7 years ago I did something that hurt h deeply.
I had always been self employed and also I was responsible for paying our bills. My business started to fail, more going out than coming in. I didn't share with him how tight things were becoming, I just kept trying to make it work, borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. We were falling behind every month, incurring debt. We had never had debt besides our mortgage. I chose to try to handle it, "fix" it on my own, I chose not to tell him what was happening in his life.
He found out, of course, his dday. He was angry of course, but I believe he was also hurt. He felt betrayed. He felt blindsided.
I felt horrible, so ashamed. Did I know what I was doing was wrong? Of course I did. Did I do it to hurt him? No, not at all.
What did I do to try to make up for it? To atone for my sin? Not the right thing for him.
I tried to apologize, he did not want to hear it, he was angry and rightfully so. I backed off, it is hard to apologize to someone that is angry at you. I took it upon myself to try to atone for my sin in the way that I thought was right. I didn't talk to him about it or ask "what would help you?" " what can I do to make this up to you?". We didn't talk about it, rugsweeping, I continued to feel shame and everytime he became angry, I would just take his anger, feel that I deserved it.
I found a job. Worked like a dog, worked overtime every week, tried to take on as many responsibilities/chores at home as I could. Physically the job was too hard for me, did damage to me physically, I thought that I deserved the punishment. I spent no unnecessary money, bought my clothes at thrift stores, did without. Always asked permission before buying anything.
Were there contributing factors to why I lied? Yes. The state of our marriage was difficult. He had angry outbursts over things that were not real, I felt I was always walking on eggshells.
That is not a real reason to lie. I lied to protect myself. I lied because I was afraid he would be angry and not love me anymore (fear of abandonment), I lied because I was ashamed, I lied because that is how I learned to survive in an abusive childhood (foo issues), I lied because I thought that I had to be perfect, could not make a mistake (foo, imperfection = loss of love or abuse). I chose to continue my destructive behavior and not recognize or try to change them (at the time I could not see this).
I tried to atone. Why did it not work? Because I did what I thought was right and never asked him what he needed. I worked so hard to make up for what I did and he never "saw" it because we never discussed it. I was making all these efforts and they were going unnoticed.
Last night, I sat h down and told him that I needed to tell him something. I apologized from the heart. I took responsibility for my actions and I told him about the ways that I tried to atone. I promised to never keep a secret from him again and I tried to empathize with his feelings at the time. I explained to him my "whys" without putting the blame on his behavior or the problems in our marriage. He forgave me, told me that he now understands how difficult it was for me and how I could do something like that. He understands that I did not do it to hurt him.
All of this made me think about what he often says to me now, when I ask for more effort, "what about all I am doing?" I wondered, maybe he is doing things that I just don't "see".
I asked him about this, what are you doing, after explaining my theory. He actually is doing things that I didn't recognize. I didn't recognize them because that is not what I wanted, just like what I did was not what he wanted.
Once he told me what he is doing it meant something to me, it is important, very important! Because we didn't talk about it before, because he didn't tell me what he was doing, I just did not see it. One thing he is doing is working very hard. This was an issue, a bid issue pre-a. He is working so hard to make this part right and I failed to recognize it. Now that we have talked about it, now that I "see" it, I appreciate it so much! Talk, talk, talk! Communicate! Such a simple concept but so very complicated.
This really helped us to understand each other a little more. It helped him to see that by doing what he thinks is important and not what I think is important how it doesn't have the desired result. We both learned that by not talking more effectively, the wrong messages are sent. He learned that by doing what he thinks is important and disregarding what I think is important, the message he sends is "I don't care". I learned to ask, "please tell me the things that you are doing, that you think are important". It actually seemed to break down a huge wall between us.
He actually read, on his own last night. Something that I have been asking for. He now understands that it is important to do what I need because that is what touches me. I need to step back and recognize the things he does that I don't ask for.
This pain can be blinding. The insecurity, the need for proof is overwhelming. It is hard to get outside your own head to see what is really happening. It is so easy to focus on the negative.
I was at the very bottom of this rollercoaster yesterday. In the mindset of "if I don't care then I won't hurt, detach, detach, detach". My goal is to try to stay on an even keel. No great dips or extreme highs. I would like to change rides, maybe go-carts? That is the goal but I know it is somewhat to much to expect during these times.
Our past was pretty bad, there were good times but we never would have lasted, our present is hell, so much to learn, so much pain to overcome, but maybe, just maybe there is hope of a better life together than we have yet imagined.
Sorry this is so long, it helps to put this out into the world.
Thank you for reading. Maybe this will help someone else to "see".
We have nightly questions that we answer together. One of the questions has 3 parts. It is :
a. How did I see you honor me today?
b. How did you honor me that I did not see?
c. How could I have honored you?
We have found that there is a lot that we do for each other that we don't see. As those unseen actions are pointed out over and over they start to be seen. As the undone actions get pointed out over and over they start to get done. As they are seen and done our gratitude for each other grows. With willingness to try and openness to receive our love grows exponentially.
"Knowing is half the battle"
Expecting progress not perfection
If I may ask, what are the other nightly questions that you ask of each other?
I actually said this to h the other day regarding reading. He was discouraged because he wasn't finding answers, I said to him, I think the answers are inside us, the books are just helping us to ask the right questions.
