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Tesseract posted 1/8/2014 12:53 PM

My wife was sexually abused by her former husband. Over the course of our marriage she has constantly felt rejected by me sexually for a number of reasons. Many times her hurt extended from feeling like I wasn't as interested in sex as she was, particularly if my physical response wasn't obvious and immediate. She would sometimes say that at least with her former husband she felt desired/had value that way. This has been a long standing (basically the entire marriage) issue between us, one I feel has never fully been addressed. I know that part of her feeling of rejection more recently stems, very justifiably, from my behavior during the affairs, where I would say I couldn't because of homework even when it wasn't just homework I was doing.

A few months after the second D-Day we had a fight the morning after we had been intimate. I don't even remember what it was about, but I do remember that she said that it tainted the intimacy the night before. That she was with the wrong me. That hit me like a lightning bolt. It's something I've thought about every single time since then. I hope that it's made me more aware and careful with my wife's feelings.

Last week as we were getting ready for bed I told my wife that I wasn't tired. I suggested going out to the family room to watch something on tv. With the size of our household it is exceptionally rare for she and I to get any private time outside of the bedroom. She was hurt by my suggestion. She worried that I was looking for outside stimulus again. That I was 'bored.' I tried to explain that I wanted to spend time with her. That we used to do so before the kids got older. That we rarely got to pick the shows we want to watch. She correctly pointed out that that wasn't how I phrased it. I need to be a lot more direct and explanatory when I initially propose something. She also said that my recommending that when we'd been flirting all day was painful and felt like a rejection. I didn't see it as such. Honestly, I was very much hoping for the cuddling on the couch to continue when we went to bed. When she brought up this rejection I realized that I am almost wary of sex. Not other types of physical intimacy, but sex feels rather like a minefield at the moment because of the above. All of the worries make it hard to focus on the connection and the act. She recently said to me that she had been using it as a way to find a connection with me because she wasn't feeling it. She said she got flashes of it, but that it wasn't really there.

On Saturday we were getting into bed and discussing what had happened earlier in the week. She mentioned that after all the flirting my tv show suggestion was just another rejection. I thought it was a good chance to have a frank discussion about intimacy. I very badly want to divest that physical connection of all the accompanying stressors that I thought both she and I were bringing into it.

I told her that when she would refuse to continue intimacy if my physical response wasn't quick to confirm my desire had often made me feel inadequate. That her juxtaposing my desire next to her ex-husband was very hurtful and confusing to me. That was the last thing I got out during that conversation. She immediately drew away from me, wouldn't look at me as she talked. Said that she was sorry if I felt that she'd pressured me into it. She was visibly upset and said that she didn't want to talk to me any more that night. She went out and sat on the chair in the family room. I came out after a few moments of stunned wtf-ery and asked if she wanted to talk. It was dark and all I saw was that she shook her head. I'm never sure if when she says she doesn't want to talk she actually doesn't or is displeased with the tact I'm taking or feels its fruitless. She ended up sleeping on the couch. I slept on the chair in our room.

The next day she was cut off from me the entire morning. She wouldn't look at me or talk to me. In the closet after church as we were changing I asked if she wanted to talk, she said no and then went to watch something with the girls, but soon went to take a nap on the bed. After she woke up I came back into the bedroom and asked if she wanted to talk now. She was visibly and audibly annoyed with me. Said that just because she said that she didn't want to talk didn't mean that she didn't want me to talk. That it was unfair of me to place the burden of communication on her whenever there was a confrontation. I said I didn't feel that this was a confrontation, that there was an issue that we should address together. I sat in the chair and said that I felt that sex had become a loaded topic for us. That it was burdened by a lot of unexamined and undiscussed baggage. At this point she started rocking back and forth and (I thought) rubbing her temples. She was actually covering her ears. She didn't respond, after a moment of me asking if she was okay (she'd been sick recently and often has headaches) and offering to go get excedrin she lied down on the bed, her hair completely covering her face. I paced around the bed watching her, wanting to go to her, but she's made clear her opinion on touching before talking. After a minute or two she started shaking and I realized she was crying. I clambered up onto the bed and put my arm around her. She was still for a moment then extracted herself (rather ungainly, but that memory foam is hard to move across) from the blanket and locked herself in the bedroom closet.

