Shame, relapse, repeat

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by MissingSelfCompassion, Mar 12, 2019.

  1. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Sorry to hear things are so difficult right now man. When I read your post I want to scream 'get out of there!, get away from your wife, mother and female psychistrist!'. I think because it brings up feelings of my own, and (I think) I can understand what you feel. Would it make sense to take some 'time off', time for yourself? Would it make sense to look for a male therapist? I went to a female therapist for my mother and porn issues years ago, and she adviced me to also go to a male therapist or group, because women can not understand us. It makes sense!

    You have the right to be angry at your wife. You cheated. Bad choice. But come on, you're not a criminal. Besides, weren't you dissatisfied before you cheated? You have your rights to be happy in life and relationships.

    You are not letting us down man, we're just happy to have you here and want you to be OK. Your advice is of someone with experience and with the same struggle as us. That is what we need!
  2. A New Man

    A New Man White Knuckle Brigade 2013

    Sounds like you had a lot on your plate recently- Mother's Day, tax, finishing that bloody couples therapy book. i can relate strongly to what you just experienced (especially the stuff about tax time being when income disparity becomes obvious, quickly followed by feelings of worthlessness). In the aftermath thelongwayhome has it right, take it easy, allow yourself to be angry (directed anger is great for getting a streak going) and know you are a worthy human being, deserving of happiness. I'm not just saying that in an abstract sense, i mean the way you conduct yourself here, the support you give others, shows you are a person of good heart. Time and experience make a big difference with the reboot. Just keep on going. We're all unpacking our baggage piece by piece and learning what our individuals triggers are. As wabi-sabi used to say, we're all carrying each other.
  3. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    I love what everyone else wrote. Amazing stuff from a great group of men. :)

    So, wifey is still controlling the narrative. This was true in my life, too. "Remember when you were going to leave me for that woman?" OMG, the list of her whining was endless. And, you know what, it was just whining. She knew about my affairs and wanted to stay with me. She made her choice regarding that. So, bringing it up is fucking pointless...oh, except it serves her purpose in keeping me a good little boy. When I came here, and to YBOP, and realized that I was hooked on PMO, I decided that I was no longer going to be sorry for past behavior/choices.

    Neurons that fire together, wire together. It's that simple. If we use pixels and our hand then that's what our brain wants. Because it is an unnatural want it tends to power us down. If we use a woman's vagina to get off then we wire to that and it powers us up - it's like taking emotional vitamins!

    We don't need to find our passion, or courage, or change our diets, or exercise, we just need to stop PMO and MO. That's it! Oh, and reach out to your wife. Once you are boning her on any kind of semi-regular basis she won't be hauling out the workbooks.
  4. NewHorizon

    NewHorizon Member

    Thanks for sharing your stuff. I hope you find peace out of all of this.

    I read the whole thing and I think everybody's contribution is very great. I personnaly like Saville's take on ''loving yourself'' and taking action.

    Here's my take on ''loving myself'' :

    To love myself is almost a contemplative exercice. First I need to ''get out of my body'', my character, who I am in daily life; my emotions in the moment, the anger, the issues in my relationship, the compromise I have to make. I have to get out of all this momentarily. I need to be content with existing in the grand scheme of things. I need to become an observer with no attach to the material world (momentarily). Then I need to approach myself in a curious manner, to see myself from above, kind of like from someone else's perspective. I need to watch myself act, the ridiculous things I do when I'm pissed, my aspirations in the near and long term future, my body, my hair, my face. I must see myself as I am. (Not like I think I am : this is where the disappointment comes from. This is where the dissonance comes from. This is why self love is so hard in my opinion. Because we never have an accurate picture of ourselves in mind, it's always distorted.) Finally I need to accept all of that, like I would for anybody else. I need to give myself respect as a human being, as a living creature with its own goals and adventure.
  5. Outsider.

