Overcoming bitterness

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AlBelfast
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Overcoming bitterness

Postby AlBelfast » Mon Mar 13, 2017 2:14 pm

Sorry this is long!

I am about 14yrs married to a wonderful woman who 'could take or leave' sex (normally climaxing 2-4 times every time we have sex) other than coming to the realisation that 'good for relationship' - like taking tablets for something, not an actual appetite for me/sex.

I have a reasonably high drive & really struggle with her apathy. She is 'willing' which is probably way better than refusing (which she used to do very regularly).

To cut a long story short, I realise that the pain/quiet despair that I constantly live with (realising it's not going to improve after years of trying anything and everything to help, to no avail) is making me resentful/bitter and it's slowly making me not feel very positive about the relationship. I would never leave or cheat, but the temptation is painful.

The realisation that it's bitterness was enough to loosen my grip on the frustration, but I'm just wondering how to keep/get back to making it a non-issue and just loving her with a soft heart.

I feel that I have MUCH more blamed me/circumstances/choices for the 'mis-match' rather than her, but certainly need to forgive something that is hardly her fault.

Any suggestions of what has helped you from becoming resentful/bitter?

Thanks,

Al

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Re: Overcoming bitterness

Postby doug-h » Mon Mar 13, 2017 2:34 pm

I'm probably the world's foremost expert on anger and bitterness, and for the most part I have left it behind.

The thing about it is that anger and bitterness are just a mask for a different emotion that we might not even see in ourselves. I think to truly overcome, you have to earnestly look for that emotion, and identify it, and even embrace it. I can tell you it is not an easy or a pleasant process, and you will probably face days that you just want to get off the train and quit.

The emotion can be fear, disapointment, sadness, hopelessness, or any number or combination of negative emotions that are unresolved.

That said, you can take control of your thoughts. I was able to turn my anger off like a switch, when I became convicted to do so, but as I mentioned above, that is just the beginning of the process. You can consciously decide to replace one thought with another.

I went several months still learning the steps I needed to take, and I would have episodes that I would be awake fighting resentment well into the wee hours of the morning, while my wife slept like a baby. I would just get up, get my bible and read for awhile. Phillipians 4:8 was and is my go to verse when I am trying to get control of my thoughts. As unlikely as it seems, when I felt neglected or ignored, after a bit of time in the word, I would do some act of service for my wife, such as washing the dishes, sweeping floors, or even going out to the garage and vacuuming her car. It helped me focus on having a servants heart, and worrying less about myself.

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Re: Overcoming bitterness

Postby Job29Man » Mon Mar 13, 2017 8:04 pm

doug-h wrote:As unlikely as it seems, when I felt neglected or ignored, after a bit of time in the word, I would do some act of service for my wife, such as washing the dishes, sweeping floors, or even going out to the garage and vacuuming her car. It helped me focus on having a servants heart, and worrying less about myself.


When you can do this ... that is spiritual maturity. It's beautiful!
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Re: Overcoming bitterness

Postby doug-h » Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:40 pm

I don't know if that ^^^ is true or not. It was something I turn to instead of reverting back to old ways. It is probably less about real maturity, and more about retraining myself. The added side benefit is that it did help me work off my some pent up energy. I know me, and if I don't do something to break out of a negative thought cycle, it can get beyond my control and has to run it's course. It has never ended well.

AlBelfast
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Re: Overcoming bitterness

Postby AlBelfast » Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:13 pm

Thanks, good stuff. Loving this place!

I go in cycles of 'I've got this' & desperation to the point of kind of settling on wanting to seek a doctor for anti-depressants to deal with the feelings with the 'bonus' of lower sex drive side effects.

Would much rather deal with it naturally.

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Re: Overcoming bitterness

Postby tjw » Tue Mar 14, 2017 1:25 am

I wasn't looking for lower sex drive when I started on antidepressants. I just wanted an antidepressant. However, I also got the side effect of lower sexual drive/inability to erect. The ED is, in itself, very depressing :) - I just got my doc to switch me to Wellbutrin and the sex side of things is coming back towards "normal" - the antidepressant effect is reduced, but I think when my doc titrates up to a full dose next month I'll have a pretty good result.

