Confused Much?

22 Oct

My husband is confused.  That much is obvious to me.  Other than that, I’m really not sure.

He came by tonight to bring me the joint checkbook that he took from the house last week.  He knocked.  I let him in.  He asked if he could use the computer to balance the checkbook (even though he had it for days, apparently he didn’t actually do anything with it).  I said, sure.  He went to the computer room.

When he had arrived I was in the middle of making myself dinner (it was about 6:30 pm).  I went back to what I was doing, then asked if would like some roasted chicken or a glass of wine (both were sitting on the counter already).  He said no, that he was fine.  I carried on with my preparations, then took my dinner to the den and proceeded to watch The Family Feud.

Once the episode was over, and I had finished my dinner and been properly amused by the silly answers the contestants gave, I started putting things away.  Mr. Mess was still in the computer room.  I decided on a fudgecicle for dessert, and yelled back to ask if he wanted one.  Again, he said no.  That was fine with me because those are my favorite treats right now.  I get the Healthy Choice sugar-free 100 calorie bars, so I don’t even feel bad about having ice cream.

I went back with my treat on a stick to see what was taking so long.  He was still on the bank site.  He finished up as I watched and told me that he had set up the new password in the computer system.  He said it was the same one he had texted me, except he forgot to capitalize the first letter in his text (which makes a big difference).  I said okay.  He said he was going to head home and go to sleep.  He picked up his mail and exited the house.

I have gotten used to his sullen mood and antisocial tendencies over the last week and a half, so I just let his behavior roll right off of me.  A few minutes later I got a text that read: “I dont get you one day you dont want to have dinner with me then you invite me to have wine and dinner.  You have done a good job confusing me.”  I responded with, “That was before we talked & had the meeting with the therapist.  You could have spoken to me while you were here which is really all I was trying to do.  That & be kind.”  I really don’t get it…  He basically pretends I don’t exist while he’s here, then starts texting me when he leaves.  Huh?

A few seconds later my phone rang.  He said that he is “trying to follow the rules we talked about in therapy” by only talking when we are in a neutral location.  That really isn’t how I interpreted things, but okay…  We discussed in therapy about sitting down in a neutral place to have a conversation once a week, but we did not say that we should not talk at all outside of that once per week “date” (for lack of a better word).  In fact, we discussed making sure to speak about any sensitive subjects or those that could be confusing by phone or in person rather than by text.  It seems he was violating a “rule” in his quest to follow another.

I said that I am still more than happy to do that, he just hasn’t made an effort.  He said that he is planning to set something up later this week, but he didn’t think we should talk at my house.  I asked why he decided to come here today then.  He said “to drop off the checkbook,” then said that he wants to spend as little time as possible at my house right now because he feels “uncomfortable” here.  I questioned why he chose to come here and stay for 45 minutes then.  He had some excuses about being tired, not having computer access at his house, not wanting to drive to the library to balance the checkbook, etc., etc.  Again, they were excuses, not valid reasons.

He also said that he doesn’t understand why I would offer him something to eat or drink.  I asked what he would rather I do – ignore him and be mean?  He said no.  Again, I just said okay…

I really don’t know what is so confusing about me being polite to him.  I didn’t ask him for anything, I just offered some of the chicken that was already prepared.  I didn’t even ask him to leave the room he was in.  He said that he “doesn’t feel welcome” in my house and that I have made that “obvious”…  I guess my friendly offer was somehow nefarious or had ulterior motives in his mind…?  He said it was “implied” that I wanted him to sit and have a deep conversation with me, which he didn’t think was appropriate.  Again…. huh?  When I was noticeably confused by his answers he said that he must not know how to take me, or something like that.  At least we were on the same page with that one.

I tried to see what he meant by what he was saying.  More than once I asked him “In what way?” or “What do you mean by that?” in response to one of his vague statements.  He would usually just repeat the last thing he said, like I had told him that I couldn’t hear him, not that I couldn’t grasp his thought-process.  I know that move – it’s his way of shutting me down and stopping any conversation from going deeper than the shallow end of the pool.

