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I can't stop blaming myself

luckynumber7 posted 9/19/2020 23:33 PM

I've been lurking here for years. I know all the talking points, the recommended books, the resource guides. I've seen the (very helpful!) copy and paste basic intro posts more than I care to admit. I am in individual therapy...

But at the end of the day, I just can't stop that quiet, nagging voice that begs me to wonder what I could have done differently. What if I said something else? What if I channeled my emotions in a healthier way? Maybe we would still be together, working it out. If only I had made different choices. Shown him what he was losing. Made him remember why he valued me.

He cheated on me. He promised he was oh so sorry, he would do anything to reassure me and regain my trust. And yet. I asked to look at his phone and that was a violation of his privacy. I asked him to send a NC letter and that was an insulting ultimatum. Etc etc. The list goes on. I reacted to the insecurity by getting drunk every night and begging him for reassurance. He reacted to that by getting tired of me and growing distant. He said I would never stop "making him pay" for what he did. And he left me.

Now I'm lost in this cycle. I am so desperate to stop dreaming about him that I haven't slept in two days. I wish I wouldn't have kept drinking and nagging him. I wish I could have figured out the right things to say.

I know everyone will tell me I dodged a bullet. Deep down, I know I did. But for the life of me I can't stop feeling like I am the one that ruined our chances at reconciliation. I am the one that made him stop loving me.

OwningItNow posted 9/20/2020 00:12 AM

I asked to look at his phone and that was a violation of his privacy. I asked him to send a NC letter and that was an insulting ultimatum. Etc etc.

The list goes on. I reacted to the ABUSE by getting drunk every night and begging him for reassurance.

There. I corrected ^^^ that for you. He was abusing you with fake effort, then gaslighting you--or trying--into believing it was real effort and you have the issue (insecurity). Sweetie, if you had felt secure, I'd have said there was something wrong with you.

No offense, but you come across as having low self-esteem. Do you think that's true? And he comes across as highly narcissistic. True?

You will see countless stories of insecure, sometimes codependent people trying to get over their relationships with narcissists. It is very tough, one of the greatest challenges of my life. The only way I survived was through therapy and knowledge--reading, research, journaling, IC. I needed to use rational thinking to get my heart in line. I think this will eventually work for you, too.

Sceadugenga posted 9/20/2020 01:33 AM

I'm a bloke and I'm right there with you. I was in a ten-year relationship with a woman with strong narcissistic traits. Not a day goes by without me trying to wrap my head around what I should have done differently to prevent her from having what in effect became an exit affair. From my extensive reading and IC I know there's nothing to prevent a narcissistic individual from either betraying you or walking away on you. That's how they're wired, always on the prowl for something different or better. And let's face it, something different will always be there, even if it's not necessarily better. We are who we are and it's not possible to keep up a game where the stakes are constantly raised by the other party - it drains you emotionally, makes you devalue yourself and sends you into the pit of despair and depression.

Concentrate on doing the usual - healthy living, IC, reading (narcissistic abuse, euphoric recoil, codependency and related issues). If you find yourself depressed, talk to your GP about possible medication or a referral to a psychiatrist.

You are worthy, decent and beautiful. And you are not alone ...

The1stWife posted 9/20/2020 15:44 PM

Yes you ruined your chances to stay in a marriage with a guy who would continue to cheat on you, disrespect you and lie to you. Possibly give you an STD or STI or some other terrible disease.

You should value YOURSELF more.

You should see him for what he is. He had no intention of staying married IF he had to face consequences. He would stay if you swept the affair under the rug.

That would be the ďhappy marriageĒ he wanted. Nothing there indicates he would do much to make it a happy marriage for you.

LadyG posted 9/20/2020 16:29 PM

You are in a bad place right now. I rug swept past affairs and allowed the abuse to continue. STBXWH grew smug.

I blame myself for not leaving earlier as he wasnít going to leave or change. He got worse.

During our fake reconciliation attempts, the only way I could be with WH, is to be taking mind altering meds with alcohol. I did for a few months and stopped. I couldnít stand being with him unless I was drunk.

I went NC and I no longer blame myself. My life is slowly getting better.

RealityBlows posted 9/20/2020 17:15 PM

Ah, this is exactly the approach my EXWW took. A classic, tactical redirection of sympathy. Where the WS becomes victimized by the BSís natural, common and predictable response to the extreme trauma of intimate betrayal. EXCEPT, the unremorseful self centered WS makes it seem that your natural responses, the very common, studied and well documented symptoms of betrayal trauma and PTSD is...maligned,out of proportion, over the top, over exaggerated and youíre being ridiculous and milking the victim card. They accuse you of not doing your part to move forward (rug sweeping, forgiving and forgetting) and will eventually blame you for the ultimate demise of your marriage, not the A...they will blame YOU. THEN, they will use this false premise to validate their A and their reasons for it. ďBecause youíre so insecure, so unreasonable, so controlling, so unforgiving, so paranoid, so dramatic, so weak, so high maintenance, so emotionally unstable, victim mentality...Ē

Donít fall for this classic bull shit tactic straight outa the unremorseful cheaterís playbook.

Yes, you dodged a bullet. Some unremorseful cheaters are not so obvious as your WS. My ExWW didnít start showing her cards until I regretfully wasted a lot of time in false R.

If youíre WS truly appreciated the harm heís done to you, heíd be lovingly patient with you and your very natural reaction to his abuse.

My ExWW still likes to take jabs at me via our kids, especially since Iíve moved well on, happily remarried, have a wonderful newborn, and beautiful new home. Looking at her in the rear view, I pity her. What sheís done, what sheís still doing is pathetic and obviously dysfunctional but, in spite of all this, I still wonder from time to time what I did wrong, what could I have done to avoid it, or done better, was it my fault?

