Committing to Life

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by mcbc_rewired, Apr 8, 2013.

  1. a short guy

    a short guy Well-Known Member

    So you've mentioned "curling" up, isolating, protecting, twice in your post. What is your posture like? I see this image or realization that all us us have been literally curling up, collapsing our bodies over the computer screen and escaping into the PMO-ing world, hoping that we will find some comfort, but finding the opposite, emotional issues don't get resolved. Our hearts are literally compressed and have to work harder. Lungs and diaphragm don't move as freely because there's less room for them to expand and do their job, breathing becomes more shallow, sometimes stops, then a quick gasp for air and a sigh, because we're not getting enough. Emotions get stuck with the stuck air. We just continue to hold on to old stuff.

    Improving our posture we begin to breath more easily, the heart is less stressed, and emotions we haven't dealt with for years bubble up to the surface and scare us, again….
  2. Omega Man

    Omega Man Everything counts.

    I wonder if that isolation somehow releases dopamine. I too used that as an escape (and it still pops up here and there of course, just not as much). It's almost this "emotional porn", where we somehow find solace in the familiar pain.

    I think many of us here are aware that OMO was just one of many escapes we fled into, and being aware that even self-pity can be a feel-good escape as contradictory as it sounds is a good tool to have in the arsenal.

    I don't think you are alone in the wobbly nature of the experience, I know I've had my share of the same in the past year, and ATG has been going through some himself recently. High day counts are no guarantee of success. I may not mention every wobble, but I have them. It's just that I've cultivated the tools to move past them more quickly, and this often don't think to share them when I sit down to journal here.
  3. Bodhissatva

    Bodhissatva New Member

    Hi mc,

    Good to see you back here. I always enjoyed reading your journal, as I believe there are parallels in our family setup and experience (except you got 179 days to your counter and my best is 23, details, really :p).

    For the Gary's book, I wholeheartedly second that recommendation! I too found the book incredibly useful. Sort of a concentrated dose of YBOP. I also second your curiosity about Z. I miss his input and his presence in these parts!

    Take care, mc!

  4. mcbc_rewired

    mcbc_rewired Active Member

    Thanks for the feedback everyone. Good to see you Bodhi. As you say details really. Its our total count that matters. And ongoing challenge to ourselves.

    I have issues with posture ATG. Not only the posture sitting in front of the computer, but since childhood have been bending forward from half way down my back compressing the lungs etc. Terrible and have been trying to fix this on and off over the last few years. Being off PMO helps of course as clearer self-view. But generally working on this. I know that it comes from trauma. But what is interesting is that I read recently how not only do depression and other kinds of trauma cause postural and other physical manifestations but those bad physical habits may cause or encourage depression etc back in return. I.e. it is a circle. Which makes sense. And so working hard on physical, mental and emotional seems to be necessary. Which seems to parallel with all our findings in working through our addiction: that we have to do this through all parts of us at the same time.

    I think there is something in this Omega Man about getting a high from isolation. Its clear from the science that doing something you know is wrong causes a dopamine release and since we know that going into isolation/other forms of self-pity are wrong for us, maybe it causes a rush. Seems to with me. There is almost something pleasurable in deliberately shutting people out. A kind of f**k you feeling which is exciting.

    In addition, in my case, and perhaps yours Omega Man from what you described of your childhood, isolation was SAFE. And at the time in my case utterly necessary (to avoid being abused more) so going back into isolation is the comfortable prison we know. Better a comfortable prison of our own making than face the fear of facing the world I guess.

    Oh dear. Clearly work to do on this!
  5. Bodhissatva

    Bodhissatva New Member

    Hi mc,

    About the ongoing work to do on ourselves, if I may suggest a book that Omega Man recommended, Fear of the Abyss by Aleta Edwards. I just started to read it, and although I recognize my wife more than myself in what she calls the PCS constellation of traits (Perfectionism, Control, Shame), I am now understanding that to go forward and really heal, you really need to "peel the onion". I used to think that coping was enough but it is not. It does help to work on the symptoms (PMO being one of them) in a behavioral matter at the beginning, but I did get to a point where I need to address the root cause of my behaviors. I keep going from one addiction to the next (buying gadgets->PMO->Alcohol, etc) in an endless chase while still not addressing the real issue ....

    I am hoping the end of the book will provide me with solutions. So far, the author is right on about the way most therapists out there are treating symptoms instead of the whole person ...

