DD asked if we could go for a drive tonight.
Took the kids out into the hills, silent and a beautiful moon overhead. So grateful to have them, and was briefly seized with a terror-
I don’t ever want them to feel the pain their Mother suffers.
I know I’m so lucky to have them and know that they feel their father’s love. And I know I can’t shield them from the world.
And I can’t believe the grace FIL and MIL continue to afford me.
Grateful. Sad our lessons are so hard-learned.
6 comments posted: Saturday, January 30th, 2021
Fixed vs growth mindsets. This is a little bit dated but it was just sent my way and is really relevant. Especially this statement:
“To Dweck’s devastation, the most toxic byproduct of the fixed mindset turned out to be dishonesty”
A great perspective on how we view and respond to the challenge of “failure.” This on the heels of “Rising Strong” where Brene Brown points out that we have such a broad spectrum of failures to face:
Compare minor revisions on a document for work to restructuring your life while adapting to the knowledge that your actions drastically and painfully altered that structure for other people. (Yup, even in the two I tip my hand on the challenge of labeling)
How have folks here adapted to understanding, responding to, and recovering from the shame of failure?
6 comments posted: Friday, January 1st, 2021
R.I.P. Alex Trebek
So sad to learn of his death. I was JUST fortunate enough to play the game and meet him. In fact it airs this Friday, 11/13.
Have to say it was a pleasant surprise how comforting it was to meet him and get to experience the game. I hadn’t expected that to mean as much to me as it did.
Grateful to have met the man.
19 comments posted: Sunday, November 8th, 2020
Am lucky enough to be in Alaska for a few weeks. Walking to work in the snow the other morning brought me to one of my favorite poems, one that I haven’t revisited since betraying my family. Was a perfect reminder of the beauty of this journey, no matter how cold.
“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
by Robert Frost
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”
11 comments posted: Friday, October 16th, 2020
The journey continues:
Have been on a 5 week work trip away from home. It bears a LOT of similarity to the time when the A started 4 years ago. I have been prepared better thanks to sober fellowship and a plan for dealing with anxiety and isolation.
Things that have occurred
- Work has only slight similarities right now, but I found myself wishing for a LESS FAVORABLE outcome today than ideal just to prove a peer right, and another one wrong. It was the kind of scenario I found myself in frequently at start of A, and it’s an interesting parallel to see how eager I was to have a personal “win” at expense of a far broader “win...” Wayward mentality that I really didn’t recognize in this sphere, as such...
- Most jarring, interesting... Have had a couple dreams in the past week involving R.
***First night, the dream had what’s best described as a “pharmaceutical ad” vibe, everything was sunny and joyful. In the dream we acknowledged that it took us a long time to reach this point and hard work continued, but we were both all in, and this was “a step in the right direction for us.”***
***Next night, the dream was drastically different. An overwhelming sense of dread and weight. I don’t remember conversation within this dream, but I remember the look of defeat and resignation from BW, and it permeated everything in that atmosphere.***
This series of dreams continues to refine how I view the future. Most importantly it continues to highlight the distinctions between what R could be for either of us. Bottom line, I continue to relearn that R is not good for her. And my mind appears to be helping reiterate that now.
4 comments posted: Tuesday, October 13th, 2020
Season, grieving, process
It’s now the two year mark of real heinous behavior on my part. Feeling it hard as always, wishing it could be discussed but knowing it’s not relevant.
Really a challenge and fighting what I know is unreasonable guilt that I am mourning my M more than my father’s death. I know intuitively that there’s no wrong way. I also know that he made it very easy to write him off years ago when he for all intents and purposes gave up on life. Mom said the week after the funeral that she was realizing “She was already used to living alone.” I think I’m blaming him for that, so I dunno- Won’t do me any good, and it’s perhaps better prepared HER for this new chapter. She’s really doing well, and all around her continue to step up, so she is well cared for. DD has told me a couple times she misses Papa, so I know it’s on their mind. Offered to discuss but she doesn’t want to because that makes her too sad. That worries me a bit.
Working 12 steps is slow going- I’m ok with that. I understand I have my whole life to get this right, and I don’t expect miraculous change. I am grateful for healthy friends (in and out of the program) and I am doing as much as I can in light of COVID. Putting some intermediate goals in place to ensure that I can find my way to a fulfilling future regardless of outcome.
I dunno, I guess I’m ok(?) Just kind of need to put that here because well, I feel like it. Thanks you guys.
21 comments posted: Saturday, August 8th, 2020
I know this is what I am always on here doing, and I know the short answer. But I feel stuck, and I feel stupid, and I worry I’m sabotaging myself...
Most recent discussion was when I last posted, when BW said that she’s never going to feel the same, and I get that. But I continue to get flooding texts from her- That interval grows longer and longer between, which indicates some progress on her end, maybe.
