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#2911572 12/30/20 03:37 PM
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Liz11 Offline OP
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Hi all,

Had to delete old threads, but I feel secure enough to come back. We've been together for almost 7 years, married for almost 3 years. No kids, no affairs of which I'm aware. (Thornton, May, Sage, LH19, Steve85, SamCal, and others had commented on my most recent thread, so some of this will sound familiar.).

Long story short, H left the home early this year after we went through a year and a half of really tough times. Those tough times largely started in me: a parent died in slow motion; I became hyper-sensitive, anxious, and developed a medical problem; I pulled away hard sexually and it led to a SSM; my H sometimes did things that felt insensitive; and that brought something out in me that was very destructive. I said very mean things to H about his past relationships, his self esteem, etc., and threatened divorce on many occasions. I also became generally argumentative, steam rolled over him a lot, kept bringing up past hurts, would withdrawal for days, and became sullen a lot of the time. He fought very very hard for us for about 5 months but still occasionally did things that felt insensitive, and then I would self destruct again. Early this year H announced that he didn't want to try anymore. I started IC, but a few months later he left. Within two months, he started asking for time together, and I agreed. Once a week turned into twice a week, and so on, and then he asked to move home. After he came home, I still had bouts where I would get too much into my head and get sullen and sad and anxious, but I was working on it in counseling, and I didn't self-destruct.

After about a month home, he left again, saying that he couldn't take how terrible he felt for the hurt he'd inflicted on me, and it was too much work. We have spoken several times, and he still often says he loves me and misses me, and has previously said that he can still really see a path forward for us. I melted down a few times emotionally (pleading, crying, etc.), but then got my head a bit. I left him alone for a week, and then H asked to have dinner, tried to kiss me, and then we had a Christmas together at his request. We spoke again after the Christmas get-together and he told me nothing had changed and the reason he left again was because of all of the trauma I inflicted and the pressure/anxiety he felt while he was home again. He also said he only saw a really small chance for us to be OK.

We spoke again yesterday. I finally admitted to him that I'd been working very hard in therapy for awhile now about something pretty heavy...some personality traits that I thought I'd overcome but the trauma of everything since the parent died plus everything that happened between us stirred it back up...and that I felt terrible for the hurtful things I said, and the general way I had treated him. I have been working very hard on that through reading and with my therapist...I have a deep deep fear of abandonment, and I have vulnerable traits that trigger to make me hypersensitive, argumentative, mean, anxious, etc...when I feel someone is in the midst of abandoning me or hurting me. My therapist has acknowledged that this kind of thing is very hard to treat, but that I've got a lot of insight and have made some real progress, and I'm still trying to keep make progress. Changing this kind of stuff is very hard. I feel very much like a broken person a lot of the time.

My H told me that he could see the changes I'd made, but that he'd still seen things that low-level reminded him of those traits that scare him. He also said that he's struggling a lot in his own IC with the things I said that were really mean over a year ago...he said that he still hears and gets fixated on them, and his biggest problem is that he actually believes them about himself. I validated and told him that the wire that was crossed in me that I'm working on so hard had me saying those things, and that I didn't really believe them to be true. He thanked me over and over for saying that. End of the call was more "I don't know if I want a divorce" and "I don't know if I can see a path forward"...he used to say unequivocally that he didn't want a divorce and could see a path, so that's not great. He said he's felt very sad since our Christmas thing, and its hard for him to see a path forward when he's sad. Still ILY and IMY.

I'm...struggling. A lot. The work that I feel I'm doing in IC is necessary, but very painful, and I have a lot of shame for the traits that rear up when I feel abandonment coming with someone I deeply care for. A part of what I'm dealing with in IC is accepting that, as those traits returned, they really ate up my identity, so figuring out who I am and what I like is hard when I'm in the thick of it....meaning that GAL can be hard too. That said, I've been trying. Some friends have pulled me into their pod and I spent Christmas with them, and then did an 8 mile hike with another old friend. I've been trying to exercise more. I need to focus more on GAL, but I feel very empty a lot of the time.

Thanks for listening.


I'm 40, H is 36. No kids. No infidelity of which I'm aware.
Mini BD January 2020 -- not sure if he wants to try anymore
BD March 2020 -- separation
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Originally Posted by Liz11
I have a deep deep fear of abandonment, and I have vulnerable traits that trigger to make me hypersensitive, argumentative, mean, anxious, etc...when I feel someone is in the midst of abandoning me or hurting me. My therapist has acknowledged that this kind of thing is very hard to treat, but that I've got a lot of insight and have made some real progress, and I'm still trying to keep make progress. Changing this kind of stuff is very hard. I feel very much like a broken person a lot of the time.


