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Spouses/Partners of Sex Addicts - 19

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kayaker55 posted 7/24/2019 21:58 PM

The SAs 12 step program works with the same steps as AA so the Amends step is as HeHadA stated.
The addict is not expected to give the letter to each prostitute, stripper etc...it is an exercise to show remorse toward those harmed in the addiction. My SAH did these with his CSAT...I didn't see them.

My therapist is a CSAT, her program for the spouse of a SA is excellent, told me to ask for anything I want from him so I had my SAH construct a personal Amends letter to me detailing all the ways he manipulated and lied to me....going back 30 years.

He had 2 months to work on it with his own CSAT . She asked him to send her a copy of it before the reading...so she would be prepared. She didn't leak anything to me , only said it was thorough and well constructed.

Then he, she and I met in her office for the read.

It was 4 pages, single spaced. He read it without any interruption. Then I was asked if I had questions, which I didn't, my therapist thanked him..then he left...she had asked him to book a hotel for the night. She kept a copy of it should I ever have questions come up later.

This wasn't a disclosure, that was done years ago. This is different.

This was empowering....he had to look me in the eye the entire time he was reading, and I watched him own every bit of his deception.


A direct Amends to ME. Step 9.

Cheers


doesitgetbetter posted 7/25/2019 20:30 PM

HHDL and Kayaker55 are spot on. The letters are not strange at all, they are part of the SA process of 12 steps. It's not any stranger than writing a letter to your Mom that you don't talk to and forgiving her for being awful then burning it, it's cathartic to write it and release those feelings, for the addict it helps acknowledge the pain they caused and treat other people as human beings rather than objects for their sexual gratification. Part of the addiction is not connecting with people, this is part of connecting with people. It's huge for the addict.

Secondtime, he absolutely needs to apologize to you! And if you want a letter, he should be bending over backwards to write you one. Has he ever gone over his step 4 with you? Steps 8 and 9 say:

Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Last time I checked, the BS is definitely harmed by the addicts actions and as such they require amends as well. It may be time to revisit your own boundaries and let him know what your boundaries are about this topic.

marji posted 7/26/2019 06:16 AM

secondtimeif I am reading your posts correctly, you're saying that your H has apologized to you but not in a heartfelt way; that his apology is mechanical-he says only what you have told him to say.

I am wondering if you've discussed this with your IC and/or your H's IC; perhaps he would be willing to go through some process similar to the one kayaker has described--not a CSAT disclosure type process but one that would require his really working on a truly meaningful letter to you if that is something you would want.

I know we speak a lot about boundaries here on SI and someone suggested you revisit yours but some boundaries, while resulting in a degree of safety--such as their attending meetings, working with an IC, just don't manage to touch our heart. While helping to make us feel safer, they tend to be of an outward, behavioral nature and I think you're looking for your H to show something emotional; a deep feeling of remorse and an emotional involvement with his amends.

I've been in my SANON group now for almost 4 years; we also tend a couples group. The men there speak in a deep and heartfelt way; I am almost always moved and interested when they speak. My H's speech is always detached and repetitive. It's boring and superficial. But the others have been involved in the program for 10 years or more and Im told by their spouses that it took many years before they saw real deep down change. They've said I wouldn't recognize the men I see now from the men they were.

So it can take many years and much work on their part to become truly empathetic, truly thoughtful people. Doesn't mean we have to stay with them for years. But it might mean we are fooling ourselves to expect real change before that. Had they had all the tools, if they had all the psychological strengths of a healthier human being they wouldn't have done what they did, wouldn't have wanted what they did, in the first place.

So yes, very frustrating; very disappointing. And all the more reason we should be looking for other sources of happiness each day whether or not we continue to stay.


DashboardMadonna posted 7/28/2019 21:20 PM

Hey all-

WARNING- colorful language abound... To each their own, I am having a real hard time with all of the "treatment".... at the end of the day, I just dont see any accountability, in terms of the wives.

