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My Dilemma

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Camalus posted 10/10/2013 10:19 AM

In MC yesterday, WW was assigned the task of writing down her memories of the A. Things like how it impacted her, her family (me and DD), her feelings during that period, etc. He doesn’t want her to necessarily assign exact dates and times to her memories, more just her feelings and impressions. MC says this will be fleshed out over time and she begins to see things clearly.

This morning she was complaining that she couldn’t remember her A ever impacting her family life in any major way because she was always so careful to not let it interfere. Then she said she knows it must have inconvenienced us in minor ways, she just cannot remember any specific instances because it would only have been a minor nuisance at best.

I am disturbed that she doesn’t seem to realize the real impact her A had on us all. I guess she was in that ‘Fog’ so many people talk about. (I’m not sure I buy into the whole idea of ‘The Fog’ and tend to look at it as just another excuse)

My dilemma. I could help her with this. I could remind her we canceled our family vacation in ’97 at her insistence because she was just ‘too busy’. I know now she didn’t want to be away from POS MOM for three weeks. She didn’t even want to scale it back to a three or four day weekend so DD and I ended up with a ‘stay-cation’ where we painted the house and seldom saw WW during daylight hours for those three weeks.

I could also show her pages from our DD’s diary where the poor girl poured her heart out about her mother canceling (at the last minute) their shopping trip to find a prom gown. Or the page where DD wrote about cooking dinner because I had a cold and her mother didn’t show up or even bother to call and say she would be late. Or where she wrote about standing us up at the movie theater then getting mad when I complained about her not letting us know plans had changed.… DD gave me photostats from her diary, almost 100 pages of stuff like this. One of the more heart rendering pages DD tells her diary how she doesn’t understand why her mother doesn’t love her any more.

In some ways, I want very much to give this information to WW. One part of me says it may help her feel DD’s pain from that period and by extension, my pain. One part of me says it is small and petty of me to want her to feel that pain and I should just let the process play out in MC.

I just don’t know, thus my quandary. I would love to get some ideas from both BS and waywards on this.

Mack9512 posted 10/10/2013 10:43 AM

What about writing down your own memories of how the A impacted your life and family and present it to the MC at the same time of the WW presents hers? Sometimes side-by-side comparisons help.

imagoodwitch posted 10/10/2013 10:52 AM

You need to show her.

However you choose to do it, do it, she needs to know how it impacted your life and DD's life.

My WS had no clue, we did something very similar in MC.

It opened up my WS's eyes big time.

How was her behavior before the A?

Was her A behavior completely different than her pre-A behavior?

20Hopeful16 posted 10/10/2013 11:00 AM

I agree with the PP who said you should write your own version of how her A affected your family, and present it at MC.

I don't think your family can truly heal unless your WW comes to realize the pain she caused all of you. Yes, it may cause her some pain to realize all of that, but is that any worse than the pain she caused you and your DD?

MovingUpward posted 10/10/2013 11:06 AM

I wouldn't help her at this point. Allow your WW to report to the MC on the results of the assignment. I believe by helping her at this stage you might hide all the data from the MC. Much like giving a fevered child a tylenol for a fever and then proceed to the doctor where the temp is registered as normal. Is the child better? Most likely not, but the tylenol has hid the symptom.

Mack gave a great suggestion of doing this assignment yourself. Then with the MC you can could discuss of differently things get perceived.

Then she said she knows it must have inconvenienced us in minor ways, she just cannot remember any specific instances because it would only have been a minor nuisance at best.

I am not sure this statement is really in the fog. It could just be how they are wired. I sense that she was operating under the premise as long as I am happy and the family isn't inconvenienced it is ok. I liken that to a person that sees a wounded animal. They carry on enjoying their activity being sure not to further hurt the injured animal. They go on having their fun because they aren't hurting the wounded animal. This is in big contrast to a person that sees a wounded animal and their focus becomes to help the animal out. I hope that makes sense.

Darkness Falls posted 10/10/2013 11:10 AM

I would love to get some ideas from both BS and waywards on this.

WS here.

I agree with the others that you should indeed write down your own memories/feelings of how her affair impacted you and your family and discuss it with her at MC. Some waywards (myself included) just don't "get it" until they really see and hear how their actions impacted the others in their family & immediate sphere of influence.

However, I am not sure if you should be the one presenting pages from your daughter's diary to your WW. It seems as though that should be something your daughter discusses with your WW herself (since your tagline says your daughter is in her 30s and presumably she knows of the affair).

I think the idea of you expressing your own feelings and memories of that time is a great one, though.

