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Roller Coaster Anger

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Wayflost posted 5/8/2014 16:34 PM

I guess it's called the roller coaster for a reason. And BH and I are in cars that are connected, but on different rails.

What I have been turning over in my mind the past few days is how to stop taking the anger personally. Yes, I created this cess pool, but I am not the owner of my BH's emotions and reactions. KWIM?

So I'm curious. How do you not take it personally, not let it hurt you, when terrible intentionally hurtful things are said to you? My BH has been quite restrained compared to some of what I see on here and other sites. Early on he called me whore, immediately regretted it, but damage done. Recently he called me a P.O.S. Not the censored version. Again, immediate apology - but damage done.

The worst part is that every time he intentionally hurts me with his words, I can see how it hurts him too. Somehow I need to connect what I see and what I feel, and express it. Although there are times when the anger is at its pitch and nothing I can say, or don't say, is "the right thing." KWIM?

Any insight BS/WS welcome.

floridaredman posted 5/8/2014 17:06 PM

He is speaking from hurt and anger. Remember, he is dealing with mind movies almost all day long. He doesn't tell you when he has them all the time, but trust me, he has them constantly. He probably lashes out when he gets overwhelmed.

In those moments that is what he feels, he doesn't want to, but he does.

It will hurt, no matter what, it still hurts to be called something derogatory, but remember why he says those hurtful words.
He's hurting because of the affair. It is personal.

You can also say that yes, I did behave that way, but I am working hard not to be that way again and here is why.........

He is struggling. He doesn't want to call you those names. He apologizes immediately.

You say damage done

He's damaged too...

tired girl posted 5/8/2014 17:09 PM

HL was really pretty good about his anger. There were very few times that he ever let loose, or said hurtful things to me.

The few times that he did, well I had to look at myself and what I did, was what I did and my actions what he was describing? Probably. So while it may not be fun to face up to what they are saying in the moment, now is the time to put how you feel about what they are saying on a shelf and focus on what is going on with your husband. Most likely what he is saying is coming from a place of deep hurt, remember that. Sometimes they are lashing out to try to get you to feel some of the same hurt that they feel, sometimes they just need to vent. Whatever the reason, in that moment, it is about them.

Afterwards, I would usually sit with how I felt about it, and figure out why I was hurt about what was said. That is something that you need to figure out. Why does what the things that he says in hurt and anger bother you so deeply right now?

Sal1995 posted 5/8/2014 17:25 PM

You say damage done

"Damage done" jumped out at me as well. At some point, if you are to R, your H will have to move past the enormous damage done to him and your marriage and commit to a new beginning with you. Some, including me, believe that has to include forgiveness for true R to be achieved.

That goes both ways. At some point you will have to move past the hurtful things your H occasionally says to you right now. If it helps, look at it this as if it were a case of temporary insanity...because it kind of is. Also, if he never used that kind of language towards you in the past, stop to consider why he is doing so now. It's not because he all of a sudden decided to become a rotten person, right? He's an indescribably hurt and angry person right now, as anyone would be in his situation.

I'm glad you have SI to help you sort these feelings out. It kind of seems like you're keeping score a little, though. I'd advise you to never give your BH that impression. It will not go over well. And unless his behavior becomes truly outrageous or abusive, you'll always be on the short end of the scoreboard.

BrokenButTrying posted 5/8/2014 17:28 PM

I find it very, very hard not to take it personally.

My self esteem has always been non existent. I placed no value in myself, had no sense of self worth. Anything I did feel came from other people.
So when BH calls me names, tells me he's been talking to other women, says he regrets marrying me, shouts or I get cold silence, I find it hard not let it affect how I feel about myself.

I just keep telling myself that no matter how awful I feel, he feels a million times worse and whatever he says it's just because he's hurting. I do find it hard not to express my feelings but if I told BH I was upset he would laugh so I wait until I'm alone and I have a good cry.

BH hates comfort when he's angry or triggering. There is nothing I can say to help. Nothing I do at that point will ease his pain so I just let him know I'm here for him.

