or CALL 303-444-7004 to get started right away!

 

 


A Divorce Busting® Coach can help you save your marriage, even when your spouse wants out.


Save your marriage singlehandedly!
Divorce Busting Telephone Coaching DISCOUNT
SAVE$50 -- 3-SESSIONS for ONLY $340
- valid until May30

CALL 303-444-7004
or to order online at the Divorce Busting Store
use code SAVE$50

A Message from Michele
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 4 of 7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Re: Perils of piecing - thread 8 [Re: AlisonUK] #2887655
03/01/20 01:33 PM
03/01/20 01:33 PM
Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 852
A
AlisonUK Offline OP
Member
AlisonUK  Offline OP
Member
A
Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 852
Hello everyone. A weekly update.

We had a very very bad day a few days ago. I don't know precisely what brought it on, but H and I have been using our diaries at the weekend to decide which nights we will have together and which he will have to himself (and I GAL). The aim here was to meet his needs for solitude in the home, mine for GAL, and ours for some time together. It seemed to be working okay. On one of the evenings that was 'ours' he said he wanted to get in bed with me and watch a film. I had some work to finish off so I went upstairs and got on with that and he said he'd be up at 9pm. At 9.50 I went downstairs and he was playing on his computer game, and as I thought he might have expected me to come and get him when I'd finished his work, I said, 'are you coming up?' and he turned off his computer and he did.

He got into bed and I could see from how he was moving that he was quite drunk. I asked him what film he had in mind and he ignored the question and started talking to me about feeling constrained, suffocated, unhappy in our house and our marriage. I validated and asked him if he just wanted to do his own thing instead. He ignored the question and basically spent an hour unloading on me. It reminded me so so so much of how it was early in our separation - when I did see him during that time he used it as an opportunity to just verbally savage me - he can be so mean and cruel - and it was like that again. It was hard to really make much sense out of what he was saying, but his general points seemed to be that he felt disrespected, unimportant, that he felt I didn't consider him when making decisions, that he felt his relationship with Eldest was irreparably damaged, that he felt all the decisions I made around the kids (he was giving examples of fairly basic day to day stuff, like their chores and their homework schedules and after school activities) weren't for their benefit, but to make sure my friends thought I was a good parent because all I cared about was what other people thought of me (?) and various spewing amongst those lines. I listened for about an hour, saying very little. He'd now and again ask a question of an argumentative and leading type, 'don't you think that...' but not stop to draw breath or let me answer, then carry on arguing on his own as if the answer he imagined I would give had displeased him. After about an hour of this I suggested that it was late, and perhaps it was better picked up some other time once we'd had some sleep. He then started doing nasty impressions of me crying and wailing and begging for him to stop being mean to me (I was doing none of those things - I was calm and quiet and saying very very little) and so I left the room.

I stayed downstairs crying for a long time. I was extremely upset and confused. He's been saying, more and more, how much better things feel, and how much more space and respect he feels he has in our relationship, and how the parenting and his relationships with the kids feels so much better than it ever has, and how he's looking forward to our future and enjoys our friendship. So I was totally confused by what he was saying. I also had no idea what had triggered it: when I got back from work earlier that evening I jumped in the shower and he came with me - which is something we used to do together a lot and hardly ever do now. It was nice. What happened between then and him coming upstairs to verbally abuse me I have no idea. I did ask him what had triggered these feelings, but he was just so angry and ranty there was no sense to be had out of what he was saying.

I had a very sleepless night. Things were calm enough in the morning and I went off for work. I know he felt sorry about his behaviour as he offered to drive and collect me from work (he's an acts of service man). I felt like I'd been emotionally beaten up and it took me right back to how it was around BD time and in our separation.

