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Ruminating in Hindsight, My Work

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MySunandStars posted 12/18/2018 11:13 AM

fl: You talk here and in other posts about your lying and getting to a place of honesty. CAn you talk anymore about how you did that, what it looks like for you?
I am in a place where I don't trust anything I say or do. I question everything that goes through my head and comes out of my mouth. I thought this was me being mindful, but it feels now more like I'm just spinning my wheels.
And I know the longer I am in this headspace the less sense I make in discussing anything.

ElZorro posted 12/18/2018 14:27 PM

I'm so grateful this topic keeps getting bumped.

I'm early on in my recovery. My marriage, as I knew it, is done. Also it was fake (maybe that's not the right word) in the sense that I from the get go tried to control so much. I never really let either of us grow and tried to "anticipate" as many outcomes in our lives as possible.

Letting go of outcomes and letting things be is so tough. This topic helps me realize just how difficult it is and the long road I have ahead in my deep interpersonal journey and discovery.

foreverlabeled posted 12/19/2018 15:29 PM

Sure, MSAS!

On dday, I felt defeated, honestly that may not be the best word to use, I felt myself submit to my undoing. And somewhere between listening to my H's pain and spewing justifications, I made the decision that I wanted to go about this the right way. I instinctively knew I wasn't helping on dday, but I didn't know what the right way was, so I just rode the day out. That night my research began. Everything was pointing to absolute honesty. In the beginning my path to truth only started because it was a must for my H's healing. And when I got it all out (including all the details and questions), after that, I thought there's no truth that could be worse than whats been said, and so I made it a thing I do now.

Anytime my H brought up my A it was easy to continue answering his questions truthfully. I didn't have a story I needed to keep straight, I wrote a detailed timeline, extremely detailed, thoughts, feelings, actions, all of it. So anything I repeated wasn't going to be news to him. The only discomfort I had at this point was that I could see his pain in my retelling. But I cared more about his healing than my comfort.

I guess there was something about being honest under these conditions that kick started the rewiring. And to this day I still feel the gratification I got from the courage I displayed in spite of my deep deep fear. In fact I felt it all along the way which only fueled my integrity.

But like I said I was only doing it for him, then I started hearing about having to do things because I wanted to change and how it's only lasting if I make it personal. Here's were I think feeling defeated is more fitting. Because I did want to change more than anything. I seriously didn't want to feel broken anymore leaving the debris of self destruction everywhere I went. I lost a war with myself that I didn't know was happening. I could have picked up arms again and continued it, but I made the choice to lay down the weapons of mass self-destruction, hopefully for good.

I am in a place where I don't trust anything I say or do.
I can't relate to this, perhaps someone else who can could chime in. To me if I'm speaking my truth there isn't much forethought to it. To me there is either the truth or a lie and there is no in between and I don't have to spin my wheels to tell the truth. But it was something I had to get comfortable with too.

In your post MSAS, I mentioned some uncomfortable feelings I chose to keep at bay because being honest would evoke them. I wanted my comfort at all costs. dday had me feeling all kinds of discomfort and again I thought how could it get any worse. Getting honest with myself showed me so. But I already got a taste of how courage boosted my self confidence. I had to remind myself that I made it through honesty with my H and I can make it through again.

Fear makes us feel like we can't move. I know better than that now. Feelings lie, and I CAN push forward. So can you. It was literally conquering one fear at a time. Making the choice to walk that path and doing it with my whole heart. And practice lots of practice even outside of my M. I was honest in every part of my life. If we want to make something a habit or break a habit, we have to practice what we want.

I guess one more thing I could add, is that when I did/do tell a lie, I correct myself immediately. I apologize and own it. And make the correction. Sometimes I forget to be mindful, it's hard to walk around all day with a busy life and stay in the moment be mindful of all thoughts and feelings, every word I speak. But the more you work towards getting healthy the more unhealthy sticks out like a sore thumb. I feel such guilt now when I lie that it's the reason why I can and do correct myself in haste.

I took this quote to heart pretty early on ďYou have many habits that weaken you. The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.Ē

IDK if that was helpful for you or if there is something you want me to go into more detail. I feel like I am having a hard time putting this into words. Because I feel like aside from the fear and dealing with that, it was me just making honesty a priority.

