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 Post subject: Life without truth
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:07 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:08 am
Posts: 190
I came across this phrase in an article on trust which asked the reader to imagine what a “life without truth” would look like. I understood it perfectly because that’s exactly how my life feels for the past three years or so. Although I wanted a genuinely honest relationship and I believed at the time that d day would be a new beginning, I realise through experience that this was just a vain hope.

About this time last year my husband was developing a ‘friendship’ with a woman he worked with. All throughout that time we were going to couples counselling. He seemed to be taking it seriously. We were learning how to communicate better, and then — oh irony of ironies — he has some woman pouring out her soul to him, sharing all sorts of information with her, and all the time he is telling me he rarely spoke to the woman. I don’t know if this was an emotional affair, but there were certainly elements of that, or perhaps it was heading that way. Who knows? What annoyed me was the same old pattern of secrecy and omissions and it was involving someone of the opposite sex. Of course it wasn’t until some months after she left the job that I learned more about this ‘friendship’.

At that time my gut was sending me signals that something didn’t feel right. The annoying thing is that had it gone any further it would have been me who would be blamed because I’m the difficult one, I’m the one who has repeatedly upset the apple cart since d day by wanting to know too much, and how I don’t trust him and what a bad time he gets from me — all because I want honest communication and truthfulness — and so he develops a concealed ‘friendship’ with a female coworker. No doubt because he wants the flattery and admiration that I can’t give him. I feel confident that it didn’t go any further but I’m annoyed by the way he let things develop and that he kept it all from me.

This is a “life without truth”. Going right back to the beginning of our relationship, he had something going on with someone else in the early months that I wasn’t supposed to find out about but my gut alerted me. I didn’t know what happened until at least 15-18 months later and when I look back I’m not convinced he was entirely honest. But it was too late to do anything about then and it’s too late to do anything about now. Had I known what had happened at the time, my life could have taken another path entirely. Similarly with his compulsion to go to watch strippers performing. When I married my husband I thought I knew him well enough to know he just wasn’t interested in anything like that — it degrades and objectifies women, the men who are into it are weak and pathetic, etc — but how wrong could I have been? Would I have married him had I known? Then there were all the years of his addiction to internet pornography? Had I been able to look into the future and see the damage it would do to me, I would definitely not have chosen to stay with my husband. My gut tells me there is more that I don’t know about, and that perhaps I never will.

This is a “life without truth” and when there has been such an absence of truth where the truth should have been known, you end up with a messed-up broken life that is beyond repair. My emotional and psychological health is damaged by repeated trauma. My physical health is compromised as a consequence of disordered eating and chronic undernourishment. I cannot trust. I am hypervigilant. I have a constant low-level depression. I have panic attacks. I have physical ailments. I don’t sleep well. I never know what my future will be because I semi expect the other shoe to drop and I live in fear of finding out what I don’t know about now, or how my husband will choose to behave in the future. Do I put up and shut up like a good wife or do I end the relationship if a big lie is revealed? Or do I just go along with things as they are and let it be his decision if he wants the relationship to end? All because I don’t know, wasn’t supposed to know and I am hurt by knowing anyway. I never thought I’d end up as a doormat, but I did.

I just wish sex addict/porn addict/sexual betrayers understood the pain they put us through. This is a “life without truth”.


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 Post subject: Re: Life without truth
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:19 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2016 3:22 am
Posts: 163
This is a hard pill to swallow to be sure, one of my values is openness honesty, truth
My whole relationship with the man I thought was giving me this, was, is based on lies.
Not only did it damage me that he lied and kept secrets, and did not feel any need to have any intimacy with me.
I also was.. Am still, stuck in that world of lies, and secrets.
I wonder what my life had been had I known from the start.
Had I realised how I was being changed, damaged and traumatised. I didnt have close friends, still don't, how can you be authentic and open when you are covering, keeping secrets and not being honest about your relationship.
I can't be honest with my kids, my work colleagues, who see me act oddly at times .. And don't know I have been triggered or my husband is with holding.. Or is flirting, scanning in front of me.
I do wonder how different I could have, could be if I could feel I was being totally authentic and honest.
It is getting better as I don't have the guilt, shame that he placed at my door.. But it isn't truth.. I feel l have been living without that for decades. I am healing myself, and as I am discovering more about myself, the harder it become s to live with the thought of this fact.


