The circus sounds good. More normal than our lives right now!!!
Sorry you're feeling so down.
My mom passed away about 9 years ago ---and I remember how hard that 1st year was. I didn't have this to deal with at the time (well, I did, but I had no idea so I was blissfully ignorant).
It must be so hard to deal with so many different emotions at once--especially when none of them seem good!
Those damn ungrateful kids!!! I've got 2 myself (8 & 6). I long for the days of complete self-absorption. They seem to have it mastered. Don't they understand how wonderful we are--what great moms we are--especially considering all the crap we are trying to deal with? No --I just get the "fun Daddy" stories lately. Not so much in the mood for them.
So--the straight men and gay sex thing. Not sure what to offer for help there. My WH have talked more about it in the last couple of days. I may be in denial--but I really do believe him that he was just trying the next thing.
His most recent addictive behavior was emailing men thru Craigslist (or Satanslist, as I now like to call it). That led to an encounter with a man for a full massage. He really seems like he was just exploring the possibilities of really easy anonymous sex.
I realize that I may not know it all yet but I feel 90% sure that I do. So--from his point of view (for what it is worth), the male sex thing was just something to explore. I know every situation is different-and I may still not really know the whole story---but that's were I stand right now.
I guess mostly all we can do is wait to see what therapy will do to help them figure out who they really are. I know that isn't easy.
Ok--so I started out thinking I was going to be able to offer you some words of encouragement, but maybe not.
Tomorrow is another day, right? Or today is since it is after midnight and time for bed.
Hope this week gets better. If not - I have always wanted to try the trapeze--so maybe we can start our own circus!
Thanks for the support! Yep, it's a tough time...and tougher still because I thought I was past all the really hard stuff. Now I realize that I've been quite numb. Kinda like that feeling, I've decided.
I'm sure it has something to do with Mother's Day this weekend -- first one without my mom (and she was the one who made a fuss over ME on Mother's Day!). And she was also the one I would talk to when I was struggling with the kids -- she had this incredible way of supporting my feelings while still respecting their right to be who they are. And she often reminded me that they weren't unlike their mother in their determination and relentlessness.
In the meantime, I did read some more of the Spouse SA book and it is actually quite good. I found the "stages" info quite illuminating. Though I'd kinda lika to fast-track through the grief stage, if possible.
I really think the men thing is just another step to get the 'hit'. My husband is a total homophobe, yet I found a couple of porn CDs with men on men. Scared the daylights out of me. I also noticed the latest ones were of girls of age, but dressed like prepubescents. That scared me even more. I know these are just moves deeper into the hell of this addiction, but it rattles me sometimes.
I'm thankful for work. It keeps my mind busy. We are off on a trip next week to attend a wedding. I'm determined to leave my grief in a compartment way in the back of my mind. The trip is a time where we really need to connect and just relax.
May 5, 2008
The Heart Of Humanity
Sitting With Our Sadness
The last thing most of us want to hear or think about when we are dealing with profound feelings of sadness is that deep learning can be found in this place. In the midst of our pain, we often feel picked on by life, or overwhelmed by the enormity of some loss, or simply too exhausted to try and examine the situation. We may feel far too disappointed and angry to look for anything resembling a bright side to our suffering. Still, somewhere in our hearts, we know that we will eventually emerge from the depths into the light of greater awareness. Remembering this truth, no matter how elusive it seems, can help.
The other thing we often would rather not hear when we are dealing with intense sadness is that the only way out of it is through it. Sitting with our sadness takes the courage to believe that we can bear the pain and the faith that we will come out the other side. With courage, we can allow ourselves to cycle through the grieving process with full inner permission to experience it. This is a powerful teaching that sadness has to offer us—the ability to surrender and the acceptance of change go hand in hand.
Another teaching of sadness is compassion for others who are in pain, because it is only in feeling our own pain that we can really understand and allow for someone else’s. Sadness is something we all go through, and we all learn from it and are deepened by its presence in our lives. While our own individual experiences of sadness carry with them unique lessons, the implications of what we learn are universal. The wisdom we gain from going through the process of feeling loss, heartbreak, or deep disappointment gives us access to the heart of humanity.
Reading it, it came over me that I wanted to send it to my H, because of the pain he is going through. Then it occurred to me that the process the passage talks about is EXACTLY the thing he has shut out all of his life - experiencing the pain of grief in order to overcome it. He has always just found a fix to make the pain go away instead.
BTW - not only am I pregnant, but I am a chubby bunny anyhow (i.e. over weight) so I refuse to be the girl in the leotard and tights up on the tightrope - I'd rather be the clown or the ring master thanks :)
Or perhaps the lion tamer - but that is a bit too much like being married, no?
[I know I take a long time to get to my point ... but I like to paint the picture of my thought process.]
