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The threat of separation

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tessthemess posted 12/7/2017 12:06 PM

Disclosures- Shocking, despite the odds, I feel like Mr. Mess and I have actually been doing very well. There's a substantial amount of remorse from his end, he's been working very hard on himself, he even booked an MC session that we attended on Tuesday- the first one since June! I feel respected and appreciated more than ever, and I'm beginning to allow myself to care about him and how his words and actions affect me. The wall is coming down, even if slowly.

And then something will precipitate a fight and then I find myself rebuilding that wall and I feel frustration.

H no longer uses abusive language during arguments. But when he loses control he threatens S&D, and sometimes in front of the children, and despite pleas during the event to control himself he can't/won't. Of course after the fact he regrets and apologizes to the girls and to me, but we had discussed this issue in MC on Tuesday and yesterday he pulled the same thing. I only had 3 hours of sleep the night before due to working a casino for our daughter's school and I was in a poor emotional state and exacerbated the issue, but I called him out on his threats as I do, I told him to do what he threatened or else understand the manipulation he is doing.

What's especially disheartening about this is that it fuels my understanding of him- that he doesn't stop an abusive trait- in this case attempting to manipulate me and threatening this in front of innocent children- unless there are consequences. He didn't stop cheating until I put my foot down and insist that he can't come home until it ends. He didn't stop lying until I left him. He didn't start really putting in hard work until I told him I was emotionally over him.

There's just no proactivity towards shitty behaviours of this nature. He believes that he makes that type of statement because at the time he feels hopeless about our situation and feels it then, but of course after he's cooled down he doesn't feel it to that extent and wants to keep trying. While I don't doubt that it concerns me because I know he is capable of self-control, as he no longer does the other abusive things, but continues to do this despite us having many conversations. And I told him that I will help him pack up if he tosses out that statement but I'm not leaving; and when he suggests I get out that proves to me it's a control issue and NOT a need for him at that time.

We've come really far, but I feel like I'm not enacting consequences that are authentic. And I've worked hard to be authentic, and authentically I don't want to separate yet but I also don't want to deal with his abusive threats when he's emotionally out of control. I've told him that if this happens again I'm withdrawing $300 from our joint to spend on me and the kids, but that's not authentic either. I know that if he pulls this shit I need to prove it's not ok because just voicing it isn't effective and I'm not being respected.

My worry is that if I leave in those moments due to his threat and then return that will become a habit, and I'll be forced into this again.

I'm just at a loss. We're doing so well but then I see how we are still so fucked.

Stevesn posted 12/7/2017 12:53 PM

Hi Tess

I know youíve posted your story here many times but going back I canít find if he actually ever started IC.

Is he working with his own therapist to dive into his issues? As you know from being a long time poster MC wonít eork u til he fixes himself first.

From what you write he has deep seated issues that he needs help with.

Good luck.

barcher144 posted 12/7/2017 14:42 PM

Hi Tess!

You know that I have often seen a lot of similarities between me and your husband.

Lately, I have been seeing a therapist for "over control" issues. It is kind of the opposite of someone with a borderline personality disorder (i.e., they are under controlled).

My point is this: look up "radically open dialectical behavioral therapy" (RO-DBT). I don't Mr. Tess like you, but perhaps you will see some traits there that are consistent with him and that might be a good way to help him... and, in turn, your marriage.

Unhinged posted 12/7/2017 15:17 PM

What triggers that threat from him, do you think?

stayedforthekids posted 12/7/2017 15:28 PM

I don't want to separate yet but I also don't want to deal with his abusive threats when he's emotionally out of control.

You've got a conundrum on your hands. I would oblige my WW if she ever once mentioned S and\or D. I know I couldn't deal with that crap. If she pulled that shit in front of our kids? Her ass would be tossed out so fast her head would spin.

I understand wanting to repair your M. I also understand being the parent in the marriage too. It wears you down. In my experience, manipulative people pull shit like this. They constantly push boundaries little by little until you're in a totally different place wondering how in the hell you got there.

