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I lack remorse - why can't I get it right?

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StartingFreshNow posted 8/11/2014 09:30 AM

I take complete blame for my A and the aftermath from it.

I truly thought I felt remorse but after being on this site I realize that's simply not the case. I want to feel true remorse, but I don't. This kills me because I am really a caring, giving individual so the fact I can't/don't feel remorse in a time when I need to is very hard for me to understand. I have compassion for everyone yet I'm failing miserably when it comes to my BH.

For example, this weekend my BH was having a terrible day. I could see it in his face. I asked him about it and he told me he just had so many thoughts going through his head. I validated his feelings and apologized and then bam - I went and spent an hour cleaning the fish tank right in front of him, not offering anything else to him. Now I KNOW that he needs me to talk to him and offer physical touch yet I completely forgot about this when all this was going on. It just didn't cross my mind. What crossed my mind was all incredibly selfish and horrible and I ended up doing what I wanted to do for me instead of what I needed to do to help heal the relationship.

I don't understand why I am so completely out of touch with the process of R. We actually are working towards R. We have decided not to sell our house as planned and instead work on fixing things. However, every time the going gets tough, I completely screw it up and do things that hurt my BH.

What is wrong with me? Where do I look for answers as to why I do this? What kinds of questions do I need to be asking myself? I start IC with a new counselor (our MC) tomorrow so that should help - he's finally a decent counselor and I have high hopes for both our MC and my IC. I just don't know what I should be asking myself to help me find remorse or at least figure out why I don't have it.

Thanks in advance.

Oh, and for the record I DO want to R. I was on the fence for a little while but I am fully committed now.

tangledknot posted 8/11/2014 09:51 AM

I have been dealing with the same issue. I have felt like a sociopath or a black widow spider. But, I realize that is not true. I am a compassionate, loving person. Something is blocking my way to feeling my BH's pain.

I'm just trying to dig through and understand myself. I think part of my issue is rebellion. I feel defiant toward my BH. I believe the best course of action is to be honest about what I am feeling and to continue digging.

You are doing good by being honest with yourself. I don't think it's healthy to pretend.

StartingFreshNow posted 8/11/2014 09:55 AM

I agree - by pretending we are blocking our path to growing, so at least we're trying even if we're not there yet.

timidhope posted 8/11/2014 22:24 PM

You don't have to answer at all if the questions are uncomfortable, I just find that when I get probing questions, it helps me clear mental blocks:

What crossed your mind when you decided to clean the fish tank?
Have you identified why you had an A?
Do you have a different love language than your BH?

I'm not sure there's a right or wrong to remorse. There are generic mindsets/actions that follows along with demonstrating remorse, from what I've read on SI but realistically it's different from couple to couple. It's about meeting his needs in a healthy honest manner of delivery that feels right to you. I think you get that from your post about not pretending but I think you need to delve deeper into why that instinct to protect and soothe him wasn't present when he wanted you.

tired girl posted 8/11/2014 23:17 PM


When your H was expressing how he was feeling what was going through your head?

somethingremorse posted 8/12/2014 01:32 AM

Let me tell you that the shame of what we did can be a huge obstacle to remorse. We are embarrassed, we feel angry at ourselves, confused about the loss of our morals and self identity. Those are all real and powerful feelings. Be mindful of them always.

Unfortunately, if you get blocked by that self shame, it paralyzes you from dealing with your BSs feelings.

IMHO you need to be mindful of your own feelings in order to put them aside,just long enough to seeyour BS'needs. The first step is realizing "I am embarrassed, but BS feels something now." Like any muscle it gets stronger the more you use it.

lovemywife4ever posted 8/12/2014 07:33 AM

I know what you mean. I feel remorseful and have since I did it. My thoughts were of shooting myself. I cried in the shower to hide it from my wife. The day I did this I threw up four or five times and drove for hours trying to figure out where to end my pain. I decided to make her the happiest woman once I stepped foot and recommitted to only her that same day I did this. But what I have found is that those actions I took were selfish. True remorse then would have been telling her, not wanting to die, and being open with her. I felt horrible and truly hated myself for it. I truly wanted to make my wife happy and recommitted and married her. She sees it as selfish and making her choice to marry tainted and without knowledge. My moral of the story is that I am working towards getting my feelings on us as a whole and not me. I stumble and fall everyday, but won't stop trying.

