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Living with it...

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nightmare01 posted 9/14/2019 19:13 PM

... duplicate post. I have no idea how I did that.

[This message edited by nightmare01 at 7:14 PM, September 14th (Saturday)]

hikingout posted 9/14/2019 22:10 PM

Wounded bear- I meant to respond to you earlier. We have been traveling so my time has been limited. What you describe I believe is true in my own situation. And after some time and reflection I can not get a handle on how the hell I lost track of what I wanted, how good my marriage had been, how great of a husband I have, or how much I truly do love him. I do feel I was ďsickĒ but unwinding that is difficult. My husband wrote something similar about me, and I know itís how he views it. I also know at the same time I did know. That I was making choices and shutting things out. Very illogical for sure.

woundedbear posted 9/16/2019 11:02 AM

HikingOut

I know we are all trying to find the simple answer or solution to As and simple ways to come back from them, but they are complex in most cases. There are so many nuances and so many boundaries and justifications that get built up to allow them to happen. As I know that you know from your writing, it is not as simple as we want to make it. Sometimes that is harder to accept for the BS than they want to admit. It feels very personal to the BS, but there is a ton of damage done to the WS by the WS on the way to the actual A, then during it and in the aftermath. Nothing about an A is good, for anyone.

I believe the next step in our road to R is for my fWW to truly forgive herself for what she did and understand it was not who she was. Her sickness is best described as a desperate "hustle" for acceptance that she did not believe she had. She is learning that all of the time she spent trying to prove herself, secure acceptance, and win love resulted in far less than what she was working for and, in every case, feeling worse than before. Why? Because if she had to justify her existence for someone else to love or support you, she already lost the battle. Some people do that by overachieving...some do it by getting new mates to accept them sexually. Some do both. But none of it is ever good enough in the end.

It takes a monumental shift in mindset. Especially when a psyche is so damaged, to see this. But when you see your actions as a desperate hustle for acceptance, a sickness, you can see it was separate from who you are. And, I believe, you can see a way and how to be safe again. Not only safe, but happier, stronger more fulfilled. You have to forgive yourself for the hustle, what you did. And see yourself in light of that as someone worthy of your BH's love. That is not easy for either side, with memories of the blatantly evil things that were done in the hustle.

I hope that makes sense.

hikingout posted 9/16/2019 12:42 PM

It does make perfect sense.

And, depending on the week I can be more accepting and forgiving, and others I am further away. A lot can go into that. When I wrote this a couple of weeks ago I had a bad month. Today, I am more focused and feel more the way the goal should be to feel. It comes in cycles, and each cycle can be a shorter period of the bad and a longer period of the good. I think it's a learning process in that you are really rewiring your brain to perceive differently and to think of yourself differently. So, it's almost like the bad comes back until all the lessons are more learned/mastered?

One thing that's a concern - I think about why I am getting to a better mental space again. Some of it is really being mindful and focused and in the moment. Being productive and useful. Managing the voices and thoughts in my own head more effectively.

But, some of it is when I am more connected to my husband. We have been spending a lot of time together and have been very intimately interacting. I don't mean sexually (though that's always a result of feeling close), I mean in doing all the little things for each other. We have been traveling and discovering new things and really enjoying each other, especially this past weekend while we were away. But, I sometimes worry (and this is where I connect my two recent threads together) that I am getting my feelings from him? Like in a non-healthy validation way? I don't know that's really true, who doesn't feel really good when they have spent time with someone they enjoy and who seems to be enjoying being with you too? It's all spiderwebs I guess, interconnected in some way. All this to say - on this day, today, I am feeling the ways you describe as target. I feel loved. It sucks that I have to follow that up with a question of am I just getting high on someone feeding me validation? I don't think so, because in many ways some of what I describe is me doing for him, me being there for him and in a not wanting something in return way. It's a non-trust of self I guess, someone else pointed that out to me and I think that's an adequate way to look at it. You don't just have to love yourself to get healthy but you have to accept there comes a time that you have to start trusting yourself again.

You are right it is complex. And, your description of sickness was right. My sickness also was emotional exhaustion, disconnect with myself, numbing myself. There is much to be vigilant of lest these things return.

[This message edited by hikingout at 12:45 PM, September 16th (Monday)]

nightmare01 posted 9/16/2019 14:12 PM

OOPS. Posted in the wrong thread. Nothing to see here. Move along... move along.

[This message edited by nightmare01 at 2:14 PM, September 16th (Monday)]

woundedbear posted 9/16/2019 16:45 PM

HikingOut

I guess the question is, are you getting validation because you are living authentically? Or are you doing things to get validation? By your writing, I would guess that you are doing your best to live with courage and acceptance that who you are is enough, that you are worthy of your H's love. By living that way you will find validation, and that is okay (really, it is awesome!).

