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Spouses/Partners of Sex Addicts - 19

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Smjsome1 posted 5/30/2019 12:45 PM

Shocks and ashes

You know itís weird, this very subject came up in group, that we were sold a lie, if weíd known the truth we wouldnít have married them

But honestly, I married young, I believed the false ďlove conquers allĒ crap. I probably would have married him. So, more ďIím a failure, Iím at faultĒ for me to feel guilty about.

I worked on that in EMDR, and it helped me see that I was a hopeful person who believed in being our best, etc, and it helped me break the cycle of abuse (my FOO) and my children are strong healthy people and I had to be that person for this to happen.

To forgive myself for my naÔvetť, and see that that young person really did good things, not just make a bad choice to marry a hurtful person.

So, now is now, and my choices are now.

It feels very good, and slightly frightens him, that if he wants to be with me, he needs to get his shit together.

Our plan is to work on how I feel foolish staying with an SA. I told my EMDR IC when she asked, how do you feel about yourself choosing to try to reconcile with an SA. I said ďstupidĒ
She was like,
All your choices are bad. Itís just the way it is, you have sucky crappy choices, now you just need to make the choice that works for you, fits your beliefs, etc, and there is certain power in making that choice, and you are brave choosing recovery, thatís a hard choice, but itís not stupid. AND you arenít choosing a life sentence, you are choosing to stay, for now, and only as long as he is doing his work

I said sure I want a porcupine, instead of a soft cuddly cat. Thatís a stupid choice. Thatís what Iím choosing, to try to live with a porcupine. Not a cuddly warm kitten. You can say itís admirable, being strong enough to love a porcupine, but in reality, itís dumb as dumb can be.

So thatís what our next EMDR session will be.

And Iím not sure why I felt the need to type this out. ...

DevastatedDee posted 5/30/2019 15:02 PM

I hear you, Smjsome1. I totally hear you. I can relate a lot to what you're thinking. It's not that you were dumb, though. I feel dumb for marrying someone who had a past drug addiction while he was in a pretty good recovery place. In some ways, I still beat myself up about that. I didn't really understand, though. I didn't get it, the risks of relapse no matter how much he swore that he'd rather die than go through that again. I'm sure he meant it. I didn't understand the addict mindset and the character issues that they have to work on consistently for the rest of their lives in order to be decent people. I was ignorant, not stupid. Had I known he'd relapse with drugs, I'd have never dated him. Had I known he'd cheat, I wouldn't have had so much as a phone call with him. But I didn't know these things. I believed that people can change, and maybe they can. Most don't, though. It takes a lot of work to bring about lasting change.

It's not a risk I'll take again. I am not strong enough for it.

Smjsome1 posted 5/30/2019 15:26 PM

Devastated


Right! The me now says to the me then - noooo!
But I can forgive myself and thatís a huge deal for me.

Isnít it true too - they really do mean what they say, WHEN they say it. Ugh. Follow thru isnít his strong point.

DevastatedDee posted 5/30/2019 15:36 PM

I think my WH is shallow, honestly. He feels deeply, but it's shallow, if that makes sense. He has said and meant a lot of things and a good deal of them turned out to be a load of crap. He can turn on a dime. He became a fervent Christian after his first relapse and I mean getting up early to read the Bible level of serious. I watched that intensity drop off and then right back to drugs and then back to rehab and fervently into recovery meetings and now the shine is starting to wear off of that and who knows what he'll be next? Unstable. I used to think his obsessive hobbies were kind of cute before prostitutes became one of them. Nothing was cute after drugs and cheating. Obsessing about religion, obsessing about classic cars, obsessing about Star Wars and Transformers memorabilia...no longer remotely cute. Even the innocent obsessions were indicators of a deeper problem.

ashestophoenix posted 5/30/2019 18:21 PM

My SAH is definitely shallow...about everything. Hard to tell if it is due to his limited attention span or a deeper issue with not being able to process anything in a serious way.

Today with my IC we talked about how ashamed I feel, now, for staying with my husband and putting up with his abuse. She made the point that today I have information that I did not have in the past. That I can't judge myself harshly since I DIDN'T KNOW! I knew something was off, I tried and tried to talk with my husband, get MC, get help. But, as we know, he lied and lied and lied. So would I have married him if I fully understood both his history and the reality of his addiction? No, of course not. I would not even have dated him.

