Inspiration from Others

12 Jul

This week has been extremely emotionally taxing for me.  It has been wonderful at the same time, too.  What has made it wonderful is all of the support, hope, and inspiration I am getting from others in the blogging community.  I have found so many pieces of wisdom from so many people this week.  They have all been exactly what I needed, exactly when I needed it.  Here are a few excerpts and the links to the full posts.

Image – © Eric Hill/ Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

From Scabs in her post Step 1: Recognize:

Boundaries used to piss me off in a teenage angst kind of way.  I was really put out that I’d have to set a boundary.  Wasn’t our marriage based on mutual respect?  Promises?  Fidelity and love?  Wasn’t the boundary that we had committed our lives together, as one?  Aren’t we both adults?  Wasn’t there some kind of courtesy or Golden Rule?

This is where I was so wrong.  Just because you are kind, compassionate, empathetic and aware of others doesn’t mean that everyone has that outlook.  I was under the impression that if I sacrificed something for him, he would do the same for me.”

I relate to this in a big way!  It is hard to understand how someone could NOT think that way.  I am a very empathetic person and I was raised to follow the Golden Rule – do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  I try to put myself in other people’s shoes and I always expected that the person I love (who loves me back) would care for me and sacrifice for me if needed.   That is something I have always taken for granted.  Why would you NOT treat the person you love with mutual respect, kindness, compassion, empathy and awareness?  Isn’t that what a relationship is?  Apparently not for everyone.

Yesterday in marriage counseling Mr. Mess said that he has a hard time feeling empathy for other people.  He is capable of it, but it takes him a lot to get there.  Most of the time he just thinks “I will do what I want to do and they’ll get over it.”  Something about that really rang true to me.  That is how he thinks, and it blows my mind!

I can’t say that I have never screwed up and hurt someone, but I can say that I’ve never done the same thing twice.  Once you see how devastated your actions can make someone else any normal person would avoid doing that again at all costs, especially if they care deeply for the other person.  He sees how his lying affects me, he says hurting me hurts him, but then he goes right ahead and makes a conscious choice to lie again (which he admitted yesterday – his most recent lie was not subconscious or a knee-jerk reaction – he decided to lie and keep lying).  How can someone do that?

So, like Scabs, I am now learning to set boundaries and demand those things in my relationship.  I will be treated with respect, courtesy, compassion, empathy and awareness.  If not, there will be consequences.  I am recognizing the things I deserve.  It is not selfish!  It is what I deserve.  It’s what I give, and it’s what I should get in return.  It feels quite good to realize those things and stand my ground.

Image – © Flominator / Multi-license with GFDL and Creative Commons CC-BY-SA-2.5 and older versions (2.0 and 1.0)

From Recovering Wayward on his post yesterday:

The Serial Cheater/ Sex Addict/ Tiger Woods Type Affair

Most people are familiar with how Tiger Woods’ sexual addiction drove him to have an extraordinary number of affairs. Many people who Tiger Woods types of affairs describe themselves as relatively happy in their relationship. However, they’ve never been able to find complete fulfillment from it because they are enslaved by obsessive needs and compulsive behaviors. Hard as it is for many to believe, sex addicts truly feel powerless in their ability to control their desires.

Just like Tiger, more often than not the sex addict does not want his/her marriage to fail. Its about something inside of them, not the marriage. Usually they were addicts before the marriage and may have stopped for awhile when first married only to be pick up again when they realize that the marriage can’t meet the needs of their addiction.

They may feel trapped in a destructive cycle of feeling hopelessly trapped by their behaviors and at times by their marriages, but are afraid to come clean because they don’t want to lose their marriage or their addictive behavior.