But I bet it is scary for a fWW, especially one who owns her shit. So the next question is, are you living with courage? If what you are doing feels like courage, you are on the right track. If it feels like you are having to prove your worthiness or worth, then maybe there is still some evolving that needs to happen.

Each of us needs to prove something after Dday. Mostly it is that you can be trusted, but trust can't be hustled. It has to be authentic. One has to work harder than ever to ensure connection. That can't be hustled either, it has to come from sincerity and honesty.

I really enjoy your writing. It has helped me over the time you have been on SI. My fWW is not able to articulate her feelings well. I have shared some of what you have written, and she said that you have clearly lived it with her. Keep being such a good voice here on SI, it is appreciated. You are worthy.

Owl6118 posted 9/16/2019 17:43 PM

Woundedbear, I just wanted to say how much I appreciate the insight and generosity of spirit you have brought to this discussion.

Zugzwang posted 9/16/2019 18:00 PM

you can see it was separate from who you are. And, I believe, you can see a way and how to be safe again. Not only safe, but happier, stronger more fulfilled.

As a wayward and cheater, this seems to be a lot of white knuckling to me and not actually owning that WAS WHO YOU WERE. How is that owning who you became and what you chose to be capable of if you blame it on someone that wasn't you? I can see saying that isn't who you want to be anymore. It definitely was who you were though. It just screams like disassociating to me. Not healthy IMO. What are you going to change if you say that isn't who you are? When it comes down to it. She was a cheater. She chose to hurt people to get what she wanted. Maybe not in a vicious way like a rapist or something to you. Yet she still chose to step on others backs to build up herself in a selfish entitled way. How is that not who she was? Don't get me wrong. It is desperate, needy, and a whole host of other things and has nothing to do with anyone but themselves. It is a hustle and hustles still hurt other people because the cheater doesn't care who they hurt on the sidelines. Still intentional. It just isn't not who we were. and I would never say it was a sickness. It is our character. We need to be willing to accept that was who we were and that was our character. Not a sickness. Otherwise we wouldn't choose to do it. You can forgive yourself for your past as long as you make ammends and change to never do it again. You can move on and still own it by realizing that was who you were deep down and you don't want to be that person anymore and change it.

Greeneyesbluezy posted 9/16/2019 18:38 PM

[This message edited by Greeneyesbluezy at 7:43 AM, September 17th (Tuesday)]

hikingout posted 9/17/2019 06:23 AM

Zug - to me sick here means unhealthy. For me it fits. I wasnít healthy, I had character flaws and that combo led to the affair. I got healthy and I worked on the character flaws and therefore I become safer. It could be the same for wounded bears wife. it doesnít have to be disassociation.

I also do think more in terms of it isnít who I am today. But it is part of my history and something I will have to be aware of moving forward.

[This message edited by hikingout at 9:26 AM, September 17th (Tuesday)]

sickofsurviving posted 9/17/2019 08:04 AM

So now cheating is a sickness? That is quite the fucking stretch. Where, in the icd9 diagnoses is this disease located?

sickofsurviving posted 9/17/2019 08:04 AM

So now cheating is a sickness? That is quite the fucking stretch. Where, in the icd9 diagnoses is this disease located?

hikingout posted 9/17/2019 08:39 AM

Sickofsurviving:

No, I am not saying it was a sickness. I am saying that I was unhealthy at the time of the affair. Another BS used the word sickness, I was explaining to Zug why I understood it. It didn't mean "mentally ill, didn't know what they were doing". It meant they were unhealthy.

A person who cheats is not a healthy person.

I have kind of stayed away from responding to you. I have a lot of sympathy for your situation. But, you are with someone who still isn't healthy so I don't think you will relate to what I have to say. I basically never feel I know what to say to you because of that.

Your H is unremorseful and by the sounds of it abusive. I am no longer unremorseful or abusive. I can't take back what I did, and I will always feel regret and remorse for doing what I did but my husband and I have to try to move on from it. I don't know if you can do that if your husband doesn't change and I understand why you have said you can not leave. I can understand that is why you feel enraged with some of the things I say but they are not in the same context.

[This message edited by hikingout at 8:42 AM, September 17th (Tuesday)]

woundedbear posted 9/17/2019 08:40 AM

No. Cheating is not a sickness. It is an action, something you do, a behavior. But understanding the whys is important if you plan to have a healthy R for both the wayward and the betrayed. One cannot be healthy mentally and think that having an affair will lead to anything good. If someone can think of how a healthy person (mentally) can have an A and be healthy, I am all ears.

