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Reconciliation Post Reply     Print Topic    
User Topic: To empathize, or not empathize; that is the question.
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Default  Posted: 5:20 PM, November 7th (Thursday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Reality - I do hope i didn't upset you with anything I said. I do have a few other comments that may help, if I may. First, regarding your daughter, you say:

I didn't blame WH for the anorexia. Those are her words.

OK, but your quote says you believe it to be true, which is really the same as blaming him. You did say his behaviors caused the anorexia. Just because she was the first to vocalize this does not mean you aren't also blaming him.

Now, is this critical to your marriage? It may be. There are 5 children (not all children any longer) in the home, correct? So to your H, it's 6 against 1. He is being blamed for anorexia, cheating, not being empathetic, being demeaning, debating, etc. He probably feels very beat up sometimes. Now, he cheated, so you have every right to be upset, hurt, etc. No question there, ever. But is it fair for the kids to also hold things against him? It may be, but if it's the affair that has caused a riff, then maybe living in the house itself is not pleasant for him, and maybe he has some resentments because of it.

I'm playing devil's advocate here - I'm not defending him, just thinking of some possibilities.

I did ask what you meant by 'soothing' the children. If all of the events happened at a movie theater, I'm confused by the soothing part. Was it really so bad that the kids needed 'soothing'? If so, how can he think that nothing happened that was important? If not, why is there 'soothing'? Perhaps when you react in a manner that says that the kids need extra attention or some understanding or soothing, he may feel even more defensive as he doesn't see the issue. According to him, all he did was say that he had a different opinion of the movie.

Your home sounds quite combative at the moment, and that isn't good for anyone. The kids heard the argument on DDay 2, and that is too bad, but that doesn't mean they need to get any details on what happened, or anything else. Gifted or not, not everything is everyone's business. There really isn't anything wrong with saying "I appreciate your concern, but this is between WH and I, and I'd prefer that it stay that way." They may not like that response, but it is acceptable, and sharing a roof doesn't mean everyone has an all-access pass to each others' lives.

You mentioned using a phrase or something to call a 'time out' of sorts during an argument, but he hasn't 'picked up on it'. Can you tell him? Can you say "I don't like the way we've been arguing, and I don't like it when you do XYZ, and it upsets the kids, so can we just not do that? So when I say "this isn't the time for this conversation.", that means that I would really like you to stop, and let the issue drop for the time being."

Do you think he would respond well to that? If R is ever going to work, some common ground is going to have to be found somewhere - and right now it seems that everyone wants to be right.

I have to say this as a BS - if he had multiple women on DDay 1, and then did it again the entire next year for DDay 2 with more women, I think he's lucky that you are even considering R and would be a bit more sensitive to the needs of you, and by extension your children. That doesn't mean he has to do that, but I would think he would want to. That's just me.

I really hope you are able to find a solution here. If you took him back after this, you must really love him. I hope for you that he realizes that and that he starts to appreciate that.

The stones from my enemies, these wounds will mend
but I cannot survive the roses from my friends

Posts: 1898 | Registered: Oct 2013 | From: East Coast
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Default  Posted: 5:39 PM, November 7th (Thursday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

It seems to me that even if your WH *wants* to do better and be better, he not only doesn't have the tools to do so, but he seems unwilling or unable to even look for the toolbox. Which comes back to your original concern -- does your understanding of him and your compassion for him mean that you have keep working to help him find the toolbox, make him open it, make him take out the tools, make him use them...all while he is unkind and unpleasant, at times violent (the door), and involved in several affairs. When you do not know if you can trust him not to have another. When you have little optimism that he can change. When all of this is very stressful and painful not only for you, but for your children.

Even though you have some part in the difficult dynamic in your family, that doesn't justify his unkindness, untrustworthiness, and unfaithfulness, nor does it mean that you have to continue to live with it. That is something for you to work through with your own IC, I would think.

It is very hard to decide to D, very painful, and perhaps made harder by all the efforts you have made and by your WH's *desire* to R and to do and be better. But it may be the right thing for you to do for yourself and your children. My heart aches for all of you.

[This message edited by StrongerOne at 5:41 PM, November 7th (Thursday)]

DDay Feb 2011.
In R.

