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 Post subject: Struggle and perpsective
PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2015 6:48 am 
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Partner's Coach (Admin)

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I have been having a difficult time over the last couple of weeks. Learning that my h started dating triggered my old automatic fears and with that some old, automatic reactions (that I unconsciously created, somewhere along the way, to protect myself). Anyhow, during this time I sent some thoughts to Coach B, and wanted to share some of his responses (purple). Unfortunately, I can’t find the original message, but have copied his response here. The context is that I was feeling ashamed of my reaction and trying to come to terms with it. I am sharing here, with Coach B’s permission, of course. One of the most meaningful things about coaching for me is sharing my experience. Thanks to this and other work, there is less sharing from my mistakes than there used to be :w: The point to push forward is that any learning is a non-linear process. What matters are one’s commitments. I saw that I could have continued to isolate myself, retreat further into the “comfort” of my own sadness. I seriously considered it. But then I considered the implication of the trade off between my “need” to feel safe, and the entirety of the rest of my vision. Yes, I still value safety, but not in the self-preserving way that it was manifesting.
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Re: "I think it’s also because my thought processes and actions in terms of my own situation are discordant with what I know to do."

To be honest, I think to an extent, this is "normal"...not to the pathological level it is in addiction, where your thinking and actions are completely discordant...but I do think it is normal (or at least common) to "know what you should do", yet have difficulty actually doing it. If all humans did what they knew they should, the world would probably be a much better place. :) …So, remember to be compassionate to yourself in this time...it's more important to focus on how to improve from where you are, than to beat yourself up about not living up to your own self-imposed standards. The fact that you're aware enough to step back because you're realizing you're being triggered (at the point that you're currently at in your life, which won't always be the case) is better than working through it and burning yourself out.

"I think I related to myself as “strong” in such a way as to (unconsciously) not give myself permission to “not be strong”."

Yes, and in a way, this is a pride issue, because what is "being strong", really, as opposed to being "not strong"? Just a concept. To relate a personal story: for my first couple years at RN, I resisted the idea that I needed help and thought I'd be able to figure it out on my own. It was only after I went through my own personal burnout when I realized (or rather, crossed an emotional threshold) that I had no idea how to manage my life, which was really me getting over my pride. And once I kind of mentally threw my hands up and said "all right, I can't deal with this by myself", that itself allowed me to move on. I had kind of an "oh...well that actually wasn't that hard to admit" moment, and then I could focus on moving forward and learning what I needed to learn. Acceptance and letting go are no different; they're one and the same. It's common to push these thoughts and emotions away, whereas if we just accept and let go, that itself is growth.

"I realized how some of my strength was not true strength but a form of self-protection. Being hard on my husband was a way to protect myself from being hurt. Rejecting him to protect myself from feeling rejected."

I have a few longer thoughts on this, but it might be better over Skype. :)

"While I knew and know that his behaviours had nothing to do with me or my worth, he was still making a (skewed) value-based choice; by his continuous behaviour he was valuing porn over me, over our family, over connection, over intimacy, over trust, over honesty, and especially over himself (his true self)."

Yeah, completely understandable. To reference what I said above, I'm sure you have a lot of mixed emotions created by this. Accept them all. If you're angry, allow yourself to feel that. If you're sad, allow yourself to feel that. Don't fight them or think "I shouldn't feel this way"...just accept them and by doing so, you'll process them and let them go.

As far as your partner goes, I believe you said on the board he is dating now. Yes, as you said, a slap in the face. Incredibly selfish, thoughtless behaviour. But ensure that you look past externalities. It's frustrating in that situation where it seems like your former partner is off having a great time and you're left dealing with a situation you didn't want or deserve (I know, I've been there). But if he didn't achieve true recovery and health (which was likely due to a combination of fear, laziness, and hopelessness), then he is still running on the same unhealthy patterns he was before, which means this will end badly for him and that he will likely continue these behaviours, barring some epiphany, for years to come. To quote Jon again, he's choosing short-term emotional gain over long-term purpose and fulfilment. Don't forget you're still the one in the healthy place, even by virtue of the fact that you're acknowledging that you're struggling, rather than avoiding it. Long-term, the mental side here is far more important than what can be seen.

Any selfish behaviour is conditional; it will result in dissatisfaction, frustration, disappointment and any other number of negative consequences. It's inevitable; it'll play itself out in time, even if that timeframe could be months or years. People can put on a great external song-and-dance and still be miserable inside, no matter how great they make their life look. Far more important is to look into the reality of that person's life and how these patterns will play out over time...and also to focus on what you can control yourself. To change your perspective a bit on the "unconscious ideations" you've recognized...it is actually a good thing that these things has brought these to the forefront, because when you recognize and identify them, you can change them (and even the conscious awareness of a pattern can be enough to change it); when you aren't aware of them, they are still sitting there in the background, influencing your perception and decisions. Any situation, even one as difficult and emotional as this, can be used for growth, to get closer to your true self.

