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Pain and filling voids....

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blakesteele posted 10/18/2013 14:56 PM

Got this in a newsletter today....I feel it does a great job of summarizing both what A's are as well as how pain can actually be beneficial if we have the courage to face it...and not to seek unhealthy ways that, in a vane effort, try to avoid dealing with the pain.

Here it is....

When a measured assault enters our life we often respond in two different ways. The pain caused by the assault drives us to a place of either embracing the pain or we embrace anything that will make us feel better. That becomes the entry door to a false lover. Men and women each seek to avoid pain in different ways. Larry Crabb has summarized these two unique strategies often used to avoid deep pain:

All of us are trapped by addiction to a desire for something less than God. For many women, that something less is relational control. "I will not be hurt again and I will not let people I love be hurt. I'll see to it that what I fear never happens again." They therefore live in terror of vulnerably presenting themselves to anyone and instead become determined managers of people. Their true femininity remains safely tucked away behind the walls of relational control.
More common in men is an addiction to non-relational control. "I will experience deep and consuming satisfaction without ever having to relate meaningfully with anyone." They keep things shallow and safe with family and friends and feel driven to experience a joy they never feel, a joy that only deep relating can provide. Their commitment is twofold: to never risk revealing inadequacy by drawing close to people and, without breaking that commitment, to feel powerful and alive. Power in business and illicit sex are favorite strategies for reaching that goal.1

Many times we seek to deal with our pain through various forms of addictions designed to resolve the inner pain we feel. All addictions represent a counterfeit desire for genuine love and intimacy. We conclude these lesser desires are legitimate needs instead of band-aids of our fleshly soul. These addiction lovers become isolation chambers created for ourselves designed to mask our pain.

Every human being has a desire to be loved. When we do not feel loved because of some event in our lives we seek to reconcile this emotional pain. So, if you are fighting any kind of addiction--over control of people, sex, (infidelity), drugs, alcohol, workaholism, shopping, overeating--you are seeking to fill a void only God can fill.

Pain has a useful purpose in our lives. Facing it, rather than medicating it, allows us to move to a place of discovering a capacity for a different kind of joy. That is the purpose of pain. We must let inner pain do its work by experiencing it fully. It feels like a contradiction to actually embrace the pain, but it is the only remedy for moving past it so it can yield its purpose in our lives. Otherwise we will remain unaware of our deeper desire for God and be driven toward a false lover.

1 Larry Crabb, Shattered Dreams, Waterbrook Press, Colorado Springs, CO 2001, p.95

sisoon posted 10/18/2013 16:52 PM

I think this makes some sense. In particular, my way through this has been to embrace pain and triggers as opportunities to feel my pain and let it go.

Sometimes medication really helps. I agree, sometimes it's used just to shut up the sound of people in pain, but it often helps the people who are in pain.

I fought ADD meds for years - one of the stupidest things I've ever done. Others fight ADs or anti-anxiety meds when they'd really help.

Taking meds can be a difficult choice, but a good one.

silverhopes posted 10/18/2013 23:17 PM

It feels like a contradiction to actually embrace the pain, but it is the only remedy for moving past it so it can yield its purpose in our lives.

It doesn't necessarily seem like a contradiction. Through the fire, right? But I think - and it could just be my own experiences - where some of the difficulty comes is how long one must embrace the pain. If it's several years with no end in sight, then a person might begin to seek tools to make the pain recede or stop. It's the expectation that there will be an end date someday. The idea of embracing a particular pain for the rest of your life might seem overwhelming.

There might be some pains that need not be lifelong ones, but how do you know which ones they are? And how do you know which tools are the right ones to stop it? We might be so busy being told to avoid the wrong ones that we don't get to learning the right ones.

ItsaClimb posted 10/19/2013 03:07 AM

Wow, that made a lot of sense to me.

The pain caused by the assault drives us to a place of either embracing the pain or we embrace anything that will make us feel better.

