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Wayward Side :
This time is going to be different!!

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 CheetahRose (original poster new member #79545) posted at 11:16 PM on Wednesday, July 6th, 2022

I've been lurking for a while. This forum has been incredibly helpful. I've benefitted so many times from your collective wisdom and experiences. In spite of the depth and breadth of the anger, sadness, betrayal and trauma represented here, I'm so encouraged by the grace, the genuine desire to help and the bravery shown as well. This place is truly a gold mine.

My story is really complicated. OK no, it's not. it's straight out the cheaters handbook look it's just the worst I've seen here. I belong in almost all of the I Can relate forums. I've never been diagnosed with as a SA (and now have no sexual or relational compulsions at all - still struggling with a BUNCH of other shit though) but my behaviors were compulsive, intensely dishonest and absolutely gutting for BS for many many years. My A's started in high school (with BS - but my actual first 'A' was in middle school when I got my boyfriends best friend to crush on me and make out in the stairwell) As far as affairs with extra 'ick factors', I check most of the horrifying add ons, including our oldest child being the result of an A with our best high school friend. (I have been diagnosed with CPTSD and just recently - maybe- BPD. It's tricky because there is a lot of overlap. (also same with ADHD, another area of struggle ) Not terribly relevant anyways as the only reason I care about a 'diagnosis' is to make sure I'm using the most appropriate tool for management and recovery, but also I'm sharing to be authentic and honest about my portrayal of myself and my situation - I'm aware of my approval seeking and the compulsion to edit so others will see me in a sympathetic light. Also, I am an addict, just not sex.)

One reason that I'm posting now is because my BS and I are once again going to do 'something different' to try to bust out of the horrible cycle we're in. We're about 5.5yrs out from the latest D-Day [that A had been over for 20 years, but it was one of the worst (the worst of the double betrayals, the one I was going to carry to my grave) and led to the disclosure of all of the rest, including the most recent AP (also double- had been over for a couple of years at last D-Day)] and a fairly complete breakdown on my part. Breakdown/ breakthrough fortunately - and I began to truly change. not just stop cheating. We had only ever rugswept before last D-Day.

It has been brutal. We are in reconciliation now, but we're both exhausted and really ill. My BS needs so much more than I'm giving him and is still caught in the same emotional flashbacks as in the first year or so after D-Day, often lasting for days. I can point to some really big gains in perspective, healing and growth for both of us, but we are really stuck right now. Unfortunately he married a really sick person who did horrible sick things to him and now needs that sick person to be well enough to help him recover. It's heartbreaking.

Our big move currently is to separate more fully - I spent last night in my RV and will continue to stay out of our room. We've made moves to separate before but haven't been successful (got back together too fast, didn't use our time to work on ourselves, etc)

The plan is #1 to devote our time and energy on self work. We both have massive FOO trauma as well as all the injuries two hurt and dysfunctional people would experience and inflict in a normally dysfunctional relationship AND the most horrific betrayal trauma and subsequent CPTSD for BS. Neither BS or I had a safe place or people in our FOO and when we met (at 16) we fell hard for each other and with such relief to have met our 'safe' person. I became unsafe for him within a year and am still struggling to this day to be a safe partner. It's such a fucking tragedy. He is to his core a good human and deserves peace and to be well. #2 phase is back to affair recovery and establishing I'm safe for him and #3 build a new relationship. We've been jumbling those three goals up really badly for a long time.

The reason I'm posting right this minute, is because I'm going to be doing everything I possibly can to make 'this time' different. I need help. I'm such a fucking mess and he is abandoned over and over again in his struggles because I don't show up in the way he needs me to.

I'm committing to posting here and making my first post right this minute (I've been working on this first post and a thousand other comments in my head for months and months!) even though I don't have time to really dig in right now.

I'll be back and try to get clearer about our story, our current situation, and what I intend to accomplish here at SI.

Right now I'm going to clean the top of our dresser that hasn't been uncovered in probably a year so it looks nice when BS comes into our room, then do a section of the bathroom counter that he uses. Then make mushroom tea and go do Internal Family Systems practice on shrooms in the RV. (Anybody familiar with IFS? So far it's the been the best for me of all the healing/therapies I've ever attempted. It really makes sense to me. I'm currently taking an online 'course' using IFS as well as IC.)

Even if I disappear (totally possible!)and this thread goes nowhere, I want to express my gratitude for all of you who show up. For yourselves, your BS's and to give to others. Thanks beyond words.

Lordy, it's already been 3 hours since I started this post. I haven't finished the dresser or counter or drank tea. Now BS is home, and he invited me to go for a walk. It's true that I need exercise as much as I need air right now, but I honestly don't know if I'm doing the right thing. I just know I want to, so here I go...

posts: 8   ·   registered: Nov. 1st, 2021   ·   location: United States
id 8743593
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WalkinOnEggshelz ( Administrator #29447) posted at 2:24 AM on Thursday, July 7th, 2022

Hello,
I just wanted to welcome you to SI. It sounds like you have a lot going on and perhaps organizing yourself will help to sort your thoughts.

Have you started any reading or worked on a timeline?

You said you are an addict. Are you getting help for that? AA or NA?

You said you want to devote your time and energy on self work. What does that mean or look like for you? How do you plan on holding yourself accountable?

I hope you continue to post. SI can be a great resource!

