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 Post subject: Re: What is fair?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 6:47 am 
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mrsjones007

Thank you. Thank you so much. As I've read through this forum over the past few weeks, your words have never failed to calm me. Thank you for putting this into greater perspective for me.
While I am fairly sure that my relationship will end because of this, I also know that right now I am in no position to make that decision (financially or emotionally). I need to heal and to do that I need to stop obsessing about him and the relationship, but the only way I know how to do that is to shut down entirely and detach completely. I know that is not what is meant by 'healthy detachment'. I would really appreciate some help in figuring out what that means.

To put this clearer: I feel like I think about this constantly. I think about what he's done, what it means in terms of whether he ever loved me at all or how it has invalidated moments of our relationship that were previously special to me. I wonder if I know everything. He says that he never met anyone in person- but that possibility is constantly on my mind. I dream of this almost every night. I struggle with not monitoring him. There was one time when my instincts told me that he was displaying certain behavior and that it meant that he had acted out in some way. I checked the history on my computer and saw that he had visited porn sites while I was in the other room. I do not feel that it is wrong to listen to my instincts or to set clear boundaries for what is not acceptable, but it is difficult for me to enforce those boundaries with just my instincts to go on and no 'proof'. So I am not sure how I feel about checking when I think something is really wrong. I do know, however, that there is a difference between that and checking constantly just to check, and that is what I struggle with. And because I struggle with constantly monitoring him, it puts this constantly in the front of my thoughts. The only time that I have gone days without checking at all was when I decided that it didn't matter- HE didn't matter- because it was over and I was totally done with him and this relationship. But, honestly, when I think in that way I am angry and vindictive and although I am no longer obsessing in the same way I am still obsessing because I am lashing out and belittling him in my mind constantly. Which means it is still on my mind- the thoughts just look different and feel less painful. I don't think that I need to pity him or baby him, but, for me, I also don't want to hate him. I do not want to be an angry or vindictive person.

He is on RN- he found the site first and we joined at the same time. He told me what his online name was, and I told him that he should try to change it so that I don't know it. I don't think he can be really honest if he thinks he is writing things for me. I told him that I would not read anything- I don't even go to that side of the forum- and I really honestly have no desire or intention to do so. That said, I don't feel like he has committed to recovery. Honestly, although I don't think he really wants to act out anymore, I also think he just doesn't want to have to think about his behavior or the fact that he has an addiction. He doesn't like to admit when he is wrong, and he very much dislikes introspection or uncomfortable things. So, I did not have high hopes to begin with that he would commit fully and quickly. Most of the time it seems as though he has forgotten that he is supposed to be working on this (he will go days without looking at the site and later say that he hasn't had any time, when in reality he has been on baseball or beer forums or watching TV for hours). He has said that he has been working on the first lessons but I do not really believe him. This morning, I looked for his username on the recovery forum and didn't see it. I had no intention of reading what he had posted, but wanted to see if he had actually started. I am not sure that I should have looked at all. I think that might be the same as monitoring his phone or emails or computer on a daily basis.

So this is what I look like at the moment. I don't like it. I do not want to be here- to look like this. But I also do not want to wrap myself in anger in order to not feel wrapped in pain and uncertainty. Is there a middle ground? How do I find it? How did you?

Thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: What is fair?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 10:25 am 
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Dear river,

Thank you for your post. It's like you wrote exactly what I thought in the beginning. We are all right there with you.

I want to say that, no, you are not this person you don't want to be. Some of us have stayed in the relationship and been successful. Some have ended it and moved on. Some of us remain until we reach a safe place, be it financial or emotional ( that's me). But we have all moved forward and we are happier where we are now.

The people here will guide you in the way you need to go. You will always be supported. You will get your life back, with or without him.

This is a good place to grow. I feel like you will gain perspective here.

As Nelliejames says, Give yourself the gift of time. As Coach Mel says

, Be well.


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 Post subject: Re: What is fair?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 12:32 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2010 11:49 pm
Posts: 675
River wrote:
I don't think that I need to pity him or baby him, but, for me, I also don't want to hate him. I do not want to be an angry or vindictive person.