And, remember, it is our good qualities that THEY took advantage of: our trust, our caring, our commitment. I don't want to be ashamed of those qualities. I want to be proud of them. They are the shits. We're not.

So I have forgiven myself for marrying him. Wish I hadn't and do see that my insecurities made me make a poor choice. But I didn't sign on for what was coming. I had no idea. And I am forgiving myself for staying prior to D-day, but that's been harder. Mostly I have tremendous grief about that. More complicated is how I feel about now. I feel very much like I have changed enough to put myself first. What a relief. I don't think my confidence and self esteem is yet where it should be, but I'm working on it. The grief is still there.

But, I agree; our options all have negative consequences for us. Positive ones, too. I know right now I just don't want to face more losses and more stress. That's taking care of myself.

None of us are stupid. We were loving, trusting and loyal. In some crazy way, I think my SAH knew that on some level and actually found comfort with it. It's not really conscious, but to this day, even with all the time spent acting out, he eventually wants to "come home." THat's me. I made our home. He sure as heck didn't. He's a home wrecker.

Now I don't make a home for him. I make it for me. He shares the house, but there are some spaces that are mine and I protect.
IT would be a better home without him, there's no doubt about that.

None of us deserved what we went through. We were deceived.

ashestophoenix

marji posted 5/30/2019 20:28 PM

The deception is part of the shock. The shock I experienced on learning my H's decade long habit, reminded me of a tv show years a English spy drama I'd seen on tv years earlier. At one point a husband finds out that the wife he'd lived with for 15 years was actually an Russian spy who had married him as part of her cover. While her deception had nothing to do with an affair or sex of any sort, his shock was extreme; the feeling of betrayal was painful-the utter confusion. That character came to mind because nothing else was comparable; nothing in my life was remotely so shocking so confusing; never had I been so deceived.

Difference between then and now is huge; I can take a walk and concentrate on what Im seeing; mostly my mind if full of other things. But if I do think about it, if something triggers, the thought and feeling is pretty much the same-still disgust and confusion; still a sense of a creepy unreality. The "how could you" feeling comes back only now, almost 4 years later, I don't speak it out loud and it passes quickly enough.

Shocked123 posted 5/30/2019 21:07 PM

Marji,
The How Could You feeling is strong for me right now.
I have moments when I can push it aside but tonight in particular, it is consuming me.

How could you leave our house every day with lunch in hand -that I prepared, and have an appointment all arranged at a massage parlour?
How could we work together at the same office and manage to hide it from me?
How could you return home to your family, sit at our table and discuss your day while omitting your visit to a prostitute?
How could you tell me you were too tired for sex all those years but had the energy for these women, hundreds of times?
How could you do this to us for over 12 years!! Maybe more...
How could you hide a secret life from us?
How could you claim you're sorry, that you love me and that we should look forward, not back?
How could you think that will fix this?
How could you not know this would destroy me?
How could you be so selfish?

kayaker55 posted 5/31/2019 09:01 AM

Shocked...I am 9 years into this so here is what I know.
He could because NONE OF HIS NEEDS,DRIVE, OR PROCLIVITIES AROUND THE ADDICTION WAS ABOUT YOU. NONE OF IT.
This is the reality...anything else we tell ourselves is just us processing our grief and loss and can serve to keep us in self blame and shame. Time has helped me let that go.
Realizing how I wasn't a thought in SAHs acting out life was very freeing. I couldn't have stopped or impacted it ever. This is the nature of addiction, it is what is behind the acting out that needs fixing...and I don't matter in addiction.
Tis true.
That's how he could.

DogsnBooks posted 5/31/2019 11:25 AM

Hey all. Iíve been away from this thread for a while. I skimmed through quickly to catch up a bit - welcome to the newbies (and sorry you have to be here), happy birthday to Lionne, and a heartfelt hug to everyone sharing new struggles.

