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Originally Posted by Pepperband
Quote
There is a terrific LP that Herbie Hancock wrote and recorded decades ago. The album is called "Speak Like a Child". One of the tunes on it is called "Goodbye to Childhood". I thought I had said goodbye long ago, but I never did. I never let go. It is time. Better late than never, TST. Your poem was on the money and has touched me profoundly. It is exactly what I was looking for. I knew I could count on you. Thanks

I sense you are within hollering distance to profound insight.
You are an intelligent man.
You are intelligent enough to recognize you have been an emotional imbecile.
Your IQ is high. Your EQ is very low.
Your emotional responses to DWG have been child-like .... How long?
Forever?
Her disapproval hits you as if you were five years old.

As a mature man, her disapproval will strike you as an opportunity to learn and grow, not as some "you've been a bad boy" punishment.

Doc, you are close to a breakthrough.
Watch for it.

Thanks, PB. I dearly appreciate your encouragement. I will carry it close to me to help me make it happen.


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.
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Hey, GreenMile. I can really see a lot of similarities in the way you and I react to things, so I thought I might be able to point some things out in ways that would be helpful to you. Even if it's not helpful to you, maybe writing some of the thoughts will be helpful to me. smile

I really, really empathize with that feeling that every time there is a downturn it feels like what your wife is saying is definitive and final and there is no hope. I get that feeling a lot, and if I let it happen, it can make me completely crazy, make me do absolutely STUPID stuff, and make me do things that absolutely HURT my wife. Then the next thing I know, the reason there is no hope is ME!

Listen, she is likely to use language that to you sounds like "I'm through with you and this marriage and this recovery," when what she means is "I'm through with this discussion because it is hurting me." She is also likely to say things out of emotion in the heat of the moment that she won't feel like later. Have you seen this happen? Remind yourself of this in the heat of the moment; let her vent. It's not the make or break moment for your marriage.

And listen, you've got to face the fact that she's always got the choice to end it. What will you do if she does make that decision? In order to avoid turning into that quivering bowl full of helly, you've got to come to grips with this fact and face it with a measure of acceptance. You need her badly, but you need to become a person who would be capable of standing on your own. If you had a plan for personal recovery in the event of DWG deciding to be through with you, a plan that involved yourself and your sons and your personal recovery, then maybe you would react with less fear when you feel like your marriage is threatened. Yes, it would be very sad for you if DWG were to pull the plug. But, you would keep breathing. You would still have a lot to live for.

When things get rough, the most important issue is THE WAY YOU HANDLE IT. I�m sure you know that, but your instincts about how to handle it are going to be totally, totally wrong. You want recovery to continue, you want the good times you two are starting to experience to continue, you feel like those things are threatened by this obstacle (and they are), and so you desperately start trying to MAKE the obstacle go away. DO NOT DO THIS. This is the wrong way to handle it. From your point of view you are just trying to make things better. You feel like in fact you are just trying to help your wife. But that desperation and that attempt to MAKE things get better makes her feel controlled!!! That makes the problem worse!!! In fact, whether you realize it or not, you are trying to control your wife�s thinking. It�s the classic Disrespectful Judgment, and it�s a Love Buster here just like it is always. A massive Love Buster. Your instincts are gonna kill you here if you don�t get them under control and quit following them.

And I hate that because it sets progress back so much.
But take heart. It is not too late in the game for you to learn new habits and learn how to not follow these instincts. It�s just new habits and skills for you to learn as far as how to react when there appears to be a threat to recovery. (A conflict, though you might not realize at the beginning that conflict is occurring; you�re likely to simply perceive a threat to recovery/marriage, and not notice there�s a conflict until you guys are into massive Love Busters. We rationalize our own controlling LBs (SD, DJ, AO), and that means they appear rational to us so we don�t even notice them!!!)

I empathize with some of the things you are saying about Extreme Precautions. Long before Marriage Builders, before I even met my wife, I put in my own �extreme precautions� (using a different name) to avoid sexual behaviors I regarded as wrong. And I had to do a lot of talking to myself, basically personal coaching. �I am a new man, I am not the man I was before, I am strong and have walls in place that cannot be broken through,� etc. They way you talk about your EPs sounds a lot like the way I talked to myself back then, and it�s probably a great way to encourage yourself and keep those EPs strong. But it�s no way to talk to a woman. It�s not going to reassure her at all. How do you help her understand you were not that guy you were all those years? You DON�T do it the same way you convince yourself of that fact. Your thought is actually a rationalization of wanting to CONTROL what she�s thinking. You think it�s helpful, but that desire to control her thinking is more damaging than you can possibly imagine.

What you need is a plan you can stick to and fall back on. A written plan for yourself with three aspects: your extreme precautions, your plan to overcome Love Busters (especially including your plan for eliminating control/abuse LBs: SD, DJ, AO, all attempts to control her and her thinking), and your plan to meet her Emotional Needs. You probably already have all this. (If not, get it!) Your plan is to be continually refined as you become more of an expert at all of these. When obstacles come, you remind yourself �I have a plan for success. I will keep following my plan. I won�t try to control her here and bring her along; I�ll just fall back on my plan.� This will give you confidence and take away that fear. Because of your increasing understanding of your wife, your plan is nearly guaranteed to succeed, if you follow it faithfully with continuing refinements, and IF SHE LETS YOU. The trick is she doesn�t have to let you, and you have to accept that. So you tell yourself �I�ll stick with my plan until the very end. I�ll go down with the ship, if necessary. Even if she starts trying to get out, I�ll continue to offer compensation by working at becoming an expert at meeting her emotional needs, having no tolerance for Love Busters on my part, and taking Extreme Precautions to avoid any outside threat to our marriage.� (Though it probably won�t come to going down the ship. But if it did, your plan is to keep on following-through, even up to two years after she�s gone. If you will aim out that far, you will likely hit your target and it won�t be an issue.)