At some point I really believe you just have to say no more. Draw a line in the sand and act if it's crossed. We all have our threshold for bullshit, sometimes, after dealing with this junk for so long, it's the smallest thing that just completely breaks the deal.

Do you think S will undo all the efforts you've put into R?

tushnurse posted 12/7/2017 16:27 PM

Do you think that in a moment of calm discussion he can comprehend that he is destroying the trust and respect of his children when he does this?
If he is being abusive, and your kids are seeing it, it is teaching them that it's ok to behave this way. Which would ultimately lead to them being that way or picking a partner that will treat them the same way, does he want that for his kids?

DevastatedDee posted 12/7/2017 16:28 PM

My WH suggested a couple months from DDay that maybe we'd be better off apart because he didn't know how I'd ever get past this and that I deserved better. I said "Okay". That kinda messed him up, lol. I haven't heard it said since. If this man thinks I'm ever going to beg him to stay after that crap, he has lost his mind.

I say call him on it and actually leave or make him leave. Don't let him take it back right afterwards. This man hurt you deeply and profoundly in ways that you'll never forget. You're giving him a second chance. He can figure out how to grow the F up and show that he appreciates that and understands the gravity of the situation. Or, he can get out of your face and give you a break from manipulation and games.

sisoon posted 12/7/2017 18:07 PM

I know that if he pulls this shit I need to prove it's not ok ....

Gently, prove it to whom?

You can't change him. You can change only yourself. When he crosses your boundaries, you're the only one who can protect yourself.

At the same time, threatening separation is awfully close to going nuclear. I wish I could help come up with a consequence short of helping him pack.

I'm really sorry you're dealing with this. For some people, the 2nd year is worse than the first.


[This message edited by sisoon at 6:09 PM, December 7th (Thursday)]

Iwantmyglasses posted 12/7/2017 18:59 PM


Iíve been reading Ask peggy. She talks about anxiety and the use of fear. What drives a person to react in this manner.

Before the A My husband constantly threatened to divorce me. I would say Okay until you love me tomorrow.

Is your husband on an anti anxiety medication?. Itís interesting because since the affair ...never has he offered divorce or separation.

Divorce and separation became real in your home. Does your H want this? If he does...he needs to make the effort to divorce. If he doesnít. STOP saying it. STOP. Mr. Mess. Put your kids first. They cannot hear this. They cannot!

Mr. Mess, Why do your emotions need to result in freak out mode? Why do you feel the need for angst? There is something here to cause this PTSD in you? Why would an intelligent human being try to control his family this way? Have you ever heard this?. Hurt people hurt people. Why do you want the cycle of hurt in your precious children?

You are missing this! Your wife and children are begging you to lead them. Begging.

[This message edited by Iwantmyglasses at 7:47 PM, December 7th (Thursday)]

Notthevictem posted 12/7/2017 19:06 PM

He's threatening to leave you?

That should be your threat. Threatening to leave him.

Next time he threatens it, it should be an 'ah. Ok. Family is that important? Got it. See ya!'

Lostinthewoods12 posted 12/7/2017 19:13 PM

As the wayward I agree with this

"Why do your emotions need to result in freak out mode? Why do you feel the need for angst?"

The kids know that something is wrong but do not need to be in deeper than they need to bbe†

tessthemess posted 12/8/2017 15:19 PM

Thank you guys for all of your input.

No, he has not genuinely seeked IC, he put in minor effort and found somebody, but balked at the cost. Then saw somebody else but failed to disclose his A, instead opted to seek help for 'how to deal with stress'.
He does do work though. He journals profusely, listens to helpful podcasts, reads, meditates. He has taken medical stress leave from work to focus on family and won't be back to work until January.

Iwantmyglasses, interestingly his doctor is pushing for him to get on them. He has been complaining of shortness of breath since stress leave began, and his doctor thinks it's anxiety. Basically since I told him in October that I was emotionally through.

Barcher, nice to see you! I'll suggest that to him. Perhaps he will see value in that.

