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Ruminations on Mothers Day

etaoin posted 5/10/2020 22:35 PM

This is going to be outside the norm. Please no bashing from the betrayed. I can't deal with it right now.

So, my mom is dying. She left my father (a total loser) when she was 36
(took up with a guy who for 16 years treated her well until he cheated on her). When I say she left, she disappeared for months. Then my younger brother and I had to travel across the country to live with them. Oh, and she took my sister who also was missing for months. Guess what, the guy my mom was with tried to molest my sister at age 15.

Here is the thing. I thought I came from a normal family. A normal loving family. Now, of course, I see that it was Gothic.

So I play the role of normal, professional, the guy everyone idolizes as the totally together guy for so long. So fucking long. My career was what most people think was spectacular. I was the boy wonder. People looked up to me. I ran a bunch of employees and we did great things. They made TV shows about us. They wrote books. ( I swear I am not making this up and no I am not an elected official; thank God and SI for anonymity). I did great things and good things and I'm such a fraud. Why? Because nothing touches me inside. Because my whole life has been seeking the external. I need women to approve of me. I need women to say its ok. I need women to look at me and want to love me.

My poor wife. My poor poor wife. She has no idea. No idea what my internal life has been. She thinks I am totally together. She relies on me to hold it together. But inside, I have this demon. I'm always looking at women, thinking, how would it be?

I do not think this is normal. I think it is scary insane. I get that guys are always thinking about girls. But I fall in love with any woman that smiles at me. This can't be right. Right?

My brother lives in hell while his abusive cheating wife and the kids walk all over him, every day. And he sucks is it up. Why? Cuz he cannot be abandoned again.

My sister has been abused by so many men, it's criminal. 3 divorces and her two kids use her as a money pit every day. They are in their thirties and still use her. Every day. Because my sister is so desperate for love.

So I find a woman (later wife) who appears to worship the ground I walk on when I'm a kid. And she within a couple of years is fucking a stranger in a hotel and getting pregnant. This is my young adulthood. And God was I mad. And God did I want payback.

So of course I had an affair 20 years later. As public an affair as you can get. And it solved nothing. It was a total cluster fuck. It brought nothing but humiliation and anger and depression and loss to everyone around me.

That was seven years and change ago. And I'm still fucked up.

So why am I saying all this? Cuz I can I guess. Do I blame my mom for all that happened?
No but yeah in a way. My father was a total abusive dick, but dammit I wish she hadn't done it like that. But she did and its history.

My mom has always looked for a rescuer. Just find a guy and it will be all ok.

And you know what, so have I! That is what I learned at a young age. Find the right person and everything will go your way. There has always been a sense that if I just meet the right person, it will be all ok. It will be what I deserve. It will be what I need. I had a friend as a teen who warned me. "Still looking for that perfect chick eh?" God he was so right.

Guess what. It doesn't really work that way. If there is one person out there that I can save by this warning, then I have done what is right. Don't look for love in the wrong places. Externals don't count. What is inside does. There is no white knight, no Mary Ann, no Ginger, no guardian of the Galaxy. Just plain folks.

So I march on. And on. And every day is another struggle. I have love; its in front of me in my wife of 40 years. And so far, I do not go to the dark side. I'm like the alcoholic who knows one drink will kill me.

And my mom who never found the right guy is dying without ever finding reality. And I'm dying inside, cuz I see myself as a replica.

God help my mom. God help me. God help us all. I'm seven years and counting, one foot in front of the other. I try to be good. I try every day. But its hard. Its so fucking hard. But so far, I am as authentic as I an be, despite my inner turmoil. If I can keep on this path, then what else matters? Who cares what's inside my head as long as I can keep on the right path.

All you waywards, take care of yourselves and your family. Hold it together. Keep showing up. You will never forget what you did, but ok. So fucking what? It's not about what you think, it's about what you do. Everyday.

And maybe when you go, your child will not have the same internal conversation I am having today.

hikingout posted 5/11/2020 09:26 AM

I can appreciate the honesty of this post. Sometimes in order to conquer something within us we have to let ugly truths come to surface. I would encourage you to get back into therapy and go through this for more professional guidance.

I am a ws, I do not claim my actions less than any others here. However I do want to say - this has not been my experience, not to either extent that I can really provide true commiseration. My affair was one born more out of trying to escape, after a few crisis situations in my life converged like a storm. I learned the ways I couldnít navigate the storm so that I am better prepared in the future and I dealt with shame I was carrying around. That was my path to healing. But I have never really been hugely tempted by other men or have that feeling of having a lack of impulse control on an ongoing basis.

In your situation it sounds like thiis always front of mind and you are constantly fighting temptation. From what I know of my husband who has always been faithful, he too will look at a woman and go to sexual thoughts...most men I have known have been this way. But itís more like a flicker. Itís as if you fan the flames of that flicker...thatís where I can relate. As a child who also grew up in chaos that is where we learn to be comfortable. When the waters are still it can be uncomfortable if you do not heal that past and become more comfortable with the still. Your mind is always fanning the flame of what might create the chaos instead of the peace. Thatís the part I think a therapist will help you separate- that the fanning of the flame comes from something else other than sexual/romantic desire. Itís a lack of chaos and the discomfort of that? Sexual thoughts and impulses are part of human behavior but the channel is easier to change for some - the ability to stay rooted in reality?

Again because this is not my experience- I am guessing a bit based on trying to bridge what I have learned in my process but in some cases there is no real bridge there to understanding. Whether thatís a difference in someone who has damaged themselves more deeply by having many affairs, whether itís a gender difference, or just a completely different mental make up - I really canít say. But I do know that we can either feed the flame and feel like a slave to it- or we can understand what makes us want to feed the flame and take that instinct. You need IC to process some of the things that built you into who you are and figure out a way to circumvent behaviors and thoughts that serve no other purpose but to taunt you until you succumb.

inahole posted 5/11/2020 13:22 PM

I felt the same way when my Mom died, I came from an F'd up family that had all sorts of issues, and I just kept quite and didn't want to make her upset and rock the boat; my other siblings did that. What I suffered from was a lack of parental recognition and low self-esteem. I later ran away from my responsibility to my marriage. My wife was great, but I had this need to be recognized, and appreciated by other women, because I lacked it from my Mother. She was quite & stoic, not open & engaging and neither am I. Showing no emotion and not caring were my coping tools. I was like you too, in that I've been successful & assertive in business, but not confident in relationships with women. It took years to see how much damage my upbringing caused, I thought I also had a normal childhood. I'm now focusing on that I always have choices, I'm choosing to do the hard things and confront my fears that keeps me from contentment. I'ts tough to change yourself, but I want to!

etaoin posted 5/12/2020 09:25 AM

Thank you. Your responses mean more to me than you can know. I think that parents affect us and our thinking in ways we have yet to fully understand. There is so much that is unresolved.

When she goes, which will be soon, I know there will be despair. But there will be an undertone of anger and injustice.

I think that my life has been one of emotional unavailability. And it has caused many of the self destructive behaviors. I own it. But it doesn't make it better.

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