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Zugzwang posted 1/5/2020 19:59 PM

What was the trigger?

ISurvivedSoFar posted 1/6/2020 08:23 AM

WTR - To me this is simple although the solution will take time.

WHY do you not love yourself? Why do you need other people to validate you? Even here, you are getting attention for pitying yourself. "I am an egomaniac and I cannot help it..." That's a poor me mantra.

Go to IC. Go back as a poster said to your childhood and do the repair. Only then can you be safe. Otherwise you are just "white knuckling" every day and pretending to stop behaviors that feed the void that caused you to behave with such disregard for yourself and others.

I get that you are here for help and I don't want to dismiss that part of you. But there is no switch you are going to flip that will fix this. You will need to dig deep into scary places to become the person you say you want to be. It takes IC. It takes digging into your past to uncover ruptures that changed your perspective back then and influence your behavior now.

For my WS...it took several years for him to dig out. That's right - a long time. It was a process. He was similar to you and looking for that button that would make everything better. There is no button. There is no washing away the past without delving into it to get better.

Do you have an IC?

LLXC posted 1/6/2020 11:51 AM

I am worried about her and her relationship with the kids because I am always defending and minimizing and she can’t stand me,

Why are you worried about your wife's relationship with the kids? How about just freaking TELLING THEM that you hurt their mother badly, that you behaved in ways that a husband never should, and so their mom is furious with you, and righteously do.

You really really need to get over yourself because yes, most likely your kids are angry at their mom because they see her as acting angry so they blame mom for what is happening.

But eventually they will learn tbe truth. You don't have to tell them, nor should you, but you should explain to them that it is your actions that have caused this, otherwise things will get even worse as time goes on.

Also. I am trying not to be harsh here but i do not believe you actually want to change or are really sorry. Nothing you write rings of actual sorrow. I think you know you are being selfish but you dont truly believe it nor di i believe you want to change.

That is ok. But please be honest with yourself. You may never want to change. But change will never happen if you are not honest with at least yourself.

One final thing. I truly believe change can start from the outside. Just tell the kids this is your doing. Do little things that are selfless and change can start from there.

But as it is right now, you should not communicate with your wife. Use a mediator.

ChanceAtLife35 posted 1/6/2020 23:24 PM

Not much advice here. But do you ever just really think how much you are damaging yourself and that you could possibly never change and may never know who you are to yourself?

I replay every day just how much i hurt my family over and over and over and what the hell did i gain from it? Nothing. I am still the same person. I lost everything though. My marriage, sense of family, security, safety, a happy life, everything i should be so grateful for. I feel fear is an excuse to avoid having to go there. To really face and and accept who you are. I kept yapping that fear was the reason or i didn't know how to face myself, but that was just my selfish behind screaming that i am a big baby and i would rather throw my crap on people and have them save me. I truly hope you sit with yourself and take accountability for your actions. Just try your hardest to do the opposite each day and think about how much your actions really affect your wife and kids. Remember how much they were impacted.

wantstorepair posted 1/7/2020 10:07 AM

Zugzwang the trigger was a spam text I got saying that someone and seen my profile and that they lived close and wanted to meet. She saw it and made a comment about fuckbook, and I responded defensively and incredulously that I only get those spam text when I am over at her house and I had no idea what it was from. I did not acknowledge her pain, the level of mistrust I have created, nor how my defensive reaction totally minimized her, her trigger and the significance and depth of my cheating and deceit.

wantstorepair posted 1/7/2020 10:11 AM

ISSF yes I go to IC, and have only scratched the surface on my issues. I hear what you are saying and do understand that I have dive deep to fix the parts of me that are broken and face my past and my actions. I really don't want to have a pity party nor use this group. I do want help and know I need help...I cannot do this alone, or rather I have proved that I won't do this alone and push myself. That sounds pathetic and cowardly as I write this...I am a coward when it comes to facing me and my awfulness and and my consequences...and when looking into the face of the god person I hurt.

wantstorepair posted 1/7/2020 10:16 AM

LLXC thank you. not harsh, honest.

You really really need to get over yourself because yes, most likely your kids are angry at their mom because they see her as acting angry so they blame mom for what is happening.

