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Spouses/Partners of Sex Addicts - 21

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BlackRaven posted 2/14/2021 23:30 PM


You've absolutely correct that personality disorders often go hand in hand with SA in the majority of cases. If not full-blown disorder, at least traits. There are many women on this forum whose husbands are dual diagnosis. For instance Borderline, which is what my husband was diagnosed with, include impulsive behaviors that often includes sexual acting out. Due to the overwhelming fear of abandonment that people with BDP experience, it kind of makes sense from their ill thinking.

Fortunately, more therapists are starting to understand this, and treatments are available for Bipolar and Borderline, even to the point of remission. But it's not easy and it takes someone motivated to address not only their addiction but also their personality disorders, and it doesn't mean that they'll be successful in overcoming their addictions in the long run

The American Society of Addiction Medicine says addiction is characterized by "an inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavior control, diminished recognition of significant problems with one's behavior and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response."

Sadly, the incidence of Sexual Addiction is growing. The internet has made acting out easier, and exposes kids to porn at a younger age. It's sad to think that more and more people will go through betrayal hell in coming decades....

What matters is whether they are safe partners and whether staying with them means accepting abuse.

I'd reframe this to give the power to us, not the addict. What matters is that we need to have solid boundaries in place so that we can feel safe. The boundaries are ours and ours alone, and help us decide if we feel safe with someone and if our needs are being met. This is true whether we stay with our spouses, or whether we leave them, whether we're in romantic relationships or relationships with family members or friends or coworkers.

[This message edited by BlackRaven at 12:14 AM, February 15th (Monday)]

DevastatedDee posted 2/15/2021 09:52 AM

Most important is not their diagnosis, nor their worth or relative goodness versus evilness. What matters is whether they are safe partners and whether staying with them means accepting abuse.

I think that's the bottom line. I am no longer interested in the inherent goodness/badness of my XWH because it just doesn't matter. His actions may come from addiction or personality disorder or both. He may be a person to be pitied or reviled or both. He may even feel things like guilt or remorse on occasion. Perhaps he even did have love for me, who knows? It is irrelevant. If I had any relationship with him, I would be hurt by him and that's what matters. As far as I know, I have one life. I get to decide not to spend it with someone who is destined to cause me repeated trauma.

crazyblindsided posted 2/15/2021 10:55 AM

It is irrelevant. If I had any relationship with him, I would be hurt by him and that's what matters. As far as I know, I have one life. I get to decide not to spend it with someone who is destined to cause me repeated trauma

This is what it came down to for me and unfortunately the bad overrode the good. I know my STBX loves in whatever way he knows how. I feel sorry for him that he canít figure out how to help himself. God knows Iíve tried for so long to show him happiness but he always needed validation elsewhere plus he doesnít love himself enough and canít figure out how to be happy with himself. He doesnít know what it is to be introspective and itís really sad but it always came at my expense and there was only so much I could take before it started making me mentally ill.

Holeinthewall posted 2/15/2021 11:35 AM

What matters is whether they are safe partners and whether staying with them means accepting abuse.

I think I will be referring back to this many times. As you all predicted, my WH is back to his miserable-ass self and is trying to project his negativity everywhere.

My goal this week is to find a few lawyers to consult with. WH knows that if he decides to screw another woman while living here with me, I will immediately file for divorce.

This weekend he was all mopey after his SA meeting, saying he'll never be able to do it by himself. The next day, he's questioning if he lives here with me, does he have to be celibate. Recovery - yeah right.