Posts: 872 | Registered: Sep 2012
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Default  Posted: 1:13 AM, November 8th (Friday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Whether or not my choices were the cause of the eating disorder is fairly irrelevant to me. Not only have they exacerbated her condition with additional stress, but they've abrogated my ability to help her and drained the community well, so to speak, of resources that could have gone towards helping her.

Regarding the me v. them dichotomy, I don't typically feel like I'm being ganged up on. Sometimes I do feel more defensive, but more often I feel that having the additional perspectives is extremely helpful. We have six children, but the youngest two (14 and 11) haven't taken part in these talks.

I wouldn't say our home is combative at all. The only time a confrontation occurs is when my behavior has outlasted their considerable patience.

The kids have every right to their feelings regarding my behavior. I married a family and my actions have affected them all. They're more than entitled to the information they need to feel safe with me again.

Posts: 55 | Registered: Jun 2013
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Default  Posted: 2:34 AM, November 8th (Friday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

...wince. I did explain too much, Slow.

Yikes, which is exactly what I would do at WH's insistence normally. I was pre-emptively explaining the "whys and hows." "Why" the kids would respond emotionally to a movie, of all things. I am also used to bridging events for them in relation to many adults of our close association: XWH, the family members I mentioned above that consider the kids to have something "wrong" with them because they don't want to kill each other. In this forum, I give more information than I ever would normally because I'm desperate for more info and like I mentioned, my attitude has been that a fuller picture yields better results.

Ok, I was way off base, I apologise.

Having read and posted on your husband's thread, I think he just maybe getting a glimmer of what an ass he's
been and doing something to change his behaviour. I encourage you to give him a chance.

Good luck.

[This message edited by SlowUptake at 2:44 AM, November 8th (Friday)]

Her:BS,50+ (WantToWakeUp)
Married 33yrs
Dday Dec 2009

"Do not say a little in many words but a great deal in a few." Pythagoras

There are two kinds of people in the world.
Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.

Posts: 390 | Registered: Aug 2013 | From: Limbo in Oz
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Default  Posted: 6:16 AM, November 8th (Friday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

In the movie theater, like I mentioned, one of our daughters walked away, trying to not cry, after she tried to talk to WH about her feelings. The rest were upset that WH was ignoring their reactions and that he had upset their sister to that degree rather than back off.

This is, unfortunately, a semi-weekly event at this point. One confrontation cascades into the next due to this:

He will upset someone, then act like nothing happened, or act hurt that the issue is still in play.

By "soothing" I meant talking with the kids through their feelings. At the theater, I went to the daughter who walked away and held her hand. Later, once we got home, some came to talk to me about their frustration and hurt. WH saw all this, but didn't participate at all. He didn't just state his opinion; he actively challenged theirs. He gets so firmly into his own perspective, he honestly doesn't think other people's emotions ping as that important.

For example, talking about both threads last night, we had yet another notch in the time line of this issue. At one point, I was crying and I asked him to acknowledge my feelings, that I was feeling rejected and looked over; he said it was "more important for him to understand" why I would feel that way first.

I stopped the interaction and said I wouldn't continue versus continuing to engage in the circular conversation. He was frustrated and upset with my response and couldn't see why I wouldn't continue to explain over and over "why."

Like you asked, painful, I have said it that directly to WH, that I'd like him to stop, that when "X, Y, or Z" happens, the conversation needs at least a "pause." He still continues. Because it doesn't bother him, he doesn't see why it should bother me and will continue to push the matter. I don't care about being right. I have seen enough situations viewed through enough perspectives that "right" is a moving target and subjective, at best. I'm happy to acknowledge his feelings and take that into HIGH consideration. The problem is that he won't return that same favor, extended by both myself and the kids.

I know this is more than I can manage. I'm at the bottom of my energy, patience, and without any confidence anything I communicate matters. It looks like IC/MC or we're done. I can't do this alone.

For myself, yes, I'm here still because I love WH. I want him to be here with us. The problem is that he doesn't choose us in a whole lot of ways. He chooses himself; his thoughts, his feelings, his opinion - no matter the response.

Thank you, everyone, for your perspectives and for trying to understand. I think we've got down to the faulty cog that drives so much of this terrible, repetitive dynamic.

