Thursday, May 10, 2018

Hate is the Ugly Mask of Pain


If I hadn't had my rage in the days and weeks following D-Day, I would have wondered if I was dead. I was so angry. Viscerally angry. I had never hated like that in my life. I could taste my hate.
I recently spoke with a woman going through what they call a high-conflict divorce. Her husband is a narcissist who told her to her face, when she dropped off her sons for a weekend with their dad, that he was going to make her life a living hell. He did. Until, she said, she disengaged. When one partner declares war, it can only be a battle if the other one agrees to fight. With the help of her therapist and a support group, she stopped reacting to his long-winded e-mails, crafted to inflict maximum pain and generate maximum response. She made sure to be "on the phone" during drop-off and pick-up so that he couldn't draw her in. Slowly, the dynamic shifted.

The thing with hate is that it consumes the hater more than the hated. It takes an extraordinary amount of energy to hate, to summon up the effort required to laser-focus on the ways in which someone deserves your wrath. At first, it feels as though it takes less energy to hate than to manage the hate. The hate comes naturally.
Which is what makes it so dangerous. It's insidious. It eats us from the inside out. And before we know it, we're empty except for a deep hot rage.
We've know that hater, haven't we? The one with whom any conversation inevitably turns to their grievances, the ways in which they've been wronged. They relitigate insults, slights, snubs. It might have happened a decade ago. But to the hater, it might as well have happened yesterday. The hate is fresh.
And this is because the pain is fresh. Hate is the ugly mask of pain. Behind any howl of hate is the whisper of hurt, muted but nonetheless there.
But pain makes us feel vulnerable. Pain reminds us that we want connection and belonging but that we aren't getting it. And so we lash out in an attempt to reclaim power.
Power fuelled by hate isn't power at all. Hate is a lack of control, the opposite of power. That's not to say hate can't wreak a lot of havoc, or inflict a lot of pain of others. But it leaves the hater hollow, unable to connect except in the most superficial ways. It keeps us from exactly the thing we want most: to connect to someone else. And connection requires vulnerability.

Is there anything more difficult in the wake of betrayal? To keep ourselves vulnerable? To avoid arming our pain with hate? I could feel the hate eating me alive. It made me cruel and bitter. It made me hard. And, frankly, it made me miserable. Hating people feels really shitty.
What's more, it's exhausting.
I'm not sure what, exactly, shifted my hate into something healthier.
Part of it was using it as fuel. I ran farther and faster than I was accustomed to. As I exercised, I exorcised the hate and always returned home less angry.
Part of it was meditating. Sitting and breathing is so much harder than it seems. It strips us of our armour. Alone with our thoughts, we have nowhere to hide. And so the pain emerges and insists on being seen.
And finally, I learned to extend compassion to the hated, thanks to meditation and church, where a minister stood at the pulpit and told us, in no uncertain terms, that our job was to try and see the face of God in every single person we met. Even the OW? my mind wondered, aghast. Yep. Even the OW.
And it worked. Slowly, by seeing her (and my husband) not as some monster who had the power to destroy me (and therefore deserved to be hated) but as a wounded person herself, inflicting her own hate onto others. It wasn't easy (LORD, it wasn't easy). But it was so much better than the bitterness that had consumed me.

I recently asked on Twitter (you can follow me here) how other betrayed wives manage their own hate. I was amused to discover that plenty turn to games on their phone to distract themselves from it. When they feel the hate clouds gathering, they turn to Candy Crush.
I say, whatever works. Therapy. Meditation. Exercise. Words with Friends.
But don't let hate fester until you no longer recognize it as anything other than a virus infecting the host.


41 comments:

  1. "I am not Jesus, nor do I have Alzheimer".
    I do not forgive and I do not forget.......
    what my husband has done to me and our children....and the whores who were happy to interfere in our lives. I hate him so much, but, it's only when I think about him and what he's done (which still at the moment is every day). I don't sit there every day with steam coming out of my ears, and probably by my writing here, you'd think I would be throwing things around. I don't. Whilst I hate, I am relatively calm, and I suppose this also worries me, as if somewhere in me, something may be eating away at me that has not surfaced. I know it's masking my pain. I don't think that pain will ever go away, it is lessening with time, but he really hurt me so bad for so many years, when all I ever did was love and support him. For me, my hate toward him is justified, for the years of his lies, betrayals, deception etc and then when confronted with evidence, he refused to be remorseful or accountable. He really is just a low life piece of shit, and if I didn't hate him, to him, he would take it as me condoning what he did. I know how his sick mind works. He said to me once when I first found out about his affairs, "I want to stay married, but live a single life, go out and meet women". What fucking cruel sick bastard are you? What mentally fucked up in the head person are you?
    I suppose I hate myself for knowing he was a bastard and not being able to change him, and staying with him hoping he would miraculously change and be a better husband and father. So somewhere, somehow, I have to forgive myself for putting up with him for all these years.
    Hugs
    Gabby xo

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    1. That's it, Gabby. I'm also struggling with how and why. How did I not see it coming? Why can he not WANT to work things out?

      I think you are right- we have to forgive ourselves for being human. For hoping, trusting, not anticipating betrayal. These are not 'bad' things and do not really need 'forgiveness' as such. But I (maybe like you) feel so hurt that I'm looking for SOMETHING to fix/blame/do to help take the pain away. As my h is unresponsive, the only thing under my control is me. But it is so corrosive to be hard on yourself for being a loving person.

      And it is so life-draining to give energy (positive or negative) to an emotional black hole. That's how I'm starting to see my h. He doesn't deserve my energy. I want to use my life force to live.

