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Spouses/Partners of Sex Addicts - 19

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Somber posted 6/22/2019 06:22 AM

Hehadadoublelife, yes that quote from doesitgerbetter does resonate with me. I remember once replying to him that Ďyour lies look the same as your truths.í How do you ever come to believe them when they have taught you to never trust their word?
I could easily now respond as you did

That's just it, I don't want to think that. But the person who lied to me over and over again, and the person who is now insisting they are not lying, are saying the exact same words
.
Iíve not talked to him about it as I am not ready to believe anything he says anyhow. In fact I have seen 10 new contacts in his phone identified with a name then AA. 3 of these are female names. Given his track record, if he at this point thinks he is free to make female friends while at rehab, shows me he isnít to be trusted or following a program for SA.
He is in a 12 step program for alcohol and drug addictions, he also claims to go to SA meetings. 3 for one deal but he can attend Aa,NA,CA or SA in the evenings. AA was the primary program for the first 6 weeks, now I think focus is on SA,Iím not too sure.
I like the idea of planning a few things for me, thank you. That will also help me detach and keep focusing on me. I fear to get so wrapped up in his recovery and sobriety and forget myself again.

Superesse, couples counseling pre-engagement would be a red flag!! If only we could go back right!! Thanks for clarifying.

Marji, thanks for your explanations and sharing the experiences of those in your husbands group. I suppose
Trailing a variety of methods could only be helpful. The real work would be outside of therapy and likely invisible to me unless perhaps I ask Ďare you working your programí questions often...
The whole some are successful and some arenít feels like a 50/50 chance for us all. It would be easier say I accept the past and move forward than expecting myself to forgive. I can see why those women came to that conclusion themselves.
Your advice on how to unburden myself is so helpful! Thank you.

We want to know how things will turn out but those crystal balls are so darn unreliable
.
So true!! I just wish I had a glimpse of what it could be, that may be the hopium kicking in. Together or apart, if I saw a clear vision then I could head in the right direction.

ashestophoenix posted 6/22/2019 17:24 PM

My husband had an IC who used hypnosis and positive visualization. That only helped a little bit. My husband now has an IC who uses EMDR and IFS to address trauma. This is helping a lot. He is making dramatic improvements with this IC.

But this is after six years. My husband, weekly, has: 12 step meeting; IC; psychotherapy group; men's group; meditation group. MC every other week as well. He needs ALL of this.

I think they need to try as much as possible until they get the right combination that works for them. And I think it's lifelong. You know, they really are deeply immature and deeply screwed up by the decades of addiction. I can really see how deluded, impulsive, and stupid my husband was. The anger covered it up and distracted me. Most important, he didn't learn. If he did something that was destructive, he couldn't learn from it since he just acted out all the time.

I am convinced that the early trauma or whatever the issues were for which they had to self medicate with addiction, have to be addressed. It's clear to me that this is an emotional problem. An immaturity problem as well. But primarily, my husband couldn't understand, tolerate, or manage his emotions or anyone else's. Plus his self esteem was screwed up and he acted like an arrogant god who also needed to be coddled.

That's a whole boatload of dysfunction to fix.

ashestophoenix

marji posted 6/22/2019 17:59 PM

I am convinced that the early trauma or whatever the issues were for which they had to self medicate with addiction, have to be addressed

But what if there was no early trauma; what if all there was was male entitlement and interest? Just an all too common enjoyment of watching women gyrate around a pole and give a lap dance-then having regular massages ending in regular hjs twice weekly because he could afford it, had the time, no one asked any questions and the wife at home had no idea. Just a regular twice weekly escape--massage + orgasm for a few hundred dollars a week that was in a way affordable. No guilty conscience to hinder any pleasure-no fear of being caught or arrested?

Then working with several therapists and nothing suggesting of any trauma-just a man who found a way to find his otherwise work week that was stressful and boring more interesting in a society that allows and even boldly advertises such choices and makes for very easy access for the likes of those who like that sort of thing?