So, searching for the right questions to find the the answers inside.
I am very intrigued by this concept now. If you would care to share more, it would be greatly appreciated.
D-Day, June 10, 2012
The questions have evolved and refined over the last year and a half. This is where we are at now:
1. What have I done today for growth and healing?
2. What feelings did I have today and why?
3. The Honoring trifecta above.
4 . What am I grateful for today?
Other questions that were useful at a time but were later dropped or revised were:
Was I happy today?
Was today a good day?
Did I do anything today which I wish I had not done?
Did I leave anything undone that I wish I had done?
Did we spend family time?
There may have been more. If Iremember i will add them.
[This message edited by Chicho at 6:08 PM, September 21st (Saturday)]
I, too, have done things in our marital past that hurt my wife. It is hard to recognize and admit these immediately following DD...took me 5 months from DD to really start the process...and about 10 months from DD to have made enough change to start to show my wife that I recognize my hurtful actions of the past....I will continue to identify my hurtful behaviors, habits and patterns and work them out to a better spot.
Totally get the double answer for why a person lies. Noble answer is to protect others. Real answer, many times, is to protect ourselves. I have done this same thing. sigh.
I believe this is part of how I got to forgiveness for my wife. Still cant define the process to forgiveness, but this had to play a part.
I am glad mr. cantaccept is reading....a very good step towards a healthier existence.
Chico....thanks for the questions....post more as you remember. My wife is not overly enthused about this type of exercise....but the questions would be good for me to ask of myself....kinda ties into my work on changing myself.
Peace to us all.
[This message edited by blakesteele at 10:03 PM, September 21st (Saturday)]
What kind of exercises do you do? MC does not give us anything "to do" between sessions, I have been thinking that maybe some structure to our talking might be helpful.
It really has not been hard for me to recognize the ways in which I hurt h pre a.
Unfortunately I seem to obsess about everything that I did wrong, real or imagined. This incident was a real concrete thing that I did, that I could focus on and work through. I think that I keep looking for what I did wrong to try to gain some control over the future, "if I do this, h will never hurt me again", I know this is not true, but changing the way I think is a battle, one I seem to have to fight over and over.
MC and I go over this again and again. We seem to come up with the same thing but I have not internalized it yet. My biggest contribution to the marriage issues was not leaving, not protecting myself. I spins my head.H and I have been talking about this also.
He was drinking way too much, (understatement), he was verbally abusive, walled off emotionally.
I tried to reach him, through letters, counseling, being loving, acts of service, what was safe for me to do. I realize that even though he was not physically abusive, certain actions on his part made me fear it but then I dismissed it as being my irrational fear. I came to the point of believing that I had 2 choices, leave or focus on the positive. I chose to stay. MC tells me that there was nothing that I could have done to reach him until he was ready, he needed to hit his bottom, face himself.
It is hard to accept that you have no influence on events. I know, I can only control myself, nothing is guaranteed, there is no safety, being good, being perfect assures you nothing. There will never be that "ahaa" moment of that's what I did wrong! That's why he betrayed me! I won't do that again and I will not be punished. Make sense?
I think for right now, the most important, comforting realization through this thought process was realizing that he was trying to "do" for me. He is trying to "do" in a way that makes sense to him, just as I was "doing" in a way that made sense to me regarding my hurtful acts.
Trying to "see" through his eyes.
What kind of exercises do you do? MC does not give us anything "to do" between sessions...
I hear you. Our old counselor did not give us anything to do between sessions either...other then general statements such as check your assumptions and think before you speak.
It was one of the main reasons my wife and I felt the counselor did all she could for us...and she did help us.
For over a month my wife has searched for another counselor...has not chosen one yet....not many to choose from due to our location.
Ignoring the problem or not verbalizing what you were doing and thinking left much not said or understood.
While both instances of deception were bad, it would seem that he should have seen what you were doing to make it right, working extra hard trying to get out of debt.
Likewise, you should have been able to see his actions, although they would possibly be not so obvious.
That's where the talking comes in. Hopefully it will continue.
My H tells me every day he loves me, only me, and wants us to be happy together forever. I agree. He also answers any questions I have and has done the reading I asked him to do. He discusses what he's read with me also.
I reserve the right to ask him anything anytime and he has no problem with that, which makes the instances of me feeling like I need to ask him anything less and less. See how it works?
[This message edited by PamJ at 9:44 AM, September 22nd (Sunday)]
2 grown sons, 1 grown step-son
Last DDay, March 19, 2013 after a few weeks of TT- trying to have a new marriage after almost 35 years.
No more chances.
I do see how it works. I also know that we view things in different ways.
I came to the realization that I had to look beyond what I wanted to what he is able to do right now and what I might be missing.
He also has to come to the realization that it is important to do what I need, not just what he wants.
Our pattern was always that I would talk, he would get uncomfortable, I would back off. This is pre a, of course this does not just change over night, for either of us.
I must be brave, not back off, allow rugsweeping.
He must be brave, face his feelings and express them.
It feels that we are just beginning to take baby steps. For me, as long as there are steps being made, by both of us, I can be patient.
Communication is paramount, I will not back down about this. I continue to talk and ask for his contribution, I will do this always. I am doing this for the survival of us together.