Trying to be the change I want to see in my world,
Multiple EAs from the beginning, 1 EA after marriage
As I've experienced in my MC, these are all distortions of the truth (lies we tell ourselves). In my MC sessions, my MC spends a lot of effort trying to remove the distortions and present what is actually going on to both of us. I find that as the WS, I had to become more honest and show real change first, because I was the one that broke the trust and deceived. Once some real honesty is shown, I think it becomes easier for my BS to open up to me and share her vulnerabilities thereby healing as I've seen over the course of this week. We realize we both need to change a lot but we can do it together, for ourselves, for each other and for our daughter.
It takes a lot of work to learn to look at one's situation honestly (without distortion for protection) make our choices thoughtfully and not resent it later. I'm still struggling with this, but it is getting easier. I hope my BS continues to remain open as I go on this journey.
The problem is that you need to show remorse proportionate to your BS's pain, and that is virtually impossible to do. Weeping and begging forgiveness would help, but we men don't do that well. You have to make it up with volume if you can't manage the intensity. Admit you did a terrible hurtful thing, betrayed the confidence of someone you loved, and beg her to give you a chance to make it up to her. Don't say you made a mistake...that's making a left instead of a right turn. You made thousands of individual poor judgements that may have ruined someone else's life. Own it, over and over. You will get through to her if you are sincere.
James Russell Lowell — 'Whatever you may be sure of, be sure of this, that you are dreadfully like other people.'
Trying to change my pattern, but its so hard and trying to do it anyways.
Without sounding bad and I mean no offence, I can see already how much your thinking has changed and how you are starting to own your shit.
My ex never came close to changing his way of thinking and we are S because of it.
I wish you well in continuing to work towards healing your W and yourself, and your journey towards R.
I took a couple of days off from reading the Non-Violent Communication book, things were a little busy lately at home and I did not have the mindshare on my morning drive to work to do it. Anyhow, I was reading the chapter on "Taking Responsibility for my Feelings". For me its pretty mind-blowing stuff, so many times when I'm reading this book, I say to myself, "I always do exactly that", but now I know why and now I what I can do instead and why. He explains the higher road, and why to take it. And it seems to apply everyone around me, not just my BS but my nephew, my sister-in-law, co-workers, and my nanny. I'm learning to listen to what they say, and not take in all the negativity but to understand their feelings and needs. I think its the most obvious with my toddler, she doesn't use language yet but she yells and cries and uses gestures to communicate that she needs something, each time I have to figure it out, I usually figure it out (eventually), but the important thing as a parent is that I try. You would think that with language, it should be more effective, but we don't communicate what we are feeling or what we need, we warp it with judgments, criticisms, conclusions, negativity, aggression and outright deception so that the message just doesn't get through or is so twisted. I'm glad I am taking the time now to learning this so I can change my behavior and make things different.
Its a rough journey but I'm doing it anyways.
we don't communicate what we are feeling or what we need, we warp it with judgments, criticisms, conclusions, negativity, aggression and outright deception
Taking a moment to identify what we're feeling, and to listen for the feelings behind the other person's words, before we react...it's a powerful thing. Case in point Antoinette Tuff, who empathized with a man who walked into her elementary school last August armed to the teeth, and as a result of her caring and concern...he surrendered peacefully.
Once again, thanks for the book suggestion and the encouragement 20WrongVs1.
Take the question, how do you feel, and the response, I feel happy
To you, happy may be feelings about thank GOD that I'm home, the traffic was horrible, some jerk cut me off on the onramp, I had to make a stop at the grocery store and it was full of dithering people, I woulda got gas but the line was so long that I'll get up early and go get it before work tomorrow, my feet hurt, and I just want to sit my rear end down and put my feet up and zone out for an hour.
To her, happy may be feelings about oh good, now we can all sit down and have dinner together as a family, DD has that great science report that she can show her dad, it's so nice to have an adult home to talk to rather than just kids, I can't wait to show him the new bedspread I got for our room, and I have a DVD that we all can watch together after dinner.
