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PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2010 6:10 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 10:32 pm
Posts: 14
It's six in the morning.....my partner and I have been working through the couples lessons for a couple of months now and also seeing a counsellor together. We have had some interruptions in our progress because of a death in the family and the holiday season. All in all, though, I felt we were making enormously positive strides forward. Last evening though I felt like we were back in the same old patterns of behaviour. I know that there is different views on whether or not to use computer filters but my partner had decided to use a filter some time ago to deal with his porn addiction. I will say that the filters did not stop him from contacting someone for anonymous sex. The filter we used is one provided by our service provider. Because of compatibility issues, we also need to purchase our anti virus stuff from the service provider, too. We pay for both of these services as part of our monthly internet service costs. Over the holidays, my spouse went into an office supply store for something or other and found Norton antivirus on sale and bought it. He told me at the time he had done this. I will say that it made me uneasy at the time because it was a change I hadn't anticipated and thought why do that when we already have something else set up. He said it would be much cheaper than what we have and so I accepted that. I didn't remember the incompatibility issue with the filters.

Yesterday, my spouse picked up our computer which had been out for servicing over the holidays. After it was set up, I noticed that the filters weren't on and he reminded me of the issue of compatibility and said he was going to find something else. He said someone in one of the SLAA online forums - which he is participating in - said that there was something with the Norton Anti Virus that could work.

I was frightened and angry because he did not discuss any of this with me beforehand. We just had one of those early morning arguments with me saying I need you to tell me ahead of time about this. It isn't that I don't trust you but I need you to be open and transparent. It leaves me thinking one of two things: either you are so insensitive that it never occurred to you that this would be a source of anxiety for me or that you knew I would be upset and disregarded my feelings anyway or that you are hiding something from me. It all made me feel ill to my stomach as the "what do I trust" feelings flooded back over me.

His response was that he had told me about the Norton anti virus purchase and it was my responsibility to ask. All I needed to do was ask. I feel it is his responsibility to be open to me. I feel like he is behaving just like he used to behave. I am devastated. I am crying because I really thought the beast had been beaten back and here it is again. He doesn't see that. Am I overreacting here?


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 Post subject: words of support
PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:12 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2009 7:32 am
Posts: 10
Hi Thovenator,
I was just reading through the forums looking for supporting words myself when I read your post. I am a SA, but I found your words moving to me, and I just wanted to support you and say... no, you are not overreacting. Your feelings are valid...and always will be. They cannot be dismissed by any others' behavior. You deal with a "beast" he may have no idea about, but it IS real.

Empathy may be the hardest thing for an SA to grasp. I know it is for me. But the facts also speak for themselves. From what you described it appears that the addiction still causes complete nullification of your feelings of safety, because it continues (correct me if that is wrong), and without your safety you have very little to work with.

I understand this more and more as my wife and I come back to it constantly, and each time it becomes a little easier to grasp for me. I need to make her safe, she has been traumatized...by me. I want to have her know I love her. So I commit to the time it takes, the difficult, emotional pain I must admit I caused, the TRANSPARENCY I must operate under without rancor. I want to.

I guess what I'm trying to say is... don't waver in your belief in yourself, your validity. Hold firm that your boundaries are yours to set. Hold firm that your need to feel safe is valid, and that you deserve no less than full transparency now, and the time that takes to implement it in reality. Be patient, but be firm.

I hope I haven't overstepped any boundaries here. I just felt the anguish you expressed and I wanted to somehow reach out. This sight and this forum make me feel so much better that there is a community, and that we aren't all alone in these very touchy and difficult problems. I wish both of you power, patience and peace.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2010 10:49 am 
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Partner's Coach (Admin)

Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2007 3:07 pm
Posts: 5199
This is the couple's workshop community forum so no boundaries have been violated. Here we work under the assumption that we are all equals, the couple's who are working here are all committed to the same end which is partnership and rebuilding of our relationships. Thank you for your contribution.

The most important issue regarding computer filters and other similar software is that it removes the onus of responsibility from the addict as well as stunts and delays their personal growth. That said, it is often necessary in the early stages of recovery when the addict does not yet posess the maturity or skills necessary to navigate in the real world flying solo. However, having a filter(s) is not a permanent solution and is mcuh like putting icing on mud pie.

It is apparent that the filter has become a source of security for you as well. Make no mistake, this measure provides little more than a pretense of security (as you noted with the fact that it did not keep him from contacting someone for an anonymous encounter). What this situation does is to highlight that just as there are skills that he needs to ingrain in order to navigate as a healthy individual in the real world, so do you.

Now, the fact that he went out and bought the incompatable software, wether or not he had previously mentioned it, is an issue of concern. In a partnership, this is something that is discussed and decided upon by both partners. The fact that he skipped over that makes it seem and feel suspicious and you are completely justified in feeling uneasy and untrusting. And, being that he is the one who is responsible for dessimating the trust in your relationship, so too is he the one who is responsible for rebuilding the trust. Telling you that it is up to you to ask is deflecting the onus of responsibility onto you.

My suggestion to you would be to take another look at your values and boundaries. Look to see if there are any boundaries that need to be updated, or gaps that need to be filled (if you don't have a boundary for this particular type of conflict).

A positive way to look at this situation is as a learning experience for both of you. This is assuming that you are both still committed to not only healing and recovery for the sake of the relationship, but for the sake of healing and recovery for your individual selves as well. If the both of you are gong to remain committed in partnership, then you might want to look at updating/creating your partnership agreement from exercise 4 as well.

Be well.

_________________
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. (Viktor E. Frankl)


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 Post subject: conflicts
PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2010 8:46 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 5:11 pm
Posts: 98
I just wanted to say I very much resonate with this dynamic in my partnership , too. While the details are a little different, the basic dance of me needing reassurance when something doesn't seem quite normal to me, and him sometimes feeling defensive or miffed by the understandable trust issues I have.... well, it's familiar.

I just wanted you to know you aren't alone in feeling like that gap exists, and I agree with the comments others have left to trust your own response. He may not like it, but if your H can nonetheless honor your needs and understand why they might be there, such non-defensiveness on his part is such a healthy sign, evidence of his growing maturity and ability to really accept the hurt he has caused and do what's needed to rebuild trust.

I know the times my H has been able to do that have been really important to the early healing of our marriage, and the times he has chosen to protect himself/be defensive/spar with me verbally about my reaction or feelings, have been times of set-backs to that trust being rebuilt. We are making some progress but it is tricky and slow going.

Keep trusting your gut and your wisdom,
Sophie


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 Post subject: Conflict - Updated
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 8:04 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 10:32 pm
Posts: 14
Thank you so much for the warmth and wisdom of those who responded to my posting. I can't tell you how much it meant to me, those words of reassurance and support.

I wanted to let you know that my spouse apologized to me for his behaviour later that day. He acknowledged that it was his responsibility to be transparent in such matters. He said that he could see how I would perceive this action as a threat and so would become defensive and although he had not meant to create that situation, he had. He acknowledged that his response had been one based in old behaviours and not how he wants to behave now. On my part, I want to be able to deal with such situations in a calm and respectful way. This is hard for me but I am learning. I am learning to trust my gut but still wobbly on how to express my needs without my fears taking over and escalating the conflict. I am still at a place where I want instant reassurance and to feel safe right then and there or I flip to panic. I know this will get better in time and I am working on this but it sure is h@ll when I'm in that space.

We are reviewing the boundaries we had set in order to be clearer with one another on what we expect and need from each other. Thank you again for reaching out.

Thovenator


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