Rat in the attic

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by A New Man, Jul 23, 2014.

  1. A New Man

    A New Man White Knuckle Brigade 2013

    Feeling a bit off today from lack of sleep (child-related).

    i mentioned before i have been swimming to reduce shoulder pain. It's going well, better than i expected. The pain has gone (apart from slight twinges now and then), but there have been all kinds of side benefits, like increased mobility of the joints, increased strength, generally feeling less "fragile". I've regained function i didn't even know i'd lost, so pretty bloody pleased about that. The other thing is i now begin each swim with a running dive, which is so exhilarating. Don't know what's gotten into me (haha actually i do- the reboot).

    I chat to a lot of other parents these days, and there is one dad i talk to a lot because our kids are good friends and have been for 3 years. Anyway the other day my kids were running around as we were just wrapping up the conversation, and one of mine pushed the other one of mine over on her ass. I shouted at the offender and told her she wouldn't be getting afternoon tea as a punishment for being rough (she actually got an apple instead of ice cream, i'm not a complete monster lol). Anyway this guy looked incredibly embarrassed at my reaction and has been avoiding me since, and i find it odd, because i didn't lose my shit, i just raised my voice and made my displeasure known. I guess parents have different thresholds and standards, but this guy mustn't say boo to his kids. In the past this kind of incident would have sent my ego into a spiral but now i just think "What's up with that?" and get on with life.

    Must say I'm missing the Harry Potter reading. The kids have been misbehaving more, or perhaps i had forgotten how they normally behave during the respite.

    Weird journal entry, but besides work and kids there's nothing much else happening right now.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2019
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  2. Fish Hawk

    Fish Hawk Well-Known Member

    Mind peace and body calmness. Need that----- sounds nice !
    A New Man likes this.
  3. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    You should indeed let it go and it is great that you can. I wish I was better in that.

    So I guess this is a very normal journal entry, but for a weird board :p. Look forward to see more of these journal entries of a recovered new man.
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  4. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    He's probably a "nice" guy. I yelled at my kids when they were young, but, like you, also showed them a lot of love. As I wrote on GH's journal: we're allowed to make mistakes. Not that you did, mind you. How you reacted sounds absolutely reasonable. The best piece of parenting advice I ever got was: do what you think is best. Sometimes that best is shouting. :)
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  5. A New Man

    A New Man White Knuckle Brigade 2013

    Cheers Bobo. Not sure if it's peace and calm or plain old exhaustion today.

    Haha, yeah i sometimes forget we're a bunch of total freaks around here lol. Actually no- we're a bunch of regular guys who lucked-out by finding this place, as somewhere where we can come to share our stories and try to help each other. This place has changed my life profoundly. Group hug! :D

    Yeah, i think shouting has its place, but it can't be the only thing in the arsenal so to speak. I hug my kids a lot and they still reach for my hand in public even though they're getting older. I used to shout too much when they were younger, because i was sleep-deprived, stressed, strung-out. I'm trying to teach my kids how to regulate their emotions these days (especially the youngest one who goes off like a firecracker) and finally i feel i'm in a place where i can show them what that looks like, so this guy's reaction was funny timing and seemed rather extreme. I find his capacity to shut people out for relatively minor misdemeanors actually more aggressive than my raised voice. Life's too short and no one's perfect.
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  6. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    I do, too. Many parents are cowed by political correctness. Often it's the people who are amazing to their kids in public who are monsters at home.
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  7. Pete McVries

    Pete McVries Well-Known Member

    I didn't know that you knew my mother :D
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  8. MissingSelfCompassion

    MissingSelfCompassion Active Member

    So @Saville suggested I check out your journal and I've read the last 3 pages looking for the content he mentioned. I'm struck by your documentation of the changes in you between clean and the small relapses. I have been focused on trying to learn more about my depression. Noticing the patterns and giving myself credit for the changes I am making and the work I am doing. Your examination of the brain fog and the way you've perceived others is really eye opening to me. I felt something similar when I tried to reboot before. The last few weeks have been stressful and I haven't been sober. Now, after reading your journal pages, I see my own fog, the agitation, and the way I'm isolating myself. Thanks ANM.

    Also, I'm in the middle of Pema's When Things Fall Apart and her stuff has really hit me too. So much so, that I think I should have finished it by now, but it almost makes me cry at every chapter. Like dealing with my own pain, it's uncomfortable and I want to avoid it. Thus, I know it's a good book for me and keep pushing myself.
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  9. A New Man

    A New Man White Knuckle Brigade 2013

    Hey MSC, I'm glad you got something out of what i wrote- Pema is so great, i can't say enough good things about her. I was caught in a cycle of long abstinence and relapse for several years, but since i found her i feel like i'm beginning to heal properly.

