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foreverlabeled

33 divorced Madhatter Time is no ones friend, nor their enemy. It moves forward at its own fixed pace, careless of our wants to speed it or slow it.

Prenupt

I've been dating someone for over a year now. We are getting quite serious hence my title. We plan on getting married soon as a matter of fact. I could go on and on how compatible and perfect he is. Its never been this easy.

He mentioned a prenuptial agreement and honestly it hurt my feelings and I took it quite personal. I don't know why. I guess it made me feel untrustworthy or that it was setting us up for failure. I always thought that was something for the super wealthy anyway. Lol.

We are both going into this with our own property, mine a ~600k home, him a ~40 acre farm. He makes more money than me but I have more saved. We bought a home together and he dropped a considerably more amount than me on it. I know it makes sense on some level but I guess I'm traditional in that two become one and all that. Like whats mine is his and what his is mine.

I don't mean to be so sensitive about this. But it hit me hard. I thought I'd come here for some sense as I always do.

He is of course very reassuring about my feelings and has done a great a job explaining where he is coming from. He said that when I divorced I lost everything, but thats my fault because I didn’t want to fight for a thing, cut my losses and ran. He lost half of everything plus incurred her debt (way in the past and over). Said we aren't 20 something starting with nothing.

But still I would gladly combine my assets to his like I imagine a marriage should be. Again, I'm sure its silly of me to be hesitant of a prenup and should be thankful he's thinking of both our interests.

Can you help me suss it out?

17 comments posted: Monday, November 1st, 2021

"The Work"

I have some thoughts on my original "Work" post 4 years after writing it and nearly 6 years post dday. A lot has changed and I credit my determination. I credit my willingness and courage. And proud to say the self-worth I took back, remorse that filled me with a true desire to change and to not give up on myself ever again. (And I forever credit SI)

Mentally and emotionally I'm in a very different place than when I wrote the first version, but in that post are the things that carried me through to the woman I am today.

The original post is as follows.


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"Whatever our issues are, no matter what we are fixing, getting your shit together requires a level of honesty you can’t even imagine." There was nothing easy about realizing I was the one that’s been holding myself back this whole time and having to admit I've let myself down in the worst way. It was harder to admit that I already knew my character was flawed even before I was cheating. I just didn’t care enough about myself to ask why and what I can do about it. That would take change, and change is hard, right?

I learned quickly that I was fighting two fronts. Essentially, on my BS’s front I’m working to "get it" and on my front I’m working to "own it". And it seems my work was different yet the same on both fronts. And at some point, owning it became all I could do for us and for myself anymore.

I had to start somewhere, and I saw two things that I did have complete control over and worked towards strengthening both fronts.

1. The truth

2. Blame-shifting

But, I went into self-preservation mode on dday and to do these things didn’t come as a natural response for me. This is actually a common thing, not saying it’s right, just human nature. Its often referred to as cheater script because we lie, deny and minimize trying to save ourselves and control the fallout in our favor. To achieve that we all basically say and do the same stuff because it’s the only way "out". It wasn’t physical, it’s your fault, It was only, this only that. It’s a psychological reaction, the stress response kicking in. We go into survival mode. I often suspect TT, defensiveness, victimhood, and a whole host of obstacles are due to remaining in this acute stress response. Realize, my survival is all about me, right? A person gets selfish and desperate, I learned for survival to go CYA mode. It all fits the cheater script doesn’t it?

Except, now I’m learning that if I wanted to survive with H, I’d have to go about it differently. I would have to start with those two things and continue with everything that I learned in "HTHYSHFYA" by MacDonald which is also the basics I learned here. I would like to credit my remorse for following through with these things, sadly I think a large part of it was simply basic instinct to survive. Don’t get me wrong I was deeply sorry and wanted to make things right and if it weren’t for that, maybe my survival would have looked different. I have even thought that perhaps I needed the adrenaline of survival to act on my remorse. It was hard stuff getting the truth out there, I was crazy afraid of it. IDK, but the point is that I had to actively work to get myself out of this survival mode. I can’t grow there. So I practiced the opposite of selfishness and desperation.

1. Compassion

2. Humility

3. Gratitude

By practicing these in my life basically every second of every day to everyone and everything *including myself* the more I moved out of the stress response. IC was really good for this too. But, it wasn’t enough because I still felt at any moment EVERYTHING could blow up (and there was truth to that) so I was still on guard, still stressed. An extra step was needed.

Letting go of the outcome.

This was so hard for me to do and still is when I get an idea in my head. I think a lot of us struggle here. From what I understand desire for a specific outcome is healthy, attachment? not so much. Attachment is where feelings of false control breed. When so much energy is put into one outcome you can become blind to everything else. Letting go of surviving this with my H started with detaching from that idea. Of course I didn’t want to. And as hard as it is to face the scary unknown, that (the M, surviving this with him) in and of itself was already determined an unknown. I was surrounded by unknowns and quite frankly always have been. Life is one great big unknown after all.

That realization at the time was both terrifying and reassuring all at once and a transition began to take place. The more I could convince myself that I didn’t need to be in a constant state of survival, the more I could relax and open myself up to my H and really get it. AND open myself up to myself to really own it.

I had a huge problem though. My biggest difficulty early on was getting lost in the fearful feelings. The moment I started indulging fear I became engrossed in reactionary thoughts and feelings. Anxiety inducing thoughts because often my reaction was to go straight to catastrophe. My thoughts of myself were extremely negative as well and the emotions attached would take me so low. This obviously had to change, so I learned a handy little tool to help with that. And it was as easy as challenging these thoughts. And so, every time I noticed a negative thought I stopped it and replaced it with something else, sometimes being only slightly less negative, but it was a start. These days I can’t remember the last time I truly put myself down and meant it, and it’s only because I started here. Challenging my thoughts meant opening them up to new/different thoughts and ideas.

