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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, I'm not clear on these subjects and because I'm still in the muck, I can't seem to understand some of these behaviors that my counselor talks about.

Some experts say that people have affairs out of passive aggressive behaviors.....to get back at the partner for not meeting all the needs in the marriage.

Some say that the BS could have co-dependent behavior by trying to "fix" the marriage after a affair. How do you tell the difference between co-dependent and truly trying to understand the what, how and why we got here?

Example of behavior of my Wh.

Counselor is teaching us how to have _exit ramps_ during fights. When it gets hot, we take a time out,explain why and go cool off, returning to the subject when calm has been restored. I used that technique a few weeks ago at a coffee shop. I told him, I was upset, I would go sit in the car and read and come back in when I was calm. I moved the car a spot over so it was in the shade, he looked for the car, didn't see it and proceeded to try and walk home 10 miles, fuming the whole way that I "left" him at the coffee shop.

He had this whole story in his head that he was going to pack his bags and be gone.....talk about fight or flight response. He's totally in the flight department. He never once texted me, called me or anything, for all he knew I could have been carjacked..he just bailed. Meanwhile I was oblivious to this. I tried to call him multiple times to find out where he was etc......he wouldn't answer, Found him on the road still walking. Talk about over-reaction. MC had a field day with that.

Last night he wanted to go to sleep, I was still wide awake, I got out of bed to surf the net in room but on our loveseat so the light wouldn't keep him awake, he thought it was a "insult" to not tell him where I was going, he fumed himself to sleep and has given me the silent /snippy cold treatment all day, telling me all this only a short while ago due to me confronting him on it.

In short, both of these instances turned into me apologizing for these experiences when I felt like I did nothing wrong. It seems like I am never allowed to be upset because he comes in and steals the limelight and makes it all about him. He seems to retaliate in sneaky ways to get back at me....not talking about it, pushing me away and in general being a douche.

Is his behavior passive aggressive behavior on his part? Am I being co-dependent in my response-- I'm feeling confussed about both of our behaviors.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Forgot the boundary part, at what point do we as BS understand the difference between trying to repair the marriage and when our boundaries are just being pummeled by a spouse who can't see their own behavior is a major contributor to the problems in the first place that led them to a affair?

Example, my WH lives for computers, it's his job, his hobby, his joy his main way to spend his life. MC says that spouse has "ignored my bids for connection" for years and that once the children came along, I turned towards them...and stopped attempting to reach out to spouse because he was ignoring me.

When he noticed the distance, instead of turning towards me to repair the drift, he found a online EA to fulfill his loneliness. Instead of recognizing it was his behavior that lead to the drift in the first place.

Hope that made sense.
 

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In short, both of these instances turned into me apologizing for these experiences when I felt like I did nothing wrong.
Welcome to the world of the married person.:rolleyes::D

There was one of the filler stories in the Reader's Digest years ago.

A young man was anxiously relating to an older friend that he had just had the first argument with his wife.

The advice from the old man? "Buy her some flowers and say how sorry you are."

"But you don't understand!" said the young man: "I was in the right! She was wrong!"

"Oh," said the old man: "If that's the case, buy her a big box of chocolates as well as the flowers!"
 

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He sounds aggressive, not passive aggressive...co-dependency, I never really did understand, but PA...that's more like game playing and sneaking, isn't it?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
That's where I'm confused as to what is passive aggressive- I know the wiki definition of it but I don't know how it's applied to everyday life.
 

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The phrase passive-aggressive is used to describe behavior or a personality trait that involves acting indirectly aggressive rather than directly aggressive. Passive-aggressive people regularly exhibit resistance to requests or demands from family and other individuals often by procrastinating, expressing sullenness, or acting stubborn.
 

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Example of passive aggressive:

Jane: It's time to go, we really should get going now.

Passive Aggressive Ann: Oh...okay. I just...well okay, I GUESS we can leave now.

Jane: Ann, do you want to stay? Is that what you're trying to get at?

Passive Aggressive Ann: Huh? Oh no, we can leave if YOU want. I just didn't get to do everything I wanted to do yet, but no no, we can go I guess.