My husband does his SA meetings (when hes up to it...heh) and he immediately comes home with a link to (forget the name) to assisting prostitutes involved in human trafficking. All I can hear is Sarah Mclachlan mocking me, while I'm looking at this shit, completely devastated. These men know about trafficking, the reality is that they dont give a flying fuck.

I dont honestly care to hear about his meetings... I have a hard time getting past the disgust of the idea of it. He did give me some hand-written letter. In saying that, I dont know if SA put him up to it. I would rather hear it in person...he just runs and hides...letters are insults.

I refuse to swallow the co-addict crap. These meetings and councilors are usually addicts, themselves. I feel as though it's a load of brainwashing to keep the abused submissive.
Encouraging sex with an addict, is unsafe. Saying that a woman is codependent for wanting checking into finances and fearful for her sexual health, is abuse, in my opinion.

In saying this, I know some women find being around others, in these groups, as helpful. I'm just leery of the source.

I agree with the sisterhood of support, in treating it for the trauma that it is. I have PTSD, stemming from childhood abuse. In saying this, I know what it looks like.

I believe SAs to be narcissists to their core. I have suspected my husband's narcissism, long before it was a cool term to throw around. I have noticed a lot of people throw it around on SI, but I really wonder if they know what it looks like.

I am not co-dependent, nor do I care to show any empathy toward a conniving piece of trash, that chooses prostitutes to his wife. It's all some huge manipulative game and I am just done.

I scoff at the man-child that uses his incestuous childhood as an excuse to abuse me for 25 years. I am repulsed by how sick it all is...right down to his misogynistic madonna-whore complex...guess what role I star in...SPOLIER- it's my "handle".

We all deserve better than this. I just dont see myself finding peace with this. I was already suicidal and then DD... Only a narcisst has the capability to do such things to a person sitting on the edge.

[This message edited by DashboardMadonna at 9:51 PM, July 28th (Sunday)]

DevastatedDee posted 7/28/2019 23:18 PM

DashboardMadonna, I so so get every word of that. I got off light with it only being 14 months, or maybe 2 years, or maybe the whole 7, who the fuck knows?

I surely don't. I do know that there is something profoundly wrong with anyone who can do this to a spouse AND that this theory of co-addict is the biggest pile of horseshit that I encountered in a therapy situation.

DashboardMadonna posted 7/29/2019 00:00 AM

Dee, you're about the only person, I've come across that shares in my thoughts. Your experience isnt any less, it's a fucking disgusting reality.

I caught mine with one hooker....the TT went to 6, then countless amounts of whores (he claims a few years....its the entire marriage, I'm convinced)...
I laughed at a comment you made on the "triggers" thread. In regards to wwhores names..... my husband fucked a "Rose"... my dogs fucking name! Lmao! The dogs are the company they keep...insulting my dog...pshhh

I've come across a lot of women that are seemingly in denial, on other boards. I'm not judging them or their journey. I blame these "professionals" pedaling snake oils, with the promise of some sort of cure.

I feel for you with that type of therapy. I read about them and saw women on youtube confess the SA meeting horror stories. It's just not for me. I dont enable or coddle this character.

My husband trickle truthed the fuck out of me and lied to an MC about the reality of his shit. The councilor basically victim shamed me for my resentment toward his "lifestyle"....from that moment on, it just confirmed that this isnt my problem. This is what these professionals do.

The ones that handle SA victims, usually treat the SAs, as well.... how the fuck does this work? That's like being a prosecuting and defense lawyer simultaneously. They, themselves, are more than likely "recovering" SAs... essentially a councilor that can only grasp a sense of empathy through the lense of a sex addict.

I was in and out of IC, through the years for my depression. I never found much help in it... now I feel less hope with them, than ever before. I'll be 2 years from DD, in September. Strangely, the day, itself isnt triggering. Its everything else.

[This message edited by DashboardMadonna at 1:37 AM, July 29th (Monday)]

Lionne posted 7/29/2019 18:01 PM

It's a shitshow, truly. ..
To be continued... I lost an entire wall of text.

