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 Post subject: Shame
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 6:21 am 
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Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2016 1:39 am
Posts: 55
How do you cope with Shame? Do you struggle with shame?

Shame is still extremely present and violent
I don't know how to face shame, how to overcome it.

I know shame is an emotion related to social links, it exists because of the "others"; it can be translated into "What will they think"
Usually I don't care what others think, because I assume my choices, I have learned to take decision, and to face the consequences
But in this case, well, it was not my choice, not my decisions...
I am ashamed of what my partner did;
what he did to me (the deception, the lies, the fact to be used as an object, or a mother, etc..; the bad mood at home to justify that our mariage is not so ok so he can have relations outside; the complete dis-respect going down to taking risks with my health & life)
but also I am ashamed of what he did on his own, with others. Things I have nothing to do with , but still I feel shame about it.

People around me don't know anything about the issues of my partner with SA, and don't know what we have been through;
so this is kind of secret topic.
and it's like the secrecy increase the shame, the "what will they think if they knew"
may be the wound caused by shame would heal better if it was known?
but I don't want to cause pain to people I love, by telling them such an horror story

I want to heal, without hurting people around me.


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 Post subject: Re: Shame
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 6:52 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2016 3:22 am
Posts: 163
Shame is a big part of it, thank god I think I have come out of that part of it, but only thanks to counselling. I recall the first time I spoke of all of this to my counsellor. I just sobbed and sobbed. The release of such a secret held for decades was over whelming.
I felt shame on my husbands behalf and was trying to protect him, plus shame of how I had lowered and ignored my values, and then the shame that I had been blind to things. Then the shame of not being who or where I expected to be, ie happy marriage, good jobs, and the shame that I wasn't leaving him etc. All things had been affected by his addiction, including my independence and ability to be able to progress any career.
As I go on, I let go of that. Its a huge relief not to feel I need to cover for my husband, to feel shame for anything he does.
I don't feel much shame much now, at times I find I start shaming myself for staying, for letting my self esteem be so destroyed and not being strong enough to forge a career etc, and not being able to leave etc, but am learning to cut that short,
I suppose the shame is still in the background as it stops me making close friends or being able to open up much to people, but a lot less than it was, I dont feel a need to make excuses for things, or feel unworthy due to my marriage being less than great.
I certainly don't feel the shame I used to feel when I was
Letting my husband make me feel I was failing as a wife and woman,
I have never told anyone but my counsellor, I don't want to burden people I love, and as I have no close friends, I don't feel they need to hear it.


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 Post subject: Re: Shame
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:26 am 
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Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 661
After grief, shame has been my biggest challenge. I too have shame about my husband, my marriage, and me. Counseling has really helped me with this.

Our shame has to come out in the open BUT with safe people. The right counselor can be safe. These forums are filled with people who get it and our safe. Much of the world around this addiction? Not yet very safe is my experience.

What helped was understanding I am not my husband and I am not responsible for his behavior. I also learned, in therapy, why I stayed in such an unhealthy relationship for so long. While that is a painful process at the start, it is incredibly healing and releases the pain.

Jenny, I consider you a friend even in our virtual, anonymous world here on RN. Know I see how wonderful you are. How loving, kind, generous and strong you are.

Ana, thank you for saying this out loud.

With deep compassion,
dnell


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 Post subject: Re: Shame
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 11:02 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:08 am
Posts: 190
Shame is such a complex issue and I’m still trying to understand the various ways it has manifested. Throughout my husband’s addiction I lived with the shame of a sexless marriage. My shame fuelled my low self esteem and negative beliefs about myself — that I was ugly, unattractive, asexual, not a ‘proper’ woman, too old, too physically flawed, etc. There was the shame of rejection, of trying to initiate sex and being turned down or the shame of my husband unable to finish or losing his erection, and there was also the shame of trying to offer him the real deal which I thought would surely be better than masturbating to porn videos, but I failed with much shame.

My husband says he feels shame over his behaviour and also its impact on me. He hasn’t really felt comfortable about talking about his behaviours and I think that’s because of his association with sex/pornography and shame. I suspect that this was because he was introduced to pornography by a male relative who sexually abused him, so there was this early association between secrecy, sex and shame. Secrecy and the sense of doing something forbidden fuelled my husband’s addiction.

I wouldn’t tell anyone about my husband’s sex addiction. I’ve only told my counsellor. I don’t believe it’s always a good idea to tell family and friends because you cannot predict how people are going to respond. I have read of some women who tell family members about their partners addiction only to be met with very unhelpful reactions. Most people don’t know about sex addiction or porn addiction, and I wouldn’t have either had I not found myself married to someone with this kind of addiction. It’s not only shame that prevents me but also various ‘diplomatic’ reasons especially if you have chosen to stay in the relationship.

Jenny, I have felt the shame you described. There is that shame of not standing up for ourselves. The shame of losing sight of our values and undervaluing ourselves. The shame of staying with someone who didn’t treat us with enough respect. The shame of being deceived. Even the shame of believing the lies (at first) and the shame of being naive. There’s even shame attached to trusting someone because our trust was abused.