That ultimately worked its way to challenging and changing my beliefs. This was the crux of my work, I think of it as my own Age of Enlightenment. I started questioning everything and discarding long held beliefs that didn’t serve me anymore. But before I could just throw things out all willy-nilly, I sat down and started to compile a list of what I valued. I needed something to reference. Honesty/Truth was at the top of my list suddenly. I had this belief that lying was a problem solver. That belief neither serves me or my values. So that one could go...like it’s that easy huh? It’s not, I promise you that. I still feel a pull to this belief it was so ingrained. I practice honesty every day, rewiring or forming new habits, whatever you want to call it takes dedication and hard work. Who knew you actually had to protect and cherish it. Or y’know in other words, value it if it was to be long lasting.

I put a lot of thought in my values and how I’ve expressed them in my actions. I said I valued family, but my actions destroyed my family. I also questioned if my current values even have meaning to me. Turns out some things I valued was only because I was taught to. It had no substance to me upon real examination of my true self. I started with my values for fundamental reasons. I found myself needing to pour a new foundation of my own, what went into that foundation was going to determine well, me.

So, it takes getting honest and worse becoming VULNERABLE with yourself, that’s where the REAL work begins. This almost did me in, the introspection. Not even kidding I wanted to stop here. Nope, fuck that, you can’t make me. This was actually a daily argument I had with myself. I’ve spent a life time keeping all of this inside me "protected" and to open it up risks exposure and emotional harm or so I thought. It was just another false belief. At some point I was listening to a pod cast about my Briggs personality type of all things and I heard vulnerability and introspection described like this; Imagine there is a dragon inside of you (my fears of turning inward) then think about what dragons guard, GOLD. Slay the dragon (conquer your fears) and you’ll have all the riches in life (authenticity, self-worth, joy, health, it’s endless). I took that as an absolute truth and it encouraged me to go there. But however you want to think of it here’s the bottom line, I went there and better off for it.

I won’t lie and say it was a beautiful experience every moment of the way discovering myself and once in, I wanted to give up every day for months. Then something happened as I started doing this work, it wasn’t as painful as time went on. I was actually eager to learn everything I possibly could about what makes me, me. And how to authentically live. Be unapologetically the BEST me. The real me. I wanted to wholeheartedly love myself for the first time ever and nurture that hurt child within.

It meant a lot of acceptance as well. Accepting that I haven’t exactly been the best person and I need to own the bad-for-me choices I've made and the ugly choices hurting others (beyond the scope of infidelity too). I didn’t have to go through it all one by one, I just had to practice a general forgiveness. I wasn’t giving my best in life, sometimes I think along the way my stress response kicked on and never turned off. Life seemed about survival and it’s all about selfishly looking out for number one. On the flip-side, I needed to accept the good too. I can assure you in the moment I didn’t see much good, but I knew I wasn't a heartless monster. I made good choices in life, worthy of recognition. During my struggle with introspection I often spoke about acceptance and the power in it.

I need to mention something though. None of this would have been possible without a few things.

First, I had a true desire in every sense of the word for change. I will never be grateful for the destruction I caused to gain this desire, it was the destruction itself that provided me this want. I didn’t want to be a person capable of such extreme abuse EVER again. Whatever it took. I am not an abuser and that is exactly what I did. THAT’S not me in my core. That sadly was my life’s pain expressing itself in an abusive form. I can fix this.

Second, I needed tools because I didn’t know how to fix this.

Knowledge, the most useful of all tools. I knew I was out of my element on dday, my first internet search was "I cheated how do I help my husband". There it was, all the knowledge I could ever ask for at my fingertips. I didn’t waste any time diving right in. I learned all about what his healing would look like and mine. It grew into more than that, I was actively seeking knowledge in all things.

IC was a must because I didn’t know what "healthy" looked like and without understanding it, I wasn’t going to change much. When that wasn’t an option I was reading a lot of self-help. I was careful when considering my whys. I’ve seen strong attachments form to FOO and other reasons that border on excuses. My self-help approach wasn’t so much finding out why I have these issues but more so, how do I fix these issues.

Mindfulness is a technique that helps me practice honesty. It’s a tool I use when I want to keep anything in my conscious, to y’know, be mindful about. I would take honesty moment by moment with awareness, keeping it in my forethoughts. It’s diligent work. Sometimes no matter how much I practice, a lie would just come out (something insignificant) and I would want to correct myself immediately, "Sorry that was actually a lie, they weren’t really out of milk I just forgot". Yeah, things like that. And by valuing honesty and putting my thoughts there, a knee jerk reaction to stop and tell the truth started taking place. We talk about rewiring of the brain, there it was, in action.

Coping turned out to be a tool I needed to RElearn.

And so on it goes.

Third, courage. When we take on ourselves it feels like a lot at first and maybe it is. Some of us have done years of avoiding. It’s going to take a lot of determination and courage to keep up the fight. When it gets hard I stop myself (try to) and acknowledge, it is what it is. Sometimes I would get so uncomfortable just peeking in a box, my thoughts and feelings would freeze up on me and I couldn’t go there. It’s okay to say not today, I’ll try again tomorrow. I had to get comfortable with the uncomfortable, I knew that much. It’s not so easy but, totally doable, and courage helps.

Fourth, I actually had to DO the work. One of my favorite proverbs for this, "If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking." Sometimes it felt more like I was crawling or dragging my feet. I would get lost and circle around. I would stop to dig in or rest. But what I valued more than giving up was perseverance (a new one btw). And so, I kept progressing.