I realized I have been single for about 1 year now, without the benefit of knowing it. I wish I had known sooner, so that I would be further along in the healing process. Every day is different as far as emotions go. It changes from hour to hour. At least it doesn't feel like mood swings anymore but I just don't know what feeling will appear at any time. This emotional rollercoaster is so tiring!

skeetermooch posted 2/15/2021 12:44 PM

I have one life. I get to decide not to spend it with someone who is destined to cause me repeated trauma.
My catholic upbringing embedded this notion in me that sacrifice and putting others ahead of me is right and good. As with everything, it's a matter of degrees. My ex is severely mentally ill and has repeatedly harmed me in ways that impact my ability to care for myself, be present for my children and earn a living. He's harmed me to the point where suicide has crossed my mind and that's not ever been a thing I think about. He is pitiable. It's unfair that some folks wind up mentally ill trauma machines because of horrible circumstances and/or genetic predispositions but, as Dee often reminds us, our destruction helps no one.
God knows Iíve tried for so long to show him happiness but he always needed validation elsewhere plus he doesnít love himself enough and canít figure out how to be happy with himself. He doesnít know what it is to be introspective and itís really sad but it always came at my expense and there was only so much I could take before it started making me mentally ill.
I have PTSD now. Every time I interact with him it sets me back, increasing the frequency of my anxiety attacks. I can't help him anymore. I never could anyway.

If they're ever going to want to get well, it will be motivated from loss and consequences. So, I'm all about serving up a lesson for him. And I genuinely mean that - if it wakes him up to his illness and sets him on a healing journey - great. Still won't take him back but great.

BlackRaven posted 2/15/2021 14:00 PM

This is what it came down to for me ...

There's the crux, thank you. Each of us has different circumstances. Some on this page are working on reconciliation or trying to decide if they should, and some are looking for support as they separate or divorce or rebuild their lives.

Painting the SAs with one broad brush - as is too often done on this page - isn't helpful to those who for love, religion, children or finances want to reconcile.

Here's an example from an earlier post: "Empathy is how they destroy you. They don't care about your empathy aside from how it can be used to manipulate you."

Certainly there are monsters out there - just look at Jeffrey Epstein, but reconciliation is also possible, look at the Clintons (or Rhyll & Steve Croshaw if you want laypeople who are open about their story.) If we all made an effort to share our stories from our personal perspective, instead of labeling SAs in general, it might be more helpful overall.

Personally, I am legally separating from my SAWH because I need to in order to feel safe financially, but I am still open to reconciliation since he has shown a sincere effort to work on his recovery - not for me - since an addict can never be sober for someone else - but for himself. (There are examples of success: Patrick Carnes, Michael Barta, LJ Schwartz to name a few.) My H has been haunted by his childhood trauma and addictions for 40 years, and would like to experience some health and happiness in his life. I hope he is successful, for himself and for our children.

Skeeter, are you doing EMDR or brainspotting for your PTSD? I hope you are getting solid help.

[This message edited by BlackRaven at 2:32 PM, February 15th (Monday)]

skeetermooch posted 2/15/2021 15:30 PM

I tried EMDR but it did nothing for me. No brain spotting. Tried various meds but the side effects were horrendous with everything. I see a psychologist and psychiatrist every week (thanks cheater). My psychiatrist is very experienced and has been treating patients, who don't respond well to other treatments, with ketamine therapy with great success. I am another success story I suppose.

I was waking up daily with severe anxiety and often full blown panic attacks, which also struck in the middle of the night at times. After two ketamine treatments, a week apart, they're completely gone, and my depression is improved. I still have that hovering in the background anxiety, but the hope is with further treatments that will improve as well. I can't tell you how much waking up anxiety-free has improved my quality of life. My startle reflex is down substantially as well. It's allowed me to be able to meditate again, be less agoraphobic and ruminate less. I still have a ways to go but it's progress.

It feels like it's cleaning gunk out the synapses. Takes about two hours, so that's a pain, but it's only once a week.

