I feel like the rope in a tug-of-war game that has gotten totally out of hand. stbxh and I are in limbo (he cheated, has been emotionally and verbally abusive, violated my family's trust and hospitality, and has done some really egregiously bad things; since exposing, he's been making lots of threats of violence) because I'm trying to get my head sorted out to make peace with acting one way or another. My family thinks I should divorce him, giving me an ultimatum "us or him!". My stbxh is trying to pressure me into intimidation or submission with his anger "go back to them if you don't want to deal with me!". I don't think he wants to work on the marriage, just punish me, but that seems absurd. Between the manipulative tactics of both, I feel extremely torn.
R isn't an option but I'm not ready for D and I don't like being bullied into making decisions, but I feel like that's what's happening. Unfortunately, the possibility of violence from him is on the horizon and I do not know if bringing up D now will trigger it or allow stbxh to let go of his anger at exposing. I'm afraid he's reading this forum, but I am not certain. He hasn't shown me that he wants this marriage to work and just blames me for the mess we are in and expects me to make amends, denying his cheating, etc. My family blames me for bringing a ton of turmoil and danger into their lives and things between us are not good. I'm about to relocate to a new city and seek out a new job because my home/work/counseling situation is wrapping up now, so I am in transition and without support. And, I don't have any friends to talk to about how to deal with this disaster. I love the guy, but don't think we need to be together if he is going to treat me like this. I love my family but I don't want to be manipulated all the time. I've got some codependency issues because I'm way too compliant. Anyway, I was kinda hoping this might be a good place to talk to others who might have some insight. I think it might have been possible to make my marriage work, if we weren't dealing with family issues from both sides, but the involvement took away any chance to work things out.
Anyway...I'm really bad with boundaries and wondered how others of you manage to maintain them with well meaning but pushy family or family/spouses that like to treat you as a doormat. I'm trying to undo doormat status in my life, you see. At the same time, I'm a mess because of stbxh's threats and my family's ultimatums and I feel like I can't make sense of anything, like the only way I can survive is if I give up my whole life to make everyone else happy. I'm trying to rebuild myself after stbxh and I have separated, but, I'm struggling. It sucks and I hate feeling weak and powerless! Even though I know that it's in my hands to deal with things, it still feels like it isn't. Anyway, I've got a thread about this situation ongoing where I'm trying to deal with the infidelity and make a decision about Limbo, but just looking for a little overall support, I guess.
Moxy, you seem like such a together person in your comments -- you know better than this. Once the threat of violence enters the picture, I'm sorry, you have to leave. Or make him leave, or somehow protect yourself.
You are worth so much more than this treatment. You know that.
I can't advise you, I'm not in your shoes, but I don't know why you'd even consider reconciliation with someone who threatens you and your family with violence.
I think the new job and new city is a great idea, and a good new beginning for you. You're in a bad situation right now, but you are a smart gal, you're going to be okay. I'll be thinking of you.
Thanks for the vote of confidence, lamaga. I know things will get better eventually, but right now, it just doesn't feel that way. Usually, I try to be composed and sensible, and I do try to act out of logic rather than emotion, but right now, it's my emotions that are troubling me. I do know better to act on these emotions, so I am not acting, just trying to figure them out for now. When I make a decision, I stick firmly to it, but getting to the decision is sometimes hard because it means reconciling all the mangled feelings and making peace with myself.
He hasn't done anything to demonstrate that R would be a good idea, so I am not considering it. He's done the opposite by threatening and intimidating. I'm considering talking to him about D, actually. So, the choice I'm making is to stay in limbo or to act towards D, but I feel like my heart is breaking all over again. I've gotten sucked back into the cycle with him and also with my family. He feels like I've misunderstood him and attacked him and abandoned him and I feel guilty that I have not been able to fix this, even as I know it isn't really my responsibility. I feel guilty for not tolerating and accepting his boundary crossing when I am still sort-of tolerating my family's boundary-crossing, but it shouldn't be a matter of loyalties and anyway, my family hasn't done anything like what stbxh has done. I do still love him and I hate that he is hurting, that he is ill and this crazy headspace is possibly tied in to his illness, and I hate that he sees me as the person who is hurting him when I've done my best to support him....but I feel guilty, like I haven't done enough.
It would be foolish for us to try to be together right now and I am certainly NOT initiating that, but at the same time, asking for a D rather than continuing separation feels like I'm giving up on him. I don't really know where the person I married has gone because this doesn't seem like him at all. And yet, it is. I guess it's like admitting that that person is just gone completely; I can accept that the relationship has crumbled, but to accept that he isn't him feels so wrong. I'm afraid that talking to him about D will trigger him to act on his revenge ideas. I'm also afraid of letting go completely, I think. Walking away into limbo was do-able, but I am so sad to let go of all hope entirely and resolutely. In a way, this is still the same as walking on eggshells.
I am trying to make sense of my emotions, make peace with things. But...how do I accept that the person who was sacred to me for so long has turned into this other kind of person who is causing me so much pain? And, my family is making it so much harder for me to make sense of things by being judgey and stern. I feel like I'm being torn in pieces and won't even have a soft place to land when I'm in pieces. :/ I don't know what to do about that feeling.
R isn't an option but I'm not ready for D and I don't like being bullied into making decisions, but I feel like that's what's happening.
Sorry to butt in, but this sentence stuck out to me. I am a contrarian by nature, and often my own worst enemy. I will dig in my heels and refuse to do what I *know* is the thing I need to do just because people tell me to do it. I have recognized that the fastest way to get me to say no is for someone to tell me to do it. With that in mind, I have often said I am not ready for something as an excuse to exercise that contrarian streak.
So my question is if R is not an option, are you really not ready for D, or are you merely reacting to the others? That is, are you waiting on D because you don't want to feel that you are doing what others are ordering you to do?
I wish you the best of luck with this. I enjoy your posts and frequently learn from them. I am sorry you are having to deal with your situation.
You may not know this because it fundamentally won't make sense, but boundaries are necessary or enabling on your part takes over and your sense of moral right or wrong in your decision making is compromised. Your form of answering to his behavior seems to be a form of enabling on your part. By allowing him to wreck your life the next bar is set for him to find more control. Don't be a victim. What he is doing is flat out wrong understandably. What your family is doing might not be the best either, but if your husbands actions have caused them direct harm or drama to the that wasn't asked for than there is a right to have their opinion, but have to respect boundaries for you as well and handle things with grace. Easier said than done. Listen, do what you want to do. The evidence is clear. Find strength, but make it your own. Get back your life. It's your body, not a piece of property. If you saw this playing out on tv you would be cursing the tv.