I want to have an amazing love and marriage. Early on in our marriage we did not get off on the right foot. I felt too young (22) and not wanting to settle down but I also was scared that my too-be-husband then was just so black and white that he’d say “forget you.” So I did manipulate him by saying, “yes, I am ready to get married, and no, I don’t have any reservations,” when that wasn’t true. I should’ve owned my fear and spoken my truth. Then early on in our marriage he was very cold and distant and absorbed in a difficult program/job and when I spoke my concerns it just got worse. He really seemed to even hate me at times, that sounds terrible, but the way he looked at me and spoke to me, felt like he was so disgusted with me. I ended up having an emotional affair and kissed the guy once too. I also own that. And I told my husband. I’ve Byron Katie’d that every which way until Sunday but that seems to only help me forgive me. It doesn’t help my husband. 14 years later and still, out of nowhere sometimes, things will be going along great and then he’ll either be just mean or pull it out of nowhere that he can’t trust me. I’m so tired of trying to provide evidence to the contrary. We having beautiful amazing children. I’ve worked on myself for years. I’ve apologized for years. I’ve kept myself small for years and not tried to take up too much space because I hadn’t “earned back” the right yet. But I recognize that now as I need to stay in my own model of knowing I am a human too, even a good one, and that I am a good mother, wife, and trustworthy. I deserve to be fully happy too (well, 50% of the time anyway maybe). Whenever I start to get too successful outside of our family, he has a flare up that he doesn’t think is related/triggered by my success, he just thinks he’s justified in questioning my motives – either it’s taken me too long to be successful, or I’m not earning enough for our family or I am successful and then I’m working too much and he says it triggers old traumas for him and he’s scared it’s going to lead to me to cheat on him. I cannot win whatever model he has set up in his mind. I need a model of my own to be able to rely on and thrive no matter what he thinks/says/reacts/believes. But how do I do that in a relationship where someone holds a fundamental opinion of me that is not good? I don’t know how to not engage, I don’t know how to not engage. We’ve tried therapy – terrible. It felt like emotional abuse to me – him telling the therapist all my shortcomings years ago (unfaithful) and all my shortcomings now (not successful enough , don’t earn enough money, or too successful and not enough attention to his needs) and then therapist gets right on board with the villain/victim thing and I don’t know how to stay out of it other than to sit there, watch myself slide into the villain role (and thus also become victimized) and see that I cannot control others thoughts of me. It makes me want to go back into self-loathing cycles but I will not. There have been times when I thought the only way out for me out of this mess was out. I never will go back there. I tell him I want to envision our future together and the amazing marriage/family I know we can create. He says he can’t get over the sick feeling in his stomach and the fear – even if it’s been over a decade ago and I have shown every sign of being committed and all in. He has thought models that I, underneath the surface, am just not a very good person. I know I can’t change his model, but is it possible to create an amazing marriage? Or do I just stick to my opinion of myself? I made mistakes, I am sorry. But I want to move on and live my life and not keep being invited back into old rabbit hole traumas and hurts. Nothing is ever, ever solved that way – it might relieve tension for him for a few months until it builds up again but it really only makes it worse and sets us back. It is like the worse kind of “indulgence” – it feels like me beating me up. The only way the tension goes away, I’ve noticed, is if I finally just feel as heartbroken as I can and devastated and like my family/marriage as I had envisioned it is over. It’s like a microquit on me being able to be an amazing big human being in an amazing marriage.
Right now I had a week where 4 nights I had to work at night after the kids went to bed. It’s not ideal but it’s also unusual. I have been very conscientious about scheduling family/marriage time first and everything leading up to that week had been really great. And just this little stretch where I have had some things go wrong and have to work outside of hours to catch up has him off the rails, saying it makes him sick to his stomach and reminds him of when he was working so much and I found someone else so I wouldn’t be lonely. He is saying he can’t help but fixate on how I have had a problem with commitment from the beginning and how he has never been enough and he just can’t get over it…but he wants to get over it by talking about it until the wee hours of the morning until I feel so exhausted and emotional that I can hardly operate the next day. What can I do to get out of this pattern? Thank you.