Newest Member: Saltishealing

hikingout

5 years of hard work
Reconciled
WS & BS

Past trauma

The other day I stumbled upon an article about how people with parents that are emotionally immature grow into people who have been conditioned to check everyone’s weather all the time and make guesses based on that.

I noticed as I started working on mindfulness years ago that I do this. And if I guess they are mad or upset I would tell myself stories about what I did wrong. I began to notice that it made me protective in my relationships. Connection requires vulnerability, but I could not stay vulnerable due to these narratives I built of people over the years.

I am currently staying with my parents because my first granddaughter has been born. We took a break from traveling and my parents is an easy place to stay. I have a good relationship with them but it’s not a connected relationship.

I have never stayed with them for more than a weekend since I left home and observing them it all makes perfect sense how this conditioning happened. My mom is the biggest victim I have ever met. She blames my dad for anything that goes wrong.

Tonight we were FaceTiming with our daughter to meet the baby. (We can’t go in because of Covid precautions) I had to go downstairs to fetch my husband so he could come upstairs with me and talk with them.

My mom poked in and was looking at them on my phone, so I let her see the baby briefly and headed up to our room to have a personal conversation.

I come back down and am told how rude it was, and how she probably would never meet the baby. Throwing a pity party. I was unbothered by it, which was affirming growth I have made in not walking on eggshells with her. I would have probably groveled to her in the past. Her feelings are not my responsibility, and I resent that I was taught they were meant to be.

Because I tried to manage her I learned to anticipate her feelings and modify my behavior. When I failed, I took in the negative tongue lashing and personalized it.

That’s one of many examples that reminded me day by day of this visit why I didn’t understand boundaries, why I am a people pleaser, why I twist myself into a pretzel for others. I understand my choices and behavior are not my parents fault, but I can clearly see where I started these patterns.

It was a full circle moment in some ways, being tested by having to navigate the people who some of it originated with.

I resolved many of these non-helpful thought problems by meditation. People think of meditation as clearing the mind but actually it’s learning to objectively observe your thinking. I took what I would notice to be unhelpful or without evidence and I would write it down. I wouldn’t do more than three at a time

Then, I would write a very short list (sometimes one is enough) of more helpful ones. (Replacement thoughts) Then for a week I would be cognizant of when that thought (or others like it) would come up and correct it.

It seems like this would take forever, but it didnt, usually thoughts follow the same patterns and over a few months it was evident to me that I could reframe (or let go of) more and more thoughts with virtually the same replacement ones I had used in my early practice of the exercises. Overtime it became quicker, and over more time the replacement thought started coming without the negative one.

Discerning patterns in our thoughts and conditioning is a big part of growth. I welcome anyone to post their aha moment or talk about their struggle with their thoughts.

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12 comments posted: Thursday, August 18th, 2022

Mods

Hey just posting this here so it will be visible but the ICR where bs can ask ws questions is almost full and will need a new thread. shocked

2 comments posted: Tuesday, August 9th, 2022

A short article for People Pleasers

Hello,

I wanted to share this link for my fellow recovering people pleasers. Mostly I just liked the little graphic because it's a nice "cheat sheet". Earlier in my WS journey, I had a hard time deciphering the motivations behind my behaviors. I believe any WS who wishes to recover has to spend a lot of time evaluating their motivations and boundaries. It's difficult when so much that we do is automatic - based on patterns and past experiences.

A lot of my struggles were figuring out what I was and wasn't responsible for, and noticing that I spent a lot of time trying to control the things I am not responsible for. I was responsible for being true and authentic with myself, and understanding that I had no control over anyone's reactions to it.

My people pleasing and perfectionism came from the belief that I wasn't enough on my own. I wasn't worthy of love just for being me. I spent a lot of time telling myself stories about "if I do this I will be more valuable". I thought if I did x, y, z, my husband would love or value me more. But the longer this went on the more I added to the list, until my own life became untenable because I was losing my sense of self until it reached critical mass.

