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slap my hand - holding myself accountable

Pages: 1 · 2

Rose2206 posted 9/26/2020 16:01 PM

Please slap my hand,

I really want to reach out to my BS. It feels right to reach out. I want to be there for him.
(see the selfishness- I want....)

This NC topic does only seem to get worse for me, not easier. While I am doing my work as promised, all I am learning is to be true to myself (even tho I am still in the process of reestablishing and internalizing mu values)
So, in essence, reaching out to my BS feels right as it comes from a place in me that cares so much about him.
However, his wish for NC overrides my desire. This is how it should be right? That his wish is above mine. That it should not be a question what I do... and yet, I am having this constant internal battle within me about this..
I have told myself I need to explore more why I feel the need to reach out to him, knowing he wants NC. And the answers come down to that I base it off of myself... the times I pushed him away in the past while all I truly wanted was for him to hold me closer and not let me go. - my BS does not have a twisted mind like that,,, when he says nc then I must believe that that is what he needs = what is best for him.... see the struggle?!
So, earlier I was talking with a BS on a different forum that basically then triggered me into the thinking: god, I have to reach out to my BS... but I stopped and then messaged this person back, that while I appreciate the input and perspective, everything I would be saying or thinking about my BS are assumptions. The one thing I know for sure is, that this is about respect ans selfishness vs, being selfless.

apache posted 9/26/2020 16:54 PM

I hesitate to respond, but I feel like a very short, one direction message like:

"No need to respond, but I want you to know I'm working very hard on me for us and I love you" reminds him of your effort and he truly doesn't have to respond.

Something like this would need to be very limited or you truly would not be respecting his wishes. Maybe one last line: "I'll wait for you to reach out if you don't want to hear from me"

Something along those lines.

I recommend you wait for more input because I know I'm kind of telling you what you want to hear and I would respect other input on this.

Good luck and keep up the hard work

JBWD posted 9/26/2020 19:43 PM


My situation bears some similarities to yours, as you know...

I think your thoughts on contrasting your “avoidant” (I put it in quotes because I’m simplifying by using the term here) past with your BH’s request for NC is a good start. I think, though, that you may be employing some confirmation bias by starting there. Perhaps the more critical way to approach it is to devote more energy to getting to WHY you acted the way you did in these scenarios- Simply to say you could devote a ton of time/energy to self-reflection now to offset.

I am in a somewhat similar position, wanting desperately to have discussions about the topic with my STBXW, but those are (potentially forevermore) unwelcome. I think you’re right on that it’s still self-referential to want to try and help him- You’re not going to be able to unless he invites you back into a partnership.

I don’t think there’s harm in Apache’s suggestion, but I would advise putting any such reminder on his terms by finding a time to discuss it when he is willing. Sucks and feels dishonest in some sense, but we have no position to try and offer solutions at this point.

Cornucopia posted 9/27/2020 16:28 PM

Gently, you broke boundaries before. Learning to stick to boundaries is part of your work on yourself. And builds trust that you will do what you said you'd do.
Every time you reach out to him you break a boundary.
Every time you send a message, even with "no need to respond ", you interrupt what little peace the BS has carved out for themself.
My 2c: stick to your word and your rational decisions. That builds trust and boundaries, the two main things that get shattered during infidelity. Yrmv.

MyAndI posted 9/28/2020 14:04 PM

Depending on when your Dday was, If the NC goes on for too long you might consider the 180. You have a right to know your future with BS if you are committed to R and the marriage. You don't lose your rights forever being the WS. A cooling off period is OK, while the BS makes up their mind, but at some point the BS has to commit to R or be on his or her own.

EllieKMAS posted 9/28/2020 15:24 PM

this is about respect
This is it, bottom line. Bear in mind I am the BS, so might be biased towards the BS pov, but if he said NC then stay NC. Respect that what he needs right now might not match up with what you want. And honestly, I wouldn't even do the 'no need to respond' thing either. As a BS, if I said NC and we were NC and I got that, it would piss me off because it feels a) disingenuous no matter how WS might word it and b) like WS cares more about what they want and how they feel than they do about the BS's needs.


