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Re: Looking through the Mist [Re: Misty] #440508
12/13/18 02:09 PM
12/13/18 02:09 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 505
Misty Offline OP
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Misty  Offline OP
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Here is a link to my counselor's article on MC and abuse:
When to Avoid Couples Therapy

The YouTube videos by Austin James, a recovered 30 year emotional abuser, can be found on his channel here:
YouTube - Austin James

Here is a preview of Austin's book, which is available on Amazon. I found it very honest and revealing.
Emotional Abuse Silent Killer of Marriage


I am working very hard to heal after 8 years in an emotionally abusive marriage.
Re: Looking through the Mist [Re: catperson] #440509
12/13/18 02:18 PM
12/13/18 02:18 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 505
Misty Offline OP
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Misty  Offline OP
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Cat,

I think this book by Lundy Bancroft would be so helpful for you in your healing. I am finding it very helpful in building myself up again.
Daily Wisdom for Why Does He Do That

It's never too late to grow and get well! smile

I am realizing I am having to heal from both my H's abuse as well as a lifetime of abuse from my mother. I have to reprogram those automatic responses. As part of this effort, I've been shocked to have memories come flooding in from even my career life where I permitted abusive behavior from coworkers. My childhood set me up to be an easy target of abuse by others.

Never again!


I am working very hard to heal after 8 years in an emotionally abusive marriage.
Re: Looking through the Mist [Re: Blair] #440510
12/13/18 02:41 PM
12/13/18 02:41 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 505
Misty Offline OP
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Misty  Offline OP
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Thank you all for your encouragement!

I recently read some of my journal entries from 2010 and old forum posts from 2011 and I was shocked to see what I allowed.
For example I couldn't decorate my home or invite my friends over.

Whaaaaa! eek

I buy things now and just hang them up. When H notices them on the wall a few weeks later, I say "Oh that's been there" (for two weeks) or "Yes, isn't that neat?"

I just invite people over and casually tell him now. None of this asking permission nonsense. He has learned not to bother calling me or texting me when I'm out with friends. I won't answer unless it is an important short text response. When he would ask when I'm coming home, I started just texting back "Later today, Sweetie!", so he has learned to not bother.

I am hopeful that H's awakening will stick. Today I actually initiated a discussion about finances that did not end in an AO from H. He started making some disrespectful judgments which I immediately pointed out, so he reworded what he said.

Let's hope that he will keep on growing! yahoo


I am working very hard to heal after 8 years in an emotionally abusive marriage.
Re: Looking through the Mist [Re: Misty] #440517
12/13/18 08:27 PM
12/13/18 08:27 PM
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catperson Offline
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Thanks, Misty. I do need to start working on this stuff. You're definitely an inspiration!

Re: Looking through the Mist [Re: Misty] #440531
12/14/18 06:07 PM
12/14/18 06:07 PM
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 13,424
midwest
Miranda Offline
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I’m not commenting but I’m reading along and being inspired and educated


When we open to this moment and don't judge it or try to change it, even when we're suffering and wish it were otherwise, we tap into the spaciousness of mind that allows us to move forward skillfully, with discernment and joy. -- Sharon Salzberg
Re: Looking through the Mist [Re: Misty] #440639
12/27/18 02:24 AM
12/27/18 02:24 AM
Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 6,421
whatsupdoc? Offline
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whatsupdoc?  Offline
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True growth zen


Me: 50
XH: 13 - well, does emotional age count?
DD1: 24
DD2: 20
30 year partnership...

M: Dec, 1987
Bomb: May 12, 2014
D: Oct, 2015
Ratz.
I am learning how to surf!
Re: Looking through the Mist [Re: Misty] #440905
01/24/19 03:24 PM
01/24/19 03:24 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 505
Misty Offline OP
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Misty  Offline OP
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Things are still going well. H has had a couple of minor setbacks but he is still apologizing, journalling, and asking for feedback. The incidents have been relatively minor but I make sure to bring them up during the feedback sessions anyway.

We recently went ahead and bought a new motorhome and are planning fun trips together. I think this is part of the carrot part of the "carrot and the stick". I am really trying to show H what a happy life we can have if he keeps behaving.


