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 Post subject: Shifting Focus
PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 7:40 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2014 7:02 am
Posts: 63
I am re-reading the workshop because I feel I need to further connect and internalize it... I wasn't sure what I was missing, but I knew that I was missing something. Something was not connecting. And then, in Lesson One, there it was: the single hardest thing that I have ever been asked to do. The single hardest aspect of all of this for me to wrap my head around, internalize, and accept-- these two, tiny sentences that make all of the difference.


"You must move beyond the focus of 'whether or not to end the relationship' as the paramount question. It is not.... For now, the paramount question is 'what damage has been done to my value system and what can I do to repair it'."


Why, oh why, is it so very, incredibly difficult to let go of feeling like everything depends on him and his recovery? Why does it feel like such a herculean task to shift focus to myself? Why does it feel like such a contradiction and such a crazy, irrational request-- to stop thinking, worrying, obsessing about his behavior and his choices? The life I want depends on taking this stupid addiction away-- it depends on it disappearing. But that is not possible, is it? It will never disappear, even if he achieves recovery. It will still have happened, and so I compromise and say that the life I want depends on his recovering and becoming a man I can love and respect-- a partner in the truest sense.
But then that is the point, isn't it? Because if what I want above all else is a life which depends upon the choices and actions of another-- if that life is the only thing that will be fulfilling-- then it will never be secure and I will never feel whole. Which means that I will never really feel fulfilled or happy, or healed. Which means, of course, that I will never really have the life I want-- even if all of the external pieces fall into place.
I know this, rationally. I know that I must (as another lesson says) build a life vision that will be fulfilling and solid and whole with or without him. But how do I do that when he is still right here and we are still in a relationship and I am still holding out hope that there will be a future?

"You must move beyond the focus of 'whether or not to end the relationship' as the paramount question. It is not.... For now, the paramount question is 'what damage has been done to my value system and what can I do to repair it'."

I think perhaps the answer is that, for now, I need to stop thinking about the future and start thinking about myself. Look deep within myself for my missing pieces and fill the holes. What can I do for myself, by myself, right now to help make myself feel whole. I think maybe the answer is that healing means right now-- it is achieved in the now, not in the future. Or the past.


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 Post subject: Re: Shifting Focus
PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:01 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2014 7:06 pm
Posts: 28
River - I loved your post and I have been struggling with this very much today too as I posted something along the same lines!

Absolutely essential now we hold the key...

I am badly wanting to shift the focus on to myself so have sat and done two workshops to try try understand why I am in such turmoil continuously.

Paradoxically my estranged husband is in his bedsit watching TV, taking his time, no immediacy for him!
It is my desperation, my overwhelming desire to fix him that has been my focus, despite my own lack of functioning.

Enough! I am drawing a line, and letting go now what will be etc.. Tomorrow its going to be all about me. This desperation is disconnecting me from work, friends, and life.

I show action - he shows passivity
I demonstrate understanding - its always about him
I look for answers - he instead blames
I delve for truth - he lies
I ask for support - he just expects it
I want to live - he is happy to exist

Enough it has cost me so much already and I can't get a refund on those hours of obsessing and cajouling and wanting my old life back..

Sending thoughts your way - choose life :g:


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 Post subject: Re: Shifting Focus
PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 9:59 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:33 pm
Posts: 96
River wrote:
And so I will work on disconnecting emotionally so that I can protect myself


Would love to hear some practical tips on how to do this.


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 Post subject: Re: Shifting Focus
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 4:53 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:47 pm
Posts: 694
Hello River,

Hope you don't mind my "butting" in :) ... I always feel a bit unsure if I should comment or not as I'm both a partner and recoverer. Recoverer from what exactly? Well, if you want to put labels, you could say ... a bit of sex addiction (never really my thing though ...), a bit of love addiction (at least in how a new relationship starts) and a bit (or more) of codependency (even though I was never really interested how the term is actually defined and what it designates) ... I guess these are the labels but I don't believe in labels over and above how they help admitting to a "problem" and taking action to solve it. So, I don't mind much that I don't fall into exact classifications, who does anyways? But identifying certain patterns and similarities was enough to motivate myself to dig deeper and solve whatever issues I might have.

As I said, I always feel unsure whether it's appropriate to comment so I let the principle "common experience" guide me whenever posting. I've experienced many things you talk about here, I could take your words one by one as being mine a year ago ... But that doesn't mean that we are alike necessarily ... or that what worked for me would work for you. It just means what it means or what you will make of it ... But allow me to share my experience...

River wrote:
Why, oh why, is it so very, incredibly difficult to let go of feeling like everything depends on him and his recovery? Why does it feel like such a herculean task to shift focus to myself? Why does it feel like such a contradiction and such a crazy, irrational request-- to stop thinking, worrying, obsessing about his behavior and his choices? The life I want depends on taking this stupid addiction away-- it depends on it disappearing.