So first, I read this and my very first thought was, "She's going to be just fine." This road is going to be hard, and long, and painful and you're going to have to deal with things you never wanted to deal with. But at the end of it all, you are going to be just fine. And I think that because of what you wrote right there. You will be the person you want to be, you'll find a way to make that happen.

On to finding the balance. A LOT of these answers are in the workshop. It's not a specific lesson, but as you build on the tools that the workshop gives you, you figure out what works for you and what is right for you. So please, keep working. I'll try to help you get to a place that works for you until you can get further into the workshop. It can be really difficult to rely simply on our instincts about the behavior of our partners, but part of the difficulty is because, in the beginning very few of us understand what addiction is. I know for me, at first, it seemed like it was all a matter of willpower for him. And the question, "is he acting out?" could be compared to him asking "Has she eaten chocolate today?" How would he know without looking for wrappers or chocolate smudges around my mouth? So it's tempting to go looking for those wrappers. The difference lies in what addiction is. Everyone has to have a way of coping with stress. Everyone needs to do something with the negative emotions they experience on a daily basis. For someone with an addiction, their addiction is the only way they know how to deal with those things. They do not have the tools to find peace or fulfillment in other areas of their life. So until they learn those skills, you can know that they are either acting out or allowing the pressure to build. That doesn't necessarily mean that they are using the most socially unacceptable ways of acting out to deal with that stress. For people who have affairs, they may cease the affairs but rely on fantasy, objectification, masturbation, or sex with their spouse. But they have NOT become a healthy person, they haven't rid themselves of the root of the problem.

And that information was where I found my balance. Knowing every way he acted out in every day wasn't important. I knew the addiction still existed, because he hadn't found new tools yet and so I knew he was still acting out. Period. I didn't need more evidence than that. That knowledge SUCKS. But there's also some peace in it because it takes all of the up and down away. There's no more wondering, there's no more questioning, there's no more "what if", it's just one big piece of very painful information to process.

As far as the anger. It's okay to be angry. That anger has some really good information for you. Feeling that anger doesn't make you an angry person, it means that some things you value have been very damaged. When it comes to feeling like your experiences have been invalidated, I know what you mean by that, but that might actually not be true. Your experiences, the things you and your partner have done together, the things he has said and done with you; might all be very real and very valid for him. I know it doesn't seem to make any sense. But for now, I'd suggest just putting a pin in that. The workshop will give you some context. Be patient with yourself. Processing all of this will take time and you'll make mistakes as you do it. But you'll figure it out. Creepy internet hugs!
Mrs Jones


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 Post subject: Re: What is fair?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 12:38 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2010 11:49 pm
Posts: 675
I just realized that I forgot something. One of the things that helped me in the first months, was to keep the stages of grief in mind. Us partners have a LOT to grieve and that process is very applicable to what we go through. Anger is one of those stages. So keep in mind that part of what you are experiencing right now is your brain trying to process something very big and very difficult that happened to you. You are grieving. And just like you wouldn't tell someone else not to grieve their loss, don't block your own grief. The stage you're in right now is okay, even if you would prefer to be in a different one.


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 Post subject: Re: What is fair?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2014 2:22 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:49 pm
Posts: 3834
Hi River,

Mrs. Jones' advice is right on the money. This is an emotional roller coaster - we are beside ourselves with grief and shaken to the core. We feel out of control and don't like being the angry sleuth yet feel the need to keeping looking....one of the gifts RN gave me was to free myself by accepting the nature of the addiction and that my H was an SA. I could not expect any security from my H. I could not believe anything he said. I accepted that he would either do the work or he wouldn't but my healing didn't depend on him - it depended on me.

I came to value and prioritize my emotional health and actual set boundaries to protect me from me. I did that by coming up with an arsenal of songs, mantras, dances....activities that I could plug in quickly to change my focus. Mornings were my worst times. I could feel myself slipping into that dark place...so I sang a song I heard my mother sing when I was young, "Accentuate the Positive." I would sing, get myself up and going and doing until the feeling passed. It took practice, practice, practice.

