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PenitentMan posted 4/24/2014 22:55 PM

Dday last Thursday. Today she asked for the whole timeline which I sat for a couple hours making. Every last detail I could remember while listening to music, which helped me get in the zone and come up with some extra details. I feel like it's all out there now and my soul is squeaky clean again. She asked me to not just tell her what I'm doing to change, but show her. She asked me to come up with 10 things I wouldn't normally do or say. Not sure if I came up with exactly ten, but I ran around like a madman this afternoon while she worked late, writing a heartfelt apology song, painting a heartfelt picture, buying some heartfelt jewelry (I know money can't buy you love, but I wanted to do it anyway), cooking dinner from scratch, buying my son fancy clothes so he could play waiter, wrote a heartfelt message in a heartfelt greeting card. I think she was surprised and pleased. While I did do it for her and to help her heal, I also did it for myself. The milk has been spilled, so I stood up straight, cleaned myself up, and rolled up my sleeves. Exhausting day but nothing compared to this time last week. Still reading, learning, thinking inwardly, taking it as it comes. It's only been a week and she could be treating me much worse, deservedly so. I had no idea how the evening would go, so I'm just happy it went well. I think it went well. :). Signing off from where I sleep now...(the couch)

PenitentMan posted 4/24/2014 23:34 PM

More crying, I spoke too soon. But it's fine. I made this bed and I will sleep in it for as long as it takes.

tired girl posted 4/24/2014 23:46 PM

What else are you doing action wise to show her that you intend to change yourself?

PenitentMan posted 4/25/2014 00:05 AM

Well, I feel like I've done and am doing a lot. MC and IC scheduled. Really listening to her and telling her my feelings. Really trying to put myself in her shoes and make her pain my own. I've sobered up, and unplugged, well, except for being here which she supports. I'm spending more time with my son and planning family things to do together with her. Everything I did today to surprise her and make her believe that I do want her and I'm not just co-dependent. Today was not all about me. All this being said I do welcome any ideas or thoughts on how to Not just own up to my selfish and horrible actions but also making her believe I really do want her.

tired girl posted 4/25/2014 00:09 AM

Those things are all good. At some point you are going to have to look at the person in the mirror and deal with him. You need to figure out why you have done this. Twice. What actions are you taking to figure that out?

PenitentMan posted 4/25/2014 00:37 AM

Aside from the upcoming IC, I'm not sure what else I could be doing as far as my own issues. I know I have them now. I think about it all the time but I'm struggling to answer that question of why. If I have low self esteem how do I get some? If I'm anxious how do I find peace? If I have no self control how do I adhere to boundaries? I hurt the people I care about and I knew what I was doing. why would I do it, lie about it, and keep doing it? Because I wanted more and was selfish and the consequences didn't seem real. But now that I've been through the panic and horror of discovery and full disclosure, the same panic and horror I went through the first time, I know I never want to go through that again. I didn't deal with it enough the first time. I moved on and stopped reminding myself of it and thinking about it. I'm self aware now. Daily reminders and affirmations. I'll read my sordid timeline every morning and put myself in her shoes every morning with my coffee, and for the rest of my life. That's what I'm doing about it. I will not do these horrible things again.

tired girl posted 4/25/2014 00:49 AM

If I have low self esteem how do I get some? If I'm anxious how do I find peace? If I have no self control how do I adhere to boundaries? I hurt the people I care about and I knew what I was doing. why would I do it, lie about it, and keep doing it? Because I wanted more and was selfish and the consequences didn't seem real.

This is where you start right here. These questions. These are great questions to be asking yourself. So how do you go about finding the answers to some of these questions?

PenitentMan posted 4/25/2014 10:29 AM

Well, I guess if I had the answers to these questions, I wouldn't have these problems in the first place. :) So I'm doing what I don't normally do and what I didn't do last time: Keep talking about it. Keep reading about it. Keep asking for help. Thinking/Meditating about it without outside distractions. I know I wasn't just hurting others with my A's, I was hurting myself. I will stay self-aware and ask myself daily if today I behaved like a person I'd want to be married to and that I could brag to others about. I know my BW is incredibly strong to be dealing with this for a second time, never being really fully over the first time. She had some list of things she wouldn't show me except to say that they were things she could be doing on her own without me. She said she noticed and appreciated all the effort I made last night and tore the list in half in front of me. I'm fighting on two fronts at the same time. Healing us, and healing myself. Self-esteem can be built up. Maybe later on I will do some community service or something. Something for others instead of myself. I'm hoping the lack of facebook and limited internet time will make the day less rushed and make me less anxious in turn. I'm looking forward to positive interactions with my family and more family time in general. I've given up the porn and if I can have the self control to do that, I can have the self control elsewhere. My BW suggested that anytime I find myself wanting to look at it to write down or text her something I'd like to do to her etc: funnel that sexual energy back into our relationship where it belongs. I've had no desire for porn so far though, but the counselor says that may be because all the stress and coping is a different kind of high right now and replacing that.