BrokenButTrying posted 5/8/2014 17:38 PM

Just to add, when he's name calling etc I validate, validate and validate some more.

Slut, whore, c***, bitch, shit mum, not deserving of my children, worthless human being etc I have agreed with him on every single one because during the A is was all of those things. Although he's not at the stage where he wants to hear why I'm not those things anymore or the reasons why, he knows.
The important thing is that he knows I've heard his pain.

[This message edited by BrokenButTrying at 5:38 PM, May 8th (Thursday)]

tired girl posted 5/8/2014 18:06 PM


I know it's hard to hear that. You are not that person now.

Wayflost posted 5/8/2014 18:15 PM

I apologize for giving the impression that I'm keeping score. I'm not. One of the many why's I'm facing down is a complet lack of self esteem and worth.

I know the sting I feel is about me and my feelings. And you can ask anyone who saw my earliest posts that putting my apparent ego aside to empathize (something I thought I knew how to do) has been a steap learning curve for me.

I posed this question in an effort to gain input to hopefully take a few more steps forward in that process. I don't want to come unglued because my feelings were hurt. I want to support my BH because I really do understand where the bitterness comes from. It's because of my repeated betrayals. I know he hurts, and I'm finally at a place where my brain is on overload because I want to do the right thing (validate support and empathize) but my ears seem to get in the way. KWIM?

Eta: when I say damage done, I mean the bell can't be unwrung. I've forgiven the whore comment, bringing it up merely as an example, and can often swallow the others. It's the knowledge of the intent behind those things that takes time to process.

[This message edited by Wayflost at 6:18 PM, May 8th (Thursday)]

BrokenButTrying posted 5/8/2014 18:20 PM

Thanks TG :) at calmer times he's said that he knows I am remorseful because he can see it in everything I do. He knows I wouldn't cheat again and that I would be a better person because of all the work I'm doing.

But he admits that he can't face that right now. Right now, what I'm doing doesn't ease the pain of what I've done. We're four months out, I keep telling him not to rush himself.

I think your BH might be at a similar stage, wayflost

floridaredman posted 5/8/2014 18:30 PM

but my ears seem to get in the way. KWIM?

Yep. It takes courage to go through the lows and the fallout that goes with them. You're doing that and it speaks volumes.Hang in there, it does get better.

BrokenButTrying posted 5/8/2014 18:45 PM

I hear you wayflost.

Lack of self esteem being part of your why is one of the hardest things to over come, I think.

You have thought yourself to be worthless, ugly, useless, horrible, stupid and a million other things for pretty much your whole life. You cannot and have not ever been able to feel good about yourself and the only thing that makes you temporarily feel any better is when someone else tells you that they like you, you're beautiful, amazing etc.

Then, you have an A.

Now, suddenly not only do you have to face the horrible devastation you've caused your BS, you also have to fix yourself. You have to build up your self esteem, learn to validate yourself, love yourself. An almost impossible task given that you have broken someone's heart and destroyed them completely. You are disgusted with yourself and the level of self loathing you feel is overwhelming.

I get it, that's how I feel. So I take one day at a time.

Today I am a better person because....

Today I enforced my boundaries by....

Today I practised my new coping mechanisms by...

Challenge yourself. Question every thought you have; is that wayward thinking? Why do I think that? Why do I feel that? What can I do to change it? How can I make myself feel better.

This sounds ridiculous but as a SAHM I don't achieve much so I find it hard to take pride in anything except housework and the children. So, I started a project to paint all the furniture in my kid's bedrooms. So far I've done their beds, a book case, a play table, a wardrobe and the stools for the breakfast bar in the kitchen. Sanding, preping, painting, waxing, distressing and recovering the seats for the stools. I get such a sense of accomplishment from it. My kids love it, I've found I'm quite good at it and I've achieved something.

If I ask BH what he thinks he just shrugs or grunts. He is really unenthusiastic about it. But I don't care! I don't need his approval or acknowledgement. I feel good about what I've done.

