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  #41  
Old 06-04-2012, 02:46 AM
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I should add that writing things out often helps. I find that when I "wander off to my dark places," that writing about it starts the analyzing process and the reasoning process. You have to be able to look at something and say, "Now what do I think this is." So, for example by doing this thread, you are actually adding therapeutic value to the TEA exercises, and other forms of rationality.

It really is about getting yourself centered around what you really can control. Your "circle of concern" is all the stuff you'd like to change. Your "circle of influence" is all the stuff you actually can change. The place where those two circles intersect is where you want the main part of your focus to be. And it might be a very small intersection, but if you work on that stuff first, you often find that your circle of influence can grow.

Like with M ... M is another person who makes her own decisions and thus is in your circle of concern (the obsession part), but not within your circle of influence (only she can make her own decisions). However, you can make decisions about you (learning to accept yourself, learning/remembering how to enjoy solo activities, analyzing where your psychology seems to go astray, etc.), so that's a point where the circles intersect, and if you do focus on working on you (figuring out how to handle things better, etc.), it may actually influence M to feel safer around you, and thus your circle of influence has grown a little, precisely by not obsessing over the things (e.g. M) you couldn't control.

And the best thing is, we now know there's more than one person that benefits from the writing, venting, and analysis in this thread. So I just want to encourage you to keep posting and working on stuff.

Glad to hear M is still in the picture ... even if it's just for the time being. Why lose out on the joy of what you have in the present, just because things may be different in the future? The truth is, one can imagine all kinds of things about the future, but there's no telling how the future will really be. Some things might be lost, other things might be gained. And who knows which things will be which.

To whatever extent you can, be happy for what you have in the here and now, and focus on your circle of influence (and writing things out is always a part of that circle).

Regards,
Kevin T.
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  #42  
Old 06-04-2012, 08:47 AM
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Thanks Kevin. I like the circle of influence, circle of concern concept. A good model and simple to sketch out and see.

Really, my job now is to learn to make myself happy. If M sticks around so be it, if she doesn't, so be it. The fact is I can cause myself misery if she is 'with me' or not, so it's not even about her even though I think it is (obsession), it's about me, and my self esteem.

I did a bunch of TEA on self esteem type thinking and boy did it help. I did not allow myself to entertain thoughts of what is going to impress M, even though it tried to speak up from the background... I said to myself, if I was my friend (as I should be) and knew me as well as I do and what I care about what advice would I give myself. Not about M, about my general unhappiness, tendency to obsess or wallow in things.

The answer was, look at your self care, it is a bit lax - diet, exercise, smoking. Look at your situation, you are isolated without a vehicle and with low funds - need a car and some work. Look at your social life, it used to be so active, now you study like a mad hermit and rarely go out unless M holds your hand - get back on stage and in that circle as you love lots of those people and have a fantastic way to introduce yourself to prospective women so if it all blows over you don't feel isolated from the world. Look at your obsessing, it's cutting into study and it doesn't solve anything at all. You rob yourself of power obsessing over things you can't control, work on things you can.

Easy stuff really, involves not wallowing and doing. Study gets done, remove obsession it gets done better. Get a vehicle and some work, get back into entertainment and get a social life. Stop smoking and stressing and start exercising and eating better. Simple advice, and very fitting really. I've isolated myself, and I'm suffering a bit from it. I like being fit and wallowing in misery i have started on the junk food and ciggies. Simple stuff.
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  #43  
Old 06-04-2012, 05:34 PM
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It sounds like you are coming around to a better place.

Sometimes when it comes to relationship obsession I try to think about things less in terms of "The Relationship", which is huge and heavy and burdened with uncertainty and baggage, and more in terms of the moments you share with someone. Focus on enjoying the moments you share with M, and the ones you have shared in the past, because when it boils down that's really all a relationship consists of. With luck you'll have more enjoyable moments to share in the future, but there is no guarantee no matter how much you analyze things. At the same time, the times you have already enjoyed together can't ever be taken away. Those are the only ones you can count on, so make it a pile of good memories.

