X

Cookies on SurvivingInfidelity.com®

SurvivingInfidelity.com® uses cookies to enhance your visit to our website. This is a requirement for participants to login, post and use other features. Visitors may opt out, but the website will be less functional for you.

more information about cookies...

Return to Forum List

Return to Wayward Side

SurvivingInfidelity.com® > Wayward Side

You are not logged in. Login here or register.

What does Rock Bottom look like?

Pages: 1 · 2

DaddyDom posted 2/3/2020 12:02 PM

For me, rock bottom was the point at which I had to make a decision - to change, or to die. My personal opinion is that if you can still live your life in the broken state that it is, then you haven't hit bottom yet. Either that, or you've accepted it. In other words, you've "died", because you certainly aren't living.

The first time I hit rock bottom was in my 20's when I had a raging cocaine addiction, and found myself crawling around on the floor and snorting any piece of dust I could find just in case it might be cocaine. Seriously. I really did end up with a gun to my head that night, and had to make a decision to either change everything in my life, give up the coke and my friends and everything, and rebuild my life anew, or to just pull the damn trigger and end my misery. That decision took hours and I had the gun at my head the entire time.

The important thing to understand here was that those were the only two choices. There was no halfway point, there was no compromise. Anything short of complete change would simply mean a continuation of the misery and damage. So it had to end, one way or the other.

During R, it was the same. I flailed for years trying to continue being who I was, or to make small changes in hopes they would make everything better. The truth was, I had to "die". Not in the literal sense as above, but I could not go on being the person I was. I had to change, and I finally hit the point where I simply no longer cared what consequences that brought with it, because nothing could be more horrible than the life I was living and the damage it was doing to everyone I loved.

If it meant that my wife would divorce me and hate me forever, then so be it. If it meant I had to live alone and die alone, so be it. If it meant I would live every day of my life in regret and pain, so be it. If it meant I would end up penniless and living in the streets, so be it. If it meant I would never know love or friendship again, so be it. There was simply no consequence harder or worse to imagine than the horror of living as the person I was. I either had to change or remove myself from society because who I was, was someone I hated, someone I didn't want to be anymore. My wife could leave me, my kids could leave me, my friends, community, society could leave me - but I could not leave myself. And I could not live with myself. So I had to change or die.

Please let me be clear, I am not advocating that anyone put a gun to their head (and there have been WS's here who have literally done so and some still have not managed to change) so let's not go doing that, okay? But I want you to understand that at some point, changing becomes a NEED, like breathing and eating, and without it, you cannot survive as you are.

THAT is rock bottom.

Rock bottom offers a clarity unlike anything else you've ever experienced in your life. To me, it is similar to pregnancy in that you can't be "a little bit there" or "close to it". You are either there or you aren't, and if you are, then how you feel or what is going on in your life aren't what you are worrying about.

Asking if you have hit rock bottom is like being asked if you are on fire. Trust me, if you are, you won't be asking others to confirm if you are, or looking for symptoms or signs to tell if that's the case. You will be too busy either putting the fire out, or burning to ashes.

Need2Do posted 2/4/2020 13:32 PM

Hi, sorry about the delay posting back to the responses. I honestly appreciate the replies.
Daddydom, I need to explain:

Asking if you have hit rock bottom is like being asked if you are on fire. Trust me, if you are, you won't be asking others to confirm if you are, or looking for symptoms or signs to tell if that's the case. You will be too busy either putting the fire out, or burning to ashes

How do I do this best? I guess the best way to explain, is I am a serial cheater...I am not a wayward, not yet, I have only started to dig into my 'how's and why's. For me, looking at who I have become is unchartered territory. Since my last affair in 2016, I have put the perverbial gun to my head, and wanted to pull the trigger, but I didn't have the courage to. Not that I haven't tried. I am grateful that I wasn't successful...I am asking what 'rock bottom' looks like for others in recovery, because it is just that...recovery. Someone told me that 'rock bottom' for a cheater is when their BS hands them the divorce papers to sign. I don't know how to measure progress any other way, really...

For the past 3-1/2 years I have been fighting the 'self pity', 'self-loathing/hate', looking for 'progress' within myself...not finding any. I have been really hard on myself, I get that. I have been told to be more 'gentle' with myself, and I am trying to. I seem resistant to self care, because I didn't care about anyone else during my affairs, so my thoughts are, why should I care about myself now? I should be dedicating myself to the service of others...looking after myself feels so selfish...I have printed off DaddyDoms list, I realize it is not rational, I have talked to my husband, and I am working at changing how I view self care...