Today my work doesn’t feel like the hard work it once did. It only feels like a responsibility I owe to myself, which is taking an interest in my greater self and trying to love whatever authentic me comes from it.


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I thought it would be interesting to kinda break down some of the original post and share my perspective on a few things where I stand today.

Whatever our issues are, no matter what we are fixing, getting your shit together requires a level of honesty you can’t even imagine.

I still love this quote. Its a good tipping off point. It sets the stage because its true. In the beginning the honesty I had to face was very basic, but very difficult. Because not many selfish people can easily do that. Its more than uncomfortable and it requires you to think a different way. One that you're not used to, so you need to create a habit. The thing about developing habits is that its much more harder to create one that doesn't deliver instant gratification. And this is far from feel good work.

And I found that in order to begin, what I needed more than anything was a few simple but tough truths.

In the beginning it was the truth and owing it. In a time that felt like chaos reigned and everything was out of my control there was very little I could do to help the situation, but the things I could do, they would have a lasting impact.

It was hard to get to this point,

- this is who you are
-these were your actions
- I'm an abuser
-my actions caused serious trauma

It wasn't hard to understand, it was hard to accept it. Not only accept it but to then do something about it.

It was important to acknowledge the baseline. Come face to face with it. Rip the bandaid off. Put myself on the table and see myself for what for who I am. I could hardly ascribe to the narrative of "I'm a good person who did a bad thing". Abusive people are not good people. So I tried this on, "I did this and its not who I want to be" or "I don't have to be this person ever again, I can be wholesome". It wasn't that I was trying to talk myself down, but if my goal was honesty then it had to be applied carefully and thoroughly to every aspect of the situation even if it didn't put me in good light.

Because the truth of the matter was that my character was severely depleted. It just didn't always present itself as infidelity, until of course it did. But, after an honest assessment it was very clear, my life choices were riddled with proof of low standing character.

I mentioned a couple months in that I felt like I betrayed myself first, and it led the way to betraying others. And we do, I have no doubt. My thoughts behind this are that we pretend to be someone we are not, hardly conscious to the fact. Often times I was very unkind to myself and even more untrue to myself. I would sometimes feel obligated to play a role rather than confront. Telling myself its okay when its not. Placing my worth in the hands of others rather than taking ownership. And that my friends is a dangerous game and probably the worst absolute way I betrayed myself above all else. By doing that I put myself on constant defense AND preservation. That makes for a very selfish person and a need to protect one's self at all costs.  Which equals very little room for good character. Good character and a value system that works. I just didn't know that, how could I? It was the only way (at the time) I knew how to live, and be.

There was nothing easy about realizing I was the one that’s been holding myself back this whole time and having to admit I've let myself down in the worst way.

I still often think about this, analyze it, learn from it. It was a realization that I came to me very early in my work. It seems simple enough but at the time it felt like a great awakening, like I had just unlocked all the secrets to the universe. It seemed so simple as an after thought, in hindsight picking through the pieces.

And more than anything is that it pierced through my ego and humbled me in many ways. I experienced an ego death of sorts. Which was like a switch flipped and dramatically altered my state of consciousness and reality and was all of a sudden a thing to explore. It happened in the most chaotic and traumatizing moment I've ever experienced. It was ugly. It was uncomfortable. And I couldn't unknow/unsee the new reality and all that was before me.

But still my ego it wasn't ready for that reality check on dday. I literally did EVERYTHING wrong on that day. Lied, denied, blame shifting, deflected, only admitted to what he knew and even then tried to gaslite. Last ditch effort I suppose, that pesky ego trying to persevere. I remember waking up the next morning with a level of remorse that only slightly succeeded my ego. It was definitely stronger than my need or will to go backwards, and I couldn't bare to cause any more damage, to him or myself.

I was ready, I was willing, I just didn't know how to go about it. I didn't fully understand what it would take and the level of perseverance it would require. I didn't have a clue what it would actually require from me. I didn't know anything, except that I hurt someone deeply and the pain I faced when I looked at him was far more important than anything else in the world. I was prepared to do anything if it meant healing.

But, I went into self-preservation mode on dday and to do these things didn’t come as a natural response for me.

In my original post I talked so much about self preservation and the stress response, and while it all is very relevant, as you can see what I've come to think is that ego had just as much hand in my self destruction. In fact my ego was the driving force behind those things. I had such low worth my ego worked over time to defend me, but it didn't serve me. These things were working in the background in my life for years and then dday happened and all three things hit me like a ton of bricks. Knocked the breath right out of me. Threw me into my own shock of sorts on dday. I felt scared, paralyzed, grasping at anything to prevent the big changes ahead of me/us. I was at war with myself, head and heart. My heart was in it, but my mind kept asking are you sure? I needing to do things that now required me to act without thought.

What I mean by that is utilizing the thought process I was working with would not help me in my situation. Because at the time if put too much thought into something, I'd surely be tempted to talk myself out of the right thing and into what would make me most comfortable. Any given thought that came to me was for my own (selfish/comfortable) good, not the greater good. So basically I either had to completely shut them off or just did the opposite of my knee jerk reaction. And I would have to act quickly before I talked myself out of anything. These were my "tactics" especially in the first few weeks. This was especially true in getting the details out and clearing away the rubble from the nuke I dropped.  Once the truth and details were out there and we were standing on my hill of deciet and lies rather than buried under them, we at least had a starting point and knew what we had to work with. Not only that but after you have nothing to hide there's not much left to protect. But it didn't stop there, oh my gawd was there so much more.

I had to actively work to get myself out of this survival mode. I can’t grow there. So I practiced the opposite of selfishness and desperation.

I was surrounded by unknowns and quite frankly always have been.

That realization at the time was both terrifying and reassuring all at once and a transition began to take place.