[This message edited by Lionne at 6:37 PM, July 29th (Monday)]

Lionne posted 7/30/2019 00:02 AM

I had only one IC suggest this was in any way my issue. She didn't know the truth, I was honest, he wasn't. So I get that.
Other ICs have been helpful. He's now seeing two, one for SA one for the rest of his issues. They do hold him accountable. It amazes me that a 68 year old man could have so little insight into their own character. I see someone practical and a good listener. I spent 5 years angry, fully hot on, constant anger. I'm still angry but I'm detached from all of it, live to make myself happy, live to be a better person, build a better world without any regard to his addiction.

Codependency, co addiction and enabling are hot buttons and misunderstood. I would never label anyone else. Clearly I became codependent and I know I enabled. SANON helped me recognize which behaviors of mine were hurting me. Coaddiction in SA is an outdated and frankly, stupid idea. We didn't know their secret lives. We certainly didn't participate. Coaddiction does happen in drugs and alcohol abuse, I've seen it. My nephew and his wife OD'd and dies within a year of one another, my niece was shamed by her partner when she was newly sober, "you're no fun anymore!" I've seen that before, the spouse is resentful that their own use of substance may be curtailed or changed. I have NEVER met a spouse who was coaddicted with an SA spouse.
SANON isn't for everyone, and certainly their whole hog philosophy is outdated. I was fortunate that my group wasn't orthodox. They listened to other POV. No judging there. I embraced the "take what you leave and need the rest." wholeheartedly, and recognized the parts that described me and rejected other parts. But joyfully discovered that I had found souls who knew the pain I was in.
We all have to find that place for ourselves. SI, this forum is my spot. I can lean, bitch, vent, kvetch and help here...I can't do that with my "friends" who are also friends with my husband.
None of us should have been subjected to this horrible plague in our lives.
I hope you all find that.

delilah2016 posted 7/30/2019 18:38 PM

In my situation, I was definitely codependent. Not in a way that aided his addiction which I knew nothing about until we had been married for 28 years though.

I became codependent due to a narcissistic mother. I became a pleaser, doer and a care taker from a young age. This pattern from my childhood allowed me to be treated poorly by my SA husband. I allowed sexual anorexia from very early in our marriage. I believed his lies and excused his behavior in my own mind. My codependence had NOTHING to do with his SA, which started with porn addiction before I met him.

I was trained by my mother from an early age to allow myself to be treated poorly. My SAH was outwardly a good husband, good provider etc, but my codependence allowed me to not expect my needs to be met. I was "lucky" to have such a good husband. Just because he was "too tired" to have sex, loved flirting with other women, loved his Sports Illustrated swim suit edition each year.....those things were ok. I didn't deserve a husband that cared about what I needed...

We are 3 1/2 years out from Dday #2 and the confession of SA. I worked on my codependence first and only now do I understand what I deserve out of life. My betrayal trauma is now starting become a major issue for me. It is now time to start working on my trauma. Maybe I should have worked on that first, but maybe not. Maybe some of us do need to stop being codependent first.

Lionne posted 7/30/2019 19:20 PM

Delilah, I want to copy and paste your post. It truly was my experience, too.

One "theory" is that we choose a partner who will relive the trauma of our childhood in our attempts to reconcile it all. I think that's bullshit. I thought I was marrying a man who was free of any of those dysfunctions. In truth, I did. But he was a great actor, hid all the ugliness. Thought marriage would fix him.

Nor do I believe the theory that they choose us knowing they can get away with stuff and manipulate us. Saw some weakness in us that could be to their advantage. At least in my case, my husband is just not that self aware. He still isn't.

Superesse posted 7/30/2019 21:28 PM

Lionne, Here Here! I love your challenging these worn-out theories, left-overs-from-ALANON-or-DV-victims (for whom I suspect it may have more validity) that attempt to explain how we ended up with SAs!

