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Advice on perseverance

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Pyrite posted 8/19/2019 21:16 PM

I'm looking for advice on how the successful/working towards reconcilation ws create/find/increase the emotional and mental energy necessary to do all the hard work necessary to fix yourself (explore, learn, change grow, explain, own our issues and brokenness) while also keeping up with house, kids, 'life' responsibilities and also being almost constantly available to the bs, taking whatever they dish out, answering questions, trying to help them heal and trying to do whatever they want?

I find myself almost constantly so emotionally exhausted that I want to just lay down and never move again. And, end up shortchanging all of the above things. I'm sure that I lack perseverance. I've worked on it and it's gotten better over the last few years, especially, but I am feeling like I'm at a breaking point of some sort more and more. I want to help my bs. I want to be a better, safe person but I just feel like I've been walking through quicksand for so long that something in me is balking at the journey at this point.

I could use advice and tips, I guess, or maybe how other ws developed those muscles and slogged through things that seemed impossible.

VioletElle posted 8/19/2019 21:22 PM

Emotionally exhausted too. I'm far too big a mess to give any advice, but I hope you find it.

EvolvingSoul posted 8/19/2019 23:30 PM

Hey there Pyrite,

One of the things that has helped me the most is to learn how to relate to my emotions differently, be they pleasant or unpleasant. I have gotten better at experiencing pleasant emotions without grasping after them and stressing that they're going to end and unpleasant emotions without tightening into aversion. Mindful Awareness meditation practice has helped me to learn how to be present with my feelings without getting swept off by them or over-identifying with them.

The books "How to Meditate" and "The Places that Scare You" by Pema Chodron lay out the basic ideas pretty well. I meditate maybe 20 minutes a day and occasionally longer if I have the time, and some times as little as 5 minutes if I don't. It is a deceptively simple practice that has profound cumulative benefits. I encourage you to give it a try daily for 3 months and evaluate for yourself if it's worth continuing.

AntiHero posted 8/20/2019 05:26 AM

Hi Pyrite,

I don’t know if this resonates with you at all, but I think many of us overextend ourselves and I have had to learn how to let go of maintaining certain responsibilities and expectations. Being everything to everyone was killing me emotionally and I couldn’t understand why I seemed to be significantly more tired than most people around me. I had been on this quest for perfectionism (which sounds absurd to me now), to people please and to basically ensure the outcome of everyone’s actions. And what I was doing was actively removing joy from my life. I would often tell my kids I couldn’t play with them because I had to get dinner down. And then I’d feel like a crap mom for it. So I’d play with them for 5 minutes here and there in between cutting veggies. Then I’d experience joy in those few minutes and feel like a crap mom for not doing it more often. And then I’d re-enter the cycle by reminding myself that they don’t eat enough veggies or that BH needs new pants or the cat litter needs to be dumped, and say “well, xyz just needs to get done.”

So now I practice establishing what my priorities and boundaries really are and, instead, m actively try to insert joy into my life. So what if my kids eat cereal and Cheetos for dinner...twice in a week? If that means I get 45 more minutes with them and get to indulge in a bag of Cheetos, then to that I say: hell yes!

The biggest (and hardest) realization I had to come to terms with was my need to control things. When I was answering BH’s questions about the affair, I overthought my answers both because I was still dealing with the shame, but also tried to strategize how to best word my response so that it wouldn’t blow up into a huge argument. Or worry that if it did, then I wasn’t doing my part to make amends. But now I just answer his questions truthfully without worrying how they sound, because it’s the most honest and requires little effort. If it blows up, then that conversation becomes a priority and I have to shift my energy to it rather than dig deep to find more, and just know that it will be mentally exhausting, but I’m not going to worry that the laundry isn’t done. Usually what ends up happening is that the work to fix myself is actually happening simultaneously. It doesn’t feel like it in the moment, because I push that work to the back burner, but I will ultimately draw some lessons from whatever challenge emerges between me and BH.

Anyway, this was more a thought than advice. None of this may apply to you, but I’m totally going to guess that it has less to do with perseverance (in how I’m interpreting you to mean it) than possibly something else.

