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Random thoughts from a wayward

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Thissucks5678 posted 5/13/2020 14:59 PM

I was a WW in my previous marriage. I donít know know if that makes me allowed to post here or not. If not, please feel free to delete. I donít post about it much, because I am not proud and weíve been divorced for years. If I would have come here many years ago, the truth is I didnít want to save my marriage, so no amount of posting would have done anything for me. I was separated within 3 weeks of my affair. It took the WH I was cheating with longer, maybe 6 weeks.

All I wanted to say on this topic, is that one of my closest friends was cheating on her husband. It was basically an exit affair. I have her given every hard truth I could as gently as I could. She made me realize just how deep the affair fog can be. The guy she was cheating with was no prize and she shouldíve divorced her husband years ago. The damage she has caused her family may be insurmountable. There was nothing I could do but try and talk sense into her, but there was no breaking through. You can try and be gentle with new waywards, but if they are that deep in the fog, I think it is just hopeless. They have to be ready and open to listen. I think SI has a great platform for new waywards - if they are interested.

MrCleanSlate posted 5/13/2020 15:26 PM

And then I see BSR posting on another thread checking in with a new wayward that went silent. Two hands up for BSR!!!

That is one thing I admit I haven't done much of myself and probably should make an effort to follow-up as well.

And, also, I do respond to posts occasionally on I Can Relate - BS Questions for WS. Often those questions are from the heart searching for some sense. I'll be honest, those responses often take a lot of reflection for me. That is my take away from being here. Keeping myself grounded and that moral compass pointing north.

pinkpggy posted 5/13/2020 15:40 PM

I think there are different types of Waywards that post here. Some that will never ever tell the truth, that are stuck in their fantasy, some that tell the half truth, that we can all see through, and some that are ready or have already had a dose of reality. Those that come here and have not been caught or have not come clean, don't stick around as much. Those who are defense and don't want to learn and listen don't stick around.

Personally I was in a major fog when I found SI. It took 6 months of me reading here and getting pounded over my head. From growth comes change. I learned how not to repeat my past behaviors. Some people are just not ready to grow yet. And oddly enough Wayward are pounded over the head to change and I see so many BS refuses to grow, and repeating all the same behaviors with their WS yet we can't say anything! Sometimes I want to yell and scream. I know why we can't post on certain things but I feel like our knowledge and our mind set with an affair could be beneficial to some.

[This message edited by pinkpggy at 3:42 PM, May 13th (Wednesday)]

WalkinOnEggshelz posted 5/13/2020 15:59 PM

Many people who first come here arenít ready to hear the truth. But is beating someone over the head with a 2x4 going to get them there?

This topic has been brought up time and time again. As some others have brought up, many different people respond to many different approaches. Sometimes even, an approach you would expect to work well with yourself, may not actually be the one that works under these particular circumstances. We have a variety of different members with a variety of different experiences which affords a pretty good variety of styles or approaches to advice given.

Depending on where you are at or what lens you see the world through, some posts will shine brighter or have a bigger impact on you than others. Some for the good (those gems you find) and some that leave a sour taste in your mouth. Sometimes with time and perspective, those same posts will feel differently as you change as a person.

Instead of ďshoutingĒ at the person, we should try and talk to them. As a parent Iím sure you realize the futility of yelling at your kids. More times than not, theyíll either shut down, scream back at you or completely ignore what you say.

Sometimes ďshoutingĒ is appropriate. When your child is running into the street as a car is coming you shout to stop. When a child is reaching up towards the hot stove, you shout to stop. Anytime a child is facing danger, shouting can and most likely will seem appropriate. What many WS donít realize, is that when they arrive here, they are putting their BS in danger. Sometimes metaphorically but also sometimes realistically. I can say in my case that I put my husband and my family in direct and very real danger in my situation. I did not need someone to hold my hand and tell me things would be ok. I needed someone to tell me to stop.

I understand and I think it would be great if every WS that came here wanted to do the very difficult job of working through this. It would be ideal if everyone could respond well to a kind word and a helping hand. Itís just not realistic. Iím not saying by any means that itís ok to just lash out at every WS that comes through here either, because itís not. We can however gauge the situation and adjust our tones as necessary.