I especially agree with the first part you posted, and I imagine most spouses here would, too. Jury's still out on the second theory for me, but yeah, I doubt they told themselves much about our willingness to tolerate betrayal!


HeHadADoubleLife posted 7/31/2019 00:42 AM

Thought marriage would fix him.

Nor do I believe the theory that they choose us knowing they can get away with stuff and manipulate us. Saw some weakness in us that could be to their advantage.
I think these two ideas are related. They did choose us for a reason, but not because we were weak and easy to manipulate. They chose us because they saw in us qualities which they wish they had themselves.

Strength, capability, compassion, empathy, responsibility, integrity.

They saw a person who was so far out of their league, they wanted to pair up with them in hopes that we might rub off on them. They wanted marriage to fix them. So we did not choose them to heal our childhood wounds. They chose us because they wanted us to heal theirs for them.

My brother used this analogy in reference to my XH, but I'll rephrase it to be more general as I feel it's pretty apt for anyone in a relationship with an active addict.

The addict is like a pot of boiling water. Left on high heat, it will inevitably boil over. Instead of learning how to turn down the heat, they wanted you to be the lid.

[This message edited by HeHadADoubleLife at 12:43 AM, July 31st (Wednesday)]

DevastatedDee posted 7/31/2019 07:58 AM

They saw a person who was so far out of their league, they wanted to pair up with them in hopes that we might rub off on them. They wanted marriage to fix them. So we did not choose them to heal our childhood wounds. They chose us because they wanted us to heal theirs for them.

You've got it. I believe that's exactly what often happens in these situations.

Superesse posted 7/31/2019 08:49 AM

My SAWH came right out and told me some of that, HHADL, so that's one addict who admits it.

It's sobering to realize this about ourselves, but maybe these qualities you cited, "Strength, Capability, Compassion, Empathy, Responsibility and Integrity" are exactly why we might have had more than one very messed up man latch on to us over our life course, as I have.

The old saying "opposites" attract seems to be a general experience, even though social science research has shown that "likes" tend to wear better over the long haul.

So, this begs the question: did we not require our partners to possess these qualities, as well? Or...did they do a good imitation of them while we were dating, and their mask only fell off later?

DevastatedDee posted 7/31/2019 09:13 AM

So, this begs the question: did we not require our partners to possess these qualities, as well? Or...did they do a good imitation of them while we were dating, and their mask only fell off later?

For my situation, I think it's a mix. On the one hand, I had been a single mom for years and was quite self-sufficient. I truly did not need him. I didn't mind being single, I didn't need his money, I didn't need him period. This is good and bad. Good for me, because I don't feel the need to have someone and can take care of myself. Bad for me, because I didn't understand exactly how little he was doing because I had been doing everything for me and two kids and I valued ANY help or support because I was so unaccustomed to it.

It appeared to me that he was taking care of himself and helping his family too. His mom owns a large plot of land and his parents, his brother's family and he all lived on that large plot of land, part of it used for farming. This isn't unusual around here and I thought nothing of it. What I saw was a man who worked a full-time job, paid his bills, and spent a lot of his spare time working on his family's farm, spending time with them and helping them. What I didn't see was how much of that was because he had taken such advantage of his parents over the years that he owed them that. What I didn't get was that his mom had bought the land to move her sons' families onto it so that she could make sure that the grandchildren were being cared for. What I didn't understand was that I was seeing a man working recovery from various addictions and really living a life for possibly the first time ever.

So...I drew conclusions that seemed obvious from what I was seeing and didn't catch the undercurrent. I am a different person now and would see more in an identical situation today, but I didn't have sufficient experience with this stuff back then to have figured it out. It's not like his mom would have said "Hey new woman, my son was a massive fuckup most of his life and is in the best place he has ever been mentally today, so don't be fooled by who he is being currently." He really did live his best life with me. He was at his personal high point for the first few years. After my shiny newness and his life's shiny newness wore off, he went right back to being who he had been before I met him.

