One of the errands we ran was to the bank for notary services. My BS stated that he needed me to sign a property settlement to give him some security in knowing I wouldn't screw him over financially if we don't make it through this. (Triggers an FOO issue for me big time) I agreed in spite of my feelings. We signed it. It was supposed to help. It was supposed to be better.
NOPE. He asked a few questions which I answered. He flipped on full anger mode. He's going to call an investigative reporter (As happened with public servants, I am also currently a public servant, for now) as a way to ruin the APs' lives. I lost it. Good by career (yes I know I risked it fully myself) goodby any chance of changing fields while not entirely wasting my degrees...
In an effort to validate his anger I said, "I absolutely took advantage of your going out of town." ERUPTION. He says that is a minimization. I don't get it. I owned taking advantage of the situation.
Any effort I make to clarify "facts" as he sees them is met with the accusation that I'm minimizing, still lying, and rugs weeping. I give details I'm lying, I don't and I'm lying.
I dug myself an enormous hole. I get that. I know he has no reason to trust me. I get that. I lied repeatedly. I get that. But I don't get the definition of minimization. Help? Anyone who is not married to me, or currently angry with me? I'd appreciate it. I'm not stupid, but there is clearly something I don't understand.
How about when he says he will publicly shame the AP you stop thinking about you and start thinkinh about your BH. Yout first reaction should have been worry and concern about where you have pushed him based on your actions. No instead you get angry and he ptobably sees that as you protecting AP....are you protecting him? Is your reputation more j mportant then what you did to destroy the man you love...your BH?
Perhaps some introspection is in order. I see a loy of minimizing in your post. Well he got mad at this BUT.....Well he's accusing me of doing a, b, c, d BUT.....Stop and listen, try for some empathy.
No longer together
"There are times when our reality is nothing but pain, and to escape that pain the mind must leave reality behind." Patrick Rothfuss
I totally get how an angry reaction on my part will appear as protectionist of the APs. Instead it's a continuation of my selfish tendencies. It's true that I still want to find a way to get out of this mess (at least professionally) with as little mud as possible. Mostly because (possible pre-A issue) I know that there is an expectation that I contribute to the household financially going forward. Can't do that if my professional reputation is completely obliterated. So yeah, I'm worried. I'm also not completely crazy for not wanting my name/face/life to be "news." I want my private life to be private. It might be one of the few good boundaries I have.
As for empathy... Yeah, another FOO issue for me. I have a mother with histrionic personality disorder. When she and my father got divorced I got a heaping dump of accusations: no compassion, no empathy, no consideration. Awesome. I got a heaping dump of those accusations when I told her that my husband and I needed space. She contributed to an atmospher of acceptance of secrecy... I made the choice to have an affair, but she didn't act when she had opportunity to do so, and encouraged deceitful behavior. Anyhow, I had to write a very clear, line-in-the-sand, e-mail explaining now was the time for her to step off. My marriage has nothing to do with her.
I've stated, and know I will have to continue to do so, that I recognize that I've destroyed his life. I have ruined everything he ever cared about. I have devalued everything he found special and sacred. I lied, betrayed, and deceived him over the course of two years. All because I didn't believe I was worth anything, or deserved good things, because I was seeking approval (now knowing I need to earn my own first), and because I am selfish and immature.
But I'm sure that somehow all of that is still a minimization.
To be honest with, I don't think you "get it". I read your previous post about how the two of you had a recent flair up and you hit him, and subsequently moved out. You cheated on him more than once, lied in MC, hit him and are now getting angry because your job is at risk? A job that you admittedly put at risk yourself?
I'm sorry, but this is a consequence of your actions. The affairs that you had plague him twenty-four/seven; you can have a good day, be working on a fun puzzle and then all of a sudden, there is a blow up of rage and anger. What you have to understand is: NO DAY IS A "FAIRLY DECENT" DAY FOR HIM! Not for a very long time will he ever have another "fairly decent" day. He is constantly thinking about it, constantly reminded of it, constantly realizing every single second what you were willing to sacrifice.
I am puzzled that you don't want to lose a job that you didn't seem to think much about while having sex with other men. NOW, you care about it? NOW you're scared to lose it? NOW you're up in arms about these APs and how they could impact your career?