The reality is, that was all manipulation and false sense of control. What I wanted was simple - to be seen, loved, and appreciated. These are things most people want. But, instead of just allowing it, I needed to control it because I didn't trust that I would receive it (because deep down I felt unworthy). The more I did, the more things got added that really had no value to my husband. Thus, the lack of appreciation would create more things in my list to keep chasing that acknowledgment, and increase my feelings that I would never be good enough.

This would have been true no matter who I chose for a spouse, and likely no matter which way I was being treated. Because the issues were internal, and in turn created my external reality. The more we pursue understanding our internal world and creating a new narrative, the more our external worlds will change. This means being very aware of our thoughts, our behaviors, what patterns they hold, where the patterns come from, and making different choices. That is where our true power is. Sometimes it means losing the relationship, sometimes it means rebuilding it, but for sure it means being in a better place moving forward.

Anyway, I hope this link is helpful as you sort through those issues for yourself.

Authentic Kindness Vs. People Pleasing

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4 comments posted: Tuesday, July 19th, 2022

Mod Please

I need permission to share a graphic?

3 comments posted: Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022

Self-adulation/validation in affair

I am going to try and share this to be helpful to other waywards. It is not my intention to excuse anything, nor is this anywhere near the whole of the problems. More, I am trying to illuminate one single aspect of what I think is a driving force common in affairs. And I realize, this is not true in all affairs.

Self- adulation. The Ap is your audience. Most of the time that is their value. They are there to validate this experience that you are really just having with yourself.

I will share how this was relevant in my situation because it’s the only experience that I have and I think it’s the only way I can illuminate the thought further.

When I started my affair, I could not have told you why. If you asked me I would tell you I had a good husband, a good marriage. Affairs are not often about that, it’s about the relationship you have with yourself. I never thought about that to even understand mine was lousy. I mean externally, I presented as a woman with everything. Surely if I was doing something wrong it would show up in my ability to be what people thought of as a successful person with a successful marriage and great kids.

The problem is to get those things I basically self abandoned. People pleasing. Playing a role. Hiding behind perfectionism. These are false ways we prop ourselves up and they are so flimsy. We never feel worthy of our blessings this way.

The appeal of the affair is almost never the actual appeal of the AP. The appeal the AP has is they don’t know you (at least not as well as your spouse). So you can present yourself in a new way.

But there is no foundation for that "new way", what we often do is fall back to who we were at a younger age. Suddenly we can go back to that time and pretend we are a cooler, hotter, more interesting version of ourselves. But it’s just another role, another round of pretending because we really do not know at all what we want or who we want to be.

The appeal is in that AP doesn’t question it. They are often in that same space. And it’s a cop out. Hiding in this pretend version of yourself so you can prop yourself up to be what you "once were".

Often I think this is why it’s easy to rewrite the marriage. You are so busy pretending to be this new awesome person that the marriage doesn’t fit your narrative. Who you are with your spouse is really the true you. But you don’t like that life you are living. It’s easy to pin the blame of that on your spouse - covenient. It allows you to maintain your narrative about this new person you are pretending to be.

This takes numbing, and that removes empathy. For some of us we never had it, for others like myself we busted it by self abandoning for so long. How can we care about the feelings of others when we don’t even know how to do that for ourselves any more?

Look at your affair. What did you care about most, talk about most? Often it’s ourselves. The value of the affair partner is that all the sudden you are shucking all you responsibilities, and hiding from who you are and the affair partner is validating that. Mostly because they are doing the same thing and not paying all that much attention to you either. Both of you are just scrambling to get good feelings.

And honestly they become the person most central to you because without them you cannot hide. You need their validation taht you are all these things you think you should be in order to be happy.

I think as ws, the biggest part of our work is to realize that we were in control the whole time. This person we don’t like and this life we are leading is not satisfying because we haven’t made it that way. It is our core belief that isn’t something we do. We find someone who does this for us.

Until you take the time to see this self adulation is false, that really all you did was create another addiction to hide in, you can’t begin seeing that your life always was what you made it to be.