We do this because, itís healthy. It is what weíll adapted morally sophisticated people do. Itís a wholesome mature humanistic response to always reassess yourself, introspect and take responsibility for the trajectory of your life and the world around you. Donít stop doing this. It makes you a beautiful conscientious citizen of the world.

Just donít do it to excess.

Echo0912 posted 9/21/2020 22:34 PM

I get the blaming part. I go over and over in my head what I should have done differently. Inside I know that this is all on him, no matter what we did or didnít do, cheating was never the right answer. Unfortunately sometimes the cheaters donít get the message of how devastated we are and the lasting Effects. They expect us to just get over it and stop talking about it. And that makes it worse for us. Various times I wonder if I am driving him away with my drama. Iím angry and hurt and that isnít going away anytime soon.
It sounds like your husband maybe didnít want to take any responsibility for his actions and making you feel you were to blame.
It is a little questionable and suspicious that he wouldnít let you see his phone. If there is nothing to hide, he should have no objection to you seeing his phone. You canít learn to trust if he isnít giving you the tools to get there. He should have been agreeing to any conditions, answering all questions and being 100 percent transparency. Whether or not he had something to hide, you may never know. It is sad how we blame ourselves for large parts of it but maybe gradually as you live without him, you will let go of that blame.

[This message edited by Echo0912 at 10:37 PM, September 21st (Monday)]

Unhinged posted 9/21/2020 23:11 PM

I just can't stop that quiet, nagging voice that begs me to wonder what I could have done differently.
This is your brain doing its job. Whenever we experience a trauma, our brains try to figure out why it happened and how we can avoid a similar trauma in the future. With most traumas in life, the lessons are easy enough to learn, especially when there was something we could have done differently.

When it comes to infidelity, however, there is no answer because there is absolutely nothing at all any of us could have done differently that would have prevented the betrayal (aside from not marrying our spouses).

If there was just one thing that all of us shared--something we all did or didn't do, something we all said or didn't say--then one could reasonably argue that because you did this or didn't do that, said this or didn't say that, it was your fault that your husband is wayward. Now, perhaps I've missed it, or, more likely, there is simply no justification for infidelity.

There is nothing you could have done to have prevented the trauma you're experiencing. You can, however, chose how you respond to that trauma and stop kicking yourself in the ass for having failed to avoid the unavoidable.

[This message edited by Unhinged at 11:12 PM, September 21st (Monday)]

EAPTSD posted 9/22/2020 10:16 AM

This is one of the dubious benefits of staying with a WS with no remorse: they give you ample opportunities to say the right thing, fix something, change, blame yourself, please them, etc.

Itís a different way to poke at your pain, but at least it eventually becomes crystal clear that it truly never had anything to do with you. Events from before the A begin to make more sense.

On this side of the fence, I do wish my WW had just left instead of pretending she was interested in R and I was messing everything up. But thatís just my experience.

The1stWife posted 9/24/2020 02:10 AM

I think many betrayed spouses play the ďwhat ifĒ game in their head.

What if I were prettier or thinner or smarter or made more $ or were more successful or a better singer or cook?

What if I were dumb enough to believe any of that would have mattered ó then I might still be married to the cheater (for those that D). Because the cheater WANTS us to believe itís the betrayed spouseís fault they CHOSE TO CHEAT!!

Instead we the betrayed spouse should play what if - what if my spouse came and talked to me about how they felt about things or issues or anything at all ó instead of cheating. What if my spouse wasnít dumb enough to believe an affair would make him/her happy and eliminate his/her problems?

What if ó- its a game of torture we betrayed spouses inflict on ourselves.

[This message edited by The1stWife at 2:11 AM, September 24th (Thursday)]

tushnurse posted 9/24/2020 07:46 AM

LN7 - this is a common thing as you can see from everyone that has responded. Both men and women who are betrayed often question themselves and blame themselves, because those buttons have been built into us since we were children.

If something in your life goes wrong, well it is usually your fault. UNLESS.... YOU HAVE BEEN VICTIMIZED.

Which you have been. So you need to stop that negative self talk, and the feedback loop that is keeping you stuck blaming yourself. Everytime you blame yourself you need to stop, some people even envision a stop sign in their head, and then name 3 positive things about yourself and what you did do that made you a good and safe partner. They can be simple, they can be repeated, they can be anything at all.

You also need to start rebuilding your self esteem I know that isn't easy. The way I did it was to start finding out who I was again. I started involving myself some in some hobbies and activities that took my time and attention and focus so the A wasn't in the front of my brain while doing them. That allows you to gain some perspective and get out of that negative cycle. Make sure you are taking some time for yourself to do one kind thing for you every single day. It can be a long bath with a good book, it can be a walk with your favorite tunes blaring in your ears, it can be going to the dr to discuss meds to help you get some real sleep. But things that are only for you and your well being.

Stop blaming yourself. You are the victim. You have been abused. You have been betrayed. You have the ability to heal from this and come out stronger and happier.

MIgander posted 9/24/2020 07:54 AM

WW here...

YOU didn't do anything wrong. YOUR WH may have "had a problem" with something in the marriage. Instead of coming to you and trying to fix it, he decided to take the coward's way out and justify cheating on you instead.

Ask me how I know...

Please don't tie your self worth to his opinion of you. You are not a failure because your marriage didn't work out. It takes 2 people equally participating, owning their shit and working together to make a marriage work. One person doing their half cannot make up for another refusing their share of the work.

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