MySunandStars posted 12/19/2018 22:20 PM

Thank you FL
I appreciate your response to my question. It does help. I am feeling both really determined to figure this out and a small glimmer of maybe real progress but also realizing that I have taken so long to get to this point that I have likely exhausted any chance at my progress being helpful in helping BH heal. And the sorrow I Feel over his pain, my causing it and then continuing to bury my head in the sand and lie to myself is intense.
I am working on going through my timeline again (maybe the 3rd rendition?) and seeing all my minimizing, justifications, everywhere I made it about me. And BH has been willing to listen, All the ways I have contradicted myself make it impossible for him to trust or believe me.

I wanted my comfort at all costs

This is where I have been and am focusing all my efforts at this point to not stay here. To move away from this selfish attitude.

I listened to this weird youtube video yesterday. I don't know anything about who wrote it or the context of it, but in my desperation I listened to it in hopes it would help. And it did. IT mentioned different signs that you might be lying to yourself. The parts that really resonated with me were the following:
Do I feel like I'm running away from something? trying to escape something?
Do I justify my behavior?
Do I feel inauthentic?
I prefer to wear rose-tinted glasses. Idealism as escapism.
When you lie to yourself you will tend to only favor others who reassure you and not challenge you.
I carry around deeply rooted anxiety.
My heart contradicts my mind. Your mind says everything is peachy but your body is carrying the tension of the lie.
This is just a list of them without going into all the details.
I mention it because this is made me realize what I was experiencing when I said

I am in a place where I don't trust anything I say or do.
DING DING DING. IT's because instead of looking at myself, facing and owning what I have done and why and understanding it. I have tried throwing out things and seeing if they fit, like doing a puzzle with the cardboard side up. (except it's like 3 puzzles mixed together) The part about how the body feels when you lie to yourself was also very telling for me.
Some things BH has shared with me to help me along with listening to this video and re reading this thread has given me the tools I have been looking for for some time.
The video talks about experiencing a lack of mental and emotionally clarity and this is exactly what it has felt like to me. And just in the last day of practicing real honesty and forcing myself to see myself as I am for the first time I can already see some clarity returning.
Thank you. It has taken me too long to get here and it is probably too late, but now I know how to do the work I've needed to do. And maybe, just maybe when the dust settles. I can be a partner that BH will want to rebuild with.

foreverlabeled posted 2/14/2019 16:59 PM

I've got vulnerability on my mind. For something that is so crucial to having not only intimate relationships with others but a healthy one with yourself too, it ought to come more easily! I mean right? Why on earth does it have to be so hard?!

So, it takes getting honest and worse becoming VULNERABLE with yourself, thatís where the REAL work begins. This almost did me in, the introspection. Not even kidding I wanted to stop here. Nope, fuck that, you canít make me. This was actually a daily argument I had with myself. Iíve spent a life time keeping all of this inside me ďprotectedĒ and to open it up risks exposure and emotional harm or so I thought.
I've got major fear-avoidant issues. That is the number one reason I fought so hard against introspection. I was so incredibly afraid of fear and wanted to avoid the anxiety that comes with at all costs. I mean I kept asking myself why this and why that and 9 times out of 10 I gave myself a negative response and it didn't really help much. It was as if I just reinforced that I wasn't worthy. So, in my reflection of my "true" self getting to the why wasn't working for me. Why did I do that? because I am a piece of shit that's why, I was never worthy, he was going to abandon me anyway, I'm not good enough. Wow, not helpful FL... get out of your head! Enter anxiety that induced fear, fear induced anxiety, what a fucking cycle. I just wanted to quit. I wanted to avoid it altogether. Asking why just had a way of stirring negative emotions and keeping me in my torrid past.

But I knew if I wanted to keep going and fix my shit I couldn't just stop. I adjusted my question, "how". How did it come to this, how did I allow that. Ah, much better. Asking how instead of why lead me to examine my beliefs and suddenly it didn't seem so personal and an attack on on myself. This is where it got really good. It still lead me to my worth or lack of.. So then I asked myself "what" questions. What can I do about that, and answering those questions propelled me forward into taking some real action. What can I do about my low self worth? I gave myself quite the list on how I can fix that.

Play around with this yourself and ask,

"why am I this way?" give yourself an honest answer then ask yourself "what can I do to change that?" and see if one doesn't help more than the other. If one doesn't induce a more negative response than the other.

