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User Topic: Boundaries - Who Knew?
ophelia24
Member
Member # 38438
Default  Posted: 5:32 PM, September 20th (Friday)

I'm a slow learner obviously but am finally starting to set and hold onto boundaries for the first time in my life. I look back on my life and realize how terrible I have been at setting boundaries on what I expect from myself, as well as others. Obviously this is hardly breaking news considering my infidelities (see profile) but a lack of boundaries also affects every other aspect of my life! and its made things so fucking stressful and caused so much damage.

It's been painful to know that my terrible boundaries impacted my oldest son, who now struggles with addictive behaviours and is an absolute taker. I can actually pinpoint when I dropped the ball with him, and at a crucial time in his teen development I was sneaking around fucking a guy from work, or so consumed by this, that I didn't even care really where my son was or what he was doing. It's so bloody painful to realize how fucking selfish I've been. Can' t really be surprised then when he mirrors that behaviour can I? In Examining where I failed him has helped me to set boundaries with him now and still love him even when he's pissing me off. I don't feel so un-anchored. Damn! Wish I'd realized this a long time ago and saved a lot of heartache.

My lack of boundaries have also been terrible with my H over our entire marriage. Instead of being clear about what I need and won't tolerate in our relationship, that is, no conflict avoiding, no yelling at me, no stonewalling during conversations, I would act out my frustration at MY lack of boundaries with him, by engaging in destructive behaviours, which led to repeated infidelities and inappropriate behaviour. I need to be clear here that I'm not blaming his poor relationship skills on my choices, but rather my inability to set boundaries, thereby rushing around trying to soothe myself with damaging and unhealthy distractions. He is responsible for himself, and me for me.

My other realization, that is also connected with my lack of firm boundaries, is that I'm a fixer. I'm an intervener, who rushes around trying to fix stuff for people, whether that's my sons shitty relationship with his dad, my sister with her drinking, my husbands drinking, you name it, Ophelia to the rescue. When I was discussing this with a friend last night and asking her why I might be this way, a memory from my childhood came into my head. I was about 7 and my little sister was 2. My mother was a raging mother and would absolutely lose it with us, and it was terrifying. This particular day my mum had gone to the shop and my sister had got into her makeup and smeared mums one lipstick she owned all over the mirror. I was panicking. I knew mum would hit my sister and scream, so I frantically tried to clean my sister up. I dressed her in her best dress and put her hair in pigtails so mum would think she was too cute to hit.

So there you go. My first memory of fixing everything up, smoothing things over and taking responsibility for others behaviour all at the expense of keeping a close eye on my own.

Because you see, I didn't matter.

Now I'm starting to feel I do.


“Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.”
― James Baldwin

Posts: 251 | Registered: Feb 2013
ophelia24
Member
Member # 38438
Default  Posted: 5:37 PM, September 20th (Friday)

Now I'm crying reading what I wrote. Fucking painful knowing how much hurt and damage I've caused. Even if I'm starting to figure out why.

I really trashed myself didn't I? And took a few people I love with me.

Fuck!


“Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.”
― James Baldwin

Posts: 251 | Registered: Feb 2013
unfound
Member
Member # 12802
Default  Posted: 6:02 PM, September 20th (Friday)

Feel it, process it, understand it, learn from it and heal from it.

It sometimes really sucks and is really painful to see ourselves as we were...but it's progress, and necessary, to become healthy.

You're on your way ophelia24.


ka-mai
*******************
From time to time, I do consider that I might be mad. Like any self-respecting lunatic, however, I am always quick to dismiss any doubts about my sanity. DK

Posts: 14808 | Registered: Nov 2006 | From: mercury's underboob
ophelia24
Member
Member # 38438
Default  Posted: 6:14 PM, September 20th (Friday)

Thanks for your kind words Unfound. There is really no way but through it I'm finding.

Feeling the pain of my life, choices and consequences is integral for growth and change. I want to be someone I can be proud of.


“Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.”
― James Baldwin

Posts: 251 | Registered: Feb 2013
SurprisinglyOkay
Member
Member # 36684
Default  Posted: 7:37 PM, September 20th (Friday)

That's some great insight!

Thanks for sharing it with us!

Keep going, and you'll be someone you can be proud of!


FWS me 36 (recovering addict)
BS him 39 AFrayedKnot
Together 7 years
2 children


"Your secrets keep you sick"


Posts: 1130 | Registered: Sep 2012 | From: 221B
GotMyLifeBck2013
Member
Member # 40531
Default  Posted: 11:42 PM, September 20th (Friday)

Good luck to you. Sounds like you are trying to reconcile a lot.


