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Reconciliation :
Session 6: The Wall

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 CaptainRogers (original poster member #57127) posted at 12:33 AM on Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

Today's session started with a question: 1-10, how connected do you feel?

Zero. Same answer from both of us.

Needless to say, the counselor was shocked. Completely showed in her face. She asked the obvious follow-up of "Why?"

So, she got the story from 6 weeks ago or so of my wife asking me why I didn't tell her about a ticket I got 9 months prior. Actually, it wasn't so much asking as it was a lecture on why it was irresponsible of me to not tell her, especially after she had gotten one.

From her telling of the events, she was loving, kind and felt compassion towards me because she understood why I would keep it hidden.

When it came time for my rendition, I expressed my feelings of being judged and rejected during her lecture. I also presented the events of the following day when I brought up those feelings, only to have them dismissed because she "reflected on it and hadn't done anything to be judging or rejecting". Yep, total invalidating.

After the "presentations", the counselor asked me why I had a wall up, why I felt that I couldn't share my real self. I simply said that it was because it wasn't safe, that my real self had been rejected so many times for so many years, that I simply was in protect mode. It wasn't safe because in being "known", the same old Mrs. Cap came out to lecture and humiliate, just like she had done for so many years.

The counselor looked at me and said "There is a lot of pain that you're holding back, isn't there?"

Yep.

"Pain from all the years of being treated that way?"

Yep.

"And all the rejection..."

Nailed it.

"Especially the more recent past."

Waterfall.

Then she gave me a question to think about. She asked "If Mrs. Cap could just do one or two things to make it safer, what would those be? Don't answer, just think."

She then told my wife something that I had never heard a counselor say, but it made 100% perfect sense. She said "It's perfectly fine to go knock on the wall and ask if he's ready to come out to play. Do not beat on the wall. Do not try to demolish the wall. Just knock. And if the answer is 'no' then sit down against the wall and wait.

And above all else, defend his wall."

My wife was a bit stunned at the statement and asked what it meant.

"If somebody comes along and tells him that he needs to tear it down, that he needs to get out there and do XYZ with his wife, you tell them that it's perfectly alright with you that he is back there because Cap is protecting himself. And when he's ready, he will come out. But nobody gets to force him out."

First, I think my wife was shocked that the counselor didn't scold me for having the wall. And on top of that, I think she was more shocked that she was told to PROTECT my wall.

The counselor finished up by saying "true compassion is seeing someone who is hurt, knowing that they are protecting themselves from more hurt, and defending their right to do that...even though you are the one who hurt them."

Then she said "When Cap is ready to tell you what those 1 or 2 things are that would help him feel safe...do them. No excuses. Just do them.

Feet...meet the fire.

BS: 42 on D-day
WW: 43 on D-day
Together since '89; still working on what tomorrow will bring.
D-Day v1.0: Jan '17; EA
D-day v2.0: Mar '18; no, it was physical

posts: 3355   ·   registered: Jan. 27th, 2017   ·   location: The Rockies
id 8662662
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The1stWife ( Guide #58832) posted at 12:59 AM on Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

Sad someone has to tell your wife how to act.

She comes across emotionless.

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled. 10 years out from Dday. Reconciliation takes two committed people to be successful.

posts: 13941   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8662671
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 CaptainRogers (original poster member #57127) posted at 1:07 AM on Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

Interestingly, she wasn't truly emotionless. As I was telling of the event through my eyes, she was actually getting quite angry because it was the first time her description of things was being challenged. She consistently paints herself as being fully changed and a totally new person who does everything with a heart of compassion.

It was interesting.

BS: 42 on D-day
WW: 43 on D-day
Together since '89; still working on what tomorrow will bring.
D-Day v1.0: Jan '17; EA
D-day v2.0: Mar '18; no, it was physical

posts: 3355   ·   registered: Jan. 27th, 2017   ·   location: The Rockies
id 8662672
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BluerThanBlue ( member #74855) posted at 2:04 AM on Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

The1stWife is only half right. Your wife is emotionless... when it comes to you. She has plenty of emotions for herself.

Your therapist really is incredible, but she can’t make your wife grow empathy or a conscience that doesn’t exist.

[This message edited by BluerThanBlue at 8:05 PM, May 25th (Tuesday)]

BW, 40s

Divorced WH in 2015; now happily remarried

I edit my comments a lot for spelling, grammar, typos, etc.

posts: 1965   ·   registered: Jul. 13th, 2020
id 8662679
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Thumos ( member #69668) posted at 3:36 AM on Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

Sad someone has to tell your wife how to act.