Iíve been in a bit of a depression pit recently. Nothing really related to SA - no new discoveries, knock wood - but itís just that my IC has been positively useless. She claimed to be able to help me with all of this when I first started seeing her, but it quickly because obvious that she was clueless about it. At this point, I actually donít think I even need a therapist who knows about SA - just one whoís willing to learn and listen and most importantly, understands trauma. This one didnít. She didnít take my trauma seriously (even my childhood trauma), didnít take my self harm intrusive thoughts seriously. She forgot stuff, important details, all the time, and spent probably 50% of the sessions just talking about herself. Honestly it sometimes felt like I had a hard time getting a word in edgewise, which is NOT how itís supposed to be! And her grand solution to my looming depression was to drink green tea and go on a hike

So, I ďbroke upĒ with her. Now I just need to find a new one. I have a list of a few to call, I just have to force myself to do it. I really need an IC who understands repression and memory loss as a response to trauma because this past one just seemed to think I had control over that and just didnít want to or something

On the marriage front, things are ... alright? Still feels very stuck and stagnant. We are finally processing through things in MC now - each session devoted to a DDay/discovery/event, I get to share all my thoughts and feelings and memories about it, and he is supposed to response with empathy (no excuses! No explanations!) before sharing his own thoughts. It has felt good to get it all of my chest although the empathy thing has been really hard for him to grasp. Itís almost comical if it werenít so sad. Luckily our MC wonít allow his BS-ing and redirects him back to what heís supposed to be doing.

Iíve left him back in the bedroom, so thatís a thing I guess. Nothing big or emotional, it just felt like time. Still no sex. On that front ... Iím starting to feel ďreadyĒ again but at the same time, I donít know how to do that without having the mind movies. I still have so much disgust when I think about some of the particulars heís done. I donít think that disgust will ever go away. How do I separate who he WAS back then from who he is NOW? I genuinely believe he wouldnít do those particularly triggering things ever again. I just donít know how to not have my mind go there whenever we do resume intimacy.

DogsnBooks posted 5/31/2019 11:27 AM

Have any of you ladies taken the Meyers Briggs Personality Test, and if so, have your spouses also taken it?
I'm interested to see if there are any patterns to personality types when it comes to SAs and SA spouses.

My exH was obsessed with taking those tests, and would send them to me to take them all the time. I've always tested as INFJ-T (Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, Judging - Turbulent).

I can't for the life of me find exactly what my XH tested as, but I'm pretty sure it was ENTP or ENFP... I'm pretty certain it's ENTP but I can't seem to find any of the emails he sent me about it.

These two personality types (INFJ and ENTP) are supposed to be highly compatible with one another, and honestly I do feel like we were highly complementary. But of course as we all know it seems whenever sex addiction is added in (and in my X's case, some narcissism/BPD for good measure) everything gets thrown for a loop, so would love to see if you ladies have any input.

I love Myers-Briggs! As with everything, it should be taken with a grain of salt, but I find it very interesting. My WH is an ENFP. Iím an INFJ/ISFJ hybrid.

secondtime posted 5/31/2019 15:31 PM

How do I separate who he WAS back then from who he is NOW? I genuinely believe he wouldnít do those particularly triggering things ever again. I just donít know how to not have my mind go there whenever we do resume intimacy.

I'll be interested about what others say about separating the past from the present, too.

After DDay1, I used the mantra "He's not that person anymore." all the time until I really believed it.

After DDay2, this idea of past behaviors staying in the past...well...I got burned on that. I also really believed that he would never lie about his addiction.

But. As it turns out, my SA husband wasn't immune to behaving like an addict, despite "doing the work." ..Now I see my husband as being capable of it all at any given time....from a slip to a relapse to escalation..I honestly don't see this going away until he dies. Like it or not, my husband is an addict.

And furthermore, I really cannot see into him to know really what's going on. While DH was doing the work the first time, he was still fundamentally denying that he was an addict. There was really no way for me to know that, until my DH shared some things after DDay2.

Having mind movies (or not) is more about my ability (or lack there of) to mindful when we have sex. When I say mindfulness, I mean the meditative kind...

If you haven't tried mindful techniques, I would highly suggest you give it a try. That's probably helped me the most in all of this..just learning how to be present..I think once you get the hang of it, it's fairly easy to bring into the bedroom.

