Originally Posted by GreenMile
I need some advice and help. This kind of thing has come up before, and I am too much of a dunce to know how to handle this. Last night, I attended a rehearsal for a jazz performance group I play in, with DWG's blessings. I called her on the way out the driveway and immediately after the rehearsal and stopped and brought her some food on the way home. Later, while doing late night chores (at the barn, feeding the horses), she noticed that things in my car were moved around and not as she remembered them, including the night vision binoculars she had left in a specific place that we use to see where the horses are in the pasture at night, and some junk mail that was now on the floor in front. I could tell she was agitated, worn out, and feeling uncomfortable before, and then she lowered the boom, accusing me of seeing and having sex with my old affair partner. I tried to my best recollection to explain why things were moved around in the car, but she became angrier and angrier and more accusative. I had had a bad rehearsal and was tired and agitated myself, and I became defensive. That made her worse, which caused me to become angry instead of lovingly supportive. I have made a lot of progress in the last year (I think), and we have been resuming MB lessons. I suggested that she call our director in the morning to confirm I was at the rehearsal, but her anger and agitation just accelerated and pushed me into a state of frustration, and I became defensive. I had been doing much better handling these episodes, but this just knocked her waaay back. She stayed up all night in another room and has concluded that I am the same old GM and will never figure out things and never improve. I don't know how to make myself stop getting defensive and make myself become calm, comforting, and reassuring, especially when I am not at my best because of any frustrating circumstances going on at the time. I feel sure that this will settle down over the next few days, but DWG becomes so definitive and final in her judgement of me during these moments of weakness, that I become weaker and weaker and afraid of failure of our chances for recovery. I just feel like a failure at these times. How do I help her and make her understand that I am not the guy I was all those years, that I have EP's in place that are sacrosanct to me, and that I can be trusted? How do I not become sad and frightened, when I am accused of being dishonest, even though it is a logical fear she has because of those many terrible years? How do I keep that sadness, fear, and frustration I feel at those times from knocking me back down into a quivering bowl of jelly, unable to help her recover? I know HOW to do it, I guess. But I have a terrible time invoking that knowledge and overriding the gut feelings I have at the time.

OK Doc, here goes 'nuthin.

"and I became defensive"

Let's put you to work .... Explain to me EXACTLY what you were defending.
That is to say, WHAT principle/value were you defending?

If something is sooooooo important to you that you need to be defensive towards DWG, it better be an important VALUE or PRINCIPLE that you are speaking up about.

Try starting there.

After you answer that, then we can discuss the following:

How do I help her and make her understand that I am not the guy I was all those years, that I have EP's in place that are sacrosanct to me, and that I can be trusted? How

Because, unless you were defending an important principle/value, you are NOT fully the new GUY .... But still a work in progress becoming the new guy.