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Spouses/Partners of Sex Addicts - 19

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Somber posted 7/6/2019 09:44 AM

Also, had anyone done Paula Hallís self help book for spouses of SA?
Compassion aside, I recognize I need all the darn help I can to make sense of whatís happening. I hope to grow stronger, work through my own codependent behaviours and eventually make a decision about my marriage that I can be confident in.

marji posted 7/6/2019 10:57 AM

Somber it's great that you find support here on SI but to add to your support team you might also try an SANON telephone and/or Skype group. You might also consider starting your own SANON group that meets at a time that would be good for you. Many of us of feel there is not making sense of this stuff and that what's more useful is to work to have ourselves feel better. Some in my group have found great joy and satisfaction in going back to school, developing new careers; for others it's an interest and enjoyment in a new hobby; for still others, like myself, it's making new friends along with new interests.

Many of us found what worked best for us was instead of using energy that focused on them and/or our relationship, energy trying to understand, to figure out, to learn about them and their motives, their history, their psyches, we directed energy to ourselves. I know, easier said than done but I think it's doable and well worth the try.

Somber posted 7/7/2019 06:18 AM

Thanks Marji,

Iím not sure I am in the right state of mind to start and lead a new group but I will look into the other options you mentioned. I think it could be very helpful. The one I went to, there was a man in the group too which made me less comfortable to share for some reason. It was Saturday mornings which the kids had activities then. However, those activities are done and Saturday mornings are now free. With my WH in rehab, he has been going to AA Saturday mornings. Once he is done rehab (this week), I really should demand that Saturday mornings are my time to go to a meeting, especially if the other options donít work out.

Itís sad that itís easier said than done to focus energy on ourselves but this is so true! Iíve become more comfortable focusing on other people and there happiness. Itís a challenge but I am trying to put myself first more and make decisions that are best (at the very least better) for me.

I believe I am codependent and someone mentioned codependent meeting...Iím not sure how I feel about that. I recognize my codependent behaviours but donít want to be forced into a belief that it was my fault or that I enabled him. There is a forum just for this topic so I may elaborate on this there...

ashestophoenix posted 7/7/2019 08:42 AM

Somber - I read Paula Hall's book and thought it was very helpful. Also helpful to me were the partner's lessons at Recovery Nation. What has been very helpful to me is working in IC with a therapist who specializes in treating trauma. I've said before it took me four tries to find her, and I'm so grateful that I finally have a therapist who is helping me.

I found I needed to be gentle with myself. I needed to give myself time to muddle through, to figure things out, to try different ways to feel better. Things will get better. It takes time.

ashestophoenix

Somber posted 7/7/2019 09:24 AM

Thanks Ashes,
I forgot about Recovery Nation, I stumbled across it once. I will check it out again. I may need a new therapist or at the very least start see mine more. Iíve only ever been to one, aside from MC (which was frustrating to say the least as they encourage moving forward without actually dealing with the core issues).
This is traumatizing and a specialist in that may be very helpful!!

I have a hard time believing things will get better but sure am gonna try everything I can to get myself back.

badmommy2 posted 7/7/2019 18:33 PM

This response goes out to doesitgetbetter. I'd like to quote a few things from your posts in this topic:

We should not be taking digs at one another because of how they are handling their recovery or their relationship.

We can support each other without attacking. I have seen it countless times over the decade where someone comes in and is meek, kind, timid, doesn't know what to say or do, and people jump on this poor scared BS and pound them into the sand telling them what they should be doing.... just like the mob at our door telling us to leave the WS and burn his stuff on the lawn. We, of all people, know how unhelpful that is and how painful that is to the BS. Let's not be like that here. Recovery looks different for everyone, and that's ok.

For those of you who are compassionate, and feel as though you don't have a safe place to post your thoughts or feelings about your SA, please feel free to.... I don't know, look for another message board to post on, because this isn't the spot for you.

Remember me? You certainly didn't practice what you're preaching here with ME. You were the epitome of nasty with my husband and I and I believe you owe us both an apology, but I won't hold my breath getting it. I guess recovery only looks different for everyone if that everyone is YOU and not us?