I will reiterate, as I have many times in the past, we are incredibly fortunate to even have a protected forum such and this. If you just take a small peek at the great internet and see what is out there for WSís you will understand what I mean. This forum is protected. At times it may not seem so. I encourage you to contact one of us if you feel like things are going to far. Us moderators have stepped in numerous times to put out flames when they occur. When threads become too contentious we have put up stop signs. When BS are out of line, we let them know. Not everything is public, but I assure you, we do not sit idly by and allow you to get beat up by the community. Admittedly, we do get busy and not everything will catch our attention which is why I encourage a pm when you see something out of line.

Sometimes itís hard to see the forest through the trees. Itís easy to project. Itís also easy to see the ugly over the good. If you find yourself getting your hackles up over certain posts or threads ask if it is because of the lens you are reading through or because it really is just too much. Some people do go too far, which is why we (mods) are here.

You (General term) may find that depending on where you are at your tone or advice may change as you do.

(Edited due to a gazillion technical errors)

[This message edited by SI Staff at 4:36 PM, May 13th (Wednesday)]

MIgander posted 5/13/2020 22:06 PM

Another side of why WS may not post for long periods of time- in respect to the request of their BS.

Mine was upset by the things I was posting, wasn't comfortable with me seeking advice/perspective from other strangers and airing our dirty laundry on the internet.

I still lurk, but out of respect to his wishes, I no longer post. Still in IC, still working.

Snowyjune posted 5/14/2020 09:35 AM

I believe I am one of those WS that posted, got kicked in the teeth, got scared and ran away, only to lurk.

Taking away the STOP sign when a WS first posts, is kinda counter-intuitive, as we would only post to get advice from all sides. Adding a stop sign just kinda shouts that I am putting my head in the sand. There's also a pride issue that many (ie me) WS face. Of course, that means that we get hit left, right, center by BS who only see red flags from new WS.

I posted twice prior to this, and reading back, I truly didn't get it. I was looking for shortcuts, and "hey I am posting here, trying to get help, i'm trying so please forgive me".

I was in a fog for months, and after that TT-ed for so long. So I was deaf and blind to everything that I read here. I didn't understand truly what everyone was trying to tell me. But now that I have more sense as each day goes, the well meaning advice from the BSs here rings in my head - ITS NOT ABOUT ME + TRUTH AND HONESTY IS THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS. Even after learning about our own mistakes, there's always some embarrassment that WS feels when trying to come back.

BSR reaching out via PM has also been immensely helpful. Being able to identify with certain aspects and see how another WS sees things and come out better, is always a good example to follow, especially when many of us are lost. It's like a mini IC.
(Thanks BSR).

I don't feel like I am over the hill enough to know how to help others. Every day I learn something new about R and myself. Together with the advice and first hand experience from people here on SI, I have also been lucky to have a BH who is still willing to help me despite the destruction of my selfishness.

hikingout posted 5/14/2020 09:53 AM

I feel the same as bravesirrobin- I honestly think new waywards should have to post under the stop sign for their first post or even the first 3. While I also agree the bs are instrumental in our growth here and am so thankful for them, sometimes it is too much for a new one to take in. Like bravesirrobin, I never forget who I was when I got here and I try and use that to relate.

I also agree with pink piggy that without 6 months or more of taking my lumps here I may still be lost and probably divorced. I needed to be hit with reality. But the initial greeting? I think commiseration is needed - not to affirm they are right but to affirm there are people here that were where they are now and their thinking changed. A lot of times that might provide hope before they have to encounter the rest.

I know we have talked about this many times but I think it comes up because itís true. No one is saying coddle-To me integration of what we learn and how we have grown means you found self compassion, exercise compassion for others who havenít gotten what you have figured out. Be a pathway to them seeing where you were to where you are now.

But we do have to recognize we do sometimes chase them off. And we have to recognize that sometimes this might not be the moment in time we can reach them either. I always try and remember if we can keep them here and get that needle threaded enough for them to stay somewhere there is a betrayed spouse and often kids who can benefit.

Also, shame is something they are often already practiced at, in many cases that is part of what brought in some of their behaviors. Itís counterintuitive to some that adding to that is counterproductive. I know we have had many discussions as to how it can be useful towards change. But becoming a person that you can love is a different roadmap, thatís where the healing is.