She comes across emotionless.

My thoughts exactly. I’ve kind of had my fill of therapeutic bullshit trying to handhold people who aren’t capable of normal human emotions.

As I was telling of the event through my eyes, she was actually getting quite angry because it was the first time her description of things was being challenged.

Even worse. Always the power and control games with these broads. SMDH

I don’t know that I would hold my breath for some major epiphany from your wife to be honest - true metanoia requires a heart seeking redemption, true redemption

[This message edited by Thumos at 9:39 PM, May 25th (Tuesday)]

"True character is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure. The greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character's essential nature."

BH: 50, WW: 49 Wed: Feb.'96 DDAY1: 12.20.16 DDAY2: 12.23.19

posts: 4598   ·   registered: Feb. 5th, 2019   ·   location: UNITED STATES
id 8662687
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leafields ( Guide #63517) posted at 4:24 AM on Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

Cap, that's incredible to come from a therapist. I hope Mrs. Cap is able to understand and grow with you.

BW M 34years, Dday 1: March 2018, Dday 2: August 2019, D final 2/25/21

posts: 3459   ·   registered: Apr. 21st, 2018   ·   location: Washington State
id 8662690
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BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 4:27 AM on Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

And above all else, defend his wall.

THIS. This this this.

WW/BW

posts: 3628   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8662691
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 CaptainRogers (original poster member #57127) posted at 5:08 AM on Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

Today's session really showed me two things.

A. We have an awesome counselor.

2. At this point, my wife really can't go 5 weeks between sessions.

BS: 42 on D-day
WW: 43 on D-day
Together since '89; still working on what tomorrow will bring.
D-Day v1.0: Jan '17; EA
D-day v2.0: Mar '18; no, it was physical

posts: 3355   ·   registered: Jan. 27th, 2017   ·   location: The Rockies
id 8662697
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Lostgirl410 ( member #71112) posted at 5:46 AM on Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

It really does seem you have found an awesome counselor. Hopefully your wife will be able to put what she's learning into actions.

Interestingly, she wasn't truly emotionless. As I was telling of the event through my eyes, she was actually getting quite angry because it was the first time her description of things was being challenged. She consistently paints herself as being fully changed and a totally new person who does everything with a heart of compassion.

It was interesting.

It seems as though she deflects her feelings of shame with her own, albeit twisted, form of perfectionism. When she's still left grasping for straws, she then projects that same unhealthy coping mechanism onto you in the form of an expectation. Anger is unsurprising to me because she was essentially forced to self-reflect in that moment, and anger is a response to fear. Having to look at herself without the filter of her own narrative may be one of the most terrifying things she's ever had to do.

And above all else, defend his wall.

1. This is pure gold.

2. Did this directive have a different emotional response than anger? Were you able to see any kind of emotional shift within her?

posts: 121   ·   registered: Jul. 27th, 2019
id 8662702
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 CaptainRogers (original poster member #57127) posted at 6:18 AM on Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

Did this directive have a different emotional response than anger? Were you able to see any kind of emotional shift within her?

It started with the confusion piece and did seem to stick a bit once it was explained. The anger appeared to leave and it seemed that there was a bit of a parting of the clouds, so to speak.

BS: 42 on D-day
WW: 43 on D-day
Together since '89; still working on what tomorrow will bring.
D-Day v1.0: Jan '17; EA
D-day v2.0: Mar '18; no, it was physical

posts: 3355   ·   registered: Jan. 27th, 2017   ·   location: The Rockies
id 8662703
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The1stWife ( Guide #58832) posted at 9:22 AM on Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

This is so hard to read. The struggles you endure in an attempt to survive your wife is just wrong.

When I say survive your wife - I mean just that. She’s not loving or remorseful or anything like that.

I don’t know about your daily interaction but it sounds to me like she’s missing at least emotional maturity.

Even at my worst days of the hard 180 towards my H, I still loved him. I wished him no ill will. I didn’t like what I was forced to do but I had no choice. It was him or me — and for my own sanity at dday2 I chose me.

I look back upon that time with sadness. I hope I never have to be like that again towards him.

Your wife in the other hand — has shown you are not her number 1 priority nor is your marriage. She’s emotionless. She’s angry - at you!!!!

And yet you keep trying. Is she trying as hard as you?

When I was a kid there was a cruel saying — tell someone who cares. I feel like your wife has some of this within her.