It sounds like you have already identified how to make the in between moments of your life feel better to you with expanding your social life, improving your fitness, etc. You are on the road to happiness, and happiness is mighty attractive.
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  #44  
Old 06-04-2012, 07:07 PM
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Things are improving for me yes. It feels like I'm stuck on a loop track a bit as I keep coming back to those core beliefs. 'I'm not good enough'.

'I'm not good enough' fuels the obsession. It is perfect fuel for obsession it disguises itself as honest intent (I'll improve) but it's all thoughts about proving myself to M, dragging out an old conversation to point out where she was wrong therefore I am right (good enough), replaying everything negative and out of context to feel aggrieved and justified in either telling her to fuck off (not only good enough, too good for her), or telling her how she got me all wrong, and I'm aggrieved by it (we're both fucked, we deserve each other)..... Then there's the fictional thoughts, worst case scenarios etc as the obsession progresses from hearing (message), to wearing (it like a yoke) to fearing (what's she doing???).

The primary concern really is I will not be loved. On top of that is I'm not good enough, which I thought was a primary concern, but now I think it is the cover of the I'm not loved/lovable, the picture is attached to me being alone (not loved), the I'm not good enough is how I get to that place (through not handling it and proving I'm fucked).

So the order actually goes, from outside in - I'm not good enough, therefore I won't handle it, therefore I wont be loved.

The beast to attack is the I'm not good enough stuff, but never in the context of what M has to say (unless it is current feedback). What M thinks is obviously important to me, but what I think is crucial to my mental health and wellbeing. I need to be loved, and it needs to be me doing the loving. All other love is a bonus, and when I love myself the external love I feel multiplies rapidly.

Woke up with a head full of I'm not good enough, things M said, sadness, fear. My mind is still trying to bargain, still wants to 'seal the deal' with M, love for life!!!! Scared to face future where love may be absent.

Me. Yep I'm a bit of a headcase. But loving too much to me is far more human than shutting myself off. I guess in both cases emotions are being denied. Now I need to spend a portion of the obsessive energy on self care, and over time the healing comes through.

Thoughts: I'm not good enough.

Errors: Conclusions, out of context, blowing things out of proportions, extreme thinking, globalising, reality filter, ignoring the positive, omnipotence error.

I'm jumping to conclusions that I'm not good enough, if I wasn't good enough (for M) she wouldn't have given me such a good run. My fault is loving too much, I'm certainly good enough, I don't know many men who work as hard as I do toward self improvement, now I just need to turn the nagging I must fix this for M voice into a loving 'I'm fixing this because I care very deeply about myself and those in my life and I will be better able to help myself (and them) when I do' voice.

I'm saying I'm not good enough in a context that is completely wrong. Other people's opinions are only that, and affect me only where i choose to let them affect me. I am capable of taking on feedback, the obsession is blowing everything out of proportion as it is fuelled by fear of despair and darkness. I make mistakes, we all make mistakes, I love and forgive my friends, I must love and forgive myself (and M).

Using one part of my life that is not perfect, and focusing everything on that I am creating a self defeating prophesy/behaviour by letting other aspects of my life slide.

Reality: I have had many lovers over the years, I have made mistakes and learned from them. I get better at love every time. My ability to meet women is only hindered by my fear of rejection, the 'strike rate' i have achieved is the envy of anyone who learns of it. Approximately 3/4 of women I initially talk to, and make a play for, have wound up in my bed/life. That's a fucking amazing success record and yet I think I'm not good enough! Ridiculous. Women from my past turn up to tell me I treated them the best any man ever has. Boy oh boy, I gotta get me some of that action - my non obsessive love is the stuff of fond memories and reminescing Time to love myself, I have a lot of love.

