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User Topic: Drastic times call for drastic measures
sunnyrain
♀ Member
Member # 30164
Default  Posted: 6:15 PM, December 26th (Thursday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I think that the whole point of this thread, like I said was for ME, to express my thoughts and feelings as I go through this difficult journey.

oh, sorry. I guess I focused more on the "comments, please" part of your original post.

I get it now.


"I'm not much into health food, I am into champagne."

Posts: 341 | Registered: Nov 2010
WalkinOnEggshelz
♀ Member
Member # 29447
Default  Posted: 6:25 PM, December 26th (Thursday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I don't want this thread to become some ground for aggression. I think I have enough in me.

Reading this thread, I did not get the impression that you were being bullied or the posters have been aggressive. I think they have been asking very valid questions based on the information that you have provided. That being said, sometimes things people say can make is angry. It's up to you to figure why. It's an excellent place to start. When reading a post you can take a step back and self examine before making an opinion or knee jerk reaction. It can allow for some introspection before replying. It can be a great exercise in changing defensive behavior.

I honestly think that if you can take the time to engage with the other members here that you can work out many issues. What other place can you talk to other people that have been in similar situations or that can understand what you are going through?

Tough questions are asked here for a reason. These really are people who care and want to help you. But you have to really want that help. Six years in should tell you that there is no quick fix or magic pill. You have to dig deep and examine all the dirty. The only way to clean it is to understand it and slowly make the changes so they stick.

Find out where that aggression is coming from. Then ask yourself if the situation truly warrants it.


Me: WS 42
Him: BH 43(HoldingTogether)
M: 18years, together 22
2 Daughters: 13 and 10
D Day: 7/24/2010; TT to 10/17/10
If you keep asking people to give you the benefit of the doubt, they will eventually start to doubt your benefit.

Posts: 652 | Registered: Aug 2010 | From: Texas
solus sto
♀ Member
Member # 30989
Default  Posted: 6:44 PM, December 26th (Thursday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I think it's unlikely that any BS or MC has suddenly arrived at an arbitrary, "You've got 100 days, or else!" ultimatum.

Over the course of several years, Wario has not shown the changes necessary to support a healthy marriage. He's described this quite well.

If I've interpreted it correctly, he can relatively comfortably take 100 days' leave before dipping into savings uncomfortably. He plans to use this time---with the help of a counselor and his BS---to focus more intently on the marriage. Something his job would not permit.

No, it's not sustainable.

But it might very well provide the momentum needed to do just enough to get himself more fully invested in the marriage.

I find it disconcerting that the go-to is "how unreasonable of your BS!" and "What good will 100 days do?!"

His WS is LONG suffering. She is offering a gift, still. And 100 days may be just enough to give her hope that her investment will pay off.

It's not all about unreasonable BSs for whom "nothing is ever good enough."

And not all WSs reach remorse and empathy easily.


BS-me, 52
WH (Trac-fone), 52, PD
2 kids-DD25, DS18
multiple d-days
DIVORCING
Alone, most strangely, I live on~Rupert Brooke

Posts: 8588 | Registered: Jan 2011 | From: midwest
Unagie
♀ Member
Member # 37091
Default  Posted: 6:51 PM, December 26th (Thursday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

T/j

By saying the 100 days was unreasonable I never said his BW was as well. I mean it 100 days you are barely making a dent in your issues and there wasn't much info to go on. She says he has 100 days to be fixed. I think the word fixed was my main issue, you can't put a time limit on healing and changing. Now if her goal was 100 to show me you can do it and start fixing yourself then hey I'm in full support.


End t/j

Wario we never took yhe focus off you and your BW this whole thread was people trying to help you. If you want to monologue and do not want responses let us know. But I also doubt that was your BW's intention with aaking you to post.


Heartbroken madhatter trying to rebuild

No longer together

Do not let others be your reference for who you see in the mirror.

Stop allowing people to hurt you, because you don't love you enough to walk away.


