Neurons that fire together wire together

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by Wabi-sabi, Jan 1, 2014.

  1. Mendoza

    Mendoza Well-Known Member

    By my troth, I think you nailed this on the head! :) Especially that bit about the self-hating white-knuckling gents. I do recognize the limited vision, the false motivation to vanquish the monster immediately post-relapse. One ingredient still missing from my journey is total self-acceptance. I do what I can to forgive my past, to be kind to myself. But the transition will take some time. If only we, on this forum, were all aware of this so that we could get this transition started. Unfortunately, not all of us are.:(

    What great insight. But I wonder... is sobriety the right term? I was thinking about fulfillment or happiness (sobriety does not even feel necessary if you have the first two). But I get it that you would need sobriety first in order to leave the relapse cycle behind. For me, the way to happiness and fulfillment would be got through cessation of all suffering. And I believe that it is something we can connect to within ourselves.
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  2. Wabi-sabi

    Wabi-sabi Imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete

    Healing begins with forgiveness - learning to let the past go. I accept that I did what I did because it was enjoyable, and I didn't realize it would be building a prison for myself. But then you need to heal a bit more, to feel that first spark of happiness, before you have the strength to look back over the past and evaluate things, and really let it go.

    My journey has shown me that regretting the past and fearing the future are two sides of the same coin. I don't know if they are manifestations of unhappiness, or if they actually cause it (or, possibly, both at the same time). I think happiness is being alive to the here and now, feeling connected to other people and content with reality.

    Regret and fear cause relapse, and are the main drivers of addiction. Rebooting, as opposed to white-knuckling, is focusing on both so that happiness will then be able to grow.

    I spend a lot of time in rebooting facing up to my fears. Ultimately, that's why I think running and cold showers have given me a great boost. Both are things you dread beforehand, because you know they are going to be uncomfortable. . . but afterwards you feel great about yourself for facing up to something you dreaded, and doing it well.

    You don't suddenly become happy and connected in a day, it's something you have to nurture. Mediation helps me make peace with myself. It also takes the rough edges off. (I notice a heaviness when I've not been able to meditate for a couple of days.)

    Strangely enough, one thing that helps me is that I had problems with alcohol, then dabbled with drugs, before I found this site. I shouldn't say this, but I tell myself that PMO has been far less damaging to my physical health and finances than more than over a decade of substance abuse would have been.

    I agree. I flip flop on the term sobriety, but I think it has a simplicity about it. I know it's about not doing something, and smacks of day counting, whereas happiness and fulfillment are active. . . but it's easier to measure sobriety - you are either relapsed last night or you didn't. Concepts like happiness and fulfillment are more subjective. And, to be honest, I went through a low time earlier in the month. I was still rebooting, and still sober, although I felt crappy. As ever, I'm pleased to have gone through this: it's easy to reboot when things are going well, but it's the tough times that teach you survival skills. Everyone goes through the pink cloud phase early in their reboot, but that's just magical thinking - life gets tough, people around us will be difficult, shit happens. It's how we get through the bad times that counts.

    Recently I've become aware of the ways people intensify their own pain - whenever something bad happens we multiply problems through longing or aversion. We constantly ping-pong between these states: we worry about something (aversion) so spend the evening in a PMO session (longing). It's far more healthy to learn to be happy in the here and now, pleased with what we've got.

    I think everyone with an addiction - any addiction - has an unfulfilled spiritual need. We were just looking for transcendence in the wrong places.

    The good news is that I'm feeling better about myself than I was a couple of weeks ago, when I was fighting urges. I've passed through a few difficult days and feel stronger for it. (Unfortunately I didn't have chance to post here, which would have helped.)
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2017
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  3. 40New30

    40New30 Keep going

    This is true, if we were balanced and aware when we became addicted to porn...well, we wouldn't have gotten addicted. Once you get off porn you have to search for those gaps in your spiritual life.
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  4. fcjl8

    fcjl8 The only path for me

    You are right on in this in my opinion... my pastor who also struggles with PMO... said to me 4 years ago, that PMO was seeking "false intimacy". He meant spiritual intimacy.
  5. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    And, this is a decision. After stopping PMO I decided to embrace what I had. It didn't feel natural, it didn't feel easy. When we decide we take action and this action leads to movement. Movement leads to the probability that new things will happen inside our hearts and heads.
  6. bobjes

    bobjes Active Member

    Learning to deal with the day to day emotional landscape. Even when challenging. Without hiding in PMO. But dealing with what is at hand in a healthier way.