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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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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2015 8:19 am 
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Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
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Coach Mel - Thank you for your very thoughtful post. I found it to be very helpful.

When I think of you, and this post strengthens my views, I think of a woman who is:

1) Courageous
2) Principled
3) Thoughtful
4) Is full of integrity
5) Generous
6) Compassionate

dnell


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 7:39 am 
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Partner's Coach (Admin)

Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2007 3:07 pm
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Thank you, dnell. I very much appreciate your comments and am glad you found the post helpful.

_________________
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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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 3:07 pm 
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"I realized how some of my strength was not true strength but a form of self-protection. Being hard on my husband was a way to protect myself from being hurt. Rejecting him to protect myself from feeling rejected."
:pe: :pe: Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou for some much needed insight !!! I am going to take a walk on the beach and contemplate all of your post!!!!!

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It is always OK in the end...if it's not OK, it's not the end!


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 6:09 pm 
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Partner's Coach

Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:36 pm
Posts: 1291
Wonderful insights.

Something I have realized recently relates to character development. Often you hear, once a cheater always a cheater and that is often true. But the reason it is true is because the person who is cheating continues on with the next partner with the same character traits.

I have often wondered why me, what did I do. I was judging my own character for being with a man who betrayed me, who was addicted, who had weak character traits. When really, it was/is former husband's character traits that got us in these situations. Another way of looking at values probably. As he has dated one woman after another, it has triggered me each time, but then I really looked at it and he is simply continuing his patterns of behavior. He is operating with the same character traits he had when we were together and it is only a matter of time with each new woman. The latest woman, he told me she doesn't see the things I see (the compulsions, the lying etc) so maybe her belief is true. This stung when he said it to me, that maybe it is true, that somehow even partly caused by me. But it isn't true. It's easy for most people to behave early on in any relationship for several months even. That doesn't mean his character flaws went away though. They just haven't surfaced yet. And it is possible that he could pull himself together, seek help and embrace recovery. But very doubtful given his history.

Just some thoughts I have processed on him dating other women after our break up.

_________________

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"It's today," squeaked Piglet.
"My favorite day," said Pooh.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 9:05 pm 
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This is a helpful string. In addition to RN, I went into therapy to figure out "what is me" and "what is him".

Clearly, the addiction is all him. The lies, secrets and betrayals are all him.

The hurt, well, that is me. I was betrayed, rejected, devalued...well, you know. That is going to hurt no matter what. His sexual and romantic fantasies about other women and girls, that is going to hurt even though I did not cause it. His fantasy that other women "would appreciate him, admire him, desire him", that's him and not me. Do I think a non-recovered addict will find the "perfect" woman who will "cure" him? No, of course not. This is all part of their fantasy life. But the real life or fantasy pursuit of other women is going to hurt no matter what no matter if we stay or go.

I do have a part in all of this, painful as it is, and that is the part that stayed during all the abuse and did not set proper boundaries. That is me. But the "me" that was trustworthy, loyal, faithful, that's good stuff I am proud of though it made me vulnerable to abuse.

I do understand anger as a way to protect myself from rejection and other awful feelings. As long as I don't get stuck in anger, or wallow in it, I'm giving myself a big break about it.

My two cents....

dnell


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 11:35 am 
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This is really helpful to me today. I'm five weeks out of my relationship. I felt I had to leave after my value boundary was crossed which was "if you have a slip, tell me so we can talk about it and your sponsor and therapist can help us find our way". I walked in on him using, and found out he had been for months without telling any of us. I left. And have found how pernicious a cycle this can be of feeling that he gave me no choice, to ....the "well it's just P", and then back to the "but he lied, countless times, after a soul agreement that we'd walk through this as a couple". It's as though you have to block out all the good you had for a while to get through the "leaving on my principles" part. The whole world of P addiction is so unbelievably confounding. I sort of wish my ex had used drugs as it would just be so obvious that it was time to go. His ism is so accepted in our culture. And as we all know, there are people who can look at images and not lose themselves to it (though I have to say, that stuff burns into your head...why I have stayed away from it, I don't like what it does to my view of the world and other people". I am saddened that we live in a culture that is going off the rails like this. And that people in general aren't standing up and saying "take this stuff off the "anyone has access" web....it's destroying minds and families. Anyway, this aftermath stuff is really really hard. I am thankful you are all there as I process my feelings around it. From what I hear from you all, staying is hard. Leaving is hard. I feel like I'm on a boat off to sea. Nothing but a hope in my heart that I will find a more loving, honest, partner out there. My ex and I had a LOT of good things, but this one element derailed it all. Heartbreaking.


Last edited by miracles on Fri Feb 27, 2015 1:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 12:00 pm 
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Miracles - I am so, so sorry for what you are going through. It is all of our worst nightmare. I know you will heal and thrive. But, it is so very painful. Please know I send you my virtual embrace.
With compassion,
dnell


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