I gathered myself and the day after asked to speak to him. I don't know if this is good or bad DBing but I said

1 - I was happy to listen to his feelings, even if they weren't all hearts and flowers, and I acknowledge that our past had hurt him and the effect of that was not going to disappear overnight.
2 - there was a difference between expressing difficult feelings and verbal abuse, and he had crossed the line and it was entirely unacceptable - and whatever justification he felt he had for it was irrelevant to me - in my eyes there was no justification at all and I didn't want to hear his excuses
3 - if he ever was deliberately cruel and nasty to me like that again I was done. That I was never ever going to be subject to him not being able to control himself again - and that if he wasn't able to drink without getting nasty, then he had to decide what was more important to him, drinking or having a home and a place in the family
4 - if he had an issue with anything in our marriage - parenting, money, sex, free time - anything at all - then I wanted to hear about it, and I wanted to build a life that suited us both. But he was responsible for asking for what he wanted, and asking for it without abuse. And if he couldn't learn to do that he needed to re-enage with his therapist, or get out as for me, being safe from his verbal abuse was more important than anything else.

He did try to come back at me with some excuses for his behaviour - these were largely about bringing up times from our past (well over two years ago) when I'd been upset and unreasonable towards him. I cut him off and said I wasn't interested in that any more. That if he felt the past was good ammunition for justifying abuse in the present, I'd never have let him back in the house. I used the word 'abuse' which I know enrages him, but I was past caring and I wanted him to know I would call it what it was.

He did apologise, but I could tell he was angry and resentful about it.

I've been generally taking my space since then. I believe he was a) drunk and blue because he was drunk and b) he'd got drunk because he didn't want to hang out with me but didn't know how how to break our arrangement without risking me being disappointed and c) he was worried I would expect sex and because of the drinking he'd be unable and I'd be disappointed. This man is so sensitive to criticism that even if he imagines a mildly disappointed expression on my face, he comes out fighting, and I believe that was what was happening.

A lot of his discomfort is about him feeling like he has no control and not respected enough in the house and not given enough space (or that's what he used to say around DB time and that's what his drunken ranting the other night was about). I believe I have done 180s in a number of areas that address these things, but if there's something specific that isn't working for him, he needs to articulate it clearly and he knows that is my position and that I am willing to listen if he has specific requests. I believe he feels that because I refuse to listen to whining, blame and verbal abuse, I am cutting him off - when I tell him I will listen to him, he points out the times I leave the room when he speaks, and he doesn't seem to understand that when he's rude, blaming, sarcastic or mean I leave the room, but when he says, 'this isn't working for me. When you do X I feel Y and please instead can we have Z' that I am all ears and a co-operative and collaborative partner.

I am actually really furious with him and disappointed by him. His drunken teenage ranting and fight-picking is also really unattractive to me. But more than that, I am annoyed with myself for lying there and allowing it. I thought I was past that. I did have a boundary not to be around him when he drinks - he isn't a big drinker most of the time, but when he is stressed he drinks more, and drinking seems to make him more self-pitying and blaming then he already is, and I don't care to be about that. I wish I had made an excuse when I saw the state he was in and went off and read a book in the bath or something until he'd fallen asleep.

Re: Perils of piecing - thread 8 [Re: AlisonUK] #2887658
03/01/20 02:04 PM
03/01/20 02:04 PM
Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 852
A
AlisonUK Offline OP
Member
AlisonUK  Offline OP
Member
A
Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 852
Oh - and just to add: one of the things he's really really upset about. He wants Youngest to go to a particular school. He's never actually visited or looked into this school, he's just going on its reputation. I have visited and spoken to the parents of children at that school and also talked to Youngest's teachers about suitability. I don't really have a strong opinion: I can see the good points and the bad points, we're not at a stage where a decision is needed, and am happy to keep an open mind. H knows this. H really really wants Youngest to go to this school, and believes we should hire a tutor to prepare her for the entrance exam and not give Youngest the choice. I said if he wanted to hire a tutor I would not stand in his way, would pay from it from family funds (so a joint expense - and I contribute double to our 'joint expenses' pot than he does because of the disparity in our incomes) and I'd certainly not discourage Youngest or undermine him, but as I was open minded about other possibilities I'd like us to keep those on the table. This all felt very reasonable to me. But apparently this is me throwing my weight about, over-ruling him in front of the kids (we've never had a discussion about this in front of the kids) controlling him, saying who he is allowed to be as a parent, and my motivation for this isn't what's in the best interests of Youngest, but all about making sure that Eldest comes first and that my friends approve of my behaviour. I genuinely have no idea what he is talking about, other than the fact that while I am willing to co-operate with him, I don't agree entirely with him and am not prepared to obey him mindlessly. I didn't say that at the time but I did tell him he was being absolutely ridiculous a couple of days after the night in question. I am not sure this is a man who can be happy with compromise: it seems there's obedience, or he feels controlled. He doesn't seem to be able to feel okay in himself if he knows I have a different view to him. This concerns me.

