I know this is part of a cycle. I know it's probably depression. We have agreed not to talk about the relationship with others, but I'm not the one that violated boundaries so grossly. I have always relied on talking to friends. I have also always brought insights and truth about the discussions back to WS. But now I have only her and my IC to talk to...and she doesn't get it. Sometimes she does, but lately shes been turning it on me and talking about feeling rejected, which just makes me feel worse. I don't have time or space to self soothe and I can't find relief or comfort. Our best couple friends chose her side during separation, and WS is resistant to hanging with my friend who we used to hang around with together sometimes before all this. Plus, it would be difficult for me to hang with her and not talk, so I've avoided it. Because of this and my distraction at with and school I feel like I'm constantly on guard. I'm constantly putting on a display, stepping on eggshells, paying attention to how and when I can talk and what I can do to keep from being judged or disrespected. And I tried to share this. Because the biggest loss right now is the safety and security I felt in being understood and loved in my relationship. But now I know that was all an illusion. I'm grieving the loss of something I never had. She was judging me the whole time and deceiving me about how good she thought I was and how great we are together. She never understood. So I can't rely on her to understand now. She wants me to get past this, tells me we have talked about it, doesn't understand why I can't talk myself out of how I feel. Grrrr. She can't, just can't look at me and say anything like, "wow. I really hurt you bad. I can totally see how you feel that way and why you might think that. I'm so sorry. I hate that I hurt you this bad." Rather than an indication of the depth of my pain it's a indication that I'm not trying hard enough or I'm not taking her feelings into consideration when I need to share or talk. Or it's consuming me and our life.
How do I get away from this? Have you been there? What did you do?
Why did you agree not to tell anyone else about her A? It's ok for you to go back to her and say, I know we agreed, but this is not working for me. It does not let me heal. I have to talk to friends to get better.
And then do it.
My H was not at all happy when I told him I had talked to X or Y person. At all. Why couldn't I just keep it to IC? Because I needed my friends. I needed support. The IC was great for helping me think through things, but my friends held me up.
I chose who I told carefully. I didn't pick any friends who were equally close to both of us (my friends, his acquaintances) or any family members who would make things difficult if we did R. As we did. Not one of the dozen or so people I relied on has said a syllable to anyone else.
He didn't share with anyone, and he didn't see an IC. Meaning, he made his life much harder on himself for a long time. I actually got through better than he did.
A long way to say, confide in a friend if you need to. It is not up to your WS to decide this.
I will say that I felt depleted - which may mean to me what 'exhausted' means to your - a number of times during the 1st 2 years, and that was with a WS who got it. So if you decide this relationship is for you, your WSo will probably be willing and able to give you the support you need.
First, do you feel her remorse? I tend to get the feeling from your posts that she isn't truly remorseful. More like she's sorry she got caught or that she's sorry it hurt your feelings.
I just feel so exhausted from all the barriers I feel pressured and obligated to keep up. Appearances and hiding emotions and getting timing and wording right.
On AOT day my H told his mom, my mom and his business partner. He sat beside me while I phoned a friend and an acquaintance that I knew could help me. I have chosen to keep it to those people but when he feels I'm stressed or something he reminds me that it is OK for me to tell whomever I need to.
That ^^^ is what remorse feels like to me (ok, just part of it).
She wants me to get past this, tells me we have talked about it, doesn't understand why I can't talk myself out of how I feel.
Next I want to bring attention to this...
My concern was that private conversations were a serious boundary issue and the playground for her EAs
My off-the-cuff suggestion is 180 to be honest. I want her to get it and start helping you heal dammit!
What's maddening is that she has shown remorse in the past. But when I'm in my worst states of struggling she just can't do it. Our MC said that she can't stand to see me hurt and defaults to her mode of "fixing" which is to tell me what I need to do ("see what I'm doing,we've already talked about this, why are you making it worse," etc.).
There also seems to be a pattern of her being able to be compassionate about the past but not when she feels negativity in the present. And to hear her talk about it I'm yelling at her, criticizing her, telling her she's shitty, attacking her and throwing my emotions around whenever I want without regard for her. She says she just wants me to take her into consideration. That's frustrating because if she knew what I held back, rather than focusing on affection I don't show, then she would realize how much I'm considering her.