I sat outside the closet door to talk to her. This has happened a few times when she has panic attacks and me talking usually works. It didn't this time. I made the mistake of saying at one point that I see where our daughter got it from, referring somewhat wryly to locking herself in a room when she's upset. That was a massive mistake because of our daughter's eating disorder issues this past year. At the time I didn't examine it though. I told her that I was very worried about her; about her possibly hurting herself because of things she'd said a few weeks prior. I was freaking out more than a little bit myself. I said I was thinking about breaking down the door because she was completely unresponsive for a long time. I asked if she wanted me to get her Dad or someone. Asking about her dad was probably a mistake, as he comes with his own set of issues for her, but he's been the only go-to to reach her when I can't except for the kids, who I didn't want to involve. Eventually she asked me to go get one of our oldest daughters. They both came and sat outside the door, trying to talk to her and getting no response. Our second oldest daughter asked me what happened and I gave an abbreviated explanation. My wife and I have made a point of keeping the pain of our R away from the kids as much as possible, and, frankly, I am uncomfortable talking about the physical intimacy issues between my wife and I with the kids.

Daughter said that it might be best if I left then. I nodded and went out, they locked the door behind me and were back there the rest of the day. I went out to the family room to play with our two youngest. Our oldest daughter came out periodically to very conspicuously play watch dog and keep me from trying to go back, telling me to stay and sit down every time I moved and being visibly angry and non-responsive to me asking if my wife was okay.

Later that night, after we'd returned from the family dinner (save my wife who stayed locked in the bedroom) second oldest daughter came out while I was playing a video game (as the door was still closed) and said that she loved me. That she wasn't sure how I could blunder so badly. I asked what happened and what her mom had said and she said she didn't want to talk about it. Informed me that she didn't want me to try to see my wife the rest of the evening and that I would probably need to sleep on the couch. I said that that was alright and that I wouldn't try to see her yet. It was a struggle not to freak out at this point, but that wouldn't really have helped anything.

A few minutes later our fourteen year old son came out and said that they (wife and oldest two girls) wanted to talk to me. I went back to the bedroom, our daughters were on the bed along with my wife, who seemed exhausted and at times barely awake. Second eldest daughter then told me again that she couldn't believe how much I had blundered. Explained that my wife hadn't been able to speak on Saturday night or earlier that day on Sunday. That I couldn't have done what I did if I had been paying attention to her. That I couldn't have paid so little attention to her unless I was in 'that place' (disconnected/foggy/wayward mindset). That I couldn't have called my wife crazy (the comment about our daughter with the eating disorder) if I hadn't been in that place. I caught on to the implications of me saying that earlier at this point and immediately recanted and apologized. Asserted that I didn't think she was crazy and that that was an insensitive and stupid comment.

She explained to me that my wife had disconnected/disassociated from her body from the stress of what I was saying. That she had been number and unable to move, breathe, or talk normally, both on Saturday night and in the closet that same day.

I repeatedly tried to explain my actions through my point of view. Tried to tell them what I had been trying to do and how the whole thing came about. What I had meant by things that I had said and that some of the things that they said I had said I hadn't at all. When I questioned these things the immediate and angry response was that I was dismissing what they were saying, that I was stubbornly sticking to what I thought and what I felt. That I was calling them liars and calling their observations and feelings into doubt to discredit them so that I could dismiss what they were saying.

Regardless, daughter told me that everything I said was just more proof that I was in that mindset. That I couldn't have failed to observe my wife's pain and respond accordingly unless I was stuck in that mindset. She posited several things about my intentions in doing certain things over the past two days. When I said that they were not the case, that I'd been feeling something else (or hadn't thought about that at all) she was skeptical. Dismissed it as me not even knowing what I thought/felt. That her mom's interpretation of my likely motivations was more trustworthy. When it was clear to me that they weren't interested in the events from my point of view I became increasingly frustrated. Resorted to just saying 'okay' in a frustrated tone whenever they informed me that a fact I saw was not actually that way. They said that this was patronizing and more evidence of being in that mindset.

I find it very difficult to talk in these situations for a number of reasons. Like many of us here I suck at communicating what I'm feeling. It's difficult to organize and respond to the accusations one after another after sitting in a vacuum of information that evening. I'd known she was upset, I didn't know that she was catatonic.