Jane: God dammit Ann! Fine, we'll stay, are you happy?

Passive Aggressive Ann: Oh okay! Yeah! That sounds great too!
(Ann got her way without having to openly ask for it)
 

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Example of passive aggressive:

Jane: It's time to go, we really should get going now.

Passive Aggressive Ann: Oh...okay. I just...well okay, I GUESS we can leave now.

Jane: Ann, do you want to stay? Is that what you're trying to get at?

Passive Aggressive Ann: Huh? Oh no, we can leave if YOU want. I just didn't get to do everything I wanted to do yet, but no no, we can go I guess.

Jane: God dammit Ann! Fine, we'll stay, are you happy?

Passive Aggressive Ann: Oh okay! Yeah! That sounds great too!
(Ann got her way without having to openly ask for it)
I always think of Dame Maggie Smith in the movie A Room with a View, she was passive-aggressive with a capital P.
 

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daggered, to answer you more directly...I'm not sure any of those terms apply to the situations you've described.

Instead, I will compare it to my own marriage, where literally it was right up until DD#2 that we had this stuff going on, and I despaired at times we'd ever get over it...and that is, he is assuming the worst in any action that you take. That is, you do x, and instead of thinking of various possible options, he leaps to the most selfish, worst case that could possibly be used to interpret your actions.

I would intepret that as someone who is deeply angry.

Now, I suspect (based on your past posts) that his anger is not just directed at you, but also at himself, at his condition in life, at the world in general. At the appalling unfairness of it all. I think he feels physically weak for many different reasons, he is hyper-aware of his aging and failing body, and this explains a great deal of his anger.

It also makes me wonder if he views you privately in some twisted way as his jailer, that if only you didn't exist, he could do whatever he wanted, i.e., spend hours on the Internet surfing for porn and knee-deep in an EA with someone halfway around the world.

Maybe I'm super off-base. But that was the sense I got from what you typed up.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'll I have to do is wish, and my fairy godmother iheartlife appears!!!!!!!

I've missed your advice and having you post is like having my own personal life coach.

You have a point about being a jailer, I am sure there is a part of him that resents the obligations, kids, mortage, dog and perhaps even taking the trash out. It all stands in the way of doing just what he wants

I've begun to question why I continue in MC because the meat of the matter is within him. I don't know if he has it in him to dig deeper to resolve these issues. I don't know where you go from that point. Without trying to be new agey, but I want to be enlightened and evolving and he seems stuck in a holding pattern refusing to look inward which means doomed to repeat????
 

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Did your spouse do the same and how did you manage the struggle?
No, he didn't after DD#2 (and I corrected my post above because it was typed wrong). I think my husband was ascribing 'worst motives' all the time because it suited his purpose (emotional distancing while he was in the affair) and because we were withholding so much emotionally from each other in our communications (he on purpose, again, to hide the affair, and me because he wouldn't let me in).

All I can suggest is somehow persuading him to find a counselor to deal with his emotions. If he doesn't want to go, you cannot make him.

Not to be new agey or anything (hee) but this book would help him so much if he would be open to the ideas in it. You've probably seen me talk about the concept of mindfulness before.
Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World: Mark Williams,Danny Penman,Jon Kabat-Zinn: 9781609611989: Amazon.com: Books

When someone is roiling with negative emotion, especially someone like him (whose day-to-day life is okay, he is not in actual agony or imminent fear for his life, right?), he is living in the past or the future but not in the present moment. He is either miserably dwelling on the fun he had in the past, or depressed about the future which may seem bleak. It explains a great deal why he chose to engage in such escapist, fantasy behavior when he betrayed you. It carries him away from the pain of dwelling on the past and fearing the future.

But the truth is, the present is often very beautiful, but people have to train themselves to see it. All I can say is that once you look at the world that way you can't go back to the old past/future way of examining the world because you are so fully cognizant that past and future are largely figments of the mind. They don't actually exist--they are forever receding--and while not entirely a waste to remember or plan, too much time spent there is a recipe for misery.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Just tell me where to send the check because you make more sense in two paragraphs than my IC has in months.