No, you may not have minimized with your statement of taking advantage while he was out of town, but you seem to minimize the impact of what your choices could've already done to your career; and if you're minimizing in that, I wonder what else you're minimizing on? And if you're minimizing on a number of things as most of us WS are wont to do then I can only imagine that he is sensing that and it carries over to every conversation you two currently have. You lied to him for an incredibly LONG time; you went into MC (a place he probably thought he was safe) and lied. No, you really don't get it if you can't see the bigger picture of his anger and hurt.
Just my two cents.
My BS stated that he needed me to sign a property settlement to give him some security in knowing I wouldn't screw him over financially if we don't make it through this.
We signed it. It was supposed to help. It was supposed to be better.
NOPE. He asked a few questions which I answered. He flipped on full anger mode.
So to break this down from the pov of a BH I can say that the (possible) reason signing that settlement did not help or make him feel better is because it is indeed a document that deals with you two not making it. In other words he now has black-and-white documentation that defines part of what an end between the two of you looks like. He doesn't want that but now that possibility seems very, very real. Now I have to assume this, so correct me if I'm wrong, but you appear to have been cooperative. I'm not criticizing that, but I just wanted to point out that fears plague a BH's mind. Fear that their WW does not truly want them. That fear is like a little devil on your shoulder that would say "Wow, look how much property/money she is willing to give up just to make it easier to get away from me." Again please understand that is a place of very deep, dark fear that thoughts like invade your thoughts.
As far as the minimization I think it was a reaction to the choice of words. Please understand that I'm talking about a visceral, instinctive reaction. It sounds like you were simply trying to answer his question. However, as has been pointed out the phrase "take/taking advantage" of something is usually a positive connotation and not generally used regarding something you wanted to avoid or regret.
My take on it is that what he wants is really feel like you truly want to be with him and your signing that agreement didn't have the effect.
Forget about the God damned dictionary. He's hurting. You clearly don't have compassion and empathy for that. Takes one to know one, sadly I can relate, and I'm here to testify that you can get there. If you want to.
((Erica)) I do, in fact, understand the big picture of what my actions have wrought. My anger issues have become a much larger portion of the picture since d-day than I ever would have guessed. I have been proactive in finding ways to create a safe place for both of us to be. I'm medicated, and getting enrolled in anger management. When I said we had an "ok" day, I meant that we managed to talk. We shared thoughts and feelings. Then in a blink of an eye it was all done. I get to be sad about it. I get to be angry as well, maybe not with him, but definitely with myself. I understand that in asking for a second chance, that I don't deserve, I'm asking him to go through a lot of heartache. That I'm also facing a long road of hard work and little commendation.
Despite all evidence to the contrary, I do actually care about my career. I very much care about my reputation. It's the scintilla of self esteem I have that objects. Without my career, and with the realistic assumption that I have already lost my BH because of what I've done, there is nothing left of me. I have no self outside of those external definitions. Right now when I look in the mirror I see an ugly, hateful, and disgusting excuse of a person. My ID is screaming out, because I've told more lies to myself than everyone else combined. That isn't who I thought I was. It isn't who I know I used to be. When that is reflected to me through the lense of my BH's anger... well I'm more than a work in progress.
((Brandon)) Well, that leaves me in a bind. I'm supposed to do whatever he asks for if it's for the purpose of reassurance. But doing so has the potential to undermine me. You are correct that the discussion turned argument happened directly after signing the paperwork. I tried to reassure him, "I wish we weren't here. I'm sorry my choices have brought us here. We are doing this so that you have reassurance that I'm not going to leave you in the lurch." Paraphrasing. It's been a long day, and I'm operating on no sleep.
I took the "easy way out" for long enough. It would be easier in some respects for both of us to walk away. I'm done making that choice. I've chosen to do the hard work. But I need a hand now and again. Hence the request for help defining the term.
Most of the sentences start with "I". The ones that start with "He" are always something negative he has done out of pain, but the pain part appears lost on you.
You seem annoyed that he asked you to sign a property settlement.
I agreed in spite of my feelings. We signed it. It was supposed to help. It was supposed to be better.
You seem more annoyed that it didn't magically make everything better. It was supposed to be better. What was? Your entire marriage? Why? Because he knows he at least won't be destitute if the two of you can't make it?
Here is what happened on your way to sign this document and have it notarized:
You were resentful about it, but kept quiet. You didn't want this, but it was worth it to get him to ease up a little.
