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Unconscious Patterns

Defectum posted 9/24/2019 18:28 PM

I am in need of assistance and please forgive me if this topic has been discussed at another time. I will start with my story and go from there. From the time I was 5 until I was roughly 15 I was violently and repeatedly sexually assaulted and raped by my grandfather. For roughly that same period in time he invited his good friend the local priest to partake in the activities. He threatened me with several things if I ever told anyone including beatings that I got previews of on numerous occasions.

These events changed how I grew up. I was raped of my childhood and quickly developed coping mechanisms in order to survive. Those mechanisms followed me throughout my life and have been detrimental in almost all of my relationships. At the first sign of conflict in a relationship I would run. Never sticking around to work on anything, just run.

My father was a police officer and my hero. I looked up to him and desperately wanted to be just like him when I was younger. During the time I was being abused I would always think ďAny moment Dad is going to break through that door and save me like he saves everyone else!Ē That moment never came. I would always ask myself why he saved everyone else and not me? Was I not worth saving?

As I grew older I wanted nothing to do with policing. I didnít want to be anyoneís hero. As the relationships repeatedly failed and I never understood why. Was I not worthy of being loved just like I wasnít worthy of being saved from the abuse?

As one may have guessed, I ended up in policing. I was hell bent on saving the world. I was going to do everything I could to save every single person that needed saving. That idea was great until the first baby I didnít save in a fire was carried out in front of me by firefighters barely recognizable. And holding the hand of a 20 year old man who was trapped in a car after colliding with a tree and him begging me to save him only to watch him die. So many other stories that end in tragedy.

I met my wife through work. She understood what was going on and could relate. We got married and soon after found out we were pregnant. I was terrified. I had read studies on people being abused and how those people continued the cycle. (I have read newer studies that suggest otherwise now however at the time this was my thinking).

As many of you know, babies are stressful. Work was also getting a little out of control with this hero ideology I had and it constantly failing. I was drinking pretty heavily. I started seeking validation in other ways. I would respond to flirtatious females. I would engage in flirty/inappropriate texting. And before I knew it I was spiralling out of control. It was about the same time that we found out we were pregnant again.

I continued the flirtatious text which eventually turned into sexting. Which eventually turned into a full blown affair for almost a year. During the time I was drinking heavily and putting myself in ridiculous situations at work where I was almost wishing I would get killed. I was a disaster.

I could go on forever with the details of my demise but need to get to the part about why I have finally posted on here after lurking for so long and what I need help with today.

My wife found the pictures on my phone/email almost four years ago now and that was when I hit rock bottom. She didnít leave me and for that I am truly grateful. We went to counselling immediately. I still didnít tell her about my abusive past for almost 8 months as I was ashamed and was determined to take that to the grave with me. Since that disclosure it has opened up a whole other list of issues that I have been dealing with. That we have been dealing with. We have come a long way in four years. We read books, we listen to pod casts, watch Ted talks and most importantly we talk openly and honestly with each other. We have a real relationship now that isnít fake or superficial. I am not perfect but I thought I was doing very well. For the first time I had a clear mind free of the deceit and lies that I had been hiding for so long.

That was until two days ago. I hooked my cellphone up to one of our iPads so that my wife could check my text messages whenever she wants. She has all my passwords to my email accounts and has the passcodes to my work phone as well. I am not hiding anything anymore so itís all there for her to look at. She looked at the iPad on Sunday and found text messages between me and a female whom I had met on course around a year ago. We had kept in touch and messaged on a regular basis. These are not like my past text messages with women that are full of sexual innuendos or full on sexting. These are what I considered to be normal text messages. I had mentioned to my wife that I had met this person on course and had brought her up a couple of times throughout the year. We were recently on course together out of town and went out a few times with other people in public places.

My wife saw these texts and got extremely upset. I didnít understand why. I didnít delete any of them and wasnít trying to hide anything. I couldnít understand why she was so mad. She left and came home around four hours later. I tried to explain that I am not attracted to this person and that I didnít hunk I was doing anything wrong. There was nothing sexual about the texts and that I wasnít trying to be deceitful. I wasn't trying to be the knight in shining armour to this woman as she didnít need saving as the previous women I preyed on did. My wife was extremely upset and felt as though I had betrayed her trust and hurt her yet again. I still didnít understand.

