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SoVerySadNow posted 10/12/2013 10:45 AM

While discussing a thread this morning concerning fear of abandonment when asking your spouse to meet your needs- more complicated but this part struck me- Finally10 said that he believes abandonment can only occur as a physical thing, and not an emotional rejection.
While I fear emotional rejection (as well as physical rejection) from him if I request my needs be met and he ignores my requests, Finally 10 maintains that would have to be called something else because by definition, as fear of abandonment is the fear of someone physically leaving.

I disagree and submit this-

Finally10 does not think (want to think?) that emotional withdrawal is a form of abandonment. That abandonment can be emotional. He believes that as long as physical abandonment isn't involved, that the emotional side isn't "abandonment" but is something else and needs a different term.

So, I throw this out there. What say you, learned SI'ers? Am I of the wrong track in my emotionally abandoned theory?

GraceisGood posted 10/12/2013 14:35 PM

Hmm, not learned, but here is my experience with abandonment.

My H never left our M, he was home every night (that he was not out of town on business) he was physically present for all "life events", but he was not emotionally present and in most all areas he abandoned me emotionally. I dealt with our bills alone it was all in my hands to juggle finances and make it work, he played on his phone or talked to others or played chess on his computer during two of our kids births, any problem I have had during our M I have had to handle on my own he has not been there for me, to name just a few, even though he was physically present, so he would say he was there, but that is not truth.

My bio dad left before I was two, but he abandoned me before then when he started his A. My mom said I had serious anxiety issues prior to their D that went away when he did, the emotional abandonment was worse than physical for me. My mom also withdrew from me and most all others even though she has been in my life and still is there are many areas she is not there for me, I know physically she is a place I can land (should I lose my job, house, etc, but I cannot land there emotionally with her at all, that is all for me to deal with alone)

I personally see emotional abandonment as more cruel than physical due to my life experiences.

Whether or not emotional withdrawl is "abandonment" like physical abandonment I cannot say in a technical term.

Nature_Girl posted 10/12/2013 18:38 PM

Finally10 has a right to his opinion. I think he's wrong, which is my right. My STBX emotionally abandoned me. I know what it's like to live with someone who won't even acknowledge that you're in the room, that you're even alive. That is a form of abandonment.

Skan posted 10/12/2013 18:57 PM

Being abandoned emotionally, being "alone" when there is someone else physically present in the room with you, but who is not connected to you in any way, is IMO far more hurtful than being physically abandoned. At least to me, it is.

ladies_first posted 10/12/2013 19:19 PM

Finally10 is a big fan of Brene Brown (as am I) so here's her quote from Daring Greatly:

Worst betrayal? He sleeps with my best friend. She lies about where the money went. He/she chooses someone over me. Someone uses my vulnerability against me (an act of emotional treason that causes most of us to slam the entire jar to the ground rather than just dumping the marbles).

All terrible betrayals, definitely, but there is a particular sort of betrayal that is more insidious and equally corrosive to trust. In fact, this betrayal usually happens long before the other ones. DISENGAGEMENT. Not Caring. Letting the Connection Go. Not being willing to devote time and effort to the relationship. When people we love or with whom we share a deep connection stop caring, stop paying attention, stop investing and stop fighting for the relationship, trust begins to slip away and hurt starts seeping in. Disengagement triggers shame and our greatest fears—the fears of being abandoned, unworthy and unlovable. What can make this covert betrayal so much more dangerous than something like a lie or an affair is that we can’t point to the source of our pain—there’s no event, no obvious evidence of brokenness. It can feel crazymaking.

Trust is a product of vulnerability that grows over time and requires work, attention and full engagement. Trust isn’t a grand gesture—it’s a growing marble collection.

[This message edited by ladies_first at 7:23 PM, October 12th (Saturday)]

Dreamboat posted 10/12/2013 19:40 PM

Does it matter what it is called? If you feel emotionally abandoned that that is how you feel. Who cares what the correct term is. It is similar to the term heart break -- your does not physically break but that is how it feels. Or how about the term kicked in the gut? My X did not physically kick me in the gut on dday, but that is how I felt and I did physically puke because of it.

IMO, if you feel abandoned by someone but they are still physically beside you, then you still have been abandoned.

Does your WS often argue over semantics of a term? If so then I believe they are having a difficult time accepting what they have done and trying to find terms that minimize what they have done.

sisoon posted 10/12/2013 22:33 PM

Part of an A is abandonment of the BS by the WS. Absolutely.

