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Spouses/Partners of Sex Addicts - 19

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DogsnBooks posted 6/29/2019 11:45 AM

If thereís anything Iíve learned through therapy, itís that there are both big T Traumas and little t traumas. A single big T Trauma (rape, natural disaster, witnessing a violent crime, etc) can be enough to change someone in a big way. But there are also little t traumas - little things people donít usually classify as trauma, like a father who worked all the time and wasnít very present, or being bullied in school, or being blamed all the time for things that werenít our fault - on their own, these things wouldnít be trauma. But enough of them, over an extended period of time, can amount to the same effect as a single bit T Trauma.

[This message edited by DogsnBooks at 11:51 AM, June 29th (Saturday)]

DogsnBooks posted 6/29/2019 11:50 AM

I canít figure out how to get the image to display but if you google image ďbig t and little t trauma graphĒ youíll see the one Iím talking about.

veryhurt2018 posted 6/29/2019 13:02 PM

Dogs - So is SA Trauma a big T or little t? Couldn't quite find the graph. Sorry.

Somber posted 6/29/2019 19:14 PM

Marji, thanks. Some days I am feeling good and stronger but other days I feel very sad and confused. Itís still a roller coaster of emotions. One day at a time.
This weekend is going okay so far but I can tell my WH is really trying to reconnect and I just feel a void. I also have moments where I get caught up in his handsome charm but suddenly I stop and feel confused and indifferent. I see a difference in him but that is him being sober and not acting selfish for once. Itís new to me and intriguing. I remind myself how deeply he continued and repetitively hurt me and that massive wall is noted. Itís like one step forward and then 10 steps back when I remind myself of all of this. He gives me hope but itís tainted with fears and reality. I have to watch out for hopium and try to navigate things based on fact and reality...easier said than done when he is trying to prove his worth.

I know some of us feel better, maybe calmer, more comfortable if we feel compassion instead of anger or indifference

I do feel most comfortable feeling compassion than anything else. It comes natural and has been a self taught behaviour to put others before me. I now realize that this is not the road to happiness. The more I put myself aside, the more I lose myself. I am slowly trying to make choices based on what I want and need versus absolutely everyone else. Itís tough to change this pattern of behaviour.

DevastatedDee posted 6/29/2019 19:42 PM

Compassion is a gorgeous and necessary thing to be capable of and it makes you a better person and means that you give beautiful things out into the world. Unfortunately, in relationships like this, compassion can be like petting and crooning to the dog who's mauling you.

marji posted 6/29/2019 19:48 PM

DogsnBooks what you are calling little trauma therapists call complex trauma; complex trauma refers to an ongoing state of neglect or abuse; it's often what takes place in childhood--it is what you seem to be describing and sharing with us here.

Patrick Carnes, who originally proposed the affliction of Sex Addiction, wrote that it was often the case that those who acted out compulsively and in a manner that created great damage to their every day lives, were often people who had been subject to complex trauma in their childhood. Is that what you are suggesting here?

Lifeexploded posted 6/29/2019 21:42 PM

That is so freeing - the notion that we can stop investigating their whys and realize it really does not matter other than being able to understand them and therefore communicate with them and protect ourselves. We are the prize and if they will not recognize that, then we should! We have the right to spend my time, physical energy, and emotional energy on OURSELVES.

Sawh just had his vasectomy on wednesday and for some reason i felt hatred toward him all day and it was a great chore to be nice. I think i resent him for it. He thinks he is getting the vasectomy so i will have sex with him but he has missed the point, even though i spelled it out for him, as per his usual. Anyway. The real reason i want him to get snipped is so that i dont worry about him getting anyone ELSE pregnant in the future and taking my childrens attention and financial resources. Im just mad that should even be a thing.

In the days after i was feeling better about it watching him be in pain and figuring well, he deserves it, and maybe in his twisted way he is doing it for us.

Until.

