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Reconciliation :
Dealing with a people pleaser

Topic is Sleeping.
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 CFme923 (original poster member #82955) posted at 5:26 PM on Tuesday, March 21st, 2023

Has anyone dealt with a people pleaser? My WH did IC (currently out of it due to finances) and we are 7 months post DDay, and his affair ended 1.5 years ago.

His IC strongly believes him to be a conflict avoidant personality and people pleaser. He also has difficulty finding the words to describe his feelings and does not always have the ability to convey what he is feeling.

He has definitely done some work on himself and recently had a pretty major breakdown. He said he is finally getting how deeply he injured me. He describes himself as emotionally numb during that time, acknowledges he had resentment towards me that I didn't show enough affection which was unfounded, and allowed himself to ride on the temporary high.

What is the best way to handle everyday life with him? I'm always paranoid he's "lying" to please me now and if we R, I want it to be sincere.

posts: 99   ·   registered: Feb. 27th, 2023
id 8783334
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ChamomileTea ( Moderator #53574) posted at 5:53 PM on Tuesday, March 21st, 2023

I think that one of the unfortunate by-products of losing trust in our spouse after infidelity is that we lose trust in ourselves too. We got fooled. Our good judgement failed us. And now, we have to make this HUGE assessment as to what the truth is and whether we'll be emotionally safe going forward. It's a lot! shocked

In hindsight though, what I found was that my gut, for want of a better word, was still there and that trusting my WH wasn't nearly so important as trusting ME. Yeah, I got hoodwinked. But it wasn't because I was being careless or unobservant, it was because my brain just didn't think like that. Now, whether it's a good thing or a bad thing, it does. I can see red flags that I'd never have seen otherwise, and while that doesn't mean I can never be fooled again, it does put the odds in my favor for future discovery if needs be.

In terms of trust though, I've learned to trust ME. I've got my own back these days, so no matter what happens, I know I'm going to be okay. It helps that I've kept my exit strategy, but it's more than just that. I have learned to invest in myself, to be my own best friend, and the result is that I no longer FEAR abandonment. That fear is born with us, a reflex from helpless infancy which follows us into adulthood. But once you see it for the toothless monster it is, it loses all power over you. I'm an adult who can fend for myself. I don't need my fWH to insure my survival. So, if I stick my neck out a little for R, I know I can handle the risk and be okay if it turns out my judgment was wrong.

Trust yourself. You've got more on the ball than what you think. smile

BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)
Married 40 years; in R with fWH for 8

posts: 7061   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8783338
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 5:55 PM on Tuesday, March 21st, 2023

Gently, R will work best if your H commits to changing himself.

R requires resolving issue after issue. If your H avoids conflicts, some big issues will never get resolved, because he won't let you know of his issues. And it will be difficult to get your issues resolved if his goal is to avoid conflict by pleasing you.

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 30045   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8783340
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 CFme923 (original poster member #82955) posted at 5:57 PM on Tuesday, March 21st, 2023

Thank you, CT. I have always been so intuitive and I missed it in him though I had been asking questions the past couple years.

I find myself always "double-checking" with him. I'm always asking "are you SURE this is an okay idea? Are you SURE you have nothing to tell me?" It has become so mentally tiring.

posts: 99   ·   registered: Feb. 27th, 2023
id 8783341
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 CFme923 (original poster member #82955) posted at 6:10 PM on Tuesday, March 21st, 2023

Gently, R will work best if your H commits to changing himself.

R requires resolving issue after issue. If your H avoids conflicts, some big issues will never get resolved, because he won't let you know of his issues. And it will be difficult to get your issues resolved if his goal is to avoid conflict by pleasing you.[\quote]

Yes, absolutely. He recognizes he has been a people pleaser most of his life and never saw it as an issue but has had the blinders ripped off.

I see progress, albeit slow at times, but it's there. I want him to be better, for me but also for our kids. Are his efforts sincere if I have to help him limp along at times?

posts: 99   ·   registered: Feb. 27th, 2023
id 8783342
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This0is0Fine ( member #72277) posted at 8:47 PM on Tuesday, March 21st, 2023

I told my wife something like:

"You need to understand I would rather be faced with an uncomfortable truth than made comfortable by deception. Stop weighing undetected deception as a success."

Love is not a measure of capacity for pain you are willing to endure for your partner.

posts: 2673   ·   registered: Dec. 11th, 2019
id 8783367
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Abalone123 ( member #82896) posted at 1:15 AM on Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023

My WH seems like yours and I am struggling with R because I don’t know what is a genuine remorse and what is to keep me happy and avoid conflicts. His people pleasing and conflict avoidant personality led me to believe we had a happy marriage. The traces of honest feelings that showed up very briefly do not paint a good pic of what he truly felt and what was conveyed to me. I am at a dead end in R and am looking to see what responses you get here. My IC thinks this is his limit of emotional vulnerability and he is not capable of more .
My WH is not doing well with IC ( 3 in about 3 months) because he is very uncomfortable facing his issues. After a lifetime of rug sweeping I am sure it’s not easy.
Wish I could be more helpful but just wanted to say you are not alone.

posts: 284   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2023
id 8783397
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InkHulk ( member #80400) posted at 2:18 AM on Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023

I am also very much hoping that the collective wisdom of SI comes forth here, because this sounds very much like my wife. She just recently came to a self revelation that she is a people pleaser. Everyone that I tell that to that knows her looks at me with incredulity, because we’ve all known that for 20 years. But it’s a start.