I made a discovery recently. My discovery is about the words �defensive� and �defensiveness.� My discovery is this: I always thought that �being defensive� was about my feelings. It was a feeling I needed to learn to control. And if my wife thought I was being defensive, well, really she was judging my feelings, and this is a subjective thing with multiple opinions and points of view.

Turns out I was wrong. If you�re defending yourself, you�re defensive, no matter how you feel. smile Same for me, here. I gotta quit defending myself, and so do you. Women tend to word things in ways that make men look at and question their feelings (and then proudly proclaim that the feelings are right, because they are), but men need things worded in terms of behavior: what should I do? What should I stop doing? What you should do is stop defending yourself, entirely. Like Pep said, there�s nothing to defend here. If she doesn�t like something, you�ll quit doing it, period, without even trying to negotiate a way to do it. If she wants to know something, you�ll tell her. If you don�t remember, you�ll simply say you don�t remember. If you remember later, you�ll go back and tell her. Be honest. Always be honest. Just be honest and let her decide if your answer is something to worry about or not, and how to react to it.

What should you do instead? You focus on her and her feelings. That�s what thoughtfulness is!

Women, especially your wife, don�t want to teach you how to do this. That�s the shortcut approach anyway. You�re obligated to learn it even if she won�t help you. It�s still your responsibility. And she does NOT have it in her to help you! Even if she did, she�d probably be ineffective, because she speaks Woman, and you speak Man. All she�d tell you is how to feel, and you already feel that way; you need to know how to ACT.

So, here�s how to act: when your wife comes to you with ANYTHING she wants to know, anything that�s wrong, anything that indicates a conflict, anything that smells to you like a threat to recovery: FIRST, make sure you have an understanding of what happened, what�s worrying her, what you did, etc. SECOND, achieve empathy by understanding why she is hurt: �This is how you got hurt?� �This is why you got hurt?� �When stuff is moved around in my car, it worries you because it looks like somebody has been in there?� Validate her on the fact that she got hurt. Don�t do or say anything to give her the idea that you think she should not be hurt or would like for her to get over being hurt quickly. (No matter how much you do feel for her pain and want her to feel better. This is not the time for apologies.) Both of these steps are all about being a good conversationalist and using conversation to investigate and understand your spouse. Seek understanding. THIRD, express apology: �I am sorry that I gave you cause to worry by moving things around in my car!�

No defensiveness, at all. That means no defending yourself, no matter how you feel. We don�t need to determine who is right or wrong; what matters is her feelings! Defending yourself even includes these statements, which my crappy instincts would have told me sound thoughtful: �I didn�t know� �I didn�t realize,� or their cousin �How was I supposed to know?� It�s all about her and what she feels at this point, not about you and what you know.

LATER (possibly MUCH LATER if she is still reeling from the hurt), offer to have some discussion and brainstorming and negotiation on how to make sure it never happens again.

Read this great article, and you�ll see a perfect image of how you came off to your wife. (Painful for me to read, as I know I�ve been doing this for six years.) http://www.marriagebuilders.com/graphic/mbi8507_fft.html

You wanted to tell your wife she has nothing to worry about. This instinct doesn�t help, because essentially you are telling her not to be hurt. Ow. When you cause a wound (which you did by moving stuff in your car), tend to the bleeding instead, using the process I outlined above. (Steve Harley gave it to me on the phone, so it must be good. It looked like liquid gold to me, like just the piece I was missing.) You don�t reassure her by reassuring her.

Finally, I�d say it doesn�t matter much that you have DWG�s blessing to be in this band. It sure looks risky, and she looks reluctant. Do you think she�s still ENTHUSIASTIC about it?

Why can�t you guys spend 100% of your time together?

By the way, don�t be surprised your wife can remember exactly where everything was in the car. Women�s brains are more connected than ours (I tell my wife their brains are more melted than ours) and they notice details like that.


If you are serious about saving your marriage, you can't get it all on this forum. You've got to listen to the Marriage Builders Radio show, every day. Install the app!

Married to my radiant trophy wife, Prisca, 19 years. Father of 8.
Attended Marriage Builders weekend in May 2010

If your wife is not on board with MB, some of my posts to other men might help you.
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A
MAZE
ING
dance2





Originally Posted by markos
Hey, GreenMile. I can really see a lot of similarities in the way you and I react to things, so I thought I might be able to point some things out in ways that would be helpful to you. Even if it's not helpful to you, maybe writing some of the thoughts will be helpful to me. smile

I really, really empathize with that feeling that every time there is a downturn it feels like what your wife is saying is definitive and final and there is no hope. I get that feeling a lot, and if I let it happen, it can make me completely crazy, make me do absolutely STUPID stuff, and make me do things that absolutely HURT my wife. Then the next thing I know, the reason there is no hope is ME!

Listen, she is likely to use language that to you sounds like "I'm through with you and this marriage and this recovery," when what she means is "I'm through with this discussion because it is hurting me." She is also likely to say things out of emotion in the heat of the moment that she won't feel like later. Have you seen this happen? Remind yourself of this in the heat of the moment; let her vent. It's not the make or break moment for your marriage.

And listen, you've got to face the fact that she's always got the choice to end it. What will you do if she does make that decision? In order to avoid turning into that quivering bowl full of helly, you've got to come to grips with this fact and face it with a measure of acceptance. You need her badly, but you need to become a person who would be capable of standing on your own. If you had a plan for personal recovery in the event of DWG deciding to be through with you, a plan that involved yourself and your sons and your personal recovery, then maybe you would react with less fear when you feel like your marriage is threatened. Yes, it would be very sad for you if DWG were to pull the plug. But, you would keep breathing. You would still have a lot to live for.