    Your transformation is a thing of beauty and a joy to behold. :)
  7. Mendoza

    Mendoza Well-Known Member

    I don't know how you come up with these quotes... all I know is that I'm left puzzled, trying to communicate applause through writing.;)

    This would be the second case - I know of - of a servant of the Christian Church having a P addiction. The other one I knew left the addiction behind, but only after consulting a coach. How many more faith-based professionals with a PMO addiction is anyone's guess...
  8. Wabi-sabi

    Wabi-sabi Imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete

    I'm wondering if the ones who know they are flawed are actually better pastors, more able to connect with everyday people. Everyone has a battle they are fighting, and these damaged priests might be better at accepting our pain than the ones who are assured they are saintly.

    Thank you everyone who posted such kind words on my journal - you really do give me strength. I'll come back to some of the comments later, when I have more time.

    I've been crazy busy at work - which, for me, is a good thing, because it makes me feel useful and competent - and my wife has been stressed and difficult. But three years of rebooting has given me the strength to go through this. At one time I'd have just crumpled and sought oblivion in PMO.

    Anyone can get through the good times, so I'm strangely proud to say that I've got through times of being tired, stressed, down and angry. I've wanted to relapse, of course - don't we all? But. . . I guess I've built up the habit of not relapsing.

    But I don't think things have been dismal, it's just that I'm going through a process of learning to deal with emotions. I have to face them, now I'm not letting myself hide. But I have the coping skills of a teenager - I've been hiding since I was 17, in alcohol, drugs and more recently porn. You stop growing emotionally when you get addicted - because you never have to connect with anything or anyone. It makes me wonder what my wife and children make of me, going from being a zombie to a highly strung teenager (at times).

    One thing I've been working on recently is the idea of magical thinking. How for years I've thought that all sorts of things would make my self-hatred go away: alcohol, drugs, porn, relationships, marriage, faith, no-fap, rebooting. . . funny how I thought doing the magic 90 would make me complete again, and the powers, too! But really, rebooting is just the process of acknowledging my suffering, accepting my insecurities. I'm forgiving myself, and learning to connect with happiness.

    I went into this thinking that when I was rebooted I'd be stress-free and happy the whole time, so when I did feel bad I thought I wasn't doing so well, which kind of pushed me into relapsing. But now I'm realizing that I'll still get tough times - the difference is I'll get through the pain without falling apart. And if I'm down, at least I'm not a porn addict.

    There's no magic. The harder you work at rebooting, the luckier you get.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2017
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  9. Boxer17

    Boxer17 Active Member

    I really appreciate how you said about knowing there are hard times in life and facing them and learning to not fall apart.
  10. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    Yup. The magic is get to feel our pain and happiness.
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  11. fcjl8

    fcjl8 The only path for me

    One of the wise sages of YBR when I first came here a few years back... JDoe used to call it Leaning into the storm or something similar to that. I thought that was with regards to facing difficulty clear and sober... not numbed out on PMO. So both our victories and losses are experienced full on.
  12. Wabi-sabi

    Wabi-sabi Imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete

    I think it's been two weeks since I posted - I had a family vacation in there, and a whole bunch of crazy busy days at work.

    I've got a new boss, and I've changed my strategy. I'm working harder, trying to support the organization rather than doing stuff just to show I'm smarter than the management. I've put myself at the centre of a bunch of on-going projects, and they are talking about making me a manager later in the year and giving me a pay rise with it. (But it's always jam tomorrow, isn't it?) At the same time I'm signing up for some skills training that will help me get a better paying job. Either way I win. Actually, I'm already winning, because I'm getting a huge buzz out of getting stuff done and being valued.