They'll often dismiss what I say before I finish saying it if it's similar to what I've said before, cutting me off mid-sentence repeatedly. Finishing an open ended phrase for me and then being skeptical when I try to clarify. We have had a great many of these conversations, they often take a long time and are highly stressful and painful. I can't really fault them for wanting to get through it. But this time I found the entire thing infuriating. Our eldest daughter kept asking me how I could be responding the way I was (quiet, frustrated, angry) after seeing the pain I'd put my wife through.

They said that I was trying to make it be something wrong with my wife physically or emotionally rather than owning that I caused the pain and accompanying physical effects.

Several times I tried to close my eyes and think past the swelling anger and frustration the conversation was causing. They said that this was me cutting myself off from them and detaching, and that me closing my eyes made it clear who I was angry with. I asked if they'd rather I responded angrily and the conversation derailed from there. My wife said something that I couldn't hear and then the girls kicked me out. I came back a few minutes later to ask my wife if she'd felt numbness on one side of her body or had had trouble seeing. I was worried she'd had a mini-stroke. She's often said that she's found her heart racing uncontrollably for seemingly no reason. My grandmother had three strokes herself, so I know I'm at risk and the symptoms. Our second oldest daughter was incensed and said I was trying to make it be something wrong with her again and told me to get out. Later came out and said they thought it was psychological disassociation from the stress, shook her head and walked away.

The next morning I messaged second oldest on google talk because my cell was dead. I asked if it was okay if I e-mailed her mom because she'd told me to be very careful about trying to talk to her. She reiterated that I needed to be very careful. I said that I would do my best. She replied with "..." and I asked what that was for and then clarified that I'd use utmost caution. She said that it was already obvious that I was being defensive in my responses to her and that that showed I was still in that mindset and needed to be very careful. I said I didn't understand how I'd been defensive and would re-read. She didn't reply. I e-mailed my wife. Said I was sorry for causing her so much pain. That I wanted nothing more than to make sex be stress free and a way to connect. She said that her only issue with sex was that I'd rejected her. This made no sense to me considering everything she's said to me about it, but I didn't question it.

That afternoon, after I picked up second oldest daughter from her internship I went back to the bedroom to get my laptop so that I could get back the recipe I'd looked up earlier for dinner. Oldest daughter opened the door, asked rather bluntly what I wanted. I said I needed to get something, and she said she'd get it for me, her stance and tone very much aggressive because her mom was on the phone. I said I'd just come in and go out. She said I might walk too loudly. I said that that was ridiculous, I was clearly very annoyed. I wanted to put my things down, get my laptop, and I very badly wanted at least some visual confirmation that my wife was okay. Besides that it was doubly frustrating to me that she was explaining to me that it might be hard to not hear something important, as if I wouldn't know that being hearing impaired. I also know that my wife has ears like a mutant superhero bat. She often reacts to things being said on the other side of the house.

Second oldest, who was right behind me, snapped at me to watch my tone then went into the room, I followed in and grabbed my laptop and left to go make dinner. That evening after a very, very long phone conversation that turns out was with the current girlfriend of my wife's ex-husband seeking advice about the sexual abuse he was subjecting her to, the girls explained what the phone call had been about. My wife had gone to tell her parents, initially inviting me but then changing her mind and telling me to ask the girls.

A bit later at bed time I was sitting in the chair while my wife was on the bed. I was waiting for the kids to go out so I could talk to her for what was basically the first time in three days. The girls all came into the room, asked me what I was doing. I said I was waiting to talk to my wife. Oldest said "not now!" I said I wasn't going to talk about any of the things from the day before, that I just wanted to check on her. My wife said I could do that with them in the room. I said that I was amazed and respected her helping out her ex-husbands current girlfriend. That is must have been hard to recount all of those things, but that I felt it was a good thing. This made her angry, said that I'd long benefited from her putting herself through trauma to help me, which is very very true. I don't think I said anything else after that. Second oldest pointed out that I was still angry and that she couldn't believe any apology or positive statement from me when I was angry and defensive. It's true, I very much was angry. They all seem to think that I'm angry about the way my wife feels though. My snapping at oldest daughter about my noisy walking was brought up and that infuriated my wife further. I was told to get out, I spent an indeterminate amount of time (probably 10 minutes?) in the closet just trying to calm down. They insisted that I had just made everything about me. Which I truly don't understand. I wasn't even the one who brought anything to do with me into it. I didn't say anything after the initial statement. My wife said I was being abusive by holding on to my anger.