See here's the problem stayedforthekids, I tell him to leave. He told me that he would call our MC and tell her there's no point in another meeting. I needed to drive our DD to Judo and told him to show me the email upon my return. I call him on his bluff every time. I don't cry or beg him to stay. I offer to help him pack. But he goes to our room and cries, or apologizes, or freaks out, or tells me I have to go. I'm not going to make an incident and pick up his stuff and force an already sensitive issue. They're clearly empty threats, just a way to incite feelings.

He gave multiple heartfelt apologies and insistence that he would stop this shit, and insisted yesterday that it's not to manipulate me but it's him voicing his feelings of hopelessness in those moments, which then subside as he thinks more logically. I don't buy it. He is not all better yet, he still crashes like this.

I told him that this is his modus operandi when he is "out of control". Instead of thinking rationally and long term, he 'forces an issue' and makes a shitty short term decision that has devastating long term consequences. This was how he explained his decision to initiate sex with the COW. That's why he'll threaten separation in front of the girls. Because if I hear him doing that, I'll make the decision to do it. Because it's so wrong.

I've made the decision that if he pulls that loss of control temper tantrum thing again that there will be a separation. This upcoming Monday is our 1 year antiversary. I'd hate for it to have a new negative memory attached but you guys are right, a line needs to be drawn and it shouldn't be acceptable. It doesn't matter that it's not meant to be legit. It's wrong.

I'm an active participant in these arguments too but I make a point to avoid them around the girls. Him not caring about that demonstrates active disrespect in those moments and even if the non-issue moments he shows a tonne, it's more meaningful to see respect when you are upset with the other person, not just when you aren't.

nekonamida posted 12/8/2017 15:59 PM

I've made the decision that if he pulls that loss of control temper tantrum thing again that there will be a separation.

Yes, Tess! This is how you do it. You may even want to inform him that you will see a lawyer and file paperwork for a separation regardless of his cries, begging, and refusal to leave the home. That gives you a way to get him out when he won't leave.

I get the strong impression that this is manipulation as well. He can try to spin it as voicing his feelings but then why does he threaten to end MC? That is nothing but an attempt to manipulate you. There is no feeling being voiced, just a threat that if you don't do what he wants, he will end R.

I also think that your offers to help him pack may have sent a very different message than the one you intended. Most people would be shocked into never pulling that stunt again but it's clear to me that your WS has been manipulating you for a very long time and it had been working. By offering to help him, you have him the option to say no. He could tell that you didn't really want the separation otherwise you would have filed one already. He knew you were bluffing and he called it.

If he does it again, don't offer him anything. He's a grown adult and he can pack his own things. If he initiates the separation, he has fired you from the role as wife. You don't owe him anything and showing him kindness in the face of disrespect will send him the message that he can further exploit and manipulate you.

Jesusismyanchor posted 12/8/2017 16:31 PM

I didn't want to separate either. I didn't want to be cheated on. I didn't want a D. I get all of that too, I really do. What I didn't want more was an abusive H and to hurt the kids. It can feel so hard.

Tess, what I read is that there is a pattern if you give a consequence, he does respond. You don't want to give this consequence. But, it's not ok. This should not happen in front of your kids. No judgement here because there have defiantly been things in my home go on that I could say the same thing, even be me. But, in seeing that, there has to be a change.

I didn't want a separation either but I threw my H out. He had to go find a place to stay. It was so hard. That is one choice. He will know you are serious. You could tell him in advance and have a bag already packed with his essentials. I even told my H he needed to make arrangements. Then he already knows the price if he does it. Maybe talk to him about it while calm and why you feel that way. Just an idea. The other requirement in addition it or even on its own could be IC. I think he desperately needs it like my H did. I mean for real! If he wants to stay then maybe he needs a requirement to do some work with an IC to determine why he does that?

You have already told him. He doesn't stop. It stinks that it will be up to you to throw a wrench in the dynamic. He needs help.

Hugs to you.

[This message edited by Jesusismyanchor at 4:36 PM, December 8th (Friday)]

tessthemess posted 12/8/2017 16:49 PM

The hardest part of this is that he is actually doing so well in R other than this. He shows me appreciation and respect and humility and care, he is attentive and transparent and you can really hear the effort in the issues that are presented.

