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 Post subject: New-Me Healing Thread
PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 3:18 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:32 pm
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Lesson 1 – An unadulterated version of S’s addiction

12/21/11 late into the night: After hours of taking I knew he was still lying to me so I kept pushing. Finally he told me the truth; he’d been having a sexual affair with her for 4 years.
They had worked together 9 years, she as his secretary for the past 5. But he had recently left to start his own company and he wanted to hire her. I had many issues with this since I’d not been comfortable with their relationship for most of this time. I thought it was an inappropriate friendship and more recently begun to suspect it might be an emotional affair. It all began 5 years ago when I discovered he had purchased her a vibrator. I confronted both of them. He explained he cared for her, was concerned about the problems in her marriage, was just trying to help, they were just good friends. She told me much the same story and promised to support him more at work so he could get home and help me out with our then 2 and 4 year old children. We had a marital crisis at the time. I was clear with him he had to choose. That it was unacceptable to me for him to have anything but a professional relationship with her. He ultimately agreed, recommitted to his family. He seemed to show understanding that he had experienced the 7 year itch and a mid life crisis, but was over it and he was fully invested in our marriage and family. In actuality they started f*****g about 6 months after this confrontation.
Whenever issues regarding her would arise he would humiliate and shame me into believing it was not possible. After all she was 20 years older than him, married and a grandmother. How dare I, in my paranoid delusions, think they were anything but really good friends? His was a friendship with a grandmother that I had better learn to accept. I must have deep and troubling anger management issues to be getting so upset over concerns he’d minimize and rationalize. I now know all my intuitions over small hints of potential inappropriateness were absolutely spot on. He chose cruel manipulations to control me and maintain his double life. Our life at home and our sex life remained the same abet for his ever increasing desire to act out all his fantasies.
For the first month post discovery I was in shock. I could hardly think straight. I found myself literally walking in circles. One reason, the day after disclosing the affair to me she was at my house and I was manipulated into telling her to take the job with him. She did. He now spends more time with her each day in a small intimate office setting than he does with his family. Immediately after disclosure he told me it was necessary to hire her (he along with his partner had already offered her the job and received a verbal acceptance) for the success of the new company. If I didn’t make this happen by assuring her that I now knew about the 4 year affair and everything was ok, I would be jeopardizing the financial future of our family as well as the families of the 2 partners who joined him in this new business. Additionally, she was still a good friend, he didn’t want her staying at their old company and if I didn’t convince her to join the new company he would resent me forever. I really didn’t feel I had a choice. I let him know he had backed me into a corner and I couldn’t imagine how this could ever work out. A mere 16 hours or so after disclosure she was at my house, sitting in my home office and accepting the job. For these same reasons, and the threat of physical violence perpetrated by her husband towards mine likely at our home, I could also never tell her husband of the affair. So now my family’s financial and physical wellbeing have been threatened.
All of this and he wants us and the family to stay together. I just don’t know. I’m only now starting to gain some clarity and perspective. I’ve had a lot of great insights and epiphanies. First, after researching infidelity online I came across information on sexual addiction and BOOM the last 20 years started to become much clearer and more complex all at the same time.
I confronted him with the idea of sexual addiction and he can’t see it. For him his lifelong (or at least from an extremely early age) interest in fetish items, porn and dominatrix are just “how he was wired”. He can’t change it. I’ve known about many of his sexual interests since early on in our relationship. Once I found out about his cross-dressing, light bondage and fetish interests I confirmed with him this was something we could explore as long as it was in a mutually committed relationship. There is such a long history over these 20 years. Now I can see how his “acting out” and consumption has been escalating over the years. I never before thought of this as an addiction. It was just part of who he was (he defines himself as a 1 percenter – 1%) and I dove headfirst into understanding, controlling and managing the “acting out” when it occurred. I’ve (we) have built many, many foundations of healing built on sand. .
So my husband’s behaviors include porn, prostitutes, affairs, fetish items, cross-dressing and more I probably don’t know about. He may not be able to see his addiction, but my experience is exactly one of being a partner of an addict and I’m now choosing to heal me and this is exactly where I need to be. The best thing I’ve done so far is ask myself why I’m in a relationship with an addict. The answers have been enlightening and freeing and for the first time in my memory I’m coming back into myself. I no longer need to accommodate to survive (as I did in childhood and continued to do with S for the past 20 years). I am much more than the reflection of what other people think of me, especially S. I think I even like myself.


Last edited by New-Me on Wed May 02, 2012 9:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:52 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:32 pm
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Lesson 2 (This is a Self Help Thread...I can't figure out how to move it there...)

My vision is to live my life with integrity first towards myself and therefore all others. I will internalize my own integrity and become confident in recognizing its existence in those with whom I choose to have intimate relationships.

What this means to me:
Be honest with myself
Respect myself
Honor myself
In intimate relationships recognize honesty, respect and honor. Know the relationship is based on mutual integrity and know if it is not.

