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I want to protect her so much. I'm so incapable of controlling my emotions and not lashing back out at her. She hurts me. She hurts me so much. YES, you understand me. I react to her treatment with punishment and it is wrong. I hate that about me. Why do I do it? I just don't know, but I will try to stop it forever.


I know - you are both trapped in a vicious cycle of hurt and rehurt, of punish and retaliation. I understand your pain, and it's ok to feel pain when the person you love punishes you. She DJs you. She does. It hurts.

You do it because it hurts. You do it because you want to protect yourself from the hurt. You do it because you think that if you punish her enough, she'll stop hurting you.

But that is never going to work. All it does is create more hurt.

You aren't incapable of holding back. You gave yourself permission to lash out at her, you can revoke that permission. Does that mean you will never DJ her again? Does that mean you will never hurt her again? Does that mean you will never seek to punish her again? Probably not.

But it means that each time you DO slip up you will be aware of it, you will seek to apologize and make up for it and you will emerge with a renewed determination to do better next time.

And slowly, over time, these destructive habits you have developed and even cultivated with dissipate... until to DJ your wife would be akin to hitting yourself in the head with a brick, you just wouldn't do it.

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My wife does speak in DJs however, that is not in my imagination. I'm awful at bringing it out the right way. In fact I'll probably offend you but I feel as if my wife can't speak to me unless it is rude and disrespectful. I can't stop feeling that, it is real, but I am wrong for responding with equal DJs.


This - it probably seems like your wife love busts SO often that all her words are DJs. It's also probable that you are so used to being hurt, that even when you're wife ISN'T DJing you you feel hurt.

Yes, you are wrong in retaliating.

No you aren't wrong in feeling hurt.

Feelings are. There is no right or wrong to feelings. Do not be ashamed of your feelings and do not seek to change your wife's feelings. That is a fundamental element of respect. Respect for yourself and respect for your wife.

Actions are completely different. While your feelings may be justified, while they are valid, the ACTIONS those feelings spur can be absolutely wrong.

It is ok to be hurt. It is not ok to attempt to punish your wife because you are hurt.

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Do I value my wife's effort equal to that of my own? No I don't right or wrong, ok so i know it is wrong.


So what are you going to do to change this view?

It comes down to a matter of Respect. It doesn't sound like you respect your wife very much. Perhaps a lot of that is a result of her own actions, however, she is your wife, she is the mother of your children, she is a human being, and as such she deserves a basic level of respect that you are not currently affording her.

Consider for a moment the idea that everything she does makes sense and is done for a reason, and that reason may not be based in malice towards you. Consider that she may be more motivated by the need for self-preservation than hilltoper-preservation. If forced to make a choice between her own well-being and that of your own she will chose hers, not because she actively wishes harm on you, but because she cannot trust that you won't harm her. So she will do whatever it takes to protect herself, even if it means hurting you. It isn't hurting you for the sake of hurting you, but protecting herself and you get hurt as a consequence... and while she isn't crazy about that idea it is more acceptable that laying down on the train tracks.

It isn't right what she is doing.

But seek to understand WHY it is she is doing it.

From that understanding will come respect and compassion.

It won't change the fact that she has hurt you, but maybe it will provide you with the strength to not retaliate. Perhaps it will give you the ability to act from love and compassion for her instead of seeking to punish. It may keep you from kicking her when she's already down, which is what your retaliation is.

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Honestly? I'm considering leaving.


I hope you don't. I know you're probably feeling tapped out and exhausted. This is gruelling, and it always gets worse before it gets better, but it DOES get better. You're at that rough, adolescent stage. You know just enough to know things can be better, but you don't yet have the skills yet to make them so, and since progress can seem so slow as to be non-existant, you question your ability to even develop those skills. This BTW is what your wife was expressing when she said

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"you deserve someone who treats you with affection and treats you with how you want to be treated because obviously I can't do that."


These feelings you are feeling - your wife is feeling them too.

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Do you think it is because I'm safe? I don't think it is but again I could be full of emotions and wrong. Yes something is very wrong. Did I cause it? I guess it doesn't matter, I need to fix it.


No, doesn't sound like either of you are emotionally safe with the other. You caused at least half of it, but really focusing on blame is a distraction. Doesn't matter who started it, you both gotta fix it.

Pointing fingers, keeping tallys (like that 8-0 score) are distractions, they're hurtful and they keep you from seeing the progress you are making and solving the problems right in front of you.

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I have a hard time with the YOU in this. Am I taking it wrong?


Of course you are. It is very hard to ACTUALLY look at what you are doing wrong. It is one thing to pay lip service to acknowledging your mistakes, but actually OWNING them is painful. It is hard. Since you got here you've admitted you've made mistakes, at least in words... but somewhere in the back of your mind you were comforted by the idea that as bad as your mistakes were, your wife's were just a little bit worse.

Now we're getting down to the nitty-gritty. Now you're starting to see the REAL role you've played in getting here. Now is when you gotta look at that mirror and see what is really there: the ugly that is looking you in the face.

That feeling you had every time you read a YOU is the exact same feeling your wife had each time you wrote down her DJs and shoved them in her face.

But the only way we can fix this is if you actually OWN what it is you are doing wrong. Yeah, it is painful... but you gotta do it if you wanna get through the other side of this a better man, a better husband.

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When do I protect myself? Am I allowed? I feel wronged and want to make sure I'm not hurt again. When I give, give, give, and don't hurt or DJ, I get scared after a few days because she hurts me back anyways. I don't want to be hurt anymore.


Yes, you should protect yourself. In fact you must protect yourself. But - you should protect yourself in ways that will not cause further damage. You shouldn't fall into retaliation. If your wife is hurting you, it is ok to remove yourself from her. But, let her know what you are doing, let her know where you are going and for how long, and then connect with her in a positive way when you return.

If you are giving and giving and giving, but not taking, there is something wrong. Listen to your Taker. Ignoring it will cause you to retaliate and punish. If you aren't asking from your wife for those things you need, you are setting yourselves up for a future hurt. So check in with your Taker frequently.

Also - you two have trained yourself to this cycle of hurt. It is going to take a while before you get out of it, and even longer before you stop waiting for it to come back.

The path from Withdrawal to Intimacy is through CONFLICT. You don't get there any other way. You gotta walk through the fire to come out purified.

It is going to hurt, it is going to be scary, and it is going to seem like the hardest thing you've ever done, but you will not get to intimacy unless you fight for it.

You can do it. I know you can.

As for the DJs - I do recommend keeping track of them, but review them once a week, after you've received some distance from them.

Hang in there Hill - it gets better.


Me & DH: 28
Married 8/20/05
1DD, 9 mo.
Just Lookin' and Learnin'
HIYA!