To this day I'm really not sure how I achieved that. Looking back I know I took steps in that direction, like having courage, and practicing honesty, a WHOLE bunch of self talk, humbling myself, letting go of the outcome. But I can't recall now the moment it happened, the moment I surrendered myself to the process. I know I had to talk myself into it and I remember the way it felt, that feeling is definitely something that has stayed with me. It was a submission, not in a defeated way, more like.. well, letting go. Once that happened many of my fears went with it.  There was still plenty that frightened me, but not in a way that would hold me back.

And I just cannot stress this enough, one of our members said to me very early in my process "you have to become comfortable with the uncomfortable" and I'm forever grateful. I don't know why that piece of advice stuck so deeply or why it was something that carried me through my work, but it did. Probably because it was first, very true in every sense of the path that was before me. And it was like naming something. There was recognition. I knew what could come my way and there was less power in it. Like, I could prepare for it. Though it wasn't always that easy, not by a long shot. But, it helped more than anything else I sometimes think.

And it plays very much into my next thoughts.

I've come to learn that your ego is a very unyielding thing. It has job and its work ethic is unmatched. It doesn't take days off, no vacation, working 24/7. Its job is to create a set of beliefs, patterns, and ideas, amd this is what you are essentially made of,  how you put yourself out into the world. Your ego is very defensive about this. Anything outside of those thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors will be rejected or in simple terms, make you feel extremely uncomfortable. The ego doesn't want you to change. And any resistance will feel like an attack on yourself. When you are caught up in it its very difficult to see it for what is actually going on.

I couldn't put as many words to what I know now as I did then. I just knew that I had to pay attention to my thoughts, challenge them when I needed to, and ultimately work that into challenging and changing my beliefs, and reevaluating my core values. It was hard hard work to go against the grain.

Did I already mention this was hard work? Here I've spent my life believing and thinking in certain ways that I haven't consciously chosen. The ego ever on guard. The process to rewire that is where the most discomfort I've ever experienced. I know I'm talking about the ego a lot, but its what I've learned that we are up against. You have to challenge it, observe it, rewire it. Teach it to protect you as you are now, and not to keep you tied to the past. The secret to change is to focus on the new, not the old. This focuses on a shift of consciousness and its the only way I know to make real sustainable change. And it takes practice, patience, and above all courage. Lots of courage.

So, it takes getting honest and worse becoming VULNERABLE with yourself, that’s where the REAL work begins. This almost did me in, the introspection. Not even kidding I wanted to stop here. Nope, fuck that, you can’t make me.

This is what it felt like facing my ego. I again didn't know at the time what the hell I was facing or trying to weave my way through. Introspection is becoming aware of ego, its observation of it. Its saying hi, I see you. Its listening to your "I" statements, allowing your self to form different opinions from it and sitting with the uncomfortable feelings that follow. Its busting through the illusion. You essentially become your own enemy because your ego perceives you as one. It doesn't want you to challenge it. So when you begin its going to suck. You're gonna want to give up. You aren't going to feel comfortable going there. Its going to look like you are standing at the bottom of Mt. Everest and your destination is the top. None of us are equipped to make that trek so its going to feel like a whole lot of "nope".

But you really aren't climbing the mountain, you aren't really in danger. Doing this is definitely NOT going to physically hurt you.

I have been thinking a lot lately about why some cheaters have succes while many many more do not. I don't have all the answers but I suspect in all actuality it is once again the ego at play. But what no can predict is who has the courage to face it head on. And even worse there's no instant/near instant indication that a cheater is doing this work. I think white knuckling and the work can often look the same for quite some time. I think too, there are subtle ways in which you might have an idea one way or the other, but its typically unique to the individual and you'll have to know them well to see the slight changes in their actions, but after a certain point you must look to their thought process, the words they speak, their outlook. Yes, I think actions first then their new personality. Or rather the combination of the two.

I'm literally a different person today. I don't think the same, I'm more careful in my thoughts, slower to consider, more open minded, less black and white. My personality is not the same. I mean I'm still outgoing, hilarious, sensitive, lazy, and still quick to take things personally but now I'm more disciplined, reliable, careful to weigh options, honest.

But however you want to think of it here’s the bottom line, I went there and better off for it.

I can still attest to this statement.

I won’t lie and say it was a beautiful experience every moment of the way discovering myself and once in, I wanted to give up every day for months.

And this one.

Then something happened as I started doing this work, it wasn’t as painful as time went on.

And most importantly this one.

As with anything that  starts from the beginning it is there that the challenges present themselves. I've done a lot of hard things in my life. Where I've had to demonstrate courage when all I've felt was fear, and this is no exception. But that feeling doesn't last forever. Its a drop in the bucket. Its easy for me to say that now, but for some of you, I've been right where you are now. It sucks. Its fucking hard. I can honestly say that I never want to be in your shoes ever again. That experience is a one and done for me thank you very much. I say that with all the empathy in world. But I'm here to tell you it gets better. Better than you could ever imagine.

The goal isn't to get rid of your ego, that's not possible. Its to become aware and understand how to work with it, not to let it ride on autopilot. It dictates so much in our everyday life, its hard for me fathom sometimes. We start in on our whys and as human nature goes there must be something that causes our cheating. Some life changing event, foo, midlife crisis. It is a crisis, an ego crisis. You know I once read something that said the ego keeps you out of touch with your reality and my god how much that resonated with me. Because I was! Are cheaters not? Of course we are. Not only that but it creates unreal expectations and a reliance on external validation.

Can we just take a minute to appreciate that?


I mean if that's not fitting for each and every one of us, I don't know what is then. You don't have to trace your ability to cheat down too far. I think a lot of time is wasted on that. I know it goes against digging into your whys but its not something I spent much time on, and I think I did just fine. I'm not suggesting anything just sharing my experience.

