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moving on

anxietydepressio posted 10/7/2019 08:24 AM

I have largely stayed away from sites like this for quite a while. I have been in IC for almost 2 years, and I have a much better handle on all of my issues. I am more relaxed and at peace with myself than I have been in many years.

What remains?

How do you forgive yourself for what you've done? That's the one thing I just haven't gotten past. forgiving others seems so much easier than forgiving yourself. You had control over your actions, yet you still made a poor choice.

I don't sit in this feeling anymore. But I know it's still there. It shows up at random moments, and sometimes in the quiet in between moments. I am not consumed by it in any way, but I know it's there. Like a scar. I can acknowledge it's presence and move on, but I always know it is there. I just don't feed it anymore.

[This message edited by anxietydepressio at 8:27 AM, October 7th (Monday)]

hikingout posted 10/7/2019 08:51 AM

Hi Anxietydepression,

Similar time frame I think - and I feel the same way. I just posted a little while ago a post called "living with it" and it's probably not fallen too many pages back yet, where I talk about my experience with this. You described a lot of what I am feeling. I don't have the answer, but I keep kind of hoping the answer is time. After all, things are so much better now than they were early on, and what we are talking about is manageable.

Someone aptly pointed out on another thread (Zug, I believe) that the BS has a scar too. That this just might be our version of it.

Some days I struggle with that scar, and then there are periods not as badly. I think sometimes when you accept that its there, and that you may or may not ever forgive yourself in the future it's simpler. Acceptance and self compassion are big things, and I would gather from your post you learned how you were able to get to the point that you cheated. While we can hate that was the way we acted out, we can also embrace the details of how we were broken and the ways that happened. I wish I had a better answer for you, but I hear you because I am in the same place.

[This message edited by hikingout at 8:51 AM, October 7th (Monday)]

anxietydepressio posted 10/7/2019 12:44 PM

It is one thing to forgive someone else. Since you have no control over their actions. But you did have control over your own actions.

I am not sure if I will ever forgive myself. I suppose it depends on what forgiving yourself actually means. But I know I am not there, and i have accepted that I may never be there. I would say I am quite happy. My marriage is more open and close than it has been for a long time. It's an incredible gift, that I will not take for granted. Every day becomes a gift. good days and bad days. They are all a gift. But forgiving myself.....just doesn't feel right.

It's in those quiet moments between the others that you remember what you did, and how it changed both of you forever.

hikingout posted 10/7/2019 13:09 PM

Yes, I would say the same things. I think after exploring this same question on the site, I kind of have just learned it's fabric of my life now. I think maybe when you get to about the 2 year mark the realization of this may never be over, and what that looks like is kind of a different awakening? For me, it's also been a marker on when I can truly see I am not that person any more, but still not able to forgive myself. That's a weird feeling to be in because they seem at odds with one another at times.

anxietydepressio posted 10/7/2019 13:37 PM

Anyone else ever do this?

Stand in a crowded area where there are lots of couples or families and wonder who else is going through this. We know we are not alone, but we don't know who they are. Even on here were all all "digital" humans. We are not real. Just words on a screen.

I guess acceptance is the real word. Accepting your story. Accepting what you have done.
Forgiveness isn't really what means anything for me. Forgiveness doesn't feel right. You can't un-ring the bell.

JBWD posted 10/7/2019 14:34 PM

I see forgiveness and acceptance in exactly opposite terms to what you described. I believe/understand acceptance to be the simple process of acknowledging that this is. I destroyed what was an unbelievably fulfilling lifelong commitment because I was so selfish. Acknowledging it won’t change it, but there’s nothing I can do that WILL change it. As such, I have to in some sense put it behind me. Forgetting isn’t an option, and as such coming to grips with it means understanding that, had I known what I was doing, or had I had a normal human understanding of the consequences I wouldn’t have done this. So I believe the forgiveness piece is the next acknowledgment:

I acknowledge that I behaved monstrously. I acknowledge the pain and chaos I caused. And I acknowledge that this knowledge will keep me from causing this harm again.

hikingout posted 10/7/2019 14:48 PM

Anyone else ever do this?
Stand in a crowded area where there are lots of couples or families and wonder who else is going through this. We know we are not alone, but we don't know who they are. Even on here were all all "digital" humans. We are not real. Just words on a screen.

Yep. I do this. And, there are friends of mine who I know went through it and I had no idea the magnitude of it. It makes me wish I could go back and have conversations with them I should have had.

I guess acceptance is the real word. Accepting your story. Accepting what you have done.
Forgiveness isn't really what means anything for me. Forgiveness doesn't feel right. You can't un-ring the bell.

Accepting you can't unring the bell. Yes. You really should go find that post I had called "living with it", not because I said anything very great in it, but because I had so much great feedback, might be some things in there where people responded that helps you. I feel like it helped me a lot to read what they had to say on the matter.

Part of my struggle with "not unringing" the bell has a lot to do with the idea that some of my self worth came from "living right" "being a good wife", I was judgmental over others who did the same thing. And, now there is the after effects of knowing I went against my own integrity and moral code.