Shocked123 posted 6/1/2019 16:00 PM

Kayaker55,
Thank you for that explanation. Every ounce of my being is screaming rejection, but the last year has taught me exactly what you are saying; it has nothing to do with me.
He chose his addiction over everything else, even the chance of losing his marriage, his children and his reputation.
The thing is, my H flatly refuses to admit that he had no control over this behaviour. He simply states that he chose it because it was pleasurable and he had the time and money. Never did he think I would find out so he never thought about the hurt it could cause.
So you see, I am left with wondering what exactly led him to do this for so long and so regularly? A hobby that got out of control and became an addiction or a voluntary escape from his life/wife/children/job that he had control over but chose to continue out of anger and spite? The excitment of hundreds of encounters with differnt women? Simply that? A combination of several of these things? Or was it deeper than that? Is he a sick man hiding behind the "I made a mistake" (yes he said that, lol) excuse?
Of course there are many other reasons and I know acting out isn't always black and white but my H excuses it away much too easily without really getting to the root of the problem.
We all know there is a deeply rooted cause to all this, why don't they?
When I turn this all around, and if I had been the person leading the double life; pleasuring myself with men in their homes and parlours, being nasty with my husband and family, avoiding family time and vacations, being detached, angry, irritable, reclusive, refusing sex with my partner...If I had done that for even one month, he would have called me on it.
If I had continued this for over a decade there is no way he would have put up with me even one more day after D Day.
And yet, here I am. That is what hurts.
At the end of the day, I feel I loved him more than he loved me and I need to re-evaluate the marriage and my commitment to it.
I feel myself detaching and feeling meh towards him at times. He did that to us and may one day end up alone. I watch him trying to please me with little effect at times and I'm sure he's realizing I may be slowly slipping away from him. I am still numb with occasional anger peeking out more and more. He hasn't even seen 10% of the anger and disgust I feel.
One day I hope he wakes up and asks himself the how could i have questions. Maybe only then will he start to deal with his past actions.
Until then, I am mastering self-care and focusing more and more on our children who I am guilty of not taking care of as well as I should have these past 12-15 years. I was there for them but consuming anxiety over the state of our marriage and my husband's moods stole a lot of peaceful moments from them. I feel very guilty about subjecting them to him for most of their childhood.
Kudos to you, Kayaker55, for dealing with this for 9 years. You sound like a true warrior and a wise, wise woman.
Thanks for reaching out.

kayaker55 posted 6/1/2019 20:59 PM

Shocked
I am indeed well weathered around this...and thanks for the wise....i kinda feel that way now. I was a mess for years when this hit, but have worked hard to come out of this sane, and it took me 7 years to find a good therapist that is helping me put my pieces back together. A work in progress, me.

Your last post makes me want to reply.

What led him to do it for so long? Broken. He is broken. Does it matter whether it's the excitement or an escape or anger? It's not what a healthy loving person does. Mistake??? Really??? Broken. SA's have an intimacy disorder....doesnt this scream that?
Why don't they understand this? Cause they are broken...and they avoid taking responsibility at all cost in addiction. My SAH said until he was able to act out (porn, strippers, prostitutes) he felt like he was going to die. Why would he want to get to the root of and face something so Shameful? All he wanted was the thing that made him feel good. There's the broken.
Don't play "what if I did this to you" ....you are not broken like he so it's meaningless. He's not going to feel and process that like a healthy person. He's broken.
I know...a lot of that word broken but it was powerful for me to see this in my mess.
Read up on intimacy disorder and attachment disorders, they were key for me to understand how far out in space he was. And always was.
My SAH was never sexually healthy...NEVER...i married him 30+ years ago and never knew. They don't become SA's suddenly. Broken from childhood.
Well done on the self-care...SO important....took me awhile to get that. Good for you to recognize how to focus on the kids. Shed all self blame about having him in your kids life...you didn't know. They are master liers and manipulators.
You sound strong...I am rooting for you.
One day at a time is the secret.
And seriously....treat yourself lovingly. You deserve it.
Cheers

marji posted 6/2/2019 07:19 AM

. . . . . . . because it was pleasurable and he had the time and money. Never did he think I would find out so he never thought about the hurt it could cause.

Shocked This is exactly what my H has said by way of explanation. He also felt (feels) he was able to stop because he did put in for early retirement knowing he would not have the time, money or opportunity to continue the hobby.

