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changedlife posted 9/10/2013 23:15 PM

I apologize in advance if this post seems to ramble on. I am posting for advice, tips, book references anything that could help me understand myself better.
I have never been good at expressing emotion or talking about my feelings with my partner. It has often led me to close up and be distant from the person who I care the most about. I blame a lot of it and some counselors seem to agree on seeing the relationship my parents had when I was a child. They never opened up to each other, I never saw them go out on dates or be affectionate to one another, and I may have only seen them kiss a few times when I was younger. Needless to say, they are now divorced. I didnít really realize my behavior until fairly recently, but I believe that part of me being emotionally distance was the reason why a previous marriage failed for me. I just wasnít available for my partner. The distance between us grew more and more and the barrier became too much.
Sometimes when my partner and I get into a disagreement or something upsets me I will tend not to talk about it. I try to forget about the incident and not address the situation. It distances me from my partner because they want to discuss the issue, and often times it is the last thing I want to discuss. How can I tackle my emotions better? I canít describe the feeling that I get in my chest when I get like this. I feel as if I am going to explode on the inside, almost like I am holding back anger. Sometimes, I have noticed when I am becoming distant and my partner pursues me I will explode on them, Iím not emotionally available to speak my feelings to them in a peaceful wayÖ and I will say things that I regret.
Any advice or similar stories would be appreciated.

[This message edited by changedlife at 11:18 PM, September 10th (Tuesday)]

badchoice posted 9/11/2013 00:59 AM

I can relate to your story. I have been very disconnected with my own emotions as well as everyone else in my life for a long time, and I am just starting to get in touch with them.

What are you doing to work on this? Are you in therapy? Are you trying to figure out why you used this shutting down of emotions in your life? What have you gotten out of it? What was your payoff?

What digging into yourself have you done so far?

I have done IC, a lot of reading, a lot of thinking and analyzing why I shut down emotionally, and what I got out of it in return.

ophelia24 posted 9/11/2013 02:11 AM

What a brave post CL. The fact that you are recognising this is having a detrimental effect on you, and yes, I purposely said You, because it must be painful to be so shut down, and yes, fearful. You make some insightful comments about the lack of intimacy you saw in your parents relationship. This too would have been painful for you to see and feel.

Your post sounds like you are getting tired of how things are for you.

What a great realisation to have.

changedlife posted 9/11/2013 07:17 AM

What are you doing to work on this? Are you in therapy? Are you trying to figure out why you used this shutting down of emotions in your life? What have you gotten out of it? What was your payoff?

What digging into yourself have you done so far?

Iíve done some initial soul searching for root causes of my disconnect early on after my affair and had a few counseling sessions that targeted the issue as being a big issue that I needed to address. Iíve also been reading ďNot Just FriendsĒ by Shirley Glass and ďHow to Help Your Spouse HealĒ. Iíve been more aware of when I am becoming emotionally disconnected, and Iíve thought by my own self will I would be able to overcome those feelings, but so far it hasnít worked. When I am feeling that way, all I want to do is run away and just be by myself and blow it off. I know that this is not a healthy way to deal with it.
I think the only real progress that I have made is that I now know when I am doing it. Sometimes, I donít want to initially admit that I am being emotionally distant from my partner, but I can still see when I am doing it. I become cold and distant.
I donít want to be like that, I want to be inviting and listenÖ even if it is criticism. I want to be open with my partner. I sincerely do, Itís just hard for me to process emotions when things get setback in the relationship. Iíve only realized I had this problem within the last 6 months, but it has been affecting my relationships since as long as I can remember after looking back.
It is something I need to change for myself to find happiness, and it I something I need desperately to do in order to help my partner heal. The inability of me being able to process my emotions in a healthy way has me unable to help my partner deal with her emotions of all the affair, betrayal, and lies.
After typing all of this out I realize I need to do more counseling, I canít seem to change the way I feel by my own self-will, I need some tools to help me do that. Any insight or stories would be greatly appreciated.

changedlife posted 9/11/2013 07:27 AM

What a brave post CL. The fact that you are recognising this is having a detrimental effect on you, and yes, I purposely said You, because it must be painful to be so shut down, and yes, fearful. You make some insightful comments about the lack of intimacy you saw in your parents relationship. This too would have been painful for you to see and feel.

Your post sounds like you are getting tired of how things are for you.

