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How we are defined.....choices.

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blakesteele posted 1/14/2014 11:04 AM

Our life is not defined by how people treat us, it's by how we choose to respond to that treatment.

I apologize that I can't put a name to that exact quote....I have read and listened to much on the idea of "intentional living" that my notes are many.......but this singular statement summarizes my overall thought on this topic.

Adultery is a choice. While my wife's A is not about does affect me. She administered a "treatment " to me.

I choose how to respond to that treatment. While I do sincerely wish my wife did not choose as she did, my "stronger regret" is how I chose to react on DD.

I defined myself not by my wife choice to commit adultery but by my choice of reaction to this choice (treatment).

I had a choice to have a RA. This would have resulted in a "treatment" given to my wife, but it would not have defined her. How she chose to react to that treatment would. This choice would have defined me. I would have regretted that choice.

I think at one point my wife would have welcomed me choosing a RA.....because that would be all on would be a definition of me.

My choice to use porn defined was a "treatment" to my wife but it did not define her. She made choices in reaction to that treatment.....and I see her struggling with how that defined herself as she examined her choices on how she chose to react.

Our choices are ours.

Being victimized is not a choice. Adultery victimized the BS.

We choose if we want to be a victim, adopt a victim mentality via choices.

Adultery is a choice for a WS. Choices define us. This is why it is true that A's are only about the WS.....not even about the AP 'a involved. AP's choose there way all on there own....AP's could be "anyone" willing to make that choice.

So, here is the good news! We can change our choices and change how we are defined.

And this is one reason I believe this is a long process.....we are not just processing through the trauma of adultery. We are processing through the many "choices and definitions" that we have collected.....sometimes collected since childhood!

Adultery will always have been a choice my wife made.

Porn use will always have been a choice I made.

Those did roll up into our respective "definitions".

We can grow past these choices, thereby changing our definitions.

Learning to R is re-defining our marriages.

God be with us all.

[This message edited by blakesteele at 11:08 AM, January 14th (Tuesday)]

blakesteele posted 1/14/2014 11:15 AM

Now, if a male stripped or a romantic poet presented a "treatment " to my wife I would expect her to NOT choose adultery. I would expect her to choose to say "no".

If she choose to say "yes" would define her and send a clear message of her intentions.

I would then have a choice to make. This would result in furthering the "definitions" of who blakesteele is.

.....and this is why I think intentional living and learning to R is not a singular choice, it is a continuous process. We are, through our choices, continuing to define ourselves.

Treatments......we have almost no control over them (being a BS, cancer, death of a loved one, etc). We have 100% control over our choice of reaction to these treatments.

And that is a very good thing!


stunnedin12 posted 1/14/2014 11:21 AM

Our life is not defined by how people treat us, it's by how we choose to respond to that treatment.

I really, really struggle with this statement. In a sense it feels like rugsweeping.

Wh chose to have an affair.
He chose to break NC 3 times (that I know of)
He chose to lie.
He set out to purposely and willfully destroy me.
He did.

So, it is my CHOICE to be crushed? Should I have chosen to be happy that it all came to light and then move on?

I think it is a very human emotion to be crushed. I will not wallow in being crushed as I won't allow him to have the power over me. But, yes, I am/was crushed.

Granted, we are working on our marriage. But that choice to cheat has completely and 100% altered our lives. The fall-out is great and while it is my choice to stay and work on it, sometimes my humanness gets in the way and I crumble. Does that make me weak that he then defined me?

Oh - my brain is a mess, but that phrase of "choosing our response" has always set my teeth on edge. I don't know if I adequately explained myself.

[This message edited by stunnedin12 at 12:01 PM, January 14th (Tuesday)]

blakesteele posted 1/14/2014 11:38 AM


I really get what you are saying....I, too, struggle with what I posted......but I believe it is truth.

It is not "blakesteele's" is thoughts I have put together from other people.

I do, however , "see the truth" in this as I go through this trial.

Having witnessed other "truths" surrounding the journeys associated with adultery come into being, truths that I would have sworn were "truths for other people, not for blakesteele.....I have strong faith in what I "reported" in this post.

But I am open to being wrong as I have not fully embraced these truths yet.