People are more important than the relationships they are in.

posts: 2186   ·   registered: Jun. 28th, 2022
id 8783408
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 CFme923 (original poster member #82955) posted at 2:23 AM on Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023

I am sorry you are dealing with this as well Abalone. I will say that before DDay, in that 10 months in between the affair ending and me knowing, my WH did start to show me glimpses of the resentments he had held onto for many years. Once he started letting them out, I will say he became more cognizant of his own behaviors and how it was a large contributor.

posts: 99   ·   registered: Feb. 27th, 2023
id 8783410
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Emptyglass ( member #80295) posted at 2:49 AM on Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023

My wh also is a ‘people pleaser’ ‘conflict avoidant’. IC for him is helping him realize where this stems from and why. Most of it is learned from childhood in his case. It is devastating to learn all of this. I didn’t even know these terms until this happened to us. It’s very difficult to understand it all. So I understand your concerns .. I feel I’m constantly on guard with armour on now. It’s hard to let my guard down.

posts: 68   ·   registered: May. 5th, 2022
id 8783412
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 CFme923 (original poster member #82955) posted at 10:27 AM on Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023

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Emptyglass ( new member) posted at 2:49 AM on Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023
My wh also is a ‘people pleaser’ ‘conflict avoidant’. IC for him is helping him realize where this stems from and why. Most of it is learned from childhood in his case. It is devastating to learn all of this. I didn’t even know these terms until this happened to us. It’s very difficult to understand it all. So I understand your concerns .. I feel I’m constantly on guard with armour on now. It’s hard to let my guard down.

I feel much at the same. This was also learned in childhood after growing up with few siblings that are more aggressive and parents fighting all the time. It's thought he came this way to kind of placate everyone else. Unfortunately his work situation was the same. He had a very volatile boss and the AP was a co-worker who was also very volatile.

posts: 99   ·   registered: Feb. 27th, 2023
id 8783432
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Abalone123 ( member #82896) posted at 4:28 PM on Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023

It’s good he is starting to recognize his behavior. Strike when the iron is hot. Don’t hesitate to bring up things as and when they need to be addressed. Make it a habit to talk and discuss things however uncomfortable. I always thought I had a conflict free happy marriage. You can guess why lol.

posts: 284   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2023
id 8783465
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 9:07 PM on Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023

IC for him is helping him realize where this stems from and why.

I have always had troule with that approach. Luckily I fell in with therapists who followed Eric Berne's TA (Transactional Analysis).

TA therapists and a lot of followers of other schools now focus on helping the client change in ways the client wants to change. The model is sort of : make the change - find where you fail to keep the change going - analyze the failure to find the source - change the way one treats the source - reinstitute the change - find-analyze-resolve the next failure, and so on.

A person who's really committed to changing will eventually learn the method and not need the IC.

Sure, I wanted to understand 'why' my W cheated, but she needed to change for R to work. I know her whys intellectually, BTW, but I still don't get it at a gut level. Bu t my W has changed.

New behavior counts. It is often easier to implement that new behavior than to analyze the reasons for old behavior, and understanding old behavior often uses energy that's better used for implementing changes.

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 30045   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8783515
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 CFme923 (original poster member #82955) posted at 9:21 PM on Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023

I think in his situation it was more focusing on helping him realize that more bad things happen from his compulsive need to go along with things rather than just saying no. In his mind saying no means conflict and in his mind conflict bad. I guess that's what I mean when I say the counseling has helped him figure out why he feels the need to be this way and helping him understand ways to change that.

I actually listened in on his counseling session outside the door which I get is not ideal probably. When the counselor asked him what he felt during the affair and what he felt during the two physical encounters, he thought for a while and then said he felt disgust and immense pressure. He got a temporary high from being flattered when the AP sent him topless photos, but it did not last more than a couple of minutes. I know for a fact from messages between them, he asked her to stop multiple times and he relayed this to the counselor. When the counselor asked why he then went along with the attempted sexual intercourse he said he felt a little excitement at being wanted but also felt that he had already gone this far and felt immense pressure from the AP. They were co-workers and she called and said she needed his help immediately. It was an emergency and when he got to the area she shut the door behind him and was waiting for him naked and climbed on top of him and said she knew he wanted it and that he deserved someone who wanted him as much as her and that nobody would ever find out. He told the counselor as soon as she tried to help him enter her He lost his erection. He shoved her off and told her no. He didn't want to do this. The same exact scenario was repeated a month later. Only this time I have in messages him telling her to stay away from him and to never come near him again. She sent him 😆 back barf

Is it possible he still lying to me and to the counselor? I guess I will never know 100% but what he says lines up with the messages I was given to by her husband. If that is the case, it seems like his people pleasing was a huge factor along with his depression and low self-esteem at the time.

posts: 99   ·   registered: Feb. 27th, 2023
id 8783518
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HardKnocks ( member #70957) posted at 4:17 PM on Friday, March 24th, 2023

Encourage him to stick with IC.

That kind of personal insight is invaluable.

BW
Recovered
Reconciled

posts: 558   ·   registered: Jul. 7th, 2019
id 8783854
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 CFme923 (original poster member #82955) posted at 5:05 PM on Friday, March 24th, 2023

I definitely want him too. We should be able to afford it again next month.

He is reading a book that was recommended to him about it. And he's working on asserting himself in other life situations such as with our children and his workplace.

posts: 99   ·   registered: Feb. 27th, 2023
id 8783877
Topic is Sleeping.
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