tired girl posted 4/25/2014 10:44 AM

I believe your counselor is right in that area. I believe that there is someone here that has some experience with getting away from porn, maybe you could pm him. Blakesteel.

On the other fronts, the other questions, I wasn't expecting you to have answers, what I was saying was to start digging into these questions. That is the task of fixing yourself. That is the task of looking in the mirror and figuring out why there are these broken parts.

Why do you have low self esteem? What happened to bring that about?

Start asking why to every question on your list and keep asking why until you get to an answer. This process often takes years, not months. It is a marathon, not a sprint. So settle in and be prepared to do the hard work of fixing you and fixing this marriage. This doesn't happen overnight. I wish you ths best.

PenitentMan posted 4/25/2014 11:29 AM

Why do you have low self esteem? What happened to bring that about?

Well, I had a lot of childhood issues I guess. Getting bullied, always getting picked last for gym class, etc. As an adult, I don't get a lot of respect in my job. It's also not very fulfilling. I'm responsible for things beyond my control and I often disagree with the decisions and direction of the company, which isn't doing so well either right now. We don't really have friends or make friends easily. All we have are acquaintances, and not even a whole lot of those. It's depressing and I guess it makes me feel down on myself, like being myself/ourselves isn't good enough for people, and our political, religious, etc, views don't really jive with people. When you invite people over and then they never contact you again after, it's depressing. The only couple we got along with and who wanted to hang out and play board games and do things and take vacations together - that couple.. is the one we spent *too* much time with, had way too much alcohol with, way too frequently ,and who we can no longer be friends with again due to the OW being my AP. My kid won't really be able to, realistically, stay friends with their kids. The kids spent just as much time together as the adults. My son says he loves me, but that he's still mad at me. All he has left are the neighbor's kids, which, granted, is all he had before we met them, but still, it sucks. So, that's also depressing. My BW thinks all we need is each other and friends are a bonus not a necessity. We've never been really close to family on either side either, probably for the same political/religious reasons.
It was the same thing with facebook. I wouldn't really care who I was friends with; I was more concerned with how many I had compared to everyone else that was friends with me. I'd crave checking my phone and seeing those little red numbers indicating I had a new notification, or dare I say it, a new friend request. Someone out there wanting to connect with *me*. Now I realize it's all fake. I'm out of facebook and I'm sure those I've left behind there haven't batted an eye. In fact, I sometimes feel like if I shuffled off this mortal coil, very few people would care.
I guess it wasn't enough that my wife cared (and it should have been). I guess I just wanted even more attention. I used to be a lot more touchy feely. I'd write poetry and love letters and stuff. We were young and I felt the world was our oyster, job prospects were good, life was exciting. We moved a fair amount of time; maybe the lack of having roots put down prevented us from having any close friends. My BW enjoys her relatively new job, but I'm afraid her only having off wednesdays and sundays is going to make it that much harder for us to have friends again, if and when that time ever comes again. She spends a lot of time with her coworkers at work, but are coworkers friends? Should they be friends? They're not *my* friends; I don't spend that amount of time with them.
I work from home, so I don't have anyone to go hang out with after work. I do have an evening activity I participate in, but they're all acquaintances. So, yeah, didn't mean to go on and on, but I can think of a lot of reasons why I have low self esteem. I've discussed my friendship fears with BW. In fact, she went through my FB and unfriended a lot of people and turned off notifications on a lot of people that she felt I didn't really know well enough to be talking to. Of course I quit cold turkey anyway, but still,
how do you make friends without adding acquaintances and branching out and liking their posts, and commenting and so forth. Why did I spend so much time tagging us at XYZ restaurant and getting those thumbs up from people, if those people weren't/aren't/and never would be our friends? I don't regret quitting. My world is smaller now and I will have more time for reflection and healing and less time wasted/frittered away online. But I don't know how great it's been for the self esteem.

tired girl posted 4/25/2014 11:35 AM

Why do you equate having many friends with your self esteem?

