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WS to WS

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thatwilldo posted 10/12/2019 11:49 AM

I'm wondering if anyone has read the book, Guiding Principles for Life Beyond Victim Consciousness, by Lynne Forrest. I read on her website about the "Three Faces of Victim" and found that a lot of it applied to me. Is it a useful book?

Thank you, HikingOut for starting this thread.

hikingout posted 10/12/2019 12:07 PM

I have not but will check out her website. I need to look into more reading from that perspective because I think there are cycles of holding on to things that a ws can get stuck at times. I am typically all about logic and getting my feelings to catch up but there are things I have known for a long time logically now that I canít get my emotions to understand.

crazyblindsided posted 10/12/2019 12:14 PM

My biggest regret was not working on myself after discovering my STBX's first A. I wanted to hurt him back the same way he hurt me and I did. I lost myself after that.

A revenge A is never the answer. I definitely jumped out of the fire into the frying pan.

hikingout posted 10/14/2019 14:31 PM

Okay, I will shoot out another question, mostly in the spirit of keeping this thread from going to page two because I do think the free form is a different dynamic that many of us are enjoying.

Here is one that I am kind of thinking about lately.

PreA issues, for those of you who have started down the path of working on them - what was your biggest one and what does that work look like to you?

I will answer later, I don't really want to put the topic in a certain frame and limit the type of responses we might see.

pinkpggy posted 10/14/2019 15:00 PM

Off the specific topic but I'm struggling with the Brene Brown books. Of course Ive read all the standard reading as well as co dependent no more, but any other good reading suggestions?

[This message edited by pinkpggy at 3:02 PM, October 14th (Monday)]

HeartBreaker11 posted 10/14/2019 15:16 PM

One of my biggest regrets about my A was that I wasted months spending time with him and not putting time and energy into my relationship with my daughter. My daughter is getting older, and I am already noticing this year that she is wanting to spend more of her free time with her friends. We have such a short time when kids are little, and I wasted months of that sneaking around, lying, and putting my energy and time into trying to leave the house and maintain a "relationship" with someone who I don't care about or value.

As far as preA issues... a really big one for me is that I see sex with men as a form of validation. I am currently working on that in IC right now- why I feel that way, and working on things I can do to validate myself.

hikingout posted 10/14/2019 15:56 PM

pinkpggy - I liked the "power of now" by Eckhardt Tolle. It's not an easy, fun read though. You really have to read a little bit and absorb it, practice it. It's taught me a lot about not believing the stories I tell myself, to be a conscious observer of my own thoughts. He teaches some really good meditation techniques as well, and explains why some of our own suffering is self-created. It really changed a lot of my perspective, but it took me more than six months to read. I like Pema Chadron too for similar reasons.

I also read a couple of Dr. Gottman's books. I don't remember which ones, but anything by him I think would be a good read. He teaches a lot about dealing with conflict, repairing relationships, communication, gender differences in relationships and how to cater to each. My biggest take away from him was when I talk to my husband about my needs, I don't do so in a passive aggressive complaint. That I am vulnerable in what I am putting a bid in for, and that I describe more thoroughly what I am looking for...and being able to encourage him to do the same through asking the right questions. So much in relationship is communication and empathy and he seems to keep that on the front burner in many of his teachings. I also have used his questions - you can get them through an APP. They were awkward and obvious seeming at first, but when we were using them it led to discussions I never would have even known to start.

Followtheriver posted 10/15/2019 15:10 PM

Hikingout,

I wanted to make sure to come back and reply. I think that this thread is a better place to answer your questions, especially if now we are talking about pre-A issues. So thank you for starting it. And yes it was my BH that I posted about involving our son and my BH's anger.

I wrote:


As I look back, I wonder if it is possible to make someone, like my BH to feel special, did I ever make him feel special, if I was never made to feel that I was special or believed myself to be? What does it feel like to be special or made to feel that way? What does it mean to be special?

Other than my kids, I seriously don't think that I have ever been special to anyone. Not my FOO, not my BH, just my kids.

Then you wrote:

Anyway, as I read this, it makes me wonder a couple of things -one, are the resentments piling up or do you just have some regrets over some things but not others? Or do you really see marriage having a different function? What I mean by that, some people feel marriage is a partnership and the "special" is not what makes for a good marriage. It sounds like to me you long to feel appreciated, especially in your pie story. I don't really think any of this has to do with infidelity at all, more the state of your marriage in general. I guess I am asking - where are you in all that? And, if it's too personal, do not feel you have to answer. I just think sometimes after all the work put in and all the investment - I wonder if years out that gets weighed in the whole picture of staying versus going out on one's own if the quality of the marriage was poor before the A and then moving forward it's just somewhat better? Please know I am asking to understand, not because I think I know the answer or I want to judge anyone else's situation.

