Two steps forward and 42 steps back

I find it a bit ironic, that for two people who (supposedly) still choose/want to stay together, in this almost 20 year marriage, why I feel so stuck in relationship healing. I’m reluctant to use the word recovery, primarily because I don’t want to recover my old marriage, no way, too unhealthy. I thought the wall had been coming down, a little bit, stone by stone, but it feels like we are headed for that same old familiar spot. Oh hell NO!!

What I’d envisioned, was a better, new and improved version of my marriage. Foolishly I really did think that since so much had been brought to light about all the negative issues (past and current) that we would be able to get past the narcissism crap. Re-create our marriage in a healthy way that fills both our needs. Oh chely, what makes you think you are so special that you could beat the odds?

In many ways, during this last year our actions radiated the feeling that we were on the right path, we have been able to come closer. He has been considerably less abusive. So the appearance of a healthy, loving relationship, that facade from before, is taking shape, because we have reached a sort of an impasse in our healing. I’m not sure where I read this, whose blog it was (but one from a professional), the term used was “flat tire repair” to describe this type of recovery.

I’m paraphrasing here so bear with me; When dealing with infidelity in a marriage, Like a nail in your bike tire, you now have a leak) many partners say they will do whatever it takes to repair the damage. When partners try to work things out, to heal, it does improve some. (you have put a patch on the hole) Yet when trying to talk about these issues your partner continues to avoid the subject (this movement/friction works to loosen the edges of the patch creating that slow leak). It’s not that you don’t wish to talk about the hard stuff. But every time you attempt to, your partner won’t have that conversation. Without this communication about the difficult issues, the air continues to slowly leak from the tire, eventually going completely flat. Oh it may be possible to drive on a flat for awhile. But ultimately this tire can no longer be patched. The term used to describe this behavior is Stonewalling.

On the blog, Anger in the age of entitlement, Steven Stosny PhD. gives the following description:

“Stonewalling is absolute refusal to consider your partner’s perspective. IF you listen at all you do so dismissively or contempously. You stonewall to gain leverage or power. Stonewalling can also be a defense mechanism, a person can feel like they are trying to protect themselves and their families. Stonewalling is an avoidance strategy”.

Criticism, resentment, defensiveness and stonewalling are just a few of the ways a partner may emotionally abuse, all while smiling and putting on an appearance that all of it is for one’s own good, in other words “helping”. Stosny goes on to say it is “Important to note emotional abuse is about the effects of behavior, NOT the words used. You can say the most loving words with sarcasm and silently communicate contempt through body language, rolling eyes, sighs, grimaces, tone of voice, etc.” Other examples include silence, mumbling monotone utterances, changing the subject or physically removing self from current situation, withholding or insisting on sex, or even manufactured aches and pains (medical problems) that seem to crop up whenever the conversation goes into an uncomfortable place..

Yes this is such a perfect description of my husband’s behavior. If you want to make sure that no one willingly co-operates with you then be sure to criticize them regularly. Add some stonewalling to your efforts and you’ve got the perfect receipe for disappointment, which leads to resentment. Being chronically disappointed can lead to constant frustration and stress. “Resentment multiplies stress and the perception of unfairness. In NOT getting one’s needs met. It is so unfair as you realize that there will be NO help, NO consideration, NO praise, NO reward, NO respect or NO affection”, states Stosny.

So Husband just came out into living room, and once again asked what I am doing? “Writing” I replied. “May I see?” he asks. I hand him my notebook and he
begins to glance at my notes. As he reads, his demeanor and body language tell me he’s not liking what he is reading. He comments, “So tell me what does all this do for you?” “It mostly seems like a bunch of drivel”. “I learn why I feel the way I do sometimes” I reply. His response doesn’t surprise me at all, “just seems like a big waste of your time to me”.

This all started the other day, when I came to the conclusion that he does not or chooses not to understand WHY I HAD BECOME THE UNSUPPORTIVE PARTNER and had attempted to leave many years ago. I decided to ask. “What do you think is the reason was that I had become so unsupportive which lead to you seeking attention from another?” I stood silently and finally he answers that he does not know. No real surprises here. I thanked him, emotionally calm and went to leave the room, when he asks if I was going to tell him why? “You have been emotionally abusive to me and the boys for a long time.” I didn’t want to fight, hash it out or seek a solution, just a simple answer. After we stood there for an uncomfortable moment, he just smiles turns and walks away.

I think I finally get it. He does not and most likely never will. My narcissistic husband is clueless or the best actor I’ve met. We will never address our issues (not just his mine as well), we will never even agree to disagree. We will just stumble along, semi comatose still pretending that all is well. The resentment and stonewalling will continue. There is no love between us anymore. Maybe that’s not quite right, there is some love in the familiar we’ve been together so long, we know nothing else. But there is no desire, no passion, mind blowing sex, no dreaming of our future. It’s more a disappointment that his heart probably hasn’t ever been “in” this relationship. So sad, I have been alone for a long, long time.