When things get rough, the most important issue is THE WAY YOU HANDLE IT. I�m sure you know that, but your instincts about how to handle it are going to be totally, totally wrong. You want recovery to continue, you want the good times you two are starting to experience to continue, you feel like those things are threatened by this obstacle (and they are), and so you desperately start trying to MAKE the obstacle go away. DO NOT DO THIS. This is the wrong way to handle it. From your point of view you are just trying to make things better. You feel like in fact you are just trying to help your wife. But that desperation and that attempt to MAKE things get better makes her feel controlled!!! That makes the problem worse!!! In fact, whether you realize it or not, you are trying to control your wife�s thinking. It�s the classic Disrespectful Judgment, and it�s a Love Buster here just like it is always. A massive Love Buster. Your instincts are gonna kill you here if you don�t get them under control and quit following them.

And I hate that because it sets progress back so much.
But take heart. It is not too late in the game for you to learn new habits and learn how to not follow these instincts. It�s just new habits and skills for you to learn as far as how to react when there appears to be a threat to recovery. (A conflict, though you might not realize at the beginning that conflict is occurring; you�re likely to simply perceive a threat to recovery/marriage, and not notice there�s a conflict until you guys are into massive Love Busters. We rationalize our own controlling LBs (SD, DJ, AO), and that means they appear rational to us so we don�t even notice them!!!)

I empathize with some of the things you are saying about Extreme Precautions. Long before Marriage Builders, before I even met my wife, I put in my own �extreme precautions� (using a different name) to avoid sexual behaviors I regarded as wrong. And I had to do a lot of talking to myself, basically personal coaching. �I am a new man, I am not the man I was before, I am strong and have walls in place that cannot be broken through,� etc. They way you talk about your EPs sounds a lot like the way I talked to myself back then, and it�s probably a great way to encourage yourself and keep those EPs strong. But it�s no way to talk to a woman. It�s not going to reassure her at all. How do you help her understand you were not that guy you were all those years? You DON�T do it the same way you convince yourself of that fact. Your thought is actually a rationalization of wanting to CONTROL what she�s thinking. You think it�s helpful, but that desire to control her thinking is more damaging than you can possibly imagine.

What you need is a plan you can stick to and fall back on. A written plan for yourself with three aspects: your extreme precautions, your plan to overcome Love Busters (especially including your plan for eliminating control/abuse LBs: SD, DJ, AO, all attempts to control her and her thinking), and your plan to meet her Emotional Needs. You probably already have all this. (If not, get it!) Your plan is to be continually refined as you become more of an expert at all of these. When obstacles come, you remind yourself �I have a plan for success. I will keep following my plan. I won�t try to control her here and bring her along; I�ll just fall back on my plan.� This will give you confidence and take away that fear. Because of your increasing understanding of your wife, your plan is nearly guaranteed to succeed, if you follow it faithfully with continuing refinements, and IF SHE LETS YOU. The trick is she doesn�t have to let you, and you have to accept that. So you tell yourself �I�ll stick with my plan until the very end. I�ll go down with the ship, if necessary. Even if she starts trying to get out, I�ll continue to offer compensation by working at becoming an expert at meeting her emotional needs, having no tolerance for Love Busters on my part, and taking Extreme Precautions to avoid any outside threat to our marriage.� (Though it probably won�t come to going down the ship. But if it did, your plan is to keep on following-through, even up to two years after she�s gone. If you will aim out that far, you will likely hit your target and it won�t be an issue.)

I made a discovery recently. My discovery is about the words �defensive� and �defensiveness.� My discovery is this: I always thought that �being defensive� was about my feelings. It was a feeling I needed to learn to control. And if my wife thought I was being defensive, well, really she was judging my feelings, and this is a subjective thing with multiple opinions and points of view.

Turns out I was wrong. If you�re defending yourself, you�re defensive, no matter how you feel. smile Same for me, here. I gotta quit defending myself, and so do you. Women tend to word things in ways that make men look at and question their feelings (and then proudly proclaim that the feelings are right, because they are), but men need things worded in terms of behavior: what should I do? What should I stop doing? What you should do is stop defending yourself, entirely. Like Pep said, there�s nothing to defend here. If she doesn�t like something, you�ll quit doing it, period, without even trying to negotiate a way to do it. If she wants to know something, you�ll tell her. If you don�t remember, you�ll simply say you don�t remember. If you remember later, you�ll go back and tell her. Be honest. Always be honest. Just be honest and let her decide if your answer is something to worry about or not, and how to react to it.

What should you do instead? You focus on her and her feelings. That�s what thoughtfulness is!

Women, especially your wife, don�t want to teach you how to do this. That�s the shortcut approach anyway. You�re obligated to learn it even if she won�t help you. It�s still your responsibility. And she does NOT have it in her to help you! Even if she did, she�d probably be ineffective, because she speaks Woman, and you speak Man. All she�d tell you is how to feel, and you already feel that way; you need to know how to ACT.

So, here�s how to act: when your wife comes to you with ANYTHING she wants to know, anything that�s wrong, anything that indicates a conflict, anything that smells to you like a threat to recovery: FIRST, make sure you have an understanding of what happened, what�s worrying her, what you did, etc. SECOND, achieve empathy by understanding why she is hurt: �This is how you got hurt?� �This is why you got hurt?� �When stuff is moved around in my car, it worries you because it looks like somebody has been in there?� Validate her on the fact that she got hurt. Don�t do or say anything to give her the idea that you think she should not be hurt or would like for her to get over being hurt quickly. (No matter how much you do feel for her pain and want her to feel better. This is not the time for apologies.) Both of these steps are all about being a good conversationalist and using conversation to investigate and understand your spouse. Seek understanding. THIRD, express apology: �I am sorry that I gave you cause to worry by moving things around in my car!�

No defensiveness, at all. That means no defending yourself, no matter how you feel. We don�t need to determine who is right or wrong; what matters is her feelings! Defending yourself even includes these statements, which my crappy instincts would have told me sound thoughtful: �I didn�t know� �I didn�t realize,� or their cousin �How was I supposed to know?� It�s all about her and what she feels at this point, not about you and what you know.

