Wow, you have no idea how badly I needed this tonight. No idea. I don't share the vast majority of the bad stuff on the boards because I have so much trouble trusting people to be supportive. I had some bad experiences here early on that caused me to withdraw in terms of sharing to get support. I mostly share and give advice and try to help people because that is safer. And it makes me feel good.
Because of the PTSD my life is pretty much in a tailspin. I struggle every day. My FWH is not dealing with it well and things get pretty bad at times.
A few months ago I finally got up the courage to join a local support group for spouses of SA. Everyone said it was exactly what I needed. I needed to overcome my codependence (That's what "the experts" label all spouses of addicts with, but frankly I believe they are wrong about me. At least in terms of my marriage and my relationship with FWH. I certainly do have *some* codep issues but they mainly involve my enmeshment with my family and I've *mostly* done the work and detached) But I digress... So, I finally join this group to reach out for support because at the time SI wasn't helping and the Spouses of SA thread was not active at all.
Rather than make me feel less isolated it's made me feel MORE isolated. My situation is so different from everyone else that they just can't relate to me. There are only two of us in the group whose husbands had PAs, the other 8 are convinced that their husbands are "only" addicted to porn and masturbation. (I seriously suspect that two of them are in for a very rude awakening when their husbands get around to disclosure) I know that having a husband addicted only to porn/masturbation is painful. I know it's a betrayal. I'm not discounting their pain at all, but they cannot even begin the comprehend the pain and betrayal of having your husband screw multiple other women. It's just a whole different ballgame. Also, out of 10 women at least 7 knew that their husbands liked porn, possibly too much, before they married them and went in thinking they could change them. I was BLINDSIDED by everything. They are all deeply religious and I am not. (To each their own I'm happy it's helpful for them, it's just not for me.) Most are much younger than me. 5 of the 10 have no children and have no idea how deeply that impacts the dynamics of all this shit. Anyway, there's more but that gives you the general idea. So, on to the point of this. As a group we are supposed to make phone calls to each other during the weeks between meetings to support each other and share. No one ever calls me with the exception of 2 people and their calls are spotty at best. I've made calls and left messages and didn't get called back. I've emailed the entire group and tried to start dialogs that way and gotten no responses. They've all paired off or grouped into 3s and only call each other. It's clearly demarcated by age. I stopped making calls and withdrew to SI where I could help others.
FWH and I have been having problems because we are in completely different places in recovery. He has not reached the place where he can truly hear me and take responsibility for the pain and damage he's caused and empathize with me. He can intellectually when I am calm but not when I am in crisis What happened on Saturday is a prime of example of how he falls short when I'm in crisis. Sadly, there have been some instances when it ended up getting physical (shoving) and I've been a little banged up. Yes, this is NOT good. Yes, I know that it's abuse. No, he doesn't beat me. Yes, any physical contact in anger is NOT ok. I set boundaries and consequences and he's working hard on his anger. I just needed to TALK about it. I just needed to be heard. I just needed to have a voice somewhere. So I shared with the group. The entire group ganged up on me and tried to get me to leave him. When I tried to explain the very complicated reasons why I am not in a position to leave they said I was making excuses and then wouldn't discuss it further. If I wasn't willing to leave him, they didn't want to talk to me anymore. I didn't share anything at group for two weeks. I only offered support and advice to others. Then the counselor up and decides to give up the group (in favor of starting and running another men's group) and turn it over to another counselor. Just what a bunch of women with abandonment issues needs.
So I went into tonight's meeting and told the new counselor and the group how I was feeling. I explained that I wasn't getting any calls and owned the fact that I wasn't making any either but that it was partially motivated by feeling like no one wanted to talk to me. I expressed hurt that when I couldn't accept the advice being thrown at me I felt that everyone was angry at me and that I was no longer worthy of their compassion. I said that I was on the fence about whether to stay in the group or leave. The new counselor was very nice and validated my feelings then she said, "Ok, group do any of you have anything to say to 7?"
DEAD SILENCE. I kid you not!
I wished the floor would open up and consume me. I felt physically ill. Huge adrenaline rush and all the blood rushed to my face. Then the "I'm gonna shit my pants" feeling hit again. I just stared at the floor and then this weird thing happened. I felt this uncontrollable urge to laugh and had to suppress it. I ended up sitting there trying not to laugh with tears in my eyes and this demented grin on my face. Because what was running through my head was a very sarcastic voice saying "Of course. That's about right. That's exactly what would happen. Exactly. That's perfect, just perfect." I could see the counselor out of the corner of my eye and she visibly squirmed in her chair at the silence and finally just moved on. I could tell that she was thrown by it.
And people wonder why I don't trust easily. People wonder why I think that others will not be supportive of me. People wonder why I'm so isolated. People wonder why I have panic attacks.
