Where oh where to begin? I could start with counseling yesterday, or counseling today, or none of that. I choose the latter. I am tired of thinking about stuff I don’t want to think about but I usually don’t get a choice.
Music – I mentioned before that I love music and feel like I constantly have my own sound track to my life. Music can help describe my feelings when I cannot do it for myself. I am also extremely obsessive of my music. When I find a song that I connect to, I listen to it over and over nonstop for weeks. It drives my family nuts, but they can deal with it. The problem is that not everyone hears the music the same. So what I hear in a song, is not the same thing that my wife hears, or better yet the meaning of the song is different for both of us. Right now I am on my 21 pilots kick. I have been listening to them nonstop and found a cover they did of Jar of hearts and now I cannot stop listening to it. My wife on the other hand has exactly the opposite reaction to the song so she wants it changed whenever we are together. I do oblige but it left me thinking about things on a bigger scale. And unfortunately led me to ask a question to my therapist. Damn, now I have to talk about counseling from yesterday.
Well, I said that I am struggling with hope that things will work out. I have been tracking my medications and I make notes about how thing have been going and what my depression level is for that day. I rate it on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being happy and well adjusted and 1 being suicidal. I have not been above a 5 since last Wednesday. I have not told my wife as she has been struggling with her own and I finally helped her climb out yesterday and today. But the main reason I am like this is I don’t know what the end product of all of this will look like.
I asked my therapist “When will things go back to normal? Well not normal because I know they will never be what they were, but what does the end product look like?” What I am wanting to get out of it? Their are certain things that I do not know if I can live without and I don’t know if those are options under our current circumstances. I like isolation at times. I do not want to see, hear, interact, or worry about another human being. I like to have moments to myself. Now since I blew up our marriage I have not been able to get those moments. I don’t know if I can ever get those moments back just like I can never get the moments I lost from cheating on my wife. I lose those moment and she lost them also without her knowledge.
Our therapist today (uugggghhhhh… Now I have brought in all three topics) mentioned that normally in these circumstances we as a couple focus on the person who was betrayed and their healing. She said it often seems that 95% of the healing process is dedicated to that person. The problem is that the person who did the betraying has needs in order to be healed. If those aren’t met then that person can crawl inside of themselves and make it difficult to ever climb back out. Last week when she started going downhill emotionally this is exactly what I did. I put her on the forefront and have tried to get her from dropping further into a depressive state. I finally got her laughing and enjoying herself last night and she said she really feels good today. I am glad that I can always help her like that, but as I was doing this and putting on the brave face I was going down hill just as fast as she was however she never knew. She couldn’t, it would not have helped her situation, only made it worse. I know I have to take care of myself, thanks counselor, but at what cost. Somethings are harder than others. Eating for example, food is gross and disgusting so I just don’t eat. I am not hungry so it is rather easy, but obviously that is a concern for my counselor as well as my sleeping. It think I got off topic. The whole point is that we get lost focusing on the 95% then even if the 95% is healed the other 5% will get lost and may never come back. So in my situation I need to be the 5% but since supposedly I have issues of needing acceptance, love and attention, which makes me being the 5% a huge issue. My issues only get worse because I am only worth 5%. Supposedly it all goes back to my childhood (I think this is crap).
So with the push to talk about my childhood, which came up again today (thanks, honey) and me putting on a brave face to help my wife (which I will always do) I have seen myself slip down the priority list. Both my wife’s list and my own. I am crawling back into a shell. Everyone is going to tell me not to do it, but I really don’t see another option. We cannot have two people in our house in a depressive state, we would never function. So because of the predicament that I have put us in, I feel I need to come behind her.
Back to my original question, what is the end product look like? I am probably the only person that can answer it but with my limited experiences in relationships and dysfunctional childhood I have a hard time knowing anything at this point. For the first 10 years of my marriage I could have told you exactly what the end product looks like in my head, even though we were beginning to have problems already. Hell, 3 years ago I could have told you what the end product would look like, but now? Well, now I have no idea and have no direction. I need a direction to travel toward the goal otherwise I feel we are just spinning our wheels. Maybe I am just feeling particularly hopeless (it is too strong of a word) about me and us because this is two weeks in a row where we have had more bad days than good.
Our little individual goals are kind of helping when we can do them. We are not as consistent with the 15 sec as we need to be. Also I gave her a unfiltered reaction to something when we were talking. It ended with her crying, FML, and then I felt horrible for doing it. I did not insult her or anything like that, I just told her how I was feeling about something. So I am trying but it is hard to, what seems to me, intentionally hurt her. I know in the long run it will help us be more connected, but it doesn’t feel that way right now.