It was not your wife or husband that made you lose your sparkle. It wasn’t the Ap giving you a new sparkle. It was you and only you the whole time that was in control of that. And all this play acting is because you haven’t sat with yourself and decided you are worthy of your own pursuits that light up your life in a healthy way.

Chances are you don’t even have the first clue of what would light you up because you have looked for your light in others for so long.

I think this is the core of our work- getting honest with ourselves on what it is we want out of life and finding healthy ways to make that happen. But to do that you have to let go of the idea that something or someone else is going to do that for you.

Looking back, I can finally have compassion for myself. It’s no wonder I wanted to blow up a life that was no longer tenable to me. Realizing it wasn’t tenable to me because of my internal world and not my external world was years of slowly growing accountability. Years of showing up for the hard stuff so that I could finally learn to be confident in myself - to fully know I got myself in any situation.

There is no knight in shingling armor, only you can save you.

And years later I can tell you though at the time it seemed to be miserable, hard work. Years of self loathing, shame, and then turning to very intentional experiments that often failed. Understanding myself was the keys to unlocking where I really wanted to go, who I wanted to be, and building a life that I love.

We learn to love and respect others by doing that for ourselves. What we have we give easily, willingly, and with joy. If we have compassion for ourselves, we have it for others. If we take care of ourselves we don’t feel lack when we take care of others. We easily give it because we have it in spades and a never ending fountain of it that comes from the way we conduct our lives.

The affair isn’t that. The affair is self adulation of this idealism we have of who we can be and it’s about as shallow as a mud puddle. It mostly takes us back to our teen years again, and that’s how we act. We don’t have a true sense of self, we only know we were having more fun at that time. In our life so it’s our default.

Who we grow to be can be so much richer, more peaceful, more abundant. Why would anyone want to go back to the way they were as a teenager? No rational person would choose that.

To pretend means to turn off the parts of ourselves that doesn’t fit whatever narrative we are trying to achieve. So pretending to be a dutiful wife with no important needs of her own was the first act of driving myself into the ground. The second act was burying myself to do things I knew was wrong but felt temporarily much, much better. I simply ignored ll bad feelings and chased good. The Ap was my enabler, my audience, the one who wanted me to stay in that state so they could as well. But it brought me even further from myself, deepened my pain and my shame, the climb was astronomically harder if I would have done it without having had the affair.

Lies. All of it is lies. The only way to find the truth is to create a momentum of truth. Moment by moment, day by day, your task is to find your truth until that is the fountain that flows naturally and abundantly. We can’t get real with anyone until we get real with ourselves. Most of us are terrified of what that looks like so we continue down the path of hiding and staying in the lies.

The AP is not the love of your life. They are your dopamine hits and if you are honest they are interchangeable.

Your spouse doesn’t exist to make you happy to to make you the highest version of yourself. That is your job.

If you are not granted the miracle of reconciliation it is not a statement of your worth, it’s a statement of your past/current actions. If you are granted that chance or find yourself in a subsequent relationship you would like to not mess up, then take the time to really get to know yourself. Take stock. Then decide where you want to be and act accordingly. Self adulation is not self worth.

Playing a role to find self acceptance can feel neat and tidy but the beauty of being messy and allowing yourself to explore your truth will bring you to a place of solidness, rather than lack and always reaching.

The key to all of it is inside of you. Be brave enough to fail 1000 times, because each time you will get closer to what you are trying to achieve. But you have to do it for yourself and not to get someone else to do something.

When we live authentically it’s much easier to correlate our external world with something we deserve. It’s our own accomplishment and that feels far less empty than the void we were trying to get others to fill in those blanks for us.

14 comments posted: Friday, June 10th, 2022

Mod help!

Sorry on my self-adulation post I did not mean to post with a stop sign. Please remove. Thank you!!!