I can honestly say that I have no resentments building up at all and more importantly no anger. I don't think that it really has anything to do with any regrets either.

I think it is having to do with understanding myself. Why I was the way I was, what was broken, how I fixed it and who I am today. In doing all the work on myself, has left me wondering a lot about our pre-A issues and if and how to address them, when only one spouse may want to or even considers them issues at all.

On the topic of being or feeling special. Pre-A, I did have a need of wanting to be special to my BH. I needed to feel that he had my back, that I was important enough to him or special enough that I meant more to him than anyone else in his life, that he would be there for me no matter what. I needed him to love me for who I was, not for what or who he wanted me to be.

Now the difference pre-A vs post-A is that I don't need to feel that I am special or important to him for any other reason than I am. That I want to feel special and important to him because I finally know that I am worthy of those feelings. I know now that I am special, that I am important and I love myself enough to know that I am worthy. So I want to feel those things from my BH, but I don't need them, if that makes sense.

You are also correct in that they don't have anything to do with infidelity, but with our M in general. I always have and to an extent still do want to be appreciated and valued by my BH, but not for the things I do or did, but only for who I am as a person. I think anyone can appreciate what you do and can do for them, but appreciating and valuing the actual person themselves is a whole nother level. Does that make any sense?

I think that I am going to start my own thread because this has had me thinking about so much more and I don't want to t/j or monopolize your thread, at least more than I already have. Lol.

journey posted 10/15/2019 15:18 PM

My biggest regret is not dealing with my personal issues including inauthenticity, having no sense of self, inability to think for myself, lack of confidence and the list goes on. Had I dealt with these things and opened my heart fully, I would have seen that the love my H had for me was real and genuine even though I was broken. We could have healed together and become stronger and more connected because of it. I guess that's more than 1, but I am not sure it is ever just 1. Thanks for your threads HO. They give me hope.

hikingout posted 10/15/2019 15:33 PM

Followtheriver,

Yes, that makes every bit of sense to me. I think in those terms as well, and I understood exactly where you were getting at. I just was trying to frame it with what you wrote before but it all snapped into place.

And, please know I do NOT consider this my thread. I started it and I have been trying to keep the conversation in it flowing, but because I think it's needed. So many little things people aren't going to want to create a post about, and we have all been there and done that.

Oh, but that being said, start your own thread of course as well! Especially if you want BS input, I know I always do too! I just wanted to clarify you weren't monopolizing this, it's meant to be an ongoing, free flowing, conversation for WS.

hikingout posted 10/15/2019 15:35 PM

My biggest regret is not dealing with my personal issues including inauthenticity, having no sense of self, inability to think for myself, lack of confidence and the list goes on. Had I dealt with these things and opened my heart fully, I would have seen that the love my H had for me was real and genuine even though I was broken. We could have healed together and become stronger and more connected because of it. I guess that's more than 1, but I am not sure it is ever just 1. Thanks for your threads HO. They give me hope.

Well said! And you know, you are right, it's never just one thing, but overall I do think it's one thing - those of us who do the work come out of it thinking why did it take an affair to finally do this? We are glad we finally did it, but it would have been so much better without the price tag, and having our BS's pay for it.

MrsWalloped posted 10/15/2019 22:37 PM

In your infidelity (besides the pain you caused to yourself or to your spouse or the affair itself as those things are quite obvious) - what would be your biggest regret?
I have many regrets and I donít know if this qualifies or if itís really a consequence, but itís a biggie for me. I regret ruining the emotional safety and security my children had in our home. Our home was a cocoon and it was stable and they could trust in that and in their parents and in us being together until they couldnít. It was a very traumatic experience for them. Even for our boys who donít know the why understood that things were shaky.

I hate to say there are positives that came about from my A but as part of this experience my girls and I have a very different relationship that in some ways is much deeper since my A. Itís authentic and grounded in honesty and real communication and love. I donít know about respect and trust (I respect and trust them) but we really connect and have many DMCís.

The idea of a broken home is something that is a real thing for them now and not just something that happened to other people. Itís a really big regret of mine.

BraveSirRobin posted 10/15/2019 23:04 PM

I regret not understanding what my childhood sexual abuse did to me. I believed that because it didn't physically hurt, and because the perpetrator groomed me to feel special, I didn't qualify as a victim. That kept me blind to the ways in which that experience warped my thinking about normal sexuality. I would have been a much healthier person if I hadn't shrugged it off and rugswept it.

