I feel guilty and confused

I feel guilty and confused

I have separated from my husband in September after feeling like I just couldn’t stay in a marriage with him anymore. We started having issues (again) over the summer and I’m not really exactly sure what sparked it. I have always felt like I have had to be careful of what I do or say so as not to be “punished” by him (i.e. given the silent treatment or just cold distance). This has been something that he has done from the very beginning of our relationship and I didn’t really realize how damaging it was to me until a couple of years ago. We went to therapy, he changed for about a year and then things started going back. This summer we ended up back in therapy and I literally was having physical reactions to the thought of fixing our marriage. I couldn’t eat and had digestive issues, I would shudder anytime we talked about working it out. Finally I said I wanted to separate. In the very beginning he was understanding and pleasant. Then after a few weeks he started acting incredibly cold. I would get anxiety every time I had to interact with him (which is often because we have two young children). The whole time he would be treating me with, what felt like contempt, but would be sending me text messages trying to reconcile. I learned that he was accusing me of bullying him about the children and telling people that he doesn’t understand why this is happening, that I’m lost.

All of the people that are close to me that have witnessed our relationship have basically implied in one way or another that they are happy for me and proud of me for sticking up for myself. My therapist has told me he is emotionally abusive and selfish. In various sessions she has pointed out that he has been gaslighting me.

I feel like I get on a good path and start to feel comfortable with what life is now and feel positive about the future and then I will receive some sort of email or text from him professing his love for me and saying sorry and that he is willing to change but doesn’t have the skill. He is very convincing and I start to wonder if I’ve made the wrong decision. I start to feel terribly guilty because I still think that reconciling is not what I want even though we really did have some great and happy times. I am so confused and I feel like maybe there is something wrong with me. Maybe I am going through something more and this desire to not be with him is a symptom of something else. I don’t know what to do!

6 thoughts on “I feel guilty and confused

  1. I’m gonna no through the same struggle in a lot of ways. We had been together for 5.5 years and I left because things got so unbearable. After 2 years we got back together. I thought that he was so happy that we were back together that all the negative was gone. I thought that we were so in love. We got engaged after about a year back together. It was bad from day one. He did nothing but lie, cheat and sneak behind my back. It was worse than ever. Also… thinking that would change things. After being engaged for 2 years and realizing I can’t live this way and I left. Yes, again. I struggle. I feel guilty. I don’t understand how I miss him. How I struggle ever day not to text or reach out to him. I miss those good times. It feels like a death. I mourn those good times. I don’t want to reconcile.

  2. You ENTIRE BODY has been sending you a SCREAMING MESSAGE: GET THE HELL AWAY FROM YOUR ABUSER. Your mind, on the other hand, is being fooled by his game playing. Your husband is a narcissist. They are personality disordered. There is NO FUTURE with him in any way. STOP communicating about anything except the children. His true colors cannot help but show through – coldness, punishing. THIS is what he has to offer. I will tell you what was shared to me by my therapist: returning to your abuser is a guarantee of further, accelerating abuse. Address issues pertaining to your children only. Continue on YOUR PATH TOWARDS HEALTH. If you’ve had these issues since day one, why would you want to return to a life that makes you PHYSICALLY REPULSED??

  3. there is a part in your heart that knows whats happening, you have to close this part and think of the rest of your life..Is this what you really think life is.You know its not but they do not and be it you or someone else this will continue. It will be hard walking away and your heart will want to go back to the familiar..but you must now let your brain have a say.

  4. You are practically describing my story — I moved out in September too. And the silent treatment as punishment, which I didn’t pick up on for years, because it’s essentially him not doing anything, and if you call him out on an inaction, he’ll insinuate that you’re crazy or needy, right? Even if he’s the type to get distressed when you don’t reply to him right away? Anyway, I hear you and send love.

