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Afraid to share the burden?

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knightsbff posted 11/17/2013 17:16 PM

I watch him shudder...
Or hear a sharp intake of breath.
He suddenly releases my hand.
I see the pain or anger on his face.

Me: What is it? What thought did you have? Let it out.
Him: There's no point in talking about it. You can't help. It's too ugly and hateful. I don't want to do that to you.

He didn't chose this pain.
He would rather not feel anger or hatred.
I chose it for him without his consent.

I want so much to be his partner in everything now.
I want to share his pain, hear his anger.
I know I'm strong enough now to help him bear this burden.
To just be with him through it all as long as it takes.
I've changed so much. NOW I want do what I couldn't or wouldn't or didn't know how to do before.

He's changed too... NOW he's afraid to share his pain and anger. He says there is no point in bringing me down too. I know he still worries that I will wake up one day and decide I don't love him after all. He worries I will leave. If I'm crazy enough to have an affair how can he trust me to know that I love him and want to be with him?

He should know that he would be fine without me if I was stupid enough to go. He is strong and good and sweet and kind and smart and funny and generous and handsome. But he doesn't feel that way anymore. I took that too.

Do you hold it inside too?

What can I do to help him carry this heavy load? I'm working on me. I'm making progress. It seems unfair for me to be getting healthier when he is so hurt.

authenticnow posted 11/17/2013 17:21 PM

I have to pull things out of LD sometimes to get him to talk when I know he's upset. This doesn't happen very often anymore, as we are over 6 years out.

But I remember those moments, and I'd ask and he'd shut down (like you describe). I didn't let up. I gently continued to ask, to encourage him to talk to me. He wouldn't have if I didn't, and I knew that it wasn't healthy for him to suppress those feelings.

That's what I did in those moments.

I think it helped him know I wanted to hear it and I wanted to help him through it.

musiclovingmom posted 11/17/2013 17:38 PM

My H and I were just talking about this. Our dday is very close to yours. He has been the model of remorse and is working very hard to implement proper coping mechanisms and boundaries and to feel and communicate his emotions. I still am not ready to be completely vulnerable to him yet. Every time I feel that really awful upset, I hold it back. I don't let him know that I'm hurting every day. I'm not ready to trust him with the weak, hurt me like that. I'm also deeply afraid that if I shared all of my pain with him, he would decide that it is too much to handle and he would leave. I know I could make it without him, but I really don't want to.
Like you, he says he wants to help. I guess I just do t trust that yet. I mean, he ran to someone else before, why would that be any different this time. I share more now than I did 6 months ago. Over time, he repeatedly shows me that he is here. He is completely committed. He loves me and wants me to heal. And, in time, I hope I'll be able to share all those vulnerabilities again. The wall has some cracks and weak spots, I'm just not ready to knock it totally down yet.

authenticnow posted 11/17/2013 18:09 PM

Thanks for pointing that out musiclovingmom. I spent a lot of time assuring LD that I was a safe person now, but it took a long time for him to be able to be vulnerable with me.

I did not mean to sound like I was minimizing that.

It definitely took time. It took consistent actions from me over a period of time for him to let his wall down.

knightsbff posted 11/17/2013 18:23 PM

Thank you both. I have literally begged him to share his triggers, thoughts, anger, and pain. He won't do it. He says he's having a mean or hateful thought and he doesn't think it will be helpful to let it out.

He does occasionally make comments referring to my A. Like, "you haven't always felt that way." If I say how much I love him or how amazing I think he is. I tell him he's right, I had my head completely screwed up, but lucky for me I'm working to fix it and he's giving me the chance to still be a part of his life.

sisoon posted 11/17/2013 18:42 PM

What can I do to help him carry this heavy load?

Well, I hold a lot in, especially when a) I can't put a lousy feeling into words, and/or 2) when I can't see a positive outcome from sharing. What good comes out of reminding her of the terrible things she did?

Early on, when I wasn't sure she really took responsibility, I felt better when I reminded her. Now, however, I'm confident she's on board. Reminding her hurts her without making me feel better. There really is no point to sharing under those conditions, IMO, and maybe your H has the similar thoughts.

I'm working on me. I'm making progress.

Working on you and changing is great. I think it's all that a BS can ask, and I think it's enough. Have you talked about this with your H? If he's satisfied with what you're doing, why second guess him?

R requires 3 healings - together you heal your M, but you heal yourself, and knight heals himself. Really, how can you share knight's burden? How can my W share mine?

All the WS can do is be there when the BS wants support. JMO, of course - your H may want something different.

It seems unfair for me to be getting healthier when he is so hurt.