    Things at home have been a bit strained, but I think that's because I started fighting back more. It only looks worse. . . a few years back, at the height of my addiction, we didn't really fight because things were too fragile. (We did have these weird confrontations every couple of months, usually late on a Sunday, with my wife detailing my many sins in cold anger.)

    Over the past couple of weeks I've been back to running - I'm now running 5k three times a week. My times are improving. Friday night I was just angry at the world so I pushed myself hard, equaled my best time on a hilly course. I ran hard to punish myself rather than relapsing. I might go up to 10k tomorrow morning, but I'll take it slow if I do.

    Had a couple of triggers today, both via Twitter. The first was reading about the no clothes bike ride thing, which was in Vancouver today (I'm trying not to re-trigger myself here), the other was a photo of people on a clothing-optional beach. No dopamine rush, but a big huge desire to go chasing after one. But I didn't.

    I was thinking about how I managed to stay clean after a tough week at work and some wife fighting when I clicked on 40New30's journal and read his line: ". . . just keep quitting until you quit, there is no wasted effort."

    That's it - keep on quitting! It's building a habit. A habit of not watching porn, which is really a habit of coping with bad days and other people's mental health. The Power of Habit was a game-changer for me. Everything fell into place when I read that, and then Pema Chodron told me why I was trying to hide - and there's my approach, equal parts science and religion.

    As I said in my last post, I've been thinking about magical thinking: you go from thinking porn will make you happy to thinking not-porn will make you happy. But that's dangerous, because you can reboot for months and still have shitty days. . . and that's when porn calls. The habit of looking for happiness in porn is still strong. But every day I keep on quitting I'm building the coping habit, learning to not get attached to my pain.

    So you build up the habit of coping with being low or lonely, and of observing these as passing states that are all part of life. It's all lust and aversion, really.
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  13. Wabi-sabi

    Wabi-sabi Imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete

    I ran 10k last night in 55 minutes, which is close to my best time when I was really running. I'm back, and it feels great.

    I enjoy every minute of running, but it's also does me the world of good to feel I'm good at something. Exercise is probably up there with self-forgiveness when it comes to rebooting.

    My boss today was helping me with career development stuff, giving me training and leadership options in the future. She actually said she didn't want me to leave, but that she'd help me develop my career in the way she did hers, which helped, but told me I also need to be more positive about myself. I'd called myself an asshole a couple of days in a row. I was joking around, but she told me I'll never get anywhere if that's how I see myself (her words were more friendly than it looks written down). I've worked on the inner negative talk for a couple of years now, no longer calling myself a loser, but I still let negative stuff into the conversation - especially through humour. Or rather, I hide behind humour to say stuff I don't have the guts to bring into regular conversation.

    So this will be my next challenge, to be more positive about myself. In the past couple of weeks I've stopped snacking on sugary foods, although I'll take dessert when it's offered. I'm not on a diet, I'm building healthy habits into my life - I was having the worst runs of my life after sugar (possibly this is because the body doesn't need to burn fat because there is a lesser fuel available). Next, I'll work on how I present myself to others. I need more affirmations, and I'll work more on my confidence, and especially my greater willingness to talk about my failures than successes.

    I talked all this through with my wife when I got home from work, and asked her for support. I asked her to please stop running down my job or making out I'm a failure: although the wages aren't great, I'm working. She was of course critical, saying that she'd told me six years ago to get training and skills, and it's taken me this long to realize she was right. I tried to get her to understand that I'd lacked the confidence, and that I'd actually had 10-15 unsuccessful interviews over this time, but she said it was a numbers game and I had to keep on trying.

    She tried to sugar the pill, talking about me reaching my potential, but that was just her being smart and trying to continue the argument in a different form. At one level she thinks she's helping, that she can be a bitch because the ends justify the means, but with my low self-confidence and self-esteem, being called stupid and a failure (which she has done in the past) only makes me incapable of getting ahead. What pisses me off more than anything is that she wants a rich, alpha guy, but wasn't hot enough to get one. So she married me, thinking she'd change me. When I wasn't capable of reaching the top, she started to resent my failure (as she sees it). Over the years I've suggested a few well-paid guys she should date so I could bail knowing she'd got the mortgage covered, but she flies into a rage that she wants to be with me. But, obviously, not the me that lives with her.

