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Spouses/Partners of Sex Addicts - 20

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skeetermooch posted 8/30/2020 11:42 AM

Day 7 of NC.

Superesse - cookies please!

Went to bed with an achy heart, aching for the fake husband not the real one. This morning is the first time I don't want to check my spam folder for an email from him. I don't want a set back. I'm guarding this tiny bit of progress.

Hope everyone's having a peaceful Sunday.

crazyblindsided posted 8/30/2020 12:35 PM

(((skeetermooch))) that's awesome! Progress is progress

Superesse posted 8/30/2020 12:38 PM

Skeeter, Sundays are always tough, aren't they? Ok, you can have a cookie, a Toll House Chocolate Chip, for making it this far....but you gotta make it all the way to bedtime, so there's a Chocolate Pinwheel in the fridge for a bedtime snack, if you just HANG IN there!

Just learned my church's pastor, a guy in his 50's who's been fighting stage 4 lung cancer since he found out - on Christmas Eve 2019! - that he had it, was hospitalized yesterday. My friend shared that "it's bad." This man has given his whole life to God and worked like a dog to make a difference in our community. I am so afraid we are going to be losing him, too. He came to my house and prayed a blessing, 6 years ago...and I needed another one lately, to purge all the unseen "garbage" out, again. But now it's my turn to pray a blessing for his life, on his journey to wherever he is going. I hope he gets more time, but it isn't looking good.

So Sunday blues here, as well. Here's a cookie, and some hugs! Then get out there and do something for yourself this afternoon, promise!

skeetermooch posted 8/30/2020 13:23 PM

((Superesse)) so sorry about your pastor.

Sundays are too quiet I think.

Superesse posted 8/30/2020 21:05 PM

Skeeter, hang in there for that late night chocolate cookie we have in the fridge....hoping your afternoon was in some way good...

skeetermooch posted 8/30/2020 21:36 PM

I actually had the best day so far - I wouldn't say I was over the moon or necessarily happy but no terrible lows. Think I'm getting the hang of this.

I did errands and chores, many outside as we had an uncharacteristically cooler day. I kept busier than I've been in awhile and caught up with an old friend.

HeHadADoubleLife posted 8/30/2020 22:13 PM

Hey ladies! Skeeter, good for you! Seriously, keep it up with daily, even hourly rewards for keeping NC if you need it.

Yeah, same. I could pick out the loud disordered types without effort. This kind of guy, though? I had no experience with the disordered calm sweet nice guy. That came out of left field entirely. It's like being viciously attached by a butterfly or something.
Preach it Dee! Yes, yes, YES! I can pick out the overt/classic narcissists any day of the week - my industry is FULL of them. But the quiet ones are sneaky MFers.

Granted, mine had some serious anger issues as well. But while there was a lot of yelling, it was a ton more about his own self hatred than anything outward... even when he was yelling at us for things we did, it was so very apparent that it wasn't really about us. So instead of feeling like he was a ferocious wolf or some other predator that could hurt me, it was more like an obnoxious harbor seal - squawking and squealing while it shuffled in a flailing struggle to get back to the water.

Doing research on BPD really helped me understand what I was dealing with all those years. The emotional lability and extreme mood swings are staples of an unrecovered pwBPD. It made the swings from injured butterfly to squawking seal to happy-go-lucky playful puppy to inquisitive chimpanzee and then back around again in a few hours make a lot more sense. And the passive aggression and manipulation, lordy I was not prepared for that. Played my step daughters and I against each other perfectly, none of us had any clue until after I got out how many conflicting stories he had told each of us.

I've read studies that show some correlation between sex addicts and personality disorders. IIRC, the study said that upwards of 90% of sex addicts exhibited traits of various PDs. But a hugely significant amount less than that are actually considered diagnosable with a PD. Basically that they share traits of many different PDs across the spectrum, but not enough of any one set of the 9 diagnostic criteria to merit a diagnosis of any particular PD. This makes me wonder why sex addiction in and of itself hasn't been studied better. To me, I see elements of several PDs in the way many of our addicts behave - NPD in the self centered/selfishness of it all, BPD in the mood swings, OCPD in the way their masturbation/porn habits - even hookup habits - become ritualized, Avoidant PD in how secretive they keep it all, Dependent PD in how they seem to be incapable of being alone with themselves and always need a relationship, Antisocial PD in their disregard of how their actions affect others, Histrionic in their excessive need for attention. Hell I noticed a lot of paranoid/schizo behaviors in my XH - he tended to believe in conspiracy theories (paranoid) and it was like pulling teeth to get him to participate in normal social situations (schizo). Makes me wonder if sex addiction needs its own separate criteria in the DSM.