I am working very hard to heal after 8 years in an emotionally abusive marriage.
Trying to see clearly [Re: Misty] #441256
02/25/19 02:30 PM
02/25/19 02:30 PM
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Posts: 505
Misty Offline OP
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Misty  Offline OP
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H has been doing well the past few months. He is not having angry outbursts and the other overt abusive behaviors that he previously did.

I am finding changes in myself. I am finding a lot of anger building up in myself towards H. How dare he abuse me for the last 9 years when he was really was capable of stopping?! I am also find anger at myself. Why did you stay with him and allow the abuse to continue for so many years! I think of all the time lost in misery that did not have to happen. I am facing the truth that I should have left him in the first year of the marriage instead of struggling and hoping for so long. I deserved better and let my fear stop me from leaving him. I threw away 8 years of my life.

Now that I am in a relatively safe environment, I have been thinking about the future and where this relationship needs to go for me to be happy for the rest of our marriage. A critical missing element from our marriage is that H does not really care if I am happy. He began to use abuse to get his way rather than using POJA. At some point, he realized that by using abuse, I would back down and not assert what I wanted.

Mark1952, I don’t know if you are reading this, but I remember you teaching us about POJA in the class you ran. I want to thank you for that. I remember the material you taught us and want to use POJA to reclaim what we have lost. There is no trust in a relationship if you do not believe your partner cares if you are happy.

At the beginning of our relationship, I think H did care about me being happy and “enthusiastic” about our decisions. As time went on, a power struggle ensued and he learned that by using either an angry outburst (abuse) to shut me up or by just saying no (stonewalling) to everything I wanted, he controlled things. During our marriage, H’s behavior has been like a child having a temper tantrum or using foot stomping to say no.

I am not saying that he hasn’t “given in” to me over the years but that is part of the problem. There has been a winner and a loser in every decision rather than two winners. So now there is no trust and a lot of resentment.

I broached this issue with H this morning and he is still clinging to his beliefs that he does not need to discuss decisions with me. He did not explode at me although he did discount what I was saying, did eye rolling, and similar behaviors, accusing me of trying to control him.

For so many years, I was hyper-focused on stopping the abusive behaviors. My goal was to get H to stop abusing me. Simply not being abused is not good enough for me now. I want a healthy relationship in which I can safely tell him everything and feel confident that he cares about my happiness.

I realize that I can’t proceed with this relationship and the next phase of my life, retirement, unless this unhealthy dynamic is fixed. I realize H needs time but if he doesn’t come on board and agree in theory that we need to use POJA again, I don’t think I should stay in this relationship.


I am working very hard to heal after 8 years in an emotionally abusive marriage.
Re: Trying to see clearly [Re: Misty] #441257
02/25/19 02:54 PM
02/25/19 02:54 PM
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 10,084
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SmilingWife Offline
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You articulated your journey and current feelings quite well. So I hope you are somehow able to convey it to your husband. Maybe you could print your post out and give it to him

Good to see you around.

Re: Trying to see clearly [Re: Misty] #441258
02/25/19 07:51 PM
02/25/19 07:51 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 20,490
catperson Offline
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Good to hear from you, Misty. As I've said before, you remind me so much of me and my DH. I'd ask him to do something and he would literally just stare at me and then, without a word, go lie down on the couch and take a nap. Just to have the last word. It's maddening. But I've learned a lot over the years, with various therapists. If you want to post specific situations, I can share what they've told me to do in similar scenes. The bottom line of all I've learned is to stop waiting for him to care, and instead to start taking steps to ensure I get what I need and want; he will catch up and keep pace with me, or be left behind. But that way, you're not giving him power over you and your happiness.

Re: Trying to see clearly [Re: Misty] #441259
02/25/19 08:25 PM
02/25/19 08:25 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 10,887
HI
O
Orchid2 Offline
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HI
Misty,

Thanks for your updates. It is helpful.

What you are going through is basically the stages a BS goes through. Similar to the stages of grieving when we lose a loved one in death. It is a painful step that requires time to process as well as make changes along the way.

Your anger with yourself actually shows you are traveling down a healing path. Your initial focus (yes that part can go on for years) was getting rid of the WS and having your H back.

In your case like mine, our H's are not really back if their go to method enters the denial stage. Maybe your spouse can't handle him acknowledging his offensive conduct and that maybe he can't forgive himself. If that's so, one would think he would be nicer to you. But if the WS in him is using his guilt as a crutch well you as the BS may enter that anger stage and the reality of him as he is now becomes a questionable point since your values went up not down.