      Don't give him any more of your energy, Gabby. Transform it into something that powers you and your children. You did your best. You can't be responsible for his actions. Your kids know the score. Use your energy to flourish.
      I wish this were easier!

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    2. Gabby, what you say makes sense. Your H is a fucking, cruel bastard. Mine too. It is amazing that we are able to function at all. I wish mine had fessed up when I was suspicious.I wish he had called her or sent a no contact letter. I wish any apology came without that big but, but you need to forgive, you need to calm down etc...

      I told her boyfriend. Her Dad and kids overheard me yelling at her and later I saw himcrying. H had the nerve to ask if I felt bad about that. Nah, their bad acts were to blame.

      The narcissism and gaslighting are truly forms of torture. How does one forgive that? How does one not get angry and hate him, hate her, hate our circumstances? You are right, it lessens, but it is there.

      Like you, I'm calm. But triggers set in and I can turn into day one Dday crazy person wishing and vocalizing things happening to her that the writers of Criminal Minds wouldn't even use.

      Be kind to yourself and even selfish. You are doing the absolute best in a crazy, upside down world. You are such an amazing person who has been able to still give her children a home. I don't know their ages, but they will always love you more.

      Take care.

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    3. I think that "forgiving ourselves" piece is a huge part of getting past the hate. I think, often, we're so angry with ourselves for all the usual reasons: We should have known, we should have kicked him out right away, we shouldn't have put up with x,y and z all these years. Etc. We assume so much of the blame rather than quickly getting to "I did the best I could with what I knew at the time". And when we can get there, so much of the anger/hate dissolves. Because we're human. We did our best. And now that we know better, we're doing better.

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    4. Gabby, I can feel your pain and anger and like all of the other feedback you've received here I'd like to offer some love and support. What you feel and think about your husband is normal and understandable in my eyes and the fact that you were committed to making your marriage work and hoping your husband would change is admirable in today's "throw away society". All of us here who risked staying in our marriage and giving our spouses another chance to correct their behavior and get help knew that we were risking more heartache and pain. That fact is that he does not think he has a problem so you will never convince him that he does. You were not one who married a man with any moral compass. He clearly has many more issues than you could have ever known about or understood. I don't think a psychiatrist would be able to get to the bottom of your husbands issues either but you, my dear, are only guilty of being a loving, hopeful and giving person to give your husband many more chances than he deserved based on where you are now and what you have shared with us. None of us are mind readers yet you continue to kick yourself for things you could not possibly know about your husband and his lack of moral compass. He sounds like he is "stuck" at about 16 years of age while you are an adult. He does not feel your hate at all and it sounds like it is killing you. Like Elle said, "forgiving ourselves" is a huge part of moving past the hate and I continue to struggle with this at times even though it has been almost 3 years for me. There were so many signs that something was up but I never, ever, ever thought my husband was addicted to porn and prostitutes. I still get into that death spiral at times when I allow the past and future to interfere with today. Not good or healthy. I do know that the rules for my life are changed forever. I look at my husband sometimes and think awful thoughts like, "you are a pathetic and disgusting human being" but now that I know what his childhood looked like and how he got to the point of feeling like a piece of shit himself it makes it easier to understand why he made the choices he did. It is as if he was "groomed" his entire life to be the empty shell of a man he became until D-day when he finally accepted that he needed help. He did not want to lose it all and he is committed to being the best person/man/father/husband he can be for whatever time he has left on this earth. Your husband, unfortunately, has not hit that point in his life but believe me, he will and when he does get to that day of reckoning with himself, you will be your own shining star as his fizzles out. Much love to you and Happy Mother's Day my secret sister and friend. He is not worth the space in your heart or head to hate.

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    5. I hated. I hated big. I hated so much I felt my skin crawling and my head was spinning. I remember one crazy post about all the things I hated at the time. I hated everything. I know hate. Sometimes he visits unexpectedly and I have to deal with him to try to get him out. Sometimes it takes longer then others. But I can also invite hate in. Hate is poisonous it's not powerful. It makes us weaker not stronger. And that is why it is like a drug. It will make you feel one way while doing the opposite.

      I have no solution to this hate. I will have to battle my hate for the rest of my life I'm sure.

      Blindsided

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  2. I so agree Elle. I thought I was going to go crazy with my hate. It's just terrible to be consumed with so much hate. I never want to experience that again.

    With the hate gone now and the pain dulling I'm just left with the past to deal with... and how to let go. Those moments where you see or think of it juat out of the blue. It's a torture too. Sure they don't bring me to my knees sad, which I'm so thankful for because a year ago I would never believe I could be where I am now... but isn't life juat overall sad Still? My marriage is more honest, I'm treated better, there has been significant improvements across the board... but im just sad about it. I dont know if I'm just morning the loss of innocence in my marriage, or the sense of certainty like Elle mentioned in the previous post. I just feel dull and joyless about life in general. What do you do... I'm taking care of myself. I'm doing all those self help things. My situation feels pathetic and dull.
    Blindsided .

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    1. Blindsided, It happened to me too. That plain of lethal flatness. Where life was...okay. But grey. Flat.
      Part of it, I suspect, is emotional exhaustion. Part of it is being stripped of naivety. And part of it is knowing that those we love can let us down profoundly. And that sucks.
      But look for joy. Make it intentional. Pay attention to the little things -- the unexpected things. I had a friend who made it her mission to seek out "loveliness". Fresh flowers, a purring cat, a new lipstick, a good movie. Whatever works. But notice. A friend's particularly blue eyes. A gorgeous pair of boots on someone who walks past. A purple-pink sky as the sun goes down. Now...your turn. ;)

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    2. Michel Quoist has a poem about being grateful for tiny things (like fragrant soap, a car engine running smoothly, etc). It's written as a prayer, but I think it could resonate for anyone, believer or not.

