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How do you live with it?

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mrhurt314 posted 5/30/2014 10:18 AM

I know this has come up before in various forms, but it's really where I get stuck most days.

How does one find a place of humbleness and acceptance given their past behavior, without being swallowed by shame and guilt? I can't look a single person in the eye, especially my BS and kids, without quickly spiraling into my lifelong "I'm a horrible person" mantra.

I'm in IC and self esteem (or my complete lack thereof) is always a go to subject, but I can't seem to buy into the "good person, bad choices" narrative. I've spend a lifetime reinforcing the notion of my worthlessness by looking at past actions. An A just fits the criteria from where I sit; evidence of how I'm just not a good person. And I *know* that it's all self pitying. But that makes it sound so trite. And the feeling inside me is not trite. It affects every minute if my day. Any and every "accomplishment" is mired by what I've done. How do I stop living this way? It's miserable at best. And is the gateway to external validation sponge behavior.

I've read and read and read books on shame and self forgiveness, but it isn't all sinking in.

islesguy posted 5/30/2014 10:41 AM

I find it extremely difficult to be a husband and father without constantly feeling like a hypocrite as a husband and a do as I say not as I do father. I know this is probably not what others will say but I think that the shame and guilt are good things as they keep you grounded and humble. I don't even understand the concept of self forgiveness nor do I see any value in it.

mrhurt314 posted 5/30/2014 10:50 AM

Hypocrite and "do as I say". Exactly what I'm feeling. Plus despair. I want to be humble and grounded, but I feel more pathetic and buried. And my thoughts on self forgiveness are so far from being solidified, but I don't see how it works.

Aubrie posted 5/30/2014 11:46 AM

Your affair defines you only if you allow it. What's the payoff for you?

As far as the hypocrisy thing...I just can't wrap my mind around that. How is taking my past experiences and using them to better raise and train my children hypocrisy? How is taking those hurts from my FOO and turning them around hypocrisy? How is taking my "whys" and using them to better fortify and build up my children hypocrisy? How is taking the biggest screwups in my life and making them teachable moments hypocrisy?

Who better to learn about street life than from a former prostitute? Who better to learn about drug use than from a former addict? Who better to learn about crime than a former convict? Who better to learn about fidelity and relationships than a former cheater?

I'm not a hypocrite. I'm a mother. One who will use those terrible moments in my life to train my children. That's not hypocrisy. That's responsibility.

SurprisinglyOkay posted 5/30/2014 11:59 AM

Here's my favorite quote about self pity:

"Self pity is one of the most destructive of defects; it will drain us of all positive energy. We focus on anything that isn't going our way and ignore all the beauty in our lives. With no real desire to improve our lives... we just keep going further and further down."

Wallowing in shame and self pity is Super destructive. It will ruin you, well it would have ruined me.
I was caught in a guilt-shame-self pity party that kept me mired in my completely self centered habits. For years. Most of my life.

It took some serious self awareness to break out of it. I had to look closely at myself, my coping mechanisms, my past, my defects, my foo, etc.
I had to break it all down and leave a lot of it behind.
I looked at it all the good, the bad and the ugly. Sorted, sifted, threw some out, kept some.
I'm a work in progress. It's slow and sometimes very painful, but ultimately very rewarding work.

Ditch the self pity. It will keep you where you are until you do.

I'm not a hypocrite. I'm a mother. One who will use those terrible moments in my life to train my children. That's not hypocrisy. That's responsibility.


somethingremorse posted 5/30/2014 13:10 PM

I spend a lot of time in the same space. I'm getting better, but only in the three steps forward, two steps back sort of way.

I personally don't subscribe to the "good person, bad choices" identity. I was absolutely a bad person immediately before and during my A's. I wasn't always like that.

I keep telling myself that now that I know the difference, I have to make the choice to be a good person today, and every day hereafter. I think that conscious choice gives me a little bit of momentum. It's like "I am not a bad person anymore, because I choose to be a good one from now on." That doesn't quite get to it, but if I live today right, it is one day further away from that old person.

Hang in there.

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