Working on ourselves...

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Registered: 12-31-1969
Working on ourselves...
Mon, 08-06-2012 - 6:29am

Hi Everyone,


I read a lot about us having to work on ourselves, find what we need to do for US to get over the A and the aftermath etc.  So, WHAT does everyone do for themselves, to fill the hole in their lives, give the love to themselves that they need, get to the point of not feeling so completely rejected by AP (if he/she rejected you, that is)?


I know there is therapy, which helps to an extent, but what else???  I also know it is going to be different for everyone I suppose, but I just hear all the time we need to "work on ourselves" "give ourselves what we need" etc, and I honestly have no idea where to start of how to do that.



iVillage Member
Registered: 04-02-2011
Mon, 08-06-2012 - 7:54am

I know this is a difficult process, I don't think we can be healed right away. It takes time to discover the truths about ourselves and time to find alternatives that work.

 IMO it's good to reach out to others when hurting. Instead of focusing inward like to send that  card to someone, do something nice  for someone else, let family know we love them, plan a party for someone, do volunteer work outside for those who have real difficulties, just get out and think of others or do for others. Self pity only creates more self pity.IMO this doing for others sets us on a positive path of how we are preceived by others, righting the wrong we have done.Face it, we did wrong, we took something that wasn't ours to take even if ap initiated it. We played a game of deception and lies with pppl who loved us the most. That's manipulative. So  just doing  for others in my family, making them know they are appreciated, makes me feel like I am righting a wrong. Setting the right example. Like, when I was with my neice and she said something like, everyone is cheating I said, yeah, but that's not the right way to go in life, that's not our life.

Avatar for ratherbeme
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-23-2010
Mon, 08-06-2012 - 8:06am

Finding a new life activity is not an easy process.

One of the best activities that I can imagine, is doing for others, and making it something that you can excel at if you try.  Service to others pays off.  It's very rewarding.

I intentionally moved myself into a position of leadership serving my fellow Military Veterans and their families.  The leadership position changes your attitude towards others, (organization and responsability), taking care of them (possibly fullfilling my needs), Being in charge (re-establishing my selfesteem) and taking me away from idle time that I wasted thinking about things that I will never know the answer to. 

In case you are wondering, I am Captain of the local Honor Guard who provides funeral services for Military Veterans, I do the Honors, and rifle volleys for Veterans at their burial.  I and my group do about 150 of them a year.  This on top of me being a full time golfer :smileytongue:which keeps me busy, and I'm tired at the end of the day.

The gratitude of families is very fullfilling.  The self satisfaction of honoring my fellow Veterans may even be self-serving. It all works for me.

I have always believed in giving back to the community.  Public service isn't something new to me.  I think we 'take' far more than we ever give.  I used to be a financial contributor which was the easy way out, but now I have a more physical presence than before.  I am very blessed to have time to give.

It's about giving of yourself.  Not being afraid to give yourself.  It's a gift that no one else can give for you. 

We only miss what could have been. I know I don't miss what it really was.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-03-2012
Mon, 08-06-2012 - 8:48am
Hi. I think this does look different for everyone... for me..working on myself meant (and still means) taking a long hard look at what led to A in first place. Not the circumstances in M..but rather...what me..made it okay for me to cross inappropriate boundaries. This led to adult children of alcoholics support group, lots of journaling, lots of crying and letting go..lots of aha moments...and these boards. It means recognizing, that I'm vulnerable to bad choices..and that it's okay, as long as I pick myself up and try again to be true to myself and those I love. On the dive into introspection looked like pulling weeds, journaling, pulling weeds, reading Audrey Hepburn biographies, pulling weeds, watching old reruns of Battlestar Galactica...more journaling, more weed pulling and driving like a banshee in my dune buggy:smileyhappy: The goal is to become 100% comfortable in my own skin. This journey has led me to return to work I love at a community center for disadvantaged youth (think kids dealing with gangs and homelessness, primarily) means returning to graduate school for a MA in nonprofit management. More importantly it means recognizing that I am emotionally wired to take risks, explore and for affection..both to have and to give...and realizing that if I don't meet these emotional needs in a positive way, than I am going to get myself into trouble!

  The difference between who you are and who you imagine yourself to be, is what you do.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-08-2012
Mon, 08-06-2012 - 9:10am
I smiled when I read this post, I am right now sitting outside my therapist's office a half hour early!!! Unheard off for me. T helps me enormously - not least with time keeping it seems :smileyhappy: the answers to it all as you both know lie within ourselves. The rest doesnt matter, really doesnt matter....

On a practical level, I keep busy, started a complex work project in work, engaged more and more in family life, socialised more, and I allocated myself time in the early days to obsess on Xap, but only during the time I allocated. Mostly though I used my T to help me figure out what was going on in me that I allowed this to happen. I think that is where we will find the answers...One of the biggest helps is just hanging out here, like Soglad I read everything and anything. Im now biginning to obsess tjat I have replaced A with EAS!!!