I was looking at his accountabilty app and noticed the secretary at his job sent him a text asking for his time sheet and mentioned going over time sheets with the "new girl". Now why has this new girl not been mentioned? He knows this is a thing! The last time i realized there was a woman he had not mentioned at work the shit hit the fan. I am sure i wrote about it here. Why on earth would a sex addict work with another woman and not mention it to his wife is beyond me. But with all of the other safety stuff he is supposed to do but doesnt, i feel so frustrated. I am mad at myself for holding out any sliver of hope that he will do what i need. Because i keep getting disappointed. Why dont i EXPECT what i know will happen?

He reads all these books about manifestation, paradigm, increasing wealth, etc. He has told me on numerous occasions that he plans to spend one hour per day, five days a week, planning on ways to make his job better, make more money for the company, and earn raises. I wonder what would happen if he spent that hour on sobriety, or therapy, or trying to improve our relationship, or hanging out with the kids, or helping around the house. He is super proud of himself that he is going to do things. I think its stupid. Yes. By all means. Take time away from your failed marriage, neglected kids, and dirty house. Super cool. Bravo.

Sometimes i wish i understood what is going through his mind, but then i remember that i cant fix it so why bother.

outtanowhere posted 6/30/2019 09:09 AM

I havenít posted here in a long time but follow this thread very occasionally (still stirs up awful anxiety). Happy very belated birthday to Lionne! 😘

Just wanted to make everyone aware of a new discovery Iíve made and added to my ďtoolboxĒ. Robert Weiss has a wonderful podcast that has been so informative even after all this time in my so called ďrecoverĒ. Doug Weiss does some very short clips on YouTube that Iíve enjoyed as well. There is also a podcast out that Iíve been intrigued by. The Betrayed, The Addict and The Expert. The betrayed and the addict are an actual married couple who have dealt with this dilemma and the expert is there to explain the very complex feelings and actions that are typical with SA.

They have been extremely helpful to me so I wanted to share!

Wishing you all peace!

ashestophoenix posted 6/30/2019 18:00 PM

I think compassion and what/why can be different issues. Early on, I wanted and needed to know WHAT my husband had been doing. Having been gaslighted, it was important for my healing to know what was reality. I also needed to know what my husband did in order for me to have the information to decide what to do with him. Now we know that the WHAT isn't forthcoming from the addict early on and that started me on the ongoing disclosure.

The WHY of it is important to them. If they don't know why they developed the addiction and address all of the issues, they will most likely relapse. We actually don't need to know the why, but I want my husband to get it and be able to explain it.

I see all of this as being different from compassion. I felt that I was in a "compassion trap" pre D-day. But in retrospect, I didn't have enough compassion for me. I didn't put me first. And we didn't know what was going on so I assumed my husband was distant/pre-occupied due to work, stress, whatever. I was clueless about the addiction. I had compassion that was misplaced and due to lies.

If I want to stay with my husband, it is easier if I have some compassion for him. It doesn't excuse him. Nor does it mean I forgive him.

I don't think having compassion for them, if we really feel it, justifies or absolves them of their abuse.

ashestophoenix

Lionne posted 7/1/2019 07:09 AM

Wave to Outta! One day we ARE getting together, girlfriend!

I'll check out the Weiss info, thanks.

So, we went car shopping for him last week. Mind you, I had gotten myself another car, lease was up, the previous week, ALL BY MYSELF. I've always done that, my dad taught me how to negotiate, I've passed that on to my sons.

He, on the other hand, is not good at negotiating. He won't do coupons either. I think it's clearly part of the whole "bigshotitis" the idea that he'd have to bargain, that he just couldn't afford to pay sticker price. He thinks he's demeaned by questioning the price.

And, I do all the talking. It's clearer and cleared to me that he thinks too slowly for many circumstances. For instance, we went to the city last night (I hate cities, I am basically fighting a panic attack on the streets, I realize it's partly claustrophobia) We encountered several detours, one in the parking structure we used (talk about panic) He screamed at me because he was so frustrated and confused by the detour (I was too but recover fast) I understand the screaming and he apologized. He just cannot make decisions quickly, quite a disadvantage while driving.

