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PostPosted: Sun Dec 13, 2015 4:55 am 
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I remember commenting to H early on after d-day that I felt he had fallen into a child role in our relationship and that I, unwittingly, had stepped into the parent role as a result. If we ever talked about difficult subjects, he acted like I was his mother scolding him, he never criticised me, because he had me on some untouchable pedestal in my role as mother to our children (and to him I feel), so we have possibly never been equal partners in our relationship. In therapy the other day, our female therapist and I were discussing a particular point with him (not ganging up on him I hasten to add!) and he said he felt like a little boy in front of two mothers! Is this a common theme with SA's? Are they stuck in child mode emotionally? It feels like one of the biggest obstacles at the moment, among many, because I need to feel - eventually - like I have a partner that I can argue with / complain to / be upset with without feeling like a parent criticising a child! He is in individual therapy but I don't know his therapist and can only trust that they are on the right path. Did any of your partners confront and overcome this and, if so, how?


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 13, 2015 6:00 am 
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I'd love to overcome this, however the immature mindset of the recovering is one of the biggest issues to contend with.
My partner consistently looks to me as a parent, expects me to handle everything and then becomes angry that there is a disparity in equality based on my partner needing a parent.
So for me, it's a lose/lose. I don't want to be the parent, I want a partner. I especially don't appreciate being forced into the role of parent and get even angrier when I have to deal with the anger it creates when my partner realizes I'm the parent.

Currently, anytime I feel like I'm being pushed into a parental role, I stop, step back and remind myself repeatedly that my partner is an adult and needs to make adult decisions for themselves. I refuse to move forward in a conversation if my partner refuses to participate as an adult/equal. This seems to be working somewhat.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 13, 2015 9:40 am 
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Oh, boy, can I relate to this issue. I have a male marriage counselor, which has been a breakthrough since my previous ones were female. Every week he tells us that my husband thinks of me as his mother, and not his wife. In my case, there was no pedestal. Because deep down my husband believes he's "not good enough" and that is intolerable to him, he projects that message on to me in two ways: I'm not good enough, and I'm always telling him he's not good enough. This isn't true. So, he sees me as his critical mother and also sees my role as that of a caretaker to him: wash his clothes, pay his bills, cook his food. And, then he resents me for being his mother. It's a vicious circle and maddening. I as well fell into that role just to keep him from raging away at me when I failed to fill the role. It was just....easier. I so regret doing that all these years. I remember one of the partners coaches posted that her marriage counselor had her not do anything for her husband (even making a cup of tea) for some time to break out of the parent role.

A more insidious problem for me was that in making me his "mother", my husband used this as justification for de-sexualizing me. In his mind, I was the one who chose to be mom and not a sexual woman. This is so far from the truth it's devastating. I know now that it was his choice to pursue his addictions rather than have sex and romance with me, but in his crazy compartmentalized world, he made it all my fault. I so wish I had given him an ultimatum decades ago about treating me like a real woman, but I failed to do so.

I also see this immaturity manifested in my husband's passive, reactive approach to life. He wants to be given everything: unconditional love, sexual desirability, happiness, fulfillment, meaning. And in his world it is a very young pretty woman who can/should do this. It's really, really nuts.

So, I as well am learning to just not expect much in terms of adult behavior from my husband and, more importantly, to STOP being his parent. This has been such a relief to stop doing this role. A big challenge that my husband is working on is growing up in all sorts of ways.

dnell


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 13, 2015 12:46 pm 
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Yep, we have this in our relationship too. I think emotional immaturity is a very common trait of SA's - and if they are acting like 'the child' it's very very difficult to not slip in to parent so it's not necessarily that you started the parent/child dynamic. Have you read 'I'm ok, you're ok' - an easy read on this whole area. The first step is to realise what's going on and you've done that, so that's great.....my husband can see it now too which is another big step. And we are working at doing adult-adult communication. one therapist suggested we sit at the dining table to have discussions because it's more like a meeting and encourages adult communication - worth a try? Keep going......you are moving in the right direction, and so am I and that's all good!


