Friday, March 18, 2016

One question that changes everything: Is it true?

"Perhaps the most important revelation is precisely this: that the left cerebral hemisphere of humans is prone to fabricating verbal narratives that do not necessarily accord with the truth."
~Antonio Damasio, neuroscientist
We all have a story we tell ourselves. Our story might change over the years or it might not. We might be aware of the story or, often the case, we might not have a clue. Most of us go through life with no awareness that our perception is a construct, a story we make up as we go along, editing out things that don't fit with our overall narrative, misreading others' behaviour or otherwise fictionalizing our story.

My story was this: My parents drink too much and don't care about me enough to stop. If anyone finds out about my parents, I'll be rejected. I am not as good as other people. My family is to be hidden. My pain is to be hidden.

I lived that story for many, many years – well into adulthood. I hid behind a smile and a caustic wit. I dressed the part, all the while feeling a total fraud about to be exposed at any moment.
No matter that, as time went on, there was plenty of evidence that it wasn't true. I was doing well in my career. I had many friends.

By the time I met my husband, I was rewriting my story. Thanks to therapy, I'd come to terms with my parents' drinking and my messed up childhood. I had forgiven myself for being...myself. I'd learned to challenge my story with one question that changed everything:
Is it true?
Is it true? is a question that pulls our stories from the shadows of our minds and, like an interrogation by the KGB, shines a cold light on them and asks them to 'fess up.
And it's a crucial question to ask in the wake of betrayal when what we're telling ourselves – and sometimes what we're being told by a delusional cheating spouse – is total fiction.
When I first figure out that my husband was cheating, I immediately reverted to my long-held story about my own inadequacy. I wasn't beautiful enough. I wasn't sexy enough. I wasn't interesting enough. No matter that the OW was none of those things, I remained convinced that it was my own failings that led to his cheating.
Challenging those things was the healthiest thing I could have done. Is it true that he cheated because I wasn't beautiful enough? Or sexy enough? Or fill-in-the-blank-enough? Well...

I learned all I could about affairs. About why people stray, why they lie, why they risk their marriages – marriages that many of them actually cherish. And I learned that affairs rarely have anything to do with trying to trade up, particularly affairs in which the cheating partner has no intention of leaving his wife. Instead, I learned that affairs are about escape. They're about avoiding uncomfortable feelings about one's own failings. In other words, he doesn't cheat because of what's wrong with you, he cheats because of what's wrong with him.

But too many of us stay locked in our story about affairs, urged on by a culture that still thinks men cheat because wives are frigid, or fat, or too busy with the children, or too focussed on our careers. We blame ourselves when the blame belongs squarely on the shoulders of the cheater.

Take a close look at what story you're telling yourself. Listen closely because our stories are whispers more often than shouts. Pay attention and challenge what you're telling yourself with one question:
Is it true?


39 comments:

  1. As usual, you are right on my wave length. This is the part of my healing I am trying to deal with now. What my husband did, triggered the age old stories I tell myself, and it is time for me to change the stories. Easier said than done. I haven't figured that part out yet. I watched this video a few days ago and it really helped me to understand the story. It is Tara Brach who is a mindfulness teacher. You might have to provide an email to get the video but it was so great to have someone explain why I have told myself these stories.
    http://www.nicabm.com/mindfulnessandfear/confirmed-1/?del=PleaseConfirmEmail&wemail=

    MBS

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    1. Me too, MBS. Me too. All those old stories became my "truth" again until I challenged them.

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    2. Tara Brach just added 2 more videos to this link. These are so awesome and are totally worth watching. One important takeaway: She suggests that when you tell yourself you are not good enough, or worthy, or bad, or pathetic--say to yourself, "This is real but it isn't true." Even if you still feel bad and worthless, reminding yourself that something feeling real and alive, doesn't mean it is actually true.

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    3. I love Tara Brach too!! So many of her videos and meditations have really helped me so much during hard periods.

      Sisters check out Tara Brach - it is worth it!

      Thank you for the link, I don't think I have listened to this talk.

      Love and support to all.
      Becky

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  2. Beautiful. I love when you write something I connect so instantly to - but love it even more when you ask the reader to think harder. To think DIFFERENTLY. Challenge the reader to just change the pattern within their SELF. I love that. So grateful for you.