In my case,

"why am I so afraid?" oh because I'm not worthy of love, nor do I really have a place of belonging, I don't have any one who will comfort me in a time of need" I mean for fucks sake, how pitiful

VS.

"what am I afraid of?" I'm afraid of rejection, that I won't be accepted for simply who I am, flaws and all. Then, I can ask myself how can I change that belief. What can I do.. I can love myself first and foremost. If I love myself so fiercely and wholeheartedly I won't question my worth. I'll know my worth and the slight of rejection can't touch me.

For many of us the root of all our issues comes back to our self worth and self esteem. I knew for sure I had to square that away and check it first. I couldn't get far if I didn't believe in myself and find cause to love myself. I think if I loved myself the way it should have always been, I wouldn't be here. Because love begets respect, and no self respecting person would do what I've done.

So, in honor of valentines day I'll stop here for now. I know some of us aren't exactly feeling the love today, but find reason to love yourself and believe that you are worthy and that you don't have to look for it anywhere else but in yourself.

ElZorro posted 2/15/2019 10:01 AM

In my case,

"why am I so afraid?" oh because I'm not worthy of love, nor do I really have a place of belonging, I don't have any one who will comfort me in a time of need" I mean for fucks sake, how pitiful

VS.

"what am I afraid of?" I'm afraid of rejection, that I won't be accepted for simply who I am, flaws and all. Then, I can ask myself how can I change that belief. What can I do.. I can love myself first and foremost. If I love myself so fiercely and wholeheartedly I won't question my worth. I'll know my worth and the slight of rejection can't touch me.

I'm working on ingraining this in my head as we speak!

WHY v. WHAT

Why = telling myself a story (Conspiracy Theory making)

What = digging to the root (Rumbling & Reckoning)

Am I understanding that correctly, FL?

hikingout posted 2/15/2019 10:38 AM


"what am I afraid of?" I'm afraid of rejection, that I won't be accepted for simply who I am, flaws and all. Then, I can ask myself how can I change that belief. What can I do.. I can love myself first and foremost. If I love myself so fiercely and wholeheartedly I won't question my worth. I'll know my worth and the slight of rejection can't touch me.


This resonates with me so much. I think the way I have learned to look at it is this is where my perfectionism comes in.


If I do it perfectly, it doesn't invite criticism. So, I do it perfectly because I fear criticism. If it doesn't go as I want, then I criticize it before anyone else has a chance, and I am harder on myself then they would have been.


Why do I fear criticism was a question I had to answer. In order to conquer the fear you have to understand where it comes from and then practice conquering it.


I know where mine originated. I am practicing not fearing it. I still have a tendency to be type A, so I am still going to do a good job of course but I have to check my motivations. I have to be able to look at it and if I don't like the results then I have been teaching myself that it means I will do it differently next time and that it's not a statement of my worth.


It's much more difficult than I am putting into words, but it's necessary. I learned I had to understand why it's necessary too:

I have to protect my energy to only do the amount of things that is reasonable to do and that I can feel moderately successful at doing them. This is self care. If I practice self care it is one way that I show myself that I love and respect myself. Love is a verb, we show our love to others through actions and we must show ourselves love through actions as well.


Smashedhrt posted 2/15/2019 11:22 AM

Everyone has a fear of rejection. Itís built into our society that if you arenít the winner, you are a loser.

I think wayward have less fear of rejection. They were willing to put themselves out there to attract an AP. And they were willing to risk rejection from their spouse for sexual gratification.

Betrayed spouses now KNOW rejection. Thatís something they canít Unknow. Itís deeply painful and anyone who is willing to inflict that on someone they love is cruel and selfish.

The work begins with treating others as you would want to be treated. We all heard that lesson as children, it is the basis for every world religion. Some people just donít follow it.

Ruminating is just another form of denial and defection of blame. Itís indulgent.

[This message edited by Smashedhrt at 11:23 AM, February 15th (Friday)]

Babette2008 posted 2/15/2019 11:43 AM

Thank you for this foreverlabeled. This part really resonated with me


By practicing these in my life basically every second of every day to everyone and everything *including myself* the more I moved out of the stress response. IC was really good for this too. But, it wasnít enough because I still felt at any moment EVERYTHING could blow up (and there was truth to that) so I was still on guard, still stressed. An extra step was needed.
Letting go of the outcome.

