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A change...not perfect but better.

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blakesteele posted 6/16/2014 16:53 PM

Small personal gain.....not post worthy.....keep
Moving,,,,,,nothing to see here.


[This message edited by blakesteele at 5:36 PM, June 16th (Monday)]

blakesteele posted 6/16/2014 17:03 PM


[This message edited by blakesteele at 5:35 PM, June 16th (Monday)]

rachelc posted 6/16/2014 17:52 PM

blakesteele - there's nothing wrong with posting progress! people have gained much wisdom from watching you grow....
Sometimes I say to myself, ugh, why did I just start that pathetic thread and then I think, if one person is out there struggling with this same thing or can learn one nugget of info. Heck, if I am just posting for myself, WRITING IT DOWN, I alone get something from that.... writing is a way to gather thoughts, organize them and gain some insight. Sometimes things just click this way. And when they're rumbling around in your head they don't.

Be good to yourself.

brokensmile322 posted 6/16/2014 17:52 PM

I hate when I miss it.

I hope it was a good change.

rachelc posted 6/16/2014 17:53 PM

It was! I read it.

blakesteele posted 6/16/2014 22:11 PM

Dang was up for less than 10 minutes!!!! You are fast!!!!!!!

Both you and brokensmile322 made me smile tonight.

Thanks guys!


[This message edited by blakesteele at 10:11 PM, June 16th (Monday)]

blakesteele posted 6/17/2014 17:56 PM

Cantaccept post gave me the motivation to post this post. It is a small change, small personal growth for me.....but has big potential.

Here goes:

"We do the best we can with what we know, and when we know better, we do better" - Maya Angelou.

This is a quote I came across early in my journey...and has motivated change in me time and again.

An example:

This past Sunday was Fathers Day. I just realized that morning that my wife and I were in charge of childrens church....meaning we DON'T attend the adult service. I soooo wanted to hear the message as I feel I need to grow so much in what it really means to be a good Dad.

Sadly, this disruption of a planned schedule has caused me to become agitated in the past. It would make me miserable and put my wife and family on edge. This past Sunday I simply voiced my disappointment to my wife, we talked about how I could make the sermon and still help out with childrens church (1 hour of singing, last 15 minutes is the sermon). During that discussion I realized missing a 15 minute sermon was not something to get sideways about. I also know I volunteered to do childrens church.

I had choices, made some choices, and could choose how I dealt with this unforseen change.

I resolved to assist my wife with childrens church...and to do it willingly and gladly.

My wife left for church early to get the class room set up.

Our girls and I left for church 15 minutes later.

Something cool happened....

The audio visual stuff wasnt working, no "Father-specific" message was given to us....these issues aren't "cool" and are a big reason my wife will be taking the helm of guiding our childrens church program. It needs TLC and my wife can do this.

The cool part was multi-faced.

1. My wife left early to get the room set up. What I didn't know was that she stopped by and picked up supplies to do a "father specific" program with the kids. Way cool addition!

2. Within ten minutes of starting, 4-5 kids really attached to me....asking if I was going to teach next Sunday too and hoping they would be in my VBS group this week.

3. Our Pastor was on no message from him was given that day. I didn't miss anything! I'm sure the guest speaker was good....but our pastor has absolutely shepherded me from the begining. Not perfectly...and that is why I like him so much. He has stumbled....

4. I had an opportunity to relay to the kids a really cool story about how one of the Dads of a boy in attendance did something kind for me in the past week (bought my iced tea for me from Mc D's drive-thru, he was 2 cars ahead of me).....resulting in that little boy beaming as if his Dad saved me from a burning building! Tied in nicely with the "good samaritan" story that was part of the curriculum.

5. My youngest daughter making sure the adoring kids knew I was "her Dad"! Sweet way...not a "back off" sort of way, though she has some "back off" attitude in her!

6. I was able to observe my wife putting the skills I know she possesses to work for her in a needed area.

All of these cool things may not have happened had I opted for my old way of operating.

I don't think I was a tyrant before, wife and therapists have not said I was mean or controlling, but I do like planning and having a plan roll out as designed. A sitch like this had the potential to make me very aggitated. I chose differently.

It is a small change....we are not healed....I am no saint. But this small change in me....not getting sideways over a scheduling shift.....afforded me a great many treats to savor.


