What’s missing?

If you were to ask me what the one (main) thing that is missing in my marriage, my answer would be VALIDATION. In other words, what I live with in marriage is the state of INVALIDATION.

Invalidation: is to reject, ignore, mock, tease, judge or diminish someone’s feelings. An attempt to control how they feel and for how long they feel it.

This definition comes from a site I recently found called eqi.org. The acronym stands for emotional quotient inventory. This is an excellent site with a ton of worthwhile reading- I highly recommend it. Here’s the link: http://www.eqi.org/invalid/htm

This form of emotional abuse has permeated my marriage from the very beginning. It starts out subtly, a little comment (that’s not the way it is) about something I have said or done. As you try to explain yourself the onslaught really begins.

excerpt from eqi article:(I added the one with *)

We are told you shouldn’t feel the way you feel
We are told not to feel the emotion
We are told you’re too sensitive
We are told you’re too dramatic
We are ignored
We are judged
We are told that what you’re feeling isn’t right-it’s wrong so wrong*
We are led to believe that there’s something wrong with us for feeling the way we do

And while we know what we feel and maybe even why we feel that way, the repeated assault on our feelings/emotions does silent damage to your soul.

“with enough invalidation; one person can figuratively if not literally drive another person crazy. When you deny peoples perceptions it makes mental invalids out of them.” (from eqi article on invalidation- it does not give an authors name). http://www.eqi.org/invalid/htm

With that statement in mind maybe I have become crazy. Crazy for putting up with the bullshit, 20+ years of emotional abuse. Denying how someone feels is not only disrespectful but harmful as well. Even if you don’t agree with someone- you understand that disagreeing doesn’t mean that you think the other person is wrong, it simply means you have a different point of view. Each of us is a unique individual with feelings and emotions. A living, breathing human not a robot to be programmed. Even children must be allowed the right to feel as they feel without being put down. Constant invalidation undermines ones ability to process life’s events, to determine what needs to happen, to make wise choices. That ability gets washed away when everything you think is invalidated by another.

I really shouldn’t be surprised that invalidation continues to reek havoc in my current situation. Husband seems to think I shouldn’t have any feelings related to his infidelity. No triggers, no worries, no doubts, no wondering about what went on in his secret life. No feelings what so ever and if I try to share anything I’m feeling we usually end up in an argument and he INVALIDATES them. Does he really think that I could go on forever like nothing ever happened. He certainly must because he has not changed his attitude. He will say “I can’t believe your still stuck on that”, “just get over it”, “why do you still want to talk about it?”, “why are you still thinking about that?”, “trust me”. HA!! He continues to deny the hurt and pain that discovering this has caused me. He continues to invalidate my feelings. And he wants me to trust him. WTF Is he that big of a moron not to see how this could effect me and my outlook. Did I really expect anything different from him? I know he’s a narcissist, that he can’t FEEL the way non-disordered people feel. There is no empathy within him. I see how this effects everything between us.

I was willing to forgive him (perhaps too quickly) for past indiscretion/s, taking the sign that he didn’t leave after D-Day, that he really did want to make this marriage work. But then he refused to talk about going to any counseling, he is absolutely not transparent in his daily activities, does not want to answer any questions (except for the twice that we did talk in the beginning), does not want to acknowledge the trauma I was/am suffering from. He expects changes from me (you’d think I was the one who had the affair) the way mid-life depression cloud over him. I don’t see much effort/changes in his behavior (or in areas that I said HE needed to work on). It seems he realizing he’s not as special or wonderful as he would like to think. Just human like the rest of us. We make mistakes, we fall down, pick ourselves up and acknowledge that we’re not perfect.

I will however give credit where credit is due; I see that he trying to be nicer to me. Spending time together, having a date night about once a week, going places and doing things, even some household chores or projects that needed to be addressed. I did/do appreciate all the good things that he does/provides for me and sons. Life isn’t all bad for us. Years ago, I said “for better or worse”, I got both.

But his refusal to help me heal, and his continued secretive ways left me no alternative but to dig in and find some answers to the questions that haunted me. That was probably a big mistake on his part. While he controls everything paperwork/financial wise (paperwork nightmare) he is also a paper hoarder and a very disorganized one at that. There were at least six large tote bins of unopened mail, old statements, receipts etc. that we had recently begun to sort when he couldn’t find something for our taxes. I took it upon myself to continue what we had started. There are things that are dated fifteen years ago. A lot of it just needed to be shredded. But as I sorted the important ones into piles I found phone bills, bank statements, even receipts from throughout the years.