River wrote:
But then that is the point, isn't it? Because if what I want above all else is a life which depends upon the choices and actions of another-- if that life is the only thing that will be fulfilling-- then it will never be secure and I will never feel whole. Which means that I will never really feel fulfilled or happy, or healed. Which means, of course, that I will never really have the life I want-- even if all of the external pieces fall into place.
I know this, rationally. I know that I must (as another lesson says) build a life vision that will be fulfilling and solid and whole with or without him.

I've been in your shoes ... maybe even worse ... When I worked on the partner's lessons and I had to come up with a life's vision ... oh, well, let's just say it was an intellectual exercise, what I said there I did not want or care about much ... all I wanted was him and a happy life together ... when later on in the workshop I was asked to review my life-vision ... well, by that time I was aware enough to see how fake it is and how take that away from me I am nothing or close to nothing ... So, I've decided I have a problem that needs to be addressed and I moved on to the recovery side to do the recovery workshop as I recognised that my clinging on to him to give me the happiness I need is an unhealthy coping mechanism and I didn't seem to be able to cope in any other way. Then a lot of other things came out so today I have a much better understanding but that came gradually, as I did my work and struggled with some issues.

I don't know how much alike we are or not but this idea of needing someone/a relationship to be happy/fulfilled ... well, it's not so ... healthy, IMO. That means you give the responsibility for your own happiness to someone else when it belongs to you. And you've seen the pitfalls in that yourself when that person you've designated to make you happy reluctantly disagrees with the role you've set for him. Well, I know he took vows and all that and nobody forced him, but still, you are responsible for your own happiness. As long as you don't take that back, you will not be happy, no matter what he does or doesn't do. But if you put the responsibility for your own happiness where it belongs, with you, then you will be happy no matter what he does because it will not depend much on exterior events, but on your own ability to make yourself happy and enjoy life as it is. You will be done with the waiting for someone to drag his feet, you will be up and going on your own and if that means you leave him behind, so be it ...

So, see how it is actually a question of changing core ideas and beliefs. When you trully believe it is your responsibility to be happy and only you can achieve that in a more permanent sense, you will find ways and means to make it happen. For me, that meant primarily changing my definition of happiness. Before, happiness used to be loving someone who loves me back the same, raising a familiy and ... that's it. Now, I'm more about joy in the moment and I see happiness as a long-term goal of living by my values. That makes me happy/fulfilled/proud nowadays, when I stick by my values. Lately, my value of self-protection grew to be so big that now I am able to act in line with it instead of inflicting more harm and pain on myself because of my H's actions or inactions. The focus has changed but it didn't just happen like that, overnight. I worked on it, diligently, I put a lot of effort into it and I was conscious of what I need to achieve ... detachment from him, attachment to me ...

The one thing that helped me once I clearly saw where the problem lay ... was ... reading ... Luckily, I have a way of connecting emotionally to things that I read, to ideas ... if I see any truth in them, they inspire me, they become mine, I stop being the same as I was, I have evolved and found new ideas, beliefs, my horizon has broaden ... The two books that lay the foundation of my change are: "Women that love too much" by Robin Norwood (I've posted a thread on this book some time ago viewtopic.php?f=22&t=23014) and "The Art of Happiness" by The Dalai Lama (this book was a wonderfully inspiring book for seeing that life is not about love for partner - which is more of an attachment, not really really love in most cases - but about compassion and love for all humanity ...). These two books together challenged my perspectives and taught me how limited I was before in my views and life expectations.

Other practical ways I achieved the current level of detachment (which is not perfect but well, I do have dependency issues which I explain to myself as an addiction to my partner/relationship) were: separation of bedrooms, being just "friends", cutting sex for unlimited periods, not talking at times, finding things I like and going with that instead of spending time together ... It has been a constant battle with myself to stay away from him and be ok with it (as in HAPPY) ... and I fell so many times, I've told myself lies countless times (I call that bullshit), I've kicked and screamed, justified it one hundred times, I've hated his inabilities because of my own inability to stay away from him.... Well, a lot of that has changed and I find that my leash is much longer these days. I still kind of feel its pressure sometimes which tells me it's still a lot of work to be done. But I'm pleased, oh, so pleased, and I will get there, I know I will. It's a process.

Wish you the best in your own journey!

_________________
"A wholehearted attention feels like the nurturing presence that I always wished I had in a parent. Now I am free to be there for myself in a way that I assumed I needed from someone else." Tara Bennett-Goleman, Emotional Alchemy


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 Post subject: Re: Shifting Focus
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 7:00 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2014 7:06 pm
Posts: 28
I have made a sort of breakthrough with this over the last few days and although not 100% there, it has been interesting to observe this in myself...

