Back to the article (part four)

He’s acting contrite, with much sighing.  The contrariness must be like a bile that builds and has to be occasionally vomited on me.  I don’t know.  I don’t really want to even think about it right now.

I’m going to go back to the article, and then after blogging, think about what I can do today to get ready for tomorrow.  Tomorrow I go to see my youngest son graduate from high school.  It looks like he’s going to make it (albeit barely), and so any of you who have ever been in my don’t-leave-the-house-life at any time will know that I have to dig up that one thing that fits and I can wear out.  It gets trickier as the weather gets warmer.  I’m trying not to think about that either, ha!  I’ll also try to stifle the urge to cry because my knee is making even walking almost impossible.  Unless I don’t mind exacerbating the swelling and pain.  Which I do.

So back to the article

The part on Inability to Apologize was the most fascinating to me.  “In a loving relationship perceived as temporarily damaged by one party’s hunger or aggression, the (actual or fantasied) injuring party ordinarily seeks to restore the loving tone of the relationship. In adults, the usual vehicle is the apology.”

What is it like to have the one perceived as injuring (real or mistaken) seeking to restore the loving tone of the relationship?  What??  What would that be like?  I know we shouldn’t say ‘always’ or ‘never’, but I can’t remember a time when my husband sought to restore the loving tone of our relationship.  Or seemed to care about it. 

He seemed to care about me not being upset with him, but not about his hurting me or that I was hurting.  There were times when I would actually think (in slight revulsion) that He doesn’t want his mommy to be mad…  Seriously.  It reminded me of how the younger a child is, no matter how they misbehave, what they break or mess up, they forget it and expect life to continue as though they hadn’t done whatever.  The younger they are, the faster they forget, and the higher their expectation is to not have consequences.  To a child, the ‘past’ could be five days ago, five hours ago, or five minutes ago, depending on their age.  That’s how he seems to me.  If he did something five days ago, then I’m just vindictive or nagging or unreasonable to be still affected or view him in any way in light of what happened five days ago.  Five weeks ago?  Is the distant past.  Five months ago?  Even if it was really bad?  That barely exists.

I’ve said this before, but it goes like this:

Me: I’m hurting.

Him: That makes me angry.  (or irritated, resentful, annoyed etc.)

So the first part about a loving partner wanting to restore love just gobsmacked me.  I tried to imagine it, and what it would be like.  Even the imagination is like trying to touch a raw wound.

What a narcissistically defended person seems to do instead of apologizing is to attempt a repair of the grandiose self in the guise of making reparation with the object.

Now that I understand, and am familiar with.  He’s going to fix it.  And here are the ways that the article explains it can play out:

Undoing… instead of apologizing – “is likely to go out of [his] way later to be especially solicitous.”  

Or how about… “avoid admitting his insensitivity but instead offer some attractive treat subsequent to his transgression

The object of the undoing can be expected to remain hurt, in the absence of an emotional expression of regret, and will suffer a natural reaction to the undoing that will lie somewhere between cold rejection and grudging acquiescence.

I’m not sure how he expects me to feel other than hurt.  Yes, we do sense if there’s an absence of ’emotional regret’, and yes, I’ll either want to reject any fake expressions of caring, and no, your doing something nice doesn’t undo what you did.  I know very well that if you’re not sad and truly sorrowful that you just hurt me, that you’ll just hurt me again. 

‘Grudging acquiescence’ doesn’t quite fit what I experience.  It’s more like ‘resigned acceptance’ so I can cope and manage.  It used to be not grudging acquiescence or resigned acceptance, but a naive hopeful wanting to believe that he really felt bad about hurting me.

The undoing party will feel affronted and resentful that his or her ministrations are not appreciated, while the injured person may suffer attacks of self-criticism for an inability to forgive, forget, and warm up to the partner. Both people wind up lonelier than they were previously.”