A friend who is a psychologist has told me that sex addiction is the new opioid epidemic, and something the mental health community is trying very hard to figure out how to battle. She says that we will be seeing the effects of 24/7 access to increasingly violent porn - as well as the easy access for NSA hookups via apps and such - for generations to come.

Family and friends either said "ALL men are JERKS" (my father's favorite explanation for my bad luck!)
I got this shit a lot too Superesse. My Dad's favorite thing to tell me is "All men are scum!" It all centers around biology for him, he talks a lot about how it's just a biological drive for men to seek out sex all the time. Basically said that my highschool BF was off the hook for saying I Love You then breaking up with me a week later because we had been making out heavily the time he said it, so "of course he said I Love You in that moment." He still says the "men are scum" thing to this day. I've had to tell him time and time again that I don't believe that is true, and that his repeating it is damaging. That he's basically saying that men have no control over their actions because *biology* so I need to do a better job of protecting myself against these predators.

or I got the message that somehow I was the problem! I was (choose from): too smart, too intimidating, too successful in a man's world, or even that I came off as too independent!
Yup, I've gotten all of those too. "Too smart for my own good" was something I heard from an xBF after I caught him cheating. Many, many others have told me I'm intimidating. My XH used to go on and on about how intimidating I was. My response? GOOD! I should intimidate you, I'm awesome! Now rise to the occasion, or GTFO.

BlackRaven, I don't have good book recommendations because my brain has been unable to process large bits of information ever since DDay. I've relied heavily on articles and forums, because the info comes in more digestible bits. I've actually found Pinterest to be a great place to find infographics on PTSD, cPTSD, emotional abuse etc. Some just validate experiences, others give actual lists of possible symptoms to look out for etc. Handy charts that explain the difference between the two. Lots of lists of affirmations. Tips on how to handle triggers etc. If you click on any one image, a whole lot of images like it will appear below it. Another cool thing that Pinterest did in the past couple of years is they enabled the "secret" page feature for more than just 5 pages - you can create as many secret boards as you want now. I have an entire board dedicated to mental health, with sub categories including PTSD, emotional abuse etc., and nobody that follows me there will ever see it if I don't want them to. I just searched cPTSD healing in their search bar and a bunch of great stuff came up! I highly recommend it!

BlackRaven posted 8/31/2020 00:52 AM

So my WH can get phone calls starting tomorrow at his rehab, and I am - for now - not calling. It's been 2 weeks NC, and I just don't see the point. We're not allowed to ask anything of substance, just 'news, weather and sports' and I'm just so empty. I have sent him a couple of casual letters since it's not that I don't care or wish him well, but I don't have the energy right now to deal with the emotions that a conversation will dredge up. I've arranged for him to speak with our DD tomorrow.

I do have a howler waiting to be sent tomorrow to the head of the Family Program. I got a call on Thursday from someone claiming to be the legal department at AmEx asking for WH by name. We don't have an AmEx, and if he had opened one without my knowledge, it didn't make sense that my phone number would be attached to it - but you never know. Anyhow, my contact at the rehab reached out to me about something else, so I asked if she could ask him if he'd opened any credit cards. A while later she emails me back and says "he reports he has such a charge card” - my physiological response exceeded anything I had when learning about the As. I pull myself together enough to email the liaison back with an URGENT, call me. And she does - and when I asked for more info on the account, I found out that the IDIOT had typed so quickly that she didn't type "hasn't" -which is what she intended, as in he hasn't opened an account. So whatever trauma my husband didn't do to me, the rehab has now done.

There have been other issues as well, but this was the worst. And really, it set me back on my heels all weekend. At this point I have no trust whatsoever in the family program (which isn't running anyhow) and that means I have even less faith in the program my WH is in. There seems to be a complete lack of professionalism. I mean my God, if you have to cut back staff because of Covid, cut back on the effing pool boy or let the rock garden get a bit dusty, but don't cut back on the staff for family support.

HeHadADoubleLife - thank you for your writing. I know it's all painful, but anytime someone gets a wolf, harbor seal, puppy and butterfly into one post, they get my utmost respect.

I spent today watching videos and webinars and actually feel a bit better. No, that's not the right word. I feel terrible. But I feel less alone. I now am starting to understand that through no fault of my own I have been traumatized to a level beyond even that which soldiers sometimes experience (according to the videos) and that it will take years of hard work before I can begin to heal, regardless of whether we R or not. And, according to another video, it's unreasonable for me to expect that maybe he won't have contact with the narcissistic mother whose abuse created and fostered this entire shit show. And honestly, that's probably a deal breaker for me.


