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Loc: Hanover, WI, USA
Hi to all.
Here's my question:
DBing is supposed to give us the power to change OR's for the better, even without the help, participation, or even knowledge of our spouses.
I have been DBing since June, 2000. I have seen some positive changes in OR since then. I know I have changed my behavior significantly, and he has even acknowledged this to me.
Yet, being human, I do make mistakes. And when I do, he is ready to explode at me. His anger is becoming more frequent and explosive, and it takes less and less to trigger it. I don't think he ever really forgives me.
I have come to the conclusion that he is looking at things through a perspective that blocks out the good times, my positive input and changes, and his negative input, but magnifies the immediate negative thing he sees - so he sees the whole relationship as negative. He does not do this all the time, sometimes he does acknowledge good things, but he NEVER has apologized for any of his behavior, or taken responsibility for his part in things.
So, question is: Can DBing help with this? I am not playing the blame game. I know I can only change myself, and have been doing so. I have not been pointing out his errors to him. I have hoped that by my taking responsibility for myself & my actions, and NOT mentioning his, that he would take that responsibility himself. He has not.
If he is in that negative perspective most of the time, is there really hope for lasting change?
Is there something I am missing here? Something more that I should be doing?
I will appreciate any input that anyone out there has on this.
Why are we up at 3:30 in the morning posting to this board. We don't have all the answers.
In my situation, W acknowledges positive changes on my part, however that may not be enough to salvage a marriage with her. Also, it is easy for her in that I am close by and can help with the kids. I wish that I had more outlets for my time. I do want her to get a chance to miss having me around.
As to your situation, I can only suggest not bringing anything up. If it is a source of irritation, it really does no good.
But your main question here is does DBing work. Believe me, I have the same question. When I make overtures toward the wife, she backs away. When I back away, she moves closer. So in that regard, it does work. We must remember that in the book, Michele does say that there are marriages that aren't going to make it. My guess is that it depends on the situation. At this point I don't know if my marriage will ever recover, but I want to do all I can to give it the best possible chance. And to that end, making the W mad with OR talk doesn't seem to work.
Hello Melanie, thanks for writing us. You've raised an important question. What do you do when you backslide, and your spouse over-reacts to that? You look at the times he did not over-react. What were you doing differently so that he did not explode? Look at the entire picture. This involves looking at the who, what, when, and why. Picture the scenes, and evaluate. Hopefully, it gives you insight. For you did write, "He does not do this all the time." Therefore, isolate these events when he did not explode; and learn from that!
Next time he fails to over-react, show him your appreciation. Try keeping this up. Watch for results. THis is how you can change his behavior without him even knowing it!
If none of the above helps, I would suggest talking to your H.
#25889 - 10/29/0007:40 AMRe: ? for wise DBer's or Michele
My story is by no means a success story, she left me after four years for a man 11 years her junior who she has plans to marry in the Spring. I have been trying to simply detach and get on with my life without her.
The day she left the end of June, she said that I didn't deserve it, that I had always been good to her and her family, but also that she was so angry at me that she needed to leave and that sex had become "boring" for her. No explanation of why she was so angry with me although she had implied that I was acting jealous and didn't trust her, and she denied for several weeks that she was/is having an affair.
It wasn't until a couple of weeks ago that she actually acknowledged to me (angrily) via email that she had plans to marry in the Spring, although her oldest daughter had finally told me the whole story several weeks earlier.
My point is that all during the time we've been apart she has 1. Refused to see me at all 2. Refused to respond to most of my emails, friendly cards 3. Acted angry most of the time when she responded at all. 4. Never said she was sorry for anything that has happened.
Understand that with the exception of a pretty sporadic sex life (usually not more than once a month for the past three years or so by her choice), we never argued or fought about anything. We were best friends. Jealousy was never an issue until about a month before she left when she began acting like she was having an affair and either knowingly or unknowingly leaving some pretty obvious clues.
I think that WAW's need to be angry at us to justify in their own minds leaving us. I think that a big part of the reason Michele's techniques work, when they work, is that we are removing justification. We aren't giving them anything to be angry about. They can't stay angry at someone who really isn't doing anything wrong anymore.