I am tired of it. I love my current partner more than I have ever loved anybody in the past. The events of my affair, betrayal and loss of her made me initially realize these things. So Iíve had this realization previously. I just havenít been successful in making as much progress as I want to make. When me and her were in our honeymoon stage it felt as if we were emotionally inseparable, as if we were truly ďone personĒ so to speak in our likes, thoughts, and beliefs. After the affair and lies, it feels as if we are miles apart sometimes, it has made it that much harder for us. Considering that Iíve never been able to process emotions in my previous relationships in a healthy way, and what we are having to deal with collectively now makes it even that much harder.
I want to be in a happy and healthy relationship, and I want my partner to know how much I desire to be with her, and one way of doing that is listening to her and being their emotionally even when times are really tough. Iím just having a hard time doing that, regardless of how much I want it. Iím selfish with my own feelings, I prioritize them and dwell on them. I feel that if we get into a fight and I canít see where I have made a mistake I will just ďbottle upĒ my emotions and it causes the fight to get worse. Iím understanding of her thoughts and her emotions, and I can see where I have caused all of this. The only Iíve learned to get over it is just to try and not think about what is bothering me and eventually it will go awayÖ but I know that this can lead to more severe emotional distances with my partner. I want to be more emotionally availableÖ just for whatever reasonÖ itís almost impossible for me to do.

Littleleaf posted 9/11/2013 08:48 AM

BS here,
Good luck changedlife!
I just wanted to ... tell you
you are so strong to do this
for yourself and your hurt partner
I wish, with my broken heart - that my love could / would try to tackle his emotional absence like you.

changedlife posted 9/11/2013 10:09 AM

BS here,
Good luck changedlife!
I just wanted to ... tell you
you are so strong to do this
for yourself and your hurt partner
I wish, with my broken heart - that my love could / would try to tackle his emotional absence like you.

Unfortunately for me and the BS, my emotional distance is the key to our recovery I think. So I haven't been as good of a healer as I could since I have this problem. Even in the healing stages after dday I've lied to her, and not given her enough support. I love her very much, and I am trying very hard to show her that. It's just hard for me to do that when I've got some issues myself that I need help with. I know I would never cheat again, and I want to be with her more than anything. However, Me not being available emotionally to show her that she can trust me in all aspects is hurting us tremendously.

20WrongsVs1 posted 9/11/2013 11:46 AM

You and BGF are cross-posting today. She describes specific incidents from this past week, in personal terms...

You said you needed some time alone to figure out what you wanted.

When she called you out on being distant, you told her to leave you alone and stop pestering you.

You walked away from her when she was talking.

You, OTOH, speak in vague terms...

Sometimes, I have noticed when I am becoming distant and my partner pursues me I will explode on them.

You recognize that you're disconnected from your emotions. Good first step. Here's a quote from a book I'm reading right now, which seems to parallel what you wrote about your upbringing. (And mine.)

When emotional connection [from one's parents] is missing, children often discover that it's unsafe to expose their feelings. ... When feelings of sadness or fear are forced underground, sometimes anger becomes the only acceptable emotion because it is not vulnerable.

Sound familiar?

That book is How We Love: Discover your love style, enhance your marriage by Yerkovich.

My #1 book recommendation for you is Nonviolent Communication by Rosenberg. It's basically a step-by-step guide to learning empathy.

changedlife posted 9/11/2013 12:02 PM

You recognize that you're disconnected from your emotions. Good first step. Here's a quote from a book I'm reading right now, which seems to parallel what you wrote about your upbringing. (And mine.)

When emotional connection [from one's parents] is missing, children often discover that it's unsafe to expose their feelings. ... When feelings of sadness or fear are forced underground, sometimes anger becomes the only acceptable emotion because it is not vulnerable.

Sound familiar?

That book is How We Love: Discover your love style, enhance your marriage by Yerkovich.

My #1 book recommendation for you is Nonviolent Communication by Rosenberg. It's basically a step-by-step guide to learning empathy.

Thank you for the quote and for the book references, I will get both of them.

Yes, I did post in vague terms and not mention the detail of everything that had happened in our most recent fight. Honestly, being emotionally available to her when times are tough is hard. Writing out all my flaws, feelings, and thoughts online is hard too. Sorry for the vague terms, I realize its a repeated pattern that I have displayed in all my relationships, I guess I was just looking for more overall advice than for this most recent incident. You've pointed me in a good direction. Thank you very much for the book references again.

badchoice posted 9/11/2013 12:42 PM

You recognize that you're disconnected from your emotions. Good first step.

Awareness is a great first step.

I suggest that you journal, a lot. It helped me in the beginning sort out what i was going through. At first it was more reporting, then as I got better at it, it got deeper, and I started to make connections of what I am doing now, and how I reacted and acted in the past.

You say you want to open up emotionally to your BS, but you first have to be open to yourself. Your go to way of being is to run away from the feelings. Here is the deal, sometimes feelings hurt, they suck, they kick the shit out of you, but it's your job to be able to contain them, and be ok with feeling them. At first I could not identify specific feelings, everything just felt 'bad', or I felt angry. The anger was me trying to not feel depressed, sorrow, anxious, etc. The anger was about control, and focusing that feeling outwardly. Make sense?

Good luck.

