My wife had questions this evening about a specific acing out incident. I immediately stopped what I was doing and gave her my full attention. I answered her questions to the best of my ability. I fully owned what I did and expressed my sorrow for causing her pain. I can never change what I did but I can be present in the moment and hold her pain. This has been a major changing point in my recovery.
A year ago I would have been defensive and my shame would have surfaced. I would have made it about me and not about her pain. I would have denied, minimized it, and gaslighted her. Early on, my addict didn’t want to go back to the past and talk about things. I wanted to close my eyes and forget about it. I wanted to move on and focus on the future.
The reality was that I had never learned how to deal with painful emotions. I learned to escape, cope, and numb instead of facing the pain. This was a horrible way to go through life and it has caused my wife much pain and trauma. I have come a long way in my recovery. I have learned to turn and face my painful emotions. Whenever my wife gets triggered or has a question, everything stops. It doesn’t matter what I am doing, because at that moment there is nothing more important than my wife. I have come up with saying for this. I call it “getting it out and beating it up”. It sounds silly but it the easiest way for me to describe the process. We are in a better place now because I am being a decent husband to my wife.