He was thinking that he cannot believe he needs to go do this because he cannot trust his wife. He is hurt that this is happening because his wife had 5 affairs. FIVE. In two years. He is upset because his entire world, sense of security, feelings of mattering to someone, and self esteem have been ripped from him. He is devastated because this person he loved more than anything did this to him without concern for him at all. He is completely broken, and this signing is a symbol of all of that. This trip is a drive that wouldn't need to happen if you hadn't had the affairs.
So yes, you thought this was a good thing, and it was, but it was in no way a cure all for his pain. It was actually a symbol of it. So, as you said, NOPE, it didn't fix everything.
As far as your anger issues - they are yours, not his, and you are using them as an excuse to not face the reality of the situation. You explode at him for expressing his pain, and justify it by bringing up your anger issues? What about his issues?
I am sorry you had a bad childhood, I really am. A lot of us did. But I think these anger issues that have been coming up more since DDay are more about DDay than your anger issues. You are fighting seeing what has really happened in your marriage and to your H. You become angry when it comes up, because you feel terrible about causing this, but you don't want to hear about it. It isn't pleasant to talk about negative things you've done, and worse is that you can't fix it quickly. You've been successful in school and professionally. You learn quickly and tackle problems to have more success. You can't map out a gameplan and have this fixed in a month, and you don't know what to do with a problem that can't be fixed with a few simple changes.
Anger is a secondary emotion. No one just 'becomes' angry. It is a mask for another emotion. Someone cuts you off in traffic? It scares you - and to cover the fear anger rises up. Someone threatens you? You feel fear, humiliation, etc. To cover that, anger rises up.
So why do you think now, after DDay, are you suddenly prone to fits of these 'anger issues'? What are you covering up so much these days?
Regarding picking words apart - you say you aren't stupid, and I completely believe that. So stop doing it. You are in control of you, always. I can see doing it in the heat of the moment, but then you could take a breath and not continue. Instead, you come here and, over two hours after your initial post, you post the definition of the word. You then blame this tactic on 'anger' issues. No, picking words apart is an avoidance issue, not an anger issue. There is nothing 'angry' about discussing the definition of the word. There is, however, the possibility of turning the conversation away from it's topic and on to the other party's use of a word. Avoidance.
It's true that I still want to find a way to get out of this mess (at least professionally) with as little mud as possible. Mostly because (possible pre-A issue) I know that there is an expectation that I contribute to the household financially going forward.
With all due respect, bullshit. You are worried about your reputation because you enjoy having it. You are a 'public servant'. You are highly educated and you enjoy people knowing you and your achievements. In your posts, you have mentioned your career and education more than you've mentioned your sorrow at the state of your marriage. This has nothing to do with the expectation that you contribute financially. You could do that working at Walmart as a night manager. No, this is about ego, not financial expectations.
I understand that you want some reprieves from this. You want some escape. You don't want to have your negative actions pushed on you constantly. I get that, I truly do. But try to remember that your H cannot escape this, ever. It is all he thinks about. It distracts him from daily life. He is obsessed with it, and he would love an escape, even for an hour. He can't have one. He hurts, constantly. Please try to remember that before exploding on him for his pain. He didn't ask for this pain, but it's here. He doesn't want to dwell on it, but he can't do anything else. Please, try to remember this.
Overall, I think your 'anger' issues are your fear coming out. Fear that your marriage is over. Fear that your reputation will be damaged. Fear that your career as you know it may end. Fear that you will be remembered for the last 2 years and not for the accomplishments you've achieved. And deep down, fear of having to face your real issues and work to improve them. You like 'you'. You have done many good things you are proud of. You've managed to cover all of your insecurities and flaws with degrees and good jobs. You've managed to mask everything with letters after your name. Now you need to dig into you, and that's scary for someone that's spent a lifetime in school to avoid just that.
Why do I think this? Because I have as many letters after my name as in my name. I have multiple advanced degrees, and a great job. I also had a bad childhood - divorced parents, an alcoholic father, a mother that decided that she deserved a life. I was alone, almost always. I would beg for my mother to stay home, but she would tell me 'later' and go out. I stopped begging. I learned to shut it all out. I needed no one.