So the child sex industry is huge, and we know that paedophilia occurs - I believe last time i heard it was 1 in 4 children are abused.
So what do we think about the connection between Sex Addiction and paedophilia? If they are willing to get their fix with other guys - but say they aren't gay or even bi, and they manage to compartmentalize their hidden selves so well that we are completely and utterly oblivious to what they are doing .... what are the chances of the SA leading one day to paedophilia? What if the most readily available opportunity is the innocent, defenseless child down the hall way??????
I never before understood this notion of compartmentalizing ... I never thought a man as wonderful, caring, loving, loved and supportive as my husband would engage in the things he has .... so if a good man can do that .... can a good man end up being a paedophile and interferring with their own child?
I brought this notion up with H last night. It made him down and he disappeared into the garage to paint our wardrobe doors for the next 2 hours. I thought I was subtle, but he realised the underlying thinking is about me being pregnant with our first baby.
What if .... what if... what if ....
I don't think he is capable of it ..... but, like you lovely ladies, I didnt think he was capable of the ongoing years of lurid infidelity and deception.
Can we talk about this? Wish we could meet somewhere for coffee and a chat.
But, it is certainly still on the agenda to address. Ideally, I would like my WH to get set up with his IC (he had an appt this morning) and then go to one of his appointments with a list of things I want answers to. Then the IC will know that it is something he needs to think about for future.
I think you HAVE to consider the possibility when you have children--but I do NOT believe that every SA becomes a child molester.
From our experience in this field, we have determined there are three basic "kinds" of sex addicts (SAs), and it is reasonably easy for the partner to identify which type the SA in their life is.
This list of "kinds" is different than Dr. Patrick Carnes' designations of addictive behavior LEVELS. This list groups SAs by their actions, behaviors, and approximate chances of staying sober and is based on our experiences.
Ahhh. Some would say the answer is "42." (You have to be a Douglas Adams fan to get that one.)
There are three "basic" groups of SAs, from least to most severe.
1) "Lost." These are the lower-level SAs who mostly haven't progressed much. Mostly porn, some masturbation and phone sex. Some may have had physical affairs. They are truly the ones with the best chance of recovery. They are "nice" guys (gals) who are truly using SA as a medication. They may have other addictions, but the sexual addiction is their core addiction and they are in pain, most likely have been in pain for years, sometimes as a result of their own sexual/mental/physical abuse in childhood. If not outright abuse, they most likely gew up in a family situation where they felt trapped and unable to express their opinion. Or they were told that expressing emotion was "wrong" and taught by example to stuff their feelings. The SA is truly a way to medicate themself, to FEEL alive. BUT as a result, they are totally trapped in a shame-based cycle. They DO have a chance to get better. This isn't to say they are guaranteed to stay in sober recovery, but of the groups who have a chance to do so, this is the demographic where you will see the most recovery occur. We see very few partners of SAs in this demographic here, at least not for long-term, because these kinds of SAs will usually seek treatment, if not willingly, at least with an admisison on their part that they know their life is out of control and they need some sort of help. Or they hit bottom the easiest, because their family/job/whatever IS more important to them than their SA disease. Therefore there is more support readily available for the partner through "conventional" means. Also, because their SA is less severe, or seems to make progress quickly, when partners of this type of SA do make it here, they frequently don't stay long because reading others' problems is often "too painful" for them, or keeps them in a "negative mindset" because their SA isn't "that bad." Nothing wrong with that, just a fact. This is also the least-common SA.
If intervention doesn't happen in time, they can/will progress to the next step.
2) "The Herd." Most SAs fall into this category. Their chances of recovery depend on how long they've been an SA and whether or not there are other mental issues that will effect their outcome. SAs in this category range from "just starting" with porn/masturbation all the way up to severe sexual offenders/predators. (And just because someone's an SA doesn't make them a sex offender and vice versa.) Many of these SAs don't use SA as a self-medication, although many do. Some are modelling behavior they saw when they were growing up. Some have made SA a "lifestyle choice" (so they think) and are happy with what and who they are, regardless of the pain it brings their partners. Some admit they have a problem, some don't. Some will hit bottom, some won't. It depends on if they can find another partner/situation to catch them. Serial cheaters who are not in the third category fall into this category. It's not uncommon for SAs in this category to also have other addictions, like drugs and alcohol. These SAs might be badgered into recovery by their partner, or they might be scared into recovery by a brush with the law or the possibility of public exposure or losing their job. But the "love of a good person" usually isn't enough to get there. When they do hit bottom, they hit HARD. But sometimes they simply bounce -- either to another job, another partner, or probation (which lets them lie to themself that they really didn't do anything "wrong").