Me: WS late 40’s
Him: BH (HoldingTogether)
D Day: 7/24/2010
If you keep asking people to give you the benefit of the doubt, they will eventually start to doubt your benefit.

posts: 15349   ·   registered: Aug. 27th, 2010   ·   location: Texas
id 8743607
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 CheetahRose (original poster new member #79545) posted at 4:02 PM on Saturday, July 9th, 2022

So far, I'm proud to say this time has been different. Baby steps, but that's typical -- all of our forward progress has been incredibly hard fought.

I appreciate your post WalkingOnEggshells. The first order of business really must be getting organized. My approach has been scattershot and a lot of error.

'This time' BS has laid out something of a plan for his own process, and I will be writing and posting my plan ASAP.

We've had a tragic death in our family and are preparing for a memorial today. Hearts are heavy and I'm feeling really grateful that we are able to support each other.

I don't know about the accountability piece. How do I establish tools/resources to keep me accountable? I think writing here consistently will be important for me.

posts: 8   ·   registered: Nov. 1st, 2021   ·   location: United States
id 8744018
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MIgander ( member #71285) posted at 7:10 PM on Monday, July 11th, 2022

Hi CR, welcome to the club noone wants to join. It's good you're taking initiative here to post. That's a good first step. I'm going to walk through some of the things you've said here and hopefully give some clarity with what I've learned so far.

(I have been diagnosed with CPTSD and just recently - maybe- BPD. It's tricky because there is a lot of overlap. (also same with ADHD, another area of struggle )

This is more important than you may realize as it will give you a lot of context and background for why you react emotionally the way you do. CTPSD from childhood can lead to the development of BPD, which is why there is so much overlap. BPD looks like narcissism sometimes, but really stems from deep insecurity and abandonment issues. ADHD is a hard thing to overcome- one I struggle with daily. The ADHD side is a physical difference in your brain- it is not something you can "just work harder" or "form better habits" or "just medicate" to overcome. Habits, meds, IC, all that can help alleviate the major disturbances ADHD can cause in your life, but it will never go away. The best thing I've found is to work hard on self acceptance and seeing myself as resilient. I may not be consistent, but I am PERSISTENT. Persist, get back up, keep going and don't give up on yourself. All that will be important in your recovery.

Also, look into youtube videos about the cluster B disorders, "The Body Keeps the Score" (talk from writer on youtube), Dr. Ramani on youtube is another HUGE resource. Cluster B's don't develop in a vacuum. Many BPD's are raised by narcs and trained in their DARVO habits from a very young age... ask me how I know. The key difference is BPD's know they're fucked up and hate that they're fucked up, to the point where we actually seek help. Might not make things bearable for your H, but do it for yourself. Getting help is THE CRUCIAL difference between being able to improve and heal (BPD) vs. being stuck and doomed to be a shitty human for the rest of your life (narc).

but my actual first 'A' was in middle school when I got my boyfriends best friend to crush on me and make out in the stairwell

Why do you see this as an A? It seems like you're carrying this for a long time. Why? You were in middle school. I have a middle schooler at home who is embroiled in all the fun boy-girl dynamics that start at that age. You didn't know what you were doing and how harmful it would be and made a shitty impulsive choice out of a lack of wisdom and self discipline. ADHD and likely the wonderful example set by you in your FOO. It's good you own it as a shitty choice, but you can't learn from it until you heal from it. Carrying baggage like this only allows yourself to stay attached to your fuck-up and identifies yourself as a fuck-up. Instead of seeing yourself as someone who fucked up. Minor, but again, crucial difference.

Breakdown/ breakthrough fortunately - and I began to truly change. not just stop cheating. We had only ever rugswept before last D-Day.

This is huge. If we don't break down, we can't grow. Like before seeds can be planted, soil has to be broken up so the new seed can be planted. If you've been made of hard baked clay like me, it's a TON of force and effort that's needed to do that.

I don't know about the accountability piece. How do I establish tools/resources to keep me accountable? I think writing here consistently will be important for me.

Do you have passwords to your accounts written down somewhere? Putting together a list of usernames, passwords and accounts and giving that to your BH is going to be very helpful in a first step towards accountability. It sounds kind of lame, but now when I need to text a dad in our kids' school about something, I either copy his wife or my H. Do you consult your BH on your plans? Do you text him regularly when away? Do small thoughtful things throughout the day for him? These are good first steps toward accountability.

Do you have more basic details of your situation? Outlining things like:
-Married how long?
-How many kids, how old, who is their father,
-Affairs- number, dates and with who (ie: coworker, old friend, etc)
-DDay's and how much your BH knows

This info is not to be nosy, but to give us and yourself a clear layout of the situation so those more experienced with things particular to yours (double betrayal, other children) can give you advice.

Wishing you the best as you heal.

PS. Are you doing the shrooms therapy under the guidance of a psychologist/psychiatrist?

WW/BW Dday July 2019. BH/WH- multiple EA's. Back at it again- bantering w the younger woman. Lied about blocking phone calls and deleted texts. Carried on with her.

Nothing changes if nothing changes.

posts: 773   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8744241
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 CheetahRose (original poster new member #79545) posted at 5:02 AM on Tuesday, July 12th, 2022

It sounds like you have a lot going on and perhaps organizing yourself will help to sort your thoughts.


I feel almost completely untethered. 'Perhaps organizing myself will help to sort out my thoughts' is an epic understatement. I think right now it's the most important thing.