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 Post subject: Re: Life without truth
PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:27 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:08 am
Posts: 190
Jenny, I also wonder how my life had turned out had I known about that early betrayal. By the time I found out it was too late to do anything about it. Had I known at the time I could have moved on and put the man who would become my husband out of my mind until he was just a guy I had a thing with at college.

I’ve had another hunch about him and another woman he met on a course many years back. Around this time, when we were in our mid 20s, he started going to see strippers after work. I know that he’d seen this woman from the course at least once at another location, supposedly to help her on some project. I remember that after this occasion he was expecting a phone call from her (this was before mobile phones) and every time the phone rang he’d be jumping up to answer. I find it a strange coincidence that the strippers and his befriending this other woman happened at the same time. I was being deceived, certainly about his interest in watching strippers. I would have thought it out of character at that time. As for the woman, something didn’t feel right. Another situation, had I known at that time I may have ended the relationship. With addicts, it’s not just “an affair”, it’s years and years of constantly seeking a sexual fix of some kind outside of the relationship. If it’s not strippers, it’s porn. If it’s not porn, it’s stalking and ogling in public. There’s always SOMETHING, and as long as there’s something there will be lies, deception, coverups, omissions. And it’s constant. CONSTANT.

My husband feels upset that I can’t trust him, but he lies. Go figure! Living without truth is like living in a state of permanent disorientation.


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 Post subject: Re: Life without truth
PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:39 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2016 3:22 am
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Yup, I too wouldn't have married my husband, I know I had a gut feeling.. But at 18..i was niave, and I believe I was already damaged, and addicted to romantic love..
I can look back and re evaluate actions and things regarding my husband.. At the time I was blissfully unaware, making excuses for niggling behaviours as after all he didnt really like flirty, over made up women, he was only interested in me and our future.. There are many things I now realise were red flags, I have never brought them up.. Long ago.. But had I known they would have been red flags revealing his true character where women and our relationship were concerned..


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 Post subject: Re: Life without truth
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:37 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2016 3:22 am
Posts: 163
I am actually watching a video about secrets vs privacy re narcissists..
And it is talking about the having to keep secrets about our relationship.. Ie not being able to tell about the abuse, the sex addiction etc, and how it causes partners to be unable to be authenic, and how over time this becomes exhausting for the partner. And how it gives power to the person we are keeping secrets for. Quite interesting and I can relate to what they say.


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 Post subject: Re: Life without truth
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:35 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 661
I as well would never have married my husband if I had known what was in store for me due to his addiction. And the ongoing dishonesty is toxic.

I look back as well and wonder "how could I have missed the red flags." I specifically went into trauma therapy to figure this out. That has been helpful. My inability to set boundaries and to tolerate a relationship with no connection was due to my early trauma. My trusting my husband and missing red flags was due to his dishonesty. We trusted our husbands. That doesn't make us weak or stupid, that makes us loving and trusting. They violated that trust. They were masters at protecting their addiction and leading a secret life. I don't blame any of us for not understanding what was really going on in our marriages. Remember we all knew something was off, we tried to engage our husbands, they lied. That's it right there.

All this talk about "why don't you trust me" or "you should trust me" is a sign to me of continued immaturity and lack of empathy. Sure, it is frustrating for them to work hard and become more honest only to be met with our distrust. But, we faced relentless lies for a long time, decades in our cases. That will take time and consistency to heal.

Never again will I "coddle" my husband and tell him I trust him when he is upset. If I don't trust him, I don't trust him. If he is being honest in that moment, he needs the maturity to self soothe and have empathy for why we are in this situation today.

