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is this typical MO for BS and WS

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gettingintune posted 11/16/2017 14:47 PM

is this typical MO for BS and WS?

BS= withdraws via putting up walls , especially when triggering....
I know that when I hit a rough patch, bad emotion, my MO is to wallow in that emotion..sit in it...and then throw up walls to disconnect from my wife

WS = avoid bad emotions. if bad emotions come up, desire to avoid sitting in that emotion, so they redirect to something else to focus on.

I ask because of a conversation my wife and I had last evening.

my wife and I were talking about why I don't think she "gets it" after almost 3 years post d-day and why I still have doubt and fear regarding the relationship and R.

She said that when she feels bad about the adultery, that instead of sitting in that feeling, she does something else in order to AVOID that feeling and to isolate herself from that bad feeling

me, when I feel bad about her behavior, I wallow in the emotion, and then throw up walls to isolate myself from my wife.

it was a bit of an ah-ha moment for me, as I was finally able to have a it more insight on why I still don't feel like my wife is doing enough.

she additionally said, that sometimes she wishes she was the type of woman who could throw out the standard emotional cliches like "I'm so sorry you are hurting..." ...empathy.... and she admits that she can't because its not the way she was raised, and just not part of her vocabulary, however she said that she is aware of this, and is trying very hard to change this part of her self. she used the analogy of if one of our kids fell and scrapped a leg, she isn't the type of mom who would make a huge deal out of it w "oh my god, are you ok?"...she's more of a "is there blood? are you hurt? no? ok then, get up and get going"

I couldn't put my finger on it, but she ended up shining a light on it herself. it's her MO for coping w the shame and guilt now...she won't sit w the emotion. she will do something in order to avoid the emotion...and avoiding the emotion reinforces her inability to say something or respond in some way that shows me she is capable of a level of empathy more than just saying "I'm sorry"

I am unable to tell her what I need from her, and she is unable to determine what she needs to give me...since she realizes that when she feels bad, she moves away from that emotion in order to avoid it, so she withdrawals from me, and consequently, I don't feel like I am on the receiving end of any "work" or "empathY" from her.

she used the word "cliches" not because they aren't important, but more because they are responses the majority of people would have and automatically use..however, she doesn't have that trait...its not something that comes easily for her....I don't know if that comes from her ADD which was only diagnosed and treated post dday, but the scary thing is sometimes I wonder if bits of that behavior is bordering on sociopathic behavior.

my wife has been there for the tough discussions. that is one thing that we have been doing for almost 3 years. we talk about her adulteries...and how I am feeling this day or that...and how some days i do better than others...... but the thing that has been tough for me is that she feels that she is "fixed" and has "worked thru her issues" that allowed her to have 8 different partners within 15 months...and I think that is BS...

I think it is part of her avoiding the real issues which allowed her to make those choices.... and saying "I am fixed" is BS.... she tells me that she is here to listen to me, and she does....but I just don't see , or feel her doing ANYTHING active...listening is passive to an extent.

it wa very interesting for her to use the word AVOID because its what I have been thinking for the last 2 years...that she is avoiding SOMETHING...the real issues... and now she admits that she AVOIDS the bad emotions....

I know that wallowing or staying in the bad feelings too much is counter productive."
I know this to be true
Yet, I seem to still be unable to stop myself from wallowing in the bad emotions.

My wife will point this out to me, and say that saying in that state is unhealthy, and believes that her "focusing on the present and moving on w life" is a better approach, yet, her approach, leaves me feeling as if she doesn't really care to try any more.

anyway...last evening did manage to bring up something new..

Darkness Falls posted 11/16/2017 14:52 PM

What you describe is our dynamic except in reverse (I was the WS; he, BS). It's uncanny, right down to the use of the word "wallowing" which is something he's accused me of several times in the past.

He stuffs/avoids ANY negative emotion. I on the other hand "feel all the feels"---admittedly maybe sometimes to the point of wallowing.

DevastatedDee posted 11/16/2017 14:57 PM

That's often our dynamic too and I don't know that it's healthy. I tend to force a conversation when I feel myself disconnecting from him too much because if I keep putting up the walls, I'll be done and I know it.

My wife will point this out to me, and say that saying in that state is unhealthy, and believes that her "focusing on the present and moving on w life" is a better approach, yet, her approach, leaves me feeling as if she doesn't really care to try any more.