My hope is that we will have the clarity and knowledge to figure out what works best for us and take that direction.

And just in case you were interested, that's exactly what my husband and I did, and we're still doing great.

If anyone wants to know our story, go to my profile.

ashestophoenix posted 7/8/2019 07:15 AM

For today, can we please show ourselves and each other some mercy.

ashestophoenix

Somber posted 7/8/2019 10:33 AM

I agree Ashes.

With all due respect to each of us struggling through our traumas, compassion towards each other at the very least would be a good standard to aim for.

We all have a right to express ourselves, there is PM available as well to address concerns that donít necessarily involve this whole group.

No matter what path we take to our recovery, it will be twisty and rocky...wishing you all a smooth break in your path today 💜

Lionne posted 7/8/2019 14:19 PM

Agree with Ashes 200%. We have enough to deal with without turning on each other. This forum has been a safe, accepting, and loving place for more years than I care to count. I don't want that to end.

badmommy2 posted 7/8/2019 20:00 PM

Well, it certainly was not a safe, loving and accepting place for my husband and I , so I guess those things are reserved for the selective few.

doesitgetbetter posted 7/8/2019 21:21 PM

Badmommy, I absolutely remember you. I also remember that there were many who tried to talk some sense into you, and I also wished you well on your journey and hoped you continued to learn.

Dee, when one says things like a SA will never be able to give you empathy or compassion and a BS is wasting their time on the WS, it feels an awful lot like "well, continue throwing your nickels in this bottomless well, and when you're broke, don't complain to us". You may be directing the comment towards the WS when you say things like that, but it is also a comment that can hurt a BS as well. As though, as a BS, we are wasting our time and our love and our work. That is where it hurts me. That is all. WS's are humans too, and not all of them are automatically awful human beings. Many of them are, sure, I'll give you that. But not all.

In the past decade of dealing with so much bad feelings and hurt and pain and anger and sorrow, I have chosen to find the good, and light, and love, and joy, and "better" in life. Life isn't slowing down, and I don't want to spend one more day being angry or hurt because of something that someone did to me or behind my back. I want to spend more time focusing on the positives. What "can" be, not what "can't" be.

Whether you think you can, or think you can't, you're right. I think I can. And I know my SAWH thinks he can too.

doesitgetbetter posted 7/8/2019 21:35 PM

I clearly was not/am not expressing what I'm trying to say well. I am sorry for that.

When people are told they will never be this, or someone will never accept that, it steals their hope. I don't want for ANY of the BS's here to ever feel hopeless. Never and always are words that shouldn't be used when talking about people. People DO change. So for those of you need hope today, please, have hope. There is room for hope in your heart that tomorrow will be better than today. There is hope that there will be R if you are wanting that and if your SAWS is willing to work on that. There is hope for a positive outcome from this terrible mess. Whether you stay together or not, there is hope for healing, growth, joy, and love. This doesn't have to be the longest chapter in your book.

Lionne posted 7/8/2019 21:54 PM

Compassion. Yep. I feel very compassionate towards my SAWH. It doesn't negate the resentment I feel that My life was not what I thought it was. But he missed out on so much! I have two funny, smart, interesting sons. He was absent so much he never enjoyed the time with them that I did. They love him, but would never go to him for advice. Their interactions with him are like those of slightly distant relatives.
He has had to face the fact that he derailed much of his own ambitions for his life goals. He's done that with considerable grace.
The difference is that while I can feel sorry for him, I put myself first. I don't try to fix his relationship with the kids, don't reassure him that his actions weren't so bad, I'm not exhibiting the codependent behavior that I developed as a result of living with an addict.
I've rarely met a partner of a SA that wasn't extraordinarily compassionate. There's the theory that it's why they chose us, albeit unconsciously.

demolishedinside posted 7/9/2019 06:07 AM

Exactly, Lionne. I did not go back to read all of what happened but what I know for sure is that we all do want the best for each other. I do not want to speak for anyone, but seeing so many of you accept less than you deserve is hard. I want to go in there and fight for you. I want you to come here and fight for me. Does that make sense? I think perhaps that is what is happening here. Do the WHs deserve compassion. Yes, as people certainly. But as our husbands? Perhaps not so much. I had to stop coming here because I felt alone in this IHS that Iíve stuck myself in. Iím not here to stay or try. Iím leaving as soon as I can. And I hurt reading so many of you getting hit in the gut so many times and having to weigh the lesser of two evils.