PenitentMan posted 4/25/2014 12:05 PM

I guess not having friends makes me feel like there's something wrong with me? And isn't a low opinion of yourself the definition of low self esteem? I do remember feeling embarrassed and down every time I looked at the number of friends I had, seeing that I had only XX friends in FB instead of the YYY of others. The grass is always greener on the other side? I know those people who add anyone and everyone are probably feeling just as bad on the inside. I know I need to appreciate what I *do* have and not care what anyone else has or doesn't have, because there are people out there with far less who would take my life in a heartbeat. Well, without the infidelities and emotional baggage. Just thinking out loud.. :)

tired girl posted 4/25/2014 12:14 PM

Low self esteem can come from many things. You need to figure out when and where that first started. It didn't start because you had to few friends. That is what you are associating it with now. You need to go back further than that.
I don't have a lot of friends and I don't feel bad about that. I realize that I have high standards and not many people meet my standards for being in my life. That doesn't drag my self esteem down. You need to figure out why you need to have a high number of friends in order to feel good about yourself. Why does that equate you being a good person?

PenitentMan posted 4/25/2014 13:12 PM

Right, it shouldn't. I have to love myself regardless of what anyone else thinks. Ok, so I'll do that. One problem solved. What's next?

Aubrie posted 4/25/2014 13:36 PM

Ohhhhh no, no, no. This ain't the express lane at Walmart. Slow down.

I have to love myself regardless of what anyone else thinks. Ok, so I'll do that.
How do you plan on doing that? Are you just going to wake up with a grin and say, "I love meeeeee." and dance down the hallway? What happens when your wife spirals? And life comes crashing down? Or when the guilt chews on you? When people ask you about honest and integrity and your mind goes to the As? When you encounter people who have hurt you and the memories take your breath away? How will you love yourself in those moments?

PenitentMan posted 4/25/2014 14:00 PM

Ohhhhh no, no, no. This ain't the express lane at Walmart. Slow down.

Oh, I know it's going to take a lot more than that. But this is heavy stuff. I didn't know soul searching would be so draining. I needed to take a breath. I'm not making light of this by any means.
I know I won't love myself very much in those moments. All I'll have to fall back on to ease that pain is knowing that I've done all I can since then, and that I'm continuing to. If my all isn't enough, then I'll have to soldier on anyway. I will know that whatever crappy emotions come to the surface will pass. I can't change what happened, I can only change myself now. And I really *am* trying to do so with humility. I hate my username and I can't wait to be able to change it and know that that's not me anymore.

Aubrie posted 4/25/2014 14:18 PM

But this is heavy stuff. I didn't know soul searching would be so draining.
Indeed. Might I make a suggestion? Take it slow. Don't be so quick to run around slapping Bandaids on stuff. You have gaping wounds that require full blown surgery. Take your time and work on each wound. Clean it, medicate it, sew it up, bandage it.

I was someone who saw a handful of issues and did the Bandaids route. Ask any of the old timers here. It didn't work. The blood kept pouring and the bandages would fall off. I had to slow down and get serious with each wound.

Sometimes its a drag. And its incredibly painful dealing with a particular wound. But once you start working on it and taking care of it, it heals quite nicely.

Some of my scars are still red and a little enflamed. But they're healing beautifully. That's all anyone else here wants for you too.

PenitentMan posted 4/25/2014 14:33 PM

OK. And thanks.

badchoice posted 4/25/2014 14:45 PM

If you are looking at self esteem issues I would suggest reading Nathaniel Branden. I started reading his books 2 years ago and they helped me a lot.

Sometimes its a drag. And its incredibly painful dealing with a particular wound. But once you start working on it and taking care of it, it heals quite nicely.

Agree with this. The key is to get to the root. One thing my IC suggested was if I felt a certain way during my A, to think back to another time when I felt the same way in my past, and try to figure out the origins to those feelings, and why I acted out to those feelings. Usually I could trace things back to childhood (with ICs help) and see that I had been dealing in unhealthy ways for most, if not all, of my life.

Another thing that I did was to ask myself "how/why did I give myself permission to cheat?" "what inside of me told me it was ok, or that I was entitled to cheat on my W". Digging though that, while not enjoyable, was very good for me to take on. Usually the first answer you come up with is not it, so for each answer you come up with, ask yourself the question again until you think you hit bottom.

Best of luck to you.

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