I know there is no know that not all habitual users are the same but some people really do give up habits; some are habitual users-we call call them addicts-and then they stop using and they no longer are addicts. I used to smoke. I smoked as a teen until my early thirties. I tried even as a older teen, may 18 or so, to give it up and did not succeed. I had a cigarette habit. Later in life I stopped smoking. I did not want to; I was disgusted by smoke and never smoked again. That was a very long time ago. I am not an addict. I was for those years but not when I stopped.

I also know people who used drugs habitually; some almost landed in prison. Some might have died. They stopped using all sorts of drugs. They stopped a very long time ago. They are not addicts; they have no more drug habit any more than I have a cigarette habit.

I know others who had the same relationship with alcohol.

And now I know some who had a sexually related habit and no longer indulge.

So I'm thinking this may well be how it is for Mr. Shocked. He had a habit. And maybe like with some others, my H it seems and several others I know, he just has no habit any more.

But you are wanting him to go deeper than he did it because he liked it, had the opportunity and didn't think you'd ever know. Mine felt the exact same way and I suspect many other men who indulge feel that way too. Also thinking many do not get caught. Mine didn't for ten years and the withdrawals for the payments were right there in front of me all that time. I just payed no attention.

Like your H, mine never goes deeper than that; he had stress from work and going to the parlors was the escape. Guess there's no arguing that. So all that's left of the "how could you" is that he was (is) a man of limited integrity; a person cold enough to exploit others; a person sad enough, unhealthy enough to repeatedly find pleasure in a basically mechanical and loveless, emotionless activity that the IC said was not unlike going to the bathroom.

It's sad and in it's own way sick but can they really find a real explanation and would it make our feelings toward them and and our new reality any better?

After four years I've given up the idea that my H will delve deeply into the reasons for his lack of morals, that he'll never think about how it is he preferred such a depraved activity to a real relationship, how it is he could so blithfully live a double life. I came to think that if he had that kind of depth, that ability for introspection, sensitivity, thoughtfulness and depth he would not have been doing what he did for a decade. Who knows? Maybe he would have had a real love affair instead.

So yes, let's all just try to concentrate on ourselves instead of them; let's concentrate on our own recovery not theirs. Let's find in each day as much as possible to enjoy. Let's try to think more about people who have not caused us such pain, anger, disgust, disappointment and trauma.

And that's exactly what you are doing Shocked which is great.

It's June. We're here. Let's all try to have our best day possible.


demolishedinside posted 6/2/2019 09:09 AM

You know, broken from childhood is what gets me. He had a good family. No early exposure. No abuse. WTH. The only thing I can figure is he did not learn to express feelings at all. Family members died and his dad showed no emotion. Other than that? He had sex at 18 for the first time. She was older. I honestly see nothing in his life that leads to it, the way many of you shared.

Iím as good as I can be. Iím interviewing and as soon as I land something, Iím going to file. He is writing suicide notes and begging God to kill him. I find them randomly written on homework notes heís taken. I canít do it anymore. I believed and tried. I wanted more for me and my kids. I feel terrible that they are losing so much now. However, Iím already growing calmer and more at peace. I get overwhelmed by how I will do it all, but I know I can.