    I just read your journal. You and i have a great deal in common but the fact our partners are the main breadwinner is the big one. To use Saville's term pmo keeps us "powered down" and we are in a kind of caretaker mode. We don't assert ourselves like other men do (not saying that is always a bad thing) and our women, who are already probably very strong minded, independent types (which is why we connected with them), are forced to rely more and more on themselves and we fade further into the background of our own lives. I have a couple of observations that may help.

    First off is quitting pmo will work magic in your relationship without everything having to be discussed. Your energy will change and your woman will pick up on it and she will start to change in response. I never talked about quitting pmo with my wife, initially because i was a coward (and felt shame to use your word), but after a while it was because i realized quitting was about me and dragging her into it wasn't going to change anything (i know other guys have argued differently). We started to have more sex, every couple of months, instead of every six months. Also i lost my ED (erectile dysfunction) when having sex, which was something she reacted very positively to, because it meant i wanted to be there with her and she was enough to get me off. She started buying herself nicer clothes again, and started taking my side more with the kids instead of undermining me. I sometimes saw her smiling to herself around the place, and she started humming and singing more. I can't tell you how good it was to see that.

    Second, quitting pmo has a lot of benefits, but in order to quit pmo long term you need to become more resilient. I knew I needed to do that, but until I found Pema Chodron, I didn't really know what that even meant, let alone how to achieve it. I used to have constant negative monologue running all the time, about myself and about others. I blew things out of proportion, assumed the worst of people, made everything about me, inwardly i was fucking miserable and a bit of a jerk. Thanks to Pema's teaching I started labeling all that stuff "ego" and letting it go. Times when I would have relapsed before, for example, when I felt socially humiliated, now i could draw on Pema's advice (like casting a spell "Ego begone!") and it saved me from relapse. After you've done that a few times, you realize that these crises are really an artifact of your own mind (of your own making) and have little to do with reality or the world.

    On one hand you've got to be selfish and say "I'm doing this for me", "The world can go screw itself" etc, but on the other hand you need to stop making everything about yourself and listening to that inner critic who has been undermining you for years. Focus on recognising that voice and shutting it down and just see what happens...

    The best thing about the reboot has been realizing the voice in my head is not who I am. I am far more than that voice.

    Hope my reply doesn't come over too preachy. It's just your situation reminded me a lot of my own and so i figure what helped me could help you too.
  10. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    If ever there was a magic pill it is this!

    We need to find other ways of looking at our lives. I've read Pema, too, as well as Richard Rohr, Thich Nhat Hahn, and many others. They have helped changed the narrative that A New Man talks about, the negative self-talk. Reading and writing in the journals is also really helpful. We can never reinforce the good stuff enough!
  11. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Wow this hits the spot for me. "Social humiliations" are perhaps, by far, my biggest source of relapsing. I call them "social faux-pas" (taking a social misstep). They are so damn painful when I go through them and it's a challenge to keep level headed and not fall in a negative spiral then. Indeed it must be the ego that gets hurt. I'll definitely try to see it this way when the next one happens (of course there will be another one coming up and that's fine) which should help in dealing with the "bruises" at that moment, in letting it go. Remembering as you say that in the end it's just my ego who took a hit.

    I'm glad Saville mentioned this journal in Gilgamesh's one.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019
  12. A New Man

    A New Man White Knuckle Brigade 2013

    Last weekend was the biggest hobby event for the year. For the first time my wife and kids were able to come along, and they really enjoyed it. I think it will become an annual event for all of us now, which I'm pleased about. One of my kids said it was "the best day of my life". The wife also seemed genuinely enthused, like when we were 19 y/o and used to attend stuff like this every month or so.

    My parents-in-law were visiting and also attended. They have been quite critical about my choices vis a vis career and being a stay at home dad, so this was a chance to show them the value in what i do (not that i feel i need to prove anything to them any more, pretty bloody over it tbh...). They enjoyed it, despite themselves.

    3 weeks ago I had wine with dinner for the first time in months. Woke up at 3am with a splitting headache (migrane?). I thought perhaps my brain had changed quite a bit recently with the focus on staying present and shutting down negative chatter. Another clue to the brain change is my daily work output has picked up by about 25%. As a freelance who gets paid per word, this directly translates as a 25% pay increase, if I can keep the momentum going.

    Still exercising twice a week.

