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User Topic: How can I love her if she doesn't love herself
ontheslope
Member
Member # 40574
Question  Posted: 8:10 PM, September 29th (Sunday)

I've been struggling with R lately, specifically with tring to find feelings for my WW again, and I'm just stuck with getting my heart to open up to her again.

I do still carry some anger about the A, but the hardest part for me right now is the guilt that my W carries. As the subject says... how can I love someone who doesn't love themselves? She hates herself for what she did, she hasn't forgiven herself, and she is battling through some pretty bad depression as a result. I try to be understanding, but I don't have the emotional energy to comfort her, especially if I'm triggering really bad or having a bad day.

I'd love to hear from any WSs who battled through this - how did you eventually learn to live with what you did? Did you ever actually forgive yourself? She is in IC and I think it is helping her, but I can still see how much it bothers her. I really hope she can get past this.... I need her to get past it. I can't forgive her if she won't forgive herself.

Just to fill in a little detail in my situation - the A was 4 years ago, but I spent the past 3 burrying my feelings and pretending like I was over it any everything was OK. 2 years of IC and various panic attacks, anxiety, breakdowns, etc, finally opened my eyes to how much I was suffering inside. When the truth of my situation hit me it wss like having DDay all over again.

ETA: I think it would be better to say that my forgiving her wouldn't mean much to her if she can't forgive herself. I have, in a way, forgiven her. But I don't think she will truly believe that unless she lets go of her guilt and learns to love the person she is.

[This message edited by ontheslope at 3:49 PM, September 30th (Monday)]


Me: BH, 36
Her: WW, 37
Two girls 8 & 10
Married 12 years
Dday: July, 2009

She wants answers... I'm still trying to figure out what the questions are.


Posts: 269 | Registered: Sep 2013 | From: Maine, USA
heartbroken0903
Member
Member # 27879
Default  Posted: 8:54 PM, September 29th (Sunday)

I'd love to hear from any WSs who battled through this - how did you eventually learn to live with what you did?

I had no choice. I was divorced, I was alone with myself and who I was for, really, the first time in my life. I didn't like what I saw, and I realized I had two choices: I could either keep doing things the way I had always done them, and continue to be miserable and keep screwing up my life, or I could fix the bad shit and make some changes. I chose the latter.

As I continued making those changes, my self-respect and self-esteem improved. I started realizing that I was capable of some pretty cool shit---not just terrible shit---was capable of being strong, independent, self-validating, and of redeemed character. With that regaining of self-respect came the strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other and working through what I had done.

Did you ever actually forgive yourself?

No. I found it impossible to forgive deliberate, blatant, immorality and stupidity. I accepted that it happened, accepted my failings---but also determined that those parts of myself wasn't good enough going forward...they had to go. I can't find a way to "forgive" the fact that they were ever there in the first place.


Me: XWS, 30s, 5-month EA/PA in '09-'10
Husband: XBS, 40s
No kids

Married 2.5 years
D-day 3/6/10
Divorced 5/14/10

Reconciled and remarried.


Posts: 2128 | Registered: Mar 2010 | From: the cat's meow
sisoon
Member
Member # 31240
Default  Posted: 9:34 AM, September 30th (Monday)

IDK ... I can't help seeing things I love about my W, even though she hates herself. Your love is your gift to your W, irrespective of how she feels about herself.

I bet the barrier you feel is related to your anger and perhaps grief and fear, too. My experience has been that it takes a LOT more time to work through my feelings that my think should be necessary. There are just lots and lots of feelings to go through, and it takes lots and lots of time.


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: 10047 | Registered: Feb 2011 | From: Chicago area
ontheslope
Member
Member # 40574
Default  Posted: 11:02 AM, September 30th (Monday)

sisoon... I get what you are saying. Maybe it is partly the anger and resentment that I still carry. But part of it is her depression, and that is directly tied to her A and the guilt that she has. It is so hard for me to talk to her about how I'm feeling, because if she sees that I'm having a bad day because of a trigger or what-not she feels guilty about it and then she just shuts down, she recoils and just puts up these walls that are so high and thick I can't break through them. She is a good mother, she is trying so hard to be a good wife, and she loves me dearly. She is just so hard to be around. I get that she's depressed, and I'm glad that she's trying to work through it, but it makes it so hard to reconnect with someone when they are distant and are so overwhelmed by their anxiety and their guilt and their depression that they can't be there for me in the way that I need. She doesn't love herself, and that just makes it so hard for me to see her as a beautiful, loving person that I want to spend the rest of my life with. She brings me down with her, and that is so hard. I'm a bit codependent, and I'm sure that doesn't help.

I just want her to be happy. In the few moments where she is happy she can be a wonderful person, but those times are so few and far-between...I need them to be more often. I'm a naturally happy person - and I could fall in love with a happy person very easily (even my W, even after she broke my heart with the A). I hope I'm not expecting too much from her, but I really just want her to be happy and to forgive herself for what she did. I don't think we can really move on until she does.


Me: BH, 36
Her: WW, 37
Two girls 8 & 10
Married 12 years
Dday: July, 2009

She wants answers... I'm still trying to figure out what the questions are.


Posts: 269 | Registered: Sep 2013 | From: Maine, USA
tired girl
Member
Member # 28053
Default  Posted: 2:33 PM, September 30th (Monday)

I was similar to Hb 0903, I moved through that stage to work on myself and then be there for my H. She is not doing this for you.

So my question to you is, what are you doing to heal yourself? If she cannot be a part of your healing process, what is your next step?

