Author Topic: Bringing it around full circle  (Read 2349 times)

Leonidas

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Re: Bringing it around full circle
« Reply #75 on: October 09, 2020, 05:05:22 PM »
I haven't always had the best relationship with myself and I tend to place a lot of worry and concern on how I'm perceived by others. So, it's no surprise that when I hear less than positive things from someone else, it just ratchets up the negative feelings I have towards myself.
The old question of the ego: does it help or hinder us?  I think that at this juncture of my existence, ego has largely gotten in the way of living a simpler and perhaps more authentic life.  The Buddhists recognized this, and although I am not a diehard fan of Buddhism, I believe this is one key element they got right.  And yet the ego ebbs and flows regardless of what philosophy we subscribe to!

More important though is that you are aware of your internal turmoil and have even prepared yourself to accept and then let go of the next surge of 'difficult' emotions should they arise.  Emotions can be very useful messengers - negative or positive - so it's challenging but also hope-inspiring to learn to deal with these in a way that can improve and transform life for the better.

LetItGoAlready

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Re: Bringing it around full circle
« Reply #76 on: October 11, 2020, 09:49:22 AM »
Thanks, Leo. I have no doubt that sensitivity to negative feedback from others, whether the negativity was intended or just perceived, is utterly unhelpful to me personally. I've placed an unhealthy emphasis on being validated by other people, and when I don't get that validation, it brings up a whole mess of shame-based beliefs I have about myself.

It's frankly kind of annoying to me that my feelings of self-worth have become so entangled with the external feedback I receive, but that's how toxic shame works. It comes from the underlying belief that we are unlovable.  Although I would argue that there is nothing helpful about this belief or the thoughts and feelings it produces, everything can be challenged. I don't have to listen to any of it and I often choose not to. Bottom line is that I need to continually remind myself where it's all coming from and resolve to let it go. Holding on to these messages of self-hate is not an option. They are the fuel for this addiction.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2020, 08:46:24 AM by LetItGoAlready »

LetItGoAlready

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Re: Bringing it around full circle
« Reply #77 on: October 12, 2020, 01:48:23 AM »
Day 15. I partook in some ogling when I was out with the family today, so I’m coming clean and admitting to that now. At no point did I allow it to get out of hand, though. There were even a few times when I could have stolen a look but chose not to. I’m not saying I deserve a medal or anything like that just because I didn’t act like a complete middle-aged creep, but it’s a small sign of progress and I’ll take it.

Otherwise, my mood has been bouncing off the bottom all week. Some days I’ve felt a little flat; others, plunging towards despair. I’m just rolling with it because, really, what other choice do I have? If this is the price I have to pay to wean myself off of this miserable, soul-destroying crap forever, then so be it. I’ll pay that price.

Be well, everyone.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2020, 01:57:52 AM by LetItGoAlready »

Joel

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Re: Bringing it around full circle
« Reply #78 on: October 12, 2020, 10:43:09 AM »
my mood has been bouncing off the bottom all week. Some days I’ve felt a little flat; others, plunging towards despair. I’m just rolling with it because, really, what other choice do I have? If this is the price I have to pay to ween myself off of this miserable, soul-destroying crap forever, then so be it. I’ll pay that price.


Sounds good. I'm sure there must be a way to take some joy in gratitude for your life and that you've got a good streak. But that's the way when reading another thread. I myself suffer with pretty much the same problem. I guess giving meaning and purpose to the pain (ie a crap mood) makes it okay?? maybe?

And well done on the ogling. Yes, have a medal! These are the little battles we need to win, and it ain't easy after what we've been through. Collect enough of these wins and you'll really be getting somewhere.

jixu

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Re: Bringing it around full circle
« Reply #79 on: October 14, 2020, 05:54:19 AM »
Nice display of determination and commitment and keeping the big picture in view.  Moods can unexplainably come and go, that is for sure; however, your mission is based on a reasoned, well-thought out macro plan, not on the emotional micro moment at hand. Good job!   



Leonidas

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Re: Bringing it around full circle
« Reply #80 on: October 14, 2020, 05:21:20 PM »
It's frankly kind of annoying to me that my feelings of self-worth have become so entangled with the external feedback I receive, but that's how toxic shame works. It comes from the underlying belief that we are unlovable.  Although I would argue that there is nothing helpful about this belief or the thoughts and feelings it produces, everything can be challenged. I don't have to listen to any of it and I often choose not to. Bottom line is that I need to continually remind myself where it's all coming from and resolve to let it go. Holding on to these messages of self-hate is not an option. They are the fuel for this addiction.
There's a piercing quality to this introspection, I find.  Like punching through an enclosing balloon, one is finally able to see the beautiful blue sky... I also believe that lack of self-love is a reason (and a strong one) for why we may seek to soothe negative emotions with certain fixations.  Actually I've come to see fixations as pretty much interchangeable: one day it's drinking, the next it is gaming, then it is porn and finally it's binge-eating on junk food.  So like you said, the messages of self-hate can be fuel for the PMO addiction, but I would go even further: it can be the basis for it.

