes back to hit me.
Has anyone come to this conclusion? Is this how we finally resolve the hurt from the A? I never believed in the “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” philosophy but maybe that is what it takes to survive and move on to a better healthy relationship.

Knowing posted 6/5/2013 07:33 AM

Our M was such a shambles long before DDay that I often wonder if we would have ever gotten to this place without his A. My fWH's A was a "Blow-Up-The-M-and-See-If-It-Survives" A with a "Trading Up" aspect. But now, after months & months of wishing someone had a magic wand to make it all go away, I am actually in a place of acceptance (that the A even happened) and I don't question the reasons too much.

Something I've realized this past week on my spiritual jouney, and you're the first person I will have articulated this to, is that I have spent most of my life trying to understand God, Nature, Life, Death, Love, etc (literally) and I'm seeing that the more answers I get, the more questions come up (because I never like the answers and the answers don't seem to change what happened/which is what I really want). So the more questioning I do, the less "living" I do and I always come back to acceptance.

ItsaClimb posted 6/5/2013 07:37 AM

Until D-Day, and all the reading and learning I have done since then, I had NO IDEA how messed up our relationship was. On the surface things seemed great (well in the last 6 or 7 years anyway). Little did I know that underneath there was this terrible mess of FOO issues, resentments, unrealistic expectations, co-dependency, abandonment issues etc etc.

It took the A to open our eyes. Pre-DDay I didn't even know that half of this stuff existed! I had no idea about co-dependency, or passive-aggressive behaviour, or any number of the other issues that affect our relationship. I had never had cause to learn about all of this stuff - well so I thought... in fact I had PLENTY of reason to know about all these things, I just didn't realise it until the A came and flung a nuclear bomb into the centre of my universe.

I wish there had been some other way that I could have really SEEN all the issues surrounding my marriage. I wish there was some gentler, kinder way to open my eyes. But I probably would have ignored it. It took something that literally ripped my heart out to get my attention.

[This message edited by ItsaClimb at 7:39 AM, June 5th (Wednesday)]

sisoon posted 6/5/2013 10:21 AM

When I started on SI, there was an ongoing thread titled something like, 'The A didn't make your M better - you did.'

Hard to find truer words, IMO.


I don't think R makes you angry - if you're angry, you're angry. I do think you'll feel a lot of anger in R, and it's when you don't ever feel angry that you may have a problem. You've been betrayed - if you don't feel the angry at being betrayed, you're not handling anger well.

Anger is just a feeling. It's part of being human. There are healthy and unhealthy ways of handling it, but it's in us all.

My W & I had a relationship that was really good, except that we both missed the downward spiral my W went into about 5 years ago, and I had missed all along my W's self-hate.

In other words, our relationship was fine on the surface, but one of us was very shaky as an individual. We were both at our best in our relationship.

Woulda/coulda/shoulda don't mean much to me, but if my W had addressed her self-hate earlier, we could have avoided the A. But the nature of self-hate makes it pretty hard to address - it's easy to feel you're a terrible person and deserve everything bad that you get.

So...'what is, is' is about the only way I can live.

T/J - Yikes! I'd like to see a meaningful sentence in which 'is' appears more than 3 time in succession....

[This message edited by sisoon at 11:41 AM, June 5th (Wednesday)]

LA44 posted 6/5/2013 10:38 AM

We were unhappy because we did not know how to meet our own needs and talk about what we needed.

Absolutely! And isn't it friggin' awesome that YOU SEE this now? Focus there!

But yes, of course re: the anger but look, I have to have the same approach as Sisoon, Besides, all those "is'" ought to be repeated anyway. :)

'what is, is' is about the only way I can live.

doesitgetbetter posted 6/5/2013 11:54 AM

We had a similar, yet different experience. Before DDay, we both rated our preDDay marriage a solid 9 on the happy chart. We were both happy, never fought, were a great team, we even worked together in his business and worked well together.

It wasn't until after DDay and going through counseling and books and marriage retreats that we were able to re-evaluate our preDDay marriage and determine that we both would have only given it a 4-5 if we were honest. Why the change? Before DDay, we were happy living in a superficial marriage, we just didn't recognize it as being superficial. Sort of like when you have a really good friend that you've known for years, but you never knew many things about her until many years later because, as it turns out, your friendship wasn't based on depth... it was based on just inane chit chat about that day/week. THAT'S what our M was, inane chit chat about the day/week.

Once we really looked at it with the eyes and experience that our therapy taught us, we found that our M was subpar to where we wanted it to be. The amazing thing was that now we had the tools to make it what we wanted to.

We now have that M where we can talk about feelings, talk about deep things, talk about our dreams and desires and direction we want to go in, talk about what if this and what if that, talk about what our situation makes us feel like and if we are starting to become vulnerable again. Before, we never even considered any of these things.

So I don't feel angry that I didn't realize we had a less than amazing M before DDay, I am simply grateful that we had a defined day that that M died and we could then cultivate the dream M we had always wanted for ourselves. It's all perspective, you can look at it in the negative, or you can choose to look at it in the positive.

Wonderingwhy11 posted 6/5/2013 17:45 PM

So...'what is, is' is about the only way I can live

I am working on this way of thinking and not feeling I am allowing others to walk all over me. I am working on not taking WH (or anyone else’s) comments that sound critical as criticism of who I am. This is my FOO issue.

Thanks for the responses. It is encouraging to read others comments about their relationship before and after DDay and see that with work a relationship can overcome an A. At times it doesn't seem possible. But I now realize it takes two to make a relationship work. Until we both want to work on the relationship at the same time then it was not going to get better.

Since DDay and finally having to deal with the marital problems and make a decision whether to stay or leave, I have felt a pendulum of emotions from sad to anger to acceptance. Honestly the anger emotion is mostly frustration of the years of trying to figure out how to deal and why I didn’t stand up for myself. The anger is why it took an A for WH to see the damage our relationship was in. Why after 15 years of me trying to get him talk to me and go to MC to work on our relationship did it take an A for him to realize he wanted our marriage and wanting us to be happy together? It hard to believe it takes something so damaging to wake us up and start dealing with our problems and working together not against each other.

I realize anger is not healthy for us. So I am learning to let it go. Anger was like an invisible wall that protected me from further hurt. In reality anger was hurting me. So I have to let go of anger. If I want to R I have let anger go. I have to learn to trust again. As long as WH continues to show he is putting our relationship first and changing his behavior, I need to let go of the past and focus on our future. I can’t keep hitting him over the head about the past and I can’t keep being angry at myself for living with his behavior to the point he did care if anything he did hurt me. I just wish it wasn’t so hard to stay the course and not let the triggers get to me. Triggers – I wish I didn’t have them.

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