Just ordered the book, I am going to read it as well, thank you for suggesting it.

I find myself at a fork in the road, remembering when I lived on Oahu, dreaming of finding love, a mature, respectful, granola simplistic life and I am instead struggling to right a jerry springer trash tactic drama. If it wasn't my life I would laugh. I fluctuate between thinking I've accepted and made some progress to getting mad and hurt like it was just yesterday. I struggle to rise above the wound this has caused in me.
 

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I just had a lightbulb go off in re-reading your post about living in the past, future but not the present......that's me and perhaps many other BS.

Reliving the trauma of their affairs and paranoid and preoccupied of the future and repeated affairs. Forgetting to breath in the now.
 

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Just tell me where to send the check because you make more sense in two paragraphs than my IC has in months.

Just ordered the book, I am going to read it as well, thank you for suggesting it.

I find myself at a fork in the road, remembering when I lived on Oahu, dreaming of finding love, a mature, respectful, granola simplistic life and I am instead struggling to right a jerry springer trash tactic drama. If it wasn't my life I would laugh. I fluctuate between thinking I've accepted and made some progress to getting mad and hurt like it was just yesterday. I struggle to rise above the wound this has caused in me.
Turning the Mind into an Ally is my other favorite (link in my sig) on this same topic, but it has a lot of buddhist references and may turn some people off. I am no Buddhist, but the author's mentioning of Buddhism doesn't really bother me or impact me as I read the book, because I look at this whole idea in very practical terms. For sure the Mindfulness book mentioned above should be at most libraries, so I really hope you don't regret spending some money to get a readily available book.

And really, you will benefit from the book and the ideas so much. Because ultimately, you may never be able to get through to him. Some people LIKE being miserable, it gives them a reason for existing. But you can change yourself and learning to live this way will get you through the worst that life can throw at you.

I want to caution you and anyone reading this--this stuff is not pie in the sky pollyanna, so I said "new age" but really it isn't anything like that at all. It comes from the view that the essence of life is suffering and denial (our bodies age from the minute we're born, people easily die and we suffer all kinds of setbacks and unfairness as we go through life). At some point as a person, you really have to decide--are you just going to slog uphill for the rest of your days unhappy because of these truths? Or are you going to figure out a way to live with a deep inner joy IN SPITE OF THEM?

What do people in abject poverty do--give up and die? How about prisoners or concentration camp victims? The survivors all learned these simple truths. And if they can be used to get through things like that, they can certainly carry the average middle-class joe up and out of their hamster wheel / cubicle.
 

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I just had a lightbulb go off in re-reading your post about living in the past, future but not the present......that's me and perhaps many other BS.

Reliving the trauma of their affairs and paranoid and preoccupied of the future and repeated affairs. Forgetting to breath in the now.
That's probably the most painful aspect for me in reading the suffering of loyal spouses. On some level, they've allowed another human being to have so much power over them that they (the loyal spouse) decides that they actually have less worth as a human being. Someone else's immorality, selfishness, or failings makes the BS worth less as a person. It makes no sense from the outside but that logic doesn't fly with someone in so much pain.

Focusing on the now takes you away from your mental pain. That is because at any given moment, you are usually not in grave danger, you are not starving, you are not bleeding, you are not about to die. The more you stop and just allow yourself to be present in the moment, the more you will start to notice that now is quite pleasant. At least, the vast, vast majority of the time calamity isn't happening to you.

So much of life is wasted worrying about the future--things that never come to pass at all. Often things you did worry about don't happen and something else bad happens instead, but that something bad is not what you would have ever predicted. You realize that trying to anticipate which bad thing will happen is a waste of your time. I don't mean you stop planning (you still need car insurance) but you stop living as if the next shoe is going to drop.

Let me say, however, that this is why PTSD is so hard to endure, and that includes the kind you get with infidelity. PTSD is something that plugs straight into the lizard brain and it could care less about cute little things like the "now." It is a fight or flight response to imminent danger and it is to a great extent irrational (nobody died, at least immediately, because their spouse boinked someone else). But, mindfulness is used now to treat PTSD, if the Interwebs are to be believed it's been adopted as a treatment by the US military.

