My F'd up relationship

Discussion in 'Rebooting in a Relationship' started by 1dayattatime, Mar 30, 2019.

  1. 1dayattatime

    1dayattatime Fapstronaut

    Alright here is my conflict recap for future self and anyone who want to read.

    Tuesday: I was feeling irritable and not dealing with it in healthy ways. (I.E. drinking 2 beers and yelling at kids) My wife noticed and tried to be curious. She got triggered within about 30 seconds and needed to disengage. Things got messy. I, already being in a bad state made the bad choice of going up and picking a fight with her. Doors slamming, yelling all the works. After kids went to bed, we talked again with more ugliness. I knew I was in a bad place and I was feeling very hurt and manipulated at the time. That night I did some arousal seeking activity, browsing. I did not reset, but I was one decision away from it.

    Wednesday: I decided to leave for work early and not engage with my wife in person. This was triggering in an of itself for her so I sent her an email first thing in the morning stating what I had done the night before (this is part of our boundaries around technology). We fought through email all day. That night, we tried to talk it through again. It went on and on. It started on the drive home over the phone and I just kept driving in circles through town and arguing, then she hung up on me and I made a call to my AP, vented and headed home. We were up until about 11 fighting it out. She had a full trauma response. On the floor screaming and crying. It was terrible. The one victory from that night is that in that moment I did not abandon her emotionally. I held her and let her cry and told her I wasnt going to leave her like last time. But over all it was a rough night.

    Thursday: We both avoided talking about things until the evening. We started talking after the kids went to bed and she expressed how I don't get it many times. I would estimate that she said "you dont understand" or "you don't get it" about 20-30 times this week. So I looked up how to express empathy. Up until that point I definitely had a cognitive understanding of why she was feeling what she was, but I was not going there with my emotions. So I decided to talk through the whole conflict asking myself "if I were her how would I feel?" So I did that and she started crying and things got better for her. That night ended around 1030.

    Friday: I overslept. She woke me up and was in a way better mood.

    So that was it. Today I went to counseling and group and talk through my side of it. My disappoinment with my relationship right now. I really feel trapped by my own choices. My counselor gave me a book called how to help your spouse heal from your affair which I read this afternoon. Today is a new day. And I will choose to learn from this conflict. I am not going to let this pain go to waste.
     
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  2. BB7378

    BB7378 Fapstronaut

    I can definitely relate to a lot in your last post. And your previous one too. The empathy article I think got it spot on for me. I don't want to go to that emotionally difficult place where I have to sit with all those negative emotions. But I have caused all this pain so why shouldn't I, still living in part of the addiction, being selfish, self serving, protecting myself.

    I talked about it today with a member of my SA group. He came up with something similar to what you had said previously. To sit with it and feel it, acknowledge and accept it with your wife and then talk it out with a group member after. I thought this was a really solid idea. I had seen you say it first then my fellow had also mentioned it. Could be a real possibility.

    This is something that could become critical. My wife's emotional state and my children's too. So fu*king destructive. I just need to reassure myself that I'm not like that anymore. But that is a pit fall like the article describes.

    This sucks for my wife and children. Hopefully I get another chance to show them they are my priority. Good luck on your journey.
     
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  3. 1dayattatime

    1dayattatime Fapstronaut

    We are all in this together man. Empathy is the hardest thing in my life right now. It requires me to get past my shame and that is no small order. I hope you get another chance as well. I feel like I have made every possible mistake that i could. This week was killer.
     
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  4. BB7378

    BB7378 Fapstronaut

    Just keep going and try to get it right the next time. I feel like I have gotten this wrong so many times. I visually see myself ( the one that isn't an idiot ) banging my head off a brick wall repeatedly. What really matters is we don't give up, that we keep going and try to learn from our mistakes.
     
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  5. 1dayattatime

    1dayattatime Fapstronaut

    Thanks dude. I will definitely try again. And again. As many times as it takes. This week was hard, but that doesn't mean next week will be.
     
