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Built up anger and resentment over selfishness during marriage

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Blameitontherain posted 6/10/2013 15:30 PM

I have a lot of anger and resentment for my WH because of his selfishness throughout the marriage, not just the affair. I know that I was a doormat and have to watch it or I find myself slipping back. I know that I contributed to the messed up selfish dance we had/have. But even with all of that, I am still so very angry and resentful over how selfish he has been our whole marriage.

My mind keeps pulling up his selfish incidents, and there are many to field through. I feel so cheated of a real marriage and partnership. I feel like my older son has been cheated out of an engaged father.

When I try and speak about it to him, he tells me he is trying now. Now. Sigh. So I am suppose to forget how shabbily I/we were treated and forget about it because he is trying now. How about all the years I was trying and he didn't want to try? Where all he did was scream and yell that I was trying to control him. I am suppose to forget about that because NOW he wants to try.

Has anyone gone through this? Any tips? I know I need to let go. I just don't know if my mind is capable of it right now as I still am very guarded.

fadedrainbow posted 6/10/2013 16:13 PM

(((Blameitontherain))) Yes I went through this. My XH was a high functioning alcoholic.
Addicts are extremely selfish. He travelled a lot for work and we lived abroad and moved around a lot. His work always came first.
I wanted to fix our marriage after the A. He was not so committed and could not deal with my anger, resentment, and general craziness. My XH also said he was trying.
For me it wasn't good enough and in the end I was more traumatised by his lack of trying, continued TT and lies.
I think it is very hard to let go of the anger and resentment when it seems they do little to help us heal. My XH finally had enough and divorced me.
I have finally let go of the anger and resentment after 8 years. I have read a lot, gone to IC, and still it has been so hard, but worth it.Holding on to anger and resentment destroys one's soul. I'm sorry, I don't have any good tips for you. Only you can decide what you need to heal. You will get there, it takes time. FR

Lyonesse posted 6/10/2013 16:38 PM

I feel this way, too, sometimes. It may be our R dealbreaker, not the A.

I don’t think you will forget how shabbily you were treated. But neither you or your H can go back and undo that. The only way to get rid of the sense of injustice and helpless feeling is if you see and feel real change. That won’t make you forget the past, but it will make it easier to accept it, I think. For me, if I have something hopeful to look forward to, I get focused on that and am able to spend less time on the bad feelings.

I kind of saw this with my WH. After d-day he just moped all the time. I think he was overwhelmed with all the bad stuff and felt it was hopeless. But as he starts to figure out how to deal with his problems, there has been a noticeable change – he realizes he CAN change things in the future, and he is much more positive and proactive.

One of the things I decided to do after d-day, was to be more selfish! I figure if he was selfish for 10 years, now it is my turn. Not to the degree of WH, of course – it’s not in my nature to use other people, so of course I still do way more for others than I need to/should. BUT I also do many things for me, that I didn’t do before, because I didn’t want to be “selfish.” I joined a fancy gym. I stayed at nicer hotels when I traveled. I stopped cooking and let him learn to do it. If I needed new socks, I bought them, instead of always trying to save money everywhere. This actually turned out to be good for us both. I feel like I am getting more of my needs met, plus a little well-deserved luxury for all the crap I put up with pre-A and during. H is happy because he gets to practice not being selfish, and he sees there is a way forward…actual things that he can do. And he has discovered that he loves cooking! It doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) be just materialistic things – I say No to things more often, he takes more responsibility for starting conversations, practices really listening, gives backrubs.

You may find it easier to accept the past if you are actively involved in changing the future. I suggest you list ten “selfish” things you would like to do but never did because you put family first…and start doing them. As for your son, it is never too late for a parent to build a better relationship with their child – never. I hope your H is putting in major time and effort there.

Bottom line, I didn’t have the M I wanted either, and I put up with it for too long. It sucks, and I wish I could re-do it. But there are a lot of other injustices I have never suffered – I wasn’t born with any handicaps or medical problems; I wasn’t born in a country that frowns on education for women; I wasn’t born dirt-poor; etc. I try very hard not to think the universe singled me out for injustice by giving me a selfish H; and remember that I picked him because I was imperfect, naïve, etc. I do believe we have the ability to change ourselves and our futures, and on days when we are actively DOING things towards that, I feel pretty good and can almost forget the A pain.