No, I'm not the WS. I'm the BS. That doesn't mean I don't have my own issues, and I've had to deal with them to move toward healing from the A. My H has issues, and he's had to do the same.
You have issues, and you have to accept that, stop dwelling on your career and what you might lose professionally, and start thinking about what you might lose personally. If you can't-if what you have professionally means more than what you have personally, then please tell your H that, and ask him to let you go, because the amount of work you'll need to do will require you to want, more than anything else, to remain married to your H and heal yourself personally. If your focus remains on your job, I don't know if you'll be able to do that.
Everything I've said here is meant to make you think a little, and maybe see some of the patterns you're in about what matters and your reactions. I could be very, very wrong. If I am, I apologize. If I've offended anyone, I truly apologize. I do NOT mean to do that, at all.
I wish you luck, Wayflost. I also hope that you take this opportunity to really look at what matters to you, and what is superficial. I've tried to open some of those doors here, and again, If I've offended anyone, I sincerely apologize.
[This message edited by painfulpast at 8:22 AM, December 27th (Friday)]
As for you saying "I took advantage of you being out of town" I would have blown up too. It was a DELIBERATE CHOICE. You made a choice to blow the hell up out of his world. It's not like it accidentally happened while he was out of town. It was planned, it was thought out, it was pre-meditated. That is how *I* would see it as minimization.
Former 80s Icon wishful thinking
You act like you are the betrayed spouse.
Even though your "words" spell out what you know you should be doing..your heart is far from it.
I am a BH, just want that to be clear.
I also have had anger issues that mostly stem from my FOO. My anger issues have caused me a lot of trouble before I got help with them (before this A crap). Because they are ingrained in you, you will need help to learn to manage it. That is an issue that needs addressing before you are going to be someone who can effectively help your BH. Sometimes this gets easier when you work on one thing at one time. My anger issues usually are harder to manage in times of extreme stress. Dday was no exception. Luckily I was in IC, got temporary help with short term medication and was able to get it under control. Anger is a secondary emotion, it covers up something underneath. The only real way to "slay that beast," is to address the hurt little girl inside of you. I know that sounds a little new age, but . . I can't argue with what worked for me.
One thing you also have to realize is that people closest to us usually mirror our emotions. If we are angry, they get angry at us for being angry. It perpetuates the cycle and before long it gets out of control. I can see from what you wrote your BH is angry. I understand why. Everybody here gets that and very well I might add. You are mirroring that and because of your FOO you are instinctively fighting fire with fire. It doesn't work that way. It will not get better until you learn to listen to the anger without responding in anger. This is a consequence.
I get the impression that you are trained in public policy (sorry if I am wrong). I also share that background, but moved to public sector a few years ago. The public policy environment rewards people for doing all the things you should not do in a infidelity situation. So I think I can help you get the minimization in the context your husband is using it.
Think of minimization as "Damage control," or "Spin control." You cannot treat this like a rapid response negative op or an apologetic, but ultimately damage mitigating press release. No amount of wordplay is going to make your H see this any differently. In simpler terms, minimization is trying to convince the betrayed partner that your actions are not as bad as they are. Speaking from personal experience, there is nothing a wayward spouse can say that will make me think that what happened is "not that bad," or "was inevitable." For example you mentioned your A. It is not an A, it your As, emphasis on the plural form. Little things like that are minimization. It may not be intentional, but to a betrayed spouse, you are not going to get any benefit of the doubt. Every action immediately receives the worst possible interpretation. Just apologize for something specific centered around your Husbands point of view.
In the public servant space I was rewarded for managing the general public perceptions of a certain event. I know what had happened, but I could try to control what people said about it or what people hearing it for the first time would think about it. I could argue with opponents, butter up the media, go to public events, trade favors or even more underhanded things. As long as I did anything short of taking full responsibility and accepting the consequences, I was doing the right thing "professionally."
You have to do the opposite in your personal life. I read other SI posters here and your responses. You are approaching this from your professional background. That is something you need to work on. Your professional background does you a disservice in your personal life. Public policy environment is toxic due to the unique combination of power, money and media attention. I don't say that lightly and without personal experience. BTDT.