John Gottman sums it up this way, “when you are making every effort to address a problem, whether you are attempting to talk about something upsetting you, explain your feelings about on-going areas of conflict, trying to reach a resolution AND YOUR PARTNER IS PRETENDING THAT YOU AREN’T THERE. You are likely to reach a level of upset or anger SO HIGH, that you psychologically and emotionally “check out” as well.”

I don’t think I’ve ever heard it expressed so well.

Take the sunglasses off girlfriend.

Open your FUCKING eyes.

STOP-

This wall needs no more stones I never could climb over it before, what makes me think I can now.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/anger-in-the-age-of-entitlement/201302/emotional-abuse

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/anger-in-the-age-of-entitlement/201212/how-to-ruin-perfectly-good-relationship

http://www.gottmanblog.com/2013/05/the-four-horsemen-stonewalling.html

Do you know how to observe effectively?

So readers, Did you wonder how I handled this latest information about where he was?, what he was doing? and just who were you with? I did/do want answers. But truthfully, the answers to individual questions are not as important as the answer to the BIGGER one that hangs over my head.

After wrestling with confronting him for a day or to, I decided against actual questioning of him. I already know what the answer would sound like, excuses mixed with kernals of truth making it difficult to decipher fact from fiction. So what would I gain by the actual confrontation? What would I loose?

Gains: None. This is assuming that I’m not getting a straight answer, It would only serve to piss him off. That’s like two steps backwards.

Losses: There are many. The most significant to me are that he would realize that I utilize the tracking app and most likely deactivate it. And He certainly would make sure to dispose of all incriminating evidence in an obscure location BEFORE he arrives home. (The garbage can is an investigators’ best friend). Since he would be pissed off that I was questioning him, he would then most likely treat me with silence or distancing or contempt which moves further from the goal of saving my marriage. But the biggestthing I would loose is my ability to observe.

I would stand to loose the POWER OF OBSERVATION.

Since we have been getting along fairly well, I try to not bring up any suspicions I may have, individually they really amount to not much. I need to look at the bigger picture. So when everything seems good between us, he lets his guard down and I get observe his behavior, his words, his reasoning of things, his body language, and so much more. By keen observation, I am learning, I can uncover clues to reveal his intentions, desires, denial and reluctance type behaviors and more. Joe Navarro, retired FBI agent, states in his blog Spycatchers that “Our bodies will reflect what we think , fear, desire even intention”.

All behavior originates in the limbic system of our brains and is considered true indicator of ones feelings. Everything from the way the stand, shrug shoulders, facial movements, hand actions, even our skin can tell us things. This is a very fascinating website. It teaches about how to observe, what to look for and what certain behaviors indicate. Navarro goes on to state, “Being observant does not mean being obnoxious or intrusive. In fact a good observer knows that intrusive observations affect what is being observed, so it needs to be done with subtlety, as well as purpose”. Boy does that ever make sense to me. If I confront every time I gather a small piece of evidence I will loose my power to observe, subtletly.

NEVER CONFRONT WITHOUT CONCRETE EVIDENCE-IT WILL BACKFIRE!!

No single behavior, standing alone, is an indicator of deception. One must understand how to observe these various behaviors and link or group so as to garner the information needed to uncover if deception is still occurring. I think this information can be helpful in many areas of ones life, besides if your spouse is still cheating. Do you have suspicions of your own? Are your gut feelings talking to you? If they are you had better listen, as Mr. Navarro states, “the inner voice is really the limbic brain telling us to be careful something is wrong, something feels off, this is important to remember because how we feel about something often completes the picture, so we can fully understand”.

I want to understand the bigger picture of it all, not just is he still cheating. So I will wait on confrontation for now and continue my observation of his behaviors, making notes on my calendar (one just for this purpose) because he will slip up if he is guilty and if not that will be found out as well. Time and careful observation, along with remaining emotionally calm (not always easy for me) will find me the truth. I will be patient and look at my personal goals much more than I have been, as one kind reader commented on the previous post (and she is right) I have been too obsessed with Him and not enough in me. Sometimes when you know something, but still can’t drink it in, you just need to hear it from someone else. To slap me in the face so I come out of this daze.

Thank-you for the wake-up call. I needed that!

http://psychologytoday.com/blog/spycatcher/201107/intention-desire-denial-reluctance-behaviors

What do you think?

He must really think I’m stupid. Pretty damn stupid. I’m really not sure what he thinks or feels about me. If he feels anything at all about me I would hazard a guess it would be more like contempt and resentment. Most of the time he seems so overwhelmed by life. I think he regrets all of it. Marrying me, the kids all of it. I don’t think this is the life he dreamed of. But he doesn’t do a damn thing to change the outcome. Just complain about how everything is awful and hard in his life. Reality check buddy life is hard for ALL of us, not just you, your’re really not that special. He is a narcissist for sure. But yesterday (Oct. 8th) suspicious activity happening again. He went off grid, again.

Okay -confession time: the weekend that the paperwork fell out of a box in garage, he could tell something was up and I ended up showing him what I had found. And of course there was a plausible but believable explanation and we were supposedly gonna get to the bottom of it (which never materialized). At which point he said he was leaving and going to the store. I decided fuck this and I reactivated the gps tracking through our smartphones. That day he also gave me the passwords to his medical records and the online stuff for the phone bill (even though I do get a printed bill too). I had had enough of the total secrecy bullshit. You either start showing some accountability or I’m done.