In the end he said that he was feeling too emotional to have this conversation.  I asked him how we are ever going to reconcile and have a real relationship if he runs away and hides every time he has an emotion.  He said that he is not running away.  I told him that I really don’t see what else this could be…  He waits until he leaves to text me, then calls instead of speaking to me in person, then avoids any real conversation by saying we will talk “later.”  The only problem is that “later” will never come – at least not if history is any indication.  He has already said once this week that we would talk “later” about the anger that came out of nowhere this weekend.  I think it’s probably clear that didn’t happen since he is barely speaking to me right now.

Tonight he has me wondering why he pushes me away anytime I try to be the least bit cordial to him.  It seems that he has already decided that I am angry or bitter or want this marriage to be over.  Anytime my actions don’t fit with this fabricated reality he doesn’t seem to know what to do.  Or maybe it’s just that he is miserable and can’t stand that I’m not.  Who knows…

What I do know is that I’m going to continue trying over the next 3 months.  Whether he chooses to try as well is up to him.  After all, that’s what this separation is all about.  Will he step up or won’t he?  That is the question at the moment.

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29 Responses to “Confused Much?”

  1. Ariella October 29, 2012 at 11:15 am #

    Her posts never show up in my reader either. I think it is quite possibly due to the fact that we are subscribed by email? Not sure, but Beautiful mess is the only blog that just doesn’t show up.

    • beautifulmess7 October 29, 2012 at 11:23 am #

      I wonder if I can contact WordPress about that… Very strange

      • Ariella October 29, 2012 at 11:25 am #

        Yup, I assumed it was a setting you chose!

  2. Our Journey After His Affair October 29, 2012 at 11:00 am #

    I am so mad that your posts aren’t showing up in my reader, even though I am following you. Grrr…..I have a lot of catching up to do!

    I just thought you were being very quiet since your separation.

    • beautifulmess7 October 29, 2012 at 11:01 am #

      I wonder why… So weird

      • Our Journey After His Affair October 29, 2012 at 11:03 am #

        I have no idea…it is showing the check mark and following at the top and I do believe I even subscribed to you via email!!

        Wth?!?

        • beautifulmess7 October 29, 2012 at 11:17 am #

          Maybe try unfollowing and refollowing to reset things. That’s my only suggestion.

  3. A Dog With Fleas October 26, 2012 at 10:50 pm #

    The only knowledge I have about addicts is my brother, who is a drug addict. But I think their M.O. is all the same since he has pulled this type of behavior on me as well. It is so much easier to play the victim and act like “we” are the ones who are wronging them. I think it is a way to deflect their own feelings and deal with their own pain. It is easier to blame the other person, then dealing with their own problems and the hurts they inflict on the ones they love.

    Hopefully he will realize this behavior and through therapy, be able to temper it and realize he needs to open up and be honest to have any shot at truly knowing himself and saving his relationship with you.

  4. The "ME" Project October 23, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

    Hi, Love-
    I was trying to catch up on all I had missed during my…whatever the hell you want to call what has been going on with me…anyway, I’m sorry to hear that things have taken a turn for the worse with your husband. On the other hand, it looks like things are actually looking up for you…I know you probably are in the midst of hell in some ways, but you are so much stronger sounding than you were back when. A girlfriend of mine once told me something I loved and have never forgotten; She said “Time to use your backbone instead of your wishbone.” Sounds like you are doing exactly that. It isn’t easy, and I commend you for still being willing to work on your marriage (because I would have been long gone, I think) but I believe that whatever happens, you are a strong, beautiful, intelligent woman who is learning well what she is worth and what she will not settle for. Good for you. Hang in there.

    • beautifulmess7 October 23, 2012 at 3:30 pm #

      Thanks. I love, love, love that saying. It is amazing!!! Thanks for the positive words of encouragement. You’re right, I am much stronger now.