I felt like for my whole life I was the ball in a rigged, nonsensical pinball game. Only the ball is sometimes made of hot lava, is sometimes invisible and sometimes doesn't remotely obey the laws of physics/rules of life. I've just now become aware that I'm not the ball, I'm the whole pinball game! It's exhausting. Lots of flashing lights, moving parts and reactive bumpers (trauma responses/victimhood/dissociation/compulsions). Now I'm trying to really see the ball (behaviors/issues/lies) -- I'm trying to trace back and simultaneously follow the trajectory, while being aware of how that ball will interact with the bumpers (reactions/emotions) that give it energy. I know I need to understand and deeply connect with the ball, heal the spot where the ball was launched, stop the ball crashing into another bumper and ricocheting off to bust out of the display and do more damage elsewhere -- and as soon as I can actually focus on the ball long enough to maybe interact with it, another ball gets launched into play. Continuing on with the pinball analogy (which is ridiculous, and I don’t even like pinball and I can’t seem to stop) is that I’ve pulled back my focus and for the first time see the massive devastation that I’ve caused. Every single thing in proximity has been damaged by flying balls. Beautiful, precious and good things. It’s often overwhelming to see that whole life view and I can only stay with it for so long or I either shut down (sleep, use) or shame spiral. The horrific juxtaposition between who I allowed myself to think I was (I didn’t just pretend for everyone else! I bought the bullshit too!) and who I actually AM and what I’ve done is … staggering.

Have you started any reading or worked on a timeline?


I've done lots of reading. Most of the books I've seen recommended here. I just started re-reading DaddyDom's getting to the real whys thread. (I think I have a pretty good idea about the hows - I’m still a ways out on the whys. I just don't understand yet what I was really getting from them [the A's and other behaviors] but I'm getting closer. This is an area that's been really hard to examine. I don't mean painful; I mean literally difficult. My mind skitters away from following a line of inquiry and the next thing I know I'm mentally in another thoughtstream or I'm just blank, if I am able to refocus. Returning to a thread like DD's is really helpful for me. Sometimes I gain a different perspective or find another angle to approach.)

I have no timeline. Something just popped up as I was considering my timeline and revisiting each A; There are some AP's that BS rarely ever mentions, some where there is a single recurrent aspect or example, and some that are given a huge amount of time, returning to the same issues again and again. I'm going to write a timeline and look particularly at the bits that continue to come up for him.

You said you are an addict. Are you getting help for that? AA or NA?


Nah, I'm fine for now. I'm super lucky that my current addictions are manageable. I'm a dopamine seeker and I absolutely use substances in ways that aren't healthy. I'm dependent on cannabis and (aside from occasional tolerance breaks) I'm not going to stop using for now. The benefits outweigh the discomfort at this point. My biggest addiction is scrolling. I feel like it’s taken up years of my life. It's the most effective tool I have to completely check out. I used to be a gamer, but that was highly addictive for me and also a platform to develop inappropriate relationships (EA's of mostly the time suck, fake, ego stroking varieties) and two A's. Sugar and harmful food is next, which I'm addressing by white knuckling avoidance. I'm allowing but modifying my scrolling -- I'm limiting 'screens' to SI. And work.

You said you want to devote your time and energy on self work. What does that mean or look like for you? How do you plan on holding yourself accountable?


Right now it looks like almost everything. There's not a single thing as important to me, or that takes up as much of my time and focus. I feel a sense of urgency that I must change. I'm running out of time. Currently on the personal side, I'm wading through some really tough aspects of years of CSA. I've been a lifetime goldstar champ at dissociation and have only recently been able to actually touch it. I'm seeing an IC I like a lot. We've had 3 sessions and a couple more to go, then I'll need to pause for a while. I'm doing online/zoom courses, and reading/listening to books on trauma and Internal Family Systems Therapy. On the R side I am working on my whys in conjunction with examining some of the FOO stuff and what I think is the most important is getting to the defensive or unempathetic reactions to BS. It's so incredibly painful for him. He's in a terrible place and my responses make it worse.

I don't know how to hold myself accountable. I am convicted that having a practice everyday is something I need. Specifically a scheduled time for meditation/IFS work and exercise. Right now my hours are almost entirely unscheduled. I'm struggling to do any one thing for more than one day in a row. I'm struggling at almost every aspect of adulting. I do the things that I absolutely have to, and I can take the next step in whatever project is immediately in front of me, but it takes an enormous amount of energy to overcome the resistance. I've never consistently shown up for myself. Promises are routinely broken.

posts: 8   ·   registered: Nov. 1st, 2021   ·   location: United States
id 8744314
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 CheetahRose (original poster new member #79545) posted at 3:03 PM on Tuesday, July 12th, 2022

I just realized we're using accountability differently. Both Eggshells and MIgander. My BS doesn't need anything from me as far as trust to not cheat. passwords, location etc. I've spent nearly six years since last D-Day (and a couple of years before that) being as accountable as he needs, and he's completely comfortable, as am I, that we don't need to worry. Something changed for me so that I can trust that I will never again exchange a single word, glance or take a step out of integrity with someone else.

posts: 8   ·   registered: Nov. 1st, 2021   ·   location: United States
id 8744349
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 CheetahRose (original poster new member #79545) posted at 3:27 PM on Tuesday, July 12th, 2022

Thank you for your message MIgander. I'm working on my timeline and I'll post the outline of the M and A's in my profile and then address some of the specifics of your post.

It made me cry a bunch. It's nice/awful to be seen.

Many BPD's are raised by narcs and trained in their DARVO habits from a very young age... ask me how I know. The key difference is BPD's know they're fucked up and hate that they're fucked up, to the point where we actually seek help.

