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What Does Healing Look Like for the BS?

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TimeToManUp posted 12/5/2013 11:51 AM

TCD and I were discussing this last night, and I had a few thoughts on the subject, but I would like to see the opinions from some BSes out there. My personal thoughts on the subject are based on what I have read here on SI over the last nearly two years (I lurked long before I became an actual member).

I have read many successfully R'd FBSes state that they and their FWS took charge of their own healing. Clearly, the WS is responsible for providing a safe environment for the BS to heal, to support when needed, to back off as necessary. But the WS cannot actually HEAL the BS.

So what would you reconciled BSes consider "healing?" From what I have read, it seems like returning to a place of peace, where you know that you are strong enough to tackle what comes your way, with or without your WS.

What do you view as healing, and what was your process?

I thank you all in advance for any support you may be able to provide.

lordhasaplan? posted 12/5/2013 11:57 AM

AS a BS. healing to me is similar to your quote in some ways.

returning to a place of peace, where you know that you are strong enough to tackle what comes your way, with or without your WS.

I would add healing for me occurred when I made the choice to stay. Not the day I said I wanted to reconcile. The day I reached a level of indifference with my M that I could take it or leave it. IT was a meaningless piece of the puzzle. I had complete and total focus on me to the point I didnt need it anymore. Then I made the choice from that place to move toward it again. That to me was my point of healing.

[This message edited by lordhasaplan? at 11:58 AM, December 5th (Thursday)]

TimeToManUp posted 12/5/2013 14:29 PM

Thank you for your response, I truly do appreciate it. Would you possibly be able to elaborate on what role (if any) your WS played in your healing? What active steps did you take to heal?

I ask these questions out of concern for my BW. I feel like her personal healing has stagnated. And while I know I need to focus on my own personal healing and fixing the problems within myself that allowed me to stray, I do truly wish to R with her and keep our family together; this goal seems to be hindered at best by the quagmire she seems to be stuck in. I feel like she is waiting for her healing to be given to her by some Supreme Being. As unfair as it is, the awful situation that we WSes have put our BSes in, it seems to be a pretty good consensus that the BS needs to seek to heal themselves.

I don't want to come across as impatient, I truly fear for TCD's well-being and feel like I am exhausting all avenues in terms of help and support. Thanks again.

confused615 posted 12/5/2013 14:39 PM

I think the Ws can play a huge role in the healing of the BS. I know,it's said here all the time that the WS can not help the BS heal. I think that's untrue. A WS can help by not lying. No TT. No breaking NC. No fog. Honest answers at all times. Patience and understanding when the BS triggers. True, REAL remorse. All of this can help the BS heal.

It's very hard for a BS to heal when they have an impatient WS telling them how they should feel,or what they should need. It's very hard to heal when the WS is still lying,etc.

So absolutely a WS can help their BS heal.

I consider myself fairly healed at this point. I spent the last 3 years feeling my pain. I faced it head on,every day. I learned to get through my triggers. I don't even have them anymore,actually. Maybe once in awhile,but not often. I spent a lot of time taking care of ME. I had spent the last decade taking care of WH,the kids,in-laws,etc. I lost ME. I have found me again,lol,and I like who I have become.

I will say that my turning point was when WH finally "got it." Having him find true remorse, and his willingness to talk,and talk,and talk about what he did, helped me enormously. We are no longer working towards R..we ARE reconciled. Our marriage is stronger than ever. I feel safe. I am at peace.

WH? He still deals with shame and guilt. He is also grieving the loss of his father. So he is not what I would considered healed. But he is getting there. he is working his ass off to get there. I am so proud of him.

Im sorry TCD is still hurting so much. Does she still refuse IC?

[This message edited by confused615 at 2:39 PM, December 5th (Thursday)]

TimeToManUp posted 12/5/2013 15:25 PM


Yes, absolutely the WS can help to facilitate healing. I 100% agree with you, and fully and freely admit that my TT for the first 9 months post-DDay couple with my emotionally abusive behaviors for even longer did NOT facilitate healing.

Does she refuse IC? That's a tricky question, really. When we discuss her going to IC, she will eventually agree to go, but it is accompanied by the assurance that it will only make things worse; That it will cause her to lose more, because she will be put on ADs or just be told that trying to conceive another child is not a good idea. And this will cause her to resent me and make R impossible. So the alternative is to not attend IC and wait for something good to happen that will validate her worth.

