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Newest Member: jdgrief (45719)

User Topic: Not vulnerable to wayward spouse?
HurtButHopeful?
♀ 25144
Member # 25144
Default  Posted: 1:13 PM, November 29th (Friday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Kind of long. Thanks for reading and if you have any insight to help me.

Another thread in General helped me realize that I am not vulnerable to Mr. HBH. I stopped listening to his criticism or even "friendly input" about my personality years ago, when I realized that he had been using my vulnerability and openness against me for years.

I learned early on in our M that "I feel...when you....." communication style/messages didn't work. He always felt attacked, no matter how I tried to express my feelings, and did not acknowledge my feelings, or his actions. In his mind there was really no problem, I was making it all up in my own mind. Every issue I brought up ended that way: I was the problem. He never brought up any issues, because in his mind there were none. If I was ever unhappy, or disagreed with something, since in his opinion there were no real issues or problems of any kind, I must be the problem for being in discord with him.

I remember early on in our M, after several of our arguments, believing that I was such a mess that I should just do everyone a favor and kill myself. I eventually realized that Mr. HBH wasn't perfect, that I was not the problem, and that the *problems* I recognized and named were real.

Mr. HBH looks very good on the outside, calm and collected, in control, he's very intelligent, and very handsome. I'm no dud myself, but when we got married, I admired Mr. HBH so much, and thought he was so much better than I was. I believe part of it was because while I had a "messy" past (I had been to counselling to deal with some FOO issues and I had been unfaithful in my 1st M) he had a "clean" past (he was a virgin, he didn't have any FOO issues >>>>>that he had not dealt with or knew about<<<<this is the key,) and he was in control of himself all the time. He was so stable and calm and I loved and admired him, believing I was so blessed that he chose me to M. I thought he loved me as deeply and completely as I loved him.

Now looking back I realize he carefully calculated every move. He didn't or couldn't love me with abandon. For our wedding kiss, he gave me a peck on the lips, and then got out his hankie and wiped his lips off in front of all our guests, who laughed. Years later, I am still hurt and kick myself for not recognizing it for what it was: he wanted to be "Mr. Funny" in front of his friends and family, and he wasn't focused on me, his brand new wife.

It took me years to realize that Mr. HBH has his own FOO issues that were subconsciously controlling him, and who knows what other issues. He is expert at minimizing and ignoring personal problems, whether they are his, or his family's. I realized he had used my own openness to face my own problems and feelings, any my vulnerability, against me in order to avoid his own problems and especially any personal responsibility for contributing or creating them himself.

Since Mr. HBH isn't in IC, or reading SI or reading any books that help him identify his manipulative/deflecting personality traits he still has them. I don't want my mind manipulated, or to feel like I used to feel when I believed him that I was the problem, so I am closed off to any criticism coming from him, because I don't trust his motives.

Is anyone in a successful R whose M was this way, and how did they continue to be vulnerable in a relationship with someone who isn't vulnerable and uses your vulnerability to bolster their own "rightness." I don't feel like a whole person being all closed up and protective in my M.

Sorry this is a ramble. It made sense when I started writing it, and then so many feelings and memories started flowing in. If you can relate, or if you can't but have any insight, I'd appreciate your input.


Reconciliation means that we both are authentic and vulnerable. I still have my H, and he's a better man than ever!

Posts: 1716 | Registered: Aug 2009
sodamnlost
♀ 37190
Member # 37190
Default  Posted: 4:02 PM, November 29th (Friday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Is anyone in a successful R whose M was this way, and how did they continue to be vulnerable in a relationship with someone who isn't vulnerable and uses your vulnerability to bolster their own "rightness." I don't feel like a whole person being all closed up and protective in my M.

Is your marriage STILL like this or is this damage from the affair? I am nowhere near a successful R but I can understand the damage this does. WH struggles with being vulnerable big time and he did use my vulnerability against me. Makes things rough for sure.


If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck - it's not a fluffy pink unicorn squirting liquid rainbows, complete with pots of gold out of it's ass.