Posts: 2705 | Registered: Oct 2012
Card
♂ Member
Member # 23667
Default  Posted: 10:46 PM, December 26th (Thursday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I think that the whole point of this thread, like I said was for ME, to express my thoughts and feelings as I go through this difficult journey. I thank you for the comments, some positive, some negative.

You're Welcome..


I don't want this thread to become some ground for aggression. I think I have enough in me.

This is a good start to having healthy discussions. I'm not being sarcastic, you really clarified yourself and this is good.

Now back to ME and my BS. I had a chance to discuss some of this with my BS today. I realized, I have compartmentalized throughout my life to survive my FOO and to excel at what I do. The cheating was part of that compartmentalization. After disclosing my cheating to my BS, I compartmentalized this troublesome bastard and wanted to never let him see the light of day. Metaphorically speaking,
I also locked my BS in with this bastard and was pissed off at her for bringing him out into the light.

This is good stuff too. Nothing cryptic...

Using a computer metaphor. It like the whole architecture of my OS is counter-productive to me having a decent relationship with anyone, including myself. It was meant to survive a very neglectful childhood and allowed me to excel at school and work. But that's not a life, that's just survival and work. Love is not part of this OS. Hell, this doesn't even make a likable person.

Again good stuff... Sharing in detail about your emotional history is how you develop emotional intimacy with your wife.


So what am I going to do? I'm going to have to unlearn a lot and reprogram me so I can even stand me. How can I expect my BS to even like me if I find myself so completely aggressive and unkind. That is the change and it begins with stopping how I normally do things, and trying to be honest with myself, for REAL.

Ok, now you've expressed the basic outline structure of a plan. This is what I was talking about in my last post...

I hope you won't be offended if I restate your last paragraph, but I'm going to give it a go.

Unlearn the old
Reprogram
Stated two goals; being able to like yourself and being someone your wife likes
Eliminate aggressiveness and unkindness
Stopping/recognizing old fruitless behaviors
Being honest with yourself

This is a good start to a plan!!


I understand being honest with yourself is important, but do you believe there could be great value in being RIGOROUSLY honest with your wife? If so, how would you make this happen? What would rigorous honesty look like to you? And equally important, what would it look like to your wife?

(It took me a long time to understand, but being honest with myself does include asking honest questions to my wife.)


Also, what resources do you intend to use to reprogram? I'm a firm believer that our best thoughts and efforts landed us in the mess we're in to begin with, so it is important to use other resources as the data for reprograming.
Any thoughts?

[This message edited by Card at 10:52 PM, December 26th (Thursday)]


WH (me)
BS (her)

D-Days April - Oct. 2007 Recovery started Nov. 2007

"Found Myself", I was right there in my shoes all along!
Search for self called off!

Why Repentance Is Necessary? Because Undeserved Mercy Empowers Entitlement/Sin


Posts: 570 | Registered: Apr 2009
SlowUptake
♂ Member
Member # 40484
Default  Posted: 7:41 AM, December 27th (Friday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Here's my take for what it's worth.

Due to your FOO issues you have arrogance in abundance, the only opinion worth listening to is your own. Because when growing up the only person you could rely on was yourself.

Hence your reluctance to listen and accept the advice of anyone else, including your IC and BS.

How's that working out for you?

Just something to ponder. YMMV.


Me:WS,50+
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
wario
♂ Member
Member # 20338
Default  Posted: 10:18 AM, December 27th (Friday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Thanks "solus sto" for helping to clarify. You it it right on.

Thanks JustWow, solus sto and Tessaract for harping on Empathy. Its true that is the missing link in my experience.

Empathy is difficult as ignoring my own feelings was a lifelong approach to survival. When I did feel bad, I made it go away very quickly. I'm referring to my cheating behavior. I felt alone, bored, misunderstood, or like a failure at times in my life and if my BS was not there to give me what I was looking for then I acquired it from someone else or a different source. I use the term "acquire" because the cheating was cold, empty and devoid of feelings. Like junkfood to a baby, or RedBull when you are running empty, just some shit to get you through a rut. It was bad for me and everyone around me. I didn't care, especially about myself.