2 comments posted: Thursday, June 9th, 2022

Fierce Self-Compasion

I am reading Fierce Self Compassion by Kristen Neff. There are some passages that challenge some of my beliefs about self compassion, and I thought I would share what I am connecting with.

As WS, I think we often have unhealthy relationships with ourselves and that is rooted in shame. The sources of that for me date back to childhood. Sexual abuse, verbal and emotional abuse, the ways that made me a weird kid that never self like I fit in, etc are mine. To me I think that always made me feel insecure, inferior, and like a bad person.

I can trace about all of it by now to becoming a perfectionist, over-doing for people so that they will love me, not leave me, hiding a lot of my internal world and genuinely ignoring it myself and not giving myself a voice. Just bury it and smile. A lot of Brene Brown’s book rising strong made me aware of my shame and how it was sabotaging my life.

These days I keep stumbling onto what I think of as branches of the tree that those shame roots grew. They are thoughts and behaviors that serve no purpose and are limiting. For me this is now more like a little pruning. But I find new little things regularly: this was one of the things that has kept me on this site because there is a lot here to "try on" and then either find it doesn’t fit, something I like, or something to work on.

So, I started reading this book after hearing it in some other sources of self help that I follow. Mostly because self compassion is the hardest thing to hold for me. I have to be kind of vigilant about it - I have a favorIte go to move to try and deal with lack of kindness towards myself. I will bring myself into the present moment and soothe that thought and reframe how I am narrating.

So for example when something brings up the memory of my cheating or watching my husband be destroyed in the aftermath - I might say to myself that I am no longer cheating, that I am not the same person anymore. And that I can’t change the past, I just have to keep moving towards the future. But I still have loathing for that person (not disassociating from being that same person, just hating that version) I am kind of simplifying it a bit so it gets to the point with the book.

In this book she suggests that we sometimes hate ourselves in the process of trying to convince ourselves that we are a good person. And in the process it’s keeping us from truly having self compassion, instead it’s another way of beating ourselves up endlessly.

I think everyone struggles with self compassion, but obviously in the wake of realizing the damage we cause, the bad decisions we have made, etc. it’s very hard to get your head above water. Do we just feel better by saying how horrible we were so we can convince ourselves that we are now good people? I think so, it’s very illuminating. Hopefully someone else can benefit, if nothing else it’s a thought provoking book. I am still working on figuring out how this fits with what I should do or think differently (or not) moving forward.

I also thought that I am not a judgmental person, but I have discovered in some ways I am and how that has limited some of my relationships. I read this is a product of an unresolved superiority complex. I could find myself relating to that as well. Now I look for that filter and how its effecting how I am presenting something to others. I have caught it now a few times.

For so long I was afraid to put away the self punishment for fear of what that meant. However I have found as I have made honest efforts to do that that the fear was unwarranted, it actually made me less fragile and more sturdy. Less defensive and more open minded to feed back.

I am not sure that I am really looking for any thing specific here but would welcome some other things you have learned about self compassion. How is your relationship with yourself evolving as time moves forward? Reading this has really made me curious to what else I have backwards?

11 comments posted: Tuesday, March 1st, 2022

Update

I never know where to post these things any more, but this seems like the right fit.

We bought an RV a couple of months before I found out about his affair. I saw it almost like a vow renewal because that was a big purchase with the intentions of traveling together for several years. It was to me a huge leap of faith for him not just to agree to but to be so excited and want so much.

Now, I find myself on the other end of this leap of faith. Right now we are in the throws of:

-Me leaving my job. It's a very high paying job and one I have done for a very long time.

-selling most of our things

-selling our house

-leaving our friends and family

All of these things are coming to a head right now. I am almost finished with the job, we are getting ready to list our house in a week, and most of our things we aren't using have already been sold, given away, thrown away, etc.

Now, suddenly I feel like I am on the edge of a cliff. I probably would have felt that way anyway. But, I realize we will be constantly together. At one point that seemed appealing to me? I mean, with caveats - we do have a few separate interests we can continue even on the road.