Thanks for that, and also hello sister. I'm so sorry you know.

posts: 8   ·   registered: Nov. 1st, 2021   ·   location: United States
id 8744353
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MIgander ( member #71285) posted at 8:41 PM on Tuesday, July 12th, 2022

Hi CR,

Yeah, it's a shitty club to belong to, but you're here with fellow travelers who won't judge you- just hold you accountable for BS thinking and doing laugh Kinda an AA for waywards who are sick enough of their own garbage to actually start cleaning up their act.

I'm going to circle back to the ADHD thing. Reading your writing style, it looks a lot like mine when I wasn't medicated. I write novels still, but I'd like to think that I've been more focused in the last 2yrs that I've been medicated. Are you medicated? There's 2 different pathways to check- methylphenidate derivatives (Concerta/Ritalin) and amphetamine derivatives (Adderall). They're metabolized differently in the brain and it's important to know that if one is causing severe side effects (like sleeplessness after the 1st week or complete loss of appetite, dry mouth, shakes, etc), that it may be a good idea to try the other chemistry. It takes a week to get in the groove with the medicine and adjust, so you have to give each of them a fair shake. Like caffeine affects some people more than others, these chemicals are like that too. Anyway, I'm not a psychiatrist, I just know one laugh

It's a little discussed thing with ADHD too that a lot of the symptoms look like CPTSD- results of childhood abuse. Hypervigilance, erratic moods, pleasure/attention seeking, risk taking... all of these things are methods that CPTSD sufferers use to numb pain from past abuse. It's also a nature and nurture thing. Like, our brains literally have different wiring from "neurotypicals" but the environment we grew up in just exacerbated it. Like a kid from a long line of alcoholics- they're susceptible and maybe display some of the behaviors, but can cope better if coming from a healthy loving household than one that's a total train wreck- the coping skills are just that much better. It sounds like from your posts that you didn't get the supportive environment that would have helped you overcome some of the inborn tendencies us ADHD'ers have.

Also, ADHD isn't just in the attention, impulse control and focus area either. Again, little talked about, we have difficulty regulating and calming our emotional responses. Ferrari engine, bicycle brakes. rolleyes We literally have fewer regulatory neurons that modulate our brain traffic. Like a huge intersection with no stop lights, things just crowd through chaotically (ever seen footage of rush hour in Mumbai? That's what we're dealing with here laugh ).

All that to say- keep in mind that the ADHD is likely there and hardwired, but the crap childhood you had (CSA) only made it worse. Since your brain is so hyped up all the time, the only things that really stimulate it are the extremes- emotions, drama, risks, pleasures, etc. Treating the ADHD on a chemical level will give you the space you need to better process the CPTSD in therapy. Knowing this can help you set your expectations for your therapy and help you better direct your healing. It will help you weed out bad IC's or know when your good IC has done what she can for you. It happens that you'll go as far as an IC can take you, but need to focus on something different that another IC has better experience dealing with.

It might be good to seek out a psychiatrist experienced with adult ADHD patients who also has a background in rehab treatment. Since you've alluded to being an addict to substances before and are currently doing the VERY new shroom therapy, you'll need a prescribing doctor who knows his or her stuff. Get your GP involved too- they'll need to track your medications so they can monitor things like liver and kidney function, blood sugar (I'm hypoglycemic and ADHD meds exacerbate it- metabolism is faster and appetite suppressed), etc.

That's a lot of info, stuff that took me over a year to learn and a ton of shame spirals and self blame to break through to get the help I needed. I'd like to help you avoid any self condemnation for needing help for things that really can't be helped. My sister said to me, and it really helped, "Diabetics have to take insulin, depressed and ADHD people need their meds too. It's not the diabetic's fault they have diabetes any more than it's your fault for having depression and ADHD."

WW/BW Dday July 2019. BH/WH- multiple EA's. Back at it again- bantering w the younger woman. Lied about blocking phone calls and deleted texts. Carried on with her.

Nothing changes if nothing changes.

posts: 773   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8744419
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pureheartkit ( member #62345) posted at 7:14 AM on Thursday, July 14th, 2022

There is help for the carb cravings. Also the crashes that come after eating lots of carbs cause mood swings and disturbance. You can get yourself on a good cycle again but it takes a little time.

If you think of your liver and brain as a team it helps. You get Hungry, eat, then your liver makes sugars for your cells and stores glycogen for later when the sugars gone. When the glycogen is used up, your brain turns on the hunger again. That's how it's designed to work. If you don't eat again, your brain looks to use the fat stores. Snacking disrupts this design.

What works really well for lots of people is to try for 3 or 4 meals with space between them. Eat lots of vegetables and just a fist sized portion of carbs. We all need healthy carbs for good brain function. Try and get some good fats in there too. That moderates the energy and feeds your brain tissues. Olive oil, sesame oil, fish oil, flaxseed oil. When you add these, your moods will improve.

If you're going to have a sugary snack, please eat it with a meal, not alone as a snack.

I used to look at the time when I ate a big pasta bowl or waffles with syrup or bunch of cookies. A few hours later then I'm moody and hungry. Often feeling down or restless or sad for no reason. Nothing bad happened in the day to cause it. It was the result of that sugar crash. The food was the cause.

So you have some control over your brain and thoughts and emotions by foods.

Good foods will give you much needed emotional support. Try for whole foods without chemicals that your liver has to get rid of. The more you can do this, the better you feel.

I know this place is for talking about making better choices and healing and I think healthy eating fits in perfectly with it. We are not separate from our bodies. Our minds and bodies are one. All our friendly gut bacteria are there to help our health and moods. If you begin to eat the foods that they like, you will feel a huge shift in your health and moods. The bad carb craving bacteria get replaced by the good health building bacteria. It's not just you craving the carbs, those bad bacteria are crying out to your brain to be fed.