Out if touch with reality
Unrealistic expectations
Need for external validation
Selfishness
Instant gratification


I decided that was all I needed to know to turn this ship around. Besides it was enough work to last me years.

It took me two years to reach my thoughts in my first post and probably another two to expand and grown even on that. I'm not sure it ever really stops but the intensity is far from where it started and my comfort level has settled into something I am.... comfortable with. Its not work anymore, its just who I am. A new habit, a new outlook, the rewire is done. Now that that has been achieved, what I am left with is simply living well with it all. Because of the work I care very deeply about my values, I care to guard myself and my worth. I cannot personally accept less from myself ever again. That was my destination when I took off and the long term gratification I have received from my accomplishments will last me for the rest of my life. And I'll keep getting those hits so long as I stay the course. How could I ever betray myself like that again? It just doesn't seem feasible.

I need to mention something though. None of this would have been possible without a few things.

I could easily list the same things again. It was instrumental in starting this work. Those same things still ring true even today.

Desire
Knowledge
Coping
Courage
Hard work

It looks different today but that's because I've had a lot of practice. When I started out I was terrified and often found myself unable to put one foot in front of the other. It didn't come easy that's for sure, but I also didn't have the knowledge/knowhow, I just knew that I was going see myself through by any means necessary. Besides my ever growing curiosity and knowledge for healing, nothing was going to happen if I did have these,

First, I had a true desire in every sense of the word for change. I will never be grateful for the destruction I caused to gain this desire, it was the destruction itself that provided me this want.

Third, courage. When we take on ourselves it feels like a lot at first and maybe it is. Some of us have done years of avoiding. It’s going to take a lot of determination and courage to keep up the fight.

You deserve to fight for yourself and to try to right your wrong doings. I promise you it won't be easy, and you're going to want to give up, and you might even a couple times before you get to the point of unwillingness to go backwards. You might not even succeed in your marriage but there is zero excuse to not succeed in yourself. You are worth it a thousand times over.

And that my dear friends is where I'm going to leave this. As always I do hope it has been helpful.


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I thought too after writing the above and condensing this into one post that there were some very smart replies from others and myself that I just wanted to highlight. Of course you can find the original thread here,

https://www.survivinginfidelity.com/topics/628219/ruminating-in-hindsight-my-work/?ap=1

I struggled with the concept of time in the beginning. In fact it was one of the biggest reminders throughout my threads early on.

 

If I resisted anything it was rooted in fear. I was just afraid of it all. And each time I chose courage over my fears the more I believed in myself number one, and the more I wanted to keep going. Courage feels 100x better than the worst of my fears felt.

We get tons of advice about how to help our BS's, I could write pages just on that. What we don't see enough is what our work looks like beyond that.

We are sitting in our same issues on DDAY and after that allowed us to have an affair in the first place.

 

It took me close to 8 months just to get comfortable with the IDEA of introspection, never mind the months passed trying to avoid it or dipping my toes in hardly past the surface.

Knowledge being a powerful tool is so true. I think so many of us are able to fool ourselves once, however when we gain the knowledge we lose the ability to lie to ourselves and others so easily.

acknowledging that you don't have it together yet is not weak, it's strong.

 

I came here often worried about not getting it right still and one BW stopped by to post "you didn't become this way over night and it's going to take longer than a night to fix your shit" another one of those time reminders.

We need to understand that the 2-5 year timeline is really just a season of healing. If we are committed to change (the work describe in this post) will have been proven beyond doubt by this time that we are able and safe for a new M.

 

By placing myself squarely into our reality, it became harder and harder to sell my justifications and defensiveness to him or to myself. I knew I didn't have a leg to stand on and I didn't believe my own cheater script anymore. I asked myself, what are you fighting against?

The only why I cared about was why didn't I develop self-respect sooner? Because had I, I imagine most of my issues would have been long resolved because that's what self-respecting people do.

Turns out today is the day! Letting go of the outcome, lets go a little deeper on this subject. It’s so incredibly hard to do and takes serious dedication and practice if you ask me. Many of us struggle with this.

I mentioned earlier how letting go of the outcome is much like having an attachment to it, well not much like it, it is! Attachment feeds our minds with comfort, that is why this is probably the hardest part of it all. Change takes getting out of your comfort zone, when one does this, we immediately feel unsafe. It's rather natural though. It's easier and more comforting to have a sure idea than to be left with the unknown, because the unknown can be scary for us humans. We like to feel small don’t we, sometimes? As in protected in our safety net. Except this.. confessing/confronted, kinda ripped it wide open. We fall into a mad scramble, panicked, doing what we can with damage control. We think we got this, like we can just put their guts back into place so quickly, nice and neatly. We think we can lie and manipulate to gain control make it less than what it really is. We grasp at anything to take control of the situation. It’s a hard realization that things are actually out of control, your control even. We took what our BSs offered us, love, support, and comfort for granted. Our previous outcome for our lives was fixed and we grew fond of it, attached to the idea it will always be. It’s probably why we have a quick turn around and all of a sudden, they are our world again.

It's not just the unknown of our relationship, this is only a part of it. There are so many things that we just have to release and understand that there is and always has been things out of our control. I never thought of myself as a controlling person, until I realized just how little control I have over things. Small things, big things. We create an illusion under our safety net that everything is okay and we got this, it's all under control. Dday is a sure way to blow that notion out of the water. The truest thing I've come to realize is the only control I have is over myself. That's it, and the more I grew comfortable with that reality, the truest reality, the better I could breathe and let go.