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 Post subject: Re: Shame
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 8:07 am 
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Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2016 1:39 am
Posts: 55
Thanks for your replies.
It helps, sincerely,
first because I helps to feel understood when we can not discuss this issue with anybody (or with so much cautions, with the fear of shocking, hurting, disturbing the other... that it's not possible to share openly on this topic)
also your answers give me some clues on where I am in my journey;

All these various types of shame , that you describe so well Jenny, I have experienced them all, yes, I recognize them all.

some of these shames I believe I have managed to overcome them:
the shame of failure: failure of not having realized the life I could have, failure of my mariage, failure to have not protected my kids , failure of having convinced myself that everything was alright when in fact the daily acts were not ok.
Yes I have failed, and I felt ashamed for that at the beginning. But not so much now anymore;
because I know I did the best given the circumstances;
because I did a fantastic job raising my kids happily in such an environnement (this quote if from friends, who helped me see this , when I thought I was worthless).
because I have found back my identity, and I quite like the person I see in the mirror today: I live by my values, strongly, openly; I take decisions; I surround myself of healthy persons, I am making new friends and I cultivate the relations with the old ones. And I ensure the security and "life comfort" of my kids & family by being very cautious of daily acts, within our family, and from outside (acts and not words! )

The Shame of not leaving him: that's a tough one. terrible one. It haunted me for more than 2 years (3 years even?); I couldn't get this out of my head. it was driving lots of negativity ; lots of resentment, and sometimes calling for revenge . I believe I managed to get this one out. Thanks to the inspiration from the lesson about forgiveness and one remark from a coach about finding overall balance with my values when a decision was against a value. So in the end I took the decision 'to forgive myself for living with someone that did things to me that I can not forgive'; and my partner knows about this. It seems like mental trick; but it is exactly that, and it was liberating to say it, to believe it, to 'rest' my mind on this decision.

Remains the shame of what he did (his acting out; it just gets me sick to think about these things): and the shame of having been used, manipulated, humiliated, ...
These are the shames I want to get out of;
from your answers I think I should try counselling...
I tried once, just when back to my home country: It was dramatic, I hated this lady, she just said everything I could not hear (even some insinuation that I had some responsibility , as a too caring person!).
may be I should try another one. may be the counsellor we saw few times for couple sessions. He was also the counsellor of my partner in fact. he is a good person, I trust him, and I feel comfortable talking to him (or better say: sobbing in front of him!!! )
well, I will take time to think about it.


Thanks anonymous friends!


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 Post subject: Re: Shame
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 8:33 am 
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Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 661
Ana, I've been to numerous counselors over the course of my marriage and some of them harmed me. They believed my husband's lies and didn't believe my truth. I actually have some therapy induced trauma.

My current counselor is wonderful. She is a specialist in treating trauma. It took me four counselors to find her. I had to let go, fast, of the first three since I didn't believe they would understand or could help me. Feel free to shop around. It's empowering and healing in itself to find the right person.

dnell


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 Post subject: Re: Shame
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 12:29 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:08 am
Posts: 190
Another aspect of whether or not to tell anyone is that I also have to respect my husband’s right to privacy about the matter. I don’t feel I can speak about the issue without his freely given consent. I have thought about this a lot and I know that when it comes to friends and family, whatever is said can’t be unsaid. dnell is also right about finding the right counsellor or therapist. It needs to be someone with specialist knowledge of sex addiction and also betrayal trauma as experienced by partners.

Although sex addiction has existed long before the internet happened, there has been a significant increase in sexual addictions because the internet has created more opportunities. It’s not just pornography, although that’s often the initial addiction or the ‘gateway drug’. There are webcam girls, cybersex affairs, dating apps, hookup apps, the facility to hire escorts online, etc. Its all part of the sex addiction continuum. It’s only very recently that people are realising the destructive effects on relationships and it’s only in the past few years that counsellors and therapists have been able to have specialist training for both addicts and partners. There are still a lot of misconceptions and misinformation about sex and porn addictions, and some people who say there’s no such thing as sex addiction. That’s why you have to sound out your therapist, to make sure she/he has some specialist knowledge. The last thing you want is some naive counsellor who recommends you watch porn together as part of your lovemaking — I’ve read some accounts of women who have done just that and it solves nothing. In fact, it can make a bad situation a lot worse. I would recommend you sound out a prospective therapist by asking if she/he accepts the reality of sexual addictions and who works from the trauma model when dealing with partner betrayal.


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 Post subject: Re: Shame
PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 7:47 am 
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Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2016 1:39 am
Posts: 55
it's amazing that when we, partners, finally take the big decision to get some help (as usually we are caring people, who are first concerned only by our SA partner's recover)
we take the risk to get harmed by people who are supposed to be professional in helping others!
There is a real lack of knowledge and understanding of the Sex and Love addiction, in general
and even more in my country in particular! the first times I looked for clues on internet, in my mother tongue, it was so "empty"! I quickly changed to English to find appropriate information and support. I don't know how I would have managed without being fluent in English.

I think for me , at this stage, the most important is to talk to someone freely, getting all out of me, without being afraid to hurt or shock someone;
without taking any risk to affect the relations with my family and friends.
But having someone experienced in Sex addiction would help a lot more, definitively,
as I would not feel obliged to explain; feeling like I have to "justify" this story, that the deceptions are not linked to our couple but to his addiction for example.

I like your comment Dnell "It's empowering and healing in itself to find the right person"
it makes me change my perception, from: the counsellor I saw was really not helpful, I can not see her again. to: I decided not to pursue with this counsellor, as she is not the appropriate support for me

Well, the next step is to call for an appointment , and see what happens ...


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