So thank you for validating me. Thank you for appreciating my efforts to be a kind and helpful person. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!! It's you who ROCKS!!!
[This message edited by 7yrsbetrayed at 1:38 AM, June 13th (Friday)]
Because of the PTSD my life is pretty much in a tailspin. I struggle every day.
I second what you said here. I think a lot of us do, and it's great to have others who understand what this does to a person's life...in so many aspects. I'd give anything not to have this.
Better off I sparkle on my own ~ Anna Nalick
Can anyone explain to me what EMDR is though it's not something I've come across before?
Sodisillusioned: EMDR is Eye Movement Desensitation and Recovery (maybe?) can't remember. There's two ways it's done. I only know about the one with light therapy. (The other involves tapping on the chair arm or something). IC had a long light bar that she would put in front of me. The light would travel from the side to side and the point is to follow the light with your eyes while bringing up painful memories. Somehow it's suppose to help your brain reprocess the trauma. At first I did it and was thinking, "this is stupid. How in the WORLD is this going to help?". But I stuck with it and soon the memories were coming forward without me calling them forward and I was sobbing, shaking, etc. I just kept following the light and letting any thoughts come to mind that wanted to. I did feel a sense of relief after it was over. ALMOST peaceful (or as peaceful as someone with PTSD can get). I did it for several months and it was TORTURE to go through (mentally), but it did lessen my symptoms. I did end up with a rare side effect of EMDR (that I didn't know about at the time). I now twitch uncontrollably (like small muscle spasms) whenever I have an A-related thought. Annoying and can be embarrassing when others notice, but still better than the level of pain I was feeling before doing EMDR.
I know what you mean about the anger "saving" you too. This is my LIFE because of what "you" did.
And there are many complicate reasons for staying. Certainly it's not the eye rolling, exasperation and obvious relief when they see they don't have to deal wtih the problem because we're incapacitated by the triggers.
I admire that you and your H are able to fight and come back together. I wonder though, do you have any fear triggers about him leaving? I know I certainly do. I just "know" I'm going to say or do or push too hard one day and it will be all over for him and he'll be released from all the pain and guilt because he won't have to deal with "my" issues any more. And since he doesn't deal with his, he can move right on over to the next victim.
But part of me wants that. Do you understand that?
Try not. Do or do not, there is no try. -- Yoda
I wonder though, do you have any fear triggers about him leaving? I know I certainly do. I just "know" I'm going to say or do or push too hard one day and it will be all over for him and he'll be released from all the pain and guilt because he won't have to deal with "my" issues any more. And since he doesn't deal with his, he can move right on over to the next victim.
But part of me wants that. Do you understand that?
But part of me wants that. Do you understand that?
Oh, absolutely! At one point he told me as much, saying that he couldn't deal with me anymore. I'm scared every day. I wake up fearful every day. After all he's put me through, is today the day he decides he's sick of my shit and moves on to greener pastures? On the other hand, when something like Saturday happens and he's just an ass about it, I wish he would leave and release me from this hell.
So, yeah, I understand.
Living in constant fear like that sometimes in a sick and twisted way, I welcome the blowups. I know how to be angry. I know how to fight. It's concrete. It's predictable (unless he starts shoving me around but he's not done that recently) and I've been doing it my whole life with my mother. She would use me for a release from the tension with my dad, I'd use her as a release from the tension with my dad or the hell that is being a teenager. We'd just explode at each other and have these huge fights. And the next day we'd be best friends again. Sometimes it didn't take that long, sometimes it was within a few hours. My IC had to work with me to stop "poking the bear." I used to tolerate the constant fear as long as I could and then when I just felt like I was going to crawl out of my skin from the fear of what he might do, I'd start a fight to release the tension. I knew how to handle him when he's angry at me and I could be angry back but I couldn't handle the limbo when I felt like I was going to die from the fear and it seemed that he was just all "la, la, la, nothing wrong here."
Has anyone else done that, felt that?
The new counselor was very nice and validated my feelings then she said, "Ok, group do any of you have anything to say to 7?"
DEAD SILENCE. I kid you not!
DEAD SILENCE. I kid you not!
Oh 7, I am so sorry for that. What a bunch of self righteous bitches.
I wish the floor had opened up and swallowed them.
This is not the support group for you, as they are too fearful of their realities, and have absolutely no compassion.
I knew how to handle him when he's angry at me and I could be angry back but I couldn't handle the limbo when I felt like I was going to die from the fear and it seemed that he was just all "la, la, la, nothing wrong here."
Well, you're one up on me. I never fought. Never saw my parents fight. We were a cold shoulder family. Silence. When H does that I want to blow his head off. Either that or patronize me or withdraw into his "therapy" mode "Whatever" and "it is what it is".
I still struggle with detaching and have to read that article over and over.
