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Does anybody really understand...

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needhelp123 posted 6/7/2014 18:22 PM

the devastation that this causes? When does it finally hit you that you've destroyed everyone around you? Can you really understand unless you are in their shoes? Is it when you've finally been asked to leave the house for the final time and see the disappointment on your kids face? Is it seeing your BS in a heap hysterically crying knowing her whole world has come crashing down. Is it their face when you tell them wait, there's more. Or are you still concerned for yourself and what this all means to you? Can you ever really get it if you are someone who has been so self-centered their whole lives? It seems so hard to work through this personality trait.

Stop sign is off because I'd like to know what other BS' believe.

Sparkle0504 posted 6/7/2014 18:41 PM

Hey Needhelp

Some of you get it and step up, some of you don't (as in my SAWH).

I'm alone tonight, my business is going to close (with 1 redundancy) in 3 weeks and I'm going to have to move out of our home (the tenancy's in his name) with my children (desperately hoping we can find somewhere close enough that my kids wont have to change schools) and I'm so hurt I can't sit down, stand up, I don't want to be in my own skin. ALL because of my WH's SA wayward behaviour. I don't think he has the emotional capacity to understand the destruction he's caused (and not just for me, but throughout his life).

I'm leaving, it's toxic here and I need to protect myself. If he understood, therefore showed remorse and did the work on himself he so desperately needs, it would be a completely different story and chances are, I guess, I wouldn't be sitting here now and he wouldn't be hiding out in a house in the next village.

I don't think you can always understand completely someone else's pain unless you've experienced it yourself. However, someone with well grounded, normal emotions should be able to grasp the enormity of it all.

Clearly you have an idea, or you wouldn't have asked the question. Or be on SI most likely.

Kudos to you

[This message edited by Sparkle0504 at 6:43 PM, June 7th (Saturday)]

bionicgal posted 6/7/2014 18:45 PM

I am not sure how I, as a BS, will ever know if my H "gets it" fully. I see evidence of both empathy and remorse. His actions show that he he attentive, and present. Can he feel what I feel? No, but he tries, and my pain hurts him.

I also imagine that I can only understand partially what it felt like to be him -- so lost, and so out of touch with reality, that he could think it was ok to do this to someone. I can hear him talk about it, but can I really relate? Can I relate to what it feels like to look in someone else's eyes that are full of pain, and know that I caused it? For no reason?

So, I guess it goes both ways.

stunnedmullet posted 6/8/2014 05:52 AM

As a BS I truly don't think a WH can. They can empathise and see the devastation within their BS but I honestly don't think that my WH can truly understand the total devastation he caused. I can't understand how WH felt in the lead up to or during the affair or how he feels now because I can't understand ever being that selfish to disregard someone like he did to me and all I ever wanted or needed was my WH so turning to someone else is just a concept I never will or never want to understand.

TheIrishGirl posted 6/8/2014 06:24 AM

I think the WS can see the pain and witness it, and then come to understand that it's a pain unlike any others and that it is to an extent that you can't understand unless it happens to you. And the pain from a subsequent affair by the BS probably still doesn't create the same kind of pain because it can't come as such a shock once infidelity has become part of the relationship.

I've tried to explain it to my WH. Getting married is the biggest promise you can make- in front of God (if that's your thing) and all the most important people in both of your lives you promised to 'love and cherish'- the A is the opposite of both of those words. "Take this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity". Or not... Those are the most sacred words to many people and they've been tossed out.

I'm a rape survivor, and the emotions following DDay were essentially the same- the shock, horror, humiliation, violation- it's all there. He took something that was not his to take and I didn't get a say in the matter. My history may have compounded the issue because for me to have put so much trust in someone after what I'd been through took a conscious effort, and then have WH break the trust just shattered the sense of safty I'd built with him.

Explaining all of what I put above to him really tore him down, and I could see the excruciating pain in his eyes for having put me into the BS category, but his pain about the matter is just different from mine. His is self induced and self loathing, and for as much as I know it pains him, he made that bed and now he's lying in it. I didn't chose this for me, it was not an accident, and it came from the person who asked me to marry him. Being on the receiving end of that kind of pain isn't something you can grasp without being there.

UKgirl posted 6/8/2014 06:38 AM

If a wayward truly does understand, then unfortunately they understand too late.