I tend to think of it more like this these days, it's NOT the outcome we have to let go of, it's the unknown we have to embrace. It takes getting out of our comfort-zone, and that alone is an unsafe feeling for us. And now everything is the unknown. The unknown is hard to face, it still freaks me out a bit. To me it feels like I could lose anything at anytime and there’s nothing I can do about it. No one like a loss, but at the same time I could also gain everything. See, there’s no definite outcome no matter what life you are living. You don’t have to be a controlling person to like have control of things, KWIM? I am trying to make friends with the unknown. I mean it is the truest reality, right? Out from under that safety net I see life has always been an unknown, no outcome is ever certain.

This is process of course, we always just say "let go of the outcome" but it’s easier said than done. We don’t tell you how much time and energy are involved to really getting it down, or at least a good start. How uncomfortable it is, scary, painful even. Letting go was also getting comfortable with a process that I didn’t even know where to begin, knew nothing about it and I had to believe it in. It takes courage to walk this path. A lot of it. You’ll feel like you’re doing the hardest shit in your life when you let go of it all. It won’t feel like it for some time, but eventually you will get some peace out of it. This way feels sustainable to me because attachments aren't very healthy. What I want is a true bond with my husband, I don't want to be needy and attached.

somewhere between listening to my H's pain and spewing justifications, I made the decision that I wanted to go about this the right way. I instinctively knew I wasn't helping on dday, but I didn't know what the right way was, so I just rode the day out. That night my research began. Everything was pointing to absolute honesty.

And when I got it all out (including all the details and questions), after that, I thought there's no truth that could be worse than whats been said, and so I made it a thing I do now.

I guess there was something about being honest under these conditions that kick started the rewiring. And to this day I still feel the gratification I got from the courage I displayed in spite of my deep deep fear. In fact I felt it all along the way which only fueled my integrity.

Here's where I think feeling defeated is more fitting. Because I did want to change more than anything. I seriously didn't want to feel broken anymore leaving the debris of self destruction everywhere I went. I lost a war with myself that I didn't know was happening. I could have picked up arms again and continued it, but I made the choice to lay down the weapons of mass self-destruction, hopefully for good.

Sometimes I forget to be mindful, it's hard to walk around all day with a busy life and stay in the moment be mindful of all thoughts and feelings, every word I speak. But the more you work towards getting healthy the more unhealthy sticks out like a sore thumb

Do I feel like I'm running away from something? trying to escape something?
Do I justify my behavior?
Do I feel inauthentic?
I prefer to wear rose-tinted glasses. Idealism as escapism.
When you lie to yourself you will tend to only favor others who reassure you and not challenge you.

So then I asked myself "what" questions. What can I do about that, and answering those questions propelled me forward into taking some real action. What can I do about my low self worth? I gave myself quite the list on how I can fix that.

I couldn't get far if I didn't believe in myself and find cause to love myself.

 

But then what? why stay stuck on why..
Asking what, it takes you out of the victim mentality. And like I mentioned I give myself better answers to move forward. So Yeah, I am better able to get to the root of the problem, then learn how to fix it, and then take action.


****************************

End wink

11 comments posted: Thursday, September 23rd, 2021

My Sweet Nephew

He's 2 years old. His face is pure sunshine and his whole being just an absolute joy. He's so smart, knows all his colors (purple being his favorite) and can count to 25 (well sorta) 19-25 gets a little jumbled. Loves horses and Blippi (I didn't know who that was either) but he definitely taught me.

Last night around 11 I received the most earth shattering news. My sister took him back to the ER because of a wound that appeared about 2ish weeks ago (seemingly out of nowhere) wasn't healing. They ran a very specific test and her world just changed dramatically.

He has leukemia. Fucking leukemia. I can't stop saying that word. It's on repeat in my head and I keep whispering it out loud to no one.

He's had 3 blood transfusion throughout the night, last one was 6:30 this morning, they are trying to get him ready for a bone marrow biopsy today to determine which type he has. Fucking leukemia, I just can't wrap my head around it.

My heart is breaking in two for my baby sister. I just can't even imagine. She's numb and trying to be strong for him, trying not to show how scared she is. I know she's scared. I'm scared.

He truly is the most perfect thing in the world and now he's fighting for his life and doesn't even know it.. the most precious life I've ever known. I just don't understand why it has to be him.

This shit fucking sucks. Fuck leukemia.

Thank you for listening.

[This message edited by foreverlabeled at 8:13 AM, May 1st (Saturday)]

50 comments posted: Saturday, May 1st, 2021

Whelp

So, things have changed for me. I guess this will be a little bit of an update. I've attempted this once before around my 4 year antiversary. I just wasn't ready. I couldn't hardly read here let alone contribute or update. Which was unfortunate, because I needed this place but was too ashamed to ask for that help.

I made the decision to leave my H, again. It was different this time, this time there was a definite finality to it. I knew this time there was no going back, unlike the first time. I had a pretty good feeling the first time I'd go home. And this time I knew, and it broke my heart like I've never felt before. This was in November when I left, so what, 5 months now? It's taken me this long to stop crying every night. To stop willing him back to me. To stop negotiating with myself or convincing myself I have made a mistake leaving.

I'ts all I've known my entire adult life, it's all I can remember. It's a hard break.. It's hard to break. And in spite of that, the familiarity I held onto for so long, I had to make a choice if a small piece of comfort was worth it. Now, I say "small piece" because I can see it now, but at the time it felt bigger than that. It was a toxic consumption and a very unhealthy attachment. We were both so young and so broken when we came together. It's sad to think about how strong we could have been if we both could get our shit together. I try not to think about the what ifs.

I fell into a deep depression after leaving him. I don't know how I've managed these last months. I've just been pushing on doing what I need to. Working my ass off to pay the bills. Upgrading my life steadily. Always surprising myself. I doubt my strength and determination to get shit done. Then I end up doing the hard thing, and kick myself for thinking I couldn't.