MIgander posted 8/20/2019 06:27 AM

Hi Pyrite,

can definitely relate to the exhaustion!

Antihero, you described my internal state for so many years with being a mom to the kids, a wife to the husband, a contributing member to my community and FINALLY, myself at my job. I never got to be me and started resenting the wife role (if you can't be yourself with your spouse, why are you in the relationship??).

Lately I've been trying to be more honest with who I am and how I see things. The resentment is going away slowly... but it's fading.

Often, when I'm this exhausted, I think to myself, "well, which role do I need to play right now?" and try and put on that hat and push myself forward.

That's the only advice I can give you Pyrite- just keep on pushing! You're stronger than you think!

hikingout posted 8/20/2019 09:46 AM

I feel for me it was a combo of what Evolving Soul said and what Anti-hero said.

Some of what Evolving Soul said I learned in Eckhardt Tolle's book "The power of now". It took me months and months to read it because you can really only take a few pages in at a time. But, generally speaking his teachings are based on that idea that we can't just believe the stories we tell ourselves. He teaches how you can look at your own thoughts objectively to snuff out what are distorted thoughts, what are we telling ourselves that is ramping ourselves up, etc.


And, antihero was me. I was a perfectionist, guilt-ridden mom and wife and I over did things for everyone based on my own high expectations of myself. But, I did it until I was burned out, emotionally exhausted, resentful, and unhealthy. I don't know if that's you or not, but I would really consider what she had to say about that.


And, honestly, just having little kids and a marriage is a lot, even if you are not doing either of these things recovering from infidelity is a full time job that not everyone has the luxury of making full time. You may just want to start being mindful of your thoughts, finding a short time to meditate when the kids are down. Starting a gratitude practice, doing your best for everyone every day while being mindful of your own thoughts and behaviors with the lens of knowing your whys and what you need to change. Incrementally you will still get there.


I am proud of you for trying so hard, but make sure it doesn't come from a perfectionist standpoint, and that your expectations are realistic. Carve out time that you can focus on something you enjoy so you can destress, or double it up with making it a date night. Rome wasn't built in a day. It took me an astoundingly long time to change some things, but I will say that at some point once you realize what needs to be changed you can use those things in your day to day life in your conduct and it doesn't add a the load of work that you might think it would.

Pyrite posted 8/21/2019 21:23 PM

There are definitely some things here to think about. Thank you for the well thought out responses.
I think antihero described a lot of what runs through my mind, except my 'guilt' over not being 'enough' tends to completely overwhelmed and shove me down the depression hole. Which, of course, only makes the guilt and shame worse.
And, I've tried mindful awareness a little, I'll look for those books, thanks evolving soul

Pyrite posted 8/21/2019 21:25 PM

Hiking out
I do think there's something to what antihero shared. I'm not sure how to balance it all out and I probably do need to figure out how to step back and take real rest/recharge time but failing in so many areas makes it harder to do.
I'll check into that book as well.

Any other ideas, let me know.

JBWD posted 8/21/2019 23:30 PM

... probably do need to figure out how to step back and take real rest/recharge time but failing in so many areas makes it harder to do.

Pyrite- Viewing it as “failing” is going to only perpetuate these shameful episodes. Are you in IC, and dealing with this? The focus on shame and failure is, ultimately, still selfish. It’s hard to think that “feeling bad” can be counter-productive in this venue, but it feeds the wayward in weird ways. By focusing on how terrible you feel you’re ultimately stunting empathy. Think about it, we know most WSs have a tendency to minimize/override our partners, and by focusing on your pain it is, in a way, continuing that. IF you feel guilty and recognize that the pain you’ve inflicted is excessive and unfair, you can use that to fuel change. Delicate balance but worth examining.

ETA a great resource towards mitigating responses like this is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT.) Dr David Burns’ “Feeling Good” provides techniques in consciously countering our cognitive distortions- The emotions that we allow to deceive us into acting poorly.