DevastatedDee posted 8/31/2020 08:23 AM

Skeetermooch, I am SO glad you had a good day yesterday. NC will slowly clear this black cloud out and you'll have lots more of them. Your body is so used to stress and drama that it will take time to get comfortable again without it.

DevastatedDee posted 8/31/2020 08:30 AM

BlackRaven, I don't mean to add to your worries, but I would suggest running a free credit report on you both just to be 100% sure. Not that this is your situation, but my XWH did obtain a number of credit cards behind my back. Prostitutes and drugs cost money, and he used them to get cash advances. A new one came in while he was in rehab and I snatched it up and used it to fix our upstairs A/C and pay off one of my bills in a moment of "fuck you, man".

It's worth doing that even if you believe what he says about this particular AMEX. Even if this had never come up. I got really pissed when someone suggested this to me while my XWH was in rehab, so I totally understand if that's your feeling.

Those rehab phone calls were weird. He was all pumped up with healing and I was sitting there in the house having my first real break from chaos trying to sound encouraging but really wishing he hadn't called and I could just continue to sit there and breathe.

[This message edited by DevastatedDee at 8:32 AM, August 31st (Monday)]

Superesse posted 8/31/2020 09:34 AM

Good morning, Ladies!

HeHadADoubleLife, how very interesting that you heard the same sort of thing from your father as I did, and that you, too, were told you were "intimidating," etc. I was the oldest child in my family and took after my father's side, too. And I was just a tom-boy all the way through high school. Were you like that?

But here's something sobering I want to share with you: late in his life, like age 84, I found out from my brother that my father was still a 'closet' porn addict! Brother is too, and he isn't even shy about telling me that. But my brother even was shocked, when he had to take care of Dad in his final years after a massive stroke, and found the old man's computer full of porn. Yuck! Well...suddenly, a whole LOT of the stuff my father had said to me over the years, about "men in general" or about my SAWH in particular, came into focus. No WONDER my father had gotten so distant when I shared with him how my new husband had hurt me. He really pulled away, right when I needed some family support. He complained to my brother (so I was told) that I made him "uncomfortable" because I wouldn't Divorce my cheating husband, yet I was complaining about it all the time! OK, I could maybe accept that I did that, but now I think it was really more his GUILTY CONSCIENCE!. His not wanting to acknowledge how this sick way of looking at women affects our lives! (Now I wonder what REALLY happened to my parents' marriage! They divorced when I was 21.) So I wouldn't be too shocked if the reason your father always said what he did about men had a personal element to it, sorry to say. Just sounds too familiar, so I'm drawing that comparison.

But I have wondered, "How much of an unconscious influence on daughters' choice of mates, are fathers who hide their sex addiction from them, but just by the fathers' relationship behaviors in general, the daughters end up choosing similar men? Wacky psychology, or what?

Black Raven, wow, I feel that kick in the gut about that call, sorry! Ugh! I don't think I'd let that one rest, it's just easy for people to change their stories. Credit card companies records are how I got my first D-Day, in 2002. Please take your time, maybe wait until he gets back to pull that report. I know I couldn't stand to see it staring me in the face by myself, but like Devastated Dee said, don't be surprised if there is more to the story.

Dee, you are so great to come back here and cheer us on through the worst of things.

Skeeter, great that you had an active and outdoorsy Sunday afternoon! Keep up the good work! It's all gray and rainy, here today...again. If you have sunshine, you have something I can't buy!!

Side gripe: on the official weather forecast website, the square image icons for each day or night color it DARKER than reality, like they want you to think "torrential downpour" when it might be a quarter inch! Right now, my forecast promises the next 4 days and nights will be rain rain and more rain. Gloom and doom! But in reality, we'll probably get a few hours of overcast and/or rain each day, then it'll clear up and be partly cloudy. They changed this website about a year ago and I resent the emphasis on weather drama!!

skeetermooch posted 8/31/2020 10:51 AM

Black Raven, if your nervous system can handle it, I highly recommend getting on Credit Karma and seeing what credit cards he has going and what the balances are each month.

My ex opened a ton. In fact he continues to open new accounts as he maxes out old cards. I put a freeze on inquiries to my account with all three reporting agencies. This prevents any new cards from being opened in your name.