Over the 6 years I have been doing low-cost actions, actually a lot of them but these are easy because I am using the same approach. I was trying to acquire "Trust Points" by doing actions that didn't require me to feel what I've done (i.e. Sure, access my email, go through my phone
if you please, hire a nanny, do chores, help out, text wherever I go, the list goes on and on). It was a very cold approach to rebuilding trust, devoid of feelings so it comes out as insincere. I believe that is what she saw as unremorseful.

When my BS would call me out on this, I got frustrated, pissed off, defensive, and aggressive. I see now that it was because I did not want to feel anything, I resented her for this and I resented expending so much effort and getting nowhere. That's why I am so angry inside and its
seeping out, everywhere.

That's my story. Now here's my questions for anyone who still wants to post on this thread. I know Tessaract said he's struggling with empathy, are there others? What are your experiences with developing your sense of empathy? Or did you do what I did and it was okay? As BSs, did your WSs get to this point?

Thanks for the posts, really.

Wario


Me: FWH 40
BS: 42
Married: 12 years
Together:19 years

Multiple EAs from the beginning, 1 EA after marriage


Posts: 186 | Registered: Jul 2008 | From: Canada
painfulpast
♀ Member
Member # 41038
Default  Posted: 10:27 AM, December 27th (Friday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

If you're saying you completely lack empathy, you may want to see about getting assessed for narcissistic personality disorder. One of the key signs is an empathy void.

If you are not completely lacking empathy, then you are choosing not to feel your wife's pain because it would be too much of an admission of the pain you've caused, and you'd rather it stay at arm's length.


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

Posts: 1888 | Registered: Oct 2013 | From: East Coast
Card
♂ Member
Member # 23667
Default  Posted: 12:34 PM, December 27th (Friday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage


Empathy: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also : the capacity for this....

Empathy is difficult as ignoring my own feelings was a lifelong approach to survival. When I did feel bad, I made it go away very quickly.

Wario, Empathy is not being able to experience only the bad.... It's about the full range of emotions others are experiencing.

It can be as simple as; I get excited when I watch college football games. I get into the game, I vicariously experience the ups and downs of my favorite teams. I shout with joy and groan with disappointment while they play.
This is one simple example of Empathy!


I've struggled at times with empathy myself. I've been accused of not having any at times as well. My weakness in this area stems from my career. I own my own business and employ 15 others. I listen to customers all day and it's my job to provide solutions for them. So at the end of the day it's easy for me to stay in that mode with my wife. She talks and I give advice.... Of course she must remind me not to do this. She doesn't want analyzed.... She just wants me to listen empathetically and show my care and concern.

At the beginning of our recovery I discovered that offering solutions to her was an extreme love busting behavior. She shared that every time I did this, she felt as though I thought she was incapable of coming up with her own solutions. It made her feel as though she was inadequate in some way. And this harmed our marriage and actually caused her to trigger....

She often just wanted to talk, connect, share about her day and know that I was listening. The problems came because I wasn't enjoying her company. I was busy moving through her problem while she talked, finishing her sentences and offering advice.... Then moving on to something else.
My wife is very intuitive. She can sense when I am having compassion or being empathetic and she can easily tell when I'm just going through the motions to pacify her...

Trying to pacify her has always been a bad idea...... The result of this behavior is; I'm told I have no empathy, or that I lack any compassion.....


Listening skills are critical for developing empathy in a marriage! There are some good articles, about listening skills, out there if you just google it....


WH (me)
BS (her)

D-Days April - Oct. 2007 Recovery started Nov. 2007

"Found Myself", I was right there in my shoes all along!
Search for self called off!

