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Ruminating in Hindsight, My Work

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TarheelNurse posted 9/16/2018 07:48 AM

hikingout...I just read your profile for the first time. My goodness do you know me? Are you me? Lol. We are very similar. I let my H read your comment about me being the perfect wife and my idea of what I should still be and even he got chills. That is so true. So true in fact that I had to screw up so royally, bigger than his 27 years of screw ups, to be humbled and vulnerable enough to stop making it all about me and my feelings and give him the chance to be the husband he wanted to be. Cold chills...

Thank you so much.

hikingout posted 9/17/2018 10:00 AM

Well, it's not a surprise that two people in long marriages that cheated might have commonalities. Affairs are almost so textbook and you can see the recurring patterns here over and over.

I actually have to refrain sometimes from responding to the things you say in a post because it would really start to seem like to you that I was out to get you. In reality, there are just times when I can see myself so clearly earlier in my work and I just kind of trigger and I don't know I would be projecting on you or really helping with anything. But, just know when I say corrective things to you it's because I do feel like I understand and I know where I have been and the places I have had to grow...so good intentions are meant.

[This message edited by hikingout at 10:01 AM, September 17th (Monday)]

fallenangel13 posted 10/1/2018 00:14 AM

foreverlabeled I just want to say THANK YOU! I think I've read this post before when I first found SI Nov. '17, read it again a few months later, and as I read it for the third time today it actually made sense. I could finally internalize everything here and for that...I will be forever grateful! Truly, it has been life changing for me! SI feels like a place I can be held accountable so I'm going to make it a part of my routine to come here often.

There's a couple things this post makes stand out in my mind. Today I am "getting it." For a long time I have tried to control the outcome of my marriage, in various ways, after betraying my husband. "I can't live without him so he's not going to REALLY leave me, and I'll make sure of it." You know, the typical selfish wayward way of thinking. Today I came to a realization after reading this post as well as many others, and it prompted a conversation between DH and I. (I've pretty much spent the entire day on SI )It is not ok or fair for me to keep stringing my husband along for my own selfish wants and needs. I learned that I made several choices FOR him when I decided to step out. Not only do I not WANT to do that anymore, but I flat out don't have the right to! I never did in the first place!

DH and I were talking earlier tonight and for the first time in probably forever, I PURPOSELY put myself in a position of extreme vulnerability. I said to him, "I am finally in a place where I FEEL and not just think, that I am 100% committed. To YOU first and foremost, but also to everything that makes YOUR recovery possible because you healing is what is most important to me. Before when I *thought* I was committed, I obviously wasn't and my behavior backed that up. *"I want to make sure that I am going to stay committed. Before we move any sort of forward, I want to make sure it is not going to be a temporary me like it always has been. And if that ends up being the case...we will deal with that as it comes and go our separate ways if that's what it boils down to."*

The reason this is SO important to me is because I didn't even have to TRY to be vulnerable. I just DID without even a second thought! I have been TERRIFIED that my husband was seconds away from ending everything for the past few weeks. He has even told me to get out a couple of times. *hanging my head in shame* So when I realized that I was going to be ok, not happy, but ok if that's what he decided to do...it was like validation that I AM on the right path. That I AM seriously committed and have already let go of one thing I have been trying to control. I didn't have to consciously do anything. It just happened. My husband followed me inside and rushed to hug me and tell me how huge that was and how important it is. He was proud of me. Shit, I was proud of me. It filled me with hope which I have been seriously lacking. I know that he isn't letting himself get excited because of my prior behavior, but he is happy about it nonetheless and that's a good thing.

My final thoughts? Is ones recovery more important than the other? W's obviously have to prove they are worthy of a BS's love and prove they can be trusted etc. A wayward's recovery (self discovery) is essentially key for a bs to recover fully, no? In the big scheme of things, I would think both the w's & bs's recovery TOGETHER be what is most important if recon. is the end goal. Thoughts?

[This message edited by fallenangel13 at 12:17 AM, October 1st (Monday)]

foreverlabeled posted 10/1/2018 10:01 AM

My final thoughts? Is ones recovery more important than the other? W's obviously have to prove they are worthy of a BS's love and prove they can be trusted etc. A wayward's recovery (self discovery) is essentially key for a bs to recover fully, no? In the big scheme of things, I would think both the w's & bs's recovery TOGETHER be what is most important if recon. is the end goal. Thoughts?
First, I don't think one is more important than the other, both are equally important and essential. And what I highlighted in your quote, no I don't think so, not in the way I perceive recovery. No amount of change or doing everything right in the aftermath will help if he simply cannot move forward with me and its a final deal breaker.

