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#1441934 07/31/05 02:54 PM
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Dear all ~

I am copying over one of my posts from 2001. I was in particular need of this post as a reminder to myself today, and I thought maybe some of you could find something helpful in it too.

The original post is: http://www.marriagebuilders.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=37;t=008859;p=1

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Hi everyone! I was reading some material for my Al-Anon program, and I thought it would be very helpful to us over here too. The following is a article on Detachment, and I've gone through it and taken out references to alcoholism, and replaced it with infidelity.
Funny how just changing a few words can make a big difference!!

*****************

[color:"blue"]Detachment with Love[/color]

We cannot "Live and Let Live" if we do not attend to our own responsibilities instead of focusing on the responsibilities of others. To keep the focus on ourselves, we need to learn to "detach with love".

We learn how to cope with the infidelity of those we love and to detach from the behavior, not necessarily the person. Infidelity is a family dysfunction. This means family members are deeply affected, physically, emotionally, spiritually, socially and intellectually, even though they themselves are not unfaithful.

The stress of living with active infidelity can have numerous effects:

Physical - We may develop health problems such as headaches, high blood pressure, stomach aches, ulcers, panic attacks, insomnia, and heart problems.

Emotional - We may feel angry, resentful, lonely, guilty, or depressed.

Social - In relating to others, we may be distant, aloof, embarrassed, withfrawn, aggressive, arrogant, self righteous, judgemental, or controlling.

Intellectual - We may find it difficult to concentrate, make decisions, comprehend what we are hearing and reading.

Spiritual - Our outlook on life may become bitter, despairing, helpless, hopeless, or lacking in trust or faith.

With practice and with support from others we come to understand that detachment from the wayward spouse's problems does not mean that we stop caring about the person.

[color:" purple"]Keys to detaching with love:[/color]

Responsibility - The first key in detaching is to begin taking responsibility for our own behavior. We can no longer stumble through our lives blaming others for the way we feel and holding them accountable for whether we are happy or not. No one can make us feel anything. It is our reactions to the behavior that causes our anger, resentment, pain and disappointment. When we blame others for our own negative reactions, we hand over all our personal power to that person and we loose ourselves.

Acceptance - Acceptance is the next key. We need to look at the reality of what has happened in the past and what is happening now. Many of us stumble in the beginning over the incorrect thought that acceptance means approval. Acceptance does not mean that we feel ok about current or past circumstances, it only means that we stop trying to change what we have no power over. We have no power over the past or the wayward spouse.

Even with acceptance, we need to grieve the losses caused by infidelity in our families and in our lives. Dreams have faded, bubbles have burst. Acceptance gives us two things - acceptance of our feelings and also acceptance of the fact that we cannot change the other person - healing from our loss and disillusion is an inside job.

[color:" purple"]The Three C's[/color]

Detaching with love is easier when we remember the three C's - we did not cause the infidelity in another, we cannot control the infidelity or the wayward spouse, we cannot cure the infidelity or the wayward spouse.

Cause - Infidelity is an addiction. Just as we cannot cause someone to develop diabetes, cancer, or any other disease, we do not have the power to cause anyone else to become addicted. Every addicted person blames others for their addiction and their use - this is their denial and their disease. Accepting that blame becomes our prison.

Control - Despite our best intentions and efforts, controlling other people does not work. Relationships cannot grow and intimacy cannot develop if one person is controlling the other. We only have control over ourselves and how we respond to situations, other people and their behavior. Trying to control other peoples behavior may temporarily make us feel better and give us an illusion of being in control - but in the long run, it does not work.

Cure - Only the wayward spouse can seek help for his/her addiction. No matter what we do, the treatment for the addiction is not ours to hand out.


Words that stand in the way of detaching:

Why??
What if??
Yes, but...
I can't...
I'll try...



Why??

The main reason most of us ask why is because we believe with a little more knowledge and a few more details, we can "control" the situation and or person. Asking "why" only wastes our energy - it rarely changes anything.

What if??

What if's keep us from living in the reality of the moment and also keep us from admitting we are powerless. When we are in the past with the "whys" and the future with the "what ifs" we loose today. Today is the only day we have.

Yes, but...

When we "yes but.." we are not listening to what others have to say. We are being self centered and self absorbed, and in essence saying we are so unique that what has worked for countless others will not work in our situation. Each time we "yes but" we are cooking up excuses inside our heads and our minds are closed.

