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PenitentMan posted 5/3/2014 10:10 AM

The good:

I feel like we've made great strides in the two-weeks-that's-felt-like-two-months since. I'm reading ravenously about healing. We're learning the love languages. I've been hyper-aware of my own faults, particularly
listening and really hearing what the other person is saying. I even ordered a few books on listening skills. I've been writing my thoughts and feelings down more often and sharing them with my BW. I've told her to read what I posted here, I've sent her texts, I've left little notes on her pillow about how sorry I am and how I believe in us, I've gotten her a card from the store.
She's thankful and expresses her appreciation and says "I hope you really mean what you said". I guess that's all I can hope for so far. It was her birthday yesterday and I got her/us concert tickets to a lesser known band she really loves a couple weeks from now. She was very appreciate and it gave me a warm fuzzy inside to see her smile and laugh about it.

The not-so-good:

My sons grades are slipping. He stopped caring about his school work. He hasn't been respectful to adults. He gets in trouble at school more.
I left him little notes in his room too that said positive things like "I love you" and "I believe in you" and "Everything will be OK" and he ripped them all up without reading them. He felt bad after and left me little notes my office that said "I love you too" etc, so I did feel better after that. Felt like crap initially though.

For BW's birthday she wanted to go sit at a bar by herself and read her book and drink beer or wine. So I drove her there and picked her up. The last time she was there it was girl's night out, one of whom was her friend and my AP (i.e. double betrayal). The last time I played chauffeur, some dude staggered over to the car, stuck his head in the window and kept telling me what a lucky man I was to have such a great and beautiful wife. That was late in the evening and clearly the guy had a few too many. Super young and stupid, like early 20's, more annoying than anything else.
Anyway, that bar is probably the last place I'd want to go to because AP's H (a.k.a. my friend) always wanted to go there with me. My initial sentiment was sarcasm: Why drink at home when you can drink in public uncomfortably at 3 times the price? I eventually agreed to go but it never happened, I guess because I stomped all over his initial dreams for us to go there together.

So I dropped BW off, she sat for a while, called me to come get her, she hadn't had too much and she said it actually was a really nice relaxing time. So. Ok.
Then she told me she got some messages from AP's H wishing her a happy bday and asking how she was. I said "I thought you were removing/unfriending him". She said, "I am, but not just yet."
As you may or may not remember, he's an alcoholic and sent her a picture of his third beer of the evening or whatever. She agrees that nothing good is going to come from a continued friendship with him and says she's going to remove him. So we'll see. Kind of closure for me to have them completely gone. It was a toxic dysfunctional friendship regardless of the A. They already had the unceremonious exchanging of the house keys and items we had left at each other's houses. So, really, I don't need to hear about him, or them, or how he's doing, or how she's doing, or what he's doing, or what she's doing, or how the kids are going to be doing, and I told her the longer she keeps him as her friend the harder it's going to be later. He's the other BH; they have that in common. I get that. So, do I let it go? Assume she's gotten rid of him, or will soon enough?

So we got home and she tells me she doesn't want to be sober. I asked her if that would be a good idea and explained that the booze might make her angry or something and she might rage at me and say hurtful things or something. But I knew that friday and saturday night's we always spent time drinking with this couple and those nights have become her triggers, so she asked me to get her another beer and that she wanted to be left alone and so I went to sleep on the couch. I couldn't fall asleep and then I woke up several times.

Of course, I also had a bad dream/nightmare last night about this friend. BW, he and I, were together somewhere. It really doesn't matter where, but long story short BW wanted to talk to him. I didn't want to be there. I tried to leave. He grabbed my arm. I told him to let go of my effing arm or I'd kick his effing ass. He was angry, and rightly so, but I was shaking with rage. I just wanted to be left alone. It was a lot like what he'd do when we'd drink together. He'd initiate drunken fighting/karate with me, trying to punch me or get me to defend myself and he'd always say "You know, I'm not scared of you".
So in my dream that's what he said: "I'm not scared of you". And I broke free from his grasp and kept moving away. He followed, grabbed my arm again, and again I'd tell him: Don't make me kill you etc. That went on for several minutes. He's angry, I'm angry. Then eventually he breaks down and starts to sob and tells me "I can't be mad at you" (which also would happen in real life. He'd drunkenly say "I can't be mad at you. I like you!"). So back to the dream he then sobs "We're supposed to be friends.". I said: "I don't see how we *can* be, I'm sorry. It's for the best that we're not." Or some such. And then I woke up.

So now, it's a new day and the sun is shining and anything can happen. What am I going to do today to prove my love and commitment to BW? What am I going to do today to be a better person? What am I going to do today to help heal my son?