Yes I have made things so bad that they see her as the bad guy. They know I cheated, and in every conversation and when things are visibly and outwardly bad between us I tell them it is not mom's fault and please don't blame mom. I had that very conversation with my daughter last night and again this morning. It is all my fault not her's.

wantstorepair posted 1/7/2020 10:21 AM

ChanceAtLife35 every day I think and fear that I truly am the unchangeable monster that I have shown. I have not changed, because I have made excuses and been a coward instead off facing me and sitting with myself and doing the hard work...I have not even stuck with coming here consistently. all excuses

Maybe you are right, but I have to believe in myself and that I can be a better person and be good for goodness sake and genuine and without agenda or seeking validation or kudos. I am a dirtbag and want to repair...but so far all I have is words, which is nothing.

DaddyDom posted 1/7/2020 12:45 PM


Imagine seeing a person who is wearing virtual reality goggles and playing a game. To that person, everything going on around them seems "real". You can see them scream and duck as some imaginary game object goes whizzing past their head, and they spin around and flail their arms as things in their imaginary world interact with them. From the outside, however, everyone else just sees some guy with goggles on his head flailing and screaming at thin air. It is perfectly clear to everyone, except the guy playing the game, that the person in question is reacting to things in their "virtual world". The person wearing the VR goggles, however, can only see the game. His reality is different from that of everyone around him. More importantly, however, everyone around him is 100% clear on what he is doing and why. If it were not for the goggles, he would be just as aware of the "real world" as the rest of us. But as long as the goggles are on, his ability to see and understand the "real world" is limited at best. He is stuck in his virtual world until such time as he takes the goggles off.

This is where you are right now. And to be fair, this is where most WS's are, especially during/after infidelity. When we lack self-love, the world around us becomes something that is "happening to us", like a VR game, and we start to lose the ability to understand that the real world is something that is happening "around us" and "unrelated to us". As an example, you mentioned that a spam text came in and that it triggered your wife. I am of course not in your head, however gauging from what you said, and my own experience with the exact same issues, I am going to try and predict what happened.

When the text came up, you probably felt frightened and frustrated, perhaps even angry. This is because you felt that the text "happened to you". It popped up and triggered your wife, which in turn made her upset with you again. It made you look bad and feel bad. When your wife saw it, she got upset with you. This again causes fear and anger. Fear that she will blame you, fear that she will leave you, fear that she and anyone else she talks to about you will look at you like a sleazebag, and treat you like one. Fear that you are broken somehow and that it will cause hurt to everyone around you and that you will lose their love, respect, and companionship. Fear like this often comes on like a ton of bricks, it is overwhelming. Had the text not come in, all would have been perfectly fine and your wife wouldn't be so upset right now. Once again, however, the world is conspiring against you, never "letting it go". A random text from fuckbook should be just that... a random text that could have happened to anyone. Instead, it is one more piece of ammunition in the arsenal of things that make you look like a bad person. You were left feeling as if you had no options. The stupid text was simply one more thing to bring pain and grief into your life and make you look like a liar again when in fact, you did nothing wrong, didn't ask for the text, and certainly didn't need it popping up as a topic of conversation when things are already shitty and painful and on the edge of no return.

That entire last paragraph is from the view of someone with "Infidelity VR goggles" on. It is not what happened, it is what you experienced as happening. The main character in that story was you, and everything that happened in it, happened to you. You were the victim. And all the consequences happened to you. All the emotions are yours. Even the fact that your wife was upset was really poised from the perspective of what that means to, and about, you.

[I] responded defensively and incredulously that I only get those spam text[s] when I am over at her house and I had no idea what it was from. I did not acknowledge her pain, the level of mistrust I have created, nor how my defensive reaction totally minimized her, her trigger and the significance and depth of my cheating and deceit.

Note your thoughts here. This is about you. You do mention your wife, but only in context to what you did and how it ultimately impacts you. It is a pity party in which you have the starring role. Even in the act of self-deprecating here, you are seeking understanding and sympathy for yourself.

How about this instead?

"When the text came in, she was shocked, and she triggered right away. The look of pain and horror on her face was palpable. It sucked her right back into the time period when she was being abused and betrayed. It seems as if every time she starts to get some kind of emotional foothold and starts to feel safe, something else comes up that only serves to hurt her more. My reaction didn't help. She needed someone to comfort her and understand her. She needed me to hold her and cry with her. What she got instead was a selfish child who could only see himself. Yes, it was a random text, but the truth is, had she not been betrayed in the first place, then this text would have had no power to hurt her. Next time something like this happens, I will make an effort to put away my defensiveness and just listen to her, and be there for her. It is unfair for her to keep having to suffer through this alone."