I can't..

This is our biggest lie to ourselves. The truth is not that we can't, but that we won't. It is where we let fear have control over our lives.

I'll try.

The saying, "to try is to lie" refers to how easily we fall into making excuses. If we say, "I'll try" we lack commitment. "I'll try" allows us to bide our time while looking for an excuse not to do whatever we have said we'll try.


[color:" purple"]H.O.W.[/color]

HOW do we detach?

H - Honesty with ourselves and others.

O - Openness to hearing new ideas and breaking old ways of thinking and behaving.

W - Willingness to take risks and try something different.

Detaching with love does not mean that we stop caring. It simply means that we quit trying to control someone else and their behavior. We stop creating comfortable environments for unacceptable behavior. We stop lying to ourselves, we accept the reality of who the person is instead of focusing on who they "could" be.


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Perfect as usual BR. <img src="/ubbt/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

Thanks.

L.

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Thanks, BR. I needed that today.


Faith

me: FWW/BS 52 H: FWH/BS 49
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Thanks for posting that! I needed to hear those things. :-)


Me 35
STBX 39
Dear son 9
Married...15 years (Jan. 20, 1990)
D-Day July 20, 2004.
Divorcing!

What goes around comes around

Sometimes we have to hold our head high, blink back the tears and say GOOD-BYE
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BR:

Nice post. Since this is your thread I will ask ya a question. When your H drinks and is verbally abusive or puts the family in a financial predicament because of his drinking, or whatever, how do you approach this?

Are you able to detach yourself from this, and truly just accept the fact that he does drink, and that you have knowingly made the personal choice to stay with him, for better or worse. This has nothing to do with the infidelity I am asking about. Yes, you did expain to me that you don't have a MB marriage, and I get that (I think?), but what thoughts or actions of detachment do you specifically do when a consequence of the FWH drinking affects/impacts the family?

I am very curious to hear your answer.

Thanks in advance for a response.

SM

Last edited by lemonman; 07/31/05 03:29 PM.

Some people just don't get it, they don't get it that they don't get it.

I had the right to remain silent.......but I didn't have the ability.
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Hi Lemon ~

Am I perfectly detached? No of course not, I'm an imperfect human being. I love my husband and it hurts me tremendously to watch him hurt himself. There are times that I certainly have a pity party - oh poor BR, married to a man who is not what she deserves!

I was raised in a home that was completely dysfunctional due to the effects of raging violent alcoholism on the part of both of my grandfathers.

To make matter's worse...my father was/is an expert in the techniques of brainwashing, due to his job function in the US Air Force. He used those techniques on us children. The damage done to us was in some ways indescribable. Some of my siblings have sought and found help. Some of them havent.

I will probably always have to beware of my dysfunctional, codependent nature. Like anyone else, I am a work in progress.

Quote
Are you able to detach yourself from this, and truly just accept the fact that he does drink, and that you have knowingly made the personal choice to stay with him, for better or worse.

At the point that I chose to take my husband back instead of divorce him, I became 100% responsible for my choice to stay in a marriage with an alcoholic.

I made that choice for a bunch of reasons. Namely because I felt at that time, that this was the path of greatest protection for my children. I still do.

Plenty of times I have stared at myself in the mirror wondering if I made the wrong decision. Believe me, I have wrestled with my decision, revisited it repeatedly, beat myself up for it, and still, every time, have come back to the same conclusion that I did the first time.

Now, given that my choice is to stay in a marriage that is less than fulfilling - part of my taking responsiblity for that decision means that I can't be a victim. Which means that I can't choose to sit around and feel sorry for myself and become mean and bitter while I pat myself on the back for my sacrifice.

Along the path of my husband's affair, I learned to accept the reality of who he was, instead of expecting (and demanding) that he be someone that I wanted him to be. There is a huge sense of peace that comes with that acceptance.

