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Floundering

Snowyjune posted 6/19/2020 15:30 PM

There will be days that you feel like you are on top of things - reading up, understanding, empathizing, being present and mindful and you feel like you are making that .1% improvement.

But there are days where the hand of Consequence comes down hard on you, you flounder about everywhere, spluttering, you aren't present for your kid, failing to be on top of things.
Simply being just not enough.

Today is those days for me.

I had blocked AP on whatsapp, and deleted his number. However, his number will still appear on my blocked list within Whatsapp itself, and that has always unsettled BH, as I could easily return back to old ways and break NC.
So he raised the possibility of changing numbers, which I agreed to wholeheartedly as it would be good to have a new start.

Fast forward 2 months later, I only just managed to get my new number, and BH is upset that I had left him to deal with this aspect for a couple of months and had no impetus to address this issues, which meant that I still don't care about him post A.

It is true that I have dropped the ball on this.

I knew in my mind that because I was WFH, because of how i feel about my A, because I was working on whys, because I was trying to be a present wife and mother, because I was trying to understand my FOO and conflict-avoidant self... contacting AP was the least of my concerns and switching numbers dropped further and further down the to-do list.

I want to clarify that I know I had imposed my reality onto BH and did not consider what he felt. How I felt about AP and that there was no chance I would be contacting him, is irrelevant, as I have proven myself to be a liar. BH also pointed out the hubris of my thoughts is also a warning sign (which I also see his point).

I have been such a shitty person for 20 years, that I am so broken and literally still that childish petulant teenager at 16, that there is just so much to work on.
Everything that I know and was needs to change.
There's 10 Olympics-sized swimming pools of why and bad character traits I need to fix, and i'm only just thrashing about at the start.

I wish there was more hours in a day. I wish I had better memory to remember all the points I had read, I wish I knew how to expand on my whys deeply like my BH, I wish I understood empathy better.
Because the better I am, the more I can understand and sit with my BH. The more I understand, the easier the correction of inherent bad traits will be.

WS, what do you do when you feel like you are in over your head (but not giving up)? IC currently not an option due to circumstance.
I feel pulled in many directions, to work on many things that plagues my BH and family. It feels like I have done a lot, but nothing at the same time and hence, frustrating my BH often.

I am not quite sure if there is a "remedy", and perhaps I am articulating my helplessness. I know I will go to bed tonight, and try harder tomorrow.

Thissucks5678 posted 6/19/2020 16:27 PM

Why not just delete the app? Do you have to have it for work or something?

I just gave this advice to another WS, but maybe you could read How to Help your Spouse heal from your Affair again. My WH had to read it at least 3 times. He would get into a similar mindset that you are in and feel overwhelmed and that nothing he could do was ever enough, wouldnít understand triggers, get defensive, etc. Then I would tell him he wasnít getting it and to re-read the book because obviously he had no idea what I was going through and it was like magically he grasped things in a new light.

Itís a short book, when you feel stuck and overwhelmed, maybe just give it a glance through to remind yourself what your BS is looking for and what he may need.

I know itís hard, just try and keep at it if you can.

Midlyfewife posted 6/19/2020 23:18 PM

Snowy June
I am new here myself and can relate to what you are going through. The days you seemingly do everything right are often the days I find everything I have done is wrong. What I am finding is that when a BS expressed a need or has made a request, that takes priority over everything. Having it addressed immediately shows we are putting them first, that we are putting in the effort they need so we can gain the .1%t that we are so desperate to achieve.

Thereís going to be good days and bad. You want so much to help them heal, but they need us to do both. Fix what allowed the affair to happen and be everything that they need and more.

I think keeping the attitude that tomorrow is a new day helps. As long as you believe that, I think your BS will appreciate that tomorrow you will wake up and keep trying.

RocketRaccoon posted 6/20/2020 01:18 AM

SJ,

Gently now:
What could actually be the case issue here that causes your 'floundering', is that you are still obsessed about yourself.

You are focusing on how to improve/better yourself, which is not a bad thing by itself, but it looks like you have almost taken it to the extreme. To the point that you forget that there is someone else that you should be thinking about, you BH.

Am not sure what your DDay 4 was all about, but it seems to make you withdraw further into thinking about yourself, as your earlier threads seemed like you were on the cusp of having some empathy for your BH.

Since whatever information you had finally 'surrendered', you have taken a step backwards, and started to protect yourself more, rather than focus on repairing the damage you caused.

Perhaps a good exercise is to journal. Write things down, so that you can organise and address issues one at a time, rather than be overwhelmed by the chaos.