We are working together as a team if I am offered a chance at creating a new M (only determined in recovery), but its largely personal work and what some describe as the second R, repair. Which would be what this post describes as my work in this R. There will be things that work themselves out just because I'M the one doing things differently. If my BH is able to recover and wants to see if reconciliation is achievable, it's my opinion that our repair work runs parallel to our BSs and its individual healing, which is very important.

There's only so much we can do to help (honesty, transparency, accountability, etc) if we were recovering as one then that's to say I can fix it, we all know I can't. My H has to be the one to heal these wounds, and it can only begin if when we give them the truth, so they know what they are trying to heal from, and become safe, meaning no new hurts (lies, self-protection, defensiveness, etc). That's why it's important to let go of the outcome and start getting our shit together.

We need to understand that the 2-5 year timeline is really just a season of healing. And there will come a time if healing is possible or achieved that our BSs will take into account our change. If we are committed to change (the work describe in this post) will have been proven beyond doubt by this time that we are able and safe for a new M. The togetherness I think you were expressing will be found in the new M we create together.

I really hope that made sense, anyone, really feel free to chime in!

ZenMumWalking posted 10/1/2018 12:35 PM

Wow fl, this is such a beautiful and important thread. You have really put a lot of work into yourself and are very generous to lay out a road for others to follow.

foreverlabeled posted 10/1/2018 17:55 PM

Thanks ZMW.

I can only say that this has worked for me and similarly for others (I learned from the best). I wanted to share this work in a way I haven't quite seen on SI before. I see many WSs stop here, it's a big step I wont deny and it is hard work. But I wanted encourage others to keep moving forward.

Because I've tried it both ways (I said this the other day and it's fitting here too) healing the parts of me that I know are obvious I knew I was capable of cheating. I tried to heal just that part but see how that didn't work out. The work wasn't sustainable. The moment my M went to shit I turned to it. Now I'm thinking of myself as a whole, and healing as such. It's deeper work and fulfilling at times. Hard and scary too. But the difference is indisputable.

EvolvingSoul posted 10/12/2018 22:06 PM

Bump.

MySunandStars posted 10/15/2018 22:16 PM

I have read this post so many times, it gives me courage in those times when I want to escape. Can I ask you, how did you

become safe, meaning no new hurts (lies, self-protection, defensiveness, etc).

while also still dealing with

Our BSs extend such grace for us knowing it's a risk. That grace covers our fuck ups after dday and we make plenty of them. One reason why we push actions to newbies, because I think what makes those fuck ups tolerable is when our BSs see that we are TRYING and we are going to keep working to get it right.

I find myself still engaging in self protection and minimizing and not realizing it until I"m called out on it. And I repay the grace that my BH has extended me with more new hurts in this way. And then I wonder if it's just that I don't want to face the fact that I have hurt him yet again. The anxiety this produces in me to not fuck up... creates the fear and self protection habits and it's this cycle I have put us on. While I Am impatient by nature, what I really struggle with is knowing that every fuck up, every day that I don't have my shit all fixed, is asking my BH to suffer one more day, while I figure this out.

Making in phone contact with an IC I have been emailing with tomorrow. I know I need to take it there. But curious if you have any insights here.

foreverlabeled posted 10/16/2018 14:19 PM

how did you
become safe, meaning no new hurts (lies, self-protection, defensiveness, etc).

while also still dealing with
Our BSs extend such grace for us knowing it's a risk. That grace covers our fuck ups after dday and we make plenty of them. One reason why we push actions to newbies, because I think what makes those fuck ups tolerable is when our BSs see that we are TRYING and we are going to keep working to get it right.

Those two quotes aren't talking about the same kind of hurts. I don't know what you are minimizing and defending, but if it is anything about your A , that's not a fuck up and you aren't taking his grace seriously. Think about what extending grace means but it's said we have to prove ourselves worthy, worthy of the gift, worthy of R, I always assume no matter how its put, to really meaning worthy of their grace. If I am proving something, that gift is not as free as grace/goodwill tends to express. I also believed that I had a very small window to earn his grace. TO REALLY EARN IT. And to help him survive the crisis with the least possible damage. Oh, it was going to be damaging no matter, but I didn't have to prolong it or make it worse.