Posts: 769 | Registered: Oct 2012 | From: Nowhere pretty
HurtButHopeful?
♀ 25144
Member # 25144
Default  Posted: 7:25 PM, November 29th (Friday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

sdl, in some ways, yes it is still like that, in others, no.

He still never brings up any problems, only I do. He never tells me when he is happy either. He has never been a big communicator of feelings, thoughts, musings, etc. He is not really even a good listener. He zones off into his own world when others are talking. I know this because when I have tried to discuss something we both heard, he claims he didn't hear it. Hello? You were there, and so was I. How come I heard it and you didn't?

If my problem has to do with any residual feelings related to his A or porn, he is open to talking about it. If the problem has to do with anything not A related, he tends to still be a minimizer, denying there is a problem, or says that I am the problem.

He would be happy just going about life, working his shift at work, cooking his favorites, making jokes, and pretending he doesn't notice problems. I'm the "not fun" one who sees a problem (Hey, the kitchen is a mess, children, I've been gone for the past several hours, and you've been home. Would you please clean it up so we can start dinner? Or hey, your stuff is all over the living room, would you please pick it up and put it away?) According to his mom, his dad was the same way, she got tired of it and D-ed him. His dad is still in la-la fun land, and his poor step mom is the grown up in the house.

Since the A, and since our oldest son started acting out and H was confronted by more than one counselor about not being the heavy, but making me be the heavy, he has stepped up some. But it is not his nature, and because he is not actively pursuing his why's of his personality/nature, he slips back into the passive conflict avoidance behavior.

Whenever I bring up a conflict and he tries to avoid it or pretend there is no problem, but I am the problem, I don't buy into it anymore. I try to stick to the problem, and he tries to escape, change the focus, or something like that. I try to bring it back, I get frustrated and progressively angry, and then he says I'm railroading him. As I get angry, I do talk louder and more. That he is being bulldozed is his new escape...that and him reacting angrily back. He has found his own voice: he thinks that getting angry is communicating. But the anger only occurs when he wants me to get off a subject he doesn't think is relevant, or matters, or even exists.

He actually is more communicative since the A, but I always have to initiate the conversations.

I know I am not perfect in our M, but I am not even willing to listen to Mr. HBH's assessment of me. I am sad about this, because I believe in a M, two people should be aware of each other's strengths and weaknesses, and they should help each other become better people. Because he has never been empathetic of me, or expressive of his own feelings, and he ended up having an A I don't trust him to have my back, and I don't trust that he wants to or can value me as if I were part of himself. KWIM?


eta that he is actually rallying the children more often to pitch in and do their chores. I don't know if it is because he has changed and wants to take on more of the responsibility, or because he has noticed that the house is messier (since I'm too emotionally spent to homeschool and fight the uphill battle of organizing and overseeing the house/children) and he doesn't like it messy. Either way, it's good.

[This message edited by HurtButHopeful? at 8:12 PM, November 29th (Friday)]


Reconciliation means that we both are authentic and vulnerable. I still have my H, and he's a better man than ever!

Posts: 1716 | Registered: Aug 2009
sodamnlost
♀ 37190
Member # 37190
Default  Posted: 8:57 PM, November 29th (Friday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I understand this frustrating dynamic all to well and I am only a year out. Are you 4 years out?

It's so sad when we see how hard WE are willing to work and know how hard they are willing to work. When it's not equal - well, it sucks to say the least. I am trying wicked hard to just be patient and let God do his thing in WH but damn it's a rough ride while waiting.


If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck - it's not a fluffy pink unicorn squirting liquid rainbows, complete with pots of gold out of it's ass.

Posts: 769 | Registered: Oct 2012 | From: Nowhere pretty
Undone1
♀ 37683
Member # 37683
Default  Posted: 10:00 PM, November 29th (Friday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Is anyone in a successful R whose M was this way, and how did they continue to be vulnerable in a relationship with someone who isn't vulnerable and uses your vulnerability to bolster their own "rightness." I don't feel like a whole person being all closed up and protective in my M.