Cally1975 posted 6/3/2019 07:51 AM

I haven't posted in awhile. D-day January 21st 2019.
I am still actively in my marriage and trying to make it work. I can't say it is easy at all. Most days I am still a bundle of emotions.
The husband is still seeing a CSAT weekly. He is also going to church, twice a week meetings, and reading devotionals daily.
We had what may be a huge break through a couple weeks ago with him.Time will tell if his actions stick. I didn't think he was actively doing his assignments from his therapist in work book. I felt he was gas lighting on certain subjects. He also wasn't commiting to work to know how to help me through this. So we had a joint visit with his therapist. I laid it all out there and what I felt. I told them both I am considering seperation. His CSAT really gave him the once over in front of me. He told him your wife needs to see you daily working towards your recovery. Then told him he was about to lose me. Since then he has worked daily hard. Even completing a chapter in a week. He has commited to us praying daily as a couple. He has been more open then he has ever been about this addiction and the pain around it. The thought process that goes a long with it.
Boy I can tell you what I see is a very damaged boy. Who grew up to be a damaged man. We did a disclosure between the two of us. It was very hard to hear. Then I followed that up with an impact letter I wrote him. A letter to explain my pain, my disgust and all the ways this has effected me. To explain to him his behaviors and times he gas lighted. Then to openly tell him important boundaries I have. If those are crossed have consequences. Most are divorce. But others have different consequences.
He cried while I was reading this letter. He kept repeating how sorry he was. Then thanked me for having the courage to read it.
We still have GPS on him, he has no access to cash, I have all passwords and he has an accountability app on phone that I track. This is a requirement.
Behaviors I have seen in him that indicate change are...
1. He is a lot more open to vulnerable conversations. We are talking more then we have our whole marriage.
2. He doesn't try and just fix the situation when I am triggered. He holds me through my pain and has said sorry A LOT.
3. He no longer is glued to his phone. He leaves it out in the open.
4. He holds my hand, cuddles in bed instantly, plans dates, gives affection freely. He also compliments me.
5. He has totally planned our next vacation all by himself. He has also been taking paid time off just to spend with me. His priority is time together.
6. He answers any and all questions about his behaviors or if anything seems off like say a debit purchase he provides a receipt instantly and without defense.
That's just some of the changes. Believe me I still live daily with fear. Hopefully some day I can love him like I use to. Right now I am walking in faith that he has truly changed and is in recovery. I truly give the glory to God. For how strong I have become so far. Also for the changes I see in him

Somber posted 6/3/2019 08:13 AM

As I try to catch up on all your messages, I realize the struggle continues for us all. There are many struggles in the relationships we find ourselves in.

My WH is in his 4th week of rehab, although it doesnít seem that long. I have tried to enjoy the calmness while he is gone and he is now home on weekends. I have so much anger and resentment but donít say to much as I donít want to be he cause of any relapse...so once again I am walking on eggshells but for different reasons. I am stronger but confused.
I am trying to work on self care but that is hard. I have to work and take care of our children, heir activities, home...I mostly feel resentful that I donít have weeks away with therapy and groups to help me process the emotional traumas.

Yesterday I felt the need to approach 2 women who I have suspected my WH had a relationship with due to their messages. One of them my cousin, she admits to a fantasy sexual in nature online relationship only! She seems sincere, apologetic and devastated by her involvement. I feel her feelings of embarrassment and shame come only after my confrontation! The integrity to know what she was doing was wrong and stop it was never there. Our family is very close and we get together every holiday and I no longer want to!
The second was a friend from our kids school. She denied anything, tried to manipulate me. I realized she was as sick as my WH likely and really selfish. I quickly ended my texts to her stating ďI realize there is no benefit speaking with you. You are not honest or sincere. Our actions define us and I much rather choose to be dignified and end our conversation.Ē

I feel that in both my brief encounters I just shared, I was nice, calm, composed and yes dignified! But I really want to yell, scream, threaten them, tell them how I really feel....but what good would that do?? I am trying to be the better person and not freak out but the ways they betrayed me I donít feel they deserve that respect! Or perhaps my responses are respecting me?!

Any thoughts? I hate these other women just as much as my WH for Fín up my life!!!

Cally1975 posted 6/3/2019 08:21 AM

Demolished,
I was like you. I was so shook up because like you I thought he came from a good family. No abuse or real trauma. Lived in a very nice home. Came from money.
What I have learned with digging deep. Also with him becoming more vulnerable is. He had dyslexia that didn't get diagnosed until 18 and a senior. Being tested and found to have a 5th grade comprehension level at 18. The fear he had of feeling stupid, being teased. Dreading school to the point of being sick to your stomach. All this for so many years. He was exposed to pornography magazines in 5th grade. Began masturbating in 6th grade. He isolated himself and there was his escape through the pain. Girls didn't want to date him, but thought of him as a brother. He didn't have sex until 18, first love. Then she cheated on him. So lots and lots of rejection and zero self esteem.
How does a parent not notice their child is struggling so bad? How do they not notice he is so isolated? See I have noticed so strongly now that his parents may fix things financially. Like sending him to a boarding school to get specialized help for 2 years with this learning disability. But where is the love, compassion or sharing of feelings? They were and still are non existant with this. He was never taught feelings, empathy, compassion. Isolation and escape were his means to cope.
I have learned lots of little traumas can equal big traumas.Me being a mom I actually have compassion for him the child that was so alone and isolated for so many years. In that aspect his parents failed him.