    One of the things that has helped me a lot has been validation by professionals. The book “Women with Controlling Partners,” by Carol A. Lambert contains checklists for abusive behavior. It’s written with a focus on the abuse cycle (tension building, acute/outburst, reconciliation/honeymoon) and while this may not quite describe your situation if your husband isn’t a yeller, you’ll probably still recognize a lot. (Also, they don’t mention it in the book, but an abusive “outburst” is any kind of destabilizing behavior, it may not even overtly target you — it could be lavish spending, a wild night out, putting his food down on something absurd, or anything out of character). I found it helpful to remember that the good times I recalled fondly were often the “honeymoon” period following an outburst, a time my ex was trying hard to do right by me as a way of making up for having been awful/selfish in some way shortly before.

    I also found it helpful to confront my own emotional experience in our relationship. I won’t make assumptions about you, but in my case I come from a family with a lot of codependency, so catering to an emotionally needy person felt familiar and satisfied me for a long time because it meant I wasn’t mindful of my own feelings, I could focus on someone else. That kind of experience gets the happy neurotransmitters moving, not unlike a drug.

    Finally, another thing that was helpful to me was to use online therapy. I used Talkspace, but there’s BetterHelp.com and I think a few others. When I started, I explicitly told the therapist that I needed reinforcement around my decision to leave. Because you can check in with them daily (well, 5 days/week), I was able to get his insight and support every day. He wasn’t the best therapist, but he did a great job of helping me stay focused, affirmed, and processing my emotions. He was also the first person to talk to me about personality disorders when I described my ex’s behavior. I didn’t use this service long term (I prefer in-person therapy in general), but in this transitional phase it was really helpful.

    Another book that’s helpful is “Coming Apart,” by Daphne Kingma (beware of an unrelated book w/the same title). It walks you through the emotional stages of a relationship ending, from ideation to after the rebound. It explains that the misgivings you have are totally normal, that wanting to get back together is a necessary part of the process, and that you can get though it all in a healthy way by acknowledging your feelings but not acting on them. The end of the book includes a series of writing exercises designed to help you find closure.

    Good luck to you! You have made the right choice and in many ways gotten through the hardest part by achieving physical separation. All your feelings are normal. The more distance you put between you and your ex, the more you will grow.

  5. I get everything you have said. After reading the two stories, I feel like I just put on clear glasses. Everything you both said it what is happening here. I offer to lead a hand to help him work on a project, then he makes an error & it becomes my fault for talking, touching some item, moving or probably breathing sets it off as well. I can’t talk about anything at all that is important to me, like our adult children. I was a stat at home mom & he worked. He started an affair & then it became my fault that our children were not behaved. He would yell “it’s your job to raise them, it’s my job to work, so leave me alone & don’t call me.” That was an outburst that steamed from the conversations w the homewrecker EB. and how bad him home Life was (but it really was not like that). He got wrapped up in texting, FBooking, & fabricating his life. He is always look at me, it’s all about me, I’m the best, I need noticed… blah, blah, blah. It is crap talk. I have stopped placating to the look at me syndrome & I just do my things. I don’t talk & I don’t go out of my way. I have learned to be quiet. I know he has no interest in my thoughts or frustrations. I find that he is just like his dad, irritating & annoying. It is very frustrating to be myself when I can seem to be myself. I’m a shell of someone I don’t even know. It is very lonely

  6. I am right there with you. I left in August. I continue to struggle with knowing the truth and how I was treated and wishing my heart would catch up. I miss him, at least I miss the man I thought he was and the great times we had, but that man does not exist. I feel bad for him, his kids are out of his life and so is his parents. When I find myself getting stronger, he will email or text and I fall back into missing the man I thought I married. As time goes on, I am find out more about the lies and deceit which I find strength in. I am shocked at how much I didn’t see or didn’t want to see, but the proof is right in front of me. My divorce should be final in January, I pray that I can continue to find strength in knowing that I do deserve better and that I deserve to have someone love me to the fullest as what I have given my husband for the past 7 years.

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