I no longer define myself by what other people think of me – I am more than the reflection of myself as I view my worth through their eyes. I am my own spirit and I first and foremost what to live my life with integrity – for me.

I’m realizing one of the devastating consequences of having “given myself away” is I’ve become LAZY! I’ve not required enough of myself and this is not living with Integrity.

Things I want to do:
•Explore my spirituality – I can give myself 30 quiet minutes each day to read, write, or just think about my spirituality.
•Take ownership of myself – all my decisions should be expansionary – just do it, no excuses, get 15 minutes of exercise a day.
•Honor my gratitude for all I do have – give J and E each 15 minutes a day of pure, focused attention that is just for them. Teach them integrity through example.
•Embrace forgiveness as a means to promote future growth and expansion – don’t quit

Things I want to stop that do not support integrity:
•Laziness – recognize my laziness persists and is maybe even fed through the wrapper of busy-ness.
•Busy-ness – I truly believe in simplicity so I need to respect and honor that and keep it Simple. Don’t obfuscate through busy-ness. Slowdown, enjoy what I am doing when I am doing it. Recognize if I am not enjoying it and make a decision to change or know it is one of those things that need to get done.
•Frustration – recognize it – is it real or manufactured – don’t cover it up with too much food or drink and become inert.


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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 11:38 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:32 pm
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Stage One – Lesson 4: Life Beyond Addiction and Recovery

I feel liked I’ve stalled. The past couple of weeks have just been hard. I’m slogging through the days and not getting much done. I think depression is trying to overwhelm me, but I’m not going to let it. I’m getting out of bed and staying out of bed. I’m scattered, inefficient and can’t concentrate, but I won’t let the kids down. How interesting that S has finally agreed to take proactive action – a step which should be hopeful, but I am just as exhausted as ever. But I don’t want to give up, so I’ll complete this lesson even though I’m not inspired.

I can clearly see the dichotomy between S’s non addicted and addicted self. The level and magnitude of contradiction in what he allows himself in his “acting out” and what he requires of himself, really who he is, in his “professional/social” life are almost absurd – they are absurd and he determinedly remains blind to his own contrariness. In his professional/social life he is responsible, honest, hard working, dedicated and loyal with a constant intellectual curiosity enhanced by passion and calculated risk taking. In his “acting out” addicted self, he is extremely immature and selfish. He’s stuck repeating the same fantasies over and over with escalation but no change or growth. He is emotionless and completely unable to see clearly his activities, like lying and cheating, which he abhors in all others, in himself. His neediness far outweighs any giving. We agree his core issue has something to do with a lack/fear of intimacy, with me, with the kids. He even said he knows he needs to become more generous in all areas, but especially in spirit.

I can also sometimes distinguish between the intention of the addiction, to feed S’s selfish feel good life management skills and the consequences which S’s knew but compartmentalized and rationalized in order to pursue the addiction. What am I trying to say – he never intended to hurt me and his family although on some level he knew what he was doing. Somewhere in this there is room for forgiveness, even if I decide there isn’t a future together. I do still need for him, and myself really, to fully understand what all the consequences where/are so we, especially I, don’t repeat them. There is also a profound difference between forgiveness and trust.

I believe that even with a healthy recovery S will remain somewhat selfish, manipulative and controlling. He’ll continue to be a disorganized procrastinator. If we can develop a relationship where I can address these issues when they rise to the level of offense and S can handle a criticism without attacking (usually by shaming and/or humiliating me), but with a generosity of spirit then maybe we’ll have a future together. We will have a future together for the kids. It can be friendly and mutually respectful. There are many, many things I continue to admire about S, and I’m willing to give us more time. My fear is my ability to handle anymore disappointments and set-backs, which are going to happen. I’m just so exhausted it at times looks easier to give up, move on but that doesn’t change me and I need to change too.


