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How does a WS communicate needs without blame shifting?

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Alyssamd24 posted 12/21/2013 18:08 PM

As a WS how do you discuss issues/conflicts/concerns with your BS? Especially if they were issues that were in the M before the A? I don't know how to address these things and don't want it to seem like I am blame shifting.

I almost feel like I don't have a right to complain or be unhappy with anything my BH does because I am the one who had an affair.

Unagie posted 12/21/2013 18:34 PM

You're way to close to DDay to talk pre A issues. Work on the A and yourself and the rest will come. Now when it does happen keep them separate. Dont do comparison and don't bring up the A in conjunction with the preA issues. You have every right to be angry or upset but keep it in perspective.

[This message edited by Unagie at 6:35 PM, December 21st (Saturday)]

wifehad5 posted 12/21/2013 19:05 PM

What types of issues are you talking about?

Skan posted 12/21/2013 19:10 PM

BW here. We found MC very helpful to get that discussion going and in a productive way. I highly suggest it for you, now that you two are back together. Without a neutral person that can help lead you into that discussion and give you tools for when to talk, when to postpone, when to call a HALT and re-schedule, it's really easy for these types of talks to go south really fast.

These talks do have to happen. They are critical. I know that I have a much greater appreciation for my FWHs state of mind and his own horrors, some of which I certainly contributed to. But actually getting to where I could listen, without triggering, and really hear and empathize with his point of view was very difficult at first. My pain had to subside enough to where I was able to "hear" him.

JustWow posted 12/21/2013 19:18 PM

If you've never tried it, you might consider a Retrouvaille weekend. The whole thrust of the program is building comunication and empathy between the 2 of you. Once you re-bond like that, lots and lots of things get easier, A and not-A issues.

Check into it. It is put on by the Catholic church, but no-one is excluded and it is not an evangeliztion or recruiting weekend. It is about healing marraiges in crisis.

Think about it.

20WrongsVs1 posted 12/21/2013 20:07 PM

Hey Alyssa,

Did you read my recent thread in Recon, about pre-A issues? Several people weighed in, it might give you some insight on this very topic.

ITA with Unagie, unless your BH is just way more advanced on the healing path than most. You know when you're ready, as a couple, to discuss Alyssa's issues/concerns? When you're able to say to BH, "I'm really wanting you to hug and kiss me goodbye when you leave for work, so I can feel reassurance that you love me." And his response isn't, "Yeah? I'm really wanting you not to fuck other guys and lie to me."

I almost feel like I don't have a right to complain or be unhappy with anything my BH does because I am the one who had an affair.

You kinda don't have a right. I mean, crikey, Alyssa, he took you back after what you did! Clearly it would be unhealthy and dangerous, long term, for you to keep your complaints to yourself forever. But give the guy a furlough. And, more importantly, take some time to reevaluate whether you're viewing him fairly and objectively. I made up or exaggerated a whole bunch of flaws in my BH, to justify my As to myself. It takes awhile for that stuff to "wear off."

Ascendant posted 12/21/2013 20:35 PM

I almost feel like I don't have a right to complain or be unhappy with anything my BH does because I am the one who had an affair.
I'd say that you definitely have the RIGHT to express those things...I think it boils down to practicality.

As in, how receptive is he likely to be at this point in time, and how much are you going to be wasting your breath? I'm not trying to sound snarky, just give you some insight into his head. My guess is that every complaint, valid or not, is being met with a resounding, "F*** off" at least mentally for the time being.

So yeah, you are an individual with your own rights to boundaries, needs, and desires, of course. However, your husband's receptiveness to any kind of criticism is most likely at an all-time-low, and so it probably bears keeping that in mind for a while.

Alyssamd24 posted 12/21/2013 21:23 PM

Thank you all for your comments! You brought up some good points....we were in MC for a very short time and I do think we need to go back, once I find a new MC.

I am not sure if my BH would be interested in that but I am going to ask him about it.

I did read some of your post in R but am going to go back ans reread it.

I don't have any specific issues right now but there have been things that we have discussed in the past...when we were in IC and right after I moved back home....things like speaking each others love languages, showing affection, sex, and doing things around the house.

For now I am trying to focus on getting us both through Christmas in one BH is under a lot of stress in the academy right now (he is going to be a correction officer for prison) and the added stress from triggers and the first anniversary are not helping.

I just needed input on how to deal with the other pre A for when the time comes.

Kap12 posted 12/23/2013 20:49 PM

First I think MC would be helpful in order to fix the communication. Although you have taken ownership for the affair things that surround it still need to be addressed or you could be having another affair later on. You aren't blame shifting when you are telling someone what you need from them or things you don't like. MC would be a great way to get the tools to communicate better and sometimes an outside person with no emotions involved can see things you and your spouse haven't.

numb&dumb posted 12/24/2013 12:56 PM

So you can take this or leave it, but something that allowed some of the pre-A things to be discussed while in R was when my W led by example.

She would ask me if there was anything in our M prior to dday that I wanted to address. It seemed odd and unimportant at the time. However I did particiapte and saw her effort as positive sign that I could trust her again. One of the most important things about pre-A issues that get lost is that there are probably things on both sides that need addressing. The A itself is too big and overshadows the WS side of these issues sometimes. It may take a lot of that working through issues that may fall on your side of the fence before he is comfortable addressing some of his, but you working to address them has a dual benefit. He can see effort. You are willing to work on the M because you really love him and want the M to work. You are being humble by asking or offering to go first. You are also showing that you are willing to put in effort you did not put into your A. To a BS that is key. We really want to know we are not second choice, we just can't believe it.

He may not be ready yet and that is OK. If he isn't ready, you can always back off in a loving way. "I can see that you aren't in place where you want to work on our M. I just want you to know that I love you and I realize I was not a perfect spouse before the A happened. I want to make sure that I am the one who makes you happy." You get the idea.

Pride and the lack of trust are usually primary drivers of why Pre-A issues are such a hot button issue. Until those are addressed, Pre-A issues are going to sound like blame shifting to any BS. Tread lightly.

Those things take time to heal. You can play a part in them, but he is going to have to most of that on his own. For me detaching was a step in that process. Detaching and addressing M issues are really incompatible, so remember that when approaching this with him.

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