Why Repentance Is Necessary? Because Undeserved Mercy Empowers Entitlement/Sin


Posts: 570 | Registered: Apr 2009
wario
♂ Member
Member # 20338
Default  Posted: 3:51 PM, December 28th (Saturday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Thanks for still posting and reading my story.

To address painfulpast's comment. I do think I have a lack of empathy. Am I going to assess myself for a personality disorder, probably not, that's just another label. The problem is still the same. My MC after listening to both our stories, has pointed out that I take very little care of my own emotions so it is very difficult to consider others. I neglect myself,
as I have been neglected and as such, I neglected and hurt my wife. It is only after having a daughter, did I start to consider another and start to break the cycle of neglect. It seems with a child, it is easier to see how unloving one can be. Even with my daughter it is difficult to be empathetic, but at least I am present and I am trying to listen. I didn't do that at all with my wife, until now.

I agree with Card, it is about listening, but not just to my wife but to myself. I have over the past few days begun to listen to myself a lot more. That is being aware of how tired I am and acknowledging my limits and sharing this with my wife. I think this is the rigorous honesty and awareness that is required to change the lifelong pattern. I hope I stay on course. The challenge comes when things get busy and I start to tell myself to just suck it up and soldier on,
neglecting my emotions, neglecting the stress and letting the resentment and anger build up. I think that is why my wife needs me to step back from work to allow me some time to build a practice so that when the next
crisis at work comes up I don't revert.

I will see my MC/IC in 2 days and set up a plan with him on how I can change my pattern. I'll see how it goes.

Wish me luck,

Wario


Me: FWH 40
BS: 42
Married: 12 years
Together:19 years

Multiple EAs from the beginning, 1 EA after marriage


Posts: 186 | Registered: Jul 2008 | From: Canada
painfulpast
♀ Member
Member # 41038
Default  Posted: 4:18 PM, December 28th (Saturday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

NPD isn't just 'another label', and if that is indeed a 'label' that can accurately be applied to you, then you and your wife are spinning your wheels. NPD is a very disturbing PD, and a person married to someone with NPD is spinning their wheels trying to get the nice, loving person to come back, because that person never existed.

There is a thread in the "I Can Relate" forum for people that are/were married to someone with NPD.

The advice given in books, articles, and by professionals in the mental health profession is for anyone involved with someone with NPD should leave because it is a maddening nightmare and always ends badly, with a lot of crazy making behavior thrown in for good measure.

I can't say that you have this or not, but I think saying it's 'just another label' is a real cop out. Assessing a disorder can not only help explain behavior but can help to deal with it.

I'm sorry you aren't interested in determining what may be the problem, because that would be a huge step toward correcting it.

Good luck. I hope you get what you need from 100 days at home and one post a day on SI. I've noticed that here you do the bare minimum - one post a day. No more. That seems to say that you aren't interested in posting or learning at all, and that you are doing as you were told to do. I do hope that isn't how you're approaching the other areas of your wife's healing - the bare minimum. I hope for your wife's sake you're more involved than that.

I have to wonder, if you lack empathy and cannot understand what is causing your wife so much pain, how it is that you are still trying instead of simply saying you don't understand and you need to end things because this is no life for either of you.

Is it that you enjoy the focus being you, your behavior, your affair, your attitude, your feelings, your efforts, and generally anything that has to do with you? Do you enjoy the attention, and seeing how much your wife cares and is willing to try for you?

6 years is a long time for a person to continually be told they aren't doing enough. How do you feel about the length of time you've been working toward reconciliation?

Again, I wish you success, and good luck. Thanks in advance.


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

Posts: 1888 | Registered: Oct 2013 | From: East Coast
Tesseract
♂ Member
Member # 39624
Default  Posted: 6:11 PM, December 28th (Saturday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I'm finding a great many parallels between your situation and my own. I grew up in an environment where emotions were considered a weakness and being on the defensive was the norm. I carried that over into my relationship with my wife and our children. Negativity, overly critical, the works.