^^ this especially. I can see how for my fWH OW was a way to "make him feel better". He was miserable, had hopeless coping mechanisms and she was suddenly there, offering comfort.

Unfortunately, I can also see how lately I have had this restless, searching feeling, looking for something to make me feel better... it's scary. I need to keep a close eye on my coping mechanisms and try to embrace the pain rather than mask it. It's easier said than done though, after 14 months of this I am so tired of the pain!

blakesteele posted 10/19/2013 08:06 AM

Unfortunately, I can also see how lately I have had this restless, searching feeling, looking for something to make me feel better... it's scary. I need to keep a close eye on my coping mechanisms and try to embrace the pain rather than mask it. It's easier said than done though, after 14 months of this I am so tired of the pain!

This exactly. This is my motivator to posting this here. It is scary to think how little pain my wife expressed to me pre-A....and how low her threshold was so that she could make the choices she did.


Now we have real expressed pain in our marriages to process through in a healthy manner and not drink ourselves stupid, avoid RA's, not abandon our families (stay engaged with our kids).

I guess a silver lining to this is that I have new empathy for my wife..:I can feel the temptation to escape as she did....the temptation to abandon her, our girls, my friends in the same manner she did to "make me feel better.".

But we also have a benefit our spouses didn't, or at least my wife didn't....she was blind to the fact that she was at risk. Then she was delusional while in her A that allowed her to tell herself that she was not abandoning her M, that she was not putting our daughters at risk, that she was in control. I have processed enough of the pain my wife inflicted on me to be able to see some of my own faults, weaknesses and vulnerability. I have more vision to see my own dangers then my wife did 15 months ago.

I posted a lot recently....found this to be an effective way to keep my own selfish tendencies at bay.

God help us all.

[This message edited by blakesteele at 8:13 AM, October 19th (Saturday)]

rachelc posted 10/19/2013 09:01 AM

so true. so hard to read. parts of hubby and I are still in this - his workaholism and not admitting to being anything less than perfect - me catching him in affairs must have sent his self-esteem to the basement - the gig was up at that point.

Me - admittingly use shopping for a "fix" at times. Having one drink too much. I find if I do things for others it is better.. I'm making felted mittens for my friends this weekend. Yet, is that more for validation from them?

got me thinkin, as usual, blakesteele. thanks for posting...

Skan posted 10/19/2013 10:33 AM

All addictions represent a counterfeit desire for genuine love and intimacy. We conclude these lesser desires are legitimate needs instead of band-aids of our fleshly soul. These addiction lovers become isolation chambers created for ourselves designed to mask our pain.

This, especially, spoke to me, the bolded part the most. The more I learn about my FWHs abuse at work and his feelings of abandonment here in our marriage (which is legitimate), the more I see how his need to be loved and to give love was bent into something else. Something that he felt was a "legitimate need" vice a Band-Aid. And I see my escapism, my fleeing into different activities, volunteerism, as the same need to feel close to something, someone.

I copied the entire quote and sent it to him with the desire that we talk about it. Thanks for the discussion point, Blakesteele!

sodamnlost posted 10/19/2013 10:42 AM

Just wanted to thank you for your bravery in posting this. I am in too much pain to digest right now but I have saved it for future reading/exploring. Thanks!

blakesteele posted 10/19/2013 11:34 AM

.....it is from my own pain that I posted this.

Good to hear from yousodamnlost. I had lost track of you, I see you are divorcing. I am sorry I lost track of the turning point in your R journey.

I bolded that part because it resonated with me as well....it is how I viewed porn use in my life.... Seriously thought it was a "need". I now see it in the light that this article puts it in.....the "band aid" light.

I have not visited with my wife on this....would like to someday but we are not at that spot.

I think I can see my wife's relating to the female part of this....but know I relate to the man part. It served as a concise summary as to what I must do to become more healthy and it confirms I am on the right path.


Glad it resonates with others.

God be with us all.

[This message edited by blakesteele at 11:46 AM, October 19th (Saturday)]

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