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    1. Thank-you for that. It can be hard to be asked to think differently when we're in such a fragile state. But being able to open our minds even just a crack to a new point of view can sometimes be just what we need to re-think unhealthy patterns.

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  3. Spot on. The tape playing in my head was I'm unworthy of being loved, since my mother didn't show me affection and my father was cowed by my mother's unpleasantness. Being an only child that's the only tape I heard. So, I couldn't be very important or worthy, could I?
    After DDay, I was convinced his A was my fault. If Only I was beautiful, witty, exciting, smarter, etc., etc! I mentally flogged myself for my faults. His A was kept secret to protect our 3 children, thereby depriving me of any support. While at work one day I was talking about my H in glowing terms. A coworker was quiet but when I was finished talking, she looked at me for a long time and said, "you talk about him as if he were a god. Do you even realize how lucky he is to have you?" After I stared at her in genuine disbelief, she told me how people see me as beautiful, interesting, witty, smart and an all around good person. I could barely speak, as all I ever saw were my flaws.
    Fast forward to today. I see pictures of myself from that time and, much to my surprise, I WAS beautiful, too! I remember times when men, many men, showed me interest and attention. I dismissed their advances but they were there. Today, I am a silver haired 75 year old woman, still married after 55 years, preparing to go through the fight of my life, cancer not the OW.
    The OW was in his/our lives for 1 year. Yes, that year was, up to now, the test of our marriage. We stayed together, worked VERY hard, and forged a new relationship=closer than before. Now, my H is by my side, being my strength when I'm not strong, loving me all the time. The OW is now nothing more than "a piss ant at a picnic!"
    Many doctors tell me I look younger than my age, am in good physical shape and some even said I'm beautiful! I now smile and say "thank you". I will be bald but still beautiful.
    God Bless all my sisters,
    Carol the first

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    1. Carol the first,
      Wow. That is some story!
      I'm glad your husband can be at your side, giving you the support and compassion you need as you rally to fight cancer. Please keep us posted. It sounds as if cancer might have met its match in you!

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    2. Carol the first
      I love your analogy of the ow being nothing more than a piss ant at the picnic! I've relegated the ow in our world as annoying as a gnat! I'm praying for you and your doctors as you go through the next steps in life! Hugs!

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  4. Elle
    Once again you nailed my tail to the tree of truths! I also had those feelings of never being good enough for anything or anyone! Thanks to a mother that was very angry and bitter from her experiences with my biological father... Her parents were the ones that rescued me and my sisters during those times and each of us married young and started our own families. This was all tumbled up again upon learning of my h and his betrayal.... I struggled daily and then that God last June I found your blog and began to slowly pull myself together again! God bless you and the stories of strength found here!

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    1. Thank-you Theresa. It breaks my heart how many women on this site have struggled their whole lives with feeling worthy. Factor in betrayal and it simply seems to affirm, for too many of us, that we were indeed deficient. It's why so much of our healing absolutely has to be about healing long-ago wounds as well. It's the potential silver lining in a horrible situation -- the chance to heal and live a full, deep whole-hearted life.

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  5. How true this is. When I told one of my friends about what had happened, she gasped, "Why would he cheat on you??? You're hot!" Now, while this was a great boost to my self-esteem, it shows just how little people understand about these things. After telling another close friend of mine, I said it was so hard to talk about this because I didn't want people thinking he must have strayed because something was missing at home. She said, "I never thought that. He did it because he was being an idiot."

    It took me a long time to accept that it really wasn't me. While I'll never say this was a good thing in my life, the one good I got out of this is that I finally really learned to love myself. When you hit bottom, there's no place to go but up. My abusive mother's messages that I wasn't good enough now no longer define my reality, because I know they are false.

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    1. Gee,
      Ugh. I hate that attitude. The crazy (and incredibly common) belief that only ugly women get cheated on. And they, of course, deserve it. It happens every time a public figure gets caught and our culture's first response is to look at the wife. Makes me CRAZY!!
      And I'm with you. While I'm loathe to say my husband's cheating was a "good" thing, it did bring it certain gifts that have undoubtedly made my life better.