    Nevertheless, I need to build habits around positive affirmation, and make the wife realize that she's getting me down with her constant negativity. I'm going to tell her we need couples counselling.
  14. titan_transcendence

    titan_transcendence Well-Known Member

    I have begun to think that this is somehow natural behavior of women towards their mates, when we fail to win their respect. They just cant help but be overtly critical and taking a negative tone what they are saying. As you said, their intent might be good, but the way that the message is conveyed is a wrong one. I think that women want to look up of their mates, if man for whatever reason shows any sign of weakness, it makes the woman irritated and maybe deep down insecure of her choice of partner. Im sure this is mostly problem for "nice guys".
    Its kind of way of nature that the man should always earn the respect of his woman.

    Anyways, what I try to say in here, that we, as a men, should just understand our women and not let those negative comments and arguments wound us too deeply. We can not rely to our women to manage and thrive in the world, the man's journey is quite lonely one. We should reach out support for other men, who understand our troubles in life better than women (as other women understand better the problems that females share).

    That said, you have amazing insights in your journal and you seem to progress very well. Do not let the negativity of others in your life to bring your down, just follow your own calling and let that inner light of wisdom that you obviously have, guide you to ahead.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2017
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  15. devnull

    devnull Member

    Nicely said TT!

    I'd add that it is hard to gain the respect of a woman if we don't respect ourselves. Women are good at seeing weaknesses like that, and getting the knives out (it's nothing personal, just female nature, like you say). But how can we respect ourselves if we are active raging addicts? I never could, and so my (ex) woman ended up wearing the trousers in our relationship.

    Get off porn, then the self respect will fix itself, and then the woman will fall into line, and/or the man will be impervious to the digs. That's my take.
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  16. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    I agree with devnull. Nice guys marry someone who will enable them and we turn enable them. The biggest turn around in my relationship was not giving a fuck what my wife said anymore and also not complaining to her at all about my feelings. Your wife isn't the person who takes care of your tender heart. I know, that's a shock to hear and consider, but it's the truth. There may be women out there who are amazingly supportive, always understanding, while at the same time acknowledging our manhood, but they are few and far between. We are all socially condition and it's entirely predictable how we all react to each other.

    I personally would not suggest counseling. Asking to go for counseling is conceding that you are weak and need someone to intervene for you; this is how your wife will perceive it. She will also take it as an insult, because you will be implicitly indicating that she is just not good enough for you. You see, it works both ways. Your behavior has also made her feel unworthy; hence why she bitches you out and criticizes you. This isn't about becoming an Alpha male, per se, it's about claiming your masculine power. I have changed the dynamic of my relationship substantially by not looking toward my wife for love and support. She's the mother of my kids and we fuck, because I need to fuck a real woman. In between that stark reality we manage to have some fun and intimacy. I'm her support, but she is not mine. I have one male friend who I turn to for emotional support (that basically means a bitch session about "the cunt") and I have this forum.

    I'm loving your energy, Wabi. You've got this!
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  17. 40New30

    40New30 Keep going

    The further away you get from porn the more your balls will return...keep going, bro.
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  18. Wabi-sabi

    Wabi-sabi Imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete

    Wow - thank you everyone. I come here to get my thoughts together - this is therapy, for me.

    This. You nailed it here.

    I've realized that I have a reasonable level of self-confidence, but poor self-esteem. I'm results-orientated; I'm the guy people come to at work to get things done, and what I'm good at I'm very good at. But I'm terrible at telling this to people; they have to see me doing it to get it. I don't project confidence. I come across as weak, because I'm conflict averse. I generally don't fight, I get surly and shut people out, then go and do the task my own way. I make it a success - I'm smart and I work hard - but no-one thanks me, 'cos making it work my way looks like I set out to prove them wrong. (Which would be true, of course.)

    I've had a whole bunch of unsuccessful job interviews. My wife thinks I should keep on getting more lined up, that the law of averages means I'll fall into a high-paying gig; my take is that failure wears at my self-esteem and makes me less likely to do well the next time around. I realized that I come across as weak when I'm talking to her about work, so I've taken to telling her about all that I'm doing to build skills and move ahead. I've also told her to STFU with her negativity about my current situation 'cos she ain't helping. When she does, I list financially successful guys we know that she should bring in to replace me, which is basically a way of avoiding conflict - taking a flamethrower to the relationship.