I hear the same. "It's unhealthy for me to dwell on those hard times and succumb to self-pity, so I'm living in the present, working to become a better man and looking to the future". That makes me so mad sometimes, but I can't think of exactly where he's wrong in that.

gettingintune posted 11/16/2017 15:02 PM

"It's unhealthy for me to dwell on those hard times and succumb to self-pity, so I'm living in the present, working to become a better man and looking to the future". That makes me so mad sometimes, but I can't think of exactly where he's wrong in that.

that's practically verbatim what my wife says.
and , yes..it makes me crazy to hear that.

and yes, in a Deepak Chopra Wayne Dyer world, I know , that there is an element of truth to her words, but I just believe that approach is premature, even at almost 3 years post dday

In some ways, I felt closer to my wife during the 1st year post d day... even though I was out of my mind... I did feel "safer" with her that first year...

but not so much the last 2 years... and it goes back to her "living in the present" while my present is dealing w her past.

but, he choice of words..."avoiding, emotion" ...that wasn't something that has come up for a long time, and it really helped me explain to her, why her "living in the present" makes me believe that she doesn't really care

freaking cycle..... argh

DevastatedDee posted 11/16/2017 15:14 PM

I think it's part of the whole AA/NA thing where he's working the steps and all that and is focusing on staying sober for a year before he begins to dig into trauma from his past and such. He's working on his character flaws and selfishness.

Selfishness...I think that's what it is that bugs me, maybe you too. They're worried about what's good for THEM, as if what's good for us isn't their problem. Yeah yeah, we are responsible for our healing, but healing the marriage is on both parties. That means that even if they don't like it, sometimes they have to handle being uncomfortable for our sakes. I can't look to the future, for goodness' sakes. I no longer assume we'll be together for another year, much less until we're old. All this "future" stuff sounds good, but I'm still trying to figure out what my past was.

gettingintune posted 11/16/2017 15:18 PM

They're worried about what's good for THEM, as if what's good for us isn't their problem

that's how I interpret the Sanon meetings I go to.

Work on yourself
Your spouse's problem doesn't belong to you, and you can't really do a damn thing about it, because its not your job to change them, its only your job to change yourself

I remember at an early Sanon 12 step mtg I went to, one of the folks who had been there for some time told me "your wife's sobriety isn't your problem...its not even your concern....that's not how this program works"

[This message edited by gettingintune at 3:25 PM, November 16th (Thursday)]

DevastatedDee posted 11/16/2017 15:25 PM

Yeah, Alanon and Naranon are the same. They encourage looking out for yourself and detachment. I remember thinking "If I detach sufficiently so that his problems aren't mine, then clearly he and I will be done". And that's true. I don't run very codependent, so that wasn't a hard thing for me to do when I thought it was just drugs and alcohol (not that there's any just about those things). I kicked him out for a month, let him back for a month, and was done. Total 2 1/2 months before I broke it off with him. Then he went to rehab and got clean.

If I detach completely now, I'll just leave him. So...does that mean it's the right thing to do? It's confusing sometimes. Because when it comes to drugs, alcohol or sex, their sobriety is our problem too. Those things greatly affect our lives as long as we're reconciling with them.

gettingintune posted 11/16/2017 15:30 PM

If I detach completely now, I'll just leave him.

I have a problem w balancing the "detach lovingly, your spouses problem / addiction...isnt your circus" with ambivalence and apathy to the whole thing.

I don't quite understand now, even after almost 3 years , to detach lovingly, and "work my own program" if I believe my wife isn't working "her own program" ...and she isn't. she stopped SA meetings 3 months post d day

I also brought up last evening, that I believe my wife is a always been a "I can do it myself" type person. she HATES when anyone offered to help her...she feels that she is being slighted when someone offers to help, and she also feels that other people aren't going to do it as well as she would, so they'd just make it a mess anyway....

and I think this approach, is what she has been doing on her "work".

I think she really believes she can do "the work" by herself.
without in person support groups
without online forum w people who have a similar story
without confronting the fears and emotions that she admits she avoids.

its actually a very consistent character trait for her. one she's had since we first met 18 years ago

DevastatedDee posted 11/16/2017 15:37 PM

I have a problem w balancing the "detach lovingly, your spouses problem / addiction...isnt your circus" with ambivalence and apathy to the whole thing.

I don't quite understand now, even after almost 3 years , to detach lovingly, and "work my own program" if I believe my wife isn't working "her own program" ...and she isn't. she stopped SA meetings 3 months post d day

Yeah, I can't detach lovingly without employing ambivalence and apathy either. Marriages aren't about detachment and "Whatever, you do your life and I'll do mine". You share a life. Kinda doesn't jive with detachment. You can detach from people who don't live with you.

It's tough, mine is working recovery right now, but I can easily see him dropping off the meetings and doing the same. At that point, I'll be quite uncomfortable too. I won't try to make him do anything or nag him about recovery or whatever. I am well aware that I can't fix him and that at a certain point, nothing I say or feel matters.