      My one caveat is that it's from a VERY male point of view! But the concept is good.

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    3. Blindsided ... that land of flatness might seem more wobbly then the anger or sadness huh, like do i ever feel? Will I ever, pinch me does it hurt ... empty, tired, flatness ... meh i even got to the point of losing ability to feel anything so it felt even laughter from my kid ... it doesnt last but might be much needed because you are exhausted. You will see the world in color again hold on and yes look for the smallest shimmer of sparkle ... sun on your face, good creamer for your coffee... pretty toes!!! Im just over 3 years out its still in my rearview mirror but not always front and center anymore. Take care of you and walk it out while u listen to the birds or feel the wind in your hair ... take it back to simple ...

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    4. I'm starting to think i just don't love him. I'm not excited to see him when he comes home. I'm not excited to be alone with him when the kids go to bed. I'd be fine if he just stayed away and didn't come home from his out of town job.

      How do you change how you see someone to find a different kind of love in a partner who betrayed you?

      I dont want to be his mother anymore. I dont want to be his caretaker and escape goat. I dont want to be just the "babysitter" to his kids when he is gone. I'm not interested in any aspect of the old relationship we had anymore because it's all broken.

      I know it is cruel and awful and im a terrible for saying this but I see him as a weak, pathetic boy and I'm not in love with him anymore. I am also not willing to leave him because the alternative is shittier. The whole idea of the rest of my life with HIM feels FLAT and dull and just sad. Hmmmm... that was the first time thinking that thought through to the end and actually writing it down.... now is it 100% true? I don't know.

      Blindsided

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    5. Blindsided, Have you and your husband talked about this at all? What I have found is we have moved beyond the pain and worry of betrayal. Now that the focus is off of that how do we live our lives? Honestly habits had formed. Many of them due to his guilt and avoiding his life. All with good excuses. He has stepped up with the kids and helping around the house. All good but I feel like day to day stress and responsibilities are weighing on us both. Neither of us have much energy to have fun together. I see whatever it might have been the other women, time with friends, drinking really anything but me and the kids were an escape from his responsibilities. It is hard we are stuck in this intense every day life. We have made an effort to minimize commitments. But between our jobs and our kids it is as if we have little energy or time for much. And when we are together the focus is on what seems all serious things. We have had many serious discussions about this. It seems the only time when we relax and really enjoy ourselves is when we are out of town on vacation. And our kids are not little but we have years before they go away. Our kids are really great but the stress of school/grades, activities being intense and all the driving around etc we are both worn down. I never thought it would be more exhausting than having babies and toddlers but all the stress is bigger.

      We are both workaholics too. At least we share that in common. It is hard pre dday I spent a lot of time making our lives easier and not working much. But with dday came insecurities about my life if he left me or I wanted to leave him, financially could I support myself etc. So that adds stress to our day to day lives.

      Sorry for going on and on and we do not have the answers. I see my husband is making an effort and I do not think he will cheat ever again. However I just wonder how we will navigate life. We have so much in common so that helps but it is so hard. I think some of it for me is just day to day drudgery is creating a lot of apathy for me.

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  3. Elle, as I have made the decision to retract the divorce summons and stay on, I am also learning to let go of the hate. God...it is a crippling struggle on certain days but on days where I go for my long walk or focus on rejoining my work, I realised the 'hate' is forgotten. My pastor has told me to move on, I must cleanse my heart of all the hatred for MY own well-being. He said cursing, praying for harm to befall on OW or my son's father (still cannot call him as H yet) is like allowing a parasite to feed on my good soul. Slowly the hate will turn me into a miserable person. I am still in the process of letting go of the hate. Yes, meditation helps a lot and so does shopping lol lol.

    Gabby: you are a strong and in control. The hate justifies why you are moving on. Letting go of the hate, I am learning, is victory for us cos we are looking at these screwed up people and telling them 'Your negativity ain't bringing me down. I will survive'...cue the song 'I will Survive'. Big big hug to you!

    Love Lynn

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    1. Lynn,
      I agree with your pastor but I don't think we can force it. I think we have to see the hate itself as a cancer and hate the hate (ha!). You're already noticing the things that help you. So feed that -- the meditation, the walking, even the shopping. Make it sacred. Don't let anything interfere with your time doing that.

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  4. I passed over hate and went right to pain. After about 9 months, I did get angry but I never hated my husband. I am a Christian, one that actually tries to live what I believe, and I think that is what kept me from hating. It's not in my nature any more to hate people. I gave that up in exchange for Jesus. I hate sin. I hate what it does to people and what it causes people to do. I hate what they did but I never hated my husband. It's a good thing, I guess, because I chose to stay with him and work things out. My husband didn't have "a history". He got in a bad spot and made a terrible choice. That is the condition of the human race. In some ways, I felt really sorry for him and the other woman but I never pitied him. Believe me he heard every word of my pain. I was just angry that it happened. It took a long time for me to accept that my fairytale marriage was over as I knew it. I realized that forgiveness is commanded by God for my benefit, not the person who needs forgiven. That made it a lot easier to forgive and not hate because I saw it as taking care of myself and opening the door for God to take care of me too. God will deal with my husband and in many ways, He has already. I can identify with the quote above because as crazy as it seems, it was hard for me to let go of the pain and move on. Maybe I was afraid of what would be left after I did. Maybe by holding on, my dream of what I thought my marriage was, but wasn't, was still alive. I don't rightly know. The fact is, we will survive this. There will be scar tissue but scar tissue is actually stronger than what was there before the injury and I can honestly say that it is true. I guess we have choices to make in midst of all this turmoil. We can choose a better life, albeit a different life, or we can choose misery. I honestly believe that it is up to us. I vasillated between the two for a long time until one day I had a sort of resurrection day and decided to get up and get going, even if it was all by myself. I'm glad I did. I hope I didn't sound self righteous to anyone. I don't mean to be. I just wanted to share my experience. My heart goes out to each and every one of you. No matter how our husbands cheated, what the circumstances were, what type of affair he had, it hurts like hell. What a wonderful thing it is to know that there are others who understand, who don't judge, and who can offer support and comfort when we need it.

