Reese
My wayward husband is very much still self loathing. How long does this usually last? He did some really awful things and is trying to make things right now but clearly still struggling to accept it all himself. He has repeatedly told me how he hates himself. 
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Keepabuzz
Reese wrote:
My wayward husband is very much still self loathing. How long does this usually last? He did some really awful things and is trying to make things right now but clearly still struggling to accept it all himself. He has repeatedly told me how he hates himself. 


How long has it been since d-day? How long has he been self loathing? 
Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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Reese
I found out June 5th. He came back to town (was out of town working, she was the baker) but he stayed at his parents because I had filed for divorce (July 1). Ultimately, he was leaving me for her until I outed them to all of their family and he dumped her within two weeks. It was a month after that before we started talking again. So roughly mid-late September before we started trying to reconcile. He has been self loathing the entire time we have been trying to reconcile and from what I can tell, probably since I outed them. 

He has told me he never planned to leave me, but when he found out I had filed for divorce he got angry.
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Experiencethedevine29

Reese wrote:
I found out June 5th. He came back to town (was out of town working, she was the baker) but he stayed at his parents because I had filed for divorce (July 1). Ultimately, he was leaving me for her until I outed them to all of their family and he dumped her within two weeks. It was a month after that before we started talking again. So roughly mid-late September before we started trying to reconcile. He has been self loathing the entire time we have been trying to reconcile and from what I can tell, probably since I outed them. 

He has told me he never planned to leave me, but when he found out I had filed for divorce he got angry.


Oh... the diddums got angry??.....🙄... when I read things like that I’m never surprised at the level of self delusion the WS can conjur up.

..I fear he might be using his ‘self loathing’ as a means to employ your sympathy, but that’s just me being a sceptic. Only you really know him.

if it’s genuine remorse, which is vastly different from guilt,  he will have worked through his ‘raison d’etre’ sufficiently to understand the difference. Do you think he’s doing that? 



ETD 🌻

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hurting
My WS says he feels ashamed of what he did as well as feeling guilty and remorseful. I’m not sure he truly grasps the nuances of each of those words. In his vocab, they all equate to something like ‘I wish I didn’t do that and I feel bad about it’...

It took as long as it took me to really start feeling better before it came up less for him. Basically every time there’s a reminder of what a POS he was, he feels bad. My take on it? Good. He SHOULD. I’m not saying he should feel unrelenting guilt forever... but any time there is a reminder of what a selfish lying coward he was and his incredibly poor life choices? Yeah, those are worth being ashamed of. Yes he should loathe the choices he made and what he was. There were days early on when I looked at him with nothing but loathing and absolute disgust. He saw it in my eyes. The things he did were disgusting. Those sorts of actions and choices are worth loathing...

I’m pretty sure at some point, I told my WS ‘good. You SHOULD be ashamed and you should feel guilty! Now do something about it and CHANGE so you can become something more than a scumbag and not be ashamed of yourself.’

Having said that, acceptance that that is what they chose to do without trying to place blame for it elsewhere is a big part of their growth. I think if I had been a WS, I would still hate the terrible things I had done if I really got it. I’m not sure there would come a point where I would be able to look at myself and say ‘what I did was ok and I am not ashamed because we have reconciled/I have grown’ or whatever. That’s almost like the opposite of getting it.
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anthro
If he is genuinely (rather than theatrically) self-loathing then that is understandable. I don't see why it would pass until he has, at the very least, reached a point where he can look in the mirror and say "I have truly left no stone unturned in my effort to make things right and heal the wounds I've caused, I have prioritised that over everything else." That means years, of course. 
Formerly known as Anthropoidape... male bs, long affair, d-day Feb 2017.
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UrbanExplorer
It can last for years without therapy. Particularly for someone who usually does the right thing outside of having an affair (i.e. the affair seems out of character) and comes back into the reality of what he has done. Because you can't fix him and aren't responsible for that anyway, and because he can't help you heal while he's in this self-centered pit of shame, he should talk to someone independent. A therapist can help him put the affair in context, since it's always filling a void of sorts, and get to a place where he can own it and make amends for it without falling apart. I had an affair 5 years ago and still go to therapy once a month.
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Reese
Urban explorer I think you accurately explained what I'm seeing. I can see that he wants to make things better, but he seems so lost in his own anger and self hatred to be able to really take action. He really doesn't want to see a therapist but I'm going to insist. 