Honestly, my ex is a monster. He absolutely uses my empathy to inflict more trauma. He's also feels love - a very irresponsible, dangerous kind of love, that means nothing in terms of his willingness to protect me from his actions or out and out inflict intentional pain. For those of us with cluster b partners, the demonizing is apt and something we need to hear so we stop getting sucked back in for more abuse.

crazyblindsided posted 2/15/2021 16:00 PM

Wow skeetermooch that is amazing after reading that I am going to look into the ketamine therapy as my medication still has not improved my c-ptsd or the constant ruminating. It also takes me a long time to recover anytime the ex tries to contact me. Iím glad it is working for you!

skeetermooch posted 2/15/2021 19:55 PM

Yes, it's pretty helpful. It's way better than the variety of other drugs they tried me. My doctor ran me through the more conventional meds first - I had migraines, racing heart, tremors, increased anxiety - you name it with the usual stuff. I'm really happy this option exists. The cessation of those morning panic attacks was huge. I didn't even realize it at first because I was just back to normal - then it hit me - I haven't woken up gasping for breath in weeks. Wow.

BlackRaven posted 2/15/2021 20:09 PM

That's wonderful Skeeter. I've heard about Ketamine but hadn't heard of it being used for betrayal trauma before.

My psychiatrist put me on a very old antidepressant that worked, and worked quickly, which was really a godsend since ones that I'd tried in the past only made me sick.

BlackRaven posted 2/15/2021 21:13 PM

For those of us with cluster b partners, the demonizing is apt and something we need to hear so we stop getting sucked back in for more abuse.

My SAWH was recently diagnosed with one full a cluster b disorder and traits of a second and is currently working on intensive dbt therapy. I don't need him to be demonized to keep from being abused. I set my own boundaries and protect myself.

That being said, it helps to know that there are others who have experienced similar things, and to learn from them. However, if we could all speak from our own perspective, as you did Skeeter when you said "Honestly, my ex is a monster. He absolutely uses my empathy to inflict more trauma" instead of us speaking in universal terms, like this gem from an earlier post "You have to 'unhuman' them" then we can still speak of our experiences, many of which will be painful, while at the same time allowing safety in this forum for people who are looking to reconcile or trying to make difficult decisions that are right for them.

[This message edited by BlackRaven at 9:22 PM, February 15th (Monday)]

nekonamida posted 2/15/2021 22:23 PM

Blackraven, isn't it ironic that you speak of making people feel safe in the thread while you directly target another user in order to police their language? At no point did I see Skeeter target you and say negative things about the choices that you are making. At no point did I see her say that your WH was using empathy against you or imply that there is only one way to handle things. In fact, it didn't look to me like you were a part of that conversation at all. I thought the context of what she was saying was clear and didn't think she needed to specify *Not All SA WSes* while talking about it. As many say here - take what you need and leave the rest. Everyone is hurting and I don't think it's helpful to attack others over minor word choices like this.

This kind of thing is better handled in private messages and through moderators. If we start publicly calling everyone out in this thread for every little thing we didn't like, it's also contributing to an unsafe and exclusionary environment.

Skeeter, I appreciate and respect your need to speak your truth and the healing that comes from that. And I find your account of ketamine treatment highly fascinating.

BlackRaven posted 2/16/2021 02:25 AM


I didn't target Skeeter, in fact I commended her in several instances for her choice of words. Here:

However, if we could all speak from our own perspective, as you did Skeeter when you said "Honestly, my ex is a monster. He absolutely uses my empathy to inflict more trauma"

And Here:
You've absolutely correct that personality disorders often go hand in hand with SA in the majority of cases.

Among others.

I specifically and intentionally did not identify the people whose comments I took exception to. If you want to read back through 35 pages of posts you can find who wrote them, but it wasn't Skeeter.

[This message edited by BlackRaven at 2:33 AM, February 16th (Tuesday)]

Somber posted 2/16/2021 09:43 AM

My input here is that we all have the tendency to project our experiences. There is real truth in that. We are all hurting and struggling to process our reality and what is safe to do about it. For some that is staying, for other itís leaving and others itís limbo until the decision becomes clearer to stay or go. Many of our partners have similar traits and we see that and offer advice based on our own experiences. We are also all at different stages and advice and opinions are based on that. To each their own in how they express it. We are all welcome and all willing to support each other no matter what. That is what I believe to be true. I also agree to take what you want and leave the rest.