StartingFreshNow posted 8/12/2014 08:15 AM

timidhope -
What crossed your mind when you decided to clean the fish tank?
I was uncomfortable in the situation, I didn't know what to do for him, so I did something distracting. Totally NOT meeting his needs at all.

Have you identified why you had an A?
Somewhat - I'm still working on it but I believe it has to do with the fact I have no boundaries (that's probably obvious) but also because I have a deep seated need to have everyone like me - I am terrified of negative judgement by others. I think that stems from my dad splitting out of my life when I was a young kid and desperately wanted him to be there for me. I also have a problem with needing instant gratification. I don't know why......I'm an only child and I don't think that helped, but I also don't think it's an excuse.

Do you have a different love language than your BH?
Yes - I did try to explain to him that what I did was acts of service even though that's not really why I cleaned it, but he pointed out that he's told me over and over he needs words of affirmation and physical touch. I completely forgot about those at the time though.

tired girl-
When your H was expressing how he was feeling what was going through your head?
The honest answer to this is a terrible one and it's hard to admit. I was wanting to escape. I felt like we have the same conversation all the time and I don't know what to do in those times - nothing I say helps and I just completely forgot he would want touch (he had himself in a situation it was very hard to touch him so it felt like he was purposefully closed off to being touched at the time even though later I found out he wasn't). I just wanted to get away from the conversation though, to be truly honest.

That really sounds like a big part of it for me. When we get into these conversations and I just want them to end so I can get away from it, I am constantly flooded by the shame, embarrassment and disappointment I feel. I will try to be more cognizant to recognize I have those feelings but need to put them aside and help my husband. I guess I get stuck when it's a conversation where he's telling me how bad what I did was, etc. Then it's like he's just reinforcing those feelings and I just want to shut down. I don't know how to respond to him at that point.

The other day I actually had thoughts of escaping it all and you're right- it's a truly selfish thought. It's not remorse. Even though I want to be with my BH more than anything because of the incredible man he is, I am terrible at focusing on him and us rather than on me. Hopefully IC will really help me with this problem. I hope you're in IC as well.

StartingFreshNow posted 8/12/2014 08:39 AM

I just realized I forgot to remove the stop sign - how do I take it off?

tired girl posted 8/12/2014 10:06 AM


What is happening is that yes you are getting stuck in your own feelings of shame, guilt, and all those horrible feelings. The problem is that once again you are putting yourself and how you feel in the front and center when at the moment you should be focusing on your H.

I found early on when that would happen to me, I would visualize putting all those feelings on a shelf until I could deal with them later (when I was alone) and I would stay focused on my H. Often times as waywards we are so used to getting wrapped up in our own shame and feelings that we are used to letting those feelings carry us away. We are not used to being tapped into what our spouses are going through. For whatever reason we have blocked that. You need to tune back into that now. There is always time for you to walk away and deal with your own feelings. Your H needs for you to stay tuned in. It will take practice but if you stay mindful you can learn to do it.

WalkinOnEggshelz posted 8/12/2014 10:09 AM

nothing I say helps and I just completely forgot he would want touch

I am going to be very direct and call you on this. If you have had this conversation before, you didn't forget. I would be willing to bet that you are withdrawing when he does because going towards him and providing him with the touch and words of affirmation he asked you for makes you too vulnerable. You would be risking rejection and you are afraid to put yourself out there.

Your recent waffling in regards to R makes it even more risky. He rejects you and them what? You change your mind again? This is hard stuff. You need to commit. You need to let yourself get really uncomfortable because that's when the good stuff happens. Everything you do will be hit and miss for quite some time. There will be times when your affections will bounce right off him. There will be times when he will sink into your arms. But you will never know which is which unless you try. Holding back will just push him further away.

