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Wayward community

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Zugzwang posted 10/29/2019 06:14 AM

A wayward though...thy come here for what? support? someone to justify what they did was OK? because they were 'told' to come here? they are too scared to lose their BS?

This is very important IMO. Why they come here. It takes all types to make this forum work. Because W S come here for all sorts of reasons. Some come to own their shit and wake up as soon as possible. Some come to commiserate and as I have pointed out so many times to- fill the hole of the absent AP when their BS aren't giving them "getting over it already". There is a fine line of being supportive community and not crossing the line to filling an AP role in enabling a WS to justify and continue wayward behaviors like and AP would. Empathy is one thing..
commiserating like AP s is another. Not every new WS is ready for that step. To cross from sitting in their shit to being accountable. Then, you have to take into account the growth that WS need. Growing up and learning how to self sooth yourself in a healthy way and to validate yourself. Is growth going to happen if the WS is always treated with kid gloves? I just don't think so. That is what an AP does. Like my wife states, scaffolding is needed. THAT is why the forum needs all types.

[This message edited by Zugzwang at 6:28 AM, October 29th (Tuesday)]

BraveSirRobin posted 10/29/2019 07:57 AM

I suppose that is why he doesnít want details. Either way, it allows me to live inside my head my memories or thoughts. Does that make sense?
It does. I think my BH's questions really helped me drag those dark thoughts out into the light. Don't get me wrong; that wasn't his job, and he shouldn't have had to do it, but I was either unwilling to or incapable of doing it on my own. Once he forced the issue, I saw how cheap and toxic those rose-colored memories were.

I know that you wrote that you vault your thoughts because you don't want to face recrimination here, but if your BH and your IC aren't forcing them out, I really encourage you to use SI for the purpose. If you're like me, you could ruminate indefinitely without tough love to break the cycle.

MrsWalloped posted 10/29/2019 08:33 AM

A wayward though...thy come here for what? support? someone to justify what they did was OK? because they were 'told' to come here? they are too scared to lose their BS?

This is very important IMO. Why they come here.

I have a different point of view thatís influenced by something my BH said in another thread. It was about if it matters how a BS finds out about the A. He said what matters most is what happens after.

I think the same thing is true here. You can come here for many different reasons but once you come here it changes you. I didnít have a specific goal in mind when I joined. My BH thought it would be good for me, so I said okay. And then I read and I couldnít stop reading and then I posted. I donít know what he expected when he suggested SI to me but this place has had a profound impact on me more than I could ever have imagined.

A WS might come here for the ďwrong reasonsĒ but SI will hold them accountable. Theyíll be asked hard questions and theyíll be called out if they try to lie or fool anyone. They can also get support and understanding and even compassion. Iíve seen many different types of WSís who come here (myself included) who have attitudes and misconceptions and are still in the fog or lie to themselves and to their BS or are just try to rugsweep everything and are in total self preservation mode. But then they start to change and their tone changes and they grow and evolve. There are so many stories of WSís who were like that when they first got here and are different people because they came here. Those that want to wake up and change will stay and work on themselves. Those that donít will leave. I guess I donít really care why a WS came here. I care what they do when they are here, that they learn and grow and try to become a different person.

hikingout posted 10/29/2019 08:50 AM

I agree with Mrs. Walloped. I came here on day 1 because I was devastated the AP ditched me. Let's let that one sink in. I don't know if I have seen many other WS who have came and posted that were as utterly clueless and in the fog as badly as I was. But, the reason kept evolving, and what I have gotten from this site has supported a good deal of the phases that I found myself in. There have been other phases that seemed either unique to me, or I was just too stuck for the site to help. But, it's a good tool, and if you stick around you will learn how to make it work for you.

And, besides, what new WS straight off the A has it in them to join for altruistic reasons? Likely not many.

FoenixRising posted 10/29/2019 14:49 PM

BSR- I would discuss with my IC but I havenít gone in a couple months. If I felt off I coukd message her and get an appointment for tomorrow if I needed so Iím not concerned. I used the counseling as I needed. I was hospitalized for a week after D day. Then did outpatient for a month and IC. Then just IC . i still say things as they happen here. Iím just careful of what and how I say it.