My mom sent me text not that long ago when I was doubting myself, she said; "You can do anything you decide to do. That's how you are. There might be stuff that you think about doing or talk about doing, but its when you decide on something, when you decide what to do, that you make shit happen."

I can't say I truly wanted to leave him, for anyone that has been here from my start knows that. Yeah, I fucked it up, I set this ablaze. My world blew the hell up when he found out about my cheating, and it was like a brush fire, our world went up in flames. We both were called out, and nothing would ever be the same again. I was bringing water to the fire, and him gasoline. It is what it is, I can't beat that circumstance.

I'm doing better these days. My head is finally above water. This had been the hardest thing I've ever had to do. From the time I was found out until now. I'm ready for a little emotional rest. Kinda take it easy. Shit timing though, with this virus. It's my luck

Aside from that, I'm really okay now. I was licking a serious wound and I needed to heal that! I needed to feel it, even if it took me low. I handled it relatively well, and am on my way to better days.

17 comments posted: Friday, April 10th, 2020

Stupid Picture Friday

34 comments posted: Friday, July 12th, 2019

Stupid Picture Friday

I hope it's okay if I kick it off..I was prepared today

42 comments posted: Friday, June 28th, 2019

Ruminating in Hindsight, My Work

"Whatever our issues are, no matter what we are fixing, getting your shit together requires a level of honesty you can’t even imagine." There was nothing easy about realizing I was the one that’s been holding myself back this whole time and having to admit I've let myself down in the worst way. It was harder to admit that I already knew my character was flawed even before I was cheating. I just didn’t care enough about myself to ask why and what I can do about it. That would take change, and change is hard, right?

I learned quickly that I was fighting two fronts. Essentially, on my BS’s front I’m working to “get it” and on my front I’m working to “own it”. And it seems my work was different yet the same on both fronts. And at some point, owning it became all I could do for us and for myself anymore.

I had to start somewhere, and I saw two things that I did have complete control over and worked towards strengthening both fronts.

1. The truth

2. Blame-shifting

But, I went into self-preservation mode on dday and to do these things didn’t come as a natural response for me. This is actually a common thing, not saying it’s right, just human nature. Its often referred to as cheater script because we lie, deny and minimize trying to save ourselves and control the fallout in our favor. To achieve that we all basically say and do the same stuff because it’s the only way “out”. It wasn’t physical, it’s your fault, It was only, this only that. It’s a psychological reaction, the stress response kicking in. We go into survival mode. I often suspect TT, defensiveness, victimhood, and a whole host of obstacles are due to remaining in this acute stress response. Realize, my survival is all about me, right? A person gets selfish and desperate, I learned for survival to go CYA mode. It all fits the cheater script doesn’t it?

Except, now I’m learning that if I wanted to survive with H, I’d have to go about it differently. I would have to start with those two things and continue with everything that I learned in “HTHYSHFYA” by MacDonald which is also the basics I learned here. I would like to credit my remorse for following through with these things, sadly I think a large part of it was simply basic instinct to survive. Don’t get me wrong I was deeply sorry and wanted to make things right and if it weren’t for that, maybe my survival would have looked different. I have even thought that perhaps I needed the adrenaline of survival to act on my remorse. It was hard stuff getting the truth out there, I was crazy afraid of it. IDK, but the point is that I had to actively work to get myself out of this survival mode. I can’t grow there. So I practiced the opposite of selfishness and desperation.

1. Compassion

2. Humility

3. Gratitude

By practicing these in my life basically every second of every day to everyone and everything *including myself* the more I moved out of the stress response. IC was really good for this too. But, it wasn’t enough because I still felt at any moment EVERYTHING could blow up (and there was truth to that) so I was still on guard, still stressed. An extra step was needed.

Letting go of the outcome.

This was so hard for me to do and still is when I get an idea in my head. I think a lot of us struggle here. From what I understand desire for a specific outcome is healthy, attachment? not so much. Attachment is where feelings of false control breed. When so much energy is put into one outcome you can become blind to everything else. Letting go of surviving this with my H started with detaching from that idea. Of course I didn’t want to. And as hard as it is to face the scary unknown, that (the M, surviving this with him) in and of itself was already determined an unknown. I was surrounded by unknowns and quite frankly always have been. Life is one great big unknown after all.

That realization at the time was both terrifying and reassuring all at once and a transition began to take place. The more I could convince myself that I didn’t need to be in a constant state of survival, the more I could relax and open myself up to my H and really get it. AND open myself up to myself to really own it.

I had a huge problem though. My biggest difficulty early on was getting lost in the fearful feelings. The moment I started indulging fear I became engrossed in reactionary thoughts and feelings. Anxiety inducing thoughts because often my reaction was to go straight to catastrophe. My thoughts of myself were extremely negative as well and the emotions attached would take me so low. This obviously had to change, so I learned a handy little tool to help with that. And it was as easy as challenging these thoughts. And so, every time I noticed a negative thought I stopped it and replaced it with something else, sometimes being only slightly less negative, but it was a start. These days I can’t remember the last time I truly put myself down and meant it, and it’s only because I started here. Challenging my thoughts meant opening them up to new/different thoughts and ideas.

That ultimately worked its way to challenging and changing my beliefs. This was the crux of my work, I think of it as my own Age of Enlightenment. I started questioning everything and discarding long held beliefs that didn’t serve me anymore. But before I could just throw things out all willy-nilly, I sat down and started to compile a list of what I valued. I needed something to reference. Honesty/Truth was at the top of my list suddenly. I had this belief that lying was a problem solver. That belief neither serves me or my values. So that one could go...like it’s that easy huh? It’s not, I promise you that. I still feel a pull to this belief it was so ingrained. I practice honesty every day, rewiring or forming new habits, whatever you want to call it takes dedication and hard work. Who knew you actually had to protect and cherish it. Or y’know in other words, value it if it was to be long lasting.