After a while oldest daughter peeked into the closet and asked which room (family or living) I wanted, ostensibly, I suppose, to get me moving. I waved the question off, said I'd be out in a second. She said "no, now" and I repeated myself, after which she stepped out. I grabbed my stuff and went out to the living room. I made a brief post on the forums then spent the rest of the night reading them. I turned on the tv, put it on sports, because I wanted the light, rarely get to pick what to watch, and thought it might help bleed some of the agitated energy away. In the end, I barely looked at the thing, instead reading through the forums rather voraciously. At some point hours later I read something, I don't even recall what, on here that caused me to laugh in surprise, which oldest daughter noticed as she was passing through the room.

The next day I posted on the thread I'd made the night before a few times. About dealing with anger. From her posts over in Reconciliation, my wife was in disbelief that I could even be angry. When she got home she said she needed to talk to me. Asked me what I had meant by my last post and why I was angry. I explained that throughout the conversations over the weekend I'd felt that nothing I said or felt mattered. That I felt I was being punished for trying to share with her something that had been eating away at me for years and years. That the dynamic of these conversations made me feel ganged up on and that I wouldn't be heard. That everything I said and did would be dismissed as being from 'that place' or 'that mindset.' That rather than addressing the underlying concern the only thing that seemed to be being talked about was where to assign blame.

She asked if I'd be willing to go talk to her parents. That it was either that or I leave the next day. I said okay (because what else do I say to that?). They weren't home at the time, however. I told her I'd rather talk to an actual marriage counselor rather than her parents. She said I didn't have time for that. We went back to the bedroom and talked more. She started looking up plane ticket costs to send me to stay with my mother, something that has happened seemingly every time there's a confrontation. After a few minutes I got up to go check on the kids, but she stopped me, asked what I was doing. I said that she had said that she wanted to talk, that looking up ticket prices wasn't talking. She asked if I understood where she was and what was going on.

I responded that I had felt increasingly that she didn't want me. That she has had this idea of who and what I am/would be in her head for her entire life and that some of our conflicts came when I didn't live up to that. I said that wasn't the source of all or even most of them. That I chose to have affairs, that I had made many, many bad choices and wasn't shifting responsibility for them. That made her very angry, she walked over and took off my glasses, balled her hands in my shirt beneath my throat and pushed me back on the bed, dug her nails into my collar and jaw. Kept asking how I could say that after everything she'd done for me. She asked if I was done and I said no. I tried to tell her that there were several things with the marriage that I felt needed to be resolved for it to be healthier. Things that predate the affairs and continue day to day. Not to dismiss the affairs or their impact, but to acknowledge that there are other things to work on together as well, both related and unrelated.

She brought up things that I'd said and I tried to clarify what I'd meant by them or by an action. She said my doing so was denying the impact of them when I said them. That I was dismissing how she felt by telling her what I meant by what I said. Maybe I should start prefacing those with "I'm sorry I made you feel that way when I said... Here's what I meant."

We were both crying by this point. She called her parents, who were home by this point and asked them to come over. While we waited she asked if I understood where she was. If I was empathizing with her at all. I began saying what I was feeling from her, but then her parents walked in followed by the oldest two children, thus interrupting that.

Wife offered to let me explain my side of the story first. She thinks that I think that she spins information or that I think she's maliciously painting me in a bad light. I explained an abbreviated version of the above before I was cut off and wife and the oldest two took over explaining. I visibly reacted negatively to some of the things they said, whereupon my wife would explain, sometimes correctly sometimes not, what I was likely thinking and feeling. Which I was grateful for. No one interrupts her when she's talking and when she says what my thoughts and feelings are it's taken more credibly than when I do.

The girls reiterated that I had called her crazy. That I had said I'd break down the door, though the way they said it made it sound like I was being aggressive or threatening when I did so, which was completely stunning to me. Oldest brought up me laughing at something I saw on the forums as emblematic of me not understanding the gravity or being disconnected. They said me watching sports was a way to distract myself so I didn't have to feel.