  6. mcbc_rewired

    mcbc_rewired Active Member

    Thanks for the heads up Bodhi. The book sounds really good. I have put it on my list and will get it to it shortly. Sounds like I need this. OTOH I did do 9 years of therapy to deal with being assaulted as a child and this helped an awful lot. I don't think I would be on this PMO free journey without that. OTOH one thing I have found since is that therapy can help deal with the causes of current habits and manias and deal with manias now, but the habits stay even when the causes are dealt with. And the ONLY solution for current habits is to tackle them directly for what they are. I spent a few years on a red herring chase in the past, endlessly trying to refis the past again and again on the assumption that by doing this the current mental and other habits developed by these traumas would then just stop.


    Turns out that the therapy was needed to get rid of the past pain etc. But that the habits have to be treated just as habits. So for last year, am using the tools of meditation, exercise, discipline etc to cope. I have been reading another Omega Man suggestion on Willpower which is excellent. And am also reading something called Manhood by Stephen Biddulph which I find very good as it helps work on new habits which I never got to learn growing up because of what happened. I recommend it.

    Thanks Bodhi. Lets beat this.

    Otherwise doing better. I missed exercise for about 5 days and amazing the impact. Ditto meditation for 2 days. I normally only exercise every other day which I find enough for a late 40s guy like myself but meditation seems to be needed daily in order to break old habits and form new ones.

    Oh and also trying to keep a gratitude journal again. It beeps me on my phone every day. I find this useful for reminding me what is good each day and so avoid the pull into the isn't life shit miasma that has been with me since childhood. Actually this is a good example of what I mention above; as a child this outlook is a survival tool because by being negative we avoid getting too happy and so protect ourselves from the horrible pain that comes with the next assault/trauma. I.e. being negative already means that when next hurt, it hurts less than if we had been happy and enjoying life. This habit remains even though the assaults and traumas have stopped. As mentioned above the therapy deals with the past pain and so means the mental habit of negativity no longer needed. BUT to get rid of the mental habit tools like meditation and journalling etc needed.

    If any of this resonates with anyone who has not dealt with past stuff, I highly recommend this 2 pronged approach of therapy on the one hand for the past stuff, and tools for mind, body, spirit updating today.
  7. Bodhissatva

    Bodhissatva New Member

    Your story is very touching and you show great courage and awareness in dealing with the repercussions.

    I too am reading The Willpower Instinct, thanks to OM. I hadn't started reading it until I stumbled upon this video:

    A real eye opener. And so was this about positive thinking and its effect on the brain:

    I read "The happiness Advantage" and learned that brain plasticity works as well positively as it does negatively. So the gratitude journal is a great way to rewire your brain for scanning for positive things around you. We cannot always control our life's circumstances, but we can certainly influence the way we react about it ...

    Take care!

  8. imout

    imout Active Member

    Pheew, MC, your post touched me deeply. You are touching on points that reflect my story. The negativity is a lifelong curse for me. And yes, finding the damage done in childhood does not make current issues go away. But in my case they helped explain why I react the way I do. I had some childhood flashbacks a few months ago which in my minds eye related directly to my relationship with my ex. My mother and my ex were interchangeable in that recollection and my reactions were taht of a little boy in both aspects.
    Now , with that insight , i can stop in my tracks before i let the reflexes take over. I have at least the opportunity to assure myself, that the crisis at hand is really NOT the same as in childhood, that I am a grown man and have lots lore tools to deal with this. Most importantly I am telling myself that now at age 52 I am a grown man and I can trust myself NOT to fall into the traps that were inescapable as a child. I can walk, I can defend myself, I can identify the threat, i deserve to be treated well. And if Im not treated well by my partner, I should treat myself well at least.
    this is profound stuff for me. And the insights would not have occured to me had I not confronted the emotional neglect that caused me all this pain later in life.
    I agree wholeheartedly though. That alone is not enough. One has to be mindful all the time and actively interfer with one's inner workings.
    Thanks MC, you post was very insightful for me and set me up on a thoughttrain I will follow some time today - in the bush hopefully
  9. imout

    imout Active Member

    Hey , belated happy 200. Surely that deserves a mention.
  10. LTE

    LTE Master Of My Domain

    Congrats on 200 MC!
  11. mcbc_rewired

    mcbc_rewired Active Member

    Thanks Guys. Much appreciated.

    Very low at the moment so won't be long today. This does not feel much of an achievement. Still plagued by urges and fantasies. So deeply wired as an escape from the hell around me. Since 11.