My H and I were in this space for a long time. We both wanted R and we do love each other very much but he was fearful that any new R or any conversation could change my feelings and I was also fearful and also wasn't really sure I wanted R, but then I felt like I was not being honest because I was acting like we were definitely going to R. Finally everything blew up - I told him that we needed to stop focusing on R, I wasn't sure that we would R and I was sick of being in a place where he needed that reassurance. He was actually happier because one of his fears was that I wouldn't R but he never could be sure what I was thinking and was always worried that I would eventually just walk away. Now that we had that fight and the air is clear and we focus on daily honesty and engagement, and not just protecting each other, we are both actually much happier. For the first time I honestly can say that I think that we will R because I see that we can really engage with things that are hard and are not just trying to make each other happy.

thatwilldo posted 2/15/2019 13:09 PM

Smashedhrt,

I agree with everything you said except this part:

Ruminating is just another form of denial and defection of blame. Itís indulgent.

Part of my problem when I was having my affair was that I wasn't willing or able to look inward...to ruminate. It's a necessary part of the recovery process for us cheaters.

ElZorro posted 2/15/2019 13:45 PM

Part of my problem when I was having my affair was that I wasn't willing or able to look inward...to ruminate. It's a necessary part of the recovery process for us cheaters.

Seconded. In the time before and during the affair I was projecting like a Drive-In theater. It was everyone else's fault and it was because of this and that on them for what I was doing and feeling.

The last thing I wanted to do was feel anything internally let alone look there for what my issues in my life were.

Ruminating, regret are such an important part of the discovery and healing process.

hikingout posted 2/15/2019 13:58 PM

Smashhrt,

Respectfully-

You misunderstand the work we are talking about.

Any cheater who is honest can admit freely that they were selfish, that they chose what they wanted to do and didnít care who they hurt in the process and that basic respect and humanity wasnít at play. In the most simplistic terms that is all true.

Those of us working on ourselves in earnest want to understand what makes us tick, what could lead to such choices. Whys are not meant to be excuses. They are meant to be discovering what about you needs to be better/fixed so you are ensuring your bs or future spouse is getting a much better and safer spouse.

Cheaters have character deficits. This thread is about what are you doing about them. They are all little tributaries that led up to it. Coping mechanisms, broken integrity, lack of self love, and I could go on.

The reason this thread is called ruminating is because the original poster is several years out in her work. She is ruminating about it out loud to help others understand how to do this digging and how to find the blind spots you have about yourself.

I am not familiar with your story and I am sorry if you think this is about minimizing the pain we caused or not taking accountability. It is not meant to be that way.

foreverlabeled posted 2/15/2019 15:45 PM

Am I understanding that correctly, FL?
When asking myself why, yeah it's a narrative that my not so healthy mind would like me to believe. I come up with a lot of things that seem like a very rational explanation but often I mislead myself. Even now in my healthier mindset it still seems like justifications in a way. We can ALL pretty much trace the day to when we broke to our childhood. We all have hurts there and the lies and false beliefs started. I can speculate on why and understand it. But then what? why stay stuck on why..

Asking what, it takes you out of the victim mentality. And like I mentioned I give myself better answers to move forward. So Yeah, I am better able to get to the root of the problem, then learn howto fix it, and then take action.

You can take the why vs what and put it into just about every situation we face whether we are focusing on ourselves or our BSs and I believe it will get us better results.

So not that long ago, my IC and I were talking about vulnerability and she introduced me to the concept of core vulnerably. And how I needed to recognize what that was and make it accessible to myself and to any one else I wanted to have a close relationship with, namely H. And we already knew I was fearful but we discovered I would avoid fear at all costs. She started with easy questions like, do you watch scary movies? UM NO. Do you ride roller coasters, NOPE. Then she asked me how I feel being outside alone at night. That opened the flood gates and I think I learned more about myself in that session than I have in all my work.

If I do it perfectly, it doesn't invite criticism. So, I do it perfectly because I fear criticism.
Do you think there was an aspect of you avoiding the criticism because there was some shame that comes with those feelings of being criticized? You speak often about being a perfectionist and I always wonder what is behind the want to avoid criticism. I'm so the opposite, I'm too lazy to be a perfectionist and welcome criticism. Because as long as I'm getting feed back good or bad I know how to secure my place. Safety means a lot to me, in a nutshell to have a home, belonging, knowing without a doubt I'm wanted = safety. Anything else meant harm and that is one of my greatest fears.