Thank you, Stronger. I hope so, too.

[This message edited by Reality at 6:17 AM, November 8th (Friday)]

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Default  Posted: 7:59 AM, November 8th (Friday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage


I can totally empathize with what your are feeling and there are many parallels of your story to mine. FWIW, I will throw out what is working for me and my WH, and you can take what you need from it.

Bear in mind we are 2.5 years out, and WH has been in intensive therapy specific to his issues, so he is a LOT better now. But initially, and also after subsequent DDays, he exhibited a lot of the same behaviors you have described in your WH. I was not aware of the Aspie angle, and was only begining to understand the nature of HIS particular issues (SA, childhood abuse, etc). I was, like you, in critical condition and thus not equipped to deal with HIS issues and save me at the same time, and quite frankly he was not equipped to support me anyway, like your WH. And everyone was telling me dumbass should be thankful for ANY chance at R, and be crawling on hands and knees and doing whatever it takes regardless. Sound familiar?

We had many, many private discussions, as I am sure you have, about what was going on. I think what may be missing from yours is this:

I made it abundantly clear from day one, that something was VERY wrong with him, that he was VERY broken to be able to do what he did to me and his family. That what was wrong with him was SO severe that it could absolutely NOT be fixed on his own, and needed very intense, specialized therapy to be addressed. That what was wrong with him skewed his perception of reality greatly, and it was affecting way more in his life than he could possibly see. Because he was so broken, he COULDN'T see it, even if he wanted to. That he would have to be willing to accept this concept, and be willing to accept professional help for conditions he may not entirely understand or believe apply to him, if there was ANY chance of R to happen. That I was not in any condition to consider R with anything less.

He watched Hoarders a lot at that time, so I told him he was like those people on that show, completely unable to see what the problem was and how it affected all the interactions in his life. I think it wa critical to use examples he can identify with but not from our own life at that time, because otherwise he would just argue the details of the example and not see the forest for the trees (sound familiar?). I said you get help, and fix yourself because if nothing else the kids need you to be healthy, and they need to see you acting like the husband and father you are supposed to be. You get help, and then MAYBE we can save this marriage.

He was resistant. He did not want to accept he had such large, pervasive issues. He did not want to drop everything and make his recovery a priority. He thought if he just wouldn't cheat anymore, and learned to be nice and do all the things a good husband does, and learned to improve his reactions all would be fine (sound familiar?). But it WASN'T fine, and it WASN'T enough, and it only made things worse initially. He made some grave errors in his journey that frankly should have resulted in him being thrown out on his ass, but I didn't have my ducks in a row to make it happen. But I was persistent, I said R would not happen until he recognized he was very broken, got the professional help he needed, and was "all in" on the recovery process to make him better.

I made it clear every time he'd have an "episode" his behavior was unacceptable. I would remind him he was very broken and his perception was very tainted. That until he decided to get that help and get to the place he could see that, he had to defer to me on when he was out of line and do what I said until he had a professional to direct him otherwise. That he could leave if he couldn't live with that. And he agreed to it. Any time he pulled that I need to understand what I did wrong at the expense of everything shit, I shut him down and said no, you just don't do it and you say I am sorry. When you are at that point with your therapist, you can discuss the why then. You are not destroying me or the kids in the process. I am not qualified to be your therapist.

And in the meantime I worked on ME. I got the intensive, specific therapy *I* needed for someone who has been subjected to this abuse as a result of being married to a person who had these specific issues. And what finally drove him to do what I demanded all along was that I improved by leaps and bounds in my own recovery, and was in a much better position to leave, and he could lose everything.

That sounds really selfish of him, and it was. But that's the commonality with all very broken people that cheat - they are selfish until they fix the broken. But I can tell you now after more than a year of the intensive, specific therapy the "fog" of that has lifted quite a bit and he can see beyond his self-centric ways in his interactions with the world at large. He understands the world is bigger than him, and his role in supporting me and the kids. He has tools in the toolbox to deal with his own issues AND mine. We actually now have a chance at R. And frankly the fly in the ointment now is that he took so long to do it, and the effects on me in the meantime have been so dire, that *I* am the one that may not be able to make it happen.