Healing is a steady progress that you work on every day. Tell yourself you're going to try your best every day. Maybe some days you have more energy to make more progress. And please try and get the best sleep you can. Sleep is essential for health, for moods, for energy. If you can get a good pattern of sleep and keep your last meal 3 hours before bed, you will see some great things begin to happen. All the best restorative processes will kick in and then every day you will be set with the best possible chance to make good choices.

I'm glad you're here. May every day bring you encouragement. Don't give up, keep your mind on where you want to be.

Thank you everyone for your wisdom and healing.

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 CheetahRose (original poster new member #79545) posted at 11:56 PM on Saturday, July 16th, 2022

BPD looks like narcissism sometimes, but really stems from deep insecurity and abandonment issues...


I considered narcissism. Initially, I rejected the idea because I believed in my core I was a 'good person'. I was obviously so capable of empathy and unselfishness, look at proof x, y and z! Ask so many opinions! Even ask people I've hurt, taken advantage of and lied to! They'll still say how kind I am at heart, so loving! I eventually considered narcissism seriously, because how could I possibly have made all the selfish, ego serving, heart breaking choices I have, and believe that I give a FUCK about anybody besides me. To risk so much for sometimes so little with complete indifference to the harm I knew (should have known, anyways - big disconnect there) it may cause- to the very same people who would describe me as loving. To be able to look with honest eyes at how many people I've hurt with such callousness and not be a narcissist seemed impossible. I just decided I was a very clever narc with delusions of being a real human, so evidence that pointed to me actually desiring happiness for others and acting with generosity was a self manipulation. And honestly how many WS's can look at their behavior and not check most, if not all of the narc boxes?

I don't believe so any more. I don't know what to believe yet about how I actually got here and even who I AM, fully, but I've crossed narc off my list and am examining BPD. The resources you listed are great and I'm getting a handle on all the ways I line up with some of the subtypes and where I land on the spectrum. I've been so chaotic in my 'research' it's been difficult to settle. Throw in the untreated ADHD issues and it's hard to be organized in either my approach to understanding or implementation of tools/treatments.
This sentence:

CTPSD from childhood can lead to the development of BPD, which is why there is so much overlap. BPD looks like narcissism sometimes, but really stems from deep insecurity and abandonment issues.

is one of the clearest ideas to float through my head in a while.

ADHD ... is not something you can "just work harder" or "form better habits" or "just medicate" to overcome.

I've only ever tried the "work harder" approach. Get a BuJo! Want it more! Check out great ADHD content on TicTok!! I've been resistant to ALL medication to a ridiculous degree (hmm... secondary gains to consider there ...) but I'm open to it now. I'm interested in how the physical/neurological changes of CPTSD line up/overlap with ADHD symptoms. Old me would have decided I'll just heal from the CPTSD (there's this great lady on youtube! yes!! subscribed!) and then ADHD symptoms will disappear! If they don't, THEN I'll look at actual treatment. Current me thinks I'll just stfu with that bullshit and see what an actual expert suggests. Your second post... so SO much good and pertinent info. I appreciate the time you took to write all that out. So much really landed. I actually made an appt yesterday to see a GP!! I have literally been working on getting that appointment made since SEPT!! We're going to talk about ALL the meds and I'll get a psych referral. I'll be sure to find one specializing in adult ADHD and addiction.

That's a lot of info, stuff that took me over a year to learn and a ton of shame spirals and self blame to break through to get the help I needed. I'd like to help you avoid any self condemnation for needing help for things that really can't be helped.

Thanks for the shortcut. I feel like I owe you a year now.


I am PERSISTENT. Persist, get back up, keep going and don't give up on yourself. All that will be important in your recovery.

Me too. I'm really proud sometimes. (by proud I think I mean relieved and grateful) I come from a long line of profoundly hurt people who have done a lot of hurting and I'm the first one to open my eyes. I will never ever give up on myself. I believe I have one precious life and I am determined to achieve agency, to live in integrity, and to make whatever amends I can in the time I have left.

but my actual first 'A' was in middle school when I got my boyfriends best friend to crush on me and make out in the stairwell

Why do you see this as an A? It seems like you're carrying this for a long time. Why?

It feels like an A. I can have compassion for teenaged me, understand the shame I carried because of what was happening to me and see how my behaviors make sense, but I also cheated on my boyfriend with the same wayward behavior and dishonesty that I repeated over and again later. I mentioned it to highlight how far back it went, but I minimized what actually took place. These were sweet boys (8th and 9th graders) who had been best friends since kindergarten, and it hurts me now to think how callously I treated them both, and how wrong and hurtful their first experience in relationship was for them. This wasn't just making out in the stairwell, they were both 'in love with me', and I was giddy with how much attention they paid me - how special I must be! I kept them on the hook for years and years even after moving away from MI back to Oregon and fuck, I just remembered something I may not have fully disclosed to BS. The month or so before our wedding 'the best friend' came out to the west coast with another buddy to ski and stayed for a few days (we were all friends, including my brothers) and we kissed. He (said) he was surprised when he saw me that he still had feelings for me. Like it should be him and I together. He adored DD1 who was about 5 or 6 months old and felt like she should be 'our baby'. He felt like a scum bag, but because I loved him first, he wanted to throw it out there. Was I sure I was doing the right thing? I said I'm with BS and he vamoosed. We're still friends. I know I told BS about the conversation, but not sure about the kissing. Shit. Bad timing for this to come up.

