Author Topic: Started Friday July 3rd  (Read 7271 times)

TheNorman

  • Member

  • Offline
  • ***

  • 193
    • View Profile
Re: Started Friday July 3rd
« Reply #50 on: August 01, 2020, 07:54:02 PM »
My wife's aunts funeral today. I felt like I handled it ok. It was obviously very sad but I let myself feel sad for others whereas in the past it may have been more self-pity or wallowing in my own shit to really feel empathy...or maybe when you feel like you're lying to everyone you know, grief is just another emotion you disconnect from. Regardless, as difficult as it was, it felt genuine and I am realizing every day: It's better to feel legitimately bad and learn from it than it is to run from feeling anything.

The funeral was in a large public garden and there were a lot of women around. It makes me sad that I feel the need to avoid looking around because I know if I see an attractive woman it becomes that "pervy ogling" that PMO helps to feed. There was no avoiding seeing people but just by being aware of the issues I have had, it allowed logic to take over and not turn it into something more sinister. As much as that is all working I never thought I'd say this but I will be happy in the fall when women are wearing jackets!

Off to the great white north tomorrow for a long vacation. I'll be checking in regularly though. Stay strong lads!

UKGuy

  • Member

  • Offline
  • ****

  • 395
    • View Profile
Re: Started Friday July 3rd
« Reply #51 on: August 02, 2020, 05:01:57 AM »
I am realizing every day: It's better to feel legitimately bad and learn from it than it is to run from feeling anything.
So true theNorman - better to experience life in all its glory AND pain than to try and selectively escape from the bits that you have a pre-programmed aversion to. A I once read that in a beautiful tapestry the dark threads are as important as the golden ones in creating the said thing of beauty. Probably misquoted that badly, but the sentiment is something I can identify with.
Have a great vacation!

workinprogressUK

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 657
  • Personal Text
    I get knocked down but i get up again
    • View Profile
Re: Started Friday July 3rd
« Reply #52 on: August 04, 2020, 10:48:09 AM »
It's better to feel legitimately bad and learn from it than it is to run from feeling anything.

That's a heavy one! So true.
You seem to be experiencing a lot of clarity at the moment. Seeing things for what they are and consistently rolling your processes to maintain healthy attitudes and behaviours. Congrats on that. Kind of inspiring. Hope you have a great holiday and come back strong.

Joel

  • Member

  • Offline
  • ****

  • 299
    • View Profile
Re: Started Friday July 3rd
« Reply #53 on: August 05, 2020, 10:42:48 AM »
sorry to hear about the tough times. Goodness, this was really a point for myself where I would 'self-medicate' and numb with porn. What I didn't realise was my wounds weren't healing and I dragged out a period of mourning for years. Learnt my lesson though.

TheNorman

  • Member

  • Offline
  • ***

  • 193
    • View Profile
Re: Started Friday July 3rd
« Reply #54 on: August 05, 2020, 08:44:49 PM »
Man I feel like I've missed a lot in the past couple days. I've made a real effort to disconnect from everything and just focus on my relationship with my kids and my wife (with some positive reinforcement from my wife, as in the past "vacation" has just meant checking email less). The few days I've been away have been fantastic. More physical activity in beautiful nature, more time with the family just enjoying each others company without the stress of work. The amount of temptation is just less in general as the little time I spent online aside from work is even less now.

The first days after stopping PMO were loaded with just absolute live-wires of emotion and confusion, flashes of porn and a lot of difficult discussions with my SO. Now over a month later, if there's an issue it's just a discussion. Flashes are few and far between and I'm equipped to move on from them without beating myself up but without hiding them either. Covid has been a surprise blessing in that it has allowed us so much more time to connect. We have some tough decisions to make going forward in regards to school for our kids and safety, but armed with my newfound focus and awareness I feel like it's something we can figure out. In the past it might have been an excuse to check out mentally.