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  6. 1dayattatime

    1dayattatime Fapstronaut

    I am embarrased to write what I am about to. Yesterday I got in another fight with my SO. It started on a walk. We tried to talk. It did not go well. She shared how much pain she has been in this week and that I hadn't shown any empathy or remorse. This was extremely discouraging to me. After that it got ugly. I bailed on the walk. We ended up trying to talk in our room and after a few minutes I couldn't contain my anger. I blew up, lost control. Punched a hole in the door and was going to just storm out of the house. I wanted to go for a hike to clear my head, but once I got out there I couldn't get out of the car. I put on a podcast and just drove around. It ended up on a podcast about someone who recorded an encounter with a childhood abuser.

    I listened to it and realized how much pain that man had experienced. The 2 minute encounter when he was 13 turned into a lifetime of fear and pain. He would not allow his children to go over to friends houses if there was a chance they would be alone with the dad. When his children got to school he would not allow them to have a male teacher. It was so sad. I believe that most people who listen to that would identify with the man who was molested, but I think I have more in common with the abuser. That is the worst sentance I think I have written in the journal. I have 3 kids and I would never touch a child like that. But raging and punching holes in doors is really scary. My daughter cried yesterday. They see the blood on my hand They know what happened. Sometimes I feel like I am just a ticking time bomb. I never raged like this in addiction. I feel crazy. How is this me? How did I creat this path of distruction behind me. Thank God everything I did was consensual and with adults. But this aftermath that I am going through is traumatizing my family.

    When I got home I took my daughters aside and apologized sincerely. I asked them if they were scared and what they were scared about. There were tears for all of us. I assured them that I would not ever hurt them. They seemed to be more scared that I would hurt myself. I don't want them to have to go through this. It is not their fault that I am messed up.

    Its not over yet...after that I apologized to my wife. I was barely holding it together at this point and at first I think she was softening up, but then it turned cold. I dont know why it is so hard for us to communicate. We screamed at eachother and she lost it this time. Chased me upstairs and stuff. I layed on my bed feeling hopeless and scared. Knowing that giving up is not an option, but seeing no way through this. So I went and talked to her and it was messy. No matter how many times we get knocked down we only fail if we quit. So I tried again and she tried again. We both have put so much into restoring this relationship. She eventually did hear me. I think once she understood where I was at she felt pretty hopeless, but I felt hope. I don't need her to hear me as much as I hear her. There is a lot more pain that I have caused, But even if it is 1 to 10 as long as I can be heard that 1 time I can give her as much empathy as she needs. Or at least that is what I believe today.

    So I am broken, exhuasted, scared, grateful, sad and hopeful. But not giving up today.
     
  7. We're all broken, and every emotion you feel. Stay strong. You can beat this.

    The fights in front of the kids are the worst, I know from experience. And as an SO we want to fight, at least I do. I want to be angry because I am. It doesn't make it right, I found my anger stems from other emotions...loneliness, not being heard, fear, ect. It comes across as anger eventually when the other emotions aren't dealt with.

    I totally respect you for continuing to attempt talks and opening doors. And I pray that the conversations get easier. It's so hard for us all. I hope your day as a family is happier than it started.
     
  8. need4realchg

    need4realchg Fapstronaut

    My friend you have written a beautifully honest entry today and you are not alone

    Embarrassment is a true sign of honesty and sincerity. I actually wrote song years ago as a I failed in the pattern of PMO that had the refrain: "

    I thought I needed space,
    I can't look at your face
    Because Lord, I'm embarrassed by your Grace.

    You are navigating the challenge of communication with grit, integrity to YOUR feelings, which means you are likely to offend, scare, and disappoint. But knowing your background as I have learned, if I were a lifeguard looking at the sea of your emotions I would hang the sign up that said: "3 red flags, rough seas, best to not enter currently."

    The same is obviously true for your wife. I think she is obviously expressing herself from a place of hurt. The challenge she has is to share emotions not as she feels them, but in a way that you will understand them. The challenge you have, is to listen not as she actually delivers it , but how she meant to say them.

    Some ppl argue PA's and SO's have earned the right to express themselves in any way they feel is necessary as they process their pain. I think that in front of a therapist the energy and pain expressed is never the same as when a couple are alone (or at home). So boundaries again are needed to play a role.

    I stand by my earlier comments to you, that no matter the size of pain, all have a responsibility on how, where, when, with whom, we share. Dr. Weiss also says this when he gives the ground rules for a disclosure, he cites MANY reasons not to give one as well. I think this gets passed up in many well-intentioned attempts. But--giving someone a pass on their actions simply because they are hurt creates a bad precedent; equally PA's/SA's don't get a pass on running to their addiction because they were hurt, or had a traumatic experience. Just like the story you heard on the radio... it was clear the man had little right to re-traumatize his kids based on his own experience.

