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Season, grieving, process

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JBWD posted 8/8/2020 15:44 PM

Itís now the two year mark of real heinous behavior on my part. Feeling it hard as always, wishing it could be discussed but knowing itís not relevant.

Really a challenge and fighting what I know is unreasonable guilt that I am mourning my M more than my fatherís death. I know intuitively that thereís 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 ďShe was already used to living alone.Ē I think Iím blaming him for that, so I dunno- Wonít do me any good, and itís perhaps better prepared HER for this new chapter. Sheís 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 itís on their mind. Offered to discuss but she doesnít want to because that makes her too sad. That worries me a bit.

Working 12 steps is slow going- Iím ok with that. I understand I have my whole life to get this right, and I donít 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 Iím ok(?) Just kind of need to put that here because well, I feel like it. Thanks you guys.

ChangeMe1 posted 8/8/2020 21:38 PM

hey JBWD

You're doing alright man, acknowledge process and move on.

I'm glad to hear your mother is getting support but make sure and take care of yourself as well. You're not an island and you don't have to shoulder things alone.

Feel free to hit me on a PM if you want to vent, or just be heard.

Being alone is tough, how we got here doesn't change that.

JBWD posted 8/10/2020 23:52 PM

Thanks CM!
One foot forward..,

JBWD posted 8/27/2020 11:46 AM

Things Iím noticing-

1) BW is becoming less and less communicative. That has been excruciating for a while now, and owning that this is what I set in motion doesnít help very often. I miss her. And I know she canít miss me after how much Iíve hurt her. Weíre barely a mile away from each other and all I can really do is hope sheís getting better.

2) FOO digging is helping me think through: Where my silent expectations came from. I have ALWAYS dreaded the ďfriend zoneĒ but lived there often- Because insecurity led me to befriend girls/women since there were no ďthreatsĒ as opposed to an imagined competitiveness among male peers. But I always lived waiting for things to come to me. I would latch onto a female friend and delve into realms of fantasy about relationships, intimate and sexual, that never developed. Because I was more afraid of being rejected as sexually undesirable than keeping myself in a painful state of ďhalf-in.Ē This was also remarkably dishonest.

So Iím reframing and understanding. I am still very much struggling with that- The hope that BW will recognize the progress Iím making and re-assess our relationship. And thatís a continuation of this same pattern.

Whatís funny about said pattern is it NEVER ended as I hoped/expected and consequently is almost laughable that Iím fighting this as though it was an entrenched habit.

MrCleanSlate posted 8/27/2020 12:44 PM


I've see a lot of growth in you these past months and I must admit I admire how you are able to really lay it out there in your posts.

All you can do is keep working on yourself. Who knows what direction things will go from there.

EllieKMAS posted 8/27/2020 16:36 PM

So Iím reframing and understanding. I am still very much struggling with that- The hope that BW will recognize the progress Iím making and re-assess our relationship. And thatís a continuation of this same pattern.
I get wanting that but whether she does or not, please embrace that all the work you are doing is doing such good things for YOU.

I'm a BW and I will just second what Mr Clean Slate said and say that I appreciate the perspective you share so freely on SI and have seen so much growth from you in my time here.

Keep up that good work for yourself - you deserve it.

JBWD posted 8/28/2020 00:34 AM

Thanks for the encouragement yíall.
While itís been a slog lately this revelation has helped. Itís been useful to recognize that this is the only way Iíve ever dealt with shit like this, and so itís not surprising and helps understand why Iím feeling like I am. Finding the pattern is a 1st Step mark of progress, so all this stuff is happening.

And appreciative you all see something too. Iíd be far worse without you all!

DaddyDom posted 8/28/2020 13:04 PM


I'm glad to see that you are still here reaching out, and still taking steps in your personal life to grow and change and move forward. Infidelity destroys everything, that is true, however, it does offer us a silver lining as well, and that is that it offers us a rare glimpse into ourselves, who we really are, and allows us to rethink that paradigm and make changes... if we are willing to do the monumental work of changing. It sounds like you are all in.

So Iím reframing and understanding. I am still very much struggling with that- The hope that BW will recognize the progress Iím making and re-assess our relationship. And thatís a continuation of this same pattern.

I'd like to point out this one passage however. I don't blame you for thinking this, and I hope your BW sees value in your efforts as well. However, this is (IMO) you still hoping to control the outcome somehow, or at the very least, doing things for perhaps the wrong reasons. Ask yourself, "Who am I trying to change, and why?" I'm not saying you shouldn't hope for R, but there's a difference between hoping for some rain, and doing a rain dance in order to force it to happen.