Bear in mind that "pre-A," for me, means that I was a teenager (I was 19 when it started). I have complex life regrets that don't qualify as pre-A, because all of my other major life decisions were subsequent to it.

[This message edited by BraveSirRobin at 11:07 PM, October 15th (Tuesday)]

FoenixRising posted 10/16/2019 04:35 AM

Bravesirrobin- I wonder that as well. Iíve never spent much time thinking about my abuse. In fact, I shove it away still. Heíll i still see my parents. 🤭. If you ever wanna drop random thoughts or ideas about your abuser and you need a vault, pm me. I promise to respect you and your views and thoughts and will understand without judgement. 💛

Here is something Iíve been thinking of and wonder how other waywards think...


When I first got married, the idea of Ďthe rest of my lifeí didnít intimidate me. I got married at 27 and was still young enough not to know how fast or slow time can go, depending on my age and situation. My point is I said I do, for forever not really knowing what I was agreeing to... it didnít bother me. It was exciting.

At some point, after years of being the obedient wife that aiming to please my family without taking care of myself (granted I didnít know I wasnít taking care of me), it went to Ďoh my god this is going to be the rest of my life.í It scared me bc I had been living so unhappily for so long, despite (what I thought were) all the right things I was doing. I resented marriage. After I asked for a divorce and was told no. I knew I needed to get out and be on my own. I said (and had been saying since I realized the magnitude of my own unhappiness) that i would never, ever, ever get married again. I also wished I never married in the first place.

Now, almost 2 years out from d day, I (usually) love being married. Iím so happy things worked out as they have. I dint regret ever getting married and the idea of losing the marriage and family i have no makes my stomach turn. However, one thing remains... should we ever get divorced, i still feel adamant I would never ever get married again. I would marry my H and go through it all again, 100%. I just will never make vows with another again.

Iím wondering if/how/what other waywards think or feel in this regard, or if theyíve explored this idea too and the rationale they have and whatís changed since d day.

[This message edited by FoenixRising at 4:37 AM, October 16th (Wednesday)]

ChangeMe1 posted 10/16/2019 04:58 AM

I have many regrets and I donít know if this qualifies or if itís really a consequence, but itís a biggie for me. I regret ruining the emotional safety and security my children had in our home. Our home was a cocoon and it was stable and they could trust in that and in their parents and in us being together until they couldnít. It was a very traumatic experience for them. Even for our boys who donít know the why understood that things were shaky.

This is such a huge thing for me, my children had an unshakeable belief and love of 'family. They still do to an extent but obviously that picture had changed, the loss of that innocence is a tragedy.

It further breaks my heart that it's an additional part of the shit sandwich my wife has to swallow, with the separation the kids still are excited to see me, to spend time, they still talk about family, tell me I'm the best dad and everytime my wife hears any of that she has to sit with the knowledge of who I really am and what I did.

To them I am dad and every thing that should include, but she sees the truth, I am the man who broke our family. She doesn't bad mouth me to the kids, she doesn't play me down or make snide comments, she demonstrates and unbelievable level of restraint because that's part of who she is.

The kids have been told in an age appropriate way, I.e. Daddy made promises to mummy and broke those promises.

hikingout posted 10/16/2019 06:37 AM

FR-
I do think the same thing. Interestingly enough I thought about this yesterday. But I had those thoughts too prior to the affair.

I am not sure itís wayward, but in the decision to be married with children, we give of ourselves ina way that I think itís normal to wonder if you had the freedom to do anything at all with your time what would it be? I wonder if this is a symptom of not appreciating companionship? I wonder that really for myself.

I do love to be married to H. We have a lot of fun together, we are there for each other. And, as far as he goes, I canít think of a better man, friend, lover, partner. So I donít think itís I donít enjoy marriage. But I just donít feel like I would tie my hitch to someone else again. I donít know if that is wayward or personal preference, but I find it interesting that you said that. I wonder if there is something there that is a common trait among us that has been previously undetected? Is that some of the grass is greener kind of thinking? I donít know because at the same time I donít want anything to happen where we arenít together. So itís not like I am thinking alone is better.

hikingout posted 10/16/2019 10:12 AM

I regret not understanding what my childhood sexual abuse did to me. I believed that because it didn't physically hurt, and because the perpetrator groomed me to feel special, I didn't qualify as a victim. That kept me blind to the ways in which that experience warped my thinking about normal sexuality. I would have been a much healthier person if I hadn't shrugged it off and rugswept it.