I define me! I don't just survive, I thrive!!

Me: fBH 46
Her: exWW 42
DDay: Nov 1, 2012
Divorced: September 17, 2013


Posts: 289 | Registered: Sep 2013 | From: Ohio
badchoice
Member
Member # 35566
Default  Posted: 12:14 AM, September 21st (Saturday)

Thank you for sharing.

Great insights.


Me: fWH/BH 46

Separated transitioning to D


Posts: 722 | Registered: May 2012 | From: L.A.
ophelia24
Member
Member # 38438
Default  Posted: 3:38 AM, September 21st (Saturday)

Thanks for your kind encouragement everyone. The saying "to thine own self be true" seems to resonate with me lately.


“Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.”
― James Baldwin

Posts: 251 | Registered: Feb 2013
Scubachick
Member
Member # 39906
Default  Posted: 11:26 AM, September 21st (Saturday)

When I first started therapy 10 years ago, the first question my therapist asked me is if I knew what boundaries were. I had no clue. Didn't even know I had the right to let others know what I will or won't tolerate. I was a walking target. I attracted unhealthy people because I had no boundaries. So my point is you have to forgive yourself. You can only do better when you know better. Now you know better and you're working on it. It isn't easy but I believe it makes you a stronger person. A book called, CoDependant No More, helped me a lot and the books that follow that are, The language of letting go. I've read them all probably 5 times b now.

Posts: 569 | Registered: Jul 2013
ophelia24
Member
Member # 38438
Default  Posted: 3:55 PM, September 21st (Saturday)

Thanks Scubachick. I have read some literature about codependence. It seems to fit with how I do things very well. Very difficult to break out of it.


“Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.”
― James Baldwin

Posts: 251 | Registered: Feb 2013
AML04
Member
Member # 39682
Default  Posted: 5:34 AM, September 22nd (Sunday)

As a BS I want to applaud your level of introspection. I can feel your pain here. It also gives me some insight into my H. Thank you for sharing.


Me-BS Him-WH DS 5/12
T-13 M-9
DDay 5/26/13, TT through 8/13
2.5 yr EA w/co-worker, PA 12/12 to 4/13.
Hopeful for R

Posts: 820 | Registered: Jun 2013 | From: MA
ophelia24
Member
Member # 38438
Default  Posted: 5:07 PM, September 22nd (Sunday)

That is gratifying to read AML04 that you got something out of what I wrote. Its so difficult to hold onto these realisations in the face of just everyday challenges to my boundaries. It brings to mind a quote -

"before enlightenment - hew wood and carry water
after enlightenment - hew wood and carry water".

The H and I are really struggling at present. Will need to start another thread to examine it all.


“Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.”
― James Baldwin

Posts: 251 | Registered: Feb 2013
blakesteele
Member
Member # 38044
Default  Posted: 5:41 PM, September 23rd (Monday)

(ophelia24)

No stop sign so I will respond...BH here.

Actually, your post resonates with me.

The "fixing" part. While parts of me are selfish, there is a part of me that wants everyone to get along. I am a middle child...I regularly fixed things between my two brothers. Not to the extent you did, certainly..but I feel your anxiety about the lipstick and your sister.

I believe my fear of abandonment (FOO issue) played a role in my unhealthy marriage. While I think there is some truth to the saying "Men want to fix things"...I took that to an extreme.

I wrestled with anxiety before my wifes A, was in counseling for it during my wifes A (before I knew of her A). I believe my anxiety was very much in a similar vein as your responses to life....that is to prepare for trouble long before it shows up. I also take responsibility for others....my initial response to my wifes A was to take it on...."This isn't about you!" was my wifes response.

Slow learner here too....took me 2 months to fully own the facts that my wifes affair was 1. Not about me. 2. Nothing I could have done would have prevented it. 3. The only person that can fix themselves, is themselves.

At work, when a department is not hitting the goals or new goals are handed out...I jump in with both feet.

I think I have boundary issues too...

We own the book "Boundaries"...my wife has read it, said it was a good read. I also have "Boundaries in a Marriage". I am going to read that one...neither my wife nor I have read it.

I do feel your pain. I do admire your desire to recognize, sit with it, and process through it.

This is tough stuff for all involved.

Are you in counseling? If yes, mind sharing what your counselors take on this is? You owe me nothing...just curious. I am not in counseling currently, but had been in for 1 year.

God be with you.