A relationship with an SA like this is truly a roller coaster ride. Because you can see the flashes of the person YOU think is inside them when the addiction isn't in control of them. They may jump on and fall off the wagon many times before either staying sober or giving up and just accepting the SA as part of their life. They may be caught in a shame-based cycle, but the longer they stay there, the more they start to think it's a "normal" way of life and the shame actually starts to dissipate, or at least be tolerable to them.
Recovery chances are not hard and fast, but they're not favorable.
3) NPD, BPD, sociopaths, psychopaths, other disorders -- "Out there.": (Narcissistic/Borderline Personality Disorder) This demographic has basically NO chance of recovery. We tend to see quite a few partners here with this kind of sex addict in their life. Because the addict usually thinks there's nothing wrong with them, it's the partner's/world's fault they have problems. Not THEIR fault! Why is that? Because instead of the SA being the problem, it's only a SYMPTOM of the problem. The main problem is the underlying psychiatric disorder that allows them to use SA in their life. I can off the top of my head think of several active members at this time who have these types of SAs in their life, and even more who have left SAs of this type. Why do they have nearly no chance of recovery? Research narcissistic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and other mental conditions. You'll see that most of those people have little chance of successful treatment. Unless their underlying mental condition can be "cured," the SA will NEVER be cured. And since most of these SAs think there is nothing wrong with them, they see no reason to get help. In other words, run. They won't hit bottom, because they can always find someone to catch them and/or will always shuffle blame off onto someone else.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 13 December 2006 )
[This message edited by 1Forward1Back at 12:35 PM, May 6th (Tuesday)]
I'm BS, 33
Married 9 1/2 years, together 10 1/2 years
DDay 12/11/07. Found WH's secret email account, along with over 1400 emails he had sent to various strangers and a former fiance. He told the ex that he had an affair on me before but with only one person.
I confronted him via the phone, I was going to wait till he got home but was so furious when he called that I couldn't hold my water. I told him I needed to talk to him about something I found on his computer, he asked what, then I asked how many affairs he's had on me. He first said 1, later that night he revealed it was actually 3. They were all ONS's, the first was 5 years ago with a customer, he was at her house doing some work, she started talking dirty to him and put her hand on his leg and began rubbing him, and it was all over in about 3 minutes.
About a year and a half after that, he started emailing people on Craigslist from the personal section. He would ask for and send dirty pics, he would talk about hooking up with all of them that would reply, and eventually he followed through and went to a woman's house. This was 2 years after the 1st PA. This was also a ONS. About a month later, he did it again with another stranger from Craigslist, and it was also just a ONS. He has had no PA's since then, but continued the emailing.
In Nov of 06, he found his ex fiance (he tracked her down actually). He started emailing her, and within days their emails became sexual. We moved in June of 07 to a city within 10 minutes of her house, and they started meeting for lunch and talking on the phone. They talked on the phone weekly at least, and met for lunch 2 times. Fortunately she had her DD with her both times so nothing happened (and I use the emails they sent afterward to verify that nothing happened), although she definitely wanted something too... oh, and she's married too.
So, Dec I find his secret email acct, get all this info. Kick him out for the night, he becomes injured the next day and can't leave my house. So we were sort of forced back together. He has been here since, and we have had a more fulfilling relationship in every way since that happened. My WH is no longer "somewhere else". He used to sit on the couch right next to me and email these people, while I was right there with him. He would bark at the kids when they begged for his attention from the PC. He would put off life to look at those emails. Now, he does not do that at all.
I have installed monitoring software on the PC's so I can verify he is being good, and it works GREAT, I highly recommend it! And we talk now, that is a big thing. We have been in MC for almost 2 months, and I am so happy now. I still have my moments, but I have only had 2 bad DAYS in the past 2 months, and my moments are short lived as I focus on what we have now, rather than what I thought we had before or what I feel we lost.
Even in all that time though, he has never had a porn problem (there isn't any in the house, his car, he doesn't have extra money EVER to buy any, and I checked the PC's and DVD's), he doesn't masturbate (since we've been married I can count on one hand how many times he has, he is very open with me about that and we talk about it). He has NO other addictions, has never done drugs in his life, doesn't drink, has never smoked, he is a great guy really.
I feel like he gave into temptation once, started feeling incredibly guilty and worthless because of it, and turned his feelings of worthlessness into a self fulfilling prophecy of sorts by deciding to go out and solicit two more ONS's. He stopped having ONS's on his own 3 years ago, and he admitted to 2 of them without me even knowing about them, and he is willingly going to counseling and letting me check up on him and everything. I'm just so confused, but am I missing something? Is he an SA? If so, why, if not, why not? Thanks for your input!