This has been a mixture of factors, not in least thanks to the wonderful insight and support from understanding folk on here..

First I observed within myself a need and a want/ motivation if you like to actually wish a shift in focus to myself. This was brought about by being sent home from work as I was told I was clearly not functioning at work (I work with students with mental health problems) my manager commented that there are students with better mental health than me at the moment, and to come back when I was better!

So... at home I realised I had hit my own rock bottom, started to come on here, work through the workshops, read and post and sit and look at myself.

The truth was clear - I had become a mess and was in the middle of trauma and turmoil.

I stepped back. What was going on? What had I become and who am I?

This had a profound affect on me, as I had never considered myself in this way before, merely a victim of a tragic and traumatic situation in which I was powerless to change!

I discovered;
What was going on? That I felt trapped in a purgatory roller coaster of highs and lows of hope and despair. This has been my desperation to 'fix' and solve the whole mess. After much internal dialogue, I have started to understand that it can't be fixed at the moment, it has to take its course and play out and I have no real control anyway. I cannot make my Husband love, feel or act towards me how I would really like (my original hopeful outcome) that all of the love support, and understanding only reinforces my own fear of losing him permanently.

I then understood - I have lost him anyway! The relationship we had is gone and nothing I can do will change that history. What remains is my fear, of not having him in my life in any capacity. So unwittingly I was enduring more suffering and heartbreak by playing a role to give him a plan B.

Let me elaborate. I thought, believed even that in happier times before D Day that I was his plan A. That we were a partnership in every sense.

Now I can see that his addiction has become his actual lifestyle (through choice or habit/need etc)
The more I cling to the old relationship the plan A (which he discarded) the message he receives is that he can have both lifestyles - his marriage and his secret double life.

This sounds complicated but his new plan A is now his secret life, while my plan A is the relationship of the past. I have become his plan B, an add on a comfort. If we both wanted the same past, present and future we would never have got into this mess. Sorry if this sounds complicated, but in my own reality, it is clear we are rooting for different teams!!

So what has been going on is a clinging on, and for what?

What had I become? This was very painful to admit, a broken traumatised person and yes it has made me very ill understandably! I have lost my identity but so slowly I did not even realise. Day by day the focus on him ensured I lost all of my ambitions, played martyr (aren't I a great understanding woman!!) I lost any sense of what I needed or wanted or even liked. My boundaries vanished...
I know this for a fact as I come out of his focus, I sit here and ask myself what next? I do not know what I like to do anymore, or how to be. I mourn all of the activities I used to derive my own satisfaction from as they become pushed away to make room for him more and more....

Who am I? As above, at this point I have to rediscover myself the person that felt at peace and found enjoyment in simple activities and pursuits. Clearly this has had a profound affect on me and I may never be the same person. But I am excited yes excited to explore this and connect and experiment with this. This is how I know I have lifted out of a depressive state. I want to live again on my own terms.... finally!

Finally, I have become less attached to any outcome together or not. I know this has happened as he asked me to take him to the doctors (he had a seizure last week, possibly due to stress, who knows) As we live separately he was coming over to my house. He requested to come over earlier. Usually I would have been excited to see him, spend time, interrogate him about his recovery etc. Instead I said whatever!

So he comes over and it was okay. I did not feel like I had to ask him a single thing, nor did I feel like I had to fill the gaps in the conversation by being 'understanding, supportive, loving etc'

He commented on this and found it quite hard I was not fawning over him for once.

I had arranged to go to the Buddhist centre (I am doing a six week course on Buddhism and meditation) He said he wanted to go, Ok whatever I am going it is up to you, I did not beg or persuade..

So he comes along, funnily enough it was about addiction and craving! He then spoke enthusiastically how much sense it made to him and how it has helped him to see his own behaviour. So I listened, there were periods where it was just boring and awkward. What have we even got in common?

Another realisation, I have been driving this relationship, he had to make a supreme effort which he obviously found hard.

When I think how, before he had his addiction how easy it was to just be together, how easy it was and now how hard work it is and how just bored I was with it all, I realised this could just fizzle out now... maybe I just don't like the fairground anymore, and although the walk from the fairground to home is boring at least I know where I am going...

So I went home alone, and today I understand that I am done with the drama - he will have to fight to get well, and to make me feel like I can be bothered with it all.

My instinct is with me being so radically different and 'cool' that he may go on one of his hook up sites to get an instant ego boost and to feel good! Well again whatever, I got a lot of stuff to do today for myself and that sits very well with me.

I have realised - being a martyr, forgiving understanding, supportive and loving doormat - I lost him. Being a cool, aloof, concentrating on myself and not really caring about the outcome either way I will lose him. BUT I am not prepared to lose myself, and I did for a whole year.

