In therapy today, we talked about guilt, emotional stability, and affirmations.
I don’t want to move past my guilt and pain. Part of it is because I feel responsible for the failures in our marriage. I betrayed her. I was complacent. These were my mistakes, and I deserve to be punished for them. I accept that punishment. The other part of it is because she’s not over her pain yet. How could it be just for me to move forward if she’s stuck in the pain that my betrayal caused her? How can I possibly not feel anything while she continues to suffer?
Moving forward, though, doesn’t mean not feeling that guilt and pain. It means coping with those feelings, managing them. Emotional stability isn’t about being numb to emotions, but about being able to manage them so they don’t overwhelm and incapacitate you. All of my life, it felt like there was an Off Switch that I could flip when the feelings started to get to be too much. I’d shut down. I’d go numb. I’ve known that’s not the healthy way to do it, but that’s what I did. This time around, I didn’t want to turn it off. Partly because of that feeling that I deserve this pain, partly because she’s still suffering, but also partly because I want to do it right. My Off Switch might push me past all the pain, but it’s not helping me grow as a person. If I numbed myself to this, pushed through it until I fooled myself into thinking it didn’t hurt anymore, it would just lead me down the path I’ve always walked and I would remain broken. I need to find emotional stability and I need to be okay with experiencing feelings.
My homework for the week is positive affirmations. I’ve always smirked at the idea of someone doing these. It seems so ridiculous. It makes me think of Stuart Smalley from Saturday Night Live. I must’ve smirked when she mentioned them, because she laughed and said that the most common feedback she gets from everyone is that they feel stupid doing them, but they exist for a reason. She said just like how Depression can lie to you and make you see things in a negative way, positive affirmations do the same thing in the other way. Phrasing it like that was probably the only way it could’ve made any sense to me, so I’m going to say ridiculous things to myself, several times a day, for the next two weeks. Even now, Depression is laughing at me, pointing out that I’m about to start lying to myself. My response, though, is that I’ve been lying to myself most of my life. That’s what Depression is, after all.
I may not believe them today. I may not believe them for weeks or months to come. But I’m going to say them every day, no matter how ridiculous I feel.
- What I’ve done is in the past, and now I can create my future. I forgive myself.
- I am in control of my actions. I have the power, right now, to decide what I want to do.
- I love myself more every day.