FWIW I do have some sympathy for you. This stuff is very hard and requires more patience than most people have. The environment you are used to is used to many, "layers of truth." Infidelity is black and white. Words or speeches don't get you any points. Only actions work. Also, believe me when I can tell you that there are a lot of jobs for people, with our skills, outside of the public sector. Better paying ones too. Just keep that in mind. What has happened cannot be undone and the consequences will happen no matter how hard you try to control or minimize them. Stop trying to manage the outcome. Did you assume that the property settlement was going to keep your H from going to the media ? Every time you try to talk him out of it, you realize it can appear to him that you are protecting your affair partners. Effectively you are still be more loyal to them than your H. Honestly it is the anger talking. If you want this out of the media, try to let him exhaust his anger so that the rational brain can begin to control him. That is really your only shot. Did you assume that this would all of a sudden make him better ? This betrayal is going to be with him for a long time. It takes consistent remorse and transparency if you want to have a chance at saving your M. No single thing you will prove to him you are all in. Nothing.
It you want some hard earned advice from a betrayed husband that will help you in these tense angry situations, don't respond unless he asks a legitimate questions (not a rhetorical one). Next time your husband gets angry, just nod, don't speak. Let him get it out without interrupting. After he exhausts his anger. Apologize for something specific that hurts him. The more specific, the better. He will still get angry, but repeat. Humility that would make Gandhi look like a warmonger is the only thing that will help him in the longer term. For now, that is probably the best you can hope for. After time, his anger will be less and less.
I know this is not easy, hang in there. Sorry for the length, but I felt I had some relevant experience that may help you in your situation.
DS 1, DD 6
Dday 8/31/11. ONS that occurred 3 years earlier. Lied to for 3 years.
Every truth comes to light in a long enough timeline.
Honesty: the telling of the whole truth, holding nothing back, is the hardest thing I have ever tried to do. Telling a group of complete strangers the truth is... not going quite as I had anticipated. There is a whole heap of thinking and processing I have to do.
I bought a journal this morning as a place to vent the anger. Hopefully that outlet will give me the release I need. That way, when I genuinely ask for help understanding the issue I've requested help on will be addressed.
This is not to say that I don't appreciate your feedback. I do. The hardest part for me is that the responses I find most hurtful/upsetting/infuriating are the ones my BS says resonate the most with him. That really sucks, because those posts don't currently help me understand any better. I'll keep revisiting them, and maybe I'll see what was intended at some point.
((Floridareman)) I am not in public relations, but the skill set is very similar. Spin the facts for optimum impact on the good and minimum impact of the bad. I have been told that there is plenty of other available work for someone with my skills. Job hunting has always been a demoralizing process for me.
I'm not trying to run away from the consequences. I was merely acknowledging that they freak me out. That I'm angry about the potential fall out. I think it's ok for me to have those feelings. What isn't and hasn't been ok is my response and reaction to the feelings.
So again, thank you for your responses, all of you. I will continue to process them, and I will continue to work on modulating my flight/fight responses.
[This message edited by Wayflost at 3:25 PM, December 27th (Friday)]
It is definitely understandable that the consequences freak you out; that this whole process freaks you out. Of course you are entitled to those feelings.
I can relate to you regarding the "damned if you do, damned if you don't" aspect of complying with your husband's request to sign the financial document. I was in a very similar position, except in my case it was going through with a divorce I desperately didn't want in order to make my then-BH feel that his needs were the priority. I got a lot of varying feedback here at SI: some thought that I was giving up too easily; my then-BH was being too hasty; etc. I don't regret doing it, though, because it was what he needed and it ended up being what I needed too.
My opinion on the rest of this thread: it seems as though you are for sure owning your shit. I was very good at owning my shit---I articulated and enumerated my wrongdoings all over the place. What I wasn't so good at---and what I kind of see in your posts---is truly understanding the effect those actions had on my XH. It was easy for me to admit to what I had done. It was a lot harder to say, "I did XYZ...and my spouse may never recover from it." Or to truly understand and not get impatient because almost 4 years after D-day we still have some struggles that can be traced back to my infidelity.
It's a process and sometimes it takes awhile. All of us here are pulling for you and have your best interest at heart.
Married 2.5 years
The hardest part for a bs is we expect change instantly. Work on yourself, ask the tough questions about why you did it, and be. 100 percent transparent with him. The chips will fall where they may, you cant control how the chips land.
Me: fBH 46
Her: exWW 42
DDay: Nov 1, 2012
Divorced: September 17, 2013