I wouldn't have given him 5 minutes of my time had I met him at another stage in his life.

DevastatedDee posted 7/31/2019 09:21 AM

But still, I feel like I should have known. It makes me feel stupid and naive and I think I knew more than I let myself know and when things got serious, I learned more about his past. But by then, I was in love and he was still great and there was nothing of the SA stuff. Just he had a drug problem and horribly regretted putting everyone through that and was living his life giving back. So do you tell that recovering addict that he's shit because he used to be shit or do you give the man you think you know a shot to continue having a good life? This man who has never hurt you personally? I did, and I am sorry that it turned out the way it did. I am sometimes angry at myself for giving him a chance and other times I'm glad I was the kind of person who would give him a chance. That person isn't me anymore. She was a much kinder and more compassionate person and it's pretty sad to have lost that.

ashestophoenix posted 7/31/2019 09:48 AM

I appreciate these posts. This is such an important conversation. It is so easy to be blamed for our victimization. Our culture does it. Our friends and family might do it. Our therapists can do it. My husband sure as heck did it. And, frankly, I can do it to myself.

I agree they pick us for our good qualities and they want us to cure them. I've come around to not feeling awful about that. Of course, they needed to fix themselves but they were too immature and addicted to do that. But they did recognize our good qualities. Yes, they used them as cover. Yes, that's awful. But it doesn't detract from the fact that we weren't awful human beings behaving badly.

I don't think we were on some suicidal mission and picked these men consciously or unconsciously. We did not know about their sexual addiction. We may have known about any substance addictions. But, truly, I did not know about the sexual/porn/love addictions. I didn't even know they existed or what they were. If I had known, if any of us had known, we would have married these men? I doubt it. So really, we need to be released from any kind of blame for "choosing" these men. We went into marriage with honorable intentions hoping to make it work. In a weird way my husband wanted it to work, he just wanted to keep his addiction going as well.

I don't label myself as co-dependent or as a co-addict but I sure as heck didn't have boundaries and settled for being treated poorly. Even without knowing about the addiction, my husband started treating me badly and that escalated. I went into therapy to learn about why I didn't even recognize what was abusive behavior, let alone leave. That therapy has been tremendously helpful. The key is not to feel blamed by our prior trauma. Not to believe that we somehow chose this path because of prior trauma.

In hindsight, I can see red flags. But I would never have known them at the time. I truly forgive myself for marrying my husband. Staying with him...still working on that.

Once I accepted that I was a victim of abuse and learned not to blame myself for it, my healing really accelerated. It took time and a skilled therapist.

ashestophoenix

Lionne posted 7/31/2019 13:12 PM

All very, very true. So why is my inner dialogue telling me that somehow I deserved this.
My own issues or a result of Jewish/ Catholic guilt?

HeHadADoubleLife posted 7/31/2019 16:06 PM

I have so much more to respond to when Iím not running around, such a great topic!

But I think we discussed something on the Betrayed Womenz thread (it might have been here too, canít keep my threads straight) that fits here too.

The gist of it being that they picked us because we are Bad Ass Mother F@$%*rs Who Get Shit Done And Donít Take Anybodyís Shit! They loved us for it. But when they realized it wasnít rubbing off on them, that they werenít just going to magically acquire these traits through osmosis, that they would actually have to put in the work to get them, the resentment builds. And resentment is nasty and insidious.

Then all of a sudden when the consequences of their actions came home to roost, they were shocked and angry when the BAMFs Who Donít Take Anybodyís Shit stopped taking theirs.

whoami62 posted 7/31/2019 17:26 PM

My H and I have been working with a very intense therapy practice ...some bumps in the road and both of us have considered leaving , but we haven't
It's ugly at times , very emotional , tumutulous and on top of it all , we are smack dab in the middle of our high season of our business and working crazy hours in extreme heat

I believe this practice is a gift...they know their stuff , but it doesn't tickle

My SA is being hit pretty hard and even though he has inflicted a lot of pain on me, it's still hard for me to to witness

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