@swatter555 - Thank you. I wish had been wiser sooner.
@ChangeMe1 - We all struggle with it, myself included. Knowing it also does not inherently fix it. The really insidious thing about being a WS is that our broken parts are themselves roadblocks to recovery. Not insurmountable ones I think, but challenges nonetheless. Speaking for myself only (although I tend to see a lot of myself in other WS's):
1) I have trouble loving myself and so I define my own self-worth and happiness through others
2) My learned coping skills involve selfishness, self-protection and conflict avoidance
3) Almost everything I do and am is based on fear
At the end of the day, this means:
1) Since I do not love myself, truly loving someone else, honestly and authentically, is not possible
2) I lie to myself and others, sometimes through justifications and compartmentalizations, sometimes just through plain-old direct and deceitful lying.
3) The fear makes it hard for me to see my real self, because I am too afraid to admit who I really am and what I have done. Not only the affair, but throughout life. The fear drives me to lie and compartmentalize (see #2) to myself, which prevents me from seeing the real me and instead I see a version of me that I think is good and self-loving (see #1), but it is still a lie I've convinced myself of.
I basically end up fighting my own efforts to heal. But I am bound and determined to overcome this in my life and in my marriage. My wife deserves it, my family deserves it, and I deserve it.
@FearfulAvoidance - thank you. I find I'm now posting things I wish people had said to me earlier on in the process. When I first joined SI people often gave advice such as, "Sit in it for a while" or "fix your own shit", which while necessary, are very fuzzy in terms of "what does that mean"? But mostly, I think I just need to solidify for myself where I'm at and where I want to be. Hopefully it helps someone else too.
@Root - your response floored me. You are so damn accurate as well. All the self-bargaining and justifying and more than anything, the constant "me me me" point of view... What shocks me now is not only my inability to see it then, but the continued inability still to see it now sometimes, even when I'm looking for it and aware of it.
Thank you for posting this. Maybe it sounds ass backwards, but sometimes knowing it is "not just me" that has this problem helps.
@pigpen64 - I'm sorry brother. I know you are trying, and I know it hurts like hell when you let both her and yourself down.
Imagine that I sold you a very rare and classic car, one you've wanted all your life, your dream car. But the engine doesn't run right, the brakes are shot, the drivetrain rattles, and a dozen other things are just mechanically wrong with it. I keep trying to repair the problems, but every time I fix one thing it seems like another breaks. You may love the car to death, but if it can't be fixed enough to be at least be usable by you, then it doesn't leave you with many options, does it? In truth, I should have fixed the car before ever selling it to you.
As WS's, we are broken cars to our BS's. You and I are very lucky. We are the broken cars and our wives are giving us a chance to fix what's broken. But they need to see us working our asses off to figure out what's broken then get the problems fixed. Until we achieve that, we're just not useful for the purposes we were meant for (i.e. being a faithful, protective and stable person and partner).
Give yourself a little leeway. You can't fix everything at once and if you did, it would be a half-assed job at best anyway. So pick one thing, whatever makes the most difference, and work on it first. This is just my opinion, but I'm guessing that your wife doesn't expect perfection, she expects effort. As long as you keep making the effort, you'll get to the perfection eventually. What I'm positive of however is that if you give up, so will she. So don't let that happen, okay? Cry it out, punch holes in the walls and drink yourself to sleep if you have to, but when you get up in the morning, do so with the sole intention of being a better person today than you were yesterday. If you do just one thing today to be a better person, it counts. Keep making it count.
I'll share a quote with you, from Brene Brown:
“When we can let go of what other people think and own our story, we gain access to our worthiness—the feeling that we are enough just as we are and that we are worthy of love and belonging. When we spend a lifetime trying to distance ourselves from the parts of our lives that don’t fit with who we think we’re supposed to be, we stand outside of our story and hustle for our worthiness by constantly performing, perfecting, pleasing, and proving. Our sense of worthiness—that critically important piece that gives us access to love and belonging—lives inside of our story.”
Try this. Pretend for a moment that you and your wife broke up. She asks you for one last favor however... she asks you to find a man for her that will treat her right. What kind of man would you pick? What qualities would he possess? How would he treat her? Who does she deserve to be loved by? Figure that out. Then go BE that man.
@Brokenbeyondrepair - Thank you, you are very kind to say that. I too hope that your H finds his remorse and empathy, for both of your sakes. I see that you joined SI in September of this year, is that when you found out? Please know that at that point in my own recovery process, my head was still so far up my own ass... my inability to "get it" just kept causing my wife more and more pain. The only thing worse than being lied to is having the person who lied to your face look at you and deny their own culpability, or simply not care. Eventually, I started to see myself in the mirror. Maybe it will happen for your H as well? ((hugs))
@QSN11 - Thank you, I'm glad it did :)