Last thing for today because I am done for the day (emotionally) already and it is only 1:00 pm. I am really struggling with the concept that I am screwed up. Up until a year ago I would have been the model for physical, emotional, and social health. My physical health has been up and down, but for the most part I felt good about myself. I am almost 40 and I still weigh the exact amount I weighed when I graduated high school. I have actually weighed this amount the entire time since HS. Now I feel like every piece of me is being analyzed and then judged as screwed up. My relationship deteriorated and with it my emotional health. I got depression (it sounds like I got a cold), then everyone wants to look back at my childhood, I am constantly injured, and it is pointed out on a regular basis that I have no real friends.
Everything on that list other than the depression has always been there so why is it a big deal. I was fine with all those skeletons in my closet. If they have always been there then why go into them. Why drag up more pain than necessary?
Our therapist today tried to explain it to me by saying that I needed to know that in my childhood none of it was my fault. I never thought it was. She said I needed to be able to not follow in their footsteps. Again not a problem. But both her and my wife think I need to let go of the anger I have and feel compassion for the 8 year old version of myself???? I don’t think after the things I went through will ever allow me to not be angry at them. However, the compassion piece, I have no idea how that would even work. I don’t really understand how that is even possible. I knew back then that it was not my fault and that I would do everything exactly opposite to what they did in parenting. Why, because then I knew I would be a great parent. But that 8 year old version was tough and lived through some serious shit. How do I feel compassionate for myself in the past? I have no clue.
Okay I am done because I talked about everything I did not want to write about today, therapy, childhood, self-loathing… What a treat I am today! But no one will know. I will be the picture boy of happiness and energy because that is what people need of me right now.
Thank goodness for all the things you are not, thank goodness you’re not something someone forgot, and left all alone in some punkerish place, like a rusty tin coat hanger hanging in space. – Dr. Seuss
“Supposedly it all goes back to my childhood (I think this is crap).So with the push to talk about my childhood, which came up again today (thanks, honey)”
Grrrrrr lol Crap huh? So your wife, therapist, me, others…. we’re all wrong??? LOL Do you think your wife or your therapist LIKE pushing you in a direction that is both painful and makes you incredibly angry and defensive??? I’m gonna venture a wild guess here and say it’s probably not a party in a bag dude! Wow, seems like your therapist and wife think the exact same things as I do. That’s crazy right? Seeing as we are all wrong lol. I don’t know how to heal the trauma but I do know it needs to be healed. Intellectually knowing you were not to blame and that you did nothing to deserve it is VERY VERY different than knowing it in your heart and in your soul.
Usually it’s easier to see and help others than even ourselves. We are too close to it. I’m glad you were able to be there for your wife.
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I actually laughed out loud when I read this. I never even put it together (which is brilliant for me and very self-serving) that they all think it is connected. I have a hard time believing it because my intellectual side is completely disconnected to my emotions.
So at times I do think they push my buttons on purpose, but I do recognize that they want what is best for me. I just struggle reliving it and getting anything but hurt out of it. Also there is so much I have never told anyone that I don’t know if I can head down that road. I have only given people a taste of my life.
I really don’t think I would want my wide or anyone I have to see on a regular basis to know any of it. It needs to be sealed for so many reasons.
Maybe I am just being defensive and overestimating the reaction but I don’t know.
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Im glad u got a chuckle. Yeah I’m a smartass, sorry lol. I kind of figured you have kept a lot of it secret. Nothing u did or said to survive during that hell u call ur childhood will ever make u less in the eyes of anyone who cares about u. Its not a burden to anyone but u. Wow so u already know what they will say or do? That’s a really cool ability u got then! Do u perform at parties? 😉 Maybe u could tell everything (and I do mean everything) to ur therapist. Then when ur ready u can tell ur wife together. Just think its a win/win proposition. If u do all the work healing the invisible trauma of your childhood and it helps u as we all believe it will, hooray! But if u do it all n it doesn’t (not gonna happen but whatever lol) help ur life, you get to tell us all how u were right forever yay! 🙂
U kind of remind me of Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting. Remember when Robin Williams keeps saying it wasn’t your fault n he says all defensively n angrily I know that over n over.