This is good and IMHO definitely the right action right now, hard as it may be for you.

Rose2206 posted 9/28/2020 16:11 PM

so, yesterday I did fail reached out and him and I talked. (I told him I knew the risk of me coming there was that he will be forever done with me) A risk I understood and respect either decision. It was "good" conversation. He showed me his frustration and I showed him mine too. This was in person.

A bit later I requested one last phone call. I had thought about the things he had said and I apologized. Told him how frustrated I was when he had reached out last weekend and it put me in this spin of emotions...

he made clear that he understands that my longing for him is not coming from a bad place. But that me reaching out is still selfish. And that it should be what I work on next in my healing process.. That while I changed my core, listening to my own needs above his, even when they come from a good and loving place, it is still selfish..
At first I did not agree with him fully..
Later, after I gave it some serious thought, I did see it. Yes, he is right.

So, speaking on the phone left me with lots of emotions and also motivation. Like something in me clicked once again. This time about this selfishness vs. selfless thing..
While I have been changing so much, being selfless in the midst of 3 months of not knowing anything seems dangerous.. I guess it is a "self protective" thing..
One thing I did tell him is that we are not in R. So, I basically have been working on myself to become a better and safe partner, and in the meantime, I've been alone. Entirely alone. Being selfless in this situation seems like suicide as I had to keep myself together somehow.. One thing that has not changed is my wish and hope for R. I really do believe with my core we could become better and stronger if we both would want that. If we choose us above all else.
While he needs time to heal himself, I am aware that this is my wishful thinking. And due to the now knowing, I think part of me had been holding on to that bit of selfishness to not fall apart..
Well, now, I admit I feel strange, I want to be selfless but I am also scarred. I will not reach out to him. He actually left me unblocked which I know bc it is on an app and I could tell in the past when I was blocked or not. SO, he did not block me again which gives me the chance to show him for real that I am not going to reach out and will respect his need.
Fuck, this whole selfish vs, selfless thing in the midst of not knowing anything is really not as easy as it sounds... so I keep on telling myself, no action is an action...

JBWD posted 9/28/2020 16:28 PM

How do you view your continued violations of NC as selfless?

EllieKMAS posted 9/28/2020 16:42 PM

Have you considered setting up some guideposts for NC? Like maybe you agree to meet once a month to discuss progress, or make decisions? I don't think a perpetual open-ended state of not knowing whether R is on the table is good for either of you. Also, you're working on your own stuff - maybe having an idea that you will have contact on x date would help you to be able to focus more on your stuff and worry less about contact.

Also, are you in MC? IC?

Rose2206 posted 9/28/2020 18:48 PM

JBWD, I don't view it as selfless. That is what I've been trying to work on and continue to.

Being a strong independent person and working on myself and at the same time being selfless is more complicated than it sounds.

In R that is one thing. Being in a stage of not knowing anything entirely alone is a completely different thing. I can't fight for us if there is no us is what selfishness tells me. That I somehow have to protect myself to not fall apart completely.
All I can do is work on me. And then it is my BS decision what he is going to do with that.

There is hope and i am fighting for that hope.

[This message edited by Rose2206 at 7:21 PM, September 28th (Monday)]

Rose2206 posted 9/28/2020 19:14 PM


BS and I are both in IC. Bottom line, I am in no position to make requests..

[This message edited by Rose2206 at 7:29 PM, September 28th (Monday)]

JBWD posted 9/28/2020 20:08 PM

However, his wish for NC overrides my desire. This is how it should be right? That his wish is above mine.

There’s a nuance here- And while it may be extraneous waywards are exceptionally good at tweaking words to their advantage, often without actually knowing it’s happening. The nuance I see is this concept of one over the other- We often, when viewing things transactionally, see the process as one person gets what they want and the other doesn’t. And it paints us (especially selfish people, you know, cheaters) as the victim if we’re not the winner. I know you don’t think you see yourself that way, but when you choose those words, what does it convey to you? Remember Covey’s “win/win” concepts...

