I can see positive changes I've made, but they don't seem like they're me, if that makes any sense.
I get this, pre dday I could be very compliant. Look how good I am behaving or look at what I did for you. But the place that compliance comes from is disconnected, not truly tapping into the us that is lying under tons of shit and crappy coping mechanisms. When I really got it, that all my issues stem from me, no blame or justification to lay around I was devastated.
The disconnect is that you are still playing a role, unfortunately for you, your not the DM which is what your writing is all about here on SI, trying to make sense of all this Affair stuff with what you know. Doesn't work that way because what you know and how you did things in the past is exactly why your here, so why use the same tool?
I get the idea of "playing a role" ... and I doubly get the idea of being upset that I'm not in charge. I have definitely struggled with that.
Boundaries help establish a sense of really BEING someone, and that's a great deal of what I failed at before. I didn't have boundaries to say what I would or wouldn't do given situation X, Y, or Z. In so doing, you start to establish a pattern of behavior that defines who you really are (or want to be) as a person.
So my WW and I were also into RP, but mostly tabletop with a little online stuff. We had a steady group that was made up of my friends, and she ended up screwing two of them behind my back.
She also converted online RP partners into EA and eventual PA buddies. After meeting and speaking with them, it was amazing how similar the persona she presented to them matched her archetypical tabletop characters...
In my case, I never wanted to RP with her again, but I did so in order to keep the peace. It sucked, and it amplified my feelings of loss, self loathing, and complete humiliation. It looks like she had a good time, though. Watching her flirt with other players in-character set me spinning into trigger-land, and amplified the injustice of the whole situation, because it truly appeared as though she lost nothing while the passion I had for my hobby would be forever stained by her indiscretion. This disconnect (and others like it) and apparent imbalance made R impossible for us and further damaged my self image.
Now, some advice:
Learn from the pain, and try to understand that the grief you feel from losing something you enjoyed was caused by your own decisions, whereas hers was caused by the actions of another. RPing was something you had in common, and now associating it with pain is something you also share. You used RP to meet people, connect with "playmates", and tell your stories. Now you can use its absence to understand her story.
It was a tangible (and avoidable) loss that can hopefully lead you toward becoming a more empathetic person.
“I'm losing my mind in a bedroom with a ghost
and I'm losing my mind in a bottle while I choke
I stayed years with you, no one knows (but I want them to).”
– Thought Industry
I’d like to share some thoughts about grief, from my experience. I have only posted twice here, once about anger and once about fear. I got some good advice to look underneath at what those emotions were protecting me from, which turned out to be grief-- grief about feeling all my life that I was alone and had to come from a false self to be accepted. (This was a very early conclusion, which kept me from taking in the love I received later in life, especially from my husband.)
I could be wrong, but from the outside it looks to me like in the past you were trying to connect to others through roles, and now you realize that didn’t work. But that is the only way you know to connect, so now you are trying to connect to Heart the same way. Maybe under your grief at losing the role play connection is your grief at feeling like you have no other way to be close to anyone. Anyway, that’s what it was for me – grief, and terror that I would never figure out how to be close as “just me.”
The good news is that I have been able to face my terror and have compassion on my grief, and now sometimes , and increasingly, access the “just me” that can feel and be close. I’m not saying it is easy, and it has taken me two and a half years just to get to the beginning of his process, but I can’t express in words how wonderful it feels to live in a state of love rather than fear, and feel real rather than like a cardboard figure. Doing loving things while feeling like it was “not me” was part of the process. But continuing to look underneath to see and have compassion for my own pain were essential before I could get a real sense of my BH’s pain. And keeping in mind my goal of feeling loving and receiving my husband’s amazing love were essential to give me the courage to continue when I was feeling fake and totally unacceptable to any decent human being.
I would guess that others can’t feel your pain because you haven’t been able to feel that bottom line grief and terror yourself yet. I’ll just reiterate the advice I was given, to keep digging for the whys, let yourself feel your feelings, and PERSIST – which I see you doing. Again, that’s just what has worked for me (with the help of an amazing therapist and a husband with a true genius for loving). All my best as you continue your journey.
Assume that your BW never wants that instrument in your lives, ever.
Now, where will you direct your creative talent to heal yourself and your marriage?
Please do not mistake my verbosity for wisdom
KB, you know, the poetry of a man divided against himself doesn't have the power of the simplest tribal song?
Wendell Berry said that.
In a poem.
The changes you've made 'don't seem like you' because you're a stranger to yourself.
Your words might sweet talk innocent other broken ones to your sheets, but as far as imagination goes? Not a high bar, bub.
bend it to the wants of your hurting other. Your supposed "one".
Dig deep. (use your imagination maybe?)
Plumb the recess,
the blank space
Flesh out and flay the thing that arose there.
Call it out.
For the broken hateful hurting thing,
it (hopefully) WAS.
Name the lying beast and slay it.
Feel the pain your cowering has cost.
Being someone else for awhile.
Someone you claimed to love.
It will break you.
Then make you.
If you've got the stones for it.