Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by forlorn, Nov 28, 2018.
I am glad I came here and read this today. Thanks @Joshua Shea and @forlorn
It's a frightening thought but it occurred to me recently that I've probably been 'in recovery' (of some kind) since around 2010. Almost a decade spent battling compulsive urges, seeking 'cures', changing strategies, journalling, creating counters, resetting counters, relapsing, seeing therapists, starting over. After all this time I still do not have the answers. Suspect I need to improve my self knowledge, work on self esteem and try to discover what the compulsive part of myself really needs.
@forlorn Was it Gandhi or Einstein who said if you do the same thing and expect different results, that's the definition of insanity. Recovery is like a relationship. You only have to get it right once, but you gotta keep trying.
It was Einstein who said that, I just looked it up
Having a rough day, another emotional wobble. Not expecting anyone's sympathy but I've come here to write it down to help me process my extremely muddled thoughts.
Since I recently lost my job I'm considering a career change, something that's hard to do in your forties. I feel so confused about what direction to take. I've been learning how to code and had some initial success but when I hit a brick wall I get dissuaded and self doubt creeps in. I also wonder if I'm doing it for the right reasons. It's almost like I need someone to sit me down and say "this is what you should do with your career/life". But ultimately I know I can only make these decisions for myself. And there's this sense of fear that life is passing me by and I'm nowhere near reaching my potential. Right now I feel a mix of anger, confusion and aimlessness.
My difficulty (sometimes inability) to take decisions for myself is one of the big sources of deep anxiety in my life. I know that feeling of wanting a magic person to come and take the right decision for you. I think this happens more when we are in a low state of mind and in confusion. If we get out of the funk we can take decisions with the necessary existential courage it takes to do so.
Regarding your progress, well you're probably in a better place then in 2010, even if you don't yet have all the answers. Maybe you have some of the answers. Maybe 2019 you is in a better place then another parallel 2019 you would be that would have taken absolutely no "recovery action" since 2010.
This is common among us men here. I'm much older than you and I still have moments where I feel melancholy for not having "done" more in my life. But, this is a judgment on what has happened and need not be a judgment on today.
I have said this many time, because I believe it to be absolutely true: "thinking is the enemy." The only thing that matters is doing. Right now you are learning code, so that's a good thing. Does this take all of your day up? Perhaps getting a regular Joe job would be useful. You could perhaps work 3 or 4 days a week and work on your knew skill when you have time. This would give you a bit of money and get you out of the house.
I always feel uncomfortable watching sex scenes on TV when I'm with my wife as it reminds me about our sexless marriage. I wonder if she feels the same way. But in general terms, things have been better with her recently. We're getting on well and I feel like a more sincere person around her when I'm not engaging in compulsive behaviour.
Thanks, you make a good point. While I don't have all the answers and I'm frustrated by the lack of my own progress things could have turned out considerably worse had I not undertaken any recovery efforts in the last decade. I've definitely learned some things about myself. While the compulsive behaviour/need for escape/fantasy remains, I think I have become less reckless over the years - in my past I paid escorts, something I'm ashamed of and would no longer do. I also went through a phase of going to strip clubs, initially with friends but then started going on my own. I thought about this recently after a birthday night out in another city with male friends. I said my farewells to them in the pub, we'd been drinking for hours, and as I walked through the city streets at night it occurred to me that I could sneak off to a strip club. Instead I went back to the hotel and slept. I'm really glad I did.
Maybe OVER-thinking is the enemy. And I agree that taking action is the most important thing. The coding practice doesn't take up all of my time, it depends how disciplined I am on the day. And yeah, maybe I could get a regular job on a part time basis, as you say it would get me out of the house.
@forlorn Forgive me if you've addressed this before, but have you spoken to your wife about your sexual frequency. Ours dropped during my most critical phase of addiction, but even with me kicking the habit and having been in recovery for more than 5 years now, it never got back to pre-addiction levels. When I finally got the courage to address it about two years ago, it turned out that she didn't mind slowing it down and these days, as she's approaching 50 (I'm about 6 years younger than her) she said she feels her libido slowing down quite a bit. Having talked about took a lot of the guilt off my shoulders.
Any idea what you're sneaking away from when you feel that need for escape/fantasy? It's probably not your current situation since you've been doing this for such a long time. Now it's just a crutch/go-to coping mechanism.
I don't believe thinking or over-thinking is the enemy. You can't over-think anyway, it's scientifically impossible. I think the enemy is inaction. An unequal balance between action and thinking makes the thinking seem like it's taking up too much space. It's not. The inaction is taking up too little space, IMO.
Yeah I am quite similar. And I know how shitty it can feel to go down those paths you mentioned.
I would think that it's one of those "feed the good wolf" vs "feed the bad wolf" thing.
We may not be perfect, but if we keep "feeding the good wolf", trying our hand at recovery, keep learning, in time we do become less reckless. We do get better. Even if it can be a long path. On the other hand, if we feed the recklessness, we stay reckless or become more reckless (good ol' escalation).
I started working on myself more seriously 5 years ago. I'm pretty sure that I could have been in a worst place now, overall, if I wouldn't have addressed things. Even though I still clearly have much to learn.
And there is that whole working what's under the hood. Underneath the compulsions, the recklessness. I think it can make a big difference too.
Keep chipping at it
hey forlorn, I've made 2 major career changes in my life - the first in my late 30's and the second when I was 50. The first time, I hired a career coach to help me with figuring things out, and the second time, a business coach. There's no way I'd be where I am now (I absolutely love what I do) without the help of someone else. You may need to make the decisions, however, without a good mirror in place, you'll likely miss out on a different perspective on things...
Admittedly, no. We don't talk about it. TBH we never had much of a sex life, my fault - for several reasons, due to PE and my failure to address it, a lack of self belief and a sense that I am not designed for 'vanilla' relationships.