Yes, he feels affronted and resentful that what he ‘does’ isn’t appreciated, and yes, I begin to question myself as to whether I have an inability to forgive, forget, and to love.  I’ve tried to find healthy ways to address being lonely (other than leaving him) for over three decades.  He’s been outwardly supportive, but mostly managed to sabotage those attempts.  I don’t care as much as I used to about his bad attitudes and behaviors hurting himself.  I still care, because I find myself moved by pity and compassion, and I’ll still reach out to him to show affection and caring.  I just don’t care in the same way that I used to. 



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12 Responses to Back to the article (part four)

  1. marsocmom says:

    For me, it’s all about expectations. If I expect an apology, or if I expect some kind of compassion or tenderness, I can also expect to be disappointed. The saddest thing is, if he hurts you and you don’t expect an apology, that changes the whole dynamic of your relationship and puts you in floormat mode with him in the driver’s seat. But disappointment is a killer, too. For me, I end up just ignoring the hurt and offering him silent forgiveness, not for his sake, but for my own.


    • Exodus says:

      marsocmom, Yes, it seems we must always choose the lesser of evils when it comes to dealing with our husbands since there is no hope for any real resolution.

      It always seems to me that when ever I must deal with my husband or my mother, that I have very few healthy choices. Either I ignore them and hate myself for not defending what is right or I confront them and hate myself for allowing them to affect me. In other words, I feel as though it’s either I love them and hate myself or I hate them and hate myself for hating. No wonder I feel so frustrated and insane most of the time!


    • WritesinPJ's says:

      Darned if I do, darned if I don’t. Sort of. At least I can continue to ask myself which choice keeps integrity with who I am.


  2. Congratulations on your son’s graduation!


  3. lonelywife07 says:

    My question is…how do you forgive, forget and love….when it’s the same thing, day after day, week after week, and month after month??
    I love my husband, but I’m no longer in love with him…he’s hurt me too much over the years, he’s disrespected me…having the affair, and making no attempt to change himself afterwards has shown me he has no respect for me….and I just can’t forget any of this.

    I’m at the point now that I don’t talk to him about anything…maybe politics, the weather, our family vacation next year, church activities…but that’s it.
    He told me this week, when I commented on his work and how he should talk to the owner of his company about something, he told me he knows how to handle it and doesn’t need me to tell him what to do…Oh. Ok, another closed off subject, because God forgive that I might have a decent idea or two, right?
    What do you do when he tells you a bald faced lie…do you just smile and say. “Oh, ok.” Or confront him and say, “That’s NOT true…why are you saying that??”
    If you say nothing, they think they got away with something….and will continue to do it…but if you confront them….the unseen anger builds inside of them….ready to come out in other areas!
    This really does suck!!!


    • Exodus says:

      ” My question is…how do you forgive, forget and love….when it’s the same thing, day after day, week after week, and month after month??”
      EXACTLY. It’s not that I’m unable to forgive and even forget most things when they are replaced with other happy and positive experiences. It’s my husband who keeps repeating and creating negative experiences and hence, reminding me of the hell I must endure every single day with no hope of any positive growth. They don’t leave us any room for forgiveness and certainly not, forgetting.

      When my husband lies to me whether it’s those empty promises or half truths, I just don’t acknowledge what he says. Every now and then,when I don’t respond by grilling him and pinning him to the wall with a firm statement of commitment, he will bait me into an argument by saying things like, ‘ Did you hear me? Don’t you have anything to say? Why are you ignoring me?” He knows what he’s doing and he has a very pathological need for me to constantly be angry at him or upset with him ( like his father was toward him as a child).

      PA people will often say that they never mean to do anything wrong or hurtful and that what they did was an accident. To give them the benefit of doubt, they are being half-truthful as always because there are two people living in our husbands- one that wants to be honest and the other one that opposes him. The adult man and the angry broken child coexist and they are always in conflict with each other and most of the time, the child wins. The grown man wants to do the right thing and he is the one who is all about ‘words’ or telling us what his intentions are. This adult man perceives his mistakes as an accident because he’s not aware that it’s the angry child that controls his actions. The angry child most always dominates and controls the man and deliberately creates all the drama and all those accidents and causes our husbands to become liars that don’t live with any intention. We married both of these people and I’ve often told therapists that I feel as though I’m living with a man who has multiple personality disorder. The angry child absolutely refuses to allow my husband to do anything that will make me happy and that’s the truth that I must acknowledge every single day so that I can protect myself and my company.