WH knew the devastation it would cause Ė we had witnessed it at close hand. No fewer than five couples were going through the maelstrom caused by infidelity. We had one friend on our doorstep one evening, absolutely distraught. WH brought in a bottle of wine, a box of tissues and tactfully left the room for [girlfriend] to cry all over me. He had a friendís wife hysterically crying down the phone to him, begging him to do something. WHís oldest bf was in the depth of a LTA and living away from home. His wife (who WH also went to school with) was a ghost of the person she had been before. Another couple were splitting Ė even though the WH had done everything (including a very expensive round the world trip with vow renewals on Bali beach) to try and fix things. It was awful to watch and be around. I thought we were safe. I thought he would never, ever do such a thing. And yet he chose to start an affair with his ex-fiancee while all this was going on. Oh, and my bf was getting divorced too.

How could he NOT have known what it would do to me? Because what he was doing was ďdifferentĒ. It always is though, isnít it? He didnít think ahead at all. Thatís what he said, anyway. And then later, when he was well into the affair, he thought I would never find out.

I wonder whether or not he does understand. Or if he is slightly removed from the true emotions of others and only concerned with his own. And yes, he has been self centred all his life. He came first at all times. And I always put myself last. He tries to put me first now, but itís too late.

I say kudos to you too needhelp123. If you donít fully understand, at least you are trying to. And thatís a big step, imo.

UKgirl posted 6/8/2014 06:45 AM

t/j Ė Irishgirl, I was raped too. But it wasnít personal. I didnít even know the guy. He was a complete stranger. Wrong place, wrong time. I wasn't seriously hurt and I got over it. The wilful betrayal by WH was extremely personal and cut much, much deeper. Just my experience.

cantaccept posted 6/8/2014 08:10 AM

I don't know if anyone can truly understand, the closest would be empathy, trying to imagine.

The most important thing for you is the desire to understand, caring about what this has done. Facing your actions and trying to make the necessary changes to create healing and safety.

My wh did not understand. He saw the pain but it scared him, he ran from it. He saw the devastation and chose to inflict the exact same pain with a new ap in spite of seeing what the first affair did to me.

So, he saw it but did not understand it. Maybe just cared more about himself.

I don't think that if you could really understand you would ever do that to another, especially the one you claim to love.

It seems to me that at least you want to understand. Being here on SI, asking questions. Wanting to learn. THat is being brave, that is caring. Keep it up.

Sparkle0504 posted 6/8/2014 08:19 AM

Sadly I can so relate to this

t/j Ė Irishgirl, I was raped too. But it wasnít personal. I didnít even know the guy. He was a complete stranger. Wrong place, wrong time. I wasn't seriously hurt and I got over it. The wilful betrayal by WH was extremely personal and cut much, much deeper. Just my experience.

Our WSs were supposed to have our backs and in many cases have been the only people we (thought we) could trust.

cantaccept posted 6/8/2014 08:43 AM

This probably does not belong here but here it goes.

I was sexually abused as a child, by people that should have protected me. The thing of it was, these people had always hurt me, I expected them to hurt me, I did not trust them, ever, at least from earliest memory.

With wh, I trusted him to not intentionally hurt me. That is what is so devastating, the betrayal of trust when it was given. Betrayal of trust from the one person you believed would protect you.

I think it probably is harder when you have been through a trauma previously. Only because giving trust is not an easy thing for you, you are cautious, it feels like a huge gift to give that trust. I don't know but it sure brings up a lot of the past feelings of abandonment and fear of the world.

Wh would often state that what happened to me as a child was worse. He could not understand that his betrayal was a shock to me, cut so much deeper because I did trust him. He could not understand that those others from childhood never had my trust so it wasn't as shocking, it was just more of the same, not new just a new way of abusing.

My therapist said that he was using this to minimize what he did when in reality he should see that because of my previous experiences it cut even deeper. That it should make him feel more compassion for me, not less.

Ok, I am done here. I am feeling that this is the wrong forum.

Sorry if this is a tj, just really triggered some emotions in me.

Some understand, some don't.

n0tm3 posted 6/8/2014 10:04 AM

needhelp123, kudos to you if you are in the first category. My WH is still concerned for himself and what all this means to him. He is focused on his on recovery. My recovery is my own. He also loves the fact that anything he doesn't want to own he just puts it into FOO. Your registration date is similar to mine. I do hope you are further than we are in your recovery. The IrishGirl I really like what you wrote. I copied it and sent to my husband. I don't think he will get it but if he does a little bit than there might be hope for us.

hopingforhappy posted 6/8/2014 12:04 PM

My FWH tries to understand, which is good. The thing that he has difficulty with and I think he may never come to understand, is the concept of triggers. When I trigger, he thinks that it is similar to dwelling on it or ruminating about it. He thinks that it is something that I have control over (his IC has worked with him a lot on not letting your thoughts take control of you, being in the moment, etc.). I have tried to explain that a trigger is different, that I don't think about the A most of the time--but something can happen that brings vivid thoughts rushing into my brain and I don't have control over that.

