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#450146 - 10/14/13 10:28 AM Re: I just found out, i feel lost, confsd, angry...... [Re: overwhelmed1975]
Robert1000 Offline


Registered: 06/27/12
Posts: 336
Hi Overwhelmed: Thanks for posting. And thanks again, Esposa, for your post, too. It really REALLY feels good to get into my feelings and truly try to sort them out and use plain English to describe them. I feel like it's something I've been preparing for all my life, or at least all my life since the abuse.

So... overwhelmed... I've got some hard things to say, but you probably already know the deal. It sounds to me like you're in a seriously co-dependent situation/relationship. That's not surprising, nor is it unusual. Probably every relationship is codependent (like the destructive kind of codependency) to one degree or another. And don't be hard on yourself, for goodness sake, because you're still fresh off the affair and the news of your husband's CSA.

I've learned from myself that a lot of times if I really hate a situation, or if it sets me off or something, I'm probably creating it or setting it up in some fundamental way, because it meets some screwed up need of mine. Right. That's frustrating, ok? But in a certain sense it's true. Like, I used to fill my life with all kinds of duties, to stretch myself too thin and then get stressed out. It served a bunch of purposes for me. I got to feel like a hero, because I was doing so much important stuff. (Whatever, but it's true.) I got to constantly distract myself, so I wouldn't have to think about the things in my life that needed work. (My relationship with my spouse, my relationship with myself, my own mental health, my career, everything.) And I got to miss/skip/double-book obligations so I could feel self-righteous and ashamed at the same time. I remember once having a meeting scheduled on my son's birthday. My wife was pissed. I was supposed to chair the meeting. (If I had just communicated a LITTLE TINY BIT, I could have rescheduled the meeting and everything would have worked out fine, but communication is HARD for me. If I ask someone to reschedule, I feel like I'm taking a risk that will backfire and kill me. Right. Related to the abuse? I think so, and also hangups in my family. Hard to separate the two.) Anyway, I ended up driving around town with my wife and kids in the car, stalling a birthday plan for MY SON WHO I ABSOLUTELY DEVOTE MYSELF TO, being pissed at my wife, who was sitting in the passenger seat with a major pout on, because I was not putting my family first... and God who wouldn't feel pissed in that situation. And all that was while I was on the phone, participating in the meeting via teleconference! How crazy was that?!? That was a good 8 months after the affair was uncovered and 5 months after I finally confronted the facts of the abuse that happened to me.

What the hell was wrong with us? Should my wife have just run screaming from me? Maybe! Should I have had my head examined? YES! Actually, I was! AND AM! And now we're still trying to figure out how to get away from the codependencies and other bull that typified our relationship, which I should add has also been wonderful and fulfilling in SO many ways.

But one thing that really has become plain to me is that my role, my responsibility in my life is to man up and OWN my emotions, my wants and needs and express them. I think I argue with my wife, who is so beautiful and fun, because I resent her for the pain and isolation I feel but which she of course didn't cause. It's like the only person I've been able to express my frustration and anger to has been the one person who has loved me and been honest with me all my life! How wrong is that? She's the one person who I want to treat the most with love and respect. The one person who I cherish above all others! But for so long, I resented her for loving me, because I felt unlovable and unforgivable.

We had a small fight last night. There's a part of her that's angry at herself for staying with me. I get that. Our fight last night was maybe a bit of a breakthrough, because I said aloud what I was afraid to say, which is that she felt like maybe she should have left me, like she maybe wished she had left me. I was afraid to say that because I'm afraid to she'll leave me now! Like, there's a part of me that thinks if she she's the light, she'll run. RUN!

But that's just my insecurity talking. The truth is we love each other. In so many ways, we're great together. And I do admire the hell out of her. She's a great mom and a wonderful partner. Sure, she's human like everyone else. She makes mistakes. Blah blah blah. She's not perfect, nags a lot and whatever, but I like her. And I'm going to stick with her, and I'll also help lead the way for her and me to make peace with the past and leave it behind. We don't need it. We can think about what we want for the future and try to build that life we want.

Anyway... I had written some other stuff about how your husband needs to grow a pair. But I deleted it, because I sounded to myself like I was grandstanding. But seriously, what you write above rings a little false to me. It's up to your husband to maintain his own boundaries. He needs to tell that woman to get the hell away from him. And he needs to stop blaming you. That's a load of bull. Seriously, if he wants to leave, he should go. No more threats, though. That's a load, for sure. And you need good boundaries, too. In my opinion, your kids will be better served by a fight for decency than a life of emotional sabotage and pain. You can make it work with your H, if he so chooses. But you shouldn't waste your time trying to figure out what he wants to do. You should start laying ground rules and making things happen, and those things should be based on your survival, your emotional health and wellbeing and the health and wellbeing of your kids. If he wants to go along with you, great, but if he doesn't, that's fine, too. You'll make it OK. I know you will. You're worth it. And your kids are, too. (Wow. If I offended you at all, just ignore me. I don't know your situation. Just what I've read. I absolutely encourage therapy, and I absolutely encourage you to IGNORE what I've written if I'm off-base. But I'm going to hit submit before I think better of it.)