Her mom said that I was acting like a kid. Her dad said that I was stuck in my head again. That I wasn't feeling it. I admit I was blank faced and not very responsive. I didn't feel that there was much point in saying anything in that situation. Her dad asked me to do a little thought exercise. To think back to the last time I felt close to my wife and how that felt. Then imagine if I could do what I did while feeling that way. I said no. I think they are all convinced that I'm mad about the way she responded or her feeling hurt.

Her mom then echoed what my wife said earlier that I was being abusive. My wife was pacing and crying and this point. Her mom said that those feelings were real. That I should be on my knees sobbing for forgiveness (this comes up a lot actually, during these talks). It was decided that I'd be staying at her parents' house. That I wasn't allowed over without permission for any reason. I grabbed some things and followed her dad back to the house. The three daughters showed up a few minutes later with all of my clothes in trash bags. My youngest daughter told me that she wished I could love her as much as she loves me.

Apologize for the length. I'm feeling exhausted and hollow from recounting it. I would very much appreciate some perspective on this. My IC is out of town this week, unfortunately. I really think we should go to MC. I need better tools to talk to her. The ones I have are meant for cutting and defending it seems. I need a plow and a spade, not a sword and shield.

SlowUptake posted 1/9/2014 00:33 AM

Warning 2X4's coming

She mentioned that after all the flirting my tv show suggestion was just another rejection. I thought it was a good chance to have a frank discussion about intimacy. I very badly want to divest that physical connection of all the accompanying stressors that I thought both she and I were bringing into it.

I told her that when she would refuse to continue intimacy if my physical response wasn't quick to confirm my desire had often made me feel inadequate. That her juxtaposing my desire next to her ex-husband was very hurtful and confusing to me.

She also said that my recommending that when we'd been flirting all day was painful and felt like a rejection. I didn't see it as such.

So here's a chance to comfort your BS, validate her feelings, discuss how you can man up to make her feel loved and desired.


You selfishly talked about your feelings, your issues, what you need, without a second thought of what she's feeling.

That was the last thing I got out during that conversation. She immediately drew away from me, wouldn't look at me as she talked. Said that she was sorry if I felt that she'd pressured me into it. She was visibly upset and said that she didn't want to talk to me any more that night.

Then you're amazed how irrational she's behaving. Who could blame her?
She's hasn't gone troppo because of this one incident.
It's the result of the cumulative effects of your lack of progress.
You don't seem to be learning or growing. You are still totally dismissive of others feelings and opinions.
Despite IC, MC, wise advice from SI, you're not getting it.

As for the rest of your post.
Irrelevant. Just an effort to convince all & sundry that your BS is overreacting and she's bat-shit crazy.

And finally WTF! You've been flirting all day and then decide at bedtime to go watch some TV.
You need to stop over thinking things.
This was a pretty simple situation to handle, it simply required you to be a man, acknowledge your BS's feelings of rejection and heartily give your woman some loving.
Would that really have been so difficult?

[This message edited by SlowUptake at 12:49 AM, January 9th (Thursday)]

Clarrissa posted 1/9/2014 07:53 AM

I have a different take on this.

It seems to me that Tesseract's wife and the girls are refusing to acknowledge that he has feelings as well. That just because he made a crappy, destructive choice they can treat him as they please. And he has no right to complain. PERIOD. His explanations are met with "You're only thinking about yourself, you're still being selfish, it's still all about you."

I can well understand how he feels being *told* how he really feels, what's he's really thinking, what he really meant. My H did this to me and it's incredibly frustrating. I finally told him, he's NOT inside my head so he couldn't *tell ME* what I meant, felt or thought because he didn't know for sure.

Throughout the post about all I got was no one was willing to listen to him, pointing out how he screwed up and was completely unwilling to hear his side. The family (including in-laws) heard every word of his as self serving, even when he was asking for clarification. They expected him to know *exactly* what the problem was without being told. IOW, they expected him to read minds. He's trying to communicate, they're refusing because "he should already know."

At what point is it acceptable for a WS to say "Enough is enough"? He's trying, they're refusing to see that. They're sending the very clear message that his best will never be good enough. That no matter what he does, no matter how hard he tries it just won't be enough. He should just roll over and be the doormat. And even if he does, they'll spin it into him being selfish.

itainteasy posted 1/9/2014 08:39 AM

I have no advice other than leave your kids out of this.

It's wholly unfair to have your children play referee. It's unfair to you and to them.