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  6. I know in my heart that my husband cheated not because there's something wrong with me but I'm afraid to reveal any of this to my friends. Pretty much of people in my society thinks it's the wife's fault. Especially those who had not gone through a betrayal. I hear all the time people making excuses for the unfaithful husband. If a man cheats, his wife is not good enough while if a wife cheats she's a slut.

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  7. You knocked it out of the PARK. Thank you!! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU.
    For most of my marriage I would apologize to my husband for not being a better wife. I would apologize to my daughter for not being a better mother. I let people that I thought where my friends take advantage of me because I felt like I was never a good enough friend. I went though 42 years of my life feeling like I was never good enough. Feeling like I was second best to everyone else and feeling like I always has to prove my worth. Well when I finally hit rock bottom after D-day I figured out I am worthy. I am good enough...not only am I good enough most people are damn lucky to have me in their lives and the ones that made me feel like I was less than....well since I was less than to them I found it easy to be NOTHING to them, including some family members. Just because we are related does not mean I have to have a relationship with you. I looked at D-day like a tornado that ripped my house off the foundation and destroyed it. Things that I accepted in my marriage pre-D-day because I thought I was so lucky and blessed to have my husband, yeah he might be dismissive of my emotional needs, and yeah he put his job and hunting hobbies before anything else, and yeah he left most of the household stuff to me, and yeah he was a little demanding of my time, yeah he spent money with no regard for the household finances, and yeah he took me for granted, but at least he never cheated on me. POST D-Day HELL NO!!..NOPE...NOT ANY LONGER. When he begged me to take him back I told him I was not going back to the same emotionally empty one, one sided labor divided household responsibilities I had live with for years, and I would be FIRST and for most in his life or I would not be in his life. I am not second best and I will no longer take second place. I said just like a house that has been destroyed by a tornado when you rebuild on that foundation you don't put the cracked tile and leaking faucet back in. You don't go get the stained carpet and reinstall it. So things would have to change. He has agreed.

    Ladies you are worth more than you give yourself credit for. My therapist told me this and I live by it. THERE WAS NOTHING YOU COULD HAVE DONE TO PREVENT THE AFFAIR AND THERE IS NOTHING YOU ARE GOING TO DO THAT WILL CAUSE HIM TO HAVE AN AFFAIR AND IF HE TELLS YOU ANY DIFFERENT HE IS JUSTIFYING HIS BEHAVOIR AND USING YOU AS HIS BAD BEHAVIOR AND CHOICES.

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    1. YES! Testify!!! You are so right!

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    2. Can I have a collective "hallelujah" for that, SLM!?!

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  8. What are we telling ourselves? What was I telling myself about about him? This is the most baffling part of this? I was lying to myself that he isn't the type of person who would do this to me. Now he is being what I think to be the truth. We are so different in many ways. He thinks casual sex is ok. I don't. He thinks if a woman is separated she is fair game. I don't. He told me he allowed himself to have flexible morals. I don't live my life like that. I'm seeing and hearing thinks I don't like at all. I'm beginning to think that I don't like him all that much. He is an ass in other areas like being sarcastic about something that matters to me. We were in bed and I was talking about how I can't get out of my head, the OW saying she was trying to help him by making him feel like a man. That bothers me. He says it is bullshit. Then he says come here baby I'll show you how to make me feel like a man". I burst into tears. His comic relief was so distasteful. I'm beginning to think I'm not happy with him anymore. He does take great care of me, I'm his number one concern all the time. He buys me romantic gifts. He is constantly afraid I'm going to leave him. Why can't I just be happy with that? I'm I doomed to be like my mother who was never happy no matter what? Why can't I just go on and be happy with a very loving husband? We have extensive travel plans, building a new house, moved. Etc.... What is wrong with me? Am I just looking for something bad? I don't want to. I found out recently my sister lied to me as well. I never thought she would ever do this. It has made me depressed, tearful, and I can't quit crying about it. It is like being cheated on again for a different reason. Aren't I worth the truth to anyone? What is the use of trying to be good to people? Your good, try to do the right thing and they just shit on you like you were nothing? This has brought me to my knees. I think since she lied, I can't see the good in anyone it even my husband. I'm so tired of being lied to by those who I love. I guess what I told myself about my sister was a lie too. I thought I had unconditional love from her? I feel like just plain old giving up on everything and everyone. Is there no one that cares enough about me to at least give me some respect as a person? It seems like I'm ok, I have built a false world around me then somethings happen to break the glass in my world and I'm right back on my knees. I can't seem to handle any everyday stress. I'm just not happy.