His cognitive testing was very good, better than 5 years ago.

I do all the talking at car dealers and the like. He just cannot keep up, partly due to his hearing loss. I help him negotiate life. He's scared to death of losing me. Is this why?

We wound up buying online. It required a lot of clicking and uploading and downloading. He was amazed at my ability to navigate.

Some of this is normal marriage stuff, some of it aging issues. But viewed with the filter of years of addiction and abuse, it seems magnified.

BTW, Marji, I think your husband clearly has some degree of asperger's, or maybe a processing deficit. Sometimes clinicians miss things because, for want of a better phrase, people being diagnosed are on their "best behavior." We see them in the real world.

Happy Fourth, everyone, be safe.

Smjsome1 posted 7/1/2019 12:25 PM

Been off a bit, have a grandson visiting. So reading along today and these things stood out for me. There is a lot so will be long

HeHadADoubleLife
That is a great quote!

Marji
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.

My SA has been using this excuse for his behavior for a long time. Now that heís really into ďfixing himselfĒ. Heís just the opposite trying to tell me how ďhe seesĒ how heís hurt everyone and cries and cries about it.
Nothing like using the pain he caused to martyr himself. It has the opposite effect, makes me angry. His IC had to explain to him how selfish this martyr behavior is.

And saw this quoted - not sure who said it first
Maybe we should all be trying to stop analyzing them and just focus on ourselves
EMDR has been helping me process my trauma and just do this for me. And surprisingly itís had a huge effect on his work. Itís like, my stepping away from his behavior has been his bottom line - he sees I make me my priority and will be fine without him. I had to do a fast fly up to my daughter, watch her kids while she got some stuff in order (her H was deployed with 6 hours notice), and I didnít have my usual worries.
Another big change is he seems to be getting that if I donít see actual work and use of tools - I donít feel safe.
Or letís all be honest, heís just gotten better at playing me.

Another huge change here, as his secret life amped over the years the grandsons have disconnected from him, he was clearly, in retrospect, someone they begin to not trust. So the grandson here right now, he at first was standoffish with him, but the heat is too much for me so to do a lot of outside stuff he has to be alone with grandpa, and after a week heís happy and comfortable with him. This is huge as I have discovered my grandsons have a great ďjudge of safety/characterĒ .

Somber
I have to defend myself against hopium - I feel like that was/is his biggest gaslighting tool. Which sucks because Iíve lost my ability to see the best in anyone. I have become more selfish I guess. And of course, as I see him becoming a better person I want to see a possible future with that person, but I was hurt so much that Iím not sure I will ever be able to forgive. Plus, what if this is just more manipulating, but .... but ....
Ugh

Lionne
Ha - we just bought a new car last week. I hate it and he loves it. He just talks and talks. Over the years the car buying process has just been a nightmare, he gets into a crazy wonít give up and calls them all by name, they talk to him like heís their friend. It goes on for hours the negotiation. I hate talking to them and will walk away if they start with me. It kinda has worked for us because I make a list of what I want for under what price, and he has used me as the bad guy, he will come and say to me, this is what they are offering, and Iíll just glare at him, and this goes on and on until he says this is it, donít think itís going any lower. And Iíll grudgingly nod okay. It seems to unsettle the salespeople. We always get good prices on cars. But I hate it.
Iíve always asked him ďyou do know they arenít your friends?Ē In the past and heíd get soooo mad. This time I asked and he really thought about it, he admitted he gets a high out of it. He even brought it up with his IC because he was disturbed by it - he said.

Now we need to also replace the car the whore sat in, but thatís waiting for the grandson to go home.

Have a great holiday everyone!