Those communications are always immediately apologetic. Stating it’s not fair to me to hear this, and that she needs to find another outlet, but isn’t progressing there. I assure her that there’s nothing fair about her situation and I am fine discussing, but that doesn’t occur- It just becomes “Whatever, I’m fine, what’s done is done.”
I know we’re getting divorced. I know her healing is slow to come. I know I am getting better and working hard to be a good father and support her transition.
But I will never turn down trying to work with her.
Why this remains problematic is an increasing sense that this may be something I need to modify. My sponsor was asking me about communication with BW and it really got me thinking about how it affects me- I know it’s a real look at this uncertainty and I can, ultimately, cope. But I also know there is a long lens here, and further that I don’t want to give up.
Long lead-up to... Am I punishing myself welcoming any opportunity for her to vent? Do I suggest she take it elsewhere? I’m just trying to parse why I’m ok with it- Am I shallowly trying to appear the “good dude?” I worry it’s injuring her too... But I can’t dictate how she moves on, AND there’s no way I agree with her thought that it’s unfair to me. I’m fine letting it continue. Is that wrong?
15 comments posted: Wednesday, July 15th, 2020
Limbo no more
Sent a quick note today to offer any help as she moves out and kids are at grandparents for foreseeable future, wound up talking about where we are.
A year ago it was “Maybe she’ll feel different about R in a year or two.”
Six months ago it was “She didn’t know what she wants.”
Today it’s “There’s no chance she’s going to feel the same about me as before, and that doesn’t work for her.”
So my future is determined. Even after apologizing she asked me not to, because she regrets nothing about our amazing experience. Sounds like very complete grief, and the words of a remarkable woman. I think I’m still gonna be here with you all, but what seemed a glimmer hopeful a year ago now sounds like this race is run.
Don’t know what to do, say, feel. Beautiful day and grateful for y’all...
8 comments posted: Sunday, June 7th, 2020
So I continue to spiral here as I think time alone is truly cracking me up...
Good things to come out of this though- Beginning the 12 Steps.
Thoughts as it begins and I reflect on what was, numerically, my "adult life."
-Looking back and trying to decipher what my childhood looked like, I see large, empty expanses. I just don't know what that means, and it terrifies me. The exploration of what was modeled for me- Which if you held criteria of "abuse" wouldn't meet any of them- Is just so baffling. The distance throughout my childhood has become this strange object I'm looking at now and I don't know what to make of it. I always attributed it to parents being older than Boomers and so it was just "their way," but there's so many other levels. I have really tapped into anger at the relationship that persists between my mother and now bed-ridden father: His suicide attempt two years ago (during my A) was when I realized how selfishly he floated through life, and brought a lot of anger and shame to the surface. As his health continues to deteriorate he refuses to do anything for himself but demands of his wife, and it pisses me off. In no small part because it's exactly the kind of taking I was doing for years, and now tend to believe I learned from him.
-I continue to cue off of BW, and I know I need to stop. Her hurt is now hers to process, and I can't seem to muster up the courage to tell her I want to be there to work through it with her. It has previously met with silence or the statement that it's unwelcome. Additionally DD has articulated that it makes her sad to see Mom sad and has asked her to stop crying around her. I don't know (and don't have the standing) how DD's therapist can encourage this but it seems to have been accepted as a valid ask for a 9 y/o- From my perspective I believe it far better to explain to DD that Mom is EXTREMELY hurt and that her sadness isn't DD"s fault. The last part has been at least stated, and I emphasize it when DD sees me sad.
-The concept of "emotional anorexia" is a frustrating specter. As I imagine a future where I'm self-same and living with integrity but divorced, I can't imagine any desire to nurture a new relationship. I'm fairly content with the thought of being out in the wild a bit, and I honestly believe that's OK for me. Just don't know if that's being stubborn- I don't think so, and I guess like all of this, I'll know if I arrive elsewhere.
12 comments posted: Monday, June 1st, 2020
Feel like stuff’s going sideways right now. Normal routine challenges of trying to navigate a slowed (stalled?) D process that seems inevitable but also somehow both more and less intense. No fear of COVID but frustration as it makes my work far less predictable and seemingly random. Now faced with the potential death of who I was hoping would be my sponsor in SLAA as he navigates home hospice and end of life planning. Now I’m in my car crying because I’m so sad for everyone and don’t know what to do about anything.
8 comments posted: Wednesday, May 20th, 2020
Bit of an update up front: Essential services means that while BW went on telework as soon as the shutdown happened, I have been on a normal schedule. We decided to minimize kids’ exposure opportunities in light of this by canceling custody changes.
Hard for her because she is forced to juggle new job and trying to manage the ever changing distance learning schedule for a 3rd grader and a 6th grader- Same district but the schedules seem to be poorly integrated. While continuing to manage moving forward.