I've never seen him as such an angry person until now. It's clearly anger towards himself though, not that it makes it any better. He's focusing on fixing the financial hole he created whilst in his affair and is really lacking on the emotional side of it all. I think he honestly can't give anymore right now because he needs to come to terms with it all himself. 

If he refuses to see a therapist, are there any good books to help someone through this particular part of the healing process?

Thank you all for your responses. 
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BorealJ
Can't figure out formatting issues with the hyperlink.  I will try again.
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BorealJ
Reese wrote:


If he refuses to see a therapist, are there any good books to help someone through this particular part of the healing process?

 
https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_listening_to_shame
How would something like this speak to him? It's a passive format as a 20 minute video but the messages you get from it are clear.  There's also her first TED talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_the_power_of_vulnerability
She's a hardcore academic in the social sciences but is also very accessible in her language.  Shame is her specialty.  Shame was the big thing that had to be dismantled in my wife before any attempts at reconciliation could be made successfully.  As a BS, it also had to be dismantled in me.  Shame by nature is selfish because it's a type of personal crisis. It leaves little room for connection to anything outside oneself.  Brene Brown is the expert and has several books.  But he has to be open to connecting to the themes.  You can't force it on him.  But if he at least expresses to you that this is what he is struggling with, you can tell him to have a look at this stuff. 
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Reese
I think these will be very helpful, thank you so much. He grew up in a home where counseling or admitting you have an issue was weak and therefore unacceptable. He's really struggling to wrap his mind around all of this I think. The affair is so far from who he is and has been our entire relationship. I hope he can find his way through this.
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ThrivenotSurvive
My husband was the same.  His family really didn't "talk" about difficult things.  His Dad's alcoholism, his parent's divorce after he got sober, etc... everything was sort of "That's bad.  Now it it is time to get on with life."  No sharing feelings, processing meaning or even looking for valuable insight to be applied to future situations.  Just - "That's over.  Put your big girl/boy pants on and get over it."  

Also, this was exceedingly out of character for him as well and he was sick with shame.  We did do some therapy after DD, but not long term.  Our therapist actually told us we were communicating so well and talking about the difficult things clearly that she wasn't sure she could really provide much value anymore.  So, while I think he did make some important connections in counseling to issues in his childhood that made him react incredibly poorly to a perceived rejection by me and to his inability to talk about his feelings and express needs, I don't think he really worked through the shame there.  

He really, really struggled with it for the first 18 months to 2 years, but as he saw that his efforts to rebuild his relationship with me and our daughter SLOWLY bore fruit, he took pride in that.  Granted there were a number of times I think he was pretty distraught that neither of us would ever get over it and I saw him cry more times in those two years than in our entire life together.  But I think that in some ways that felt like justice to him and allowed him to see himself as a person who could "lean in" to fixing his mess and face himself - instead of someone weak who walked away. 

Overtime he has built a very different view of himself.  I think he used to have a lot of the "imposter" syndrome.  He feared that if people looked too deep they would find someone lacking, shallow.  At first, the affair seemed to tell him that he was right.  He was a bad person with only a surface veneer of good. But in the healing of it, in the digging deep and paying attention to things he used to shy away from - like who he wanted to be and the traits he wanted to embody vs. how much money he made - he found a depth in himself that I could always see - but he had never given himself credit for.  

