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4/14 Interactive Board: Codependent Partners

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12/29 Interactive Board: There Goes the Wife...

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Mixed Feelings; Tough Choices

Mixed Feelings; Tough Choices

January 15, 2000

I'll make my story as short as possible. I'm 53yo with grown kids and a grandson. I've been with my husband for 34 yrs. I knew within the first 3 months of marriage that I had made a terrible mistake. No one before I  married my husband had ever treated badly, so I was in a state of shock with my new husband. 

I had never known anyone like him. He's a chronic liar and manipulator. He was very cruel to me and indifferent and I was ignored and neglected a lot. He always had a nasty comment for me. I was terribly hurt and very confused, but I was determined to make my marriage work because of all my love. Something had never felt quite right and I always felt he had some sort of problem and he had such a horrible childhood that I used that as an excuse and a reason to stay and love him and help him. I took my marriage vows seriously. 

Once the kids came it became worse for me, because I wanted to make things good for my kids. I walked on eggshells all the time. I didn't want to make him angry. He had a big anger problem and a terrible temper. Everything made him mad and then he took it out on me and the kids. I did fight him back quite often when I'd had enough. I did stand up for myself and voice my opinions. Many things happened over the yrs to cause huge blow-ups, but I was going to make sure my kids had their dad and mom together and had a family. I think I was right, I just wish now I had handled things differently. He was a couch potato and I was the one who carried the load. I was his mother really. He was a good provider and so-so dad and once my kids were in school, I went to work part-time and I continued to work. 

After 30 yrs of marriage I discovered he was having an affair for 2 yrs. I was devastated and numb. He cried like a baby and begged me not to leave him and swore he was in love with only me. He said he was sorry many, many times, but it never fit his behavior. I thought it was worth a try to keep our marriage together, since we had such a long history and there were some good times. I found out so many things he had lied to me about, I  would just fly into rages and literally be out-of-control. Of course.

The affair was the straw that broke the camel's back.  I really let him have it. It opened a Pandora's Box for me, the past hurts came out in a vengeance, and I was an emotional wreck. I couldn't sleep or eat. I couldn't think or concentrate. I could be looking at someone and listening to them and not hear a word. I had trouble with my memory too. I cried and cried. I was seeing a therapist, because I truly thought I was going insane. I was shocked at my rages and all the anger. He has told me I am crazy for my behavior towards him and he thinks all my angry and hurt should have been over by now and he should be totally forgiven now. Not only were you full of rage for past injuries and all you had put up with, you were also in a clinical depression! He can think what he thinks. Your hurt and anger will pass when and if it passes, and not a moment sooner. He needs to accept that. Your behavior was out of control, but it was not crazy. (You were "crazy" when you took all his acting out!)

 He doesn't understand all my anger. He doesn't have to. He just has to accept it, since it is. All I really wanted from my husband was some explanations and comfort. I wanted some answers, and I wanted him to really prove to me that he loved me. I guess I wanted him to love me enough to take the heat for awhile. All of what you wanted is perfectly normal! But, you are asking for blood from a rock. I wanted him to understand how very hurt I was. He attacked my womanhood and all that entails. I felt unwanted and undesired, which was made worst since he had started having occasional erection problems a few months before I found out. That's been off and on ever since I found out too. I really let the other woman have it too. I felt like a fool and de-humanized, and as if I was of no value. Don't judge your worth from his treatment of you! His view is distorted! He can only see the world through very selfish and infantile eyes: what he wants; what he thinks.

Things have not gotten any better between us in these last 2.5 yrs and as far as I'm concerned it is because of him. Anytime I had questions instead of just answering them and comforting me, he would become angry and then a fight would result. Agreed that it is entirely unreasonable on his part to behave this way. So, why do you persist in asking? Haven't you figured out yet that you won't get anywhere? I'm so disappointed and resentful. I'm the one would has truly suffered. I don't know the whole story concerning the two of them, but they do. Their story doesn't matter. 

They did what they wanted and I never had any say about what I wanted for my life. I now have this burden to carry for the rest of my life and I hate it. No matter how emotionally and verbally abusive he could be, I never expected this. My life was turned up-side down and it feels like all these years as been a farce and that I just wasted my life. I feel he is not the man I thought he was. I thought he had more integrity and dignity. I feel as though he has done a lot of smoke screening. It wasn't that he wanted me and the marriage, but just the package. He has always done the gas lighting bit, but it got worse. My gut tell me that he is in love with the other woman, but he denies that. He says that I am the woman he loves and wants, but that's not how it feels or appears. We are now talking divorce and I haven't been the only one hurt, so has the rest of the family. 

I'm disgusted and sick and tired, but it's hard to give up that dream of maybe it will be ok. I doubt I can ever trust him again or ever really get over this. Perhaps I should, as hard as it will be, just let it go and move on. I don't have any answers and I don't know what to do or believe. I'm not depressed, just very sad and I can't imagine the hurt ever leaving. I would welcome any suggestions or comments and some encouragements. Most people seem to think I should lighten up and give him a second chance. How?

Here is my take on where you are: You are so very, very angry, you have decided to refuse to forgive this man. By the way, I am not judging you or passing judgment. It is just the way I hear it. On the other hand, you have a long history and a family together, and more than anything, you want the marriage to survive. You are insisting that he behave towards you with simple human consideration. If he did that - and you are not asking too much - I have a feeling that he would be forgiven. 

The problem is, the little you ask, he won't do. You know this, but hope that somehow you are wrong or that things will change. His thinking is incomprehensible to you.

I  have no crystal ball. Men around his age sometimes soften with age. Others harden. I don't know where your husband will go. Or with whom. I do know that you need to stop asking him questions and to stop expecting him to behave like a human being. He won't, and you will just frustrate yourself more. 

It is your life; only you can choose which way to go since only you know your situation. Be careful here: If you feel he loves the other woman, would giving him more time in the marriage just give him more time to engage in his drama with her - and to make sure she will really stick with him, as you did? Will he leave you for her later?  

My advice if you decide to give it another shot:

bulletDo not accept an affair under any circumstances
bulletStop asking for and expecting what he cannot give.
bulletRefuse to put up with any verbal or emotional abuse. 
bulletInsist he get treatment; go with him.

My prayers are with you at this very difficult time, Dr. Irene

January 16, 2000

Thank you for your quick reply. Everything that you said made perfect sense and it was just what I needed to hear. I think I'll just go with my intuition and if we finally do split, then we do. It's sad though. This has certainly changed me and how I view everything now.

January 18



Take a look at this page. Also look at Tex's 3 part story & the next section where I comment. I think it will help.
Many regards, Dr. Irene