I have been diagnosed with PTSD and I just don't think my FWH has had any personal experience that can come close, that will allow him to understand what is happening to me. Of course, I will agree that I have never had any personal experience that will allow me to understand where he was mentally when he started his A, so I guess the best either of us can do is try to empathize.

Trying to empathize does require you to put aside your own feelings and focus on someone else's feelings, and if you have been self-centered, that can be difficult. It took my FWH a long time and he is still a work in progress. It is very, very hard work. I would say that you have taken the first step by identifying the problem (unremorseful WS blame everything on someone or something else). Many self-centered people never get that far, so good for you. It is not a lost cause, keep working on yourself!

needhelp123 posted 6/8/2014 18:18 PM

Thanks for all the responses. First off, I don't want or deserve credit for anything. I'm just trying to understand. The fact is IF I could have put myself in my BS' shoes it wouldn't have taken 1.5 years to get all the truth out. I wouldn't have made a promise to my family that I would always do the right thing because I was not capable at the time of doing so. IF I was I would've given my BS the details she so desperately needed to start to heal.

I still question myself because I still feel sometimes that I want to live the future and not discuss the past. Does that mean I understand and want to move on? Or, does it mean I don't understand but I want to move on. Something I need to discuss with my therapist.

I am both the child of an alcoholic and suffered a sexual abuse by a sibling. I know I have trust issues. I know I have fear issues. And I know that these interfered with my ability to speak and then suffer the consequences. I hope until now. But I can't make the promise can I? I JUST came clean to my BS 2 days ago and have been in weekly therapy sessions for 1.5 years. I wonder if there is something in these life experiences that basically allowed me to lie to the most important people in my world just to save myself. And if that is the case, how do I stop lying? How do I ensure that the truth always wins out.

cantaccept posted 6/9/2014 06:03 AM

First, if you have only given her the whole truth 2 days ago, she is destroyed right now, in shock. She is at day #1 of the pain, shock, confusion and PAIN.

Do not expect anything from her right now but give all you have. Help with the kids, make sure there is food she likes available and offer it to her. Make sure she is drinking water.

You say you have been in therapy for 1.5 years but cannot put yourself in her shoes. Have you discussed your lack of empathy? Have you been honest in therapy? Have you honestly brought up the issues and feelings that you have?

Therapy will not work unless you do the work. You need to bring up the issues, even if they are embarrassing, painful to talk about, even if you know that you should be doing things differently, you need to talk about it if you are still doing them. Just knowing is not enough, you need to be able to change.

We all have experiences as children, some good, some bad. They affect how we are as adults. Once you recognize that they are not healthy, you have the choice to confront your behaviors, your thoughts, your attitudes. You have the power to work for change. You are not a child any longer, no one can force you to do things any longer, you have the power to become the person that you want to be.

How badly do you want it?

lovemywife4ever posted 6/9/2014 08:05 AM

She says I don't understand. When I see her in tears on our bedroom floor, it kills me. I hate that I did this to her. I understand how it makes me feel to see her torn up. I feel like a failure.

sorrowfulmate posted 6/9/2014 08:12 AM

We can't really understand it. We are on the other side of things. We have our own devastation that we go through.

But we got to sit on the sidelines and destroy their lives with a nuclear warhead, we got hit with the flash and the wave, but we weren't in the epicenter of the explosion.

That is the difference as I see it.

I read the "Just found out" board, and a few other blogs by betrayed so that I can get a better feeling for what my wife is going through. It helps but I can't know the full damage unless I live it myself.

islesguy posted 6/9/2014 11:31 AM


It took a while for me to understand the devastation for a few reasons. 1) I spent many years downplaying and rationalizing what I had done. 2) I was selfish also and didn't consider how my actions effected everything. 3) I unfortunately needed to actually see the real pain and suffering in my wife to understand how much pain I had caused.

If you truly understand, you realize that everything in your life has been effected, and everyone in your family has suffered because of your wayward choices. My kids, some of who were not even born at the time are effected every day because of my actions years ago.

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