This type of betrayal can be very difficult for the spouse because a) the breadth of the betrayal can seem so enormous and b) while most people can understand alcohol or drug addiction, sexual addiction is a tough one for most to have much empathy for.”

and

“Personally I think the ones hardest to reconcile with someone would be certainly the Sex Addict type married partner, and frankly, the one-night stand/attention whore type partner, as well as the “Love is the Drug” type.   I don’t know how you ‘reconcile’ from those. The affairs are so much more about who THEY are and less about what your marriage is.”

and

“You really are counting on him to make fundamental changes within himself, which most adults are never able to do, except in response to a major crisis and in concert with an overwhelming desire to do so.”

Finally someone created a post to address all of the different types of affairs and what they really mean for the relationship and recovery.  Not all affairs are created alike.  We may all be on a journey of recovery, but the roads we take will be very different depending on what kind of affair we are dealing with.  So much of the journey also depends on both spouses to be working on the correct things for repairing that particular type of relationship problem.

Probably the hardest part of my husband’s addiction and where we are today with our marriage is that his acting out is about who he is.  It’s about deep, ingrained patterns and issues that will take him a long time to change.  He admitted yesterday that he has an addictive personality.  He has been addicted to various things throughout his lifetime including his sex addiction, alcohol, and just about any drug you can name that doesn’t have to be injected (he is a big scaredy cat when it comes to needles).  That means so much of this depends on his wholehearted committment to change – which requires daily re-committment for addicts.    He has to be in it 100% all the time & he has to want to change for himself, not me.  He says he is.  Only time will tell.

So where does that leave me?  What I’ve decided is that I have to work on myself, guard my heart, and hope that he does what it takes to enter real recovery.  It is a precarious position.  I also know that a lot of people wouldn’t have made that choice.  Almost every day I ask myself if I’m really strong enough to keep going.  So far my answer to myself has been yes.  I am really going to need a lot of hard work from him in order for that to keep being the case.

What I can say is this experience has made me much stronger and more confident.  I know myself better than I ever have.  I am discovering ways that I allowed this to keep going and some fundamental things in myself that I have to change – like feeling the need to “rescue” others.  It is painful, but so far worth it.

From Wendy in response to the same post:

“I admire you so much for being able to be so strong and hang in there.  I’m sure it is terrifying, but if he doesn’t recover – for himself with his SA – then at least you gave it YOU’RE all and you are making yourself stronger for any future relationships.  And you are making yourself stronger for your current relationship, whether things get better or they don’t.  It’s what you have to do.

In the end, what really matters is what you do for yourself.  You have to be your number one priority, always.”

This one made me cry.  She just summarized exactly how I feel, exactly where I am right now, and exactly why I’m doing this.  It is so validating that she “gets” me.  My husband did a lot in the past week to make me feel like a monster for focusing on me, protecting myself, and being my own #1 priority.  But there it is – in black and white – from another person.  I am making myself stronger.  I am doing what really matters – taking care of myself.  It is terrifying.  He may not recover.  But it is still worth it.  I am giving it everything that I have.  I am making myself a better person.  Whether things work out or they don’t I will be okay.

{{GFDL}} A rainbow caught in Alaska, USA

Image – © Marcin Klapczynski / Wikimedia Commons / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported/ GFDL

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2 Responses to “Inspiration from Others”

  1. Wendy July 13, 2012 at 12:18 am #

    I am glad that my words touched you in some way. I DO understand where you stand as a BS. No matter the decision we make on where to go from here, we have to initially decide what is best for us and what do we have to do to maintain our dignity and composure.

    Acting on a whim or without thinking things through is what led our waywards to where we are today. You have to think about how your actions represent you as a person and how they affect those closest to you…kids coming in first. You have to determine if you WANT to salvage your relationship and if your spouse is willing to do so. You have to step back and look at the bigger picture.

    I am here to support you. 🙂

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Minding Your P’s and Q’s « Being a Beautiful Mess - July 13, 2012

    […] I know that we started talking about Mr. Mess’s past and how he relates to people in his life.  Yesterday I talked briefly about his lack of empathy for others – or at least how it takes him a lot of […]

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