Fighting Fair & the "Eternal Guilt" Trump Card

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  1. Tannhauser

    Tannhauser Fapstronaut

    My wife and I are terrible at fighting. We are both conflict averse, and tend to go along just to get along. Even more, I tend to bend over backwards to fulfill her every wish and whim (partly because I have an awful case of the "nice guy syndrome"). Which means when we rarely do have a fight it can be a dozy.

    That being said, I have been mulling over something for a while now - the next time we have a passionate disagreement, how will it go? I feel like now that she knows about my past with PMO that she has a perpetual trump card - if she mentions it, she will win; and if I think about it, I will let her win.

    Has anybody had any experience with this?
    1dayattatime likes this.
  2. NF4L

    NF4L Fapstronaut

    Using you addiction as a weapon isn’t fighting fair. It erodes the vulnerability and honesty you bestowed to her. Now if the root of the argument revolves around or as a result of your PMO addiction or acting out, that is a different scenario, one that you created and have to own without defensiveness, stonewalling, excuses or gaslighting.
    If you haven’t yet, I would recommend reading “ the 7 principles of making marriage work” by the gottman institute. It is designed to be a information tool and probably the manual for relationships and in a workbook like style for you and your wife to do together. Fundamentally it helped us to become more in tune to each other, how to fight better, and how to treat each other to grow together. We probably wouldn’t have made it as a couple through my recovery if we didn’t work through it before I realized I was a PA.
    blazer72 and Tannhauser like this.
  3. Br1 R1

    Br1 R1 Fapstronaut

    Yes this is a difficult one. When we argued in the past and sometimes still do although less now, most times it would come up. She says all our problems stem from my P addiction in some way. Whether it is direct or indirect. I found it very difficult as all arguments were just about P addiction. I have in the past just said I am not discussing anymore as it is not going anywhere, then get the your giving me silent treatment and gaslighting me etc.. I would then just stay quiet until she gives up having a go at me, then after a few days and she has calmed down, things would be discussed and we go back to normal. Now I am more like, I know everything is my fault to some extent and listen to her and her feelings and then we try to work on a compromise. Very difficult sometimes, as you all know when there is no trust anymore. So I cant say I will do .... as in the past I did not follow through. Things are getting better so long as I dont go into the poor me state, we can usually now work things out. I have a copy of the 7 principles of making marriage work so will have to read up on that with the wife.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
  4. 1dayattatime

    1dayattatime Fapstronaut

    My wife and I fight a lot. Kind of in the other side of the spectrum from you and yours and I can tell you that she often brings up my addiction. Now I go there. I will bring it up too. It relates to everything in our relationship because she has to go back to all of our memories together and redefine each one.

    What I learned recently is that to heal from a traumatic event it is very helpful to go back to that event and insert the calm mature voice stating that you are safe and that it will be ok. so when my wife brings up my addiction and the past I am working on allowing her to go back to the memory and then say something like "I know that I hurt you more than anyone deserves to be hurt and I am doing all that I can to make it right. I hope to never hurt you like that again. You are safe now" we have talked about what she wants to hear when she is triggered and we decided together some of what is helpful in those situations.

    After she feels safe again she is much more able and willing to hear my feelings. But not always. It is a messy journey we are traveling. Some days are awesome and some aren't.
    Lostlover22 and Br1 R1 like this.
  5. kropo82

    kropo82 Fapstronaut

    I think you need to both move to a frame of mind where it is not about "winning" but about listening and sharing your feelings. Are you having therapy @Tannhauser?
  6. Tannhauser

    Tannhauser Fapstronaut

    We have talked about counseling, either for me individually or for us as a couple. I think it would be beneficial, but finding the money (and the time) for it has been difficult, so it's kind of been on the back burner.

    We actually haven't had a fight since D-day back in August. I just worry that when and if we do I will always be at a big disadvantage now, if that makes any sense?
  7. JKnight

    JKnight Fapstronaut

    well saying no once in a while doesn't hurt. My Brother in law is having that problem of giving into much for the purpose of the relationship, and it's shattering his marriage. So no and appreciate that your time and energy is valuable as well. Just don't be a retard about it.

    As for the PMO. understand that she might bring it up if it is going wrong. You can do one of 2 things (1), you can be prepared to disagree with her and you must bring up proof that she's wrong and you're right. This will only make her dig in her heels, cause her to fight more and cause you more anguish, and use this again, since she knows it's a sore point. Or (2) if she brings it up, validate her in a noncommital way that shows empathy without showing that you agree with her, but remains sincere, and the likelihood of pacification is high and the likelihood of her reusing that card is low. That's my opinion, anyway
    OldSofa likes this.
  8. OldSofa

    OldSofa Fapstronaut

    Tannhauser, if you feel like it, I would love an update on how you are doing with your spouse.
    My situation has some similarities with yours, esp. about personalities. And I am not sure if it's really about winning. @kropo82 I admit that there's a part of me that has pride in "winning" but the other problem with the trump card is that it doesn't get either of us anywhere. Yes, yes, I know I made a big mistake, that I have been disappointing and hurtful and the rest, but that doesn't help NOW.
    As an analogy, if I lose six month's pay in a scam then yes, we both know I am an idiot - but that doesn't solve the problem of how to pay the rent next month. Screaming at me won't get the money back... it just makes me want to communicate less, which is why I got in trouble the first place.
    kropo82 likes this.
  9. Love2LongBoard

    Love2LongBoard Fapstronaut

    This is such a complex issue. First, there is significant trauma when a spouse finds out about (insert your issue here). Their WHOLE life is flipped up side down. They question themselves, their relationships, us, every moment. Was it all a lie? Or just parts? Does he love me? Does he hate me? Why am I not desirable enough? What did I do to him? How could he do this to me? Can he change? Does he want to change? What will my friends think? Did his parents know? The questions go on and on.

    The truth is that our addictions, acting out, etc. permeates EVERY part of their lives. We have tried so hard to forget everything we have done while they walk around seeing reminders everywhere.

    Our wives have an absolutely right to express their hurt and pain in any way the choose. If we are in the relationship still it is our PRIVILEGE to be there with them in that pain. It may not always come out as something that is tied to our infidelities', but more times than not it stems from that.

    I wouldn't even be thinking about any disadvantage you would have in a fight. I would be trying to figure out how you can show up when she needs you. When she is hurt or in pain or sad or mad or going crazy, how can you show up for her?

    We have this beautiful opportunity to live a life of amends. None of us should be wondering how to win the next fight. We should be preparing ourselves for the defensiveness that can come when topics come up that hurt us.

    Gas lighting, lying, manipulation, turning tables, etc. stem from defensiveness a lot of the time.

    It is true that we can't go back. But we can move forward. We can take their pain with them. We can CHOOSE to show up and be with them in their pain. Even if that pain comes out a screaming in our faces, we can be with them in that moment.

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