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    1. Anonymous,
      You don't sound righteous at all. You sound like someone with a lot of hard-won wisdom that we can all benefit from. You sound like exactly like the kind of Christian who takes the commandment to love they neighbor seriously. And, of course, it doesn't mean just love the person who's easy to love. It means, love those who we really don't want to love.
      Thank-you for sharing your story. And I'm so glad you've managed to find a measure of peace where you are now. The pain can be tough to let go of because sometimes there's an emptiness in its place at first. But trust that you can work through the pain and that you'll find that joy in your life again.

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    2. Anonymous Thank you.your words are so encouraging to me. It's really interesting to me when you say forgiveness is for me... and not him. I have to sit on that. I am a Christian as well and terribly frightened by my hatred of my husband and inability to let the pain of the past go. I worry about my own fate if I cannot forgive.


      Before the affair I would have done anything for my husband. He was my knight for sure. Even when he began to treat me badly, then terribly, then abusively during the affair. Now tho I feel as if I dont love him any more. I look down on him. I look at him as pathetic. I dont feel love. I dont want to leave him but I juat don't care about him as a lover. I care about his well being I guess, certainly his soul but I cannot bring myself to love him as I did. I'm sort of trying to find other ways to view him so I can feel in live with him but it's not going very well. He says he loves me still. I dont know. I call bullshit. Life is lonely. I'm so happy my kids are amazing and take up most of my mind space. I dont have to think about my pathetic marriage and life. I hope they do better then me.

      Blindsided

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  5. Gabby, I saw what hate did to my mother after my Dad's affair. She hung on to it her entire life, living in that pain. No time or concern for anyone else. She lived in the hate, it eroded her mind and body over time until I didn't recognize her anymore. Hate is like a rabid dog that turns on it's owner.

    I have been through a divorce. Gabby any divorce is painful, sometimes hateful. For other emotions associated with betrayal, anger shows up come on in. Revenge pull up a chair. Pity wants a party I'll show you the living room. Hate never finishes first. No escape, fantasy to offer either sorry that is not me either. The hate isn't my fault but it is my responsibility to relieve my own suffering. I didn't want to end up like my mom so I knew I had to put out the hate fire or it would consume me, the arsonist.
    For awhile hate was the cocaine emotion, it caused my blood to pump, up the energy to get out of bed. Hate demanded larger and more frequent doses. I didn't want hate to be my driving force. I had prison sentence although I was innocent. There is no way I can do 5 years. There has been a mistake that has to corrected and the hate grew. Then I didn't want out of prison it was too painful. I decided to give it up because I needed inner piece. That is only way I can explain it and it took time. It was my choice to set hate free. It was step of mercy for myself. You deserve to know what is like that someone loves you so much that they won't cheat on you. Four things kept me alive. 1. There will be better days. 2. I did what I wanted to do. 3. I keep connected with friends and found some new better friends. 4. I try to do something good for someone every week.

    Gabby you can become a free woman. But know this, the rules in my life have changed. There are amounts of tragedy hidden in everyone's life. I felt hate that I was the only one being mistreated in the universe. To lose a child, have cancer, paralyzed in an accident, fire destroy a home, be betrayed has been there as long as their have been women. I joined a new group of women. Those that knew how cruel the world could be and could never be unlearned. Gabby you can be the best you can be.

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    1. LLP,
      As usual, your compassion, your wisdom and your incredible poetry has completely nailed it. Hate is the cocaine of emotions, isn't it? It's courses through our veins and we feel so righteous and alive. Until we hit bottom with a slam.
      And I love your four-step plan. LLP, you are a treasure.

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  6. Fragments of HopeMay 12, 2018 at 5:23 AM

    This is a tough time for me and I feel that its actually the time for pain and hatred to have their turn in the light. After further lunches with women, inappropriate sharing and heading right back into affair territory last year (four years after the initial affair and supposed reconciliation efforts) I said I could not have my mental health wrecked anymore and drew a line. He subsequently has been in IC and his counsellor seems a gem, very astute. Our MC was not helpful and I'm left a bit adrift now. Right now its like everything has been torn down. I've become aware of the full extent of the inauthentic marriage I've had for 20 years. It's not pretty, so many lies, so much deception on finances, porn, emotional dalliances. Porn throughout and particularly, I've discovered in the years I treasured, when I felt we were closest, having 3 (at the time) little kids. I've discovered he spent over 5000 euros over at least a two year period. I NEVER KNEW. He borrowed another 5000 for shares from me but never bothered to tell me that it had become worthless and he needed to sell to pay debts. Only last year did he reveal kissing a former girlfriend after years of me beeseeching him to tell me everything. A strong emotional affair where he was going to leave, villifed me etc etc. And during 'reconciliation', more lunches, more porn, more lies. Now he says yet again that he is committed to change, yes, he is in the counsellor but he is also still attending the acting course where one of the women he invited to lunch also attends. He has signed up for a play and is currently out at rehearsals or class 3 or 4 times a week. He has taken days working from homt to try to balance but I just feel that after everything taken and literally stolen from the family in some cases it is too little, too late. Elle mentioned emotional exhaustion. We've had so much stress, financial (his company not paying wages or paying late for months), my 12 yo nephew and kids dear friend dying without warning in Jan, my eldest son's extreme difficulties with behaviour, school and still hostility. I am in pain and unlike my sister's grief which is legitamate and visible, I can't tell people closest to me the latest discoveries and pain. Time and time again I have come back close to him but he has let me down over and over. I was signed up to keeping an open mind on the marriage but another six months on from latest discoveries I feel like it's all too late. I feel an idiot for coming back and back, I feel agitated having him around. I wish I could have separated from him for sanity and peace of mind but I have kept it from the family. I will be organizing my own IC but am concerned that it will be as useless and detrimental as the MC was. Apart from that I have to live alongside this man who has stolen a whole lifetime of authenticity, made me invisible and caricatured me as belligerent and unreasonable. I need to get myself back and I still don't believe he is fully committed to making up for the damage.