Have you thought about having her read on SI?


Me45 Him 45 Hardlessons DS 25,23,20
D Day 1/18/10 his 3/8/2012 mine
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Eleanor Roosevelt

Posts: 4831 | Registered: Mar 2010 | From: az
sisoon
Member
Member # 31240
Default  Posted: 3:17 PM, September 30th (Monday)

ots, I think I get what you're saying. I'm just having trouble communicating what I mean, but wth, here goes.

Personally, if my W shut down when I triggered or when I wanted to work through my A-related thoughts & feelings, I'd be very angry, sad, and maybe even scared for the future of my M.

My W hates herself at a gut level. That's not really a result of the A; it's what got her into her A. One of her tasks in R is to deal with that in IC and not dump it on me. Another is to listen to me non-defensively. She has to fight off the guilt.

Don't get me wrong. If we're both in the dumps when one of us needs support, the one in need may have to soothe himself or herself, but if one of us needs support, we do our best to accommodate each other on the spot. We're 2 separate people. Our feelings arenít on the same schedule. Besides, we have our feelings - they don't have us. Your W can give you support even while she's having a hard time herself, and vice versa.

If your W isn't adjusting, she may very well be dodging her feelings or responsibility or ?. If she's doing that and wants to R, she needs to change what she's doing.

Is your W in IC? What is she working on? Are you in MC?


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: 10047 | Registered: Feb 2011 | From: Chicago area
ontheslope
Member
Member # 40574
Default  Posted: 3:47 PM, September 30th (Monday)

So my question to you is, what are you doing to heal yourself? If she cannot be a part of your healing process, what is your next step?

Have you thought about having her read on SI?

I'm in IC, I do a lot of reading on here, and I've been trying to rediscover who I am, what I like, what I want out of a relationship. I exercise, eat healthy, and try to be the best me I can be. Not always easy, but it is what it is.

If she can't help me heal... wow. I don't know. That would be tough. I already feel very alone at times. I know deep down that D would kill me - it would be like shutting the door on a large part of my life, and I don't think I'm ready for that yet. But I need to have someone special in my life...don't we all? And it's hard to think of my W as special when she is so riddled with her own problems and issues. It exhausting sometimes trying to force myself to feel something that I don't, even if I want to. I just wish she could let go of her guilt, let go of her self-loathing. I need her to be there for me, I need her to help me rediscover us, rediscover her, but she's so distracted by her negative emotions that it's like she can't even see how much I'm hurting.

I've mentioned SI to her, but she isn't much of a 'forum' person, and I think reading some of what I've written here would be hard for her. It isn't anything that i have said to her directly, but she is so sensitive. Everything becomes an emotional challenge for her.

Personally, if my W shut down when I triggered or when I wanted to work through my A-related thoughts & feelings, I'd be very angry, sad, and maybe even scared for the future of my M.

My W hates herself at a gut level. That's not really a result of the A; it's what got her into her A. One of her tasks in R is to deal with that in IC and not dump it on me. Another is to listen to me non-defensively. She has to fight off the guilt.

Yes... angry, sad, scared. That sums it up. And yes - I would say that my W got into the A for very similar reasons. I hope she can eventually fight off the guilt. I need her to be there for me in a way that she never really has been. I've always been there for her. She was there for me in the beginning of the relationship, but somewhere along the way her depression took over, and ever since then I've been there for her, but she's never really been there for me. I look at her now, and at times I know she is trying so hard. She knows that I've lost that *spark* for her, but she keeps trying to coax it back out of me again, and I appreciate that. But at times her depression weighs so heavily on the relationship. I'm trying to get over that, to let her heal on her own while I heal myself, but it is hard. Very hard.


Me: BH, 36
Her: WW, 37
Two girls 8 & 10
Married 12 years
Dday: July, 2009

She wants answers... I'm still trying to figure out what the questions are.


Posts: 269 | Registered: Sep 2013 | From: Maine, USA
sisoon
Member
Member # 31240
Default  Posted: 5:53 PM, September 30th (Monday)

ots,

We all have to find our own path through this mess, and we all can.

Some thoughts...

You have to heal yourself. She can give you support, but healing is your task, and yours alone. That's probably a good thing - among other things, it means you can heal even if she doesn't.

D won't kill you. For me, it's a lot more painful than I want to contemplate, but I can do it, and so can you.

Let me suggest this, knowing I could be speaking about myself, if I were in your sitch: you can't love her now because she's not loving you - that is, she's not giving you what you need - not because she doesn't love herself. Maybe you'd love her fine if she were meeting more of your needs.

And maybe you're giving her lots of love now anyway.

Is she in IC? She needs help, and only she can get help for herself. She has to heal herself, too; you can't do it for her. Her depression can get worse and worse for you unless she does stuff to help herself.

Has your C mentioned co-dependence? You sound very wrapped up in your W, when the way through the pain, IMO, is to focus on yourself and your own healing. The more pain you release, the more energy you'll have for other things, like helping her, if only by saying, 'Get help or (name your consequence).'

These are just ideas. They may or may not work for you or even appeal to you. I'm always good for taking what someone says and confronting on it, but I'll always respect your right to choose your path.

Do you follow the Betrayed Men threads in ICR? It moves too fast for me, but the tuff I do get to is usually really good.

[This message edited by sisoon at 6:08 PM, September 30th (Monday)]


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: 10047 | Registered: Feb 2011 | From: Chicago area
Topic Posts: 8