My situation is that my spouse is bith a gamblking and sex addict, she is currently in denial and I get everything that goes with that- you know the drill, blames me for her actions, verbal abuse, even threatens my physically sometimes (not a very credible threat in this instance and she hasn't acted on it but it makes me feel sorry for those whose spouses are capable of physical abuse)
Can either of you, boh of you, or anyone else address the issue of detaching with love (as opposed to detaching in anger) most of the detachment articles and chapters I have read have recommended tghis if you can do it. Reading between the lines I think many here are working things from that perspective. It seems very difficult to me to do that. The comment that setting effective boundaries requires letting go of the consequences rings true to me as does the notion that the only boundary I can truly set is one that controls my behavior.
Anyway, sorry for rambling but how to set boundaries while detaching with love is the issue I am looking for help with right now because I still have hope she can find herself and am giving up hope that I can help her do it. Your responses appreciated as always.
In my case he simply pushed me too far one night, become violent and imtimidating, then said we were over. Something just snapped in me where I had had enough. I told him to go right ahead and leave. He quickly recanted and I asked him to leave anyway. He did come back after I told him to stay away longer but I have somehow managed to keep my boundries and be able to go out as a family and be civil and friendly.
I wish I had the answer for you. I think the one important key is to stop worrying all the time about how what you're doing is affecting them and worry put yourself first. Focus on you life and how you can be a better more self sufficient person. It will make you feel much better. You can't change the but you can change you!
Last DDay: 7/15/09
Dday again: 3/10/2011
All Done: Better late then never
Finally taking life one day at a time.
Our sex life has been inactive for a while. Both of our faults and would take both of us to fix it.
My emotional needs are definitely not being met.
She adamantly refuses to leave. Neither of us can afford a divorce.
I don't really want a divorce anyway.
I have dealt with her gambling addiction for years. She she was diagnosed and went to counseling and group for awhile but she "doesn't need that" and stopped.
The sex addiction turned up a little less than a year ago and blindsided and devastated me.
I have recently concluded that I became codependent gradualy over years tryinmg to cope with the financial devastation of her gambling. My attempts to control and manipulate became habit and just as they aren't working with the gambling issues they are also not working with the sexual issues.
Maybe with that backgroun, some can help me find appropriate boundaries. Thanx in advance
[This message edited by Stop at 10:48 AM, September 21st (Monday)]
Our situations sound very similar. My WH also says he doesn't have a problem. He said to me last night "what do you think a CSAT is going to do for me? No one can control me or make me do something, I CAN control what I do" So, in essence he is saying he IS in control.
So, I said to him, unless and until you see a CSAT we are gonna have a sexless marriage. Now if you are already inactive int hat area, think of something else you do for her, that you can stop doing. One of the other posters here made a suggestion of not cooking for him. Just to cook for myself and the kids. Another was laundry.
I know most of these may not apply to your situation, but something along those lines.
I too have realized I am VERY codependent. I almost HATE that side of me. But, I know I didn't get here on my own. It developed along the road throughout my life.
I should have researched your situation, but are you attending any groups? I am very seriously considering COSA. I need something to help me get by. This is just crazy...yet I can't walk away...
They say "Love conquers all" Well, I am afraid they are WRONG!
Yes, I am attending COSA meetings. A well focused group. I am also reading books by several authors on the subject of my co-dependency. Many of them have been discussed on this site.
Interestingly I do the grocery shopping and cooking in the house but taking that "on strike" would be counter productive for me, at least in my opinion. Now if I had to stop doing it because I was too busy having fun and doing things to improve myself with no motive of punishment, manipulation, and control. It would make sense to me. :grin
If you have found youself in the definition of co-dependent, I highly recommend COSA as a group that can help you find your way out of codependency, at your own speed. My sponsor and I discussed my desire to create good emotional boundaries while I am still not ready to lay down an ultimatum. She agrees this is important but doesn't have to happen until I am comfortable with the boundary at all levels. She suggested I proceed slowly and carefully and take care of myself in the process.