Please don't feel that I am "coming down on you" personally about this. I'm a WS too and have walked in those very same "all about me" shoes for years, most of my life really, if I'm to be honest with you. No, this is more like a recovering alcoholic telling another alcoholic that the only way to really change is to stop feeling sorry for your miserable self and to stop drinking, then go out into the world, deal with your own shit like an adult, and be a person you can respect. Then the alcoholism goes away, and despite whatever shitty things you did while drunk, you will now have a chance to make things right, and to be a better person all around.

My friend... you are not a bad person. You are a hurt person. You are a person who did a shitty thing to someone you love, most likely because you feel shitty inside. It is quite likely that you have your own pain and trauma in your life, and that there are reasons that you feel this way. You were made to feel that you are worthless for some reason, and so you "hustle for your own worth" every day in hopes that people will love you, feel that you are special, funny, smart, talented, whatever. At the end of the day, however, you believe the voices inside of you, the ones that tell you that you are actually unlovable and not really special or worth in any meaningful way. Until you start to understand the cause of the outcomes of these feelings, you remain a danger to yourself and the people in your life. If you don't figure this out, then your marriage is the least of your problems, as everything in life will continue to happen "to you" instead of "around you".

As weird as it may sound, the answer isn't in feeling shitty about yourself (although that's an important tool you can use to discover what it is in you and in your life that you find you cannot respect, and don't want), it is actually about feeling good enough about yourself, and loving yourself enough, to not accept anything in your life other than those things which make you feel proud and self-respecting. The moment that happens, things such as self-depreciation, self-blame, defensiveness, selfishness, all those things... go away! And what will be left is a man who can stand on his own two feet. A man who doesn't NEED others to love or like him because he knows in his heart that he is a good person and strives to do the right thing at all times. A random text becomes nothing more than a random text because the person who received it is the type of person who would never allow something like that to be an influence in his life. Let me ask you this... if your wife got a random text from fuckbook, would you even have the thought that she's actually on that site looking for hookups? I doubt it. Because I'll bet she's the kind of person who would be disgusted by such a thing in the first place, which is why you can totally trust her getting 100 such messages. You know she will never, ever, take up such an offer.

Be that same person. Be that person who is trusted not because of what others do or don't think about you, but because what you think of yourself, and the boundaries that you create for yourself, are ones that belong to someone who can be trusted. BE a good person, from the inside (heart) out (head). When we keep no secrets we have nothing to fear.

LLXC posted 1/7/2020 13:59 PM

Yes I have made things so bad that they see her as the bad guy

So. How did you make things so bad that they see her as the bad guy? Is ot becauae she is angry?

She saw it and made a comment about fuckbook, and I responded defensively and incredulously that I only get those spam text when I am over at her house and I had no idea what it was from. I did not acknowledge her pain

How SHOULD you have responded? If you dont know, have you spoken to your therapist about this? Do you have a therapist who specializes in cheating spouses? They may really help you find better ways pf thinking and communicating.

Because, man, you are very good at castigating yourself, and all the things you didnt do. You really need to focus on what you should do and how to do it. That is hard.

wantstorepair posted 1/8/2020 08:03 AM


I cannot thank you enough for your message. I have read it over and over and it rings with so much truth and reality I cannot put it into words how meaningful and helpful it is.

if your wife got a random text from fuckbook, would you even have the thought that she's actually on that site looking for hookups?

Not at all, never - that is not at all the kind of person she is.

How did you reconcile your statement " it is actually about feeling good enough about yourself, and loving yourself enough, to not accept anything in your life other than those things which make you feel proud and self-respecting." with the reality that she (I am assuming here that you possibly felt the same from your BW) is the very manifestation (I am responsible for this) of me being a shitty person and her sometimes visceral reactions to triggers and to me causes me to instantly feel lower than shit. I am not blaming her...again I caused this. It is my reaction and feelings to it that make what you are saying seemingly impossible for me to get too. Thank you so much for your kindness and help.

DaddyDom posted 1/8/2020 15:04 PM

her sometimes visceral reactions to triggers and to me causes me to instantly feel lower than shit. I am not blaming her..