I donít know if Iím expressing this well. I hope it comes across the way Iím intending it. I support you but so wish we had better choices.

Dee, you probably donít know that youíve given me strength in all of this. Your ability to get in there and tell it like it is has absolutely been what I needed and the fact that you survived and are thriving gives me strength to believe that I will get a job and get out. I will terribly struggle missing my kids but God, how I crave peace of mind and heart.

Ladies, to me, SA is the worst thing. Lionne first told me there would always be risks. She listened and told me. This is a hard road and I hope we all find a way to do what works for us.

DevastatedDee posted 7/9/2019 07:11 AM

Dee, when one says things like a SA will never be able to give you empathy or compassion and a BS is wasting their time on the WS, it feels an awful lot like "well, continue throwing your nickels in this bottomless well, and when you're broke, don't complain to us". You may be directing the comment towards the WS when you say things like that, but it is also a comment that can hurt a BS as well. As though, as a BS, we are wasting our time and our love and our work. That is where it hurts me. That is all. WS's are humans too, and not all of them are automatically awful human beings. Many of them are, sure, I'll give you that. But not all.

Let me clarify, then. I said and stand by they cannot give back what you're giving unless and until they have done a lot of recovery work on themselves. That is just true. Something is broken in them to have allowed them to betray you this way. You can stay and work with them while they build empathy to the point where they're safer partners, but while this is happening, it is wise to not get lost in their recovery process and neglect your own. Often the therapy for SAs shunts the victims aside as nothing more than collateral damage and expects the betrayed spouse to be a large part of the SAs support system, and likely the BS is not up to that and should not put themselves in the role of a supporting character. Your pain and trauma are real and awful and you deserve your own healing separate from theirs.

DevastatedDee posted 7/9/2019 07:16 AM

Dee, you probably donít know that youíve given me strength in all of this. Your ability to get in there and tell it like it is has absolutely been what I needed and the fact that you survived and are thriving gives me strength to believe that I will get a job and get out. I will terribly struggle missing my kids but God, how I crave peace of mind and heart.

Thank you. You will be okay. You will. It is an awful road to walk down and I know it. You are absolutely going to survive this and thrive again. You're going to have peace in your heart again. You deserve that. There is a world of beauty out there beyond this pain. You deserve every bit of it.

doesitgetbetter posted 7/9/2019 09:07 AM

Often the therapy for SAs shunts the victims aside as nothing more than collateral damage and expects the betrayed spouse to be a large part of the SAs support system,

Yikes! That's just bad therapy there. We've dealt with a couple different CSAT's and none of them ever once suggested I should be part of his support system. In fact they all told me that I specifically should not be. They advised SA that he could reach out to me if I was the only one he could at the time, but that he, and I, were much better off if he took me off the table as an option. In our recovery group, the same had been explained to every member that we talked to. There are bad therapists everywhere, and this category is no different than that. I can't tell you how many therapists I walked out on because they labelled me as codependent rather than a trauma victim. Even some of the books that are recommended slant that way, so I've tossed more than a few.

Lionne posted 7/9/2019 11:08 AM

Forgive me if this has been said. I've not read here in the past few pages, just burnt out.