The biggest thing Dodge that will help you through, is your desire to get through. If we have that then anything is possible :smileyhappy:)

Sunny Soon Xxx
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2011
Mon, 08-06-2012 - 12:42pm

So interesting that you posted this today. I was just thinking this morning how when I came here in November 2011I kept reading to work on me and fill voids and I had no idea what that to fill the void of the high, certainly I wasn't able to get that high by reading a book or cleaning or even doing well at work. For me it has been a slow process with baby steps in right direction, followed sometimes by a big leap forward and unfortunately a step back.

In the beginning first I had to grieve. Then I started forcing myself to fake it til I made it with h. I am a firm believer in that. I thought I had severed any hope or chance of reconnecting with h. I would force myself to sit closer, force myself to touch time goes by I found I was no longer forcing. Then I started focusing in and enjoying him and his genuine love for me. I can honestly say I feel extremely close to h again and very hopeful about our future together. I did not have a dday so I feel like I truly dodged a bullet.

I wasted lots of weeks agonizing over where I was wronged by h or why he didnt choose me. By looking inward over the past 11 months I have a deeper understanding of why I did what I did. The introspection and analysis of myself, poor coping mechanisms and lack of boundaries has made me more aware of myself, my behavior and allows me to make better choices today in all areas of my life. I truly had no boundaries and I never knew that. T has helped some. Reading and posting here has helped a ton.Baggage Reclaim is another great source. Sometimes it takes awhile for what we read and or know cognitively to catch up with our hearts. This is where we need to be gentle with ourselves. Loving ourselves again and forgiving. I cannot understand how I could do what I did for two years...I am very ashamed, but I know I made a mistake, I know I wont repeat it, I know I will dedicate myself to being fully present with my family again and to appreciate what I have and how lucky I am to have it. Getting caught up in over analyzing or beating yourself up is counter productive. By introspection and gentleness with yourself eventually you will figure out some of the whys and you will let go.

Self help books have been helpful as well...right now I am all about the power of now. It has helped me tremendously. It has helped me to stop rehashing and reliving the past...there is no changing that I can only move forward and focus on today.

Setting goals for yourself helps too, whether it is a new job, going to school, exercising, volunteering. You may have to force yourself initially to engage, but again like faking it til you make it, this too will help and you will find an interest in RL again. RL is where it is at, the fantasy world of an A is unfortunately time wasted. I don't want to waste more time.

It really hasn't been a straight road out, but for sure if you stay committed and try your best to redirect, refocus, learn about yourself again, love yourself again, engage in new activities and be open to what others have to share on these boards you will get there. It is the same story over and over again with slight variations, sometimes it clicks and what you have read ten times before now suddenly makes sense and you can run with it. So be patient. Focus everyday on even the smallest success you have had, even if that means today I only cried once. For so long we have been abusing ourselves by engaging in the A, we really have...sure I had some great times, but at the end of the day the relationship is so unhealthy it makes us unhealthy and to continue is a form of self abuse, so make the effort to congratulate yourself on what you did that was positive today. Doesnt matter what it is.

Oh and get a PM buddy.

Final thought... a good way to stay focused and move forward is to focus on what RL is and what RL would truly look like if your A continued or you attempted RL together. Imagery....imagine what that world REALLY look like, get honest about it.... I guarantee you it aint pretty. The damage left behind would never be worth it. I used to sometimes imagine x standing next to one of my children and doing a Sophie's Choice type scenario...quick choose...I choose my kids over him any day of the week.Imagine what your life could have looked like in the light of day then imagine what you want it to look like and start making changes to get yourself there.

Only you can set yourself free, no conversation with your x will ever bring closure, IMHO.

Hopeful xo

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-02-2011
Tue, 08-07-2012 - 7:15am

Forgot to mention, the reason why I suggested reaching out to others, doing for others, using empathy, is because frequently A's are the result of narcicissitic or at least selfish behavior and by doing for others this is moving beyond this .  

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2011
Tue, 08-07-2012 - 8:27am
Dodge don't ever feel like your situation doesn't warrant the emotions. An a causes us to second guess ourselves and we all entered because there was clearly some void our need we were trying to fill and that is part of the ending process and it hurts. Suddenly we have to look at rl and find ways to be present again and lose the fantasy. My xap persis me for months. We had an intense ea which led to an intense pa. I tried to stop it before the pa but i was already hooked...i was like pavlovs dog when i would get a text or a call....i couldn't end it. So no worries about what you should our shouldn't be feeling.they are your feelings acknowledge them keep working on you posting and reading. Commit to rl will get there. Be thankful it was a sort lived a...they all involve suffering at least you can say well at least i didn't waste two years like hopeful! Lol