Are you doing the shrooms therapy under the guidance of a psychologist/psychiatrist?

I wish. It's been legalized in Oregon but we don't have the structure to use it therapeutically just yet.

I also wish I hadn't mentioned it, at least not so flippantly. I should have at least written a disclaimer. I personally don't need to work with a professional, but I highly recommend it for others, and although I benefit from solo use (because I have enough education and experience for it to be useful for me) I think my sessions would be more effective with skilled support. Psychedelics can be an incredible tool if used safely and respectfully and I'm optimistic about their broader therapeutic use. I'll eventually be offering support services adjacent to psychedelic psychotherapy. (so why did I mention it? I know I was engaged in a bit of verbal vomit and tried not to censor or edit too much and just post the damn post but also... what was the point? Was I just showing off? To whom? To what end? I'm normally v resposible re psychedelics)

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 CheetahRose (original poster new member #79545) posted at 3:05 AM on Monday, July 18th, 2022

Edited to say this post needs a bunch of editing. I posted too soon! Ill fix it later.

(I also deleted a bit I'll post about later)

We've been married 32 years. Met and started dating at 16, married at 19(him) & 20(me)

Affairs from 1988- 2015

DDays ranging from 1988 to 10/2016

Serial cheater. 16 PAs at least 10 EA's - working on a timeline including relationships that weren't friends of the M. 

DD1(32) I got pregnant at 19 during an A with AP4

DD2(30)

DS(26)

BS knows everything. We're currently in R and struggling. Sometimes I'm so incredibly grateful for the grace I'm being shown. BS says he knows the real me, trusts me and sees how hard I'm working.  Sometimes I'm so sad and sorry that BS is broken enough to stay with me, and I know I'm selfish not to leave. It's simply too much to recover from, and I have not helped the process enough. 

In fall of 2016 I admitted to everything I could think of at the time, including 2 of the very worst of the worst A's. In 1994 I highly sexual PA with his cousin (best friend kind of cuz) who was staying with us, as well as a ons with cousins younger brother. In 2004 I had a PA with a close friend that we then went into business with in 2008 and currently (in 2016) owned and ran several companies with (him and a third partner). Our marriage and life as we knew it ended. I told BS I would do whatever he wanted, I would respect any way he needed for things to be, but truthfully I don't know what I would have done if he had just called it for real and gone NC. I see some pretty extreme outcomes.

We stayed together more or less and spent the first year or two HB but that began to wane into year 3. In a lot of ways, it was so so good while it lasted, but also caused some ish that we have yet to work through. We separated for a couple of months once (in theory) and many many times just stayed apart for a day or several. It was unpredictable enough I carried backpack with essentials that I carried instead of a purse. Our separations were necessary during super intense times, but for the longer ones not as much -- we had way too much contact (and still that crazy good sex) and it wasn't as helpful as it could have been.  I went in and out of complete mortification at the realization of what I'd done to him, deep compassion, remorse and empathy for him. I remember thinking early on that I couldn't imagine ever feeling angry at him again. How could I? What could he ever do? Unfortunately he was relying on the same fucked up person who was capable of that degree of abuse to be sane and self aware enough to help him heal. I wasn't sane or self aware.  I was still pretty distanced from what *I* had actually done and although I could see how awful and crazy he felt, my remorse didn't heal me, and I wasn't able to stay in that unselfish humble place. I also didn't have a good grasp of just how much trauma I had inflicted and eventually I felt frustrated that his process wasn't as linear or as fast as I thought it should be. I actually uttered some bullshit iteration of 'you just want an excuse to be unhappy" on more than a few occasions. I could always come around to a compassionate place, and offer apology and amends, but the fact that I even got there to begin with, FFS, was an outrage to BS. Every single time that he was triggered or dysregulated and I didn't interact with him with love, he felt betrayed all over again. There was a big complicating issue for me in the first year, he had an intimate friendship with a woman that I repeatedly lost my mind over. (I don't think I came to a reasonable place with that until *maybe a year ago)

I think we were somewhere in year 4 or so before he decided that he was truly committed to R but that has understandably been questioned and reversed a thousand times. 

BS has never done any IC but has agreed at times to go. I think he has CPTSD  (from FOO abuse and trauma, then me) and suffers from severe emotional flashbacks that are excruciating and sometimes last for more than a week. He sees me as the cause of his anger and feelings of worthlessness and is %100 convinced during those times that I am his enemy. I'm choosing to fuck with him, knowing what it does to him but not giving a FUCK because I'm a selfish, souless abuser. There are no boundaries as to how he interacts with me from that place of anguish and betrayal. There is no level of disrespect that's unwarranted. It's understandable, and I truly get how unbearable he feels during those times, but it's gotten to an intolerable place for us both and we are committed to change. 

Here's the up: I really want to be with this guy. He is a GOOD person. Good all the way through. He checks all my boxes and he always has. I'm attracted to him, I want to be near him and touch him and our sex is phenomenal. I like the way he thinks and his unique perspective about things. He's funny af, and did I say wikked smart? He's really a goofball and smart/absurd is my kind of funny.. I want him. He has a quality that draws people to him, he's a good friend. He was an imperfect, but truly good dad for our kids and they love and respect him as adults. When we are good together, we are magic and I want to die having loved him the way he has deserved to be loved and never has. Not yet, not for his whole entire life. I am planning for 40 more good years and I want to spend them making him feel that I understand the gift I've been given and how glad I am to be with him every day. We've built some beautiful things together and I can't quite wrap my mind around the idea that I have a chance to keep them. He can be a raging dick, but I can own so much of that, and know his real self. I'm still in this. 