So, to shorten my ramble...my rock bottom is when I have no where to go...I can't get any worse, because I have nothing else left to loose, I gave it all away...now I pull up my big girl panties and show who's being an adult...is there a manual??? lol


DaddyDom posted 2/4/2020 15:15 PM

Someone told me that 'rock bottom' for a cheater is when their BS hands them the divorce papers to sign. I don't know how to measure progress any other way, really...

That may be rock bottom for your marriage perhaps. But not for you personally. You could be single and still at rock bottom, right? You are not your relationship. I know that it is tempting to look at your situation and think, "Sure, but we're talking about my serial cheating, and that's based on my relationship(s), yada yada..."

The difficult thing to realize and understand is that everything in our lives originates from ourselves. Whether or not your spouse stays, leaves, or if you even have a spouse, is irrelevent to the work you need to do on yourself, and what you need to accept and understand about yourself. The affairs, and the toll they have taken on your marriage are simply consequences of your choices and actions.

Let me ask you this. Let's say your spouse divorces you. Time passes. You marry again. You cheat again. You get divorced again. Now... which one is rock bottom? Were you at rock bottom the first time? Or this one? Or the next?

At the end of the day, "Need2Do" is a broken and empty soul, like most (all) WS's. And that, my friend, is where you need to look in order to determine what in your life is broken, and how bad it will continue to get before it stops being merely painful and shameful, and instead becomes a driving force for change.

Figure out what it is you are getting from these affairs. My advice to you is to take a very, very broad look at yourself. Not just the affairs, but everything. Here are some questions for you. The answers are for you, not for me.

* Do you (or have you ever) had addiction issues? (Drugs, booze, smokes, gambling, shopping, over/under-eating, fitness)
* Were you ever molested, raped, bullied, ignored, discarded, neglected in your life, especially as a child?
* What is your work history like? Have you had a lot of jobs, are you an under/over-achiever, a perfectionist, unemployed?
* When you think about getting divorced, what is the first thought that comes to mind? Is it about you and how you will cope/survive?
* How do you respond to negative critisicm? Does it make you feel crushed? Does it inspire you?
* How do think most people (other than your spouse) think of you, generally speaking? Do you say you are smart/talented/funny/interesting? Do they like you?

The reason I ask these things is because I want you to let go of your self-value and health as a reflection of your relationship or even your infidelity. Rather, I want you to where in your life things may have taken a "left turn", and how that affects you now.

Most WS's are simply unhappy people, people who do not, maybe even cannot (at present) love themselves. We gain our self-worth through others. We define ourselves through others. And we shame ourselves when shamed in others eyes. Even though I used the word "others" several times, it is important to note that the constant here is the self. We USE others to judge ourselves, because we have no sense of self otherwise.

Many WS's report that they have addiction issues. This is because we use addictive behaviors in order to make ourselves feel better and to avoid pain and truth. We then feel guilty about our addictive behaviors, so we hide them, we lie about them, we minimize them, and so on. You know, same things we did during the affair. We need to connect those things.

Many WS's also report trauma and abuse in their lives. This alone often leaves us with a sense of feeling "less than". When others use or abuse us, it is to make themselves feel better at our expense. That sense of "I only have value when I am of value to others" sticks with us, and makes everything in our world about ourselves, since we are constantly hustling for our own worth (thank you Brene Brown).

In jobs and friendships, we tend to either constantly move on, seeking for more/better attention and praise from others, or we become perfectionists, seeking praise from others by demanding it. It is an attempt to bring control to what feels like an out of control world.

If you think of your divorce and your immediate response is to feel sorry for yourself, then what are you thinking of? Is divorce a reflection on your self worth? Why? And why aren't we more focused on the experience of our spouses and their needs and worth? When we cannot love or value ourselves, we cannot do so for others either.

At the end of the day, perhaps "rock bottom" for a WS is simply the point where nothing and no one can fill the emptiness within us any longer. It is like a gas tank with a hole in it. No matter how much and how fast you try to fill it, it will only continue to pour out and remain empty. We begin to realize that the affair(s), and honestly, pretty much everything and everyone in our lives, is just another source of attention and feedback for us. When we lose a spouse, a friend, a job... we feel badly about what we did, but we feel much, MUCH worse about the lack of praise and consolation that is now gone. We tell ourselves, "I feel really bad about cheating", but in truth, what we feel is, "I feel really bad about losing what made me feel worth something." If we go back to the empty gas tank example, it is not that we feel badly about blowing up the gas tanks, we feel badly about not having any gas left now that we did that.

That... is rock bottom.