Well today at counselling it was made clear. My wife was mad because I didnít tell her more about this person, that I was texting her so much, and that it appears I was seeking validation from another person. When I stopped trying to explain how I thought I had done nothing wrong and listened to my wife, she was right. Our therapist then explained to me, although I wasnít consciously doing anything wrong I was unconsciously going down a similar path as I had before. I was devastated and still am. After almost four years of putting in the work, confronting my demons head on and trying to be the best husband I can be to the most amazing woman I know, I relapse because of an unconscious pattern?!?!?!

So my long winded question is this, has anyone else dealt with or is dealing with similar circumstances? If so, what advice do you have?

As a side note, although I havenít posted here before I certainly read a lot of posts on here I appreciate the time and effort and honesty that people put into what they write. So for that, I thank-you. You have all been a tremendous help along this journey.


[This message edited by Defectum at 2:20 PM, September 28th (Saturday)]

HellFire posted 9/24/2019 18:36 PM

I can't answer your questions. I just wanted to say how sorry I am,that you have endured such evil,in your life.

Justsomelady posted 9/24/2019 19:37 PM

I am so sorry to read what happened to you.

Change is so hard. I donít know if we are ever cured, but as Toni Morrison said ďwhen you know better you do betterĒ
You learned something valuable from this, and will do better. You canít let your guard down. Not yet.

I am working through my own patterns and just sending solidarity. just as an example, I am trying out some new things that stretch me and trigger my insecurity/social anxiety. Well, wouldnít you know it, I started feeling a draw to my EAP. Looking for validation. Didnít act on it but thought about it. I did have to stop myself from walking where I knew heíd be. It is such an annoying and painful thing to not just be over it all. I donít have answers but hope to see what responses you get and wish you growth and healing with your wife.

maise posted 9/25/2019 19:22 PM

First, I am so sorry about the trauma you have experienced in your life. My heart breaks for you in that.

Regarding your text exchanges with the female, I would dig in with some questions and hard answers so you can penetrate what in you may have been seeking validation.

Why were you talking to her? What were you feeling when you would talk to her? Why didn't you tell your wife more about her? Did you and your wife have an agreement to not have interactions with females to a certain degree?

And just, keep going further and further into why and what you may have been feeling/thinking. Try to stay on it without circling the issue. This will help you get to the root. Perhaps there was still something in you that wasn't completely healed yet. Asking questions will help uncover that. Be very very raw and honest in your responses. Make sure you really think about what you were telling yourself or feeling within you.

I hope this helps, and I hope you get more responses from others that may be able to help as well.

Sending positive vibes to you and your wife in this journey.

Itsallmyfault posted 9/26/2019 14:46 PM

Hi Defectum,

I'm so sorry to hear about your past trauma's. It's something you should really try to invest some time to heal from, in IC, research and self love. I'm only just starting to get to this point myself. I was sexually assaulted by a family member at 8, and then again in school by classmates. I then entered into an affair with my rapist in adulthood. Abuse like what you went through will fuck you up. Massively. And probably more than you've allowed yourself to realise. I'm saying that from a place that I am still very early on in that journey. But something I have learned too, from people here on SI, and through my own self reflection is although these events can make you feel like you have no value, no self worth, no love for life, it was not your BS fault you had all this happen to you, and doesn't justify the pain BS had to go through because you lacked the validation, that you went on to seek from someone else, the validation and self worth that was probably knocked out of you from a young age. So separately from your betrayal please find time to work through your own internal struggles and pain. This in turn will help you become a better stronger person for your wife.

So getting onto her upset at the messages you saw as platonic, i've also been there too. After D-Day my XBS found some messages from a guy I knew from work, about 10 minutes of conversation in total spacing over 3/4 weeks. Guy from work had questioned me on working out, following a conversation we'd had as a group at work, moaned about some issues he was going through within work, and just been generally friendly as a co-worker. I had responded to it all in a platonic way. When XBS read through these, it all blew up again. He accused me of fucking this guy too. Said I was flirting with him (which I genuinely wasn't in the slightest) He began to obsess about this friendly conversation like it was an affair all on it's own. Now I look back and understand why he was so angry at that point, but slowly during our R period he did let me explain and show him this guy was nothing but a colleague, and he also made me understand his anger and suspicion, that was my own doing.