I'm happy to see a lot of activity on here, knowing that you are all supporting each other through your journeys. I will make more of an effort to check in despite my remoteness. Posting on here even when I feel like things are going great is very important to me. I hope you are all being kind to yourselves, finding your path, even if it means walking through some brambles. Post again soon!

workinprogressUK

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 657
  • Personal Text
    I get knocked down but i get up again
    • View Profile
Re: Started Friday July 3rd
« Reply #55 on: August 06, 2020, 04:13:51 AM »
Sounds like a great opportunity to reconnect with yourself and the people you care for, which is helping you reinforce your new processes and foundations. Such a benefit to get some time off the grid. Enjoy! And thanks for updating from your vacation.

UKGuy

  • Member

  • Offline
  • ****

  • 395
    • View Profile
Re: Started Friday July 3rd
« Reply #56 on: August 06, 2020, 04:33:41 AM »
but armed with my newfound focus and awareness I feel like it's something we can figure out. In the past it might have been an excuse to check out mentally.
Great observation TheNorman - It's little bits of gratitude like this that I think can reinforce our resolve when things get tough. Spotting those 'blessings' that arise from our success (and then remembering them) is just as important as identifying the triggers that can put us at risk. Really pleased that things are going well for you!

TheNorman

  • Member

  • Offline
  • ***

  • 193
    • View Profile
Re: Started Friday July 3rd
« Reply #57 on: August 06, 2020, 08:27:50 PM »
Had another therapy session today that went really well. Focused purely on tools to handle things better. I'm generally a positive person, but rarely so positive or forgiving with myself. THAT is what feels the hardest right now. PMO, lying, checking out...all that doesn't seem like it is anything I miss. Allowing myself some grace however is like pulling teeth. Just from reading around the recent posts, I have to wonder: Are we overly negative because of the shit that PMO has dumped into our heads, or were we negative enough beforehand to allow it to fester? I don't know which is the horse and which is the cart but I hope that my mind will pass them both, broken down and rusted, as it speeds towards a happy fulfilling life like a Ferrari.

TheNorman

  • Member

  • Offline
  • ***

  • 193
    • View Profile
Re: Started Friday July 3rd
« Reply #58 on: August 07, 2020, 08:29:59 PM »
Man, today was just spectacular. No flashes, no temptations. My hockey team won. I went golfing and my SO caddied for me when before that wouldn't have been even in the realm of possibility. Sat out on the water and watched a bald eagle soar overhead. My SO talked about some of the things that are bothering her. And I just listened, was present, offered advice. It felt incredible. Days like today are what I work for. Hope everyone goes into the weekend with energy and resolve on their sides.

ZiggyBoo

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *

  • 27
    • View Profile
Re: Started Friday July 3rd
« Reply #59 on: August 08, 2020, 02:42:27 AM »
Great job TheNorman, it sounds like you’re in a great place coming into to weekend.. must have been nice to have you’re wife take an interest in your golf too and I’m sure you chatted on the course as she caddied for you

TheNorman

  • Member

  • Offline
  • ***

  • 193
    • View Profile
Re: Started Friday July 3rd
« Reply #60 on: August 08, 2020, 06:30:54 PM »
Thanks Ziggy! Yes we chatted, she complimented my good shots, (and didn't give me shit for my many wayward ones). We enjoyed the beautiful course and weather. It was the most enjoyable round of golf in a long time. Golf used to be part of my escape, but the problem with escaping something you're just going to do again, it doesn't do much to help, like busting out of a prison and doing a lap outside just to get nabbed again. Now that I'm over a month in, golf was enjoyable on another level in that I don't need to escape from anything. I'm facing things head on, so golf was just a sport that I like to play without anything attached to that. I shot the same score that round that I did before I started on my journey so there's no magic mindfulness golf ability hidden in there...yet. Got some work done around the cottage today which felt good, had a nice family walk. Tomorrow I will patch the canoe and then have a dinner date with the SO.