If I needed to make an analogy that people who arenít wayward would understand, Iíd say, I love homemade chocolate chip cookies.. Theyíre so good. I could eat them all the time. When I was pregnant w my third son, I must have made 6 batches at Xmas. I definitely ate 5 of those batches... he wasnít born until April. I ate a lot of batches after Xmas too. I gained 75 pounds while I was pregnant with him. And I had two root canals! It took forever to lose the weight after he was born. Iíll never indulge like that again.

Iíll still think of those cookies from time to time. Iíll lush the thoughts away bc Iíll always want one but I practice self control. I donít want to end up where I was with how my health and overall quality of life was effected. Not to mention all the blood sweat and tears it took to lose the weight. No thanks.

Now, iinstead of eating my face off, I hangout with a bunch of other indulgers and talk about ways to stay off the chocolate.

Sometimes I sit alone though and remember how good the good cookies tasted and now I feel bad even thinking about them! I still love them. I just chose not to indulge. Is it faking it to make it? Yeah. Maybe. But right now itís just how it is.

hikingout posted 10/29/2019 15:09 PM


I know you were addressing BSR - but I think this chocolate chip cookie post is a good move forward for you. Knowing where it is you are, and knowing it may not be the ideal place to be is okay. We have all been in that space. I sensed some of what you are saying here actually when you and I had the back and forth post where it felt to you like I was overstepping what I possibly could know about you.

I think the step that would be helpful to work on for you is what are you trying to fill up with the cookies? That's when the true thoughts will be replaced and will evolve. The problem is that's the hardest part of this process - to find the healthy alternatives to the chocolate chip cookies, the special feelings from the affair, etc.

When I pressed a bit about the AP's wife - it's because I didn't even know my AP's wife and some of the idea around her finding out was not just me feeling remorse for her, that came later. But, feeling horrified of what she must think of me. I would deflect that by thinking of her with good vibes - wishing her well, hoping he was doing right by her, etc. But, I think in another way I was using these thoughts to deflect what an awful person I felt doing what I did to her, and how she must feel about me. If I was thinking "good thoughts' it would kind of make me deflect all the bad things I did to her. I don't think I am explaining myself well here. And, I am really not trying to reopen that conversation either. You said you would think about that, and I know you will and it will be appropriate for you and your situation. So, I am not pushing that, just know that. I am saying it because it leads me to the next part.

I just think what you are talking about in the chocolate chip analogy is white knuckling. And, I think that ALL waywards do this for some period of time. I certainly did. Until you get the reason that the craving is so bad, what feeds into the addictive parts of your personality then it will always be something. And I sense from you that some of the things I am pointing at may not be something you can process until you heal the other, deeper parts.

There was a period of time before the A I was over doing it on the wine, or I had periods where I was overeating - just eating one thing after another. There was a time I had a couple other compulsions that I am actually too embarrassed to name publically. And, then there was the affair. So, I just think a lot of the unrest around certain topics that I have brought to you comes from not settling that piece of the ways you are coping with your emotions through different forms of acting out. I was pregnant, so I get some of the cookie thing is just what it's like to be pregnant. But, I think it's apt you compared it like this because they are compulsions, things that temporarily make you feel better, but end up being destructive. I think it's not the wayward thinking as much as healing some things and putting healthier things in their place. I think you saying some of these things in your post was very honest, I respect that you are putting yourself out there like that. I think that I recognize a lot of myself in you which is why I always comment. There is a similar fabric, you and me.

[This message edited by hikingout at 3:10 PM, October 29th (Tuesday)]

FoenixRising posted 10/29/2019 18:25 PM

HIO- interesting! I never even thought about my personality just being addictive... when I was making the comparison I was trying to compare something that a non wayward person would understand bc really, who hasnít over eaten something delicious to the point of unhealthy? Isnít that something everyone has done?