When I started on this thread, most members were reconciling. Itís important to see that option as well and the tone was different then. Currently, most are separating and the tone changes with that too. Both sides are welcome, both routes are a struggle and both sides are present still.
I for one, would like to hear again from those who reconciled. What did it take? How are you doing? Some new members would benefit from that too but even going back to previous pages of this thread you will find their stories.

For me today....my souse is desperately coming up with ideas for me to give him another chance. He wants to go to rehab again; chose sobriety, promises promises.... this really tugs at my heart strings. I feel like I was headed one way, a few steps ahead for once and now once again I feel paused. I canít help but wonder if he just wants to try again to avoid the consequences of separation financially and emotionally. Itís very difficult to see him being genuine about it. I also wonder what my role is, if any? How do I support him? He is the father of my children and sobriety would be a gift. Also, I know Iím not in control at all here....all this thinking allows me to feel in control but I have no control of the true outcome. Omg every step is so painful. My heart is so weighted down. I thought I was going one way and believe itís the right way but Iím stalling because the gift and unknown of sobriety is somewhat appealing. At the same time, I have no real
Idea of what that looks like, the work to be put into it and the ongoing struggle that brings. I have only 10 years of failed R and repetitive infidelities, failed rehab for alcoholism, true emotional abuse and gaslighting, a new diagnosis for him of borderline personality disorder, a broken self esteem, a fragile
State of mind, my own abandonment issues and a loss of confidence in any decision made about our marriage.

nekonamida posted 2/16/2021 09:58 AM

I don't think it matters who said it. If you believe someone is breaking a policy, you should speak with a moderator instead of calling them out in this thread even if you didn't use their name or directly quote them. Or maybe speak to them privately about your concerns over PMs. If we call out and police every little thing said that we didn't like for everyone to see, this thread would be unsafe and unwelcoming for everyone.

I believe that everyone has the right to speak their truth. If Skeeter's truth involves demonizing her WS in order for her to heal and feel safer along with likeminded posters, it's no less valid than your truth of keeping the focus on yourself and off of your WS. Both belong here as long as no one is telling the other that they are wrong. I did go back and read those exchanges and I didn't see any malicious implications against people who are reconciling or in limbo. Even if the other poster may have sounded like they were generalizing, I didn't see it that way in context. It's what worked for them and I don't see how them talking about it is somehow harmful to R/limbo. In fact, I'd say it's more important that the stories in which the WS is the villain and continues to be the villain need to be told from the perspective of the BS alongside the stories of FWSes who overcame their issues. Both happen. Both are valid. Both need to be heard.

Our motto here is: Take what you need and leave the rest.

I want to add - anything said about a WS has ZERO reflection on the BS. BSes are not to be held responsible for what their WS does. If your WS is reformed or not, remorseful or not, currently faithful or not, abusive in other ways or not, it is NOT a reflection of you as a BS. Typically when I see a BS getting upset about what someone else says about their WS/WSes in general/the other poster's own WS, it's because they've blurred a line between their own identity and their WS's identity so they feel attacked whenever a WS gets called out. Not saying that's what is happening here with you specifically but in general there is no correlation between what one BS says about WSes and another BS's personhood.

DevastatedDee posted 2/16/2021 10:49 AM

I know that I'm the one BlackRaven is talking about, and that's okay. I'm not offended or upset or what have you. I know 100% that my take on this is not universal and is not going to be welcomed by everyone. I can defend my stance as she can defend hers. I'm not delicate and I can take disagreement.

I do not care about your spouses, the sex addicts in question. I'm upfront about that. I care about you, the victims. There are plenty of programs and therapists and disease models out there to care about the SAs. I am more concerned about the collateral damage people who are so often brushed aside or asked to be empathetic to people who have hurt them so tremendously that they have PTSD and health problems and difficulty ever trusting again.