And the only advice I can give you is, this blow up, her crying and her emotions, and pretty valid right now. Same as it was with my XBS. You should do anything you can to make her feel safe and at ease. We betrayed their trust so how can they believe that these seemingly harmless (to the WS) conversations. You probably triggered the hell out of her having secret conversations with a woman she hadn't heard you speaking about. To her it's secretive and if it's secretive, it's betrayal. Even if you weren't into her at all, she won't see it like that.


If there is a pattern with you needing to escape, seek validation, find your self-worth in someone else's interest in you, and BS knows this about you, of course any interaction with someone is going to lead her mind to believe you are pulling away from her again. And to break that pattern I truly believe you need to work on you, and the trauma you endured. To find peace in yourself and not be dependant on other people to make you feel worthy. You, and you alone, ARE worthy.

[This message edited by Itsallmyfault at 2:46 PM, September 26th (Thursday)]

Defectum posted 9/28/2019 14:50 PM

Thank-you to those of you have responded to my post. I appreciate your thoughts and input.

My wife and I have discussed this situation at length and continue to do so. I understand her point of view much clearer now. She is mad because I was able to text a woman that she really didn't know about for almost a year. It really doesn't matter that I didn't think I was doing anything wrong and that I felt that it was just a normal friendship. The fact is that I didn't tell her the extent of the texting and that I didn't bring her up more in conversation. That is all on me. I see that clearly now.

I saw my counsellor the day after my wife and I saw our marriage counsellor. He believes that I did't have a relapse but perhaps a lapse. His explanation is that a lapse is when you have similar thinking or similar feeling or similar behaviour as before but that you do not repeat the problem. So in this case I was texting a female but without the sexual innuendos and without the sexual motives behind it. He also went on to explain that I have major trust issues based on my past trauma. As such, I don't trust men. That explains why I don't have any close male friends and why my closest friends growing up were all females. I gravitate towards females for friendship.

This post is not flowing by any means. My head is still trying to figure out and process the information I have learned over the last week. And try to make sense of it. The bottom line in all this is that I hurt my wife yet again. For that I am truly sorry. We have discussed what I learned this week and are working on ways to deal with friends in the future.

I am sorry for this post being all over the place and probably not making a lot of sense. I am still struggling with the idea of these unconscious patterns and how to recognize them and deal with them better. I will post again when I have some clearer thoughts.

Again, if anyone has any comments, suggestions, advice or similar experiences please let me know.

Also, I again want to acknowledge those who responded to my initial post. Thank-you for your kind words and your input/comments. It is all greatly appreciated.

maise posted 9/28/2019 15:19 PM

I think the lapse vs relapse idea is pretty interesting and makes sense. The not trusting of men is a very understandable cope you may have developed and got me to thinking about my own copes and trust with men. I don't believe I trust men very well either...I am currently working through healing the sexual traumas of my past. Those are the most painful and complex to work through, and have to be done delicately - one painful step at a time so that I don't trigger myself to a place that's too much to bear. Are you working on healing this part of yourself in therapy still? A few things I've covered a little in my therapy so far regarding this matter were:

-Accessing the feelings I had when it occurred.
I had removed myself from the feelings so much that I felt completely disconnected with my body, and had extremely low worth with it. I wanted someone to essentially 'love' it for me, bc I couldn't.

-Realizing that I had been minimizing and blaming myself for the abuse.
I would say things like: "Well, I allowed for this to happen." (I was a child) My therapist had to make it clear to me that as a child I cannot make decisions about sex because I do not know, and I cannot blame myself for wanting to be loved and seen. People took advantage of me. My wanting to be loved and seen made this easier for them. My being a child made this a breeze.

and finally,

-I was minimizing the abuse.
I would say things like: "Ok, I guess you're right...it wasn't my fault. They just took advantage of me." I bold the word "just" because thats the block I use to keep me at bay from the pain.