Four years out now and all my H can say is he did it because he liked it and it relieved his stress. He never figured I find out--which was in fact almost true-didn't find out for ten years--no one was hurt-and gave no thought at all to how he was perpetuating sex trafficking. No thought at all. No care--just something that was just what he enjoyed. Is there really any therapy, any 12 step-36 step-program, any group anything at all that can make a difference to someone like that?

Ashes your H seems to be really changing; he seems to be working his hardest to become a different, a better man, a better person. I have heard about such transformations in others--older people too. I
I've met some of these men after they've changed; they seem kind and very thoughtful; I see the difference between them and my H--he speaks like a text book-like a professor giving a lecture-they speak from the heart and beside all else, it makes things far more interesting. Sounds like your H is headed in that direction.

[This message edited by marji at 6:11 PM, June 22nd (Saturday)]

Superesse posted 6/22/2019 23:02 PM

Well, any childhood background is a possibility, of course. I do think there is an inherent human tendency to attribute this miserable behavioral addiction to one or another cause in every case, which for sure, we can't ever know. But with that disclaimer out of the way, I've always been struck by Patrick Carnes stating in one of his books I ordered after D-Day 1 (2002), that over 8 of 10 male sex addicts said that they had been victims of specifically sexual abuse!

Now, when one studies child maltreatment (abuse and/or neglect), there's any combination of sexual, emotional or physical abuse, and/or neglect that can be damaging. Yet as I vividly recall, Carnes pointed specifically to childhood sexual abuse for 81% of his SA male clients. Wow! (Did the other 19% just block it out, was what I wondered at the time....) That isn't a low incidence of males being sexually abused.

Last year, I attended a conference for helping professionals and interested volunteers (like myself) that focused on integrating trauma-based therapies into social services. From more recent neuroscience research, some are finding that cumulative "Adverse Childhood Experience" may account for the majority of emotionally F'ed up people out there! Not really a surprise, but a step towards realizing the frequency of child abuse, and its horrible consequences on the developing brains of children. There is now a rating scale for self-reported ACEs, with higher scores linked to future physical and mental disease risks, for which they presented pretty strong evidence.

Ashes, so amazing to read that your SAWH is getting some long-overdue help from the kind and combination of therapies he is involved in. What is IFS?

ashestophoenix posted 6/23/2019 08:08 AM

Superesse, IFS is Internal Family Systems. Sometimes I've heard it described as "parts" therapy. As in, "part of me wants to divorce him and part of me still loves him." It essentially says that we created emotional defense systems in our youth and over time and that they are no longer helpful to us. We need to be in the present with our adult resources. My IC practices this and it has been a tremendous source of healing for me.

Marji, I hear you. I recommend Lundy Bancroft's books. He says that many abusive men have problematic BELIEF systems, rather than problematic emotional issues. They believe women are objects, inferior, blah, blah, blah. And they feel justified in their abuse. As well, narcissism creates this kind of behavior depending on how far along one is on the continuum.

I also think our culture with it's rigid definition of gender roles is traumatizing in itself to boys and girls, as well as to women and men.

Untangling what are just awful beliefs of my husband, which I label as pure misogyny, from what is addiction....that has been hard. I know they reinforce each other. I know to live the way our partners have lived that they have little to no empathy, little to no respect, and little to no value of anything innocent, pure or sacred. I also think they can't have fun.

What's really sad in my case is that I waited for years (decades, really) for my husband to make the changes he is making. And now...meh. It makes my life easier when he is around but it hasn't ignited any warmth or desire. I also don't trust him. But it is healing to know that growth and change are possible.

ashestophoenix

[This message edited by ashestophoenix at 8:10 AM, June 23rd (Sunday)]

marji posted 6/23/2019 16:08 PM

Ashes Thank you so much for the recommendation; your posts are always helpful-insightful and encouraging. And thank you for sharing about your H's progress in becoming a better, healthier person. It shows that change is possible. Their changing doesn't necessarily we will come to feel warmer or to have more desire but it's still good to hear about emotional progress.