  5. Rollercoasterider October 23, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    “We discussed in therapy about sitting down in a neutral place to have a conversation once a week, but we did not say that we should not talk at all outside of that once per week “date” (for lack of a better word). In fact, we discussed making sure to speak about any sensitive subjects or those that could be confusing by phone or in person rather than by text. It seems he was violating a “rule” in his quest to follow another.”
    I’m a bit more with him on this. Of course, I wasn’t there with you in therapy; but I was assuming that communication on non-neutral (home) territory was off-limits. I did understand that you already had the food prepared and didn’t see your asking him if he wanted any as a request to join you in the kitchen and converse, but it was still a slippery slope that could lead toward communication and for now that needs to be with a mediator or pre-scheduled on neutral territory. I actually was cringing as I read you asked him if he wanted chicken and wine and later the fudge bar.
    I also was assuming that communication was to be limited to a prescheduled talk and your mediated counseling sessions. I assumed that because I think that’s how I would have set it up—it’s what I recommend when coaching these sort of situations.

    You are the house-monitor. That means you control his access. I understand that he wanted to use the computer and that going to library is not comfortable and since his stuff is probably on your computer, it is a lot easier. But you need to be the one who meets him at the door, thanks him for the checkbook and does not let him enter.

    “He basically pretends I don’t exist while he’s here, then starts texting me when he leaves. Huh?”
    He’s off neutral ground and can be a little more expressive or up front with his concerns and confusions. Imagine if he had said that in-person; for him it would have been initiating a confrontation.

    “I have gotten used to his sullen mood and antisocial tendencies over the last week and a half…”
    You are interpreting his mood as sullen and antisocial, and he is behaving as he is deliberately because he does not want to be too emotional or attached—he’s working on being neutral, not engaging and being detached when around you. It’s understandable that he is uncomfortable coming to the house. That is the place of intimacy, where he was your husband, confidant, friend, partner… and now he needs to not be close in those ways. So his behaviors are created to put up a wall to prevent intimacy (and I don’t mean romantic intimacy).

    “I really don’t know what is so confusing about me being polite to him. I didn’t ask him for anything, I just offered some of the chicken that was already prepared.”
    The sharing of food is often an intimate act, so I can understand how he felt your offer implied an invitation to go deep in a discussion. I can see how that was not your intention and yet I can just as easily see that as how he might interpret it. We often think our actions are clear, but what looks like one thing to you will look like something else to someone else. He kept repeating himself when you asked him to explain because he did not think the conversation was supposed to go deeper and because to him the reason was so clearly stated in what he had already said.
    So if he tells you that he thinks you were asking to go deeper by offering dinner and you ask in what way your offer means that, he would say again “you offered me dinner,” as though it were DUH; to him that’s what the offer means and it is obvious—no interpretation needed, even though that is not what you were meaning. It’s not that either of you are being confusing, it’s that you’re speaking Venusian and he is speaking Martian.

    “In the end he said that he was feeling too emotional to have this conversation. I asked him how we are ever going to reconcile and have a real relationship if he runs away and hides every time he has an emotion. He said that he is not running away. I told him that I really don’t see what else this could be… He waits until he leaves to text me, then calls instead of speaking to me in person, then avoids any real conversation by saying we will talk “later.””
    You may have a valid question, but that doesn’t mean that is what he has been (or not been) doing this week. Right now the two of you need to do your Mirror-Work (and you are a champ at it), and learn new ways to communicate with each other. That learning is something you need to do in the beginning, in the presence of your counseling mediator. You can progress gradually to communications without the mediator—gradually—and that will start on neutral territory and should not take place at home for quite some time.
    This question is one I often address in the context of going or being No Contact. Since I work with Standers, the eventual goal is to reconcile with their spouse, so clearly No Contact can’t be permanent! But transitioning to Limited rather than No Contact is a gradual process.

