nekonamida, I had been thinking about your post for a while because I wanted to give you a proper answer. Sorry it took me a while to respond.
Let me ask you this - is this what you would do if you were in her shoes? Let's say you were the one who severely hurt her. Every day she looks at you, she feels pain. Every day she feels the burden of what you've done to her hanging over her. Yes, you're sorry but it's not enough. Yes, you're trying to do right but it doesn't make it any better for her. The only time she breathes is when she is away from you. So, what would you do? Would you fight tooth and nail to keep her trapped in the marriage knowing it's painful and unbearable for her? Or would you move forward and make the separation process easy on her by playing fair?
Here is where I struggle to give you an answer. I would never be in this position, so all this is pure speculation, but I would be probably doing what she was doing, at least partialy. But I wouldn't fight tooth and nail to keep her trapped. She often asked what I want or need from her and I had given her lots of mixed signals so I am to be blamed for this mess as much as she is. It's hard to do the right thing when the person who should call the shots tells you opposite and conflicting things on a daily basis. I am sorry if I made it seem like she constantly pushes me without letting me have a breath, that's not what was hapenning. Yes, there were times when she disregarded my request to let me be, but they were infrequent and there was no ill will, just a confusion. Now she does what I ask without a second thought. Much to my surprise to be honest.
For a few weeks now she has been easy to deal with, she doesn't push anything on me. She listens and reads my moods pretty well. I don't have to spell it for her, when she senses I am not in a mood to deal with her she takes a step back. Is this real of is it just a plot to soften me? I have no idea, time will tell. But I take it for now for what it is and hope she won't fall back into her old selfish ways. In the past I heard lots of me, me, me and I, I Is. That's gone now, I hope forever.
If you have chosen differently than what your STBX is doing now, think about it. What is the defining factor?
Selfishness. Simple as that. She has a very prominent selfish streak, and many people around her were enablers (including me), so she basicaly never had to face this. I think it has to do with her childhood. And me. I had always made my goal to cater for her needs. Big error on my part
Perhaps that you would put her above yourself?
Yes, see above
Why do you think it is such a struggle to put you above herself?
You mean for her? Learned patterns. It's hard to overcome them in a few months. She obviously struggles with this a lot. She has to consiously overpower her thoughts and decision withing herself. Her IC helps her with this, but imagine having to put almost every of your decisions under a microscope, put it apart and find a resolution that's in contrast to your personal set up. It must be tiring, right? But there can not be any personal growth without it. It needs to be done, so she does it, every day. And she will do it for who knows how long until she rewires her brain. But how long will it take? Few years? 20 years? Forever?
Why do you think your STBX would be able to live comfortably knowing that you are hurting as long as she gets to stay married and not have to face D? How do you think she sleeps at night knowing she hurt you, continued to hurt you, and would be fine with hurting you indefinitely if it means she doesn't have to hurt by facing shame, guilt, and consequences for her actions?
Trust me, she's not living comfortably. She hates herself for what she did to me and our family. If she could take it all back she would in a heartbeat. But that's not how life works, you can't just get back to your last saved position and not jump from that cliff. What is done is done.
She's back on Xanax, sleeping only few hours a day. She's mess, and has been for a long time. Now the tables have turned and I am the one who is more put together. She's dealing with shame, guilt and severe consequences. But so are our kids and I will probably never forgive her for putting them through this. That's one of the reasons why I decided to not R
I don't think this is really a question of how to D a remorseful WS because D'ing a remorseful WS doesn't involve the situation you have described. Many a WS on the wayward forum have or are in some process of D. They haven't lashed out. They haven't lobbed friends and family at the BS as a way to shame them back into the marriage. They would prefer not to D. They make that clear. But they aren't guilting their BS with it. Because they understand that hurting their BS and then asking their BS to just suck it up and deal with the pain for the rest of their lives is as selfish as it gets. It's not all about them. Interestingly enough - when we hear about D'ing a remorseful WS on SI, it's typically a boring thread with a few posts about how the BS is holding up and not much else because their WS makes it easy on them. They don't need to be asking the questions that you are asking.
Again, this is all about that struggle withing her that I told you above. She wants to be all those things, but she has to force her way against her default mindset. I fully understand that my STBXW is not the most remorseful WW there is, but the times when she IS as remorseful as she can be, give me enough to pause me in my path towards divorce. Does that make sense?
That said - what you're really asking is how to feel less guilty in response to someone who is guilt tripping you.
Maybe, how can I tell the difference? She never told me things like "You are breaking the family apart", never (ok, maybe a bit before Dday) blamed me or said it was my fault she strayed.
You can do that by acknowledging that what they're asking of you is unfair. You can do that by accepting that you can't set yourself on fire to keep someone else warm. You can do that by acknowledging that some times people have to accept the consequences for their actions and protecting them by throwing yourself under the bus IS NOT helping them. It's showing them that they can get away with poor behavior at your expense and further enforces the attitude that your pain and suffering is "not a big deal" given you're able to push it aside for them. When you can see the reality of your situation, only then can you stop feeding into the madness. Only then will it get easier for you.
Thank you, me and my STBXW both understand that what she was asking of me was unfair. No diagreement there. I stopped enabling her, she's being called out when her selfish side makes an appearance (by me, her therapist, her sister). The feedback she gets is instant and she admits she often feels dejected, but is glad we are doing this. As for my pain and suffering, she absolutely knows it is a big deal, she doesn't try to mitigate my pain by pretending that what she did wasn't all that bad. Because it was and we both know it.
Sorry if this was not what you wanted to hear.
PS I am glad you asked those questions because it helps me to get this all out in the open and I belive it might help YOU to give me a better advice