Question for “Recovered” PA’s/SO’s

Discussion in 'Rebooting in a Relationship' started by RecoveringLion, Jun 15, 2018.

  1. RecoveringLion

    RecoveringLion Fapstronaut

    I know recovery ongoing process, but this question is for the more experiences PA’s/SO’s who have managed to get through most of the healing, reconciliation and recovery.

    When does it start to get better? My wife and I have been at this for almost a year now. I can say with an honest heart that I have put forth my best effort into personal and relational recovery. I am working very hard to be honest with myself and with her, to keep my toxic family at a distance, to grow personally and mature and to be a better husband. We have little pockets of happiness, but they always descen at some point into her being angry and telling me she hates me, regrets marrying me, feels like I have ruined any hope she has for happiness in life. It’s a heavy burden to carry when she says things like that. I try to listen gracefully, but it requires an act of God to avoid falling into the same cycle of shame, self-contempt, then self hatred. Every ounce of me wants to run away in those moments and just throw in the towel. She can tell when I am hurting by those comments and will sometimes get aggressive and say things like “what are you just going to fall into a pit of despair and wallow in shame now?”

    I get it. She’s hurting. She has every right. I have been a scum bag. I was raised by a sociopathic father who always treated my mother with contempt and made a grand show of his love for her to others. I treated my wife the same way. I did the best I could with what I had, I watched it not be enough, and slowly resentment, anger and contempt towards her grew. Over 5 years it tore her down, robbed her of her confidence, and made her insecure. It was never intentional, but that doesn’t exonerate me. After D-Day my parents demonized her and took her side. This magnified her suffering. She often says she wants to leave, but cant because I didnt do anything that “breaks the contract” (like have an affair). So she feels like she is trapped with me.

    10 months after d-day, every day is a struggle. Trying to be a better man than my father. Understanding my tendency to treat her like shit and trying to do better, while fairly often being met with rejection by her. Battling shame and self hatred for what I have done to her. My recovery has been far from perfect, but my heart is in it. I want to make her feel loved and desired. The biggest obstacle is my own shame, which I am having breakthroughs with. The shame keeps me from wanting her, because as my wife, she is a mirror. She reflects me back to me, and I often dont like what I see. I am facing and working on that...

    So when does it start to get better?
  2. TryingHard2Change

    TryingHard2Change Distinguished Fapstronaut

    Great question...I have read that 2-5 years is the general timeline of full recovery. The other day, I asked MightyQuinn a question about "experiencing joy"--how long for his scenario. He wrote back "3 years...maybe 5 years."

    I don't know if that is helpful.
  3. Hi @RecoveryLion,

    In my experience, it took a very very long time and it's still taking time. I am still getting better (8 years). I like to say I spent 25 years getting into the problem and I'm 8 years through the 25 of getting out. After 2 years of marriage after the start of recovery, I chose to divorce which led to another 2 years of pain. But all through that process I was getting better and better slowly.

    If you say it took 5 years to get into the problem, it may take just as long to get out. We didn't get here the easy way, we got here the hard way. You're working hard, your wife is working hard. Keep working. If you're going through hell, keep going.

    One thing that might help your wife, it may scare you to tell her this. But she _can_ leave. She has every right to exit the relationship if she wants to. I think some of here outbursts towards you stem from a resentment she has about something she feels she can't do. If she were to understand that should _can_ do that, then she can make a positive and affirmative decision about staying in the marriage, rather than feeling like she has to.

    Does that make sense?

    Queen_Of_Hearts_13 and Trappist like this.
  4. I also want to add that, in my recovery, I have many times "taken the scenic route". For example, after my separation and divorce, I went through a brief period of "the fuck-its" where I relapsed because, hey, why do I need to be sober for anyone? You, @Trappist, @TryingHard2Change, and some others are people I see as having a head start on me. In many ways, my recovery is admirable and I am an example of what to do, but in many other ways, I stand before you as an example of what _not_ to do. You guys are doing great. Keep it up.

    Trappist and TryingHard2Change like this.
  5. Rock_Star

    Rock_Star Fapstronaut

    it's definitely not an easy path. I agree with @TheMightyQuinn if your wife feels like she has no control over anything, she's going to hold onto that resentment. also you did have an affair. it's hard to hear but you went outside your marriage to be with other women. here's an article Idk if you've read it.
    this will help you understand how she feels. you'll never be able to fully understand exactly how she feels but you should be understanding. letting her express her emotions and not shutting down and letting them just bounce off of you isn't good either. you really have to absorb that pain. it's the hardest thing a PA has to do cause we used P to hide from our emotions. when we as PA get dump with those emotions it is extremely overwhelming, and like you said does feel like it takes an act of god to bear them. you have to remember though that she is bearing all of those emotions by herself and wants you to help her.

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