Don't let fear stand in your way. At this point there is nothing to lose.

StartingFreshNow posted 8/12/2014 11:09 AM

tired girl -
thank you - I will definitely try that approach, it will take practice, but like you said, I can learn to do it. It might even take me writing down my personal feelings real quick so I can get them out of my head to focus on BH. I know he needs that but I suppose it's out of habit that I have trouble following through. I need to practice EVERY time and deal with the uncomfortableness of it all.

Thank you for calling me on that. I think you're partially right. I know at the time it didn't even cross my mind to touch him so I am honest when I say I forgot but I think you're right in the sense that deep down I didn't forget. I suppose I'm lucky but he's never rejected me when I've given him touch. He might not be open to it but he's never rejected it either. I'm probably overly sensitive but him not reciprocating the touch feels like rejection to me. I need to remember it's not. I also need to remember I deserve rejection if that's how he's feeling and need to get over the fear of it.

Even he pointed out today that we need to get used to having these uncomfortable conversations because they are exactly what we used to avoid and what part of our problem is. That's part of how we got so distant to start with.

Thank you for your insight.

NewWorldMan posted 8/12/2014 12:03 PM


I could have written those same exact responses.

It's almost shocking to me that so many of us have such similar, and in some cases, identical issues.

This is why I visit SI. I still have issues to address, and I often find answers here.

It's good to see that you're doing the right things.

StartingFreshNow posted 8/12/2014 12:34 PM

I'm trying at least! :)

StartingFreshNow posted 8/13/2014 09:05 AM

Does anyone know how to remove the stop sign? I can't do it through edit and I didn't mean to have it up. Oops!

wifehad5 posted 8/13/2014 11:01 AM

I'll put in a request with the Administrators

StartingFreshNow posted 8/13/2014 11:17 AM

Thanks - I won't make that mistake again! :)

somethingremorse posted 8/13/2014 11:27 AM

Even he pointed out today that we need to get used to having these uncomfortable conversations because they are exactly what we used to avoid and what part of our problem is. That's part of how we got so distant to start with.

BW and I have had times where one of us did something that really disturbed the other. Mostly we hashed it out very soon afterwards. In all of those cases, we said out loud that it was great that we could have those conversations and disagreements in the open, instead of swallowing them. It makes both of us hopeful for the future. Neither of us want the distance that we had during the As.

wifehad5 posted 8/13/2014 13:48 PM

Please note, the Stop Sign has been removed. BS' s can now post

holesinmybucket posted 8/13/2014 18:22 PM


My FWH has had lots of struggles with this type of behavior. For him, I think this has been somewhat of a life long pattern. FWH, would be forever headlong into a house project. The more fear and shame he was under, the more deep he would sink himself. During the worst of his WH behavior..I kid you not...he put up a pergola in one day! This was his escape from his own mind and thoughts. He was an escape artist :)

For my FWH, I believe he came to a point when he realized that "escaping" is what got him so far down the rabbit trail to begin with. If he would have forced himself to look at the damage his action would cause. His conscious may have stopped the A or not even started it in the first place.

At one point, I said " If you think it is hard being vulnerable, try being me". Being open, for the BS is extremely difficult to do...yet it is necessary for trying the heal the damage. You have to take the lead on this. I would even say, maybe you should bring it up on your own. Share you pain and feelings with you BH. Something like, " I have been thinking about how badly I have hurt you and all the damage I have caused. I am so very sorry I let you down and scared your soul".

Be willing to feel rejected and understand that your BH is feeling very rejected, also. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable and stay and not run. Look your BH in the eyes and open your soul, he deserves it. Show your BH how to be vulnerable, again.

Your BH is carrying a very heavy weight on his back, that you put there. Step up, be there to take some of the weight off, so he can take the next breath.

Wishing you the best

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