Forum Archives

Return to Forum List

Avoidance and consistency

You are not logged in. Login here or register.

mse89 posted 10/17/2013 09:24 AM

I am working on reconciliation with my BS and having difficulty. My big problem is two-fold. First, I am extremely avoidant of emotionally uncomfortable situations. My upbringing was such that the avoidance is ingrained. As you can see this is a terrible thing for reconciliation. My unreliably to open a discussion is a problem. I also find it incredibly exhausting to hold discussions without getting defensive, etc. Iíve found I need to be careful to be rested and not stressed before opening up a topic (Iíve made that mistake and resulting mess before learning).
The second part is just remembering to open discussions and what topics. I am bipolar, which causes its own set of problems. The first is a general emotional inconsistency. Week-to-week my general moods can be up, middle and down. Each mood lasts several days and changes without notice upon waking up. When Iím down things can improve at 5pm (which appears as inconsistency to her). So itís hard to be exactly the same person for her to see the kind of stability and reliability she needs. The other problem is memory. Short and long-term memory loss happens with each change. Itís even gotten bad during a single mood state. Not only do I have a hard time remembering to come to SI or open discussions, I have a hard time remembering things around my two one-night stand infidelities. You can imagine the frustration this causes my WS on both counts.
Any advice? Iíve tried writing things down or using Outlook Calendar. But the awareness and discipline changes or disappears as I mood swing.

BaxtersBFF posted 10/17/2013 18:07 PM

I'm not familiar with bi-polar situations, so I'm not sure how helpful any of this will be...

Do you take meds for the bi-polar? Can you identify anything that evens things out for you?

Are you able to communicate better in one mood more than another? When are you most stable?

If you really do have these problems, then there have to be some expectations. You have to get to a point of being able to manage yourself, and your BS needs to understand that the things she is asking are not something you are capable of doing. So really, there is a major disconnect going on, and nothing is going to change until either you figure out how to manage yourself, or your BS starts assisting you with these problems/expectations she has of you.

mse89 posted 10/18/2013 08:01 AM

I am on medication now which stabilizes things considerably (after 8 years of slowly worsening). They finally gave me a stable emotional base from which to begin work on my more fundamental issues (FOO, insecurity, self-esteem) and our relationship.

But a lot of damage was done before I was diagnosed or was unfaithful. I denegrated/judged those around me to patch my self-esteem, reacted disproportionally to emotional conflict and was unpredicable. It was horrible for her. Those combined with the hyper-sexuality that can come during the manic phase resulted in 2 one-night stands (thank god not any worse).

D-day was a mess as I was paranoid, unstable, avoidant, and irrational in justifing/hiding everything (pre-diagnosis). My behavior on D-day was probably the worst of it all as she feels little trust in what I say. (you wouldn't believe the paranoid emotionally-crushing things I believed where being seduced to feel better for a moment seemed justified (read irrationally selfish).

As I said, things are more-or-less stable but I still have milder moods swings and still memory loss. I've tried to explain so expectations can be re-set. Unfortunately, she often sees my bi-polar explanation as a realy convenient responsibility-free excuse.

I'm getting a lot better at staying in perspective when things get heated (and sometimes even more mature than her for a change). So slow improvement but it's still hard keeping in mind that I need to initiate conversations about infidelity. SI really helps identify things for introspection and discussion. But one, I'm inherently avoidant (coming here is hard even though it makes things better). And harder when I'm depressed/paranoid. Secondly, it's hard to remember to initiate conversations about what I learn. That initiate part seems really important. (P.S. Writing this makes me feel like I'm whining about how difficult things are for me rather than just doing the really hard thing).

nealos posted 10/18/2013 08:37 AM

First, I am extremely avoidant of emotionally uncomfortable situations. My upbringing was such that the avoidance is ingrained.

This I can relate to... my avoidance of discomfort manifested in an addiction, even. Perhaps you need to ask your BS to hep you make a safe place to share your feelings. Your avoidance is likely rooted in fear, so creating a safe place is important. This could be done by going to couples' counseling, or this could be done by setting conversational boundaries-- things like being able to call a timeout, or "whoever is holding the pillow gets to speak uninterrupted until they pass the pillow," Imago dialogue, etc.

I also find it incredibly exhausting to hold discussions without getting defensive, etc.

If you're like me, this will help: Ask you BS for some affirming words before lacing in with the criticisms. Are you familiar with the five love languages concept? My guess is that your love language is "Words of Affirmation" and that critical words actually dig deeper to you than they do to her. This doesn't mean she has to avoid all criticisms, but it means that you need some positive affirmations sprinkled in-between the negatives so that you don't shut down and kick in to super defensive mode. ...Also, read that book. It's good.

I don't feel confident that I've given you helpful information. So maybe more important than anything, I get to tell you that I feel your pain. I've been there, man. It's really really hard-- it's gut-wrenching-- it's exhausting.

One last thing-- I do think the chance for reconciliation is a great gift you're receiving. Try to see how brave it is of your BS to come to you scared, hurt and angry... and then to show you such great love by attempting to reconcile. Just her presence is brave of her. Talk about wanting to run away from uncomfortable emotions!... she's resilient. Make sure you remind yourself of that before you engage in conversation. Try to match her resilience and courage.

mse89 posted 10/18/2013 12:36 PM

Thanks for the advice on finding a "safe" time to discuss. I've been thinking on this and trying to find something that works. No success yet.

I've also asked for encouragement or at least a respectful response when initiating a topic. I don't think I'm asking for too much. But there is a ton of baggage from the years when I was not respectful. I realized during a conversation this morning that I should adjust my expectations based on the history. I'll keep trying on my end to earn that respect to get some in return.

Return to Forum List

© 2002-2018 ®. All Rights Reserved.     Privacy Policy