    My father was horribly mistreated in the south and north during the 60's as the civil rights movement was waged. Many of his experiences he has shared, prove he had the "right" to "re-traumatize" his kids or simply be over protective as a means to prevent pain. However, that would NOT have caused his kids (me being #4/6) the benefit of having survived that process.

    There are those who use their similar scar of discrimination as a weapon to "vent, race-bait, or slander" inappropriately. And frankly, this is a perversion of what is right. Pain is real, but unlike rahm emmanuel advocated, it ought not be a reason to manipulate, or extract any sort of personal, political, or financial gain. We are already sue-happy as it is, and that hasn't generated any more happy marriages.


    Trauma (betrayal) and all other types (of trauma ) are real, PTSD is also real. The plan to deal with trauma, I believe, must be as real as your plans to deal with being a PA/SA. She cannot control you; neither can you control her. But both people are mutually affected by the other one's plans; one might cite the infamous "mutually agreed destruction" phrase of the cold-war era.

    I accept that i have nofap friends here who may advocate we get to vent all, no holds-barred method-- no matter the intensity; I also see there are therapists who advocate this method as well. having explained my beliefs, I am learning such a disagreement is okay. I do not think the level of violence that is possible in situations of anger not have boundaries. In addition, I find my wife's calm tone is the BEST mechanism to disarm me. The "soft" voice approach, just makes me melt even when, especially when I'm upset.

    Do you recognize any point in your conversation when it reached "critical velocity?"

    I (maybe like you) am learning to live with disagreement. At the base of the argument is oftentimes anger, hurt, control, a need to be understood, a need to identify with our partner.

    If you had to identify, what was the emotion at the ROOT of your disagreement? (Just one word?)

    For those who read your journal and think you are the only one at fault I wish to say:

    "Mommy and daddy are a model for communication methods to our kids.
    What does it say if as a child I can "kick the dog" because I'm upset?
    We would not give a pass to kids throwing tantrums, how about adults?"

    In my marriage, i was shocked the first time I saw my dainty, petite, perfect wife get mad. She DID all the things you described, she punched the wall, and in several homes I have holes in the wall as a result... and in doors. She would hit her self, would kick the door, would push me, scratch, me. That was at the beginning. She would kick open doors, grab my phone, scream, provoke, and grab my face and force me to look at her. My reaction in every occasion was to just let her do what she wanted; primarily because I wanted to disarm her and to me she always looked cute. I would imagine the "bee from aladdin" arguing with me... which to me is how I perceived it, but it is very serious. Now with my kids, we can see it. They have learned that from her.

    It was earlier the same day you were kind enough to remind me about anger. And you were right as always man; anger is one of the final frontiers for me. It's not an emotion I have dominated yet honestly, and I know we have spoken privately but I haven't truly found a secular way to deal with anger quite yet. It's such a important emotion that is so often misunderstood and misused. I don't want to write a book here, just wanted to say your letter was very beneficial for me today. I wish to encourage you man.

    Please keep writing. I say again, keep writing. Good for you for honoring your transparency today. I know few of us have this committment to betterment of character.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2019
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  9. 1dayattatime

    1dayattatime Fapstronaut

    Thank you for your kind words. It means a lot to me. This week was pretty terrible and it was hopeful. It is so hard on both sides. My wife gave me a gift yesterday of hearing me. She did not have to. She is justified in her needs and no one would blame her if she shut me out. But that 45 minute conversation after a week of fighting saved our marriage for me. I don't know if words can express how important it was for me. The fights in front of the kids are the worst. My daughter told me this morning that she was thinking "if they break up today that would be the worst". It is so sad that she even has that thought. I told her that we are both too stubborn to give up. One day at a time.
     
  10. 1dayattatime

    1dayattatime Fapstronaut

    Thanks for taking the time to respond my friend. It has been a rollercoaster this week.

    So so many times that it felt out of control. This week we reached critical velocity almost every night. I don't know what we could have done differently. To me my feelings felt like a geyser that I was trying to put a plug in and listen to her pain, but it was coming out everywhere. And today the pressure is all off and tears are just right there for me. Like the rock blew off and everything was let out and now I am able to feel vulnerable and express empathy.