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#450163 - 10/14/13 08:24 PM Re: I just found out, i feel lost, confsd, angry...... [Re: overwhelmed1975]
Esposa Offline
F&F Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/19/11
Posts: 708
Loc: NJ
I remember the first time, early on, when someone said to me "if he wants to go, then let him go." I had a physical reaction of a hot knife being stabbed repeatedly into my chest and stomach. Seriously, I felt like I would die.

That, my friends, is a measuring stick on the level of codependency I was living. I WOULD DIE IF A LYING CHEATING EMOTIONALLY ABUSIVE TRAIN WRECK LEFT ME? WHAT???? Even as I type those words now, I can't even imagine that I felt that way ever. But I did. Boy did I.

And I get what Robert is saying now. I defined my boundaries and I worked on me. And there were rules now to being in my life, for every one, not just my husband. I was going to answer the needs of my forgotten inner child.

And we all say it over and over on here - the creation of boundaries and the enforcement of them brought me tranquility and happiness - calmness - that I had never known. It sounds silly and cliche, but I am a pleaser and a fixer by nature and I gave so much of myself that my inner child cried while those around me took everything I had left to give.

When I finally stood up, looked inside myself and was firm and resolute, the people around me changed. Sure, many of them complained for a while because they liked the doer and the fixer. Good ole reliable esposa was no longer around to do their bidding. My husband revolted for a short time, I called it "incursions" - he would test my boundaries, test my resolve. Unfortunately for him, the more he tested, the stronger and prouder I got. And ultimately, everything got better. Until today when I can say HONESTLY, I love him but he can go if he wants - and I will go if I am not happy. And that is that.

Am I making it sound too easy? Please, I have 3 years of daily work in on this mission. So we must go easy on ourselves, but keep our mission in mind and in focus. It's the mandate for all of us who seek peace, sanity and happiness.

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#450211 - 10/15/13 10:07 AM Re: I just found out, i feel lost, confsd, angry...... [Re: overwhelmed1975]
Robert1000 Offline


Registered: 06/27/12
Posts: 336
Wow. I'm SO IMPRESSED! Wow. I'm going to take some time and think about what you've written, and also about overwhelmed.... And overwhelmed? I want you to know that I'm praying for you, to help you find the path forward for yourself. Everyone is different. But you CAN find and keep happiness. And you can find and hold onto peace and acceptance. I occasionally feel kind of peaceful, and THAT is a huge accomplishment. Keep seeking. Keep trying.

Bob

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#450264 - 10/15/13 06:11 PM Re: I just found out, i feel lost, confsd, angry...... [Re: overwhelmed1975]
overwhelmed1975 Offline


Registered: 09/23/13
Posts: 25
Thanks Robert1000 and Esposa, your encouragement means a lot to me. I talked to our therapist about his threats and she basically told me the same thing.I didn't know how to answer. I have become this blubbering mess. I know deep inside that I don't want my children to be exposed to fights or anger. I know I could support myself financially and be "ok". Rationally, I know that,I completely believe that. Just like I know directing his anger at me is not right, and that he caused this when he choose to have an affair which has nothing to do with me, and that his threats are BS. BUT, I have become so attached and focused on him. Maybe that is just part of my own issues and insecurities. But I also realized this weekend that his threats and attempts to pick fights with me are in an attempt to make me feel like crap, because he is feeling like crap at work. He said he was going to talk to management again today at their staff meeting. It is really getting out of hand at this point. But again, when he starts ranting about the situation and I remind him that he had the affair and now he has to face the consequences, he becomes angry. He does not want to acknowledge that he messed up, so he blames it on everyone else.
Robert1000, I am not offended at all. Sometimes you need an outsiders perspective to see what you really don't want to acknowledge. I appreciate your positive thoughts and prayers.
I think wives, or at least for me, yes you are angry, but at the same time, the thought of someone hurting the love of your life is so terrible, that you want to make things right. I am glad that you understand where your wife is coming from. She loves you and is dedicated to your family, but as a woman, the mere thought that you were able to betray her for someone else is painful not only emotionally but to our pride as well. Not only because you betrayed your love, but because the H's technically put their families on the line. I think by telling your wife your real fear, about her leaving, helps her understanding that you are scared and do not want to lose her.
Esposa, you are right about setting boundaries. I think I just have spent so much time and energy focusing on his needs and the kids needs, that I forgot about me. I know I have to work on that, because I know there is going to a day when I crash.