I still struggle with thoughts, I still feel the weight of my addiction, but the weight is a lot less now and the ability to enjoy things without that hidden shame makes good things better and bad things seem like less of a big deal. Here's to a great Sunday!

Joel

  • Member

  • Offline
  • ****

  • 299
    • View Profile
Re: Started Friday July 3rd
« Reply #61 on: August 09, 2020, 06:24:00 AM »
that day of caddying together sounds great. What a way to spend time together! I like the sound of all these activities; sounds like a great life ready for you to move into as you leave the addiction behind

TheNorman

  • Member

  • Offline
  • ***

  • 193
    • View Profile
Re: Started Friday July 3rd
« Reply #62 on: August 11, 2020, 08:57:19 PM »
Two days since my last post and quite a few things to report, and happily none of them are setbacks or flashes or slip-ups.

Yesterday morning my wife woke up and she was upset. Knowing about my behaviours in the past causes a lot of pain, feelings of inadequacy, issues with trust, disappointment, mourning the time we've lost because of porn. In the past this kind of unloading would have resulted in me either running away, or planning the pity party or whatever unhealthy things I did instead of owning my behaviour and dealing with how her pain made me feel. Once again, I sat, I listened, I affirmed her feelings were more than justified. Shit man I can only imagine how hurt she is. I lied to her about so many meaningless, trivial things just to avoid the fight. I lied to her about porn. I lied to her about money. I avoided her because I felt guilty about all of those lies. I wouldn't blame her if she hit me with a brick for the way I have behaved. I'm not going to hide or lie or run or do anything. I'm going to sit in it, own it, and I'm going to take all those feelings and use them to remind me why I'm not going back to that life of lies.

It's such a tricky thing: She feels guilty afterwards for saying these things because she knows it will make me upset, and in the past being upset was a great excuse for checking out. I welcome the backlash because it's a great way to test my new armour. Tell me you're hurt and I will agree that MY behaviour hurt you. I will feel bad for hurting you. I will not feel sad for myself, or feel angry that she's lashing out or feel like I can't deal with how she's feeling. I will see that my actions have an effect on how she feels and how much they hurt me too. I will deal with all of it.

We went for a walk after we talked about all of it and on the walk we talked some more. We worked it out and although I was uncomfortable, my armour worked.

When I was 15, I met a kid that I went to church and school with and we had a long, drawn-out bare knuckle style fist fight in the park, in front of dozens of other kids. Ultimately my brother pulled me away, claiming that some of the kids in the crowd were getting ready to jump in and help my opponent. Neither of us came out unscathed. There was no clear winner or loser and yet I felt like I had lost. Losing a fight doesn't seem like something to get all that upset about, shit happens. But I have had dreams about winning that fight, about being the hero, about being this superhero that knocks him out in this kung-fu flurry of flying fists.

Today I had a therapy session and when asked about something from my past that was the memory I chose. When I went back to that time I, for the first time in my life, realized that I didn't hate that kid that I fought. I didn't like him, but I certainly didn't hate him. The "reason" we fought was because I said some shit about him not following the rules of the church. Not like me. I was still living the good little mormon boy lie. So when he found out I said stuff about him and his "wicked ways" he wanted to fight. In my session, I could have gone back to that park and won the fight. Instead, I went back just a day before the fight, the day he came up to me, looking to fight and I saw so clearly: I was jealous. I wanted to be free from this lie but was too scared and there he was going against the very thing we were raised and taught to believe. I wanted out but was too afraid of what my father would say if I did. I knew it was all a lie but I had lived in it for so long I didn't know how to get out, and there he was, just turning his back on it and not pretending otherwise. I wanted that.

After the session I had the option of revisiting that fight, that day, that kid. I could have "put him in my box" to deal with again later. This all sounds so ridiculous in hindsight but it's legitimately something I let take up space in my brain. Just like porn, I am happy to let it go.