For me it’s non-stop silence. I miss the kids a lot- DS texts from the phone every once in a while, and they get to the point after about a week where they want to FaceTime. They’re of the age where that’s not really a way to communicate- So they’ll talk for a few minutes, then get distracted and wander off. Regrettably that places BW in a position to talk to me- I trust she would simply hide if she didn’t want to, but it’s short and appears to take a toll.
The challenge I continue to face is in managing the loneliness. It has led to temptation to reach out that I haven’t acted on- I can manage to keep my perspective but I feel like this shouldn’t be happening still a year plus after NC took.
What I could use: Recommendations on reading for ways to manage this. I’m still grasping to treat loneliness with perceived intimacy. I’m confident I won’t get to the point of reaching out but that underlying struggle to “medicate” annoys me. Is/has anyone else dealing/dealt with this?
13 comments posted: Monday, April 20th, 2020
More impacts felt
Looking for any experience etc with a new weird twist to this crap.
When separation began last March I first moved into a rented bedroom in the neighborhood. Owner is an older divorcee, had occasional dates over as well as a hanger-on who was frequently there, guy about my age (early 40s) who seems nice enough, but just does odd jobs, seems generally a bit “off.” Moved out of there into current place couple months later. Haven’t seen this guy since August.
FF to today- Dropped off DS/DD at their Mom’s for the week. Saturdays consist of catching up a bit, so usually there an hour or two. Stayed a little longer today but headed out around lunchtime.
BW calls me about 45 min later to tell me this guy just stopped by looking for me. Was upset (but polite to her) because he “has video evidence of me creeping outside his house.” BW told him I wasn’t there but passed him my phone number. He said he would call but now hasn’t hours later.
There’s no way he could know address without having gone through landlady’s documents (rental app had that address on it.) The pretense of getting in touch with me appears false. Trying to sort out
1) Potential hazard
2) Way forward
I can’t stand thinking THIS is now in the mix.
ETA this is generally unrelated to A minus moving out because of it. Really looking for anyone with experience who can help me figure out if there’s law enforcement COAs to be looked at yet (not likely it seems)
[This message edited by JBWD at 5:57 PM, February 22nd (Saturday)]
11 comments posted: Saturday, February 22nd, 2020
Shame versus guilt- Nuances
Shame’s got to be one of the most recurrent words on this site, and I am starting to wonder if expanding the vocabulary might help us place natural feelings as opposed to natural, but destructive, feelings. Caveat here is that I assess these in the vacuum of only being able to gauge based off my examinations- I’m certain interpersonal dynamics cause effects I can’t firsthand understand.
I’ll start with definitions as pulled from my best friend Google:
Shame: A painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.
Guilt: Feeling responsible or regretful for a perceived offense, real or imaginary. (We’ll make the statement for WS that the offense is very real.)
In looking between these two, the definition of shame appears drastically more laden with emotion. And I think that is an accurate reflection of how a lot of us feel about the word shame. We can all think of times when we feel the immense weight of having done wrong, and just wanting to curl up and wish it away. In looking at guilt, it looks in contrast like the simple, objective analysis and acknowledgment that “Yes, I did x. I know it was wrong.”
That’s how I see these definitions and it mirrors how I approach them with one major distinction. I feel guilt about having betrayed my family. I at times devolve into shame, and allow myself those feelings of distress. However, I can’t live in distress. I CAN, however, live in guilt, ever cognizant of the pain that my betrayal has caused.
The important element of shame is the motivation to hide I mentioned above. Especially for people who prove to have an unreasonable regard for consequence, this urge to hide can be especially destructive. Simply put, anyone in distress (shame) can be expected to shut down to some degree. I think that becomes especially true of a cheater, alarmed at the reality of what they have done and unable to fix it. This sudden reality of consequence, from how I experienced it, was not an automatic motivator to become a better person. My instinct was simply put, to try to hide from the shame.
It was only when I had the time to get through the shame and overcome my humiliation that I could see the forest for the trees. That’s when my more rational guilt took the pain that I felt and placed it in the proper context, as far secondary to the pain felt by my victims.
My point- Shame is natural. This is a lot to admit to, and I commend the people who hang on here and own it. But shame needs to be transient, because if the distress remains, it distracts WSs from the real truth that lies beyond- That there are victims who have far more to deal with. That far side consists of guilt, which drives accountability. I can’t forget, but I need to keep emotions in check to focus where I need to, which is doing whatever I can for the family I hurt.
3 comments posted: Monday, February 10th, 2020
Songs that describe the situation
“You’re Wondering Now” by the Specials
“You're wondering now
What to do
Now you know this is the end
You're wondering how
You will pay
For the way you did me in
Curtain has fallen
Now you're on your own
I won't return
Forever you will wait
You're wondering now
What to do
Now you know this is the end”
ETA: Lest there be any confusion, I’m hearing this as directed TO a betrayer. Not words I could sing.
[This message edited by JBWD at 9:30 AM, January 28th (Tuesday)]
33 comments posted: Tuesday, January 28th, 2020