While I have been changing so much, being selfless in the midst of 3 months of not knowing anything seems dangerous

Can you explain how? What have you been doing that is selfless? Do you mean to say you have been egoless, working to remove yourself from reactivity, separating thoughts from feelings?

Being a strong independent person and working on myself and at the same time being selfless is more complicated than it sounds.

How? Is selfless not an attribute you would like to foster as an integral person? Complicated and difficult are two separate things.

Pippin posted 9/28/2020 20:46 PM

Rose, you are white-knuckling. White-knuckling doesn't work, at least in the long run. You'll either break NC or do some other self-soothing behavior. Any self-soothing behavior in the long run is not good (even if it's going to the gym. Ask me how I know! My injury is finally healed, 2 years later).

Do you know the chocolate chip cookie/radish experiment? A group of people were tempted with chocolate chip cookies - the smell, the sight of them, etc. Then some people were given the cookies to eat and some people were given radishes. Then, seemingly unrelated, everyone was given a difficult task. The people who got the radishes made fewer attempts, gave up more quickly, didn't persist, etc. The conclusion was that there is a GENERAL reserve of willpower/self-control that is used across a variety of tasks and that it can be fatigued and depleted, at least in the short term. You are exhausting your self control every day and no good will come of it. Your work will suffer, friendships, health, etc. You need an off ramp.

I heard a podcast a while ago that helped me a lot - I'll see if I can find it for you. But here is a decent summary. I have no idea what research it is based on but it worked for me.

We (humans) have five primary emotions. When all is going as it should, we experience these emotions in waves. They enter our body, spike up, flow through, and leave our body. They are signals to us that are meant to be helpful in figuring out how to navigate the world. Love - this is a good thing for you, get more of it! Anger - something is unfair or unjust, it needs to be fixed! Primary emotions are supposed to be helpful.

Things go awry for a few reasons. The culture you are in might tell you one of these emotions is not OK (i.e. anger for women or sadness for men). Your FOO might screw one or more of them up (a mother might feel that she is not doing a good job when her child is sad and shut down their sadness). Or an individual might experience something in such an overwhelming way that they resolve never to go near it again. If you have an overwhelming experience with sadness you might retreat from anything that might be sad.

When primary emotions go awry the result is secondary emotions. We are NOT programmed to deal with these and they are NOT experienced in waves that then leave the body. They spin and spin around and become intolerable. Then you seek to soothe yourself from them.

You get out of this cycle when you re-learn to sit with the primary emotions as they wave through your body and leave (that's the off ramp). This is all that mindfulness stuff. Observing what is happening inside of you. I'm really sad. It's normal to be sad, I have experienced a huge loss. The sadness I feel right now will not be here forever And so on.

Secondary emotions: guilt, enthusiasm, depression, pride, vulnerability, regret, anxiety, contentment, disappointment, happiness, hope, jealousy, frustration, shame, confusion, lonely, trust, satisfaction, peace, resentment, confidence, optimism.

Primary emotions: Joy, anger, fear, love, sadness

You might find surprises when you go looking. I realized with a jolt that the emotion that was shut down in my FOO for me was love. Because if I shared that I loved something (like math or swimming) or if I showed loved to a person, instead of that being celebrated and more given to me, or the love returned, it was used as the thing that was taken away. My love of math was diminished because it made my little brother feel bad about his lack of achievement. I was taken off the swim team as a punishment for something trivial. So I stopped sharing what I loved and stopped even admitting that I needed or loved. When they relented and said I could go back on the team, I said no thanks, I'm good. What you took away - I never really cared about it. You can't possibly hurt me if I don't care about anything. The secondary emotions were pride, loneliness and confusion. (This also explains why I don't experience much guilt or shame, even after infidelity. I was used to saying nevermind, you don't matter much to me, you go your way and I'll go mine and we'll both be fine, even about my marriage).

This can also help you identify sources of STRENGTH that you can use. My family was great at helping me through fear (not in relationships but in sports, academics, moving independently through the world etc). Fear was not shut down or shamed but rather acknowledged and I was supported through it. As a result . . . I am not afraid of very much! (consciously experiencing and sharing love is the big one, but I'm working on that). Rose, I am super brave! And that has led to enthusiasm, hope, happiness, confidence and optimism. I can use all of those things to help with the stuff that I'm working on.

