Post by brooklynberry on Mar 24, 2011 8:21:57 GMT -8
this is fantastic! thanks (psst small grammatical error in #8- you're/your - I do it all the time)
I think for me, when I talk to newcomers, I really have to explain that just because I have a boyfriend doesn't mean I don't need to recover and that he is not the end goal. At all. I still have to work this REALLY hard to make it work. He is not the answer!
And it IS shocking when we feel real pain in sobriety. it's more subdued for me, but yes, still!
Post by LovelyJune on Mar 24, 2011 11:00:46 GMT -8
SO true HB. Like you said, people wonder what I'm still doing here even after having found a great guy. I tell the same thing: it was never about finding or getting a guy to begin with. It was never about the PoA. It's an internal struggle to stop avoiding the self. And that can play out in all kinds of ways. I have the best relationship with a guy I've ever had, and that's a great little "perk" to my life. Why then am I still here if I've won the "prize"? I'm still here because I recognize like you do that he has nothing to do with the work I still need to do on me.
8. Your marriage must continue. When we change, recover and stop being the sick, unhealthy person we were, we are shocked to realize we married someone equally unhealthy. Unless the spouse is also willing to change–on his or her own–divorce is a sad, but logical next step. You see, oftentimes we think if we can just get rid of the PoA and the desire for passion that we are lacking in our marriage, our marriage can be saved. But the truth is, this is not about passion or lust or a midlife crisis. If we dig deep, it’s probably about the fact that we have nothing in common with our spouse, don’t really love him, but are deathly afraid to be alone and surviving on our own. So…instead of divorce, so many of us decide to take on an affair instead, jumping from the fire into the frying pan. Recovery, though, does not exactly lead you to the conclusion that saving the marriage is the best thing. Oftentimes in recovery, we find that our dependence on the marriage is part of our love addiction. Even if we are not addicted to the husband or wife, we’re addicted to the relationship.
Taken out of context it seems that's the only myth. But there's also:
Your marriage must end. I always say that a successful recovery has nothing to do with the PoA, and yet, if you happened to be married to one, or conversely, if you’ve cheated on your spouse with a PoA, the bottom line is that you have work to do on YOU and lots of it. What that usually means is alone time. And yet, in a marriage, alone time is hard to come by. A relationship, good or bad, places demands upon you, and a once loving husband may not be that understanding when things change. And yet, it is up to you to carve out some time alone, within your marriage so as to do some serious recovery work. This does not mean divorce. It means communicating with your spouse that there’s a problem and that you need time to fix it. If he or she is understanding and gives you that freedom to work stuff out, and if at the end of your soul searching you determine your marriage can and should be saved, by all means, save it. Sadly, this is rare.
You need to know yourself and know which "myth" belongs to you.
How about flip flopping between several of those myths! That's me. I hope to get more clarity as to all of it as I continue my recovery work. I sure appreciate the list because it's got a lot of good food for thought.
Great blog, thanks lovelyJune. I would say i have made great leaps in recovery and am still recovering, but my nature is that of a torchbearer, i can carry a flame for someone for years and years and years! Even though my destructive behavious has stopped to an extent and i am a lot healthier than ever, i'm not at the stage that I want "NOTHING to do with the PoA" although i know i will be when i meet someone else, looking at my history. That's a great feeling of liberation, however; i WANT to be at that stage now, i want absolutely NOTHING to do with my POA, no hold over me, not another thought!
I want to feel how i feel when i enter another new relationship and completely stop thinking and quite frankly caring about the man that lied to me, cheated, hurt me etc.
It feels good acknowledging i want that, however, when i go into a new relationship it's almost automatic, suddenly POA is gone from memory and i feel liberated and like a great weight is off of my shoulders, i feel like i have full control again. Any ideas on how i feel like this single, apart from building confidence, self esteem etc?
In what ways do you carry the torch for your ex-POA newbie? Do you desire a relationship with him? Do you just care a lot about him but don't want to be with him? Do you compare every new guy to him?
Maybe imagine you are in a really nice car, that is YOUR car, and your ex-POA is driving it. You are in the passenger seat and you really want to drive this great car but this guy is in the d**n way. Now imagine yourself doing a fantastic James Bond move and kicking this guy out of the seat. in fact he goes out of the car (but he doesn't get hurt, he's just gone). YOU are now the driver of your own car. You call the shots and take your car wherever YOU want it to go.
Now imagine that car is your mind. Right now your POA is controlling your mind, and therefore to an extent, your life. You don't want him to. Kick him out of the way! Get back in the driver's seat! Live your life the way you want, not colored by him.
I don't know if this visualization will help at all, but its all i could come up with. Whatever is going on in your mind regarding your POA is a fantasy. It is not real. That is what you have to remind yourself of. It's not real. Once you actually convince yourself that what you're fantasizing about with this guy is not real, that hold your POA has will eventually be lifted off of you. I think that's the connection. Taking away the part of the fantasy that makes you think it is real. Seeing the situation for what it truly is. Seeing that this man hurt you, lied to you, cheated on you. Why continue to care about someone who could do that to you? When your mind tries to sweeten it up, bring yourself back to reality. maybe even make a list to remind you of the horrible things he did to you to remind yourself of why you don't need him in the first place.
We torchbear because we're relying on a fantasy of what could be instead of accepting the truth. We have to accept the truth of the situation in order to break that fantasy and our mental addiction to that fantasy.
Newbie, I think torchbearers (falsely) believe that they must carry a torch until they transfer their obsession or love onto someone else. This is not true. Just like with any addiction, torchbearers avoid themselves by simply maintain their addiction via the IDEA of someone. When someone knew comes along, they simple latch onto that new person.