It's impossible to "diagnose" someone online -- particularly because none of us are really experts. There are so many other aspects that play a role in a spouse's infidelity. So I haven't a clue if he's SA or not. There are warning signs that he could have gone down that road (the meaningless anonymous sex, for example). I think, next to him, you're in the best position to determine his motives in going outside the marriage. I confess it all seems to have been dealt with quickly and easily and I tend to be leery of quick-fixes because I think infidelity is generally the result of deeply rooted issues. But if he's eager to continue counselling and you're both finding MC working for you, then bravo to both of you. It's nice to hear a success story and I truly hope he has decided to cherish what he has.
I went to my second SAnon group last night. The group hasn't met since Jan. (it's very small -- but last night there were two new members) so I wasn't sure about it. But with more people, it seemed better and I got a lot out of it.
So what do we think about the connection between Sex Addiction and paedophilia?
NOT all SAs are sex offenders (including pedophiles) and in fact, NOT all sex offenders are SA. It's complicated. But no one should be freaking out and assuming that all SAs are pedophiles who will prey on their children. Everyone needs to read Carnes. Thanks 1Forward for posting that!
So my WH had is 1st appt with his IC -she has a lot of experience with SA, which is great. But, of course, the topic of "disclosure" came up and she talked a little bit about being concerned about sharing too much (it can get "burned in my psyche"). Then I opened the Patrick Carnes workbook that my WH is going to start on and there is a line in there that says "remember, spouses just need general categories, they don't need details."
Pardon my french -but who the fuck are they to tell me what I need to know!!!
This pisses me off sooooooo much. Like my WH gets to fuck around on me for 12 years and then he (along with a therapist and some guy in a book) get to decide what I "should" know. How patronizing is that?
It is my pysche and I get to decide what is burned into it! Essentially it sounds like--don't share so many details that your SO might get so freaked out that they immediately dump you. Just share enough to get the story out-then focus on how to improve yourself. Never mind if the SO is left trying to figure out the real story.
As you can tell, this has really gotten to me. Luckily, my WH is very clear (and was clear before he went to see the IC) that I get to decide what I need to know. I have asked VERY detailed questions. At one point, WH balked at answering some of those, but I just told him that for right now, this is what I need. He told the IC that he was going to tell me whatever I needed to know.
As of this week, I would say that helped, because I am not obsessing so much about the details.
I just don't get how anyone thinks that is supposed to be helpful--setting some 'rule' about what spouses get to know--when we are trying to get over the fact that we have been lied to and manipulated for however long it has been.
Ok-I'll try to wind down now. I need to make an appointment with my WH's IC (she wants to see me alone once) and I will definitely make it clear to her that she will not be helping us by encouraging him to keep information from me.
[This message edited by FeistyWoman at 1:08 PM, May 7th (Wednesday)]
The more I've read about it the more I see that while therapists (including Carnes) do make suggestions about disclosure, they are just suggestions. It is addressed fairly well in "MASH" (I'm going to start referring to the book "Mending a Shattered Heart" as MASH, it's too long to type out every time). It basically says that the betrayed spouse needs to decide what level of information they want and the addict and therapist should respect that.
I'm with you, I wanted to know what I wanted to know, when I wanted to know it. I'm not a person who got "mind movies" that I couldn't get past. There are some women who can't move forward if they get too many details. I understand that. I'm not one of them. I'm just the opposite. What I was IMAGINING was far worse than the reality. I needed to know details for my own sanity. I think the conventional wisdom is coming around about that. It is happening slowly but it is happening. Hopefully, therapists will start taking it on a case by case basis rather than trying to shove everyone into one box.
Perhaps you can set up an appointment with your FWH AND his counselor so that you can address this head-on. That way you're not wondering what the counselor is telling your FWH and she will know your stance on it as well. If you can make your case and explain that you're not "pain-shopping" things may go more smoothly.
We did not have the benefit of a formal, supervised disclosure. I got it from him on my own before he even sought counseling. I did ask about specific sexual acts to determine my risk of STDs. I asked about his use of condoms. I asked WHERE they had sex. I needed to know if he ever screwed anyone in my home. I have a RIGHT to know if he screwed anyone in my home. So, of course, the fall out of that is that Motel 6 is a trigger for me, so be it, at least my own home or bed isn't. I also asked about sexual activity in our vehicles. Again, that is something I have a right to know in my opinion. Some might think it's twisted that I have a color coded detailed spreadsheet of his infidelities. That's their problem. This is for me. For my recovery and I needed it. There was so much information that I needed to be able to keep it all straight. What works for me, may not work for others. Everyone has to find what works for them.
ETA: I think if you go into the appointment with his IC (I just re-read your post and saw that you're going to do that) with your list of what you want to know and you go through it line by line, you will be able to explain to her why you're asking for these things. If there is something on there that she doesn't agree with or understand, at least you can make your case.
[This message edited by 7yrsbetrayed at 2:06 PM, May 7th (Wednesday)]