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    1. Lynn less pain
      Yes you are very much worth truth in your life! Often our loved ones lie in their minds to keep from hurting us. I'm not saying yours have done this but I know that my h used that as one of his excuses for the last 18 months of his affair. Like your h mine sometimes tries humor when I see nothing funny in his attempt. At this point my h is at a total loss with words when my emotions are on overload. When I'm not happy, I keep my mind occupied with happy thoughts of my grandsons and other things that make me happy! I can paint a happy place or sing my way to a happy place. It has literally taken me months to be able to do these things but like you I don't want to become a bitter unhappy person like my mother has been her whole life. Does this tactic work every day? No because some days are just more stress filled than others! On those days if I'm sad, I allow the tears to flow, if anger builds up, I dig weeds from my garden, or play music loud and scream it out! In other words, sometimes I just have to feel the brunt of the bad emotions in order for the happy to have a place to expand! I'm sorry you feel so stuck in pain and I'm sending hugs because I have many times found myself back on my knees as well!

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    2. LLP,
      Hurt people hurt people. It's the simple truth. People don't lie to you because you're unworthy. They lie to you because they're unworthy. And by unworthy, I mean, they're hurt people. They're damaged. They have, as you put it, "flexible morals". And hurt people hurt people.
      You have got to keep the focus on you. Just because you're an honest person and you live your life with integrity doesn't mean that others will treat you the same way. They should, absolutely. But our world doesn't work that way. And because you had your own wounds, you've allowed wounded people into your inner circle.
      You can heal along with your husband. Or you can heal without him. That's entirely your choice. But make sure you're leaving him because you don't want him, not because you're fearful. His comment was stupid for sure. But I'm curious what happened afterward. Did he minimize your tears? Or did he realize that he'd stepped into it (again) and apologize? He is not going to be perfect. He is going to screw up (plenty). But so is everybody else. Part of our healing is being compassionate with ourselves for being imperfect. And part of our healing is learning to accept others' imperfections. We get to choose the realtionship we have with them. We don't need to let unhealthy people into our inner circle. But we're setting ourselves up for misery if we can't tolerate their screw-ups...as well as our own.

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    3. And one more thing: I'd be very surprised if your sister's lying to you didn't re-trigger a whole lot of pain. I really do think you're dealing with post-trauma. Her lying just opened up the wound all over again.

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    4. Lynn Less Pain (since you all helped me off my butt)March 23, 2016 at 5:09 AM

      Elle and Theresa,
      Thank you again and again. When I'm in a slugfest with myself, somehow you can see the big picture when I can't. My husband apologized and felt like a turd. He held me sweetly and let me cry in his chest. Your right I'm scared to death of everything. I love my sister and my narcissistic mother is trying to cause problems for us from the grave. I'm just not going to let her have the last word regardless if my sister is still listening to that narcissistic bitch. Your words made me stronger shining light on my real issues. Thank you so much for helping me. I guess at a certain point I stayed ridged to survive just getting through the day. Keep it all steady, the same because I knew that worked. I can see now I need to be a little more flexible. Your right from the two people who I love most in this world, it did open a vein. Thank you for taking time out of your day to help me.

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  9. Lynn I am so sorry. I can see how your sister lying to you would be devastating. I would have the same feelings it just triggers all the trauma. I am very sensitive now for example if my children do anything that reminds me of how my husband used to act like being detached or just giving excuses or lying I fall apart. It has been hard for me. I still find I am keeping others at arms length to I feel like protect myself. So far it feels right and comfortable. I feel like it is where I need to be. My therapist said it is healthy right now and makes sense. He said to practice self care in that way is one of my biggest priorities.