You are witty and sarcastic what a rare combination. But to answer your question, yes I do perform at parties. It is quite the show. Now it is funny how you related that all to me because we spent almost half our session a few weeks ago talking about me preplanning our conversations, including our counseling sessions. I was asked if I steer the conversations in a direction where I will have preplanned answers to give. Which is exactly what I was doing. Now I can’t really do it because she throw crap at me from left field. I think just to see my reaction. So for a bit, I was knowing pretty much what she would say and ask me.
Now I am forced to believe in the process because it is all I have left. But there are worse things than believing in my therapists.
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Im kind of perceptive. U do realize u only delay the process when u try to control it right? Im glad ur therapist is that good. U really have got to stop trying to b a human magic 8 ball. But it’s actually a coping mechanism for those who have experienced very deep trauma at the core so it’s not that surprising. But it is impressive lol
It was almost funny because she made me give her examples and I did and she was impressed. Then she said it won’t happen again and it hasn’t. I have tried to stop, but she is also very good.
We looked very hard for her and she is expensive but worth it.
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I agree she is. My psychopharmacologist was expensive too but he gave me my life back and I only have to go back when there’s a problem or im pregnant. Best $$ ever spent 🙂
Oh I have no problem with the money for this lady. The ones before all took my insurance so I only had a 10.00 copay and I thought that was too much for what I got. Now I pay 20 times that because she doesn’t do insurance but worth every penny. Maybe I wouldn’t feel that way if I hadn’t experienced the other ones, who knows. All I care is that she is helping even if it sucks sometimes.
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Yup my guy doesn’t do insurance either lol. Of course it sucks and it will be difficult but if in the end ur happier and less burdened? So maybe stop hindering the process by trying to control it n try giving yourself over to it if possible.
Me give up control? Hmmm… I don’t think you know how impossible it sounds to me. Every time she wants me to be vulnerable I really don’t understand. Even when I told her the things that hurt her it was me being bluntly honest not me being vulnerable.
I honestly do not know how to do it. I don’t think it is possible. A loss of control would mean me risking….. well my soul (if I have one). And that is probably everyone’s point. She want to be connected to my soul.
Maybe a better way to think about it is I am not connected to my soul so how can I allow someone else access to it?
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If u have one? Lol Dramatic much? It’s buried yes but if u didn’t have one you you wouldn’t care so much about hurting your wife, u would feel no guilt, etc. I realize how important control is to someone that has experienced the trauma you have. Well I can only imagine, but your soul isn’t like a body part u can access at will silly. U are connected to your soul n in some ways ur wife already has part of it, and guess what? U had no control over it lol
I need to ask u something if that’s ok.
Sure, go ahead.
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Is it ok if I email it? I don’t know ur email.
Sure. It is my username at gmail.
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I know this is an empty statement but : hang in there, you can get through this.
Now having said that, have you thought about this analogy – From when you were married, your marriage was at a “high”. But over the years, due to life and your wife’s depression, the marriage has declined until you’ve hit “neutral”. Neutral because although unhappy, neither of you did anything to break your marriage (eg. break you commitment and your vows to each other). But after your affair, you’ve brought your marriage wayyy into the negatives, along with yourself and your wife. You took yourself there, but your wife was dragged there. So to even get your marriage back to “neutral”, you’re going to have to put in the work to take her out of there, and you’re going to have to do the work to take yourself out of the hole as well. In a fair and just world, that is what you should be doing, since you’re the one that brought both of you there (kind of what your counsellor said). But I don’t think it’s all like that in marriage. It’s great you put your wife in the forefront and brought her out of her depression. That’s important. Now that she’s out, she’s in a much better position to help you. She would want you to trust her and lean on her for help. That way, it’s a mutual process. You’re right, you have issues too, and you need to address them or else you will keep slipping down. But you’ll need to address them together – and I think thats what your wife wants as well – for you to trust her and lean on her. She wants you to be vulnerable and open, so that she can truly see what’s going on, and not be blindsided again. Keep putting her at the forefront, but at the same time, don’t neglect yourself.
In terms of the end product – it’s safe to say that no one will ever know exactly what will happen. And unfortunately, we only live once as well – so we’ll never know if the road will be better if we choose option A or B or C .. etc. But instead of guessing at the future, focus on working to create the future you want. If you’re aiming to get your marriage and relationship back into the positives, then focus on that – focus on getting both your wife and yourself out of this relationship hole, and once you’ve hit the ground, then start running to a brighter future. And don’t think about anything else – either divorce, separation, or even suicide. Just like anything in life – don’t take it for granted, but work hard for as long as it takes to achieve your goals.
You’ve been making progress! stay hopeful and take care.