It’s OK to feel that you are not 100% in R yet. Put your focus on whatever bothers you – work on being more selfish, and H work on being less. Both of you be the most awesome parents you can be to DS. You will probably not be all-in on the M until you have a little more equilibrium on the “selfish” thing, understandably so. But you and H can work on that together, and in working on something together, you may grow closer.

One thing I hear is that your H is being slightly defensive – mine did that too. Maybe instead of “I’m trying” what you need to hear is his acknowledgement for everything you have been through. I asked my H to write a letter based on one I got from a book, in which he wrote down everything that he knew had hurt me, and apologized. What I liked about it was the formula used: “I am sorry for [A]; you deserved [B].”

[This message edited by Lyonesse at 4:39 PM, June 10th (Monday)]

Wonderingwhy11 posted 6/10/2013 16:45 PM

I spent over a year angry for the same reasons you describe.

Going to MC has helped with this but the biggest help is WH's continuing to show he is working on changing his behavior. I am working on letting go of the hurt and anger. I am working on believing he means it this time. It takes time and WS needs to respect this.

The only thing I can say is at some point you have to decide to let go of the anger and hurt in order to reconcile and move forward in your marriage. This doesn't mean you continue being a doormat or ignore disrespectful behavior. If WS is showing they have changed their behavior and are showing remorse, you will eventually let go of the hurt and anger.

You eventually have to make a choice or the anger will eat at you.

crazyblindsided posted 6/10/2013 16:57 PM

Oh god yes did I ever have built up anger and resentment towards my WH. It in part was one of the causes of his A's because he felt there was no emotional connection between us he also never tried to find out a way to fix it, just escapism (his A's).

I have let go (finally) of the resentment over the years. Now I have resentment over how I was treated after DDay. I never thought my WH was capable of being that cruel of a person, but he is.

I don't know how you let go of resentment. My old resentment got replaced by new resentment

I hope my WH's actions will help erase the resentment and I am trying to work it out in IC as well.

crossroads2010 posted 6/10/2013 17:12 PM

It IS hard to let go of these feelings altogether...they subside for longer periods of time, but then flood in usually when I least expect it. At some point over the the last 3 years of R, in an attempt to heal me and reconcile the changes I felt, I realized that a lot of the treatment I felt I was enduring during the A was treatment I was experiencing all along...35 years worth...I still put up with some of his crap, but I do stand up and say stop at a lot of things I would have ignored before and he has stopped much of the behavior. When ever I feel like a doormat, or the anger and resentment slips in, I remind myself that is MY call...I can't control him but I can control me...I can stand up to the behavior and refuse to take it, I can leave today, tomorrow, next month, or never is my call....

Are you going to forget...probably not...are you going to completely let your guard down...I haven't. Can you move on with your life with him...or without have to if you want a life.

My h says we can't move back and redo..only forward. When he says this he means lets just forget and move on...not so easy for me, but he is right about not being able to go back....I struggle with the doormat thing and slipping vigilant about watching is so easy to do.

Althea posted 6/10/2013 19:15 PM

I had A LOT of this to work through. My WH spent the second half of our marriage behaving incredibly selfishly while I was putting everything into trying to maintain our marriage. The worst was when he decided that I "pushed" him into having our second DD before he was ready and therefore "deserved" everything I got as a result in terms of his selfish and checked out behavior. It took a lot for me to work through my anger at him as well as anger at myself for being such a doormat.

My MC helped by saying that anger is a cover up emotion. We get angry to cover up the vulnerable feeling underneath. For me it was intense feelings of betrayal and sadness. Sadness mostly that I didn't think I was worth more than the way he was treating me and didn't think I had the right to demand better.

For me, what has helped relieve that resentment is to get to the bottom of those feelings and figure out exactly what it is the anger and resentment are covering up/protecting. The second piece has been having my WH owning and changing that behavior. He has recognized not just that he was an a&* or selfish, but gone back through the acts of selfishness and owned them. He is also worked incredibly hard to change. Finally, like the others have said, I don't put up with it anymore. I know I'm worth more than the crap I was putting up with, and I know I don't want to be in a marriage like that any more, so I'm not. If he is being selfish, I tell him. I also do things for myself and take care of myself in ways I never did before.

Good luck. This takes time, but if you are taking care of yourself and working on healing yourself and your WH is pulling his weight and truly remorseful, hopefully those feelings will dissipate. They have for me.

Ashland13 posted 6/10/2013 20:33 PM

I don't know if this will help any or if anyone will agree with it, but I've worked on this for a while, too.