Well, hell, yes. But I think this is probably guilt speaking, not remorse. There may be a place for punishing the WS when D is chosen, but R requires loving actions. I mean - you cheated, but why would you want to R with someone who wants you to suffer until he's completely healed? I'm still angry at my W, but every moment she feels healthy is a long term plus for our relationship. Life isn't fair anyway.

I want my W to approach me when I'm in a funk, even though she's afraid of what I might say or do - not to pry or to manage me into spilling my guts, but to remind me that she's available for support, if I want it.

AFrayedKnot posted 11/17/2013 19:11 PM

Is keeping it in a new thing?

I was very vocal about my thoughts and feeling for the first 14-15 months. After that I slowly started keeping more and more to myself. It just didn't seem make things better anymore. It seemed kinda useless. It was just rehashing the same stuff over and over. It was her job to keep doing the work. And it seemed like my job to get by until things felt better.

knightsbff posted 11/17/2013 21:53 PM


Reminding her hurts her without making me feel better.
This is what he says too. I just worry that keeping it in is unhealthy. He has no one else to talk to about it because he doesn't want anyone to know and he isn't comfortable posting because his dyslexic spelling embarrasses him (he's brilliant, just can't spell).
Really, how can you share knight's burden?
I was hoping for a BS answer to this one. Does it help to air those thoughts out and to express the anger and pain? I can hear it without spiraling into guilt and self pity. I'm not looking for punishment only to be there with him for support wherever he is whenever he wants me.


Is keeping it in a new thing?
I think it is relatively new, yes. At, first he raged and had questions. Then it seemed like he would express his anger and pain because he wanted me to understand. He says he thinks I understand it as well as is possible. I know I will never know exactly what he feels. I was betrayed in my first marriage, and it hurt but I believe my brokenness kept me from experiencing the betrayal like my BH has. Betrayal was "normal" for me. Anyway, I digress, he has expressed sentiments similar to both you and sisoon, namely, that he doesn't see any point in talking about it any further. Same stuff has already been expressed, no point repeating it.

Is this something that time will help him with?

OnAnIsland posted 11/18/2013 01:53 AM

I think the other posters have made great points. And it is great to read this question here in reconciliation. Sometimes I too decide that rehashing won't help anyone. You mention he has no one to talk with. This would concern me. When I decide not to share, I pick another healing and healthy for me coping strategy. IC, journaling, physical activity, yoga, posting or talking with a friend, reading a book about self healing and growth, etc. When my WH supports me or encourages me to do some self soothing or self healing activities, after making me aware that he is there if I want to talk, it is a total win win.

My experience suggests: ask him what is wrong, apologize for what you did to put him there, and encourage him to heal and care for himself. And keep doing your work and showing your progress through your actions.

rachelc posted 11/18/2013 05:43 AM

It was her job to keep doing the work.

other than physically going to therapy, how do you know if your spouse is doing the work?

morethantrying posted 11/18/2013 06:56 AM

I struggle with sharing or not sharing as well. As another poster said, at some point, what is the point? Though I may hurt, sharing that makes him hurt as well which in turn hurts me for hurting him...complicated isn't it? We are in R and the point is to yes, work through the hurt, but also know when it is time to accept and move on and focus more on R than As. The As are the past, but R is here and now and continually bringing up the As, slows down the R in my opinion. That being said, I still need reassurance, but not talk. Hugs, but not sad eyes...anything that lets me know that you REALLY want me in your life and forever with out dragging up the As...that is some pain that needs to calm, and fade so that I can move on and be happy.

When you choose to love someone, you choose not to hurt them or "punish" them as certainly rehashing can do at a certain point. For me, (and I try hard to think this at times)if he has learned what he needs to learn, understand what he needs to understand and both he and I are moving forward, than rehashing serves no does not even help me to talk about it in terms of emotions -- letting them out -- because that only reopens the wounds fresh again and then it takes more days to recover from that.

It sucks, yes, the BS really have to be strong and I believe we DO develop amazing resilience and character because of it...I guess that is good in the end.

[This message edited by morethantrying at 7:00 AM, November 18th (Monday)]

rachelc posted 11/18/2013 08:20 AM

this thread reiterates for me what a lonely process healing is.
I understand everything you're saying morethantrying.
I can have those thoughts but they make me feel
very detached from my marriage and him. Still struggling with acceptance, I guess.

heartbroken2012 posted 11/18/2013 08:37 AM

I hold the pain and hurt in too.

To answer your question, I dont think there is anything you can do to share his pain and hurt. Our WS did this to us, and the feeling of this is so lonely, dark, and so incredibly painful. It makes you doubt everything.