I'm going to start with this comment because I want you to keep examining yourself for signs of your own self-bias and how it leads to a victim mentality. Once you begin to see and understand this within yourself, it will help a lot in the process of overcoming it. Look at the words you said above. You say you are not blaming her. But you are. You are saying here that her reactions are the cause of how you feel. But that's not true. Each person in this world has 100% ownership of two things. How they feel, and how they react to those feelings. So for example...

Let's say that you and I are best friends, and one day I get upset and tell you to go fuck yourself. Since we are best friends, you might feel upset about this, and want to try and fix whatever caused me to become upset with you.
Now let's say that you and I are old enemies, and one day I get upset and tell you to go fuck yourself. Since we are old enemies, you might tell me to go fuck myself as well, shake your head in disbelief and get on about the rest of your day, not giving a damn how I feel about you at all.

In both of these cases, what I felt and said were the same. However, your responses were different. Why?

In one scenario, my opinion of you mattered to you. In the other, it did not. My actions did not change. Your responses did. No one likes being told to go F themselves, it usually upsets us no matter what. However, we get to choose how to respond, both to our own feelings and to each other. How we choose to respond is based on how we feel about ourselves, and the people around us. So let's set up some ground rules right here, okay?

Rule #1: Feelings are not "right" or "wrong", they just are.
Our emotions are tied to our amygdala, the "lizard brain". This is what drives our "fight or flight" tendencies and controls our base emotions. This part of our brain doesn't have any kind of logic or reasoning, it just responds to stimuli and then forms a response based on that. What I want you to understand here is that our emotions, while sometimes painful and overwhelming, are still just emotions. They won't kill us. We will survive them. And not every strong emotion requires a strong (or any) response. As WS's, we tend to be very emotionally driven. The key to handling emotions is that we need to allow them to exist and process, while NOT allowing them to control our responses. So if your wife is upset and your brain's response is to feel shame or even anger, then so be it. We can't control our emotions, we can only choose how to react to them. And here is a secret I'll share with you. The reactions we choose will help shape our future emotions over time. (So for example, if I told you to go F yourself one time, you might get upset, but you ignore it and leave. After 100 times, it won't even phase you. After a while, your body learns what your responses are, and adapts based on those responses. Respond with fear each time and fear becomes our "go-to" emotion and response. Respond with conviction and courage, and that becomes our new norm).

Rule #2: Our responses are our own
The frontal lobe is the part of our brains that pertains to higher reasoning. This is where we process our emotions and decide how to react to them. While emotions "just are", responses are something that we DO have total control over. We can choose what actions to take, and even how to steer our future emotions. So again, if told to go F yourself, you could allow your emotions to rule and respond by getting angry or even violent. OR, you can tell yourself, "Even though I'm really pissed, this guy is not worth my time and I'm a better person than that." My point being, you can feel shitty and ashamed about what you did to your wife, that makes sense, and you should. However, what is MUCH more important is the question of, "So what are you doing to do about that?". The way you climb out of shame is by building a ladder made of things you aren't ashamed of. That may or may not be enough for other people to feel differently about you, but that's not what's important. What is important is that you know that you did the best you could. When you've done all you can and have made your best effort, it is almost impossible for others to make you feel bad about yourself.


Okay, so one last example. Let's say that you decide to hold a party, and invite a bunch of co-workers over. One co-worker shows up drunk and proceeds to drink even more at the party. Before the evening is over, he manages to call your wife a slut, gets into a physical altercation with another guest, ends up breaking some fragile items in your home and then pukes on the carpet. Oy vey!

Now, let's say that the next day, that same co-worker comes over and makes a very heartfelt apology to your wife for his behavior. He sends out an email to everyone in the company that showed up and apologized for ruining their night. He personally scrubs the puke off the floor and writes you a check for the damaged items. He allows you to go off on him and never once gets defensive or makes excuses for his behavior. Instead, he assures you that you have every right to be upset with him and doesn't blame you if he never gets invited again. On top of all that, he makes you a promise to go start an AA program, and an anger management program.

Now here is the million-dollar question. How do you feel about this person now?