I am also at a loss to understand how one can actually let go... is it something that we 'resolve' to do or is more like something akin to 'no longer caring so much about it'?  When I think of letting go, I get a mental picture of a hand that casually relaxes its hold on an object, much less of a jerky stretch of the palm open.  The first image lets go without a care, the second forces the letting go.  I'm leaning towards the first... but then maybe I'm just rambling nonsense!

workinprogressUK

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Re: Bringing it around full circle
« Reply #81 on: October 15, 2020, 07:20:21 AM »
I also believe that lack of self-love is a reason (and a strong one) for why we may seek to soothe negative emotions with certain fixations.  Actually I've come to see fixations as pretty much interchangeable: one day it's drinking, the next it is gaming, then it is porn and finally it's binge-eating on junk food.  So like you said, the messages of self-hate can be fuel for the PMO addiction, but I would go even further: it can be the basis for it.

I think you're absolutely right. My S & P addictions were caused, in large part, by adolescent self-loathing and an inability to see myself as in any way deserving of love or affection. It's been a self-soothing mechanism for unresolved issues ever since. I think that's very common. And I agree, too, that the fixations are very interchangeable. Have you ever been in a 12-step group? An SA or SAA or similar? So many of the attendees in the group I joined were either concurrently members of an AA, GA or NA group, or had previously been members and got hooked on P as soon as they thought they'd got the problem drinking or cocaine habit behind them. Focusing on the "drug" we use to take away the pain....? Less important in the long term than focusing on healing the pain.

LetItGoAlready

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Re: Bringing it around full circle
« Reply #82 on: October 16, 2020, 01:35:28 AM »
Thanks for your comments, everyone! Much appreciated and lots to think about here. If I hadn't been crazy busy at work this week, I would have responded a lot sooner. Anyway...

Joel -

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I'm sure there must be a way to take some joy in gratitude for your life and that you've got a good streak. But that's the way when reading another thread. I myself suffer with pretty much the same problem. I guess giving meaning and purpose to the pain (ie a crap mood) makes it okay?? maybe?

You are right about giving meaning and purpose to the pain and having more gratitude. It seems so simple, but I often forget to look for the positives - one of those being that this is a process and I'm working through the process as best I can. Not avoiding it. Not running away from it. Just getting through it day by day.

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And well done on the ogling. Yes, have a medal! These are the little battles we need to win, and it ain't easy after what we've been through. Collect enough of these wins and you'll really be getting somewhere.

I probably won't be ordering myself a custom "Not a Complete Middle-Aged Creep" medal for advancements in ogling anytime soon ;D, but I appreciate the underlying message: take pride in your achievements, however small they seem. It's a good reminder that I need to celebrate the small wins as well as the bigger ones. I often forget to do that, too. Thanks!


Jixu -

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Nice display of determination and commitment and keeping the big picture in view.  Moods can unexplainably come and go, that is for sure; however, your mission is based on a reasoned, well-thought out macro plan, not on the emotional micro moment at hand. Good job!
 

Thanks for the encouragement on keeping the bigger picture in view. This makes me think of something UKGuy brought up in one of his posts awhile back that had always kind of bothered me, too: the idea of learning to love withdrawals. For the longest time I thought this was a notion put forth by some guy (the quote actually came from a poster named "William") with a penchant for masochism, but I think I finally get it now. As I was laying in bed the other night, gripped with anxiety and unable to sleep, I thought to myself "This is good. It feels like I'm going through hell, but at least I'm going somewhere." It helped me to see the macro view you're talking about vs. getting caught up in the moment. 


Leo -

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I also believe that lack of self-love is a reason (and a strong one) for why we may seek to soothe negative emotions with certain fixations.  Actually I've come to see fixations as pretty much interchangeable: one day it's drinking, the next it is gaming, then it is porn and finally it's binge-eating on junk food.  So like you said, the messages of self-hate can be fuel for the PMO addiction, but I would go even further: it can be the basis for it.