I am also in a pretty good individual counseling situation. I respect and enjoy my counselor and that helps. Lucky for me, counseling is very inexpensive for me because it is subsidized. If it cost a lot I would just have to be at COSA only and that would work I think.
[This message edited by Stop at 8:30 PM, September 21st (Monday)]
I think you've answered your own query re. detaching with love. It comes from an absolute clarity that the only thing you can control is yourself and letting the other person fall, so to speak. As much as possible, don't protect her from the consequences of her actions. Cut her off financially and emotionally so that she isn't buffered from the consequences.
However, as you point out, if it's done with malice or anger, you'll be hurt along with it. It might help to think of her as a child. You need to let kids go in order for them to grow and become capable. If you're always protecting them, they never learn to take care of themselves. She's clearly making some really bad choices that are affecting you dramatically. Now it's time to try and reduce the effect on you as much as possible.
Respect yourself enough to not let her hurt you -- emotionally, physically, financially -- any more.
Breathe. Just breathe. You don't need to make any big decisions now. In fact, I would suggest that you simply put some boundaries in place (your no-sex boundary is a healthy one until you can be sure he's not acting out. As well, most CSAT's recommend it as a way of "detoxing" the SA) and focus on what YOU need right now.
You will know when your husband is truly in recovery. It sounds cliche, but, even though you'll have triggers and moments of doubt, with time you'll be able to trust that he is sincere. He will be able to talk with you sincerely and openly. He will be able to "be there" -- physically and emotionally.
If he truly is sincere now about his recovery, it's time to create your hit list -- exactly what he needs to do: get individual counselling with a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT), attend 12-step meetings, get a sponsor, etc. etc. These are non-negotiables. If he starts making excuses, then there's your true answer about his commitment/sincerity. But at all times, you're taking care of yourself, NOT making threats or trying to manipulate and control him. Recovery is him to manage, but for you to insist upon if he wants to stay in a marriage with you.
I suspect that once you take back your own control, you'll panic less and feel a bit better.
Hang in there. Keep posting. We're all here...and we've been where you are.
Ya I know.
Our counsellors to date have not been certified sex therapists, and WH's IC doesn't really support SA as a true addiction/diagnosis (they work intensely on FOO issues, anger and cognitive distortions).
Tomorrow we have an appointment with a CSAT for an assessment and treatment plan. She says after taking a comprehensive history, she will be able to provide us with a clear set of guidelines for moving forward as well as recommendations for us as individuals and as a couple.
She's expensive, and we may only be able to attend this one 90-minute appointment.
I'd really like some guidance on how I could best manage my time and experience with her. I'm wondering if you might have suggestions for specific questions, or what might be appropriate to share with her, etc. Maybe what I'm asking is that if you had a do-over with your own CSAT and were having your initial appointment, what would be most helpful?
Or should I just let it all go and practice deep breathing til then? *sigh*
Ya I'm feeling a little nutty right now. It's been one helluva long haul with little progress. Or should I say, he's making progress but I'm stuck in a really really bad place.
Really stuck, and really reaching out.
The order of people you can believe is about like this: Yourself and your gut, your counselor, your group, any random stranger, last and least your spouse. Addicts can be very convincing and keep us in a fog way too long. Your CSAT will know that.
Look out for yourself, detach as appropriate. Stay in your group. I am in COSA and don't know anything about S ANON but I assume it is similar 12 step system. Get a sponsor if you don't have one already. Work the steps with your sponsor.
PLEASE!! take care of yourself first and let your spouse create his own consequences. Thats the best any of us can do. I feel your pain. It's just like mine.
There are many good people on this site who are smarter than I, I am sure you will get some good advice here. I only put in my .02 because no one had yet. I'm sure they will. (((((( 2fu))))))
[This message edited by Stop at 2:03 PM, September 23rd (Wednesday)]
I am in the SAME BOAT as the both of you. I just want you to know that you are being heard. This is the only place I have to vent and share my crazy life! I have no advice as Im going through the very same thing.
