For all of her life, my W has loathed herself - she felt she's too academic, too opinionated, too unwilling to adjust to what (she thinks) men want, too unfashionable, unattractive, cold, not sexy enough, not good enough at cooking or housekeeping, not a good mother, and not a good wife.... She just doesn't see much worthwhile in herself.
To me, however, some of her self-defined awfulness doesn't matter to me at all, and some are the very things that attracted me. I just like her. I just accept her as she is. That's my greatest gift to her
The problem for me starts with the fact that she doesn't take in my acceptance. She doesn't believe that I love her, and that what breaks my heart.
In fact, however, she takes in as much love as she can - it's just not enough for me.
The solution, I think, is for me to remember that it's enough for me to offer my gifts. She gets to choose how much she takes in.
For our R to complete, she needs to be able to accept a lot more love than she can now (among other things), but she's not there yet, and only she can make the necessary changes. I've forgotten that different gifts hit the spot for different people. A good gift for her is to accept tat she'll take in a lot less love than she's given.
I have an idea why it's so hard for my W to accept love and why she's so fearful, but I'll leave it to her to talk about or not.
Thanks for your comments, which have been very helpful in getting trough the pain to a point where I can start to mend.
It's hard to know you can't make someone love themself. And that is a big burden for one partner to carry.
It sounds like your W is really trying very hard. It sounds as though she has a deep love for you, dear man, she just has to work through a lot of crap. It is great how you talk with each other.
"Oh, why do my actions have consequences?" ~ Homer Simpson
"She knew my one weakness: That I'm weak!" ~ Homer Simpson
Despite being talented, independent and a generally wonderful person she never found any merit in herself. She was never good enough and never worthwhile. It was always there from the beginning, the low self-esteem and lack of recognition for her positives. I just didn't agree with what she pointed out was wrong with her.
I too fell in love with my wife as is. I loved her for who she was. Good, bad and everything in between. I simply loved her for her. She never understood. Never. Not one bit of her could understand how I could love her.
Her mother didn't love her, her father didn't, nor her sister or brother. No one in her extended family. No friends, teachers, anyone really. At least not in a way she understood love. It was never modeled for her healthily. So how on earth could I love her? No one else did.
This feedback loop kept running through her head. She's worthless. Why? Because no one loved her. Why did no one love her? She's worthless. And so on. When it came to my love she explained it away as I didn't see the real her. I was blind. I love her out of obligation. I'm too nice a guy and didn't want to hurt her. I'd one day realize how terrible she was, have enough and leave for someone better.
This self perpetuating hatred fuelled many horrible behaviours and thought processes. It truly was a self-fulfilling prophecy in many ways. She acted shitty, we'd work on it, yet she'd hate herself for acting shitty, so she'd further act shitty. It was beyond toxic, I saw it, and I was helpless to do a thing about it. I wound up feeding into them at times after I gave up knowing what to do and we developed a very unhealthy dynamic for a couple years until I started breaking away from it. Her affair was a not to distant eventuality after this.
I suppose what I'm long-windedly trying to say is I entirely understand how your wife not accepting your love can break your heart. Reading your post I understood and could relate to every sentiment you shared. I've been in the same place. I love this woman beyond regard of common sense or likely sanity just for who she is, yet she never could accept that.
Also, she was always afraid of the love I showed her and what she felt for me. She always believed we'd inevitably break apart, as if it was a fact. Her father had abandoned her, her mother even at least emotionally. Those things hurt her beyond words and affected her negatively for life, she was terrified and afraid of what we felt because that inevitable breakup also meant inevitable excrutiating emotional pain. She was afraid to be loved by me, and afraid to love me fully.
She's done a lot of work the past year on finally accepting that I truly do love her, and done a lot of work on accepting why. Decidely made more difficult because she could easily use her affair and behaviour in the months prior to self-loath even more and spiral downward in shame, but thankfully she's done the opposite. She admits she still doesn't fully understand how I can love her, especially why so much, but she's getting there.
It's primarily in response to finally seeing the good in herself and appreciating who she is. She doesn't love herself yet but I do believe she likes who she's becoming. Which is a stark change. It's required her to delve deep into her FOO issues and how they've influenced her throughout her life. She still has a long way to go on this front but the foundation she has is wonderful to see and I'm sure will lead her good places. It's helped her also open up to feeling healthy love and giving that to me as well which is nice.
Hopefully your wife can let go of her fears and dig down to work through those dysfunctions that prevent her from fully accepting your love. It is heart breaking in its own way and tough to work though.
Surrender to the truth of life.
Thanks very much for writing.
Iíve realized my heart is breaking. More important, I donít know how to cure a broken heart. I wish my W could help, but I donít know how Ė itís my heart, and she broke it, so how can she help mend it?.
This is my husband.
1500 days ago I broke his heart....and today he isn't faring well at all.
That's 4 years, 1 month and 9 days of neverending pain....I have utterly destroyed this man.
So sorry you are hurting, too, sisoon.
Is this just another one of those things that take time to heal?
Accepting that my marriage had broken and changed forever and that my H nor I could ever really 'fix' the break in my heart......it would always be there. I remember the overwhelming sadness that accompanied this acceptance and when I tired of grieving, I made a decision I needed to move on....that I don't have many years left and I want to be happy, with or without my H. I know I can make it without him now and that was freeing.....I don't want to live without him, but if I have to I will be fine.
[This message edited by looking forward at 6:27 PM, May 22nd (Wednesday)]