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2015 11:56 am 
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I am so so so glad I logged on today to read recent posts!!! You are all so inspiring!! I, too, feel like I've been pushed into that mother role......I've often wondered if it is my nature and his childish nature is what drew me to him in the first place....does it matter??? What matters to me now is stepping out of that role!! By not responding to his comments looking for validation, I think I've unconsciously brought out more resentment and contempt for me. Reading this thread has been enlightening, as have many other threads that keep helping us help each other!!!! Blessings to us all!!

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It is always OK in the end...if it's not OK, it's not the end!


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2015 5:05 pm 
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My husband absolutely subconsciously viewed me as his mother. And he hates his mother. So you can guess how well that worked out!

The worst part of it is, I wasn't even an adult when we moved in together. I was a teenager. He had been on his own for a few years, living his adult life (poorly, but still.) He took a teenager and made her his mother.
I would get snapped at if I didn't know where he put his things. He would act like making me dinner when I was sick was an insurmountable task. Or he would pick things he had no idea how to make, knowing I would say Never Mind, because I didn't want to have to go to the kitchen and talk him through every single step (one at a time, because he "couldn't" keep track of more than one step in a process at a time). He would never, ever do anything unless I told him to (not even shower or brush his teeth without being told to, for the last year or so), but then he would get mad at me for telling him to do things he should have known to do himself. It was worse than taking care of a toddler.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2015 3:59 am 
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Wow, thanks ladies for this. Every single one of your posts resonated with me and i feel the same and the same things have gone and are still going on with my husband. I as well have been taking a big step back, he is fighting it all the way though like a toddler having a tantrum, it is frustrating and maddening. I as well get the bad feelings of having no support from him, i know its impossible for him but it still hurts like hell.

Thank you for this, i definitely feel not so alone.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2015 9:30 am 
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I really appreciate all the posts on this thread and I realize how important these issues are.

I as well have heard and feel my husband's despair, self loathing and whispers of suicidal thinking. I believe there is a combination of truth and manipulation in the way he talks to me about this. What I am learning to do (thank you to my therapist!) is to stay compassionate but NOT leap in to save him. So, I say to him: "That would be an awful way to feel. I feel compassion for you. I hope you are finding support from your (therapist, 12 step group, ....)." If he gets really down, I will ask if I need to call 911 to get him to an ER. That's my bottom line: I will call 911 if I feel he is truly suicidal and that, for now, is the extent of my responsibility.

On their general immaturity, Jon somewhere said they need to get to a point that they are aware of how immature they are, and aware that that immaturity has made them inadequate partners. That's a painful awareness for both the addicts and their partners. It was a HUGE step for my husband to come to awareness about both of these realities (which, of course, he has a hard time communicating to me). I saw this awareness as the first real step in his recovery. He sometimes reverts back to feeling sorry for himself and all victim like and entitled, but over time, I expect him to take that awareness as motivation to be mature.

I do believe that I was trained early on in my childhood to be the caretaker to others. I think that is what I need to heal in myself and that trauma to me trapped me in my relationship with an SA. It feels immensely better when I STOP being the caretaker to my husband, and become the caretaker for myself. That doesn't mean I can't be nurturing to my husband in an adult way, but it has to be at a point where he is an adult and we're not there yet.