Re: Perils of piecing - thread 8 [Re: AlisonUK] #2887704
03/02/20 01:12 AM
03/02/20 01:12 AM
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 1,104
Dallas, TX
J
Jefe Offline
Member
Jefe  Offline
Member
J
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 1,104
Dallas, TX
Allison, I am not caught up on your situation fully, but Just the brief glimpse I had of your weekly update, let me say this. The alcohol must not be a factor here. Meaning, you must draw a hard boundary here. You absolutely will not discuss the relationship when he's been drinking. You explain fully that you DO want to hear his thoughts and concerns but you want to hear from HIM and not the alcohol.

My opinion is that the entire conversation from the time that he came upstairs was absolutely pointless. I need to go back and read up, but this is a time to start new, healthy habits for communication, not fall back into the same dynamics.
Your focused on all of this banter back and forth about schools and chores, incomes and discipline yet the core of all of this discussion is *his* addictive behavior just from my quick glimpse.

Rest well tonight and don't worry about his self view, that isn't your job. You just focus on being the best YOU you can be. I'll read up on your story tonight.


Me 47 - W 35
M 9 - T 10
2 Daughters - 7 & 9
Discovery of EA- 8/4/14
S - 8/5/15
D mentioned - 9/11/14
R & Piecing - 3/17/15
Regard one another as more important than yourselves.
- Philippians 2:3
Re: Perils of piecing - thread 8 [Re: AlisonUK] #2887729
03/02/20 06:23 AM
03/02/20 06:23 AM
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 611
M
may22 Offline
Member
may22  Offline
Member
M
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 611
Hi Alison,

This sounds awful. I'm so sorry you had to go through this. I think laying out your boundaries as clearly as you did was a good idea, and he simply cannot talk to you like that. I get especially upset with the impressions. I have a few thoughts to share if it is helpful at all:

-- recovery as we all know is not a straight line, and it isn't probably in the big picture surprising that he had this major lapse. The good thing is that you dealt with it well-- even though you are upset with yourself for listening to it, you remained calm and then finally left when he crossed that final line. I wonder if he was pushing and pushing to see where that line would be, even if subconsciously. And then you calmly approached him the next day, shared your thoughts, and he apologized (even if not with a full heart... I'm going to guess that it could have gone worse). So think of how far you've come in all of this.

-- I am thinking back to the "you didn't break him, therefore you can't fix him" mantra. He clearly has issues and is projecting them onto you. He has a lot to work on. I feel sad for him that he is trapped in this awful place inside. But still it is not acceptable for him to take it out on you. I guess the question is how can you give him the space he needs to work on this (assuming he is committed to changing) without it taking such a toll on you?

-- Maybe he is getting better and this was a setback but he'll continue to improve. I know you aren't ready for MC but I'm wondering if a visit to his IC (as I think had been planned but cancelled in the past?) could help, so that you can have a conversation facilitated by a professional where you lay some of this out? or an initial consult with an MC? I mean, he'll never be able to be in a true partnership with you or anyone else for that matter if he can't communicate what he wants in a respectful way, or doesn't really understand what it means to compromise (seems like he feels either he wins or you win, in something like the school choice), plus the issues with perceived criticism and the need for control/feeling disrespected. I just wonder a little if he can even hear you when you articulate some of this to him, or if he needs a professional third party to hear it and help him get there.

-- Your plan about your child's schooling sounds eminently reasonable, if it helps. He is being unreasonable.