You're doing it too. You just don't realise it. Going to the doctors and sorting your meds? That's placing value in yourself, taking control of your life, stepping up and saying 'I don't want to feel like this any more, I'm going to do something about it!'
You are supporting your BH, you get it and your remorseful. Keep going! You can do this.

timidhope posted 5/8/2014 18:53 PM

Wayflost, at least you can tell it hurts him too, I think that's a good sign that he still cares about you and how he feels about you. Hang on to that tightly :) My way of thinking is if he can dish out some of his frustration and hurt at me (the person who caused him this pain) then I'm happy to receive. Any bit that makes him feel better makes me feel better.

My BF initially would say hurtful things, except he's very restrained so he never used profanity. He would utter the thoughts/words and look confused and sad that he said those things...I absorbed it as much as I can to get a sense of the hurt he's going through and for him to see that how he feels about me is still very important to me.

Like BBT, I would validate the things that he says with my actions (e.g. lieing, betraying, being selfish and self centered). One day though, I decided that I needed to love myself and I have decided that he deserves to feel that way about me in his pain though for us to truly reconcile and to have a relationship that is fulfilling for us both, I wish my actions may convince him I'm not those things anymore.

Here's one example that made him feel better (albeit it was before TT): I still say I love you to him and he would ask if you truly did, then how could you do those things to me in return. So one day, I said I love you, and he had that look on his face so I told him, I know what you're going to say, I still love you and I just wanted you to hear it from me. His expression softened and I hope, or I think my desire to make him feel loved made him feel a bit better.

T/J - About 3 weeks from D-Day and 1 week from the last TT, he stopped talking about the A altogether and gets frustrated whenever I bring it up. I'm actually more afraid of this time period than during his outright anger period.

[This message edited by timidhope at 6:54 PM, May 8th (Thursday)]

HeartFullOfHoles posted 5/8/2014 19:21 PM

It's the knowledge of the intent behind those things that takes time to process.
What intent? I seriously doubt he is doing this in an intentional way to make you feel bad. He's hurting because you yanked his heart out and stomped all over it and is not reacting well to all that pain. Yes he needs to eventually stop this, but that happens as he heals from the pain.

Listen to these ladies. They get it. I wish my WW got half of what they are saying.

WalkinOnEggshelz posted 5/8/2014 19:33 PM

How do you not take it personally, not let it hurt you, when terrible intentionally hurtful things are said to you?

It's difficult to see when you are early on, but my experience has been that HT would get angry when he felt I wasn't doing enough, understanding his pain, empathizing well, or owning my behavior. There would be cycles. I would tamp it up and then slow it down, he would get angry. Then I would ramp it up again. Some of the things he said to me hurt. Some not as as much.

Looking back, I realize that the things that didn't hurt were the very things that I could truly own. If he said I acted like a whore? Well you betcha. I sure did. And I am sorry because I realize now just how much my actions have an impact on you. Sometimes things hurt. But they hurt because I had not fully worked through them. I had not fully owned that aspect of my affair. And if I am not owning it? It's more difficult to be empathetic to it.

If you are like me you have lived with a lot of negative self talk. The thing that I have learned is that when the self talk begins, instead of just listening to it and buying into it, I needed to start arguing with it. For example, if he were to say I was bitch specifically to hurt me, I would have to tell myself that he is hurting and although I was a bitch in the past I am no longer a bitch. It would depend on the situation as to whether or not I would say it out loud. I remind myself that I am a work in progress and am changing that person he is referring to. I am becoming one he can be proud of again one day.

But if all that doesn't work at the end of the day, just try to remember that any pain you feel is minuscule in comparison to his. Try to put yours aside to support him. He most likely has self esteem every bit as bad, if not worse than yours right now. Your affair just magnified every insecurity he has ever felt. And he doesn't want to have to go through this alone. He wants you to have to feel it too. So when he's hurting, he will say things to get you to understand that pain. So get out of your own head and feel it for him. Put yourself aside. Give him empathy.

In the end, whatever he said will dissipate because you both will have a better understanding of each other and begin to trust in the fact that each person hears the other.