I have also been very career and school focused. I'm in a demanding post-grad and I've often hung my hat on being successful academically. Unfortunately that has also carried over. Approaching problems with my wife as I would a math equation or legal question or (in your case, I'd imagine) a coding error was not the way to go, especially since she's just as smart as me and way, way more savvy when it comes to emotional issues. Probably similar to what Card did.

So yeah, I have a major issue with empathy. My first step, as I'm sure you're finding, was just connecting with what I felt. It will absolutely have a pronounced affect on everything you say and do, particularly your body language and tone. Being unaware of what I'm feeling precluded any acknowledgement of what my wife was feeling. I tried very, very hard to condense everything down do a simple math problem to solve and then put aside. I still have to, at times, deliberately connect with what I'm feeling. I find that happier feelings (chiefly joy and awe) make for better outcomes, so I try to focus on things I find beautiful and think about how it makes me feel.

Unfortunately I initially thought that the first step was it. I then had a tendency to make everything about what I'm feeling! Cause hey, look, I have feelings! Look at them! Look! Right there! I see them, do you see them? Are you sure you're paying attention to them? Giving them their due? Didn't go down so well -- every issue turned into a debate where I would ignore what my wife was feeling and insist she wasn't acknowledging mine. It's an ouroboros though, I found myself dwelling on the negative feelings and resenting their alleged lack of acknowledgement.

It wasn't until I realized that I was going in circles and realized that if I was feeling that crummy what must my wife be feeling and focusing on helping her that I had any sort of breakthrough. Even then it has been far more cyclical than I'd prefer. I often find that I am lacking a lot of the tools of empathy even when I'm trying to be empathetic. That's largely what I'm working on now.

I'd echo what one of the above posters said about being 'rigorously honest' but amend it to say 'rigorously kind' or 'happy.' You should be literally trying to damn near poison her (and yourself) with dopamine. To me, actually showing that I care or was pleased in a verbal way always felt disingenuous. I was worried that it'd be rejected or sneered at.

The best advice I can give you is to offer freely, all the time; without a care or expectation of what reaction you'll receive or whether or not she'll believe you. She might not, but as my daughter has told me often, it's not my job to determine what she does with it, it's only my job to give it to her.

I wish I could say that any of this was easy for me or that I always follow my own advice. Truthfully, I'm not even close. I'm really just learning how to put all of this into practice. It can be difficult to find any traction amid the storm of a confrontation or amid the day to day slog. It may not even translate well to your situation. I offer in the hope that maybe some part of the terrible pain I have imposed on my family can perhaps help you avoid some of the mistakes I've made.


Posts: 55 | Registered: Jun 2013
Card
♂ Member
Member # 23667
Default  Posted: 8:19 PM, December 28th (Saturday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

..... over the past few days begun to listen to myself a lot more. That is being aware of how tired I am and acknowledging my limits and sharing this with my wife

Wario,

There is an acronym I like; H.A.L.T.

Hungry
Angry
Lonely
Tired

Listening to my body and making sure I'm not to hungry, angry, lonely or tired is an important part of recovery for me....

It's nice to see you're recognizing this and sharing it with your wife..... Good stuff!

I'm doing cartwheels about this...

.....and set up a plan with him on how I can change my pattern.

[This message edited by Card at 8:20 PM, December 28th (Saturday)]


WH (me)
BS (her)

D-Days April - Oct. 2007 Recovery started Nov. 2007

"Found Myself", I was right there in my shoes all along!
Search for self called off!

Why Repentance Is Necessary? Because Undeserved Mercy Empowers Entitlement/Sin


Posts: 570 | Registered: Apr 2009
20WrongsVs1
♀ Member
Member # 39000
Default  Posted: 9:23 AM, December 29th (Sunday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

If you're saying you completely lack empathy, you may want to see about getting assessed for narcissistic personality disorder. One of the key signs is an empathy void.

Let's leave the diagnosing to the professionals. Wario's starting IC soon.