Im sure that wrong thinking and misogyny is at the core of many a man's choice to betray. Just not sure it fits my H who actually seems to lack beliefs. He truly doesn't think much about anything.

We went with another couple to see a one woman show written by the actress about her experience in learning her otherwise "wonderful" husband of twenty years and with whom she was raising their children, had been arrested for having and watching child porn. The show is about her journey over several years of dealing with her new life; it's basically about her survival and her choice to try to stay with her H whom she regarded as "sick."

Some time later the friend we went with told me her H was very affected by the show and was talking about it a great deal. She asked if my H was talking about it too. I explained he was never affected by anything and didn't have much to say about anything of any depth.

But thank you again for your suggestion and for sharing about your own and your H's progress.

ashestophoenix posted 6/23/2019 16:40 PM

Marji, has your husband been diagnosed? Not the SA, but another disorder? Like schizoid personality disorder? (They have a high rate of SA activities). My husband has high anxiety and some bi-polar symptoms.

ashestophoenix

[This message edited by ashestophoenix at 4:40 PM, June 23rd (Sunday)]

marji posted 6/23/2019 21:16 PM

He's been seen by several therapists but he seems to defy diagnosis--the schizoid personality disorder was one of the first tried out -thing is while some aspects fit--other characteristics are quite contrary. Maybe a new diagnosis category has to be devised. About all that seemed to fairly well fit was depression for which Lexipro seems to help. Of course there's regular irritability but I don't think irritabile personality disorder has made it into the DSM yet. And serious unhappiness about his 35 years of work life but an inability to quit and find another way to live. That's the fear factor.

HeHadADoubleLife posted 6/23/2019 23:11 PM

Just leaving this here for those of you who might need it today.

This applies to men as well obviously, but just couldn't find the unisex quote in picture format.

Lifeexploded posted 6/24/2019 08:54 AM

Sawh is getting his vasectomy wednesday. He was going over the instruction paperwork last night, when he looks up and asks me what a scrotum is. He was 100% serious you guys. He honestly did not know. 40 years old and I had to tell him. "Well. Why dont they just say ballsack?" He asks me. Children! They are children!!!

Also, he found the accountability app i put in his phone. I had hidden it pretty well, but it popped up a notification about location. Its not meant to be hidden, so its not like it was the apps fault. Anyway, he was really mad at me and accused me of tryung to "set him up". I think thats pretty much code for "i have been using my phone for stuff i shouldnt and now i am scared because i dont know what you know". He asked how ling its been there and i said "oh. A while".

HeHadADoubleLife posted 6/24/2019 09:27 AM

Anyway, he was really mad at me and accused me of tryung to "set him up". I think thats pretty much code for "i have been using my phone for stuff i shouldnt and now i am scared because i dont know what you know". He asked how ling its been there and i said "oh. A while".

Oh man LE. I got triggered for you just reading that.

It sucks that you even have to monitor him. They really are just like children.

And that scrotum comment. Wow. Just, wow.

Somber posted 6/24/2019 20:19 PM

Hehadadoublelife - Great quote!

Ashes, it sounds like your husband is doing everything he can and achieving some success too. Thatís great.

I agree that the early trauma needs to be addressed as well. It is the driving force for many addictions, even subconsciously.
Through my own IC and self help books, I have discovered that my own subconscious has been directing my choices due to my own childhood traumas. Mine have led me to accept a level of chaos and abuse that others with a healthier background wouldnít be comfortable with. I am realizing that through dealing with my own childhood traumas I am becoming stronger and less willing to tolerate such behaviours my husband has put me through. His childhood trauma has led him to multiple addictions. The book Ďwomen who love too muchí really resonated with me. It was hard to read but I found clarity in myself through the shockingly insightful comparisons to myself and partner choices.