Pippin posted 5/14/2020 17:01 PM

MrCleanSlate - Hereís how I think about it - the wayward forum specializes in finding blindspots. There are other kinds of interactions but that is the speciality. You will find admiration for especially insightful blindspot-finding in a way you will not for posts that are especially hopeful or especially compassionate or especially whatever. If you come here wanting help finding your blindspots, this will seem helpful. If you come here for some other reason but are in a place where hearing about your blindspots is helpful, perhaps because you have support in other areas, it feels OK. If you come here for some other reason, someone pointing to your blindspots may feel mean or cruel. Someone finding the forum for the first time and thinking ďwow, there are other people like me! Thank god I have a place!Ē might get turned off by the immediate blindspot finding. And for people who have been here longer - Iíve noticed in myself and other people that thereís a cycle of work and rest - a deep dive into an area that needs to be looked at closely, taking what feel like big risks and thinking/behaving differently, and then putting it into practice. And resting a bit until the next round. When someone comes here saying hey everyone, look what Iíve figured out! sometimes they get a good response but sometimes/often Wham! More blindspots, no rest allowed. Of course they still have blindspots because no one gets better overnight. But it can feel terrible when you are looking for a moment to rest and be happy with your progress and share your happiness with comrades, even if the person offering the advice is correct and the same advice might be helpful given at a different time. (The corollary is probably true as well - if you come here wanting help finding blindspots and someone offers you what feels like insipid sympathy, that may be irritating).

So what can you do about the negative impact? I donít see any appetite or leadership to change the status quo and to be fair I donít think there is a great model or best practices described for online group support, especially one that is so easily repurposed for scapegoating and/or subconsciously engages in projected self-hatred. So, take it as a given that is the way the forum is going to work and engage only when you are very clear about the context and donít have inappropriate hope or expectations, and do what you can within that framework to help other people and yourself. I have more or less stopped posting but here are ideas for addressing the issues you brought up.

If you see someone reacting badly to their responses, reach out by PM. New members canít PM until they get to 50 messages but if you reach out to them they can respond. And just say something simple - it looks like youíre having a hard time. Are you OK?

Another idea - It is powerful to reflect back to people the emotion they are experiencing. Probably doesnít work as well online but it doesnít hurt and is kind. Simply say - you seem confused/scared/angry/despairing/etc. People experiencing difficult emotions often feel alone and isolated in their emotions and simply joining in reduces anxiety, makes people feel not alone - ďoh she gets itĒ - and allows them to more fully experience the emotions and then take a step past them. (Last week I was talking to a woman whose husband had died the day before and said ďyou seem really sadĒ which is not a profound thing to say! The waterworks opened, she expressed so much sorrow, etc etc.)

Another idea - by PM, be a neutral listener, not offering advice or judgment. You can get to that point by asking simple questions and just listening. A whole bunch of times a wayward has confessed something to me privately - just being able to say whatever shameful thing they are carrying out loud can gird them for the next step, they can then say it to their spouse and/or on the forum. Itís the relief of a burden of secret shame and by being someone who just listens, they know itís a safe place to say whatever they have to say with no negative response. Itís especially helpful for people who canít afford IC. (As an aside, I notice that many/most people who do well here either have a rather supportive spouse and/or IC, so they have that neutral ear and some emotional support and are more available to blindspot hunting from strangers).

Another idea - practice benevolent detachment. Offer your best help to someone, then let go completely of what happens next. Itís not ďnot caring.Ē Itís not saddling them with your expectations for what they do next, your need to be effective and impactful, your need to be a good helper. If you pray, offer your best help to someone and then give them over to God and go on your merry way.

Another idea, somewhat related to the above which may help you to retain hope - know and believe that there are people who donít return who are actually doing what they need to do without SI and your apparent inability to reach them when they arrived and immediately departed was not a failure. I was so incessantly looking for help out of my troubles that I would have found it in one place or another. People who are looking for help will find it. People who are determined to change will change. (The corollary is also true. There are people who remain here who donít want to/wonít change. Itís also not your problem or your responsibility to fix them). I read an interesting study once that it takes white people an average of seven direct experiences of racism before they believe it exists and start to think change is needed. Sometimes when I'm with someone and see a racist incident that they don't see, I talk to them about it, but then shrug my shoulders and think I guess that was incident number three.

Another idea - usually/always use the stop sign yourself, to model that practice for others and give them the idea that it is OK to use it. If you have a question that could use a BS perspective, reach out individually to a BS whom you know/admire or post in General. (Note: this runs afoul of the norm that waywards only post question in the wayward forum and not general, even though technically I donít see that in the rules. Iím all for calling out unstated norms either directly or through provocation. Unstated norms are dangerous).

Another idea - check your understanding. I would sometimes PM people to say - Iím reading a response this way, are you reading it the same way? Often their POV was different than mine and it was helpful to talk/think about that. And if we agreed, we could bitch about it together and thatís always fun. Itís especially helpful to ask the person whom you THINK is offended, if they are offended. Sometimes they are not. And people are offended by things that seem to me innocuous. The check-your-understanding conversations are really helpful.