So I hope that you and he can learn from our experience. I hope that you both can avoid some of the mistakes we made. Mostly I hope you can find the help YOU need to be able to deal with whatever happens, because that is all you can do - what is in the realm of your control. Best of luck to you.

BS 43, SAWH 38. M 15years, together 17. Body count in the triple digits. Both in recovery, trying to R.
Three kids under age 11.

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Default  Posted: 8:22 AM, November 8th (Friday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

((Hath)) I can't thank you enough. I'm doing my best not to break down completely and sob at my desk at work. That doesn't just sound familiar, that sounds identical.

Like it looks like you know completely, that feeling of everything we say being challenged and disassembled and scrutinized to see how we don't have to be recognized is the worst kind of subtle and pervasive gaslighting.

When I suggested that his perceptions, since they differed so much from everyone else's he's spoken with, may be suspect and throwing him off, he can't seem to absorb that is a possibility. Instead, he just argues and argues anything that differs from his.

Your WH sounds so much like mine. When you said "this or we're done," he chose to fight for your relationship. I know that's way simplifying it. I hope my WH can do that. As it feels right now, I don't think my WH will choose us, even to that degree. We become invisible to him.

Like I was last night, again.

Everything you said, hath. Every single thing. I can't thank you enough for sharing that. It gave me perspective and the chance to hope. A really hard part of this dynamic is that feeling of isolation. Thank you for breaking that.

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Default  Posted: 1:16 PM, November 8th (Friday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage


When I suggested that his perceptions, since they differed so much from everyone else's he's spoken with, may be suspect and throwing him off, he can't seem to absorb that is a possibility. Instead, he just argues and argues anything that differs from his.

Your WH sounds so much like mine. When you said "this or we're done," he chose to fight for your relationship. I know that's way simplifying it. I hope my WH can do that. As it feels right now, I don't think my WH will choose us, even to that degree. We become invisible to him.

And like I said, here it is. Is it a condition of R, to quit the behaviors that are killing your healing, even though every fiber of his being screams to do them, and defer to what you need for R? Is it a condition he get professional help to deal with the cause of these behaviors? What are the consequences if he can't/won't?

From the very limited info I have, I don't see a lot in the way of consequences except he feels left out and sometimes attacked for the behaviors you can't be subjected to, by not only you but all the kids. The 180 is great and all, but being ignored and addressing only your needs only has impact on a Aspie, or someone who acts like one, if they are wanting attention/validation/to be right at that moment. The rest of the time they don't really notice or care because they literally can't.

First you need to lay down your boundaries. Then you have to think long and hard about consequences that will impact him when he makes choices that don't respect your boundaries, and be prepared to follow through.

I don't mean to give the impression I laid down the law and my WH immmediately chose to comply. He didn't. And in my case, everyone in SI was telling me throw him out. Well, that's fine and dandy, sends some sort of message I'm sure to many WS. But in my case, he would have just set himself up in a hotel, because he wouldn't have dared let anyone know his wife threw him out (and probably would have cheated more, honestly). Our finances could not afford for him to be in a hotel, and he'd be taking our money for bills and racking up debt I'd eventually have to pay my half of in a D. I found out legally I couldn't leave the state to be with my family with the kids, and since I wasn't working I couldn't leave either. So I had to be more creative with my consequences.

I took all our savings and told him he wasn't to be trusted with our money. He knew beforehand this could be a consequence of not complying with my boundaries. I told him I would be happy to prove it was intact and what I spent it on if I had to, but he no longer had any say in it until a judge said otherwise. He took it very personally and very hard, and he realized my aforementioned list of consequences were not empty threats.

I required a post nup that addressed all my financial and custody concerns to consider R. He got to see in writing what would happen if he did not respect my boundaries. I think until he saw the agreement, and that we both would be making serious lifestyle changes as a result (and not either of us living high on the hog to do whatever we wanted), that he would never see me and see the children way less, a very cold reality for him.

At one particularly low point in his behavior, I was very done and took off my wedding rings. This he took very hard. He realized at that moment it was fourth down and punt, that I had one foot out the door and the rest of the consequences would soon follow if he didn't make some drastic changes.