Joel

  • Member

  • Offline
  • ****

  • 299
    • View Profile
Re: Started Friday July 3rd
« Reply #63 on: August 12, 2020, 09:50:37 AM »
good work, my friend. The work and letting go; and being present with your wife - it's something I'm only starting to do after only being half-present in my marriage for so long - avoiding tricky conversations were a big part of that.

TheNorman

  • Member

  • Offline
  • ***

  • 193
    • View Profile
Re: Started Friday July 3rd
« Reply #64 on: August 12, 2020, 08:07:18 PM »
Thanks Joel. Being present isn't easy. It takes effort and can be draining. Luckily as part of my avoiding triggers (late at night when I was alone) I have been going to bed with my wife and reading. I have been getting 2 hours more sleep a night and feel so much better for it. Not being on a screen late at night has helped my sleep too. Last night my wife and I did stay up later than usual to sit on the deck and watch a bit of the meteor shower which was worth losing some sleep over. A bit of a tough day today as my wife thought I was ogling some girls on bikes but I was actually going to look in the rearview to see if they were old enough to be riding on a busy road without helmets (a pet peeve of mine). I caught myself before I looked though because I realized I wasn't going to roll down my window and lecture them for not being safe so I didn't need to look, but my wife saw me looking over and thought I WAS checking them out and then trying to hide it. I even realized at the time that it may have looked bad but didn't verbalize that which allowed her to assume the worst. Lesson learned. It's not just about my thoughts and actions. The things I've done that hurt her so bad have left her feeling like at any moment it will all go back to shit, and I need to let her know where I am at with everything to make sure she knows and can base her feelings on that and not on suspicions or fears.
Going for a dinner date tomorrow night where I will make sure to communicate better so we can both enjoy the date without all that hanging over us as much.

Joel

  • Member

  • Offline
  • ****

  • 299
    • View Profile
Re: Started Friday July 3rd
« Reply #65 on: August 13, 2020, 07:48:39 AM »
Yeh, those repercussions are difficult. When my wife comes home and i'm in front of my computer, I project what she may be thinking, and want to yell - I wasn't doing anything! I guess we've been guilty of so much for so long, we have to take the hits and enjoy our personal integrity. I think that integrity will translate to our spouses when we don't seem so defensive or jittery.

Yep, same bedtime as the wife and more sleep - a couple of awesome hacks there!

TheNorman

  • Member

  • Offline
  • ***

  • 193
    • View Profile
Re: Started Friday July 3rd
« Reply #66 on: August 13, 2020, 08:25:38 PM »
Cottage neighbour in a bathing suit and I saw a millisecond of her and knew that was all I needed to know to just not look that direction. I feel quite strong in my resolve to not ogle but with my wife there it was better to not look at all than to let her imagination wonder what I was looking at or thinking. Then I made the very wise choice to tell her what I did see/think to put her mind to rest. She wasn't thrilled, as the prospect of me having to avoid looking at people still seems so sad (which it is/was) but I do feel good knowing it was definitely more for her than me. Listened to my provinces updated plans for back to school which has me anxious and uneasy, not just for my kids but how my work will feel about me not sending them. I am quite comfortable in the pain, as I know what it is and how I can't do anything about it right now, so I'm just going to keep my eyes on the numbers and the data and work with the knowledge I have at the time that a decision needs to be made. It's good to feel down and know that you're going to deal with it in a productive way rather than let it turn into an excuse to act out.

TheNorman

  • Member

  • Offline
  • ***

  • 193
    • View Profile
Re: Started Friday July 3rd
« Reply #67 on: August 15, 2020, 09:15:48 PM »
Another good day but "good" involved a rather emotional talk with my SO on our date night about all the things rattling around in my head. I think for me, porn was it's own problem but also a symptom of other issues. I worry more about those other layers than I do about porn. I really feel no draw to it at all and haven't for a while now. I do know that is dangerous territory though, as it is when you think you've got something beat that it comes back to bite you. I won't ever forget that, but I need to focus on all the shame/emotional withdrawing things first. I feel a bit more beat up physically recently than I have and I wonder if that's part of it.