Itís challenging but continuing to detach and focus on myself has been not only necessary but the first step into myself feeling any actual healing going on. I have always been so hyper focused on my WH addictions and treatment of me that I lost myself completely in him. Time to get myself back! Hopefully that leads me to some happiness

Somber posted 6/24/2019 20:26 PM

Lifeexploded,
Iíve not heard of the accountability app but I would agree that the Ďsetting me upí comment would indicate that something was to be found or seen that would make you uncomfortable.
It sucks they have to be monitored like children in this regard! It is a huge red flag that there is still a breach of trust, safety and security. Itís so hard to feel at peace with this.

I mentioned earlier my WH made 3 new female AA friends he was texting with last weekend. The texts themselves had nothing incriminating; however, this past weekend they are deleted as if they never occurred. This is his pattern...chat up
Women then delete the evidence. So I donít trust that his intentions were pure. I do need to address this but sometimes it just seems pointless, heíll hide it better. I donít know how to ever trust him again! Just like that quote: Iíve seen this pattern before...

Shocked123 posted 6/25/2019 20:24 PM

Marji,
I'm convinced we are married to identical twins separated at birth. My H also Doesn' think much about anything. No real opinion, not deeply moved by much, didn't give much thought to his actions and their consequences, Never once thought about the women he was seeing, not about their work conditions or how desperate they must be to perform hj's and bj's ever half hour for hours on end. He saw the same women for nearly 10 years and claims to have never said more than hello and goodbye to her. As unbelievable as that may seem, sadly, I believe him.
Sometimes I read about Asperger's but I don't think he fits that perfectly. I have also explored the possiblity of Borderline Personality disorder due to his difficulty regulating his emotions, happy one minute, irritable and miserable the next, difficulty with relationships and friendships and acting our sexually or otherwise (alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex).
Things that make you go hmmmm....
Does anyone have a spouse diagnosed with BPD?
Mine hasn't been but I'm beginning to wonder.

marji posted 6/25/2019 21:03 PM

Shocked If they are twins I hope they have a secrete bazillionaire parent somewhere that gave them away to different families at birth but now wants to make amends. I know money can't buy happiness but I'd give it a try. So please let me know if a long lost parent comes knocking at your door so I can share in the bounty.

I used to call my H Asburgery to my therapist; it was actually she, based on all I had shared over the years of my H's personality and ways, who suggested it might be the parlors when I told her I'd discovered huge weekly withdrawals each week in our check book. In all those 10+ years I had never noticed; never paid attention. Never occurred to me to look at the details. But she guess right.

So mine is much like yours except he never drinks so much as a glass of wine; never gambles; always otherwise so careful with every penny. It was just a habit he enjoyed. His escape. He said he never liked working where he was. I suspect he felt very inferior and very resentful. He's someone who often feels put upon-used by others who had more prestige and more fun. A sullen unhappy man who found his pleasure in that kind of escape.

And not a candidate for therapy since he didn't talk or think and no ability for introspection. The shallow habit of a shallow, amoral, pathetic kind of person. It's all very sad.

But on your BPD question. Someone here has an H who was diagnosed with type 2 biopolar disorder but I believe you meant borderline disorder. Has your H been tested but not found to have any such problem or has he not been tested. If you think such a diagnosis would be helpful then ask that he go for a battery of tests. Borderline, bipolar whatever. All sorts of possibilities though Borderline is far more given to women as a diagnosis.

Maybe we should all be trying to stop analyzing them and just focus on ourselves though that's far easier said than done.

In any case, I think your advice to others is amazing; you have a beautiful strength, Shocked Your H is one lucky guy that he still has you in his life. I hope he knows that and tells you that all the time.

Lionne posted 6/25/2019 21:56 PM

I am convinced that the early trauma or whatever the issues were for which they had to self medicate with addiction, have to be addressed.