    Funny you saying about the man's journey being lonely. I stumbled across a link this morning to a video about a feminist who spent 18 months dressed and acting as a man. It's interesting because she was shocked that, rather than male privilege, she found constant soul-crushing rejection and loneliness. [EDIT: She's gay, and poses as a man on dates. . . might trigger someone.]

    Feminists compare women only to the top 10 per cent of men, without considering what life is like for the rest of us. It drives me nuts that my wife expects me to be more alpha in the workplace, but at the same time capitulate in the house.

    Perfect observations, thank you devnull.

    I've been reading Pema Chodron's When Things Fall Apart, which is basically saying that we fill our lives up with noise - meaningless, addictive pleasure-seeking behaviours - to avoid spending time with ourselves. She says we're always creating storylines, holding onto emotions, keeping ourselves angry or chasing pleasure, but the solution to our problems lies in observing our own imperfections, and living with them. "To be alive, fully human, and fully awake is to be continuously thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man's-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again. From the awakened point of view, that's life."

    It really helped me, because I've had a roller-coaster couple of weeks, emotionally speaking. Rebooting hasn't made me any happier, but I'm better at being down. . . frightened, angry, lonely. . . whatever. That negativity doesn't cling to me so much; I guess it's lost its power to terrify me. Relapsing doesn't seem like it offers anything, nor does it frighten me. I'm learning to live with myself, rather than continuously running from fears or dreaming about pleasure. I guess I'll have to build self-esteem this way, building up new skills until I feel overall competent. (Which is what the Slight Edge told us all along.)

    And that, I think, is probably the second stage of my reboot: the first was building self-confidence by doing stuff, but for the next I'll need to live with success and begin to feel better about myself.

    Pure gold, Saville - thank you.

    We enable each other, my wife and I. In many ways, the dynamic was more stable when I was a self-hating porn addict; she kept out of my way because a puff of wind would have caused the whole marriage/family/mortgage thing to collapse. Now I'm rebooting, and I'm back in society, feeling emotions again. . . I've got to build coping skills because I get hurt too easily, and have a need for emotional support. I have to admit some hypocrisy, that I feel my wife should be more traditional and focus on making me happier, while she thinks I should be more traditional and be the breadwinner.

    I feel the same way as you about counselling, thinking about it. Actually, I use it as a threat. And in my fantasies, it would be a great opportunity to tell her, in a controlled environment, how her mental health (anxiety) has derailed our relationship, and if things don't change, I'm out the day our youngest graduates high school. That, of course, would turn out as well as you'd expect. Also, I talk about hot chicks in the neighbourhood, and leave her feeling unworthy. And I make fat gags, too. Really, it's another way of avoiding conflict; I throw in hand grenades and get out of the room.

    Hopefully, this won't look either masochistic or misogynistic. I'm just trying to figure out how I can be happier, and how to make my wife satisfied with me.

    This! I want my balls back!
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2017
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  19. Wabi-sabi

    Wabi-sabi Imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete

    HeyRevolver, that's one of the most beautiful pieces of writing I've read.

    Women and dogs, they smell your fear, don't they?

    I looked through my earlier post, and the word that keeps coming off the page is weakness. I have a terror of being weak. It's what triggers me - and what makes me weak. It's what brought me to hide from the world in PMO, and got me embracing failure because life seemed easier with low expectations.

    Strength begins with accepting myself as I am. But I'm not beating myself up for not yet being at that happy/strong place. Actually, I've come a long way in the last three-and-a-half years of rebooting. I no longer feel inadequate or worthless, and I've largely faced up to my negative self-talk. I have replaced many of my negative habits and no longer seek to hide from pain or fear. I now have self-confidence, and feel good about myself as a runner and positive about work.