Now what to do today..... Oh the possibilities!! :g:


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 Post subject: Re: Shifting Focus
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 7:00 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2014 7:06 pm
Posts: 28
I have made a sort of breakthrough with this over the last few days and although not 100% there, it has been interesting to observe this in myself...

This has been a mixture of factors, not in least thanks to the wonderful insight and support from understanding folk on here..

First I observed within myself a need and a want/ motivation if you like to actually wish a shift in focus to myself. This was brought about by being sent home from work as I was told I was clearly not functioning at work (I work with students with mental health problems) my manager commented that there are students with better mental health than me at the moment, and to come back when I was better!

So... at home I realised I had hit my own rock bottom, started to come on here, work through the workshops, read and post and sit and look at myself.

The truth was clear - I had become a mess and was in the middle of trauma and turmoil.

I stepped back. What was going on? What had I become and who am I?

This had a profound affect on me, as I had never considered myself in this way before, merely a victim of a tragic and traumatic situation in which I was powerless to change!

I discovered;
What was going on? That I felt trapped in a purgatory roller coaster of highs and lows of hope and despair. This has been my desperation to 'fix' and solve the whole mess. After much internal dialogue, I have started to understand that it can't be fixed at the moment, it has to take its course and play out and I have no real control anyway. I cannot make my Husband love, feel or act towards me how I would really like (my original hopeful outcome) that all of the love support, and understanding only reinforces my own fear of losing him permanently.

I then understood - I have lost him anyway! The relationship we had is gone and nothing I can do will change that history. What remains is my fear, of not having him in my life in any capacity. So unwittingly I was enduring more suffering and heartbreak by playing a role to give him a plan B.

Let me elaborate. I thought, believed even that in happier times before D Day that I was his plan A. That we were a partnership in every sense.

Now I can see that his addiction has become his actual lifestyle (through choice or habit/need etc)
The more I cling to the old relationship the plan A (which he discarded) the message he receives is that he can have both lifestyles - his marriage and his secret double life.

This sounds complicated but his new plan A is now his secret life, while my plan A is the relationship of the past. I have become his plan B, an add on a comfort. If we both wanted the same past, present and future we would never have got into this mess. Sorry if this sounds complicated, but in my own reality, it is clear we are rooting for different teams!!

So what has been going on is a clinging on, and for what?

What had I become? This was very painful to admit, a broken traumatised person and yes it has made me very ill understandably! I have lost my identity but so slowly I did not even realise. Day by day the focus on him ensured I lost all of my ambitions, played martyr (aren't I a great understanding woman!!) I lost any sense of what I needed or wanted or even liked. My boundaries vanished...
I know this for a fact as I come out of his focus, I sit here and ask myself what next? I do not know what I like to do anymore, or how to be. I mourn all of the activities I used to derive my own satisfaction from as they become pushed away to make room for him more and more....

Who am I? As above, at this point I have to rediscover myself the person that felt at peace and found enjoyment in simple activities and pursuits. Clearly this has had a profound affect on me and I may never be the same person. But I am excited yes excited to explore this and connect and experiment with this. This is how I know I have lifted out of a depressive state. I want to live again on my own terms.... finally!

Finally, I have become less attached to any outcome together or not. I know this has happened as he asked me to take him to the doctors (he had a seizure last week, possibly due to stress, who knows) As we live separately he was coming over to my house. He requested to come over earlier. Usually I would have been excited to see him, spend time, interrogate him about his recovery etc. Instead I said whatever!

So he comes over and it was okay. I did not feel like I had to ask him a single thing, nor did I feel like I had to fill the gaps in the conversation by being 'understanding, supportive, loving etc'

He commented on this and found it quite hard I was not fawning over him for once.

I had arranged to go to the Buddhist centre (I am doing a six week course on Buddhism and meditation) He said he wanted to go, Ok whatever I am going it is up to you, I did not beg or persuade..

So he comes along, funnily enough it was about addiction and craving! He then spoke enthusiastically how much sense it made to him and how it has helped him to see his own behaviour. So I listened, there were periods where it was just boring and awkward. What have we even got in common?

Another realisation, I have been driving this relationship, he had to make a supreme effort which he obviously found hard.

When I think how, before he had his addiction how easy it was to just be together, how easy it was and now how hard work it is and how just bored I was with it all, I realised this could just fizzle out now... maybe I just don't like the fairground anymore, and although the walk from the fairground to home is boring at least I know where I am going...

So I went home alone, and today I understand that I am done with the drama - he will have to fight to get well, and to make me feel like I can be bothered with it all.

My instinct is with me being so radically different and 'cool' that he may go on one of his hook up sites to get an instant ego boost and to feel good! Well again whatever, I got a lot of stuff to do today for myself and that sits very well with me.

I have realised - being a martyr, forgiving understanding, supportive and loving doormat - I lost him. Being a cool, aloof, concentrating on myself and not really caring about the outcome either way I will lose him. BUT I am not prepared to lose myself, and I did for a whole year.