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    1. FOH, I am so so sorry for the pain you're in. You have every reason to feel utterly exhausted and bereft and so angry. You've had more than anyone should have to handle -- all in a short period of time. You've got so much tangled up grief.
      I'm glad you're going to find your own IC. You need support focussed exclusively on you. Don't settle for someone who isn't working for you. If the first doesn't work, I hope you'll keep trying. The "gem" is out there. I'm hoping you get her on the first try. I've always been lucky re counsellors. I've had two long-term ones in my life -- one in my 20s and then again re. betrayal. Both, literally, saved my life.
      And FOH, why do you have to live alongside your husband? Why can't you separate until you see clear evidence that he's committed to change? Why can't you claim some of your life for you? You are not invisible. You are certainly not unreasonable. I wonder if a lot of your anger is around betraying yourself, allowing yourself to be mischaracterized, putting up with so much shit for so long. Giving someone a chance to be better when he couldn't see the gift that was. I was furious with myself and a big part of my own healing was forgiving myself. Taking responsibility for what I could have changed (ie. refusing to allow him to make me "the crazy one") but accepting that I did the best I could with what I knew at the time. I had a lot of work to do on me, to heal old wounds, before I could let myself off the hook.
      And now? I can see that I worked so bloody hard for so bloody long. That I just wanted someone to love me, to see me, to think I was just the greatest. But I couldn't do that for myself. And that was where I needed to start.
      FOH, you've had so many people leaning on you. It's time to start making yourself a priority. You sound burned out, utterly depleted. Figure out what YOU need. To hell with what other people think. If you need to separate, then separate. If you need him to give up his acting for now, then make that a boundary. He's been making his own rules for a long long time. You need to make some of your own.

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    2. Fragments, I can’t imagine the pain you are enduring but it’s good that you are able to identify it. You’ve been through a ton since just the first of the year. Hoping Mother’s Day can be relaxing and reflective for you. You’ve been a mom first and foremost amongst all his shenanigans. Celebrate you on Mother’s Day. I hope your 3 treat you like a queen and he understands what you’ve done for your entire family.

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    3. FOH, is the name you choose for a reason. How many D-days have you really had? Each time there is new revelation it is a D-day. So far what you have described in his actions are the opposite of reconciliation. I'm just repeating what you wrote.

      1. Lunch with other women
      2. Inappropriate sharing
      3. Porn
      4. Stealing from you
      5. Lies by omission about stealing
      6. Emotional affairs
      7. Ignoring your boundaries - acting which is pretending to have emotional bonds.
      8. Lies about kissing a former girl friend.
      He has real issues with emotional stuff. You maybe way over your head and don't realize it because you have been so beaten down. Your afraid your own IC will be detrimental? Did he say that?

      I agree with Elle, 100% about putting up with his shit. Why do you think you are putting up with him? Do you think you aren't good enough to deserve some peace, happiness? You are good enough. You are enough period. He is so busy feeding this bottomless emotional pit of needs he can't see a beautiful woman standing in front of him ready to give him so much love and support. I think you need to give everyone a big dose of Vitamin N. Can you...NO. Will you....No. Do you have time to....NO. Do you mind....YES I DO NO. I was wondering....NO. What if you....NO. Be selfish, self-serving and spend what energy he hasn't taken and spend it on you.

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    4. Fragments of HopeMay 14, 2018 at 1:39 PM

      Thanks so much Elle, Heartfelt and LLP. It's good to have some straight talking and some exhortations to take something for myself for a change. Things do seem to be changing since he started IC and has been attending every week for the past four months. He has offered to give up the acting course but it was something I encouraged him to do and he will get his certificate at the end of June so I thought, on balance he should finish it out though he probably should have quit back in November when it all came out. LLP I found our MC not helpful so it is me saying that I'm a bit reticent about IC for myself but I'll take the plunge. I do like the way you described his 'bottomless emotional pit of needs' that does seem to describe what's been going on for years. It sounds like he now knows he's not given himself the chance to be real for years but it remains to be seen if he can break out of these patterns he's had since his teens. Ladies I will take your inspiration and really find something to build myself outside of this mess he has put me through, thank you xx

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  7. Hi anon 10.41.. I found your post inspiring I too believe in god and hearing your version of faith really reasonates with me I too feel I have let god into my life more since d day than I have done before. My belief in kindness and generosity and good old fashioned values are more important to me more than ever so really I’ve opened up my heart to hurt and pain because from this comes change and growth. I planted some sunflowers with my 5 year old just last week and he was thrilled to see the flower spouting so much so he wanted to take a picture and send it to all his family.. it’s these little things that I treasure, how this little person can see such joy in nature, I feel it too .. this confirms that betrayal hasn’t stripped me from feeling happy in fact it’s done the opposite it’s given me hope and faith.. thank you for sharing anon you’ve uplifted me : ) xxxx