    Haha one word. for me it was hopelessness and for her hurt. But using just one word is very limiting.

    From my experience the anger is driven by deep, deep wounds that take a long time to understand and articulate. Anger is almost never just anger. It is one of the only acceptable emotions for men to express so when we feel scared, anger. When we feel hurt, anger. When we feel discouaged, anger. You get the picture. I think the answer is not to dominate it, but to unpack it. Sometimes you have to let it out and have someone help you get to what is driving it.
     
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  11. need4realchg

    need4realchg Fapstronaut

    Sorry to limit you to a single word :) I know "us's" lol.

    Still, Perfectly said man; I like the "unpack" analogy. Of course imagine unpacking a lion's anger.. that's about as dangerous as it sounds in the heat of the moment....

    What activities do you do that allow you to unpack it? or let it out?
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2019
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  12. 1dayattatime

    1dayattatime Fapstronaut

    Well talking through the whole belief system with someone in a safe environment really helps, because often they can see it from a different and make suggestions about what I feel. My therapist does a pretty good job, sometimes we go back and forth and he will say it sounds like you are feeling "x" and I will listen and then say nope. Or he nails it and we go deeper.

    The key for me is going back to it after the fact and talking it through, journaling it out and bouncing it around in my head. I believe that the things that really trigger my anger are related to childhood wounds and so I spend some time thinking about when I felt that way as a child. This week was the first time I could articulate what I was feeling in an understandable way. For the last few months I have been having the oncoming storm feeling in regard to my hurt. I guess that I use the throw the kitchen sink at it approach. I attack it like my life depends on it. Certainly my sobriety depends on expressing it and my livelihood depends on my sobriety, so I guess in a way life as I know it today is at stake.
     
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  13. hope4healing

    hope4healing Fapstronaut

    While in addiction, acting out was your raging. Acting out was the way you handled the emotions that felt too difficult to face. Now, with sobriety, you no longer have that option so when emotions become overwhelming, there must be a different outlet. Without the addiction, there's also a new intensity to emotions because they are no longer dulled. Recovery must include learning healthy ways to work through all these feelings. It isn't easy, I know. But, I think it's great that you're able to come here and lay it all out so quickly. At least you are able to recognize the patterns because without that, you'll never work past them.

    When I read this, I instantly recognized it as something I do a lot. I instinctively want to be understanding and compassionate whenever my husband apologizes sincerely or let's himself be more vulnerable by letting down all his defenses. But, sometimes I'm overtaken very quickly by the conditioned response...the one that reminds me of the hundreds of times I let myself soften, only to be hurt all over again when his vulnerability disappeared once more. This is something I think many SO's struggle with because we want so badly to believe in you, but we can't forget how many times that doing so has led to more heartbreak.
     
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  14. 1dayattatime

    1dayattatime Fapstronaut

    You hit the nail on the head. This is exactly what is happening. It is so sad that I have caused that conditioned response in another person. I sincerely hope that there is a way out of this valley. No matter how difficult it is I believe that I can give her a new conditioned response. I hope so anyways.
     
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  15. Faceplanter

    Faceplanter Fapstronaut

    I just had a blow up like that around my kids. It sucks and it's something you can't take back. But, sounds like you did what you could in the aftermath.

    Home life sounds rough. I hope that you can continue to vent in healthy ways and can express your side without the anger in the future. If you are disappointed your wife sees your efforts as lacking....tell her so! Directly but calmly. Tell her your side. Empathy should extend both ways.

    You are not alone in this, not even in your frustration and anger.
     
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  16. 1dayattatime

    1dayattatime Fapstronaut

    Thanks brother. Amazingly she did hear me. I am so thankful. We are all in this together. It is so hard for both sides. Home life can be really bad at times. We are pretty open about our relationship problems and we even sat down the kids and talked them through how we resolved our blow up. After that we decided take the kiddos out for burgers and play in the park. Not that one fun thing makes up for my blow up, but it meant something.
     