Other consequences I had mentioned could come into play, but I have not had to engage yet are telling all his close friends about what really happened. Then my parents. Then his mother. While in R I am totally happy to keep it a secret, especially so he can maintain a good relationship with his children and my family. But if he isn't willing to do the work for R, then I no longer have to carry that burden. That I need all those people to understand the whole story to support me effectively in event we split.

These are all examples that worked well in my scenario, YMMV. You may have to do some out of the box thinking for yours. Or maybe just throw him out, IDK. The thing is you will have to lay down your boundaries, and be prepared to dole out consequences if he won't respect them. It's not a negotiation. I need this to consider R, if I don't get it, THAT will happen. It's all on him to make a choice. He is lucky to get to choose at all. And YOU have to accept he may and probably will make choices that don't respect your boundaries. I suspect all this is what is missing from your dynamic. What I do know is whatever y'all are doing, ain't working. And doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is insanity.

I also want to let you know in my case it was never one day he decided to do the right thing and never screwed up again. He still makes bad choices occasionally, they are just to a lesser degree and he usually recognizes them quicker since he's done the work. Those choices still hurt and/or infuriate me when they happen. But it's my choice to endure them or enforce some sort of consequence if he doesn't. This never stops. If you choose to R with someone like that, it will always be this way. Just more manageable if both of you do the work that needs to be done.

I wish you both the best of luck.

[This message edited by hathnofury at 1:18 PM, November 8th (Friday)]

BS 43, SAWH 38. M 15years, together 17. Body count in the triple digits. Both in recovery, trying to R.
Three kids under age 11.

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Default  Posted: 1:57 PM, November 8th (Friday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Hi, hath. I hope you don't mind if I ask a few questions. Apologize for the length, but my reactions sound very similar to your husband's, and I'm grasping at straws trying to fix this dynamic.

What kind of IC did your husband see? Did you also do MC? Was he ever diagnosed as an Aspie? What books, etc. did he read to help with the denial of others' feelings issue? What did he do physically and verbally to affect the change? How did it help you? Was it worthwhile for you looking back? Could you give a before/after example of two situations where he handled your feelings badly and one after?

I don't know that the boundaries you used will apply to us, since most have already occurred in some form or fashion. We've already been creating something of an informal post-nup for things going forward, and it may well be helpful to create an official contract.

I don't know if I have Asperger's, but I'm willing to explore that or any option that I can use to help undo the damage I've been wreaking and ensure that I don't do so again. I plan on re-reading Nonviolent Communication and setting up an IC appointment for next week. I need better tools to express myself without invalidating what everyone else thinks and feels. I thought I could just focus on improving my attitude and outlook and habits and it would change as a result, but I was pretty dead wrong, much like your husband, it seems.

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Default  Posted: 2:46 PM, November 8th (Friday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Hi Tesseract. I will try to answer as many as I can.

What kind of IC did your husband see? Did you also do MC? Was he ever diagnosed as an Aspie? What books, etc. did he read to help with the denial of others' feelings issue?

Initially we saw a MC. During that time, the good people at SI let me know SA was a strong possibility in his case. So I read up on it, and fed all the red flags to the MC. MC shockingly is up to date on this stuff, and referred WH to a CSAT, which is a SA-certified specialist. During his screening and diagnosis, his CSAT recommended I see a CSAT that specializes in spouses of SAs, and I did pursue that. We have since not done MC. The plan is to do MC down the line, but sadly because WH drug his feet so long to address the SA he is not in a place he can do that yet.

He has not been officially diagnosed with Aspergers, that requires a different kind of specialist. That didn't recently come into light until 1) one of our kids was diagnosed as such, and I began to connect the dots and 2) he started reacting certain ways post-DD. It was very apparent to me, his CSAT, and my CSAT that there was more at play than just SA with what was broken in him. Only after dealing with the kid's diagnosis and the aftermath of that recently did it all start to make sense. He will have to pursue that on his own, and it is a part of my boundaries.

He really does not read any books about anything unless required by therapy or his 12 step. This is also part of the dragging the feet issue. He is a corporate lawyer, so his job is to read and argue with people over details all day long. I don't need to tell you how much this impacts his ability and desire to read when "off the clock" and the ability to turn off the need to argue every aspect of everything, and the Aspie tendencies just make it infinitely worse. If he ever read even 1/4 the books I read about SA, Aspergers, marriage, etc he would be WAY further down the road to recovery for himself and our marriage.