Just consider the time spent thinking about, planning, texting, and being with the ap that could have spent with the BS.

Off hand, I suspect a person cut off from his feelings may not get that, and I'm sure there are other explanations for not getting it, too.

nomistakeaboutit posted 10/13/2013 07:52 AM

He believes that as long as physical abandonment isn't involved, that the emotional side isn't "abandonment" but is something else and needs a different term.

So, if he's so clever to parse the meaning of "abandonment" so if finely, what word would he suggest using instead?

I just went for a long walk this morning. It was a beautiful morning and the walk was nice. In the middle of my walk I started thinking about your post, which I had read last night. I started thinking "what kind of bullshit is that?", and other thoughts along those lines. Here's what bothers me so much about what he's saying. It sounds like he isn't being honest with himself. If he were, he might say, "ok, I emotionally abandoned you "partially", but not fully.", or something like that. To argue semantics is just bring a dick. This would have driven me crazy, hearing something like that.

So, how would he define what he did?

SoVerySadNow posted 10/13/2013 14:45 PM

I thank you all for your replies. I appreciate you taking your time to read and give your thoughts. Wonderful thoughts. I agree that as upset as I get with Finally10, he will always have his right to his opinions.

There have been several times since d-day that Finally10 has struggled with something that pivoted into a "layer peeling" realization.
Once, when he disagreed that he had emotionally abused me by what he did, and another time when he had thought it was helpful to suggest doing more physical workouts when I indicated I was worried that he thought I was heavier than he preferred (a thread in which a betrayed poured out her feelings about her BF being so critical of her took it home for him). In each situation he came back to me after reading, thinking and soul searching, and appologised tearfully. The realizations hit him hard. Similar to this, he had previously only thought of abuse as physical harm, and couldn't stand the thought that he had caused me emotional abuse by being unfaithful or with any thing he said.

Yesterday, we had an opportunity to talk during a drive to the beach. I told him that I had often felt abandoned during our marriage, even though he was usually physically there. I described my feelings in several ways. He seemed to get what I was saying, but still feels that fear of physical abandonment is what I'm feeling at the core of my feeling of being discarded. As Dreamboat aptly pegs a semantics thing. Skan, you nailed it!

Finally10 is having a terrible time with what he has done to himself, me, and our marriage and family. His therapy continues and his therapist has told him that as he comes to the realizations that come with being "present" and emotionally available and the obliviousness falls away, that some tough days will hit him. He has said several times that although he wants to live a real life, that oblivion was more comfortable. He periodically fights the desire to slip back into the fog.
He is indeed a Brene Brown fan, ladies_first is spot on with that. So, I think that he would prefer to call it "disengagement" or emotionally unavailable.

After our long talk last night, I think, or hope, that he understands what I am saying -I have felt lonely and abandoned. Unwanted, undesired, discarded, unneeded, unloved, and like there wasn't a spot for me in his heart- I've described it to him this way many times.
He has been lost in his thoughts (as he gets after these discussions) since our talk, but not closed off, and thank goodness for not closed off. That's a step. he is avid reader on SI, but infrequent poster. I know he will read this thread and I welcome it. Sometimes a word, as simple as it seems, from someone else, is a key.

It sounds like many of us have felt similarly alone. I'm sad for all of us. And I'm sad as well for the remorseful waywards that have felt alone in their struggles as well.
Infidelity screws everything and everyone.

Thank you all for being there in the times I feel alone. We are into the second year of post d-day torture and I haven't committed to R yet.

blakesteele posted 10/13/2013 16:42 PM

1 year of IC sessions has introduced me to myself. I discovered I have a fear of abandonment. I got it when my parents D when I was 12 and my dad disappeared from my life, physically (moved to the east coast) and emotionally ( no calls from him on holidays, birthday, etc). So I had experiences in both.

According to my counselor a physical distance is NOT required to feel abandoned. As we worked on this fear it became apparent my wife, due to her own FOO issues was emotionally walled off more so then I consciously realized. Unconsciously I detected this, but did not engage her on this for fear it would abandon me more. Stupid, I know. What I did do is do more and more for her....action items but not emotionally engage her.

Another part of this fear is that I didn't emotionally engage her either....because if I did it would hurt even more when she left me. Insane too. How did we make it this far?

It's a crappy live in fear. Crappy too to not even recognize it was how I was living!