1. Its good to be flexible.
2. Past does not have to define us.
3. Small things in life matter.

God is with us all.

blakesteele posted 6/17/2014 18:00 PM

P.S. Yeah.....I get that my agitation around schedule change was/is a form of control. Wish I didn't do that at all....but I did. Really hate to admit this.....but there it is.


hopefull77 posted 6/17/2014 18:11 PM

AML04 posted 6/17/2014 18:19 PM

I'm glad you decided to repost!! I am also trying to learn better ways to control my anxiety/agitation when things don't go as planned. More specifically for me, when people don't follow through on things.

Thank you for sharing!!

blakesteele posted 6/17/2014 20:49 PM

Your welcome AML04.

More specifically for me, when people don't follow through on things.

Aaaahhhhh.. This is part of real life. People will let you down, not follow through. I am hopeful that as I heal I can more graciously accept this when it occurs. Both when others let me down and I when I let myself down!


RomanticInnocenc posted 6/18/2014 00:32 AM

Glad you reposted Blakesteele, definitely post worthy. I found the post to be hopeful and vulnerable! Is that why you originally decided to delete it?

These small changes we see in ourselves, the journeys we commit to as bs's to face our own downfalls in the midst of some of the hardest times in our lives are so very important. It's so easy to sit back and say our WS is responsible for everything now they need to do all the work, but sometimes I think it takes our world falling apart to see that perhaps we weren't as happy with our lives or ourselves as we thought! From the posts of read of yours I know how committed you are to your own journey of self discovery and change. So when you see something, own it, be proud of yourself and please share! It helps others to see changes can be made in one's self!

blakesteele posted 6/18/2014 05:40 AM

Thanks RomanticInnocenc!

As I think about why I retracted my post originally they are

1. Vulnerable. 2 parts....first I Wondered if my kind words for my wife were a throw back to my CoD rut.....a CoD can over praise the counterdependent partner. I am not doing that here. Second....feel a bit naked to admit I used agitation and temper at times as a control method. I didn't think I did but as I looked into abandonment fears this is one common trait. I felt safe to admit this now......not only on SI but to my friends and family. Don't like it, but do like that that does NOT have to be a part of me any longer.

2. Pride. Humility has been a key for me to grow. Just like praise of my wife I triple check motivations on why I would post positive things about my own actions. Decided this was factually accurate and worth posting. Applied for a big promotion at work......weird, but a part of me wants to see how I handle it if I don't get it. Almost like I look forward to being humbled again! Weird......

3. At the end if the day.....pretty small shift. But decided this was exactly why I should post it. Just getting on base keeps you in the game. I tend to swing for the fences in life.....very passionate about life. Am learning its cool to just enjoy the game.....

sometimes I think it takes our world falling apart to see that perhaps we weren't as happy with our lives or ourselves as we thought!

Cantaccept just put one of the most meaningful posts I've read on SI highlighting her journey thus far. She is wondering what exactly she is mourning at this point, exactly what her husband really is to her.

I am like others on here......what was I fighting so hard for? Why was I "content" to settle for so little....from my wife AND from myself.

FOO f's with a person something fierce.....but we all have free will. We can chose to let our past define us or chose today to do better.

This post is about doing better. Small as it is better.

God is with us all.

[This message edited by blakesteele at 5:44 AM, June 18th (Wednesday)]

brokensmile322 posted 6/18/2014 06:22 AM

Love this Blakesteele. Love the whole post. And I am glad that you decided to repost it.

I think it is great to see growth in yourself, no matter how small. You really are trying to be a better man, husband, father. Small victories need to be celebrated when we try so hard.

I used agitation and temper at times as a control method. I didn't think I did but as I looked into abandonment fears this is one common trait.

Can you elaborate on this or where you read it or about it?

My FOO issues have to do with trust, but I really think I need to explore abandonment. My parents never left. They were just never present emotionally. Some of the traits of abandonment seem to match me. And even your post about this temper and agitation hits home. Hate to admit it, but I am similar.

Thanks for sharing!

blakesteele posted 6/18/2014 08:23 AM

Hi Brokensmile322....I wish I could refer you to one concise location to learn how a person can use control and the motivations behind it. actually, wish this was a conversation couples on SI could share while BBQ in our back yard.

Control has been a common thread throughout my journey. $$$$$$ in IC with control as a focus, time in books and prayer, even retrouvaille weekend disected control.

Here is what I have gleaned from that work.