LATER (possibly MUCH LATER if she is still reeling from the hurt), offer to have some discussion and brainstorming and negotiation on how to make sure it never happens again.

Read this great article, and you�ll see a perfect image of how you came off to your wife. (Painful for me to read, as I know I�ve been doing this for six years.) http://www.marriagebuilders.com/graphic/mbi8507_fft.html

You wanted to tell your wife she has nothing to worry about. This instinct doesn�t help, because essentially you are telling her not to be hurt. Ow. When you cause a wound (which you did by moving stuff in your car), tend to the bleeding instead, using the process I outlined above. (Steve Harley gave it to me on the phone, so it must be good. It looked like liquid gold to me, like just the piece I was missing.) You don�t reassure her by reassuring her.

Finally, I�d say it doesn�t matter much that you have DWG�s blessing to be in this band. It sure looks risky, and she looks reluctant. Do you think she�s still ENTHUSIASTIC about it?

Why can�t you guys spend 100% of your time together?

By the way, don�t be surprised your wife can remember exactly where everything was in the car. Women�s brains are more connected than ours (I tell my wife their brains are more melted than ours) and they notice details like that.

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Doc, print out Marco's post.
Carry it with you at all times.

Added to Notable Posts thread.
clap

Last edited by Pepperband; 06/30/10 11:34 AM.
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Originally Posted by markos
Hey, GreenMile. I can really see a lot of similarities in the way you and I react to things, so I thought I might be able to point some things out in ways that would be helpful to you. Even if it's not helpful to you, maybe writing some of the thoughts will be helpful to me. smile

I really, really empathize with that feeling that every time there is a downturn it feels like what your wife is saying is definitive and final and there is no hope. I get that feeling a lot, and if I let it happen, it can make me completely crazy, make me do absolutely STUPID stuff, and make me do things that absolutely HURT my wife. Then the next thing I know, the reason there is no hope is ME!

Listen, she is likely to use language that to you sounds like "I'm through with you and this marriage and this recovery," when what she means is "I'm through with this discussion because it is hurting me." She is also likely to say things out of emotion in the heat of the moment that she won't feel like later. Have you seen this happen? Remind yourself of this in the heat of the moment; let her vent. It's not the make or break moment for your marriage.

And listen, you've got to face the fact that she's always got the choice to end it. What will you do if she does make that decision? In order to avoid turning into that quivering bowl full of helly, you've got to come to grips with this fact and face it with a measure of acceptance. You need her badly, but you need to become a person who would be capable of standing on your own. If you had a plan for personal recovery in the event of DWG deciding to be through with you, a plan that involved yourself and your sons and your personal recovery, then maybe you would react with less fear when you feel like your marriage is threatened. Yes, it would be very sad for you if DWG were to pull the plug. But, you would keep breathing. You would still have a lot to live for.

When things get rough, the most important issue is THE WAY YOU HANDLE IT. I�m sure you know that, but your instincts about how to handle it are going to be totally, totally wrong. You want recovery to continue, you want the good times you two are starting to experience to continue, you feel like those things are threatened by this obstacle (and they are), and so you desperately start trying to MAKE the obstacle go away. DO NOT DO THIS. This is the wrong way to handle it. From your point of view you are just trying to make things better. You feel like in fact you are just trying to help your wife. But that desperation and that attempt to MAKE things get better makes her feel controlled!!! That makes the problem worse!!! In fact, whether you realize it or not, you are trying to control your wife�s thinking. It�s the classic Disrespectful Judgment, and it�s a Love Buster here just like it is always. A massive Love Buster. Your instincts are gonna kill you here if you don�t get them under control and quit following them.

And I hate that because it sets progress back so much.
But take heart. It is not too late in the game for you to learn new habits and learn how to not follow these instincts. It�s just new habits and skills for you to learn as far as how to react when there appears to be a threat to recovery. (A conflict, though you might not realize at the beginning that conflict is occurring; you�re likely to simply perceive a threat to recovery/marriage, and not notice there�s a conflict until you guys are into massive Love Busters. We rationalize our own controlling LBs (SD, DJ, AO), and that means they appear rational to us so we don�t even notice them!!!)

I empathize with some of the things you are saying about Extreme Precautions. Long before Marriage Builders, before I even met my wife, I put in my own �extreme precautions� (using a different name) to avoid sexual behaviors I regarded as wrong. And I had to do a lot of talking to myself, basically personal coaching. �I am a new man, I am not the man I was before, I am strong and have walls in place that cannot be broken through,� etc. They way you talk about your EPs sounds a lot like the way I talked to myself back then, and it�s probably a great way to encourage yourself and keep those EPs strong. But it�s no way to talk to a woman. It�s not going to reassure her at all. How do you help her understand you were not that guy you were all those years? You DON�T do it the same way you convince yourself of that fact. Your thought is actually a rationalization of wanting to CONTROL what she�s thinking. You think it�s helpful, but that desire to control her thinking is more damaging than you can possibly imagine.