They have no business being the bouncers at your bedroom door.

Your communications with your wife need a lot of work...and she needs to communicate with you, as well. Shutting down isn't ok.

You absolutely need marriage counseling.

Were I you, I'd also consider tape recording your conversations WITH your wife's knowledge. That way when you or she is confused about what was said/what tone was used you can go back to the tape and hear it.

Kelany posted 1/9/2014 08:53 AM

Your version of events, and your wife's version are so vastly different. It's been like this previously as well. It's really hard to know what really happened and to give advice.

However, I will echo completely...


There is absolutely no way they should be involved in this, especially enmeshed to this degree. This is going to give them some MAJOR FOO issues in life.

And my only other piece of advice? If she asks you to leave her be, then leave her alone. She is asking you to just give her time to think/process and you absolutely did NOT do that, you just continued to want to be RIGHT THERE and she was triggering, hard. Because of this, the situation escalated so far beyond control.

JanaGreen posted 1/9/2014 08:58 AM

I agree with the last two posters. The kids, and I would argue her parents as well, have no business in the middle of the issues between you two.

lieshurt posted 1/9/2014 09:56 AM

I have to agree with Clarrissa on this. And while I do agree that the kids and her parents need to be left out of this, I don't believe Tesseract is the one who needs to be told to stop involving them. From what I read in this post, it looks like his BS is the one who needs to stop.

Tesseract posted 1/9/2014 11:21 AM

Thank you for the responses. Slow, I think you're right about the first part. My first response should have been to reassure her and comfort her about what she'd been feeling. I thought that the things I was talking about were the source, I guess, of the rejections. I thought she had some hang ups as well considering what she had said after the last time as well. But you are correct, not validating her feelings from the get go is what keeps getting me into trouble. I tend to think in a problem-solution format that lacks empathy when there's an issue.

I don't think that she behaved irrationally. Consent is a big issue for her for good, valid reasons. I don't blame her for triggering. No part of what she felt is any part of my frustration. The way we communicate about it is the crux of it for me. She says that it's my behavior once she was in the closet that was really bad.

Yes, I know that in the context of everything, suggesting that we go watch t.v. was a bad idea. I think some of it may have been avoidance, but at the time I didn't think watching one show would preclude us from being intimate. I really like cuddling with her on the couch under a blanket while being intellectually engaged by the same thing (as opposed to reading separate books in bed). I like to talk about things and discuss them with her. I love watching her brain move. I didn't see any reason that cuddling couldn't have led to more. It was 8:30 or so at the time, but we've often stayed up past that watching something with the kids.

I admit that hearing that I've not made any progress and was dismissive hurts. I was trying very hard to not say anything that would dismiss or was directly appositive of what they were saying.

I'm sorry that the separate accounts make it difficult to respond. I tried to write everything as clearly as I recall and for the most part without my feelings on what I was saying unless it was something that I did or said during it all. The discrepancies are confusing to me as well, and I like that tape recorder idea. She brought up in her post several things that I said, explaining them away as my skewed perspective. I find that immensely frustrating. If I insist that I'm not spinning events she says I'm calling her a liar or that I'm deliberately painting her badly. I don't know how to handle that. I don't know how to deal with a very stark difference in interpretation of important facts. When I bring these up in conversation they tell me that I'm arguing semantics or minutiae.

I truly hope that how we communicate isn't irrelevant. Slow, our MC was a joke. I've only been to one IC appointment so far. That's entirely my own fault, however. I'd have scheduled an appointment for the next day if he wasn't out of town until next week. I'm all for marriage counseling. I also need to continue to work to communicate better.

I should clarify that the oldest two kids are adults who live with us. The youngest daughter I mentioned recently turned sixteen. We'd been trying to keep them out of it more recently because it is very painful for them. Seeing that they were relieved to have me gone sucks. I'm glad they feel safer, I just wish it was because of progress I'd managed to make rather than the opposite. This feels worse than D-Day. I hope they're okay. I miss them all incredibly.

bionicgal posted 1/9/2014 11:39 AM

Oh my gosh, reading about putting the kids in the middle of this makes me insane. I am not taking sides here, but I believe I have read you wife's posts about you (a concert/movie situation) and I felt like her involvement of the kids was wholly unacceptable then too.