I think the only thing you can do is to continually ask for him to share the triggers...even if he wont...still ask, and be supportive and loving.

I also do the same...when the WS says something my mind (even if I dont say it) I think..."well you didnt love me then....or you didnt love me enough then....or now you love me and are loyal...etc"

Neznayou posted 11/18/2013 08:53 AM

I had a hard time understanding why my Husband didn't let loose with his feelings (after all the pain I caused, why not?) until I re-read Surviving an Affair. In the book, the authors talk about behaviours they call "Love Busters". One they frequently mention is Angry Outbursts. Angry Outbursts are the opposite of Love Builders and make healing harder because they create more pain. I finally began to recognize that my Husband loves me enough and is strong enough to withhold these angry outbursts from me and find other ways to express himself to me.

numb&dumb posted 11/18/2013 09:13 AM

Two things here.

One your feelings and his. His are his responsibility (for the most part).

On your side of the equation I couldn't shake the impression that you almost want him to show you his anger so that you feel you "got what you deserved." Or that unless he opens up the topic it can be discussed. You are allowed to initiate A talks too. (once and awhile).

I could be wrong, but this is vaguely similar to mine situation. The most difficult times for my W are when I am being nice to her or showing concern for her well being (by holding in the spur of moment anger). It made her feel worse than if I actually let it out. She did not feel worthy of "kindness." After all she had not really shown me any. Anyway I got tired of only talking about R or the A when I was in a funk. You don't have to wait for the moments. I can tell you one thing, chances are if he is quiet, he is thinking about it. It may not be an angry thought, it might be sad, it may be unfair, it might be relief of what could have been lost. You never know, but you don't always have to either.

If it is something that is bothering you, nothing is stopping you for expressing what you feel. You don't need to hear the anger. You probably know him well enough to recognize it. Just act like you would have if he did verbalize his anger. Work out your own feeling. Give him a window into that process. Once he sees what you would have, it negates the need to unleash the anger. Remember anger is secondary emotion, his anger is really a protection mechanism. Address what is driving the anger and the anger can go away.

If you want to tell him sorry again, do it. Saying it when he isn't angry will do the most good and create a dynamic centered "openness."

Just something to consider.

sisoon posted 11/18/2013 09:13 AM


1) IIRC, my W mentioned you as someone whose comment(s) made her squirm (not her words), and now you're doing the same to me. Now I'm thinking recovery would go better if I at least asked my W if she wanted to hear the stuff I'm holding in. After all, I get angry when she makes assumptions based on how she thinks I feel....

Thanks for raising this issue.

2) Pretty much no one besides our Cs (and ow, and owH, and whoever they told) know about my W's A. Holding it in may be unhealthy for knight, but he says he thinks it's better not to share; we should all believe him, unless there's strong evidence to the contrary.

You can talk about your own discomfort with his silence, and you can be available to him. You can ask him to do something, and you can ask if he wants something - but in the end he's his own person.

I'll say this: if knight is saying the same stuff Chicho, OAI, morethantrying, and I are saying, maybe that means he's about as committed to R and as healthy as we are.

3) In a sense, the fact my W is available when I want her is a type of burden-sharing that I've discounted as such. Come to think of it, she wasn't available during her A, so this is a big positive change for which I'm grateful.

I don't think we can share burdens totally, as much as we might like to, and I think we all need to become OK with that to heal.

4) I see the results of my W's work. She's getting happier. She beats herself up less. We're learning each other's primary love languages, and learning to enjoy working with the other's LL. She asks me what I want more and more as time goes on, and I ask her. She's more forthcoming about what she wants. If she feels different than I do, she doesn't try to match her mood to mine as a matter of course. She spends less and less time in the Drama Triangle.

Bottom line, k-bff, is this: I'm happy to require WSes who want to R to extend themselves and go above and beyond requirements, but I wouldn't expect any WS to do the impossible, and I think you're looking at something impossible.

Having said all that (Yikes!), N O W I've thought of a tactic that may help you.

The big risk with silence, I think, is that it could be a sign of building up resentment. I give my W some assurance that I'm not doing that. If your H isn't doing that, you could ask him to give you the assurance you need.

For example, my commitments to my W include:

If I have an issue with her, I'll raise it with her.

She has no responsibility for any issues unless I ask her to do something about it. Then she's responsible for working out a solution with me. (She doesn't have to do exactly what I ask.)

If she asks me to tell her how I feel, I'll answer with one of angry, sad, scared, happy.