Need2Do posted 2/6/2020 13:02 PM

DaddyDom:
Thank you, you have given me so much to look at and consider...I don't know where to really begin...I can see where that first 'left turn' occurred and the other subsequent 'lefts' thereafter.

This is because we use addictive behaviors in order to make ourselves feel better and to avoid pain and truth. We then feel guilty about our addictive behaviors, so we hide them, we lie about them, we minimize them, and so on. You know, same things we did during the affair. We need to connect those things.

I am afraid I am unable to see my own addictive behaviours yet...My affair allowed me to 'run away' - what I mean is I chose to hide in fantasy land instead of 'adulting'. As my mom would say, 'slap a smile on and pretend everything is ok', I took it too far and didn't talk at all. Could the addictive behaviour be the lying to pretend everything is ok? or am I missing the point?

I have sought attention/praise/validation from other people, so that I can feel good enough. During the affair, I wanted the attention/praise from other men & from my ap...to fill the hole I couldn't fill...That I understand...now...this is something only I can learn to do for myself...I need to learn that it is ok to do it, and how. I have been resistant to self care because I felt guilty (an aha moment last night), I used working out not as a way to 'punish' myself as I first believed, but because I wanted to loose weight for my affair & ap...now I want to do this just for good, and I have been riddled with guilt and I couldn't figure out why...

... a broken and empty soul... is where you need to look in order to determine what in your life is broken, and how bad it will continue to get before it stops being merely painful and shameful, and instead becomes a driving force for change

^^^ It is painful and it is a driving force for change...

Need2Do posted 2/6/2020 13:29 PM

I guess the bottom line is...I have hit rock bottom personally, I am afraid, paralyzingly afraid of who I have become. Who I see during the affair was a lying, narcisistic, self centred, selfish, cake-eating slut.
I have no room to be kind with myself, because I wasn't kind to anybody else, my husband, my sons, my ap's spouse - no body. I couldn't be honest with the therapist I saw during the affair, I didn't tell her that I was involved with another man, yet I was asking for help to sort myself out!!! Who does that???
I hear the advice I receive here, and it is so much more than what I have received from my own ic now...
I don't always know HOW to implement your advice. How do I put my ego aside so I can be authentic, and not defensive? How do I forgive the past (before my husband)?
How do I not be emotional, and remain logical and rational?
I miss so much insight, I am frustrated...I didn't think I could get any lower...

MrCleanSlate posted 2/6/2020 13:54 PM

Need2do,

So what is it that YOU really want?

I had an affair 5 years ago. I was all in for the ego kibbles. I was the man, I was needed and valued and I mattered - at least that is what my crazyass AP kept telling me. Didn't matter that I wasn't being a good father or husband at the time.

I started to see an IC during my affair because I started to see that everything was fucked up. I ended the A. My AP didn't like that. I've spent last 4 years working on fixing my M.

Today I was texting my wife about an issue with our younger (20yo) son. I said we need a date night to go for a few drinks and talk about this. How we need each other for this stuff. How talking works.

I literally nearly threw away the only other person on this planet that I can confide in. My wife. Who else can we talk about all this stuff about our kids with?

After D-Day I just laid myself out there for my wife. Best thing I ever did. You need to put yourself out there and trust your spouse.

Need2Do posted 2/6/2020 17:17 PM

What do I really want?
1) To be like my normal betrayed husband, to be able to think like him - logically, rationally first before emotionally
2) To have the insight/intelligence needed to heal both myself and him
3) Not be afraid of the outcome, I have accepted that D is very much a possibility regardless of what I do, but I am still afraid. I am afraid that I will continue to mess up if he stays - not see his triggers, not show empathy, be defensive ect.
4) Remove the 'ego protection', I don't need it anymore, it doesn't serve me, actually it does more harm than good
5) See the true me, for who I am - who am I? Do I have value? or does the affairs take it all away?
6) Safety - I need to be that safety - that safe person, solid, logical and rational
7) I would like to get my validation only from myself and not need it from others (male, female or from my husband)
8) I want to strip myself down and rebuild me entirely, to include my values, my character, my beliefs, and my self image
9) I want to be the woman my husband can be proud of one day should he chose to stay. If not, then I want to be proud of myself, for turning me around.
10) I think this is the most important...I want to learn how to love with out hurting people, I want to love my husband as he deserves to be loved, not the way I have been, affairs don't show love, they show contempt and hate.
10-a) I want to grow older with him, show him that I value him as a man, not as an appliance, or a paycheque - he is so much more to me.

