So help me understand. If affairs are born out of "lack of self worth", how did destroying the life of another increase it?
It did not increase it. In fact, the affair was extremely detrimental to my self worth. Crawling out of doing the worst thing I have in my entire life has been very difficult. There will be consequences to that for the rest of my life.
I also am dumbfounded by the fact that after cheating you then grow self worth. How in the world is that possible? And that is an honest question.
I don't think I realized I had poor self worth. But, when I look back through my life, the things I accepted from other people, the lack of the ability to engage in conflict or to say no, the lack of being able to protect my own time and energy because I was always too busy trying to prove my worth by doing, doing, doing.
How on earth is this possible? Well, it's taken a lot of therapy to understand that it was the root of my issues, where those issues came from, and healing those things one by one. But, regaining self-worth comes from making sure every day that I am making the right decisions, that I am honoring myself and my husband. We are not meant to be condemned for the rest of our lives when we do something wrong. We are meant to grow and to do our best to rectify what we have done. I have two choices - I can rebuild myself the best that I can possible, or I can just say "well I did that, I am now worthless, and nothing I do from this day forward is going to make a difference in that". I guess I choose hope for the first one, because I don't want to live under the cloud of the second one.
For example, I was a very young mother. I made so many mistakes. I can barely live with myself sometimes. My girls are amazing, but I will never forgive myself. So I just dont get having self worth after all the pain and destruction deliberately caused.
My mom says this too. She was a very young mother too. But you know what? I don't want her to feel that way. Yes, she didn't always do the right things, but I am certain she did the best she could. The fact she can look back with regret tells me she would do better if given a do over. Those girls love you, they want you to be happy and be the best you can be for them today. I imagine it's kind of like that when you are reconciling. It boggles my mind that my husband has loved me through this. He doesn't want for me to hate myself forever. He wants me to DO BETTER. If I do better, he can have hope that we can move forward with the future we had envisioned. We are in this together. This isn't perfect and totally joyful process, and I still struggle, but we are building. Why rip it down with believing I could never be worthy of anything because I made bad decisions.
I will give you another example. We have a man who works for us. We love him like family. He is a hard worker, he's a good family man, he's trustworthy and reliable. He's happy with his life. But, just 5 years ago he was released from prison for murder. A murder he committed in his youth. I am certain he is remorseful that he took that man from his family, robbed him of his life. He has dealt with his anger issues, he's literally the most gentle person who would be difficult to piss off that you would ever meet.
We do things as humans we wish we could take back, but we can not. We have to move forward and either try to be better or not be better.
Also, do you ever think about what this did for your poor BS's self worth? Have you asked them? If their self worth is less than before your cheating, do you still feel like an increase in your self worth was worth it?
Yes. I think about it all the time. Of course. But, I didn't get a greater self worth from the affair. The lack of self worth allowed me to stoop to having an affair. By strengthening it, I avoiding behaviors that would make me feel like a lesser person. Doing the right things increases my self worth. I have done nothing in my life that has made me feel lesser of a person to the degree that my affair. Yes, I chose it, but I didn't just destroy my husband and marriage, I destroyed myself - who I believed myself to be.
But I will tell you something else - and this may be hard to understand. My cheating had nothing to do with my husband's worthiness. Yes, I realize it makes him feel like shit and was a huge hit to his self-esteem. But my cheating and behavior speaks about ME not him. He isn't responsible for it, he didn't cause it. He has done nothing but always try to do the right things in life. He does recognize that. He did not deserve my affair, and he knows he is worth more than I gave him. He's giving me a chance to do better. So, to do that, I do have to fix the root of my problems and some of that was in fact poor self worth.
[This message edited by hikingout at 1:24 PM, April 26th (Friday)]