In my case, it was pretty nearly impossible for me to remove the only reason she implied that she was angry with me, boring sex. Hard thing to work on by myself you know Also pretty hard to compete with an infatuation of a 45 yr old woman with a 34 year old man, myself being 51, especially when she has flatly refused to even see me face to face for nearly four months.
In my case, I have decided to move on. Not because I don't still love her very much, but because of her pattern of never, ever going back to any man she has broken up with. She never apologises, she never looks back, and she never goes back. I know that she will continue her pattern with her new "boy toy" eventually but there is a 99% chance that she will again just move on to another but not me. I guess I just don't feel like wasting the rest of my life waiting around on that slim chance.
I hope maybe some of this helps someone out there. It's understanding the anger and the root cause that's important. I believe that DB techniques will work if given the time and enough understanding, and the right circumstances. If your spouse still loves you and hasn't backed themselves into a corner they can't get out of, and if you still have enough desire and ability to change the things about you that made them able to justify leaving you in the first place.
MJR, I would like you ask you a question. I know this isn't answering yours, but can you tell me what you do when he blows up with anger at your backslide? How do you react? What do you say and do? I know you might think I'm turning this around but what I'm trying to get at is this. You backslide and he reacts and if you react the same way as you did before, you are only reinforcing the backslide. Not only that but you are giving him the reaction that he expects from you and then the next time this happens, he again gets that reaction....and then he says "what's changed?"
I may be totally and absolutely way of base here but it was just a thought.
Loc: Hanover, WI, USA
Thank you all for your replies and insight.
When I mentioned that he is not ALWAYS in that perspective, I was meaning every hour, every day.
Sadly, I honestly can't think of a time in the last few months when I have backsliden, that he has not come at me from his negative perspective. Not even once. And his anger is getting stronger.
And, not once has he ever aplolgized to me for his actions when he has exploded. He treats me very badly when he does explode.
Clearly, it would be great if I never backslid, but it is not a realistic expectation. He is VERY closed to discussing any issues about OR, so I have made great efforts to avoid this. I think many times when I do backslide, it is because I have held so much in (how he is not meeting my needs, how I feel about how he treats me & the lack of 'us time' that we have). We seem to be doing better, and I think it might be ok to broach the subject, and BAM! He explodes. Sometimes it is so hard. I spend so much time focusing on his needs, and what I can do to make things better for us, and that includes sacrificing my own needs and desires in a relationship.
I think that's a good thought. I think I need to give that some thought. I don't think that I respond the same way to his anger all the time. Sometimes I get mad at him, sometimes I aplolgize, sometimes I try to explain why I said or did whatever made him angry. I do almost ALWAYS try to listen to him tell me what it was that made him angry, and why.
I am really not sure how I was handling that before I started DBing. I will think about that. And, I will look at the way he responds to my responses.
But - this won't cure his anger, or calm his increasing outbursts. I'm talking about a man that screams and yells, talks in black and white (it's always me, you always, you never...you know), then shuts off completely. He REFUSES to discuss it. He refuses to hear my point of view. He tells me to go away and leave me alone.
I will look at what you have suggested.
I am still struggling with that anger and perspective of his. I do not talk about that with him, even when we do talk about OR. This is to avoid playing the blame game, and to allow HIM to take responsibility for his own actions. I try to simply take responsibility for my own actions, and tell him how or why I feel a certain way.
Melanie- I'm still way too new at this DB stuff to really give advice, but I thought I'd share something with you about the always, never communication that you were talking about.
I know that I have for long time become very defensive when my H uses this type of language. What has worked for me is to listen to him, then reflect what he says. He tells me I always.... I say, so you feel that I always..... He usually says well, not always but most of the time. I then ask about when I didn't and he ends up telling me details about when I didn't do what I "always" do and I get valuable info. on exactly what bothers him. These conversations no longer evolve into an arguement with us. Our communication has improved dramatically- simply because I WILL NOT be defensive! If I need to clarify something with him, I do it at a later time when I'm not angry. And, he doesn't use the always, never stuff as much any more.
for a newcomer, you're pretty smart, I'm definitely going to try that and see what happens, because I always/never too. I've just about had it with him telling me that I always....I never..... (you can fill it in, cuz it's everything.