Hey Liz - sorry to hear about your recent struggles. While reading your post, this jumped out at me. I'm glad you are talking to IC about this. Do you have abandonment issues from your childhood?

Second, relationship talks are big no-no's. Every time you talk about the R with your H, you are reminding him that things are bad at the moment. Instead, stop talking about the relationship and show him through ACTIONS that you are working on yourself and growing as a person.

It sounds like your H is still unsure about which direction he wants to go which is good. But you need to stop making mistakes. Have you read Sandi's rules?

Thorn

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I agree with Thornton. Getting into IC was an awesome step. Keep working on you.

You're also in a decent place with your sitch. The WAS being unsure of what they want is pretty common. But it's better than them running for the door. The problem is that you are clinging to that and think it means you need to pressure and pursue. Because that comes very natural to us. Backing off, giving time and space, DBing is scary and feels like we are giving up on them.

The problem is that he has to decide to come back on his own. Talking him into it, trying to convince him you've changed isn't going to work. So learn how to listen and validate. Stop initiating R talks, and use listening and validating when he does.

I'm liking the efforts on 180s, now just get better at GAL and detachment and give things time.

Last edited by Steve85; 12/30/20 04:39 PM.

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Originally Posted by Thornton
Hey Liz - sorry to hear about your recent struggles. While reading your post, this jumped out at me. I'm glad you are talking to IC about this. Do you have abandonment issues from your childhood?

A big one, yes...and then some smaller ones after that. I've never been a serial dater or serial monogomist...I only really had anything close to this kind of reaction during a relationship a long time ago. I actually was conscious of it then and spent a lot of time thinking about it, but never felt it rearing its head during my relationship with H until the stress of a parent's health issues started compounding. And once those traits start churning in my head, it can be tough to get out of my head and see them for what they are. It took me a long time in therapy to start seeing them for what they are, and I'm still working on ways to change them.

Originally Posted by Thornton
Second, relationship talks are big no-no's. Every time you talk about the R with your H, you are reminding him that things are bad at the moment. Instead, stop talking about the relationship and show him through ACTIONS that you are working on yourself and growing as a person.

I agree. I think I actually did well when he left the first time about not initiating R talks, but I have failed miserably this time around.

Re actions versus words, during one face to face interaction I think it went well...that was when he tried to kiss me. I really felt like I was able to get control of the funk I slip into before he came over that time. I've just been starting to identify the more ambient things that have contributed to the mindset that hurts me and I know has become a pressure/anxiety cooker for him. However, during the second interaction, I got lost a lot in my head before he came over, and got sullen and anxious, and I know during a lot of it I was distant...and that seems to at least in part have made him sad. The low-key sullen/anxious thing has been the hardest to work on steadily in counseling...and even though those feelings might sound understandable given the circumstances, it goes deeper than that, and is a part of a bigger problem that I'm trying so hard to be mindful of and overcome.

Originally Posted by Thornton
It sounds like your H is still unsure about which direction he wants to go which is good. But you need to stop making mistakes. Have you read Sandi's rules?

I hope he's still unsure. A lot of my IC was dedicated to the bigger stuff I did to hurt him, and before he left again, I was just starting to get some awareness about the ambient stuff. And I read and followed Sandi's rules pretty carefully the first time through...but I've been spinning a lot over the past month and a half since he left again, and I've broken so many. I just read them again. My IC has a set of 10 rules for working on the issues we've identified that I try to listen to every day, plus I need to really re-internalize Sandi's rules. Lots of rules.


I'm 40, H is 36. No kids. No infidelity of which I'm aware.
Mini BD January 2020 -- not sure if he wants to try anymore
BD March 2020 -- separation
Joined: Mar 2020
Posts: 99
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Liz11 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Steve85
I agree with Thornton. Getting into IC was an awesome step. Keep working on you.

You're also in a decent place with your sitch. The WAS being unsure of what they want is pretty common. But it's better than them running for the door. The problem is that you are clinging to that and think it means you need to pressure and pursue. Because that comes very natural to us. Backing off, giving time and space, DBing is scary and feels like we are giving up on them.

The problem is that he has to decide to come back on his own. Talking him into it, trying to convince him you've changed isn't going to work. So learn how to listen and validate. Stop initiating R talks, and use listening and validating when he does.

I'm liking the efforts on 180s, now just get better at GAL and detachment and give things time.

Thanks Steve. I appreciate the support about IC. What I've zeroed on in that I'm struggling with is very hard to change, but I see that my thoughts/behaviors that have put my M into turmoil are not what I want in my life.