I am hearing your question about your husband's manipulation of you and your vulnerability. Personally, a relationship where I couldn't be vulnerable, or my H didn't share his vulnerability (and wasn't trying at least)would not work for me. It seems you feel you need to guard yourself and not be vulnerable to him. How can you feel "safe" with the person you are supposed to feel safest with, when they are manipulating and avoiding conflict? It seems that you don't trust your H with sharing your deepest thoughts, feelings, and emotions. IMHO, you need to be able to look to your H as your safe harbor in a storm.

For me, vulnerability is about uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. We have convinced ourselves that if we armor up every day -- if we try to be perfect or know everything -- then somehow we can minimize the things we fear feeling the most: disappointment, fear, shame, and unworthiness. We end up cutting ourselves off from the meaningful experiences that are born of vulnerability -- that require vulnerability -- including belonging, joy, creativity, innovation, trust, and empathy. What we need to figure out is how to have the courage to show up, to be imperfect, to be human,to ask for help, own our mistakes, learn from failure, lean into joy, and celebrate success. Whether you can have the courage to continue to be vulnerable in the face of living with a spouse that manipulates that is a very good question.

Brene Brown, says "vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.

I certainly can't give you any advice, but I can tell you that I feel that being vulnerable in my marriage is very important. The only way I feel that I can be me is by showing all of who I am...and trusting those in my inner circle to share their vulnerabilities with me.


Undone1
Married 10+ years to my high school sweetheart
DDAY 10/27/12
Me 55
WH 55
Blended Family: 25, 21, and 20
Married 10 years
"The Universe Unfolds as it Should"

Posts: 301 | Registered: Dec 2012 | From: Missouri
HurtButHopeful?
♀ 25144
Member # 25144
Default  Posted: 1:19 PM, November 30th (Saturday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Brene Brown, says "vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.
Yes. I had started listening to Brene Brown, and that is when I started realizing that I am choosing to not be vulnerable anymore in my M, and I am missing out on part of what M is all about.

A sign that I am not vulnerable, is that I do not have deep desires or hopes of emotional connection or honesty. If I don't expect anything, I can't be hurt. I don't look for ways to bless or nurture him either. Whenever I used to do something for him, he would feign controlled surprised, and act grateful (in a a formal, polite sort of way) rather than be excited or touched. He didn't need or expect anything from me, because he was so independent. I don't like being treated like a distant stranger who has done something nice, so I don't go out of my way for him anymore. I've begun treating him the same way.

Last night he bought me a bottle of my favorite 12 year scotch. (It ran out several months ago, and since I don't drink much, I hadn't replaced it. But last night I wanted to have a little so I asked him to pick it up on his way home from work.) Rather than give it to me, he hid it in the far corner of the cabinet, in the bag. When I found it, I played the same cool game and said thank you. As I write this, I sense so much PA behavior going back and forth. He should have just given it to me when he came home and I should have thrown my arms around his neck and profusely thanked him. He has to dole out everything in small amounts, drag it out. This is a form of control, and I have learned to do the same. I hate this dynamic, and want to be able to just let go and not worry that I'll get a cool, measured response back.

I didn't used to be this way. I know I have it in me to be spontaneous and vulnerable. But he has always measured out his responses, gifts, etc.I don't know if I can take this for the rest of my life.

edt fix highlighted quote that didn't highlight

[This message edited by HurtButHopeful? at 1:24 PM, November 30th (Saturday)]


Reconciliation means that we both are authentic and vulnerable. I still have my H, and he's a better man than ever!

Posts: 1716 | Registered: Aug 2009
Undone1
♀ 37683
Member # 37683
Default  Posted: 3:35 PM, November 30th (Saturday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

This is a form of control, and I have learned to do the same. I hate this dynamic, and want to be able to just let go and not worry that I'll get a cool, measured response back.

I didn't used to be this way. I know I have it in me to be spontaneous and vulnerable. But he has always measured out his responses, gifts, etc.I don't know if I can take this for the rest of my life.

I hate that you are living this way...mirroring him.... intentional, game playing, calculated, and controlling. You obviously know what the problem is and what's missing in your M and in your spouse. And you know that living this way is not satisfying to you.