I don't tell him to read stuff any more. I know it's not going to happen. And honestly IDK that reading it on his own would have the same impact and effect as his IC/12 step telling him what to read and giving him direction in processing it afterward. He could read it all day, and still not "get" it, because his perception of reality is not there yet. He needs professional guidance with that info. He's not qualified to interpret it for his own best interest. Or then it's back to arguing the details and not seeing to forest for the trees.

BUT, it is not as much of an issue any more, because *I* choose to read about the Aspie stuff on my own for the sake of the kid, and *I* lead the adjustment of our parenting and what we do for that kids' development to accommodate her. He hears what the specialists for her have to say through me. And as a result he often gets more knowledge secondhand when I vent about how her behaviors trigger me about his, and because also I am more equipped to deal with his Aspie crap when it occurs in real time. Because he chooses not to read about it, and he's not there in therapy yet, he has to defer to my judgement on it. That was what he agreed to for me to consider R. If he wants it done differently, he needs to go to an Aspie specialist for himself and use their guidance.

Also, since much of the SA therapy deals with characteristics that crossover with Aspie stuff, specifically the self-centered stuff, that therapy has given him a lot of guidance with respecting the feelings of others. Basically, the most improvement has been from the therapy as opposed to any book he's read. Interacting with others like him, in 12 step and group therapy, where he can see selfishness and selflessness in others that he has in himself, has done more than any book he could read. He spends between 4 and 8 hours a week in this therapy and 12 step alone just to address his issues so he can be a better person, father, and husband.

I know you had more questions. I will try to answer them over the weekend. Unfortunately I am out of time for the day to adequately answer them. Good luck!

BS 43, SAWH 38. M 15years, together 17. Body count in the triple digits. Both in recovery, trying to R.
Three kids under age 11.

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Default  Posted: 7:23 AM, November 9th (Saturday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Ok, before I continue to answer your questions, I feel the need to give you some back story about me to put stuff in context. Otherwise I am just some random internet yahoo who claims my WH has Aspergers, LOL. My turn to be long-winded.

20 years ago, when in college, I used to work a special needs summer camp every summer to earn my room and board despite it having nothing to do with my major. I quickly became known as a sort of "Autism Whisperer" of sorts, despite having zero training or knowledge on the subject. They would give me the kids with the most severe cases of autism, many non verbal or deemed intellectually toddlers, and somehow I could intuitively find a way to communicate with them. By the end of the week with me, I could get the nonverbal kids to answer yes/no or multiple choice questions in some manner, the verbal ones to answer questions directly instead of saying something totally off topic instead, and I could find an intellectual talent in any of them no one knew they had (like they could in fact read, or had memorized the entire TV lineup on every channel in the TV guide, could do complex math, etc). When I graduated and stopped working in the camp, I had many parents implore with me to reconsider my field of choice and to go into working with autistic kids full time. I was flattered, but my stance was it was a wonderful chapter in my life I would always treasure, but it was too physically, intellectually, and emotionally draining for me to consider it full time. Stop and consider the irony of that stance now.

Ever since I have had the "gift" of working with autistic people. They are drawn to me and seek me out. I find myself in public places inadvertently assisting in avoiding a meltdown of some kid or adult I don't even know, because I can recognize the rage cycle before it even starts and diffuse it. Somehow I instinctively dial that stuff down in them. And I never could explain to others how I could get very difficult adults to work with me that could not work with anyone else all through my life. I know now it is because I didn't know what high-functioning Autism in adults was, or how Aspergers presents differently than other forms of Autism, but I was applying the gift without even knowing it. It just was not as widely known and studied at that time as it is now. I have been the Watson to the Sherlock of recent TV fame (both US and UK versions, LOL) in some form or another basically all my life.

So fast forward 20 years later, I am married to one and at least one of my kids is one. I am immersed in it, I am freaking using the gift all the time whether I realize it or or not, whether I want to or not. Imagine what I can do now having read something like 30 books on the subject and in regular contact with the professionals that deal with my kid in the past year. Imagine what it must be like for my WH to live with me, and see how I interact with our kid, dealing with the same problems he has always had. How he can now see what his reactions do to others by watching his own kid do the same thing, and how she struggles to learn to react appropriately. He can take the leap of faith to do what I recommend. He knows it is not just a "my way or the highway" demand. He knows I know my shit on what to do, I know how to get the right experts on the case, he has seen the results of both combined. He can now see how I have probably helped him all along until he got so broken he couldn't accept the help.