    Outsider. Turning Simple Disciplines Into Massive Success

    Where are you @MissingSelfCompassion ?
    Keep on journaling and reading posts here you're in the right place to get help and support. Hope you're getting better my friend. Keep us posted!
    Gil79 likes this.
  6. MissingSelfCompassion

    MissingSelfCompassion Active Member

    I took a trip to see a friend. I was clean the whole time. However, I put a lot of pressure on myself when it comes to "new beginnings." Ever Sunday evening is the worst sleep because Monday brings all the hopes of starting anew. Thus, after a week away with the wife, visiting a friend I haven't seen for years I broke again. I'm sure there's something to the stress of that visit too. Travel plus trying to manage what I think are my friend's expectations and my spouse's of travel. Of course, they are my expectations for everything to be happy and perfect for them.

    In the last month, I've really lost journaling, meditation, and mindfulness. I've pushed and pushed myself into applying for jobs and being productive. Something I thought I was ready for, but I seem to have fallen back into the same old pattern.

    Don't Break The Shame
    Using the calendar to count the days of sobriety is pretty common. This is a thing in AA and in the world of working out and being fit people use the "Don't break the chain" method of putting an x on a calendar for each workout. It has spilled over into productivity blogs and there are apps to help you track the behavior you want to continue. All it does for me is create shame. Is that what the exercise is about? Is it an exercise to shame yourself if you stop? I suppose this is my perspective. Others may see each 'x' on a calendar as a victory and celebrate. Making that comparison with myself and others like this is another act of shaming myself for being different. I just wonder if there is a point in time where I can track my sobriety without being triggered into shame, or if I will always be this way?
    Gil79 likes this.
  7. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    You've had some great input from others above. You need to drop the shame narrative IMO. It's really holding you back. Get back to journalling, meditation and keeping clean. The best way to overcome shame is to forgive yourself - and the longer you stay away from PMO the better you will start to feel - your shame will eventually lessen.
  8. Outsider.

    Outsider. Turning Simple Disciplines Into Massive Success

    Happy to read from you @MissingSelfCompassion !
    Regarding the "x", the counter or whatever:
    1. If this cause you more shame to miss a day or to break the streak then simply forget about that and go ahead. We're all searching for methods, tips, tricks and advices to go forward. We try new things. Some work for some of us, while others don't. So just search and choose and do what suits you best.
    2. For me, and it's my own paradigm, I use an app, habit Bull, dedicated to the PMO/MO and cold showers tracking. I really like that, even if I miss a day, or a week, or even when I relapse for 10 days. Instead of seing the "missed x" I see the successful days, and what I see, my vision, is that I improve myself. It's a matter of seing the glass half empty or half full. Ive decided to see to the good part of my life. As long as I'm trying to do my best to get a better life, as long as I do my very best to stay far from P, PMO and MO, I'm improving myself. I'm on the right way.
    I can understand you feel shameful when you "fail". But don't forget that no one is perfect. You don't fail you learn. After each PMO session you learn more about yourself, you discover what are your triggers, your weaknesses. Know yourself, learn about yourself during this wonderful journey.
    Most of the guys here beat them up and feel shameful and feel like sh*t after PMO'ing. This is IMO à huge mistake. While reacting like this, you got a double punishment: you'll get the well know bad consequences of PMO and you feel very bad because of shame and regrets. What occurred occurred, this is the life, you might PMO again and that part of the reboot process.
    I wish you the best my friend.
    I don't want to be harsh I just try to do my best to help you, we're all here in the same boat, aiming for the same expected results.
    Strength to you !
  9. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Very recognizable. Really something I am working on right now. It is such a waste of time and energy to be occupied with the opinion of others. We have to learn to go our own way, make our own decisions and take the lead, despite of what others may think. It will turn out that others like us even more like that. Let's focus on our expectations and fulfill our own needs. The healthy ones ofcourse :p.