An additional resource is exercise. Especially when coupled with meditation it has amazing effects. For me, when the pressure and anxiety of limbo gets heavy, I will often use a run to remind myself of just how vast human endurance can be.

[This message edited by JBWD at 11:37 PM, August 21st (Wednesday)]

AntiHero posted 8/22/2019 01:52 AM

Pyrite, I just went back to your thread on FOO issues (I finally figured out how to do this ). I don’t think I saw this in there specifically, but were you ever praised freely growing up? I have always felt that my family loved me, but it was very conditional. I can only recall a handful of times that I received genuine praise, like I had completely blown something out of the water. I think growing up like this made me a bit emotionally spoiled. I didn’t feel like I was loved unconditionally, but I also had it pretty good, from what I could tell. But this left me feeling that things weren’t good enough, even though they were. And perhaps, that partly contributed to my need to be a perfectionist.

Now that I’m learning to be more compassionate with myself, thinking that I was a perfectionist is so absurd to me. It seems so ridiculous to consider myself in the running for being perfect. No one is. Why would I think I could be? And of course it was only going to lead to feelings of failure. So now I try to focus on one thing that I’m satisfied with. I’m willing to bet you have many things you do on a daily basis that you are satisfied with. It could be anything and it doesn’t need to be great, just satisfactory. Even if it’s just once a week or once a month, I try to admire my own work in the privacy of my own mind, kind of like sharing it with myself. This is a bit twisted, but when I do it alone, I don’t have to feel bad about a momentary lack of humility. I used to have guilt around feeling proud. I think people who try to be perfect usually do, and they need other people to feel proud for them. But admiring it alone gets me in the practice of feeling accomplished rather that having failed.

So, idk...you try a new recipe and it turns out great, sit down and enjoy the taste of it, and take pride in your work. You don’t need to ask your family if it tastes good, just tell yourself that it does and savor each bite as you would in a restaurant. Don’t focus so much on the recipes that don’t turn out right, more on the ones that do.

I feel like a broken record, but I do love Brene Brown sound bites. I don’t really read her books because I feel like it’s a real investment in time and heart to get through an entire book. For me, finishing the book and stacking up all my ah-ha moments become the accomplishment instead of implementing all the lessons themselves. But some of the things she says about establishing healthy boundaries leading to healthier, more connected and meaningful relationships have really inspired me to be more self-forgiving. Keep cutting yourself some slack, and things will eventually feel easier.

[This message edited by AntiHero at 1:59 AM, August 22nd (Thursday)]

Zugzwang posted 8/22/2019 10:05 AM

Well, I can imagine this might be more of an issue for women. Not to be sexist, just that my wife was teh one to do all the other stuff. I was still an ass for most the first 18months and only helped out some more than I wasn't to begin with. It wasn't until 18months that I took on the share of responsibility I should have always been doing. Does your BS do any of the life stuff? Do you have family you can confide in and ask them for support while you tackle this? You are tired already, still make time for hobbies and bucket lists. I started with cooking and found out I really enjoyed it. Mostly grilling. That way, I contribute and get pride in doing something well at the same time. We also took up rock climbing and hiking together. Something that was more my wife's thing when we first started being friends.

Pyrite posted 8/22/2019 21:07 PM

JBWD
Pyrite- Viewing it as “failing” is going to only perpetuate these shameful episodes. Are you in IC, and dealing with this? The focus on shame and failure is, ultimately, still selfish. It’s hard to think that “feeling bad” can be counter-productive in this venue, but it feeds the wayward in weird ways. By focusing on how terrible you feel you’re ultimately stunting empathy. Think about it, we know most WSs have a tendency to minimize/override our partners, and by focusing on your pain it is, in a way, continuing that. IF you feel guilty and recognize that the pain you’ve inflicted is excessive and unfair, you can use that to fuel change. Delicate balance but worth examining.