By placing myself squarely into our reality, it became harder and harder to sell my justifications and defensiveness to him or to myself. I knew I didn't have a leg to stand on and I didn't believe my own cheater script anymore. I asked myself, what are you fighting against? Because your argument is laughable. Your FOO made you do this? His lack of attention made you do this? You had no other choice? You fell for it? It couldn't have been just plain ol' you that did this, the you with zero self-respect? I was a victim of myself and when I looked at it that way and placed the blame on me, dday me, not poor FL and her tumultuous past me, the real reality settled in.

This was one thing I did differently and it never crossed my mind that I left out finding the whys as part of my work until just now. But I realized it was on me a long time ago to get my shit together. The only why I cared about was why didn't I develop self-respect sooner? Because had I, I imagine most of my issues would have been long resolved because that's what self-respecting people do. What was there to get defensive about? That was on me. And so my defenses ceased to exist. Lying and minimizing are also a defense. I couldn't rationalize it anymore either. Answering his questions and telling my truths, all with complete honesty often felt like taking the hot iron cauterization approach to stop the bleeding. But that is only because the reality was, these are painful truths and it was going to hurt. These are painful things to talk about and answer truthfully. These problems literally dissipated with minimal work. There was no longer a barrier between his pain and me. That was the first thing I got and owned and I stepped right into it with him.

The ect in the first quote are things that you find quite often around here as well and can hurt equally as much. There is importance in other huge meaningful actions we can take. There were a few things I gave up to help make myself safe and hopefully foster a safe feeling within him. I gave up my job and passed on a few offers down the line because it triggered his trauma. A few days in he totally forgot I was in school and called me during class. I turned my ringer off (class rule) and the fact that he couldn't get a hold of me AT ALL for two hours and triggered hard for those two hours straight, I dropped all my classes that week. There were consequences for that academically and financially. He had a scheduled business trip the weekend after dday, he rightfully didn't trust me to be alone and it would have been days on end of relentless triggers for him. I had to borrow money from my parents (and pay it back) to buy that last minute ticket to go with him. I gave up privacy, I changed my number, I sought IC. These actions say I'm taking him seriously and I am doing these things to be respectful and sensitive to his pain.

I can't help but think it's only then grace will manifest.

In the second paragraph I'm thinking of fuck ups like, not A related. But if we make a habit of fucking up and we don't show that we recognize it or working on correcting it you're not really showing up with actions. Actions show progress and commitment (or lack of) and perhaps its what sustains (or drys) the feelings and thoughts in our BSs that they are safe in the extended offer of their grace.

EvolvingSoul posted 10/19/2018 20:53 PM

Bump.

MySunandStars posted 10/22/2018 18:14 PM

Sorry it took awhile for me to respond. Thank you for taking the time. It helped to hear you talk about both of them, separate them.
I will figure out how to show up with actions.

Thank you for this, I will read it everyday to sear it into my brain.

EvolvingSoul posted 11/9/2018 22:00 PM

Bump.

islesguy posted 11/10/2018 23:27 PM

This is a great post and I am glad it was bumped today as I missed it previously.

EvolvingSoul posted 12/13/2018 17:11 PM

Worth a read if you haven't already, or even a re-read!

SelfishCheater posted 12/13/2018 23:37 PM

Thank you for the bump and thank you, foreverlabeled for taking the time to write it. Truly a great post and it is now part of my own personal healing library.

God bless

foreverlabeled posted 12/14/2018 08:28 AM

One of these days I'm gonna get back to this post and try to break it down more. While it does seem to be a "how to" I was hoping for conversation and those who wanted to add to it as well.

This site saved my life and I only wanted to give back a little. I basically learned all of this here but it was scattered among the 100 of threads and posts. And I if it helps others as it did me, well that's one more life.

foreverlabeled posted 12/14/2018 16:30 PM

Turns out today is the day! Letting go of the outcome, lets go a little deeper on this subject. Itís so incredibly hard to do and takes serious dedication and practice if you ask me. Many of us struggle with this.