I think the hardest part about being with any kind of addict is that they can't promise you "never again". They are at risk of relapse anytime and you won't necessarily see it coming. They won't just take themselves down, they'll take you down with them to a point if you're married. So you have to live with a certain amount of uncertainty and it's wise not to really trust them. I can be the love of my husband's life today, but I can be a mere obstacle to what he wants next month. Makes it kind of hard to heal a marriage, doesn't it?

gettingintune posted 11/16/2017 15:44 PM

I won't try to make him do anything or nag him about recovery or whatever.

and trying to apply 12 step stuff on "work on yourself", and balancing this type of approach (not pushing them toward working recovery", makes me short circuit.

because, what I feel that I need in order to get better and healthy myself is for my spouse to work on themselves... so how do I balance that w a 12 step approach.

im not a card carrying 12 stepper...its taken me almost 3 years to get to the point when I come away from the meetings with something that I can work w, so I haven't really done the whole "work my program"...I read some literature, and go to weekly meetings..

but that whole balance ...

what do I need to do to get myself healthy?
my answer is still "see that my spouse is healthy"

so, I guess I get a D for my sanon badge.
ha

ISurvivedSoFar posted 11/16/2017 16:08 PM

Yes this all sounds familiar but we must break through for change. Devastated, you said,

I think the hardest part about being with any kind of addict is that they can't promise you "never again".
In our case the A was another manifestation of addiction. To break through this must change,

when she feels bad about the adultery, that instead of sitting in that feeling, she does something else in order to AVOID that feeling
it's all about avoiding and if it persists there will be another episode of addictive behavior.

This is what I learned after d-day. We act out when we stuff down and avoid. She and you must face your feelings to overcome and stop the cycle. You don't have to do it for each other as much as you have to do it for yourselves. But since you have each other and have a broken relationship, why not use each other at least for practice? Open up... You will feel amazing relief even if it is the hardest thing to do the results are life changing.

[This message edited by ISurvivedSoFar at 4:11 PM, November 16th (Thursday)]

DevastatedDee posted 11/16/2017 17:00 PM

You're right, of course, ISurvived. When I think about it logically, he can't make a bigger ass out of me than he already has, so if I'm completely open and vulnerable to him and he makes an ass out of me again, then double shame on him and he loses me. I need to do it for me, not for his sake.

DevastatedDee posted 11/16/2017 17:07 PM

what do I need to do to get myself healthy?
my answer is still "see that my spouse is healthy"

Well...if you're gonna be married...isn't that true? I mean, right? I wasn't codependent when my husband just drank a lot. I didn't cover for him, nag him about it, whatever. I figured that was his problem as long as it didn't hurt me. And I thought it didn't, but I didn't understand addiction. So I would have been an Alanon star with that. But drugs and prostitutes? That DOES affect me greatly. So no, I can't detach lovingly from that stuff. I do need him to be healthy when it comes to addiction if I'm going to stay with him. If he relapses, I will leave and then I can put forth the real detachment stuff easily.

It makes sense if the goal is to get you to a place where you leave the addict, yes. But married to them? Not really.

nekonamida posted 11/16/2017 18:18 PM

GIT, at some point, you have to face the fact that she may never get it. She may never stop leaving the door open like she did with the young coworker. She may cheat again or maybe not. Even if she didn't, is this enough for you? And if it's not, what are you willing to do about it?

I think it's a pretty common theme here when a WS either doesn't or can't do the work that the BS can't properly heal because they aren't even reasonably certain that they won't be betrayed again years down the line or maybe they just can't deal with a spouse who shrugs at their pain and agony. Most of those in your shoes are D or in the process of it after years of trying. Very few still can push through some form of R.

You're not likely to see anything change if you keep focusing on yourself and twisting into this mythical person who just doesn't care about the A and it's related issues today. It's not going to happen. You have tried for 2 years and it hasn't happened yet. You can either get tough and come up with an action plan for your WS or you can prepare for D. There aren't any other options here other than expecting to live exactly how you are indefinitely which is not doable.

strugglebus posted 11/16/2017 18:22 PM

Both my fwh and I are ones more prone to sitting in it than avoiding. I think its just a personality type thing. I work really hard NOT to live in the wallowing place and now H is coming along with that too. It's hard AF not to do.

edited to add:

The additionally said, that sometimes she wishes she was the type of woman who could throw out the standard emotional cliches like "I'm so sorry you are hurting..." ...empathy.... and she admits that she can't because its not the way she was raised, and just not part of her vocabulary, however she said that she is aware of this, and is trying very hard to change this part of her self.

This is an excuse. The word cliche also seems to point to her thinking derisively about those empathetic responses. She absolutely can change her language and it really isn't all that hard to do. All she has to do is think about how you are feeling and what would comfort you instead of her own knee jerk reactions. It takes effort but it isn't hard, children learn it so can she.