    Awesome that you went and visit your friend btw! Bit of time away from the wife is always good!
    MissingSelfCompassion likes this.
  10. MissingSelfCompassion

    MissingSelfCompassion Active Member

    Yesterday I did a meditation on shame and cried a lot. Forgiveness is a tough task. I've been ignoring meditation for a while because of this. I really need to have another go today. I also journaled a lot yesterday. There were some dark thoughts about suicide that I needed to get out. Journaling really helps, but I really need to go back and read some of the things I write.
    nuclpow and Gil79 like this.
  11. MissingSelfCompassion

    MissingSelfCompassion Active Member

    Reading the journals of others, I see a lot of people working hard to change their situation. In my experience, I have had successes and failure in that regard. There's no doubt I want to change what is happening in my life, even beyond addiction. Maintaining that change is the issue. Twenty years ago, I quit drinking soda pop and started exercising more. I was going back to school and feeling good. Then, I got a full time job and all the junk food and soda pop came back in an instant. The old pattern emerged because that's how I got through stress and life before.

    The same happens now. I find clarity when I get through a short streak of no PMO. I find myself doing more, getting creative, feeling confident and applying to jobs, and being productive. Then, I wake up one day and I cannot keep up the pace. I make it through the day PMO-free using willpower. The next day, I'm looking at things clearer, but I am reminded of the difficulty the day before. I'm now behind. I have to make up for the "bad" day. Then, I get overwhelmed. Then, I break the sober streak.

    You cannot maintain change. The two words are opposed to each other. One is about consistency, the other is the opposite. I guess I always have to be changing and responding to the world around me, not reacting out of impulse. My longest streak was 2 months. Through social comparison here on the forum, that may not look like much, but wow. Go me. This isn't something I often tell myself. Instead, I'm all about shaming myself because I cannot seem to get closer to that 2 months any more. However, I'm not that same human anymore. New challenges have come at me. I'm carrying everything that individual went through, and more. I will put together another streak. I may fail again. Life has its ups and downs.

    Consistency has been a dream of mine. Anxiety and depression love consistency because it feels like I'm in control. Deep down, I want something more than consistency. I want to like who I am, unconditionally. I want to be happy with who I am. Happiness doesn't lie within a dream of a perfect me who says the right things here in the forum, makes a lot of money and supports his family, and has lots of friends. That all brings me shame. I just want to like the asshole who posts here, the guy who occasionally PMOs, but is trying to quit, the jerk who doesn't always remember to meditate and do the things that do make him feel better. I really wish I liked that guy. I'm just still figuring it out.
  12. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    I think what is important is that the focus is not on a streak or on change. When you say I want to change, you're actually saying I don't like who I am and what I do. You're trying to run away from yourself, only to find out you can't. The focus should be on development. An investment in yourself to learn who you really are and accept yourself. To learn the life skills you want to learn and which help you to move through life in the way you want to.

    I do see that porn addiction is real, but I also see that the real physical dependence is not as strong as with alcohol or drugs. When you take away the reasons for escapsism, the need to indulge yourself in porn will also fade away. If you do that in combination with active abstainance, you will finally get there. I have been trying to quit already for 7 years. I am getting better at it, as my streaks are getting longer and follow eachother up faster. But this is only because I am taling away the need to act out.

    Don't try to change or quit. Especially not because others want you to. Focus on the positive. Focus on accepting yourself and developing the skills you want to learn. That is at least how I see it.
  13. GreyHeron

    GreyHeron Active Member

    Reading this I am thinking that I make well intentioned efforts to stop using P., I might even make progress in emphasising those parts of myself that I would like to nurture. Then I fall away from this and spiral into shame, frustration and P. Those who are not moving forward are going backwards.
    For me, and that I believe applies to us all, it is progress not perfection. Love yourself and develop those skills but try not to emphasise the set backs.