As you know I have had issues with my H being disrepectful and mean also, and this is the one area where he's really improved, I think quite a bit from the help of his IC, as we had identified this as a major R issue (I think I was calling it anger management) during MC round #1 and was the primary reason for him starting to see the IC (although I think the A and his ambivalence around ending either it or our M was the bigger, unspoken factor). There are a couple of things I've done that are similar to you and just like anything else of course it all takes time. And if his behaviors are rooted in some deeper insecurities, then he has to deal with those along with the unacceptable behaviors. just a couple of ideas to take or leave:

-- I set hard boundaries around talking to me disrespectfully. I tell him to knock it off. I stopped letting it start a fight.
-- While ultimately I wanted him to not be a jerk to anyone, at first I decided to let the small stuff go, like yelling at another driver on the road. if it wasn't towards me or the kids, I ignored it. (And the funny thing here was that it actually really burnt itself out and he stopped this too... I wonder how much of it was really just to get a rise out of me.)
-- I really reinforced it when I saw him deal with something well-- not like fake over the top, but I would turn towards him and tell him how much I appreciated X.
(And of course as you know H is still disrespecting me in the biggest of ways, so all of this seems kind of mundane in comparison... but for whatever reason this issue, which had been my #1 biggest problem with him (that he acted like an a-hole, was disrespectful and mean) has for the most part gone.

I'm sorry, Alison... I hope this was just a setback and he can take from it that he really needs to work on these issues if he wants a real R with you. I'm sure it is all true that he has mostly been feeling better in the R as he's been expressing to you-- but he maybe just had a down day, like we all do, and drank and then expressed it all in a really dysfunctional way.


Me (44) H (40)
M:12 T:16
D7 and D9
BD1 ILYB: April 2019
BD2 H told me about EA: August 2019 (started Jan 2019)
BD3 Just kidding!! Been a PA for the past two years!! (Dec 2019)
Re: Perils of piecing - thread 8 [Re: AlisonUK] #2887736
03/02/20 08:05 AM
03/02/20 08:05 AM
Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 852
A
AlisonUK Offline OP
Member
AlisonUK  Offline OP
Member
A
Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 852
Thanks Jefe - and yes, you are absolutely right. He isn't an alcoholic, but when he does drink it seems to really amplify his negativity and nasty side. Most of the time when he drinks (which isn't every day) I am out GAL or in another room: I don't care to be around it. I should have made myself scarce as soon as I saw the state he was in. That's on me.

May - yes, I think this is a pretty severe setback and I am mainly okay with how I dealt with it. I didn't need to lie there and listen for an hour, and I won't do again - and I think the content of what he was saying was mainly self-pitying garbage and about his own insecurity rather than the facts of the situation. I asked him yesterday, very gently, if he'd been sitting downstairs worrying about the prospect of having to have sex with me (it isn't like we scheduled that, and I hadn't said anything that would have let him assume I expected it or would be angry if I didn't get it - this is all on him) and that's what had made him open the beer, and he said yes, he thought so. He didn't go into any more detail and I didn't push it. I don't like having to be his mind reader at the best of times. But with the history of our SSM and the ungracious ways I have dealt with rejection from him in the past, I can see why he's be anxious. I didn't validate him in that moment as I was still too furious but I wish I had now, as I do genuinely see why he'd be afraid.

I'm not sure I can do any of the things you suggest with his IC. He has stopped seeing her, but the rules of confidentiality and boundaries mean that she'd ever ever speak to me about him, or listen to me speak to her about him - it just wouldn't be appropriate. I think the ethics must work differently where you are as I've heard other US posters say similar things and been surprised by it. He sometimes blames me for him quitting therapy (apparently, months and months ago, I once mildly asked him to put his appointments on the family calendar so if he was expecting Eldest to look after Youngest while he was there, then we'd all know about that in advance rather than last minute chaos) and he uses that as a general excuse as to why I'm so unsupportive and he can't have his therapy. Or he said it is time for joint therapy (which he does want to go to and has been asking for for months) but we can't see his IC as he feels uncomfortable with me seeing her.

I am still taking my space. He's been working all weekend and I've been with the kids or GAL with friends. Things between us are fine - I hope he's mulling over the line I laid down in the sand.