The bank statements revealed purchases for things/places that weren’t mine or I had never been to. Monies received from stock sales or mergers he never told me about (a lot of $$). Many, many older business cards with women’s names & phone numbers (men’s too) hand written on them. I willing to think that some of them were probably business related (let’s say 20%) but that still left an awful lot of them. But probably the most incriminating were the phone records. It makes my stomach turn just thinking about it.

He had been texting/calling the fucking bitch for at least TEN years! Yet he swears it was only an emotional affair! I’m not that stupid! It was very convenient for him to meet with her as she lives and works between our house and his work. He has the type of job that allows flexibility to come and go, and requires him to work late frequently. Obviously not as often as he proclaimed. The phone bills are what showed throughout the years, there have been many more women. (If you don’t have reverse phone look-up get it.) Credit card receipts for jewelry and hotels that obviously weren’t for me. When does this ever end? I was utterly shocked!!

Why in the world was he still married to me? If he was so unhappy why stay together? Why lure me back with promises and romance when I tried to leave him? WHY? WHY? WHY? Why had he done this? It was at that point I realized I was deep in the middle of an truly disordered man.

I haven’t said a thing to him that I know all of this. One thing I learned early on was don’t confront (immediately). He’ll just lie about it (or one of his half-truths which are even harder to decipher). Then he will know how I found out and changes the way he operates. If I hadn’t confronted him so quickly in the beginning, I could of accessed a lot more information easier. I felt betrayed all over again! The only good thing this new information showed me was that HE WAS CHEATING ON THE BITCH TOO! I will definitely someday enlighten her.

Those horrible gut feelings and thoughts that plagued my mind. They were there for a reason. To allow me to find the evidence I needed to understand what had been happening behind my back. Feelings that showed me something was not right, that I had been deceived in the past. Ah the key word, the PAST! Was it still happening???

At the moment I didn’t even really care – I finally received overdue VALIDATION! And it was feeling pretty damn good (the bad part hadn’t sunk in yet). I wanted to bask in my moment. I finally had (not from him) received VALIDATION in my marriage!! Not really the way it needs to be but i’ll take it for now.

Ha Ha mother fucker you thought you were so fucking smart- got sloppy and I gotcha you, you lying bastard!

Invalidation is toxic, long term exposure changes how one thinks and feels. Of course there are other things that are missing in my marriage but invalidation is a big one for us.

What’s missing in your marriage/relationship? Tell me one thing (behavior wise) you wish you had more of in yours. How has it effected you? Have you been able to add more of it into your life somehow?

Let’s play pretend!! I’m a really good actress

Its kinda funny how tired I am lately. Not the kind of tired you get from a really hard day of physical exertion. But the kind that you get from inside when you are so tired of putting on that happy face for the world. I interact, converse with others, smile and act like everything’s okay in the world, MY world. I call it “pretend normal”. (I didn’t invent the term I read it somewhere, can’t find my notes on it so I apologize for not giving proper credit.)

Yes pretend normal is exactly how I feel.

I have only told just a couple of people (and only really talk about it to my one friend) about my life after his infidelity. Ten months has revealed so much that I now call this time “the enlightenment of my newreality” (not that I know “ALL” of anything. but the learning curve is real sharp in this club). When i’m in a social situation, I feel a bit funny when I reply to a “what cha up to?” Or “how’s things?”. I dont say what i’m really thinking. I simply answer with a vague, pleasant or “happy” response. I must be a pretty good actress! Because not a one would suspect that infidelity (and there is so much more to this sordid tale) has invaded my world, changing my life forever.

I’m going to use a phrase here and some of you readers will instantly jump to the wrong conclusion, but please read the entire statement before you get upset. I intend NO disrespect to or in any way to diminish anyone’s pain. So please bear with me so I may get my point understood.

If you have discovered infidelity in your relationship or marriage you have/are experiencing one of the most painful things to happen to an individual. Your marriage may or may not survive. But chances are, if your fortunate enough to have a simpler case of infidelity. (By that I mean a spouse who falls down the slippery slope once, for a short period of time, then, is honest when confronted or actually told you, is remorseful, has become transparent in their efforts to demonstrate sincerity, answers questions honestly and takes the necessary measures to make amends to you the betrayed. They do everything you ask, to help in your healing.) Then I say you should Thank the heavens above, the odds are in your favor of saving, repairing and possibly even improving your relationship/marriage. If, that’s what you choose to do.

