This will be a ramble so please bear with me. I had this whole thing written out while in bed and hit a wrong button and then it was gone. I'd like all responses so the stop sign is off.
I am struggling. My title says I don't know what to think. It might also say I don't know how to feel. Or I don't take time to think.
Here is my background. I am the 3rd of 4 kids. I grew up with little love (not a fan of using that as any type of excuse). My father traveled a lot and there was talk of affairs (maybe even gay affairs) but I have no proof and I've never asked him about it. My mother is an alcoholic. I was sexually abused by my sibling when I was 9 or 10. It was a one-time event and I buried it for some time. It rears its' ugly head every once in awhile. I didn't tell a soul until 2 years ago - when I was 47 years old. I was told by a psychiatrist that this is normal.
Someone posted this past week on intimacy and I found that it hit very close to home although I don't normally speak in those terms and I sometimes feel that "I have intimacy issues" is somewhat of a catch-all phrase. I have cut off, for the most part, my FOO. I still speak to some of them but the truth is our relationships are superficial. Who's to blame for that I don't know but I know I bear my fair share of responsibility. It's one thing to recognize that another thing to actually act on it.
I have no friends. I've never allowed myself to be vulnerable. I'd make friends but as things got to close I'd back off (except of course my AP). My BS has made a very interesting insight that she feels that the only relationships that I am comfortable with are those where I perceive myself as superior. My marriage is a good example. I didn't treat my wife as an equal. I sometimes made her feel completely inferior. My affair is another since it started when the person actually worked for me. Other friendly relationships at work are with subordinates who by virtue of them being subordinates defer to me. They "yes" me.
My BS always says to me that we were never right for each other. And I always say that's untrue. Here is what is true. I never fully gave myself to her. And that is not her fault although she might say she wasn't the right person to make that happen. It's because I was simply scared. I was insecure. I lived (and still live to some degree) in fear. The fear of complete and total vulnerability. It's why I couldn't give her all the truth despite her begging and pleading for it. She was right in front of me. The person who chose me as their life partner. There is no greater commitment than that. And I blew it.
I've come to realize through therapy, and just through some general thinking, that people bring their FOO issues to their adult relationships. These life experiences influence how they speak, how they react to a situation, and what they perceive as right or wrong. And if you are unaware of this or if you are not open to this type of thinking (as in you are completely self-centered like me)then you will fail. That seems pretty simple if you think about. I mean really, you're just figuring this out? The answer for me is yes. As an example, I use to perceive that when my wife expressed an alternate point of view that she was actually attacking me. This ultimately grew into resentment. It ultimately led me to leave the marriage but stay married. That is simply unfair. How I wish I had the skill set to have expressed to her all that I was feeling. That I was stunted emotionally because of all my baggage. That I didn't know how to set myself free to be completely intimate with her. To be completely vulnerable. She was right there. Today she would way to me "I don't care". And I don't blame her.
One and a half years of trickle truth which ended 2 days ago. And she always knew something was missing. She begged and pleaded to know what she needed to forgive me for. But I couldn't give her that. Why? Why did I hang on to that information? Was it power? Was it the fear I mentioned above? Or both? What is it about me that I couldn't find either the empathy or sympathy or whatever the right word is to tell her the whole truth? Why after all this time did I put myself above her and my family after I committed to them that I would change? I know I don't want to be that way. I know I care deeply for my BS and my kids. Do I care about me more?
I think I can "hear" some of the responses already. "You're working on yourself". I know that. But that's not good enough sometimes. I want to know how I can put this into practice every day. Who can share with me how they do it with everything else going on in life. It is so hard to stop, think and listen. I hate not being at home for my family but right now this is best. It gives me time to think and my BS time to finally start to heal from the catastrophe I've brought down upon her. I hope it gives my kids the time to heal but they need their dad. I hope I can take this strength and use it today. And if I can, then use it again tomorrow and so on. I hope that when I am alone, as I am right now, and not typing to the SI community, when I am truly alone, that I can find the strength to continue down this very bumpy and winding path.