I see elements of several PDs in the way many of our addicts behave - NPD in the self centered/selfishness of it all, BPD in the mood swings, OCPD in the way their masturbation/porn habits - even hookup habits - become ritualized, Avoidant PD in how secretive they keep it all, Dependent PD in how they seem to be incapable of being alone with themselves and always need a relationship, Antisocial PD in their disregard of how their actions affect others, Histrionic in their excessive need for attention.

Yes, HHADL. My ex has really strong features of ASPD, NPD BPD. In his case he might actually qualify for a diagnosis of ASPD. This not garden variety addiction or infidelity.

I too have been told I'm intimidating - it's just a covert way of saying we're not feminine enough. Women have always been looked down upon if they're single, blamed for being single, blamed for being cheated on and left. It's misogyny.

I'm starting Day 8 of NC. Feeling good so far. Not sleeping as well but I'm sure that's to be expected.

Today I start the D process. I'm setting the goal of getting my signature notarized on the petition. Then I'll make three copies before the courthouse. May or may not get to the courthouse today but I'll go tomorrow if not.

Superesse posted 8/31/2020 13:03 PM

Skeeter, YEEAAHH! One foot in front of the other, that's how you will do this!

I really think we need to look with compassion on ourselves, and take CARE of ourselves, just as we would with someone we loved - like an elderly parent who just needed someone to care, to count on, some safety measures put in place for them, a daily routine - so important for body health - plus good food and sleep!!

On the sleep thing, this pandemic showed me how my sleep cycle got disrupted by fear and panic, hoooboy! What I had to do was take a melatonin every evening, just before lights out. If you don't want to be dragging the next morning, I'd advise breaking the 3 mg pill into pieces, take about 1 mg and see how it affects you. For me, it helps my sleep cycle stay locked in, once I get to sleep. Now, at low dose, you may not feel any improvement in when you can drift off. Believe me, though, it gets in your brain and melatonin does more for us than just help sleep. Keep knocking it out, one day at a time, GF!

[This message edited by Superesse at 1:08 PM, August 31st (Monday)]

skeetermooch posted 8/31/2020 20:25 PM

I'm having a hard moment - not sure why. Well, maybe I know why. I go the D papers notarized today. I realized I needed some account numbers on them and then I got painful stomach cramps and decided to postpone making copies until tomorrow. I hope tomorrow I can make copies and get to the courthouse to file.

I'm going that thing where my brain is revisiting things he said and did and comparing them against everything I know now and let me tell you, it sucks. There aren't any moments where I'm thinking, "wow he really loved me then." It's all, incredulousness at the manipulations, realizing how stingy he was in terms of contributing financially to the household or getting me anything nice.

More recently he alluded to getting divorced and seeing how it goes and maybe getting back together in a year. I think that hurts the most - he wants it to be over, despite his protestations - he's just scared to be without someone. He's afraid to give me up in case he doesn't find that something better he's clearly looking for. Man, I hate him. How do you marry someone at his age when you're not sure or ready or able to truly commit?

And I know he's no one I would want so I should be happy he feels this way. He's disordered SA, who I don't believe will ever change - yet, it still hurts.

Day 8 of NC is coming to a close - most of it was okay. I got a lot done around the house. I wasn't sad most of the day. I guess it's progress.

BlackRaven posted 8/31/2020 20:29 PM

Those rehab phone calls were weird. He was all pumped up with healing and I was sitting there in the house having my first real break from chaos trying to sound encouraging but really wishing he hadn't called and I could just continue to sit there and breathe.

Exactly. I found a free webinar on the website of a trauma specialist named Wendy Conquest and she illustrates her discussion with a chart with two lines on it. At first, the WH line is well below the BW, while the BW has a line that is fairly high and steady because she's holding the house together while the WH acts out. Then there is the discovery, and the WH's line might drop some, but pretty soon it starts to climb back up into to the good zone. The BW, meanwhile, starts to decline as she deals with what she learned, and in fact drops below even where the WH was at his lowest. It takes a long time before her line starts to go up again. So yes, presumably my WH is starting his recovery and I'm learning that the trauma that we experienced in on par with that experienced by a victim of incest (according to my therapist) and I understand that I'm just starting my descent into hell and have a long, long way to go before I hit bottom.

And yes, I did check the credit card records today and everything was as it should be, but thanks for the advice. I'm still not used to being hypervigilent about anything but his flirting. My guess is that I still have a lot of denial as I try to keep my brain from exploding.


[This message edited by BlackRaven at 11:01 PM, August 31st (Monday)]

Superesse posted 8/31/2020 22:33 PM

Black Raven, what courage you showed, and some good news on that credit report, at least! Whew.