I have to read more about addictive personalities but I wanted to be sure to comment back bc I want you to know how much i appreciate your input and deep thinking. I think you are right too that I subconsciously avoid digging deeper for many reasons. Which could be why Iím where I am. It could be my deep rooted FOO issues. It could be many things and a compilation Too. Iíd like to say Ďitís just really not that serious and Iím not that deep of a person to have to dissect it allí but we both know thatís a lie. I am complacent too. Complacent is better than turmoil. I even thought tonight, man I wish I could freeze time as I watched my littles run around like maniacs with thousands of Halloween thoughts in their head. I know some day Iíll miss these crazy chaotic moments so Iím trying to breathe it all in. Appreciating the moment and making the most of where I am and who I am with feels better than where I was 5 years ago. My H would agree. I fight urges within myself. Much as an alcoholic does. I try to hold myself accountable. SI helps me to stay accountable. HIO, thank YOU for holding me accountable. I appreciate you and your big heart and dedication. Thanks my friend.

hikingout posted 10/30/2019 08:03 AM

FR -

And you might not have an addictive personality. I just know that a lot of us really do. And, when you think about how you try and fill a void with an affair, think about other patterns of behavior that wasn't maybe in your best interest that might also be indicative of trying to fill that void. Finding ways to identify and repair those pieces is challenging, but rewarding all on their own. I don't think we ever really let go of "wayward thoughts" but if you do the repairs we replace them because the person having those thoughts has truly changed perspectives. For me, being diligent after the biggest holes were patched has been challenging, the smaller stuff seems inconsequential sometimes.

If you are whiteknuckling, and it does sound that way from what you describe, it's not a bad thing that sheer commitment is holding you together. But, it's the time to get introspective because that's just duct tape for now. One of the things I have noticed in your situation is you still accept a lot of behaviors from your husband who can be a man-child at times. This creates a cognitive dissonance in you as to what you deserve. That isn't necessarily his fault, you have to institute the boundaries first and expect more out of your own self respect. Not always the easiest post A to know when to start that process, because everyone needs to have time to reconnect and heal, etc. But, you could start small and work your way up. Feeling you deserve more and being on your own side may do a lot towards shifting some of your self respect onto a solid foundation.

I don't know, take all that with a grain of salt if I am off base, but when you described your beach day with your husband when he couldn't even focus enough to let you go to the bathroom for a minute to take care of your feminine hygiene needs, that said a lot to me. Being able to see you deserve more than that and enforcing that as a boundary is just an example I can use because it's one of the few I know about. But, for me self confidence, self love was a big hole that I had to fix, and that means being on your own side like you are your own best friend. If you saw your best friends husband acting that way, what would you have told her? That's rhetorical, just food for thought. And, honestly, I am not even trying to hold you accountable, more that I had these same issues for years and can see them as some of the roots of my own problems. So, is some of it projecting? Yeah, I would say maybe. But if any of it does resonate then I passed the torch of what I had to learn myself.

[This message edited by hikingout at 8:05 AM, October 30th (Wednesday)]

FoenixRising posted 10/30/2019 10:10 AM

Thanks HIO. Letís go for happy hour today and discuss this more. Your insight certainly gives me perspective.

I am married to a man child. I am
Just getting by. I do enable some of his immature and inconsistent behavior bc I accept it. As Iíve said the improvement from nothing to where he is today is great growth for him. It really is.

I do put my foot down though... itís just unfortunate that I let it get to a point where Iím sacrificing my mental health and also my physical health. H thinks that since his parents are there they can just pick up his slack. They cannot. They help where they can but they arenít able to do it all. Theyíre old. And my father in law is a lot to handle bc heís early Alzheimerís. Last week was rough. I had pneumonia a couple weeks ago so I missed work for a week... then I was getting another sinus infection last week so I was coming home from work wiped. He wasnít getting home until almost 7:30 and choosing to work over time. But he was getting in after bedtime for the two littlest. It was just too much for me and I was overwhelmed. I told him this gently for over a week. No change. Friday I said if you are working late tonight then youíll need to get a babysitter for the boys bc Iím not coming home and mom and dad have the night off. Iím going to a hotel to sleep. Needless to say, he came home. Thing is... with him it always gets to the point of bubbling over before he hears me. Yes HIO, I am quite often often overlooked by him but not by my in-laws and my kids are happy. If I were to leave, itís doubtful my in laws would stay. Theyíd probably move in with my sister in law. At least thatís what H says. They do not involve themselves in our BS. Either way, Iím happy enough. Iíd rather be whiteknuckling until Iím definitively sure leaving is best. Iím not giving yet but it is not my love for H or guilt or shame that drive me. It is the love for and from my children.