I think that was pretty much my experience too. There was no violence, it was all very gradual. At home, my basic needs were tended to...I had clean clothes, mom made meals, etc. But, my dad worked night shift and slept all day. My mom had a lot of drama around her and spent a lot of time on the phone or at the neighbors house. The person who abused me preyed on the fact I was lacking a lot of attention. When my mom gave me attention, it was either disciplinary, she would mostly just yell at us a lot, and if we talked she really was always very distracted. As an adult, I now watch her and know she just never was diagnosed with Attention Deficit. I can never have a conversation where she listens for very long to anything I say. So, seeing her as an adult is different than what I needed as a child.

Anyway, it made me crave attention, and my abuser used that. But due to the grooming, what he did to me felt "good". It wasn't something I wanted to be doing, and I avoided it when I could, but I would spend time around him because he made me feel important. He listened to me, read to me, lots of stuff like that. Sometimes I could scurry off before the next stage would occur, but when I didn't, it didn't seem traumatic, it seemed confusing. When I got old enough to know about sex, it was different. I was still confused by it but I was also just used to it. It took me into my teens until I made it stop, I learned to avoid, etc.


When I started counseling after the A, I hadn't really thought much about any of that for years and years. It was like once it stopped it just stopped and life went on. But, a few months into our sessions the IC person told me she suspected sexual abuse. And, in a very disassociated way I said "Oh yeah for like almost 10 years". Her jaw dropped. She said "you didn't think that was relevant to mention?" And I just said "Oh, I guess I just forgot about it". She had me try and write a letter to him about what it did to me. That I should stand up for my inner child and allow myself to feel anger as if she were my own child. Keep in mind if someone did this to one of my children I probably would be in jail. I say that with a straight face. But, I was unable to do the assignment. I told her I guess I just forgave him because I assume he'd had something like that done to him. I assume he had his own issues. And, she once again was floored. It took a lot of time to get to where I could feel anger about ANYTHING. I avoided anger my whole life. I just accepted whatever I was presented with and moved forward from it. I thought I was being healthy in doing so. But, I now know that I rugswept everything my whole life.

My expectations were always really low so anything that exceeded that was amazing. I am still working through a lot of that. I had so much anger around me growing up that I hated it. I didn't want to be a person who acted like that. When I feel angry that's scary to me, so I tell myself stories at to why I will just accept whatever it is and move on.

Anyway, I have been thinking a lot about this lately, I spent some time back in IC over it. I was feeling vehemently angry a lot over the summer and I didn't know how to harness it. It was even coming out here which was both embarrassing and inappropriate.

Bear in mind that "pre-A," for me, means that I was a teenager (I was 19 when it started). I have complex life regrets that don't qualify as pre-A, because all of my other major life decisions were subsequent to it.

That's interesting, and I imagine true. But, at the same token, when we are 19 we are all out making really dumb decisions. We don't have any idea who we really even are yet. So, I would say I can understand what you are saying because it has ripple effects in your marriage because you stayed with that person from when you were young. You both carry forward a history that most people leave behind.

But, I get that you can't say "Pre-A" issues, but you can say "Pre-DDAY issues" In many ways, once you reached DDAY then your work has likely looked like a lot of what the rest of us do and work on. I can still see how that complicates the question for you and there isn't the same trajectory.

FearfulAvoidance posted 10/17/2019 00:17 AM

In your infidelity (besides the pain you caused to yourself or to your spouse or the affair itself as those things are quite obvious) - what would be your biggest regret?

As made obvious by other posters here, there is no one biggest regret. The things that I regret most aside from the obvious things we (hopefully) all regret are...

- The bad brain connections I created and reinforced during my affair.
I was not a kind person during those 6 months. Every thing I had held in for a decade came spewing out of me like poison. Most of which were false narratives that I created over many years of not understanding how mentally ill I was, and how my brain lies to me when I am sick. I was cruel and heartless to my BW under the guise of being "honest".
While I can see a bit more clearly now, I was connecting wires in my brain that should not have been connected about what is OK to do and say. I have had trouble unconnecting those wires since my A ended and in heated moments let the neurons travel that path. My fuse used to be a mile long and now it is an inch.

- I chose to participate in things with AP that I cannot unsee or unthink. Things that I feel so much shame about on a daily basis that sometimes it feels unbearable to be alive. Had I been single and not been in any kind of infidelity, I would still have this level of shame. It is definitely my biggest regret that has nothing to do with anyone else and I would do pretty much anything to undo it.