Pretty sure those feelings of unlovable-ness go way back and are buried deep in our psyches. One theory that I'm fond of is that addicts are trying to achieve a steady state of being that goes back to early childhood, when the intense emotional events they experienced at that time, both good and bad, went straight into their subconscious minds and imprinted on their new neural circuitry. They turn to compulsive behaviors later in life to try and recreate those early emotional experiences. For anyone who's ever delved into their early childhood while in therapy, it's easy to see how a trauma or negative experience they had at a young age could very well have set the stage for compulsive/addictive behavior further down the road. So, that becomes the basis for the addiction, but, per the theory, it is also the steady state they are trying to achieve through their addictive behavior. Interesting, huh?

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I am also at a loss to understand how one can actually let go... is it something that we 'resolve' to do or is more like something akin to 'no longer caring so much about it'?


I don't know if it's possible to let go of a deeply-held false belief completely. But you can let go of the thoughts that stem from that belief if you challenge them enough and decide that they're not worth thinking about. It takes work, though. And I'm not always successful at it, either. Some days a thought just latches on and I can't shake it. I guess the good news is that I don't seem to get bogged down as much with those thoughts anymore, so maybe the work is paying off. Who knows.


WIP -

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I think you're absolutely right. My S & P addictions were caused, in large part, by adolescent self-loathing and an inability to see myself as in any way deserving of love or affection.


Sounds like a familiar theme for our group. And I'm right there with you on interchangeable fixations. I've got a few of those myself. When I let them, they can quickly fill the void that P leaves behind.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2020, 09:34:03 AM by LetItGoAlready »

LetItGoAlready

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Re: Bringing it around full circle
« Reply #83 on: October 18, 2020, 12:59:54 AM »
Day 21. I have a few things to report since my last check-in, so I'll get right to it. When I was watching a favorite show on Netflix last night, one that is about as G-rated as a show can get, an attractive female character appeared in a type of blouse that seems to be all the rage these days. The type that we, as men, must be mature enough to handle because we really shouldn't be looking there anyway, right? I think you know the type that I'm talking about. Had I had even a lick of common sense, I would have fast forwarded through the scene but I didn’t and it triggered me a little. I will definitely do that next time I find myself in that situation.

Later that night, I had a pretty vivid sexual dream. While I was in the dream, I stopped in the middle of whatever I was doing and was overcome with remorse because I thought I had just ended my streak. It was a huge relief for me when I woke up and realized it was all in my head. I'm not sure if I should take this as a sign that I'm finally making inroads at a subconscious level or if my brain was just processing what I saw on the show earlier. Whatever its meaning, the dream was a little unsettling.

Finally, when I was at the grocery store today, I noticed that I was a little more lax with my ogling. Some might see that as a minor concern, but for me, it can be a pretty reliable indicator that I'm sliding towards relapse, so I need to stay on top of it.

I think that's all I have to report for now. Be well, everyone.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2020, 08:29:44 AM by LetItGoAlready »

Joel

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Re: Bringing it around full circle
« Reply #84 on: October 19, 2020, 12:40:13 PM »
3 weeks! great work! and great self awareness and accountability there, bud. Admitting to every little moment where your small mind turned up is very powerful

LetItGoAlready

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Re: Bringing it around full circle
« Reply #85 on: October 19, 2020, 11:44:46 PM »
Quote
3 weeks! great work! and great self awareness and accountability there, bud. Admitting to every little moment where your small mind turned up is very powerful

Thanks Joel. Your support means a lot to me. These "moments" are sometimes a little tedious to put into words, but once they're on the page, they can haunt me no more!

It's Day 23. Yesterday went better than expected. I had to run some errands, and I knew if I went into that situation unprepared, I might allow my eyes to wander even more than the day before, maybe even get seriously triggered. I certainly didn't want that. So, I made sure to have a little chat with myself and laid down some ground rules before I even got out of the car. And you know what? It worked! I hardly shot a glance at anyone. Sure, there was a moment or two where, if I'm being honest, I didn't behave like a perfect gentleman. But I did a hell of a lot better than I did the time before, and I'm pretty happy about that. I think the thing I feel best about, though, is that I'm not just another broken record saying, "well, I did the same damn thing I always do and, big surprise, I fucked up again!" This time I did something different and got better results.

Later that day, I spent some alone time with my wife, which is another situation that I have to be careful with because I succumbed to the chaser effect right after our last... er, canoodling session. This time, though, I was prepared for it. And just like with my ogling experience, it went better than expected. Feeling pretty good about that, too.

I think I'll end my report there, friends. Be well!
« Last Edit: October 19, 2020, 11:47:15 PM by LetItGoAlready »