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what do you do about healing from before the A?

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womaninflux posted 6/25/2014 11:49 AM

We're now a little more than a year out of DD. Now that the shock of the discovery of the LTA and pornography addiction has been processed, I am now focusing on the years in our marriage before the A began. I find that I am incredibly angry and resentful about that time. One of the reasons is that my husband doesn't own his role in it. He characterizes it as a time we were "always at odds" and arguing about this or that. I brought it up in MC that we need to talk more about this time, that I need him to own that his behavior contributed to it. I own the fact that I did not push the issues, that I should have not allowed him to treat me like he did, that I should have been more assertive and should have recognized there were problems that needed to be confronted. In the months after the discovery of the affair, he said he takes responsibility for the affair but that is it, that he isn't 100% to blame for the years leading up to the affair. My issue is that just because you have decided you are going to try to be a nice person now doesn't wipe away 10+ years of emotional abuse in your marriage. Wow, our MC really has her work cut out for her.

Chinadoll30 posted 6/25/2014 13:43 PM

He isn't 100% to blame for the relationship, you carry 50% of that. He is 100% responsible for the affair. But the relationship as a whole, that's both of you.

lostmylight55 posted 6/25/2014 14:11 PM

Speaking as a wayward I don't agree with the 50% number for dividing up responsibility.

There can be a lot of other factors that play into the percentage game. For example I kept my porn addition well hidden from my BS for our entire relationship. She was completely unaware.

Blame can't be divided equally when one of the spouses is not aware of what the other was/is doing. I can see now how damaging my porn addiction was and it affected every aspect of our relationship. I think trying to break things into percentages only muddies the water.

I am now focusing on the years in our marriage before the A began. I find that I am incredibly angry and resentful about that time.

My BW was very angry too and we had to work through a lot of difficult stuff.

My issue is that just because you have decided you are going to try to be a nice person now doesn't wipe away 10+ years of emotional abuse in your marriage.

I agree with this statement. I was very hard on my BW prior to my A with neglect and being emotionally unavailable as well as being very passive aggressive and conflict avoidant. My BW wanted to talk about our issues but I refused to discuss anything and fluffed everything off. I've had to take responsibility for a lot more than just my A. Anything less is a pissing match.

Hope you can work things out.

somethingremorse posted 6/25/2014 14:16 PM

WH here --

It sounds like you are saying your WH says the A was the only problem. I have to think he had the same problems pre-A. I cannot see how most WS' can separate the two. Maybe it's possible, but for me, the issues that were my part of our pre-A M troubles are the same things that allowed me to have an A.

Again, part of the pre-A M problems might have been you. I don't think there is a default 50-50 split, but I also don't think that "keeping score" matters at all.

It sounds like he was emotionally abusive pre-A. I have to imagine that same switch was flipped when he moved onto the A.

neecee posted 6/25/2014 19:56 PM

Duplicate post

[This message edited by neecee at 8:14 PM, June 25th (Wednesday)]

neecee posted 6/25/2014 20:12 PM

I can totally relate. I too have a lot of anger and resentment for all the shit my FWH put me through pre-A. My marriage pre-A was horrendous. For the past 4 year my WH has had serious issues, from drug addiction (which he kicked 3 years ago) to insane jealousy (low self esteem issues that were magnified from guilt of drug addiction) anyway, he was so out of control with his jealousy issues that we were fighting constantly and I have spent the last 3 years in a state of constant defensiveness. That is not a fun place to be and most certainly doesn't make for a happy marriage. He says that he didn't think I loved him like I used too because of how we fought all the time, although the fighting was always a result of his jealousy. Looking back now I realize that his jealous behavior had gotten more out of control since his A had begun about a year ago. It makes sense now that he was projecting his guilt onto me. It infuriates me that the fighting and bad feelings between us that caused him to feel "less loved" by me and led him to make the worst choice of his life, all happened because of HIM. He takes 100% of the blame and admits that none of these reasons where any excuse to ho and have an A. He knows that he was emotionally abusive to me and just a bad husband and father. The only upside to any of this is that he realizes what an asshole he was and how badly he treated and neglected me and our kids and he is in IC to help him be a better father, husband and human being. So yes, I put about 90% of the blame on my FWH, I am at fault for how I reacted to his treatment of me. Its never easy being the one on the receiving end of someone's selfish destructive behavior. GOOD LUCK, I Hope you find happiness together again.

[This message edited by neecee at 8:15 PM, June 25th (Wednesday)]

sadone29 posted 6/26/2014 08:53 AM


I can relate, as I'm sure you know by now! About a month ago, I got 'the talk' from H. He told me that he wants to move forward, that he needs space to be this 'new' guy he is now. He quickly realized that this talk was damaging, that it was actually part of his old self talking. It took me weeks to feel comfortable going to him with my pain again.
His sponsor tells him over and over again that he has to do a living amends for the REST OF HIS LIFE. That is the consequence of what he has done. And he is getting it, slowly but surely.
That is the SA's job.

Our job is to learn to learn to stand up for ourselves, to love ourselves and to explore forgiveness. We do have to go deep inside and figure out if we can even forgive to move forward (whether we stay or not).

And, if our spouses can't live up to his side of recovery, we have to face that reality and see if we can really live with that.

womaninflux posted 6/26/2014 22:55 PM

I really appreciate the feedback, especially from the fWHs.

Part of my struggle has been to stand up for myself after trying to placate my husband for so long.