If your spouse was an inconsiderate bitch/asshole and simply walked out- zip, nada, nothing -their gone. I am sorry that they took away your ability to choose what happens in your life after discovery of infidelity. Anyone who has had ANY infidelity or assault (emotional, physical, sexual, pornography & masturbation, financial, addictions, narcissism or type of path.) touch their lives, has experienced severe trauma.

If, as in my case, you have been dealt, what I just termed complex infidelity– infidelity with multiple types of problems, like I have then you have EXTRA TRAUMA ON TOP OF THE ORIGINAL TRAUMA! In my situation, time has revealed evidence of multiple partners, one long term affair, the possibilty of sex with same sex, sexual/erectile dysfunction, emotional abuse, possible sexual abuse, alcohol and sex addictions, financial deceit and lots and lots of lies. This is what time has bestowed upon me, as one year after d-day fast approaches. At the onset I thought I was dealing with simple infidelity, but that was not the case. Add all of this new information to my existing dysfunction of a marriage (I already knew that my spouse is a narcissistic, very stealth, emotionally abusive husband and father) and it’s pretty easy to see what my world has been like for the last 21 years.

When you heap all this on someone so unexpectedly, so suddenly- the world you know has changed forever. Not change in a normal way but in a I can’t breathe because my everything I thought I knew was chopped into little pieces and tossed into the wind. I’m getting so tired of chasing those pieces on the inside while I pretend that everything is normal on the outside, while i crumble inside from the “LOVE” that my husband has given me.

Anyone who has experienced ANY infidelity/abuse in their lives, my heart goes out to you!! It sucks to be on the receiving end of this nightmare. Complex infidelity nightmare times 10! I always knew I was special. Funny thing is, I know myself pretty well and being a co-dependant, narcissistic wife who suffers from APTSD, as much as I want to do the right thing –Dump his ass! I doubt that I can do it. I’m addicted to him and his evil, selfish ways and yes I love him- still. Pretend everythings normal…..so tired!

p.s. The unexpected positive thing in all of this, is the community of sister/fellow suffers who rally together to help on another survive (and thrive)
Thank-you to you all!-chely

kind words from strangers can be so good to here

A couple of days ago I posted a comment on the site Psychology Alive. The article was titled “its never too late to have a happy marriage” (see article and comments @ http://www.psychologytoday. com/comment_redirect/624655). The article had me in tears and the comment I posted was quite emotional.And while I comment frequently on lots of different blogs and websites, the follow-up response I received was so caring and her words really lifted my spirit and mood. While it isn’t technically “new” in terms of I have read that idea before, basically the main component of healing. Focus on yourself , find who you are again and don’t worry so much him. Find your passion and the warmth and goodness from within. Find the person that got lost (or I’d like to think of it as
kidnapping
because
basically
that’s what
prolonged
exposure to
narcissism
does ;
hijack who
you are. My
point is her
words very
healing to
me and while
hearing this
doesnt mean
I’ve
actually
been very successful at I. But the way she said it really helped. And I wanted to acknowledge her in my post as she is a professional in the “healing industry” and not often does one receive comments from them. Thank-you very much Barbara Panning!

In other news since this is a different type of post: WordPress is hosting their 14th BlogHer workshops on June 24 & 25th in San Jose .CA , USA and I only live bout 2 hours away from there – so this will be my BIG doing something just about me moment as i’ve decided I’m going for one of the days! I’m so excited to be able to meet other bloggers, many of the WordPress staff as well as learn about better blogging-WOW -THIS IS SO EXCITING! And I will begin again to regain my spirit and passion of yesteryear.

I challenge any of you bloggers that live in or near San Jose .ca to stop the presses and come, learn, and remember people and interact with with similar interests.

It was written by counselor Barbara Panning from No. CA. And I wanted to acknowledge her passion,
for helping others.

Do those voices ever go away?

Have you ever felt like two different people live inside your body? Or should i say inside your mind? Coping with and surviving infidelity within your relationship (as BAD as it feels, you do survive) gives me the feeling of living in quick sand -Not really two different people, more like two voices living in your head? Each has its own agenda, one tells you “throw in the towel, just go down with the quiksand, you’ll never be able to trust him again”. As the other voice screams right back “fight girl! you gotta get outta that quiksand, its all gonna be good”. I see myself screaming back at both of them to “shut the fuck up”! I’m jolted awake up from this agonizing dream. -Hoping maybe it was ALL just a dream. But alas, only the quiksand was in the dream, the infidelity and screaming voices are oh so very real.