He knows that I can track him, (only mentioned it once and I told him hey paid for a month) why not let me keep it on and it will show me that I have nothing to worry about, since there’s nothing to hide. He went with it and its been on ever since. I don’t check it every day (well almost). I know it seems wrong, but truthfully why not give me a little peace of mind if honesty and truthfulness is what he’s practicing.

Sorry, I haven’t really posted about that yet (if I ever will) so a little background I felt was required.

Anyway….

As I was saying, I decided to see where he was at, and results came back to a location, not far from work, but still not at work. Its hard to tell exact location especially inside of congested areas or inside big buildings. I also know he’s not stupid and probably realizes he could just leave his phone at the office and go run around and I wouldn’t be able to tell. But the location was one that has come up before. And it was reading a bullseye hit this time. It of course is right between two nice hotels, as well as a nice creekside biking path and picnic/nature area just across street. Then the phone cannot be located for 1.5 hours. Calls go straight to voice mail, call his desk-voicemail- I’m not real pleased to say the least. So I simply wait and then I finally call his desk again and he answers, (I needed to remind him to bring home the copies he had made for me (for Halloween open house/party we’re having) that he had forgot the day before). “Yep, okay, I almost forgot thanks for calling to remind him, I’m leaving now”. I then quickly hung up the phone. I know that he can forward a phone anywhere so just cuz it says desk-doesn’t mean that’s where he is.

So when I check his location again, it indicates he doesn’t leave for another hour. After learning my lesson about showing him what I know, I wasn’t going to bring it up (because I usually don’t want to accuse over every little thing that seems off) and by doing so it allows him to see how I can discover information allowing him just get better at hiding things .But I am ticked off and decided that I wasn’t cooking any dinner that night. When he arrived home I was in the backyard hanging up lights for upcoming party. I like to put up lights at night because you see them as they really will be seen that evening. He immediately starts picking an argument with me, “what are you doing?” it’s his favorite question of all. “What are you doing”. I hate when he asks that. “Don’t do it that way”, “why is this item here?”, “where is the whatever?” Stupid stuff to just pick a fight and I was like really! The man has balls I’ll give ya that.

But what he doesn’t realize is that I have the balls play book. The book about how he operates. It’s not one specific book. No, no, no. It’s simply about understanding about people and relationships and how, in many ways we are all broken. Some just more than others. It is an accumulation of knowledge about thinking and processing and choices and deficiencies that make us who we are now (with everything from birth to today influencing who we are from the inside out). And it is about observing. Observing their behavior, their words, their actions, to get a better understanding of him. My narcissistic cheater of a husband.

Another blogger BS recently mentioned about how her spouse didn’t really like her on the phone or computer all the time. My spouse -same. ” Why are you on that thing all the time?”, “what are you looking at?? or “who are you talking to?”. “Don’t believe all that nonsense that you, read that’s whats making you go nutsy”. No darling husband, it is not a bunch of non-sense. They have got you pegged down to a tee. Pretty much everything I’ve read about how someone cheating behaves has been oh so correct. And when a spouse picks a fight out of the blue, for no reason it’s an indicator that they’ve been up to no good. I refuse to speak to him when he acts like this, so I go about my business and he never speaks to me again that evening. As I go to bed I tell him (very calmly) that I do not appreciate if he has had a bad day (Ha) coming home and taking it out on me. It’s not acceptable.

Next morning I go to wake him and he is already up, in shower. He never wakes up by himself, but I’m not saying a thing. He gets coffee, quick kiss on the cheek and he’s out the door. I just and wonder if I will ever know the truth about any of this. I think move on girl so I just go about my day. Mid morning, as I am scooping dog poop, I go deposit it (one of his newer favorite beverages). I reach in to pick it up and it’s got something inside. Cigarette butts, like seven of them. What? Why would he have an alcoholic can with that many butts in it in his car, and then make an effort to dispose of it, did he think I wouldn’t see it just sitting there(since I’m the only one who takes out trash). I asked both sons if the can was theirs -nope not either one. I’ve found these cans before in his car trash, kinda upset he is drinking and driving. Lately he drinks WAY more than he used to. I know something is up, I can feel it.

So here’s where I need your help. Do you think I’m correct in my assumptions? Do you think I’m too focused on his behavior? Do think that by finding that can I came to the right conclusion? I’m so tired of being lied to. He says that I’m looking to catch him doing something wrong, and I suppose he’s right. I do not wish to be blind sided by his actions again. I will not stand silently and watch him destroy everything. And sorry but I still don’t trust him. Don’t have that safe feeling so many speak of.

Here’s where I need your help. Please give me your opinion. How would you react to this same type of discovery? Am I being unfair jumping to conclusions? I’m curious what you think about this.

I still don’t know what to be for Halloween. I’ve always loved that day. The one day you can (pretend) to be anyone you want to be. What I’d really like to go as is a wife who has never been cheated on, but that’s one costume I don’t have.

chely