I hope I'm still in a decent place with my sitch. And I have been clinging hard to any amount of hope I can find, and then pressuring pretty hard for more clarification when it comes. I'm trying my best to stop doing that. Sometimes I feel like I pull back and detach a little and that's when he initiated some contact with me and one of those went well, and sometimes I think it was just a coincidence that's when he reached out. I suppose it doesn't matter.

My IC told me that one warning indicator for me should be efforts to convince, because that tends to start a lot of the thoughts and behaviors that are more problematic. IC also has me listening to 10 things I need to do every day to start changing those thoughts and behaviors, and it's eerie how many of them line up with what you said...be mindful, listen and validate, etc.

GAL is...very hard for me. I've spent some good quality time with a few old friends lately and that helped while I was doing it, but the crushing feelings start coming back pretty fast once I'm not distracted anymore. I used to have interests and things that I enjoyed a lot, but ever since all of this started...going back a while...I've lost sight of a lot of them. My IC says that's typical with someone who has the traits/tendencies that popped back up again when things started to go to pot with the death of a parent...those traits kind of eat at your identity. My hope is those things will come back as I start chipping away at the more ambient stuff.


I'm 40, H is 36. No kids. No infidelity of which I'm aware.
Mini BD January 2020 -- not sure if he wants to try anymore
BD March 2020 -- separation
Joined: Feb 2018
Posts: 8,928
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Yeah you're right, when we go through trauma trying to enjoy fun things becomes difficult. Staying engaged with the fun activities and hobbies even if your heart isn't into it is very important. During my sitch I often didn't feel like doing the things I enjoy. But I would push through and still go up to the hunting property. Still go to the gun range. Still go hunting. Eventually the enjoyment of those things came back.

Last edited by Steve85; 12/30/20 07:55 PM.

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Liz - I'd been wondering how you are. I am glad to know you're OK, even though I am sad for you with the nature of the update. That's awesome that you've been able to have such a helpful IC. It sounds like there is stuff going on with that that is bigger than your M, although it affects it.

Is your H in IC? It sounds like he has a lot of work to do, too.

I don't have any advice/suggestions other than interacting with him less. Give him space to figure out what side of the fence he is on. I know that is markedly easier said than done, and that GAL is tougher than normal.

I am sorry you're going through this again.

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Originally Posted by SamCal
Liz - I'd been wondering how you are. I am glad to know you're OK, even though I am sad for you with the nature of the update. That's awesome that you've been able to have such a helpful IC. It sounds like there is stuff going on with that that is bigger than your M, although it affects it.

Is your H in IC? It sounds like he has a lot of work to do, too.

I don't have any advice/suggestions other than interacting with him less. Give him space to figure out what side of the fence he is on. I know that is markedly easier said than done, and that GAL is tougher than normal.

I am sorry you're going through this again.


Thanks for your support, Sam. I'm grateful for my IC, and for some of the other things I've managed to clue in on as I've done my own research. One of my biggest struggles -- and a big regret of mine -- is that I didn't clue in until the last few months about the more ambient traits and mindsets that I know was eating into me and eating into H, even while he was drifting back closer after the first separation. By that, I mean, being sullen, being hypersensitive, being argumentative, etc. With a lot of my own reading and help from IC, I've seen how that makes most people in relationships with someone like that anxious and pressured, so its really no surprise that H started to feel that way even while he was trying to salvage things. I'm doing my best to keep it at the forefront of my goals to work on. I've gotten much better at working through the bigger outbursts -- I really only had one over the past year, and that was when my H did something pretty hurtful before leaving again -- but even then I shouldn't have reacted the way I did, and I said things I didn't mean or believe. The more ambient stuff is harder. I can remember a time when I didn't think that way, both before our relationship and for a long time during it. I also know when it started to creep back in. My IC is very hopeful that I can work through it given that its something that seems transient.

My H is also in IC. He's only been back in it regularly since he left again, and he's told me that a lot of what he's working through is the things I said that really hurt him, and the experience of feeling like he's in a pressure cooker. H recently admitted that he's also starting to understand how insensitive he'd been and acted when I was hurting long before we separated, and he feels very bad about that. There were moments like that, but at the end of the day, I know this is more about how I reacted and processed through things, and the negative traits and mindsets that set in in me for a very long time.

I'm doing my best to give him space. I keep reading the rules my IC has given me plus Sandi's. As for GAL, I had an enjoyable evening yesterday with two old friends, so that was nice. It got my mind off things a little.


I'm 40, H is 36. No kids. No infidelity of which I'm aware.
Mini BD January 2020 -- not sure if he wants to try anymore
BD March 2020 -- separation
Joined: Nov 2019
Posts: 141
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How you doin Liz?


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