It was when my perceived "safety" began to slip that the fear crept in. That is when I talked myself into everything that led me down the path of infidelity. Sigh.It was like the law of attraction, I attracted exactly what I feared the most.

Now that we had that fight and the air is clear and we focus on daily honesty and engagement, and not just protecting each other, we are both actually much happier. For the first time I honestly can say that I think that we will R because I see that we can really engage with things that are hard and are not just trying to make each other happy.
I decided pretty early on (after reading here and elsewhere) that honesty was the one thing that was going to be the game changer and at all cost practice this. I actually began to value it and cherish it, I mean really love everything about honesty even when it hurt, more than I ever have in my life. I'm glad you've found some peace with it as well.

Smashedhrt, like others have said, my post isn't meant to shift blame. BTDT it's not okay and I fully place blame on myself. My post is nothing more than the introspection and my reflection (my definition of ruminating) on the work I've done and putting it into words. My personal work is different than that of the remorse I show my H for my actions that hurt him deeply in the MOST tragic way. I know his intense rejection because of my actions and I used that word in a different sense, a shorthand that covers a multitude of deep rooted issues.

[This message edited by foreverlabeled at 5:26 AM, February 16th (Saturday)]

hikingout posted 2/15/2019 16:14 PM

In short, yes. I was emotionally abused by my mother well into adulthood. . I got very good at doing things to avoid it. If you got her praise it was hard but it was so sweet. And then that carried over into my adult life to a place where I did what was I believed was expected of me. This led to a pushing myself down in favor of meeting those expectations. In some ways I made my husband the person expecting these things. He didnít.

But because of that I have always lacked authenticity, and the ability to be completely vulnerable with someone. I came to a place where I couldnít do it anymore it became a personal crisis for me. I didnít face it, I just bugged out and had an affair instead.

Also I thought if I did those things well it got me praise and it got me love. I have had to learn that I am enough on my own. Rest is really good for us and itís okay to have non productive time. I learned my husband never loved me for the things I did and accomplished, and neither did my Kids.i have become vulnerable to my husband- he fully knows my dark and light now. Its all been identified but itís a very slowwwwww process. Itís taught me that I couldnít be perfect even if I wanted to and thatís okay. I am better than I was a month ago, and infinitely better than a year ago, etc. so thatís what I choose to focus on.

All of this has become a little easier as the pieces have come more and more together for me I can say I have some self compassion for the first time in my life. And when you try and guide yourself through this with more love than shame it is lighter.

MareP posted 2/15/2019 20:19 PM

Thank you foreverlabeled. This was an inspiring post effectively putting down in a coherent statement many feelings and thoughts I have had.

EvolvingSoul posted 3/26/2019 12:39 PM

Bump.

EvolvingSoul posted 4/11/2019 20:26 PM

Bumping this up again. It's a terrific overview of what "the work" involves when attempting to survive and thrive after infidelity. Thank you again for taking the time to write it all out.

Change4thebetter posted 4/12/2019 11:30 AM

I just found this because it was bumped up but thank you Foreverlabeled for this post. I still havenít made it through all of the comments but Iíve been finding this post to be helpful and insightful. Thanks again!

wantstorepair posted 4/13/2019 15:14 PM

This is without question the best and most enlightening thing I have read. This is me - every word, every thought, every fear, every action dedicated to survival and self preservation my whole life at the cost of more lies and more hurt to my BS. My selfishness is staggering. Thank you for this. I will be re reading this daily and try to follow in your example.

foreverlabeled posted 4/14/2019 09:04 AM

You guys don't have to thank me for this all I want is to help others who share this struggle. Compassion has always been easy for me to find, for my whole life its been a huge part of my character. It's easy to know what change looks like but to get there and actually do something about it sometimes we need all the help we can get. I know I did. And I couldn't sit here and not helps others. If this helps just one person my heart is full and I given back to the same community that was there for me. Sometimes I feel like we are all in this together here. Like they say it takes a village to raise a child, it takes this little village to raise a non WS My thanks to all of you!

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