"They 'just' took advantage of me" brought no feelings out of me...but when I removed the word 'just' and no longer minimized with it or used it as an emotional block and out-right said: "They took advantage of me." I felt a lot of pain. I knew then that I was using all of these things as unconscious copes to keep me far removed from something so painful and traumatic to me.

These have helped me access this part of myself so I can begin my healing journey on this aspect. I know my self-love can only grow and get better as I move through this part which in turn will yield me much healthier relationships with others. I hope you heal your traumatic past in full, and wish you so much strength in that journey. I definitely encourage you to seek further therapy in this if you aren't already. You and your wife sound like you have come a long way so far, and that is amazing to hear.

sisoon posted 9/28/2019 15:23 PM

Bro,

I am so very sorry you were abused.

A couple of questions...

What have you done to heal from being abused?

Have you told anybody besides IC(s) about being abused, brought charges, anything like that?

SI says you registered in 2016 but have only 2 posts. Is that accurate? If so what have you been doing with SI? (I do not mean you should have been doing anything. I'm just curious about the long time between joining and posting.)

*****
Unconscious patterns? Habits, bro, that all.

Well, not always 'all.' When one is stressed, one tends to go back to the oldest habits, unless one retrains himself. And there's no reason to retrain unless one recognizes a problem.

So ... any stress in your life? More seriously, were you under any extra stress when you started with this woman?

*****

You effed up by reverting to an old pattern, but you have the ability to change to a new habit. It's not easy, and the old pattern will always be lurking in the background, but you have a lot of power to change.

I think it's normal for a human being to run away from danger. I expect you've been trained not to. You can negate your instinct in that area.

And that means you can negate your habit in this area. So go to work on yourself. You've got this.

*****

BTW, it's best if you don't beat yourself up over this. You screwed up. You recognized the problem. You're working with your W to make amends. that's all good stuff.

If you beat yourself up, you take energy away from doing good stuff and from building a new pattern.

[This message edited by sisoon at 3:27 PM, September 28th (Saturday)]

Zugzwang posted 9/29/2019 08:34 AM

Have you only been in MC? If so, does it really help you with your IC issues? Like the hero complex and needing friendships with females? You had a year long friendship with another woman. Your wife could easily say ( I know I would) that this was an EA. You were alone with this woman several times. She really has no reason with your history to believe that wouldn't have done anything more than the EA. Why wasn't it addressed long ago about even having friendships with other women and being alone with them. If it indeed was, then you knew that what you were doing was wrong. You just chose to still cross boundaries that might have been addressed anyways after you felt comfortable in R. Which begs to say that nothing about your whys might have been addressed to begin with and you might be more in damage control and marriage R than really fixing yourself.

Defectum posted 10/1/2019 12:06 PM

Thank-you again to all those who have responded to my post and question.

I would like to start this post by answering a few questions that have been asked of me.

1) Why were you talking to her? What were you feeling when you would talk to her? Why didn't you tell your wife more about her? Did you and your wife have an agreement to not have interactions with females to a certain degree?

Initially I believed I was talking to her because she was just a nice person and we got along. Upon further reflection and after talking with counsellors I now believe it was because I gravitate towards friendship with females based on my past and my inability to trust men. I wasn't feeling anything when we were talking. It wasn't like the past when I was being deceitful and deleting text messages as I didn't want my wife to see them. We were talking just like I envisioned "normal" people talking that are just in a platonic friendship. It has been made very clear that I should have told my wife more about talking with this female. I had mentioned her once, maybe twice but that is not nearly enough. I didn't believe that I was doing anything wrong so I am thinking that is why I didn't bring her up more often. The texts were not sexual or flirtatious and I had no intentions like in my past. My wife and I do have an agreement that we only talk with people we consider "friends of the family". I should have told her more about this female as I have nothing to hide. What have you done to heal from being abused?

2) Have you told anybody besides IC(s) about being abused, brought charges, anything like that?

SI says you registered in 2016 but have only 2 posts. Is that accurate? If so what have you been doing with SI? (I do not mean you should have been doing anything. I'm just curious about the long time between joining and posting.)