No matter what it is, I'm moving forward. Hope everyones weekend is going well and that you're all keeping your eyes on the prize.

Joel

  • Member

  • Offline
  • ****

  • 299
    • View Profile
Re: Started Friday July 3rd
« Reply #68 on: August 16, 2020, 04:35:27 AM »
Good stuff. Yes, without the comfort of P, our issues rise to the surface. I've ended long streaks because I didn't want to deal with them, and went back to the numbing drug, I realise now that an addiction on top of all those other things aren't the answer. Make sure you deal with those issues, whether it be through getting extra help, or just being strong and talking them out. Good luck, it's a worthy journey

TheNorman

  • Member

  • Offline
  • ***

  • 193
    • View Profile
Re: Started Friday July 3rd
« Reply #69 on: August 16, 2020, 08:59:57 PM »
Thanks Joel, I feel like you and the guys here are a great place to go to help me recalibrate.

Another day in the bank, kept my head clear and worked through stuff as it came. Looking forward to a productive week. I have another therapy session on Tuesday. One of the things we've talked about is "The window of tolerance". As things get too heavy we either retreat from reality or get fired up and angry. When it comes to personal stuff it's definitely more retreat and when it's stuff like politics or sports it's a lot more getting fired up. The more tools you have to deal with those heavy emotions, the larger that window gets and the less you "flatline" or "redline". Not sure if this helps any of you but I found it interesting.

UKGuy

  • Member

  • Offline
  • ****

  • 395
    • View Profile
Re: Started Friday July 3rd
« Reply #70 on: August 17, 2020, 12:57:51 AM »
Great to hear that things are going so well for you Norman - both with your wife and your therapy too (not to mention of course your significant PMO progress). Your post on the 11th August around the fight/kid/church story was really interesting to read and feels really profound.

TheNorman

  • Member

  • Offline
  • ***

  • 193
    • View Profile
Re: Started Friday July 3rd
« Reply #71 on: August 17, 2020, 08:59:56 PM »
Thanks UK, it was just this huge "aha" moment. I spent 26 years reliving that fight over and over in my head, always the same thing: Kicking his ass because "I hated him". It felt incredible to be able to let that all go.

In my last session I also focussed on another painful memory. *Super Stereotypical Canadiana Moment Alert* I was playing in my beer league playoffs and I did an awesome job of reading the play as the the defenceman with the puck tried to go across the blueline to his D partner. I rushed his partner before he got the puck and he bobbled it, I picked it up and skated my ass off on a breakaway. I'm a righty so as I came down the right wing I faked low glove and went quickly to the backhand. I put it exactly where I wanted to, 40 cm off the ice on his blocker side and instead of committing to the butterfly and trying to save my initial fake, the goalie laid across the goal line. My "perfect shot" instead hit the buttend of his stick, the post, and then went wide of the net. I scrambled back to the bench and within a couple shifts my goalie let in the shittiest, fluttering wrist shot from way out to lose the game. Again, I would dream about that chance, all these incredible moves I should have done, how my teammates would have mobbed me as they flew off the bench to celebrate.

When I revisited that moment I didn't actually really focus on any of the play or the save or anything. I vividly remembered my girlfriend (now wife) looking down from the stands with this sad face. I felt like I let my whole team down but the face she gave me broke my heart. I thought she was so disappointed. It turns out that missing that goal had nothing to do with not winning that game. We ended up making the finals anyways and losing to a stacked team with a ringer that should have been suspended from the league but because he knew the convener he was allowed to stay in the league (maybe THAT will be worked on in a session!). The thing that kept that all so raw and painful was the thought that my SO was disappointed. When I told her this she not only barely remembered that game, she also told me she was only sad because she knew I would be bummed about missing. That's it. Not disappointed at all. Just like that, another memory disarmed.