Our biggest struggle right now is that TCD feels worthless. She says that her worthlessness is shoved in her face and validated on a daily basis. One day she was driving past a church in a nearby town. In front of the church was a billboard that said "Children are a blessing from God." In front of this sign there was a pregnant woman walking on the sidewalk. This day was also day one of her period. She took this scene as a sign from God that her life was worthless, that she is not deserving of blessings and rather she should be punished by God, and so her baby was taken from her.

Just two days ago TCD saw that a new member joined SI with the same name as my AP. She also saw that another member was expecting twins. These two events were seen as further evidence from God that she is indeed worthless and undeserving of His blessings.

There have been many more such events in the past three to four months, and her depression has only continued to worsen. Pregnant women are seen as further proof of her own worthlessness. Why are they deserving of blessings, but she is not?

Several people have approached TCD about her thoughts and feelings, from spiritual viewpoints, from philosophical viewpoints, from logical viewpoints... She insists that they don't get that this isn't just LIFE happening around her, that this is God continuing to show her she is worthless. She often states that she should just die, that her life is stupid and pointless, that everyone would be better off if she just disappeared.

I tell her that things happen to everyone, life marches on and so must we. Events in life will make you feel however they make you feel. It is not how you feel that you can control, it is how much you allow it to impact your life that you can. There will always be pregnant women and babies, there will always be women with AP's name. There will always be elephants. And it is OK that these things make her feel sad or whatever it may be, but if she allows them to stop her in her tracks and want to curl up and die... Then what?

She says she can't feel and not let it destroy her, so she just needs to keep it all in and fake it tor the sake of everyone else, so everyone else can be happy. But why does it have to be so binary, so black and white? It's not all or nothing, on or off. You face it, you feel it, and you soldier on. I said to her that people all over the world facing horrific, seemingly hopeless situations everyday use phrases like "adapt and overcome" to find their way through. When things get tough, the answer is not to fall on the ground and wait for the solution to fall on your head.

I hope I am not coming across as insensitive. I really truly do love TCD and I don't want her to keep living like this.

I saw the real her, the happy, smiling, singing TCD on Saturday night. The woman she was when I hurt her. And it made me cry. For her for the hurt I had inflicted upon her. She didn't deserve what I did to her. Before, during or after my A. No matter what I do to fix and heal my broken self, we cannot R if she continues to be dependent on external validation of her worth as the only path to her own healing.

Did I make any sense in this? I feel I may have rambled on...

Rebreather posted 12/5/2013 15:44 PM

A BS is responsible for their ultimate healing. I agree with 615 that the actions of the WS can facilitate that healing.

But it is truly upon the shoulders of the BS to get the help they need to heal, to make a conscious decision to work through and move through the pain, to face the fears and the demons and to decide to live for themselves. We have to reclaim our self esteem, we have to find happiness and worth within ourselves, not through external validation (a very wayward thought, in fact).

Former waywards can help by not pouring more salt in the wound and by creating a safe environment to encourage that healing. But that core internal work? We must do that.

wert posted 12/5/2013 16:02 PM

I think you got the core story here from 615, rebreather and LHAP?

I would like to add something to the list. A WS can do more than just stop being an asshole. Some of the ladies like love notes, flowers and quality time. Some of the men like BJ's, coffee delivered in bed, gardening together and kinky sex. My point ain't the gender thing it's that the WS performs acts of service that are based on what the BS has stated as wants. You can make up for being and asshole (can't undo your actions) but you can try.

Ultimately, it is the BS that makes the choice to truly give it all another toss of the dice. Without that, I fear the ship is sunk.

take care....

hopefullromantic posted 12/5/2013 16:07 PM

returning to a place of peace, where you know that you are strong enough to tackle what comes your way, with or without your WS.

That sums it up pretty well, I would say. My H tried at first, but I wasted too much time waiting for him to help me heal to the extent that I wanted. I expected, and at times demanded a better marriage than we had before and was hugely disappointed and resentful when I didn't get it. It wasn't until I accepted that this is as 'good as it will get' that I was able to find any peace.