So. . . . you have an enormous amount of guilt and shame. You also have a fair amount of enthusiasm. Where did that come from? What else do you see in yourself? Can you stop spinning those secondary emotions?

Rose2206 posted 9/28/2020 22:55 PM

Dear JBWD,

There’s a nuance here- And while it may be extraneous waywards are exceptionally good at tweaking words to their advantage, often without actually knowing it’s happening. The nuance I see is this concept of one over the other- We often, when viewing things transactionally, see the process as one person gets what they want and the other doesn’t. And it paints us (especially selfish people, you know, cheaters) as the victim if we’re not the winner. I know you don’t think you see yourself that way, but when you choose those words, what does it convey to you? Remember Covey’s “win/win” concepts...

I do believe sometimes the fact that english is not my first language does play a role in the way I express myself.. While I am fluent, german sentence structure is entirely different and the common conversations much more blunt and way different.

That being said, I must not use that as an excuse, merely as a possibility of influence in the matter in the way I express myself. What I want is what I can not have. It is not meant as victim mentality, more so as statement that I am aware these are the consequences of my infidelity and betrayal. The pain and suffering I brought upon my BS.

Can you explain how? What have you been doing that is selfless? Do you mean to say you have been egoless, working to remove yourself from reactivity, separating thoughts from feelings?

I meant that so far I have not been/ &struggling to be selfless. I’ve been working hard to change the core of who I am. And I am happier than ever with what I am becoming. In the same moment I look at it with sadness and guilt. The cost. Why did I not go to IC a year ago?! 4 years ago?! Why did I not pick up a book and read about relationships/ self development etc.. How was I not aware of the darkness that slowly took over?!

In general I’ve been examining my own motives, thoughts and actions. The brain can trick us very much. Building strong, core values is the foundation to a selfless wholehearted being. How I ensure I will not go back to that twisted way of thinking I had. Ensure I will not betray the love of my life ever again. I am determined to continue the work. Not “just” for my BS or the wish of R, but also for myself! I do not want to be the way I was ever again!

How? Is selfless not an attribute you would like to foster as an integral person? Complicated and difficult are two separate things

I am selfless in many ways. I have been selfless growing up, at work, my former volunteer jobs, for family and friends.. In fact, I always gave everybody else everything before thinking of myself…
In regards to relationships, I myself have been betrayed before,. Wounds that I have never healed.. It is not an excuse but a reason. I hustled for love. The feeling of worth. Never felt I was loved for who I was vs what I could give.. I read you comment and must say I am ashamed. I see my fathers way of being in my behavior. The selfishness… I’ve been acting like my father ,, and I do not want that.
So now, I have uncovered all these things in IC. When I say I am alone, then I mean I am literally alone. Being selfless seems very scary. Giving my all is something I am afraid of. Giving my all meaning, showing my truest and deepest self to my BS.
I thank you for your comment and perspective. I needed this. An objective honest observation. And you are correct. I must remember covey's principles.. Selflessness will give my BS what he needs, and him getting what he needs is what I need. It is a win/ win. Also, I do not want to be like my father. I want to be myself. My true self. Not hide it anymore behind defensive (selfishness) armor!

JBWD posted 9/29/2020 00:02 AM

I am so sorry, I did not want to make you feel ashamed.
And I realize now that it sounded accusatory.

I come from a second generation German home, and wonder if we might fall victim to a sense of obligation- The kind of obligation you describe in your father’s shaming. I have found subtle ways to shift that obligation based on my understanding of Buddhism and Taoism, where “right conduct” puts us most in line with our natural state- The integral self, as Covey would phrase it. So that strong sense of right and wrong, and obligation- I serve in the military and resonate very strongly with the notion of duty- can be more softly harnessed to place our actions in line with what is natural: To be honest, vulnerable, loving, compassionate.

The placing others above as selfless is powerful and I imagine could come from a similar place. I think it’s important to think through what the expectations were when that was modeled TO us- Because I definitely felt similar pressures and believe the underlying message was “Then you are owed.” That may be off base...