I'm also pretty up-front about being anti-R when it comes to serial cheaters/sex addicts. Yes, anyone can choose to stay with someone who is likely to do this over and over again. But here's the magic truth. If you leave them and let time and distance help you to stop loving them, you will almost certainly be better off mentally and physically. There are many problems and pains that we will face in life, but we can remove this particular one.

You don't have to hate the SA in question, but is anyone here going to tell me that they didn't experience manipulation and playing the victim and lying and gaslighting and all the other wonderful things about trying to hold an addict accountable for his own actions? Has anyone here not been sucked into feeling sorry for the person who hurt you and then watched them hurt you again? Do you know why they use manipulation? Because it works. If you don't work on your own ability to resist it, it works tremendously well. And it serves no one for it to work. They get to keep on being unhealthy and abusive (cheating and lying are abuse) and you get to stay and take it. So when I say drop your empathy for them and direct that empathy towards yourself, it is advice that can save you.

I do not hate my XWH and I do see that he is in many ways a pitiable damaged creature. It is for others to show him pity and compassion. For me to do so would have been the end of me. I also had suicidal ideation for the first time in this situation. And hey, my SA was a sweetheart. You couldn't find a more vulnerable little boy SA. No temper tantrums, no scaring me with violence. Just a sad little boy trapped in a man's body who could not help but destroy me and use his big sad blue eyes to make me feel sorry for him. I love me more than I loved him. I saved me and he can figure out how to save himself or he can continue to wreck his life. That choice is 100% his own. I couldn't have made a difference in that no matter what I did.

It is tragic that some people wind up like this, but it is also something that we cannot fix. I advocate for the selfishness of not being their collateral damage for one day longer than necessary.

DevastatedDee posted 2/16/2021 11:26 AM

And no, my XWH is not an actual monster. He is a full human being who needs help. He for whatever reason is unable to be happy with being happy. This has been a trend in his life. He builds up a life, a good one, and then blows it up. I don't know why he does this and he may not know why he does this, but it is what he does. He is very in touch with his own pain when he does this, but he cannot quite grasp the level of devastation he leaves in his wake. His pain is very real, though. I was never immune to his pain. I was quite concerned about my own, though.

I may sound mean and unfeeling, but I am also years enough out to have lost the emotional bond with him and I never did have a whole lot of codependency to fight through. I chose to marry him and love him and treat him well. He chose to date me with love, marry me and sleep with a lot of prostitutes and then start doing drugs. Rehabs followed, and so did divorce. I am profoundly unsuited for being married to someone like him and I'm grateful for that. All infidelity is horrendous, but this kind seems to be a bit more damaging. To R with this kind of infidelity is to R with the odds of it repeating and the odds of personality disorder similarities being a lot higher. It is always a profound gift to be given second chance with R, but SA stuff is just different. It's almost the act of being a martyr when you R with someone who views prostitutes and such as an addiction. When you can't trust them around random women as coworkers, neighbors, family members, people at the grocery store, access to the internet...this is an extra burden for R. It's too much to ask of a BS.

Gpeach posted 2/16/2021 12:49 PM

Black Raven - Thanks for your advice and perspective.

I did wonder when the MC referenced guilt getting less after behavior is repeated. I wondered if this was more typical of a ďnormalĒ affair, because it wasnít even consistent with what WH said ó seemed like the guilt became worse over time, not less.

Skeetermooch is correct that SAs very seldom reveal the entire story up front. In fact, my trauma therapist believes it takes 90 days of sobriety (which includes no masturbation, no porn) before they can even begin to remember all their acting out, because they compartimentalize it so much.

Are you saying that there are likely more women he hasnít told me about, or are you saying other associated behaviors heís kept buried? According to him he has been porn/masturbation free for these last six months since DDay. Of course, Iím taking this at his word. I canít surveil him 24/7, nor do I want to live like that.

