How do we, as waywards, deal with this so that we can take care of our BS?
A bit of information so that it might help you process this:
I am a few days shy of 90 days sobriety. My DDay was about 90 days before that. Now that I am not using substances to mask my feelings, there are times that I am just overwhelmed with what is going on. I know that this will get better as I work the 12 program, but right now I am on an emotional roller coaster with the feelings.
This is open to BS also, give us your insights. 2x4s are welcome.
I have found that I just need to start putting my stuff aside. I'm going to start taking a minute to write down the feelings I have for myself and essentially "putting them on a shelf" so I can step away and focus on my BH instead. He needs to be the priority, not me. I just have to FORCE myself to do that even if it doesn't feel natural.
This is something I really struggle with but I'm definitely improving when my BH is having a bad day (whether he tells me or I read it in his body language) and now the first thing that comes to my head is - what can I do for him? It doesn't mean the rest of what I think is all selfless, but I'm getting better at starting out thinking of him instead of myself. It's just taking a lot of practice that I get multiple times a day.
It can't be about me… It has to be about her.
I think that WS tend to be extremely hard on themselves, BTDT. You have to understand that you are also going through a grieving process and coming to terms with what you have done. Of course it is overwhelming and scary and painful. Make sure you have a support system that is not your BS, just as your BS should have their own support system, a counselor, friend, family, online group. Feeling badly for your actions is a good thing, it means you're capable of change.
Making your healing ALL about the other party and ignoring your own healing is not the healthiest route. I understand it is done in order to save a marriage, but it's not worth saving unless both partners heal themselves. My point is, there will be some days you can give your all to your BS. There will be some days where you will be overwhelmed and are of no real use to anyone. Maybe take a "go with the flow" type attitude as well as monitoring the negative rhetoric. The bad feelings will lessen the more you accept why and where and how you got there. It takes time and patience.
When she needs me isn't the right time for me to bury myself in mine. At that point I am useless to her.
When your BS needs you, you've got to swallow your feelings about yourself at that moment and try to put yourself in her shoes. How is she feeling? What does she need? I'm sure she knows that you feel awful about yourself and what you've done. She's probably heard it so much that it sounds like self-pity to her. What she wants is for you to see things from her point of view. In that moment, instead of focusing on your contrition, try reflecting back to her what she's saying, interpreting the feelings behind the words. Give her a chance to correct you so you can truly understand what's going on inside her. When you get that, you'll come to know what she needs to heal.
Later, go back and examine your own feelings. Journal about them. Also reflect on how your BS reacted to you showing real empathy. Instead of it being all about you and your feelings, it was about her. I'll bet she expressed gratitude.