Please accept my apologies and know that future questions are solely inquiry and not designed to invoke emotion. It’s a different challenge to do this on one’s own, but the group is, as you have seen, insightful and supportive. Keep digging!

Rose2206 posted 9/29/2020 13:23 PM

you're totally fine! No hard feelings at all here!
Seriously I needed that to be pointed out to me and thank you for it!
As I am only talking on here and with IC about this, besides my own thoughts it is good to get different view points and this is the reason I can push through obstacles. After all, the struggles and obstacles are within our own mind! No matter if we put them there ourselves or due to influences from the past, they are in our mind.
So getting an outside perspective and especially from someone that's "been there" is valuable!
I was not raised strictly what is right or wrong, honestly, it was my fathers way or no way, later then my stepfathers way or no way.
I am just exploring parts of my FOO and discover many "interesting" things. I can't blame them as I am sure they act the way they believe to be right, however, I am glad that I stopped being that way/ fighting to become different. Simply being aware of these things puts an entirely different light on my former way of being.. how is it that I was not aware?! The answer to that must lay in FOO. Nobody ever questioned themselves, instead they act based upon do what you feel you need to. Looking back, there's no empathy or generosity.
My mom is very loving but also very co dependent, and I guarantee that she has no idea herself that she is.. My grandma is very loving and selfless. So, bottom line, this is part of my healing process. To explore why I became the way I was. IC is focusing now very much on the here and now. She said what is in the past will not be forgotten, but in order to be who I truly am, I must life in the present and think of the future. It is good to review the past, to visit it but then also let it go. She advised to basically have "visiting the past - sessions" ..
idk yet what the right approach is,
but since the last phone conversation with my BS and then the comments on here that day, something in me clicked. Not once did I pick up my phone yesterday. So far today not either! I continue to miss my BS so very much and I am afraid, but it is different again. Like it evolved somehow. The paradigm of win win. He needs NC for himself to heal. I want what is best for him. So him healing is my win. I truly want the best for him and it seems that the wall and defense of selfishness loosened the grip of my thoughts.
So, Thank you JBWD!

MrCleanSlate posted 9/29/2020 15:35 PM


It is good to see that you are doing some reflecting and starting to work on yourself.

Perhaps the best you can do for now is change the paradigm so to speak - look at this NC time as the time YOU need to focus in on fixing yourself.

You have this in you, I can see from your posts above. Indeed you are not in R, but to get to point where perhaps R is on the table will take time.

I gave of myself to help others, always thinking i was being selfless. I volunteered at school, coached, helped my parents, friends, etc. I realized after D-Day how I was really doing it for very selfish reasons to feed my ego, for the public recognition, etc. It took me a lot of counselling to really come to grips with those behaviours.

Keep digging, it will take time and you may surprise yourself which paths this will take.

gmc94 posted 9/29/2020 15:41 PM

Call me a simpleton BS, but I don't "get" this repeated breaking of NC, and the idea that keeping NC is somehow "selfless". I understand that English is not your native language.

I think that Ellie's suggestion to create a "check in" period is a really good one - but then your response is you are not in a position to ask for anything.... even when you are breaking your BS' boundary of NC - -KNOWING (and telling him) you are risking him being "forever" done with you for that?

Rose - I don't say this to shame - can you see the contradiction between:

I am in no position to make requests
and breaking NC whilst telling your BS:
I knew the risk of me coming there was that he will be forever done with me... A risk I understood and respect either decision

Gosh - the contradiction between saying you "understand and RESPECT" his decision (to cut it all off bc you again broke NC), while actually breaking his decision for NC (which is itself a sign of DISrespect) AND acknowledging he may be forever done with you by breaking NC? IOW, what I hear is basically "I respect you, but not enough to abide by your boundaries AND I know that breaking that boundary may cause you to D, but I'm doing it anyhow - because..... what? bc you can't stand being alone? You can't stand keeping NC? You can't stand knowing he's hurting and want to control/fix him? Something else?