Stop the 'hand wringing', as it does nobody any good. The inaction makes the BS think that the WS is not willing to do anything.

Just think about this: The amount of effort that the WS puts into the recovery, shows the BS how much the WS values relationship. High effort = High value, Low effort = Low value.

Edit: for clarity

[This message edited by RocketRaccoon at 1:31 AM, June 20th (Saturday)]

WontBeFooledAgai posted 6/20/2020 18:40 PM

Well, let's make it simpler though. Your one job is to make yourself safe for your BH to faciliate his healing. It is a big job that includes digging into your 'Why's but it does not include ridding yourself of every human flaw, which is impossible to do.

I must also say this: You going over FOO and conflict-avoidant issues seems to me to be besides the point. Or they sure seem that way to us. You cheated w OM simply because you *wanted* to. You deemed him more appealing than your BH and then you *gave yourself permission to* cheat. Why to both those things, is something you need to figure out.

As for dropping the ball on the Whatsapp, well I agree with you that you *did* indeed drop the ball, and that these lapses just cannot be happening again. This wasn't like you being so busy that you forgot to bring your car into Jiffy Lube to get your oil changed, this was instead you leaving a thread between you and OM. Anyway, it is precisely these types of things that are crucial when it comes to making yourself safe to BH.

With all this said though, what really matters is that you are intent on doing better moving forward, and your BH is still there with you.

Moving forward, a good rule for you to follow is that if your BH wants you to do something important to him that takes only a few minutes, then you get to it right away. (I mean, I trust that you already do something similar w your supervisor at work, right? If a task is important and can be done in a few minutes e.g., replying to an important email, you dispatch of the task right away and *then* you get back to the longer-term projects you were working on before.) If your BH asks you to do something and it is a technical issue that you aren't good at then have your BH help you.

[This message edited by WontBeFooledAgai at 10:22 AM, June 21st (Sunday)]

alwaysblue posted 6/21/2020 00:59 AM

Sorry you are going through this. Iíve been experiencing the same where I feel like Iím trying to simplify my life in order to reduce triggers and make my BHís life easier. There are days I succeed and we have an ok day, but then I drop the ball other times. Then I get into this state of blaming myself and itís really hard to come back out and refocus. One thing that we have been doing is going for walks before bedtime. Itís around our neighborhood and most of our talks happen here.

The only advice I could offer is to apologize and always listen. I have to keep reminding myself of that too and sometimes I donít do the best job of it. Iíve been told that itís ok if I donít know what Iím doing but if I ask, it shows that Iím willing and working on changing. That part is sometimes so hard because Iím so used to dealing with it my way and not asking for help. But the situation that we find ourselves in now is not the same as past. Iíve changed my BHís life, that means my life doesnít get to be the same. But talk, talk and more talk. Again, I need to practice this some more.

I should also add, I also changed my phone number, deleted all social media accounts and given all of my PWs including financial accounts. The more I can be open and transparent the better it is for my spouse.

Stinger posted 6/21/2020 07:49 AM

That is another big FU to your husband. Seems you keep doing it. Why don't you take a look at your real reason for both cheating and this? Common theme: commit, the break the commitment.

WalkinOnEggshelz posted 6/21/2020 07:50 AM

I knew in my mind that because I was WFH, because of how i feel about my A, because I was working on whys, because I was trying to be a present wife and mother, because I was trying to understand my FOO and conflict-avoidant self... contacting AP was the least of my concerns and switching numbers dropped further and further down the to-do list.

I remember one time my husband dropped me off at work and I told him something like ďof course, I would not have contact with APĒ that day. I canít remember the exact circumstance of how the conversation came up, but I do remember that those two words ďof courseĒ sent my husband into a tail spin and it resulted in hours of conversation for me to understand why.

He was still trying to figure out who I was (and quite honestly so was I) so there was no assuming and there was no ďof courseĒ. As much work as it took on my husbandís behalf, those two words became something of an epiphany. Even if something seems obvious to me, nothing seemed obvious to him anymore other than the fact that he had to question every word I said and you are in a stage where words matter, actions matter.

You are also in a place that no matter what you do it will never seem to be enough. There isnít enough gestures grand or small that can make up for the betrayal, but it certainly doesnít mean you shouldnít put forth the effort. If he asks for something and itís reasonable, give it to him. Changing a number and deleting an app is reasonable. If the app is for work, itís understandable but use it only for that purpose.

I know it can be confusing when people say you have to work on you, he has to heal himself, then the two of you together can work on the marriage. I actually believe itís all 3 simultaneously happening at once which is confusing and overwhelming. I just urge you to listen when he expressing his needs and his hurts. What he is telling you (a huge amount of vulnerability on his part) will help guide you in how to help him.