Ownership. Acceptance. Empathy.

wheredoigo posted 5/8/2014 19:51 PM

I just tried three times to post from my phone and lost it. Ugh!

So now it's going to be bullet points because of technology frustrations. Sorry. (Coincidentally -considering the post topic- my BH enjoyed laughing about my frustrations...haha) I then had him read my post to confirm what I said was on point. He agreed.

Let's try this one more time...

His anger will return in a much stronger sense with the feeling of a DDay for the 2nd time.

It's better than him holding it in (Trust me. That only delays the process and it comes out in other ways.)

He shows immediate regret, so use that to see how he really feels and know he still cares.

If there are moments that escalate, know that you go have the right to walk away from that moment. It's important to still validate his feelings -even then- but let him know that you are trying to change the broken part of you and that he's said something that had begun to cross a boundary that is not productive, only destructive.

I know it's hard. They do fade in frequency over time., but that doesn't mean there won't be moments that it will come back,. For me, remembering he didn't sign up for this, I did when I selfishly decided to A. Just him being here is more than I deserve.

stilllovingher posted 5/8/2014 22:04 PM


I sounds like you two are trying to R, so I assume you both still care for each other.
You say:

I want to do the right thing (validate support and empathize) but my ears seem to get in the way.

So I have a suggestion,
When the name calling has subsided, and he is calm(that is important because rational thought takes a back seat when one is enraged), talk with him, don't wait for him to bring it up. Talk with him about it and try to get to the bottom of it.
It's paramount that you watch your tone, expressions, body language...etc.
This talk shouldn't be about YOU, or how this has made you feel. Make it about HIM, and how these words make him feel. It's not even about what he has said, but rather what he hasn't said.
If he cares about you, I can guarantee you that name calling is a HUGE point of dissonance for him, and hurts him equally. No decent Man wants to think of his Wife in these terms. And yet, he is. ...but why?

Ask him what is under those words, what is driving those thoughts, and most importantly, if he is opening up, What is it that he is affraid of?

Talk as little as possible, listen as close as you can, and while he is talking, make damn sure you aren't forming your response, just listen.
Good luck,

20WrongsVs1 posted 5/8/2014 22:08 PM

Wayflost, I've only been here a year, but I've seen this *almost exact* post several times. Some WW's (and it's always been women that I've seen) have gone so far as to characterize their BH's angry vents as abusive. You didn't use that word, but I'm gonna nit-pick you just a little here.

How do you not take it personally, not let it hurt you, when terrible intentionally hurtful things are said to you?

Intentionally hurtful? If he were deliberately manufacturing phrases designed to hurt you, wouldn't he be feeling pleased with himself that it worked? But no, he's not gloating, he's apologizing, which indicates he's just expressing his pain, and I see that as a positive. It's when they get quiet, that we should worry.

nothing I can say, or don't say, is "the right thing."

Sometimes there is no right thing. No matter what you say, or don't say, BH just needs to vent out these horrible feelings. Give him a safe space to do that. Demonstrate your burgeoning self-control, thereby proving how much you've changed.

I am not the owner of my BH's emotions and reactions

ITA. So why take them personally?

RomanticInnocenc posted 5/9/2014 01:38 AM

Wayflost, I'm a BS, only 4 months out so I get the situation you are talking about. I have said some pretty awful things that I am not proud of too. It doesn't mean I mean them. Just to give a different perspective. I don't know what you BS was like before the A, but I know that a lot of the issues that you shared that led to your A are issues that I have in common with you and to a degree WH. Now for me it's like this... WH has been getting ego kibble from 3 different women over a span of 5 years (off and on) as well as a wife who adored him. He has essentially been living it up, whilst I have felt ignored, unprioritised and slowly sunk into more of a funk about myself. Now WH is not responsible for my happiness now or then, and I didn't do what I should have done about it. But now I have found out that not only has the man I loved lied to me for 10 years about who he is and what he needs, I also have to contend with the guilt and knowledge that there were signs there were issues, that he didn't treat me right and I let it go AND I feel completely unloveable because he abandoned me at a time I needed him most being 9 months pregnant. Now I'm not saying all this to make you feel really bad or anything, I just want you to ask yourself... How do you possibly deal with all that pain and torment? Most of us BS I think handle it reasonably well considering, but we're not perfect and we at times need an outlet for the rage and since you guys created the catalyst, then you are it! I get its hard not to take it personally, especially with the current self esteem you have, but honestly, wouldn't you rather we call you some names that even we regret, then drinking ourselves stupid every night, taking risks with our lives, tearing the house apart, screaming in the middle of the street, because that is on the level I am on when those things start flying out of mouth. Anyway, I hope you take this as it was intended, not accusation, just another perspective. Good luck on the journey!