    But I still have low self-esteem, and my main hangup is around women. I guess that's why PMO. . . all those stash folders was a way of controlling them. I spent my teens and twenties considering myself a failure with women because I treated them to well (but really because I was too timid), and this thinking still poisons my relationships now. I don't know why I can't make my wife happy, but she acts controlling and demeaning and disinterested in anything I do except my pay cheque, and this just makes me have lower self-esteem and more fear of intimacy. Somewhere along the way she turned into my mom, which has evaporated my sexual desire. (Her story is that she grew up in poverty, and seems to project onto me her Dad's periodic inability to put food on the table. . . the anxiety became all consuming after childbirth.)

    So I have to change the message, change the storyline. Build self-esteem by learning new skills, by becoming more successful at work. I also need to do some relationship fixing, but I think I need to make myself more likable in her eyes first (i.e. worth more money).

    Thing is, I'm not bothered either way. She's had better, she's had worse. I know it's another one of those lines that I say out of exasperation that will go on to poison things, but really, If all you want is money, then find a guy with money - simple as that. I am what I am, kill yourself or get over it. (That's where I differ from the Nice Guy paradigm.)
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2017
  20. Wabi-sabi

    Wabi-sabi Imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete

    Feeling more positive today. And I actually learned a couple of lessons, which are worth noting for future use.

    I went for a run this morning. On my way out I passed two chicks, and then, coming back again (I run two 5k routes to get to 10k) passed them strolling along with coffees. "On a second lap?," asked one. "Yeah," I said, "but you don't know how far it actually is." They laughed, then I realized it was the story of all my interactions with women, ever. I managed to turn them being impressed into being laughed at, with a self-depreciating gag. At a young age I read that women like a man with a sense of humour more than anything else. That's crap. It's the worst thing that could have happened to me, it got me thinking that laughter led to love. Far from it. They like a man who tells them he's cool, rich and successful. It's probably a self-belief thing, which explains why women love jerks so much. (Yes, I'm married, I was running and sweaty, I wasn't looking for dates. . . it was the habit that I noticed.)

    With that, I felt down about myself for ruining virtually every opportunity with women over my life, and got thinking that if I'd actually dated successfully before I met my wife, I would have gone into the relationship with more self-esteem, and she'd have valued me more. I actually thought, just before the wedding, that it meant I'd never to have to go through the hell of dating ever again. Seeing myself as a failure with women didn't make me treasure this woman who wanted to be with me, and certainly didn't enable me to make her happy. (She has laughed at me about my lack of girlfriends, which really fucking hurt.)

    Consequently I had one of the most grueling runs of my life - remember, I was half way through by this point, and I'd been making good time until then. I didn't zone out, instead, from that point it was just me forcing myself on, every step of the way. Another lesson: when I start to feel sorry for myself, I'm sunk. I pushed myself on with the mantra that by running when I wanted to give up I'd improve my confidence, which would in turn make me feel better about myself and help my self-esteem. As it happened, I actually finished at 55 minutes, which is same time as last week, and I did feel better about myself for pushing on with the run. Although without the joyful meditative sense you get from a run. (More lessons: I can actually fake it 'till I make it. . . although it's no fun at the time.)

    I've been thinking as well about No More Mr. Nice Guy, which I read a bunch of last night. I get the impression author Robert Glover took every passive aggressive trope going and turned it into the nice guy idea. I'm not so sure about it; you can be cool to people without all that self-hatred, surely. . . Parts of it applied to me, and there's useful stuff in there, particularly by showing the mean spiritedness and rage of people that think themselves helpers. Above all, it got me thinking about myself, and with that I got observing myself interacting with people. I realized that, rather than confrontation-adverse, I'm actually very argumentative. If I disagree with someone, they know it. I really do tell people to kill themselves or get over it (and did this morning). It's not confrontation that gets me, it's yelling and anger. I can't cope with that. I do get angry, but it's that cold anger when you say the most hurtful thing you can possibly think of to get that person to shut up and get out of your face.

    Anyway, we've been doing family stuff the rest of the day. Wife happier with me - I've learned that you take the good days and enjoy them for what they are, without worrying about the past or the future.