That is not to say that my H wasn't remorseful or made no effort to change, because he did. It's just that his A somehow made me feel like he owed me so much more than what was good enough before the A. I felt like a victim that was owed some kind of restitution that, quite frankly, didn't exist. He can't undo the A, for one. Nor can he give me the kind of emotional intimacy to the level that I have begged for off and on since the beginning of our marriage. I had finally made peace with that before the A, but it resurfaced when I saw opportunity for growth on his part. But I can't make him do it, you see? Only he can do that. All I can do is accept it and love him anyway, or leave. And there was still a lot of good to stay for, so here I stay.

For me the healing will likely continue for the rest of my life. It's ok, as I was still working on other ways to grow anyway and I expect I always will be. But I can honestly say that I love my H very much and am grateful that I stayed. We treat each other with love and respect and can still make each other laugh, so really, what more should I reasonably expect?

TimeToManUp posted 12/5/2013 16:18 PM


I like to believe that I have done more than just stop being an asshole (not saying you accused me, just clarifying). I have been much more helpful around the house than ever before. I buy her flowers, I write her notes, constantly telling her I love her, tell her beautiful I think she is... I buy her clothes, I make her coffee (At least I did for many months...). I think she would say these things (and has in previous posts) as well. But in the end these other issues undermine our attempt at R. I try to reconnect with her in so many ways, I have sought advice from all over, people of all backgrounds and ages. I feel like every effort is rebuffed, with the blame being laid on God showing her she's worthless.

Last night at the suggestion of a coworker, I asked our middle daughter to say something nice about everyone in the room, starting with our 2 year old. And she did. Then I did the same. I then asked my BW to participate, and she turned away and refused. All I wanted was to give our family a pleasant moment.

We are all still alove, but being engulfed in her feelings of worthlessness is preventing us from truly LIVING.


Is there anything a WS can do for a BS who seems to be stuck like this? Again, I truly wish to not sound insensitive, but this situation feels more and more like a black hole, absorbing the strength and energy available, but returning only more blackness?

confused615 posted 12/5/2013 16:18 PM

Hey...I just have a quick minute here...but I wanted to say that i didn't mean to imply that the WH is responsible for the BS's Rebreather said, our healing is ultimately up to us. I realize my comment may not have made that clear. It just irks me a bit when I read that the WS can not help the BS heal...because they can. They can help a lot. But,ultimately,it's up to us.

Rebreather posted 12/5/2013 16:23 PM

TTMU, I find that a difficult question to answer because your spouse is a member here and I feel like I am talking behind her back.

That said, *I* needed IC. I needed to go about a year before I even knew about his affair but I dug my heels in and refused. I also refused ADs because I thought if I had to be medicated to stay married, I should probably divorce (and really because I don't think they are right for me nor did my IC). There is SO MUCH healing to be accomplished from someone who can explain brain chemistry let alone guide you through your own bullshit thought processes.

Are you guys in MC?

TimeToManUp posted 12/5/2013 16:25 PM

That is not to say that my H wasn't remorseful or made no effort to change, because he did. It's just that his A somehow made me feel like he owed me so much more than what was good enough before the A. I felt like a victim that was owed some kind of restitution that, quite frankly, didn't exist.


This really resonates here, because I just had a discussion with her this morning, and she is also very fixated on getting what she feels she deserves, and every day she doesn't get what she feels she deserves, she grows more bitter and resentful. She feels that she deserves to have something good happen to her. She deserves a baby. She deserves for AP to be fired. Something good, and something big.

I understand how unfair it all is, but I remember a post some time ago that was, and this is a paraphrase, the unfairness of R is a consequence that the BS accepts when they offer the gift of R.

TimeToManUp posted 12/5/2013 16:36 PM

TTMU, I find that a difficult question to answer because your spouse is a member here and I feel like I am talking behind her back.

I understand, and I thank you for the input thus far. In reality, you guys aren't saying a lot different than the input I have received from my personal support system. I keep hoping that seeing your words, coming from trusted members whom she respects, may spark some action on her part. Since she rarely posts outside of venting or F&G, I felt compelled to take action myself, for the sake of our M and our three little girls.

Are you guys in MC?

No, and this is honestly on me mostly. I truly have been scared to try because I am afraid TCD will have us jumping from C to C until we find one who agrees with everything she says, and how could that help? I know MCs are not one size fits all, and the first one may not be the right fit. I also know that we both need to be challenged on certain points. I need to take the chance and make the call.

