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Wayward Side :
Still not getting the most basic concepts, and have not changed

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 wantstorepair (original poster member #32598) posted at 7:18 PM on Tuesday, December 28th, 2021

It has been a long time since I have been on here - part of my problem that I arrogantly thought I could figure this out and change without help. I cannot and have not.

I currently live at BW's home conditionally but have managed to really screw that up to. The conditions are not hard... 1) Don't argue, minimize, justify or defend. 2) lean in to events, especially holidays which I have made traumatic from my cheating and lying. 3) Provide consistent good meals for everyone, and 4) answer her questions with yes or no, not my usual justifications, platitudes or excuses as to why I am right.

Pretty simple and gracious of her right? Yes.

Yet I insert my justifications into my thinking all the time, which turns otherwise simple conditions of service for my family into selfish choices.

How do I stop rationalizing and justifying alternative choices in my head? How do I accept simple yes or no answers when I always feel like there are so many details, extenuating circumstances that need explaining to give a full answer?

I have thought about this a lot and know I am certainly afraid of being wrong when the situation does not seem so black and white, so I try and make a choice that makes sense - despite it being contrary to the conditions of service and being here. It goes sideways every time, yet I keep doing it and am not learning. It really is simple yet I'm making it so hard.

Thank you in advance for the help.

posts: 143   ·   registered: Jun. 26th, 2011
id 8706297
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EllieKMAS ( member #68900) posted at 8:24 PM on Tuesday, December 28th, 2021

BS here - no stop sign.

This stuck out to me.

I have thought about this a lot and know I am certainly afraid of being wrong when the situation does not seem so black and white, so I try and make a choice that makes sense - despite it being contrary to the conditions of service and being here. It goes sideways every time, yet I keep doing it and am not learning. It really is simple yet I'm making it so hard.

Because I'll share something with you - everyone is in the wrong at some point. And as much as we all wish it was black and white, the world is primarily shades of gray. The trick is learning to live in that gray area comfortably. And even though I'm a BS, believe me I have struggled with that in my life too.

So my question to you about that quote is this: what is it that you fear will happen if you're 'in the wrong'? Seriously - what is the worst case scenario? What are you afraid of in sharing your simple yes or no truth? Why do you feel like you have to be 'right'? (I like being right too, so I've struggled with this one as well).

Because in my experience, the people who constantly need to expound upon things/rationalize/justify are tap dancing around their own truth out of fear, out of denial, for a myriad of reasons. Truth IS simple - it just is what it is. And even if there's your version and my version and the actual version of the truth - each of those on their own are really pretty simple. And here's another secret, other people don't have to agree with your truth. Your own personal truth is borne out of your experiences and choices and history, so if someone doesn't 'see' it that way, it doesn't mean you're wrong and they're right or vice versa - it simply means that personal truths and convictions are very individual things.

It has been a long time since I have been on here - part of my problem that I arrogantly thought I could figure this out and change without help. I cannot and have not.

This is a really good realization on your part - because there is no shame ever in asking for help. Even if your marriage ultimately doesn't survive this, getting comfortable with the discomfort of change will do nothing but good things for you. All change is hard and good change is the hardest of all, but it is always worth it.

"No, it's you mothafucka, here's a list of reasons why." – Iliza Schlesinger

"The love that you lost isn't worth what it cost and in time you'll be glad that it's gone." – Linkin Park

posts: 3294   ·   registered: Nov. 22nd, 2018   ·   location: CO
id 8706310
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BraveSirRobin ( Guide #69242) posted at 8:33 PM on Tuesday, December 28th, 2021

Have you made any progress in figuring out why it's so scary or offensive for you to accept that you're in the wrong?

My father was raised by a real "tiger mother." Failure was not an option for her oldest son. For a while, this seemed to be a recipe for success; he graduated from a poor family living in a rural area to getting an Ivy League scholarship and advanced degrees. However, he was so traumatized by the pressure that he was filled with self loathing if he made the smallest mistake. If he misplaced his keys, he would rant at the top of his lungs that he was a useless imbecile who should be shot. Ironically, he was very aware of what parental pressure had done to him, so he didn't do the same thing to me, but I got the message from his furious self-criticism anyway: screwing up means you're worthless.

Meanwhile, my mother, who was exhausted by this behavior (which he hid until after they were married), had learned blameshifting at her mother's knee. I unconsciously internalized that, too: if you've done something wrong, DARVO to protect yourself. She typically did this retroactively instead of in the moment: the taxes were late because Dad didn't sign them, or the roof leaked because he wouldn't call a roofer, or the holiday cards didn't go out because he didn't like her newsletter. Now he's been dead over a year, and she's still trying to find ways to blame him for things she didn't do last week.

I'm sure this makes them both sound like terrible people, but honestly, they were way above average. They both loved the hell out of my siblings and I, and they worked hard and sacrificed a lot to help us be successful. There were no drugs or beatings or neglect. The trouble was that they were too hurt and angry to face their own demons, and so they were very warped role models for self esteem. I accepted this as normal, the way kids do when they don't know anything different, and was in middle age before I looked back and said, "Holy hell, that was seriously fucked up."

None of this excuses my infidelity, but until I saw it, I couldn't change it. So what can you see in yourself and your history that makes it so hard to accept accountability?

WW/BW 50s (Me)
BH/WH 50s (TimeSpiral)

posts: 2379   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8706313
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 9:43 PM on Tuesday, December 28th, 2021

Um ... I hate to be wrong. I often make mistakes I recognize. I shudder to think of the mistakes I make that I don't recognize.

All I've got for you is questions and one not so simple recommendation. You're the only one who can get you out of your corner.

What do your inner dialogs say? Who tells you that you are, in effect, hopeless? Who takes hope away from you? Who tells you to choose pepper when you know salt is right? By 'who', I don't mean the person from whom you first heard the message. I mean who is the person in your head who tells you to do these things.

And not by the way, do you ever tell yourself you've fucked up when you actually did the right thing?

Is your BS right in her complaints? I'm not looking for an answer to 'from her POV, is she right?' The answer that counts is yours - do you really think she's right??

What I'm saying is this: I think that you're responding to and obeying voices in your head and that your way out is to change what they say.

It's not easy to do. Changing the messages is not guaranteed to save your M. But I think that changing the messages is virtually guaranteed to make your life better.

Are you in therapy? If not, a good therapist can help. I suggest telling a candidate IC what you've told us and ask if the therapist is able and willing to help you change your self-talk; if they say 'yes', ask them how they work (homework or no homework, for example). Sign up with one who says 'yes' and who works a way that seems congenial to you.

If you're in therapy, raise the self-talk issue and ask for help. Therapy is in some ways always about changing self-talk.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 9:46 PM, Tuesday, December 28th]

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 26513   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8706318
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