    “What I do know is that I’m going to continue trying over the next 3 months. Whether he chooses to try as well is up to him. After all, that’s what this separation is all about. Will he step up or won’t he? That is the question at the moment.”
    But in a way, you are both trying different things. You are both trying to save your marriage, but the how part of what you are doing is different; you are not on the same page regarding the Plan of Action. It sounds to me that you need to discuss your Plan of Action a bit further with your counselor. There are some things you have interpreted loosely or with flexibility and your husband applies a strict interpretation or assumption when something is not directly stated.

    • beautifulmess7 October 23, 2012 at 11:40 am #

      I will reply on a bit with more details. However, I just want to add that we never stated no contact. In fact, we stated the opposite – that during this time when we are living separately we need to be more open to sharing our thoughts and emotions. The MC suggested he read my blog, write me emails, call me to discuss how he is feeling, and be sure to open up. He called for MORE emotional intimacy during this time when we are limiting our physical intimacy in order to build trust and work toward possible reconciliation.

      • Rollercoasterider October 23, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

        Yeah, I kind of got that there was not a No Contact in place, I just had assumed until I read the post that there were more strict limitations.
        Emotional Intimacy is, of course, important. But does he know how–especially does he know how with the separation and restriction on physical intimacy? I think it scares him because he doesn’t know how to do it and so he’s sort of putting up walls because he thinks he is supposed to.

        • beautifulmess7 October 23, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

          That is an excellent point. I don’t think he DOES know how to have emotional intimacy. That is my frustration right now. It definitely is scary to him (I would assume) to figure out how to proceed with emotional intimacy without physical intimacy. Sex addiction IS an intimacy disorder. That means it is something that he needs to work on and figure out. I guess it also means it is something that I need to be more patient with.

    • beautifulmess7 October 23, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

      Okay… I think you make some great points that I want to address.

      “…you need to be the one who meets him at the door, thanks him for the checkbook and does not let him enter.” I guess that you are right about that. If he is too lazy to go to the library and balance the checkbook, then I will just have to do it myself. I think he was trying to be nice or something by doing it, but if he hadn’t already done so then he should have just told me that and been on his way. What I don’t understand is if he felt weird coming in, then why did he ask to?

      “I was assuming that communication on non-neutral (home) territory was off-limits. I did understand that you already had the food prepared and didn’t see your asking him if he wanted any as a request to join you in the kitchen and converse, but it was still a slippery slope that could lead toward communication and for now that needs to be with a mediator or pre-scheduled on neutral territory.”

      We never actually said that. I would have been fine with it if we had, but he actually said that he didn’t want to shut down the lines of communication. Our therapist agreed that he didn’t see a reason we shouldn’t have contact, speak to one another, call or text, and see each other during the week. He just suggested at least one contact be at a neutral place. We are supposed to be having conversations now. Not conflicts, but conversations. I think my husband doesn’t really know what that means.

      “You are interpreting his mood as sullen and antisocial, and he is behaving as he is deliberately because he does not want to be too emotional or attached—he’s working on being neutral, not engaging and being detached when around you.”

      I think I’m interpresting his mood correctly. He has been frowny-faced, intense, and even sarcastic and confrontational at times in the few instances where I have seen him since our separation. He was angry on Saturday – an intense, bitter anger that I have no idea where it came from. I tried to be neutral, not engage, and ask him where those feelings were coming from. He just got more sarcastic and angry until I had to ask him to go take a breather outside and get his head together. If he is trying to be detached, then the only way he must know how is through anger and passive-aggressive comments.

      “We often think our actions are clear, but what looks like one thing to you will look like something else to someone else. He kept repeating himself when you asked him to explain because he did not think the conversation was supposed to go deeper…”

      I can see what you mean on that one. Our actions are often clear to us. I really was just being polite and offering him something to eat since he had made passive-aggressive comments in the last few days that he is so broke he can’t eat. I might not be able to live with the man right now, but I don’t want him to starve! I’m not sure HOW he could think the conversation is not supposed to go deeper, though. Our MC made it clear that this is the time to establish emotional intimacy, be open with one another, and talk things through. These 3 months are his chance to learn what it means to be intimate and deep with someone without it being about sex.

