Hi. GreenMile here. I have been reading the thread of "IHurtSomeone" and getting back to this forum generally and feeling remiss in not having drawn on the amazing help and advice available here more regularly. For those who don't know me, please check out my update a few days ago on IHS' thread.

I do need some help and advice. It is just a year a half since D-day and my breakdown and the beginning of the long journey to help heal DWG as much as possible and transform myself into a decent human being and husband. I have been struggling with the overwhelming horror of realizing what my soul has been most of my life until it all came crashing down, and all the things that I did during all those years to wreak the hurt and destruction on DWG. I have been trying to understand it and move forward without just breaking down and crying, and it seems like the only way I can function and be strong for DWG is to focus on the present and the future. Thinking too much about who I was and what I did is just so painful at times. I have resigned myself to facing it bravely, but my strength is a "work in progress." I went to a counselor who told me to write a hand written letter to the guy who I used to be and forgive him. I wrote a very long and emotional letter to him and made a deal with him. The deal was basically that I could forgive him under the condition that he never ever show his ugly face on my doorstep or in my life again. This seemed to help strengthen me, but that made DWG more nervous, so I backed away from that. DWG read the letter, and, though my counselor thought it was a very good one for its purpose, DWG was both skeptical and afraid of it.

But here is the problem: The self preoccupation that characterized who I was all those years, still rears its head at times. It did it today. I became absorbed in getting done what I wanted to get done on some errands, with DWG, and I did not consider what she wanted to do while we were out. Both before and during the excursion, my focus narrowed back to what I wanted to get done, and I forgot to POJA everything and put her first and consider her feelings. I just slipped into my old pattern, and this is something that happens still, sometimes frequently, until DWG points it out and becomes mad, triggers, and then ends up on a terrible dip in this roller coaster. Since DWG is everything to me, my whole life and everything I really care about, it is like taking day and turning it into a night so dark it can't be described. It makes her think that I have not changed and will fail, that I cannot be counted on or that my transformation into a decent person is a fake.

I don't quite know what makes me revert into these self-absorbed patterns and forget to POJA and simply relax and let our relationship be number one. It is most of the time, but then I lapse and feel like a failure. At these times, I start to wonder if I am truly defective and beyond help, but I know this is not true. I am not sure what the my question is, really, other than I need some help at learning how permanently stop these selfish behavior patterns. My commitment and determination are not in question. I will work at it until she gives up, not me. How do I stop these traits of the old GreenMile and make them go away completely? My heart is where it needs to be, but my behavior patterns are not there yet.

- GM

FWH, age 63. 24 years of narcissistic behavior, infidelity, and emotional abandonment of my BS, age 57, DancesWithGoats (DWG). D-day two years ago, leading to emotional breakdown. Been working MB program and toward spiritual transformation and personal growth since then, with some slow but real progress. DWG still with no trust, but with grief starting to subside a bit.