Skeeter, one step at a time, you are getting there! Your body said "whoa, slow this train down!" And so you wisely wait until tomorrow to put those account numbers down onto paper. Know exactly what that feels like, had to do it last time for my lawyer. Yeeesh! Definitely cookie time...

HeHadADoubleLife posted 9/1/2020 00:37 AM

BlackRaven, I'm glad you appreciated it! I find the only way to accurately portray some of the feelings/experiences are through metaphor. And animals seem to be able to evoke the exact correct message I'm trying to get across, like Dee so aptly did with her beaten-by-a-butterfly metaphor.

The following is a pretty long summary of some crap with my dad. Feel free not to read it. I thought this was going to be a quick response to Superesse's questions about my relationship with my Dad, but this just spilled out of me. I've had it written out for hours, and hesitated posting for fear of taking over this thread with my own stuff. Thought about starting my own thread in General about daddy issues and such. Truth of the matter is that I'm kind of scared to share this stuff with people who aren't spouses of SAs. I may still post over there, just with some caveats for response. I just don't know if I'm ready for feedback from people who don't get it on the level that we all do. Not yet, anyway. So, skip to the TL;DR down below if this is too overwhelming. Thanks for letting me word vomit a bit. Hopefully something I wrote helps someone else connect some dots for themselves.

HeHadADoubleLife, how very interesting that you heard the same sort of thing from your father as I did, and that you, too, were told you were "intimidating," etc. I was the oldest child in my family and took after my father's side, too. And I was just a tom-boy all the way through high school. Were you like that?
Yup. Oldest of four, only girl. Not a complete tom boy, I liked some "girly" things, but I was very active. Played soccer from kindergarten on, captain of my high school lacrosse team. I never fit in with the "popular" girls, but never wanted to.

I have been resistant to labels and gender roles since I was a little kid. Always felt like a weirdo because I didn't like the same stuff all the girls liked, but also didn't really fit in with the boys. When other girls were into Lisa Frank stickers, lots of neon colors and zebra prints, I wanted nothing to do with any of that. But I also liked to wear dresses and matching outfits, so I wasn't really a "tomboy". I was obsessed with playing dress up, especially in my mom and grandma's old dresses and jumpsuits from the 70s. But I also liked nerf guns, Ninja Turtles and Power Rangers. I rode 4-wheelers out in the desert, but I also loved Little House on the Prairie, Nancy Drew and Babysitter's Club. I wanted to be able to play 4-square and hand-ball at recess, but the boys would always gang up on me to get me out. Girls had a complex social structure involving gossip and other bullshit, which I didn't really understand, so I became a totally shy nerd. I found a little hiding spot between one of those storage containers used for sports equipment and a wall and would read there during recess instead of playing with other kids.

I really feel like my parents didn't know what to do with me. There are pictures of me when I was too young to dress myself, and I was dressed to the nines like the picture perfect girly girl. But that's just not who I turned out to be. If I'm being honest, I don't feel like many people knew how to deal with me because I didn't fit into stereotypical gender roles, and still don't.

Pretty much every guy I've ever been with has told me I'm intimidating. It was so ubiquitous that at one point I just started believing that this was some strange sort of pick up line they had all learned somewhere. I now think it's just a common theme among people I meet. I'm very introverted, and have been told I have a bad case of RBF (resting bitch face). Even my DD's BF has told her that I'm intimidating.

Most of the time when I hear the intimidation line from men, I feel that this is just them not knowing how to handle a woman who is direct, speaks her mind, knows what she wants and doesn't hesitate to communicate it. Like skeeter wrote

it's just a covert way of saying we're not feminine enough.
and honestly I like that I play "against type." I don't view being direct vs. passive aggressive as inherently masculine vs. feminine, I view it as healthy vs. unhealthy, and both genders can fall in each category. But every once in a while a little bug will get in my brain thinking that maybe they're intimidated because I put up strong defenses due to my conditioning surrounding men. I wonder if all of us "intimidating" women are really just women who have Dads who taught us that men were out to get us? Like I said, most of the time I think it's just them not used to me not bending over backwards for them. And most of the time I view this as a positive trait. But I'm aware that it can be a defense mechanism if taken too far.

I'm sorry to hear that you learned your Dad had a porn addiction, especially so late in life. Talk about rewriting of history - at least I would reconsider a lot about my Dad at that point. To be honest, I'm pretty sure I'm dealing with similar issues with my Dad. Not because I've ever found anything, but just because in the aftermath of DDay I've come to figure out his patterns and how much my XH's patterns of lying mimic his. Pretty much anything he vehemently denied turned out to be true, and anything he steadfastly defended turned out to be false.