Now what to do today..... Oh the possibilities!! :g:


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 Post subject: Re: Shifting Focus
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 7:01 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2014 7:06 pm
Posts: 28
I have made a sort of breakthrough with this over the last few days and although not 100% there, it has been interesting to observe this in myself...

This has been a mixture of factors, not in least thanks to the wonderful insight and support from understanding folk on here..

First I observed within myself a need and a want/ motivation if you like to actually wish a shift in focus to myself. This was brought about by being sent home from work as I was told I was clearly not functioning at work (I work with students with mental health problems) my manager commented that there are students with better mental health than me at the moment, and to come back when I was better!

So... at home I realised I had hit my own rock bottom, started to come on here, work through the workshops, read and post and sit and look at myself.

The truth was clear - I had become a mess and was in the middle of trauma and turmoil.

I stepped back. What was going on? What had I become and who am I?

This had a profound affect on me, as I had never considered myself in this way before, merely a victim of a tragic and traumatic situation in which I was powerless to change!

I discovered;
What was going on? That I felt trapped in a purgatory roller coaster of highs and lows of hope and despair. This has been my desperation to 'fix' and solve the whole mess. After much internal dialogue, I have started to understand that it can't be fixed at the moment, it has to take its course and play out and I have no real control anyway. I cannot make my Husband love, feel or act towards me how I would really like (my original hopeful outcome) that all of the love support, and understanding only reinforces my own fear of losing him permanently.

I then understood - I have lost him anyway! The relationship we had is gone and nothing I can do will change that history. What remains is my fear, of not having him in my life in any capacity. So unwittingly I was enduring more suffering and heartbreak by playing a role to give him a plan B.

Let me elaborate. I thought, believed even that in happier times before D Day that I was his plan A. That we were a partnership in every sense.

Now I can see that his addiction has become his actual lifestyle (through choice or habit/need etc)
The more I cling to the old relationship the plan A (which he discarded) the message he receives is that he can have both lifestyles - his marriage and his secret double life.

This sounds complicated but his new plan A is now his secret life, while my plan A is the relationship of the past. I have become his plan B, an add on a comfort. If we both wanted the same past, present and future we would never have got into this mess. Sorry if this sounds complicated, but in my own reality, it is clear we are rooting for different teams!!

So what has been going on is a clinging on, and for what?

What had I become? This was very painful to admit, a broken traumatised person and yes it has made me very ill understandably! I have lost my identity but so slowly I did not even realise. Day by day the focus on him ensured I lost all of my ambitions, played martyr (aren't I a great understanding woman!!) I lost any sense of what I needed or wanted or even liked. My boundaries vanished...
I know this for a fact as I come out of his focus, I sit here and ask myself what next? I do not know what I like to do anymore, or how to be. I mourn all of the activities I used to derive my own satisfaction from as they become pushed away to make room for him more and more....

Who am I? As above, at this point I have to rediscover myself the person that felt at peace and found enjoyment in simple activities and pursuits. Clearly this has had a profound affect on me and I may never be the same person. But I am excited yes excited to explore this and connect and experiment with this. This is how I know I have lifted out of a depressive state. I want to live again on my own terms.... finally!

Finally, I have become less attached to any outcome together or not. I know this has happened as he asked me to take him to the doctors (he had a seizure last week, possibly due to stress, who knows) As we live separately he was coming over to my house. He requested to come over earlier. Usually I would have been excited to see him, spend time, interrogate him about his recovery etc. Instead I said whatever!

So he comes over and it was okay. I did not feel like I had to ask him a single thing, nor did I feel like I had to fill the gaps in the conversation by being 'understanding, supportive, loving etc'

He commented on this and found it quite hard I was not fawning over him for once.

I had arranged to go to the Buddhist centre (I am doing a six week course on Buddhism and meditation) He said he wanted to go, Ok whatever I am going it is up to you, I did not beg or persuade..

So he comes along, funnily enough it was about addiction and craving! He then spoke enthusiastically how much sense it made to him and how it has helped him to see his own behaviour. So I listened, there were periods where it was just boring and awkward. What have we even got in common?

Another realisation, I have been driving this relationship, he had to make a supreme effort which he obviously found hard.

When I think how, before he had his addiction how easy it was to just be together, how easy it was and now how hard work it is and how just bored I was with it all, I realised this could just fizzle out now... maybe I just don't like the fairground anymore, and although the walk from the fairground to home is boring at least I know where I am going...

So I went home alone, and today I understand that I am done with the drama - he will have to fight to get well, and to make me feel like I can be bothered with it all.

My instinct is with me being so radically different and 'cool' that he may go on one of his hook up sites to get an instant ego boost and to feel good! Well again whatever, I got a lot of stuff to do today for myself and that sits very well with me.