  17. 1dayattatime

    1dayattatime Fapstronaut

    Recognizing somethings in the way we communicate in our relationship that is not helpful this week. It has been a much better week. My wife and I are still talking about things. I never want to get to that place again where I lose it, but I realize that I very well may if nothing changes. I listened to a couple of podcasts about abuse this week. While I was listening I was asking "is this me?" And I would say that definitely in addiction I was manipulating and abusive. At least those things existed in our relationship. I used her good will to hide my addiction. Now I am in a different world when it comes to manipulation. I am committed to honesty. I do get stuck in self pity at times, and out of that comes some behaviors that are not helpful to her. BUT this explosive anger is a new thing. I have not had these episodes since I was 7-12. Before the addiction....light bulb. I guess I need to be a moody teenager as an adult?

    Something that I realized about how we often express our emotions in my relationship are that we tend to respond to eachother with our own emotions without responding in a way that sounds like we heard the other person. So I will say something and she will tell me how she feels about what I said, if it triggers her then her emotions are pretty powerful. If I respond the same way then it just turns into a battle of "ya well this is how I feel" with increasing intensity. Stuck on the karpman drama triangle.

    We are able to talk about it in a much better way this week. I am hopeful and thankful. I am committed to paying her back for the way she heard me this weekend. One day at a time.
     
  18. 1dayattatime

    1dayattatime Fapstronaut

    I am thinking that rebuilding this destroyed relationship is much, much harder than sobriety. Last night I got a call from the worst possible guy from my past. The guy whose text conversation she found on my phone on D-Day. I have a new number. I am off of facebook. But he was hanging out with someone who was a good friend and that guy gave him my new number. I kind of freaked out. I got out of the conversation deleted his number from my call history and knew that I was going to have to disclose to my wife, but I was so scared that I did it in the worst way. She thought I was lying because I omitted that he called me. I didn't seek advice. I hate that one phone call can cause this in my relationship. I am sure any SOs reading this understand why she was so triggered. Please help me understand. The conversation litterally was hi, "I cant hang out with you I have my son right now. Bye" Then they guy who gave him my number asked if I still was not aloud to talk to friend x and I said I haven't asked but I am 98% sure the answer would be no. We had a crazy week and I was looking forward to yesterday evening together, but she was soo angry. I wasn't sure what to do and I was omitting that he called me at first. So bad. It destroyed the night and today.

    I am sincerely trying here. I didn't reach out, I feel like I taken more steps than many men would to break all my ties with the people from that time period in my life, but here I am today and my wife wants me to change my number again. Why? It didn't work last time...I am not going back to that life. I don't want to talk to them. It just seems like you start making progress and this thing comes back to try and get that last punch in.

    Thankfully I had just watched the first doug weiss video and was able to tell myself that her anger is my friend. It means she is still engaged. This morning I just let her vent and tried to calmly reply. She told me of every way that I let her down and asked so many unaswerable questions. Or I should say questions that have no answer good enough to be worth the pain she is going through.

    I don't know, I was at a loss and I want to help her heal. Eventually after a couple hours I said that I need to stop that I wasn't as present anymore and we went on a hike with our 3yo son. It was a beautiful day and perfect temperature. She felt a lot better after that. Hopefully some of the cortizol left her system. I am trying to just let some of the accusations roll off my back from this morning, but they are sticking with me. So here I am. writing about it. Tomorrow is a new day. I still believe there is a way through this fight, but seriously this is so much harder than developing a sober lifestyle. Making good habits and routines is like a drop in the bucket of this pain. Sometimes I wonder if there is another side to the darkness I have cast on her. But others have walked this road before and found their way out of this darkened valley. I suppose we can too. Just gotta find a way to hear her anger and not fall into the shame.
     
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  19. You aren't alone in feeling this way. And your wife isn't alone either. @Mourde and I go through these stages and yea...its really hard for both sides.

    Its true...I say it alot: the day I stop yelling means I dont care.

    I think there is for all SOs. Even we dont understand it or know how to manage it. Small things trigger us. Stupid things. I know it doesn't help but again...you aren't alone.

    You're doing great. And sometimes even when we know that the triggers turn us into this rampaging lunatic of a partner because of our pain, we still just look for anything small to get that pain out.

    Mourde does this too. Maybe you guys can help each other through that part.

    Prayers to you both. Tomorrow is a new day and communication is so important...you know that already. Keep being you and chin up.
     
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  20. Mourde

    Mourde Fapstronaut

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    Keep being positive and take one moment at a time it will all get better in time.
     
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