Another idea - there is some interesting research that sharing positive experiences builds relationships and community more than sharing negative experiences. Which is counter-intuitive, it seems like youíd have a better/closer relationship with the person whose shoulder you cry on than the person you share a fun time with. So look for opportunities - when someone mentions in passing something positive happening in their life, follow up on that. It builds a sense of connection.

(Sorry for typos/disfluencies, I wrote this on zoom call N-teenth of the day.)

MrCleanSlate posted 5/15/2020 06:03 AM

As this topic progressed there were some really thoughtful responses, and to be honest I gained a new perspective.

I think pippin provided a really great breakdown.

The use of PM's is one thing I haven't really done much of. Then again I've only ever gotten 2 PM's so I had no real sense of the value of these.

BraveSirRobin posted 5/15/2020 08:28 AM

The use of PM's is one thing I haven't really done much of. Then again I've only ever gotten 2 PM's so I had no real sense of the value of these.
I don't use them much, but occasionally I "meet" a WW who reminds me so much of myself that I feel like I can offer more specific advice and support. Or they reach out to me with issues they feel they aren't ready to expose to a more public discussion. There aren't many where it's turned into an ongoing conversation.

On the whole, I like to stick to the forums because I'm really mindful of the lurkers, the unknown number of people who read here and benefit from the discussion without ever posting.

foreverlabeled posted 5/20/2020 13:33 PM

Idk guys.. as I was reading through this thread I couldn't help but think some of this sounds like we should treat waywards like children. While some of us certainly act the part, we are in fact adults. Adults that made very adult choices that have ruined lives.

Yes, that was me once, and I've not forgotten the place I was in when I showed up or the stages and progress made while here. And all the ugliness in between. None of that is lost when or if I deliver a hard truth. Personally I don't like the fact that we call a hard truth a 2x4. To me a 2x4 is a metaphor for dishing out blows, oh I got those, like two weeks in when at the time I thought ex had a RA, and someone said I deserved it. Now that is a 2x4.

Is the truth really a 2x4? No matter the deliverance? Like when I came here in my very first post (no stop sign) and tried to convince the good people of SI all the ways my affair was justified and that it was my ex's fault oh man that was a good one. I'm sure you can imagine the hard truths I received that day. Were they harsh? You betcha. Did it run me off? No. Why? Hell if I know, tbh.

It should have. I was like one day out, vulnerable, full of shame and terror. The truth is something we ALL deserve, it's on you to accept it.

I feel like WOES is spot on in that it's the lens you are currently looking through that filters the way you percieved the message. I've seen WSs come back and say ya know I just wasn't ready to hear it. I've said that! To WOES actually ha!

I don't think we chase leople off. People leave because they aren't ready to face this, or they didn't get the outcome they were hoping for. Is it really our job to hold their hand? I can have a ton of compassion without holding your hand and leading you through every step of the way. Again, feels like we are wanting to treat adults like children. You need to take accountability and have the courage to hear and do hard things.

And it's okay to not know what to do or how to go about this, I didn't know. It was like learning a new language. That I have compassion for.

Zugzwang posted 5/21/2020 10:46 AM

Foreverlabled...I so agree. Well said and written!

This is a great point too...I bet many that leave do so because of this...

.or they didn't get the outcome they were hoping for.
They don't like the responses they get or they simply aren't the ones to do so if the advice is right. Fact is many people are Operational Defiant too. Some just don't want to follow mainstream or think they are special and don't agree with what they label as "SI script". Some are conflict avoidant to the extreme and others are confirmation biased to what they want to hear and don't even want the truths. We should remember many different types come here. We have had narcissist come here and stay a day and leave.

Is it really our job to hold their hand? I can have a ton of compassion without holding your hand and leading you through every step of the way. Again, feels like we are wanting to treat adults like children. You need to take accountability and have the courage to hear and do hard things.
YEP! That isn't my problem. I give advice on what worked for me. If it doesn't work for them, then there are others to offer advice.

Don't forget if we have very few waywards staying, it could simply mean that is the statistic. Not many really do what needs to be done and choose change. We get a few that find their way here and stay. Getting obsessed over saving all of them is just another way to feed an addiction and take time away from where it belongs. I just choose not to focus on that. I do what I can for those that want it and focus the rest of my energy on my family and personal growth.

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