As I've read on SI and in other books, I've certainly been putting together so many of the pieces of this puzzle. Today, I was able to piece together so much of the picture that makes up him... What led him to where he is now. And, boy, is it frightening me.
I've already figured out that he has some narcissistic traits (although not a true narcissist). Seems like a lot of WS's do from what I read. He has childhood learned beliefs about A's from his mother's justifications for being the WW & OW several times. He was sexually permissive before M and early in his life. He has entitlement feelings, especially as he gained career success and admiration. He has guilt and shame. (OMG - it says shame can generate a cycle making recurrence even more likely... if there is no true remorse.) He has good values in the abstract (is super generous with time and money to charity, is a good friend, yadayada) but didn't let his values override his behavior. He has such an extreme need for admiration, external validation, and for sex. He is "running on empty" for his own reasons and needs an adrenaline high as an escape. He has the "Starving Ego". He is a "Type-T Personality" - high risk adventures, high intensity activities -- seeking stimulation and high arousal. (He loves bungee jumping, race car driving, skydiving, his newest passion is adventure racing like the Tough Mudder and the Spartan races.) This personality type is often very successful careerwise (ding ding!!!)
Then, NJF describes alexythymia. First I've heard of it. A persistent desire for excitement and thrill seeking, difficulty naming emotions (he's an emotional brick wall) other than anger (oh yeah!). "Lack of sensitivity toward suble emotions makes his somewhat impervious to feeling the gentle warmth and contentment of a stable relationship. Only the intense blaze of a new passion reaches his high threshold for detecting emotional states. He likes 'hot' sex and being 'in love' and strive for intensity instead of intimacy." (Did Dr. Glass base this on my H?)
OMG, not to bore all of you with more insights, but this chapter scared the bejezzus out of me. There's so much of him on these pages, even before we get to the "why is he like this". After reading this, I don't see how it's even possible to get out of these lifelong mindsets and behaviors.
It also makes me even more suspicious that this was not his first A (as he insists). I DO think it was his first PA that turned EA, which is why it is traumatic for him. I know most WS won't confess to anything they think they've already gotten away with. But all these indicators lead me to believe that it is doubtful that he exhibited self-control for 17 years... KWIM?
I am just so sick. I don't know if there are any words of encouragement in Chapters 11 and beyond, but for right now, I'm feeling like this is just hopeless.
While he's worked hard to improve our M (which can be really wonderful), he doesn't want to dig deep and examine himself. He doesn't want to admit that there actually IS something wrong inside him and his thought processes. I think it's easier for him to walk away and find his next thrill. Try to keep his KISA shiny and reflective. Although seeing the destruction he's caused in me and our kids is making it hard for him - he knows he can't just walk away and pretend he's still just that awesome. He's in a struggle for his life over who he is and who he wants to be. He doesn't know how to fix it, but he also doesn't want to do the deep introspection necessary to make it happen.
Sorry, this was long and rambling... Just needed to get my thoughts out there. Thanks for listening. Any of you see your WS in these words?
[This message edited by StillStanding1 at 11:31 AM, October 6th (Sunday)]
His A was with a coworker, and the coworker AP example hit him like a ton of bricks. Coffee, shared work victories translating to "sexual excitement"... he was embarassed at how you could have swapped the names and it would have been his story to the letter.
The air of cliche helped remove anything special from the situation, and he was immediately able to see that she was no friend of his, or his marriage. "Oh, I'm sooooo glad you and Jrazz are in counseling!"
In terms of Chapter 10, we related to a lot of that as well. The thing is, we can't use the book to diagnose. That's better left for a counselor who can help put the pieces together. NJF is an excellent roadmap, but I remember that I had to tell myself that just because most of the pieces fit didn't mean all of them did - and not to assign new blame to things FWH honestly didn't do.
I remember feeling EXACTLY like you did. The book would go from helpful to scary. A counselor will help you both make sense of things and hopefully get him on a path on healing and introspection.
For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning. - T.S. Eliot
I'm really at a loss right now. I gave him "How to Help Your Spouse" (highlighted and annotated ) and he read it all in one night (months ago) and then couldn't sleep. We had a good conversation following and I thought we were making progress/ fog was lifting.
Since we are separated, we've spent most time together trying to improve the M (as our MC/IC suggested). After coming to SI and reading this (she had us reading all the M-improvement stuff which is great but doesn't help heal the wounds of betrayal), I realize that we've been missing the mark. When I try to talk to him or write him letters, I get very little feedback or very vague, sometimes devastating, feedback.
I can't R with an emotional brick wall.
My last IC session enraged me. Based on an ugly email exchange where my WH said he's learned he prefers "screaming pounding monkey sex" (see alexythymia above!), my C said "great, we've finally come down to the core issue here -- sex" and then tried to soft pedal me the notion that my sexual hangups are due to my repressive Catholic upbringing (based on her personal projections against religion - because although my parents discouraged premarital sex, they did it too! and they never once told us sex was just for "procreation", they used the pill, and my mom knew my dad had a stash of porn mags, so really?)
While I think evaluation of my own issues is relevant and necessary (I certainly think I am addressing these), the message I heard from her is that the reason for his A was my apparent sexual repression. (Forgetting that we co-habitated for 2 years prior to M, seemed to have a fulfilling sex life previously, that he got emotionally detached and neither of us was actively "loving" the other person, and that I had a medical issue that caused sex to be painful).
I would have expected my C to say the "communication" and "commitment to fixing internal M problems" would be the core of our issues.
I think it's time for a new C. Or just give up. IDK.
Sorry, think I t/j'ed my own thread....
There's a whole menu for sex. As a BS, the need to really reconnect may not be met if the preference for "screaming pounding monkey sex" gets in the way of real intimacy. (I know that in my marriage, it did; it was a way to AVOID emotional intimacy.)
That your emotional needs are not being met, and your IC has chosen to translate this as being a result of YOUR sexual repression due to your upbringing makes me think it is, indeed, time for a new IC. That is, if you are able to articulate why you have a problem with this, and s/he persists with this line of "logic," which is really a lazy, simplistic shortcut to nowhere.
I'd be more interested in exploring your WH's repression, that makes intimate sex less desirable.
Sure monkey sex is fun. Sometimes. But it's not the only thing on the menu---nor should it be.
Your IC is way off base. And I'm sorry--that really sucks.