      “You can progress gradually to communications without the mediator—gradually—and that will start on neutral territory and should not take place at home for quite some time.” That wasn’t the original plan, but I think it might need to be. We shall see.

      “It sounds to me that you need to discuss your Plan of Action a bit further with your counselor.” Agreed!

  6. Courtney October 23, 2012 at 11:19 am #

    A little over a year ago…My husband and I were separated for about 3 months. The first month were were not allowed any contact. The next two months were very difficult. He would come over and be cold or we could even have a nice time. We would go have “dates” My husband was trying to deal with living sober and I was trying to deal with what he had done to me. After he would leave I would either gets txt’s or phone calls from some other person – he had changed into this moody, angry, crying, yelling monster. I was not ready to have him come home cause of this flip flop of emotions. Eventually I did – we worked though it by working our recovery programs.

    I feel for you, I really do. and I pray for both of you ❤

    I love reading your posts – remember you are not alone in your journey. We can offer strength and hope to others just as we get strength and hope from them.

    • beautifulmess7 October 23, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

      Thanks for telling me that. It’s good to know someone else can relate. It’s also really nice to hear that you were able to work it out.

  7. Samantha Baker October 23, 2012 at 10:05 am #

    I can visualize Mr. Baker doing the same thing. I do think part is manipulation, part is wallowing in self pity and part is probably just shock that you actually followed through. I haven’t been able to do that yet.

    Mr. Baker has run away from emotions and problems since we’ve been married. He’s just now started to face them. And his coping skills suck, but he’s trying. Now if he could try with the damn lying…

    • beautifulmess7 October 23, 2012 at 10:09 am #

      You’re preaching to the choir here… I just found out about more lies. I can barely even muster up the ability to care anymore.

  8. Ariella October 23, 2012 at 9:48 am #

    I may be way off here, but reading this just had me thinking “classic John manipulation”. Reading things like “your house” John would always say these things to me when I would throw him out even though it is “our house”! John also has this great way about him. He can turn any situation on me and make me feel as though I did something wrong, that is was my fault!

    Mr Mess, messed up big time, and he should be doing anything and everything to try to make this right. However, because he has not done that, doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love you or want to work this out. John does this all the time! He somehow manages to gain the power and makes me wonder why he is acting the way he is. I always find myself trying to talk to him and be nice to him, when clearly, he has to make the effort too. Again, I am in no way saying that is what Mr. Mess is doing, but when I read this, “classic John”.

    If your husband is anything like John, he does not like to take responsibility for his actions and feels better placing the blame on someone else besides himself. . .

    • beautifulmess7 October 23, 2012 at 9:53 am #

      Oh yeah, I definitely agree with what you are saying. I’m not sure what part is manipulation and what part is poor emotional skills. I guess it doesn’t really matter, though. He needs to do more than he is. I can do my part by reaching out, but he needs to do the same. Like you said, it was his big screw up that left us here. He Needs to be putting forth the most effort!

      • Ariella October 23, 2012 at 10:03 am #

        It took me years to put my foot down and finally realize that I cannot let him manipulate me anymore. I will admit, he still does at times, but nothing like he used to.

        For some strange reason, I always feared that if I didn’t make it “right” he wouldn’t and we would be over. I have never feared losing John, as he would leave me for someone else, but I have feared it being over. Now, I don’t have the fear anymore.

        My best friend always told me, Ariella, you cannot let him continute to do this. Finally I put my foot down the night I made the post “he f****d her tonight” and I threw him out! I believe that was the only time I really had the power. The greatest fear for me was not that we wouldn’t work it out, but it was more like where would he go? If I throw him out and he goes to be with another woman, in the long run in my eyes my plan back-fired.