What I've learned from some very severe and harsh bouts of anger is to not think about it. I work very, very hard to push thoughts of the A or Her or Him out of my head. They slip in and I am learning how to push them out.

If you can catch yourself and not give them headspace, it may start to helped me.

For a few months after DDay, I could think of nothing else. Now I try to figure out why the horrible man gets so much head space, but I find my emotions are triggered and esp. the anger, when I find myself thinking that way.

I don't know how much we can control our emotions, but we can control our thoughts, right? And sometimes thoughts lead to those emotions.

Some may argue that it's avoidance, I don't know, but what I find nowadays (five months out and mid-divorce) is that I can control my mind...and though the anger is better than the tears, it's no companion for me.

avicarswife posted 6/10/2013 21:42 PM

This is me too! I think for me one of the biggest concerns if WH and I R is that I will end up resentful and bitter.

In the 4-5 years prior to D-Day my WH changed. He became much more selfish and self-involved. I never worried or cared that in many ways I carried more load than he in our marriage. I guess I saw it as an expression of love for him.

During that period of time when he became even less giving in all aspects I made excuses. I told myself he was tired, depressed, stressed at work etc. I tried to support him by doing more. I accepted that there were ups and downs in relationships and besides I told myself things like at least he loved me, he was loyal, he had my back and he was faithful - I thought this period would pass if I just held in there supporting him.

Come D-Day I saw him for who he had become and it wasn't pleasant. My counsellor says my rose-tinted glasses came off big-time.

We talk about WSs sometimes re-writing marital history. Well in a way my new view on our marriage did this to me too. Only perhaps I now saw the unvarnished truth. I had become a door-mat which he'd wiped his feet on over and over.

Suddenly I realised I wasn't getting what I thought I was getting - my husband was unfaithful, disloyal and he'd basically been emotionally abusive.

Resentment arrived for me big time. I resented things I had willingly given before - retrospective resentment.

In fact it still is there and I struggle with hugely. If we R I don't want to throwing out bitter comments in 5 years, 10 years or later. I watched my SIL do this and saw how ugly it was. I would rather leave the marriage than become like that.

My IC talked about this yesterday. I don't like who I have become.

Yes he took advantage of me in many many areas. Unfortunately I can't change that. My IC says some of my resentment will be an echo of past experience when people have taken advantage of my giving nature. She says that I have to take responsibility for the future.

To keep my resentment at bay I need to state my expectations clearly, protest my hurt, state my concerns at erosion of trust.

As long as I see WH putting in effort that equals mine - she says my resentment will get less. However if I don't make my expectations clear and continue to give without a return my resentment will grow.

The responsibility is on me to state what I expect and need. So I that is what I am planning on doing - from housework to the bedroom!

fallingquickly posted 6/10/2013 21:59 PM

The word trying is a trigger for me. My WH always said he was trying during our false R. There is no trying. Just doing.

Blameitontherain posted 6/11/2013 11:40 AM

Thank you all for the helpful hints and relatable stories. I'm not sure what will work but I think it will be a trial and error method for what does

Hopeful I do like the idea of WH owning and acknowledging his major selfish moves. In a way, I think that is why him saying I am trying now pisses me off more. Yes he is trying but I also want some validation from him that what he did was wrong and he knows it.

Take more time for myself? Check. I have a massage and pedicure scheduled for this Friday

Don't be a doormat? Check. I have been working on this for over a year and I seem to be better about calling him out when something seems unfair for me or the kids.

Try and not let myself spiral into a sea of bad thoughts constantly and be overwhelmed? Check. I do recognize that I should allow myself to feel but not to the point it is all consuming.

Time and consistency from WH in being unselfish ? Check. Ugh the dreaded time answer but it makes sense.

Rebreather posted 6/11/2013 12:11 PM

I had this as well. The way we handled it is that I wrote out a list of all.the.things. he had done that had hurt me in the past and that I felt he had not adequately apologized for or made amends to - and when you look at them, you could see the groundwork being laid for the affair.

So, we took my very long list and went through them together and he apologized individually for each episode/event/habit. It was theraputic for me and devastating for him. He really saw what a selfish ass he had been, and frankly, *I* didn't realize how much I was pissed off about. After this, I laid down my weapons on all these issues and let them go. Occasionally the anger would creep back and I would remind myself I was no longer going to be angry about those things and to let it go.

I don't know if this would work for you. It was an idea I pulled out of Abrams book on forgiveness.

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