The goal, ultimately, is to love yourself. To be okay with who you are, as you are, for yourself. To stop that need to be fed and petted and handed your self-worth from others. As long as you continue to see yourself as a commodity instead of as a whole person, you will continue to live an empty life, expecting others to make you whole. And that is not the goal here.

Because insecurity led me to befriend girls/women... I would latch onto a female friend and delve into realms of fantasy about relationships, intimate and sexual, that never developed. Because I was more afraid of being rejected as sexually undesirable than keeping myself in a painful state of ďhalf-in.Ē This was also remarkably dishonest.

It is great that you can see this now. How does it make you feel to look back at yourself and see this behavior? How is life different for you now? How do you see yourself handling future relationships so that you don't fall into the trap of being needy?

I hope my comments don't come off as accusations. You are doing great work and in a decent head space. It can be so easy to back-slide into old ways of thinking however, so it is good sometimes to get a little nudge to keep us on track. I'm four years in and still hit a back-slide every now and then. The big difference now is that my back-slides are shorter, less severe, and I am able to either see them on my own, or respond better when they are pointed out to me, and recover before they take me (and everyone else) down. That's the result of a lot of therapy and a lot of work. But it happens. So give it time, and don't give up.

Hang in there my friend. As ChangeMe1 said, reach out to us if needed. This is a very stressful time for everyone, even people not dealing with these issues are suffering from depression. Keep yourself focused and reach out to others as needed. We are here for you. Keep up the good work.

DaddyDom posted 8/28/2020 13:04 PM

*dupe post*

[This message edited by DaddyDom at 2:15 PM, August 28th (Friday)]

JBWD posted 8/28/2020 15:30 PM

However, this is (IMO) you still hoping to control the outcome somehow, or at the very least, doing things for perhaps the wrong reasons.

Absolutely, and itís been frustrating me as a result. The process of accepting this has been frustrating- I call it the ďJohn Hughes SyndromeĒ of hoping that some day itíll all become apparent- This update was about understanding where that comes from, which helps me manage. So itís best described as WISHING for R but KNOWING itís not coming. I believe I am oriented properly, but itís been slow-going viscerally accepting the end of the relationship... And Iíll tell you that the backslides you describe DO occur in the form of ďWhy wonít she R?!Ē

The Steps and fellowship are helping manage these.

JBWD posted 9/6/2020 22:41 PM

Talked with my sponsor today and I have completed my 1st Step!

Spent a wonderful 1st week of ďintro distance learningĒ with the kids- Sneaking them off to a relatively empty beach early on Friday created some memories that are still keeping me going now!

Had an interesting session with IC on Tuesday, guided meditation to connect with my inner child: We wandered into my childhood bedroom, and at the conclusion I felt such fear as I havenít ever experienced(!) It has stayed with me all week, meditation has proven difficult as I tend to encounter a wave of panic.

Iím getting ready to head up to LA tomorrow to be a contestant on Jeopardy on Tuesday- Itís been a lifelong dream of mine(!)

Thereís all this goodness, and I have so few people to share it with. I feel so very alone.

BearlyBreathing posted 9/6/2020 23:27 PM

Well you have us_ and weíre all rooting for you. Good luck on jeopardy!

JBWD posted 9/7/2020 01:05 AM

Thanks for rooting!
Got in a run after flooding here and really caught my breath.
Tomorrow begins an adventure- Onward.
ETA: The very fact that I shared here proves how askew that thought was above...

[This message edited by JBWD at 1:06 AM, September 7th (Monday)]

MrCleanSlate posted 9/9/2020 08:21 AM


Man, congrats on Step 1!!!!

Meditation never worked for me. I did however find mindfullness helped.

I remember my IC pointing out next time I eat an orange to consider how it got into my hands, the grocery store staff wiping off the dirt and placing it just so, the trucker that drove it from the food terminal avoiding that pothole, the person who picked the fruit from the tree taking care not to bruise it, the person who pruned the tree and perhaps admired how the fruits were growing. It kind of made me stop and really appreciate things as I slowed down and enjoyed each bite of that fruit that took so many people to get it to me.

Take some time and just appreciate whats around you.

Good luck on Jeopardy. I'm jealous as I always wanted to be on that show too.

JBWD posted 9/10/2020 09:25 AM

Jeopardy complete! I canít discuss outcomes but will let folks know when itís airing...
Ken Jennings I ainít, but such fun!

Historicalcosts7 posted 9/10/2020 09:53 AM

Thank you for sharing and I look forward to seeing you on Jeopardy!

JBWD posted 10/3/2020 16:23 PM

Work has brought me to Alaska for about a month. Beautiful terrain, was lucky enough to see the Northern Lights last weekend- Faint but beautiful, first opportunity Iíve had to see them!

