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whose pain am I healing?

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unforgivable5 posted 7/2/2013 07:53 AM

Most of my posts (if not all) have been about what my BW is going through and how I can help her. I want to ease her pain in this.

But I just started wondering if ultimately I want her to stop feeling pain so I can stop feeling pain. Is this selfish? I guess so. But I know that I hurt because I hurt her. I hurt "us."

So here I am desperatley trying to make her feel better, identifying and trying to deal with all my mess up bullshit, and let her know that I love her and am here for the long haul, but ultimately am I doing it just for me?
Sometimes all this introspection leaves me more confused than before.

[This message edited by unforgivable5 at 7:54 AM, July 2nd (Tuesday)]

WeepingBuddhist posted 7/2/2013 08:19 AM

I think that as long as you are trying to help your spouse, you are ultimately helping yourself and that's OK since, there are TWO of you on this trip.

Sent you a PM.

JustDesserts posted 7/2/2013 09:15 AM

Sometimes all this introspection leaves me more confused than before.

My first inclination was to say "Let's start a club! Who's in?" in an attempt at putting some levity on what you expressed - and which I oftentimes feel. But that might earn me some reprimands, which I'm desperately trying to avoid!

So instead I'll say I can definitely relate to feeling this way, and sharing here on SI has helped me tremendously. My active imagination has been both a blessing and a curse for my entire life, especially since it has the tendency to take me on flights of fancy...including my supremely delusional one to the Island of Misfit Toys...

I've been weighed down with guilt and shame, selfishness and fear, and being able to share that burden here has been really great. I do hope you will find some relief. Keep sharing!

hardlessons posted 7/2/2013 10:28 AM

I love her and am here for the long haul, but ultimately am I doing it just for me?

Absolutely you are thinking of yourself. As long as you are focusing on her and her pain which is easy cuz well your the cause of it you don't have to think about it too much. That's why you are still surprised how many different ways it effects you and her.

Trying to fix ourselves and do the work of true introspection is the hard work that you are still avoiding. I know you horribly regret that you hurt your wife, but I hate to tell you this, you don't get out of this unchanged.

[This message edited by hardlessons at 10:31 AM, July 2nd (Tuesday)]

ItsaClimb posted 7/2/2013 10:33 AM

BS here. I seem to be having one of those days on SI where almost every post resonates with me.

fWH and I had a discussion about this very thing just the other day... well not a discussion, that makes it sound like a pleasant conversation, what really happened is that he did something nice for me and I retaliated by saying "you didn't do that for me, you did that to make yourself feel better, so you could think to yourself "I'm not such a bad guy... look how I did (insert whatever it was) for her"" Hmmm, does it show that we have been having a tough time of it lately?!

Since that conversation/personal attack/whatever I have been thinking about it. And I've come to the conclusion that I think it works both ways. I Believe fWH does nice things for me to try to make me feel better, to ease my pain and to try to make amends as best he can. Unfortunately in this situation nothing he does NOW will ever take away what he did THEN, so that's what causes me to have the angry outbursts (I totally get that I need to be more graceful and accept what he is doing in a nicer manner.... hold the 2x4s I am coming out of a deep anger phase okay )

In doing nice things for me and trying to ease my pain, there is bound to be a spin-off for him, in that he feels better about himself, he feels that he is working on our issues in a good way and that then eases some of his pain.

Is it selfish of him? No I don't think so, I think it would be selfish if what he was doing had no positive spin-off for me or if it was done with the intention of pleasing himself first and me second.

Pa9rw posted 7/2/2013 10:44 AM

It's important that you're showing her that you love her. I believe that love is best as a verb, an action, and the more you love somebody, the more you find you love them.
This can be a big reassurance to your BS.
When I try to ease my BS pain, the relief is only temporary. But that's ok for me because the pain is a reminder and a warning.

hopingforhappy posted 7/2/2013 10:46 AM

I applaud you for your introspection. The fact that you could entertain this possibility about yourself means that you are starting to do the work on yourself. You are asking good questions about your motives. Keep it up! It is a good start, but just a start.

hardlessons posted 7/2/2013 11:25 AM

So here I am desperatley trying to make her feel better

How do you feel your doing? I know that since the end of March you have been in this same mode, I think that you have had one post regarding abandonment for yourself.

Also, curious what your boundaries are regarding PM's with the opposite sex?

Rooting for you but you will never move out of this stage till you put your eyes on you.

