Fear And The Doors Of Our Lives

I hope I am not alone, as misery in inaction and ineffectual action loves company like all other types of misery.

So, I have my boys, and have come to realize that just because they go off to college does not mean they do not come home and value the family unit. So the dream of “I’ll just wait until they both move out” – is perhaps a delaying tactic for me, that at the point of the last one moving, I'll simply create some new wait it out paradigm. In fact recent family events have convinced me that you teach your children how to live until you teach them how to die.
And, you know, a few posts down, a small dog is going to jump in here and suggest that sitting around miserable waiting to die, while perhaps one of many paths to tread is not likely the best one- for any player in the scenario.
So I consider what I have learned in walking through the three doors I see that involve not leaving, namely – Engage, Detach and outsource. I find these to be dynamic options – I have walked through all three doors multiple times only to find all three again on the other side.  Each door resulted in much the same outcome so far- learn, love, cry, live and get older.
So I ponder as we all seem to – door number four. Leaving. And my awful truth is I value our “stuff” and I value the family unit parts that are good. I value them more than I value the unknown. I value the devil I know and the salad bowl we share.
Today I am thinking about fear. Because I think for me it is fear that drives me to stay in the face of misery and emotional detachment. I should say if you knew me, fear would seem an odd thing for me to focus upon. So I’d say this is the kind of fear you do not see too well except within yourself.
I have been really affected recently by the stories of folks that walked through door number four – independent of the other doors chosen before. That takes a lot retooling of priorities if you have been in your relationship a long time, have assets and children. And it involves embracing the unknown, not recoiling from the fear the unknown represents. Those stories have helped me face that I need to consider some of my choices as fear based decisions. And we all know - fear is the mind killer. Thanks for reading.
51-55, M
6 Responses Sep 7, 2012

You are self-aware and sensitive. And you are, at the moment, waiting till the pain outweighs the fear. That can take awhile, until you are desperate. Which maximises the pain and wasted time. Is that what you stand for?<br />
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So what I wanted to say is, be kind to yourself. The SM is not. And if you honor yourself and your feelings, and give the power back to your unconscious mind, not with rationalisations or plots (though a fleshed out exit plan is excellent material to feed to your amazing mind). If you let it, your mind will help you do what you need to do.<br />
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FWIW, I found reading CBT for Dummies useful particularly in quashing the catastrophising that can happen.

What is the name of that book please?

If you search CBT dummies in well-known online bookstores it will show you it - it's part of the Dummies series, and a well-respected one. ISBN 0470665416. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Dummies, Branch &amp; Wilson.

Do you think that you would feel a bit less fearful about the ultimate door if you knew a bit about what it actually involves ? The pitfalls involved and how you might manage them ?<br />
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Were you to consult a lawyer in your jurisdiction to see how the last door checked out for you you may feel far less fearful about said door. If, within the advice you obtained you could construct an exit strategy, and address the various hiccups in it, and get it into do-able shape, you will have created a viable alternative (albeit a theoretical alternative) to your present reality.<br />
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I would be betting that having a viable alternative in your armoury WOULD allay a lot of your fear. And you would deal with your present situation far more positively.<br />
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Tread your own path.

I have a good sense of it on the legal side, but to your point have not penciled it out with counsel. Our joint situation is complex. I can deal with that going forward.

Splitting assets up requires a couple of key sales that in sum I really hope to avoid.

The unknown fear is more on the life partner and the ultimate loss of the known. Sometimes I have the ‘grass is greener” sort of thing as to a life partner. No doubt achievable in one key point but possibly not so much in others. I think the fear is more along the line of “who is out there” and when combined with the knowledge of what I will give up – there is just not an exit velocity that gets achieved.

Perhaps I should say I firmly believe it is a bad plan to outsource on the thought of leaving your M for the person in question.

I am of the view that a viable alternative plan / exit strategy is a stand alone issue. The "what else is out there" scenario is indeed 'unknown' and is likewise a stand alone issue. Have you ever speculated about the quality of the women on this board ? (I am not suggesting the old 'hook up' here - though I did !!!!) but rather just the general quality of the women here. They are, obviously, part of broader society, so it would be reasonable to assume that in broader society there are quality women. Seems no reason to me why you might not attract such a person into your orbit - or for that matter find yourself attracted in to their orbit.

I like the thought of stand alone processing. In fact I took a more detailed view of the exit plan based on your comment yesterday. Yes of course I have considered women here and in general - i think we all do on both sides in this group at various levels. It seems, and I have been told by counselors, that this part of the unknown is more about not making bad choices- some of the outsource choices were by any definition not life partner choices- still they had power and were rewarding to both of us. I guess as to leaving it is more the realization of leaving the unit I made behind and embracing a new history, building new memories -- thinking about really opening door four I get a sense of loss and intrusion. Still an evening curled up on the couch and then little sleep would make up for much of that angst. Just have to get through the first part to make it to the second.

I am not sure where i learned this...<br />
but i have never forgotten it..<br />
F alse<br />
E vidence<br />
A appearing<br />
R eal<br />
it has always helped me to logically challenge my fears...<br />
and recognize how many times<br />
i fill in the blanks of the future<br />
which haven't even occurred yet<br />
joyinthejourney, clg

Excellent - I need that and will use it!

I think one has to build up a history of success in regards to the unknown to be able to take the plunge. For example, how many times have any of us been out of our comfort zones in any of a number of situations that have no direct bearing on our marriages? Success in risk-taking--losing weight and keeping it off, sticking with an exercise habit, taking on a new project at work, talking to a stranger to evaluate for friendship potential, using new strategies in gaming, speaking one's mind--builds confidence and life skills that can be generalized to other situations. Like leaving a SM.<br />
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I have not left my SM, so this is conjecture. But I am working on taking risks that may not seem like risks to anyone else. For someone like me who was a swirling chaos of naivete escaping from isolation before marriage, all these little life skills build up to the point that I can even consider wanting something more/different. I expect the momentum created by this consistent work will get me to a better place.

Fear keeps a lot of us stagnant.

I love your honesty and self awareness. I don't think you'll always be fearful. One day you will wake up and that fear will seem slightly weaker and you'll feel brave, strong, alive. And you'll make a decision ba<x>sed on positives and not negatives. It might still be the same decision but you will be able to live with it in a more acceptable way xx