No offense, but ya'll need to get to MC stat. You have some major communication malfunction, and your wife should be evaluated as well. All BSes hurt, and hurt differently, however, I feel she is hurting the kids with her behaviour.
Sorry to be so blunt.

[This message edited by bionicgal at 11:43 AM, January 9th (Thursday)]

bionicgal posted 1/9/2014 11:42 AM

PS even WSes are right sometimes, and deserve to be heard and not dismissed. Also, your kids were likely to only be happy you were gone because of the strife of the relationship. Your wife appears to play them off of you. I am sorry.

itainteasy posted 1/9/2014 11:42 AM

Whether the kids are adults or teenages is irrelevant. They have no business running interference or playing referee.

Tesseract posted 1/9/2014 11:59 AM

I understand, but I'm not really sure what I can do about it at the moment. I don't really know what to do in this situation. I'm waiting for them to end the NC and kind of just in limbo at my in-laws'. How do you even deal with practicalities at a time like this? School starts back up on Monday and I have homework before the first class and I don't care at all. I don't want to be an imposition on her mom and dad, who I am very grateful to for letting me stay here. I don't know how to fix this. I believe the default advice for being isolated in NC is to 'work on you,' so that's what I've been trying to do. Someone here sent me a link to a site as well as a book recommendation. I've been reading the articles on that site as well as reading here.

Tesseract posted 1/9/2014 17:36 PM

I don't think there was any way to avoid involving the kids in this one save her simply not feeling what she did. It's something we're cognizant of. I'm more concerned with the fact that she thinks that I am dismissing and minimizing her feelings. That I'm ignoring where she is and the gravity of her pain. That me telling her that something she said had hurt me led to all of this. I'm just lost, not even angry any more. Just wondering how it all came to this.

SlowUptake posted 1/10/2014 07:29 AM

I'm more concerned with the fact that she thinks that I am dismissing and minimizing her feelings

There it is. "she thinks".
In the very sentence that you state how you are concerned, you do the very thing she's upset about.

"I'm more concerned with the fact that I am dismissing and minimizing her feelings"
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^This is how that sentence should read.^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Just wondering how it all came to this.

I have a theory for you Tesseract.
In my professional life I interact with a lot of people who are
well educated, highly intelligent, deep thinkers, who aren't very smart.

Why aren't they smart?

Because they cannot accept simplicity.

When presented with a problem, they totally miss the obvious simple solution because they have an internal dialogue which says "It can't possibly be that easy, because then anybody could do it."
They actually need the solution to be complex to validate themselves and their superiority.
The more complex and difficult to implement the better, because then the 'ordinary' people don't understand it and hence have no control.

I have noticed without fail that when an 'ordinary' person highlights the obvious and simple solution to the
problem, the well educated, highly intelligent, deep thinker gets very angry and defensive.
Especially if it's in the company of third parties.

Just something to ponder.

[This message edited by SlowUptake at 7:44 AM, January 10th (Friday)]

eremite posted 1/10/2014 09:26 AM

Hi Tesseract.

That me telling her that something she said had hurt me led to all of this.
Although the hurt you expressed was a valid emotion, it wasn't the start of this episode. You said that earlier,
She also said that my recommending that when we'd been flirting all day was painful and felt like a rejection. I didn't see it as such.
She was telling you how *she felt* as a result of your actions. So when you say that you didn't see it as such, you are in effect saying that she shouldn't have felt as she did. This is invalidating.

If you wanted to say that you didn't *intend* or *want* to cause her to feel that way, then that's a different thing. If you thought you were being attacked or accused by her expressing how she felt, it's reasonable that you would have wanted to clarify that it wasn't your intention to reject her. But, as far as I can see, she wasn't accusing you of having that intention. She was just telling you the facts of what effect your actions had on her.

Although we try to express our intentions through our actions, sometimes they don't come across in the way we want. When that happens, we have to first accept that we sent the wrong message, and retract it, before trying again to send the intended message. If we don't retract the wrong message (which requires acknowledging it and any effects it had, such as hurt feelings), and just try to overwrite it by explaining our intentions, we imply that our intentions should just cancel out any effects of the wrong message. This invalidates the experience of the people we're talking to, who perceive and respond to our actions, not our intentions.

Hope this makes sense.