    Interestingly, the night before the big hobby event i had a full-on porn dream, the first in a long time. The connection between stress and PMO is still deep in there. Thankfully i didn't orgasm irl because of the dream (sleeping on the sofa, it would have been awkward the next morning). When I o-ed in the dream, the object/target of my attention said afterwards "Even you, ANM." I sometimes get religious dreams and this felt like one of them. I don't take them seriously anymore. Western religion never did me any favours. Buddhism, on the other hand, is the shit.

    Mother's Day coming up this weekend in Oz. Looking forward to spoiling the wife a bit.
  13. Fish Hawk

    Fish Hawk Well-Known Member

    I dont wish to be a pain but whats ANM?
  14. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    @A New Man
  15. Fish Hawk

    Fish Hawk Well-Known Member

    Ah thank you Gil!
  16. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    These are little psychic ties to the past, I think. On the eve of the event you confronted your porn past. "Even you, ANM" sound rather cryptic, doesn't it? What does that mean to you? Even you can be drawn back into the clutches of P? Even you can be free to seek something higher?
  17. Boxer17

    Boxer17 Active Member

  18. MissingSelfCompassion

    MissingSelfCompassion Active Member

    Per the dream, my psychiatrist once posited that dreams may be a side effect of the brain rewiring. So, when I have porn dreams, I try to give the brain the benefit of doubt.
  19. A New Man

    A New Man White Knuckle Brigade 2013

    Yeah, I interpreted it as "Even you can be drawn back into the clutches of P". "I think I'm special and can beat it", that's the warning in the dream, for me, the old mindset that i am somehow special and don't have to work for it, the underlying idea being that life is unfair (poor me) and I am justified in seeking comfort in porn or whatever (alcohol, chocolate). That's the teenage mindset, the boy who never grew up- if I look hard at my life I have been blessed in so many ways, good education, lucky in love, good health (so far), the only thing holding me back has been me, and the idea that i deserve more. Entitlement.

    Had another funny dream 2 nights ago, the sequel i guess. In it i was in a new supermarket and the queues were hundreds of people long. I walked right past the line and through the cashier. There was a construction site outside and i literally walked into a big puddle of shit carrying my shopping bags. I was angry, how could workmen leave a sewer open, what were they thinking... I interpret the dream as me bypassing a lot of worldly stuff with Buddhism (walking passed people still caught up in it) but when I'm "beyond" the cashier I still stumble into a pile of shit (pmo/relapse) which is waiting for me. One of the workmen helped me wash the shit off my shopping and I kept moving. So I suppose the message is "just keep going, even if your bags do stink like shit". Thanks for the heads up, Super Ego.

    Sports coaching for my kids has started again. I was pretty stressed out, new kids, new people to deal with, and old people who have not been 100% supportive in the past. Anyway it went ok i guess and my kids enjoyed themselves which is the main thing. I want to model for them what being a functioning adult looks like, even if my instinct is to curl up in a ball/fap my cares away. I promise not to revisit my "junior sports coach journey" material in the coming weeks, unless the parents actually tar and feather me and run me out of town.

    I'm beginning to get this sense of "flow". It's hard to explain, but if you don't let stuff get to you too much (the negative stuff/ego challenges and the positive/ego inflating stuff) then I feel there's a point where things start to move around you in a different way, a bit like standing under an umbrella. You notice more, like the direct way kids look at you, the very respectful way most people act all the time, the love that is behind a lot of what people say.

    One of the great things about sending our kids to a public school has been the people we meet through school are literally our neighbours- people who live in the streets and blocks around us. And they are almost without exception good people. I think if your kid goes to a private or religious school that's a lesson you may miss (firstly because you might think the religion is what makes people nice or good, or perhaps their social class). I guess it's a sense of community i'm talking about. Never really felt that before. Some people seem to have it built in, women especially, but guys not so much. That's one of the reasons this place is so great, it's demonstrating that guys can build supportive communities. Learning to be part of communities is part of this process, and it's probably an essential part of the recovery, because pmo is one of the most isolating things you can do. Letting people in, with all the risks that entails.
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  20. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    I agree. I always thought this was actually the main element that helped people in 12 steps groups like AA or SAA or NA. It was finally finding one's place in a community. That is if they found a good group. Finding a fellowship where one can gradually take the risk of being himself, of taking off the mask, taking the risk of telling others the "shameful" stuff he has done/does and seing that he is not totally rejected. That he can be accepted. That he's not a bad person. Finding that positive mirror from others. And then working one's way back out from there.

    Alas ... the fruits of spiritual recovery ... Great inspirational stuff here. The higher peace I'm looking for as well.
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