Years of infidelity that I now realize is SA. No real disclosure. STD's, lies, other women. Still no transparency. I fianlly set a "no sex" boundary until he see's CSAT. That was after he claimed he could control his cheating. He made an appointment yesterday with CSAT I found, and his appt. is tomorrow.
I am not making any decisions about the future. I am taking it one day at a time. I love him. I hate his addiction and who he is in that. It's so hard separating the two. It's so hard coming to grips that this addiction is NOT about me. But, I know it's not.
Please take care you yourselves! Know you are loved, even when you don't feel that way. I'm sorry you are experiencing this in your lives. All of you!
Stop~ Hang in there! You seem to have a good grip on things, as far as your own healing. You seem so strong! Why have you continued to stay, if your WW is not seeking help for her addictions? I am just curious. Also, I haven't seen "7years" post in quite sometime, I am hoping she pops in soon!
[This message edited by whatnowaz at 4:01 PM, September 23rd (Wednesday)]
Stop~ Hang in there! You seem to have a good grip on things, as far as your own healing. You seem so strong! Why have you continued to stay, if your WW is not seeking help for her addictions? I am just curious.
Thanks but I am not strong. I have become convinced that my wifes addictions are stronger than she is but she is the only one who can learn to control them. She was seriously abused (gang raped) as a child and was sexually used by her psychiatrist in her teens. All I read tells me her compulsions are powerful and my own experience with nicotine reinforces that notion.
I am in pain, I waffle, I rage, I read, I think, I am grateful for my COSA group, for several authors, and my counselor. I have recently accepted that I have been codependent for years and that the only hope my wife has is that she crashes, burns, and reinvents herself. I can;t do it for her. So it is let go and let God for me. Maybe I will have to quit the marriage at some point. We'll see. One day at a time. I have a daughter, two sons and 6 grandchildren. They need me to be (or at least appear to be) both strong and loving for their mother and grandmother.
I'm not sure I can help as my husband hasn't seen an official CSAT but someone who does specialize in SA and has developed SA programs at an addiction center in Canada. And I wasn't in on the initial stuff as my husband didn't tell me about the SA until 6 months with his IC.
However, I would be candid about the financial situation and simply ask for a roadmap of what you two can do on your own for BOTH of your recovery, in the absence of weekly or biweekly meetings. I think if she knows that this is her one and possibly only shot at getting you two on the path to recovery she might just empty her notebook for you and give you her best.
And re. your feeling nutty: this stuff is completely crazy-making. Even 2 1/2 years out, I have more days than I care to count feeling like I'm just spinning my wheels. It's so hard to realize that years -- YEARS -- of your life were spent living a big lie. Of course, with time you can separate out that which was legit and what wasn't. But it's still a really difficult thing to wrap your mind around that you placed your trust and safety in someone who had a secret life. It defies all sense of "normalcy".
Please keep posting. You'll get a lot of support and good advice on this thread. We can't replace a CSAT but we can certainly offer up our own hard-won wisdom and are happy to do so.
Stop--thanks for the reference to thin-slicing. I forgot that term but it got me back into the book Mending a Shattered Heart, which I've spent the afternoon and evening re-reading. Thank-you for your words of wisdom and compassion. It sounds like your world has been rocked to the core also and I'm sorry for your pain. How are you able to detach? How do you contain your rage? After throwing half of the dinner I prepared in the garbage, and the other half on the floor, I've concluded that I'm the POS and a good match for him.
whatnowaz I hear you. The games they play are so whack that I just don't get how they can lay their heads down on the same pillow as themselves. I hope the CSAT appt goes well for your WS. Will you share what you learn about his appointment? Good for him to actually book it (white-knuckling it never works). Ya, the love/hate thing is crazy alright. My IC mentioned a book title to me: "I Hate You, Please Don't Leave Me!" It's written by a woman with Borderline Personality Disorder but it sounds just like me! I'm very sorry you are hurting!