[This message edited by blakesteele at 5:44 PM, September 23rd (Monday)]


ME: 42 BH, I don't PM female members
SHE: 38 EA
Married: 15 years
Together: 17 years
D/Day 9-10-12
NC: 10-25-12
NC: Broken early November 2012, OM not respond
2 girls; 7 and 10
Fear is payments on debts you have not

Posts: 3411 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Central Missouri
ophelia24
Member
Member # 38438
Default  Posted: 6:52 PM, September 23rd (Monday)

Damn it!! Sorry Blake, I wrote out a long reply and then pushed a button and lost it. Frustrating!!!

Thank you so much for your thoughtful response.

The "fixing" part. While parts of me are selfish, there is a part of me that wants everyone to get along.

I liked how you recognise that selfishness is not mutually exclusive to being a "fixer". I wonder if trying to fix everything is a form of selfishness, in that for whatever reason we feel WE are the only ones who have the ability/skills etc to fix stuff. What that does though is takes away other people's agency in that they are responsible for their behaviours. This would fit in too with your comment about leaping in to do more at work. It also allows others to stand back and let us do all the hard work. I know myself, that this why I get resentful. Not realising that I'm creating this dynamic. I mean, who does any heavy lifting if its all done for them? Food for thought aye?

I believe my anxiety was very much in a similar vein as your responses to life....that is to prepare for trouble long before it shows up.

This ^^^^^ really resonated with me. I always feel as though I am in trouble, or have done something wrong. This could be due to the fact that I have told many lies over the years, and am a hider. I feel quite fearful a lot. There are definitely FOO issues there that explain this, but knowing this, and feeling/doing things differently is another matter. Bloody hard to untangle this stuff that's so imbedded in who we are. I find myself exhausted by trying to ward off trouble. I bet you are too.

Slow learner here too....took me 2 months to fully own the facts that my wifes affair was 1. Not about me. 2. Nothing I could have done would have prevented it. 3. The only person that can fix themselves, is themselves.

This must have been such a relief for you to realise. Its true of course.

We own the book "Boundaries"...my wife has read it, said it was a good read. I also have "Boundaries in a Marriage". I am going to read that one...neither my wife nor I have read it.

I shall be visiting the library soon.

I do feel your pain. I do admire your desire to recognize, sit with it, and process through it.

Thank you for those kind words. I have had a year now of working through a lot of painful realisations. And there is still much to go. My H and I have yet to dig really deep with my A confession and timeline in Feb this year. We have scheduled times to talk about only this. Plus we are going through some difficult times with our son. Doesn't rain but it pours huh?

Are you in counseling?

No I am not. But I did suggest to my H the other day that perhaps we may need some outside help. I am wary of counselling, mostly due to picking the right one, as there are not so good ones out there that could do more harm than good.


Thanks again for your response.


“Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.”
― James Baldwin

Posts: 251 | Registered: Feb 2013
Clarrissa
Member
Member # 21886
Default  Posted: 7:41 PM, September 23rd (Monday)

This is one of the hardest things a remorseful wayeard has to do - really look at themeelves, face and *own* the ugly parts of ourselves. To completely deface our image of ourselves to find out what's really under it. To take off the rose-colored glasses and look at ourselves in the harsh light of day. It says much about your strength that you can do this, own who you are and fix that which is wrong. Before we can be honest with others, we have to be honest with ourselves. You're being honest with yourself and that's great.


And yes, you *do* matter. We all do.


BH Cee64D - 48
WW (me) - 49


All affairs are variations on a theme. No one has 'Beethoven's 5th' to everyone else's 'Chopsticks'.


Posts: 5858 | Registered: Dec 2008 | From: A better place
blakesteele
Member
Member # 38044
Default  Posted: 7:58 PM, September 23rd (Monday)

It also allows others to stand back and let us do all the hard work. I know myself, that this why I get resentful. Not realising that I'm creating this dynamic. I mean, who does any heavy lifting if its all done for them? Food for thought aye?

Indeed!

Dang unfair of Blake to be harbor resentment towards Amy...if Blake made it so comfortable for Amy to transfer what ever IT is that Amy hardly gave the transition a moments thought!


I am hopeful that my fWS and me are actually strong enough to move through the A and all it entails...and move into R our marriage in a healthy way.

If we are not there, I think we are close....

I believe you guys ARE there....

Thanks for a thought provoking post...I was surprised to find a post in the WS forum that spoke so well to me, myself and I.


ME: 42 BH, I don't PM female members
SHE: 38 EA
Married: 15 years
Together: 17 years
D/Day 9-10-12
NC: 10-25-12
NC: Broken early November 2012, OM not respond
2 girls; 7 and 10
Fear is payments on debts you have not

Posts: 3411 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Central Missouri
ophelia24
Member
Member # 38438
Default  Posted: 7:59 PM, September 23rd (Monday)

Yeah Clarissa, try telling ME that.