I donít know if I could handle him saying there were more affairs he forgot to tell me about. The number 7 over the course of 18 months is overwhelming as it is. I factored out the total meetings, over the course of time and it factors out to ďacting outĒ every 4-6 weeks. This seems like a lot to me. I donít think it actually worked out perfectly like that. I think there were periods of resistance, clusters of acting out... he didnít give exact dates, but timeline according to seasons. Is there a spectrum of severity when it comes to addiction? Would this be considered a more severe case?

I donít think WH has any personality disorder, but I assume CSAT would assess for that. If all of this hadnít come out with him getting fired from his job, I would have had no idea and been perfectly content with our marriage. I donít think heís evil, but I do think he behaved in ways that were incredibly selfish and cruel to me.

Also have read about childhood trauma - I see you mention that yours had repressed childhood sexual abuse. When asked WH describes his childhood as happy. His bio dad ran off when he was a toddler, then was in and out of prison. In 2nd grade, his mom remarried and they moved to another state. He never liked his stepdad and seemed to have a lot of resentment towards him. In words of our MC reflecting on how WH felt about the relationship with his stepdad he said he ďhad no use for him.Ē Stepdad adopted him and was with him from 2nd grade onward. WH always called him by his first name. I always thought it was a little odd, but at the same time, not all personalities click. He said from 2nd grade onward, both parents would regularly work til 7-8 at night. Heíd get off the bus and be totally alone from after school until they arrived home. This seems incredibly lonely to me, but he claims to carry no pain from childhood.

Ever since this came out, Iíve been regularly getting stomach aches and other physical symptoms. Itís pretty terrible. I even had an eczema flare up, which I havenít had in years. Before I came to this forum, I thought we were making good progress, but reading these stories makes me feel a little hopeless and anxious. Iíve scrolled through other posts involving multiple affairs and it seems like many people say 7+ is a death sentence. Makes me wonder if Iím crazy thinking things could be better.

HeHadADoubleLife posted 2/16/2021 12:59 PM

Hey ladies,

I'll be hopping in on the other convo soon, but just thought I would share.

I've asked the mods to reopen the Spouses/Partners with Personality Disorders Thread:

I noticed an influx of members who have found out that their spouses have PDs, and I thought it might be good for people to talk about PD specific issues in a protected thread.

Obviously a lot of PD stuff relates to us as spouses of SAs as well, but if there are any PD specific topics you want to bring up I'm happy to discuss them there

skeetermooch posted 2/16/2021 13:21 PM

I did feel very called out by Black Raven.

Prior to that, what I've seen on his thread is the ability for both reconciling and non-reconciling folks to co-exist and support each other without calling each other out or policing language. I've never felt called out at all before. In the same way I don't call BR to task for promoting the addiction model, I don't wish to be called out for talking about the personality disorder theory. I don't call her out because it's irrelevant to this thread.

I support all folks who want to reconcile and all who don't. I consistently try to acknowledge the differences in our spouses, our needs and experiences. I have no judgement on what anyone needs to do or believe to survive this trauma. We all sling the occasional 2x4 when we see a victimized spouse too confused to recognize the abuse she's suffering - simply because we want her first and foremost to get to safety.

As far as a separate thread for personality disorders - I think that's fine, but as sex addiction isn't recognized in the medical community as an addiction and many clinicians and researchers believe this serial acting out is a personality disorder, not SA, I don't think folks who don't buy into the the addiction model need to be scuttled off to their own group. I use the term SA as short hand and don't really care to get into a debate about it as I'm here to recover and support all of you in recovering. It doesn't matter to me how any of you define WS behavior - that's neither here nor there - your happiness and process is what I'm here for.

It's also ok to call someone a monster who gives you PTSD and blames you for it, who lies and betrays for years with no regard for the impact on the person they vowed to protect, let alone their children. Even Hitler,John Wayne Gacy and Ted Bundy were once innocent children and did some good deeds. Being told I'm denying my abuser his humanity feels like a harm to me and I don't appreciate it but I usually just ignore it. I think a little or a lot of hyperbolic venting is an appropriate in situations like these.

[This message edited by skeetermooch at 1:34 PM, February 16th (Tuesday)]

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