What you need is a plan you can stick to and fall back on. A written plan for yourself with three aspects: your extreme precautions, your plan to overcome Love Busters (especially including your plan for eliminating control/abuse LBs: SD, DJ, AO, all attempts to control her and her thinking), and your plan to meet her Emotional Needs. You probably already have all this. (If not, get it!) Your plan is to be continually refined as you become more of an expert at all of these. When obstacles come, you remind yourself �I have a plan for success. I will keep following my plan. I won�t try to control her here and bring her along; I�ll just fall back on my plan.� This will give you confidence and take away that fear. Because of your increasing understanding of your wife, your plan is nearly guaranteed to succeed, if you follow it faithfully with continuing refinements, and IF SHE LETS YOU. The trick is she doesn�t have to let you, and you have to accept that. So you tell yourself �I�ll stick with my plan until the very end. I�ll go down with the ship, if necessary. Even if she starts trying to get out, I�ll continue to offer compensation by working at becoming an expert at meeting her emotional needs, having no tolerance for Love Busters on my part, and taking Extreme Precautions to avoid any outside threat to our marriage.� (Though it probably won�t come to going down the ship. But if it did, your plan is to keep on following-through, even up to two years after she�s gone. If you will aim out that far, you will likely hit your target and it won�t be an issue.)

I made a discovery recently. My discovery is about the words �defensive� and �defensiveness.� My discovery is this: I always thought that �being defensive� was about my feelings. It was a feeling I needed to learn to control. And if my wife thought I was being defensive, well, really she was judging my feelings, and this is a subjective thing with multiple opinions and points of view.

Turns out I was wrong. If you�re defending yourself, you�re defensive, no matter how you feel. smile Same for me, here. I gotta quit defending myself, and so do you. Women tend to word things in ways that make men look at and question their feelings (and then proudly proclaim that the feelings are right, because they are), but men need things worded in terms of behavior: what should I do? What should I stop doing? What you should do is stop defending yourself, entirely. Like Pep said, there�s nothing to defend here. If she doesn�t like something, you�ll quit doing it, period, without even trying to negotiate a way to do it. If she wants to know something, you�ll tell her. If you don�t remember, you�ll simply say you don�t remember. If you remember later, you�ll go back and tell her. Be honest. Always be honest. Just be honest and let her decide if your answer is something to worry about or not, and how to react to it.

What should you do instead? You focus on her and her feelings. That�s what thoughtfulness is!

Women, especially your wife, don�t want to teach you how to do this. That�s the shortcut approach anyway. You�re obligated to learn it even if she won�t help you. It�s still your responsibility. And she does NOT have it in her to help you! Even if she did, she�d probably be ineffective, because she speaks Woman, and you speak Man. All she�d tell you is how to feel, and you already feel that way; you need to know how to ACT.

So, here�s how to act: when your wife comes to you with ANYTHING she wants to know, anything that�s wrong, anything that indicates a conflict, anything that smells to you like a threat to recovery: FIRST, make sure you have an understanding of what happened, what�s worrying her, what you did, etc. SECOND, achieve empathy by understanding why she is hurt: �This is how you got hurt?� �This is why you got hurt?� �When stuff is moved around in my car, it worries you because it looks like somebody has been in there?� Validate her on the fact that she got hurt. Don�t do or say anything to give her the idea that you think she should not be hurt or would like for her to get over being hurt quickly. (No matter how much you do feel for her pain and want her to feel better. This is not the time for apologies.) Both of these steps are all about being a good conversationalist and using conversation to investigate and understand your spouse. Seek understanding. THIRD, express apology: �I am sorry that I gave you cause to worry by moving things around in my car!�

No defensiveness, at all. That means no defending yourself, no matter how you feel. We don�t need to determine who is right or wrong; what matters is her feelings! Defending yourself even includes these statements, which my crappy instincts would have told me sound thoughtful: �I didn�t know� �I didn�t realize,� or their cousin �How was I supposed to know?� It�s all about her and what she feels at this point, not about you and what you know.

LATER (possibly MUCH LATER if she is still reeling from the hurt), offer to have some discussion and brainstorming and negotiation on how to make sure it never happens again.

Read this great article, and you�ll see a perfect image of how you came off to your wife. (Painful for me to read, as I know I�ve been doing this for six years.) http://www.marriagebuilders.com/graphic/mbi8507_fft.html

You wanted to tell your wife she has nothing to worry about. This instinct doesn�t help, because essentially you are telling her not to be hurt. Ow. When you cause a wound (which you did by moving stuff in your car), tend to the bleeding instead, using the process I outlined above. (Steve Harley gave it to me on the phone, so it must be good. It looked like liquid gold to me, like just the piece I was missing.) You don�t reassure her by reassuring her.

Finally, I�d say it doesn�t matter much that you have DWG�s blessing to be in this band. It sure looks risky, and she looks reluctant. Do you think she�s still ENTHUSIASTIC about it?

Why can�t you guys spend 100% of your time together?

By the way, don�t be surprised your wife can remember exactly where everything was in the car. Women�s brains are more connected than ours (I tell my wife their brains are more melted than ours) and they notice details like that.


Wow! Thank you for the time and effort you made to help me, Markos. This is yet another giant piece of the puzzle for me. Like others' advice here, I will re-read and study your wise words many times until I can apply this. It is copied and on my desktop for quick reference. I have been such a dunce for so long. So many of these things seem so counterintuitive to a guy like me, but they should not be. This is much appreciated.

- GM

P.S. "Why can�t you guys spend 100% of your time together?

Ans: Because at our age, going to the bathroom takes up almost 1% of our time LOL.

Last edited by GreenMile; 06/30/10 01:41 PM.

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.
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Originally Posted by Pepperband
Doc, print out Marco's post.
Carry it with you at all times.

Added to Notable Posts thread.
clap

I did just that before I read your post. Its terrific.


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.
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Originally Posted by GreenMile
Wow! Thank you for the time and effort you made to help me, Markos. This is yet another giant piece of the puzzle for me. Like others' advice here, I will re-read and study your wise words many times until I can apply this. It is copied and on my desktop for quick reference. I have been such a dunce for so long. So many of these things seem so counterintuitive to a guy like me, but they should not be. This is much appreciated.

- GM

P.S. "Why can�t you guys spend 100% of your time together?