So, are you interested in how to handle your part of this recovery going forward?

Take care,
Orchid


Orchid
Re: Trying to see clearly [Re: Misty] #441260
02/25/19 08:56 PM
02/25/19 08:56 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 505
Misty Offline OP
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Misty  Offline OP
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Smiling, yes I hope to talk to H tonight. He has previously agreed to feedback sessions so this could be part of that.

Cat, the biggest problem to me is his refusal to POJA about issues. I need to see if he is receptive to reviewing the Marriage Builders materials.

Orchid, yes I need to handle my part of the recovery. I have been seeing a counselor to help with my healing and she said we have a lot of emotional work to do. I believe handling my anger is part of it. I see her Thursday. What advice do you have?

I know I have to be assertive about using POJA. It is not ok for him to refuse to discuss issues. He can defer discussions but not state items are simply off limits or none of my business when they really should be discussed. He is only doing half of the work. Attitude is a big part of it.

I've been reading more Lundy Bancroft today. I need to do more of the Daily Wisdom exercises. I need to be more gentle and loving towards myself.


I am working very hard to heal after 8 years in an emotionally abusive marriage.
Re: Trying to see clearly [Re: Misty] #441261
02/25/19 11:37 PM
02/25/19 11:37 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 20,490
catperson Offline
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Remember that he won't want to POJA if there's no benefit to him. If he is still getting his needs met, he has no reason to change what he's doing. My ICs all told me the same thing - find ways to assert my needs over his needs, if he's not meeting mine.

Have you read the book The Dance of Anger? It's written for women who continue to 'do' for everyone even when they aren't being reciprocated. It's about the anger the woman feel at themselves.

Re: Trying to see clearly [Re: Misty] #441262
02/26/19 12:42 AM
02/26/19 12:42 AM
Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 6,208
Monterey, CA
Fiddler Offline
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Fiddler  Offline
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My perspective is that POJA tends to create more problems than it solves. One thing that I have found does tend to help is developing effective listening skill - specifically with validation as the objective. This in turn lays the groundwork for expressing one's own needs. If validation comes first, then the spouse is usually open to hearing that, whereas prior to that it is still a conflict mode.

In short, I judge POJA to be a form of enmeshment that is not necessarily good for the individuals or the marriage. Rather than POJA, I think it's healthier to recognize that not all of one's "needs" must be met by a spouse - so that if one's spouse is not willing (or "enthusiastic") about meeting a need, that it can be met otherwise - and I'm not talking about intimate areas like like sex. John Gottman's research suggests that a majority of conflicts in marriage cannot actually be resolved. If that is the case, then it would seem that a majority of issues that POJA was applied to would result in failure and frustration. I'm suggesting that the "fault" lies in POJA, not the couple (or the individual spouses).

The idea behind first validating your husband is to understand why he is taking the positions that he is. It does not in any way invalidate what you desire. It does tend to open up channels of communication that would not otherwise be available. I think he has every right to not want to engage in any particular system. Through improved communication, you can get an idea about how he thinks it should be approached. That doesn't mean you have to agree to that either, but it will at least give a better idea of where hes coming from. From there, there is a possibility of negotiating to couples work you can both get on board with (which is what POJA's objective is anyway). In other words, it is completely possible to get the same outcome without having to "do POJA".


"Grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know that one is me."
Re: Trying to see clearly [Re: Misty] #441263
02/26/19 01:48 PM
02/26/19 01:48 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 20,490
catperson Offline
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I think POJA is great - as long as you both are in love and still wanting to please each other. Once you retreat into your corners, that no longer exists. It also doesn't work if you're married to someone who intends to look out for himself. Which is why many people end up going to therapy to figure out how to get THEIR needs met, when they're expecting that spouse to give as much as they do, and get hurt when they don't. And the IC will almost always say you need to set boundaries and consequences, in a loving yet firm way.

Re: Trying to see clearly [Re: Misty] #441264
02/26/19 01:59 PM
02/26/19 01:59 PM
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SmilingWife Offline
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I am with Fiddler on the POJA. I doesn’t work for everyone or for every issue. Maybe Cat is correct that if a couple has fallen out of love due to infidelity or years of angry outbursts then it certainly can’t work...I know those were two issues I had with my first husband.

