This is quite ironic, after 4 years of being here, but I need to get this down. Mainly for myself, but perhaps someone will read this and perhaps find something worthwhile, too.
TL;DR I've learned a lot, but I'm pretty much back to where I started. No regrets, just frustrated.
A little over 4 years ago, I "took the red pill", meaning I stumbled into this particular rabbit hole on the internet. Like Neo, it was a rather disorienting experience for me. I think you could say that for a few months it knocked a few screws loose.
I've always been a head case (i.e. most at home in my thoughts), and I'm always looking for new ideas. Especially pertaining to questions I've never had answers I found satisfactory. Foremost of which was, "What's the matter with me?!?", followed not far behind with "What's the matter with everyone else?!?" While I was an indifferent student, I was always reading something. I enjoyed fiction, but non-fiction, especially history and natural sciences, easily held my interest.
One of the things I noticed along the way was the idea that while science (and the application of it) was nominally progressing, but our understanding of people and what makes us tick seems to advance and recede in a rather fitful pace, as like to go down dead ends as to make any progress. Like blind men trying to describe an elephant, certain concepts made sense in isolation, but there wasn't much coherence beyond any particular point of view.
The "Red Pill" community was also like that, but there was a practicality that was undeniable as well as a topic of great interest, to say the least. I found that gave some of the ideas and concepts credibility beyond my personal reaction to them, many of which I found quite unsettling. I believe the cumulative effect of these paradigm shifts had some interesting effects on me.
Now, as a head type INTP, ideas are always interesting, but many of these ideas sank into me far deeper then just the cognitive level, which isn't typical for me. I'm a 9w1, which normally means I like to be unaffected or detached from unpleasantness. I find easy comfort in the abstract. I can talk about things all day long, but it's all just talk. I don't ever really DO anything with these ideas.
The "Red Pill" ideas, however, were quite different. I couldn't talk about most of these ideas and concepts with most people which I found rather mind bending. It was like I was part of a secret order that self selected on the basis of whether we could handle the secret! The MMSL Forum was where I could touch base with my fellow members and know I wasn't alone or crazy (Well, too crazy! ).
More importantly, I really did change from the inside. I started to behave differently, with a much higher energy state. I started to be a doer, rather then just a talker. It happened naturally without any effort on my part. If I wanted to lift weights, I just did it. If I wanted to write a letter to a friend, I just did it. If I thought of something I wanted to share on the forum, I JUST DID IT. I want to emphasize that this was not normal for me.
It wasn't a conscious choice. It just happened.
However, my wife was rather conflicted about this. Before, my marriage was pretty good for her (and I wasn't complaining either), so this radical change in me was unsettling for her. On the one hand, my increased activity and drive was a good thing, but my interest in giving relationship comfort went out the window. I wasn't hostile, but for a woman (a 6 to boot!) who really appreciated my long standing ability to provide comfort and stability this obviously wasn't an improvement. I had been a pleasant, easygoing 9. Suddenly, I wasn't. My kids also noticed the change, and described me as "aggressive", though I wasn't overtly angry or hostile, much less violent.
Being away from home so much because of my new career didn't help matters. I became somewhat alienated from my family, especially after I had a big fight with my wife in the fall of '13. It was a case of being right on the details, but wrong about how to handle it. It took about 9 months to (mostly) straiten out, during which time my energy slowly declined to my old normal. I tried to keep at it, because I really believed in the undeniably powerful and positive idea of being the best version of myself that I could be. But whatever internal change that had occurred within me had fizzled. I was resentful, confused, frustrated and struggling to resist giving up on myself. Most of these feelings I kept from my wife and didn't share with the forum because I was trying to power through it.
My only outlet I was honest with was with a friend who I had introduced to MMSL during that first year, who took to it like a duck to water. I really am grateful for that because I probably would have sunk into depression more then I did.
I wasn't back to square one, but it felt somewhat like it. I had a better understanding of what I wanted but not the mental energy to pursue these. I started to revert to my old habits, which I recognized as counterproductive but they at least gave me some comfort while I searched for …. something. At least I'm keeping my promises, even the ones I don't want to keep.
For most the last couple of years I've resisted the inclination to return to my old self, by willing myself to action. Which had never worked for me before beyond the short term but what alternative did I have? Of course, I would beat myself up for failing (which inevitably I did), resulting in an even lower energy state.
@KatherineKelly had given me a few ideas to check out in the past, and one of them in particular I found useful was this; If I'm struggling against myself to do something that I know is right and good, I need to find out what that something is that is stopping me and fix it. It seems obvious in hindsight, and at the same time not terribly obvious what to do about it. Whatever this problem was, it had been there for most of my life. On the grand scale of things, it seemed like small potatoes to me. Not like abuse or alcoholism.
To the old me, it was a character defect. Which I wouldn't blame anyone for thinking. I've never been able to do anything about it, no matter how hard I tried. Then it just "went away", without any effort on my part, then it came back. WTF!!!
All I've been able to do so far about it is identify it as a rather insistent feeling, an "I don't want to!" compulsion to avoid "Quadrant 2" action (Important/Not time sensitive). Which is, of course, where self-initiated personal development takes place. WHY? I DON'T KNOW. I'm sick of it. It's tripped me up all my life and I'm trying to get rid of it. I can't MAP effectively until I have a handle on this. Which is where I'm at right now.
I feel optimistic about finding a solution to this, though I doubt that this post communicates that optimism. I just know this particular point is where I need to attack before I get anywhere else. I've got a target, now I just need to kill it.
I hope to share my solution when I find it at the refugee camp.