Like today, he called and asked me to bring him something from home to his worksite. I said fine. I wasn't doing anything. I told him I'd applied for 2 more jobs... his response was to push my biggest button right now "face it, you're old and no one wants you." Started triggering right there on the spot since his OW were so much younger and vital and obviously well-employed (by whoever had the money).
Wish he'd believe it if I handed him $50 and told him I earned it on bj for some landscaper on our street or something. Of course he doesn't think I'm very good at that either.
Why the fuck am I here? I don't think I'll ever get past this with him in my life.
It does explain why a lot of my neurotic behavior and mild OCD has been front & center since the latest D-Day though
FWH met OW while on a business trip so her city is a HUGE trigger for me. Bad enough if I hear the name of the city, but if I see it on tv I actually feel like I'm going to vomit. Can't look. So needless to say I never, EVER want to step foot in that city again. The thought of going there makes me feel like I would literally have a breakdown or go insane.
But I've been wondering if purposely going to that city and making myself confront one of my biggest triggers would help me get past it and heal. Sort of like facing the monster. But also I know that OW still lives there and I don't know what she looks like so I would freak out about every woman I saw.
What do you all think of this? Good idea or bad?
Oh yeah! I'm good with anger and fighting but I hate the silence and the refusal to talk about things. Initially FWH let me talk and ask questions ad nauseum. But like most FWHs he just wanted it all to go away and to be like nothing is wrong. I went through that whole thing where he said he didn't know how long he could take it with me flying off the handle and doing histrionic things to get him to see just how hurt I was and that things couldn't be normal, whatever that was. One night, after too much wine (which I used a lot of just to cope), I started screaming and breaking dishes. This very gentle man, my FWH, clocked me up the side of the head to get me to stop. He immediately felt sick about it. He's never done anything close to that in all our marriage. But you know what. I told him that was far better than not responding to me at all. At least I got a reaction. Yeah, yeah, I know. That's abuse and he would have been locked up if I had called the cops. It didn't even cross my mind. I phoned my sister right after and even she didn't get upset. She got it.
I suffered severe panic attacks years ago. I had just had major cancer surgery and always figured it was due to that. But I had only been married for 6 months when I had that surgery, and on my honeymoon my new H confessed to me he had slept with a girl while we were engaged; three or four times. No emotional attachment; just sex. He wouldn't let me talk about it and in fact gaslighted me something fierce. So I ruminated a whole lot and never brought it up again. I buried it eventually. And then came the panic attacks; crippling. I did learn to deal with them on my own and they did go away. I just stared the fear down and talked to it, "Ok do your thing. Make my heart race, my head light. Make my bowels empty right here in my pants. You can even make me die if you want. I'm not running from you anymore." Took a few weeks to make them go away, but they did. So now when I get the start of a panic attack, I do not get the paralyzing fear anymore mainly because I learned to deal with them all those years ago. I still get the attacks and I still need my clonazepam at times, but they do not control my life.
I've been trying to deal with the PTSD myself. We are not in counseling anymore and doing somewhat better. I think we both have PTSD...my husband from his childhood (very emotionally absent narcissistic family) and me, from my emotionally explosive family and his affair. So, when I need him to be there for me, he tries, but then triggers himself and we end up screaming at each other. It's been hard on both of us.
Right now we can go a week or two without fighting and we get along really well but the more I surpress, the more it builds up. It's like it festers inside and that itself causes a build up then all it takes is a trigger and sometimes not even that for me to go off with all the symptoms described by you all.
I've found that when I can stop myself quick enough...before the rage sets in (because I really relate to the anger making it managable to a point) I will try to do some cardiac exercise. It helps to absorb the adrenaline in my system and I can get out some rage by physically pushing it. I have to have that exercise everyday now and believe me, I have never been an exercise type person.
This has all changed my life and who I am and that itself is a PTSD trigger. Anyway, I'm rambling on here but it's just nice (although I'm sorry we're all riding in this boat) that there are others that can relate and not brush it off to "overreacting". It feels strange because I can logically think, ok, my body is reacting this way inside because of the PTSD but that doesn't seem to relieve it. It's like I'm split in two.
I hope this thread will delve into different ways that have helped people cope and deal with this new resident in our lives and maybe a better understanding of the nature of PTSD and healing from it especially when it was someone we trusted that caused it.
Has anyone else ever experienced this *trembling*?
In fact, I've lived with PTSD for most of my adult life and I know it contributed to the downfall of my M. My STBXH even said to me recently that it was more than he was willing to deal with.
It contributes to my shame for my behavior during the M, but I'm working SO hard right now on releasing that. Feels good.
I'd say I'm dealing really well with this. I don't have those spinning rages, blackouts all most, extreme anxiety. In fact, my memoir is about this, about growing up in an abusive home and how I've come out of it.