About three months into RN, my H had a semi-slip that he lied about and that lie snowballed into a bigger lie. That was a turning point for me. I set a 6 weeks time frame by the end of which we would check in with each other to see if we were doing better individually. Basically, I detached emotionally. We lived together having polite interaction and conversation, but little more. I put all my energy into healing me. At the end of six weeks, together we decided to stay together and keep on working. We are still together but there were ups and downs and disappointments along the way for both of us.

Quote:
I think about what he's done, what it means in terms of whether he ever loved me at all or how it has invalidated moments of our relationship that were previously special to me.
I think most of us go through this...wondering if any of it was ever real. I finally decided that I wasn't going throw the baby out with the bath. It was real to me. I think it was real to him, too, until his addiction spiraled out of control. He lived a duality and deluded himself by thinking that what I didn't know wouldn't hurt me. He foolishly believed that he was so clever that I would never find out. Silly man.
Quote:
I struggle with not monitoring him.
I understand. I've been there. It made me crazy. That's when I had a light bulb moment - I was sacrificing myself to his addiction. A friend had told me this months earlier but I didn't get it. Now I did. If he blatantly acted out in my presence, I called him on it - happened three times when we were out. Other than that, unless something fell into my lap, I quit looking. I had boundaries, listened to my gut, but I didn't go looking for violations. Over time, I became less reactive. When I connected the dots (usually old dots), I was able to ask him point blank - no emotion. He was able to talk to me about it. We got through it.

Quote:
This morning, I looked for his username on the recovery forum and didn't see it. I had no intention of reading what he had posted, but wanted to see if he had actually started. I am not sure that I should have looked at all. I think that might be the same as monitoring his phone or emails or computer on a daily basis.
Well, this is a bit different. You wanted to know if he had started. I think that's OK. I recall asking my H how he was doing on his lessons occasionally. I would see him writing in his notebook - he was very careful about how he stated things so he didn't leave anything to chance when posting. He would generally tell me, but not always. There was one very hard lesson that he struggled with. It bothered me so I wrote to the forum for advice. A wise coach told me that because he was my life partner, I valued his health and I could tell him that it was important to me that he complete the lesson and give him a window of time - two weeks - to do so. I followed her advice. My H completed the lesson in two days. Basically, it was my changing my perspective from watchdog to valuing the health of my husband. It was a much healthier perspective for me.
Quote:
So this is what I look like at the moment. I don't like it. I do not want to be here- to look like this. But I also do not want to wrap myself in anger in order to not feel wrapped in pain and uncertainty. Is there a middle ground? How do I find it? How did you?
My best advice is to do the lessons. They will give you a framework on which to hang your experiences and help you develop the coping tools you need, and the boundaries you need to set. This is a process unique to you. There will be light bulb moments....when you least expect them. Please give yourself the gift of patience. :w:

Nellie James


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 Post subject: Re: What is fair?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2014 6:18 am 
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Posts: 63
Delores,

Delores wrote:


Thank you for your post. It's like you wrote exactly what I thought in the beginning. We are all right there with you.

I want to say that, no, you are not this person you don't want to be. Some of us have stayed in the relationship and been successful. Some have ended it and moved on. Some of us remain until we reach a safe place, be it financial or emotional ( that's me). But we have all moved forward and we are happier where we are now.

The people here will guide you in the way you need to go. You will always be supported. You will get your life back, with or without him.

This is a good place to grow. I feel like you will gain perspective here.



Thank you for this. I think that finding this forum may have saved my life- and I mean that in the most literal, least exaggerated way. I have had lifelong problems with anxiety and depression. When I have been faced with times in the past when life has thrown something ugly my way, I have crumbled. Curled up into a ball and stopped living. I do not want to do that anymore. Being able to read through this forum, and everyone's posts, makes me feel that I am no longer alone and that I can push through this with dignity and my head held high. I feel like what I learn in the workshop will teach me the skills I need to be okay, not just in this situation, but in life, and because of that I actually feel more hopeful now than I have anytime in my memory.