If I become aware of something I want from her, I'll ask for it. She has no responsibility for giving me anything unless I ask. (Using body language is often OK. Also, she's basically on the hook for giving only what she's willing to give. For example, I like to watch TV with her, but she's free to walk away if I insist on watching something that she doesn't want to watch.)

If your H is willing to give you assurances when you nee them, he's probably in good shape for BS as far out as you are. If he's unwilling, I'd go for raising his unwillingness in an MC session or, if you're not in MC, in a joint session with your IC.

AFrayedKnot posted 11/18/2013 10:01 AM

This thread has really got me thinking. This is all just for me but may be similar in your situation. I think that if the sharing has decreased than I have processed it enough to a point of acceptance and understanding that I am comfortable with AND I am STILL HERE.

So what do I want?

Obviously, I want broevil to continue her work on herself, shoring up her boundaries learning techniques for self validation. I want her to become a healthier, happier, safer person.

But what do I want?

I want the carrying of this burden to somehow be worth it!!! I want to make our relationship the best relationship in the world. I want to see that desire in broevil too. I want to work through relationship books (non A related). I want to have more date nights. I want more emotional intimacy. I want less walls and more honesty. I don't want to settle for pretty good or even good. I want great.

So like what Sisoon and others have said. You carry your burden, he carries his, and together you share the burden of making it the best M ever.

knightsbff posted 11/18/2013 17:21 PM

Wow. I gotten some very good food for thought from y'all.

When I decide not to share, I pick another healing and healthy for me coping strategy.
Lately he has been taking much better care of himself, eating healthy, exercise more, expressing an interest in getting back into martial arts (he used to compete). This is a good sign.

I still need reassurance, but not talk. Hugs, but not sad eyes...anything that lets me know that you REALLY want me in your life and forever
This is happening. I try to be observant and find ways to love and support always. Reading this gives me more determination to continue, to keep the momentum and not get lazy.

this thread reiterates for me what a lonely process healing is.
the feeling of this is so lonely, dark, and so incredibly painful. It makes you doubt everything
I see that. You can't trust or believe. It's sick and scary what we do when we cheat.

Neznayou, he's been past the angry outbursts for a while. He usually just talks quietly when he does talk.

On your side of the equation I couldn't shake the impression that you almost want him to show you his anger so that you feel you "got what you deserved." Or that unless he opens up the topic it can be discussed. You are allowed to initiate A talks too. (once and awhile).
numb&dumb, I'm not looking for punishment. I'm past the self-flagellation too. I do bring it up and we talk about it then if he's feeling like it. Just when he triggers he won't say what's going on. I'm convinced by all of the good replies here that it might be more painful to talk about it then and it seems he prefers to handle it and move on. That doesn't stop me from saying I see you hurting and I'm sorry I inflicted this pain. Or giving a hug, or making him some hot coco or whatever.

I'll say this: if knight is saying the same stuff Chicho, OAI, morethantrying, and I are saying, maybe that means he's about as committed to R and as healthy as we are.
Yes! Happy tears, I was thinking the same thing as I was reading the replies.

If your H is willing to give you assurances when you nee them, he's probably in good shape for BS as far out as you are.
He eventually reads all my posts. so we will have an opportunity at some point to talk about assurances. I'm confident he will be willing, He really has been doing his share of the work on our R.

the best M ever.
This is what I want too. I think we have very good odds of getting there.

sisoon posted 11/19/2013 17:00 PM

OK. I discussed this with IC this afternoon. Her take is like mine. (I think she's a great C, BTW.... )

Most of my remaining anger is due to the fact of the A. I wish it weren't part of my life. But it is, and that won't change. There's nothing my W can do about having cheated, other than to make herself a good partner, which she's doing.

Sharing this type of anger is probably counter-productive. The best and possibly only healthy solution for this anger is to give it up/let it go - it's my anger, my problem. But this takes time.

And I am giving it up. Two years ago, I woke up thinking about the A every day. Now it takes several minutes of real consciousness before it comes to mind, and sometimes I don't think it does. I know there are times my W triggers because of her A, and I wonder why for a moment until I remember, 'Oh, yeah. She had an A....' The A is no longer at the top of my mind all the time. (Yippee!)

Often I realize I'm angry when I want to be close to my W. It's self-protective - sort of 'this person hurt me badly. Is she really safe?' The more trustworthy behavior I see, the less I need to protect myself. And I'm reacting to that, too. Two years ago, I often refrained from touching my W. Now I still think 'watch out', but I don't stop myself from reaching out for her.

I expect resolving this type of anger is part of what makes recovery take so long.

So if this is the sort of stuff that BSes aren't sharing, it's probably good for R and good for the BS's recovery.

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