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Moment of Clarity - How to Make It

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knockeddown posted 4/20/2014 11:56 AM

First I would like to share a bit about me. I am training to become a clinical psychologist and I learned a specific therapy called Dialectical Behavior Therapy that focuses on treating individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder. In many ways, going through infidelity is like being in a Borderline state. There are some key tenets that I would like to share with anyone who is going through this currently. Many of my friends and family are telling me that I am handling things so well for it to only have been about a month ago that I found out. The reason is that I have the advantage of knowing these skills to be able to help me through my distress.

1) Suffering is the non-acceptance of pain
-Practice radically accepting the circumstances you are in. Denying this reality will lead you to being ineffective in your behavior and perpetuating a "if only life was fair" and "I am so needy right now" mentality. Accept the circumstances as they are and you will experience pain. Any "acting out" behaviors is rejecting reality (e.g., drinking alcohol, having sex with another person sooner than what your values say is appropriate, etc).

2) Thoughts are just thoughts
-Thoughts are nothing more and nothing less than just thoughts. In one of my group therapy sessions, a client of mine stated that she thought she was a bad mom because she had her children taken from her. This thought was not effective for her to get her children back and was bothering her. So, we went around the room and sang "I'm I'm I'm a bad mom" to the tune of row row row your boat. By the end, we were all laughing at the thought "I'm a bad mom." Look up mindfulness techniques to learn more about how to step back from your thoughts and recognize them as just thoughts.

3) Allow your emotions to wash over you
-As norabird's signature says, "Sit. Feast on your life." Emotions are there for a reason. Sit with them. Feast on them. They will not kill you. The brain likes to trick us into thinking that emotions will last forever. They won't. All emotions are like waves. They roll in and roll out. Don't let anyone tell you to "cheer up" just because you are feeling down. You will cheer up, just give it time.

4) Get out of your mind and into your life
-Sit with your emotions for as long as it is effective. As yourself, "Is it functional for me right now to sit here and cry for longer than I have for the past 30 minutes?" If not, then get out of your mind and back into your life. Schedule fun events. Get out and meet people. I have recently joined and have made new friends already.

5) Learn to validate your own emotions and not reach out ALL the time to your friends during this trying time. (i.e., don't act more helpless than you actually are)
-This one is a toughy for me. I feel like I need a lot of external validation right now in my life. The reality is that I can validate myself so that I do not drag every single one of my friendships through the muddy waters through which I am treading right now. I feel like I need to get validation for everything (this may be my particular struggle because I have never lived on my own--I graduated high school, met my wife, and moved in with her at 18, now I'm 27).

6) Suicide results from people not recognizing that (1) emotional states pass and (2) thoughts are just thoughts. There are ways that you can build into your life. You can build mastery in whatever area of your life that is consistent with your values.

7) If you don't like something about your life, change it.
-Do you not like how much time you spend playing video games? Don't play them. Do you hate watching so much television because you feel guilty after watching it? Stop watching it. Hate yourself after eating McDonald's? Go to the grocery store and fix yourself a healthy meal.

These tenets are a daily challenge to live by. I have never experienced a loss before in my life before this. I had been trained on how to teach others these techniques, but have never had to apply them so rigorously to my life. Now, I have been applying them to my life on a daily basis and that is why I have been able to be so functional in my life as of late. I struggle on the daily since finding out about my WW's PA AND I am making the best out of my life.

I will end with this: Life is 10% of what happens to us and 90% of how to respond to it.

Breezy150 posted 4/20/2014 12:17 PM

Thank you for sharing this. I see ways that it will help both me and WH.

Skan posted 4/20/2014 20:42 PM

Excellent post. This could very well be a targeted post, in my mind.

norabird posted 4/20/2014 22:58 PM

This is wonderful. In fact you even have reframed my own signature line for me!

Thank you for the post, and peace and strength to you.

DepressedDaddy posted 4/20/2014 23:11 PM


Excellent post. This could very well be a targeted post, in my mind.

homewrecked2011 posted 4/21/2014 01:06 AM

Thank you, I really appreciate you sharing this.

nekonamida posted 4/21/2014 10:44 AM

Thank you so much for sharing. This is really good advice for dealing with intense emotions no matter what tragedy you're experiencing.

krispy47 posted 4/21/2014 11:01 AM

Be careful, knockeddown. I too am a professional "helper." While everything you say here is correct and very useful, the fact that you have all this theory -- and are a male -- puts you at risk of intellectualizing what happened to you rather than really feeling it on a gut level. And as you know, experiencing your emotions is an important part of the healing process.

Now, I have been applying them to my life on a daily basis and that is why I have been able to be so functional in my life as of late. I struggle on the daily since finding out about my WW's PA AND I am making the best out of my life.

This is great! But if you find that you are always "functional" with no down days, I would gently suggest you are living too much in your head, and not enough in the grit of reality.

I know from experience -- mine and others' -- that you can feel the pain now or later, but not feeling it at all is never an option.

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