Gman1 posted 5/9/2014 07:28 AM

Every BS is going to react a little different. Everyone on the planet is going to react a little differently to trauma. When a BS learns of the betrayal, the impact to the brain is mind boggling and the reactions will vary from person to person. Soon the anger and rage will come and it has to go somewhere. Trying to bottle it up and keep it inside would be the worst option IMO. It needs to go somewhere. Most likely the things that are running through his head are there constantly from the time he opens his eyes in the morning until he finally goes to sleep at night. These thoughts, mind movies, images, etc. totally dominate and over ride his mind and he has absolutely no control which is the hardest thing to handle. As for me, I could never aim my anger and rage at my WW for some reason. All my rage, hatred and anger was focused on the AP and it was intense. Extremely intense. Your BH most likely suffers for some time until he can't handle it any longer and then has to "release" the anger.

I doubt he is really "intentionally" hurting you with his words especially when, as you say, it hurts him too. He simply has to get rid of his rage in some way.

numb&dumb posted 5/9/2014 09:47 AM

BH here.

Based on my experience, very few of the angry outburst from your H have the intent or premeditation that you are telling yourself they have. By telling yourself that you are making it worse and putting the attention back on yourself. You know that his KISA tendencies are going to shut him down. Don't be the damsel to his KISA. Anger has to exhaust itself to let the underlying emotions underneath come to the surface. Anger is a secondary emotion it is usually driven by something else or because his reality is incompatible with what he envisions his life to be.

These are reactive raw outbursts. The fact that he apologizes immediately after is telling. There is no true rational intent there. Emotionally he is backed into a corner and sees no way out that won't sacrifice more of his self worth and pride. These are already severely deficient.

Every time you act as less than normal he fears the worst and his head is filling in the blanks. He assumes the worst of each and every possible outcome. He doesn't have anything to logically tell himself otherwise.

Avoid letting him fill in the missing pieces of what you are thinking. Tell him. Even when he appears to be a good mood, he is thinking about it. He is just getting better at suppressing it. Men in our culture are taught from a very early age to hide their emotions. All of them except anger. He is falling back on that life long learned ability. Considering his history with self medicating I would expect there was a whole lot of repressed pain there already. He may have forget how to process things without another numbing mechanism.

That being said, early on I don't take these outbursts as a bad thing entirely. Yes they still are uncomfortable and sting. He is still engaging with you. When he ignores you, goes dark or emotionless that is when I would worry. He feels regret/remorse for saying them and does apologize. Show that you can forgive him and it will inspire him to work harder at doing that himself.

I one time told my W, "I hate myself for loving you." and I believed and meant it. It was true to me at a time I desperately wanted any truth to hold onto. All the other long held (assumed) truths in my life had been shown to be lies. Assuming is easy. He assumes nothing right now except the worst.

When you see anger remember that at least a portion of that is directed at himself.

If you want to try and reach him ask him how he feels about loving you and ask him to be honest. It will be hard on both of you, but showing that you care and accept all the responsibility for the A goes a long way in helping him to realize that this can get better. Tell him you are anger at yourself too and you don't want to let him get down on himself for being loving towards you.

You might not be ready for that yet, but that is a great goal for IC or a good topic for MC.

Effort counts as much as effect. Remember that.

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