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Wayward Side :


 Bulcy (original poster member #74034) posted at 9:27 PM on Sunday, June 5th, 2022

Another chunk of CBT I've been working on in counselling is STOPP. Some on here might be familiar with this. I have used it a few times in recent weeks in both my marriage and in every day life.


Firstly the easy part...Imagine a STOP sign. That's exactly what is involved in the first step.

- Stop. Pause for a moment.

- Take a breath Take a breath, notice how you're breathing. Is it slightly laboured? are the breaths short or controlled? Take a moment to breath slowly, in through the nose and out through the mouth. (A technique I use is breath in for 4 second, hold it for 5 seconds and release over 6 seconds. There are a lot of variants of this out there. Pick what suits you best). Now, this stop does not have to be used if you're feeling tense, frustrated or angry. Use it every day when you're making a choice. While driving, shopping or at work. It can be over a split second. "Do I really need this new sweater?" STOP. You know. A pause to reflect on a course of action you're about to chose.

- Observe What thoughts are going through your mind right now? What situation are you reacting to, where is your focus of attention?* What/How are you feeling?

= Pull back. Don't believe everything you think, what is the bigger picture? Is there another way of looking at the situation? What advice would you give a friend in the same situation? Is your thought FACT or OPINION?* How important is this? How important will it be in 6 months?

- Practice what works. Some of the above may not fit the situation, you may only have a second to make a decision. Ask yourself one or all of the following. What is the best things to do right now? What is the most helpful thing for me, for others, for the situation? Where can I focus my attention?

* Focus of attention:

We spend so much time inside our heads, thinking about what we've done, or have yet to do, worrying about things we don't need to worry about. We need to get outside of our heads! We can use our senses, just say to ourselves:

5 things I can see

4 things I can hear

3 things I can feel or touch

2 things I can smell or like the smell of

1 slow deep breath

brings our focus of attention into right now.

* Fact or Opinion

"Ask yourself, is this thought a fact or opinion? We can work with facts, but opinions drive emotion. At stressful times, we tend to be driven by our emotions and opinions, which create a vicious cycle by fuelling each other. Our emotions strengthen our opinions, which in turn, intensify our emotions. This leads to impulsive acts and unhelpful longer term consequences, which helps to maintain the overall problem. Facts are what we need to focus on in order to make helpful changes. Reacting to our opinions is pointless and upsetting. Asking "is this Fact or Opinion?" helps us to pull back from our distress and defuse from the unhelpful thinking. It is often meanings or opinions that we attach to facts that cause us the distress, rather than the fact itself. Imagine reading a newspaper that is different to your usual one. You might look at the headlines and wonder whether they might be biased in some way. It may be he journalist or editor's opinion rather than just the facts. So we might ask ourselves whether this headline is "fact or opinion". We can do the same with our thoughts." Getseflfhelp a uk website.

When speaking to my counsellor he suggested also thinking that you're viewing the situation from a helicopter. Take in the bigger picture and not the smaller isolated view you have from the ground.

I have, as I said above used this a few times recently. One in particular was on a call with a recruitment agency who wanted me to start a new job earlier as the person transferring knowledge would be on vacation for my proposed start date. This was very helpful for me, to start early. In the past I would have said "yes, no problem" without hesitation. On this occasion, I paused and thought about implications of just saying yes. (I'd not spoken to BS about this, work is a known trigger, me making choices without discussing is a known trigger, have I got other commitments I had forgotten about? and a few others). I told the agent I would call him back. I spoke with BS and we agreed that I could go into the office for a couple of days and we agreed those days. I then agreed this with new employer and all was well.

What experience of this or other techniques for being a rounded person have you tried as WS? Any BS who have experince of this either in their own life or seeing their WS adopting this or other techniques?

WH (40's) Me. Emotional affair (2017), Physical affair (2003) and online affairs, Two physical affairs (2000). D-Day's 2003, August '17, multiple discoveries through 2018,19 and 20, Jan 21 and 2022

posts: 208   ·   registered: Mar. 12th, 2020   ·   location: UK
id 8738781

MIgander ( member #71285) posted at 1:49 PM on Monday, June 6th, 2022

CBT is what got me into the place where I could even begin to heal my CPTSD. We had to use the time out Saturday am. The evil hamster was on the wheel and our conversations were quickly derailing. BH enforced the time out, I got a handle on things and changed lanes to help out and hang out with DD. SURPRISE! The rest of the day went much better and we were able to tease out a few of my concerns in a rational manner later on.

The calming and quieting techniques were critical (and still are- I STILL have to work them). It's funny, my IC does "rectangular" breathing with a shorter in and longer out. During the worst of my panic attacks and suicidality after DDay, I used the in 4- hold 4- out 4- hold 4 technique and that helped. My IC hooked me into the 54321 technique connecting to senses. That helps a lot too.

Fact/opinion/emotion... those are the hardest part of the work. Brene Brown calls the spew of the emotions the "shitty 1st draft." For me, it's the evil hamster on its wheel. We find referring to it that way is less judgmental and depersonalizes the runaway train I'm experiencing. BH can say, "It looks like your evil hamster is at it again" and I can check myself without judgement. Helps him too separate out my trauma reactions from my rational ones.

The fact/opinion/emotion conflation is what got me into my A in the first place. I had a lot of facts for how my BH was behaving abusively. My opinions were that he does it to me because he purposely wanted me to suffer. At a certain point, our shitty coping mechanisms CLEARLY distress our spouses. When we know that and continue doing them (and aren't working actively on it), yeah, I believe there is intention and it is abusive. Abusive through gross negligence. My DARVO was abusive and I actively said "fuckit" to working on IC because BH refused counseling. Why should I be the only one working on the M? I considered it dead at that point. It was. BUT, I was only hurting myself by choosing to neglect my personal growth. That is for me to live with and for me to own, sadly.