I put a lot of thought in my values and how I’ve expressed them in my actions. I said I valued family, but my actions destroyed my family. I also questioned if my current values even have meaning to me. Turns out some things I valued was only because I was taught to. It had no substance to me upon real examination of my true self. I started with my values for fundamental reasons. I found myself needing to pour a new foundation of my own, what went into that foundation was going to determine well, me.

So, it takes getting honest and worse becoming VULNERABLE with yourself, that’s where the REAL work begins. This almost did me in, the introspection. Not even kidding I wanted to stop here. Nope, fuck that, you can’t make me. This was actually a daily argument I had with myself. I’ve spent a life time keeping all of this inside me “protected” and to open it up risks exposure and emotional harm or so I thought. It was just another false belief. At some point I was listening to a pod cast about my Briggs personality type of all things and I heard vulnerability and introspection described like this; Imagine there is a dragon inside of you (my fears of turning inward) then think about what dragons guard, GOLD. Slay the dragon (conquer your fears) and you’ll have all the riches in life (authenticity, self-worth, joy, health, it’s endless). I took that as an absolute truth and it encouraged me to go there. But however you want to think of it here’s the bottom line, I went there and better off for it.

I won’t lie and say it was a beautiful experience every moment of the way discovering myself and once in, I wanted to give up every day for months. Then something happened as I started doing this work, it wasn’t as painful as time went on. I was actually eager to learn everything I possibly could about what makes me, me. And how to authentically live. Be unapologetically the BEST me. The real me. I wanted to wholeheartedly love myself for the first time ever and nurture that hurt child within.

It meant a lot of acceptance as well. Accepting that I haven’t exactly been the best person and I need to own the bad-for-me choices I've made and the ugly choices hurting others (beyond the scope of infidelity too). I didn’t have to go through it all one by one, I just had to practice a general forgiveness. I wasn’t giving my best in life, sometimes I think along the way my stress response kicked on and never turned off. Life seemed about survival and it’s all about selfishly looking out for number one. On the flip-side, I needed to accept the good too. I can assure you in the moment I didn’t see much good, but I knew I wasn't a heartless monster. I made good choices in life, worthy of recognition. During my struggle with introspection I often spoke about acceptance and the power in it.

I need to mention something though. None of this would have been possible without a few things.

First, I had a true desire in every sense of the word for change. I will never be grateful for the destruction I caused to gain this desire, it was the destruction itself that provided me this want. I didn’t want to be a person capable of such extreme abuse EVER again. Whatever it took. I am not an abuser and that is exactly what I did. THAT’S not me in my core. That sadly was my life’s pain expressing itself in an abusive form. I can fix this.

Second, I needed tools because I didn’t know how to fix this.

Knowledge, the most useful of all tools. I knew I was out of my element on dday, my first internet search was “I cheated how do I help my husband”. There it was, all the knowledge I could ever ask for at my fingertips. I didn’t waste any time diving right in. I learned all about what his healing would look like and mine. It grew into more than that, I was actively seeking knowledge in all things.

IC was a must because I didn’t know what “healthy” looked like and without understanding it, I wasn’t going to change much. When that wasn’t an option I was reading a lot of self-help. I was careful when considering my whys. I’ve seen strong attachments form to FOO and other reasons that border on excuses. My self-help approach wasn’t so much finding out why I have these issues but more so, how do I fix these issues.

Mindfulness is a technique that helps me practice honesty. It’s a tool I use when I want to keep anything in my conscious, to y’know, be mindful about. I would take honesty moment by moment with awareness, keeping it in my forethoughts. It’s diligent work. Sometimes no matter how much I practice, a lie would just come out (something insignificant) and I would want to correct myself immediately, “Sorry that was actually a lie, they weren’t really out of milk I just forgot”. Yeah, things like that. And by valuing honesty and putting my thoughts there, a knee jerk reaction to stop and tell the truth started taking place. We talk about rewiring of the brain, there it was, in action.

Coping turned out to be a tool I needed to RElearn.

And so on it goes.

Third, courage. When we take on ourselves it feels like a lot at first and maybe it is. Some of us have done years of avoiding. It’s going to take a lot of determination and courage to keep up the fight. When it gets hard I stop myself (try to) and acknowledge, it is what it is. Sometimes I would get so uncomfortable just peeking in a box, my thoughts and feelings would freeze up on me and I couldn’t go there. It’s okay to say not today, I’ll try again tomorrow. I had to get comfortable with the uncomfortable, I knew that much. It’s not so easy but, totally doable, and courage helps.

Fourth, I actually had to DO the work. One of my favorite proverbs for this, “If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.” Sometimes it felt more like I was crawling or dragging my feet. I would get lost and circle around. I would stop to dig in or rest. But what I valued more than giving up was perseverance (a new one btw). And so, I kept progressing.

Today my work doesn’t feel like the hard work it once did. It only feels like a responsibility I owe to myself, which is taking an interest in my greater self and trying to love whatever authentic me comes from it.

[This message edited by foreverlabeled at 9:20 AM, February 2nd (Saturday)]

80 comments posted: Tuesday, September 11th, 2018

g2g feeler, central KY and surrounding

So I've not seen any g2g's around my parts and I think it would be fun to go to one.. and thought maybe I should just put something out here, see if there is any interest.

I was thinking that a Derby party would be fun in May (I would host)! Or perhaps heading to the local race track for the spring meet (opens every weekend in April) then dinner.

So.. yeah.. just curious

57 comments posted: Monday, December 11th, 2017

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