It's not a cure-all, but it will help you enjoy and appreciate your life a lot more on a day to day basis.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I am learning about PTSD as well in counseling. Our family was involved in a horrible car accident three years ago. A older woman ran her stop sign and t-boned us. Our street didn't have a stop so we all impacted at 40mph. Everything totaled, all sent to hospitals in various ambulances, I was separated from one of my children while the baby rode with me and he was in a state of shock, not talking etc. to this day both my husband and I freak and brace for impact whenever we see a car that looks like its not going to stop.

We both remember every detail of the impact. Even the oddest ones like the weight of two cars crashing. The worst is the other driver to this day swears she stopped at her sign even though 5 witness said she didn't. She never apologized properly and made excuses, she is a older doctor and maybe protecting herself and still wants to drive??

Trauma from affairs feels the same to me except, my fallout is different from his. His originates from being the one who caused it, and me being the one absorbing it, digesting and trying to rid my mind of the trauma. I think some people call it "burden transfer"

You mentioned allowing another human to have power over us, and it does feel that way during reconciliation. When he snaps, walks away refusing to solve a issue or cannot see that he isn't doing the heavy lifting, I feel exploited. Like he knows that he was and his safe from me cheating on him and knew that my nature would try forgiveness before walking away.

That is why I questioned what is "co-dependent vs good person just trying to fix it behavior?
 

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You mentioned allowing another human to have power over us, and it does feel that way during reconciliation. When he snaps, walks away refusing to solve a issue or cannot see that he isn't doing the heavy lifting, I feel exploited. Like he knows that he was and his safe from me cheating on him and knew that my nature would try forgiveness before walking away.

That is why I questioned what is "co-dependent vs good person just trying to fix it behavior?
Let me see if I understand what you're saying--you will have to correct me if I'm wrong.

I would argue that "a good person just trying to fix behavior [of another person] IS the definition of a "co-dependent." Healthy people understand (or eventually learn / absorb) that you cannot "fix" anyone. Ever. Each one of us is in control of ourselves only and we have zero control over others. All we can do is be the best we can be--striving to be ideal versions of ourselves. That includes, if we want to be married, the best spouses we can be (humanly). If the other person resents normal marital boundaries, misintreprets our good intentions, and hates us as a consequence, that is THEIR problem.

You know I've said this many times, but affairs either have problems in the marriage leading up to the affair, or problems wholly inside the cheater, or both. (Problems inside the loyal spouse are presumably fixable / in control of the loyal spouse.) When the problems lie inside the cheater, the BS's attempts to fix them do not work. However, that never stopped a co-dependent from trying.
 

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PA = revenge.

PA = "nothing is their fault"

PA = selfish, maniupulative, and self=centered.

To the core, it's a true personality disorder. Most people have some PA traits, but some people truly do have a personality disorder. Mainly stemming from the fact they did not learn how to take responsibiity for their own emotions.

A PA person will silently fume and plan how to get back at you for something you did. They won't talk about what is bothering them, because they were taught NOT to. But it comes out in other ways.

Men are more likely to have affairs, or with-hold sex as punishment for something, usually along the lines of you didn't pay enough attention to them.

Co-dependent people are attracted to PA people. Cuz we want to fix them. It's ultimately a bad mix.

A PA person can be very self absorbed, and think nothing of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
That sounds like my marriage.


Iheartlife- by fixing, I meant the marriage. Like how do I know the difference between working on marriage repair vs co-dependent but not in service of healing the marriage. Our 'MC says that WH is damaged and is afraid to face all the healing and exploration he needs to understand how we got here. I hope he does it, but I've known him long enlightened to know he will not willingly dig into his psyche.

Your right, our daily life is not one of a life or death struggle and in the grand scheme of crappy life events this is small potatoes yet I get so frustrated at myself for still being stuck mentally in the chaos.
 
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