Brene brown is on my list of books to read.

Good post....thanks for starting it.

blakesteele posted 10/13/2013 17:06 PM

Oh to share a cup of coffee with you SoVerySadNow.

I blocked off my heart- our marriage never became rich. Always lacking. Sex was infrequent and lacking closeness. Both of us were protecting something from the other. Time goes on.

Is a quote I copied from your profile. Minus the sex was infrequent part you just described my wife and I marriage.

FOO issues on both sides of our marriage blocked our hearts from each other. We both felt the always lacking feeling...but her fear of conflict combined with my fear of abandonment created an impasse to our marriage from becoming rich.

This is a tough thing to fix without the added trauma I feel from my wifes A, and the feelings she felt during her A (she was alive and felt good while in it).

I would like to meet for coffee to see more how you are planning on working this out, how you are finding the courage to actually stick with R?

My brother (same family, same abandonment issues as me)got divorced a number of years ago. Since then he has not dated. As I visit with him over this past year (since my DD) I have become aware of two things.

First, he was very hurt by his wifes decision to D him. His similarities to how he interacted within his marriage are to dang close to how I did in mine. He would NOT engage his wife honestly, did not voice his needs, he would enable her to disengage and wall him off from her (she comes from an alcoholic family, as does my wife). See a pattern here?

Second, he has gone the way of many people with these issues...he is physically and emotionally removing himself from people in order to protect himself from being abandoned. If you don't attach to anyone, you cant be abandoned.

I am wondering why my brother and I were both drawn to children of alcoholics? Did we sense their disconnectedness and used this twisted logic of...if we don't connect deeply we wont get hurt deeply?

God help me....I am struggling to make sense of this.

Coffee anyone?

Ashland13 posted 10/13/2013 17:44 PM

My belief is that a person can be abandoned emotionally. XPervert was able to shut off his emotions and was a stonewall for almost three years that he lived with us. He admitted it fully.

He then distanced himself physically, completely ruined each part of our lives, while still in the house and solidifying things with ow. abruptly.

Then he put it altogether and disappeared late one night, not to return for a long time later.

[This message edited by Ashland13 at 5:46 PM, October 13th (Sunday)]

SoVerySadNow posted 10/14/2013 13:01 PM

It sounds like he isn't being honest with himself. If he were, he might say, "ok, I emotionally abandoned you "partially", but not fully.", or something like that

Yes, Nomistake, I would have rather had this discussion, absolutely.
Engagement from both parties in that case.

He went back and read more of the section of the book that ladies_first quoted and said that his thinking is along those lines. I can tell you he is not a "word person". His therapist has confirmed that his placement on the emotional availability scale is extremely low. With both of these traits, working against us, I feel dismal. I need the opposite from him. I realize now why I haven't jumped into the "let's reconcile!" phase.

And, I'm an adult child of an alcoholic, as is WH. Both of us have FOO issues of similar, yet different types. I dealt with mine in a totally opposite manner, realizing at a very early age that the situation was crap and my mother was dysfunctional. WH let it rule him, and carried it all right into our marriage. I'm not excusing him, just giving background. He runs and hides, I deal.

he was physically present for all "life events", but he was not emotionally present and in most all areas he abandoned me emotionally. I dealt with our bills alone it was all in my hands to juggle finances and make it work, he played

My life too, Grace. Very lonely and scary.

Blakesteel, I had coffee while reading this- pour a cup. I def have abandonment issues, and managed to marry exactly the type person who feeds that miserableness. I know it stops when I decide it stops. I've put off IC until Finally10 had done some work on himself and was ready to have MC with me in the same timeframe as my IC. It's coming up to that time.

He has had some pivotal thoughts yesterday after reading everyone's comments here and some more in his B Brown book. We had a good discussion last night as a result, and I thank you all for that. Coming at things from different directions helps many of us. He says he wants a true marriage, a close marriage, and that he is working in himself.
I need him to understand it's not enough to "want it"-he has to "get it", listen openly. Get out of his own way.

I'm not sure I can R with him, the bottom line of what he did is seared on my heart and will forever be between us. I know that it isn't a love issue for me at this point, it's a self preservation issue. And to look at a future of feeling alone while he's in the room is pathetic.
I dont know where I would be without SI. Thank you all.
Peace be with us all.

Typo edited

[This message edited by SoVerySadNow at 1:02 PM, October 14th (Monday)]

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