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  8. Fragments of hope
    I feel your pain so deeply! My h met his cow on the volleyball courts and he gave up his favorite pastime sport even though I went to every game before dday! Post dday the very word was a trigger and I couldn’t even watch the Olympic Games that summer! He was so willing to do anything that would ease the pain that he caused me! We continue to have our moments but he quickly does something that helps! It doesn’t sound as if your h has come to understand what you need and how important you are to him! I’m so sorry for the pain you continue to have but I’m with Elle! It’s time for you to care more about your needs than his! Sending you warm hugs on this Mother’s Day!

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    1. Fragments of HopeMay 14, 2018 at 1:47 PM

      Thanks so much Theresa for sending your care. You are right, up to now my h has been emotionally incapable of sitting with my pain and really wholeheartedly doing whatever was truly needed to engage with and make reparation for the pain caused. His IC seems brilliant. She challenges him and has really made him bring stuff into the light. He is now getting ready to sit with the reality of what he has done, then he says he will truly engage with me on it. I have been let down up to now so I'm grieving everything lost and waiting to see if he can begin, finally to make substantial and committed changes and show care.

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  9. So much truth here...
    Before all this happened, I had spent 45 years of my life not knowing what it felt like to hate. Anger, resentment, grudges...I had struggles with these. But I did not know or understand the white-hot, screaming emotion that is hate.
    It gave me energy and strength. It also made me do things I never thought I would do. It was frightening. It made me question who I was and what I believed.
    And yes, the hatred definitely springs from pain.
    We hate because we are feeling incredible pain, and we cannot alleviate it, or properly defend ourselves from the person who seems to be willfully inflicting it. The person who was supposed to protect us has turned on us, has torn away our defenses, and has let in another person to assist in inflicting abuse.
    I guess we’re like wounded animals, snapping and snarling because we are hurting and we are terrified.
    And there is a strong sense that those who have caused our suffering should be made to suffer in turn.
    The hatred made me feel a little stronger, a little safer. But it felt like poison in my mind.
    I go through stages, like now, when I feel I am finally putting it behind me. But it would come rushing back when I got triggered.

    I feel very conflicted. A year or so ago, I gave myself a pass on the whole forgiveness thing. The hits just kept coming, and I decided that forcing forgiveness wasn’t going to help. I decided that nobody could tell me I had to forgive if I wasn’t ready.
    And now, I have a sense that it’s time to start thinking, praying, reading, and meditating about it again. I still don’t want to force it. But maybe I should open the door, and see if it’s ready to come in. I honestly don’t know. I guess I’ll see.
    The thing is... in the long run, I don’t want to be remembered for my hate. I want to be remembered for my love. My kids have some negative memories of me, and I’m trying as hard as I can to replace them with positive memories. I can’t erase the mistakes I’ve made in the past. But I’ve got a lot of future left. To make it a good one, I need to lose the hate.
    Not easy.

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    1. “ The person who was supposed to protect us has turned on us, has torn away our defenses, and has let in another person to assist in inflicting abuse.”
      So much truth to that. I had pure rage in the beginning. I didn’t know how to handle that emotion. How could he not only hurt me, but allow her to do the same? Yes, he should have been loyal to me, but she also had a choice to say no.
      Forgiveness has been a roller coaster ride for me. At first I felt i had to forgive them both. Then I felt I didn’t. It has come for my husband the more I see him change. Forgiving someone you don’t know and don’t see change is harder. I’m guilty of saying, “I will never be ok until I inflict the same type of pain on her that she’s inflicted on me.” Crazy, right? And if you knew me outside of this site, you would know that that’s not me. I’m more the kind to help someone. I think that’s what makes it so hard to reconcile how someone could make a choice to hurt someone, anyone for that matter. I struggle with that. My husband says it wasn’t a conscious choice to hurt me. If that’s the case, it still means you were so selfish that you never put any thought into what your actions were doing to others. And then I circle back to how hurt people hurt people and I thank God I was never hurt enough to do the things either of them did.
      I don’t want the hate to make me bitter but I’ve come to believe that I’ll resolve my feelings toward her in time. It’s just a process. It’s been over three years and I haven’t acted on my anger thus far. So I’ve got that going for me... LOL
      Hugs, my warrior sisters! ❤️

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    2. Yeah, Dandelion, it is so surreal that a person you’ve never met could have so much malice toward you.
      As if a perfect stranger were to walk up to you on the street and start slapping you in the face and spitting on you..

      “....it wasn’t a conscious choice.” Ha. So what was it, an unconscious choice? They were sleepwalking the whole time.
      Bless their hearts.

      What gets me is the complete lack of empathy. As if they block out any hint of our humanity.
      I have imagined finally meeting her. Walking up to her, and using a knife to slice my finger, so that I can show her the blood. “Look. I bleed. I’m real. I exist, and I feel pain. I am not a cartoon character. I am not a cardboard cut-out. I’m a real person, with real feelings.”
      Like the Elephant Man - desperately wailing: “I am not an animal!” - I seek validation that my feelings matter. That hurting me.....matters.

      Nah. She’s just a wife. They don’t feel pain the way people do.