Anti anxiety meds were the real turning point for me.
thnks so much for the thread. It feels good to read all of this and know I"m not alone.
I told him I'd applied for 2 more jobs... his response was to push my biggest button right now "face it, you're old and no one wants you."
5/25/07 - Found my voice again. I'm not letting him hold me back from moving on. He's got a choice, get on the "work" train or get out of my life.
weepy, know this, I care about you very much. I want to support you and offer any help that I can. You are a good person and you deserve support and compassion.
What do you guys think about FACING your triggers (aka demons) head on? Good idea or bad?
I started out by reminding myself when I drove past one he did not use that it was just a Motel 6, it was not the "scene of the crime" and therefore I did NOT need to trigger every time I passed it. I just did a lot of self talk. I got to the point where I got numb to the 3 that I drove past the most since luckily they were not the ones he used. The other 2 were harder, one more so than the other. One he used with his one LTA numerous times. The other was a ONS spot. The ONS one is one that I rarely ever HAVE to go past so it does sometimes sneak up on me if I do drive by but the trigger is very mild now. More like "Oh, there's the Motel 6 where he f*cked Marvinna, that heinous bitch." (that trigger was always really more about HER than the location) So anyway, I sort of check on myself...am I panicking? No. I do feel a little sick and I hate that f*ing whore but it's manageable. Deep breath. Ok, it's passed.
The one that was my huge "OMG, I'm going to DIE" feeling one, is the one I decided to confront head on. One time he and I had argued and I left the house. I found myself driving that way and almost turned around to avoid driving past. Instead I made a conscious decision to go there. At first I just intended to get off the highway and drive up to it. I got there and parked on the street, shaking. I just sat and let myself feel it. I cried. I shook. I screamed. A lot. When I was spent I thought about going home but changed my mind. I pulled into the lot, gave myself an hour long pep talk (seriously, it took an hour) and finally got up the courage to go and check in. I was shaking so hard by the time I got to my room I could hardly unlock the door. "Did they f*ck in this room?"
I didn't stay the entire night but I stayed long enough to work through it. A lot of self talk. "7, you cannot live the rest of your life flipping out every time you see a Motel 6. You cannot reasonably believe that you will never need to stay in a Motel 6. It doesn't matter WHERE he f*cked her, he did, that is a fact but it just doesn't matter WHERE. You're letting a location ruin your life. It's stupid." And so on and so forth. I got to the point where I finally laid down and from sheer exhaustion, I fell asleep. I slept for a few hours and when I woke up, I had a little twinge when I realized where I was and then it fell away. I'd slept there and I had spontaneously burst into flames or anything. I hadn't died. I wasn't going to die. I did it. I left and went home.
Now when I pass THE Motel 6 I do still have the thought but I'm always pleasantly surprised that I don't have the panic attack now. I still think about it every time but I no longer "trigger" so I think that is a victory. When I pass the others I usually don't even have the thought. Every once in a blue moon, I'll get the initial panic feeling with no thought before it and it will catch me off guard. Then my brain will catch up and go, "Hey dummy! You passed a Motel 6 and panicked, it's not even one he used. Get over it." I kind of laugh at myself and it's ok.
For me the things that trigger me now seem to be things that I just don't expect or that I haven't confronted in that way. Many days it feels like I'm in a mine field and I trigger every direction I step. It's hard to confront those little ones, it was easier to confront a big one.
I'd like to respond to:
But, it's midnight and I barely slept last night (I think the last time I looked the clock it said 4:18am and I got up at 7:30am) I was one big raw nerve today, crying at the drop of a hat and then I cycled (overcompensating) and got a little "twirly" (manic) this evening and now I'm exhausted. I did two replies and started one to peridot and fell asleep typing. I wouldn't be surprised if this if riddled with ytpos becasue I'm so tired and sick of htting the backspaec key so I can retype. Yep, my automatic checker is turning my screen red with underlined words. I just don't care! LOL So, it's off to bed with 7. I'll be back to talk to all my new friends tomorrow! Thank you all so much. What I didn't find in the real life group, I've found here. You guys rock!
Geez! You'd think I was drunk! Look at all those typos! I'm rpoud of myself I have NEVER left a typo uncorrected (except by accident when I didn't see it) I'm kind of OCD about it. Not tonight. Tonight I'm just going with it. Yay for me! This is surely a sign that I'm giddy from sleep deprivation. Must.sleep.now.
This was the first winter I ever, ever experienced SAD.
It brought me straight back to the years I was grieving for my son.
IC said I was grieving for my M and all that WH has put me through when one has health probs over age 50.
Hope everyone is feeling better.
Living in constant fear like that sometimes in a sick and twisted way, I welcome the blowups. I know how to be angry. I know how to fight. It's concrete. It's predictable