I feel like I'm in a boat drifting out to sea, watching the land fall away. Every new day brings me farther away from the people, the confusion, and the horrible selfish person I was.
The sky is a perfect blue, maybe a few wisps of clouds. Some gulls. A gentle breeze. Warm sun on my skin. That's the challenge; finding that place of peace when things seems out of control.
I know I'm trying my best and doing the best I can. That's all we can ask of ourselves. I did bad things. I was a bad person. I made very bad choices. Now I'm doing good things. I'm trying to be a good person every day. I'm trying to make good choices. The ocean that is the rest of my life stretches off into the distance. There is a lot of time left to make the most of.

Thanks for reading :)

[This message edited by SelfishHusband at 10:13 AM, May 3rd (Saturday)]

20WrongsVs1 posted 5/3/2014 14:19 PM

Dude. You are so self-absorbed.

Your son's grades are slipping, and all you have to say about it is how bad you felt when he ripped up your notes. How about, "God, I am so sorry I brought this turmoil into our family! Poor kid, I totally get how he's a little messed up right now, and that is probably my fault. So I sat down and had a heart-to-heart with him about how he's feeling lately about our family, and asked him what I can do to help."

Because that is what grown-ups do. Children act out and boo-hoo about how they feel like crap.

Grow. The fuck. Up.

Your wife is feeling sad and devastated and just wants to escape into a few beers and a novel. Assuming she's not downing a fifth of vodka nightly, I think getting a little lit in a safe environment, is a perfectly acceptable way to drown one's sorrows on rare occasion. But here again, all you can think about is yourself.

I asked her if that would be a good idea and explained that the booze might make her angry or something and she might rage at me and say hurtful things or something.

Because you're really one to dictate what's best for her. And so what if she says hurtful things or rages at you? Boo fucking hoo. If that's what she needs, then you take it. Humbly. Like a man who ripped her heart out.

[This message edited by 20WrongsVs1 at 2:20 PM, May 3rd, 2014 (Saturday)]

PenitentMan posted 5/3/2014 14:38 PM

I thought this forum was for support? I post my thoughts and feelings and I put myself out there. How's that for compassion? I know what I did to my family thank you very much. You can keep your hostility to yourself. I think I'm done here. All I've done is think about them and try to help them. I don't appreciate the bad language, really. You don't know me. If I was that self absorbed I wouldn't be trying to better myself each and every day, and I wouldn't be in here for help in the first place. Thanks for the encouragement.

BrokenButTrying posted 5/3/2014 14:55 PM

SH, 20W is one of the tough love voices on the board. It all comes from a good place, we all need 2x4's from time to time! She gave me one earlier, it was exactly what I needed.

As well as being a WW I am also a BC (betrayed child.) My mum had an exit A when I was eight. We left and went to live with the OM. He's my step dad now and I love him enormously but back then I had very little understanding of the complex nature of adult relationships. All I knew was that my mum didn't love my dad anymore, she loved this strange man I didn't know and it made my dad sad. Know what I did the night my mum made us leave? I punched her in the stomach.
Ok, I was eight and it didn't hurt her but I was ANGRY!

No amount of little notes on my pillow or in my lunch box would have made me feel better. I was angry at her but I loved her too and I hated myself for that. Loving my own mum felt like betraying my dad.

You need to talk to your son. Involve the school, let them know what's going on and ask what support they can offer. Your son will be feeling as mixed up and confused as your wife, possibly even more so because he doesn't really know what's going on. Please stop leaving little notes, I don't blame him for ripping them up. Actually have a conversation with him.

BrokenButTrying posted 5/3/2014 15:01 PM

So we got home and she tells me she doesn't want to be sober. I asked her if that would be a good idea and explained that the booze might make her angry or something and she might rage at me and say hurtful things or something

This is all about you and your feelings. You handled this all wrong. She doesn't want to be sober because reality is too difficult right now. She needs to soften the edges. But instead of talking to her, validating her and offering comfort you defended yourself because her drinking made you feel unsafe.

So what if she gets angry? So what if she says hurtful things? So what if she rages at you? She's allowed to do that!
No, I don't mean abuse but my god the woman is allowed to express her pain, even if it means your feelings are hurt for a few minutes.

PenitentMan posted 5/3/2014 15:32 PM

Actually my son says he ripped the notes up because he didn't know what they were and he thought they were garbage. He's apologized for it and said he really did appreciate it. I explained to him that I posted online about how I felt about the whole thing and how the response was for me to go grow up and he thought it was ridiculous. In fact, he told me I don't need to talk to people in here I just need to talk to him and his mom. He said "I felt bad about it too. If I posted in that forum would they tell me to grow up too?"
He's wise beyond his years in many ways.

We've had many conversations now about what happened and how I feel and how he feels. He actually does know what happened, more than he should, and he's been helping me to look at everything positively and to forgive myself. He said we would help each other feel better. And I thanked him for that.