I am wary about sharing the realities of my marriage with too many people. I no longer feel the need to keep secrets to protect my husband, though I don't want to harm him. I do feel the need to protect me. There still is so much misunderstanding and fear about these addictions and lots of negative judgments about partners. I think it is critical that we do talk about our experiences, but it must be with safe people. I am so grateful to have both of you and this forum along with the other partners.

dnell


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 Post subject: Re: Life without truth
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:05 am 
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Posts: 190
Jenny, that’s so interesting because I am actually quite nervous about “being myself” in my relationship. I’m always anxious about expressing myself. I always feel awkward about buying myself things, like clothes or whatever. Even if I’m spending my own money and it has no impact on his finances whatsoever. I feel nervous about expressing my opinions, and when I do his reaction is like he doesn’t hear me or he decides to go and do something else. It’s like I’m talking to myself. My husband effectively “trained” me to feel insignificant. His needs, or perhaps his wants is a better way of putting it, take priority. My needs are treated more like problems. It’s only through my recovery process that I actually recognise that I have needs of my own which are actually quite important. My husband thought it was OK for me to live my life without touch, without compliments, without being heard, and even without adequate nutrition, such was my emotional state. People I hadn’t seen for a while were shocked at how gaunt I had become, yet I would insist I was fine. Now I can see this complete denial of my own needs but at that time my husband’s addiction was accelerating and his ability to deal with life events was quite pathetic. Yet I still put his moods and his unnecessary dramas way ahead of my own basic physical and emotional needs. It’s very true. We are so exhausted by the unwritten rules of secrecy and complicity.


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 Post subject: Re: Life without truth
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:55 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:08 am
Posts: 190
dnell, this “trust” issue is so wearying. It’s as if we are expected to trust because it’s our duty to trust but that’s not the way trust is established. Early on, when I asked my (future) husband about what had actually happened between him and the other party, he kept saying “trust me, nothing happened”. It was “trust me, trust me” over and over. “Trust me, I’m telling the truth” etc. He was lying, of course. These days if I ever hear anyone say “trust me” I hear it as “don’t trust me, I’m a liar”. You can’t command someone to trust.

So many partners have experienced trauma early on, often sexual trauma, and many of us didn’t learn what healthy boundaries were. We didn’t think it was OK for anyone to violate our boundaries, but we didn’t know how to protect ourselves or ask to be protected. Mostly we internalised those violations as a secret shame, and if “good” people knew they would think less of us and probably reject us. And what better partner could we have found than the too-good-to-be-true one who can conceal so expertly the parts of his character that might threaten us?

After all the metoo stories came out, like many women, it brought my own shame-filled memories to the surface. I didn’t ask to be sexually assaulted in my early teens. I didn’t ask to be raped in my early 20s. I didn’t ask to be followed, watched, or targeted by the guys who perpetrated the “low level” sexual harassment and intimidation I experienced as a young woman. That my husband was buying into an industry that sold sexual objectification as “fantasy” and “harmless fun”, that sold women’s bodies as transient experiences on par with a fairground ride, and that he was to some extent perpetuating harm against women, is very destabilising. Yet he was so skilfully able to disassociate himself with all of this by having the outward appearance of being a supporter of the feminist cause. What an excellent disguise. He fooled many people.

I agree that we need support from each other. We’ve been through something which I feel is far more difficult in some respects than “an affair”. People can eventually understand the reasons why an affair occurs and what they need to do to heal. Affairs typically have a beginning, a middle and an ending. Addiction goes on and on and on. It almost always begins early, long before any relationship. It just so happens that it develops in parallel with a significant relationship with a partner who ends up absorbing the damage. Even when the acting out stops, the addiction carries on in some form. It’s relentless. So many people don’t get it and dish out poor advice (that often create more damage for the partner). In some ways, this is our early life/sexual assault experience all over again. We keep silent to protect ourselves. We feel shame. We feel stigmatised. We maybe older and wiser. We may know it’s not our fault. We still need safety. I’m glad we have each other.


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