[This message edited by eremite at 9:28 AM, January 10th (Friday)]

gonnabe2016 posted 1/10/2014 10:06 AM

I have very little perspective to give about your M situation because, as others have mentioned, the recounting of the 2 sides is very different and I don't remember enough about what your BW said to pull the strands together.

I will, however, comment on the situation with your kids.

I think that an immediate action for you and your BW to take is to leave the kids (adult or otherwise) OUT of it. W.T.F?

You 2 are the parents and you need to start acting like it. BOTH of you. From what you've said, you aren't the one who is drawing them into it.....but you aren't doing anything to kick them out of it either. "Thank you for your concern, but this is between your mother and I."

If your BW is upset, it is fine for the kids to hug her and support her. It is NOT okay for her to tell them every detail and then have them act as go-betweens.
And you. Maybe the kids see you as the biggest jerk on earth and are pissed off at you, I don't know, but what I do know is that the amount of disrespect you are being shown in your own home left my jaw on the floor. If they don't like who you are, they are welcome to leave (the adult ones anyway) and live on their own while never speaking to you again. But it would be a freezing day in hell before any of my kids started ordering me around in my own home.

Tesseract posted 1/10/2014 11:51 AM

Slow, how do I respond when I don't think that I am? I have apologized for that numerous times. I've said I'm not angry about it. I've retracted it as well as the comment about seeing where our daughter got it from numerous times. I'll continue to do so. I feel sad and anxious, knowing that I caused her to trigger so badly by being focused on what I saw as the problem. That's a path I've worn a rut in over the years that I am trying to get out of. I regret saying those things very much. I'm horrified over the hurt that my actions caused.

Eremite, I agree completely. It's something I realized I needed to do far more often. Yes, I did invalidate her feelings when I thought that at the time. I don't think that now and I've told her so and apologized. Thank you for that post, that was rather beautifully said.

gonna, I apologize for the difficulty. My wife elected to remove her profile and discontinue using the site yesterday morning. I appreciate your concern over the children, and we both agree that things need to be handled between the two of us. That said, it's clear that our relationship with our kids and you with yours is pretty different. And the fact remains that my decision to have affairs hurt my kids as badly as it hurts my wife. I want to do everything I can to protect them from it and the fallout thereof. I don't want this post to be about them. That's something my wife and I can discuss with them after we've solved the greater issue at hand here.

Jrazz posted 1/10/2014 12:32 PM

Your title says "Could use some perspective."

I would suggest that you try hers. Sometimes my reactions do not remotely match Crazz's action, but it IS a cumulative response a lot of the time. That and the fact that triggers can escalate a situation. Whereas her response may not seem reasonable to you and therefore puts you on the defense, if you look at the situation from a mile out you may begin to understand why she might be behaving the way she is.

You get to have your feelings - certainly. You just asked for perspective, and I'm trying to translate hers for you. A little compassion and understanding goes a looooooong way in these situations.

Tesseract posted 1/10/2014 18:26 PM

Thank you, Jrazz. It isn't her reaction that I'm having any sort of problem with. I understand the pain. That I opened up a very sore wound any the accompanying agony. What I would love from all of this is a better, more loving way for all of us to communicate. I want to go home.

eremite posted 1/10/2014 19:48 PM

Yes, I did invalidate her feelings when I thought that at the time. I don't think that now and I've told her so and apologized.

I'm so glad to hear it. What changed between then and now? That's the process of you getting over yourself to see her perspective. You need to get good at this process -- good enough to identify and reframe invalidating attitudes in your thinking *before* you act on them and cause hurt. Until you can do that, you'll always be doing damage, and playing catch-up.

Figure out what holds you up in that process - conversational patterns? thinking you're under pressure or being criticized? wanting to express your side of the story? anger/anxiety/fear? blinding pain? - and identify strategies to help you see past them. Anything to remind you in the heat of the moment that you can and want to see the other person's perspective, that they are not the problem, that communication doesn't pose a threat to you, that it's the only way forward.

Could be something really simple, like a talisman, or a list of conversational dos and don'ts on a card, or taking three deep breaths before everything you say, or writing things down before you say them. Be open about these strategies. Practice using them.

(You'll want to get to the root of your issues and defuse them eventually, of course, but communication is urgent, and you can get good at it separately from working on deeper issues. And getting used to seeing the other person's perspective also lets you have more insight into your own needs and motivations.)

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