    But battling on. Great to see the usual mix of insight, wisdom, humour and compassion in this great forum.
  12. Caoimhín

    Caoimhín Winter's coming...

    Your journey is a hilly one: valleys and hills. Not flat. I don't really have any advice to help you get out of the low period now, and to be frank, I'm just starting to crawl out of one myself. Give yourself time and know that what your feeling now is not permanent. It will pass. You are doing the best you can now. You are doing great.
  13. mcbc_rewired

    mcbc_rewired Active Member

    Thanks Caoimhín. I really needed that reminder.

    I nearly had an affair last month (I am married). Enjoyed the flattery of being noticed (a rare joy in my late 40s!) and given the crisis of relations in my marriage (no sex, only talk about the kids, no intimacy and I blame a lot on her for being cold and passive) there was a deep well of need just to touch and be touched.

    Worst of it is that although I didn't go ahead, ever since i have been thinking why the hell not?

    Things are so low with the wife that I don't even feel I want to make an effort. I am just fed up with doing all the trying (or so it seems to me).

    Anyway whinge over.

    I installed an journal on my phone with a daily bleep to remind me to write stuff I am grateful for. I have found I am REALLy good at installing apps. Pause. And that's about it.

    Do I use them. Hah! Not. Gratefulness, Meditation, Yoga, Pilates, intensity work outs. You name it. Its on my phone. But nothing bits a great big black cloud of negative mood and depression to put a barrier between intention and doing.

    Got to remember to not fight this though. To embrace it, see it, and let it go. I only remembered that from writing just now. When I fight depression it gets worse. When I accept it, breathe it, watch it I can see it as NOT being part of me. When I fight it, I see it as IN me. as part of me.

    writing really does help to clarify and make me remember.

  14. mcbc_rewired

    mcbc_rewired Active Member

    Just picking up on a thread in Caomihin's journal.

    I love that quote

    This discussion is so important. At least it is to how I feel right now. I concur absolutely that the negative thoughts of oneself are self-fulfilling. Its a terrible, terrible bane. As you mention imout, abandonment is usually the root cause. And the only cure for that seems to be learning to love ourselves - because the abandonment caused us to reject ourselves as not being worthy of love.

    We did this self-rejection in order not to blame the adult person/s who failed to love us – because acknowledging, as children, that we are not being loved would have been just too heart rending to handle at such a young age, and also because our own love for those adults made us want to blame ourselves, not them. It is what children do unless you are really careful (I have kids). Much less painful for us as children to say I am not worthy of love.

    And so we carry that through to adulthood because the pain of not being loved is not faced. Childhood guilt at admitting this and old loyalties remain with us as adults.

    And it is hard to get rid of precisely until we admit that no, we were not loved. Facing that has been the fundamental step to healing for me. It is such a massive, fucking relief. It is huge. To admit it, and then look around, and realise, hey, the world did not implode when I admitted that, I am still alive. I am ok, the sun still shines. The house is still in one piece.

    Of course if we had admitted that as children we would have imploded mentally. So it was a GREAT tool back then and we have to congratulate the children we were for that skill in navigating a way to survive.

    But now as adults we can admit the lack of love back then.

    Yet I still struggle with it. I dealt with it with surrounding family, teachers etc who abused but with my mother I still sometimes give her the benefit of the doubt. Less and less and I am so much better at it, but the wiring of sons in protecting mothers is very very deep. And I have some shame too at feeling so attached to her despite the lack of care.

    Once we admit the truth of our childhoods and the lack of love, we can stop blaming ourselves as being unworthy. We can stop rejecting ourselves and learn to love ourselves again (as is the mark of every healthy child and adult). All simply because the cause of our self-attacks has gone (protecting the adults of our childhood).

    Someone told me once that we go looking for love endlessly to replace the hole in our hearts, but since that hole can only be filled by our selves, we remain needy until then.

    This forum is really helping remind me that the first, most important, paramount, healing thing is learning to love myself by admitting I wasn't loved back then.

    Some here may read this (warning: projection coming!) and say how gross and self-indulgent. But it is a truth I am learning to see as necessary and actually, sufficient too. All the other good stuff flows from this.

    So maybe all that is needed to heal is this. Just one thing. One to do. One task. Be kind and gentle to myself. To love myself. Even writing this, I cringe and a voice says "yuck, you self indulgent fuck, wet nose ass, loving yourself. hah. lame ass" etc.