      Something I just realized……my husband has told me many times that I’m just like his father which would explain why he treats me as he does. He never had a voice in his family and certainly not with his abusive father who constantly shamed him. So, my husband subconsciously perceives me as his father and therefore, abuses me with all his repressed anger that he has toward his father. The last time my husband told me that I was like his father I became enraged and told him, ‘ I’m nothing like that PA bastard and I would never neglect and treat my children the way he treated you”. Don’t you ever compare me to that man!!!!” He told me that his father and I were the eldest siblings and that we had to manage our families. ‘ Yes, I know that but he chose to become an abusive adult and I chose to become an empathic nurturing adult. I’m nothing like your father and I resent you for even suggesting such a thing.” I went on to explain to him that the entire reason that he treats me the way he does is because of his repressed anger toward his father and of course my husband responded with, ‘ I’m not angry at all, I’m very happy, that’s why I smile all the time.”


    • WritesinPJ's says:

      “If you say nothing, they think they got away with something….and will continue to do it…but if you confront them….the unseen anger builds inside of them….ready to come out in other areas!”

      So true. I’m constantly looking now for ways to just have boundaries that I can hold, because anything left in the realm of his choices that can impact me is typically unsafe somehow. Really sad.


    • newshoes says:

      See my answer below. You can forgive and forget especially in the beginning but if the whole thing happens over and over again, at some point you cannot. I found some respect for myself at some point and I stopped accepting everything that was thrown my way, which meant that the abuse escalated as you can imagine.

      It got to the point where I didn’t speak for weeks because no matter what I said, it was turned into something else. Example: Me: “I wonder if it’s going to be a nice day today” – pah: “who cares!! all everyone talks about is the weather, don’t you have other topics of conversation, don’t you check the weather in the morning…” . Which make me shrink back in my own skin and clam up… what’s the point of making small talk if he’s going to jump down my back…

      It gets more and more difficult to forgive and most of all forget. I have PTSD because of all the crap I lived through, and when an pa / ca event occurs, it triggers a memory and it multiplies for me the anger that I feel and the resentment. So, you can forgive but the mind can never forget.


  4. WritesinPJ's says:

    “PA people will often say that they never mean to do anything wrong or hurtful and that what they did was an accident. To give them the benefit of doubt, they are being half-truthful as always because there are two people living in our husbands- one that wants to be honest and the other one that opposes him.”

    This comment goes along with the part of the article regarding ‘intentions’. Since I read that article long ago, over time I realized how true it is that his intentions (feelings) are more real and pertinent to him than his actual behavior (objective reality).


    • Exodus says:

      Remember the famous line from Love Story, ” Love means never having to say you’re sorry” That line says it all about how actions speak louder than words. It doesn’t mean that we are perfect and never make mistakes but a person who truly cares about others and who has any self respect will automatically and sincerely express their remorse and they will immediately rectify their mistakes- therefore, no apology is necessary and those affected will not have any reason to harbor resentments, feel dismissed or disrespected and best of all, trust is nurtured and not destroyed. The only time my husband ever makes an attempt to rectify any of his booboos is when I have forced him to and even then, he does it at his own convenience.


  5. newshoes says:

    For me it goes like this:

    PAH: I’m sorry.
    Me: I know.
    PAH: but you said this that and the other thing and that makes me mad.
    Me: No I didn’t. This is what I said. This is what I said…
    PAH: it’s always me the problem, never you right… (twist my words into whatever he wants to hear)

    You get the how the conversation ends right…. it ends up being my fault. After a while, it doesn’t matter that he acknowledges that he hurt me and apologizes, it will happen again and again. No matter how many sorries you hear, it won’t repair or rebuild the relationship. And if someone is constantly having to rebuild themselves because they get thrown down mentally, only to be brought down again, how can that person trust that partner… in the long run, it gets harder and harder to do.


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