You both feel happy, but your respective happys are going to be butting heads in no time at all. And indeed you both ARE happy that you are home, but the emotion, the meaning, is quite different. Same word, different meanings.
MC was a great help to us to start listening to each other but it didn't exactly help us with the emotional part of describing our feelings. We ended up going to a Retrouvaille weekend after hearing about it from several people here, and it was, and continues to be, SO much help to us! Perhaps that might be something that you and your BW might consider. I believe that Aubry went, so if you wanted to PM a WW to ask about their experience with it, I'm sure that Aubry could talk to you.
Keep up the good work!
D-Day, June 10, 2012
I think that lately, I've been able to communicate more genuinely with my BS and I think it has provided a more trusting environment than before. Before, I was very frustrated, and thought I was being misunderstood constantly and and always trying to defend myself. I now realize I was making my environment extremely hostile for my BS, and this makes it harder to build any level of trust. This continued for years, renewed with each trigger and my reactions. Pretty sad when I look back at it. I found that improving my communication helped because in order to do it effectively, I had to become aware of my feelings, my story and to be compassionate towards my BS.
We actually did go to Retrouvaille a few years ago. I don't think we were both ready for it. It allowed us to spend time together, it taught us to write our feelings out. But I think we had much deeper issues to address along with our communication problems. Just being able to understand our feelings and forgiving and forgetting the past was not going to do it. In our group there was a couple dealing with infidelity but they were tackled from a very Christian approach. That is the husband expressed openly how sorry he was, the good wife forgave him because that is what Jesus would do and they would go on for the good of the family unit. You could tell she said she forgave him, but she was so pissed after all those years. Because its hard, she can't just swallow it and no amount of group therapy is going to make it easier.
For us we needed to go to MC so we could unpack those bad memories and realize we both need to rebuild our relationship. I find that we need a good MC to be able to keep us on track so that the discussions didn't become finger-pointing sessions.
I don't know how it is going to turn out, I hope it works out for us.
Trying to find time to be the change I want to see in my world.
It's when things get hard that you have the greatest opportunity to show your commitment.
I've been reading grain's thread on Resentment. It forced me to take a look at my own. So I Started looking more deeply into resentment today.
I started with the wikipedia article
Then read a reference by Stonsy
The very technical definition of resentment states that Resentment is inline with contempt and anger. However resentment is directed towards higher-status individuals, anger is directed towards equal-status individuals and contempt is directed towards lower-status individuals. When the person feeling resentment is directing the emotion at himself or herself, it appears as remorse.
The idea that it is anger directed at someone higher in status or in a position of power is interesting to me. I very much thought my BS was at a higher level and I thought I was inferior throughout our relationship. Adding infidelity into the relationship just cemented that situation and perception. Many times I did not voice my discontent, or felt pressured into decisions I thought were not mine to make. This goes back to my issues with my mom and the racism and bullying I endured when I was growing up. For me, the inferiority, powerlessness and humiliation were very strong, at the time they did not feel like mere perceptions but were openly communicated to me by the offending parties (i.e. Mom, kids at school, my BS).
The wikipedia article mentions that resentment can result from a variety of situations, involving an actual or perceived wrongdoing from an individual, and often are sparked by expressions of injustice or humiliation. Common sources of resentment include publicly humiliating incidents such as accepting negative treatment without voicing any protest, an object of regular discrimination or prejudice. Resentment can also be generated by dyadic interactions, such as emotional rejection or denial by another person, deliberate embarrassment or belittling by another person, or ignorance, putting down, or scorn by another person.
Stonsy's article on resentment describes it as a "Chain" with links that add on each time we feel wronged. The metaphor of a chain is a good one as the weight builds with each link and the fact that it ties you down. I guess the way to deliver oneself from the resentment would be to follow the chain to the source and cut it, to let it go. All he hurt, all the bitterness has to be emptied from my heart to make room for love and kindness for me and to my BS.