[This message edited by hardlessons at 11:26 AM, July 2nd (Tuesday)]

knightsbff posted 7/2/2013 13:43 PM

But I know that I hurt because I hurt her. I hurt "us."
Have you realized yet that you hurt you? It was a shocker for me when I put my eyes on myself enough to realize how much what I did hurt me too.

It's great that you want to ease your BW's pain as much as possible, but this

Most of my posts (if not all) have been about what my BW is going through and how I can help her.
is not going to get you both through this. Ultimately your BW has to heal herself and you can help her best by staying remorseful and healing yourself.

[This message edited by knightsbff at 1:45 PM, July 2nd (Tuesday)]

unforgivable5 posted 7/3/2013 10:03 AM

Thanks everybody for your input.

weeping... thank you for the mantra

Hardlessons, yep, I avoid me. just shut up already. just kidding. You are right, as usual.

and knightsbff...

Have you realized yet that you hurt you?

this hit me like a ton of bricks. I guess i hadn't realized that I hurt me. When it comes to me, I've only focused on my own screwed-upness, not that I have hurt me. wow. thanks.

Skan posted 7/3/2013 20:57 PM

Have you realized yet that you hurt you?

BW here. I think that the above is a big thing for both a remorseful WS and BS to realize that the actions that the WS took hurt both of them. Separately and together. That when you explode a nuclear bomb in your marriage, you both end up with fallout.

A WS with no remorse truly only sees the hurt that they feel. They got caught. Their lives are impacted but their response is to blame everything but themselves and to try to run from the pain or to redirect it. Life is pretty simple and basic for these people. And I doubt that they ever truly heal.

The BS of course, realizes the hurt that has been done to them and quite understandably, are too busy bleeding to see much more than that for a while. They are sunk into their own pain and itís all that they can do to keep themselves functioning. For some time, IMO, they just canít be expected to see anything else and need to do whatever needed to simply survive. Unfortunately, some BSs simply cannot leave this pain, with or without the support of their WS. And they donít heal.

A remorseful WS is initially trying to figure out what they need to do to support their BS. They, IMO, should have their focus on doing whatever is needed to support their BS and to reassure/comfort them as well as focusing on the actions needed to try to keep their partnership alive. (obviously this is simplified) Hopefully, their efforts and actions help their BS to start healing. Ideally, no matter if the partnership survives or not, the BS and the WS do the work that is necessary, through IC, MC, whatever, to start to become complete and self-sufficient people again.

But at some point, for the couple whose goal is R, I do believe that both the BS and the WS need to realize and acknowledge that the WS also hurt themself. That the WS lost a lot with their infidelity. Their honor, their sense of self-worth, their moral compass, and all of those things that add up to being a trustworthy person. And they did it *to* themself. Thatís a hard thing to realize about yourself that you are the person who caused such a grievous act. And itís a truly hard thing for a BS to realize/acknowledge. That their WS is hurting too. That an olive branch, at some point, needs to be extended to a truly remorseful WS, and that the two of them need to go from antagonists to supporters of each other if you truly want to R.

This is greatly simplified, of course. And I apologize as itís gone a bit far out of the original thought. I do think that itís all connected. No one wants to live their life in pain, BS or WS. And at the end of the day, getting to the root of the things that cause you both pain and excising those roots is a good and healthy thing for both of you.

unforgivable5 posted 7/4/2013 12:19 PM

Skan... Thank you. I have read and reread this 7 or 8 times. I am so very grateful and humbled by people on SI like yourself that take a time-out of your own pain and suffering to help others. A thousand times, thank you

JustDesserts posted 7/4/2013 16:37 PM

@Skan +1. Thank you.

Blobette posted 7/5/2013 09:14 AM

Great post, Skan. I met with my WH's counselor on Monday and this really stuck with me: we were talking about my feeling that I don't know who he is anymore, and she said that I have to remember that HE doesn't know who he is anymore, either. That was a big "wow" moment for me. I've been interpreting that panicky look he gets on his face as cowardice in response to dealing with his shit, which on some level I suppose it is. But I also think he's really seeing that the center he thought was there, isn't. And he's been avoiding that for such a long time. All this really important stuff was going on, and he had no clue. He's got to rebuild his sense of himself, incorporating all of this new info, some of it not very pretty.

And unforgivable, the fact that introspection is making you confused? That's a great sign. First, you're not avoiding the introspection (and that kind of avoidance is probably one of the reasons you're here). Second -- and I guess this was the point I was trying to make -- you SHOULD be confused, because what happened SHOULDN'T make sense, if you think of yourself as a generally good person.

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