Need2Do posted 2/7/2020 10:02 AM

What I don't want...is to continue to feel this empty and lost.
I don't want to be a 'roommate'.
I don't want to see his pain, hear his anger and just look at him unresponsive.
I don't want to be that uncaring, unloving, contemptuous person I displayed during my affairs. I know I am capable of being that way, I harbour those feelings, but are they really felt towards my husband? I don't believe they are, but I put it all onto him, made him eat that 'shit sandwich'. Do I hold him in contempt? No, these affairs were not about him.
Do I hate men in general? No, Do I feel contempt for men in general, I think so...
Do I want this to continue? NO!! I have sabotaged two very good relationships with two very good men, because of how I feel and I am so tired of this...
I am at that point where the needs of the many outweight the needs of the few...

MrCleanSlate posted 2/7/2020 10:25 AM

What do I really want?
1) To be like my normal betrayed husband, to be able to think like him - logically, rationally first before emotionally
2) To have the insight/intelligence needed to heal both myself and him
3) Not be afraid of the outcome, I have accepted that D is very much a possibility regardless of what I do, but I am still afraid. I am afraid that I will continue to mess up if he stays - not see his triggers, not show empathy, be defensive ect.
4) Remove the 'ego protection', I don't need it anymore, it doesn't serve me, actually it does more harm than good
5) See the true me, for who I am - who am I? Do I have value? or does the affairs take it all away?
6) Safety - I need to be that safety - that safe person, solid, logical and rational
7) I would like to get my validation only from myself and not need it from others (male, female or from my husband)
8) I want to strip myself down and rebuild me entirely, to include my values, my character, my beliefs, and my self image
9) I want to be the woman my husband can be proud of one day should he chose to stay. If not, then I want to be proud of myself, for turning me around.
10) I think this is the most important...I want to learn how to love with out hurting people, I want to love my husband as he deserves to be loved, not the way I have been, affairs don't show love, they show contempt and hate.
10-a) I want to grow older with him, show him that I value him as a man, not as an appliance, or a paycheque - he is so much more to me.

Thought I'd quote that entire post so you don't lose focus on what you put down. There seems to be a lot of 'you' in that post. I also see real love for your BH. I remember writing a similar list a few months after D-Day and I was emotionally exhausted afterwards. I poured my heart into it and I still keep a copy of that list in my desk as a reminder.

I wonder whether you feel comfortable enough to print this out and share it with your BH? This could be a starting point for you to work on things. Sharing this with an IC would be helpful too.

I'm proud of you for being able to put that in writing.

Need2Do posted 2/7/2020 14:09 PM

After D-Day I just laid myself out there for my wife. Best thing I ever did. You need to put yourself out there and trust your spouse.

I didn't do this, I messed up...I gave him a watered down version of the affair details, I had tried to delete parts of my journal I didn't want him to see (I didn't know he had a copy of the original already) well before D-Day, when I gave him my journal, I didn't tell him that I deleted parts. I have given him trickle truth and in the beginning a lot of 'ikn's', since then I have been able to fill in the blanks, and clear a lot up. But I did a lot of damage. I haven't been able to really talk about sex, describing my affair details was beyond difficult to do. I failed there too, missing important details for him.

I didn't initiate talks about the affair after the first year, when I should have...I didn't know how to, that was my excuse for not doing it, I had my journal I should have used, and I didn't. I was still all about me, protecting my precious feelings, my own image...I did attempt to go through my journal with my husband, but we rarely got anywhere with it.
Again, I caused more damage by not doing.

If I could put a list of what I did do...I don't think I could, when my husband talked, I listened, I heard him...I heard the pain I caused, I heard how I humiliated him, I heard how conflicted he was about staying or divorcing. I heard how emasculated he felt. All I could think about was taking that burden off of his shoulders and putting it on my own. I was stuck in self pity and guilt. Paralyzed by it.

I questioned what I felt for him...did I love him? how could I? Look what I did, that isn't love!!! I do know that I do love him. I do know that my affairs were not about him at all. He was the one who pummeled by them, and all the 'sorry's' will not stop the bleeding, unless I can bleed with him.

I do feel with him, but not what he needs me to feel...Sorry, talking with my heart now, not with my brain...

So I have less than 2 months to meet his deadline...

TiredSoul2017 posted 2/11/2020 13:10 PM

Rock bottom for me as the WS was when H found out, kicked me out, told my kids, told my APs wife and my parents.

I was living in my parents spare bedroom. My friends were disgusted with me, my AP abandoned me even though he professed his love for me on the regular. I had no one in my corner (and I didn't deserve anyone in my corner).

It took a long time but I dug out of that hole.

Pages: 1 · 2

Return to Forum List

Return to Wayward Side

© 2002-2021 SurvivingInfidelity.com ®. All Rights Reserved.     Privacy Policy