I mentioned earlier how letting go of the outcome is much like having an attachment to it, well not much like it, it is! Attachment feeds our minds with comfort, that is why this is probably the hardest part of it all. Change takes getting out of your comfort zone, when one does this, we immediately feel unsafe. It's rather natural though. It's easier and more comforting to have a sure idea than to be left with the unknown, because the unknown can be scary for us humans. We like to feel small donít we, sometimes? As in protected in our safety net. Except this.. confessing/confronted, kinda ripped it wide open. We fall into a mad scramble, panicked, doing what we can with damage control. We think we got this, like we can just put their guts back into place so quickly, nice and neatly. We think we can lie and manipulate to gain control make it less than what it really is. We grasp at anything to take control of the situation. Itís a hard realization that things are actually out of control, your control even. We took what our BSs offered us, love, support, and comfort for granted. Our previous outcome for our lives was fixed and we grew fond of it, attached to the idea it will always be. Itís probably why we have a quick turn around and all of a sudden, they are our world again.

It's not just the unknown of our relationship, this is only a part of it. There are so many things that we just have to release and understand that there is and always has been things out of our control. I never thought of myself as a controlling person, until I realized just how little control I have over things. Small things, big things. We create an illusion under our safety net that everything is okay and we got this, it's all under control. Dday is a sure way to blow that notion out of the water. The truest thing I've come to realize is the only control I have is over myself. That's it, and the more I grew comfortable with that reality, the truest reality, the better I could breathe and let go.

I tend to think of it more like this these days, it's NOT the outcome we have to let go of, it's the unknown we have to embrace. It takes getting out of our comfort-zone, and that alone is an unsafe feeling for us. And now everything is the unknown. The unknown is hard to face, it still freaks me out a bit. To me it feels like I could lose anything at anytime and thereís nothing I can do about it. No one like a loss, but at the same time I could also gain everything. See, thereís no definite outcome no matter what life you are living. You donít have to be a controlling person to like have control of things, KWIM? I am trying to make friends with the unknown. I mean it is the truest reality, right? Out from under that safety net I see life has always been an unknown, no outcome is ever certain.

This is process of course, we always just say ďlet go of the outcomeĒ but itís easier said than done. We donít tell you how much time and energy are involved to really getting it down, or at least a good start. How uncomfortable it is, scary, painful even. Letting go was also getting comfortable with a process that I didnít even know where to begin, knew nothing about it and I had to believe it in. It takes courage to walk this path. A lot of it. Youíll feel like youíre doing the hardest shit in your life when you let go of it all. It wonít feel like it for some time, but eventually you will get some peace out of it. This way feels sustainable to me because attachments aren't very healthy. What I want is a true bond with my husband, I don't want to be needy and attached.

These are just some of my thoughts on this subject.. feel free to add!

ISurvivedSoFar posted 12/15/2018 19:08 PM

foreverlabeled - you are a gem. Seriously.

What I want is a true bond with my husband, I don't want to be needy and attached.
I have to tell you as a BS, after d-day that neediness and attachment is overwhelming. It makes the BS feel as if they now have to carry their abuser too, as we try to heal and makes sense of this new life that was foisted upon us. It hurts as much as the betrayal itself.

I'm glad that you wrote this. There are many threads on SI that talk about the TTing and the lying and the damage it does to the BS and the relationship. I would have given anything to see my WS break down and realize the depth of what he had done to me, to us, to our family. But as you describe,

We fall into a mad scramble, panicked, doing what we can with damage control. We think we got this, like we can just put their guts back into place so quickly, nice and neatly. We think we can lie and manipulate to gain control make it less than what it really is. We grasp at anything to take control of the situation. Itís a hard realization that things are actually out of control, your control even. We took what our BSs offered us, love, support, and comfort for granted. Our previous outcome for our lives was fixed and we grew fond of it, attached to the idea it will always be. Itís probably why we have a quick turn around and all of a sudden, they are our world again.
And we feel it. We know it cannot be true. We understand on some level that we are being used to help the WS feel better after doing such a dastardly deed to everyone. And like you say, until we face ourselves, we fall into comfortable and familiar roles.
it's NOT the outcome we have to let go of, it's the unknown we have to embrace. It takes getting out of our comfort-zone, and that alone is an unsafe feeling for us. And now everything is the unknown. The unknown is hard to face, it still freaks me out a bit.
And it freaks the BS out too. What we don't realize in the beginning after d-day is the change that was foisted upon us is a change we need to make for ourselves in order to survive the uncertainty that is our reality as you state. In the end, if we do the work, we end up in a much healthier place and we've seen that from folks on SI that are far enough out to be healthy again.

