Originally Posted by Mrs_Vanilla
Originally Posted by GreenMile
Originally Posted by Pepperband
I was worried about her brother's feelings instead of worrying about DWG's feelings

I beg to differ.

I sure hope I can explain this ...

Back to your very first post on the forum ...

I am 61 and retired. I have been unfaithful once in 1984 for a brief encounter but carried on a six year "relationship" with a dirtbag that ended on discovery three months ago. I have been an addictive personality all my adult life and a narcissist with a huge ego, though at heart I am a good person.

This is you, doing your thing.

Let's put aside, for now, the lies and obfuscation of the actual depth of your betrayals.
Let's just look at the last bit.

"I am a good person"

Who are you trying to convince when you write such a thing?

The MB peanut gallery?
Complete strangers?

Are you even aware, that a person who KNOWS they are a "good person" does not feel compelled to convince others of that fact?

Have I ever written "I am a good person" on the MB forum?
Why not?
Because my ability to recognize my own good qualities does not hinge on my convincing others that I am "a good person".
It would never occur to me to even write such a thing.

GM, you are not the first wayward on MB to write "I am a good person" in order to convince others (complete strangers) that they are not a "bad person".

You see, GM, I don't need to announce that I am "a good person" because I know I am not a "bad person".

Here's my 2 cents.

The man in the mirror, the guy who you see shaving every day, is not sure if he is good, or not. In fact, he's pretty sure he is not.
But, he wants to be.

The only way you know how to take your own measure ~~~> What is reflected in the opinions of others? What do I look like to ~~~> that person over there.

So, you say to a suspect man-fishing FB widow, "I like you a lot" ... when you don't like her a little.
You say it is to spare her feelings.
I say, it is to gain her favorable opinion so that you can feel better about yourself.

You were really not concerned with DWG's brother's feelings.
You wanted to look good ....

GM, isn't it exhausting?
The reflected sense of self?

A reflected sense of self is a never-ending appetite to be "stroked" by others. (for the lack of a better word)

Now, getting stroked by others is not a bad thing.
Sometimes we earn that.

I'd like you to imagine what you might think of yourself if you did not rely on the approval and stroking of outsiders ...

Are you "a good person" ?

Now, go back and re-read that first post of yours.

You were lying to us.
And you wanted us to believe you are a good person.
While you were lying.

Can you see the problem with this?

Are you a good man if no one but you is around?

Think about it.

Take care.

You're right, PB. About everything.

I'm frightened. I am not a "good person". I am deeply flawed and have wrought sadness and enormous damage. I am nothing like I thought I was. I am an easy liar and live in a fantasy world, where unless it is revolving around me, I get agitated and resentful. Ideas that pop into my head become truth rather than just a daydream. For the first time, I am really frightened. I thought I was getting better, getting well, after that breakdown, but I need a power much greater than myself to help me. For the first time, I have deep doubts about whether I can become the person that DWG needs and deserves. TST is so kind and has been calling and coaching and helping me. He was able to change and learn. I want to be like him, but I just can't seem to break through. Sometimes, I think I am making some steps. Then, it just vanishes. Trying to have faith.

GM, it's not about hoping it works. You commit and you do. There may be mistakes, but committing to being a good person - NOT as reflected by other people, as Pep brilliantly pointed out - will get you much further than "I just can't seem to."

EVERYthing is a chance to learn and do better. As you can see, your first thoughts and instincts are not always correct. Practice, practice, practice being humble, admitting honest fault, learning.

Commit. And do.

Most of the time, my first thoughts ARE wrong. Feeling agitated, non-specifically, when things are not going according to the story line I have concocted for myself at the moment, is the first clue. That always happens right before I behave badly. I felt really agitated this morning before I said that to DWG. I look for others to follow my scenario in order to "be happy". DWG was in my scene, but she was not following the script.

Early in this process, when I first came here after DWG had been here awhile, I read a lot of posts that opined that I was a narcissist. After reading about that disorder, I concluded that I had some of those features but not really all, and that I didn't fit that very well. I felt I was more "narcissoid". When I was in the hospital for a few days, I asked the psychiatrist in a later follow-up appointment for my meds if I fit that. He didn't think so, but that is not his specialty. And, of course, I most likely slicked over some things and lied to make myself look less ill than I am, other than the acute depression after the D-day earthquake. But I am making an appointment and going back and will open up honestly and fill in many of the things I am learning here from others. Though I told Mulan to back off yesterday, which I regret, she has posted to DWG on her thread and explained something profound. I'm not the fake wizard in the Wizard of Oz. I am the tin man, scarecrow, and cowardly lion, and I have been looking for a wizard to give me a heart and a brain, and courage. Nothing could be truer. At the end of that story, they find that they get those things from within, that they were there all the time, not from an imaginary wizard. I think I know how I got to this place, but I probably will not be able to punch my way out myself just by sheer force of will or just doing, as much as I would like to. I am going to need professional help. I'm ready.

FWH, age 63. 24 years of narcissistic behavior, infidelity, and emotional abandonment of my BS, age 57, DancesWithGoats (DWG). D-day two years ago, leading to emotional breakdown. Been working MB program and toward spiritual transformation and personal growth since then, with some slow but real progress. DWG still with no trust, but with grief starting to subside a bit.