      OK, so maybe I do have still have some lingering bitterness.
      Maybe I always will. That doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate your other point: I can be grateful that I am not hurt enough, not lost enough, not warped enough to do to anyone what they did to me. I suppose pity is the starting point. I know that I have enough love in me to give grace and compassion to a person like that. Once I work past the hate.

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    3. Phoenix,
      You’ve described it perfectly. Most of us wouldn’t go up to a complete stranger and harm them. Nor would we continue to cause them harm once we realized we had caused damage. In my case, the OW continued doing what she was doing even when I started to clue in on what was happening. You get called by the wife who now thinks at that point you’re having an emotional affair with her husband yet you go right back to screwing him on your lunch breaks. Really? And for some crazy reason, I believed women looked out for one another, It’s hard to fathom.
      The fact that people who have affairs say they weren’t trying to hurt their spouse is still a really tough concept for me. You’ve got to be pretty screwed up to convince yourself that what you’re doing isn’t hurting the person you vowed to be faithful to. I know my husband hates the person he was and I think it has to suck to live with and see the pain of your spouse and know that you caused it. I’ve said before that as much as what I’ve been through sucks, I would not want to be him or her, for that matter. My integrity is intact and my heart will heal.
      I think I also struggle with lack of validation of my pain. Not from my husband because as much of self-centered ass as he was, he’s really stuck by me through the hard stuff. I think he’s taken the fallout for his actions and hers. Because I’ve kept what happened so quiet, site and my therapist’s office are the only two places I have where people “get it”. I feel like the OW had her sister who stood up for her, yet for me there was no one because I told only one person right after it happened. It’s sad that I’m almost 48 and I just want someone to be there when I cry, give me a hug, and tell me I didn’t deserve this. These are the times where I wish my mom was still here.
      I’m obviously having a rough day it’s spilling out here.

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    4. Phoenix - this right here ... yes! yes! YES!!

      "I have imagined finally meeting her. Walking up to her, and using a knife to slice my finger, so that I can show her the blood. 'Look. I bleed. I’m real. I exist, and I feel pain. I am not a cartoon character. I am not a cardboard cut-out. I’m a real person, with real feelings.'"

      Not only did you slap me once (the initial affair) ... you sucker punched me time and time again after DDay by continuing the behavior.

      I actually said during a MC session that I felt like an injured animal that was picked up on the side of the road. Normal/rational people would have tried to seek help for the injuries. Instead, WH picked me up, decided to toy with it a little, then started picking at its wounds, then kicked it just for the fun of it ... and then finally his conscience won out and he decided to help it. And I - like a true animal - kept coming back looking for attention and love.

      Gah - this recovery shit is for the birds.

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  10. When someone is totally honest with you it is hard to hate them. During our bucket list time, my H told me because yes I triggered. He said, "I was depressed. I had never been that depressed before. I honestly didn't know what to do. I didn't know how to handle it. Someone provided an opportunity to get away. I have made some bad decisions throughout my life but this is by far the worst decision I ever made. I'm so sorry." This was heart felt and we are 5 years out. He used to avoid emotions, conflict or pain. Works good for a military officer. He would drink heavily. I can see how he couldn't handle being severely depressed. No matter what, how could I hate that? I can't.

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  11. I hate my husband. I hate him and I will always hate him until the day I die and after. Now that I see clearly.....All the affairs, all the lies, all the sneaking and hiding, all the fights, all the emotional abuse, all the blame-shifting, all the gaslighting. I hate him because I know he is incapable of knowing how much he hurt me and the kids, of never being held accountable for any of it in his twisted mind. For whatever reason he will never be able to show any empathy to me or ever be sorry. I wish every tragedy to befall him.

    But this hate-it makes me work out harder. I have pushed myself harder than I ever have physically. The hate gives me a sense of strength to get through each day. The hate gets me away from him, it protects me.

    I wrote my H a poem a while back. He keeps telling me I am full of hate, that I am a hate full person and I need to let go of the hate. That he doesn’t hate me. He doesn’t want us to hate each other. I hate him even more every time he tells me this Bullshit.

    Here it is:


    HATE

    

The pain I am in

    Pain that is vast

    Pain that disfigures



    Reading his Manifestos of Ardor to her

    When all I got was aloofness and disdain



    Seeing that she is a Goddess to him 

    While I was dirty water discarded down the drain



    Feeling that his heart that belonged to me long ago is lost to her forever
    While mine is run over by a Plane

    This is not just One “Love”, but countless
    Countless pain



    Pain I am not supposed to feel

    Only Hate

    Pain is not approved
    because I Hate

    I’m told to let the Hate Go
    Hate that he created for me
    In me
    It’s easy! Let it Go
    Breathe.....Surf.......Fuck......
    Hate in me is gone for him....poof
    Culpability for no one 



    Hate is Hurt

    Hate is Pain
    Pain is Hurt
    Pain is Hate

    I have them all

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    1. Ann - I can tell you that eventually the hate fades. Replaced will be a vast void. You'll feel nothing for him.

      My son's father "chose" the OW over us. In fact, he has never even seen his son. For years I dreamt of punishing him and had so many people willing to help me do it.

      Slowly, over time, however, my hate turned to nothing. I met my now WH ... why do I tend to find these type of men? ... and he slowly began to soothe the hurt from that relationship.

      For now - let that hate drive you to find safety. Let that hate drive you to make him "pay" for what he's done to you and those kids of yours ... but please, please don't think this is what life will be like forever. There will come a day that you'll wake up and realize you - yes you Ms. Ann - are a magnificent person and that the hate you held dear simply disappears. Because finally you'll realize he wasn't worthy of your energy.