1. Parents can be PHYSICALLY present but still abandon you. Abandonement completely robs a child of a sense of order...replacing it with a chaotic, unsettling, out-of-control state. It stands a good chance of that child trying very hard to regain control of their lives...the role healthy parents fill and that a child simply cannot. So we cope. We do a good job and friends and family compliment us on how "resilient" we are....further confusing an already confused child. "If I am so resilient, how come I feel so.....naked, exposed, unsettled?" TRUST. Trust is tied to control. I enjoyed the compliments from others as I survived my childhood heart wound, but I didn't trust they were warranted. I went about trying to prove they were warranted, but by doing so I denied that I was hurt and in pain. FOO issues are born.

After my parents D I was physically taken care of but Dad was completely gone and Mom withdrew a lot...finally physically abandoning my youngest brother who was still in highschool when she went out of state to go to college. No discussion, just a reporting what she was doing. My wife is a COA...suspect she has abandonment issues too. pretty common. My older brother and I are are my wife and her sister. They helped us survive...but it was kids raising kids. We grew up fast and missed some steps along the way....emotional and spiritual steps.

2. Control takes many forms...and can be very subtle in nature. You don't have to look like the typical Passive Aggressive person nor the Tyrant to reach for and use control.

3. Control weaves into lots of life. I have read books on sexual sin, forgiveness, codependency, parenthood, business, and intimacy....all speak to control and repeat the same message over and over and over. "You can only control yourself. Try and control anyone else and you will achieve less." Trust is the counter to control. The more you trust, the greater the potential to achieve.

I have two main focus areas within me....both surrounding fear.

Fear of intimacy.

Fear of abandonment.

To keep this on point I will just discuss my sexual sin and how control was a factor.

As I explored my sexual sin I wondered why it is I never took advantage of my GF's in in particular was very cute and VERY willing to do it all. I wondered why I didn't use woman after woman. I wondered why I wasn't the wayward spouse in my M. Sex for sex is false intimacy. Affairs are false intimacy. Porn is false intimacy. Why did I not choose a real life partner to sexually sin with? Therapists have told me it is because my fear of abandonment was greater than my fear of intimacy....but both worked together to keep me from taking the physical step with a RL person.

For my twisted mind I could use porn openly with my wife and by myself and be fine with it. No intimacy with porn.....and I had total control over when it starts and stops. Click on, click off. Physical intimacy meant I would bond with a real person. A formal step to a deeper relationship. Which meant I would get hurt when they abandoned me. So I didn't do it.

A teenage boy ripped with hormones who used porn was so afraid of intimacy and abandonment that he did not get past the petting stage with his GF's. That is how strong these fears are within me. 2 therapists have worked with me and came to this same conclusion. I wanted full sex badly!!! but did not choose it. WHY?!?!

My last GF in HS told her friends that we did all this crazy sex stuff together after a formal dance. I was soooo embarrassed. It hurt. I broke up with her. And this was my pattern....have a GF up until the point where real physical sex was going to happen, then I would break up with them. It DID confuse me as my buddies were having no trouble...and I was. But I didn't look into it further....chalked it up to a high moral standard.

Yes....some moral compass was working in me too....but fear was the bigger player. Fear controlled me. It was from fear that I tried to control my environment.

I witnessed my parents marriage go from what I percieved as "normal" to "non-existent" over night. That f'ed with my safety, with my bearings of how relationships worked.

I thought if I could plan for everything I would never be abandoned.

I love my wife...knew it early on. We DID have sex before we wed. She was my first to orgasm with. Wife had some orgasms with other guys but not full intercourse. I was so sure she was the one I took that chance to be hurt. I was still unhealthy...but my soul desired to bond with her. I did the best I could, so did she. I chose some unhealthy choices....and it limited intimacy...but it was the deepest intimacy I knew to date and it felt good.

I wanted more...she did too. Neither of us knew how to do it. Both have intimacy issues/fears.

So I did what I thought I needed to do....plan, plan, plan. I thought if I just tried harder to make things smooth she would not leave me.

Here is how I used aggitation to control;

If my wife failed to come through on a promise I would get aggitated. My agitation would cause her to give in and comfort me. I would feel better....kinda. Grossly unhealthy. It was because it was laced with fear and resentment....both within my wife and myself. I would fear her motivations were not pure (trust issue), she would resent me for "making" her engage me. She would fear sharing her concerns with me, and I would resent her for holding back.

See how ineffective this pattern was to building a truly healthy, interconnected marriage? I do. I also plainly see my side of that pattern.