Of course, sometimes this all flies out the window. Sometimes, I feel hopeless and confused and just desperate. But even in those moments knowing that this forum is here and that I can find you all and that I am not alone allows me to cling to it and keep my head above water. Thank you for being here.


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 Post subject: Re: What is fair?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2014 6:40 pm 
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Posts: 63
I have not been here for weeks. I have avoided this forum like the plague. Trying, I think, to pretend like it doesn't exist. Like nothing happened and everything is okay. I started this feeling so good. So confident in myself. I cannot even begin to describe my emotions now. I just feel exhausted. And hopeless. I feel broken and I so badly want to just give up on everything. Crawl inside myself and stay there.

I know that the only way I will feel better is to come back here. Do the work and commit to it. I know it, I keep telling myself, but right now it is hard to believe that I will ever feel better. I don't even know what else to write right now. Thank you for being here.


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 Post subject: Re: What is fair?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2014 3:09 am 
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Posts: 112
Hi River...
I just wanted you to know that we are all here for you...even if you've stayed away for a while. Just keep working at your lessons and your health, and it will get better! I was reading this thread, and I feel like I needed to hear alot of the things that were said too. You are a brave, strong woman, and I too, think you are going to be alright!
your friend,
Sammy


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 Post subject: Re: What is fair?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2014 6:35 am 
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mrsjones007:

I wanted to thank you for your response before. It was insightful and calming and incredibly helpful to me. I am rereading it now, after my few week brake from reality, and I am finding it even more relevant.

“The primary reason we ask partners not to make a decision about a relationship is because sometimes partner's experience pressure to recommit to the relationship both from their SA partner and from their own desire to go back to normal. There's also the risk that the threat of removing the relationship is an attempt to control their SA partner, and not a sincere effort to live a life according to their values, and in the midst of the hurt and fear and disorientation that comes with the discovery of SA, sometimes partners will make a rash decision to leave that they later regret.”

I have, literally, felt every single one of these in the past two months. His expectation that I will stay, my threat that I will leave if he doesn’t seriously commit and get healthy, and sudden decisions to stay or go that I then regret an hour later. I have not acted on anything, which I think is wise considering the state of my emotions right now. But sometimes I think that if I were just to act, to leave and end everything even if I regret it later, that it would be such a relief to just make a decision. Do something decisive. I feel like I am just floating around in limbo and that is so frustrating and exhausting.


“And the question, "is he acting out?" could be compared to him asking "Has she eaten chocolate today?" How would he know without looking for wrappers or chocolate smudges around my mouth? So it's tempting to go looking for those wrappers. The difference lies in what addiction is. Everyone has to have a way of coping with stress. Everyone needs to do something with the negative emotions they experience on a daily basis. For someone with an addiction, their addiction is the only way they know how to deal with those things. They do not have the tools to find peace or fulfillment in other areas of their life. So until they learn those skills, you can know that they are either acting out or allowing the pressure to build. That doesn't necessarily mean that they are using the most socially unacceptable ways of acting out to deal with that stress. “


Sigh. This is the part of your advice that is most needed, most helpful, and also hardest to accept. Over the past weeks, I have found myself repeating this in my head and it has brought me back from the brink a few times when I felt I was losing my mind and wanted to spend hours going through his drawers, backpack, computer, phone… Or when I try to decide if he is exhibiting the behaviors of acting out. I am not sure that I know what that looks like anymore. At those moments I feel like I am drowning in paranoia and losing my mind. Literally. And then I try to remember that, no matter what he is or isn’t doing, right now it includes acting out because that is all he knows. Even if ‘acting out’ right now involves reading history books obsessively. He is doing something healthy in an unhealthy way- reading as means of escape- and that is still acting out and he is doing it because he doesn’t have the skills to deal with himself in any healthy way. I am trying to re-remember this now and let go of the obsessive need to know if he is doing something or what he is doing. The answer is that he is, he has to be, because that is just who he is right now. It just is. You’re right. That sucks. That sucks so much. That sucks so much I feel like I can’t handle it. I can’t breathe. I want to hit something.