Re: Perils of piecing - thread 8 [Re: AlisonUK] #2887829
03/02/20 06:25 PM
03/02/20 06:25 PM
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 611
M
may22 Offline
Member
may22  Offline
Member
M
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 611
Hi Alison,

Just a quick note in/re the SSM-- maybe your H should read the Emily Nagowski book-- or actually both of you. It doesn't sounds like the desire discrepancy between the two of you is the primary issue, but it is definitely one where there can be a lot of shame and fear and feeling that something is wrong with you, which is all so easy to leach into other feelings and then anger. I can imagine for your H being a male and the LD partner could be even more difficult. Anyway, perhaps that is one area where you both can learn about yourselves and each other. It lays out a really different framework for how desire/arousal works (not just for women, for everyone).

M


Me (44) H (40)
M:12 T:16
D7 and D9
BD1 ILYB: April 2019
BD2 H told me about EA: August 2019 (started Jan 2019)
BD3 Just kidding!! Been a PA for the past two years!! (Dec 2019)
Re: Perils of piecing - thread 8 [Re: AlisonUK] #2888002
03/03/20 08:07 PM
03/03/20 08:07 PM
Joined: May 2019
Posts: 1,371
U
unchien Offline
Member
unchien  Offline
Member
U
Joined: May 2019
Posts: 1,371
Originally Posted by AlisonUK
He got into bed and I could see from how he was moving that he was quite drunk. I asked him what film he had in mind and he ignored the question and started talking to me about feeling constrained, suffocated, unhappy in our house and our marriage. I validated and asked him if he just wanted to do his own thing instead. He ignored the question and basically spent an hour unloading on me. It reminded me so so so much of how it was early in our separation - when I did see him during that time he used it as an opportunity to just verbally savage me - he can be so mean and cruel - and it was like that again. It was hard to really make much sense out of what he was saying, but his general points seemed to be that he felt disrespected, unimportant, that he felt I didn't consider him when making decisions, that he felt his relationship with Eldest was irreparably damaged, that he felt all the decisions I made around the kids (he was giving examples of fairly basic day to day stuff, like their chores and their homework schedules and after school activities) weren't for their benefit, but to make sure my friends thought I was a good parent because all I cared about was what other people thought of me (?) and various spewing amongst those lines. I listened for about an hour, saying very little. He'd now and again ask a question of an argumentative and leading type, 'don't you think that...' but not stop to draw breath or let me answer, then carry on arguing on his own as if the answer he imagined I would give had displeased him. After about an hour of this I suggested that it was late, and perhaps it was better picked up some other time once we'd had some sleep. He then started doing nasty impressions of me crying and wailing and begging for him to stop being mean to me (I was doing none of those things - I was calm and quiet and saying very very little) and so I left the room.

Alison ~ My W used to do this, everything except the nasty impression part. I learned it always happened late at night, and typically if she had a drink or two. A casual conversation would morph into a tsunami of complaints. I would say I want to hear her feelings, whether or not they might be hard for me to hear. I validated. All of that, like you did. She would eventually say "I'm tired" and then storm off to bed, with no closure to the conversation.

I think there is a limit of "reasonableness" when it comes to validating. This is not how feelings are shared in healthy relationships. Perhaps your H needs to find a way to share difficult feelings. Maybe he bottles things up, assumes you can read his mind, assumes the worst in you, and then vents when he's had some alcohol to lower his filter. That's not secure or healthy. I think it's entirely fair for you to set boundaries about what you will and won't tolerate. You are also working hard to continue to show you are open to his feelings, within limits of respectful behavior.

Re: Perils of piecing - thread 8 [Re: AlisonUK] #2888533
03/08/20 08:09 PM
03/08/20 08:09 PM
Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 852
A
AlisonUK Offline OP
Member
AlisonUK  Offline OP
Member
A
Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 852
Hi everyone

just my weekly update.

So - it's been a very good week. We've both been busy, I've had some GAL and my new instruction class for my faith. H has been asking some questions about this. I guess in the past he wouldn't have, or I'd have felt him being judgmental, but it hasn't been like that and we've had some good conversations.