So total t/j, sorry, but I wanted to put that out there to help with the doubts.

BS 43, SAWH 38. M 15years, together 17. Body count in the triple digits. Both in recovery, trying to R.
Three kids under age 11.

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Default  Posted: 7:25 AM, November 9th (Saturday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

What did he do physically and verbally to affect the change? How did it help you?

Hmm. My WH is a lot of things, but he has never been physically violent. With anybody. But I do see this in my kid. It is similar to when a toddler or pre-k kid hits, she didn't have the impulse control or tools to deal with the rage cycle for whatever trigger. She has had some success with EDMR/bilateral stimulation with this. Google EDMR and butterfly hugs, you will get an idea of what I am talking about. Also the Zoloft helps with this.

He has changed his lifestyle a bit. He gets a lot more rest now. Stays off the computer at home a lot more. Eats better. Makes more of an effort to engage in exercise. He is highly motivated by his new Fitbit to monitor his exercise, eating, and sleeping.

His CSAT is actually a MC CSAT specialist, so even though he is in IC he actually probably gets a lot more MC-type advice that most in IC with a CSAT. That has probably improved his communication with me more than anything. His communication has definitely improved with that coaching. On one session I was asked to sit on, I observed this happening so it's not just speculation on my part.

Watching me deal with our kid's Aspie stuff, and learning to also address it himself, has put a whole new perspective on reconsidering what he does and says all the time.

From the start, WH has always wanted to appear to put me first. In the beginning he would just do what he thought I wanted, as long as it didn't interfere with his agenda, without asking what I wanted. Later he started to see his agenda wasn't as important if it meant he'd lose everything. Then he realized maybe he should ask what I wanted to do to make me feel like he was putting me first. Now he has learned some things on his own. For example, I got sick for a while, and he learned how challenging it is to get all three kids up, fed, dressed, and out the door on time. He has continued to do that as many days as he can even after I got well, because he could see how much I appreciated it and how much it helps me. I never asked him to, and in the past he would have only done it when he had to and complained about it. Every day, he is asking what he can do to make my life better. That's huge.

Could you give a before/after example of two situations where he handled your feelings badly and one after?

Well, I suppose the last example is a good example where he handled it well. But like I said to Reality, it is an ongoing process. It doesn't just click, get better, and never go wrong again. He will be learning for the rest of his life how to interact with the world at large that is not like him.

It's been a while since he's really messed up. But just the other day, here is an example of less than stellar performance, IDK how helpful it will be for you.

So both WH and I have Fitbits (fancy pedometers). Our 5YO boy is obsessed with them, loves to see how it lights up when you meet all your step count goals. The other day, for the first time in a long time, I had met all my goals and WH had not at the time the boy asked. Boy pointed this out to WH. WH immediately says, well, what you don't know is my goal numbers are higher than mom's, so even though mine doesn't have all the lights yet, I have taken more steps than she has. Boy, visibly upset, says, well, mom has all the lights, so it's a tie. I give WH our secret cue, and WH shuts up.

So here I am thinking, WTF? Why do you need to prove to a 5YO that you are better than me? Why put him in a position to make him feel like he has to take sides? And he is thinking, everything I said is true. He's five. No harm, no foul. But he knows he's messed up, doesn't know why, he can see it in my eyes. So he stops and changes the subject before he can dig a deeper hole. So in that respect, big improvement because in the past he would keep arguing this - it's the truth, he's five, both of you get over yourselves.

So when he talks to me later, he realizes he's downplayed Boy's feelings. And, I point out to him, I had my Fitbit way longer than him, and had it before I landed in the hospital for two days this summer. That Boy would check that Fitbit every day after I got out of the hospital and ask me what percent I felt better, because he knew I was not reaching the goals I always met before I went in. He equated the Fitbit results with my wellness, that it was verification what mom says was true, she's not well now but is getting better. And every day ever since, when I reach those goals and get all the lights, Boy says, I am proud of you Mom. Because he is, and he is relieved that mom is better again.