But regardless the entire concept never made sense to me. I prefer the concept of kindness....is it kind to always expect getting your way? Is it kind to shut your spouse down if you don’t like the topic?

My dh is awesome and I think we have a good relationship. However we have fundamental different approaches to money and it is VERY difficult for me at times. I have come to understand that we can co exist with different views as long as we are respectful of each other.

Re: Trying to see clearly [Re: Misty] #441265
02/26/19 02:58 PM
02/26/19 02:58 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 505
Misty Offline OP
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Misty  Offline OP
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When I got home last night, H was very sweet and was the "New H" as we call him now. We talked about things and H agreed to review POJA and try to use it for some of our current issues. H was concerned about us getting "sucked down the rabbit hole" on another technique when he is already working on the Austin James material and a book on emotional regulation with his IC. He was actually reading that other book when I walked in the door. So we are putting off the rest of reviewing the Marriage Builders material for a later date. H was always saying "Well what about my needs?" in the old days. So I explained that once it is clear New H is hanging around and we are ready to switch to that material, we can make sure all of our needs get addressed.

Fiddler, it is interesting to hear your perspective on POJA. I think the concept is good to explore as one of multiple techniques. I did a sample POJA this morning on a topic that is very sensitive to us - amount and direction of our charitable giving. H did not remember the technique so I played both sides as an example showing what each of us might say and how we would come to an agreement. When I was done, New H said "Great! We're done then, I can go with that." and we both laughed. (My sample resolution was a predetermined cap on the amount and a certain portion would go to charities we both approve of. ) New H proposed also adding the rule "No political donations!" to the solution which I agreed with wholeheartedly.

I showed him the Lundy Bancroft chapters 15 and 16 from "Should I Stay or Should I go?" and we loaded them on his kindle so we can both read and discuss. He actually was relieved when he saw the chapter on the abused spouse's sudden anger as it so well explains my emotional reaction lately. I think in a way my anger has been a subconscious way of testing the New H to see if he is going to revert. I want to know now before I get too invested again. My heart has been broken enough.

There is such a difference between the tone of voice of New H vs Old H. There is a softness in New H's voice. I think the kindness you are mentioning, SmilingWife. I keep looking for the pod somewhere since this New H seems like an alien.

Cat, I read Dance of Anger around 11 years ago when my first marriage was dissolving. (Summary, husband of 21 years leaving me and two young children for an OW he met online and had never met in real life. Crazy town!) I remember the anger I felt. I would get in the car alone and drive somewhere screaming at the top of my lungs to get out the anger. I think the pain my ex was doing to my children and my frustration that I was so powerless to stop it overwhelmed me. What I am going through right now is nothing compared to that. My current H could never hurt me like that as he doesn't have the ammo.

I am a caretaker person and have definitely learned to set boundaries. I also learned from my first marriage the importance of building a fulfilling life independent of your spouse. I've rounded out the boxes and have a diverse complete life now. This is also critical with retirement coming up and the life changes happening at that time. New H is reading "How to Retire Wild Happy and Free" and is working on filling his boxes at my recommendation. Now he is exploring new hobbies and activities. I think this will really help our marriage as Old H was too needy and grumpy, expecting me to fulfill all his needs.

Thank you all for the advice!


I am working very hard to heal after 8 years in an emotionally abusive marriage.
Re: Trying to see clearly [Re: Misty] #441266
02/26/19 04:52 PM
02/26/19 04:52 PM
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catperson Offline
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Sounds like progress!

Re: your anger. I think that people who are being abused focus all their attention on survival - not setting the other person off, careful of your steps and words, etc. Such that when you've finally gotten to a safer place, you are then free to open up your box of feelings. You're kind of 'free' or 'safe' to feel, so to speak.

Re: Trying to see clearly [Re: catperson] #441267
02/26/19 05:35 PM
02/26/19 05:35 PM
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Posts: 505
Misty Offline OP
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Misty  Offline OP
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Originally Posted by catperson
Sounds like progress!

Re: your anger. I think that people who are being abused focus all their attention on survival - not setting the other person off, careful of your steps and words, etc. Such that when you've finally gotten to a safer place, you are then free to open up your box of feelings. You're kind of 'free' or 'safe' to feel, so to speak.

Exactly!


I am working very hard to heal after 8 years in an emotionally abusive marriage.
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