Lately everything he does gets on my nerves. That has never been the case our entire marriage. I hope that is just a phase, but it's concerning that I can't seem to control that feeling or do anything to divert it. I am really not sure what to even do with it.

I plan to talk to him about all of it over the weekend and sometimes people say things here that helps me jar things loose. I feel that always leads us to have better discussions.

I am still doing IC, but I have dropped to monthly. It's kind of expensive for us both to do at once, and while that's not usually a huge concern, I am trying to be more conservative now that I won't have a job. I also don't have a ton of time with everything we have going on. I think some of my fears are I just put myself in a position that now I am relying on him financially and I have never relied on anyone in that way after leaving home at 19.

At the same time, logic can kick in and I know I could get a different position, and if we are being even more honest, this actually puts us in a better place if we do decide to divorce later. All the assets are then pretty much paper shuffling rather than dealing with 20 years worth of stuff to divide and conquer.

I am not really sure what it is I am looking for, but this is a very rough time for us in a time that it should be pure happiness. I have been trying to focus on the happiness, after all what we are getting ready to do is something we have dreamed about together for a long time. I think there will be either an opportunity for some big reconnections or it's going to illuminate why there never will be.

I can even see what I am typing that I am probably putting maybe more pressure around it than I should. But, this is a major life revision. I don't want to not do it, but at the same time the closer it gets the more trepidation I have.

On the other hand (the logical one) I am ready for new career challenges, I can buy another house if I want to. I am in a good position. Why this is so emotionally scary is not a mystery.

Maybe I am just overwhelmed but I have to also think, there are a lot of phases to recovery, reconciliation. Do I want to be doing POLF in an RV on our own? At the same time I realize this could be the best thing to happen for us.

Anyway, thanks for listening to this disjointed post. I need to unwind this a bit and try and hone in on some thoughts that I want to share with him. I am a logical person who wants to move forward with the plans, but my emotions are getting out of sorts the closer it gets.

76 comments posted: Wednesday, May 12th, 2021

Mods Please

Thank you!

1 comment posted: Thursday, May 6th, 2021

Mods Please

Comesinwaves would like to add a stop sign to his post. Thank you!

2 comments posted: Tuesday, January 26th, 2021

I don’t know where to put this.

I have been gone for a week, and here all day today. I can’t pretend things are normal right now. H is having an inappropriate relationship. I don’t have the energy to get into everything at the moment. I have told no one. And I didn’t even want to tell you all. I didn’t want to tarnish him to you all. How fucked up is that? I feel maybe more embarrassed saying this shit than anything I have ever posted as a wayward.

I had just posted something earlier where I think my resentment was showing. And I thought to myself - I should not talk about him this way. Then I got mad maybe more at myself and so now I am saying it. I have asked him not to come on for a while until I can sort myself out more. I am hitting submit before I can change my mind.

427 comments posted: Friday, October 16th, 2020

Song on the way in this morning...

This song was very popular at the start of year 2 for me. I heard it this morning on my way to work, and it hit me in the feels.

"Better Boat"

(Kenny Chesney, feat. Mindy Smith)

I ain't lonely, but I spend a lot of time alone

More than I'd like to, but I'm okay with staying home

My how the last few months have changed

I'm smilin' more despite the pain

I breathe in, I breathe out

Got friends to call who let me talk about

What ain't working, what's still hurtin'

All the things I feel like cussing out

Now and then I let it go

I ride the waves I can't control

I'm learning how to build a better boat

I hate waiting, ain't no patience in these hands

I'm not complaining, sometimes it's hard to change a man

I think I'm stronger than I was

I'll let God do what He does

I breathe in, I breathe out

Got friends to call who let me talk about

What ain't working, what's still hurtin'

All the things I feel like cussing out

Now and then I let it go

I ride the waves I can't control

I'm learning how to build a better boat

I breathe in, I breathe out

Got friends to call who let me talk about

What ain't working, what's still hurtin'

All the things I feel like cussing out

Now and then I let it go

I ride the waves I can't control

If it's working I don't know

When I get done, the thing may not float

But I'm learning how to build a better boat

3 comments posted: Friday, October 2nd, 2020

3 years

So, I hadn't planned to make a post about anything today (today is 3 years post DDAY) but H inspired me. If you are a new WS here and you hope to reconcile is what I learned in the past 3 years:

-Work on healing yourself. This is the number one thing you can do. Hand wringing, shame, all of these things are holding you back from being your best self. This also holds you back from being the best husband or wife that you can be.