Ans: Because at our age, going to the bathroom takes up almost 1% of our time LOL.

Thanks, GM. It IS counterintuitive, isn't it? Your instincts are gonna kill you!

My instincts screwed up my marriage, and we had everything going for us.

Now I know what habits to build to override those instincts.

Can't wait till I can say "Now I've built the right habits."

It sure is hard when you have no idea what habits to build, isn't it? laugh


If you are serious about saving your marriage, you can't get it all on this forum. You've got to listen to the Marriage Builders Radio show, every day. Install the app!

Married to my radiant trophy wife, Prisca, 19 years. Father of 8.
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If your wife is not on board with MB, some of my posts to other men might help you.
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Quote
Ans: Because at our age, going to the bathroom takes up almost 1% of our time LOL.

ROTFLOL. laugh


If you are serious about saving your marriage, you can't get it all on this forum. You've got to listen to the Marriage Builders Radio show, every day. Install the app!

Married to my radiant trophy wife, Prisca, 19 years. Father of 8.
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Originally Posted by markos
Originally Posted by GreenMile
Wow! Thank you for the time and effort you made to help me, Markos. This is yet another giant piece of the puzzle for me. Like others' advice here, I will re-read and study your wise words many times until I can apply this. It is copied and on my desktop for quick reference. I have been such a dunce for so long. So many of these things seem so counterintuitive to a guy like me, but they should not be. This is much appreciated.

- GM


P.S. "Why can�t you guys spend 100% of your time together?

Ans: Because at our age, going to the bathroom takes up almost 1% of our time LOL.

Thanks, GM. It IS counterintuitive, isn't it? Your instincts are gonna kill you!

My instincts screwed up my marriage, and we had everything going for us.

Now I know what habits to build to override those instincts.

Can't wait till I can say "Now I've built the right habits."

It sure is hard when you have no idea what habits to build, isn't it? laugh

It most certainly is, Ollie! (as Stan Laurel would say). For me, it is becoming clear at the tender age of 62 exactly what happened to me. My parents had a terribly dysfunctional marriage. There was no respect, constant fighting, hiding things from each other, etc. My Dad, a respected physician, was cruel to my mom and my older brother but lavished love and attention on me and made me into his own image. My mother was sweet and creative but childish and manipulative, full of sadness and disdain for my father, and drew me and my brother into deceptions, encouraging one or both of us to not tell the other or my Dad about such and such. Their marriage was cold, and he had mistresses. I was the "ok" kid who could be left alone, and I was really saved by being ignored in one respect, but I was allowed to get away with everything, was never held accountable, and never had to pay the consequences of my actions. It is no wonder how I became such a horrible and deceptive husband with no concept of what a healthy marriage should be. I am having to learn to be a mature and accountable human being and loving husband now. So, it is not only counter-intuitive to me as a male, but especially to me with my lack of any decent experience at normal relationships between a husband and wife.

In other respects, I have been lucky and accomplished, but in my personal life, it has been a mess. The fixing has started, but it will take a lot of determination and time. I know I have the former and hope I have the latter. Thanks again for your help.

- 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.
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GM, you've been popping in and out on other threads, but haven't really been here on your own.

Updates?


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GM,

I'll echo what Mrs V said above...

Updates?

In RM's thread you mentioned that you took something of value from my post to her. I'm glad to help in any way I can, but there are some differences between your situation and hers that you need to keep in mind.

First of all, she is new to this whole process and is just now beginning to learn her way around the whole MB thing. You've been here for a year and a half and even your start at MB follows your getting caught in your affair by some time. By now you and DWG should be well into phase three and not still dealing with phase 1, which seems to be where your wife is stuck at the moment.

So I guess the question I would ask is why do you think that is?

I have what I think might be an answer but will wait for your thoughts first because I am really testing you to check your level of empathy and communication with DWG. And no, it isn't a "no win" kind of deal and it isn't a trick question. I am not trying to trick you, just get a handle on something specific.

Mark

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GM, I have no idea what Mark is thinking, but I hope you know by now it would be wise to dialogue with him.

Also, I have many, maaaaany questions for you regarding your recovery with DWG. I'll save them for when you get here on your own thread and get everyone up to speed...

Much obliged!


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GM,

I would really like to dialog if you can manage the time and I can fit it into my crazy life. I want you guys to succeed at this and be happy forever in your marriage.

Mark

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Originally Posted by Mrs_Vanilla
GM, you've been popping in and out on other threads, but haven't really been here on your own.

Updates?
Hi, Mrs. Vanilla. I am sorry for being so late to getting back here and answering. Very distracted the last couple of days. I sincerely need the help of you and other vets. This is a very dark time for DWG, and I am not doing the right things. Caught in a catch-22. I am just starting to catch up here.


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.
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Originally Posted by Mark1952
GM,

I'll echo what Mrs V said above...

Updates?

In RM's thread you mentioned that you took something of value from my post to her. I'm glad to help in any way I can, but there are some differences between your situation and hers that you need to keep in mind.

First of all, she is new to this whole process and is just now beginning to learn her way around the whole MB thing. You've been here for a year and a half and even your start at MB follows your getting caught in your affair by some time. By now you and DWG should be well into phase three and not still dealing with phase 1, which seems to be where your wife is stuck at the moment.

So I guess the question I would ask is why do you think that is?

I have what I think might be an answer but will wait for your thoughts first because I am really testing you to check your level of empathy and communication with DWG. And no, it isn't a "no win" kind of deal and it isn't a trick question. I am not trying to trick you, just get a handle on something specific.

Mark

Hi, Mark. I am so sorry for not getting back here. For some reason, this thread got removed from my watch list, and I put it back in. I have been relying on the email notifications, and those stopped for me with this thread, but I fixed it. DWG told me about this. I had basically followed Kim's advice and posted my desperate need for help to Dr. Harley in the follow up forum. But I respect your help and insights so much, that you can probably help me as much as anyone.