I was almost completely devoid of empathy. I believed I was a (mostly) law-abiding sociopath. BH said I was like a Vulcan, without the logic. In my adult life I'd hardly ever cried, rarely apologized sincerely (just used the words), and I delighted in "getting away with" breaking the rules.

My therapist diagnosed me with PTSD from childhood trauma, and immediately reassured me that I wasn't a sociopath or anything like it.

Don't mean to t/j, I'm telling you this because I can personally guarantee you that empathy can be regained. Two things majorly helped me:

1) My therapist, at our first session, gave me a homework assignment. Once every hour, take a moment and assess how you are feeling, and write it down. She gave me a "feelings list." The first week? I wrote down stuff like "neutral" and "ambivalent" even though those were (clearly) not on the list! When my therapist told me it's common for abuse victims to disconnect from their emotions, I realized...hey, I'm not actually a Vulcan or a robot! This isn't how I'm meant to be! And the wires started reconnecting.

2) I read a book called "Nonviolent Communication" by Rosenberg. It's basically a how-to manual on developing empathy. When I started implementing the techniques described in this book, my kids were like, "Who are you, and what have you done with Mom?" Wario I guarantee if you read this book and follow its step-by-step instructions, you will see your daughter (and wife, and world) through new, more compassionate eyes. It changed my life.

These things, along with a supportive husband and family, SI (which my therapist says is like group therapy), and nearly-constant vigilance over time, have set me on the path to empathy. A year ago I wouldn't have thought it possible.


fWW: 42
BH: 52
Sweet DS & fierce DD, under 10
"Between stimulus and response there’s a space, in that space lies our power to choose our response, in our response lies our growth and our freedom." V. Frankl

Posts: 1114 | Registered: Apr 2013 | From: Redneck land
20WrongsVs1
♀ Member
Member # 39000
Concerned  Posted: 9:53 AM, December 29th (Sunday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

t/j
painfulpast, IMO your last post was more about projection of your WH's issues, and displacement of your anger, than supporting Wario.

I'm sorry you aren't interested in determining what may be the problem, because that would be a huge step toward correcting it.

So, he's dismissive of your suggestion that he get evaluated for an extremely rare PD, therefore he's not interested in determining what the problem is? That is unfair and hurtful.

I have to wonder, if you lack empathy and cannot understand what is causing your wife so much pain, how it is that you are still trying instead of simply saying you don't understand and you need to end things because this is no life for either of you.

My interpretation of this is, "You'll never understand your wife's pain, so quit trying and let her go!" The guy agreed with you that he lacks empathy. He's going to IC tomorrow, which indicates that he recognizes he has issues that need professional attention. Kicking him when he's down, and accusing him of "choosing not to feel" his wife's pain, is counter-productive.

end t/j


fWW: 42
BH: 52
Sweet DS & fierce DD, under 10
"Between stimulus and response there’s a space, in that space lies our power to choose our response, in our response lies our growth and our freedom." V. Frankl

Posts: 1114 | Registered: Apr 2013 | From: Redneck land
wario
♂ Member
Member # 20338
Default  Posted: 3:25 PM, December 29th (Sunday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Thanks Card, Tessaract and 20WrongsVs1 for sharing your experiences about lacking empathy. I can really see a lot of commonalities in our experiences. Its good to know that I'm not alone
in this journey and its not hopeless. One can learn to be empathetic with practice and hopefully
my life and those around me would improve.

20WrongsVS1 thanks for sharing your therapy homework suggestion with me. I'll get a notebook and
try it out. Every hour, sounds like a lot, but I guess that is how one starts to practice an
awareness. Also, thanks for the book suggestion as well, I'll download on my Kindle tonight.

By the way Tessaract, Card and 20WrongsVs, how have your BSs been since you've learned and expressed
your empathy?

Thanks for the support and comments. I understand that not all comments will be so positive or even
encouraging, but that is the nature of a forum, I guess.