I'm going to sit with this awhile.
Here is an abridged version on the article by Sarah Louise Gess. I cut the parts out that I wanted to highlight, no offence to the author.
We often experience resentment toward other people when we find it hard to forgive them and hold onto unspoken pain. Whenever we feel we’ve been treated unfairly, judged, or wronged, we have a very powerful internal reaction. The emotions we experience are strong. We feel them intensely and deeply, because they challenge us to reassess the self-image we hold of ourselves. The unexpressed painful emotions we experience as a result of
other peoples’ actions have the potential to transform into resentment if they are not released in a healthy, effective, and timely way.
Resentment lives inside us, feeding on our negative feelings and emotions. It becomes stronger the longer it is ignored. It can mutate and develop into a warped veil, which prevents us from seeing the world from a healthy, balanced perspective. If left unresolved, resentment has the power to be all consuming, and is very effective at fueling anger. In turn, unexpressed, internalized anger is a ticking time-bomb which
can lead to abusive or self-destructive behavior, or a combination of both.
Resentment is a very personal and private emotion, as it has almost no effect on the person it is directed towards. It resides with its owner, and causes negativity and pain.
Given a conducive set of circumstances and enough time, I can experience resentment on a powerful scale. I believe this is, in part, rooted in my formative years. I was brought up in a home where expressing strong, “negative” emotions was prohibited. I grew up believing it was unacceptable to express hurt, disappointment, frustration, or anger toward the people who evoked these very emotions in me. By the time I reached my teen years, I had unwittingly yet wholeheartedly perfected the internalization of painful emotions.
Resentment had found a comfortable home inside me, neighbored by my reluctance and fear of expressing myself. Whenever anyone hurt me, intentionally or otherwise, I would simply deny my emotions by storing them in a box inside me labelled “deal with this later.” However, later never came. What did come was resentment toward the people who’d hurt me—that and anger. At the time, I saw this as a kind of pay-off. “If I keep my feelings
hidden and unexpressed, then I don’t have to risk jeopardizing the quality of my relationship with this person." In truth, I was terrified of rejection. This fear fueled my reluctance to express my pain to the people who’d hurt me. Ultimately, the person who I ended up hurting the most was me.
After years of denying myself the full spectrum of my emotions, I resented anyone who stirred powerful, “negative” feelings inside me. My resentment toward others was intrinsically linked to my own inability to express painful emotions.
Looking back, I feel that if I had expressed myself more truthfully, I would not have clung so desperately to the resentment and anger. I also believe I would have welcomed forgiveness and been able to enjoy closer relationships with others more readily.
The take-home message is:
1. When someone hurts us, intentionally or accidentally, we have a responsibility to ourselves to express our pain. This needn’t be self indulgent or pitiful, but an understanding that it is our right to express that pain in an effective, healthy manner which helps us to let go and move forward. The next time you experience a strong emotion such as fear, hurt, disappointment, anger, fury, or panic, try using this simple mantra:
“Right now I feel (INSERT EMOTION). I give myself permission to feel (INSERT EMOTION) because I have a right to express myself and my emotions.”
When we stop trying to control our feelings, and start embracing the colorful way in which our hearts communicate with us, life begins to teach us our most important lessons.
2. The next time someone’s actions hurt you, try telling them how you feel. For example, “When you raise your voice, I feel scared and disrespected,” or “When you ignore me, it makes me feel unappreciated.” Choose the right words to convey your feelings. Try to express yourself from a calm and balanced frame of mind. Your words will have more effect if you are able to express them from a strong, healthy standpoint.