Its take a long time to become fucked up. And equally long untangle it all. You pull a bit there, another thread unravels, then another one. As I'm finally feeling the consequences of my past actions, I'm realising just how much I've hurt myself. And when my H says "how could you do that to ME?" I think "but of course I did. I barely gave a fuck about ME. You stood no chance". Its a painful truth, but there you have it.

The hurting are dangerous. I was an exploded hand grenade lobbed into his life. I pulled the pin. And the shrapnel is difficult to remove. Always some left in.


“Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.”
― James Baldwin

Posts: 251 | Registered: Feb 2013
blakesteele
Member
Member # 38044
Default  Posted: 8:05 PM, September 23rd (Monday)

Interestingly enough...early in my IC sessions my counselor focused on this question....

Does Blake love himself?

Seems simple enough...but it started me on a self discovery journey I never thought I had to go on.

Short answer now is.....yes.

IC helped me. About a month ago I stopped going....mostly because we got to the MC stage and felt our counselor took us as far as she could. I am contemplating seeing her again for an IC session...she was VERY beneficial to me on that journey.

You are right to be cautious about counseling...but also wise to realize the benefits of a real professional.

Too bad this whole part of the medical community is so hidden....if I were going in for back surgery, heart surgery, eye surgery....it is open and easy to check with friends, family and co-workers to ferret out the best doctors. With regards to mental health...particularly infidelity....you just don't have that same freedom.

Having said all that.....counseling was critically important to me. I am glad I reached out.


ME: 42 BH, I don't PM female members
SHE: 38 EA
Married: 15 years
Together: 17 years
D/Day 9-10-12
NC: 10-25-12
NC: Broken early November 2012, OM not respond
2 girls; 7 and 10
Fear is payments on debts you have not

Posts: 3411 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Central Missouri
ophelia24
Member
Member # 38438
Default  Posted: 8:10 PM, September 23rd (Monday)

Dang unfair of Blake to be harbor resentment towards Amy...if Blake made it so comfortable for Amy to transfer what ever IT is that Amy hardly gave the transition a moments thought!

Ha! So true. We can then be martyrs and sit back and seethe at ALL we have to do and all we are responsible for.

I believe you guys ARE there....

Not yet Blake. We have a lot of work to do.

I was surprised to find a post in the WS forum that spoke so well to me, myself and I.

BS or WW, we all carry pain and issues. And terrible boundaries are a common problem for both.

Glad you got something out of my post Blake. I wish you all the best in your R.


“Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.”
― James Baldwin

Posts: 251 | Registered: Feb 2013
blakesteele
Member
Member # 38044
Default  Posted: 9:06 AM, September 24th (Tuesday)

I barely gave a fuck about ME. You stood no chance

In IC my first couple of sessions dealt with the question "Does Blake love Blake?". My counselor was firm on getting a solid, honest answer to that question first and foremost.

It took a couple of weeks but at the end of that journey I honestly answer yes. Once I did this it changed how I viewed my role in our marriage pre-A. Several actions done by me all of a sudden became very distasteful.

At one point my wife asked how I could have changed one particular habit so quickly. I believe it has everything to do with "new wisdom".

Once we know better, we can do better. This is how I did NOT get stuck in guilt mode over my past actions. I simply did the best I could at that time. I am still very sorry for the hurt I caused my wife...but if I stopped there I would give up the opportunity to do better. I have a strong desire to do better.

It is painful to do this self discovery. But it is necessary. That is what I was referring to when I said you guys are "there"...you are showing you have the courage to change.

God be with us all.

[This message edited by blakesteele at 9:11 AM, September 24th (Tuesday)]


ME: 42 BH, I don't PM female members
SHE: 38 EA
Married: 15 years
Together: 17 years
D/Day 9-10-12
NC: 10-25-12
NC: Broken early November 2012, OM not respond
2 girls; 7 and 10
Fear is payments on debts you have not

Posts: 3411 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Central Missouri
TrulySad
Member
Member # 39652
Default  Posted: 10:44 AM, September 24th (Tuesday)

Your post made me want to cry... I'm sorry for what you experienced as a child. I wish more parents would understand how their actions set their children up for a possible LONG life of pain.

I wish you luck...


Me: Done with his bullshit and getting stronger day by day

Posts: 420 | Registered: Jun 2013
tired girl
Member
Member # 28053
Default  Posted: 11:13 AM, September 24th (Tuesday)

I barely gave a fuck about ME. You stood no chance". Its a painful truth, but there you have it.