So tonight a friend brings up some great time they had together while we were separated. A time when she and her friends (they chose her side and made fun of me and called me names during the separation while telling me they were Switzerland) all went out drinking. I shut down. I went there and was reminded that I am surrounded my people who abandoned me when I was at my worst. So on the drive later WS makes a statement that the friend shpuldntbhavecsaud anything because she (WS) will have to pay for it. What?! She shouldn't have said anything because it hurt me! Ugh! Another instance where WS can't stand up for me, because she was going to tell that friend not to say anything anymore...not add that she hurt me when I didn't deserve to be judged, not because it was cruel to mention the time when they all conspired against me, but because WS would get the brunt if it. Then she mentioned that I would attack her with my feelings. I was sitting there quietly. I was obviously hurt (I can't hide my emotions-my greatest strength in that in genuine and my biggest weakness in that it makes others uncomfirtable), but I said nothing. Did nothing. Was breathing to calm and recompose myself. But did I get assistance? No. I got accusations.
You are right. I should do the 180 again. This isn't working. And she doesn't get to hurt me anymore.
Please get and read Codependent No More.
What I read from you is shockingly similar to our path early on.
I use to think codependency was "shared"....one spouse did it, then the other. That is incorrect....me even thinking that is a common codependent trait. Both that book and IC opened my eyes to this truth.
I can't do that book justice, but I will say your mates behavior is consistent with the other half of a codependent relationship.
Codependent term can falsely indicate you are both doing it.....it's what I first thought when IC applied the term to me. My ignorance is why that book was necessary.
22 months out I can move past how I responded on my DD's and examine my M pre-A. Signs of codependent choices dot my landscape.
I am a work in progress.
You will know you are changing because your mate will get defensive quickly....shut down on you. It will sting. But this is an old cycle reappearing in stronger form as your mate resists having to change.
It's true we can only change ourselves. But it is also true that a relationship must change if only one person in it changes.
You KNOW your relationship must change. The old one hurt you very deeply. Your mate has been hurt very deeply too, but your relational dynamics are such that she is not feeling it yet.
I have come to the conclusion that adultery is traumatic for both BS and WS alike. However, the timing of that affect differs. DD is the universal start to trauma for BS. WS start times are all over the board.
If a WS continues to chose adultery or other wayward mechs.....it is unlikely the true deep traumatic level pain will ever be acknowledged. But it is still there...subconsciously influencing them in so many ways.
[This message edited by blakesteele at 9:52 PM, May 22nd (Thursday)]
Tonight I asked H to leave. He did, which is actually a positive sign! He didn't fight and argue and refuse to leave.
I'm exhausted, too. Sad our marriage has probably taken too big a hit from his infidelity for "us" to survive.
But I will survive. I don't even need to see him suffer and be humiliated. I just can't see his face in front of me...that's all I want. Peace.
So, it doesn't help how you feel in this moment, but I am ABSOLUTELY sure that YOU will survive. And maybe even...thrive?
Whether with him or wtihout him....
Our MC said that she can't stand to see me hurt and defaults to her mode of "fixing" which is to tell me what I need to do ("see what I'm doing, we've already talked about this, why are you making it worse," etc.).
That doesn't pass the snicker test. Most WSes who do things to keep their BSes from hurting generally really do it to avoid their own pain. Have you raised this probability with the MC? Have you considered a new MC?
The comments from your WS that you report sound like 'me-me-me'.
And what blakesteele says....
[This message edited by sisoon at 10:24 PM, May 22nd (Thursday)]
My observation comes from your recounting of the dynamics in your relationship.
The dynamics you described make it appear you are the codependent one, she is the aggressor (sitter)......meaning you gather and do for her while she does her own thing. You appear to be the one to readily sacrifice and do for her.
This is where I struggle. ....several therapist have told me this is a common struggle for codependents. The struggle to understand how unhealthy I choose.
I thought I was doing the loving thing by gathering and doing without my wife even having to express or request that which I did for her. In reality, I wasn't doing for her in sacrificial loving fashion......I was denying my own self, my own needs because I would rather do that then put them out there and have my wife reject or abandon me.