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled. 10 years out from Dday. Reconciliation takes two committed people to be successful.

posts: 13941   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8662713
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 CaptainRogers (original poster member #57127) posted at 11:04 AM on Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

And yet you keep trying. Is she trying as hard as you?

From as objective an observation that I can get, I'd say that the answer is yes. This isn't the "eternal optimist" Cub fan speaking. This is the guy who has a clear head and watches her struggle mightily at times to do things that aren't natural for her.

She certainly needs more help with it than she believes. I haven't looked at her calendar, but it has likely been several weeks since she saw her IC as well. At this point, she really needs that hand-holding.

BS: 42 on D-day
WW: 43 on D-day
Together since '89; still working on what tomorrow will bring.
D-Day v1.0: Jan '17; EA
D-day v2.0: Mar '18; no, it was physical

posts: 3355   ·   registered: Jan. 27th, 2017   ·   location: The Rockies
id 8662721
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Tigersrule77 ( member #47339) posted at 1:06 PM on Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

Your WW doesn't seem to have figured out that she can believe she was compassionate until the cows come home, but if the person RECEIVING the message doesn't feel that way, she needs to change the delivery.

For me, it is the difference between saying "I'm sorry YOU got upset" vs. "I'm sorry that my actions caused you to feel that way". The first "apology" blames the other person, the second acknowledges that the actions were the cause. It seems as thought your WW is still in the mindset of the former.

posts: 1593   ·   registered: Mar. 27th, 2015   ·   location: Maryland
id 8662732
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The1stWife ( Guide #58832) posted at 1:12 PM on Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

Excellent point TigersRule77.

And BluerThanBlue - thank you. I’ll take being half-right any day.

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled. 10 years out from Dday. Reconciliation takes two committed people to be successful.

posts: 13941   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8662734
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Catwoman ( member #1330) posted at 1:14 PM on Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

I like your MC. I think she has talent.

Let me ask a question: Certainly, CR, your wall is there for a lot of reasons, and many of them have to do with your spouse (I suspect there might be some FOO there as well).

I wonder if her response would be the same if the wall was there for other reasons, such as poor self-esteem. There are people in this world who have issues, particularly with intimacy (not sex--intimacy) who cannot bear putting all of their emotional eggs into one basket (i.e. entrusting their partner by exhibiting true emotional openness and honesty). A lot of these types have affairs because the affair is their emotional "pop-off" valve and they compartmentalize their lives into sections and no one person is allowed access to all sections.

Just a thought. It sounds like she is making progress, but it also sounds like your WW is having issues being held responsible and accountable.

Cat

FBS: Married 20 years, 2 daughters 27 and 24. Divorced by the grace of GOD.
D-Days: 2/23/93; 10/11/97; 3/5/03
Ex & OW Broke up 12-10
"An erection does not count as personal growth."

posts: 33182   ·   registered: Apr. 5th, 2003   ·   location: Ohio
id 8662735
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 CaptainRogers (original poster member #57127) posted at 1:34 PM on Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

Your WW doesn't seem to have figured out that she can believe she was compassionate until the cows come home, but if the person RECEIVING the message doesn't feel that way, she needs to change the delivery.

That actually came up in the session, Tigers. As I was describing the way in which she approached the ticket issue, I gave the full description. I was sitting on the loveseat in our bedroom. She walked in with the new insurance premium in her hand. She stood over me and said "Why didn't you tell me you got a ticket in August of last year?" and then proceeded to lecture me on how I must have been purposefully hiding it (I wasn't) and how disrespectful it was, yada yada yada. All the while, she was physically wagging/pointing a finger at me.

When I said that I felt accused, judged and rejected by her words, her tone, and her waving a finger, she turned to the counselor and said "I can't be responsible for how he feels, right?"

Counselor had a great response. She said, "Cap is responsible for handling his feelings, but you are responsible for your actions that evoke them."

That's when her anger first came out and I could really see it build from there.

An interesting aside to this...at one point, my wife interrupted to ask if the counselor ever had people get into arguments in session. The MC said "Sometimes they start to, but I tell them I'm not paid to be a referee and if you're going to fight, go outside and grab some gloves."

My wife's response...so we are doing better than other couples.

You can't make this stuff up.