So here I sit. I hope my presence does not become annoying being I feel kinda flatlined. HIO- kniwingbwhat you know about my situation, am I being foolish? Or am I moving on healthfully considering the circumstances? What is your perception?

hikingout posted 10/30/2019 11:59 AM

I think nothing is ever perfect.

Being aware of these issues and working on them is the best you can do sometimes. Your growth will either spur his growth or it wonít. Too hard to tell. The only thing you control is you, and you can just keep working on moving the boundary lines, and looking for the things that make you whole. I donít think there is some
Sudden move you need to make, more just keep acknowledging and growing from that knowledge. You have a lot going on if you are also caring for your in-laws, so there just might not be enough time to address everything perfectly every day. Just keep pushing forward. Thatís all.

BraveSirRobin posted 10/31/2019 07:39 AM

This last exchange is an example of wayward community to me. I feel the same about JBWD's comment in another thread, giving LD comfort about setting into a new apartment during separation. It's not enabling in any way, but it helps us feel less alone and seen as human in our struggles.

I think 2x4s will always have a role here, but this is important too, and it makes me happy to see it.

hikingout posted 10/31/2019 08:23 AM

I agree, BSR. Unfortunately the reason this is such a rare event is we have to take time to get to know each other's stories, and it takes a long time for a WS to get honest about theirs. FR and I arrived at nearly the same time, I have watched her change and grow, as she has probably watched me.

The transient members/new members - you know they can't operate yet on that level. I try and show them empathy, most of the time, unless they are just so resistant to seeing themselves and you just have to push on them and hope that while they might not be ready to hear it, they might eventually let it seep in.

But, I do think it's important that we don't see each other as evil. I don't think anyone who comes here is that (at least very often), especially in light of who we all were when we got here. I very rarely see a WS that is in the level of fog that I was when I came here. I know I was not evil, but I was very misguided and very unhealthy. I have gained self compassion and can see that, but we have a lot of WS posters who haven't gained that, and if you don't have it for yourself then you don't have it for others.

MrsWalloped posted 10/31/2019 14:50 PM

But, I do think it's important that we don't see each other as evil.

Iím not sure if we do that here (Iím talking about WSís viewing other WSís - I havenít really seen that), but I think itís also important not to feel superior to other WSís.

This is going to make me sound horrible, but whatever. When I first started reading here I would read a BS complaining about his WW who wasnít remorseful and was cruel to their BH (cause having an affair wasnít cruel, right? ) or had a LTA or multiple partners and Iíd think ďat least Iím not her!Ē I know how ridiculous that sounds but that was my mindset. It was about 2 years after DDay and I was in R and had made a lot of progress (not as much as I thought I did obviously) and I think I just needed to feel good about myself somehow even if it was in the most messed up way. Anyway, it took reading so many BSís stories and seeing their pain and then reading other WSís stories and seeing their confusion and issues that I realized how stupid and flawed that thinking was. An ONS is not better than a LTA and a bunch of quickies in a motel or in the backseat of a truck is not sleazier than an EA infused A full of love bombs. Itís all sleaze and muck and itís all painful to each BS, which is what really matters.

I donít know if Iím the only one this applies to, but I had those feelings. I think itís important to keep in mind especially if youíve grown since DDay. Even if youíre different now, you were that person too.

hikingout posted 10/31/2019 15:02 PM

That is a good point, Mrs. Walloped.

I don't think that I am better when I read other people's stories. I think that when the AP was caught, that it stopped me in my tracks and I didn't want to be the person ever again. I think I could just have easily ignored it, found another AP and another. For whatever reason, it was enough of a jolt that I started IC immediately, and it made me aware of my issues. So, I don't have the exact thought you are talking about though I do understand it and would actually consider that to be very normal. How many of us had siblings growing up and when the other one was making a lot of bad decisions we used that as an opportunity to bask in our parents good graces as the perceived golden child of the moment? It's human nature.