WH just inadvertently stomped all over this, gave Boy doubt that this was a reliable source of info on mom's wellness. If Dad's numbers are higher...are mom's goals valid as a means of determining wellness? Does this mean mom is not well like I thought? No wonder Boy is upset.

And I am angry also, because a large part of being in the hospital was due to the extreme stress I have been under for the past 2.5 years. Yeah, he did not put me in the hospital himself but he was a contributing factor. My body just crashed under the compounding effects of all things infidelity and his inability to handle it effectively. Now he has to tell our 5YO that he's better than me physically? Why?

Anyway, we discussed it later. He totally conceded to every point, he sees what he did - great. However, because I chose to talk to him about it during cuddle time, he completely stiffened and was not very physically responsive as I was telling him about it. To him, why wouldn't you react that way when you are essentially busted. To me, it feels like he is not acknowledging my feelings or what I am saying, even if you say you are. So he sees that his body language still needs improvement.

Was it worthwhile for you looking back?

I always have thought, if it weren't for the kids, I don't think he would have had as much opportunity to R. Maybe not any. That it my goal was get him to get well, so I am not co-parenting with my crazy fucked up ex-husband, if nothing else. I didn't know if I could ever trust or love him like a spouse should again, after all he has done. And honestly with all the choices he has made post-DD, I am still not sure. But I am glad I did. Some people get huffy when I say everything in my life has happened for a reason, I just don't always see it at the time. I can totally see after the fact how much worse it could have been, no matter how bad it was then.

The most important things for me is, the kids are alright and have the support of two non-insane parents. That I have found the help and support that I needed, and I am a much better person for finding that help and support. WH has found a path that is leading him to the right help and support, and I can see him becoming a better person, husband, and parent right before my eyes.

So yeah, all efforts have not been in vain. They weren't all as effective as I wanted, but the end result is coming together.

BS 43, SAWH 38. M 15years, together 17. Body count in the triple digits. Both in recovery, trying to R.
Three kids under age 11.

Posts: 1484 | Registered: Jun 2011
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Default  Posted: 11:55 AM, November 9th (Saturday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I notice that Tesseract seems to have hijacked this thread, with no comment or objection from Reality.

I'm not raising this as an issue for the staff, because that's Reality's job, not mine.

Still, this hijack seems very strange to me, and I can't see how it's healthy for either of them.

It seems like a really big boundary issue to me. Just sayin'.... (I don't mean to be snarky here.)

fBH (me) - 70 (22 in my head), fWW (plainsong) - 65+, Married 45+, together since 1965
DDay - 12/2010
Recovered, not yet fully R'ed
I share my own experience because it's the only experience I know, not because I'm a good model.

Posts: 10341 | Registered: Feb 2011 | From: Chicago area
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Default  Posted: 12:31 PM, November 9th (Saturday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Sisoon has a very valid point. I am sorry if I contributed to it. I assumed they had discussed it, forgetting giving the circumstances probably not. And I probably should have suggested a separate venue for any responses to him on my part. My bad. It is so important to feel safe and validated here. I apologize if I compromised that Reality.

Both of you please consider Sisson's responses here, all of them.

BS 43, SAWH 38. M 15years, together 17. Body count in the triple digits. Both in recovery, trying to R.
Three kids under age 11.

Posts: 1484 | Registered: Jun 2011
♂ Member
Member # 31240
Default  Posted: 11:31 PM, November 9th (Saturday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I should have added:

Do the 2 of you have rules for posting on each other's threads? If not, you probably ought to develop some.

Also, If 2 people have different issues in the same thread, I find it really hard to keep the issues straight, much less to respond.

Also, if something in a thread clicks for you, rather than bust into the thread, IMO, it's better to open another thread for yourself.

My opinion, of course. Others may differ.

fBH (me) - 70 (22 in my head), fWW (plainsong) - 65+, Married 45+, together since 1965
DDay - 12/2010
Recovered, not yet fully R'ed
I share my own experience because it's the only experience I know, not because I'm a good model.

Posts: 10341 | Registered: Feb 2011 | From: Chicago area
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