Some of it can be feelings of not "deserving" reconciliation. Feeling happy in the marriage has a downside that it didn't before and that is feeling like you ruined something forever, and being reminded of that during times when you are feeling closest to your H.

It must be something that happens around the time life starts getting good again...that you feel the most regret/remorse/guilt.

JBWD posted 10/7/2019 15:22 PM

The “standing in a crowd” you describe is a horrible side effect of this process for me- I have found an increasing ability to find people in public places who appear to be in pain: A woman crying, alone, a couple walking in silence, a father loudly berating his children for simply playing outside. All things I see more and seem to find more adeptly than in the past. I can attribute it to greater mindfulness/awareness in general, but I find myself seeing the “bad” much more frequently...

I also see the good much more readily, so like I said something I attribute to greater alertness and presence overall, but oftentimes overwhelmingly sad...

anxietydepressio posted 10/8/2019 07:11 AM

We spoke about this topic in IC yesterday. It all really comes down to how you define forgiving.

When forgiving someone else it was acknowledging I was no longer hurt, and wouldn't go back to what happened again.

While I have acknowledge and accept what I did, I can't simply walk away from it. We talked about my scar analogy. He felt that was a good way to look at it. Some people have no regret when doing this so they don't see their scar, but for those of us who do it's a reminder to never go down that path again. I want my scar, I need my scar. As a reminder to hold myself to a higher standard.

Maybe I have "forgiven" myself if the truest sense of the word, but I won't use that word to describe it. I have accepted and I work to be better. I accept I can't change the past, but I am aware that it will never be the same again.

anxietydepressio posted 10/14/2019 08:10 AM

Found this quote in another thread. And I needed it this morning. Now to internalize this and make it permanent.

"What do I want? I want my W, who has made many mistakes, to share in those happy days. Who supports me and wants what is best for me. If she is busy pretending to owe me some kind of debt . . .that is hard not to take as a rejection of the greatest gift I have ever given her.

It was not her debt to forgive. It was mine.


Sometimes you have to give yourself permission to just live your life knowing that none of us are perfect. You know what ? It is ok not to be perfectly healed. I got scars, baggage and everything that comes with my past. In reconciliation we focus on the bad stuff for so long we forget to focus on the good too. When your BS says they forgive you and don't hold it against you anymore all you have to do is believe them."

Zugzwang posted 10/14/2019 08:48 AM

Forgiving yourself means not beating yourself up about it to me. It means that the best way forward is to change and know you will never do this again. It means you know you are doing everything you can no matter how hard it is to make repercussions and to amend what you did. You have to own it to forgive yourself. That means you can't sit in the "I wish or I could have" and actually accept you are the one that did this. You became this person and really dig into it with acceptance and focusing on cleaning that out. No room for denial and to say...I am not just that I was this to. Nope. At that time in your life, you were all that. That is all that matters. You chose to hurt someone. What ever good things you grasp at probably don't matter to the person you chose to hurt. Like, look...I hurt you but I also do volunteer work - I am not that bad. That is not truly owning it. That is a form of denial to me. That just didn't work to me. Or the I am only human excuse. It had to be this is who I am. I am not happy being that person. I am going to become someone different. It to me is a bumper sticker. That is why I never use the word former. I will always be the one that cheated. I also have many other bumper stickers on my ass and this is one of them. At one time in my life this was all that I was. Not anymore. You will just need acceptance and to know it isn't a death sentence.

Focus on the future and not the past after you clean it out and really own it. Without being defensive or angry or hurt or anything. Just acceptance. You have to become vulnerable to get to that point. It is easy once you realize there is nothing there to protect. What is to protect? A cheater? A person who chose to hurt others? Something you are truly guilty of?

Forgiving yourself means you have to be able to accept guilt and see shame as a healthy thing to me. Wallowing in shame is not shame to me. It is something more. Something built of self pity ,self destruction, and self sabotage with a focus on the "would have could have" and born from denial. A whole other word that isn't shame. Just haven't found the right word for it yet. It just isn't the definition shame to me. Shame is what you should feel born from guilty actions that cause destruction. With the intentions of feeling pain and remorse to never repeat the actions again because you have learned from it. When people stay stuck in it as described, that isn't shame to me. That is a level of self abuse.

anxietydepressio posted 10/14/2019 08:56 AM

We all have to figure out what works for us. We are all different people and what speaks to me, may not speak to someone else.

I really have accepted what is. I just hadn't thought about it that it was posted above. My wife told me many times that she didn't want me to do grand gestures. Or to "make it up to her" I didn't get it for a long time. It was hard to get that for a long time. I wanted to fix it. Make it right. As the person above stated, once forgiveness and happens and R begins you have to accept that gift, with all of your heart.

I do feel this is a scar I will always carry. A reminder of where I was, and where I am now.

[This message edited by anxietydepressio at 8:58 AM, October 14th (Monday)]

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