Kat888 posted 7/1/2019 13:07 PM

My husband is/isnít sex addict? Said he was when I found out about LTA. Says he was addicted to sexting (sext with loads of women) Looking at porn pics all the time. Wanking in work etc. Wanking all the tome by the sounds of it, so much it made his willy sore 🙈 I was oblivious to all this! Though he had a low libido even. Anyways, fast forward, year and two months after DDay - he professes that since DDay he has only had a wank when heís with me. He gets defensive, cross. Says ďIím not like that anymoreĒ When we have sex on times he has taken ages to ejaculate. I ask him if heís been wanking, he always says no. Can I believe this or do you think heís lying? All you guys will understand the importance of lying now and also if heís Ďsecretlyí doing stuff we are on that slippery slope....

marji posted 7/1/2019 17:19 PM

Hi Lionne Thank you for sharing your thoughts re my H. Yes, for sure he's Aspergery--which is how I described him for years to my IC which had her guess correctly when I told her he was spending large amounts of money each week. She knew, based on my description, that it wouldn't have been a traditional affair but instead something very mechanical, very impersonal.

All of the therapists he visited saw that about him; one who he spent the most time with suggested schizoid personility. Thing is he doesn't fit any of the models completely though that is true for many people which, at least around these parts, leads some therapists-psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, psychologists, to shy away from diagnosis except in so far as they need to submit a DSM diagnosis # for insurance purposes.

H seems to have a certain degree of alexithemia; other than anger or annoyance or some pleasure in certain kinds of music, feelings are foreign. It's as if they are just not there. We've been attending SA couples meetings; the men there speak movingly; I find what they have to say interesting; I admire their attitude and their efforts. My H speaks and it's mechanical and forced; I ask if he thinks he's benefitting from the meetings and all he can say is they help him remember what he has to do. It's a shopping list for him; he's comfortable with shopping lists. There's no deep thought; no searching of the soul. All superficial and boring.

But there's always an option to continue or not; any day is day to stay or go.

smjsome while you're not feeling your life as perfect, you are sounding really really ok. It sounds like real process is being made. Thank you for sharing these latest steps and improvements with us-- you have a good holiday too!!!

doesitgetbetter posted 7/2/2019 18:05 PM

Kat888, wanking until it hurts is absolutely a sign of a possible SA. And if he's taking forever to ejaculate, my money would be on him still doing it and lying about it.

Maybe I have a different view of compassion because I have been a person who was in need of compassion from others. I was raised by an awful mother. She was incredibly abusive to me, physically and emotionally. She gave me drugs and alcohol from a very young age (she would brag to her friends that I could roll a joint perfectly by age 3 and allow me to sit in the friend circle and pass the joint with them). I was a party trick for her, and when I was in middle school I became an avenue for her to obtain her drugs when her regular sellers weren't available. To the rest of the world, she was an amazing mother and person. She would show up at school everytime I got in trouble (for drugs, duh!) and be very harsh but loving in front of the principal, then at home she would be abusive because I got caught. I often wonder if my mother was bi-polar.

Anyway, as time went on I grew up. I ran away at 15 to my Dad's house, then just less than a year later at 16 I ran away again and got married. Within a year I had a child. I would like to say I was an amazing mother, but I wasn't. I was an awful mother. I would spank my child just because they were crying, like a crazy person. One day I realized that I was just like my mother, my child was only 2 and I realized I was being abusive just like my mother. I tried to be better, and I was for a while. But then younger siblings came along, divorce was a part of my life, a couple new husbands came along, and the stress and disappointment in myself and my life overcame me and I fell back into my abusive ways. I didn't know what else to do. At some point, my child wanted to live with Dad instead of me, and I let them go because I knew that being with Dad was far better than what I was becoming.

It wasn't until that child went to live with Dad that I was able to finally breath, really look at myself in a mature and responsible way, and work on myself. I had a new husband, and a few more kids, but I focused all my bad things on the oldest child for a few reasons that I won't go into right now.

My point is that if my husband didn't have compassion for me, he would have left long ago after seeing the monster I was to my own child. He would not have tried to calm me down or guide me along my healing. My own child wouldn't have been able to forgive me and would assume that I would be that same monster forever. I would not blame them for thinking that, even though I knew that I was no longer that monster.