BryanP37 posted 10/10/2013 11:41 AM

As a child whose mom did exactly what you wife did to you and your daughter, I understand exactly where you are coming from.

My mom pretty much vanished from mine and my younger sisters lives between my freshman and sophomore year in high school. She was in middle school at the time and having a rough time of her own transitioning from little girl to young lady. This was stark contrast to her involvement in my two older sisters lives. It corollates with her being promoted to executive assistant to a VP at a large company who became her AP. She covered her tracks saying she worked on a black program requiring her to be available at all times. She was absentee until right before I left for Air Force Academy when she was let go. It was many months later when it was found out. Had my little sister not overheard the argument and wrote me a letter at school, it's doubtful anyone would have ever known as my parents chose to rug sweep. As a result, my little sister and I remained pretty much detached from our mom the rest of her life, while she was still very involved in our 2 older sisters lives. She seemed to warm up to me somewhat when I returned home from a combat tour a few years later.

You have something in hand that gives your wife a look inside your daughters head during that time frame. You have the unclouded view of history in your head that matches what your daughter wrote. I would say get your thoughts of the time on paper and show it all to her. I'm sure it will be rough. I doubt she will understand how damaging it was unless she sees it in front of her. Your wife seems like a smart lady. I bet she will get it.

I regret my family never addressed my mothers indiscretions. It had bad reprecussions down the road for us. My oldest sister cheated, my marriage failed due to my unwillingness to deal with my ex wife's infidelity, and my youngest sister commitment phobic and will not allow a man to get close to her. With our mom deceased we have to live with coulda, woulda, and shoulda.

I say let her see it all. Hallmark cards, your daughters diary, and your own thoughts. Lay it out for her and give her a chance to digest it. I bet it will jump start her memory and may even jump start healing for all 3 of you.

[This message edited by BryanP37 at 11:52 AM, October 10th (Thursday)]

sisoon posted 10/10/2013 12:17 PM

I urge you as strongly s I can not to share your thoughts, feelings, and info with your W until your MC brings up the writing your W is supposed to do.

Let your W write down her thoughts. Your document yours. When the MC asks for your thoughts and memories - you need a new MC if that doesn't happen - you'll have a great opportunity to see each other's worlds and figure out how to bring them together.

This exercise will allow your W to see just how effed up se was. Also, perhaps more important, her response will be a good indicator of how ready she is to do the work of R.

[This message edited by sisoon at 12:17 PM, October 10th (Thursday)]

sinsof thefather posted 10/10/2013 13:04 PM

I agree with the others - don't give her any help with it, let her write her own memories and show her own thoughts about it now to the MC - then while you are there, produce your own memories with the copies of your DD's diary to support your version. This will let the MC see your wife's lack of reality in grasping the extent of the damage her affair did to you and your daughter.

[This message edited by sinsof thefather at 1:06 PM, October 10th (Thursday)]

Camalus posted 10/10/2013 13:15 PM

I’m not trying to trickle out the details, but for the sake of brevity I left out some information I should have included.

DD is in her early 30’s and currently living in Scotland. She will not be back to the US until Christmas.

DD spent a week with us a few weeks ago. She picked up on tension and asked me about it. I explained her mother and I had some stuff to work out and we would be in MC soon. DD asked if it was about “her mother’s queen bitch period” which is how DD refers to 1995 through 1998. I said she should really talk to her mother about it.

DD then asked if it was drugs or an affair because those were the only two things she knew of that could cause such a radical change in a person’s personality. I told her to ask her mother that question.

Later she told me she did ask her mother about it and was told it didn't involve her.

DD then spent the better part of an evening digging around in the attic and using my scanner. She then gave me copies of pages from her diary and said there were some questions she would like answered about that period and I could use the pages to remind myself of the hell WW put us through. She told to read through them before every session to get a good mad-on and not to let her mother walk all over me.

She also told me to tell the MC that she was willing to attend a session via Skype if necessary so long as she had a week or two notice of date and time.

I have not made the Skype offer to MC yet.

I think my best bet at this point is to develope my own time line of the affair including as much of the stress and emotions DD and I were under at that time. I can use the diary pages to site specific examples.

I am assuming I will get asked in MC about my recollections and having my own timeline should make it easier.

Camalus posted 10/10/2013 16:14 PM

Update: I called the MC office to get an opinion. Surprise and shock because he did call me back.

He wants me to put it all together in a hand written doc and give it to him. Says for now not to tell WW anything or assist her in any way with her homework. He claims there will be a point in MC where he will want to give her the information but he suspects that may be a month to six weeks away.

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