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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Married 10 years last month. Typical ups and downs; last few years we've taken a nosedive. Increasingly vicious and personal fights. A storm cloud hangs over our house and persistently threatens any peace. I take responsibility for my role in all of this. Four years ago, I got fired for cause, which all but ruined us financially--we're still recovering. Losing my job ignited the clinical depression I didn't realize I had and resulted in all sorts of additional personal failures. She was initially ignorant, unsupportive, and angry, which deepened the effects of my depression, fostered resentment and furthered the disharmony. Fast forward. She had an affair with a married twit from work. A parking lot screaming match resulted in an my arrest. General unrest ensued. Stayed together anyway. I’m now on medication and dabbling in therapy. She’s less regular with harsh criticisms. Ebbs and flows. There is one constant: she bullies me in arguments.

Pattern: I’m upset about X, she denies, disregards, or renders it ridiculous. She sometimes apologizes but never terribly humbly. If I press, the argument undoubtedly escalates, detonating my anger. She then has justification. She'll cry, shut down, reference previously punched walls etc. Guilt for my outburst sets in and voila, the script is flipped. She’s a master at misdirection. No problem is resolved; only masked by smoke and cracked mirrors. I cannot think of a single argument—simmer to nuclear—that resulted in her changing her mind or accepting full responsibility. With a few exceptions she has not admitted to lying, twisting facts, angry words, or emotional motivations (jealousy, avarice, plain malice). Ever. “When I said you were a weak, pathetic loser, I was speaking specifically about that one moment in time.” Oddly enough, I find myself earnestly admitting to all of the above and more as I beg forgiveness. She then has supporting evidence for, “Our healing is in your healing.” I skulk away confused, disheartened, and “in trouble” which requires my submissiveness. I'm a gelding until reality sets in. By then, revisiting the argument makes me “a child who loves being miserable.”

Sigh. I guess I am a pathetic loser (of arguments anyway).

That's backstory. This is yesterday. My cellphone died on her birthday so I borrowed my son’s. I snapped a picture of her baby picture to post on facebook. I was attempting to e-mail the picture to myself when the now divorced twit’s email address autofilled (we share first names. Also). My son’s phone is her old one from work and the email accounts are linked. Yes. But you’re jumping ahead. The subject line read “ooooh” and message from her, “Just learned of a crush on a certain tall, slender music teacher...” It doesn’t get more scandalous and after reading through the exchange 27 times, it seems that she wasn’t suggesting she had the crush. However, that she was having an exchange at all, particularly one referencing romantic interest burned a hole through my intestines. I called and asked what she was doing. She was dismissive, “I was just playing.” I corrected, “There is no playing with him…at most a cordial passing by.” Untrue to form, she apologized quickly and didn’t get angry with me for snooping etc. She even allowed me to rant a bit, “How could you. Did you consider what might happen if I saw that…” She apologized for poor judgment and making a stupid mistake that will never happen again. I reminded her that she used to say exactly that when caught in the past. My lungs quit. She apologized again, but shorter.

When she got home she appeared miserable. She didn’t eat the birthday dinner the kids made; went right to bed. On her way up she apologized for hurting my feelings. (Shattering a thinly re-built trust is more accurate)

The next morning on the way to her commuter train we were quiet, not angrily silent, quiet. When it seemed we wouldn’t make it, she suggested we turn around. She’d have to take the car. I barked an f-bomb. I needed the car to go and fill out pre-employment paperwork for great new job, I had been fruitlessly driving like a maniac, and had barely slept reliving the old affair fallout and worrying about a new one. I quickly apologized for the outburst and explained why not having a car that day was particularly frustrating. Fast forward. She borrowed a car for me and a fight about whether her still offering to stay home was in earnest or to induce guilt. Throat scratching screaming. Hurled insults. Etc. She called me an effing idiot and I replied, “Your mother.” Aha! Opportunity! I ended up apologizing and explaining her mother’s flippant/arrogant approach to most things often results in poor decisions but she's not an idiot. She didn’t believe me "it was on your heart to say" and of course she now has reason to expect my complete deference.

Exhale. Got it all out. There's no one I feel comfortable exposing so much of my personal life to. So for those two people who finished this dissertation, any suggestions?
 

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Actually... you are a good writer!

Ugh.. did you guys go to marriage counselling after the affair? And she still works with this man??
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Found this link in another post:
10 Signs Your Girlfriend or Wife is an Emotional Bully | A Shrink for Men

This part is gospel truth: "She may deliberately start arguments and conflict as a way to avoid intimacy, to avoid being called on her bull****, to avoid feeling inferior or, bewilderingly, as an attempt to avoid being abandoned. She may also pick fights to keep you engaged or as a way to get you to react to her with hostility, so that she can accuse you of being abusive and she can play the victim. This maneuver is a defense mechanism called projective identification."
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Found this gospel truth in a blog from another post:
"She may deliberately start arguments and conflict as a way to avoid intimacy, to avoid being called on her bull****, to avoid feeling inferior or, bewilderingly, as an attempt to avoid being abandoned. She may also pick fights to keep you engaged or as a way to get you to react to her with hostility, so that she can accuse you of being abusive and she can play the victim. This maneuver is a defense mechanism called projective identification."
 

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Yes I noticed that fighting pattern...

Do you think she is still seeing this guy?

Why didn't you guys go to counselling? I think that it's VERY important after something like this.

You may want to move this to the coping with infidelity forum.

I was with an abusive man for years, and he cheated. But I found out after the break up.. so I wish I had some advice for you.

From what I have read you may need to put your foot down- either you work on this marriage or get out.

There are a lot of people in the Infidelity forum that can help you out.

BTW I'm sorry you are going through this.. it's never easy
 
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