That's an important question. Best guess, maybe a sense of inadequacy/worthlessness which may or may not be tied to shame about aspects of my sexuality e.g desires to be dominated by women, something I've never fully accepted or felt comfortable with.
I think that's essential. It often gets overlooked because looking 'under the hood' can be uncomfortable and it's hard to do. But we should work on trying to understand ourselves better and become more self aware. I read about a certain exercise where you can try to recognise the different parts of yourself (sub-personalities) and create a self dialogue where you try to unravel your compulsive behaviours and discover where they originated.
Hi, good to hear you made career changes in your life, even in your fifties, which goes to show it can be done. Career / Business coaches aren't as readily available here in the UK (unless I just don't know about them) but I take your point. Maybe there are people I can reach out to for guidance and assistance.
@forlorn Wouldn't it be something if your wife wasn't designed for vanilla relationships, too? While I can't trace this as being a big piece of my recovery, I finally had a discussion with my wife about the fact I thought my sexuality was a bit more leaning toward the exotic, or at least the experimental. She said she'd always known that, and while she may have been more willing to try things when she was very young and first sexually active (before she met me) she was not at that place anymore. I think a big piece of it is that she hasn't loved her body post-children. But, just having that small conversation eased things up a lot. If you can't communicate with your most intimate partner, what do you have a partner for? A roommate can pay half the bills. She's not going to leave you for speaking your truth. The most she'll do is say she's not interested.
That's the great thing about Skype, Google Hangouts, and other virtual meeting places. You can find a coach anywhere in the world and meet online. It works just as well as face to face...
Woke up in the night feeling anxious about my sexless marriage and how long it's gone on for. What must she be thinking? Has she just accepted that this is how our lives will be? What emotional damage have I done to her over the years? And then I imagined an older version of myself trying to give advice to my current self. It felt quite powerful, like looking down at my life from another perspective and being able to remind myself that now is the time to take action.
Good advice, you're right, I should be able to communicate with my partner. At the moment neither of us discuss the absence of sex in our lives. Things will never improve unless there's some communication about it. The longer times goes on the harder it will be for us regain any level of intimacy. I'm not necessarily saying I want a 'non vanilla' sexual relationship with her - it's more a case of I wish I wasn't turned on by BDSM type stuff in the first place. I'd rather just be 'normal' and be turned on but the same things as other 'normal' guys. So maybe what I'm really talking about here is shame, i.e. I feel ashamed and defective because my tastes are different and I've never come to terms with it. You previously asked what I think I'm sneaking away from when I feel that need for escape/fantasy. I'm still spending some time trying to work this out but maybe the feelings of defectiveness are a part of it
@forlorn Newsflash...there are no normal guys. Your BDSM thing is another guy's foot fetish, is another guy's Asian fetish, is another guy's...you get the point. Stop labeling yourself as abnormal. Your tastes aren't really that exotic. There are a ton of people into BDSM around the world and I bet exponentially more like you who keep it private and are shamed. The only kind of people who are into two completely normal heterosexual pretty people having traditional sex are the ones who are lying about it. Most of us live that life, but we have imaginations. It doesn't make you defective. It makes you human.
I guess part of the privacy and shame stems from the fact it kind of doesn't feel socially acceptable to be attracted to dominant women. You know, as men, we're supposed to be macho, manly, dominant etc. But I totally get what you're saying, it doesn't make me defective and in reality there's probably no such thing as perfectly 'normal', maybe we all have little kinks, quirks or whatever.
I'm coming round to this idea of using a career coach because I'm terribly confused. One day I make a little progress with coding but then think, "hmm, would it be better off I did xyz instead?". Then I go off on a tangent and explore xyz. Maybe finding a career coach and consulting with them online is the way forward. After all, before I lost my job I used to speak with a therapist and those sessions were done via Skype.
I'm home alone as usual while the wife is at work. My household chores are complete and it literally feels as if I have nothing to do.
Spent a little time job hunting earlier but there isn't much around at the moment. I then logged onto Twitter just to kill some time (dangerous territory). After logging in, I think to myself "what the fuck am I doing here? it's such a waste of time"...and then I log out....only to log back in 5 minutes later. This happens multi times every day, a while back I even changed my password to something that's difficult to remember to stop myself from being being able to login so easily. But eventually I remembered the complex password.
After writing this post I'm going to get outside for a bit, it's not healthy for me to be sitting here alone, all day. I'll take a stroll or a bike ride to a cafe for a change of scene.
On a positive note, I took advice from NCBob and have hired a career coach, will hopefully be speaking with her in the next few days.
@forlorn Give me access to your Twitter account. I'll change the password, then forget it, so you'll never have a chance of getting through. I've done this for a handful of guys. Some, of course, just create new accounts and start over, but some stayed away, knowing that what they had was gone.
Ha thanks, I'll consider that option. More importantly I need to remove/replace the desire to waste so much time on that site. Leaving it behind would give me a serious case of FOMO. 99% of the time I use it to discuss and debate topics that are close to my heart. But I've also used it for the wrong reasons on many occasions and I've wasted countless hours. It provides that ultimate sense of instant gratification, a constant flow of notifications, mentions & likes that give me a little (artificial) feeling of self worth. Prior therapy sessions revealed I have a core belief that I'm flawed and not worthy. Maybe that's why I'm using something like Twitter to feel validated. I need to find alternative ways to relieve boredom and do something more productive. And I need to learn how to self validate - to use logic and evidence to support the reality that I am a worthy person and that I'm not defective. Once again, I'm spending too long alone indoors. it's winter now and really starting to get cold out there, but I cannot sit here with nothing to do, time to wrap up and get on that bike.
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