Now I have learned to express my needs and desires to my wife....and to not fear her choosing to say no.
Gotten to the point now where when she says no, I actually feel quite ok!
This is a product of her A. She could not hurt or abandon me more than she already has.....and I survived!
Codependents feel as if their world will end without their spouses. It took me to actual experience the death of our M for me to have a new life. Kwim?
Your journey thus far looks like my journey.....WS slow to give up her A, you desperately trying to fix and accommodate their destructive behavior, her reluctance to IC and self introspection, your state of being right now.
I suspect you are close to feeling some very strong anger. Took me a couple of months to even feel anger....another strong trait of a codependent.
On a separate note......seems like there is reason enough to be concerned with your partner seeking other female friends for comfort now. To seek comfort from the sex you engage in intimate relations with is a flag to me. Projecting here....but if I leaned on a female friend like I do my make friends.....an improper relationship is a real possibility. I KNOW I would not be confortable AT ALL if my wife was hanging with other men and discussing her pain and struggles......that's a quick trip back to affair land.
You okay with her doing this?
As I break out of my codependent cycle I am amazed at how little tolerance I have for my old ways.
I look back and see how little I was settling for on DD....then within my M. Dreadful. It's that realization that had me thirsty for more. I think of my daughters often.....what type of relationship do I want to model for them? I was physically sick when I put them in my role in my M. So not healthy. But for decades I thought it was.....yet another way a codependent stays in their destructive rut.
Ruts are nothing more than graves with the ends kicked out.
You are up and out of that rut.
Your partners refusal to do IC? It's possible this is an action she has done in the past.....an action designed to keep you in a rut. Subconscious though it may be (she's not the devil), there is most likely a part of her that realizes what she must do to NOT change.....to get you to give up on yourself (codependent trait) so that the old relationship can resume.....sophisticated way to rug sweep.
This is why I caution you to be prepared for defensiveness and outright anger. The other side of the codependent relationship is a very independent one. "How dare you change yourself, I did not approve of that!" is a general attitude. Again, it's not as easily seen as the wife-beater t-shirt expression....but it is there.
God is with us all.
[This message edited by blakesteele at 6:18 AM, May 23rd (Friday)]
"You know you are codependent when you have a near death experience, and someone else's life flashes before your eyes." Dr Henry Cloud.
Over the years I choose to let go if more and more of myself. This was subtle but is what happened. I lost myself.
I am finding myself.
You are finding yourself.
Yes, I am the pursuer and WS is the distancer in our communication styles. We are at the extremes from what I've researched, which is devastating without MC. I am very open and passionate in my self awareness and comfort with my emotions, needs and wants. WS not so much.
From what I've read about codependency, WS fits it very well. She was the product of two alcoholics. She learned at a young age that to have wants or needs and voice them caused negative consequences. She also learned that to be emotionally safe she needed to anticipate the emotional wants and needs of others. As a result she became an expert at compartmentalization.
When she entered our relationship she had already decided that the best way to love someone was to protect their emotions at all costs. That meant anticipating all their needs and wants (beyond those expressed) and not share personal wants, needs or thoughts because they might create conflict. To that end she hid all her negative thoughts and feelings about me. I can't imagine the pressure she put on herself in anticipating unexpressed wants and needs from me, a person who expresses every single one. When I talk about feeling duped, it is not limited to the deceit of the EAs. It extends to the years before of her presenting the image that I was totally accepted and totally safe emotionally while she silently judged me and came to conclusions about my intentions without stating them or sharing them with me. In true codependency fashion, when it became too much she decided I was incapable and compartmentalized to get those needs met elsewhere. Then when she was discovered she blamed me for not doing what she had done, which was to attempt to read her mind and meet her needs. My inability to meet her needs (after she didn't express them) was blamed for her cheating. I can even recall times when I begged her to tell me what she needed, begged her to find her own activities and even attempted to create opportunities and set up her own stuff for her, but each time she defaulted to focus on me and what she THOUGHT I wanted without listening to the words coming out of my mouth. I can even remember the time when she fell in love, because a huge wall was suddenly erected and she no longer shared emotional concerns.