Here's the down: I'm not showing him every day how lucky I am and how much I love him. I've been feeling stuck (better since my first post on SI!) and exhausted and more depressed than I ever have been. When he's struggling (which is still very frequently) I can react with defensiveness instead of empathy. I am not running my ass off to care for him and to lighten his load. He's carrying more than his share again and feels the stress and the very justifiable resentment that he doesn't have a fully functioning partner. I've got some big issues right now that leave me utterly uninterested in sex and it's monumentally important for BS. This list is not comprehensive. I'm just so goddam exhausted. I'm TIIRRRED. I know he is too, and he is the injured party here and I hate feeling selfish and out of control. This is not how I want to be!

'It's come to a head' many times before. Sometimes we actually make a change! Sometimes we feel awful until we don't feel awful any more and we slide back into our default which is largely comfortable, fun and connected, but also always a bit strained as we both desperately attempt to avoid any conflict that could knock one or the other of us into dysregulation. 

This time, so far so good! We've actually made some real change! 

What our dynamic has been like recently:

T's realization:

What change we've agree to immediately:

Goals- shorterm and longterm:

[This message edited by CheetahRose at 3:16 AM, Monday, July 18th]

posts: 8   ·   registered: Nov. 1st, 2021   ·   location: United States
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 CheetahRose (original poster new member #79545) posted at 11:47 PM on Monday, July 18th, 2022

PureheartKit thank you for your post.

I agree with every thing you said,

We are not separate from our bodies. Our minds and bodies are one. All our friendly gut bacteria are there to help our health and moods.

And I truly believe this.

I'm pretty knowledgeable about nutrition and health in general. And still --I've been living so far out of alignment with my values in that regard for so long that my body and mind have stopped nudging me and are now screaming to get my attention.

The not so great: I have an autoimmune thyroid disorder, menopause is kicking my ass, I'm a good 40 lb overweight, hypertensive, insulin resistant, am in almost constant fibromyalgia pain and fatigue and oh my poor exhausted liver! So much sugar, gross fast food and and toxic fat. I have been out of control, eating like I hate this precious body and want to die.

The good news:
I'm fortunate to have a really healthy and resilient system in general.
I haven't damaged anything so badly that I can't recover.
I have been eating a beautiful clean diet for the last few weeks and exercising consistently. (Sad, but I have exercised more in the last few weeks then probably the last year in total.)
I have a doctor's appointment for tomorrow. ( I started the process of getting a PC last September because I was feeling so rotten. Oy.)
My BP has been really great lately. Exercise and meditation FTW!

I am looking forward to working with this new doc, and to continuing to make good choices. Everything I put in my body should be viewed as medicine or poison at this point. I generally believe there's room for moderation in most healthy systems, but I ain't healthy by a long shot and it's in my best interest to be really binary rn.

posts: 8   ·   registered: Nov. 1st, 2021   ·   location: United States
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MIgander ( member #71285) posted at 3:11 PM on Tuesday, July 19th, 2022

Hi CheetahRose,

Didn't want to leave you hanging, been a crazy weekend/week so far and haven't had time to sit and give you a thoughtful response.

You're quite welcome to my hard-earned experience- it gives me a sense of purpose out of this whole mess if I can at least help one person.

I'm glad you're going to see your GP and starting to take better care of your body. Our minds are only as healthy as our bodies and vice/versa. Proof positive- I had a drink before bed last night and am HURTING this morning. Ugh.

I will never ever give up on myself. I believe I have one precious life and I am determined to achieve agency, to live in integrity, and to make whatever amends I can in the time I have left.

GOOD!! This is so important- believing that your life matters and has meaning makes it all the better as you journey toward what the meaning and matter of your life is/will be.

I also cheated on my boyfriend with the same wayward behavior and dishonesty that I repeated over and again later.

This is probably the most useful takeaway as whether it is cheating or not, the behavior pattern emerged almost as soon as your sexuality did. This would be great to work through- what made you tie your self worth and value to the amount of male attention you received? What was your relationship with your dad like? Were you seen? Validated? Made to feel precious in his eyes? It's my opinion that a girl's standard for a male in her life is in the way her father figure treats her- all men are competing against her dad in terms of their suitability for being a mate. Not like in a gross way, but in a, "Does he appreciate me as much as my dad, who loves me to his core, does? If so, then I can be secure knowing that BF is the one for me." If you had a shitty dad who did shitty things to you and/or your mom, that sets a low bar and leaves you with a hole the size of Manhattan in your heart where his cherishing of you should have been. Every girl and every woman deserves to be cherished by the men in their life.

I know I told BS about the conversation, but not sure about the kissing. Shit. Bad timing for this to come up.

AAAAHHHHHHHHH! I hate it when something new comes to light and I'm like, crap, I have to tell H. There's never a good time to bring these things up. But by bringing them up your self, taking ownership (not blaming friend for your choices), and being radically honest, at least your BH will see some change in you and the trust is built up again by another brick.

It's [shrooms] been legalized in Oregon but we don't have the structure to use it therapeutically just yet.

I'm glad you brought it up. I've heard that the guided treatments can be life changing. I'm interested in doing it myself, with professional guidance, but there's too many questions I have about it. That, and I don't want to do something that would mess with the balance I have with my meds right now. It's not legal here, so I'm afraid to even ask my psych about it.