You dropped the ball, it happens. Now pick it back up and keep going.

hikingout posted 6/22/2020 09:29 AM

Hi Snowyjune,

So much about this post takes me back. I too was very intent on fixing myself.

Some of what Rocketracoon says is true, I was really fixated on trying to fix myself. I am a recovering perfectionist who got in my own way with a lot of handwringing.

But, I think it's also part of the process to start learning that balance. It's so difficult because on one hand, until we can improve ourselves we are going to do the same things over and over in different formations. So, I do not think for a minute that working hard on yourself is not helping your husband.

BUT at the same time, the practicing the new skills is part of that. We have to allow ourselves time for the integration of what we are learning.

One thing I learned early on is if my husband had any request, to get to it as immediately as humanly possible. We have good intentions in trying to work on ourselves (and gosh that is so overwhelming - as a fellow WS I totally know how overwhelming and consuming that is to finally open our eyes and become self aware. I was failing too. I couldn't focus on the basics some days). But, we can't do that without realizing that we are being given a huge chance that we can't take for granted. We must see that when our BS says jump we really need to say how high, at least within reason. I add that last part because I have seen WS who have BS's who request threesomes, plastic surgery, tatoos of a scarlet A, and things that are not at all healthy for any one's healing.
Of course your BS's request is nothing like those things.

I know how scattered I was, and how much I felt like I was failing. The panic was very real and making it worse. So, just breathe.

Try and remember that FOO is really just something that helps us become comfortable in our choices, good or bad. But, the choices are still ours.

My feeling is that the most important thing to learn is how to love yourself. How to become responsible for your own happiness. Loving yourself is not a selfish thing, it's not even defined by being selfish. If we love ourselves and provide for our own happiness, we become a fountain of that for those around us. So, we have to look for things that:

1. Allow us to show respect for ourselves. Personal Boundaries, maintaining our integrity transparency, honesty, practicing vulnerability and authenticity. I love Brene Brown Ted Talks, books, or other things she does on these topics.

2. Attend to our self care (you can't care for others if you don't put on your oxygen mask first). For me, that started with the basics - exercise (upmost importance - helps not only with self respect, but also helps with endorphins which we lack at this point you are in), vitamins, eating well, avoiding alcohol, good sleep schedule - not too much, not too little)

3. Strengthening supportive relationships. This might be early for you to start that, but I didn't have close friends. When we seek all of our emotional needs in our marriage, rather than dispersing some of those things to girlfriends/close family members, we are burdening our spouse. Especially in light of not having IC as a resource. Having people cheering for you and you cheering for others is an affirmation.

4. Find things you are passionate about. This was trial and error for me, and can be difficult to carve time out when you have young kids. But having a hobby you can lose yourself in for even an hour a week can help. For me, it's running. When I am running, I am only in that moment. Which leads me to #5.

5. Mindfulness. Slow down. Even being aware during one breath in and one breath out can be a meditation. Joy only exists in us duing the present moment. When we are in the past we are feeling depressed and when we are in the future we are anxious. Try and focus on the things that are at hand. Sometimes, cleaning or doing laundry is that for me (I know it's weird) but I can be very present during that time and the more you learn to do that the more you will be able to tap into that joy that can exist in all circumstances. For more on that - try quotes or books by Pema Chadron or Eckhart Tolle.

6. Gratitude. Science shows that if you do a gratitude ritual for 21 days you can literally begin rewiring your brain. I think of 3 things before I get out of bed every morning. I really try to connect with why I feel happy those things exist. The more you do this the more you will notice these things during the day. It has really allowed me to feel more joy in mundane, appreciate my husband and others close to me more, be able to express that to them as well.

So, those are some good steps to work on in terms of self love. When we love ourselves, we have more energy, we feel less overwhelmed.

Love is an action. We have to give that action to ourselves, and it teaches us how to love others more fully and better. The joy of love is not receiving it - it's in giving it. It's in making the meal your husband loves, or in giving him a nice massage. It's in being there for him. You can't learn to do that if you don't do it for yourself.

Also the lack of it makes us tend to self-numb. And, numbness doesn't open our empathy, it doesn't open our hearts.

Try and concentrate on some of these things and not get too caught up with every bad character trait you have to eradicate within yourself. It will help you not to have to need to get your feelings from other people, it will help you be a fountain and not a drain.

Take care.