Back and forth my voices go , in unison with my emotions. Heck in one day I can bounce back and forth several times. Back and forth, back and forth. Sometimes my emotions can flip so quickly, I find it a bit scary. Please don’t take these comments TOO LITERALLY – Although I think I am better at not allowing my emotions from showing outwardly. No more wearing my heart on my sleeve. I don’t want anyone thinking i’m going crazy.┬áThat certainly is NOT happening! I am no where near crazy – although our narcissistic spouses would like you to believe that about us. It simply is not true! I’ve known that for a while, the not being crazy thing. Even though I have these voices screaming at me, to do something, my continued pain is occurring (most likely) because I’ve been ignoring both of them. The pain isn’t from not listening it’s more from an awareness that has comes to grow inside of me, as ever increasing (mostly circumstantial, but just too many to discount) evidence that speaks of the (potential) severity of my husbands disordered personality and the escapades of his “other life”.

Yet our relationship “feels” like we continue to grow closer each week. We spend a great deal of time together, doing garden work, attending a baseball game, over to friends for a BBQ, watching TV, shopping and yes having sex too. (Not as much as I would like or has HOT as it used to be, but it’s ok for now).

I mean, am I letting my automatic memeory responses take over in every situation? Because of the trauma in discovering infidelity, sexual addiction and years of emotional abuse by my husband and family of origin do I automatically always think the worst in any situation that could cause doubt about him? Am I giving equal attention to the positive things that he does in our relationship? Why would I primarily focus on the negative? The answer is because of our brains and how it creates memory. Memory files in our brain store information from our life’s experiences. In the article EMOTIONAL MEMORY MANAGEMENT written by Dr. Joseph M. Carver Ph.d., Pyschologist (drjoecarver.com/clients/49355/File/Emotional%20Memory.html). I’ve learned about how memories are made, stored and retrieved and why current experiences can be affected by past emotional memory. Let me try to explain…

..as we go thru life, our experiences, our interactions, daily activities are processed by our brains. From these experiences a file is made in our memory. As we encounter certain situations our brain takes (whatever is going on with you) that information and seeks to find compatible memory information that matches it. When it finds the closest match possible that file is opened and our responses become much like what they have been before – positive or negative. Sometimes this can be a good thing other times not so much. If you’ve handled a situation poorly in the past and a similar experience occurs we are wired to respond from our memories and will most likely react in the same manner as before. So does this mean we are doomed to always have the same response, getting stuck and unable to change our reactions.

No, not at all. But it will take a conscious effort to make these adjustments to our emotional memory. Some things just happen automatically in our brain, mundane regular things like turning on a light switch doesn’t really have a memory file it’s automatic. But get shocked turning on the switch and and emotional response has been added and will form a memory file. Next time you go to switch on the light you will pause and remember the shock, then hesitate flipping the switch. Most daily memories that don’t have a strong good or bad emotional response are faded out. It is the activities with emotional response (positive or negative) that create memory files.

Our brain chooses which file to open and when generally the one with the most emotion attached to it, two files cannot be open at the same time. In other words you can’t be happy and sad at the same time. Usually negative emotional responses can be very strong and can override positive ones. Thus we respond with negative emotions to current situations. No wonder a comment or statement by your cheating spouse (or song or anything related to his infidelity) can “trigger” negative reactions in each of us. The way to change the current file is to “water down” the negative emotions by adding something silly to it each time it occurs. Something as simple as a silly name added can begin to alter your response. You must make a conscious effort to do this. This is also the way addictions are addressed when trying to make changes in addictive behavior. This is my very simple interpretation of Dr. Carvers’ article. Check it out I found it fascinating. If you can’t get through the entire article (I love all the science behind things) skim it and be sure to read the summary at the end.

It helped me understand why I have these voices (memory files) screaming at me. My brain is trying to make sense of the continuously unfolding events, discoveries and gained knowledge about the personality disorder my husband has, and the way it has/continues to effect me. I see now why people get “stuck” unable to move forward in any direction because of this. No wonder I continue to struggle (alone, as husband doesn’t openly acknowledge or accept or want to address our situation) to make any lasting positive changes for us. That’s probably why those voices keep screaming at me. I know the time is coming for me to make some decisions about where my life is headed. Coming up on one year since D-day and the bigger picture continues to become clearer, and it’s NOT a pretty picture!

I’ll leave you with a quote I like:

“If your husband is not willing to help at all (in dealing with your feelings about his infidelity), then you must understand that you cannot trust him with your heart”.

I’m not sure where I read this so I’m unable to give credit where credit is due. I added what is in parenthesis for understanding purposes. Be strong my friends!