Granted, the damage is still done. Nothing can undo that. He still made a real mess of the evening and took everyone else down with him. I'm sure he feels like shit for what he did and probably would prefer to crawl under a rock and die. But he doesn't. He doesn't allow his emotions to rule his reactions. Instead, he makes a choice to own his shit, and do everything he possibly can to make you "whole" again, and in the process, does everything he can to make himself "whole" again as well. He chooses to do what he feels is the most responsible thing he can, the things that allow him to retain at least some self-respect for himself, and makes choices that he feels he can be proud of now, even if he still isn't proud of what he did then. And the amazing thing is, our own responses to him are probably the same. If he had chosen to instead wallow in self-pity and blame everyone around him for his actions (e.g. You saw I was drinking too much, why didn't you stop me?) then how would that help us at all? We have no need for him to feel bad, that doesn't help us. We need him to be responsible for himself and own his shit. When he does that, it not only makes him feel better, it makes us feel better too. At the end of the day, we just want to know that he "gets it", and that he is taking steps to make sure it doesn't happen again. That helps us to respect him again. We might even invite him to the next party again.

How did you reconcile your statement "...it is actually about feeling good enough about yourself, and loving yourself enough, to not accept anything in your life other than those things which make you feel proud and self-respecting." with the reality that she ... is the very manifestation ... of me being a shitty person...

Hopefully, by now, you have the answer to this question. There is nothing to reconcile. What we did, is done. It is in the past and cannot be undone. The question is, do we allow it to define us? Or is it simply part of our story? At one point in time, we used to shit in our pants. Now we do not. We know better now, and we handle it differently now. We will never be proud of shitting our pants, but we also allow ourselves the grace to say, "That was then, and I didn't understand then what I understand now. Now, I take ownership of how I handle my bodily functions". We do the same with our infidelity. What we did will never be "okay" or acceptable in any way. But what we do moving forward is another story. The way you stop feeling like a shitty person is by actively being a non-shitty person. By being someone whose current actions are ones we proud of. In the same way that our drunk co-worker made a mess, but then owned it and gained our respect back, we need to do the same for ourselves. Being mad at yourself for your infidelity is useless, UNLESS you make the choice, and take the actions, to learn and change from it. Decide right now, today, that you will never lie about anything to anyone ever again, period. Yes, those pants make you look fat. Yes, I ate the last cookie. Yes, I was staring at her boobs. When we own our shit, we become stronger, and we feel better about ourselves. We gain respect for ourselves because we build it, one emotional brick at a time.

wantstorepair posted 1/9/2020 10:09 AM


Thank you very much for your thoughtful response and continued help.
"How do you feel about this person now?" My trust and faith would be shaken and my inclination would be to not invite them back and to not associate with them, but after their very contrite and humble actions to make amends and own it, I would forgive and allow the opportunity for trust to be rebuild going forward.

I have not been that humble, contrite, and own it guy to her.

I understand now the point you made in the first paragraph, that I AM blaming her for my emotions and actions, and that my justification of WHY I am feeling the way I do is blame. I think you are saying that it doesn't matter why I am feeling the way I do, it only maters what I do with those emotions, and it is my choice alone to make healthy and positive choices for my actions.

"We can't control our emotions, we can only choose how to react to them." - I fail at this literally every time. I chose anger, frustration (fight), or fear, and cowardice (flight) - I don't process in a healthy way. I feel like child when it comes to emotions and processing them; I make very bad decisions and choices in how I act in response to my emotions, which in turn is hurting her more and more. This is the area most important for me to work on.

Thank you again. I am going to keep reading over what you wrote and are trying to help me understand.

Need2Do posted 1/9/2020 12:56 PM

This is what I had to do: I had to unravel my thoughts about my own image (selfish, ego-centred), and see the person I really am. What I mean by this: I had to accept that I am not a good person. I am a POS serial cheater with poor character and feel it, understand it completely. I am not a 'good person who did bad things that hurt people I loved'. I have proof, I have my thoughts and feelings from my last affair written out in a journal done in real time, and I can see the POS that I was, and it is disgusting. I read it now because I need to explain it to my husband, and I get so angry that I am 'that person'. If you think you are a 'good person' then you will not be able to reconcile with your actions, its simple math, and you will continue with the cognitive dissonance that you need to ditch.