I have realised - being a martyr, forgiving understanding, supportive and loving doormat - I lost him. Being a cool, aloof, concentrating on myself and not really caring about the outcome either way I will lose him. BUT I am not prepared to lose myself, and I did for a whole year.

Now what to do today..... Oh the possibilities!! :g:


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 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Shifting Focus
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 7:05 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2014 7:06 pm
Posts: 28
I have made a sort of breakthrough with this over the last few days and although not 100% there, it has been interesting to observe this in myself...

This has been a mixture of factors, not in least thanks to the wonderful insight and support from understanding folk on here..

First I observed within myself a need and a want/ motivation if you like to actually wish a shift in focus to myself. This was brought about by being sent home from work as I was told I was clearly not functioning at work (I work with students with mental health problems) my manager commented that there are students with better mental health than me at the moment, and to come back when I was better!

So... at home I realised I had hit my own rock bottom, started to come on here, work through the workshops, read and post and sit and look at myself.

The truth was clear - I had become a mess and was in the middle of trauma and turmoil.

I stepped back. What was going on? What had I become and who am I?

This had a profound affect on me, as I had never considered myself in this way before, merely a victim of a tragic and traumatic situation in which I was powerless to change!

I discovered;
What was going on? That I felt trapped in a purgatory roller coaster of highs and lows of hope and despair. This has been my desperation to 'fix' and solve the whole mess. After much internal dialogue, I have started to understand that it can't be fixed at the moment, it has to take its course and play out and I have no real control anyway. I cannot make my Husband love, feel or act towards me how I would really like (my original hopeful outcome) that all of the love support, and understanding only reinforces my own fear of losing him permanently.

I then understood - I have lost him anyway! The relationship we had is gone and nothing I can do will change that history. What remains is my fear, of not having him in my life in any capacity. So unwittingly I was enduring more suffering and heartbreak by playing a role to give him a plan B.

Let me elaborate. I thought, believed even that in happier times before D Day that I was his plan A. That we were a partnership in every sense.

Now I can see that his addiction has become his actual lifestyle (through choice or habit/need etc)
The more I cling to the old relationship the plan A (which he discarded) the message he receives is that he can have both lifestyles - his marriage and his secret double life.

This sounds complicated but his new plan A is now his secret life, while my plan A is the relationship of the past. I have become his plan B, an add on a comfort. If we both wanted the same past, present and future we would never have got into this mess. Sorry if this sounds complicated, but in my own reality, it is clear we are rooting for different teams!!

So what has been going on is a clinging on, and for what?

What had I become? This was very painful to admit, a broken traumatised person and yes it has made me very ill understandably! I have lost my identity but so slowly I did not even realise. Day by day the focus on him ensured I lost all of my ambitions, played martyr (aren't I a great understanding woman!!) I lost any sense of what I needed or wanted or even liked. My boundaries vanished...
I know this for a fact as I come out of his focus, I sit here and ask myself what next? I do not know what I like to do anymore, or how to be. I mourn all of the activities I used to derive my own satisfaction from as they become pushed away to make room for him more and more....

Who am I? As above, at this point I have to rediscover myself the person that felt at peace and found enjoyment in simple activities and pursuits. Clearly this has had a profound affect on me and I may never be the same person. But I am excited yes excited to explore this and connect and experiment with this. This is how I know I have lifted out of a depressive state. I want to live again on my own terms.... finally!

Finally, I have become less attached to any outcome together or not. I know this has happened as he asked me to take him to the doctors (he had a seizure last week, possibly due to stress, who knows) As we live separately he was coming over to my house. He requested to come over earlier. Usually I would have been excited to see him, spend time, interrogate him about his recovery etc. Instead I said whatever!

So he comes over and it was okay. I did not feel like I had to ask him a single thing, nor did I feel like I had to fill the gaps in the conversation by being 'understanding, supportive, loving etc'

He commented on this and found it quite hard I was not fawning over him for once.

I had arranged to go to the Buddhist centre (I am doing a six week course on Buddhism and meditation) He said he wanted to go, Ok whatever I am going it is up to you, I did not beg or persuade..

So he comes along, funnily enough it was about addiction and craving! He then spoke enthusiastically how much sense it made to him and how it has helped him to see his own behaviour. So I listened, there were periods where it was just boring and awkward. What have we even got in common?

Another realisation, I have been driving this relationship, he had to make a supreme effort which he obviously found hard.

When I think how, before he had his addiction how easy it was to just be together, how easy it was and now how hard work it is and how just bored I was with it all, I realised this could just fizzle out now... maybe I just don't like the fairground anymore, and although the walk from the fairground to home is boring at least I know where I am going...

So I went home alone, and today I understand that I am done with the drama - he will have to fight to get well, and to make me feel like I can be bothered with it all.