Snowyjune posted 6/24/2020 10:48 AM

WOES,

I know it can be confusing when people say you have to work on you, he has to heal himself, then the two of you together can work on the marriage. I actually believe itís all 3 simultaneously happening at once which is confusing and overwhelming
It is very much overwhelming, because of how inept I have been in managing my relationship. As I was telling my BH this morning, I went from leaving all my balls scattered everywhere on the floor, to trying to keep them all up in the air simultaneously while reading "how to juggle for dummies".

In all honesty, I have been a really really selfish person for 2 decades, and have manipulated everyone around me in some form, to suit my narrative. I saw everything as transactional, and I was only nice to be nice. I have had no room for anyone but myself. I don't know how to love, show respect, honor to the one who loves me the most.
I am not like most people here, who can say that they were good people before the A. FOO helped me understand my whys and helped me identify why I was extremely conflict avoidant and YOLO-esque. I have never ever sat down to have a good think why I don't have any self-respect.

On the flip side, I have learnt to accept that how I am feeling now, is not the feeling I will be feeling tomorrow. I will (almost) always wake up ready to love and to understand the next punch on the stomach from the shame and guilt. My BH is going through a myriad of feelings and emotions as well.

Hikingout,

I know how scattered I was, and how much I felt like I was failing. The panic was very real and making it worse. So, just breathe.
Word.

Respectfully, because of the way I have been, I feel like I can't/ shouldn't take any time to myself. Points 2 to 4 are things I feel are indulgent to my old self, to give myself opportunities to disappear.
I need to learn to include people in my decisions, to listen and give more, which means point 5. (FYI, I have been mopping the floor a lot more these couple of months so I'm pretty weird too).

Point 1, 5 and 6 are great suggestions so thank you. Being grateful does also mean understanding what I have, and been given, which will lead to empathy perhaps.

I haven't planned on giving up, and I know the road ahead is long. Thank you everyone for your encouragement... They are all really helpful.

hikingout posted 6/24/2020 11:02 AM

Absolutely, and some of these suggestions are only appropriate in specific stages, we have to decide when the timing is right based on our own circumstances. But, I will say you do have to at some point integrate them all back - it's important for you to become whole.

But, I do understand how some might be at odds with the stage you are at now and they might have to be later reaches.

I will say that my therapist in my 3rd month made me stop doing most of the things I was doing for others, and slowly add them back. She wanted me to sort my "shoulds" and "coulds" more reasonably. To go home and break that news to my husband was something I resisted because I needed to be the strong one and keep things going for our life.

But, we did go ahead and try it, and it opened my eyes to a lot of my distorted thinking - that I had to do those things to be loved, that it was my husband that was wanting these things done (I was blaming him for my own expectations of myself). So, I just wanted to say while sometimes what looks on the surface to be exactly the opposite of what we should do, it can be the thing that blows the roof off and provides major epiphanies that lead to greater accountability for self. My story doesn't relate to yours in that I was not behaving outwardly selfish. I was outwardly selfless - but it was still selfish because that too was transactional. But, I get that my example isn't appropriate for you - I only shared it because it was counterintuitive to do it.

It is important to know that if you can strengthen your self-love/self-worth/self-respect, you won't want to hide in those things. It will help you to show up and be more present because you are the fountain of your own happiness. We hide and find distractions because we are not happy or whole. We are looking for other things to fill us up, and in that way all ws are manipulating because we are not being authentic.

That being said, again, I respect your process and the way you need to prioritize these things.

[This message edited by hikingout at 11:08 AM, June 24th (Wednesday)]

MrCleanSlate posted 6/24/2020 16:32 PM

SJ,

Going back to your original post it is not always about trying harder, but being smarter in what you do try.

Part of my journey I realized I was an emotional vampire for years. I fed on the adoration, recognition, being the coach/leader/supervisor/etc., and always being willing to help others for the recognition. All the while ignoring my wife and family. My BW once said I was 'cheating' for years earlier than my actual PA, only in that I was giving my time to everyone else to get my ego kibbles fed.

Detaching and saying no to people was a hard thing to learn how to do. But I did it. And you know it took some effort but I am better for it now. No more volunteering, or coaching. I spend a lot more time with my wife. We started to do things together again.

IC is a problem these days, but you know there is no harm in spending time with your BH, either bath nights, sitting on the patio or going for walks, and talking. I am such a fan of talking. I learned how to open up, my BW then felt free to point out things she saw I was doing. We kind of started to develop our own IC/MC. In the early days post D-Day it was lot about the A, then about the years before the A to help figure out my Whys, then about everyday M stuff.

As we crawl out of our Covid-19 isolation my wife said we need to go and do something together, so we went shopping for groceries.She saw I stressing and I confided that I was. Such a small thing. Simple.

What matters is often the simple stuff.

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