    Yet, here is the kicker, it is when I roll back into self-rejection moods (like the last 2 months) that the urges to PMO, have an affair (see my journal!) return. Part of me was beginning to think I would never rid myself of urges. But no it was because I was reverting to childhood mental patterns of self hate.

    I am sorry if this is not relevant to you but when I read that beautiful quote and then the discussion of Caoimhín and imout it reminded me of this. And I wanted to write it out to remind myself again and maybe it can release me from the prison of my mind of the last 2 months.
  15. Guy_Stewart

    Guy_Stewart Well-Known Member

    Self-loathing was always part of my childhood for a million reasons. When it comes right down to it, loving ourselves gives us a foundation from which to love others. Not dependent on them to love us back when we pour our life into them, we can give without expectation of repayment.

    You're a wise man, Mc_rewired. Thanks for being part of my recovery!
  16. imout

    imout Active Member

    very moving post, MC. It hits me straight in the heart. I agree totally. I have not internalized this yet.

    My loathing is often projected onto the world around me. Im a habitual blamer. I resented my mother with a vengeance for a long time for rejecting me emotionally.

    I was confronted with this issue at my last SLAA meeting. Like in my own journal a few days ago I made a rigorous list of all my compulsive issues which I see as an ongoing strategy to avoid the emotional dangers of real life. I hammered it all out for them and even as I spoke I sounded to myself like those communists who in meetings were forced to do brutal self critique of their failings as reformed socialist beings.

    My sponsor just grinned and said only one sentence: Man you gotta have SOME vices.

    Another guy said: I think I hear someone else's voice speaking thru you. You are extremely hard on yourself.

    Tears came to my eyes. My mother... yes , i could hear her voice in it... she used to talk to me like that, pointing out my failings and withholding love as a consequence. The message always the same. You are annoying me, you are not conforming to mine and societies expectations (what would people think if they saw you right now , was one of her standard sayings), therefore you are not going to get my affection. being loved meant living to someones standard which was rarely achievable and certainly against my own inner instincts . My own standards were never even mentioned. I wasnt encouraged to develope my own standards and be proud of achieving them. As a teenager I was so full of resentment that I fought back with all my power. I developed my own standards around contradicting hers and societies. I became good at blaming , I harbored a brooding anger and projected it all outward.

    Even now Im still the guy with the way out opinions that contradict teh mainstream. scathing of public sentiments. Apparantly happy to be the noisy radical one man minority.

    I could see all that but not put it in perspective untill my reboot and self-development since. I can now own the reality that underneath that anger and projection it's actually me who I reject and resent. That I never had a secure and safe sense of self. That i was almost never able to just stand there calmly and happy within myself. Happy to be me and where I am at.

    Self-love is a bad term really for people like us. It sounds like narcissism. It conjures images of a gay guy in front of a mirror hugging himself. real men are supposed to be stoic as a rock. We arent supposed to need love. But I think I understand it now. Its about being happy within myself, caring for myself, knowing I deserve the best I can get, realizing that what Ive done in the past was necessary for my journey and I did what I could even if it was often detrimental for myself. Standing there under the blue sky (or the driving rain) and feeling the glorious day and that I am part of that glorious day. The glorious day is me.

    Sorry for invading your journal with my story. But your post triggered me a lot . I will read it again. There is stuff in there that makes me pause.
  17. Posse88

    Posse88 New Member

    Hi MC, Thank you for your story and your support throughout this website as you are 1 of many i have looked at that has giving me the motivation to start my recovery
  18. mcbc_rewired

    mcbc_rewired Active Member

    Thanks a lot guys. I am glad this resonated with some.

    I had been feeling pretty good and then started to feel that tell-tale lethargy again yesterday which spells a spiral down. Managed to do some exercise, and then slept early (those 2 especially the latter seem to do wonders for mood). Feel better today and got myself a list of tasks to be getting on with. And there are always many given the kids busy lives.

    So pushing on and keeping going. Fascinated by The Willpower book at the moment. I have issues with having the will to read it of course, but watched the google talk Bodhi linked to and beginning to see what this can mean. Essentially it seems a lot about awareness, i.e. mindfulness.

    Meditation off and on but hope I can keep it daily. Seems fundamental given the above too.

    Hope all well with everyone else.
  19. imout

    imout Active Member

    hey Mac, best wishes for xmas, hope you are well
  20. Guy_Stewart

    Guy_Stewart Well-Known Member

    Dear McRewired: Thinking of you this holiday season -- hope all is well!

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