Reality is I am a highly intelligent and good looking man. I'm funny, caring, sensitive, generous, forgiving, open minded and loving. I'm a fucken catch! The obsession is a problem yes, and I'm dealing with it. The finances, transport and social life are all solved in one go - get a vehicle and get on with some show promotion. The mental health and physical health are catered for with a morning routine, TEA, walk and train. The smoking is getting knocked tomorrow - my birthday.

I have no power over other people. I have no power over M. I can only change myself, and heal this hurt I keep thinking is about M. It is not, it is about me, loving myself and nurturing myself.

I am good enough. I am good enough for a boatload of women Getting one is not impossible at all. M is probably not the woman for me. This does not mean I ever need be alone. This polyamory issue has hurt me deeply, and every time she leaves it hurts me deeply. I must forgive her, forgive myself for taking it on board as a personal insult. Forgive myself for mistakes as i am only human and I really am trying with honest intentions.

I actually deserve better treatment, and got it when i wasn't obsessive. If there is too much water under the bridge so be it, we are friends, we can be adults about it.

Today I am M's lover only. Not even a boyfriend. I actually have the best of both worlds. I can play the field if I like. I dont want to right now, Ithink this thing is salvageable, but life without M will not be hopeless or helpless, she is in my life as a bonus, she accentuates my life. My life is my own, it is my responsibility to make it a good life. If it is a good life or not is all a matter of opinion - mine.

My intentions are to patch things up with M. This scares me, i'm a bit conflicted here. Obviously I don't want to let go at all. I have to to work this obsession out though. The only way to patch things up where they have a real effect is to patch myself up, but i have to do it for me not her. A quandary.

Practise practise practise. I have clear moments, sometimes hours, in my own skin and comfortable. this is hope, this is hope shining into my darkness and saying Hey, you are going to be ok, this is the other side, isn't it wonderful."
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  #45  
Old 06-04-2012, 08:07 PM
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Re:
Quote:
"My mind is still trying to bargain, still wants to 'seal the deal' with M, love for life!"
One thing that's worth noting is that not everyone seeks a lifetime relationship. For some people, a few years (months? decades?) together is satisfying, promotes growth, and leaves good memories. Some people actually prefer to have a series of partners (along with intervals of relative solitude) over their lifetime.

And for those of us who prefer the one-partner-for-life model, we can still learn to appreciate the other point of view, and value the "temporary relationships" as they are. A relationship may (or may not) be temporary, but it can always leave a lasting imprint of good feelings and positive thoughts, if we can approach it in that frame of mind.

M may be one of those persons who prefers the series-of-partners model, and that's okay if she is. On the other hand, she may turn out to be a lifetime partner, and that's great too. Both outcomes can be positive outcomes if the good is focused on.

Actually, there may be a sliding scale between "prefers love-for-life" and "prefers a series-of-loves." Maybe we don't all "live on one of the extremes" of that scale. Maybe lots of us can handle the temporary-relationships model, even if we prefer the permanent-relationships model. Maybe lots of us can handle the permanent-relationships model, even if we prefer the temporary-relationships model. In other words, you may be more adaptable to the "temporary model" than you realize. Could be it's just a matter of having faith in yourself.

The key to "adapting to the series-of-loves model" is probably realizing that the end of one relationship isn't necessarily the end of *all* relationships. Indeed, the end of one relationship may open up the way for another relationship to begin. (Though as I said, if M proves to be adaptable to your "love-for-life" model, that's nice too.)

The thing to remember is, even if your relationship with M was to end right now, it would still be a relationship that you would always treasure, and consider worthwhile. So it's already a good thing, you don't have to worry about it "turning bad because it ends." Some relationships are great for a lifetime, others are wonderful for while they last. It's good to just let each relationship be what it is, and needs to be, and not try to "force it into a certain mold."

Re:
Quote:
"Yep I'm a bit of a headcase. But loving too much to me is far more human than shutting myself off."
Well I don't think loving "too much" is a problem; more to the point, one can't have or give too much love! It's not so much the amount of love that gets us in trouble, it's the way we handle it, and do we let our negative baggage get mixed in with it. If we do, that can make for a volatile combination (and lots of internal conflict).