Finally10 posted 9/11/2013 13:50 PM

Changed:

A year ago, I could have written your post or something very similar. ( months of IC, and a lot of reading later, I discovered the roots of some of my issues. At the root of anything like this is fear, which developed as a consequence of some behavior towards you or witnessed by you. Somewhere you learned that emotions were bad, and feeling them took you to that place where you feel bad.

Early on, my IC characterized me as oblivious, and said sometimes oblivious is good, but not in a relationship. He directed me to the books by Brene Brown, Daring Greatly was one of them and her TED talks about shame. This was my "lightbulb" moment and after some coaxing by him and some tentative tries with my BS, I decided that I would adopt a "whats the worst that could happen" approach and express how I feel about my BS in a positive caring way.

Well, guess what, the best happened and my BS responded kindly and over time, my fear receded. I can act like a teenager in love with her without feeling self conscious or feeling like I will be thought to be silly or immature or any of the other things I feared.

I can fully relate to where you are, but what's the alternative? Continuing to be emotionally constipated is a sure way to end up alone. Take a chance and see what happens.

[This message edited by Finally10 at 1:53 PM, September 11th (Wednesday)]

changedlife posted 9/11/2013 14:02 PM

At the root of anything like this is fear, which developed as a consequence of some behavior towards you or witnessed by you. Somewhere you learned that emotions were bad, and feeling them took you to that place where you feel bad.

Yeah, I do think that my emotions are a learned behavior. I have also had some tentative tries with my BS. My heart is in it to work on myself to be a more supportive partner. I have to be able to do that in order to help her heal.
Thank you for the positive story about it working out for you, it makes me hopeful that in the future I might have a stronger relationship.

changedlife posted 9/11/2013 14:03 PM

I suggest that you journal, a lot. It helped me in the beginning sort out what i was going through. At first it was more reporting, then as I got better at it, it got deeper, and I started to make connections of what I am doing now, and how I reacted and acted in the past.

I will try this. It would be good to go back and see if I have made any progress with dealing with my feelings and responding to others. Thanks.

SheHatesMe posted 9/11/2013 15:12 PM

Holy crap, CL. I understand completely what you are going through. So much so, my BGF truly believed that I was writing under a different username. I've found that I, too, have been emotionally disconnected from my relationships. I was even told that I do not communicate or talk about what I'm feeling or thinking. The fallout from my affairs have actually brought it to light or at least brought me to my senses.

Also, like you, I distance myself although I know I need to stay connected to help my BGF heal. I want badly to be there for my BGF. It angers her that I appear to not be investing in this process.

Thank you for posting as I can totally relate to your situation and feelings.

I would also thank everyone that has responded here for their book recommendations. I have written them down and will be going to the store tonight with my BGF to pick a few up.

Keep fighting the fight, CL. I am determined to heal myself along with helping my BGF heal. We can do this.

changedlife posted 9/11/2013 16:34 PM

Holy crap, CL. I understand completely what you are going through. So much so, my BGF truly believed that I was writing under a different username. I've found that I, too, have been emotionally disconnected from my relationships. I was even told that I do not communicate or talk about what I'm feeling or thinking. The fallout from my affairs have actually brought it to light or at least brought me to my senses.

I was married before and went through a divorce. My ex committed adultery, and like many other I rugswept it. Possibly because I couldn't emotionally deal with it.
I never really realized I had an emotional disconnect until after my affair. I'm hoping eventually one day I will be able to connect better with my partner and somehow gain something from all of this.
Best of luck to you.

[This message edited by changedlife at 4:34 PM, September 11th (Wednesday)]

Sparkle0504 posted 9/12/2013 02:48 AM

It could be my SAWH writing this post (if he'd only admit to these feelings).

As the BS I can report that when he behaves this way, it's almost worse than the "crime" itself. Our biggest arguments have been because he wont talk about it, shuts me out and (as you will see from an earlier post of mine) is prepared to walk hundreds of miles away simply to avoid dealing with his, and my feelings. So sad.

Whilst I really don't want to, I feel I have the power to leave at any point. He can't walk away from himself and neither can you. I think, if your BS is anything like me, then she will be wanting to see you free of the feelings you talk about, not necessarily for her benefit but so that you can at least have a chance to learn to love yourself, heal yourself and bring back more positives to your relationshp.

I'd give my right arm for my WH to express what you have, to have counselling - it's hard I know. All credit to you:)

krazy8516 posted 9/12/2013 09:58 AM

CL:

You sound exactly like my WH. In fact, I might have thought you were him except 1) I know he will never post here, and 2) your post was too gramatically correct.

I just want to say I always appreciate seeing a WS who is working hard at getting their shit together, as you clearly are. Also, even though I know my WH will never post here, I feel better knowing that it is possible for him to make changes if he really wants to.

I'm sure you already know this, but responding with anger with get you nowhere with your BS, and can make an otherwise amazing WS completely unappealing. Keep working on getting a handle on your emotions. Sounds like you're doing great work so far.

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