The man who preached to me his whole life about the importance of "owning your shit"? Turns out, he never truly owns up to a damn thing, that rule only applies to everyone else, not to him. He racked up $300k in back taxes and didn't tell my mom until the IRS came knocking, so while there may not be any sexual/emotional infidelity that I can prove, he committed financial infidelity against her years ago. Still to this day blames the IRS. During the financial crash of 2008 we lost our house. He refuses to admit that part of the problem is that we were already completely over extended, and he had no savings to help keep them afloat. He was trying to keep up with the Joneses and never let my mom know how strapped they really were. They've only just now been able to buy another house, so have been renting for the past 12 years. But of course, none of that is his fault. Insisted on going on a hiking trip for his bday one year with my middle bro, didn't pack enough supplies or any kind of survival gear and they got lost in the woods overnight after he injured himself, had to get helivac-ed out in the morning once they were finally found. Won't own up to the fact that he was pushing himself way too far, completely over estimated his competence, and in the process nearly killed himself. Won't even admit that my brother saved his life. Laughs it off every time it's brought up like it's a big joke and not some hugely traumatic event.

The man who preached my entire childhood about how bad drugs are, and how people who use drugs are bad people? Well, when post DDay I found emptied out pen shafts and some lovely members here pointed out that this indicated my XH's meth use, I talked about how shocked I was, how I had been finding them for years and would have never known it was drug related. My Dad's response was "Oh yeah, I used to use those to snort meth!" Totally nonchalant. To hear this man say it when I was young, he had never touched a drug in his life, and never would, because he is a good person and only bad people do drugs. Literally told me at like age 5 that people who smoke cigarettes do it because they don't know how to read, because if they could read, they would see the surgeon general's warning telling them it would kill them and they wouldn't smoke them. How since I could read, that meant I couldn't smoke cigarettes. Then all of a sudden at 31 he's telling me how he had a hard core meth habit for 6 months before he met my mom. Talk about a mind fuck. He also claims he just up and quit once he started dating my mom... I find that incredibly hard to believe. I now question my entire life of his insomnia/early wake ups because of the "stock market". I can't imagine he could get away with that for 30+ years and never get caught, but who the fuck knows now.

My entire history with my father has been blown to bits in the last 2 years. Found out he's really not the man he presented himself to be. And the person he is, is not someone I would choose to be around. I love him, but I don't like him as a person. The only reason I spend time with him now is when I have to. And of course I feel guilty about that because he's sick and has new health issues seemingly every month. But I basically only see him because I go down to visit my mom, and since he's pretty much an invalid he can't do much without her, so spending time with mom = spending time with dad.

Oh, and he wasn't overtly sexual with me or anything, but he was definitely weird about clothes and such. This was throughout middle and high school. Tight jeans were what was in fashion at the time. He would make the same comment over and over about how my pants were so tight that you could see the year of the dime in my pocket. He thought that was so witty and hilarious I was a twig, all legs, and they were so long that I had to start buying women's jeans in a size 00 just to get a long enough inseam. I wasn't wearing tight pants to hug my curves, I was wearing them because it's what would fit me without falling off or having flood waters. But literally every time I wore fitted jeans, that was the comment made. He's not a very original man, he picks one over the top statement/"joke" and just sticks with it.

Like with the whole "dumb blonde" thing that was popular in the late 90s/early 2000s. I was born blonde. He used to make "dumb blonde" comments a lot. He never actually thought I was dumb, of course, because he was obsessed with talking about how smart I was - my grades, my intellect, my wit etc. But still, he thought it was hilarious to keep making those dumb blonde jokes. Funny how none of those jokes applied to my equally blonde younger brother, only to me, the only girl in the family. I started dying my hair red to match my Mom's when I was 21, so 12 years ago now. He still calls me a "dumb blonde," even though I point out to him every time that I've been a redhead for over a decade. If you ignore the comment, or don't laugh, he just repeats it louder. Doesn't seem to grasp that we're not laughing because it's not funny, not because we didn't hear him.