And yes, like you were saying, it's also important to "love oneself." The phrase, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," implies, to my mind, the converse: "Do unto yourself as you would have you do unto others." So care about others, be good to others, and care about yourself, be good to yourself too. Both sides of the coin are models of the Golden Rule for each other.

Re:
Quote:
"I make mistakes, we all make mistakes, I love and forgive my friends, I must love and forgive myself (and M)."
Ah -- yes -- that's exactly what I was getting at.

Re:
Quote:
"I'm fixing this because I care very deeply about myself and those in my life and I will be better able to help myself (and them) when I do."
That's the spirit.

I'd say don't push yourself too hard with respect to "patching things up with M." I mean, sure, call her and talk to her, and just let her know you feel bad about the obsessive stuff, and that you're working on it. That's all. You probably don't need to say a whole lot more to her than that. I think she'd appreciate that simple gesture.

Best birthday wishes to you, by the way.
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
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  #46  
Old 06-04-2012, 10:46 PM
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Thank you once again Kevin. it still feels wierd baring myself so, but there's a few people being helped by this plus myself so its worth it.

I've been really sore/hurt/obsessed this morning. Nothing was helping till M said she'd take me into uni for a bit of a library foray later. THIS IS FUCKED. Not that I appreciate all we do, that i don't appreciate my own company.

Like I said, really hurt. I despair at times that things will never come right. I know this is rubbish, but the thoughts provoke such powerful feelings. Warnings, always warning warning warning you will get hurt, control control - but the fucking warning system is what is hurting, there is no desperation and despair in my life only in my stupid fucking head.

I can and am capable of changing. It's happening now, and what I am feeling is just growing pains. Doesn't stop em hurting, makes them bearable though knowing they are part of a process, not how its going to be from now on.
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  #47  
Old 06-05-2012, 02:53 AM
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Well it's a gradual process; you have to try to be patient with the process (and with yourself). Even with the TEA exercises, which lead to a lot of "aha" moments, you'll still have plenty of terror/despair moments to contend with also. They won't go away all at once, far from it. In fact, you may always have those panicky moments, just hopefully not as many of them, not as often, and less severe, eventually. Again, a gradual process ... possibly so gradual that you'll have to look back a full year's time in order to say, "Oh, yeah, now I can see some progress."

So I'm just saying when you have those bad moments, all is not lost, it's just part of the very long roller-coaster ride you'll have to get through before things start to even out quite a bit. Think about "survival techniques;" that is, how to endure those dark moments and just make it through to the bright spots. I think writing your thoughts out will continue to be a valuable tool (for survival, for endurance, and for bit-by-bit healing).
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  #48  
Old 06-05-2012, 04:49 AM
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Good stuff. It was discussed the other night, M said in the last year I've come a huge distance. The past 4 months have been the real deal though. When I met M I was a pretty dedicated science hermit and anti-social due to loss of a business and then savings in the stockmarket bla bla. Really, I can be so grateful today.

I've pulled my head in, become a team player, much better at meeting people, networking etc. My house is cleaner, my look is smarter (and not 20 years out of date apparently ), and lately, long periods without obsession (6 weeks last time!), and depression jealousy etc. Sure I had thoughts but I could hit them out of the park easily.

Today I am challenging myself, some core beliefs stuff of not being good enough, I'm lined up for professional help, I'm getting up and moving, TEA, eating, giving myself the opportunity to grow, learn, and cope with as I work through the pain.

I have not lost M from my life at all and repair of an amazing friendship is entirely on the cards. We just photocopied stuff, looked at lots of books we needed to, then had lunch. Talk was easy, nothing serious, a casual throwaway line alluding to her maybe being a bit out of sorts too, which from M, who knows I'm sharp enough, is her way of apologising without being wrong, I love that shit, she knows, I know...