As for why you brought it up? I feel the need to prop myself up from time to time bragging on myself. It's hard being WS with all the previous baggage of abuse and untreated ADHD in your life. We get reminded of how much a failure we are on a daily basis and like to keep reminding ourselves (internal dialogue) so much, being positive has to be intentional. It may look like bragging, but I frankly need to remind myself of the good and sort out what of the bad is on me, or projected onto me because I'm an easy target with my myriad struggles.

Also, on another level, I resisted professional help for years out of pride. H refused to go to counseling (MC) with me, refused responsibility for the state of our M and blamed me. It was out of defiance and pride and feeling scorned that I refused professional help too. I thought, "why the fuck would I bother improving myself for a man who doesn't appreciate me anyway." I didn't see that it was something I should do for my self because I was worth the improvements for my life and sake alone. Also, I associated getting IC and meds with being a further fuck up. I was tired of being told all my life by my dad, sisters, friends, husband and extended family that I was a fuck up. I thought, "FUCK THEM. They're not perfect either and they all walk around like their shit don't stink and I KNOW IT DOES." Now that I've been knocked on my ass by this whole A fallout, I've gotten into IC and I'm staying there, for my self. Because I'm WORTH IT and I DESERVE BETTER FOR MY SELF AND FROM MY SELF.

Not telling you to get into IC (but highly recommending it grin ). This is to ask you to evaluate the reason/motivation behind not seeking it in this moment.

Keep posting, it's awesome to see another WS who is doing the work- it encourages others who are lurking to do the same.

WW/BW Dday July 2019. BH/WH- multiple EA's. Back at it again- bantering w the younger woman. Lied about blocking phone calls and deleted texts. Carried on with her.

Nothing changes if nothing changes.

posts: 773   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
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Bor9455 ( member #72628) posted at 5:14 PM on Tuesday, July 19th, 2022

The not so great: I have an autoimmune thyroid disorder, menopause is kicking my ass, I'm a good 40 lb overweight, hypertensive, insulin resistant, am in almost constant fibromyalgia pain and fatigue and oh my poor exhausted liver! So much sugar, gross fast food and and toxic fat. I have been out of control, eating like I hate this precious body and want to die.

The good news:
I'm fortunate to have a really healthy and resilient system in general.
I haven't damaged anything so badly that I can't recover.
I have been eating a beautiful clean diet for the last few weeks and exercising consistently. (Sad, but I have exercised more in the last few weeks then probably the last year in total.)
I have a doctor's appointment for tomorrow. ( I started the process of getting a PC last September because I was feeling so rotten. Oy.)
My BP has been really great lately. Exercise and meditation FTW!

I am looking forward to working with this new doc, and to continuing to make good choices. Everything I put in my body should be viewed as medicine or poison at this point. I generally believe there's room for moderation in most healthy systems, but I ain't healthy by a long shot and it's in my best interest to be really binary rn.

Good for you on the exercising and diet front. Some of those issues you mentioned will improve with moderate activity and attention to diet. I should know, I was in a similar spot at the end of last year. I was in my doctor's office in December 2021 for my 6 month checkup and the number on the scale started with a 3, for the first time in my life. I'm a tall guy, 6'2" or 188 cm for those international types, but 300+ lbs is not a good thing for me. Ironically, one of the things that no doubt got me to that weight was Lexapro, which I got on to help with the issues post learning about my wife's PA. My primary care helped me come up with a gameplan on getting off Lexapro and he helped me jumpstart my weight loss by putting me on Phentermine, which really helped me to lose 60 lbs already since that time. The weight is one thing, but I've also paired the smaller portion eating with a structured exercise program. All of my numbers have improved as the exercise has become a steady state thing as well as eating smaller portions, eating generally better foods, etc. Good luck with the new doctor. I really do like my PCP and in fact, I'm seeing him next week for a 3 month check-in, as he wants to keep seeing progress with my weight but also my other numbers, as my family has a history of heart disease at a young age, so he is keeping an eye out there.

I have one other thing that clearly impacted my mental, physical and emotional health that may be overlooked, my sleep. I was diagnosed with sleep apnea last year, as I would wake up 3-4 times per night to pee. I saw a urologist first and there is nothing discernably wrong with my urinary tract for now, but he is the one who suggested we get tested and for a male at 36 years old, I tested off the charts for apnea. I got a CPAP machine in November 2021 and while it took me a few months to adjust, I now sleep so much better and more consistently than at any point in my life. I can attribute part of my improvement in mood and energy to that as well. I have a real good friend who was diagnosed the same and she is heavier too. Her PCP is being a real jerk about just giving her a CPAP, but will not offer her any assistance in losing the weight.

Let me be clear, I'm not saying you have these issues, but it may be something to consider, because usually with being overweight, one of the compounding issues you see is some airway obstruction, or apnea, and poor sleep throws off your metabolism and hormones in ways that actually make losing weight much more difficult. When you are exhausted, your body craves easy energy to prop it up, and that easy energy tends to be cravings for meals loaded with sugar and often times sodium. It will also raise your cortisol levels in the blood, which is one of the hormones that signal to your metabolism to store calories as fat so you have reserves for later. Of course the elephant in the room is that you balance all these stresses and things with a daily life and recovery from infidelity, so it is a well choreographed ballet and isn't just something that happens.

Myself - BH & WH - 35 years (05/24/1985)Her - BW & WW - 34 years (05/25/1986)<P>D-Day for WW's EA - October 2017D-Day no it turned PA - February 01, 2020

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