- I used my A to avoid grieving the loss of our 2 unborn children, and I left my BW alone in her grief. I can't go back in time and undo that. I stole the only chance we had to grieve together and heal together. She figured out how to do that on her own without me. I am still stumbling with how to go through the grief process of not only my old marriage, my old spouse, and my old self, but also my 2 babies. Had I let myself grieve them in the first place, I am confident none of this would have happened.

hikingout posted 10/17/2019 09:20 AM

Hi Fearfulavoidance:

I chose to participate in things with AP that I cannot unsee or unthink. Things that I feel so much shame about on a daily basis that sometimes it feels unbearable to be alive. Had I been single and not been in any kind of infidelity, I would still have this level of shame. It is definitely my biggest regret that has nothing to do with anyone else and I would do pretty much anything to undo it.

Yes, I can identify with what you are saying. The humiliation of it, the idea he is out there with intimate knowledge about me that he shouldn't ever have had, and that I willingly disclosed or gave to him. It makes me sick to think about it. But, the part where you say it's unbearable to be alive, that is the part where you need to do some focused work on. That's shame that has to be released somehow. You should focus on this in one of your IC sessions, or journal about it. What also goes into that? It's not a proportional reaction - so there is a lot more that goes into that feeling. Also, I don't read that to be you are having suicidal idealations, but if you are you need to get immediate help. We can get so caught up in how we feel it can become selfish, and so just like this was a knot in one of your muscles that you have to massage until it releases - you must do the same for the emotions that are knotted together forming this much of a painful response. I still identify with it, there was a time in my journey since dday that I would have said the same thing.


-

I used my A to avoid grieving the loss of our 2 unborn children, and I left my BW alone in her grief. I can't go back in time and undo that. I stole the only chance we had to grieve together and heal together. She figured out how to do that on her own without me. I am still stumbling with how to go through the grief process of not only my old marriage, my old spouse, and my old self, but also my 2 babies. Had I let myself grieve them in the first place, I am confident none of this would have happened.

And, I suspect this is a huge part of the knot I was just talking about. Crisis and grief is a huge precipitator of affairs - we can't deal with it so we find a way to escape what is happening. Some people drink, some people get on drugs, some lose or gain a lot of weight, and some have affairs. This is probably the root of why you say your patience is gone. I am sorry to read about your loss, and I imagine that there is a lot more here to unwind in order for you to also unwind the affair. They are tied together. I am hopeful you have had the resources to seek therapy. And, I know the guilt of not being there for your wife is a thing even on it's own. You are dealing with a lot of really hard things at once, it's going to be quite the journey back. But, one thing that sometimes has helped me is there are gifts that can be found on the way back too. There is a lot of wisdom to be found, a lot of self knowledge, a lot of humility. It can make you softer and more compassionate if you let it, or it can make you bitter and callous if you let it.

Thank you for sharing these very raw and tough emotions, and I am sorry that you are facing this part of your life right now.

Need2Do posted 10/17/2019 15:32 PM

I am 3 years out of my 2nd A, my BS is still with me, trying to understand and in part waiting for the whole truth to come out. After the 2nd affair, my BS gave me an E-Book to read called 'Help Him', it was an invaluable source of information and exercises that I did. It asked that I be brutally honest with myself, and at the time, I didn't know if I could be, or how to be. I was just about a month out of the affair, I did my best. About a month or so later, I went through the book again and revised some of the answers. The other day, I read through those answers and realized with sadness that in the past 3 years I didn't trust myself.
I couldn't trust myself because I had cheated yet again, and everything I thought, felt, perceived during the A was wrong, so how could I be right now?
I regret all the lies I told my BS, in both A's. One lie puts into question/invalidates all truths, and like the boy who cried wolf too many times, my BS finds it difficult to believe that I am capable of giving him the whole truth, granted, I feel that my 'why's' are what is left to complete his picture, I regret not being the adult I should have been after the first affair, I believe the second one may not have happened otherwise.
I regret closing myself off, because I was afraid of being hurt/rejected...I was by others, not by my BS, he didn't deserve this from me. He doesn't deserve this 'victim' mentality from me.
I regret villifying him pre A and during the A. That isn't who he is.
My list goes on, I have spent 2 years in IC just learning to be 'nicer' to myself, and to begin changing how I process negative thoughts - catching them before they become rooted.
Thank you for opening up this topic, I didn't know how to start one, or what questions to ask, because I have so many, and somedays I don't know which way to go.

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