Hello. I've been on SI for a few years now, but mostly just reading and gathering information. Quick story about my background before I get into the topic.
Met my wife while we were in college and we quickly hit things off. Started dating within a year. Moved in together and then got married. When we first began living together, my wife discovered a lot of pornography. I didn't think it was a big deal, but I saw she didn't like it, so I decided to stop. But a few weeks later I found myself right back at it, only this time, I tried to hide it. As she found out multiple times, it caused more and more stress to her, to the point of her having to be admitted to a hospital. During this time, we put many things in place so that I couldn't look at porn. But then I began seeking out other means for sexual gratification. I became a real life voyeur. I would spy on people, secretly photograph them, or steal their belongings. Needless to say, I eventually got caught and arrested, as I deserved to have been. It took that low to realize I had a serious problem.
Fast-forward to about 5 years in a 12-Step for sex addiction. I have had some ups and down in my recovery, relapsing with porn and masturbation. I was able to stop the voyeurism, mostly due to legality.
I know so much of what I have done is absolutely disgusting and despicable. Of course every photograph, every item stolen, every video saved no longer exists in any form. I never shared it, posted it, or anything. Part of my recovery is going to be making amends to some of these people. And we can get into the "why" and "how" at another point. But right now I'm seriously struggling with some other serious issues.
My wife stood with me, even through all of the pain. Can you imagine finding out your husband was arrested for masturbating outside of a strangers window? She was seriously considering divorce for a very long time. And I didn't blame her. But over these last few years, I was diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Looking back at my life, it made an incredible amount of sense.
With NPD, I can be a complete selfish, inconsiderate, and miserable human being to be around. I've tried time and time again to change. They saying being self-aware is a good step. But the only thing I can actually change about it are my behaviors. I must notice the thoughts and change my actions based on them.
However, after a recent fight over one of my friends being a bad influence (he actually is and I've since cut him off) I got so mad at my wife that I threatened to divorce her.
It wasn't really just about the friend thing. I had been wanting to act out so bad and was tired of doing what was required for Reconciliation. So I've undone a lot of the work with R, and have since become a bad candidate. But threatening my wife with divorce actually made her break down in tears and beg me not to leave. I realize that I've been causing her so much mental anguish, but she still can't stop loving me. I do not deserve a woman like this in my life.
So, we both know that I'm emotionally abusive. I have been slowly changing that over time, but obviously the damage I've done can't be so easily repaired. Right now, she's worried that divorce papers are going to randomly show up and I'm going to tell her it's over. I've caused that fear in her and after seeing how desperately she begged, I realized what a monster I was.
She IS in IC (I am as well). She does have an excellent support system. We have tried MC a few times, but have had a lot of trouble in our area finding someone who understands betrayal and PTSD. Some of them have blamed her in various ways and I wasn't going to stand for that crap. This was never her fault. Not even for a second. She is the best person who has ever entered my life. She is the best thing that has ever happened for me. She is a stay-at-home wife, willing to cook and clean. She was willing to satisfy all of my sexual needs whenever I wanted (before all of the betrayals and TT). And we are trying very hard to rebuild trust and intimacy. Obviously, threatening her with divorce was a really REALLY stupid thing to do and has set us back quite a ways.
Some part of me blames my guilt over the way I treat her, for threatening to leave. But I know it's more selfish than that. I know that I haven't been good for her. I know that I haven't treated her like I love her, despite how many times I claim it. I know that I keep talking about me me me me.
I just wanted to post here to just...I don't know, start something different. She has had to prompt me every single step of the way in my recovery. And through the recovery, I KNOW this is the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with. There's so much good advice here, but I've usually been one to ignore good advice. I know there isn't much anyone can say that I don't know already. But...I guess I need some kind of community.
Thanks for anyone who takes the time to read this.