    And I do feel upset by how others act. As if they can do whatever they want without regard for others. I feel like my husband is empathic if not more emphatic to others vs me and our kids. I think some stems from him being in the mental health field. My therapist finds it almost troubling that he is protective and caring towards people that are more distant from him instead of us the people who are his primary relationships. I see him shifting some but we have a lot to work through still. He has been doing a great job but I feel he is glossing over and minimizing a lot of the past. His take is he cannot change it and he can only be judged by his current actions. But I feel like he acts as if he had a couple one night stands. And it was far from that. My therapist has been very supportive and made me feel validate and more comfortable asserting myself when we discuss these things. He will say to me that I am or was acting with normal/accepted thoughts/behaviors and my husband is the one being unreasonable. My husband has not been willing to go to therapy, he says he has made the necessary changes, I disagree and think he needs work whether we go together or him alone. We will see. This is a complex road...

    Hang in there and thinking of you!

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  10. Lynn, thank you for your honesty. Please remember that when people lie to you it is not about you, it is about them. Every person on this earth has a different idea of what is moral, what is right, even what is a lie, and what isn't. We all have that line in the sand that we will not cross. It is just that the line is in different places for different people. We cannot change their line, just as they cannot change ours. However, we can decide if we want them to be a part of our lives. My husbands line is a little further toward what I would consider to be in the wrong direction ... On his own accord, over our years together, I have seen that line has come more closely aligned to mine. However, he will always be a little bit on the other side so to speak. Sadly, his parents actually taught him to lie, in my eyes. For example, back in the day of collect calls they would tell their children that they would call and ask for someone who wasn't there, but it was a code name that the children were aware of. In this way, the parents knew that the children were home, yet they stole from the phone company. Sad, sad lesson for a child in my eyes.
    As for your happiness, that is within your control, and only your control. Maybe you don't like your husband? And maybe you do. Only you know. By the way, my husband also relieves tension through joking. Sometimes it is so entirely inappropriate. Our marriage counselor gave him kudos for utilizing his humor to relieve tension, yet she also recognized that at times his humor may be upsetting to me. If it is, I make certain that he is aware of it. And, he apologizes. I have heard from the last three therapists that I have seen, two of which were our marriage counselors, that I will always be more emotionally intelligent than he. In a nutshell, none of us are perfect and I love more about him than I dislike.
    Thank you once again Lynn, thank you for your honesty and thank you for your input on this site. I appreciate you.
    Finally, for all the ladies I just want to reiterate how important it is to eat well, get out in the fresh air, socialize, do what you love, take your vitamins… Get your sleep ... There have been times through all this that I recognize I myself am out of balance and with that I feel pain more greatly, I think I even make up pain that is not there ... And then I realize, I have not taken my B complex vitamin for three or four days in a row, or I have missed my birth control pills, several days in a row, or I have not walked in days and days… it makes such a tremendous difference. Our bodies need to be hormonally and chemically balanced in order to function optimally. Be good to yourself. You are so very precious.
    Love & Light.

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    1. Lynn Less Pain (since you all helped me off my butt)March 23, 2016 at 5:15 AM

      Melissa, your right too about lines in the sand and change. Thank you for so much common sense input in a life where the lines in the sand are zigzagged.

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  11. Lynn, I hurt for you, I'm sorry you are so unhappy. I really liked what Elle said about hurt people with flexible morals hurting other people. It resonates with me, describes my H and the OW very well.
    It sounds like you are seriously depressed, and with good reason. My experience with depression is that it hurts like hell, but it is temporary. Eventually, it eases, and you can find some joy again, even in little things. Don't put too much pressure on yourself to be happy. Ride it out. Let yourself process the pain and betrayal you are feeling. Wait until you reach a calmer, more peaceful place, and then see if you can figure out what is right for you. You are in my thoughts and prayers, brave sister.