But the fear of the loss of supposed certainty paralyzes all of us. The BS who so resents having to be strong and carry things forward and the WS who built the bomb and dropped it into the family and who is now so full of shame everything is clouded.

I so wish there was a way to short circuit all of the healing that has to happen including these stages of recovery. We read here and learn as much as we can about surviving infidelity and yet here we all are, going through each and every stage despite the fact that we know how to make it worse and how not to make it worse. I think your insights really help folks and I'm hopeful that WS's are able to really understand this. I know that my WS went back to re-read this and his words and his comment to me was, "Wow, I see what foreverlabled wrote back to me and I get it now but I didn't then."

foreverlabeled posted 12/16/2018 10:24 AM

ISSF thank you for your thoughtful contribution here.

I have to tell you as a BS, after d-day that neediness and attachment is overwhelming.
I imagine so. I often wonder how my dday would have played out if it weren't for this. I did a lot of terrible things that day that I attribute to my neediness. I made it about me, because ya know if he would have just feed that all along we wouldn't be here so of course he was partly to blame. I find that I am very thankful that he asked me to leave that night. There was something about cutting off that attachment (of course I thought it was for good) that left me no choice to reckon with the unknown and outcome. No, I wasn't letting go of it yet but I certainly was staring it the face and got a healthy dose of "oh fuck what I have I done". It was a week before he asked me to come home and that unhealthy attachment hit me hard again like a magnet pulling me back to him. Except this time I knew I wasn't entitled to anything and he sure wasn't feeding it. It became the first "hole" I had to fill for myself. And for someone like me, off the charts codependent, I still have to reevaluate myself. That's a handy tool I didn't have before, or even care to think about.

We could break our work down into micro steps really, and it's easier to see it now. What I mentioned above and having to stand on my own was a small step towards actually being able to let go. I want to add more about that true bond if I ever get around to dissecting the vulnerability part of this post. That's where it happens.

And we feel it. We know it cannot be true.
I can't blame you and every other BS for feeling this way. Because you're right. I can remember my thoughts then and how I was holding on the fact that I really did love him throughout, that I've loved since I fell for him. One of those things I had to release and understand it was only attachment. Sure I felt love for him, he's my best friend and everything else. Real wholesome love begets respect and all that you find in that Corinthians verse (I like that definition). The part that glows like a neon is when it says, it is not self seeking. My actions proved that I was very much self seeking, in him and everything else.

I know some BSs do tend to carry their WSs, mine however did not. Again, I am actually glad it played out that way. I have no doubt I would have only attached myself again. Like I mentioned I felt that pull and I had to make a choice to fix it and heal, or stay stuck and pity myself. I had to let go of what no longer serves me, or a healthy relationship.

I so wish there was a way to short circuit all of the healing that has to happen including these stages of recovery.
I felt this way too. It took me a long time to embrace the time involved. Maybe around the one year mark I let that shit go too. It wasn't that I wanted a quick fix so to say I logically knew that wasn't possible. I guess it was more like I wanted to feel the effects of the healing I was doing as it was happening, instead of the delayed effect it turned out to be.

ISurvivedSoFar posted 12/16/2018 10:47 AM

Yes you do get it and I hope each WS and BS alike get this:

One of those things I had to release and understand it was only attachment. Sure I felt love for him, he's my best friend and everything else. Real wholesome love begets respect and all that you find in that Corinthians verse (I like that definition). The part that glows like a neon is when it says, it is not self seeking. My actions proved that I was very much self seeking, in him and everything else.
This is what I came to understand too. I think that right before the A and certainly after it was only about attachment and once realized, I had to understand that part of our relationship prior to infidelity fit into that paradigm too. That's part of the realization that we had very different definitions of love. His was based on attachment and mine was based on sacrificing - both probably ended us in a co-dependent relationship that was unhealthy. He needed me to feel whole and I needed to sacrifice and "fix" him to feel whole. We lost ourselves in that paradigm.
I guess it was more like I wanted to feel the effects of the healing I was doing as it was happening, instead of the delayed effect it turned out to be.
Yes m'am. It is all delayed - all of it for both parties. All the while our bodies and minds must process this trauma over and over again until we resolve it. I think that is true for WS and BS - different traumas from the same source but trauma nonetheless (self-inflicted versus foisted). I think everyone here should be proud of their work - even when we are stuck we come here to learn more and to figure out how to get unstuck. Good work foreverlabeled.

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