But the idea of addiction is the same across the board whether you're a torchbearer, a SW, a love addict or an avoidant, and in order to feel good and liberated by yourself, as a single person, you need to practice some heavy duty thought stopping and replace your obsessive thoughts with healthier obsessions (exercise, diet, learning an instrument, working with your hands--anything that requires your brain to be fully present on the task). You basically need to replace your love for the PoA with your love of self or activity.
It also helped me to imagine that no one else existed. And that I would never love again. Denying myself this fantasy sounds cruel and unusual, and yet, it allowed me for the first time in my life, to have the freedom to think of other things rather than finding the next love match!
Try it, it might work for you.
Last Edit: May 5, 2011 2:11:01 GMT -8 by LovelyJune
LovelyJune, i think you are so right, i almost believe bearing a torch is just normal now, i remember when i was around 10-11 years old, i had an imaginary character, when i was 13-17 i had a crush on someone unavailable for years, then i met someone when i was 17 (didn't last long at all) but i held the torch till 19 (met someone else) i saw this person as a rebound, had an awful time with him, then at 21 met "current POA" or person i bear a torch for, it's been 8 long tedious years!!
I think i definitely need to look into thought stopping, i am a very busy person, i do lots of things and i find it helps. I like the thought of imagining no one else exists - i will try anything now. I realise my mum has been bearing a torch for my dad for over 25 years, even though they have been divorced for over 25 years and he was abusive, i think she sees he has a very good side!
Tizzy, i also like the vision of kicking him out of my high powered car, that really works for me. I still think at some stage he could change and we could have a relationship - this is fantasy, because i KNOW i would never want him back, it's strange!!
I am fascinated by how intelligent he is, and do compare new people to him. I'm ready to let go now, to free fall, reality is i dont want him, regardless of who he could become, he lied to me recently. I have always been a torch bearer for as long as i can remember, i'm really ready to unlearn that way of behaving, thinking, im ready for a new start, it's just been a habit. So i know im healthy now, when i look at the introductions page, i see people who are really suffering, im not, but he's always a part of my thoughts, at night, when something good happens, kind of like an imaginary friend, ha ha ha ha!! that's the only way i can explain it, occasionally i will drop him an email (shamefully) occasionally we will joke and talk, he last said he wanted to skype - my response was no thanks, that's not part of torch bearing. It's a burden, but it's almost as normal as having breakfast, from as long as i can remember i alway had a killing crush for someone, and yes, LovelyJune, i mistakenly believe this is just the way it is, and it will only change when i meet someone.
I will try your strategies above, thank you. i feel i am not suffering apart from this burden, headache, thinking about a POA, occasionally getting the urge to email, share my life news. i don't want that. i want control. I almost feel that if i lose this mental addiction, completely stop torch bearing/fantasy this will be a big change for me - but i can do it, just like i quit coffee, a habit i told myself i couldn't quit - but it was easier because i literally just had to stop drinking it.
Post by reinventmyself on May 2, 2011 9:18:49 GMT -8
Rereading it again. Cannot read it enough. I have sooooooo much to learn and I am certain my learning will be a never ending journey.
For as much as I don't give myself credit I can recognize those I had outgrown and passed by emotionally.
My marraige of 16 yrs ended for this very reason. We had such an unhealthy way of relating. When I reached a desperation point where I found myself terribly codependent, miserably anxious, selfless and not having clue as to why, I sought therapy.
I took to it so quickly and the changes were fast and furious. Sadly it left my H behind. He did everything he could to keep me from continuing therapy. He went to individual therapy as well. . we went to marraige counseling together. His only motivation to go was to change me. . change me back. Simutaneously, I begged him to keep up with me. No doubt I was trying to change him as well.
I often described this time as standing at a threshold. The new direction I was going and looking back at my old life. It was such a scary time for me. I was having panic attacks. I believe early on before I was ready to admit it, it was the beginning of the end and I knew it.
My H could never catch up. He actually got worse, if that's possible. Once I had some awareness and began to grow there was no turning back. Though I often wanted to. . To give up a marraige and a family unit for my sons was beyond devastating. After all I was a stay at home mom with two small boys and no marketable skills.
I tried to return and revert back to the old me. It meant if I didn't change then things could be status quo. . But it honestly felt as if I was walking back into a burning house.
There is no changing back from the awareness.
What I didn't know was that at the same time I was filing he was lining up my replaceement. (I still thank him for this because a new gf is a great reinforcement) Sadly for him, that when his first relationship ended he became desperate. His sons pleaded with me to help him. My oldest son didn't talk to me for over year when I told him that it wasn't my place to help him.
Proves that you must face your pain eventually. It's there waiting for you . . sooner than later. He's fine. . after knocking on my closed door a couple times he quickly found someone new, again.
On these occasions when he thought I might come back. . I chuckled. . I told him he wouldn't be able to tolerate me for 5 min's!! You see I have mouth now and I know how to use it. I am capable and strong. .(not in all ways, but most) He can't tolerate strong women. (sad that his own sons have described their fathers gf's as alittle ditzy. . hmmm, what does that say about me? )
OK. .I've rambled enough this morning. One step forward . .two steps back and alive to get my butt kicked a few times more. But I am gettting better at it. Just a testimony to the myths of recovery. Thank you LJ.
<quote> I often described this time as standing at a threshold. The new direction I was going and looking back at my old life. It was such a scary time for me. I was having panic attacks. I believe early on before I was ready to admit it, it was the beginning of the end and I knew it. </quote>
Bam! - that hit me hard because it's exactly where I've been the past week but I'm getting closer and closer to the end and further away from my old life - and I love it!!