Here is where I struggle a little with the concept: I do think I have a superior understanding of their behavior than they do. I don't know if that's right, or fair, or healthy, but because I worked so hard to bring so much to light I can see their spots immediately and know often where someone is kidding themselves. I don't think that puts me in a position to judge them or to consider they are evil or try to shame them but it does put me in a position to illuminate their behavior by what I have learned. And, that can still come across holier than thou...even if I don't intend it to. I am trying to assess that a bit.

As far what I said about thinking they are evil, I think there are times that we have had someone turn up here after 12 years of non-cheating to say they relapsed. We had fellow WS saying they didn't want them here. Or, we had a recent WS be found to be lying, and some really felt betrayed by that person. I think it's just all layers we have to pull back and we have different willingness to do so.

MrsWalloped posted 10/31/2019 15:14 PM

I see what you mean about the evil part.

I definitely went through the golden child syndrome when I was young, particularly since my sister was the real golden child. Itís a great analogy. But superior understanding is different than feeling superior. I think thatís okay. Like now when a new WS joins its almost like I can see where this is going and you want to tell that person theyíre heading off a cliff. Itís not holier than thou. Itís more like Iíve been where you are and itís a horrible place to be. Let me save you from that and show you the way out. But it can definitely come across in a condescending manner. Where it crosses the line IMO is if you start to think you really are better than the other person.

Itís why I just love EvolvingSoulís name and how she signs her posts. Itís an anchor to where she was and where sheís going. We are all a work in process and that message is for every one of us.

hikingout posted 10/31/2019 15:17 PM

Itís why I just love EvolvingSoulís name and how she signs her posts. Itís an anchor to where she was and where sheís going. We are all a work in process and that message is for every one of us.

Me too. Evolving Soul was a big mentor for me and explained to me cognitive dissonance when I got here. That allowed me to do a lot of research that helped me understand "the fog".

Pippin posted 10/31/2019 15:55 PM

Are the sites you reference free, is it for a group that has largely been recently traumatized in some way, and is it ran by mental health professionals? Is the subject matter less broad or more broad? I would say that's a different thing than a peer community that's why I am asking. . . . I am honestly not challenging you, I am asking to understand. In fact, I have thought about exploring some self help type groups in addition to this one. So, your experience is interesting to me.

HikingOut, I wasn't referencing an online site. I haven't looked for online self help sites and I don't know if there are any that have a model or theory or articulated standards about what would make them good. I was talking about the in real life racial/social justice groups I'm a member of. I wasn't trying to be oblique but I know that that particular topic elicits responses (good and bad) so I tried not to mention it specifically. But it's the closest thing I have to a proxy for thinking about how SI operates because the topic is personal, sensitive, explosive, very real, feels life threatening to some people, and there are people on all sides of it discussing the same topic. I was in a group last week where someone stormed out and the moderator did an excellent job of guiding people back to the topic while also processing what had happened for the group. I've also been in poorly run groups and I question whether those do more damage than good. So I use those experiences when I think about how SI operates.

I have a different understanding of norms than you do. I do think that people's individual experiences and background color their experience of the group but norms exist independent of that and outline the expected range of behavior. It's hard to see norms if you are in the middle of them, and if you conform to them, so look at a different kind of self help group to see what I'm talking about: think about AA. It's a group for people of all backgrounds and levels of alcoholism. I don't have experience with AA but I read a (fascinating!) guide on AA norms that was written for interpreters who are working with new AA members who are deaf. The interpreters are not AA members but they very much need to understand the norms to interpret correctly. For example, one norm is: it is agreed among the group that no member can diagnose another's alcoholism. That doesn't mean that it won't happen, but if a member tells another member they are an alcoholic (even if it seems pretty obvious) they're likely to get a really strong reaction from normed members. Can you imagine that on SI? "Well I'm not going to tell you that's an EA but it appears to be interfering with your marriage." Or if someone says "that's an affair!" the group coming down hard on them for defining another person. Or this: They seem to laugh at seemingly tragic stories because of their shared experiences. This happens because participants are relating to one another's experiences or because they are uncomfortable with what is frankly being discussed. The interpreter (who is not an alcoholic) needs to know that because otherwise the laughter makes no sense; knowing the norms makes that laughter make sense. And look at this one: The group believes that alcoholics do not like to be told what to do, so group members make "suggestions" to one another, rather than requiring that someone do something. Can you imagine!? Waywards do not like to be told what to do so it's best if you make suggestions and let them decide for themselves when they are miserable enough to change. What would the forums look like if that was a prevailing belief, I wonder.