Is it possible to go ahead and be genuine in your life and just ignore his games? Like forgiveness, you don't express your vulnerability for him, you do it for you. You do it because it is important for you to lead an authentic love filled life.

I read a quote recently that said something like one of the hardest decisions we make is whether to try harder or walk away.


Undone1
Married 10+ years to my high school sweetheart
DDAY 10/27/12
Me 55
WH 55
Blended Family: 25, 21, and 20
Married 10 years
"The Universe Unfolds as it Should"

Posts: 301 | Registered: Dec 2012 | From: Missouri
HurtButHopeful?
♀ 25144
Member # 25144
Default  Posted: 4:38 PM, November 30th (Saturday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Undone, thank you for your insight.
Is it possible to go ahead and be genuine in your life and just ignore his games? Like forgiveness, you don't express your vulnerability for him, you do it for you. You do it because it is important for you to lead an authentic love filled life.
When I was more spontaneous, I felt silly when I got a cool, formal response back. How do I ignore his lack of real enthusiasm and not feel like an idiot? I so want to live an authentic life, but I don't even know how to do it anymore, because I am so guarded. Holding back my spontaneity has become so automatic. I know he used to love how spontaneous I was, but he pointed out the things I did and then I became more self conscious about it.

He isn't coming home until dinner time tonight. I want to talk with him about this. He'll want to visit with our children, and so by the time we go to bed he'll be tired. He gets up at 5 a.m. 6 days a week to work and gets home around 7 p.m. so I know he is really tired. Sometimes I keep him up talking, which isn't fair. I've been convicted about that lately, that is emotional abuse, according to a list someone here on SI posted recently.

I guess it is like when I get excited and spontaneous, his attitude is, "Whoa, slow down." He doesn't say that, but acts like that, with a smile on his face. It is like a bucket of ice water being thrown on me.

Now, between the sheets, he doesn't mind spontaneity and he never holds back nor expects me to either. I wish that translated to outside the bedroom. sigh.


Reconciliation means that we both are authentic and vulnerable. I still have my H, and he's a better man than ever!

Posts: 1716 | Registered: Aug 2009
HurtButHopeful?
♀ 25144
Member # 25144
Default  Posted: 9:17 PM, November 30th (Saturday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Update: We talked when he got home. I told him what I posted here, and he was very open to listening. He said he wants to learn how to use I messages, now that he knows what they are for, and that they are a healthy way to communicate. He knows I also need him to be open and vulnerable, and knows that is how M should be. He says he wants us to pray together for God to help him discern the difference between a want and a need, because he wonders if things he just wants aren't actually things he needs. He admits that he might be very independent, and doesn't realize how much he actually needs me.

He also said the scotch issue was not what I thought it was. Although I asked him to get it, I also told him he could give it to me as a Hanukkah gift. He thought that I didn't really want it last night, so he snuck it into the house and hid it in the cabinet. He wanted to give it to me later in the week. At the same time, he acknowledged that many times he controls gift giving to get a reaction, and is "reserved" in his own emotional responses. He understands I want to be freer to be spontaneous without fear of being received cooly or at arms length and then feeling silly.

I think that was a good conversation. I know he is trying.

Then I decided to take a chance and be vulnerable and confessed that I Googled a guy's name that someone else on SI brought up in another thread (because I had no idea who he was, although I had an idea what his profession was) and boy did I get a BIG surprise that actually made me feel disgusted. I hate keeping secrets from Mr. HBH. He handled it well.


Reconciliation means that we both are authentic and vulnerable. I still have my H, and he's a better man than ever!

Posts: 1716 | Registered: Aug 2009
Undone1
♀ 37683
Member # 37683
Default  Posted: 10:17 PM, November 30th (Saturday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Well done!


Undone1
Married 10+ years to my high school sweetheart
DDAY 10/27/12
Me 55
WH 55
Blended Family: 25, 21, and 20
Married 10 years
"The Universe Unfolds as it Should"

Posts: 301 | Registered: Dec 2012 | From: Missouri
Topic Posts: 10

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