Having an A is ultimately a hustle made by people who do not have a healthy outlook on life. Call it self-image, self-esteem, whatever. (no, not everyone who has low self esteem has A's, not by a long shot) They are trying to make themselves worthy when they feel ultimately less than worthy or unworthy. Healthy people just do not exhibit those behaviors. Cheaters are still responsible for what they did, the lies they told, relationships they blew up, and must make amends for their behavior. No matter the reason, cheaters know what they are doing is wrong, and they still do it. But, cheaters need to understand that nothing they were doing was healthy, and they chose to handle it in a way that made them worse. By understanding why they were making those decisions and exhibiting those behaviors, they have a pathway to change.

How did they get unhealthy in the first place? Why do they feel worthless? FOO issues, abuse, fixed mindset thinking, adverse childhood experiences, the list goes on and on. The way to move away from that mindset, or to get healthy, is to change behavior, and work on doing things that are genuinely good. My fWW and I started training service dogs in the aftermath of Dday. She has become a respected trainer and has placed two dogs already for a respected service dog organization. She still has feelings of being unworthy, but they are shorter and not as deep. She knows she has self worth and recognizes when she is hustling to be worthy. That recognition has helped her to be...healthy.

hikingout posted 9/17/2019 09:31 AM

Greeneyesbluezy -

I saw your response before I was up and out of bed this morning, but hadn't had a chance to respond to it. I am not sure why you deleted it, but I did want to reach out and say that I know that living with it means something completely different to the BS than it does the WS. I think it's a harder climb and goes much deeper than what I am talking about. But, I am partially talking about it because there is no real info out here for WS's further out. Nothing on how it looks or what the struggles are. Our BS forum has a lot of variety in terms of those who divorced, R'ed, are in limbo, are many years out, etc. Our WS forum is usually a short term stay for WS who leave soon after the recovery stage.

Anyway, I hope you can get to that place of peace.

hikingout posted 9/17/2019 12:08 PM

Wounded bear, somehow I missed responding to this, and the questions you ask are insightful.


I guess the question is, are you getting validation because you are living authentically? Or are you doing things to get validation? By your writing, I would guess that you are doing your best to live with courage and acceptance that who you are is enough, that you are worthy of your H's love. By living that way you will find validation, and that is okay (really, it is awesome!).

When you put it like that it's clearer. Again, a lot of the problem is knowing when you can trust your feelings and thoughts when you let them lead you so far astray to begin with. I don't feel like I am doing anything to get something, but I wouldn't have thought that during the affair either. But, at the same time the good feelings I am describing are not even about trading anything it's more about spending quality time - talking, laughing, reminiscing things our kids did or said, being goofy. I can't place that as inauthentic, so I will think about that more as the litmus test. Is this authentic? Rather than "What is my motivation for this, am I getting something, am I angling to get something?" Because that is the question I have been asking myself and that's where the line blurs very badly for me. I do want to feel good, I do want to feel loved, and I do want to enjoy our time together. So, it makes that second question ring with a false positive? Does that make sense? Authentic/versus inauthentic is clearer and easier to answer.

But I bet it is scary for a fWW, especially one who owns her shit. So the next question is, are you living with courage? If what you are doing feels like courage, you are on the right track. If it feels like you are having to prove your worthiness or worth, then maybe there is still some evolving that needs to happen.

This is something I read a lot about from Brene Brown. I do think in those terms a lot, especially as I work on my conflict avoidance. But it goes back to the litmus test that you have kind of offered here as authentic versus inauthentic. It's easier to be inauthentic and go along with things. It's easier to not state a preference or defer to someone. Showing up means making your needs and feelings known and yes that does take a lot of courage.

Each of us needs to prove something after Dday. Mostly it is that you can be trusted, but trust can't be hustled. It has to be authentic. One has to work harder than ever to ensure connection. That can't be hustled either, it has to come from sincerity and honesty.

Yes, I agree with that.

I really enjoy your writing. It has helped me over the time you have been on SI. My fWW is not able to articulate her feelings well. I have shared some of what you have written, and she said that you have clearly lived it with her. Keep being such a good voice here on SI, it is appreciated. You are worthy.


Thank you. It does help me sometimes to know that other WS who are working on themselves feel the same way about something, there is something validating about that. And, if it helps someone that is always a bonus. I will never be able to give back what this site has given me.

woundedbear posted 9/17/2019 17:11 PM

I think you keyed in on it. Being authentic is the harder, more brave choice.