[This message edited by strugglebus at 6:25 PM, November 16th (Thursday)]

gettingintune posted 11/17/2017 05:53 AM

You can either get tough and come up with an action plan for your WS or you can prepare for D

what would an action plan look like?


would it be me providing a list of demands, needs, wants, like
1. start going to in person support groups whether they are SA or other
2. shutdown any line crossing from co workers...members of the opposite sex or even same sex...immediately with no backstory other than "this behavior is unacceptable and needs to stop now"
3. schedule a meeting w a counseling professional who specializes in sex addiction
(we have only gone to standard MC/IC none of which specialized in infidelity recovery or sex addiction)
4. schedule evaluation for bipolar or BPD
5. make it know that if any of these conditions are not meant, D will be the only option

???
something like this?
honestly....i really DONT KNOW what an action plan would be...

my action plan the day after D day was to demand her to start going to SA meetings, and IC and MC, and for her to give me all passwords, and for her to answer the phone whenever i call to check up on her.... and i did that for the first few months...but ive no intention of doing that now...im not going to spend my time snooping on her location via GPS, or reading email or texts. she leaves her phone in plain site...no longer has a death grip on it like she did when she was cheating... has gone to MC and IC...has listened to me nightly for almost 3 years....

there is a lot she has done correctly... but i still dont feel safe.... because its not the behavior that i need her to change..she has changed the behavior....i need her to change her thinking....and the thread about the interaction w a young crass coworker... tells me that her thinking and processing is still an issue.

so how to have an action plan to tell someone to work on changing their BRAIN?

strugglebus posted 11/17/2017 09:42 AM

Is she still in IC?

Has she read books on boundaries like Not Just Friends etc?

Does she journal?

Has she looked into Non-Violent Communication (which is good at working on empathy)?

How about actively working to learn to empathize? Like using something like The Emotional Intelligence Workbook or reading and implementing things from The Art of Empathy or The Power of Empathy: A Practical Guide to Creating Intimacy, Self-understanding, and Lasting Love in Your Life (this last one is free through Kindleunlimited)

You can absolutely ask her to change her thinking but FIRST she has to recognize that there is something wrong with her thinking. I don't think she will do that unless the stakes are hella high. Your pain and frustration isn't doing it for her obviously.

I think having a deadline would be helpful (if these books aren't read and there isn't a change in how you communicate and relate to myself and others by this date, I will begin divorce proceedings).

DevastatedDee posted 11/17/2017 09:49 AM

so how to have an action plan to tell someone to work on changing their BRAIN?

Yeah. The part of this that scares me the most is that I'm with someone who is lacking in empathy. He has to LEARN to take other's feelings into consideration. Can that even be done? He's better about it, but I can tell he's had to work on it.

Has to work on feeling empathy and not being selfish. Like it's not natural to consider others when making decisions. I mean, clearly it wasn't natural for him...the man cheated on me.

If I'm being completely honest, I feel like I've short-changed myself. I'm still short-changing myself. Likely you're short-changing yourself too. It is truly a real favor to offer reconciliation to someone who actually does need to change their brain in order to be a decent person.

Jesusismyanchor posted 11/17/2017 09:51 AM

This is our dynamic too which is part of the problem of how we got where we are quite honestly. This is why we are in counseling to help break these patters in part. It's hard. When my H tells me he avoids it and doesn't think about it, I hear compartmentalization and avoidance. That doesn't feel safe enough to me. My H is trying to work on this but he needs help. He also has this in his FOO. He is getting help via IC and MC which is why I am trying to be patient

[This message edited by Jesusismyanchor at 9:53 AM, November 17th (Friday)]

gettingintune posted 11/17/2017 09:57 AM

Is she still in IC?
Has she read books on boundaries like Not Just Friends etc?

Does she journal?

Has she looked into Non-Violent Communication (which is good at working on empathy)?

How about actively working to learn to empathize? Like using something like The Emotional Intelligence Workbook or reading and implementing things from The Art of Empathy or The Power of Empathy: A Practical Guide to Creating Intimacy, Self-understanding, and Lasting Love in Your Life (this last one is free through Kindleunlimited)
).

She goes to 1x monthly IC but I don't believe she talks much about her issues...since she doesn't believe she has issues these days

no, to any of those books.

no, she doesn't journal.
she doesn't post or read forums
she doesn't attend any support in person group
she has "worked thru her issues and is fixed" now.
After the skatekid incident, and her defensiveness on her actions, im thinking Not Just Friends would be a prudent read for her

[This message edited by gettingintune at 9:58 AM, November 17th (Friday)]

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