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Ditto about the “end product” – guess what, spoiler alert, there is none! We are works in progress. I guess I always knew that, but was so (mostly) content with my life and the passionate love I felt for a superb man, that I never had the angst about the “end product” that I do now. I just know that this “life is a journey, not a destination” crap is damn unpleasant!
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Its unsettling to me that your therapist says that 95% of recovery has to be focused on the betrayed because that completely discounts the fact that it was connection you were pursuing in the first place. So how do you heal anything by requiring one person to do all the work and the ‘victim’ gets it to be all about them. That directly exacerbates the initial problem. What about all the things that created the perfect storm for you? This thing CANT be 95-5 or even 50-50. It has to be 100-100. That means acknowledging EVERYBODY’s contributions AND responsibility.
No, she was saying that is how many people deal with it. She was no a proponent for that approach but there is an unequal distribution.
I think you and I might be alike in this way, so maybe seeing it from this point of view will help:
32 years later those people still have the power to make you angry. Deal with that mess, and take your power back. You might be surprised at how good it feels when you come out the other side.
I also agree that it shouldn’t be 95 -5 and I’m the betrayed spouse. I think focusing too much on one person sets the relationship up to fail. At what point does that stop? That is dangerous ground in my opinion. However, each couple needs to find a solution that works for them. In my situation, we’re aiming for 100-100. Not there yet. There is definitely a tilt towards my needs more than his, which I think just naturally happens. But he expresses his needs to me and when they aren’t being met. And I have been open to hearing him. Sometimes I take action, sometimes we talk about why I am uncomfortable being vulnerable in certain situations. But the dialogue and communication is there. Your wife seems to want to heal with you. She seems to want you to open up to her, be vulnerable with her. While you can and should do whatever possible to help your wife heal, you can’t do it by putting yourself on the back burner. You will actually make the process take longer or not work at all. And when you are honest, there will be times that she will cry. The truth fucking hurts at times. But I promise you she’d rather have the truth than more lies. Lies hurt MUCH more than the truth ever could.
I wish I knew what the end product looks like too. When I think about the totality of the work that needs to be done and the healing that still has to happen, it scares the shit out of me. And I think its impossible. So I’ve learned to focus more on today. What’s happening today. How to make today better. Its not easy with constant triggers. Its not easy to live in the moment. But the moment is truly all we have, so we may as well it enjoy it instead of trying to predict and control the future.
Why should you get to decide when you get to the output state or what that looks like? Did your wife get to decide what happened to her? Either you’re in her hands now, you get to wait on her choices, or else you leave like a coward and don’t face what you did. It is that simple. Steady state will come when she’s ready. End of. It will look how it looks because of how hard you work to make things right and there’s no guarantee you can. That’s the real choice you made.
I am not looking at the end product for myself. I am looking at the end product for both of us. I think both of us feel lost sometimes and having a goal or direction helps us refocus.
I do agree she get to decide what the end product is but I also know if it is us being together then we both have to put in the work for it which means we need to both believe in what we are working towards.
And trust me when I tell you I am letting my wife help guide this process and lead a lot because as I mentioned while we don’t want 95% to 5% and it is unrealistic to be 50/50, it will always be skewed towards her.
Don’t misinterpret that I am frustrated that we aren’t “healed” yet. That is not it at all. I understand it will take years, but just have direction will help. But most of the other comments say moment by moment is all you can do for now.
I love reading your post, even though my now ex-boyfriend and I couldn’t work things out I still love to know that we aren’t the only ones who were going through the process of healing from a spouse cheating. I love how real you are and even though your situation is a lot different from how mine was because you are older, married and have children I still enjoy what you write. I was the one who cheated and I felt the same way you did. I hope you can work everything out with your wife. I wish you two the best. Thank you for sharing your life everyday you have no idea how much it has helped me in a weird way.
Thanks. Sometimes just validation that you aren’t alone helps you know you aren’t crazy. Or at least not crazy and alone.
Hey. Just do it! Just grit you teeth and vomit all that childood crap up. I suggested EMDR therapy because you are actually doing something physical to get those memories front and center so you can deal with them. I am a proponent of not forgiving rotten parents. Did they do jail time for your shitty childhood? Did they lose money? How about status? Nope. They got away with it. So here you are dragging their asses all over the place because you will not let yourself accept that fact. They were shitty parents. Here’s what you do. Go find you wife. Hug her and make sure she hugs you back and then do the same thing with your kids. Then sit down and rest. I think you are probably in a depressive state one minute and a fight or flight one the next. Give yourself a day off. Just be a husband and a father. Get ice cream, ride a roller coaster, learn to skateboard or just chill. You need a breather.