Thanks for reading my post and commenting.


blakesteele posted 1/14/2014 11:40 AM

I still wonder if my co-dependent nature will come back.....if I will choose to be a doormat again......

Life is meant to be enjoyed, not endured.......

Looking forward to watching this post develop.

karmahappens posted 1/14/2014 11:53 AM

it's by how we choose to respond to that treatment

IMO this does not mean you are defined by how you feel..

It means by what you did when the chips were down.

Are you getting up? Healing? Walking a path that is right for you, in your heart?

Those things define a person.

You being crushed after dday stunned, that defines you as well, to me.

As someone who loves and trusts deeply.


cl131716 posted 1/14/2014 12:00 PM

I am still in the process of learning this and really letting it sink in.

My initial response after D-day was anger, hurt, worthlessness, guilt, self-blame, and feeling like a victim.

In the following months my response switched to obsession and worry. I obsessed about why WH had strayed, what I did not know, and what issues he had. I worried that there was much more than I had uncovered, he would continue the behavior, and I was still being lied to. I was desperately trying to control the situation.

Now, I am seeing things in a different light. I've realized that his choices were his own and while they affected you said they didn't define me. I have no control over what he does. His behavior really had little to do with ME. I am starting to accept that WH has a problem and dealing with that problem is all on him. Acceptance doesn't mean rugsweeping. I can accept the situation and still maintain boundaries and consequences. I can put up with mistreatment or I can decide I won't have any part of it, that's MY choice.

blakesteele posted 1/14/2014 12:13 PM

Karmahappens..... You really need to be a therapist, leader in real life somewhere! You have the big- picture grasp I am aiming for. Until I get there i have these "simplified pieces" that I develop....with hopes that they will roll-up into a full big picture.

I do think that choices many times are made from a combined wisdom generated from a lifetime of choices and experiences (treatments).

cl131716......I am right about where you are. Honestly, one way I have made piece and forgiven myself for my DD reaction and the 4 months that followed is by realizing this was not an ordinary was EXTRAordinary. I had no other experience that I could draw wisdom or peace from. I don't think my wife could have chosen a mure hurtful way to "treat" me than to choose the abandonment that is adultery . be clear..... I am a work in progress. This post might have read that I am "all better". That I "have arrived". Not the case at all.....just processing enough and reading enough to attempt this "data -dump" of a post. I do this occasionally to pull together bits and pieces into a coherent thought.

God be with us all.

blakesteele posted 1/14/2014 12:15 PM

Acceptance doesn't mean rugsweeping. I can accept the situation and still maintain boundaries and consequences. I can put up with mistreatment or I can decide I won't have any part of it, that's MY choice.

Yes yes yes!

By looking at your DD's, it appears like you are moving more swiftly than the average BS....keep it up!


Undefinabl3 posted 1/14/2014 12:22 PM

while the whole language is hard to follow. I think I understand the concept.

I think this quote fits as well:

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

or this one, but I can't find the exact author of it:

How people treat you defines them, how you respond defines you.

heartbrokeninaz posted 1/14/2014 12:47 PM

I read another quote about an act alone doesn't define you as a person, it is all the acts. I feel this way about my WS A. Granted it was a ONS and a little different...I try to remember that he is a good person. He is a wonderfu l father. He is always working to improve himself now. He is there when I need him. The A doesn't define him as a person. The A unfortunatly shows that he is human. I have to remind myself of that every day. And goodness knows that I am not perfect myself. We just have to work on being the best person we can be every day.

blakesteele posted 1/14/2014 13:29 PM

Cool quotes!

"We make choices, and choices make us". This speaks more to the continuing re-defining process I am working on accepting......

Seems like when we stop making new choices we start limiting our own growth.

We are also called to choose the "narrow path".

.....the path less traveled results in the greatest rewards.

Look at the stats on adultery, infidelity, and D. While I can't personally confirm their validity..... I think it is safe to say that when you combine all 3 stats......choosing to learn to R IS the narrow path, the path less traveled, the "harder"? path.

Still...... I struggle. The narrow path is a biblical reference. Adultery is biblical grounds for D......D is not "easy" either I struggle with this post.....and it's my post!