Superesse posted 6/3/2019 10:46 AM

Somber, I am so sorry you're going through such a difficult time of discovery, the ongoing revelations that people you know are capable of such ugly behavior, it must be a very lonely feeling. You were brave to ask those women anything, but it is your SAWH who should be telling you the whole story, too, and I hope he gets healthy enough to do that, for your sake.

Cally, I appreciate what you gave as signs of progress. The number 1 on your list, more openness to vulnerable conversations, was especially important to me but sadly, to this day, 17 years after my first D-Day, my SAWH almost always immediately shifts his attention off any emotionally-laden topic that comes up in conversation!

I have learned to notice what else is happening with his body, besides talking or making eye contact: he has this way of shutting down his "thinking" brain by focusing on anything near him that he can study, touch, or fiddle with, to avoid having to process any painful thing! But such behavior is so dismissive and rude, considering what he's done to "us" that it was a long time before I really accepted he doesn't care how it feels on my end! When he does that, he's strictly in self-preservation mode.

This is actually a psychological defense mechanism called "Dissociation." A couple of MCs we tried to get help from also picked up on that behavior of his in sessions. He starts looking at something, anything, rather than the other person. His non-verbal message is "stop!" He either does that, or he slumps down in his chair, his eyelids slide half shut, or he yawns and may even fall asleep! You may as well be speaking a foreign language, at that point.

While he professes willingness to work on his issues, he's apparently unable or unwilling to control these non-verbal behaviors, even after I ask him to look at me, or wake up, or just sit up straighter, to act awake! "Hello! Anybody in there?" So frustrating and irritating, and likely why no counselor he has ever seen, including 2 CSATs, were able to make a dent, either. He always claims they couldn't help him! But nobody should have to use dynamite....

I had to get it that once he goes into that mode, he's not processing anything deeply, and any insights will last only long enough to say out loud. They never seem to "stick." I believe this is the biggest roadblock to any true healing happening. I had to give up coaching him to break through his determined Dissociation; HE has to be willing to do the work, and my SAWH just doesn't want to look at these kinds of issues, period.

Guess that's why, with 12 years of "sobriety" after D-Day 1 and over 100 hours of MC or assorted clinical psychologists, he decided to solicite a prostitute (on my birthday 5 years ago) and got himself arrested. Since then, there have been no changes in him that I've noticed, either. He just went back into "survival mode." (And I got a serious Marital Agreement in lieu of immediate D.)

It is somewhat helpful to our healing, to maybe be able to put together some causes of their twisted sickness, which the great majority of people could never have suspected, don't you think? I would bet there is much more yet to be recognized if your husband's FOO is anything like mine's, which - just from your description - really seems likely. It is a painfully difficult process for both of you, I know. But at least, you are seeing some progress, if you wish to hang in and see what he does with it. Thanks for posting!

Cally1975 posted 6/3/2019 14:39 PM

Supresse,
I can totally relate to what you are saying about the dissociation. These past 2 weeks I have seen the biggest changes with this. My husband would get up during conversations, fiddle around, look away, etc. These past couple of weeks he is really digging deep and something is shifting. We had a disclosure between the two of us. Where I asked him every question under the sun about his acting out. It was the first time in 4 months he sat right across from me and remained in eye contact the entire time. He didn't minimize, get up, fidget or nothing. He had a lot of shame of course. But he was so calm and present. Also with our conversations he is opening up more and more. He doesn't up and run or find something, anything to distract him.
The workbook he is doing is Out of the Shadows by Patrick Carnes. I also ordered Helping Her Heal by Doug Weiss videos. We are also reading Out of The Dog House.
It was and still is important to me that he gets what he has done to me.
It sounds like your husband is very scared to dig deep. So he white knuckles sobriety. I was scared my husband was doing that to. So I brought on new boundaries. This boundary thing is very helpful to me and his therapist said for him also.
I also feel it is so important to know the issues behind this. True healing can't begin without it. We are only at the beginning of this. But he is starting to work on this. I think the first time he admitted some of the pain I just held him through it and encouraged him. Maybe he is starting to slowly see me as a safe person.
I know he is far far from healed. This will be life long. That part is so scary. But I made boundaries and that's what makes me feel safe to continue.
After your husbands relapse is he back in recovery?

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