A magnifying glass on a lack of connection. Ouch. This lesson comes at a really difficult time for me. I am sad, and to realize that four years after betrayal, I still cannot hold a gaze on my husband’s eyes and experience love and connection. Looking back, the only times we have direct prolonged eye contact is when we are angry. So his eyes are not a safe place for me. I avoid looking into them and afraid of what will be missing. Before the betrayal I longed for true connection. I never found it with the one I married. I’ve been at a loss to figure it out. My husband doesn’t mind superficial. This is where our marriage lived for 16 years. Since the lesson about buffalos and cows, I faced my fears of talking about difficult things with my husband. Great, I’m glad you are. Before, I was avoiding these talks due to my husband’s pushback, only I have not been able to get through to him. There is a block somewhere with him. He cannot hear my needs and respond, he always changes the focus and we end up talking about his needs and he says that heaviness is too much for him, and I’m too pushy or any number of things I didn’t do right in my communication. Even though he says that he’s there for me, I can talk about anything, when the time comes, he really isn’t there. I know he isn’t the person to practice connection with, and this holds immense sadness for me. I want to focus on my own healing and not get weighed down by my marriage. Yet I haven’t figured out how to do both. Here at Bloom, we are encouraged to first focus on our own work in our healing, but I’m simultaneously watching my marriage fall apart. I welcome help trying to understand how to heal in the middle of a marriage where connection is missing.
I think your healing is actually your self care. Getting the strength, buffaloing up as you’re doing, having these hard conversations, to me, that is your healing. Learning how to say what you want and communicate it without buckling down, having those boundaries and saying look, I want the better marriage, but when I bring these things up, it turns to you. Your husband needs to work on his shame. He needs to work through so he can sit with you, be with you in your pain. That’s one of the things that he needs to do. I can’t, we can’t do his work for him, but that’s what’s needed, because when you get into those difficult times, he calls it heavy. He doesn’t know what to do. If he just understood he doesn’t have to go into shame and he can hold your pain and he can learn how to hold your pain just by listening, asking questions, being present, showing you that he cares, that’s buffaloing up from the addict’s perspective or the acting out person’s perspective. If he can do those things, then he doesn’t have to run into that shame place where I’ve hurt you, I’ve hurt you, I’ve hurt you instead. What I try to work with them on is being able to sit still. For them, facing the storm is facing the difficult emotions, the shame that they’ve felt in the past and facing it directly.
Now I know he didn’t ask this question, you did. But you’re having these hard conversations. That is your healing. It may not feel like it right now, it may feel like we’re in conflict and it’s getting worse. But if you don’t have these hard conversations, how will anybody know? I don’t want our marriage to fall apart, I want this connection. But when we talk about it, it seems like we fight. I do want connection.
If you want him to watch this video with you and this answer, please invite him to do. Because if he can realize that he can sit there and not run into it, just listen, then he can confront his own shame. And usually people feel shame because they’ve hurt their partner. And they don’t know how to stay, how to truly be able to acknowledge the suffering they’ve created. Anyway, that’s what I would recommend. But you are healing, by having hard conversations, by doing self care, by learning how to be the real you and not running from her or what she’s been through.