Basically the thing that seems to be holding up progress is the sheer weight of the damage I inflicted with my lying and serial adultery for so many years, that even though I have been working hard on fixing the many things that I avoided about myself for so long, it really doesn't help DWG with her pain. It isn't like I had an affair or two or three. What I did was so destructive for so long, it almost transcends MB principles to fix and DWG's ability to heal. DWG is stuck with the realization that building the feeling of love may be impossible because of these obstacles. I love her dearly, but I do not have the love bank balance to be "in love" with her in the manner that I felt during the long affair, even though that was delusional. Even though it was literally bought, had many of the feelings as described in Dr. Harley's books that are typical of an affair. I even told her that she was my "soul mate." DWG wants me to be "in love" with her, with all of the overwhelming feelings that entails, but I cannot feel that as long as I can only feel shame, remorse, and even fear of what DWG's mood will be from day to day. I am 100% dedicated to learning to meet her most important EN's, hoping that if I do that long enough, many years most likely, she will be able to put aside enough memories of the past to move on. She claims that she will never be able to heal further unless I am "in love" with her. Somehow, I must feel what a spouse feels when all of their EN's are being met, and their LB deposits have a brimming balance, when really, this kind of thing is no longer possible for her, because of what I did. If I cannot honestly tell her that I am "in love" with her yet, she cannot move on, because she can only think about those feelings that I had for the OW, feelings which I am convinced were delusional. I feel only shame and disgust when I think of the OW now.

Any advice would be much appreciated.


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.
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GM;

Breaking out of poor communication and bad thoughts about your spouse is a very big issue for me.

I know they are huge LB's and lead to DJ's- I do not find it sasy to "just stop". Patterns have taken years to be established and it is next to impossible to identify (at first) the thoughts and patterns that lead conversations down this path.

The book, Couple Skiils by McKay, Fanning and Paleg
(I have seecond edition)
is a good source to start with. It is broken up to many strategies, you can chose the chapter that can be helpful to you. It cites historical precident for the strategy and theoretical background.

It also tells you how long they feel a strategy/lesson is going to take. Most need 6+ weeks before and real change occurs.


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GM. Thank you for coming and posting. Now, though, pardon me, but: faint

Let me see if I understand your post.

1) DWG needs you to be "in love" with her. I think that translates into her needing to feel like she is the woman for you. Do you agree?

2) It is impossible for you to feel "in love" with DWG, not in any way equivalent to feeling "in love" w/ your last OW. You are actively comparing your feeeelings now for DWG to your OW? In other words, you are comparing DWG to your OW. I know you said you think of the OW with nothing but unpleasant thoughts, but you preceded that statement with mentioning your rosy thinking about that time...

3) You're special because of the uniquely destructive nature of your longstanding modus operandi of adultery, is that correct?

GM, Mark made a very good point to you. You are well past D-day, you have had the forum and the Harleys to hold your hand and coach you through this.

And you are saying that you can't feel "in love" with your wife who has given your lying, adulterous butt a second chance because YOU feel bad about what you did?

GM, you should know better by now: get over yourself. This is not about you. This is about healing your victim. How do any of the above attitudes help that?

Listen, I understand the misery, the guilt, the paralyzing depression. It bites, sure. But it pales in comparison to what our BSs are feeling, and, lest we forget: they never signed on for this. We did. To that end, it is our responsibility, as the WS, to heal them as best we can.

Your attitude is doing just the opposite. So guess what that means? You need to drop it and try something new.

****

I'm taking a break for now. I will try formulating something helpful. Maybe nicer people will be along in the meantime and handle this more capably than I.

I am appalled, GM. And, no, this is no excuse for you to start wallowing in any sort of "poor me" pity party.


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Originally Posted by Mrs_Vanilla
GM. Thank you for coming and posting. Now, though, pardon me, but: faint

Let me see if I understand your post.

1) DWG needs you to be "in love" with her. I think that translates into her needing to feel like she is the woman for you. Do you agree?

2) It is impossible for you to feel "in love" with DWG, not in any way equivalent to feeling "in love" w/ your last OW. You are actively comparing your feeeelings now for DWG to your OW? In other words, you are comparing DWG to your OW. I know you said you think of the OW with nothing but unpleasant thoughts, but you preceded that statement with mentioning your rosy thinking about that time...

3) You're special because of the uniquely destructive nature of your longstanding modus operandi of adultery, is that correct?

GM, Mark made a very good point to you. You are well past D-day, you have had the forum and the Harleys to hold your hand and coach you through this.

And you are saying that you can't feel "in love" with your wife who has given your lying, adulterous butt a second chance because YOU feel bad about what you did?

GM, you should know better by now: get over yourself. This is not about you. This is about healing your victim. How do any of the above attitudes help that?

Listen, I understand the misery, the guilt, the paralyzing depression. It bites, sure. But it pales in comparison to what our BSs are feeling, and, lest we forget: they never signed on for this. We did. To that end, it is our responsibility, as the WS, to heal them as best we can.

Your attitude is doing just the opposite. So guess what that means? You need to drop it and try something new.

****

I'm taking a break for now. I will try formulating something helpful. Maybe nicer people will be along in the meantime and handle this more capably than I.

I am appalled, GM. And, no, this is no excuse for you to start wallowing in any sort of "poor me" pity party.

Mrs. Vanilla,
You summed it up well...I was so confused when I read his post.

He is paying for his sins for sure....DWGs is paying more though. I am anxiously awaiting vets to give him practical advice to get over himself. The first thought that came to my mind was that he needs to stop focusing on himself and instead focus on DWG.