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    2. Kimberly,

      How are you!? How’s the baby? I hope you are doing well! Thank you for your thoughts. I am
      So sorry for your past betrayal! I can’t imagine going through that with 2 men! I certainly don’t know how I picked this winner.

      I will use the hate as you suggested. I feel like it does make me stronger somehow-that there has to be a purpose to hating and being in this rage.

      There is no way he will stay in this house again-or hang out here with his kids! I need to find more work and make my own money so I don’t have to depend on his so much! I want all his stuff out of this house and fix it up myself. I want to take the kids somewhere he has never been on a great vacation myself! All this is fueled by hate! But I can’t sustain like this forever. Good to know it ends.

      I am thinking of you! Please let me know how you are doing!

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    3. Ann - my son's father and I were never married. In all honesty, I'm not sure if I was the OW or if she was. They were engaged before we met and supposedly broke up - his entire family disliked her. We broke up and I ended up pregnant a month later. :) By time I found out I was pregnant, he was engaged to her again and they were married shortly after our child was born. He's never seen his son and I raised him completely 100% on my own (including financially) until I met my H.

      I went back to work on Monday. It sucked. I don't particularly care for my job and I know that I spend way to much time in my head while I'm in the office. So between post partum hormones, leaving my little man, and dealing with this recovery crap I'm drained. I just really want to run away some days.

      I know, for me at least, that in the beginning I was running on adrenaline. I was in the detective mode and spent a lot of time trying to "catch" him. After about 3 months of that, I settled into a slightly secure feeling. Then a bomb was dropped. And it started all over again. He's gotten really good at hiding things - or more precisely I didn't demand transparency and thus it was easy for him to do things in avenues I didn't have access too. In December I was just so drained from being pregnant and felt stuck so I probably just turned a blind eye.

      Now. I just don't know. Some days I feel like maybe he's making progress and maybe, just maybe, I'm not a consolation prize. Other days, I can't help but feel like he's playing me for the fool. I saw the term the other day - cake eater. He has an amazing wife who has done so many things (15 blow jobs in October ... sex all the time ... I take care of the kids, the finances, and he even got a new car in February) ... and one who has proven that she won't leave. So why not keep the tart on the side to stroke your ego or go out and find a new one to do it and keep the ever faithful on the side?

      The other night I kept asking him why he loved me. He has been telling me for months that he's an introvert and doesn't know how to express it. I probably shouldn't have but the things he said I countered with - so I'm a doormat ... and I'm old yeller. Meaning - I'm a push over and faithful.

      I don't know. I guess I'm just tired of feeling like I'll never know if he's truly being faithful and whether or not I'll ever feel like he "chose me" rather than she cut him off and thus I'm the fall back.

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  12. I reflect, trying to move on to the next chapter of my life. This may be a downer but an understanding downer. One thing I have come to tolerate. My H can never know and has admitted he will probably never know magnitude of betrayal. There is really no way to explain it either. He mocked my love, while smiling at his achievement. Loyalty was a burden to him. No respect for my loyalty. He wasn’t planning to destroy me only get around me. I was just an obstacle. He wanted to keep what he wanted. He made me question my own worth. Humiliated. I was put on the defense of myself. It killed my dreams of what my life was and would be. It is like acid. The lies, denial minimizing, half-truths, impressions just caused me confusion for a long time and still does. I told him it was mental abuse to shift the blame to me for his betrayal, so do not go there. I heard I was overly sensitive, shouldn’t feel that way, work on my self-esteem. I internally took the blame, it was me not his betrayal. Then I questioned my own beliefs, thoughts and memory. He didn’t want me to disagree with him. I was illogical. You can’t see trauma to my heart. It is invisible. It is too late to do anything. I still feel mutilated to an extent.

    He knows that I will never ever trust him as I once did. The innocent trust is gone he would tell me where he was going and I didn't have to wonder if he was actually going to the place he said he was going to. He knows that when his phone gets a text and it buzzes I wonders who it is, he is talking to and is it someone he knows he shouldn’t be talking to. He knows that when he touches me, my mind might wonder did he touch "her" that way. He knows know that when we are having sex that my mind may be invaded with images. He knows this but there is no way for him to truly feel those feelings. He had to learn to be empathetic. He didn’t lose that union. He said it was just opportunity, appreciation and sex. So, it doesn’t affect how he feels about me. He never lost the we.

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    1. I sat here reading what you wrote and I felt my throat start to tighten up and the tears forming in my eyes. It was the recognition of my own thoughts put so clearly into words. I’ve told him many times that regardless of where we are now, he never has to face the recognition that the person he loves betrayed him. But he betrayed himself as well. Maybe that hurts just as much...

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  13. What a beautiful and thoughtful reminder. I am fresh in the wake of D-Day (today is day #31 of knowing), and my hate comes in unexpected waves. You are exactly right when you said it comes from a place of longing for connection. I don't have that with my husband anymore, and when I think that someone else DID, fear, hurt, anxiety, and a fresh and righteous hate stream through me. It's truly awful, and I HATE (too) the way it makes me feel. I am not yet at the point of being able to see the OW as human or to forgive her or feel compassion for her - I know it will be my lifelong struggle to reach this place - but I know this is something that I've got to work on. Someday.

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    1. Anonymous,
      It might come sooner than you think. So much of it is reclaiming your own life, your own happiness. By making your life your own -- which includes responsibility for the choices you've made, the action (or inaction) you've taken -- you begin to let others off the hook, to some extent. That doesn't mean you don't hold people accountable for THEIR choices, it just means you accept that their choices often have nothing to do with you (though you're collateral damage) and more quickly move on from them. It's process, for sure. But it starts with those boundaries and that desire to release yourself from being tied to someone via hate.

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