Eldest has been a bit tricky: he's away this week for a school sports trip and he's always quite demanding in advance of things like this. It's clearly anxiety, and I tend to pick my battles and try to give some extra special bonding time. H is more likely to be zero tolerance. I think we have both really moved to the middle so although there were some difficult moments - as there always are with teenagers - it was okay. I'm a bit sad at the thought of Eldest going away. It won't be long before he leaves home - it's creeping up on me and I am so not ready for it - but I am also thinking that with Youngest in bed much earlier and the living room to ourselves in the evening it might be a good opportunity for H and I to spend a bit more time together.

I am feeling happier now the first signs of spring are finally here. We live in the very very north so there's still snow in th high places but I'm seeing daffodils on my walks now, and it is much lighter in the evenings and more of a pleasure to be outside. H works in medicine and with all this news about coronavirus at the moment he's been extra protective of me and the kids and I like that.

Unchien - I think you're totally right about a limit of 'reasonableness' when it comes to validating and with my H's struggle to express himself in respectful ways, have his needs and wants noted and made space for in the relationship, and to achieve that without the passive agression or verbal abuse. It's a steep learning curve for him. I can see - every day - the changes he is making and also how difficult he finds it. I am determined not to get involved in that process and to accept nothing less than adult conversations with him. If he can't manage that, well, that's his issue to address. I don't care to be around H when he's drunk and if I'd stuck to my own boundary and just went away and had a bath or something, the whole sorry mess would never have happened. Horrible though it was though, I don't think H has seen me that calm and assertive before and I hope he knew that I meant what I said. Anyone is allowed a bad day but he was so far over the line it wasn't funny.

Re: Perils of piecing - thread 8 [Re: AlisonUK] #2888557
03/09/20 09:31 AM
03/09/20 09:31 AM
Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 642
D
dillydaf Offline
Member
dillydaf  Offline
Member
D
Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 642
That's a nice positive update Alison, and I'm glad you managed to move past that rocky time. Alcohol really doesn't bring out the best in some people does it? I hope eldest has a good week away, I think maybe you can empathise with his behaviour because you know what separation anxiety feels like. I never used to have it so found it hard to empathise with, I do now though.

Re: Perils of piecing - thread 8 [Re: dillydaf] #2888563
03/09/20 10:49 AM
03/09/20 10:49 AM
Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 852
A
AlisonUK Offline OP
Member
AlisonUK  Offline OP
Member
A
Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 852
Originally Posted by dillydaf
That's a nice positive update Alison, and I'm glad you managed to move past that rocky time. Alcohol really doesn't bring out the best in some people does it? I hope eldest has a good week away, I think maybe you can empathise with his behaviour because you know what separation anxiety feels like. I never used to have it so found it hard to empathise with, I do now though.


Yes, I see a lot of both H and myself in Eldest: he tends to lash our or get very emotional when he is feeling insecure, and he's at a stage in life where sometimes he wants to be cherished and treated like a baby, with no responsibility, and other times he's responsible and independent and lovely, and at other times he wants all the freedom of young adulthood with none of the responsibility. The poor thing has had a hard run this past year and I know has had the burden of worrying about me more than he should have, so I want this next stage of his life to be about him finding his feet and not worry too much about how his parents are doing. I am so not ready for him moving out, but I suppose all over-protective mothers say that and I do think we need to loosen our bonds a little bit for his benefit.

I am noticing that the more assertive I am with H - not aggressive or emotional but just clear and boundaried and consistent - the better things are. Perhaps that makes him feel safer too. I don't know. Drinking really really does not bring out the best in him and I think deep down he knows that too. He's been making noises about finding other things to do in the evenings to release his work stress - the dark and cold doesn't do him any good so I am hoping now spring is here he will be able to find some of his own GAL.

Page 4 of 7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Moderated by  Cadet, job, Virginia 

Save Your Marriage! Schedule Online

Schedule a phone consultation with a Divorce Busting® Coach! Call: 800-664-2435 or 303-444-7004