-Read how to help your spouse heal from an affair,and read other things - listen to podcasts. Read about trauma. Make a mindful practice to help your spouse and your relationship every single day. Become curious about them and their needs. Be aware they may not know what it is they want or need right now and that they will sometimes lash out as a result. Keep trying, pursue them, be consistent and relentless. I feel as if the how to help your spouse heal is important while you are working on yourself - but the goal is to BECOME that person rather than just doing things that others have suggested. The work a WS does in becoming whole, healed, with new skills will make them a better spouse. But, some of those suggestions are more from a fake it until you make it perspective. It's every bit as important to prioritize your spouse, but I say that the WS working on themselves supercedes everything or you will never be a safe partner. You may save your marriage but I feel without the work on yourself it's a temporary save.

-Don't lie. You build trust from day 1. It's tempting because you are afraid. You don't want a divorce. It's counterintuitive to you to give them all the info all at once. You want to still seem redeemable. But, you are most redeemable when you are truthful and I think eventually the BS's truth/BS meter tells them. If you haven't been truthful no trust can be built therefore no R can be gained. Also, by practicing integrity, self respect can start to build. You will feel more solid.

-Bring up the affair. Do not leave it to them. They will try and carry the burden on their own and will resent when they have to bring it up. Making it an open topic at any time will be the best path forward. Getting acclimated to having it as a never ending conversation will serve both of you well.

- Figure out your whys - the whys are your motivation. Then figure out your hows - the hows are your background (like FOO) that enable you to be comfortable with it. Any counselor will steer you in that direction anyway. The reason you cheated and how you were able to do it are internal to you. Do not blameshift.

-Get in IC first, MC comes second.

-Self care: Get enough sleep (Melatonin helped me), avoid alcohol (it's a depressant), exercise (important for mental toughness and happy chemicals, combats depression), take vitamins, eat well. If you want to be able to be your spouses rock, then you need to establish these things so that you are prepared. It takes a lot of mental stamina and resilience to not only get through it but to do the growing you need to do. Self care is also an act of self love. WS are notorious for not having self-love, self-worth, self-respect.

-It feels better to live a wholesome life than whatever it is you have been doing to avoid that. Align your thoughts and actions with that and appreciate when you exhibit those changes. Notice how you feel versus when you use your old patterns.

-Meditation was helpful to me, as was the book "The Power of Now". Our thoughts are not truths, and we base so much on our thoughts. Learn to be a conscious objective observer of your thoughts.

-Work towards the traditional steps of self-actualization. This one is longer term, but it helps to develop other healthy relationships over time. The first year you may not have time for this. It helps to develop hobbies and interests. Bored people are boring, and I think sometimes this is a contributing factor of an affair. A well rounded, self-actualized person is far less likely to cheat because you have learned to fulfill yourself.

There are no guarantees, you can try your hardest but the damage is already there. These are things I think have helped us make it to year three. This and what my BS has worked on combined.

You have to look at this time as bottom, but you CAN go up from here. And, even if you are not going for R, many of these things still apply. You still need to do the heavy lifting because your future still depends on it.

Now, we are off to make a memory.

[This message edited by hikingout at 12:50 PM, September 1st (Tuesday)]

23 comments posted: Tuesday, September 1st, 2020

Iamtrash/Hallmack

Hey guys - I was thinking about you this morning and wondered if you have had your newest addition yet? Or if anyone else had heard any news as I am not sure how much either of them are here?

6 comments posted: Monday, July 20th, 2020

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