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  12. Hello ladies, my husband and I had an argument this evening- a recurring theme - we have plans and then he changes them and maintains he never said "that" (whatever the plan is) in the first place - I truly get exasperated. Basically, he gets things all mixed up. And then he gets angry - as do I - and no good comes from it. For example, we are going away for the weekend. I actually forgot and scheduled a work appointment late in the day on Friday. I noticed this yesterday and told him of it - saying, "I will change it." He said, "No, don't change it - we are always rushing around - we will just go afterwards - that's fine." So tonight, he's talking to a friend and he says, "Luann has a work appointment, so I'll just leave early during the day, and she can come up later."
    What?!?! So when he gets off the phone I remind him of our plans and he gets angry that I was listening to his call and he doesn't know what he is doing. Sometimes I truly wonder if it is all the years of drinking, or is it just him winging it and doing whatever as it comes up - and this is why I wish we would continue counseling- to figure out this kinda stuff that upsets our lives - I even said that to my IC when the affair first came to light - at least now we'd get some counseling. We did, off and on for a year - and here we go again. Good night ladies :-)

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  13. Wow. I'm back ladies. I just went out to living room to talk a bit to my husband - basically to say, "I know we don't want to hurt one another." He agreed. I spoke a bit more and then asked if he was coming to bed and he pretty much blew - raising his voice, pushed me (I was squatted I. Front of him in the floor and he got up) and saying, "you're impossible, get out of my face!" I wish you ladies could have witnessed what happened. I'm not afraid of him. Don't worry; he's never hit me - but I am simply amazed when this animal comes out. Sadly he was raised like that - and he has made such strides - and now this. It saddens me. Prior to him losing it he even mentioned a condo in the area we could buy - and "move you there." I did not remind him at that moment- if anyone moves out, he does.
    Wow. I won't sleep all night, yet there are no tears - I know it is about him - I used to take his outbursts so personally. Now I know.

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    1. Melissa
      It would appear that maybe
      Your h has some symptoms of dementia that could be the result of drinking. Not remembering plans made growing angry for little to no reason. These are some of the symptoms my mother has been experiencing this past year. Or it could be he's just a complete ass! I hurt for the pain he continues to bring you as you have made so much progress! Pushing you away if familiar to me from the early confrontations I had with my h. He didn't like me in his face when I would rage and I'm thankful I finally got past those explosions! Hugs for your pain and prayers for a better tomorrow!

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  14. Hello Ladies, the next morning didn't go well - each time I went to him to see if he would like to talk (as a health care professional and a wife and friend - this is what I do) he got progressively more angry, culminating in him yelling again and pushing the door on me (not hurting me)?and then yelling that he was filing for divorce that day. I went to work; I saw him briefly later before he went out with a buddy. Then, in checking my email I see Scottrade transactions - I went to check the accounts - they were all "cashed" out - sitting in a cash account. I was shaking. When he returned home I asked him about it - he had cashed them all out so we'd have a steady, unmoving number to divide. He also researched divorce fees and talked to me about particulars - ie we can use an attorney if you want, or file ourselves if we can come to agreement- I can buy the house (he knows I want it) etc, He was very calm. He feels we "fight all the time" - which we don't - and the situation is not good for our health. We are 14 months from DDay #1 and about 10 months from DDay #2 and about 7 months since he moved back home and about two months since he's been "back" - expressing his love, sex - he wants to go over things this weekend and then move out. As I told him last night, if I had my druthers we'd go back to counseling, resume reading our books and build on our marriage, but he doesn't want to. He wants it to be sunshine and roses all the time - without any effort. True to his nature - simply avoid and you will be happy. I love him and he loves me, but we don't work, at least with our current dynamic, among other issues. I told him last night - he would be good with someone like my mom - when her and dad would get into a fight - she wouldn't talk to him for five days! Not healthy, but for people with avoidant personalities ... This is going to be really, really hard ladies ... I will be looking for your support, and I know you will be here for me, as my husband cannot.

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    1. Oh Melissa,
      You've worked so hard to make this work. But, clearly, it takes more than one person to create a good marriage and he just won't do any of the heavy lifting. But you certainly know that you gave it your best shot (over and over).
      You've got such a warm heart and have provided so much comfort to others on this site. Your husband is a fool.

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    2. Melissa,
      My heart hurts for what you are going through. In the time that I've been on this site, I've seen you do so much work on yourself and your marriage. I'm sorry that your husband can't be there in the ways you need him to be. I pray for strength and peace for you.