EO, thanks a lot for your thoughts too. Is that Tx facility Edgewood (in Nanaimo BC)by any chance? Our financial situation is so dire that it's really scary but I'm hoping that enough good will come of this session that it will be "priceless." The crazy-making stuff seems endless. During any given week I know I could easily be diagnosed Bipolar, Clinically Depressed, BPD, OCD, NPD, or PFU (that last one stands for Plain Fucked Up and is my wee stab at humour this evening ). It's some serious crazy-making shit and I'm sorry you know exactly what I mean. It's been a long time since his double-life actually led me to ask both him and my grown kids to watch out for me as I feared I was a candidate for early-onset alzheimers. And he let me believe that, rather than tell me the truth!!!! At 2 1/2 yrs out, aren't you totally exhausted??
I feel like the one-year antiversary crap kicked me back to square one with a vengeance. Truly feeling broken tonight.
Thanks again all.
I want to address this detachment thing because imo it is life saving and necessary for us to cure ourselves. I believe it may also offer the best hope to save our marriages but that is just a side benefit.
How to do it: The 180, often discussed in these forums, is described in the library. A google search of detachment turned up several articles with a lot of information for me. Don't miss the one at Livestrong.com The value and meaning of detaching is discussed from various perspectives in all, or at least almost all of the books I have seen on codependency. Healthy detachment is woven through the 12 steps and is integral to our emotional help. "Codependence and the Power of Detachment" Karen Casey has a lot of info in the form of vignettes of actual peoples lives. In "Codependent no More" Melodie Beattie says we must detach to survive. Most say detaching with love is the best and Melodie goes on to say that if we can't detach with love then detaching with anger is still better than continuing in codependence.
Why to do it: The defect in my character that most brought me here is my erroneous belief that I can control, manipulate, cajole someone to behave in the way I think they should. For years, in self righteous and smug style, I have rescued my wife from the consequences of her gambling addiction while at the same time verbally punishing her and trying to control her. This has created resentment and discomfort on her part but it HAS NOT CONVINCED HER TO STOP. Allowing her to experience her own consequences would have been more loving if I had known that at the time. So now my situation is having partner with multiple addictions, who refuses to think she has a problem but that if she does its because I smother her and push her to it. In a sick way she is right. I didn't cause her problem of course but neither did I step out of the way and let her find herself. It's time for me to do that. It's time for me to let go and let God. It's time to lovingly detach.
I heartily recommend you learn all you can about the hows and whys of detachment and see if and where the concept can help you. I have first had to let go of the fear of abandonment and of the notion that I can change anything about her. I have had to embrace the idea that only I control me, that I am personally reponsible for the condition of my life and that I, and only I, can change it to be anything I want. Same for her. Is continued marriage to her my future? I don't know right now. Is a self directed and fulfilled life my future? Yes I can make it so. No one else can.
Now I will laugh at myself a little by saying to all of you who have been there ahead of me: If this whole rant sounds like the fervor of a new convert, that's because it is :) I am very new to detachment and feeling my way through it. Sharing my story with you helps me firm up my resolve and also gives me the chance to ask you for feedback. I have a long and difficult road ahead. Your help is appreciated. If you think I have it wrong please tell me so.
[This message edited by Stop at 6:52 AM, September 24th (Thursday)]
In my UN-expert opinion, I think you have it exactly right. In fact, you put it so clearly, so succinctly that I recognized myself more than I would like to.
I, too, have been that self-righteous soul who, with the moral high-ground beneath me, sighs dramatically and points out all the ways in which the offender has offended...then proceeds to let them do it to me all over again.
I'm slowly learning to let go...it's like relearning how to breathe for me. But your post is like instructions. I'll re-read it whenever I need reminding.
I *am* detached. I have been, to some degree, since her A began. Moreso now, since d-day. Even moreso, since I hit that wall last December, and stopped having relations with her.
She's reached a kind of place of comfort, where she doesn't seem motivated to do anything more about her problem. White-knuckling. And it's just so hard to watch. I won't know when or if she falls of the wagon. And I've got so much anxiety over that - but I have to keep telling myself, there's nothing I can do about her choices.
I know I should ask her to leave. But I'm still not sure I want to live with the financial fallout, losing direct access to my kids, etc.