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What is with this wall?

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GraceRunner posted 9/20/2013 14:53 PM

I feel like I have this wall up still and I don't get it. We are one year out. BH and I have learned new ways to interact, learned about our FOO - I feel like I have started to understand and be true to myself and give myself a voice. And learned better how to communicate that to my BH. We share so much more and have reconnected in many ways.

But for some reason it all feels so surface level. I walk around feeling like I have shared every last bit of myself with him AND YET I still feel this distance. I weep after sex every time (and did pre-affair too) because there is some kind of disconnect there and it's painful. I feel like I still have a wall up. And it makes me lonely and sad. I feel like I will never be the wife I desire to be or that he deserves from me.

I never fell to my knees and begged BH to take me back. I never professed my insanity with the affair and started hating the OM upon discovery. I WISH I did those things but I didn't. Instead it was a slow, gradual process. And this whole time I have been hoping and waiting for the moment when I was over the OM, saw the situation for what it really was, and realized what I almost lost. I AM over the OM, I AM disgusted by my actions, I AM truly remorseful. But it hasn't brought about that closeness to BH that I have been waiting for and working towards.

I know I've always had a bit of a wall up. Felt like BH loved me more and loved me better than I loved him. Is this a failing in myself - an inability to let down a wall? Am I just a fence-sitter? Too independent? And if so, what else can I do? I feel like I am trying to make something happen, only it's not happening and I'm getting frustrated and feel a little lost right now.

LosferWords posted 9/20/2013 15:07 PM

How long has this wall been up, GraceRunner? Is there something from your childhood that could have caused you to put this wall up at an early age?

This is the type of issue that a good IC can help you work through. Are you currently seeing an IC?

I think it's great that you are recognizing that the wall is there, and that it is something you want to work on.

[This message edited by LosferWords at 3:07 PM, September 20th (Friday)]

SurprisinglyOkay posted 9/20/2013 15:20 PM

I can relate to the wall.

I had a really tall and thick one. Started building it when I was young. I never really truly let anyone in, or trusted anyone.

It's SLOWLY coming down. I'm in recovery so I've been working the 12 steps, that has helped me a lot, but you could use IC to help you.

I bumped a thread called intimacy in healthy relationships, reading that the first time was a real eye opener for me. I've been working on being more open with my BS, more trusting. Allowing myself to be vulnerable.

GraceRunner posted 9/20/2013 20:11 PM

I had a wall up before meeting BH. From my childhood I learned that having and stating needs made you weak and anyways no one listened to them so why even bother. I learned it was better to rely on yourself, make practical, not emotional, decisions and be strong. I have always been kind of proud of that part of my personality honestly. I guess I found a lot of safety there so maybe I am still hanging on to part of that.

I have been in IC and MC for the past year. I just stopped about a month ago because I felt stuck there too. Felt like I was saying the same things over and nothing was really changing. In fact, things were improving in my marriage and emotionally I was getting on more stable ground but there was still this disconnect.

Thanks for bumping the intimacy thread broevil. I read it and can see myself on both sides. In regards to initiative I see I have lots of work to do there. Honesty was another part that I have been working on as well.

When you say your wall is SLOWLY coming down -- do you feel distant still from your spouse? Are you catching glimpses of a deeper connection?

tired girl posted 9/20/2013 20:18 PM

Have you always felt this disconnect? What kind of person was your mother?

GraceRunner posted 9/20/2013 22:00 PM

I have always felt a slight disconnect with my BH. I would make jokes about how he loved me more or loved me better than I loved him. He has a much more passionate nature and swings more heavily from emotion to emotion. So sometimes I would tell myself that it was just that my love was more steady and constant while his was fierce and strong.

As far as with other boyfriends - I always felt like I enjoyed them but knew eventually it would end and was fine with that. I was never dumped, it was always me doing the dumping but really I just think that was because I just wasn't that into them. I just never fell head over heels for anyone. I have always felt very mentally in control of my emotions and could not really understand people that couldn't seem to get a grip on their emotions.

My mom was a very kind, loving, affectionate and forgiving person. She was also insecure and did not like being alone. My dad was an alcoholic and she put up with a lot. When she left my Dad I was 12 years old and I remember thinking "Finally!". I remember her begging and pleading with him to change but he never did. His disrespect of her was painfully obvious to me even as a child.

And that is the thing - I am married to the exact opposite type of man. He is so respectful, financially responsible, helpful and giving. I sometimes feel like I subconsciously made the decision to do the exact opposite of my mom: not be emotionally needy, find a respectful and honest man who clearly loves me and would do anything for me. But rather than making decisions on who I wanted to be, I was deciding who I didn't want to be and making decisions based on that.

tired girl posted 9/21/2013 05:59 AM

I am not just talking disconnect with men but disconnect in general.

What was your mom like with you?

solus sto posted 9/21/2013 08:10 AM

My dad was an alcoholic
This raised my antennae.

Children of alcoholics often learn, early on, that the people they should be able to depend on are undependable.

The self-sufficiency you were proud of? That was a VERY positive coping mechanism for you, as a child, I'd wager. If you have a wall, and expect little of others, and look to yourself, then when Dad doesn't do what he says he will do (or doesn't even bother with the pretense), you're okay.

As an adult, though, that wall--the one that protected you from hurt and disappointment as a child--becomes a barrier to intimacy.

What once protected you may now prevent you from experiencing the full range of POSITIVE things that can come from a relationship.