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    3. Melissa you have helped me through so much. I'm sorry your husband doesn't realize what he will be missing. You have been off and on the Merry-Go-Round with him so many times. What ever he is looking for isn't there. I believe at some point in the future he will realize this and then it is going to be too late. I agree with Elle he is a giant fool. Honestly, you deserve better. Let us know when he comes begging you to take him back and it is too late. He will be like those other cheaters who waffle other sites who think the grass is greener only to say several months later "Give me advice on how I can get my FBS back." At that point these men are willing to do anything but it is way toooo late. Theses guys stay in pain for the rest of their lives.

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  15. I have to keep reminding myself- everything happens for the greater good. Today we are doing our taxes. Tomorrow and Sunday we will be dividing assets.. It's a sad time :-(. We've been together 22 years.

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    1. Melissa, you must be feeling shocked and conflicted. I am at a similar point, ending a marriage of 17 years, and we are also supposed to talk finances today - if I can drag him to the table. Like the others, I am worried about your husband's temper. Sure, you know what he will and will not do to you under ordinary circumstances, but these times are highly emotional for both of you, and he may have an unexpected reaction. Be careful.
      I would venture a guess that he is calm right now because he is initiating the action, and feels in control of the situation. it seems like control is very important to him, and maybe he is trying to move ahead so quickly with the divorce partly because he fears you will do it instead, and he wants to leave before he can be left.
      If that's the case, he may very well waver and change his mind at some point. If I were you, I would do some serious soul-searching to decide where I stood and what my response would be if he did try to back-pedal.
      I have been sad a lot this week, grieving the end of a relationship that I thought would last forever. But I have also been looking forward, envisioning a life in which I will be free of lies and manipulations, free of doubts and suspicions, starting fresh and leaving behind the pain of the past.
      It is a long and difficult transition, but I believe there is peace and happiness down the road.
      Hugs!

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  16. Melissa--I am sorry that you experienced a physical outburst with your H. From the outside it feels precarious to accept at face value that you are safe--and it's not that I doubt your intellect or sensibilities, but I have known women who believed they were safe and in fact it was not the case. You are ENTITLED to speak and be heard and be completely safe doing so. I am going to be blunt and say the consequence in my home of having hands placed on me would be that he had to leave--it would be yet another boundary crossed and that one,for me is 100% non negotiable. I once had a friend who was hurt by her partner and she said to me "it wasn't the fact that he COULD push me or slap me it was simply that I decided that he WOULDN'T". I love the quote "we teach people how to treat us". Now I try and embody what it means in ME 2.0! Betrayal is not a "you did this so I get to take a pound of flesh" scenario, but your H's reaction implies to me that he feels your needs/questions/concerns are disproportionate to what has happened. I know I keep saying "safe", but next in line to that priority is acknowledging that you need to be heard and supported. The absence of tears can be attributable to a few things which I know you recognize. Please just be aware that support and advocacy for you runs deep here and is spread across a few continents! I am praying you find a way through this that manifests your best self. Shawn.

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    Replies
    1. Shawn,
      You make some really good -- and important -- points. Melissa, your husband's inability to control his temper is concerning, to say the least.

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  17. Dear Melissa

    My heart goes out to you. I am thinking of you and sending courage compassion and support. It really does take 2 to make marriage and I am sorry he won't be your partner. You are a courageous beautiful woman and I have seen the meaningful and caring things you have shared on this site.

    Please keep yourself emotionally and physically safe. I know the next part of your journey will have difficult moments, but you are not alone. BWC sisters are here with understanding and support.

    Love
    Becky.

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  18. Thank you all for your responses; much appreciated as always. After a day of conversation and me going to work I came home and said to my h, "I know a way to give this marriage a chance". He says, "what". And I begin to speak of the counselor whom I had given him the name of when we separated. He said, "isn't that ... and he named our two marriage counselors- I said, "no, this one specializes in psychological testing". He: "you're just trying to get me into counseling". Me: "well, yes, but at least go for the evaluation." And he said. "I can do that." INow, I hope that he does. And I am seeing our marriage counselor Monday. Truth be told, I can live with his outbursts, more than I can live with his desire to bolt - I don't want to live with either. And to assure everyone - he has not had an outburst like that in literally years, not even with all the craziness since DDay. I have been thinking for some time that he has adult ADHD - frankly I'm hoping the psychologist finds something( something which explains his crazy behavior. He has all the signs. Thank you all once again - I will keep you informed. Love you❤️

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