BS: 42 on D-day
WW: 43 on D-day
Together since '89; still working on what tomorrow will bring.
D-Day v1.0: Jan '17; EA
D-day v2.0: Mar '18; no, it was physical

posts: 3355   ·   registered: Jan. 27th, 2017   ·   location: The Rockies
id 8662738
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BluerThanBlue ( member #74855) posted at 1:38 PM on Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

Capt, I’m sorry if this comes off as unnecessarily mean or cruel, but the impression I’m getting from all your posts is that your wife doesn’t love you. On most days, she doesn’t seem to even like you.

She can learn strategies in therapy for how to manage your day to day life amicably. As she understands your thinking and your coping mechanisms better, she might even start to like you more. But she will never see your pain as her pain, your joy as her joy, and once the kids are all adults, she won’t even feel a sense of shared purpose.

You need a light at the end of this tunnel, a key out of purgatory. I don’t think you should give her an ultimatum, but at least give yourself a deadline for how much longer you are willing to stick it out in purgatory before you give yourself permission to move on with the rest of your life.

BW, 40s

Divorced WH in 2015; now happily remarried

I edit my comments a lot for spelling, grammar, typos, etc.

posts: 1965   ·   registered: Jul. 13th, 2020
id 8662739
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Stevesn ( member #58312) posted at 1:54 PM on Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

So this sounds a lot like what I tell the few WS’s I have talked to.

“As a WS, you need to become your BS’s biggest defender. If you truly want to rebuild, and want to save your relationship (I won’t say Marriage as your infidelity destroyed that) then YOU need to live the pain he is feeling right now. And in order to do that, you need to stop defending yourself and start defending him. You need to MAKE HIS CASE for him AGAINST YOU. And you need to be able to do it better than he can!

If you want, some time down the road, for him to start supporting you and your wants and needs, you have to start by committing to support his even if it’s over your own self interest. Because of your infidelity, you need to throw the relationship see saw completely toward him. And that needs to be the case throughout the healing process.

Over time, if you stay on his side of things, he will be healed enough to start giving back again. But you have to commit to months, even years of seeing it from his perspective. If you can do that, you will eventually get the benefit back from that hard work.

It’s definitely a difficult thing to do. Our nature is to be defensive. The most powerful words in a relationship suffering from infidelity are: YOURE RIGHT. And to be able to say those things without following it with BUT, then you will be a successful rebuilder.”

Cap, your wife isn’t there yet. She has not ever consistently been there. I hope this MC can get her there. Sounds like she has the right approach. I hope your wife can take it in and make it work for both of you.

[This message edited by Stevesn at 7:55 AM, May 26th (Wednesday)]

fBBF. Just before proposing, broke it off after her 2nd confirmed PA in 2 yrs. 9 mo later I met the wonderful woman I have spent the next 30 years with.

posts: 3608   ·   registered: Apr. 17th, 2017
id 8662744
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Cooley2here ( member #62939) posted at 1:57 PM on Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

I had a long conversation with a therapist this weekend. She said almost anyone can change IF THEY WANT TO. That’s the crux of it all. I read somewhere that Woody Allen was/is in therapy for his entire adult life. Don’t know if it’s true but if so it tells you about stonewalling the therapist.

If your WW is trying, and you can see it, something needs to get her wall down. That means FOO issues tackled. Until then yours are up because you see hers. It is amazing the amount of crap we drag through life from childhood.

[This message edited by Cooley2here at 8:01 AM, May 26th (Wednesday)]

When things go wrong, don’t go with them. Elvis

posts: 4243   ·   registered: Mar. 5th, 2018   ·   location: US
id 8662746
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gmc94 ( member #62810) posted at 2:43 PM on Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

almost anyone can change IF THEY WANT TO. That’s the crux of it all.

I agree. It's about priorities. If someone wants to quit cheating, quit smoking, lose weight, find empathy, learn to fly an airplane, whatever... if they WANT to do something, they will find a way to do it.

Same as if they WANT to cheat, they will find a way to do it.

Two sides of the same coin, IMO.

Cheaters will pull every play in the book when they WANT to cheat..... yet not so much when they want to keep the M but do NOT want to change themselves into safe partners. At least that's my experience.

The WS that find their way to R are the ones who are willing to pull EVERY play in the book and write their own damn book bc they WANT to change.

M >25yrs/grown kids
DD1 1994 ONS prostitute
DD2 2018 exGF1 10+yrEA & 10yrPA... + exGF2 EA forever & "made out" 2017
9/18 WH hung himself- died but revived

It's rude to say "I love you" with a mouthful of lies

posts: 3828   ·   registered: Feb. 22nd, 2018
id 8662754
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