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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 10:46 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:08 am
Posts: 189
We hear over and over “it’s not personal, it’s not a judgment on you” etc. I understand that from the addiction viewpoint. That it’s about the high of the dopamine surge and the modification of the brains reward pathways through habituation and so on. When we can understand this we learn that it really is “not personal”. But is it?

Here’s another aspect to it. That the impersonal aspect of porn, fantasy, strippers and various manifestations of the sex industry and are devoid of genuine personal involvement. Mostly, there’s no relationship. Even targeting other people as potential sexual conquests isn’t really treating people as emotionally complex individuals with their own feelings and needs beyond those that are easily exploited. In the context of a committed long term relationship, I would suggest that addicts are using their sexual outlets as a way to avoid emotional intimacy and connection with their spouse. I believe that the addiction has the purpose of creating a very strong emotional barrier between the couple.

As partners, we pick up on this. We feel it and our response is almost always to reach out. We seek to build the bridge and then we can’t figure out why our partner doesn’t see it or appreciate it. In truth, I believe that this is the will of the addict. We build bridges. They build walls. When the addictive behaviour stops, our addict partners scramble about trying to put up makeshift barriers whether it’s lying to us minimising, or throwing tantrums. All I know is that whenever I’ve tried to establish better communication and healthy sexuality there’s very little reciprocation.

I believe it IS personal. He can’t deal with me. He can’t deal with honesty. He can’t deal with intimacy. He can’t deal with his own feelings. He COULD connect with me if he chooses. He COULD share but he doesn’t. It’s been resistance all the way. And this is what I feel is a big part of his addiction. It serves the purpose of emotionally numbing him, not just to events in his own life and in his past, but his inability to deal with intimacy. It explains why he retreated into pornography for years rather than have a sexual relationship with me, his spouse. That’s why it’s personal. It IS personal. He is a very emotionally needy man but I’m the last person he will turn to when he needs to ask for help. In fact, he would never ask anyone for help. Porn is probably the most impersonal sexual relationship someone can have. I think that’s why he was into it.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 2:17 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2016 3:22 am
Posts: 161
I have slowely come to this realisation..that the addiction is a defence, a distraction.
My husband hid from having to feel the discomfort if uncontrolled emotions Imo, ge cannot cope with others emotions..he becomes angry, it was work as well, long hours, too tired after work .. Now it us games in the pc, reading books..its like he is hiding from interacting.
I realised it was deeper than sex..its as if he is scared that emotion,connection..love..is disempowering..a loss of control, I have never seen him show emotion apart from anger in emotionally difficult situations...or fantasy, the last infactuation was as my dad was dying..and after he died,thus avoiding feeling, it was incessent, he was infactuated he said,but still online every day looking at the impersonal fantasies..as if by having someone at work ge could watch..yup..cctv ..and think about,it kept the intensity of the porn fantasy going till he got online, totally immersed and distracted from real life


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 8:08 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 656
I agree that the underlying fear of emotional intimacy is the bigger problem than the addiction. And, yes, I agree I am a huge "trigger" for my husband in coping with his fear of any emotional intimacy. I recommend reading "Intimacy Anorexia" and learning about intimacy avoidance. My view is that professional help is needed to address these deep issues.

While I may be the trigger, I am NOT the cause. My husband's fear of intimacy is a result of his childhood; not a result of anything I have done or who I am. So, in that way, it isn't about me at all; though it has a huge impact on me. I don't think my husband really knows me or even sees me clearly.

We are still left with figuring out how we change ourselves to not stay trapped in a non-connected relationship; or how to manage without intimacy; or how to get it elsewhere. That's our work. I did work on understanding why I didn't trust myself and take better care of myself. That was about me.

Stay focused on yourself and what is important to you. That is what I am doing. My partner is in sincere recovery and in therapy, but it is a LONG road to develop emotional intimacy and it may never happen. So, we must focus on what we need and how we will live our lives.

With deep compassion,
dnell


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:44 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:08 am
Posts: 189
Jenny56, I’ve witnessed all those other distancing behaviours too, workaholism, excessive gaming, reading, overeating, numbing with alcohol. It’s almost as if he’s controlling his body chemistry to maintain high stress levels just so he can seek out some sort of compulsive/addictive remedy. Every so often he will obsess over whether or not to buy something (always unnecessary, always expensive). That’s another high intensity/high stress compulsion that emerges every few months.

Dnell, the concept of intimacy anorexia is an interesting one and I definitely recognise some of the traits in my husband. Like you, I realise the importance of our own self care and healing. We also have a need for intimacy in its various manifestations, and I feel it’s important that we prioritise this this for our healing. I know I am capable of creating a kind of intimacy for myself, and certainly realising that my own sexuality and sensuality does not exist only when my husband gives those parts of my identity permission to exist. I was indeed emotionally anorexic for many years because I was being quite literally starved — starving for affection to begin with and then starving myself of food and falling into disordered eating patterns. This was not to lose weight because I had very little to spare, nor was it to “look better” because I knew how gaunt I was becoming and hid myself. It wasn’t anorexia in the classic sense.

I find it very interesting that there is an intersection where body image, eating disorders and sexuality converge which is complicated further by our relationships. That’s why I think concepts like sexual anorexia and intimacy anorexia are very interesting because in eating disorders where food intake is restricted, there is often very little interest in sex and intimate relationships. I would say this was true for me. The only thing I would remark on is that my restricted food intake followed years of being starved of intimacy, rather than the other way round.

At the moment, my healing is centring on self acceptance — occupying my body, owning my sexuality and working on areas of my life that have been neglected since d day. It’s the relationship with myself that matters. I’m still trying to figure how I ended up in that dark place feeling very alone, and I’m
sure as hell not going back there. My husband tries and I do genuinely believe he wants our relationship to heal but he really hasn’t developed the various skills that are necessary. I have a long way to go too, but I know it’s about working on my own issues for now.


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