So now we are in this place where she is I practicing the ability to share her emotions. As she practices she is struggling to balance the focus I need to heal in the relationship as a result of her disgusting betrayals with her need to get used to expressing her needs without letting mine trump hers. It's maddening. It's a mess. And it's a tough road we have before us as a result.
My "traits" are simply that I got used to her soothing me and getting things my way. Over the years I became accustomed to this and lost the ability to self soothe. As I rediscover that, she finds it difficult to allow me that space. Though she's working on not being responsible for how I feel, she still takes my plainly stated emotions as a failure or an attack. If I feel bad and need space she views it as time that interferes with our relationship. She's afraid to leave me alone because she thinks that her presence will keep me from getting worse and she doesn't trust my process or have respect for true fact that I'm an adult who can handle my own issues.
That's where we are.
[This message edited by peoplepleaser at 8:32 PM, May 24th (Saturday)]
2. SHE had the affiar. She does not get to tell you how to get over it!!!! Venting and talking with trusted friends is YOUR RIGHT. You did not betray her nor screw around. Why exactly does she get a say in whether you talk to friends or not? She is not thinking about your needs. She is thinking of a way to keep her precious reputation intact. She screwed around-SHE MUST OWN IT! If you want to shout it from the rooftops of the city then by God that is your right!
My biggest restraint would be this. Infidelity should not be shared with the children. Even if you divorce leave the reasons vague. Children will find out soon enough on their own, and then YOU wont suffer the "kill the messenger" backlash.
Our FOO had us create a M by default. Noticeable lack of vulnerability on both sides. Thus the need to assume and anticipate on BOTH sides. We had no healthy clues as to what self-soothing and interdependency looked like.
We both did the best we could.
Now we are learning more and can do more.....with guidance.
Sorry to hear your partner is taking a break from IC....but this can be healthy and needed. We did this too. The key to this being healthy is that she remain faithful and commited to you, and you to her. Left to ones own accord the temptation to slip back into familiar patterns is great.
IMO, a break from therapy does not mean a total mental vacation. That to be smells dangerously close to wayward patterns. My wife very much took a vacation from her M and her family while in her A. DD had her panicking trying to find out how she can stay on that fantasy island for just a bit longer.
I'm a work in progress. I have stated IC again as I am needing further guidance too.
My impression that you are the codependent one is tied to your partners ability to disconnect from you, to hold back. I know you were coming to her more than she to you in your relationship. My therapist said this "take you or leave you" attitude present in my wife made me the codependent. She drew a circle and put a dot in the middle.
Dot is my wife.
Them she drew arrows in and out....that was me.
The stationary one is the taker, the arrows are the giver.
My wife and I looked at that image. It resonated with both of us.
Kicker is......neither demanded this, neither consciously condened it. It suited us BOTH.....up until it didn't.
My wife in her affair wondered what was wrong in her M......I DID for her more than she wanted. Codependency is unhealthy.....neither really getting needs and desires met. Resentment builds within both partners.
One thing I DO know is that assumptions are deadly. Expressing needs and desires is scary and tricky (at first), but that is the only true path to mature love and bonding.
As a couple learns to do this it takes perseverance and patience (2 traits associated with mature love).
You both are on my SI prayer list.
I want to understand. I do think our situations are similar, yet it seems that we are in reversed rolls.
As far as codependency on my part, my FOO issues contributed to externalizing my worth based on others overt responses but with the act of expressing them. I express them so much that there is little to decipher. I can see how it also can be defeating in that I never seem satisfied. I also come from a family (Italian) that expresses emotion passionately and freely. I'm sure that's overwhelming to those who present more calmly or even hide their feelings, or compartmentalize.
Regardless, infidelity on any level is disgusting and undeserving. Regardless, the emotions I have are warranted, and worthy of compassion without attacks or coaching about how to resolve them, especially from the person that not only had a hand in creating the damage, but who also has no experience handling emotions in a healthy way.
Anyway, I want to keep the dialogue going because I want to understand more about this whole concept. Let me know your thoughts.