While my husband and I were separated (18 months!), I learned the lessons in the post above. I learned to take responsibility for my own well being - emotionally, financially, and spiritually. It means that I do my best to keep the focus on myself - and when I am unhappy, I take a good hard look at what I am doing to contribute to the situation, and take steps to rectify it. If I am unhappy, I have probably not been taking care of me. Taking care of me may mean that I have procrastinated on my responsibilities (maybe I let the bills pile up, or maybe I ignored something else that is now causing me stress). Or maybe I just havent taken time for myself - maybe I need to slow down and take an afternoon off at the beach with my daughter, or go get my nails done. Maybe I need to do some reading in one of my AlAnon books to get myself re-centerd. It may mean anything from making a better effort to meet my husband's reasonable needs, to simply walking from the room when his verbal outbursts are in progress instead of engaging in battle. I've learned that it is incredibly pointless to argue with someone under the influence of addiction.

I wasn't kidding ~ I never ever want to go back to being the person I was before my husband's affair. I can't begin to express how much I mean that. I was slowly recovering from a 2 year clincial depression that had nearly ended in my suicide before my husband's affair started. I didn't realize I could be brought even lower, which I was, when I discovered I was pregnant with our third child 2 weeks after I kicked my husband out of the house when I figured out he was cheating. Even worse...on our 10th wedding anniversay, when I was 7 months pregnant, I developed what drs now believe, but had no reason to believe then, was an undiagnosed blood clot in one of my legs and became painfully physically disabled for the last 2 months of my pregnancy. (And his OW wanted to know why I wasn't out looking for a job!) I should have been dead, many times over, I later discovered when I had a stroke at the age of 34.

What happened through all of this was that I hit bottom after bottom. When the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change....you get really motivated to change. And change I did.

I can't go back and change the who-I-was that found an alcoholic man attractive and married him. I can't go back and change that I had three children with him. I can't change the man I am married to now into the man I want him to be.

What I can change is me, and I did, and I can honestly say that while living with alcoholism isn't fun, I can honestly say that I have many moments of great joy and peace.

When I stop focusing on my husband and what he should or should not be doing, and analyzing his motivations and his every action...I find that I have alot more time to focus on who I am.

Learning to love myself and trust myself was a huge part of my recovery. I can not begin to tell you how much I was changed, when my Al Anon sponsor explained to me that my 4th step (personal inventory) was about listing what GOOD about me, just as much as it was about identifying my faults. She listened to my list (my 5th step) and showed me how I was worthy of being loved by ME.

Learning that lesson was not easy and took alot of practice. I still have to go back and practice it alot. But that was my first step to understanding that I could be happy and like myself no matter what anyone else, including my husband thought about me.

I can honestly say that while I struggle with my religious practice, due to the abuses of my childhood, I have a better relationship with God. I found a great comfort in the 12 step concept of a Higher Power. I work to maintain an "attitude of gratitude" which means that I take time frequently to thank God for the good in my life, instead of berating Him for what I don't like about it.

Now, I'm lucky in many ways. My husband's disease has not taken on many of the stereotypical forms. He doesn't drive drunk. He doesn't hang out in bars (he did pre-affair). He no longer puts us in financial jeopardy (we now POJA finances), and he holds down a steady job with a decent income (always has). He does not get violent when drunk. He is a nicer person drunk than he is sober.

What he does is emotionally neglect all of us. And he is the self-absorbed victim. He can take just about any situation and twist it around to be all about him.

I learn to let it go. I am not responsible for those things in him.

I learned to be honest. When the opportunity arises, I voice my honest concerns and fears about his drinking. I draw boundaries (ie I will not control him by trying to stop him from drinking, but I won't assist it either by buying it or mixing a drink).

When he says or does something I don't like, I speak up about it. I do my best to avoid lovebusting ~ but again, I'm not perfect. Sometimes I revert back to my crazy self. But I now have the tools to straighten myself back out again.

And no, its certainly not the best way to raise children. However, the alternative, in my case, I believe would be worse.

I also reserve the right to change my mind. <img src="/ubbt/images/graemlins/pfft.gif" alt="" />


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BR:

I don't know why you ever thought that I take your advice with "suspect". Thank you for the response above. We may see things differently, and no doubt would make different decisions in life, but I want you to know how extremely impressed I am with your level of insight into this. I really am. Your answers and honest to goodness truthfulness is indeed refreshing. I am one of your biggest "fans" and you probably would have never "thunk" it. Not that that matters, but few people impress me in this life...you are one of them. Thank you for your insight and for taking the time to answer my questions and curiosities.

SM


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BR,

Wow, I have known your story, but to read it again amazes me anew.

