BrokenButTrying - Is the IC, the MC, the life time commitment to self improvement, the building of new boundaries, the establishment of new coping mechanisms, the tears and the heartbreak, ever enough?
If your thinking that any of these steps will be able to give you absolutation, then the answer is no. The consequences of your affiar will be with you forever. But that doesn't mean that you have to suffer forever. As you continue self-healing, things will change. Finding acceptance will be a very big step in your healing as you work to self-forgiveness.
The problem with acceptance is that quite often, while we understand the idea on a intellecutal baiss, something inside of us, the part that holds onto the guilt, can't make the jump to believing in this idea with our heart. I think that until you can find it, you will continue to fret over the whole affair and its implications.
BrokenButTrying - How do I live with this? It cannot be possible to have the suffering of those I love the most imprinted on my soul for the rest of my days.
If you only think about the damage done, the hurt and the suffering, then sadly enough, your setting yourself up for a lifetime of bitterness and resentment. You have to reframe this and see the positives. I know seeing positives is hard amoung the ruin of your life but there are some. Learning how to cook, learning to be the best father to your two kids, coming to a knowledge and understanding of yourself that never existed before.
If you have lost hope, hold onto faith. When faith deserts you, hold onto sheer stubbornness and pigheadedness - HUFI.
Focusing on the negatives will keep you shame bound. While you walk down this journey, day by day and small step by small step, it helps to lift your eyes and look towards the future. One that holds the promise of a brighter future. Is it so dark that you can't a reason to go on? Sit down right now and make a list of positives. Make a list of things that you are grateful for. Make a list of things that you want to accomplish. Start by simply acknowledging that while today you feel like shit, you can see where time will heal the acute hurt that you feel. It will get better.
BrokenButTrying - So how can I forgive myself? It's too huge. ...I just don't see how forgiving myself will ever be possible.
While self-forgivness is important, its not a nessesaty. Instead of worrying over forgiveness, how about working on acceptance. Find some peace in the idea that your actions reflect the choices and decisions of your life at the time that you made them. It does not carry forward into the future unless you carry the baggage along. You can change, hell, you are changing day by day already. Work on accepting the new reality and don;t fret over finding forgiveness to day. It will come when it needs to.
BrokenButTrying - I've never done anything like that before. I wasn't a deceitful or malicious person. To me, my A felt like a crisis. So why didn't I do what I have always done in the past and ask for help?
In order to ansewr this, you may want to read the book, When Good People Have Affairs: Inside the Hearts & Minds of People in Two Relationships by Mira Kirshenbaum. When I read your words, I flashed back to my own struggle with this. How could the good HUFI have done this? Where was my morality, where was the noble, righteous and virtuious HUFI when he was facing temptation? Well, the answer comes with IC and a whole lot of self-reflection and exaimination of your thought process and feelings at the time. Whatever you find as to the "why", the truth is that otherwise good people do fall into affairs. Being an adulterer is not defined by intent but by action and in that respect, even good people make mistakes. The key is to acept that and let the guilt and shame behind. Otherwise, as I said, you run the risk of becoming shame-bound.
BrokenButTrying - I can't feel anything except anger today. Two poorly kids and no one to talk to.
I encourage you right now to take a deep breath, relax those tense neck muscles and breathe deeply again. Now, picture your two kids and how much fun you will have cooking them something special and the smiles on their faces. Let that be your PMA today.
And what do you mean, no one to talk to? What are we, chopped chickens?
Seriously, if you have no one IRL to talk to, I would encourage you to step outside your safety zone and find someone. It can be striking up a conversation with someone at church, at the library. Reach out on a telephone crisis line. While we are better than nothing, we can't substitute for a real friend who is willing to listen to you face to face. http://www.helpguide.org/mental/how-to-make-friends.htm