Edited by overwhelmed1975 (12/12/13 12:45 PM)

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#450266 - 10/15/13 06:21 PM Re: I just found out, i feel lost, confsd, angry...... [Re: overwhelmed1975]
overwhelmed1975 Offline


Registered: 09/23/13
Posts: 25
Oops, I realized that I cut out an important part. The therapist asked me why I was giving him so much power over me. That is the part I didnt know how to answer

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#450291 - 10/15/13 10:19 PM Re: I just found out, i feel lost, confsd, angry...... [Re: overwhelmed1975]
Esposa Offline
F&F Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/19/11
Posts: 708
Loc: NJ
I went through a period, honestly, where I felt like a deer in the headlights. I guess I am dense because it lasted like 5 months where he continued his affair and I just sat around in shock. My point is, we all need our time to sort things out and we have to forgive ourselves for that time.

I have said it on MS a couple of times but it applies here. What do you want your life to look like? Make that list and then tolerate only the things that support that. It makes it easier to focus. I don't think he has control over you, I just think you are taking your time to sort through how you feel - and that is OKAY.

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#450337 - 10/16/13 11:01 AM Re: I just found out, i feel lost, confsd, angry...... [Re: overwhelmed1975]
Robert1000 Offline


Registered: 06/27/12
Posts: 336
I agree with Esposa 100 percent. Overwhelmed, It's difficult not to punish yourself, but try not to let yourself bear the brunt of your anger and pain. I have been in your husband's shoes... as far as not wanting to face the consequences of my own decisions and my own role in the disaster I created. The first thing he needs to do (which is HARD but must be done) is to accept the responsibility for his own decisions. The real question, for him, is what he wants more... does he want the dysfunction and pain more... or does he want a family and a life. He has to choose, but only if you make the same choice. Otherwise, he'll get what you both have now... which is dysfunction and pain. For better or worse (and clearly because of your own co-dependencies, which is totally normal) that's the life you have built. But life is no longer tenable, because it hurts too bad. He made decisions that make it hurt too bad. He's asking you to take on too much pain. And that's too much to ask. So things have to change. Will he come along with that change or not? That's the question at this point in the relationship. He has to get his priorities straight. He's the only one who can do that. And he'll chose what he chooses.

As for you... and the fear of being alone.... I've thought a lot about fear.

I'll be graphic just for a moment. Skip to the next paragraph if you need to. When I was in fourth grade... never mind... I can't write this today. Well, I basically got raped in a friend's bedroom by an older kid after school who was supposed to keep an eye on my friends until their mom came home from work. The kid hurt me and scared me and weirded me out. I was pre-sexual. I honestly thought he was peeing on me. I think I've described that before, but I can still remember how baffled I was that his fucked up face would twist up. But aside from the humiliation and pain, I felt fear. Like I feared for my life in a really profound sense. It was terrifying. And so fastforward 25 years. I'm six four. I weigh 250 pounds. I've not been in a ton of fights, but enough, and in all truth I'm tough as hell, most anyone would tell you so. And yet I'll shake like a leaf sometimes with fear, because inside myself are certain triggers that, when hit, cause me to relive an echo of the pain, humiliation and terror I felt as a child. When I chose to have the affair, I chose to do so because it seemed less bad than facing the echo of that fear and pain. But when I chose to talk about the abuse that happened to me, I made the choice because facing the fear and humiliation of my childhood seemed less bad than losing my wife and kids.

Many, many times I made destructive decisions to avoid the fear and pain of my childhood (although I never had an affair before, there were lots of shitty and painful things I put myself through all my life, lies I told, failures I caused, drugs I took, blah blah).

And even after I began to face the truth of my life, I still had things that held onto the echo of the pain and humiliation. For instance, I mismanaged money and bounced checks and got super-stressed out. That, to me, is a manifestation of my CSA-related dysfunction, and I'm in therapy now to handle that so I can deal with money in a logical way rather than reactive, knee-jerky and crazy.

My whole point, though, is that you yourself, and your husband himself, have to decide to start facing the pain that has been getting you to choose crappy things because you think it's the less bad thing to do.

You know? That's what I thought about. How bad would it really be for me to actively manage my money so I don't bounce checks? Will that be so painful and humiliating? Well, no. It turns out not to be. How bad would it be for me to tell my wife what I actually think and feel? It turns out not to be so bad. (I'm still working on that one, btw)

But are both of those things scary? Hell, yes. Both still scare the shit out of me, to be honest. I'm getting better at both, but both raise the old fear of death, pain, humiliation and the confusion, too. That horrid sense of bafflement mixed with pain and despair.

Christ. I'm done for the day.

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