My instinct is with me being so radically different and 'cool' that he may go on one of his hook up sites to get an instant ego boost and to feel good! Well again whatever, I got a lot of stuff to do today for myself and that sits very well with me.

I have realised - being a martyr, forgiving understanding, supportive and loving doormat - I lost him. Being a cool, aloof, concentrating on myself and not really caring about the outcome either way I will lose him. BUT I am not prepared to lose myself, and I did for a whole year.

Now what to do today..... Oh the possibilities!! :g:


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 Post subject: Re: Shifting Focus
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 7:06 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2014 7:06 pm
Posts: 28
I have made a sort of breakthrough with this over the last few days and although not 100% there, it has been interesting to observe this in myself...

This has been a mixture of factors, not in least thanks to the wonderful insight and support from understanding folk on here..

First I observed within myself a need and a want/ motivation if you like to actually wish a shift in focus to myself. This was brought about by being sent home from work as I was told I was clearly not functioning at work (I work with students with mental health problems) my manager commented that there are students with better mental health than me at the moment, and to come back when I was better!

So... at home I realised I had hit my own rock bottom, started to come on here, work through the workshops, read and post and sit and look at myself.

The truth was clear - I had become a mess and was in the middle of trauma and turmoil.

I stepped back. What was going on? What had I become and who am I?

This had a profound affect on me, as I had never considered myself in this way before, merely a victim of a tragic and traumatic situation in which I was powerless to change!

I discovered;
What was going on? That I felt trapped in a purgatory roller coaster of highs and lows of hope and despair. This has been my desperation to 'fix' and solve the whole mess. After much internal dialogue, I have started to understand that it can't be fixed at the moment, it has to take its course and play out and I have no real control anyway. I cannot make my Husband love, feel or act towards me how I would really like (my original hopeful outcome) that all of the love support, and understanding only reinforces my own fear of losing him permanently.

I then understood - I have lost him anyway! The relationship we had is gone and nothing I can do will change that history. What remains is my fear, of not having him in my life in any capacity. So unwittingly I was enduring more suffering and heartbreak by playing a role to give him a plan B.

Let me elaborate. I thought, believed even that in happier times before D Day that I was his plan A. That we were a partnership in every sense.

Now I can see that his addiction has become his actual lifestyle (through choice or habit/need etc)
The more I cling to the old relationship the plan A (which he discarded) the message he receives is that he can have both lifestyles - his marriage and his secret double life.

This sounds complicated but his new plan A is now his secret life, while my plan A is the relationship of the past. I have become his plan B, an add on a comfort. If we both wanted the same past, present and future we would never have got into this mess. Sorry if this sounds complicated, but in my own reality, it is clear we are rooting for different teams!!

So what has been going on is a clinging on, and for what?

What had I become? This was very painful to admit, a broken traumatised person and yes it has made me very ill understandably! I have lost my identity but so slowly I did not even realise. Day by day the focus on him ensured I lost all of my ambitions, played martyr (aren't I a great understanding woman!!) I lost any sense of what I needed or wanted or even liked. My boundaries vanished...
I know this for a fact as I come out of his focus, I sit here and ask myself what next? I do not know what I like to do anymore, or how to be. I mourn all of the activities I used to derive my own satisfaction from as they become pushed away to make room for him more and more....

Who am I? As above, at this point I have to rediscover myself the person that felt at peace and found enjoyment in simple activities and pursuits. Clearly this has had a profound affect on me and I may never be the same person. But I am excited yes excited to explore this and connect and experiment with this. This is how I know I have lifted out of a depressive state. I want to live again on my own terms.... finally!

Finally, I have become less attached to any outcome together or not. I know this has happened as he asked me to take him to the doctors (he had a seizure last week, possibly due to stress, who knows) As we live separately he was coming over to my house. He requested to come over earlier. Usually I would have been excited to see him, spend time, interrogate him about his recovery etc. Instead I said whatever!

So he comes over and it was okay. I did not feel like I had to ask him a single thing, nor did I feel like I had to fill the gaps in the conversation by being 'understanding, supportive, loving etc'

He commented on this and found it quite hard I was not fawning over him for once.

I had arranged to go to the Buddhist centre (I am doing a six week course on Buddhism and meditation) He said he wanted to go, Ok whatever I am going it is up to you, I did not beg or persuade..

So he comes along, funnily enough it was about addiction and craving! He then spoke enthusiastically how much sense it made to him and how it has helped him to see his own behaviour. So I listened, there were periods where it was just boring and awkward. What have we even got in common?

Another realisation, I have been driving this relationship, he had to make a supreme effort which he obviously found hard.

When I think how, before he had his addiction how easy it was to just be together, how easy it was and now how hard work it is and how just bored I was with it all, I realised this could just fizzle out now... maybe I just don't like the fairground anymore, and although the walk from the fairground to home is boring at least I know where I am going...