        The last time, the wedding, I told him to just go, take half of the money and go be with Nicki. I did not threaten him in anyway like I usually do. I told him he could see the kids whenever he wanted and I promised to stay in MD. For some reason, this scared him to death. This was the first time in almost 7 years that John was unable to manipulate the situation. I didn’t allow it, although I will admit to you I was petrified the entire time.

        Im sure your husband loves you, but deep down inside it has to kill him all he did to you! I know it kills John all he did to me. People always think that if it killed them, they wouldn’t do it, but I do not believe that to be true. They are like children in a way and do not think of the consequences of their actions until they are caught. . .

        • beautifulmess7 October 23, 2012 at 10:28 am #

          Yeah. I think once I stop threatening and just took action he had no idea what to do. I’m sure he’s scared, although he hasn’t said that to me.

          • Ariella October 23, 2012 at 10:31 am #

            John never told me he was afraid, I just saw it in his eyes. I had always threatened him with taking all the money, moving back to NY. This time it was different. I was calm and willing to split things equally. I think us selling the business scared him the most. We were no longer tied in that way. . .

            One thing I learned, they will never admit FEAR.

  9. workspousestory October 23, 2012 at 6:23 am #

    I also agree it’s great you’re sticking to the rules. I think he is, well, simply confused mainly because the situation is such that he has no control over. If his default (at least recently, not saying ‘inborn’) position is that of a lie, it means he has a strong need for control, which he lost here. He needs to play by somebody else’s rules which must be quite ground-shaking for him.
    I suppose patience and time will help, he needs to adjust to the boundaries, but I think it’s important you keep repeating to him that you want the two of you to be civil and ehm, friendly? In a way. Maybe he’ll get it…

    • beautifulmess7 October 23, 2012 at 10:01 am #

      I think you are 100% correct about the control thing. That is definitely a huge part of it. He doesn’t like that he isn’t in charge of how this process goes, so he silks. Except he really COULD be taking control here. That’s what I want more than he could ever understand. I want him to step up. I want him to put forth an effort.

      But, yes, all I can do is control me and my reaction. That’s something I’m learning to accept, too. So I will keep being civil, even if he seems upset that I’m not upset. I would guess he is probably resentful of the fact that I am growing and thriving and making the most put of this separation. He wants to see me miserable, and I’m not complying.

  10. Scabs October 22, 2012 at 11:58 pm #

    two words…hurt feelings. I’ve experienced this same thing with Mr Scabs a million times. I especially remember it when he moved out of the house. but it still happens occasionally. When I finally realized what was going on I said something like this…”dude, you’ve got to learn some social skills and get a little vulnerable. If your feelings are hurt from something that happened the other day, say so. Don’t internalize and get moody. Explain it to me. I’d love to hear whats going on with you. Mood swings don’t communicate or get you what you want. Talk to me.”

    We’ve been working on it—building communication and social skills.

    Interesting idea, but sometimes I think addicts lack some basic social skills.

    • beautifulmess7 October 23, 2012 at 10:07 am #

      I think you may be right about the hurt feelings thing, but for the life of me I have no idea what his feelings could be hurt ABOUT. He is the one lying to ME! So how is he hurt??!? Because I stopped buying the shit he was selling? Because I stuck to a boundary that we agreed on together? It’s baffling to me.

      While he has been gone I’ve discovered yet another major, long-term lie. He has been lying to me for months about having health insurance when he doesn’t. I should be the one hurt and upset over the additional betrayal. So where does he get off feeling hurt that I don’t feel safe sharing a home with someone who lies to me that easily and extensively?

      I have tried the reasonable, rational route. I have asked him to stop with the moodiness and explain what’s going on with him, inside his head. He always gives me the “later” line.

  11. Stacia October 22, 2012 at 9:59 pm #

    I’m so glad you are sticking to the separation rules. Must be hard at times, when a life change is upon us. (((Hugs)))

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