The norms of AA developed in part because of the underlying beliefs about alcoholics and how to support their recovery. Some of that is laid out explicitly in their literature but not all of it. The norms of the WS forum on SI have developed in the context of it being a site primarily for betrayed spouses and what THEY need from waywards. Can you imagine an AA meeting with 10 alcoholics talking in front of an audience of 100 people hurt by alcoholism? The shared tragic laughter wouldn't happen, I'd bet. And the norms would be very different. This isn't a criticism of SI (or AA); I think the biggest benefit I got was from reading betrayed spouse perspectives. But I do think it explains the weak wayward community. And it explains some of the things that happen on SI that would be perplexing if it was only a site for wayward spouses.

Anyway. That's my response to why there is weak wayward community though it's quite nice for the people who are able to find community or create it. I do wonder if it was different when DS was an active daily/hourly member with a lot of authority, both technical and moral. Maybe, maybe not. It's probably best to accept things the way they are and create your own experience from the the range of experiences available on the site.

Those that want to wake up and change will stay and work on themselves. Those that donít will leave.

This is one of the things I read frequently and I always gnash my teeth when I read it. SOME people who don't want to wake up and change will leave. SOME people who want to wake up and change will leave and do it somewhere else. This is not the right place for everyone. It doesn't have to be the right place for everyone but let's not make sweeping suppositions about waywards who decide this place is not right for them.

MrCleanSlate posted 10/31/2019 16:19 PM

4 years ago following D-Day I lurked on this site a lot. I was reading post after post after post.

I learned a lot from this site back then, and it probably helped me become a better person and save my marriage.

That being said, at the time I was too intimidated to sign up and post. Looking back now I wish I had done that. For me at the time trying to be honest about what I did and who I had become was very hard and I don't know if I could have taken the communities watchful gaze and opinion.

I'm back now and have signed up and am posting a bit for very selfish reasons - I feel I can still do better. 4 years on and I still don't have all the answers for my whys.... The funny thing though is in a way I don't feel I really belong with the long-time members as they seem to have so much more knowledge than I feel I have. Member numbers and number of posts can be intimidating.

I must admit, it takes a lot for some of these new waywards to lay it all out there. how they came to be here is beside the point. Yes some will not be honest or totally open. So what. They learn soon enough that no one is going to 'judge' them.

So the community, as much as what it is, is needed. There was nowhere I found where there was so much that spoke to me as a wayward. Common experience I guess. Maybe that's why I'm here now. I need to feel connected. That I'm not the only one.

hikingout posted 10/31/2019 16:40 PM

Pippin- I wasnít meaning to make sweeping suppositions about people but in general many who leave do not like what they are hearing as they are not ready to examine themselves. That is just factual. Even if people say things that are not right, we can say ďthat part doesnít applyĒ. Instead many leave In a fury of defensiveness and you canít work with someone who is constantly defensive. Certainly I was not trying to belittle anyone. I came here and left for four months because I couldnít face some of the truths being thrown at me. Instead I lumped them in with the things that actually werenít true. I I simply see people coming here often who say they want to change but are still in a mode of they want to get out of ďtroubleĒ, they regret the consequences more than the actions. I was there once itís not hard to recognize. But please give me some grace in that I may have not stated that well I certainly didnít mean it in the frame you put it.

[This message edited by hikingout at 4:47 PM, October 31st (Thursday)]

Pippin posted 10/31/2019 18:06 PM

Hiking Out, that was not meant personally (and I donít even think you wrote it!?) itís one of the SI truisms that gets repeated and goes unchallenged. I donít have negative feelings about individual people who repeat it, I donít like the belief because I donít think itís true, though no doubt your examples are true of some people who left, forever or for a while, because they didnít want to respond to what SI expected of them. But there is mrcleanslate right here (waving, hi mrcleanslate) who worked on himself without participating in the forums as a counter example. And Iím sure there are others but how would you know?

[This message edited by Pippin at 6:28 PM, October 31st (Thursday)]

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