Rebreather posted 12/5/2013 16:37 PM

TTMU, I really encourage you to do it. can it get worse? It really needs to happen.

TimeToManUp posted 12/5/2013 16:45 PM

TTMU, I really encourage you to do it. can it get worse? It really needs to happen.

You're right. It can't. I was so down the other night that I got a hug from a 50-year old (male!) electrician in a substation.

Rebreather posted 12/5/2013 16:59 PM

Let go of the outcome. Let go of your fear. It's paralyzing.

lordhasaplan? posted 12/5/2013 17:55 PM

Sorry so long to get back. Traveling. I think rebreather is correct. You must let go of the outcome. If there is this feeling of a debt to be paid, I can relate. I lived there for a time. But as a BS they must reconcile that, there is no restitution great enough. R is a gift. It's grace. I had to get there on my own. This takes time. MC is always good it can help you guys communicate through this. But unfortunately healing comes to the BS without the spouse from my experience. She couldn't help me get there beyond working on her shit and doing no more damage.

TimeToManUp posted 12/5/2013 18:43 PM


Thank you for taking the time to offer your input. You have nothing to apologize for.

I think one of the challenges is how to let go of the outcome without neglecting TCD, if that makes any sense? Accepting that she needs to do the work, and backing away while still being supportive.

SoVerySadNow posted 12/5/2013 20:04 PM

But as a BS they must reconcile that, there is no restitution great enough.

This hit me last December. A huge meltdown accompanied the realization-a week long crying, sobbing mess of a meltdown. I think that's when the reality set in. A major depression followed, and I'm not out of that yet.

But here is what I think.
I don't know what healing looks like exactly, but I know it's slow at times. And that it doesn't move forward all the time. It's full of repeats, and confusion, doubts, questions (even crises of faith) and fear.

That last, fear, is big. Since it's a primary emotion, a lot of what I feel and put out to Finally10 is from that primal place. It looks like various emotions on the outside, though.
As a BS, my footing fell out from under me. I didn't do anything to cause it, didn't venture too close to a dangerous edge, but it happened to me. Since I didn't cause this by any action of my own, it can happen any time. Or so is my belief (fear). Searching for the "whys" and looking for a pattern in the events prior to the betrayal is an attempt to self calm. I have the unreasonable belief that I can stop betrayal by watching for it. It consumes me, this behavior.

So, in examining this, it may be that the stages of healing from betrayal are indeed following close to those of mourning a death. I'm in the stage of coming to believe it really happened to me even though I did nothing to deserve it.
I read frequently about BS getting stuck at a particular stage or seeming to move back and forth among several stages.

Maybe TCD is feeling this too? It's so hard to feel that you are moving at all when you are healing. And that feels depressing.

I have read most of TCD's posts since we have been on a similar timeframe. She strikes me as such a gentle soul, and I believe that gentle souls take betrayal especially hard- no scientific data, just MHO.
I wish you both peace and healing.

AML04 posted 12/5/2013 21:18 PM

I have really debated on whether or not to post but thought I'd throw in my two cents. Has TCD thought of seeing a grief counselor? I went through years of infertility and had 3 miscarriages. I definitely thought at times that it was The universe telling me I wouldn't be a good mother. If WH had ever told me it was ok to stop trying, I would have but I knew he wanted a child so badly. I put myself through a lot of pain and heartache and after each loss I buried it. I finally got pregnant with DS and thought, now life will be wonderful! We finally got what we worked so hard for. I was so happy I didn't give up. Then I find out WH was having an A 6 mos after DS was born. WTF??

So now I'm trying to deal with the pain of the betrayal but all the feelings of loss and unworthiness and guilt are surfacing. I am finally talking about it in IC and it is helping. I didn't lose those babies because I was unworthy, they weren't ready to come into the world. I do believe in God but not one who would take a baby because the mother was "unworthy". Look at all the horrible women out there who have children every day!!

I honestly don't have any advice that probably isn't something you've heard before. I am one of those people who seems to have horrible things happen to them all the time (there's actually a name for it I learned from my IC but I can't think of it right now). I was always asking when something good would come. The realization I came to is you have to create the good yourself. It's really hard to do it though, all that bad can keep you down if you let it.

I truly hope TCD can start to find her "good". I don't know if this helped at all but my heart breaks for her.

[This message edited by AML04 at 9:21 PM, December 5th (Thursday)]

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