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Compartmentalizing like a champ

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NoGoodUsername posted 8/24/2013 23:33 PM

Apologies in advance, this is going to be kind of rambling. I was going to put this down in a paper journal but you folks here at SI will probably have better feedback than a notebook.

My BW just came and expressed that she felt that I wasn't working on my problems that led to my affair. I can see why she said that. Our lives are in chaos and I've been putting in big hours for work. My commute is an hour each way, we're trying to get our house ready to sell in preparation for a move out of state and I'm applying for jobs for the first time in nearly a decade.

Oh yeah, she's on the verge of finishing grad school. My EA turning physical was two weeks before her defense date. That got pushed back and, my god, what a shitty thing that was to have done to her. On top of the triple betrayal, I tainted what was supposed to be the biggest accomplishment of her life.

I've been trying to get to the bottom of my failures and feel that there have been some really useful insights, particularly from speaking with BW. Lately, I've been putting most of my effort into practical matters and that has resulted in very little introspection and a whole lot of compartmentalization so I can try to keep my shit together well enough to work 50+ hours a week and tend to all of the other things in our lives, including all of the conversations and fights that have to happen because I had an affair and screwed our lives up.
Unfortunately, compartmentalization is a very bad habit for me and helped get me into this nightmare in the first place. We've used the analogy of it being like narcotics. It is fine in limited quantities for specific reasons and then you stop using it. If you use it as a crutch to get through each day, it will mess your life up.
Well, it's messing my life up now.
How in the world does one get through this stuff without compartmentalizing? I want to get to the root of my problems and fix them but I also need to keep the bills paid and all of the other things that I have been talking about. When I do this kind of introspection, particularly with the help of friends, I turn into a complete emotional wreck and can barely function for a while. Can anyone offer guidance on how to do this without compartmentalizing and still be able to make life run?

bionicgal posted 8/25/2013 09:10 AM

BS, here.
Are you in therapy?
I hear your frustration. We are in an intensely busy spot as well. . .it is very hard.

Can you set aside a part of every day, even if it is a half an hour, to read/journal/pray or whatever to help keep the process going?

We all have to keep functioning - try not to beat yourself up. Maybe sit down with your wife and check in and talk about your frustration. I don't think you have to walk around an emotional wreck in order to heal, but pushing it all away will not help either.

Good luck to you.

YoungMistakes83 posted 8/25/2013 09:54 AM

To me, dangerous compartmentalization is when you ignore the other "boxes" and pretend they don't exist. Healthy compartmentalization is knowing that the box of shit is there, having a plan for unpacking it, but know that you have other boxes to deal with as well. Maybe sit down with you wife, find things that really are not important that don't have to be done and come up with a plan for helping yourself and her heal. Have you tried anti-depressants? That may help you process some of the emotions with out turning into an emotional wreck. Also, starting looking for IC in your new location now, that way you can hit the ground running when you're there.

20WrongsVs1 posted 8/25/2013 10:24 AM

Totally hear you and can relate.

You need to recognize your feelings and deal with them, or you could "snap" again. If you were both agreeing to "shelve" this for awhile, that'd be fine, but she's saying she needs to see more work from you. So fit it in.

What are you doing during your commute? Being alone in a car is a great time for introspection, IMO. If you'd typically listen to morning talk radio, turn it off and use that time to just be alone with your thoughts.

What issues have you identified, that you need to work on? Buy an audio book on that topic, and listen to it during your commute. Text her when you get to work, with one interesting thing you heard on the audio book. When you get home, talk to her about something you've learned or felt during the day.

NoGoodUsername posted 8/25/2013 14:55 PM

Thanks for the replies. I'm going to seriously set time aside for introspection and examination. I'm also going to keep using my friends that way. It is a lot easier to get in touch with my emotions when I have to confront the reality of the situation with someone whose good opinion matters to me.
I'm afraid that my commute is not a good time for serious self examination as it is in heavy traffic. One thing I can do is embrace and own one of my triggers (I hate that word, by the way)as I have to pass by the exit to my AP's house twice a day, every work day.
If I can find something good, an audiobook is not a bad idea.

MystiKay posted 8/25/2013 20:35 PM

What about books on tape? Could you and here sit down and maybe see if there are any books that you could listen to on your communte? Or maybe write down some thoughts to talk to her about at the end of the day. That way she can see you are doing work on the relationship as well as everything else? oh maybe a tape recorder to record things instead of writing down on your drive.

jrr111800 posted 8/26/2013 14:42 PM

I think we all examine ourselves differently, on the surface it may appear that we are just putting it in a box and moving on. However, we all still have responsibilities that have to be attended to, doesnít mean we are still working to fix our mess. I have seen you on here a lot and have read most of your postís, you are working at it so donít beat yourself up for that. We dumbass WS just work at it differently than what they (BS) would like to see. My BS may think I am just moving on and not trying because she doesnít visually see me working on myself. I just try and show, tell her everyday what I am thinking or what is I am doing. Tell her how you are feeling at the moment, whatís on your mind, you may think itís not what she wants to hear but atleast you opened up and let her know. Itís a baby step to rebuilding and in partly showing her that you are putting in to the work.

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