    Soar Well

    Grey Heron
    MissingSelfCompassion likes this.
  14. MissingSelfCompassion

    MissingSelfCompassion Active Member

    It's a good point. One thing I noticed of late is how little specification there is in my expectations for myself. I want to be successful. I want to be liked. There needs to be more, like I want to be successful at what? The generalized ideas are not goals and therefore NEVER attainable. Something complimenting this issue is the perfectionism. There is a RIGHT answer to "what I want to be successful at." Everything else will be failure. And so, I find it difficult to decide. I'm working on this, engaging in a lot of art and creative pursuits that, until recently, were also riddled with perfectionism. Now, it is a dull hum in the background. When I paint, or do some digital art, I care less about the final product. I am truly enjoying the process. I think there's some societal toxic bullshit around money that has me stuttering when it comes to defining more concrete goals.

    Today's urges have been frequent, but quick. Will they build in intensity? My previous addictions counselor told me that urges last on average about 7 seconds. The caveat being that you could have a second urge after the first 7 seconds. So, I'm trying to keep that in mind today as I push forward. It was an urge. Hi. I acknowledge and accept you. I'm going to keep working on this other thing, though. Should they become more frequent, it will be time to meditate or take a walk.
  15. MissingSelfCompassion

    MissingSelfCompassion Active Member

    Observation and intent.

    Those still moments when the sleep won't come and the negative voice fills the space, the urge grows. Slip out of bed and just PMO, that will help. Because there's time? To avoid not sleeping? What am I really afraid of? A shit ton of stuff, a mountain of "I'm not enough." Intent isn't about abstaining from PMO, it is intent to do something that makes me feel like I'm enough. So what is that? How do I get it?
  16. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    For me that is becoming independent from the opinion of others. Something I am fortunatel gettinh better at.
    MissingSelfCompassion likes this.
  17. NewHorizon

    NewHorizon Member

    A lot of what you are going through, especially shame and anxiety, I can relate. I'm constantly in a battle it seems, to live up to some expectations of mine and others.

    For example I dont even know why I abide to internal pressure to keep going to school in the first place, at least in the field I'm in. It seems I'm only doing it because ''society''. I can't see anything else. I'm doing it because of others and their perception of me. I'm afraid to go all in in something
    that gets me going.

    When I fail to live up to the expectations the wheel of shame starts turning. It's the wheel of feeling unworthy of anything special also. This is where I start procrastinating and losing all my time just to forget.

    The simple fact that I exist is already awing in itself though. It's enough. It's just crazy, and I dont know why I should have to live up to the expectations of society in the grand scheme of things. What we have is one life to live and that's it. I dont mean to say '' we do what we really like and to hell the rest''.

    P and m is just so absurd in the grand scheme of things.

    I find p addiction to be way harder to quit than alcohol (which I have quit). I think it depends on the individual at least.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
  18. MissingSelfCompassion

    MissingSelfCompassion Active Member

    It's interesting you say that. I have observed that I use social comparison to make myself feel worse about where I am at, if I'm not straight up piling expectations on myself (which I project onto others). Looking at your journal, I see you fapped and think "is not counting that sort of cheating?" The rules are always changing in my head. Whatever works to go along with the narrative that I'm useless. So, if I fap, if I even think about fapping, I am upset and angry at myself.

    I know I have to find a way to accept and like myself, but this process is really damn hard.
  19. Mad Dog

    Mad Dog Well-Known Member

    Yes, it is. If you are not willing to accept and like yourself who will ? To expect this process to be easy is not reasonable.We all pmo because in the final critique we all want personal trials to be easy I know I did. The acceptance and self- love is paramount and is something we must as I will say again we must accomplish. Again, yes its brutal but is key here.
    MissingSelfCompassion likes this.
  20. A New Man

    A New Man White Knuckle Brigade 2013

    You don't have to like yourself straight away- it just gives you something else to beat yourself up about when you "fail". Just catching yourself when you "go negative" is enough. "There you are (old friend...)!" is all you have to think when you hear that old negative voice/thought pattern, before switching to another less destructive thought or just clearing your mind altogether for a moment. It sounds trite, but it really does work and after a while it becomes second nature. In time that habit of going negative will begin to weaken, and that's when liking yourself becomes easier. That's been my experience anyway.
    realness likes this.

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