The form of EMDR therapy I'm doing isn't about porn or addiction so much as it is about finding these things that I have chewed up my brain for so long and rooting through to what they're really about. Disappointing people, jealousy, sadness/anger/frustration, heartbreak: They all get stored as something else, attached to some other event that when looked at on it's own is just something that happened. A story, an experience, a lesson. It feels so liberating to let those misfiled feelings and see those events for what they were. It's not cheap, in fact it's incredibly expensive to go to therapy even just once a week, but what is more worthwhile than my mind?

Today was my first day back to work after two weeks off. It's absolutely incredible how little work bothers me these days. I guess after 41 years I am finally learning some perspective...

See you all tomorrow! I'll probably be on here a couple times, as during slow times at work I used to surf around, often looking at things that sent me towards unhealthy thoughts. I'd rather be here blathering on about hockey and how little I know about football and most importantly about how we're all walking, maybe at different speeds, but still, walking towards a brighter future.

Georgos

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 844
    • View Profile
Re: Started Friday July 3rd
« Reply #72 on: August 18, 2020, 03:12:56 AM »
Hi TheNorman, we all have regrets, one of mine is starting smoking, we're all much better off without any form of medication in my opinion, however, tobacco does have some good points. Tobacco is good for easing paranoia, it does this because it relieves the pressure of voices in your head, in fact in my case it stopped them completely. On the other hand, tobacco is a psychotic aganist, sufis say it attracts the jinn, and they can play havoc with your mind, luckily they also fear it apparently because it is so potent, if you enter into a relationship with a jinn then it can go both ways. Tobacco is also a performance enhancing drug, boosting IQ among other things, I think this might be one of the reasons many women in the West think you must be disabled if you smoke it. I do regret taking it up, I didn't have pyschosis before I started smoking cigs, but it helps me with tolerating fear and I am proud of my journey thus far. You sound like an excellent player in defence, I'm sorry you worry about hockey transfers more than the actual league, I'm sure all your team mates will keep you on the squad if you still play. Transfers are all about money, so getting to play for the best team at the right price is a challenge for all players. It sounds like you did admirably in your youth, we all feel shame about underperforming, or because we think we don't deserve the love and respect that we are owed for our contributions, but I think you're too hard on yourself. It's great you're here and working on your discipline. Wishing you all the best in your struggle .g.

Leonidas

  • Member

  • Offline
  • ***

  • 110
    • View Profile
Re: Started Friday July 3rd
« Reply #73 on: August 18, 2020, 12:05:47 PM »
Great work on addressing those hidden skeletons from the past.  The nice thing about therapy is that regardless of its form, its an opportunity to confront an issue that only a therapist is willing to listen to.  Don't know much of EMDR nor how expensive it is... but if an issue, you can always consider alternatives such as CBT or even psychoanalysis, which is big on the dream analysis thing.

Also noticed you mention 'addiction' a few posts past... I'm of the opinion that for some of us here, it's not so much of an addiction problem as it is the habit of using P as a bad coping strategy.  I know where I fall.  What about you?  Do you think in your case it is addiction or the coping mechanisms?

TheNorman

  • Member

  • Offline
  • ***

  • 193
    • View Profile
Re: Started Friday July 3rd
« Reply #74 on: August 18, 2020, 02:23:05 PM »
For me it felt very much like an addiction but the more I work (CBT is part of my therapy as well) the more I see that it was a mix of getting hit with it very early and a lot of fantasy/withdrawal coping stuff. I have not felt a huge pull back towards it at all, I've been much more focused on my ability to manage emotions and stress. The more mindful and aware I am of my thoughts and my actions, the less pull I feel. UK, WIP and your most recent post are great reminders that stress, complacency or bad coping strategies are all slippery slopes back to old, bad habits. I have another session this afternoon, and although my SO and I have some coverage through benefits, it's still over $100 per session. I've felt more capable and mindful and healthy mentally this past month than I can remember so I feel like it's money well spent.