Gently- as a BS, that would send my lizard brain into quite the rabbit hole. My PTSD brain would be screaming that this breaking of boundaries - for the WS own "needs" - is no different than the breaking of our vows for WS own "needs". Again - NOT trying to shame here - trying to show a different lens through which this may be seen.

I'm not really talking "about" the specific actions..... its really the mixed messages. As a BS, I would not find those mixed messages to help return trust - which is crucial.

Rose, I know you are hurting and frantic and trying your best. Your posts speak to some solid digging into your past that has got to be difficult and enlightening and scary and hoepful and a ton of emotions (including the secondary ones - shout out to Pippin). And.... this is a MARATHON not a sprint. It takes a lot of TIME to process it and work through it and make lasting change - for both the BS and the WS. Lots of folks on SI recommend Pema Chodron, and the big takeaway I've gotten from that is learning how to be comfortable IN the UNcomfortable. To find ways to moor ourselves to ourselves and feel strong in the midst of a fast flowing river of pain and shame and anger and all the rest.

I agree with Pippin - you seem to be white knuckling while waiting for your BS to come around. That may or may not happen. YOU have ZERO control over that. You do have FULL control over yourself and how you choose to recover, heal, change, etc.

And I'd talk to the IC about setting some parameters for NC. Most separations would include some contact - often with an IC/MC - for a "check in". While I don't really agree that - at least during year 1 - the WS should be setting a time limit for S or NC, I also think that an indeterminate S with NC can add more anxiety to both BS and WS.

btdi posted 10/3/2020 02:19 AM


I am not going to mince any words here. You need a hard slap into reality.

I have been following you since your first posts. You have come across as a self entitled, self absorbed boor. While claiming you have been working on yourself you had refused to accept responsibility and criticised WS who regress. The forum called you out for it.

Your self centred behaviour continues. You choose to break no contact for your selfish reasons. So let Been There Done It .. btdi explain.

Currently your BS is evaluating whether to continue the relationship, tallying up the ayes and nays. And if he has any sense getting a exit plan in place if things don't work out. Nothing personal, but a ws has to look out for themselves. That's why it is all so nice and civilised, so that the ws has no inkling. You actually need to be scared about a guy with icy self control saying the right things.

Whoa..a ws who should be asking for mercy telling a bs we are not in R !!! My X made such statements and I did not react cos getting X defensive would have made it difficult to change the status to X.

And you keep on adding to the nays. Don't need a genius to show you the road you are taking.

Some folks have been inciting you on getting a "decision by" date. Get off the kool aid. If the bs takes one and a half year, the ws can wait for that time or ride out into the sunset with the AP or alone.

Rose2206 posted 10/3/2020 19:36 PM


you are right in saying that I have continued to be self absorbed, I will add to this that it comes in phases.
During the day I go through moments when I am strong and "do my thing. Do the work (and yes, there has been lots of progress). Then, reality kicks in. I am entirely alone and I fall into depression for moments. These are the times when I had dreams to just end my life.
I've never been suicidal in my life. It scares me.

I am trying to be completely honest on here and have been taking all comments straight good and bad and I think about them.

Yes, I have broken NC. And I am SO VERY frustrated and mad that I have!!! It is my biggest fail of all that I have broken NC multiple times to my BS!

There is only one explanation to it: rejection and loneliness are triggers. And often I have been able to overcome them. And then there's been moments usually due to other triggers that then lead me to fold and reach out.

Btdi, I hate those moments! I'm not on si to get pity or show how great I am (god knows I am certainly not and have a ton to learn.) The core of me however has mostly changed and there is still lots of work ahead of me.

While I do appreciate all feedback on here, also you "slap into reality", I am not as blind as I used to be anymore either.
Lots of things have changed since my very first post on SI.

I am on here to get feed back. To figure out how to stop the "fail" moments.
Being aware of the problem is a step. Fixing it, is another step. That is were I am at.

I am well aware that breaking NC displays to my bs that I do not respect his request. I know it. And I am so very frustrated and mad at myself that I have broken it!!! So, I'am here trying to solve the problem.
I would not give my BS a timeline. There is no such thing. He knows when he knows, until then, I want to lay humble on the ground and wait while building myself up to be a safe partner.

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