    Looking ahead: no more self-depreciation. I'm learning self-esteem in its place.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2017
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  21. Boxer17

    Boxer17 Active Member

    Wow. Enjoy hear of your running and the different mental passages you go through. Meditative, anger management, self competition. It must be a real stress reliever
    And learning how to take life one day at a time

  22. Wabi-sabi

    Wabi-sabi Imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete

    Thanks, Boxer17. Running is the greatest: I've found my exercise. It's meditative, but at the same time I have this insane desire to run faster, further. Happiness is beating your own times and distances.

    To my surprise, I'm competitive. When I see another runner out there I go past them so fast they think they've stopped. (You gotta keep going so you disappear into the sunset, too.)

    I had a 20-minute disagreement with my new boss at work today - why did I ever think I was conflict-averse? She's talking about shutting down productive stuff that doesn't fit into her marketing/branding worldview, guys that are doing good stuff, but doing it their way. Kind of how I do stuff, really - I'm a cowboy. Why is it that when people get into senior management they start acting like they are running Nike, going on about the brand all the time? Tell them we got to get big first and they act like you just shat in their office.

    During the process I got to watch myself being argumentative, which reassured me about my self-confidence. Also, I realized why my old boss hated me. Let's just say he never met a salesman he didn't like. He loved people that told him they were the coolest and then shut up and let him talk crap, and told him he was smart. I'm the opposite: with low self-esteem I never told him I'm a world champion, but being confident I'd tell him when his ideas were stupid.

    Another lesson. Another great day.
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  23. Boxer17

    Boxer17 Active Member

    My favorite form of exercise is bicycle riding. Love it.
    I applaud you asserting yourself when you are confident of your facts and knowing where you stand.
    Sometimes I think my lack of confidence makes escaping into P seem attractive.
    You stood for what you believed was right with your boss. That courage will spill over into other areas of your life
    HeyRevolver likes this.
  24. Wabi-sabi

    Wabi-sabi Imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete

    Boxer17, thanks.

    When I first started here, around three-and-a-half years ago, I thought it was just porn. It had ruined my life, and all I had to do was be strong, show some willpower, and pull myself together and everything would fall together. After a bunch of relapses, and despair, I finally got real with myself about what was causing me to PMO: at the time I said fear. But looking back, I can see when I said fear, I really meant lack of confidence. What is fear but a lack of belief in yourself?

    It's been a great journey since then, and I've shone a light onto all sorts of dark places. I wouldn't change it for the world. To my surprise, it's turned out to be a spiritual journey. It's as if I had to start liking myself before I could open up to the bigger picture.

    Hopefully, self-confidence will spill over into self-esteem. I've already taken a get-tough approach with people that piss me off. I had a noisy argument with my wife on Tuesday night, when she called me stupid and a loser and I told her to find a rich guy, and I've kind of been distant since. I've not been sulking, I've been talking and cooperative, but I've moved into the basement and been doing my own thing. I'm letting her know I can be civil, and act like a dad in front of the children. . . but I'm going to be out of the house on my own timetable, and generally distant until she starts playing nice. If she wants I'll have the talk, when I tell her everything, but once we have the talk, there's no going back. There's no going ahead if we don't. . .

    My emotions have been all over the place recently. I'm not hiding behind PMO any more, which means I'm back to being a teenager. I think I've gone back to the time I discovered alcohol. . . I've been hiding behind something ever since. Fear. No confidence. Low self-esteem. I'm 47, that's probably 30 years of hiding. Never mind the past, I've got 30 fantastic and exciting years ahead of me.

    One thing I need to address is my issues with feeling a failure with women. I was talking to my wife this morning about how difficult it is to be a guy and approach women when you have low self-esteem, because being a man is all about taking rejection and humiliation and bouncing back - especially when you're skinny like me and chicks don't have that raw attraction. She went into some pity party about how it's harder for women, waiting for guys that dated you to call back. But you got approached, you got a date, I don't see that as a great problem. Actually, that's another of my current issues - if I say I've got a bruise on my leg, hers has been chewed off by tigers. She has to have the last word.

    Still, I need to change my storyline about women. Maybe that will come together with self-esteem, maybe I need to have an affair to blow it out of my system. Let's see where this crazy ride takes me!

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