Maybe there are some on here that have never done anything wrong and have never needed compassion or help. But I absolutely have, from a very very early age I have. It does not mean that my compassion allows others to do whatever they want to me without recourse. Not at all. It means that I know what it's like to be so far down a dark and ugly hole that has no bottom that I think the only way out is to just stop existing. And then someone has compassion for me, and it helped breath new life into me. I never thought less of that person for being compassionate, not at all. And I don't think less of myself for being compassionate now either, and neither should anyone else who has compassion for their addict, or anyone else in their life that needs some compassion.

So many of these posts are angry, and I get it, I truly do. I've had 3 DDays (not just new info about old stuff, 3 actual new DDays). I'm very angry and hurt. However I don't feel like we should be making it sound like pitch forks and torches is the only way to go. Others are on a similar path as we are, but with a different direction. Some have to be hard, some have to be soft, some want to be in the middle, and all of that is ok. We are here to support each other where we are, and we are all just doing the best we can.

So for those of you that chose the path of compassion, I hear you, and I can respect your choice. For those of you that chose another path, I hear you as well and can respect your choice as well. We will accept whatever behavior from our addict that we are willing to accept unless and until we decide it is time to do something different. My hope is that we will have the clarity and knowledge to figure out what works best for us and take that direction.

DevastatedDee posted 7/3/2019 07:52 AM

Maybe there are some on here that have never done anything wrong and have never needed compassion or help. But I absolutely have, from a very very early age I have. It does not mean that my compassion allows others to do whatever they want to me without recourse. Not at all. It means that I know what it's like to be so far down a dark and ugly hole that has no bottom that I think the only way out is to just stop existing. And then someone has compassion for me, and it helped breath new life into me. I never thought less of that person for being compassionate, not at all. And I don't think less of myself for being compassionate now either, and neither should anyone else who has compassion for their addict, or anyone else in their life that needs some compassion.

I'm definitely not anti-compassion. I'm glad you found some from others and it's important for us to care for one another in society because it does allow us to heal. My point was more that when you are the victim of another person, your compassion can become your downfall. It is a hook that your abuser can use to keep you right where he wants you and continue to manipulate and take advantage of you. My WH needs compassion, but he does not need it from me. From me, it's something he can manipulate. He would use my empathy as a weapon against me. From his sponsor and therapist, hopefully it's something that can help him.

I say abuser though he never hit me. Cheating on me was abusive. Being a crackhead in my house was abusive. My compassion was FAR better served by being directed at myself, my children, and my stepdaughter. It was far better served directed at my WH's family who was also suffering. It was more productive being directed at my WH's dog who is now and will ever be in my care. We were all more deserving of compassion at that time and we all needed to keep ourselves safe from the person who was, as a good friend described well, a dumpster fire rolling downhill setting everything else ablaze.

I am sorry that you had the childhood that you did. You didn't deserve that. I am sorry that it formed you into someone you didn't need to be. I'm awfully glad that you've come out of that healthier. Just be careful that you don't allow yourself to be further abused because of your compassion. You have had enough pain.

I'm not a cold unfeeling person. I just know that I have to put my own oxygen mask on first, you know? I'm far from perfect, but I don't expect compassion from anyone I have wronged. It's on me to repair that, not on them to be sympathetic to me if I've been an asshole towards them.

doesitgetbetter posted 7/3/2019 11:15 AM

com∑pas∑sion
/kəmˈpaSHən/
Learn to pronounce
noun
sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.
"the victims should be treated with compassion"
synonyms: pity, sympathy, feeling, fellow feeling, empathy, understanding, care, concern, solicitude, solicitousness, sensitivity, tender-heartedness, soft-heartedness, warm-heartedness, warmth, love, brotherly love, tenderness, gentleness, mercy, mercifulness, leniency, lenience, tolerance, consideration, kindness, humanity, humaneness, kind-heartedness, charity, benevolence
"she gazed with compassion at the two dejected figures"

Definitely there can be extremes where people let their compassion turn into ďplease walk all over meĒ, but thatís a different thing. Compassion, in itself, is the sympathetic concern for the suffering and misfortunes of others. Itís not a bad thing, just like empathy isnít a bad thing. Allowing yourself to become a doormat is totally different. And these addicts, IMO, absolutely deserve compassion for what theyíve lived with to get them to where they are. If they had different circumstances, they probably wouldnít be what they are today, I know I wouldnít.