I'm NOT sorry...I am not taking 50% of the blame for the shit that happened in our marriage before the A. He was addicted to porn (unbeknownst to me) way before I ever met the guy. How is that my fault? How would I ever know that it had a hand in him ignoring me and abandoning me in every context of that word in our marriage? How am I supposed to give him - or anyone - the gift of trust again?

sadone29 posted 6/27/2014 08:17 AM

It's not your fault. I agree that we shouldn't shoulder any of the blame. H was also addicted long before we met.

I remember our first MC told us that trust would get back to 95%. I thought he had lost his mind! I don't think I will ever fully trust anyone ever again. Right now I'm working on trusting myself and God to let me know if I need to leave.

Neverwudaguessed posted 6/27/2014 09:27 AM

Here is a very difficult topic; the state of a marriage prior to an affair. Yes, both parties play a role in the state of the marriage. However, if we accept the premise that a wayward is broken and has poor, if not non-existent, coping skills, which leads them to have an affair in the first place, then how are we to completely separate that from how it contributed to the state of the marriage? If a broken person has poor coping skills, and difficulty navigating through the ups and downs of an intimate relationship, then how is their "brokeness" not majorly responsible for their interactions within the marriage which causes the majority of the malfunction leaving the betrayed confused and wanting things to be better, but unable to do it alone.

More and more of that dynamic is becoming exposed over time through MAJOR examination and MC and it has actually made me so sad to see that my husband's brokeness has led him to misinterpret the meaning behind every conflict that we have ever had. His belief that every time I expressed anger I was calling him a failure ruled every disagreement we had. How could we ever resolve a thing if he viewed any expression of anger as disapproval? All of this developed WAY before I came into the picture 20 years ago. This came from growing up in a sick household where he had to figure out how to survive intact.

Being able to delve deep into the dynamics and feelings behind his actions within our marriage prior to the affair is the ONLY way that I am healing from the all of the damage and hurt that has been inflicted. It is a long and painful process that needs to be don with a wayward who is extremely motivated to become a happier and more healthily functioning individual both for himself and for his spouse and family. VERY painful stuff, but it CAN be done; it really can. I am sorry for your pain.

womaninflux posted 6/27/2014 11:14 AM

Neverwudaguessed - Thanks for your response. Can you be more specific about how you are getting to the nitty gritty? I need some pointers about what/how I can bring up discussion points in MC.

Here I am...15 or so months out from DD...the A discussion has pretty much run its course. Yes, there are some things I still wonder about, but they aren't things I feel like WH is hiding and I don't think much of it is terribly relevant any longer. I feel like the horse is dead and there is no need to keep beating it. Like I said, my main struggle lately has been the need to address the state of our marriage before the A took place. I'm not satisfied with explaining it away as "we both contributed to it." We both came into the marriage with certain deficits and coping mechanisms. Mine were more passively damaging, his were more aggressive and overtly damaging. I need him to own this and see how damaging his behaviors were to me as a wife, mother and person.

Neverwudaguessed posted 6/27/2014 14:28 PM

So these things are now coming to light since the affair discussions have begun to wain, just like you have explained. Now we are left with how wet relate, and we hit rough patches in that area. We bring these arguments or conflicts into the session, and the MC begins to notice some patterns and helps us to explore what each was thinking or feeling when we are busy reacting in an unhealthy way. It seems to be more of my Husband than me, although, I do have a way of not digging far enough to get to the hurt. I stop at anger and of course that is not a good way to get through the issue. But as I said, more often it is he who responds most unhealthily. When she explores with him what makes him respond that way, we end up being able to see that he makes assumptions about the messages in my comments or relating that are untrue, and often he feels like I am saying that he has done wrong, or failing when that is not the case. It seems that this way of automatically thinking that I am criticizing him comes from how he grew up and he didn't even realize how off base he was. She is helping to clarify that most often conflict from my end comes when I feel that he is not connecting with me. When I am not feeling close to him or that I am a priority. Rather than telling him that he is a failure, she is helping him to see that I am telling him that I want to be close to him. A COMPLETELY different message, and he is right now very shocked at how wrong he has been- for YEARS that is what I mean about how their brokenness can contribute significantly to the dynamics or stat of the marriage prior to the affair, and often largely responsible for how the affair can actually happen in the first place. I hope that this was not really confusing or self-indulgent.

plainpain posted 6/27/2014 15:51 PM

I completely relate to this topic. I feel like for 18 years I was in a marriage with a con-man. He was not who I thought he was.. he lied about his whole self to me. I still have a lot of anger about that, and grief and shame. I have emotionally divorced myself from that husband and that marriage. We took new vows with each other, in full truth and knowledge of who the other person was. My H is not that old husband any more, and if he ever comes back I am gone. It helps monumentally that my H takes full responsibility for all of it - although I do also fully own my part. Honestly, I feel like the A was just the culmination of 20 years of A "foreplay".

We had an unspoken deal - I would give him freedom to be and do, to flirt, to lie, to over-spend money, etc. I would put up with his emotional abuse, his mixed messages, his push-pull, his long work hours, his absentee parenting, his mother... in return, he would never cheat on me. That was my "deal". So when he did cheat, it felt like a whole big pile of 'WHAT THE F**K, how could you do that to me after EVERYTHING I gave up of myself to be the "perfect wife"'. In retrospect, of course, it was a very unhealthy marriage. I didn't see it then, but I do now.

There is a lot to heal from, but there is also so much to learn and grow from.

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