So my next question was 'how did I get here - to being 'this person?' That did mean sitting with myself, (I didn't realize that is what I was doing btw, my husband had a big part in this, helping me get started) and doing what I called a 'life line', its similar to a cheaters time line when we disclose the events of our affair(s), but this allowed me to go all the way back to when I was about 10years old and see how I came to be 'this person'. Some events were huge, some small, but add everything together, and you get me. I think if you did something similar, you may come to the same conclusion. Then you will be able to move forward, it takes time to sink in but it can also give you something to work on in IC. Its like starting at ground zero.

I am still experiencing the 'lizard brain' reactions, I live and react in fear. I have many days of feeling helpless, and hopeless. But if you look at the big picture, what I feel is nothing compared to what I have put my husband through, and continue to put him through, until I am a safe person.

But now I can say that I am not lying to myself anymore...I am a bad person with poor character, now I can begin to re-define who I will be, who I am reinventing myself to be so that I can hold my head up, and be proud of who I am...but that will take time. I have a long ways to go, I am not fooling myself or anyone else about that.

It is easy to say we will do something, but it takes courage, determination and integrity to actually follow through...that speaks to our character...and that can be difficult to change. But if we look at it from a different perspective, we wanted the affairs to happen badly enough too, and we made them happen...so if we really want to change as bad as we say we do, then we can follow through with as much determination as we did to get us here...if that makes sense...

Finding the strength to face ourselves, well, that ebbs and flows too...

[This message edited by Need2Do at 1:37 PM, January 9th (Thursday)]

wantstorepair posted 1/10/2020 10:12 AM


Thank you. I am a POS and my character is deplorable - and I am trying to sit with that and live with that. Here is my confusion with how to do this the right way - I am a liar too and the outward projection of myself and my character is something completely different than what I am. I have a professional reputation cultivated over a 25 year career and now a new career that does not at all reflect the POS I am and my lack of integrity and honor. I have a lifetime of friends and acquaintances who know nothing of the cheating lying asshole I am. To all of them I am something else and expected to be who I have sold myself as after all of those years - a decent person of honor and integrity and moral strength and competence.

It kills me every time someone tells me that I am good person, and it a complete minimizing affront and slap in the face to my BW when she hears it! the duality is awful. Am forced to to keep living that lie? I say that because to wear a sandwich board and shout from the mountain top that details my awful self and truth would actually hurt my family more - their humiliation at my public exposure, loss of revenue to support them... So I continue to live this life I have created with an outer image what is not what I really am. or is that an excuse I am making?

the duality and conflict of continuing to life my outward life is perpetuating a lie, hurting my BW and kids, and making it so I am not truly facing myself and my POS character. it is killing me and I don't know how to reconcile it.

I am trying to talk about things here and in IC, but when I walk away from the computer, or out of the IC office, I transform back into same old me according to the outside world and hide what I have done and who I really I am.

How do I live life and ACT as a POS with an awful character?

Need2Do posted 1/10/2020 16:59 PM

Gently, I think you have it backwards...

During your A's, you were a POS. It doesn't really matter that you are an upstanding citizen outside of that. The affairs: the lies we told, the deceptions and the hurt we have inflicted are what define us and our character. It is in the acceptance of that small concept, that we can start new again. If I am wrong, please correct me, this is what I had to do to start moving myself forward.

Do you really believe that you are continuing to live a life of lies and deceit? You can reconcile your actions to who you are/were. I believe you can reconcile with the serial cheater. That is the POS I am referring to. You feel the conflict because you have not been able to accept it yet...it has taken me 3.5 years to accept this aspect of myself, its something I didn't want to do and I fought it all the way, but it came down to what do I want more, my husband or my own self image? I can rebuild me, but my husband cannot be replaced.

Next question I have, how are you getting your validation now? My BS introduced me to SMART goal setting, it works for him because he is very logical, rational, and methodical, I struggle because I run off emotion and I am still fear based (logic and rationale fly out the door at times). I think this will help you to learn to validate yourself, and you won't need it from anyone else, its visual.

I don't know if I noted this or not, but I am a serial cheater by definition too. This is the first time I have looked at myself this close, and was disgusted and disappointed with what I saw. I am tired of running away, and avoiding.

emergent8 posted 1/10/2020 17:24 PM

Daddydom - you're on a roll.

wantstorepair posted 1/11/2020 08:38 AM

DaddyDom, thank you for you patience as I try to understand, and am failing to grasp the true meaning of what you are saying. No, I am no longer living a life of lies or deceit, I am trying to do and be good for goodness sake and not for personal gain or agenda, but simply because it is the right thing to do. My struggle is with what I have done, who I am; that POS with a bad character. I built that person and cultivated that character while at the same time through my life doing things to give the outward impression that I was not that POS and had a respectable, good character. I was lying to all of them, and lying to myself that I was really a good person who did some bad things, not the other way around.