My husband was sexually assaulted in middle school. He never told anyone until his recent series of relapse. He's since told his group, his therapists, me...I told my IC, because he characterized it as something he was guilty about because he couldn't stop it. I insisted on calling it assault, he isn't as convinced. Anyway, my IC "explained" his addiction in this way. "He was assaulted, so needs to prove his manhood by impressing all manner of women." It made sense to me. I do believe Carnes' research about trauma. I think it's rare for men of a certain age to admit it or even remember it.

Maybe we should all be trying to stop analyzing them and just focus on ourselves

Amen.

DevastatedDee posted 6/26/2019 10:29 AM

Maybe we should all be trying to stop analyzing them and just focus on ourselves

Yes. That is the path out of this crap.

Listen, I and all of us here could sit in a therapists office and list out all our traumas to excuse anything we've ever done or thought of doing, but who fucking cares? If a man was beaten as a child and grows up to beat his own child, do we sit around feeling pity for the child abuser? If a man was raped as a child and grows up to rape his own child, do we feel sorry for him or does he need to be removed from society immediately? Who do we feel pity and compassion for? The abusive father or the child? Who are you worried about counseling and hugging and making "safe spaces" for? The child, right? Yes yes, it's sad that the father was the victim at one point, but he grew up to become what was done to him and is no longer a victim. He has become the perpetrator. He may need help, but we wouldn't ask the child to help daddy out with his sads about having done mean things, right?

We aren't children, but we should show ourselves that same compassion that we would show a child hurt by someone. Others can show sympathy and compassion for and help the ones who victimized us, but it is not our job to fill that role. Our jobs are to love ourselves and heal us. It's scary because that may mean leaving our marriages, messing up our lives financially, being on our own, etc. On the other hand, if you don't give more to yourself than to anyone while you heal, you won't know whether you want to stay or not. Without clarity, spouses of addicts can wind up in a bad kind of limbo. So much that is abnormal starts to feel like normal. So much self-esteem can be lost without even noticing it going. The very life can be sucked out of you. It takes a lot out of a person to live with someone whom you cannot trust because the nature of addiction is not conducive to trust or stability. Make sure that you care about yourselves more than you care about them.

Somber posted 6/26/2019 11:37 AM

Wow all of what you just said is so true and insightful. I myself had gotten caught up with seeing my spouse as the hurt child and using that empathy to accept his abuse. Itís gives reason to his wrongdoings but doesnít erase them. Thatís the catch, we feel for the child in them which limits the ability to hold them accountable at times. Itís difficult to detach from that but certainly is a step towards healing when you do...for both partners really.

All of you share such insight and great thoughts! Itís been helpful this week. Thank you!

marji posted 6/28/2019 16:57 PM

Hi Somber--you're sounding good. I just think we're wasting time giving so much thought and energy to someone who has cheated, lied, abused and violated the relationship, our trust, our bodies, our minds. Reminds me of my teenage and post teen years when hours could be spent of the phone analyzing this and that bf; why they didn't call, why this why that. I know learning the "whys" is a dominant thing on SI but the why is pretty obvious and I think we should be concentrating on how we can best spend the hour, the day; we should be focusing on something beautiful and worthwhile--i.e. us.

I know some of us feel better, maybe calmer, more comfortable if we feel compassion instead of anger or indifference. But I don't. I just do not like giving more to someone who has taken so much been so deceitful. Not saying to hold on to anger and resentment-no, not good. But just stop trying to analyze and look for deeper meanings, early trauma, whatever. Some men will betray. Some will stop betraying once caught. I just don't think we need need to delve or try to look for deeper meanings in what was their ability to exploit, betray and abuse.

Sparkle0504 posted 6/29/2019 04:53 AM

/\/\/\/\ this!

It's taken me 8 horrific, trauma-filled, wasted years to come to the same conclusion. I feel so free now. My own home to go to in a month's time...and peace at last.

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