A horrible way to live....and one that resulted in me having terrible sleep patterns. Summer of her A I sought therapy for my anxiety. Didn't suspect my wife had abandoned me then...just knew my gut was torn up.

NOW......reality is setting in.

I realize my own weakness and am working on facing it and processing through it.

I realize my wife did abandon me and my 3rd DD confirms she is still willing to do this.

I realize I am going to be fine without her engagement in our M. Our M won't survive that, but I will.

I realize I don't need my Dad's approval or desire to be a part of my life (or his granddaughters).

I realize how my wife could chose as she does...because I chosse destructively too.

I realize I don't have to do as I always have.

The motivation for this post was to display in a small way that I AM choosing differently. Even as small as it tastes great!

Its like I have a choice between eating chips and dip till I am stuffed or an apple as "we" tend to a turkey in a smoker....ready to eat later that day.

I have faith that someday I will be in a healthy relationship, eating that smoked turkey, and holding hands with the one who helped me prepare it.

Right now...I am celebrating eating that apple!


[This message edited by blakesteele at 9:39 AM, June 18th (Wednesday)]

blakesteele posted 6/18/2014 09:53 AM

The plus side to such disfunction in me?

I did NOT use woman after woman....the damage was contained within me and my M to my wife. I see how my actions damaged and hurt my wife. Didn't damage her in ways that made adultery a real choice for her (that was there before she met me), but my actions directly hurt my wife. I am not grateful nor proud for this hurt I caused my wife. I am quite saddened by my own capacity to hurt someone I love. I am grateful I did not hurt other women by using them in ways I believe I could have done had I lacked abandonment fears. I don't think that is a 100% accurate statement as who really knows how my past would have played out, but for me it appears that fear of abandonment was a big player in why I wasn't a "player". "If I never get physical...we can never deeply bond. If we never bond...then she can never abandon me. Therefore, if I don't get physical I won't be abandoned." theory.

If I "only" had a fear of intimacy.....could I have been a "player"? Data says yes. A lifetime porn user with fears of intimacy is an at-risk person for adultery and Ashley Madison membership....but I will never know that answer. I do think I have some moral compass working within me too....just trying to keep this complicated discussion simple.

I am, however, curious as to why a RA was so attractive to me?

Is it because my wife completely abandoned me and I was fine? Meaning I experienced the worst pain a person can inflict on another and I survived (my worst fear came true!) way to a thought in my head of "Huh. So...if I survived that and I was really in a relationship with my wife when it did....then maybe sleeping around is not as scary as I once feared it was." Maybe being FORCED to face my abandonment fears on my various DD's has me conquering that fear....leaving the fear of intimacy to work on? Therapist has NOT said this but she said it is perfectly normal that I will notice other aspects of women that I didn't notice before. Physical attraction was always there...but now committment, honesty, nurturing, tender, invested traits are catching my eye. I have found the need for MORE boundaries as I grow healthier.

Therapists also says this is normal. Boundaries are freeing! Seems counterintuitive, doesn't it.

Boundaries in Marriage is a must read for all couples. It absolutely helped me understand myself....and was a key step in me facing my own issues. And how boundaries can help me grow in healthy ways.

NOTE: Not thinking about a RA anymore....but I spent some time wondering why it was all of a sudden a real use RL people in such a manner.

My 3rd DD had me feeling pretty peaceful really. Sad that my wife continues to choose her false intimacies over her M to me.....but okay in the fact that her choice to do so has nothing to do with me. Never did really, but therapy and work has really made me own that for my own. I have chosen differently. I have followed God's advice as well as trained therapists....even when it swims hard against my past "currents". My inputs are changing my M, but have little affect on my wife.

Flip side of that wifes destrutive and painful actions on that day did NOT have me reaching for porn...and anger was only used righteously to defend myself. (dreadful have to defend yourself against your spouse).

And that is why control is such a fantasy.

Influence is the best we can do. A healthy person influences others through positive actions. An unhealthy person influences through negative actions.

What I am also finding really cool is that as I choose healthier....I am the first to reap the benefit from such action.

This past sunday allowed some very nice fruit to be picked by me. My interactions with the kids was really cool, cool to observe my wife doing really good stuff, and the whole pace of the day was one of contentment.

All of that was only made possible by me simply choosing to process the world rather than react to it.

And that is a relatively new thing for me to choose to do!

God is with us all.

[This message edited by blakesteele at 10:10 AM, June 18th (Wednesday)]

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