Just like your name suggests, I should just “let go” for a bit and forget about it just for a moment so I can live.
My schedule is nuts for the next ten days then I can rest. It slows down so much by then. Unfortunately that is when all the shit I was doing actually crossed some lines and became an affair. Ughhh….
See? You are not letting go. So what that you have some sort of anniversary coming up. If you studied enough history you would find EVERY day has some meaning. There aren’t but 365 days in a year. All over the world things have happened on this day or that. So…..”that” day will just be another day.
I think your wife probably suffered postpartum depression which became chronic. I also think depression is contagious. You can’t just fix one of you or the other will just contaminate the relationship.
Just my two cents worth.
But you see, what you’re suggesting is being fake. And that won’t help your wife it will only remind her of you being fake during the affair. It’s not realistic to be dancing on sunshine, you just winded your wife with a blow that would fell most people. Your stance should be one of “OMG I can’t believe I did that here let me put you first like I wasn’t doing all through my cheating”, it should be one of utter gratitude (which can be a kind of joy) that you aren’t sleeping in your car and cut off from your wife completely except for buffered kid-handovers. Because she would have every right to put you in exactly that position. But she doesn’t. So rain or shine, smile or tears, anger or brokenness, you should be on your knees adoring this woman who hasn’t kicked you out. And really it is integral in that to condemn the people who did this to her- that’s you as you were in the affair and your OW. Yes, your OW. Because while you have said a few times in the posts I’ve just read that you want to make things right, you don’t sound awfully condemning of the affair or the affair partner. Now maybe your wife has drunk the local koolaid but I wouldn’t have stayed married if my husband hadn’t woken up to this basic fact: people who cheat are shitty people until they change, and the people who cheat with them are at least as bad. Now maybe I’m “lucky” that the OW went bunny boiler so he woke up all the sooner. But seriously it’s still true.
I just find the focus is so much on you here. The whole point about being a remorseful ex cheat is that it’s not about you anymore. Enough of the self pity. You had your fun. Now if you want to be a good person you have to step up. I’m not saying you’re not in your dealings with her, but all we have to go on is your words. And those words have a serious whiff of martyr complex about them. Lots of cheaters do, by the way. But you can shed it.
Every time you think a self pitying thought about how you have to man up and not be the depressed one, or you have to deal with your FOO baggage, just put yourself in your wife’s shoes. Because there is no comparison. If you or the OW had physically struck your wife, wounding her or bruising her even, you’d be leaping in and doing everything you could for her and you’d despise the person who did it. Her injuries are far worse than just being hit or knifed. And I can’t hear a tone of disgust at what you did, less so the OW. I think if you want to make it work that’s what needs to happen.
Nephila, I have read many comments from you on other blogs. This is the most thoughtful and caring. When you attack the guy who calls you a cow I get why you stay on his case. He is totally unrepentant. I think this guy is…..maybe. I have never cheated so do not understand the dynamics but it appears that some sort of magical childlike state emerges where nothing is real. It also appears that affairs have some effect on brain chemistry. You know the higher they go the harder they fall. Somewhere around here is reality. It is the process of accepting real life, warts and all. If childhood traumas keep adults from finding joy, or satisfaction or real love then an affair gives some relief. Still, from what I read that euphoria is intermittent and the rest of the time is agony……but even agony is better than depression. Going back and confronting childhood pain is the beginning but accepting responsibility for hurting a person who loves you is paramount. I don’t know how people get over being cheated on. I remember when I lost the rose colored glasses. It wasn’t cheating but something else my husband did. I grew up at that point and realized I was married to a person instead of a figment of my imagination.
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I can see your perspective and why you think the way you do about it. Right now you are only hearing “my side”. But actually you are not even getting that, you are getting my thoughts and feelings about the affair, my past which led to the affair, my marriage, and other parts that pop up. I am not trying to make this a detailed account of all my actions or even feelings of remorse, while there is more that you can imagine. But since it looks like it might be worth writing about. So please look forward to today’s post. It is not one I will enjoy writing and while it might help my wife in her process she would need to actually read it, which won’t happen unless I read it to her. I may depending on the outcome of it. My guess is that she will read it and say, “I know all this and see it already. ” but I may be wrong. I guess we will see.
Lol. I also have a soundtrack in my mind… Funny how that is what I focused on in your whole post. Just one song I hear when happy.. It’s a combo of Indiana Jones theme with the love boat mixed in….