I kinda get this. I do, when I'm being rational, see how 'feeling bad' can be counterproductive by focusing on 'my feelings' instead of my bs. However, the shame and failures kinda consume my life, in a way. It tends to be this kinda round- robin. I make mistakes or consciously choose to do something wrong, afterwards I see the wrongness, regret having done the thing, and basically hate myself for being such a stupid, foolish, selfish, hateful female... I'm ashamed and depressed and angry that I've once again hurt others, my bs, my kids, family, 'friends'... They have to deal with the consequences of my bad choices. They are suffering for my mistakes/sins. It's my fault. I'm also hurting myself, I don't like myself, I want to hide from myself... So I'm angry that people are upset with me/worried they won't 'love' me anymore(self-centered) and I'm brokenhearted that I see how others are suffering for my choices. They shouldn't have to...
But then, I just seem to repeat steps one through...ad nauseum.... Even knowing my past choices, I still make poor decisions, sometimes intentionally, sometimes 'accidently'. And sometimes, I feel that I'm trying as hard as I understand how to, to do 'the right thing' and it still seems to turn into a negative, in some way..
And that knowledge of my continued damaging of others and myself... It makes the rabbit hole very tempting.

Pyrite posted 8/22/2019 21:09 PM

...There is also the issue of my bs being so hurt and devastated from not only my multiple adulteries and abandonments and lies but we have so many other marriage issues and I've hurt him in many other ways. And so his pain and broken heart are right there, at the surface and he is a verbal communicator who is not shy about explaining how I've hurt him, and the things I've done wrong and the fruit of my sins in all of us. He vents about this regularly.
And I do understand that it's coming from a place of immense pain, and that I broke parts of him that can never be the same. And that it's part of the process of him working through the terrible things I've inflicted on his life/soul. I took his wife/trust/best friend/sense of safety/many other things, and flushed them down the toilet.
I try to remember that when he's venting. But the venting on top of this stuff that's already in my head/heart, feeds the hopelessness and depression and shame and the circle continues. I just haven't figured out how to do this part 'right' and like I said, I'm sure it's me, and possibly a 'simple' mind shift but I'm pretty 'stuck' at this point.

Pyrite posted 8/22/2019 21:10 PM

...Anyway, that's a whole lot of unfiltered thought process. And, no it's not something I've managed to effectively deal with in IC. I've talked about it and they recommend a lot of the same things that are being recommended here, mindfulness, exercise, finding small things to find satisfaction in. And those have helped some. But, I just can't clear the cycle of hurting others and therefore the thing continues...
I'm sure that I'm just not seeing how to do right, or work through this properly but since I haven't 'seen' it, the confusion, shame, depression continues.

Pyrite posted 8/22/2019 21:30 PM

Antihero
Pyrite, I just went back to your thread on FOO issues (I finally figured out how to do this ). I don’t think I saw this in there specifically, but were you ever praised freely growing up? I have always felt that my family loved me, but it was very conditional. I can only recall a handful of times that I received genuine praise, like I had completely blown something out of the water. I think growing up like this made me a bit emotionally spoiled. I didn’t feel like I was loved unconditionally, but I also had it pretty good, from what I could tell. But this left me feeling that things weren’t good enough, even though they were. And perhaps, that partly contributed to my need to be a perfectionist.

Yeah, my family's 'love' dynamic is complicated, in some ways but there's similarities to what your are saying. I always knew my dad loved me. And from what I understood love to be, I would have said that my brother and Mom did as well. However, I don't really remember getting much 'praise' except when I did something that my dad was 'proud' of. If I, in some way, outsmarted my brother, or if I got a school accomplishment, or manged to do something he'd set me to do. But, 'free' praise.. I don't remember that happening. Actually, he was very much a my way or the highway kinda guy, if you did it 'his way' or exhibited traits he admired, then he was thrilled. He did praise and he was there, reliable, providing, willing to be around and hang out, but not really an 'unconditional praiser'.

I'll have to continue later, I've fallen asleep about half a dozen times texting this.
Thanks for reading.

assjack posted 8/23/2019 04:58 AM

A few books I have read have really helped beyond meditating. 1. Feeling Good and 2. The journey from abandonment to healing. #2 you may think doesn't fit your situation but she has these really simple exercises especially in the first couple of chapters that have helped me.