Which brings me to the anger.

“As far as the anger. It's okay to be angry. That anger has some really good information for you. Feeling that anger doesn't make you an angry person, it means that some things you value have been very damaged. “


The anger comes in waves now, sandwiched between grief and denial. When it comes it is consuming and uncontrollable and sometimes I feel like I am going to throw a mug against the wall just to hear something break. Sometimes I don’t even realize that I am angry until I realize that I have been acting passive-aggressively to him for days. I am not sure how to deal with this. Sometimes I think it is best to keep it all to myself, but that is not something that I do easily and so eventually it comes out. And it comes out to him because he is the person I have to talk to about all of this. Sometimes I try to discuss it calmly and rationally, sometimes I yell, I have (more times than I even want to admit) been mean and vindictive and called him names or sworn at him. And part of the problem is that I don’t know if I should hold it in or let it out. I don’t know if I should talk to him about this, about the anger and what I see in his actions now or in the past, or how I feel about those actions. I don’t know if talking to him about it is actually hurting the process for him, or for me, or for both of us.


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 Post subject: Re: What is fair?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 1:39 am 
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Hi .
Iv been having the same issues with anger and becoming someone I'm not . So off I went to see a new therapist who told me this .
Your H is dead . The man you loved the loyal faithful etc etc man no longer exists . He died when you discovered all this . You are grieving for that man you loved deeply anger is part of that . View the man in your home as his twin . He looks like him dresses like him but is not the man you loved . This nearly knocked me over but has really helped me to detach to look after me . He also said  that if I looked at our life, home ,family as a  jewelled challis it looked beautiful it was everything I wanted BUT the wine (H ) was poison it damaged me it was unhealthy for me so why would I drink it ?????? It's making me think . It's helping me detach it's giving me calm to grow . Perhaps the wine can be replaced by healthy wine perhaps open a new bottle ?
I found detachment really difficult I still do . It's not who I am to make a cup of tea and not make one for him but as my therapist said I have no boundaries for me if I do that . What message I am giving to him is act out come home and I will carry on with our "normal " life even though I was hurt etc etc . 
He is reacting like a spoilt child to this at the moment . Will it make him grow ..... No idea but it's making me . 
NDT x x 


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 Post subject: Re: What is fair?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 5:54 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2007 3:07 pm
Posts: 5200
To answer your question directly —you don’t owe him anything.

With what mrsjones said (in her first post, as I didn't have time to read on)--To summarize, it depends on your values. All of the “risks” associated with not detaching in a healthy way are potential consequences of not living according to your values and arise in reaction to someone else’s behaviour instead of being given from your vision and values. So, really, how you proceed through this, how you treat him, how you treat yourself, all depends on your prioritized list of values.

Detachment will give you the space you need now, to work through your vision and values, and get clear—for you—how your system of values works for you. Healthy detachment takes practice, so don’t pressure yourself to “get it right”. Further, healthy detachment is more for you and less for “being fair”. We don’t advocate being reactive, but if you do happen to act reactively, then accept it (for now) as an automatic reaction. This will save you the grief caused by beating yourself up over it. Just own it. What I would always do is clean it up by acknowledge that it was a reaction to a trigger, and state that it is a violation to my values, and then apologize for my behaviour. I would then work to come up with a boundary (if I didn’t already have one) for such occasions that trigger my reactivity.

Be well.

_________________
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. (Viktor E. Frankl)


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 Post subject: Re: What is fair?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 6:00 am 
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newdaytomorrow:

That is exactly how I feel, as well. Everything you just said. Mrsjones007 told me that, in this process, I need to consider the stages of grief- because we are grieving a loss. I looked at it, though, as grieving the loss of the relationship. Which is true- but it goes deeper. I think your therapist was right to say that we are really grieving the losses of our partners, or who we thought our partners were. My boyfriend is not the man I thought he was. He is not the man I packed up my children, left my school behind, and moved states for. He is not the man I pictured the rest of my life with. He looks just the same, but he is not. He is not what I wanted to believe he was. And that is part of what makes it even more difficult. Because I didn't really believe he was that man, I just really WANTED to believe it and so I forced myself to ignore my own intuition and put myself in this position. Because I wanted to believe what he told me and not what I saw. And now l am angry, but I am angry with myself. With him and the situation, but with myself as well for allowing myself to be in this situation in the first place. I think that may be where the uncontrollable part of the rage comes from. I am so incredibly angry at myself and, I just realized, that I have a voice in my head calling myself weak for allowing this. For ignoring my instincts. And I want to go back and undo everything. I want to force myself to listen to myself and not be here in the first place. But, of course, I can't. That's silly. And so I feel this overwhelming, impotent rage. And, of course, then an equally overwhelming rage at him for not just BEING that man that he said he was. Why couldn't he just BE that?? Why.

And all of that is useless anger. Because I can't go back in time. And it does no good to ask why he is the way he is and isn't the way he isn't. He just is. And this is just the reality. And abusing myself and calling myself weak does me no good now.

"It's not who I am to make a cup of tea and not make one for him but as my therapist said I have no boundaries for me if I do that . What message I am giving to him is act out come home and I will carry on with our "normal life even though I was hurt etc etc .
He is reacting like a spoilt child to this at the moment . Will it make him grow ..... No idea but it's making me ."

This is so completely me, as well. Thank you. Thank you for this. This is exactly what I do. I am affectionate. I crave affection and I crave the giving of affection and so it is part of who I am to be affectionate to him- to cuddle at night or to give hugs and compliments and have that connection of touch. But doing that just allows both of us to pretend as though everything is okay and "normal." And, of course, even while pretending that things are "normal" I know in the back of my mind that he has done these things and may still be doing these things. I see that he isn't working on recovery (instead he is ignoring it; "I have to do this my own way. I am doing what I think I need to do and that is just not thinking about it"), and I have seen him go backwards from the first few weeks on RN back into the place he was before I found out (lying, even about little things, or half-truths. Being defensive and self-righteous and blaming things on me/turning things around on me). Essentially, he is being a spoilt child. And I have to let him be one. I know that I do. I keep trying to get him to see that he has to do the work in order to recover. I keep trying to convince him that the behaviors he is displaying right now are the same ones he was before (even if, as he says, he "isn't doing anything"). I keep trying to convince him that ignoring it is not going to help him, and to get him to see what his behavior really looks like right now. I think that is the most important part of detachment, for me. I have to, somehow, get myself to NOT try to get through to him. I don't know how to do it- to stop.

I have gone back and forth with this (the giving of affection and how I should behave) in my head. It is really nice to hear someone else's answers.


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 Post subject: Re: What is fair?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 6:24 am 
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CoachMel:

"Detachment will give you the space you need now, to work through your vision and values, and get clear—for you—how your system of values works for you. Healthy detachment takes practice, so don’t pressure yourself to “get it right”. Further, healthy detachment is more for you and less for “being fair”. "


Sigh. Until I read this I didn't realize that part of my struggle with how I should act is because I am also considering what will be helpful/hurtful/fair to him-- how will my behavior or my detachment from him or the relationship be perceived by him and will it help him recover or hurt his recovery. Looking back over what I just posted to NDT, it is painfully obvious that I am concentrating on him in the process and not myself.

Sigh again.

I guess that I need to allow myself leeway to figure out how to be right now. Space and time to figure out how to detach and how to heal and what my values are. I am mostly writing this for myself, this last part. Because I feel like I need to. Because I think that I have been harder on myself than maybe I should be. I want to just be okay right now, and I am beating myself up because I am not.


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 Post subject: Re: What is fair?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 8:20 pm 
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:g: Good work. It is clear that you have a commitment to the process that will benefit you in the long run. it may not be apparent right now...but it will be.

Be well.

_________________
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. (Viktor E. Frankl)


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 Post subject: Re: What is fair?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 6:03 am 
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Sorry, this was a double-post. I am still learning the quirks of the message boards.

:/


Last edited by River on Mon Sep 22, 2014 6:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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