Wario


Me: FWH 40
BS: 42
Married: 12 years
Together:19 years

Multiple EAs from the beginning, 1 EA after marriage


Posts: 186 | Registered: Jul 2008 | From: Canada
Tesseract
♂ Member
Member # 39624
Default  Posted: 6:51 AM, December 30th (Monday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I've also read Nonviolent Communication. It's a great book, though I found it a bit self-aggrandizing at times. The first time I tried applying it in a conflict situation was disastrous. I tried to apply it to the problem at hand like I was balancing a chemical formula. It didn't work exceptionally well -- at all. However, I have found that the book has been immensely helpful in that it played a large role in growing my awareness of the fact that there is intent and emotion behind what someone is saying.

As a card carrying expert in compartmentalization (like most of us in this section of the forums) I often failed to link a current situation to the holistic context of the utter hell I've put my wife and our family through. The NVC book helped me to understand that my wife's anger and pain were not an attack. That awareness allows me the few breaths I need to reevaluate my initial defensive responses and try to choose something better (still a major work in progress).

The difference between how my wife (and kids) responds when I'm being genuinely empathetic and when I'm just angry or frustrated isn't night and day; it's black hole and supernova. They're hyper, hyper aware of anything resembling the behavior/attitudes/thought processes that hurt them to begin with.

Having empathy, feeling it with her, enables me to actually comfort her and reassure her. My wife, and probably most betrayed spouses are not in a position that they want to be in. Empathy lets you be a port in a storm. And, selfishly, it makes me feel amazing to be able to provide that for her when I can manage it.

To use a more concrete example (which I typically prefer in your position):

Without empathy I: 1) am more likely to be defensive/angry; 2) will likely blame shift and minimize the issue like there's a gold medal in it for me; 3) become distant and glacially cold (wife calls it my pharaoh face); 4) eventually cease initiating anything but an argument

Without empathy she: 1) is angry and hurt; 2) feels that the situation is hopeless and reconciliation is impossibles; 3) more likely to trigger (really, the whole situation is a trigger); 4) becomes depressed and empty; 5) sees that I am willing to discard her feelings and choose something (my pride/anger/fear/obsession) over her again.

With empathy I: 1) get over any feelings of anger or hurt very quickly, they just cease to exist when I focus on my wife's pain. I don't really know how to explain it, they just go away; 2) get motivated -- this isn't some vague half-assed anger I can't do anything with, it's a problem that I, and indeed only I, can solve; 3) value everything much more, am much happier in general; 4) seek out things that make us both happier, doing things like posting on SI and going to counseling and having those dreaded talks about feelings and The Past are far less terrifying.

With empathy she: 1) gets past the initial anger/hurt much more quickly; 2) is much more amenable to physical comfort sooner; 3) is more willing (maybe I should say able) to give me the benefit of the doubt when I say something stupid because I'm new to the whole expressing myself thing; 4) is visibly happier and more enthusiastic (this is really the biggest one); 5) is reminded that I am not just a source of pain; 6) has more hope for the future.

These aren't comprehensive and I may well be off base or flat out wrong about some of the things I wrote about what she's felt. I may have also left out important things that simply aren't occurring to me at the moment, bur I hope that gives you the general gist.

I find that comments, 'positive' or 'negative' will at the very least help me stay honest with myself and give me some questions to pose myself (and maybe my IC). I don't know if painfulpast is right or not, but what she said caused me to question why I've chosen not to be empathetic. I don't think it's as cut and dry as she made it out to be, but that may well be what your wife thinks about it.


Posts: 55 | Registered: Jun 2013
painfulpast
♀ Member
Member # 41038
Default  Posted: 7:22 AM, December 30th (Monday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

t/j

20WrongsVs1, I'm sorry you don't like my post, but it was most definitely not meant to be hurtful, nor about my WS. You write:

So, he's dismissive of your suggestion that he get evaluated for an extremely rare PD, therefore he's not interested in determining what the problem is? That is unfair and hurtful.