It seems that some of this is part of an old argument...back in 2008 when I was first introduced to this shit, SANON and most of the researchers used the partner model that was described by AA. The spouse is enabling, codependent and often a detriment to the recovery addict. It can be true that in substance abuse, partners fight sobriety. After all, going out to a bar on Saturdays is a social event for THEM. Why should that stop just because the other guy doesn't want to get buzzed? I saw this, a lot. But never in a spouse of a sex addict. I have seen codependent behavior in myself and others. I had an excellent therapist who explained that codependent behaviors develop as a RESULT of living with disordered people, it isn't necessarily a set character trait. When the addictive behavior changes, so does the codependent behavior.
But even this is a fine line. We, as wives, mothers, humans, WANT to help and empower our loved ones. We want to help them with their struggles, do their laundry, whatever floats your boat. Especially when young kids are around, many of us take on responsibility to make sure everyone is happy and fulfilled. The trick is to also nurture yourself and not allow your needs to go unfilled because of the concentration on others. The trick is to know when to pull back and let failures happen.
Most of us had no idea of what their secret life entailed. We certainly didn't buy them their favorite porn like I've seen wives (and husbands) buy their addicted spouse their favorite gin. But, I'm speaking for myself and most of the other wives I've met in SANON, we did accept things we never should have; late nights, unexplained expenses, grouchy behavior, blameshifting, gaslighting, etc. I know I did. I learned quickly to NOT ask the difficult questions unless I wanted a battle, to NOT confront when information slugged me in the head, to be supportive and solicitous when he lost yet another job, etc.
The point is, even though SANON and older researchers still ascribe to the old thinking, most recognize the difference and look to the trauma model, which suggests our attempts to pacify an addict is self protection. It clearly was in my case. I just wanted to NOT be THAT WIFE, who questioned and suspected my husband. I chose to close my eyes, partly because of FOO issues. You may or may not have done similar things.
You each may or may not have learned codependent behaviors as you navigated life with a disordered person. It is wise and helpful to examine if you developed unhealthy conduct, and to change that mode of thinking if you did. Don't throw the baby out with the bath water because the word codependent feels like blame.
SANON was valuable to me in that I learned I wasn't alone in this, that it didn't automatically mean my husband was a pervert, and most importantly I learned SELF CARE. I learned what codependent meant and evaluated my own actions. I rejected some of the teachings, "take what you need and leave the rest" is particularly reassuring.
Behaving in codependent ways does not mean you IN ANY WAY have responsibility for his hobbies. It does mean that you are, most likely, heavily impacted by it even if you knew nothing about the acting out.
Even if this were alcoholism or drug abuse and you were an active enabler (my father made excuses for my mother, bought her gin, insisted I help get her to bed and take over the household duties that needed doing) you still cannot take blame for that. You(my dad) did what he thought he should. He did the best he could. Oddly, so did my mother. She sucked at parenting, but it was her best.
We spouses often over think our lives, how could we not? And while sex addiction harmed us immeasurably, we have to learn to live with that reality as best we can.
Putting ourselves first is one step...

Lionne posted 7/9/2019 11:10 AM

Let me clarify, then. I said and stand by they cannot give back what you're giving unless and until they have done a lot of recovery work on themselves. That is just true. Something is broken in them to have allowed them to betray you this way. You can stay and work with them while they build empathy to the point where they're safer partners, but while this is happening, it is wise to not get lost in their recovery process and neglect your own

ONG! Love this. It is an excellent summary. Thanks!

Smjsome1 posted 7/9/2019 19:06 PM

Dee
Often the therapy for SAs shunts the victims aside as nothing more than collateral damage and expects the betrayed spouse to be a large part of the SAs support system,

Weíve only been in this almost 2 years. The actual SA treatment, not that long. This happened to me, but it was in the you work on you, he works on him, followed with ďyou have to give him graceĒ when he was lying to me ďof course he lies, itís a habit,Ē said in a ďyou are expecting too muchĒ way.
Very very mixed messages, it gave him a sense of righteousness, is he told a ďyou have to give me graceĒ. By the liar! It was very very hurtful. Very subtle.
- - that CSAT is gone.

No one should stand for a therapist that does any of that, and we are conditioned to ďbe at faultĒ ďto take itĒ, etc.

Also
Let me clarify, then. I said and stand by they cannot give back what you're giving unless and until they have done a lot of recovery work on themselves. That is just true. Something is broken in them to have allowed them to betray you this way. You can stay and work with them while they build empathy to the point where they're safer partners, but while this is happening, it is wise to not get lost in their recovery process and neglect your own

This is so true!

We talked about shame last night in group, many - almost all who have chosen to stay are made to feel shame by family and friends, it has no place here.

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