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GM,

Thanks for getting back to me. I have an early service call that just came up so I will get back to this when I get a break at work. Since I am on vacation next week, my day is likely to be a little long and a bit crazy, so give me a little time and I'll be back. cool

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Originally Posted by Mrs_Vanilla
GM. Thank you for coming and posting. Now, though, pardon me, but: faint

Let me see if I understand your post.

1) DWG needs you to be "in love" with her. I think that translates into her needing to feel like she is the woman for you. Do you agree?

2) It is impossible for you to feel "in love" with DWG, not in any way equivalent to feeling "in love" w/ your last OW. You are actively comparing your feeeelings now for DWG to your OW? In other words, you are comparing DWG to your OW. I know you said you think of the OW with nothing but unpleasant thoughts, but you preceded that statement with mentioning your rosy thinking about that time...

3) You're special because of the uniquely destructive nature of your longstanding modus operandi of adultery, is that correct?

GM, Mark made a very good point to you. You are well past D-day, you have had the forum and the Harleys to hold your hand and coach you through this.

And you are saying that you can't feel "in love" with your wife who has given your lying, adulterous butt a second chance because YOU feel bad about what you did?

GM, you should know better by now: get over yourself. This is not about you. This is about healing your victim. How do any of the above attitudes help that?

Listen, I understand the misery, the guilt, the paralyzing depression. It bites, sure. But it pales in comparison to what our BSs are feeling, and, lest we forget: they never signed on for this. We did. To that end, it is our responsibility, as the WS, to heal them as best we can.

Your attitude is doing just the opposite. So guess what that means? You need to drop it and try something new.

****

I'm taking a break for now. I will try formulating something helpful. Maybe nicer people will be along in the meantime and handle this more capably than I.

I am appalled, GM. And, no, this is no excuse for you to start wallowing in any sort of "poor me" pity party.

I think you misinterpreted. I would be appalled, too, if that is what I was feeling or meant. I am not comparing DWG and the OW at all. I don't think about OW at all. This obstacle is what DWG is obsessing about. She is obsessed with the idea that I had feelings for the OW at one time, which are feelings that she feels that I never had for her. This thought is driving her crazy. I cannot express to her the depth of my love and respect for her and my gratefulness of having this chance to stay with her and become a real husband and decent human being without her simply writing it off as untruthful or insincere, because she cannot trust anything about me and may never. I don't expect her to. It is my job to simply take of her. The fact that she has stayed with me deposited overwhelming love units, and I am committed to doing whatever it takes forever to take care of her, no matter how wounded she is or difficult it seems to me at times. My own EN's are simply unimportant to me, which is a complete inversion of what I was for so long.

Believe me, Mrs. Vanilla. i am not focused on myself or my feelings or sorrow. I was for some time, but that has been over for a long while. It is her feelings that are my only concern. I have faith and confidence that by meeting her EN's and learning how to take care of DWG will, in time, allow her to heal. Please don't be concerned about being "nice". You can write your thoughts to me without concern about that.

My problem is not feeling sorry for myself or resentment or anger at her not thinking of my needs. My confusion is how to help her with this thought that is driving her crazy and which is stopping her healing possibility in its tracks. It is HER obsessive thought that I do not have, or never had, the "in love" feeling for her that people have when they fall in love, whereas she believes that I did have these feelings for the OW at the time. She makes these comparisons in her thoughts, not me. I had some of those types of feelings for OW at the time, because of the way that secretive, forbidden relationships affect people. When those feelings happened, I became terrified. But I was a coward. I could not face the mess that I had created and just continued to pretend that this situation could just go on, that I would not have to face the music, face what I had become, face the horrors of what I had done. I procrastinated and avoided and made myself believe that this scuzzy, awful woman was a legitimate option in my life, and she played me perfectly in that. I was a true rat, trapped, ruined, afraid to face the music, so I kept putting it off one more day, becoming almost consciously more careless. I put my own deluded self above DWG, knowing full well that when it all came crashing down, DWG would be devastated beyond description and would make my decision for me by throwing me out and divorcing me. But she didn't, and when she didn't, I was flabbergasted, realized that she did actually love me all those years, and realized the full horror of what I had done. I don't know if this description helps you. At this point, my cowardice and emotional illness are mine to fix, and my actions over my adult life are mine to deal with, fix, and try to live with until the day I die. The last thing I expect is for DWG to be trying to meet my EN's.

You know from your readings of DWG on this forum what an absolutely remarkable and wonderful human being DWG is. I love her, and I only want the opportunity to be with her and help her, and for me to grow in the process. I cannot expect her to try to meet my EN's. And yet in this program, our coaches are saying that she must try. They say that my feelings of being in love with her depend on this, and I trust them. But she is stuck with the idea that I must first have those feelings of being "in love" with her, before she can move on. She is stuck, because I had some of those "in love" feelings with that horrible woman but believes that I never had those with her. I did, though, but they were muffled and destroyed by a combination of my own selfishness, the interference of my dad, and by DWG's own reactions to those things, which put her unwillingly in the position of either caving in to a jerk or standing her ground and putting me in my place. She did the latter, because she is a strong, proud, and accomplished woman, and my resentments of her treatment toward me those many years ago drained my love bank, and that feeling of being in love with her was short-lived. In my immature, petulant, and entitled way, I decided that I would get one of my main EN's elsewhere, outside the marriage. Once I started doing that, I no longer felt the need to face my own problems and actually fix the marriage. It made it impossible. I withdrew from her further and further. It is a very sad tale, indeed. I must live with it. DWG cannot really live with it right now and may never, but the catch-22 is that she wants us to have restored love and does not want to live without me, but she is insisting that the love be restored as a condition for trying to restore it. I don't know how to deal with that. Does that make more sense?

Mrs. Vanilla, I hope you will calm back down from your reaction to what you thought I was saying, reconsider a bit, and offer me some help on that. I am way past the 2X4 stage.


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.
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