My wife knows about the abuse and it was hard for me to tell her because I was and still am ashamed. I told our counsellors in an effort to be as honest as possible about my past and truly find ways to help my wife and I going forward. I also told the person I go for Bodytalks as I am truly trying to heal and be the best husband/person I can be going forward. No charges. Grandfather is dead. The priest is still alive and has been charged in relation to abusing other boys. The charges were all dropped due to it taking too long to go to trial.
It is true that I registered in 2016. I did so at first to simply please my wife when I was still in the damage control state and hoping that this affair stuff would just blow over and we would sweep it under the rug and move on. Of course I have come a long way since that thinking. I have long been "lurking" on this site reading posts and taking away valuable information that has helped me on this journey. My initial post in this thread was my first and I appreciate all the responses.

3) Unconscious patterns? Habits, bro, that all. Well, not always 'all.' When one is stressed, one tends to go back to the oldest habits, unless one retrains himself. And there's no reason to retrain unless one recognizes a problem. So ... any stress in your life? More seriously, were you under any extra stress when you started with this woman?

I have had and still have some health issues going on but that is all.

4) Have you only been in MC? If so, does it really help you with your IC issues? Like the hero complex and needing friendships with females? You had a year long friendship with another woman. Your wife could easily say ( I know I would) that this was an EA. You were alone with this woman several times.

No, I have been going to counselling to address my issues. The friendship with females is based on my history and my inability to trust men. I feel more comfortable around females for obvious reasons. My childhood and teenage best friends were always females. This year long friendship was not an EA. If it had been, I would have deleted all the texts and I would have truly believed that I was again being to deceitful and I would have had ill intentions. I did not. I didn't think I was doing anything wrong but I realize now that because of my/our past I really need to communicate more with my wife about who I am talking to, even if it is just a "normal" friendship.

So, thats the end of the question and answer phase for today.


My wife and I continue to work on things. She made the comment the other night that I am very different this time in discussing things. I told her that its easy to talk and answer her questions when I am simply telling the truth and I don't have to make up stuff or spin a web of lies. When one has a clear conscious about things it is much easier to talk.

Again, thank-you to those who have responded to me and continue to respond and engage me in conversation. I truly appreciate the input and information that you all provide. Know that just because not everyone is posting to this site, they are certainly reading your threads and learning from you all. Just like I was. Thank-you again.

Zugzwang posted 10/2/2019 15:40 PM

I feel more comfortable around females for obvious reasons.

I understand that. Just make sure you aren't using the obvious reasons as justification or excuse. Or worse, to not dig deeper. You have had a friendship turn into an affair in the past. I would think it goes deeper than just being uncomfortable being around men. You now have a friendship you knew was off limits and worse, had past affair and still maintained a friendship with the past you have had. A year long one. So, 2 years after having an affair- knowing the pain you caused and knowing that the friendships with others that weren't friends of the marriage- you had another friendship.

I didn't think I was doing anything wrong but I realize now that because of my/our past I really need to communicate more with my wife about who I am talking to, even if it is just a "normal" friendship.

The texting and friendship doesn't have to be sexual to be wrong. Mine didn't start out that way or with that intentions. Are you digging deep enough to really look at why and what you get from these types of friendships or are you just stopping at abuse? Here you are years later and beginning to go back down the rabbit hole. How long would it have taken to have feelings involved with this year long friendship? Do you miss talking to her? The intentions don't have to be sexual or affair in nature either to make it emotional. If you got any sort of fix or fulfillment from having it, even knowing you weren't supposed to have it- it is wrong.
because of my/our past
it wouldn't be because of your past either. It would be because you wanted ( because you did it) fostered a friendship with another women that wasn't your wife when you knew you weren't supposed to. If every BS had a dime for "we were just friends" or "I didn't think I was doing anything wrong". I had two EA and hid nothing. I had every intention of "just being friends" and when asked "to get that attention" of being in the friendships.

even if it is just a "normal" friendship.

Are you capable of having one of those? You weren't supposed to be having a normal friendship with any one that wasn't a marriage friend. You knew that.

Keep thinking about your intentions and what the friendship filled. EVen though you knew there was to be no friends with females outside of the marriage friend circle. I mean, this was a year long friendship. Are you really facing up to this act?

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