Being released from the roles they have assigned us is so liberating. It feels so much better. Not having to deal with my husband's immaturity is wonderful. I took a vacation without my husband and I was amazed at how easy and enjoyable it was compared to traveling with him. He always was so difficult when we traveled, due to his acting out AND his general immaturity. He created crises and dramas (always losing keys, tickets, passports, forgetting to pack things); he was always unhappy and complaining (he was too hot, too cold, too uncomfortable, too hungry); he was always dissatisfied and nothing was good enough so I could never enjoy what I was doing; he always blamed me for his crap; he wouldn't spend the money to solve the problems he created (like, spend an extra $30 to get the more comfortable seat on the plane) and then would bitch and moan about how expensive things were and how uncomfortable he was and..... It makes me both sad and angry to realize how much I put up with this and the price I paid. Here's the good news: I will NOT put up with this again. And, I will travel on my own or with other people who are a heck of a lot more fun. He's hurt and angry that I don't want to travel with him, but it will take baby steps to rebuild trust that he can be adult enough to be a traveling companion. That's the part, with his compartmentalized mind, he doesn't get. I'm looking at his maturity across all areas of his life and he just looks at little compartments. So, he'll say, I traveled alone on the plane and I was fine. But, I know when he picked me up from the airport he couldn't get out of the paid parking lot without drama, he needed me to have money for the tolls, and on and on.

Detachment is crucial to our healing. Focusing on getting what we need for ourselves is crucial. Not letting our partners take away our positive feelings and experiences is crucial.

In solidarity,
dnell


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2016 5:28 pm 
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I am also glad read this thread as his is exactly whats been going on in my relationship. We talked about this with our therapist last session- parent, child, adult. It is so hard not to be put into the parent role when H is always asking me how to do everything, like how many potatoes to put on my plate when he's dishing up dinner. If you could see him you would think he had just moved into my home and was a lodger there, trying to find my stuff - despite us living together for 2 years in a house we moved into together. He knows where things are really but always asks. It's very irritating. Also his habit of asking a question in response to a question infuriates me, and that is not an adult way of talking- that's a hang up from his acting out, he admitted that he would do this in order to buy time to think of an answer. Because of the lies.

He wants to argue late at night - but now I do not get embroiled in it.
He Complains I am parental. I really need to do more of what you are doing and not rise to it. I'm beginning to ignore his childish ways but it is hard, how do you ignore them when it's made to sound like he's just doing it because he cares? Eg he asks how many potatoes I want (just like he's asked how much meat and how much veg) and what drink to put on the table (we always have water so why ask every dinner time?). It's in all aspects of life not just dinner by the way! If we are going somewhere it's because I've organised it - I've thought about what needs packing for the kids and have to spell it out to him Everytime we go anywhere. He never takes the initiative, so if we are going somewhere how do I get those things in the car? Not ask him at all for help and do it myself? As soon as I ask then i feel im in danger of being seen as in parental mode.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2016 5:50 pm 
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Yeah, Connie, they can get us coming and going. It's maddening and we have to get off the crazy train. I've taken to being more like he used to be when he pulls this crap. "How many potatoes should I put on the plate?" In a sweet, confused voice, I say, "Gee, honey, that's a really good question. I don't know. What do you think?" The key here is a really sweet and confused tone. My husband knows I'm jerking him around, and he'll either start raging away, or he'll put the frigging potatoes on the plate. So, I answer all inane and manipulative questions with a sweet, confused question. I wished I could have had an adult conversation about all of this, but when he first started recovery, there was no such thing as adult conversation.

Anything else I do for myself. Honestly, I stopped eating most of my meals with my husband since I didn't want to put up with the BS. Or, I treat him like the toddler he can be and just do things myself (put his plate down, put stuff on it, don't say a thing). After a while, when he got some clarity and maturity, he'd bring up why I was acting differently and then I calmly told him "I don't like eating with you since you are not mature in asking me questions like 'how should I put things on the table.' It puts me in the mom role and not the wife role." They either get it or they don't, and if they don't, repeat. Things changed dramatically for me when I realized I should say things, calmly, but in the way I would to a four year old.

Now, my husband has been at work in becoming mature for about a year and he is slowly making improvements. So, he can be more adult and I can ask him to not ask so many questions. If they can get to the point that they can act like about a twelve year old, then I think marriage counseling with someone who knows about sex addiction is a good idea.

I know this sounds harsh, but this has been my experience. My husband is truly very, very immature. Take away the acting out and I can see the wounded little boy. But, I'm not his mother and he needs to do the work to grow up. To this day he still harbors the belief that I should "give" him everything, including maturity.

dnell


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