As far as her drinking, yes she'd have every right to get drunk and rage at me. She's allowed to. She knows that. I know that. But she had also told me to say how I'm feeling more often. Because sharing my feelings is something I never did. So I told her, yes, I'm sharing my feelings and right now I'm afraid you'll get drunk and say hurtful things that may not be helpful. I didn't say not to. I didn't say "don't get drunk". I just said "Are you sure you want to do this." She said "Go get me another beer". So I did. She said "Now leave me alone." So I did.

I know this is not all about me and my feelings. But I do have feelings nevertheless. But in sharing them here, I guess they're open to a wide range of interpretations by a wide range of people all in various stages of their own recovery (or non-recovery).

I guess I didn't really paint a good enough picture about how things are going with them and how much time I spend trying to communicate with them. But it doesn't matter. That response made me realize that not everyone is in the same place I am. I don't know what I really expected here anyway. Everyone is going to have their own opinions and attitudes. I guess I'm just extra sensitive. I have a hard time accepting negative criticism. That was a problem when BW and I would argue. Negative tones and words. So when I get them here, it's just not very helpful.

I'll continue to talk to them open and honestly, but I feel like I have to watch what I say here now so I don't offend anyone or I don't invite any backlash. Not really the totally open nurturing environment I was hoping for. Because you know what? I'm not a horrible person. I'm selfish and inconsiderate and human and I'm committed to changing in a positive way, with a lot of love and support all around. Both giving and receiving. So best of luck to all of you and no hard feelings on my part.

20WrongsVs1 posted 5/3/2014 15:47 PM

SH, I was one of the most selfish, blameshifting, remorseless cheating bitches ever to stumble upon SI a year ago. Pot, meet kettle.

I guess I'm just extra sensitive. I have a hard time accepting negative criticism. That was a problem when BW and I would argue. Negative tones and words. So when I get them here, it's just not very helpful.

It's really great that you recognize this, because it shows signs of emotional maturity. CW around here is, if it strikes a nerve, it's worth a second look. SI members calling me on my shit is what I needed a year ago. If that's not helpful, I understand and will refrain from further comment.

tired girl posted 5/3/2014 17:11 PM

20wvs1 was exactly right when she called you out. I am curious as to why you think that she was so hard on you and why exactly she was wrong?

After all, isn't that what got you into this mess? You looking for someone that was going to tell you what you wanted to hear because you couldn't handle what was happening at home? At what point are you going to look inward and see that this stuff starts with the person in the mirror? I have already tried mentioning this to you and it doesn't seem to be sinking in.

We've had many conversations now about what happened and how I feel and how he feels. He actually does know what happened, more than he should, and he's been helping me to look at everything positively and to forgive myself. He said we would help each other feel better. And I thanked him for that.

Really?????? quit letting your son be the parent. He isn't. You are. He should never play this role.

BrokenButTrying posted 5/3/2014 17:16 PM

It is difficult to convey what's going on at home in just one post. Obviously there is a lot more conversation and only you really know what it's like with your family.

Every single person on this board is or has been a selfish arsehole. We have all been self absorbed and self pitying. Hell, I'll be the first to admit that I still have moments like that at four months out. I know I'm not going to get support for that way of thinking here though. So, I check myself and most often think 'yup, I'm a twat.' Then I come on SI to get support in how to change and be a better person.

Your feelings are valid and you're right, you should express them. But read your OP back, especially the bit about your BW wanting a drink. Where in your self pep talk, thinking out loud, written stream of consciousness is the bit about why your BW wanted a drink? Where's the bit about how she was feeling that evening? Where's the bit about what she did after you went to sleep on the sofa? Where's the bit about you worrying about how she slept? If she had nightmares? Where's the empathy?

There has been lots of discussion between you and your wife about communication between the two of you being a contributing factor in your A, right? As a result of this you are doing a fantastic job of expressing how you feel. Your BW is probably thinking 'great! He's finally sharing with me! He really is changing.' Which is fantastic but be careful that she doesn't become scared of expressing her own feelings in case you revert back to your old ways. Especially because she will know you find it difficult to take criticism. She may be worried that if she is truly honest with you, gets angry and shouts, that you won't be able to cope with it.
And from what your wrote in your OP, she's right. She asked for a drink and you were so freaked out by just the possibility of her criticising you that you immediately cut off any chance of her expressing herself by sharing your own feelings of how hurt you would be if she became angry.
That might not be what went on at all, but that's how it comes across.

None of this is criticism meant to bring you down. It's BTDT advice meant to help you.
I have absolutely no doubt about how hard you are working, it's there in every single one of your posts. You are taking huge steps every day.

somethingremorse posted 5/5/2014 08:42 AM


Every time I post, I worry if I am editing myself so that I "look Better" to this community, or if I am really writing the whole truth. Flinching when someone calls you out is normal. I understand that everyone here offers what they have, and what worked when they were in the same spot.

Take what works, leave the rest. Not that it would happen, but I'd hate if 20Wrongs and others like her took it easy.

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