Being immersed in work has brought a lot of bad memories back- Situations that I previously faced with rage, despair and pettiness. I am in a slightly different position, but it all comes together to be a real pleasant surprise to understand the scenarios and the emotional reactions better. I knew I was going to feel challenged on this trip because of the folks Iím around: Thereís one or two folks I really enjoy, but would not be safe and a radical departure from the sober companions I still keep in touch with digitally.

My biggest challenge to presence, and something that is, quite honestly, causing too much angst- Post-retirement career. I have about 3 years left before retiring from active duty, and the follow-on plans have been ambiguous. I know (fairly reasonably) that STBXBW will not relocate if I do. I also know that we live in a fairly expensive corner of the country, and that the kind of work I WANT to do wouldnít pay the bills there, and is not really an option there anyway just based on the amount. So I had most generally anticipated just biding my time until the kids are out of the nest, which is slightly under 10 years off... Thereís enough defense industry work that is financially rewarding (that has never been high on my list of priorities but takes increased prominence in supporting the family) that I could tread water until moving is possible.

The kicker is this- I recently cold-called a company that is in the industry Iím looking to get into, and they indicated that I could find an entry-level place in their organization based on my military background. Their exact words were basically ďPut in an application as soon as you can...Ē Iím over the moon. BUT.

I donít know if I can in good conscience leave my children any more than I already have, both pre AND post A. On the one hand, I know that it would be possibly gut-wrenching to say goodbye to my kids like that. On the other, I am already 2 years into living for now and while I can keep that going, this dream job calls to me. As embarrassing as it is to say, Iíd say my idle moments are a split of longing for R and longing for this job.

At what point is leaving not a selfish act? I sit here and physically hear my motherís angry reprimands of being selfish, and imagine the pain I continue to inflict... Thoughts?

gmc94 posted 10/3/2020 23:07 PM

JBWD - I hear and know this dilemma. FWIW, I'm reluctant to share my personal experience, as I feel confident there were several factors at play in my sitch.

In any event, my mother moved >1k miles away about a year after she and my dad divorced. It left some pretty significant scars for me and my siblings. As I said before, in retrospect, I can't say that her moving was the sole - or maybe even primary - source of the hurt I internalized. She is a whole lot of broken in ways she's never addressed. So, I can't say that had she moved AND actually worked on those broken parts if the impact would have been as severe. The impacts of that abandonment (both the physical and emotional) have not been easy to process or heal from, despite a LOT of IC on this front (it wasn't until my late 20s that an IC even began to shed light on the damage).

I guess I would REALLY look into the impacts of abandonment upon a child, as IME, I don't know how that move - on the heels of a D - would not impact any child.

Now, I also think that those impacts may also depend on the time you would still spend with your kids compared to the time they see you now. E.g., if you are currently on something like every other weekend, and you could maintain that while living away, that's a consideration. But my home is about a 2hr drive from my out of town job, that I started when my youngest was 16. But I still missed a TON of concerts, games, school events, etc. That hurt her - and I was still home every weekend. Her dad attended all of that stuff religiously, so she WAS represented, so to speak. But she was not represented by ME. And it did matter to her, though she would NEVER have said so (just as I NEVER said so to my own mother).

At what point is leaving not a selfish act?
I'm not trying to shame you (and from what I've read of your posts, you seem to have a pretty good grasp on that and a host of other things - you appear genuinely committed to doing the work, so to speak). However, this is a chance to really look into the potential damage before taking action (which I suspect was not part of the decisionmaking WRT infidelity). And I suspect you already know the answer (mother in your head or not).

JBWD posted 10/4/2020 12:36 PM

Thanks, GMC.

Your experience is appreciated, yes there are a lot of variables involved that canít be captured here. And yes, you did hear my answer bleeding through the background noise.

I think this actually morphs into a broader question about if I can ever get to the point where Iím not paranoid about being selfish. I know that I have spent most of my life self-referenced, and even the times where I was being ďselflessĒ I can draw a pretty clear line to the expectation of being repaid lurking beneath the surface. As I examine my future though, how do I find a balance between doing the things I find fulfilling and meeting obligations? Parenting is the only thing that was there before I blowtorched things and where I am now- Everything else has changed so drastically and diverges from what I had hoped (see my hope/hopelessness post and revel in the discrepancies between this and that!) to the point where my lack of imagination is kinda embarrassing.

How have others resolved the non-relationship side of adapting to this change? Goals that must shift, etc...

[This message edited by JBWD at 3:38 PM, October 4th (Sunday)]

MyAndI posted 10/5/2020 16:09 PM

"Really a challenge and fighting what I know is unreasonable guilt that I am mourning my M more than my fatherís death."

For real, why should you mourn the death of your father more than killing your M? Did your father pass through to the other side feeling betrayed and hurt by you?

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