I think he is actually happier now in his own skin than he has ever been (almost 4 years out from DD).  He stopped running from himself and did the hard work of really taking a personal inventory.  He found things he liked - and changed the ones he didn't.  I think his major regret is that he didn't have the strength or wisdom to do it earlier and instead waited until he'd sunk to rock bottom and hurt everyone he loved (including himself) along the way.  

Even now, when he seems to have left the shame behind, there is still a heavy weight of regret.  And while he owns what he did - he says it still hurts his heart that he marked himself in this way, that this will always be a part of his story, his legacy.  The only way he could find to keep that from choking his ability to move forward was to try to put it to good.  To use it as impetus to help others and to never take me or our daughter for granted again.  And so far, he has given me every reason to believe that it is a lesson emblazoned on his soul.  

FYI - since I am talking about his feelings exclusively, it may seem as if he only focused on how this experience affected him.  Nothing could be further from the truth, but that is the focus of this question so that is what I spoke to. 
BS - Female
Married 27 years, one adult child
DD May 2016

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” - V Frankl
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Phoenix
It took me about a year and a half to get out of the self loathing mode. I am still very much ashamed of what I have done and have a lot of guilt. Like Hurting said every time there is a trigger or a hard episode the shame gets worse. My therapist said that I need to forgive myself for what I have done. I believe that is impossible. My loathing also got better once my BS started doing better. Now a days I still feel shame on a daily basis but not as bad as I used to. I continue with all my self healing with therapy on a weekly basis, reading, listening to podcast watching videos. I watched 3 videos this morning. One on second opportunities, one on Brokenness in A Romantic Relationship, and the third in healing yourself. I want to read Brene Brown's work I think that will help. 
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BorealJ
My wife read some Brene Brown, but at times I think it hit too close to home for her because my wife would overlay her own narrative which was something along the lines of "this is what is going on inside me, therefore there is something wrong with me".  Counseling scared her because she didn't want to be scrutinized and all the things that were "wrong with her" revealed.  She did some CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) counseling that helped her break the pattern of those types of narratives.  I think the idea behind CBT is to change the thought in order to change the mood so you practice being aware and catching the shame or insecure or self loathing type narratives and change them to something more realistic. 
It's a tough spot.  I think some WS's just give in to the idea they are bad people, unworthy, and incapable of achieving any kind of reconciliation, so give up on any attempt.  It seemed like my wife was just embracing that she was an evil villain because that was easier than trying to be something better than that.  I was quite surprised when the change in my wife occurred.  Her shame has been a lifelong inner dialogue, so it was quite something for her to start realizing the disservice she had been doing to herself all these years and challenged herself to respond in more healthy ways to circumstances.  I saw real change, and so I saw hope for connection in the marriage. There was a point at which her healing and growth was outpacing mine and it bothered me.  When she was the more stable parent that was what our kids needed, I had that "it's not fair" type of response inside myself.  It took me a while to be thankful that she had grown for herself and was doing well for our kids.  But it was hard when I realized I wasn't who I wanted to be.  There were times I was overly hard on myself for that and then times when I just doubled down on my behaviour because it wasn't my fault.  Eventually, I stabilized and was able to have some self compassion but also challenged myself to be better for my own sake and my family's.  From time to time I do need a little tune-up in my thought process, but I have been doing well.  The things that stung so much in those first months and years don't carry much weight anymore.  I can see them for what they are.  But man oh man did they hurt in the moment. They hurt because of the stories I made up to make sense of something that made no sense at all.  That was my shame at work.
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Reese
Thank you all so so much for your responses. As a BS, I am struggling with what I'm seeing/ not seeing from him. I am trying desperately to keep myself in check but I'm currently pregnant and emotional which makes things more difficult. I do recognize the changes he is making, and his efforts. They just seem slow to me but I have also not been in his shoes. I'm trying to remember to give him grace and not give up. I appreciate all of the insight so much more than I can put into words. You're all helping to calm my currently very feisty heart. 🌻
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