Hi May. Been reading along.

Its uncomfortable to think of myself as a victim of anything. I'm an oldest child, and if you believe in that stuff, oldest children are frequently the take charge type. We get stuff done, but we often don't know how to step back. I had to allow myself some compassion and let myself have an "I don't actually got this" moment. It's difficult for me to accept things being out of my control and messy. But it felt good to set Xs issues down and focus on cutting myself some slack for his poor choices. I mastered the art of the self hug; I deserved it.

But X tends to always think of himself as the victim. He's a youngest child, again, if you think that has any bearing on your tendencies. He's all chill, all the time. "Things happen. Not my fault." If I had a dollar for every time X said something was not his fault, well, I'd have stacks and stacks of cash. His fall back is that something is "not gonna work, not his fault, or not a problem." He resists taking any responsibility for his actions because he did not grow up seeing himself in any kind of control. Everyone did everything for him, and if life didn't work out, it became an easy story to tell himself. "Not my fault!"

A good MC will probably say (remembering that a MC wants to help fix your M, not heal infidelity or other blame games), "You need to let your H have a little control over the R by drawing more boundaries around what you will not tolerate rather than giving him a pass or doing everything yourself and being resentful. You need to be firm with your consequences when things are unacceptable. H, you need to actually step forward when she communicates her needs, step up and take charge. Or those consequences are going to sting."

This relates to infidelity in that if this is a problematic dynamic in the M, then it very likely continued during the cheating. The one partner (you) continues to step up. "I will not be a victim!" And tries to control the healing and the outcome. You go into fix it mode, even though you were the one abused! The other partner (H) resists seeing themselves as anything but the victim. "It was not my fault!" He takes the victim role, even though he hurt you with his actions! Those must be worn out roles at your house. Even after the cheating.

Now, if it's necessary, give yourself permission to take your own side, the side of "I am more important than this R, his happiness, and what other people think." If youre hurt, put your consequences in place, and that is that. This means that you need to acknowledge that youve been harmed, even victimized, so take care of yourself, first and foremost, and let other things go. Prioritise your needs--journal, sleep, do nothing, pamper yourself, stay quiet, do not instigate deep conversations, do not fix, hang out alone--and allow your H to figure out how to step up. He is capable. If he wants to fix something he breaks, it's on him. You must no longer worry about the outcome of your M. Be the person who cares the least.

If this is abuse (it is, in my mind) then what will you do? If you resist seeing yourself as a victim, you probably want to take charge and fix it. But you can't. You didn't break it. You'll most likely need to learn to step back and let yourself be sad, let yourself feel unlovable or whatever hurtful feelings you are trying to avoid with the fixing, correcting, and leading of your spouse. You need to learn to instead just watch your Hs reaction to your stepping back and nurture your own self. Then prepare your consequences if he does not do what it takes. That's all you have, your ability to pull back from an R as a consequence. You cannot make this right again by taking charge over it.

If you feel you deserve to think of yourself as a victim (because you are, by definition, as uncomfortable as that might make you feel), you probably feel powerless to change things and want validation and compassion. That may or may not come, and you can end up waiting a lifetime. Instead, you have to stop waiting for this recognition of the pain, stop waiting for someone to validate your feelings. You need to take your power back by validating your own worth and healing yourself. Your H cannot take what you won't give away. You cannot make things right by waiting for others to make it right. It is only what you believe about your own self that matters, and you have the power.

When we struggle after this abuse, what is our struggle? We realise that we can't fix this, control this, or guide the R. It just doesn't work. We have to love ourselves and do nothing but watch the other person. If they don't step up, we need to enact consequences that protect us. That's how we heal, by staying away from those who hurt us. We cannot seek validation and healing from the ones who hurt us because it will likely never come. We need to step up and love ourselves in the way we deserve by embracing power over our own thoughts and feelings.

I think Ive recommended it before, but please check out the book 'Cheating in a Nutshell: What Adultery Does to the Victim. Its a good take.