AlBelfast wrote:Would much rather deal with it naturally.


I would, too. However, it didn't work. I know that God's Word is effective, I'm just not a good enough practicer on a consistent basis to keep myself out of the funk. I keep trying. I'm better now than a few years ago when everything went awry.

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Re: Overcoming bitterness

Postby AlBelfast » Tue Mar 14, 2017 1:38 am

I appreciate this sounds very 'resignatory' and have never experienced ED (so this also sounds flippant as I know in different circumstances it could be horrendous) but I think I would welcome ED, even for a time, as it would take sex off the table and there wouldn't be the opportunity for rejection. I guess I would feel in control of something.

(I'm even a bit embarrassed and annoyed at myself for feeling like that though)

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Re: Overcoming bitterness

Postby TJC » Tue Mar 14, 2017 5:36 am

I have no advice, since I struggle with DW's apathy towards intimacy my self. I guess reframing my point of view, which doug-h is essentially suggesting would help with the bitterness/anger, but not do much for the root emotions, of not being desired. It would at best cover up the problem. And reality is there's not much you can do about her apathy. If she doesn't see a problem, she's not going to work at it. Prayer helps with my version of this, which is depression, but it always comes back. Maybe it's just our cross to bear?
Just wanted to let you know you're not alone in this struggle
This is my beloved and this is my friend. Song of Solomon 5:16

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Re: Overcoming bitterness

Postby doug-h » Tue Mar 14, 2017 5:58 am

AlBelfast.

I gave you some examples of how I handled things, but I don't want you to get the impression that it was always sucessful. Over time tho, it did change me, and my anger has really subsided to the point that it is not a problem. I don't always win the emotional battle (what is going on inside of me), but it is very important to me that I always win the physical battle(my actions).

One of the the things that has been really important in my recovery has been to own it, and make myself responsible for it instead of making excuses for it. I also am honest enough about it to know that I probably can't do it by myself, and I have a lot of support with a program called Celebrate Recovery. The weekly meetings and small groups have allowed me to make myself accountable to other men with similar struggles.

You have already taken the most important step, just in recognizing that it is something that you want to work on.

One of the things I have come to understand, is that resentment and anger was always working against me getting what I desired. It was probably the single most damaging thing in my marriage, and as it started falling away, my marriage started improving by leaps and bounds. Obviously, I cant promise the same thing would happen for you, but I can say with a pretty high degree of certainty that it likely won't improve if you look at your wife as an adversary. Love your wife where she is in her growth, because just as you have your struggles, she has hers. If you look at it as a struggle on her part, then it becomes less about you being rejected. It becomes less personal.

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Re: Overcoming bitterness

Postby Hiswifeagain » Tue Mar 14, 2017 6:05 am

You want her to want you like you want her, but you're not her and she's not you so it's unreasonable to expect her to feel the same way as you. It would also be unreasonable for her to expect you to feel the way she does.

Have you considered that you've misunderstood this desire to be desired?

What if God put the desire to be desired in you to get you looking for Him?

He desires you more than you can imagine and He wants to be the object of your desire as well. When He fulfills that need in you, you're free to enjoy the gift of sex without it being your lifeline to self worth. That will probably help you be able to appreciate having a generous wife.


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Re: Overcoming bitterness

Postby TJC » Tue Mar 14, 2017 6:25 am

Hiswifeagain wrote:What if God put the desire to be desired in you to get you looking for Him?