And the reason you are told to put your own mask on first is specifically so you can help others. Itís literal, but very metaphorical as well. Does that mean you have to help your SAWS? No, not at all. But others can use your help too. Thatís what we are here for, to get help and to give help.

DevastatedDee posted 7/3/2019 12:55 PM

We're all different and our capacity for having compassion for those who hurt us is very individual. I had all the compassion in the world for things that my WH had been through and he knew it. He was very supported and extremely loved. He had all of my empathy. He knew of the traumas I had faced in life as well. He knew me extremely well. When he chose to deprive me of his empathy and respect, inflict new horrific trauma on me, the person closest to him who supported him like no other, he lost access to my empathy and compassion. He was not a safe place for me to place my empathy and compassion. He was an active danger to my psychological well-being. Addicts generally are.

My empathy and compassion therefore swung towards those he had also victimized and harmed. Those people (and dog) could actually be helped and supported. Active addicts give not a single fuck about anyone other than themselves. They may be miserable, but I daresay their misery doesn't approach the misery of those they're damaging. The sheer entitlement and selfishness they display is beyond anything anyone can have compassion for. Sure, once they reach that rock bottom, have driven everyone away and lost everything, they are truly miserable unhappy people. That's when *not me* can step in and help them re-learn adulting and responsibility and empathy and compassion for others.

Me? I'm recovering from the storm and putting myself back together. I don't have the bandwith to help the one who broke me put himself back together too, nor does he deserve my help. He is not entitled to it and I am not Jesus.

Superesse posted 7/3/2019 13:37 PM

Treading lightly here....I appreciate what compassion for the addict might mean, in a personal, private way: a choice, as are most all emotional reactions. (They tell me all emotions are a choice, but that seems a stretch.)

In terms of how a child abuse victim's addictions go on to injure others, though, I have to agree with voices like Dee's, because way too often, in talks about SA, I notice the current victim's wounding is thought to be somehow less traumatic than whatever wounding the addict themselves experienced as a child, that led them to act OUT their developmental trauma to begin with. I know I spent at least the first year of my post D-Day 1 trauma focused on my SAWH and his sick FOO! Left me thoroughly unable to look at the damage it had done to my own soul, and unable to remove myself effectively from the role he had assigned to me in the marriage. I was acting IN, perhaps.

What made it worse was when counselors, close friends and family ALL did the same minimization, as they heard about his issues. Such compassion for his victimization also sent me, his victim, the message that my trauma wasn't all that significant....perhaps because their other option might have felt too much like "taking sides;" I don't know.

While trying to avoid broad generalizations, I recall studies exploring how "women" are often perceived as "the more compassionate gender," so "compassionate" role expectations might be a socially acquired response we expect of ourselves, and others expect of us.

And when we feel compassion, yet we don't believe we're wearing some sign that says "Please walk all over me," such an approach may put us, the proximal victim of the SA, the victim with the most invested, and thus the most to lose, into a posture or position inadequate to truly protect ourselves. We might not even perceive this, ourselves. Our warning sign would remain unread if the other party believed walking all over us went with the assigned role they'd slotted us into. To disordered people, thinking we are more compassionate can equal their thinking we are more tolerant of victimization.