Trust destroyed with regards to trusting my is a consequence of her choices . I chose to trust that she did what she said she did on DD.....that she ended her EA. Instead, she went underground and fucked him in short order .

I trusted her enough to go to weekly MC sessions with her. She took that opportunity to trickle truth and lie some more.

So by my own choices I allowed my pain surrounding my wife's choices to continue. Nothing I could choose to do would have prevented my wife from making her choices.....but my choices after both of my DD's enabled more hurt and pain to come into my life. I am not taking credit for my wife's affair, but I do take responsibility for the further pain I experienced. I do blame our MC who did not advise me to distance myself from my wife.....MC was not experienced with adultery and lacked wisdom that I could have used.....but even that, I choose to stay with that MC. I choose to trust her advice and follow her lead .

Trust of my wife is gone. I trust I can R with her and that trust will return as she makes choices proving it is well placed on her. Trust in MC is gone, we have chosen to find a different MC.

By my own choices, trust in myself has been severely is apparent in how I am writing within this post.

I do see trust in myself returning relatively quickly...... But it has been. 17 months. Trust in my wife had been very slow to rebuild.

Much has been discussed with her this past 17 months.....but words don't carry much weight anymore. Vows were words. Choices result in actions. Actions speak far louder than words. Trust us earned through observable actions.

I see my wife wrestling with how she could betray herself, me and our family so completely. 17 months out and there is very little sugar coating left to make her choices any less palatable than they were.

I see myself coming to terms with my unpalatable choices of the past .

I think a key is to not get "stuck" in the poor choices of our past and realize and appreciate and be grateful that we CAN choose better.

Change occurs when the pain of same is greater than the pain of change.

We know better, and can choose to do better.

God be with us all.

[This message edited by blakesteele at 1:57 PM, January 14th (Tuesday)]

Kyrie posted 1/14/2014 13:35 PM

This is a good thread, Blake. I'd say it's taken me almost two years to truly feel this, though. I might have thought it early on, but making the connection to my heart has been one slow process.

Stunnedin12, I hope you hear that. I feel an overwhelming need to validate your feelings of being crushed. That is absolutely the result of being hurt by betrayal. And if you were stunned in '12, it is still really early in your healing process. I think our experience with betrayal is like this:

If you were severely injured in a wreck, your first response would not and could not be, hmmm, how can I choose to respond to this? Absolutely not! You're in shock and all you know is that you hurt and are in danger. You are desperate for help. You look at your wounds and you don't "think" how to respond. No, your response is involuntary suffering. It is help-less. The pain is unrelenting and all consuming. It's only when the injuries begin to heal and you feel the danger of what's happened subside, that you can even fathom the process of getting back to normal. And for most of us, doing so feels overwhelming, if not impossible.

I would say many of us struggle with intentional living and conscious decision making when life is ordinary. But you attempt to do that when you are in an extraordinary threatening and painful state, and you'll feel it is impossible. It's at that point that you can get hopeless.

I guess that's why there's the advice not to make any big decisions in the early days of R. It truly takes time to heal. Ask anyone recovering from a major illness. It takes time (and in that time a great deal of care and rehabilitation) to recover.

Stunned12, you have been victimized. It is a terrible and senseless thing that's happened to you. Think of yourself as recovering from a significant injury and proceed with TLC and patience. The time will eventually come when you will be capable of making choices about how you respond to what's happened.

I believe that if you do the work of healing (and it is WORK,) this means practicing intensive self care, then when you're ready, you'll be strong and motivated to continue this behavior - and will be in better shape to choose your responses. And I think that if you can get to that point, you will not want to choose responses that define you as a victim. I am just now feeling confident and strong enough to think of myself as a whole, healed person. How I choose to respond to what has happened to me is a concept I am just now starting to consider.

My mom was betrayed 30 years ago. She lives every day like she just found out. She hasn't been with my father, the betrayer, for 30 years, yet she has chosen every day for 30 years to hold on to her identity as a victim. She never sought help. She turned inward. Her wounds became infected and she never dealt with that. Today she's still hurt, sad and hopeless because of what my dad did "to her." For 30 years I've watched her choose suffering over everything else. She chose to hold on to my father's betrayal until it became her only identity. In effect, she's betrayed herself in response.