If anything it makes me more appreciative of his patience with my shortcomings. My relationship with DW and Jesus really are two separate things. They affect each other yes, and seeing how I struggle with feelings of not being desired gives me a glimpse of how God must feel when we struggle with desiring to seek Him, but this is just another attempt at reframing and does nothing for the core feelings.
This is my beloved and this is my friend. Song of Solomon 5:16

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Re: Overcoming bitterness

Postby SeekingChange » Tue Mar 14, 2017 7:07 am

Simple answer to overcome bitterness..... Forgiveness . Every time. 70x7. We have to forgive and that is what keeps bitterness and resentment gone. If bitterness and resentment is present, there is unforgiveness in one's life somewhere. Anger is also a symptom of unforgiveness.

eta: I was a gatekeeper and refuser for 17 years of our marriage. I know one major way my husband made it through the years and why we so completely were able to do a 180 change, was he practiced continual forgiveness. Another thing I believed helped, he had a purpose and a higher calling in Christ, that no human could take from him, no matter what she said or how she treated him.
God can change what people do, behavioral patterns that have been in play for decades. He can change what we do to cope, find comfort, survive conflict, to count. Rahab had done a same old thing for years...then she did something new.

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AlBelfast
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Re: Overcoming bitterness

Postby AlBelfast » Tue Mar 14, 2017 7:41 am

While it's hard not to read that as a wee rebuke (maybe it just hit home) it sounds like good advice.

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Re: Overcoming bitterness

Postby SeekingChange » Tue Mar 14, 2017 7:50 am

It's not just good advice and my opinion, it's Biblical truth :D
God can change what people do, behavioral patterns that have been in play for decades. He can change what we do to cope, find comfort, survive conflict, to count. Rahab had done a same old thing for years...then she did something new.

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AlBelfast
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Re: Overcoming bitterness

Postby AlBelfast » Tue Mar 14, 2017 8:46 am

That's pretty much what I meant :D

AlBelfast
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Re: Overcoming bitterness

Postby AlBelfast » Tue Mar 14, 2017 12:52 pm

doug-h wrote:... I have a lot of support with a program called Celebrate Recovery. The weekly meetings and small groups have allowed me to make myself accountable to other men with similar struggles.


I've just contacted the local Celebrate Recovery organisers. Thanks. I teter from kind of ok to pretty rock-bottom despair and need to take positive action! :?

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Re: Overcoming bitterness

Postby doug-h » Tue Mar 14, 2017 1:08 pm

That is certainly positive action. ::clap ::clap ::clap

I hope it has the same impact on your life as it did on mine.

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Re: Overcoming bitterness

Postby AlBelfast » Sun Mar 19, 2017 1:22 pm

Lots to share!!

First, doug-h, haven't heard anything back from the organisers of the local Celebrate Recovery - the phone might just be a 'ministry phone' used during/around the course they run from time to time(?)

NOW THE EXCITING/ENCOURAGING BIT!!!

I put it down to a host of things, partly a change in attitude from me (thanks to discovering I was starting to become quite bitter), having a fantastic wife and a handful of 'coincidences' that I put largely down to prayer/God. Had absolutely expected nothing sexually positive (gave up after years of positivity to no avail) but things appear to have turned 180 pretty much overnight!

Basically, to cut a long story short, I initiated sex for the first time in probably months, instead of relying on the reasonably regular [what I perceived as] 'sympathy/duty' sex offers from my wife. Got a message at work the next day calling me sexy, I suggested exactly where she should place her hand (this type of explicit suggestion was a first) to get into the right frame of mind while she make a sex 'bucket list' with anything she hoped for. Got a message half an hour later asking if I could get away from work as she had got in more than the right frame of mind! I left immediately (work for myself).

Averaging enthusiastic encounters twice a day with a couple of things that have not happened before :shock: :lol: she has also done little things like thrown out all her 'basic' underwear and replaced it with more 'intimate' stuff, happily declaring this is the 'new us'!

Have had a few really honest chats where we've both cried and dealt with difficult stuff & SO filled with hope after years of anything but!!

Thank you so much for your kind words, advice and prayers. Definitely sticking around!

Al

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Re: Overcoming bitterness

Postby workerbee » Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:51 pm

That is awesome!
God is faithful....so glad to hear the good news!

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TJC
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Re: Overcoming bitterness

Postby TJC » Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:07 am

That is awesome! God is faithful! So glad to hear this!
This is my beloved and this is my friend. Song of Solomon 5:16


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