DevastatedDee posted 7/3/2019 14:18 PM

I have to agree with voices like Dee's, because way too often, in talks about SA, I notice the current victim's wounding is thought to be somehow less traumatic than whatever wounding the addict themselves experienced as a child, that led them to act OUT their developmental trauma to begin with. I know I spent at least the first year of my post D-Day 1 trauma focused on my SAWH and his sick FOO! Left me thoroughly unable to look at the damage it had done to my own soul, and unable to remove myself effectively from the role he had assigned to me in the marriage. I was acting IN, perhaps.

Yes, Superesse. All that. My response to that nonsense was I AM A PERSON TOO. HI. RIGHT HERE. PERSON WHO WAS TRAUMATIZED AND IS CURRENTLY BLEEDING OUT. The most damaging thing about the whole SA diagnosis and why I think it's often complete BS is that it's a great way to make your victimizer the real victim and turn you into nothing more than mere collateral damage. You know, as if you were nothing but a thing. A glass that someone unwittingly knocked off a table as they were walking by. Oops. Didn't see you there while I was fucking whores. My bad.

I am not here as a supporting role in anyone else's life. I am here to live my life. I absolutely refuse to be mere "collateral damage". Every one of us here is far more valuable than a mere side-character in someone else's drama. The focus should be on the actual victims. If the perpetrators want to become decent human beings, they can google help for that as easily as they googled Backpages or Craigslist. They don't require my compassion to do so. They require growing the fuck up and taking responsibility for what they have become before traumatizing their spouses. I require their absence from my life while they figure that shit out so that they can stop wrecking me in the process.

HeHadADoubleLife posted 7/3/2019 16:02 PM

While trying to avoid broad generalizations, I recall studies exploring how "women" are often perceived as "the more compassionate gender," so "compassionate" role expectations might be a socially acquired response we expect of ourselves, and others expect of us.

And when we feel compassion, yet we don't believe we're wearing some sign that says "Please walk all over me," such an approach may put us, the proximal victim of the SA, the victim with the most invested, and thus the most to lose, into a posture or position inadequate to truly protect ourselves. We might not even perceive this, ourselves. Our warning sign would remain unread if the other party believed walking all over us went with the assigned role they'd slotted us into. To disordered people, thinking we are more compassionate can equal their thinking we are more tolerant of victimization.

This really spoke to me. I have so much compassion for those who are staying with their SA spouse. If I had not caught XH in bed with another woman, then had him scream at me that I was crazy for thinking that he still wanted to be with me, I likely would have been that person who stayed forever.

I also have compassion for any SA. Even if they had no childhood trauma (which the research shows is unlikely), living their lives in such a depraved way has to be painful. The shame itself is enough to eat you alive. And for those who did live through CSA, or any other trauma that may have led to this type of behavior in adulthood, well that is a pain I would not wish on anyone either. And yet, here they are, inflicting pain on those they supposedly love.

I had committed myself to being compassionate forever, because of the vows I took. My personalized vows, AFTER I already knew about the SA, were that I would choose him, every day. I had his ring inscribed with, "I choose you, always." And I did. Every day that I stayed was a choice. Some days were good, some great, some bad, some terrible. But each evening, I kissed him good night and said "I love you". Each morning, I kissed him before he left for work and said the same thing. No matter how good or bad things were, that was the one constant. I love you, and I'm choosing you.

But that was part of the role I had chosen, the "compassionate one." He knew I had chosen it too. Whenever he would cross a boundary and I would compromise on it, he would say, "See, you're so sweet to me." The unspoken caveat to that statement is, "...even though you have no reason to be." If I didn't want to have sex that night, but he kept coming and rubbing me all over with his hands? Well, my compromise was to let him grab my ass, not rub it. The rubbing kept me awake, but I told myself, compromise is the hallmark of any good relationship, and if he just held it, well I could fall asleep to that. And he would whisper in my ear, "Aww, you're so sweet to me for letting me do that."

He couldn't stop masturbating with my lacy underwear? Well, I went out and bought rolls of lace from Joann's so that he would have an alternative. I was "so sweet" then too. A real adult could have figured that solution out for himself. But clearly I was so much better at problem solving than him, he just needed the extra help, and spouses are supposed to help each other, right? Until he used it all up, didn't go buy anymore, then went right back to using my underwear. I had handed him a solution on a silver platter. But it didn't matter.