I would not be at all surprised if I found out he had a porn habit. He just harps so much on how everything my XH does/did is terrible and disgusting, that I can now almost guarantee it. When I am compassionate towards the XH in any way, he tells me "he's a sick creep." Come to think of it, Superesse, now that you mention your Dad pulling away, mine has done that too. He has told me he doesn't want to hear anything about him anymore. If I say anything about how much I uncovered after DDay, how much I didn't know, he says "Well, you knew enough." That's his way of calling me stupid for marrying him. But if his patterns prove correct as they have been recently, anything he denies, he has done. When he pulls that "You knew enough" crap, I really want to turn to him and say, "How much stuff does mom know that she could/should have divorced you over by now? Did you tell her about your little meth habit before you started dating her, or did you keep that hidden until she had already quit her job and popped out all of us kids and was stuck with you because she had 4 children under the age of 6?"

I only have snippets of weird/inappropriate memories from childhood, so it's hard to piece things together, but I can see how they add up. He used to grab my mom's butt a lot in front of us kids. She would be at the stove cooking, or at the sink doing dishes and he would come up behind her and grab her/rub her while kissing her neck. Sometimes she would laugh, other times she would say his name in an annoyed voice and try to get him to stop and he would be charming/cute and say things like "oh come on," in a sweet voice. I didn't use to think twice about any of that, thought it was just a thing my parents/dad did. Writing that out makes me see how creepy it was. And now that I've experienced the unwanted advances from my XH - especially when he thought he was being "sneaky" around my DstepDs - I can't imagine how uncomfortable my mom was in some of those scenarios.

I don't have a lot of full-narrative memories from when I was young. They are more vague feelings, and snippets of fun stuff with my brothers. But I have one very distinct memory of my Dad. He was talking to one of my brothers, I can't remember which one, but I'm inclined to think it is the oldest, so just 2 years younger than me. This is before we moved to the big house, and I believe I was still in elementary school. I know I was in the same room when this convo happened, but I don't believe I was being talked to, it was directed at my brother, so I was just listening. I don't remember the exact context of the convo, but I believe it had something to do with my brother not liking girls and thinking they had cooties or something like that. Anyway, my dad told him that he would feel differently when he got older, and made a reference to my mom's body being "daddy's playground." He said it with a sly smile on his face, like it was just a totally normal thing to impart on your elementary aged son. Damn that is so fucking creepy to even write out.

I'm glad he has to use a walker and is basically a cripple now. He sleeps in a separate hospital bed because he can't get onto their bed anymore. I hope that at least means that my mom has some peace at night. She now ends up waiting on him hand and foot though, and that's not a life.

TL;DR After growing up with a father whose actions didn't match his words, it's no surprise that I ended up with an SA. I feel like I was set up for this. It actually does surprise me that I'm a raging feminist and believe in complete bodily autonomy at all times, considering my conditioning. It makes me sad that SAs seem to be attracted to those of us that think that way - they feel more powerful when they can break us down, because it's hard to break us. Fuck.

Edited to add: After a particularly heavy session with my therapist about my dad, she asked, "Do you think you want your Dad's approval?" I thought about it for a second and then replied, "Honestly? No. If anything, I feel like I actively make choices to do the opposite of whatever my dad thinks would be good. I've come to view my dad's outlook on the world as so fucked up, that I figure if I'm doing the opposite of whatever he would do, I'm probably not doing so bad."

Anyway, my therapist wants me to write a letter to my Dad. Not to send, just as a way of venting. Says I have a lot of pent up anger towards him. Yeah, no shit.

[This message edited by HeHadADoubleLife at 1:56 AM, September 1st (Tuesday)]

Superesse posted 9/1/2020 09:35 AM

HeHadADoubleLife, your SI name took on a whole new dimension of meaning, reading this. All I can say is Wow....

(Well, y'all know me, I can say a lot more than that!)

In all my years here, nobody has ever dared post about our OWN FOO influences that I can recall, we always talk about the SA's FOO, oh yeah, which could fill volumes! But somewhere I recall reading that it isn't a coincidence we ended up with these kind of men in our lives. Ugh.

Oh, and now I can recall another book which said the same thing, about a different - but related - mental sickness: The Passive-Agressive Male. A little paperback bombshell of a book, out of print now, perhaps, said that most women wouldn't put up with a PA's behavior, other than if a woman grew up within a PA family system. To that woman, the behavior seems familiar, and thus not too threatening....because after all, we all survived our FOO.

Hey I just thought of that last phrase as I tacked it on: we survived our FOO so it should prove to us that we WILL survive these SAs!!

But let's break our own patterns, like my counselor told me once. She said "When you recognize patterns in your life, that's when you can do something to change them, going forward." Not sure exactly how to do that, sometimes.