I met an old friend in the airport this morning and he thinks very highly of me and was actually giving me some tips on job search with his endorsements, and inside my head all I could hear is this deafening scream at myself that I am fraud, a liar, a cheater, a fake, a POS and what would this good man think if he knew me and what I have done? How disrespected would he feel? How betrayed? I wanted to run away and protect him from me and me from perpetuating a lie.

The reality is that I am bad person with a bad character who has maybe occasionally done some good things. And this is where I fail again…I try to get partial credit. I try to make those good things my defining things, and cling to other people’s affirmations of those good things as, “See! I’m not so bad.” Then, to make it worse I rage against invalidation and get defensive when my opinions, feelings, actions are ignored, rejected or judged. I think that is because not even so deep down I truly know what and who I am and that invalidation is truth that I chose not to face.

To jump to your validation question, I sought validation in everything I did and there was always an agenda and manipulation, the point of doing good thing X was so that it would illicit a positive response from a person or people and therefore make me feel good about myself. I am an egomaniac – needing and wanting that validation to be a false shield around what I now see is a child’s ego and psyche that is fragile and immature and incredibly insecure.

Validation is recognition or affirmation that a person or their feelings or opinions are valid or worthwhile. I am in my every action trying to frind self-validation in that I and doing what is right and good because in that action it is the right and good thing to do, and not looking to others to validate it or not. I don’t know how else to do this but starting over like I am a child again.

Most notably in my quest for validation, I seek validation from women, and am smarmy and manipulative to get it for my own selfish need to be validated. I am trying to unpack this and figure out why this need for female validation is so deep and strong, and know that I need to figure this out in order to truly change. To replace that now…I am trying to figure that out. My first step I think is to distance myself from all women except my BW in a deliberate and iron clad boundary sort of way. I currently work in a company that is mostly women, and with a female boss with whom I have done the same thing – breaking boundaries and having an inappropriate personal relationship to get validation from her. So I am now actively looking for a new job to get away from this. And with all my future interactions with women, I will act no different than I treat men. I stopped taking my son to cub scouts because I became friendly with a woman there and did not keep boundaries. He is suffering because I took that away from him, and was too weak of a person to not keep looking for that validation.

I appreciate that I have a job and not held accountable for my actions to the extent they should be. I am grateful to have that ability to provide for my family, and that I have friends and family, and do not want to “out-myself” and further hurt my family to achieve some cathartic cleansing. I am who and what I am. I am a POS with a bad character; my actions prove that. All I can do is forgive myself and move forward and with every action not do the same; no cheating, no lies, no manipulation, no seeking validation. Doing good for goodness sake and sitting with the fact that I will always be that POS no matter what I do from now on. Those are good sounding words only, and I know I have to act on them with consistency and resolve.

As I reread this, is the reality that I cannot “change” and that is the struggle I am failing at? I am a POS with a bad character. Done, no changing or erasing that. All I can do moving forward is act differently and good because that is the right thing to do, not because at some point I will be “changed” ball spiked in the good person end zone and the past self absolved.

I am not sure I am even making sense and hope I am not negating or dismissing the patient and kind help you are trying to give me to help me learn and understand how to do this. I do appreciate it and you for helping me.

[This message edited by wantstorepair at 8:51 AM, January 11th (Saturday)]

Zugzwang posted 1/11/2020 14:26 PM

What profile? I might have missed that. Half of the trigger issues might be avoided if you are mindful of what she can trigger over. Like a profile, that probably shouldn't even exist right now to begin with.

Dispirited posted 1/11/2020 20:16 PM

Because it is so bad that I have been afraid that if I face it and admit who and what I am.

It's more selfish behavior and thinking, because if I don't face my shame and guilt I am going to go on being and doing the same and that means people will get hurt more. I don't want to hurt people anymore. I have to face and come to terms with me.

What? How do you change any behavior without facing it? So be by yourself as an alternative- that way you won't harm anyone. Get a grip:)Life is not about YOU.

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