Zugzwang posted 8/23/2019 08:43 AM

Have you read any of that Brene Brown stuff that many of the women on here like? It seems to help them. I am not a big fan of it, yet they seem to be able to use it to move forward. I was able to view shame differently and use it to motivate change because I knew the shame came from guilty actions. Actions I could change if I chose to pick myself up off the floor and really work at. I just had to make the choice to go towards pain and embrace it. Not to run from it and make more choices to avoid it.

Pyrite posted 8/23/2019 12:05 PM

Zugzwang
I've read some of it. Generally, I find her advice and material to have some helpful points but it's got a bit to much of an 'empowering' bent, which would be very unhelpful in my situation, for me, and so I tend to take small doses.

I was able to view shame differently and use it to motivate change because I knew the shame came from guilty actions. Actions I could change if I chose to pick myself up off the floor and really work at. I just had to make the choice to go towards pain and embrace it. Not to run from it and make more choices to avoid it.

I haven't figured out how to use the shame as a 'good' motivator yet. In theory, I agree. The shame comes from guilty actions but I think, for me, also an overall sense of guilt as to what my actual dna is and it 'feels like' even when I do try to embrace it, it still leads to more shame and failure, in some way. So that dna doesn't seem truly 'changeable'. I know it is, in areas... There are things I've changed in over the years where it was a positive thing but... Actually, I think it's a different post...


Pyrite posted 8/23/2019 12:29 PM

Zugzwang
As to your other questions, while my bs isn't completely overwhelmed, hurting, depressed and triggered from all the trauma, then he does work on stuff at the house.
My family wouldn't really be 'helpful' in this situation, I don't think. I can ask questions about my childhood but for 1 they are out of state mostly and 2 they have a live and let live mentality that would say for me to do 'what I need to feel better' even if it hurt my bs or only if a surface fix for me, the one that is in state... she knows the situation but doesn't have anything helpful, in this situation.
I've tried to do hobbyish sorts of things, it goes poorly, typically. I still try occasionally but that hasn't 'helped' in the way that it should.

JBWD posted 8/23/2019 13:09 PM

Zugs and I both view the shame question similarly- And I KNOW it’s hard to put that aside. I quite honestly wrestled with posting it the first time, because I know it’s definitely a challenge to step aside when that grey weight creeps in!!!! I know being a homemaker makes this whole process infinitely more challenging: I’ve actually found renewed sense of shame based on the fact that our current co-parenting schedule has left little space for me to be anything other than “fun weekend Dad” which is significantly short of where I need to be- But I acknowledge it and am correcting.

AJ and I are both “Feeling Good” advocates- It’s a VERY practical book that can be used day to day, it has a lot of tables and exercises that you can complete. It will go a LONG WAY to helping you recognize how to get deeper through the paralysis of shame and blame. It will also help you recognize your husband’s emotions as independent of your own and help stem your reactions.
ETA: In addition to that book “MoodNotes” App helps you track similar processes in real time.

On the topic of hobbies/personal development, I’m going to go to my other go-to: Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” He helps define the different types of tasks that we have and highlights that the tasks that COULD be immensely beneficial are potentially long-term with no immediate payoff, and so if given the opportunity we will let ourselves off without completing them. But by doing so we risk much more dissatisfaction than what we could accomplish if setting aside the time. It’s a very insightful portion.

The “falling flat” on hobbies, personal time is not a defeat. One of the benefits of this time of discovery is to develop the bravery to try new things- Find something that interests you and try it. If you don’t feel like going back to it, no biggie. You can say you tried it. I built a HUGE list of Meetups and sampled quite a few: There were some that I enjoyed, but not enough to repeat. And I felt like a failure because I wasn’t cultivating some new life-long love. But then I came back to having the courage to try, and allow something that felt like failure to happen.

There’s a lot at stake, and I get it. But know that being you is sometimes enough, and has benefit to those around you- Was it this thread where someone referenced the kids having cereal for dinner more than once a week(?!) I loved that and think it tells a lot about what we provide for our families.

[This message edited by JBWD at 1:10 PM, August 23rd (Friday)]

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