You're right in saying in your other posts about this being a life time of work. Thankfully I'm learning the tools now. Wish I had them sooner.

WW/BW Dday July 2019. BH/WH- multiple EA's. Back at it again- bantering w the younger woman. Lied about blocking phone calls and deleted texts. Carried on with her.

Nothing changes if nothing changes.

posts: 773   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8738825

sundance ( member #72129) posted at 7:01 PM on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022


yes, my IC also introduced me to CBT, and i am a huge fan of the different practices/methods.

the 5,4,3,2,1 method is new to me-- and i love it ... so thank you so much for sharing!

there is also the method of "urge surfing". it's good for "riding out" an urge by picturing it as a wave that crests, hits the sand, and disappears. it's a method of allowing one's self to accept a feeling or urge without acting on the urge. and recognizing that not every anxiety or urge needs to be fed or fixed. the anxiety/urge can, and most likely will, dissipate with the recognition/visualization of it cresting and then petering out like a wave. it takes practice, but i found it very helpful.

i'm not able to link the method, but there are several out there is you google "urge surfing.mp3" or "urge surfing meditation method". youtube has a few different ones-- some as short as 3 minutes, or as long as 20 minutes. it likely won't be everyone's prefered method to calm themselves down, but thought it was worth mentioning in case someone out there can benefit.

good stuff, bulcy!

Rusty: You scared?Linus: You suicidal?Rusty: Only in the morning.

posts: 142   ·   registered: Nov. 21st, 2019
id 8740365

 Bulcy (original poster member #74034) posted at 8:48 PM on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022


Thanks for the response. I had not previously heard of urge surfing before today. I’ve just checked out a YouTube clip. It was good, will listen to a couple more. It reminds me to kick start the meditation, I got a few sessions in previously and failed to continue despite feeling the benefit of doing it.

I’m glad you’re using the grounding method, it is often used in cases of an extreme panic attack, but can easily be used for times when we’re upset or shame spiralling.

We’ve been working on a couple of other tools in my group sessions, which I will share, I’m not entirely used to using them yet so will work on them before sharing.

Please share any other thoughts or tools

WH (40's) Me. Emotional affair (2017), Physical affair (2003) and online affairs, Two physical affairs (2000). D-Day's 2003, August '17, multiple discoveries through 2018,19 and 20, Jan 21 and 2022

posts: 208   ·   registered: Mar. 12th, 2020   ·   location: UK
id 8740382

sundance ( member #72129) posted at 9:48 PM on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

yes, i will be sure to share anything else i come across that i think will help.

looking forward to your update when you are ready to share!

Rusty: You scared?Linus: You suicidal?Rusty: Only in the morning.

posts: 142   ·   registered: Nov. 21st, 2019
id 8740391

 Bulcy (original poster member #74034) posted at 7:27 PM on Saturday, June 25th, 2022

Something I have been looking at in group counselling is what they call the "Power and Abuse log". I've tried to find more information on this in the last couple of weeks and can find very little. Most sites make reference to the power and abuse wheels, but not the log.

Anyway, this is a tool used to create thoughts on times when an abuser had abused their partner. There is no restriction on the scenario so it can be applied to infidelity of any kind as well as actions of an abusive nature. It is centred around 10 boxes which require completion. 9 relate to the incident itself and the final gives an opportunity for reflection on what tools could have been used to stop or reduce the impact of the incident.

- Struggle - I don't like the term as it seems to minimise. However in tis you comment on what happened and what you think was the trigger for the incident.

- Body - Any body language present at the time, this might not be too easy to notice in yourself, and requires both reflection and maybe communication with BS/victim.

- Thinking - What were you thinking at the time? Write down all thought even if they were justifications, excuses, opinions etc. What made you feel entitled to act the way you did?

- Feelings - What did you feel? what feelings started the cycle? How did you feel about your partner?

- Actions - What did you do? Consider physical, emotional and verbal.

- Intentions - Maybe the intention was not to be abusive. What was the intention of the when the incident first started? What were the changes in the intentions and why did they occur? What triggered these changes?

- Beliefs - What did you believe you were doing? Did you feel differently about things before the situation than you did after, do you still feel justified in these actions? Do you believe you were entitled to act the way you did?

- Where learnt - Do you have FOO issues? Were you abused in another relationship? Is infidelity/domestic abuse something you saw as a child? Do you believe in male privilege? What role models did you or do you have in your life?

- Effects on.. - Your partner, any kids, any family and yourself?

- Non controlling behaviours - What could you have done differently? What tools techniques could you have used to help the situation?

These are not al the questions. I have give examples, it really depends on the situation. This can then be used to learn and to understand what causes you to "act out". I'm sure there are many incidents we can make reference to.

One of the frustrating things while I was in my group session was that I struggled to isolate just one incident and that we were give five minutes to complete the task. I know there is limited time and that this is something to work on while at home, but I struggled emotionally while thinking about my actions and needed more time to refocus. A couple of the guys could think of nothing!! This annoyed and upset me as it shows complete denial for what they have done.

WH (40's) Me. Emotional affair (2017), Physical affair (2003) and online affairs, Two physical affairs (2000). D-Day's 2003, August '17, multiple discoveries through 2018,19 and 20, Jan 21 and 2022

posts: 208   ·   registered: Mar. 12th, 2020   ·   location: UK
id 8741952
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