We love each others company but she had a weary look as she picked me up - not in the mood for anything look - it could be for anything, if it was about me she can say, until then not about me. A good healthy reaction, no reaction So I teased her, she doesn't like my jokes, a bit dark hehe. I told her a couple of new ones, made her eyes smile with both. They're good allright if she has to hold in a laugh. And they're very naughty.

She wants me to be well, she can't be with me if she makes me sad all the time. It really is time to sort my core stuff out cos it's broken rubbish and not only is everything not fucked, it's a land of opportunity. Wonderfully, I have her support on this. This was discussed the other night, it's just sinking in now what a sweet deal I got considering I was facing getting cut off cold.

I have to say now that there is another destructive pattern I have - when I think all is well with M (or add X here) I can slip into old patterns (not doing TEA, not going out with others, isolating, too comfortable to feel the slide).

My past does not have to defeat me, or rule my life at all, in fact I wont allow it to. But I do need to take this shit a bit more seriously. I need to take my daily medicine just like a diabetic needs their insulin. My daily medicine is good food (antioxidants and so much more), exercise (endorphins), check in (TEA, EFT, writing) and then focus on all I have to be grateful for. I think I need some meditation too, that would be helpful, as I kinda lack spiritually. This stuff might sound like common sense to most, but in the midst of my head I can get mighty forgetful about the things that do help me feel better.

Today, I really want to look after myself, I really care about me, but in a good way. Yes, M was a catalyst in the shift, but I'm feeling the love she's sharing here, not my pain - Oh! Life's not perfect - let me die!!!

Days are mercurial of late, but they aren't all pain, and yes, all this writing really helps.
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  #49  
Old 06-05-2012, 04:57 AM
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Well, it sounds like good news overall. I know there are still moments when it doesn't feel good ... Just hang in there, and do the things you know will help.
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Old 06-05-2012, 04:45 PM
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Thanks again for your consistent outpourings - they are so relevant to what I'm going through right now and it's almost as if it is myself talking at times - especially the bit about your success rate with women ;-)

I'm accepting the new reality more each day, but the backward steps are still many and frequent. I've tried to stop obsessing, and focus on getting myself back in order, back in shape, back eating properly, quitting smoking (which J absolutely hates and when she smelt my breath last time we met she physically recoiled - not the best method of inducing intimacy).

At the moment J is living with her friend and says we are not officially together and wants space, and maybe to date people if she feels like it. Over the last few days, as I'm becoming slightly better, calmer, not obsessing, questioning etc the closer she is becoming again. I still want to 'seal the deal' and have her back with me, but maybe I just need to wait patiently and get on with my life - that seems to help our situation anyway. And, like you I have to make sure the good things I'm doing for myself are for myself, not for her, When she sees, again, that I'm not some emotional wreck, an obsessive, possessive, jealous, privacy invading controller, and have returned back to the loving, confident, charming, kind, caring, rational, balanced person I was, then we have the best chance possible of restoring our relationship (albeit on slightly different terms than before). I still have hope, we both do and are beginning couple therapy together. I'm going to also get some therapy for myself, to help deal with the trauma I've had in my life recently, and to help deal with the decisions I face, help me through the process and get my head back to where it should be.
I still don't know for sure if J is poly, or if it is just a case of her falling for this other guy and trying to explain why she wants to spend time with him but still wants our relationship. She thinks she is, says it explains a lot of things that have happened in her life. She has read 'opening up' and says she relates to so much she feels that she is definitely this way. She says that she wants me in her life and for us to have an open relationship - with her having the occasional lover, and me having one if I feel like it.
I can't get past the idea that if I hadn't have neglected her the way I did when we were together, and fulfilled her the way I did for large parts of our relationship, then this situation wouldn't have arisen. If she is indeed poly , maybe it would have happened anyway, further down the line. Anyway I can only deal with the new reality, and deal with it in a way that is healthy for me, and gives me the best possible chance of having a happy life.
Life is in the present and the future. The past is history. I have to make the present happier in order to make my future happier. I'm making myself miserable, torturing myself, obsessing, guessing, neglecting myself. The present has to change, it's as simple as that.
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