I admit that it was a rough day with me: I had worked a casino the night before and was operating on 3 hours of sleep, and I'm sure pms'ing as well. I was not my finest. I was quite unreasonable I'm sure.

But I even with those emotional disadvantages drew the line before the kids. He did not. At some point if it was too much he could have gone to a coffee shop or something. Instead he freaked.

Oldwounds posted 12/8/2017 17:17 PM

Instead he freaked.

Do you think he understands now that he has to iron out and fix his 'go to' freak out in order to help the relationship?

I do understand a number of WS have the constant anxiety that no matter what they do, they will never be able to repair the damage enough, so the freak outs seem to be: Okay, I quit, give up, I'm out, or How can you love me after what I did? Or I don't deserve you, or other similar defensive meltdowns and manipulations.

I think it is still a bit wayward, but repairable if they choose to work on that.

Jesusismyanchor posted 12/8/2017 18:31 PM

Ya know, I get tha Tess. My H had been working hard too but then sometimes there are things that must be addressed that are not ok. I have been there when my H does things that he had heard over and over again anout and still does it. It is so hard to be patient.

Maybe separation isn't needed and yes we can be part of the blow up dynamic. Again though, I just have to appeal that maybe the boundary of requiring IC would be helpful? My H gets a lot out of it about himself and his own reactions. Maybe he would become a better father even? It can also help with why he even cheated in the first place.

DaddyDom posted 12/9/2017 10:07 AM

I don't know if this is helpful to you or not Tess, but I'll toss it out there. Your description of Mr. Mess really concerns me. It is very Jekyll and Hyde. You describe him as:

He shows me appreciation and respect and humility and care, he is attentive and transparent and you can really hear the effort in the issues that are presented.

But then he turns into someone else... how does a guy who is so attentive one minute, turn into a guy who is freaking out and controlling and telling you it's over the next minute? And it concerns me a lot that he's not willing to address the A with a therapist.

While working through my own recovery, it was discovered that I have something akin to multiple personalities (Ego states in my case). This is new to me and I'm still learning about it, however I can tell you that when I "flip" into another ego state, I'm not always aware of it, and my personality can change radically. There is a version of me that is pissed off and completely unempathetic, and when he comes out he is sarcastic and nasty and blame-shifts like crazy.

I mention this to you because your husband's change in demeanor seems odd, in a similar way. It might be something worth looking into?

Either way, his refusal/inability to talk to an IC about the infidelity is a problem. You can't change what you can't admit to and talk about. Making changes in one's life is something that you can't approach timidly. It takes work and determination and effort. Is he on SI?

tessthemess posted 12/9/2017 16:04 PM

Daddydom, he is on SI and reads my posts but hasn't posted himself.

From my armchair psychologist perspective, I think he has a lot of work to do in the shame-worth department. He used to be a lot more Jekyll-Hyde but it has shifted. Before, it was emotional abuse that came about- a lot of name calling, yelling, disrespect. So much anger. Now the Hyde character has shifted from Ultimate Aggressor to Ultimate Victim: Yelling out of suffering, accusing me of being cruel, threatening to leave due to the hopelessness of our life together. It's not nearly as frequent as it used to be, and the Jekyll is far sweeter than ever before. But the dynamic still exists.

He will bring up the A in MC, or rather address it when I bring it up. But it's the greatest failure in his life and even though everybody knows about it he is too ashamed to talk about it to anybody. He journals, but I haven't read the journals, and I suspect he hasn't written about it either. Every time I catch him looking at me it's with shame in his eyes. The hugs are just a little more intense and longer than they need to be. He sometimes gets clingy and follows me around like a puppy. It's been a year, and this is where he is.

I know he wants to do good. I know I can contribute. But I wasn't causing these problems in our marriage- he was. He needs to focus on his healing and this needs to be included.

Oftencheatedon posted 12/10/2017 09:48 AM

This manís actions are extremely abusive to your children. That is totally unacceptable.

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