He couldn't stop leaving the underwear in random places (couch cushions, corner of the shower) getting mildewed and staining things? Well no matter how many times I asked for him to just keep them clean, he never would. So I, with my seemingly infinite compassion, resigned myself to the fact that he just wasn't good at remembering that stuff. That he was so ashamed of the behavior, that I should prove to him that he doesn't need to be ashamed. So I would wash them for him. Surely that would make him see that he could be vulnerable and open with me? But it didn't.

In those moments, his insatiable need was more important than my right to privacy, personal property or bodily autonomy. And in the moments after I would discover it, and he would lie through his teeth, coming up with excuse after excuse - in those moments, his need to bury his shame was more important than betraying my trust. My own peace of mind, my ability to trust the facts that were right in front of me, were not worth giving up on the gaslighting. Because the feel bads he got from telling the truth were just so much worse than the gut wrenching, mind bending pain I felt when my spouse, the person I'm supposed to trust most in the world, was not only telling me that the sky was purple, but that I was crazy for insisting otherwise.

I have numerous love notes from him, telling me that his stubbornness is like a rock, and my patience is like a stream, slowly wearing him down. Or that he has so many walls, but I have had the patience to slowly tear them down. The thing is, it wasn't my job to wear him or tear him down. I should have seen his being open and vulnerable with me as a requirement for a good and healthy relationship, not something that I had to earn by showing him how hard I would work for it. What would have been enough to prove that he could be open with me? Moving in with him? Marrying him? Raising his children as my own? Making him and his daughters lunch every day? Using my credit cards to cover his expenses because he was "so broke" even though he made more money than me? Buying him new clothes because he wanted to look nice for work, but he couldn't afford it? Trying to have a baby with him? Planning every vacation we ever took, every party we ever threw, because he wanted these things, but he just wasn't a "planner"? Letting him know, everyday, in words, but also in actions - big and small - how much I loved him? Oh wait, I did all of those things. Nothing was ever going to be enough.

And these were not things that I did because I thought he would "owe" me something in return. There was no passive aggressive ulterior motive. No tit for tat, no quid pro quo. I did these things because I loved him, and I wanted him to be happy. If he told me something was making him unhappy, I did my damndest to fix it. I'm sure each of us could write such a list. Of all of the things that we did for them out of love and also compassion. The only thing I asked for in return was love, loyalty, and a commitment to try just as hard as I did. But he didn't try nearly as hard. He wanted a lover, a mother, and a professor in Adulting 101, but he reserved the right to resent me if I ever took on any of those roles too fervently. I was constantly scrambling to fill each role, just well enough so that he would appreciate it, but just poorly enough that I wouldn't be perceived as "controlling." Trying to strike that balance every day is fucking exhausting.

You know, as if you were nothing but a thing. A glass that someone unwittingly knocked off a table as they were walking by. Oops. Didn't see you there while I was fucking whores. My bad.

I am not here as a supporting role in anyone else's life. I am here to live my life. I absolutely refuse to be mere "collateral damage". Every one of us here is far more valuable than a mere side-character in someone else's drama. The focus should be on the actual victims. If the perpetrators want to become decent human beings, they can google help for that as easily as they googled Backpages or Craigslist. They don't require my compassion to do so. They require growing the fuck up and taking responsibility for what they have become before traumatizing their spouses.

That really says it all. The entitlement, the selfishness. When they do all of these terrible things, they are only thinking of themselves. We then get caught up in also thinking about them - how can we fix them, heal them? So all of the focus is on the SA - their trauma, their shame, their pain. When will we be worth focusing on? When we put our foot down and demand it.

You know what he said when I caught them? When I begged, "Please, I'm your wife, you at least owe me an explanation!" He screamed, "I don't owe you shit!" Well then, I don't owe him another ounce of my compassion. That is better spent on myself.

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