I could find sooo many similarities between my father and yours, it was hair-raising. Also though, part of how they viewed women was very heavily influenced by the times in which they were raised, so let's try to look at them through that historic lense. Growing up in the 1950's...I could go on and on about the ridiculous degree of gender-typing that was drummed into people during that era. I actually never realized this until a psychology class on gender, but the 1950's were when there was a media-crafted push on women's place in society, as a reaction to the heroic war efforts of the women during the 1940's! Women like Rosie the Riveter liked their new jobs and income...soldiers were returning home from WWII, needed those factory jobs....better hurry home, girly...

skeetermooch posted 9/1/2020 09:44 AM

Raising hand - daddy issues over here too.

I cut dies with my dad when I was 18. He had been physically and verbally abusive my whole life, creepy in a sexual way but no sexual abuse. Knowing what I know now I can say for sure he has a personality disorder.

I think the personality disorder is what is familiar and I get drawn to in the men in my life. There's a glibness to them and they can be so fun, instant rapport, etc. I'm very shy so I love people who draw me out and put me at ease. The abuse is something I was trained to tolerate from the time I was born. My threshold for it is too high. I'm always making excuses, like my mom did.

Men have always felt unsafe to me, and yet I keep choosing the worst ones - you'd think my judgment would be better. Ugh.

Day 9 of NC begins. Hoping to file the D today!

DevastatedDee posted 9/1/2020 09:49 AM

HHADL, you have me writing my own novel, LOL. We all go through this and then try to figure out why we wound up with these people, don't we?

I can relate to a lot of what you said about yourself. I have a fantastic relationship with my dad and always have, but the not fitting into stereotypical gender roles and being all feminist and a bit tomboy? Oh for sure. I go out into my yard happily trimming and chainsawing with my painted nails, lol. I was a strong independent woman when I met my XWH. He seemed to love that, but he also hated it. A part broke on our washing machine one day and I just ordered another part on Amazon and fixed it. My dad was over when it came in and he laughed while my XWH stood there looking confused. He felt that I should have had him fix it, but it didn't occur to me that I couldn't handle it. Apparently that was a reason to resent me, because I didn't "need" him. My father loves to come help me with things and I love him for it, but he's also happy and proud of me that I'm able to live without a man to do the manly things. My dad helps me, he doesn't sit me down and do it himself, you know? I mean, I get it, I'm sure a man wants to feel like he can do things for his wife, but I had lived alone for so long that I didn't depend on him. I wasn't conditioned to depend on a man to do things. It didn't occur to me that something like a broken washing machine was "his" job. So my independence attracted him at first and caused him to resent me later. Eh, whatever. I'm quite grateful to be willing to do the "manly" things around the house, especially considering how things turned out.

I didn't go through what you did with your dad, but I was molded into being me when I was in elementary school. I grew up in a small southern town. There were less than 100 kids in my grade. I graduated with 68 other kids. Being a small southern town, there was the expected racism. My parents were weird outliers in not raising me to be racist (bless them), so my first week or so in Kindergarten, I made friends with a little boy and we played. My little 5-year-old self didn't know that there were "rules" about playing with kids of different colors. I'm white and this sweet child was black. The little white girls in class started calling me names (you can imagine what) and absolutely ostracised me. They scared and abused my friend so badly that he wouldn't even talk to me anymore. Poor guy. I'm sure he has his own novel to write about growing up with these badly-raised idiots. From Kindergarten on through to 5th grade, I had no school friends thanks to these girls. I learned way too early that people can be cruel for no reason and that I coudn't depend on anyone. So I read a lot at recess and entertained myself. I wound up with friends once I started developing and became attractive, but by then I didn't like or want anything to do with the popular kids, so I had my own group of misfit friends (nerds, gay, new kids, etc.).

So in a way, I was exactly who someone would want if they wanted to get away with a lot of sneaky stuff. I wasn't clingy, wasn't all in his business, didn't need to know where he was at all times and didn't have the interest in policing another person. I wasn't demanding because I didn't need him. I appreciated anything he did because I was so used to taking care of myself. It was a lop-sided relationship in a lot of ways looking back. He didn't step up at times and I didn't notice. I was also exactly not what he needed for all of those reasons. I was not at all codependent, which screwed him hard once he started doing drugs and after DDay. I always knew I could walk away and survive.

I'm very capable of having a genuine relationship and letting a man do things for me. I have had other relationships. My greatest strength is also my greatest weakness, though. I won't stay with someone who hurts me, but some of this not needing anyone can open me up to being taken advantage of by exactly this kind of SA. Gives them a lot of free time, I guess.

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