Your post should be required reading for all MBers. Your story of personal recovery is more than inspirational. It's humbling.

Thanks,


"The actions you speak are louder than your words!"
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Hi Lemon ~

We see things differently because we have had very different experiences in life.

Would you make different decisions? Maybe. But one lesson I learned along the way is that I can never know what decision *I* would make in another person's shoes. Too often, I have made very hasty judgements in my own mind about someone else's choices...only to find myself in their shoes and gee, not doing what I thought I would.

I'm glad you find my answers to be honest. Guess what my top emotional need is? I consciously try to practice it, because in a life surrounded by dysfunctional people, honesty is my connection to what is real.

I stopped posting here for quite sometime partially because my life kinda took over (having a stroke, taking on a new job, and my husband's 1.5 years working in Massachusetts and leaving me to cope with the kids alone again!) but those were my excuses.

I was afraid to share here because I was so busy judging myself for staying in my marriage, that I thought others would do so also.

Then also, there are the multitude of spouses who show up here with horribly abusive alcoholic marriages, and I was afraid that my story would encourage them to stay stuck rather than to change and grow...

Then I realized...fear is a really crappy decision maker. I have told that to others so many times, but was blind to it in this aspect of my life.

I realized that silencing my story was disrespectful to myself - and that everytime I withheld my voice because of fear of what others would think or say... I was dishonest and hurtful to myself, and was attempting to control what I can not control.

There are those who will seek out any rationalization to do what they are going to do. I can't control them or their outcomes. Whether or not I speak out will make no difference. But my story can possibly help others, and by isolating, I deny others a chance to "hear" the message they might need to hear. So here I am again, sharing my experience, strength and hope, when I can.

Plan A hurt me alot. But it also let me respect myself and hold my head high when I filed for divorce. I knew I had learned to be a good wife and I knew I had done everything I could to save my marriage. In the end, I had earned my divorce and the self-esteem boost I got from that was huge.

Sure, alot of people thought I should have dumped the bum a long time ago. Some people still think that!

But then i never would have grown into the woman I am today.

Anyway, here I am threadjacking my own thread! I'm tired and babbling, need sleep and am going to be useless at work tomorrow, if I can manage to stay awake during my gawd awful commute! <img src="/ubbt/images/graemlins/rolleyes.gif" alt="" />


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Hi CSue ~ thank you! <img src="/ubbt/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />


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^^Bumping^^ this up; because it contains some of the most important info that people need to hear.

More than detaching with love -

It's about Personal Recovery, which in IMHO is more important than marriage building.

Marriage recovery cannot happen without personal recovery.


"The actions you speak are louder than your words!"
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BrambleRose

This is a great post about life. Not just about infidelity, but about living life as a journey of the self, about taking on only those responsibilites which are genuinely ours to fulfil, and about detaching with kindness from those who want us to accept burdens that are really theirs to carry.

Thank you.

TogetherAlone


"Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people." - Spencer Johnson
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CSue ~ you hit the nail on the head. Without serious personal growth, I don't think marital recovery is really possible.

Plan A and Plan B are a beautiful framework to that self growth ~ it is a wonderful opportunity that I think too many BS's pass up in favor of blaming the WS and feeling entitled to WS changes and not making any of their own.

Personal growth is the key to surviving the affair, regardless of the recovery of the marriage.

Together ~ thank you <img src="/ubbt/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />


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bump


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Thank you BR.

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bumping for SDguy ~ pay attention to those Three C's.

(Wild you better be reading too!)


~ Pain is a given, misery is optional ~
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Thanks BR, for bumping this. It's always good to SEE what I'm trying to do. I started this in Plan B, but it always needs to be revisited.


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bump for Ace.


~ Pain is a given, misery is optional ~
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Thanks for bumping this for me, BR. I'm sure others will benefit from it, too. I've cut/pasted parts of both the buyers/renters thread and the enabling/controllers thread.

Appreciate your efforts,

Ace


FWH/BW (me)57+ M:36+ yr.
4 D-Days: Jun-Nov 06 E/PA~OW#2 (OW#1 2000)
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This is good. I wouldn't have understood this 4 weeks ago, but today it makes sense.


BS(me) 40
WH 40
D-day 10/03/2007
***Recovering and growing wiser and stronger.***
I was divorced 10/08/2008.

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