So I went home alone, and today I understand that I am done with the drama - he will have to fight to get well, and to make me feel like I can be bothered with it all.

My instinct is with me being so radically different and 'cool' that he may go on one of his hook up sites to get an instant ego boost and to feel good! Well again whatever, I got a lot of stuff to do today for myself and that sits very well with me.

I have realised - being a martyr, forgiving understanding, supportive and loving doormat - I lost him. Being a cool, aloof, concentrating on myself and not really caring about the outcome either way I will lose him. BUT I am not prepared to lose myself, and I did for a whole year.

Now what to do today..... Oh the possibilities!! :g:


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 Post subject: Re: Shifting Focus
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 8:21 am 
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Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 661
After the profound shock of discovery, and then the realization of how much damage had occurred to me, then the slow and painful understanding of my denial, the most painful realization I had was how hard it was for me to think about me...to take care of me...to protect me... to celebrate me. It's stunning. It's very, very sad. What I do know, is that I can blame myself for this understanding. Really, I can allmost punish myself by thinking I'm "weak" or "pathetic". Also very sad. Finding a trauma therapist to help me understand why I am this way, to offer compassion and support and healing, has been tremendously helpful.

We must not blame ourselves. We must not feel bad about ourselves. It's hard to do, I know. All the love and compassion we pour out to our partners needs to be funneled back to ourselves. Feels bad and weird to do it, I know. But we must.

Here's what helped me. On my vision and values I think back to when I felt young and vital, alive and full of potential. Remember that? Some of us may never have felt that way. I did when I was in my early 20's. Now I am in my late 50's and I have learned more and matured in some ways, so it's a bit of a different view. But, I do remember the feelings I had about life at that time. Then I thought about my non-married life over these past 30 years and when I felt happy, successful, alive. I focused on those feelings and times and what I had been doing and I was able to come up with my values. Those parts of us, the hope, the joy, the optimism, the love, the sensuality, the zest for life, the trustworthiness and loyalty, that's really good stuff. I believe our partners were attracted to that (since it is missing in them) but then for their own crazy reasons they couldn't handle it, took it for granted, destroyed it...well, you know. Whatever those values are, that's what was damaged and what we need to return to. I was able to think about myself when I wasn't with a man and was happy.

So, in therapy, I learned of my tremendous fear of abandonment. Makes sense to me. Hard to think of myself that way. But that awareness makes me realize that I never learned to take care of myself and to love myself. As a result, I abandoned me and deprived me in order to stay in an abusive relationship which seemed a whole lot better than being alone. So sad and tragic, but there you go.

Now, based on excellent advice from the coaches here, I am patient with myself (usually...), I am gentle with myself, I celebrate baby steps. At first I found one thing a day I could do for myself (not involvng my husband) that made me happy. Just one thing. It felt great! Now I am expanding that into more than one thing. I'm a work in progress.

I am battling despair right now, so I still have more work. I am unable to craft a vision or visions of my future, which I need to do. I am patient and gentle with myself about this. I am getting help for this. I will heal and be able to do this, but it will take time.

What we are going through or have gone through with the discovery that our partners are SAs is so deeply traumatizing. As Jon says, it is "a helpless reality." So compassion for ourselves is what I believe is critical for our healing. Finding it here with each other has helped me find it for myself.

dnell


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 Post subject: Re: Shifting Focus
PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 4:53 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2014 7:06 pm
Posts: 28
sp2007 Would love to hear some practical tips on how to do this.

It is a difficult one! I have found just not spending too much time with that person helps to disconnect emotionally.

Stop trying to be their counsellor/advisor/guru (this was very hard for me as I am also a teacher and ingrained to try and teach and help)

Try to see the reality of what they have done to you without making excuses for them or trying to understand it.

Really look at the person they have become - do you even like them? The love will be there but do you like them, like spending time with them. If you do what is the payoff for you what are you actually getting?

Is it painful or uplifting to be in their company, or are you clinging on to a past relationship which is gone?

Asking myself all of this helped me to see how this 'new' relationship with him has evolved. I don't really enjoy it anymore, not getting a great deal out of it - no intimacy, friendship,respect, fun or understanding - just a continual reminder of 'the way we were'

Alternatively work on emotionally connecting back again, if both of you want to work on this that is great, but it will be frustrating if it comes from you?

I think it depends on how badly in the grip of addiction they are and how motivated you are to disconnect. Take it one day at a time - today I will disconnect (send love without getting caught up in the drama) and see how it feels day by day?

Sending hugs sp2007


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 Post subject: Re: Shifting Focus
PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 6:15 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:33 pm
Posts: 96
thank you, toffeetimetravellor.

i'm going to start another thread to reply. i think it might be helpful to others.


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