It is rare, but not extremely, and being on the spectrum isn't even rare. He said he wasn't interested in getting assess. I would say that says he's not interested in finding out if that could be the issue. He has stated many times he has a complete lack of empathy, even for his daughter. That is more than just trouble with empathy. It's worthy of being explored imo. You are free to disagree. I did, however, leave the diagnosing to the professionals. I merely suggested he see one and ask about this.

My interpretation of this is, "You'll never understand your wife's pain, so quit trying and let her go!"

Interesting, because my question meant "It's been 6 years, and by now you must be tired of constantly being told you aren't doing enough" which I did clarify in my post. It was truly just a question. I'm NOT saying he should be tired, or that he doesn't love his wife. However, a person that lacks empathy would probably have very little patience for listening to someone go on about pain for 6 years.

At no point did I say he should quit trying, and I don't think he should.

If you or anyone else has any other questions on my post I'm happy to get a PM. I ONLY responded here because I felt that if one poster took my post incorrectly, others may have as well.

I do think a person with extreme lack of empathy should have that looked into. It's clearly an issue OP would like help with - so why not get the PD that is based on that looked at instead of calling it a "label'? I said it's more than a label because it is. It's a diagnosis, which is usually needed to know how to go about addressing the issue.

I only wanted OP to perhaps look at getting the issue looked at differently - I wasn't attacking him.

I hope that helps gain some understanding of my comments. They were meant in support, and that last part was a true question that I had.

Thanks, and I apologize if my comments caused OP or anyone any kind of hurt.


[This message edited by painfulpast at 7:29 AM, December 30th (Monday)]


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

Posts: 1888 | Registered: Oct 2013 | From: East Coast
BaxtersBFF
♂ Member
Member # 26859
Default  Posted: 7:30 AM, December 30th (Monday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Do you feel empathy for others besides your BW and kids? Or is it just not there for anyone?

solus sto - And not all WSs reach remorse and empathy easily.

Six years is a long time. Have you had, or are you in the process of having that OMG moment where you realize what your BW has had to put up with? It sounds like you are starting to get that, and to understand how lucky you are that she is still there. All of the "low cost actions" are what I see as the "low-hanging fruit" in that they are pretty easy, but as you see now, without doing any other work, they can lead to resentment on your part. So basically, you've strung your BW along for six years now giving only minimal effort. And she's still in the game.

Another question...and you already alluded to this somewhat...how big of a deal is this 100-days without income for your BW? I know for a fact that the stress of no income for that period of time would completely unhinge my BW. How big of a challenge is this going to be to your BW? Or will it be more of a challenge to her to have you in her space a lot more than when you are working a normal schedule? Because we also faced that challenge when I worked swing shift for a few years. After getting a day shift job, there was a huge adjustment for my wife because all of a sudden she had to factor me into her plans.

Getting sidetracked...just curious how your BW views the 100 days of sacrifice, or it is a bigger deal to you. Are you going to resent her for this 100-day hiatus? Are you prepared for dealing with the subsequent loss of your safety net (savings)?


WH - 44
BW - gerrygirl

Posts: 6097 | Registered: Dec 2009 | From: Boise
wario
♂ Member
Member # 20338
Default  Posted: 1:17 AM, December 31st (Tuesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

We had an MC session today. After which my wife told me she pisses on everything that I am and everything that I have done. That I have disappointed her in every way possible. Humanly, relationship wise, as a boy-friend as a husband, and even professionally. Everything I am is completely not what she wanted. Rather than compartmentalize it, I'm sitting with it and trying to experience her utter disappointment in me. Now I know exactly why I disconnected from feeling it.

Wario

P.S. I just put my baby girl to sleep, I missed my daily deadline of posting on SI.


Me: FWH 40
BS: 42
Married: 12 years
Together:19 years

Multiple EAs from the beginning, 1 EA after marriage


Posts: 186 | Registered: Jul 2008 | From: Canada
Topic Posts: 133
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