I read a book when I was a teen called "Why am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am?" A mentor called it the little purple bible. (the copy I have now is white) The answer is simple, but complex...Why am I afraid to tell you who I am? Because if I do you may not like me, and that is all I have. Brene Brown was not the first to talk about authenticity, or courage, but she has done so in a way that resonates with so many who are trying to live whole heartedly. In the short run, living the hustle is easier, but somewhere along the way you will get lost in this hustle. Like you said, if it is hard, it is likely more authentic. If it feels courageous, it is likely authentic.

Everyone hustles to some extent. In the aftermath of Dday, I was advised here and by society to dump the bitch. I see many men especially here in the hustle, trying to show how strong they are by immediately divorcing their WW. They struggle with what others will think. My friends are all men. I mean real men, guys guys, we all played contact sports, we all brawled when we were young, we lived hard and played hard. But they are all men of God and principle. Not a cheater in the crew. Each one I confided in gave me advice based on who they knew I was. I lived authentically with these men. First they asked me if I loved my wife. At the time it was hard to admit, but I knew I did. Then to a man, they told me to summon my strength, and save her. Thus woundedbear. I was wounded, but I was ready to fight to protect me and what was important to me.

It would have been easier to walk away. To dump the bitch. Society would feel sorry for me, I could play the victim, I would have the admiration of the tough guys on this site. But I would not have been true to me. I would not have been authentic. I would have been hustling. It was hard not to fall into the hustle in the beginning. But I had to be the man that I was, and if some people wanted to call me names, or say bad things about me, then so be it. I know what I am doing, I can look back at when I am old, and know that I did the courageous thing, I was true to myself. That is all that matters.

In the end, I saved my sweet wife. And she has grown and blossomed in ways I could not have predicted.

Each of us is an evolving soul. I learn something new every day. I have made lots of mistakes. They can either break me or forge me. I choose strength. Damn I love my wife, she has been worth all of this...still, I wish she had not done any of it. I know she feels the same.

Thanks for the opportunity to think hard about this, it has been cathartic.

Greeneyesbluezy posted 9/17/2019 18:16 PM

Hiking,

I seriously meant to edit, but then work emergency!

My post was my thoughts and I re-thought that they were not particularly helpful to you.

We all do live with fallout of our/others choices. Itís good you are exploring yourself from many different angles.

I wish you healing and peace.

Zugzwang posted 9/19/2019 09:14 AM

No, I am not saying it was a sickness. I am saying that I was unhealthy at the time of the affair. Another BS used the word sickness, I was explaining to Zug why I understood it. It didn't mean "mentally ill, didn't know what they were doing". It meant they were unhealthy.

This is where it gets muddy for me. Not a sickness. It just is who you were. For myself. I was always unhealthy as a character. That is why I argue that a healthy person doesn't have affairs. That not everyone would. A cheater to me wasn't healthy then suddenly became unhealthy. They were always unhealthy. Unhealthy to me is different than suddenly becoming sick and choosing to cheat. Cheating was always always always in their character because their character was unhealthy for a very very long time.

Just saying that what I quoted made it seem to me that WoundedBear's WW and him were seeing it as she temporarily became some pod sick person and it wasn't in her character to cheat that we usually see new WS come here stating all the time. That it was out of character and it seemed like they were disassociating herself from who she really was. Only focusing on the who she wants to be. Which to me can't really take root as real change till you clean out who you were and own that it was indeed you and you are capable and you were like that for a long time before you chose to cheat.

hikingout posted 9/19/2019 09:21 AM

This is where it gets muddy for me. Not a sickness. It just is who you were. For myself. I was always unhealthy as a character. That is why I argue that a healthy person doesn't have affairs. That not everyone would. A cheater to me wasn't healthy then suddenly became unhealthy. They were always unhealthy. Unhealthy to me is different than suddenly becoming sick and choosing to cheat. Cheating was always always always in their character because their character was unhealthy for a very very long time.

I agree with you to a certain extent. I was always unhealthy in coping. Most of my unhealthy character traits were not hurtful to other people prior to the affair - they were hurtful to myself. I wasn't a liar or a cheat, I wasn't always pushing the envelope of what I could get away with. I wasn't selfish either. I was too self-sacrificing - it let to a period of extreme unhealthiness. My way of managing my life made me sick, detached, uncaring, exhausted.


But, I own my decisions that I made during that crisis. Full accountability, I knew it was wrong and I did it anyway. I knew it could hurt my husband and children, I just didn't care by that point. I don't use it to excuse those decisions. They are simply an explanation of how it unfolded, not a get out of jail free card. I actually think what I am describing is common in many women cheaters, and that's why folks like wounded bear say their wife identifies. I don't think in his follow up explanation he's describing a situation in which he or she excuses it either.


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