This really resonated with me. At the time that I was making my choices to do what I did, I had no idea that I had given up on myself so entirely. If you can't even offer yourself protection, how can you protect the ones you're supposed to love?


Me45 Him 45 Hardlessons DS 25,23,20
D Day 1/18/10 his 3/8/2012 mine
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Eleanor Roosevelt

Posts: 4456 | Registered: Mar 2010 | From: az
uncertainone
Member
Member # 28108
Default  Posted: 11:15 AM, September 24th (Tuesday)

You can't.


Me: 37

'til the roof comes off. 'til the lights go out. 'til my legs give out, can't shut my mouth


Posts: 6795 | Registered: Mar 2010
ophelia24
Member
Member # 38438
Default  Posted: 4:24 PM, September 24th (Tuesday)

Blake;
Your comment about loving ourselves made me think about whether I do, even now. It is such a commonly bandied around concept that to love ourselves is important. And yet, I struggle with what that actually MEANS and feels like. I guess I could say that my introspection and delving into those places that hurt, is a form of self love. As well as giving up smoking in the last 4 months and exercising. Until I came to SI, I never understood that infidelity was a form of self-harm or the antithesis of loving ourselves. I just shoved those things away and tried to either justify in my mind why I did that, or averted my heart from the pain its caused ME that I valued myself so little. I never really FELT that or understood that until I read people on here like TG and UO describe it as absolutely trashing ourselves. I was a pretty child, and received many comments on how I looked growing up, especially around the time of becoming a teenager. I was hungry for father-love, attention and approval from a man who I know now was emotionally unavailable and through his own FOO issues, was incapable of real connection. I loved my dad, and would run away from my crazy mother (who had a horror story of a childhood) from the age of 2 as to try and find him, as he drove trucks. Sometimes he would let me come with him, and I did that with him up till the age of 15. I learnt to hide who I was from him, as to gain and keep his approval.I always felt nervous and hyper-vigilant around him, he wasn't the most patient of men. I think I learnt the art of hiding myself with my father, and this has repeated over and over in my relationships. I realise now that I have a deep NEED to be loved. And when I feel pushed away, or I feel ashamed of my neediness, I act out in anger with destructive behaviours. Which I now realise, could all be ameliorated by loving myself and knowing that I am ENOUGH. I think I'm slowly heading there.

Truly Sad;
Thank you for your kind comments. Unfortunately what we have done to us with our own damaged parents, can play out in our own parenting. I know how I've failed my own children, and it's painful to realise this and watch the consequences of that materialise in my children's behaviours. Not that I take the entire blame for this, as their dad has his own FOO issues that influence him in how he interacts and loves his children. So the perfect storm really.

TG,
As mentioned earlier, you are a big influence on my lightbulb moments of really getting how little we value ourselves in our choice to commit adultery. It's why I never really FELT the impact of what I had done as I was no where in the equation. That has been a huge eye opener for me, and kept the focus of trying to get to the core of it all, on myself. Thank you

UO;
You are right. We can't protect others, when we can't even take care of ourselves. I take some comfort though in that I know now I have the courage to face myself, even if its not pretty. And with each painful realisation I am slowly starting to forgive myself. Not fully there yet.

ETA for clarity

[This message edited by ophelia24 at 4:27 PM, September 24th (Tuesday)]


“Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.”
― James Baldwin

Posts: 251 | Registered: Feb 2013
Clarrissa
Member
Member # 21886
Default  Posted: 4:45 PM, September 24th (Tuesday)

One thing I learned about myself in all this was as I was growing up (I have somewhat unique FOO issues) was I thought so little of myself that I let others tell me who I was - the "good girl", the dependable one (read "doormat"), not pretty enough to be interesting and not interesting enough to be pretty - and my A was, in part, an effort to prove those people not just wrong but DEAD wrong. For years I not only didn't love myself I didn't even *like* myself.

I'm still a work in progress but I'm getting there.

[This message edited by Clarrissa at 4:46 PM, September 24th (Tuesday)]


BH Cee64D - 48
WW (me) - 49


All affairs are variations on a theme. No one has 'Beethoven's 5th' to everyone else's 'Chopsticks'.


Posts: 5858 | Registered: Dec 2008 | From: A better place
ophelia24
Member
Member # 38438
Default  Posted: 6:51 PM, September 26th (Thursday)

Good for you Clarissa.

As Socrates said "the unexamined life is not worth living".

Gotta love the truth of that.


“Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.”
― James Baldwin

Posts: 251 | Registered: Feb 2013
Topic Posts: 26