If this doesn't ring true to you, I apologize; take what applies and toss the rest. I'm the child of alcoholics---and went on to marry someone completely unavailable emotionally. Now that I'm on my own, I'm wall-free. The wall did a very, very good job of protecting me--really! It was a very positive coping mechanism when I needed it.

I don't need it any more.

Do you need yours?

I want to let people in now. I know that I can ask those who offer nothing constructive to leave. Or, I can leave. I'm not a little girl any more; I don't have to rely on unreliable people. I don't need to be self-contained, and protected by armor.

But dissembling that wall can be scary. It leads to feeling feelings that you might not have allowed prior. For me, the wall was blown apart by d-day---It took a very conscious effort, however, not to quickly rebuild it.

It's liberating to learn that you can feel the full range of human emotion without disappointment or dire consequence. Or, that if you ARE disappointed or let down by others, you can address that---sometimes finding that others WANT to give you what you need! (That was a revelation to me.) When they don't, you have the CHOICE to stay or go.

The wall? Try taking a few bricks out to see what's on the other side.

I bet you'll find yourself taking more and more bricks out as you experience what life on the other side has to offer.

uncertainone posted 9/21/2013 11:43 AM

Grace, I've followed your posts and was really struck by your response to me on the "see me" post I did. I think you and I are very much alike.

I believe that maybe that wall is up because you know that your spouse doesn't really "know" you. I get that!!!

I'm very private. My spouse sharing details about me and our relationship would not only not be welcome but would be considered a huge violation, to me. It ties right back into the childhood you speak about. Expression of needs was not something that worked well for us.

If I'm reading you right we both live quite a bit in our heads.

I do challenge you on one thing. You state you feel your spouse loves you more than you love him. Do you really? I wonder if it's not a strong impression that's been reversed. You may feel he is more demonstrative and emotive but also not to the real you. More the perceived or created "you" by him. You know where he misses and doesn't come close. How can someone love someone yet not know them, can be very much the back ground loop noise when that is seen.

It's very difficult being "us" in relationships. Very. We often get misunderstood, hidden meanings and what we're really saying looked for, our words not believed. I went through the same thing. My SO thought I didn't care, didn't believe me when I said "I'm fine" or "nothing". My lack of falling apart when something really hurt me gave him the impression I wasn't sharing with him or cared. I would be incensed. Are you fucking kidding me? I'm telling you EXACTLY how I feel and because it's so important I'm very careful and take great care with the words I choose and how I communicate it. He finally got it but it took some time.

I think your wall is actually a pretty normal healthy thing. Maybe a bit on steroids, but opening yourself completely to someone is all about trust. If someone doesn't see you or fills in their own blanks I'd think not having complete trust would be very wise. We don't exist for others. We live with others. The difference is huge!

I may be off the mark but the posts I read of yours are soooooo familiar!

tired girl posted 9/21/2013 13:13 PM

Everything UO just said, x's 10

GraceRunner posted 9/22/2013 23:08 PM

Wow - THANK YOU all for your input and questions. It is pushing me to question and think in new directions.

Tired Girl, I don't feel a disconnect with others. My mom and I had a great relationship (she passed away a few years ago). She was always there for me, very loving and supportive. As far as with other people, I have a solid base of really close, supportive friends. I am definitely not one of those people that spill my whole life story to just anyone but the close friends I do have I feel very connected to and safe with.

Solus Sto, YES! I identify with all the things you said as a child of an alcoholic. It is just that I don't know what other bricks to remove and this is why I feel stuck. I have shared my thoughts, hopes, fears, feelings, opened up in new ways... BH has shown me that he is still here, that he cares and is trying to listen and pay attention. I really don't know what else it looks like to remove more bricks and yet there is still a wall.

Uncertainone, yes, I agree we must be very alike. Since I started reading this site I have identified with your posts so strongly. I hear what you're saying about not being known and thus the wall. I had to read that a couple of times. Once it sunk in I felt like I was hit in the gut. Then I felt like crying. Relief at someone getting it and then sadness because I do not know how to fix that. A strong reaction like that to something I read usually means there is some truth in there for me. I truly appreciate hearing that my wall may be fairly normal and healthy. My IC said that same thing numerous times and so does my sister. Perhaps we are not so alike in the confidence arena though. I admire the way you own your feelings and the right to have them. I often feel guilty for my feelings (in my marriage) and have a hard time accepting them. Maybe instead of tearing down the wall I need to be learning how to build up my self-worth. I really have always felt fairly confident - except when it comes to admitting my issues within my marriage.

Thank you all - your insight is so helpful and I truly appreciate your time in responding.

Taurus517 posted 9/23/2013 20:40 PM

GraceRunner I understand the wall. I came to realize that my wall started when I was child. After being felt alone and hurt by people closest to me I started to build this wall up and not show emotion or any feelings. My BS has said this many times that I still have this wall up, for the longest time I didn't think I have because I was so use to it.

I also understand how you feel when you said that your BH seems to love you more and you didn't. I have felt that I didn't deserve my W because of how insecure with low self esteem and I can never get on her level. This wall stopped me from seeing past what I capable of doing.

With the wall, you have to realize that it was built from the past and for a brighter future you have to start chipping it away otherwise you won't be able to move forward and find you. Once you find you and accept yourself then you are able to accept the greatness that your BH had always given you. It will take time but just continue working at it and be positive.

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