In the past I felt that as a WS I could not express my pain and emotions, healthy or not. I heard "How dare you get upset, you are the one who cause all this pain! You got no right to be upset." But I was, I felt so belittled, humiliated, rejected and I just further compartmentalized this with no hope of releasing it in a healthy manner. The resentment just poisoned the space around me. I am just learning now to communicate with myself about my feelings so I do not pollute the space around me, for my BS and for my daughter. Learning compassion begins with being compassionate for oneself, its not self-indulgent, its a necessary step and a responsibility.
Struggling with the Man-In-the-Mirror (Micheal Jackson)
Many times I did not voice my discontent, or felt pressured into decisions I thought were not mine to make.
BTDT. What is giving me hope is when those situations come up, I confront them immediately and directly. Sounds like you're doing the same. Right away saying that you promised to post, and taking responsibility whenever you dip even a little bit. And then trying to understand why and how to fix it.
Maybe someday we will be at a point where we do not mess up. But for now, being vigilant with our own behaviors everything. Keep it up.
I see parallels. I am very much a compartmented person. I am very much a cause me pain and I cut you out of my life person. Growing up, everyone that I know or knew, friends, family, acquaintances all left me. My mother is the only consistency that I have ... that and my FWH. He is the person that I have had the longest relationship with other than my mother, and it took him a few years before I trusted him fully. Part of our issues is that my very nature compels me to run away, to leave, to close him completely out of my life as if he never existed. That's was and is my fight not to let fear DRIVE me away. We both have intense abandonment issues coming from completely different places. Trying to make our way back towards each other while dealing with these issues has been .. challenging.
So I am looking forward to reading the full article. Keep up the good work! And thanks for the link.
@painfullast. I'm not sure about my wife giving me positive feedback. Its not negative and that's a good thing. I think she is keeping an open mind. From my perspective, I have to do this more for myself.
@somethingremorse. Not standing up for myself was a lifelong problem. Its like I was programmed with a pattern for resentment. The way I saw the world, the way I responded to the world. The article on tinybuddha.com let me see how I had woven the fabric of my life so that I was resentful.
I read Trying33's posts on grains thread on resentment about how she needed her BH to recognized his contribution to her resentment. I think our partners take the brunt of our resentment. Resentment is interesting because it is anger but a variation of anger that operates due to hierarchy or levels. In a relationship where we have infidelity, that hierarchy is cemented by the betrayal, WS down, BS up. Because we chose the destructive path we will always be down, therefore we resent when we are angry. Did we with a resentful pattern do this on purpose because this is all we know? I think for me, that was the case. That is why I don't expect my BS to help me heal my resentment, it is part of me. If I can express how hurt I am when she expresses her contempt for me, that is more for me to recognize my resentment. Only I can cut the chain and not add in new links.
Just as I am posting, I am just getting into an argument with my BS about how I'm dropping the ball. Oh well, that's how the cycle goes. I'm going to stay aware and stick to non-violent communication.
Hope all goes well.
We had a very rough MC session today. I said some things in MC session that were taken very badly, the MC tried to help explain my perspective but nothing is getting through. She only saw it as minimizing and everything about the As just poured back out and she declared that there was to be no progress. That I got no right to be angry or resentful. That I'm not remorseful and that it is the same shit all over again. That I'm adding again to it all.
I'm pretty much saying nothing, because I know nothing is helping, just trying to cook and feed dinner to my daughter in the midst of this rant. Its like its going full steam without any inputs, like a runaway train. I wish I could say something to ease her pain, sorry just pisses her off more.
@painfulpast. In terms of feedback, my BS said my posts are pretty much bullshit. I'm pretty sure she's talking about the resentment stuff I posted. For me, those are my honest feelings that I'm trying to work out and lie at the heart of my infidelities and destructive behavior. I guess that is the double-edge of an open support forum, its open for help but its also open to cause pain (triggers).
Hanging in there.
To the BSs, is the pain of being in the presence of your WS, so extreme? That you cannot operate in their presence? What helped? Did the level of contempt/rage decrease with time? I guess I'm trying to figure out how to deal with her trigger/trauma.
Trying to figure this out.