Sorry, Blake, for running away with your thread! I am long winded and opinionated! Peace!

bionicgal posted 1/14/2014 13:42 PM

In my stronger moments, I know that I will not let my husband's poor choices at a low moment in his life define me in the larger picture. I don't feel responsible for them, and while they still hurt like crazy, I don't think he set out to purposefully destroy me. That would be such a painful way to think, on top of the toxic reality of his selfishness and self-destructiveness. He has told me again and again, and I see the truth of it more every day -- it was never about me. It was "use" or "don't use." She was a cheap high.

Stunned, it does not sound like your H is on board from your profile. But please know, that what ever is wrong with him, is him being broken.

Kyrie posted 1/14/2014 13:52 PM

I think a key is to not get "stuck" in the poor choices of our past and realize and appreciate and be grateful that we CAN choose better.

By my own choices, trust in myself has been severely eroded

You trusted yourself that being with your W was the best thing for you. Her actions eroded that trust. I don't think you can will yourself to trust. Trust is a by-product of you living out your core values. Every time that I act out what I truly believe, I do what I claim is valuable and important and matters to me, I can see a little bit of self trust and self confidence sneaking back in. And I am going to have to have that self-trust restored in order to feel safe regarding my choices for reconciliation with my H. Just a thought.

naivewife posted 1/14/2014 13:59 PM

Wow, coincidence that this post should come up today. WH and I had an MC appointment this morning and one of my sort of "breakthroughs" was my slowly growing realization that all of the choices WH made during his A reflect only on him. Each choice was not because of me, directed towards me, or a reflection of my worth or flaws. They had nothing to do with me. My choices are everything I've done since then, and continue to do - this is what defines me. It was a real "break free of the chains" kind of moment for me. I have no control over anyone but myself, so another person's actions do not define me in any way. Thank you for posting!

[This message edited by naivewife at 8:07 PM, January 14th (Tuesday)]

blakesteele posted 1/14/2014 14:07 PM


My mom was betrayed 30 years ago. She lives every day like she just found out.

Wow!!!! My Mom is almost in exactly the same spot. It has only been this year that she has peeked at her betrayal and her choices before and after that betrayal. I see her doing similar steps as I took shortly after my DD.....still wanting to blame 99% of her broken on her dad. But I see glimpses if her thinking about her actions within the entire marriage.

So just because time passes and we age, it doesn't mean we will grow or examine our choices and how they define us.

I pray for courage often. This is not easy and I am weak....but finding strength in many of them is SI.

Thanks for the support. NEVER worry about t/j any of my posts.......I like the organic nature they take on.

God be with us all.

blakesteele posted 1/14/2014 14:09 PM

You're welcome naive wife... (Realizing the comfort you found in this post was a joint effort of all the posters!)

still-living posted 1/14/2014 19:44 PM

I am still not sure about the "intentional living" idea. I think a person needs to believe in their correct choices to sustain the long haul, not just do them, after all, many WSs crack during middle age carrying the burden.

However, possibly the advantage of intentional living, or intentional right decision making, is that we must start somewhere with building our value, as if the more days we force ourselves to stay clean, the more we desire to protect what we have built. Intentional Living might be the parenthood for adults, as parents extrinsically motivate their children into building value by making them do what they necessarily may not understand or believe in using discipline. Children then fly the coop intrinsically motivated in protecting their own value combined with seeing and believing that right choices worked well for themselves and for their parents.

Maybe, just maybe, you chose not to have a RA because it did not fit your beliefs? Maybe it went against your grain? Maybe having an affair and "using" another person was too difficult for you? Maybe you couldn't handle the pain of being dishonest with nearly everyone around you? Maybe you learned from SI before you had the chance to have an affair. Maybe it would further let down children that you love? I think you chose to do, what you believed, was the right thing. It so happened to be, not having an RA. I think our choices are based on who we are at the moment.

[This message edited by still-living at 7:49 PM, January 14th (Tuesday)]

stunnedin12 posted 1/14/2014 19:49 PM

Good to come back and read more ideas and opinions.

I have thought about this post all day.

I will not be a victim of wh stupidity. There will be good days and awful days but over-all, I will NOT be a victim.


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