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PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 12:18 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:49 pm
Posts: 3834
Hi New-Me,
Yes! :g:
Quote:
I am much more than the reflection of what other people think of me, especially S. I think I even like myself.
A huge part of our healing journey is our own self-empowerment by realizing that we have a right to our own vision for the life we want. We can reclaim our values, set our boundaries to protect those values, and take charge of our future. You seem to see that.
Quote:
I can clearly see the dichotomy between S’s non addicted and addicted self. The level and magnitude of contradiction in what he allows himself in his “acting out” and what he requires of himself, really who he is, in his “professional/social” life are almost absurd – they are absurd and he determinedly remains blind to his own contrariness.
Great insight. SAs live a duality and are able to justify their choices in their irrational way of thinking. It's all about perceptions, and recognizing that his are skewed is a big insight on your part.
Quote:
I’m realizing one of the devastating consequences of having “given myself away” is I’ve become LAZY! I’ve not required enough of myself and this is not living with Integrity.
I don't see this as laziness. Many of us find our values have eroded, and this is one of the consequences of living with a life partner who has this kind of addiction. Reclaiming yourself through a vision is, perhaps, the most important step to take in your personal healing journey because it becomes your roadmap. Refer to it often, refine it, add, and delete as you see the need. I do have a suggestion. Instead of thinking of your vision as things you want to do or stop doing, think of each element happening in the present tense from this day forward and keeping the tone positive rather than a reflection of the past. For example, you might say: I see myself exploring my spirituality. I am setting aside 30 minutes each day to read, write, or think about my spirituality. Then set a time for yourself to do this. It's the acitivity of doing that makes it real and ingrains new patterns for yourself.
Quote:
•Laziness – recognize my laziness persists and is maybe even fed through the wrapper of busy-ness.
How could reword this in a positive light?
Quote:
•Busy-ness – I truly believe in simplicity so I need to respect and honor that and keep it Simple. Don’t obfuscate through busy-ness. Slowdown, enjoy what I am doing when I am doing it. Recognize if I am not enjoying it and make a decision to change or know it is one of those things that need to get done.
It's great to be aware of needing to change this. Perhaps, renaming this as Simplicity would accentuate the positive. Finding or cultivating your JOY might be a separate element in itself allowing you to name those acitivities that give you joy. I think you are saying "frustration" is more about your physcial health in terms of elements of a vision? :w: Distilling this down to key elements makes it more user friendly. :w: Just my take on it.
Quote:
My anger has been absent, and now it’s coming out again with intensity! I want to accept it for what it is and not make me or it inert with overconsumption. But it is ugly and I don’t like it much. I really HATE it and it makes me feel out of control...........
Another good insight to build on. We've all been here. This is an emotional roller-coaster ride at best, but as you do the lessons, you will find balance and the ride will slow down. It's a process, but it's also about recognizing your own obstacles. None of us like feeling out of control because it's not who we are. I had to come up with mini action plans to help myself. I would count or spell backwards to buy time until I could find a healthy distraction to change my focus. I learned to value my JOY and tried to plug activities into my life that gave me comfort and joy. Simple things. I listened to favorite music, danced around the house, created a special place in my home, just a corner that could be a haven when I needed one. I allowed myself to cry when I felt like it. I did art to epress my emotions. We each find our way once we recognize that our anger/rage makes us feel bad, not good. The lessons will help. Take your time digesting what you are learning with each one and know that this is a continuum, a building process. It's also an education about this kind of addiction so you know what you have been/are dealing with. Knowledge is power.

Know that you are among friends who understand what you are going through. None of this is easy. When you feel the need to vent, validate yourself, ask questions, the Community Forum is a great source of people who are wise, compassionate and great listeners who are not afraid to give that occasional wake-up call as well as kindness and empathy. From time to time another mentor or a coach will check in with you here on this thread. You are doing great work. Keep going forward.

Please give yourself the Gift of Patience in your process, and welcome to Recovery Nation.

Nellie James

Nellie James


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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 1:33 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:32 pm
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Stage One Lesson 5: Understanding Your Partner’s Addiction
Addiction is a rational way to manage life using irrational behavior

A. How do you manage your stress? What would it take for you to become so emotionally overwhelmed that you would turn to irrational behavior to produce enough intensity to escape from that stress? Can you think of a time in your life that you have turned to such a measure?

Wow. All I really need to do is say my irrational behavior is overeating and overdrinking. It is definitely providing me with a delusional emotional balance; it feels good in the moment. I even engage in this irrational behavior while my rational side knows in the “long term” I’m hurting myself and I don’t even really want to do it, but I do. Then I feel shame. As someone who has struggled to loose weight for 20 years, I KNOW eating those chips and drinking yet another goblet of wine is not what I should do, but it is what I’ve chosen time and time and time again. I rationalize! I tell myself there is always tomorrow to loose the weight. I tell myself I’m strong and active and when I finally decide to buckle down and work on it, I’ll loose the weight. And then to prove myself right, I do just that. I white knuckle 20 lbs away, then something happens, S acts out again, and I gain it all back. So, my values are both eroded and very probably never developed in a healthy way to begin with. I’m a little bewildered even as I write – what are my values and how do I turn to them in times of stress to reach emotional equilibrium? This is hopeful. If I can figure this out I really can change.


B. Consider a compulsive behavior that you have engaged in. Break it down thoroughly. Get a sense for the anxiety that you experienced prior to engaging in the act. Imagine the continued anxiety that you would have experienced had you not engaged in the act. Describe that anxiety in your own words.

I put a lot of demands on myself in addition to life’s natural demands. Recently, I was feeling stress due to my overall emotional state. I was feeling stress about the meeting I had to chair and the needs/requirements/concerns of everyone, all of which I would have to deal with. I was feeling stress about having enough energy/focus for the kids after school and all their activities. I was feeling stress/guilt about not getting enough done during the day. I was feeling stress about the awful condition of my marriage, lack of communication between us and no longer feeling I have a friend/husband to share any of this with. Just so much stress. So I had my first drink when I got home and new I would not be going back out. Then I drank moderately but consistently for the rest of the evening. S was home and he did the same. It was never too much that I didn’t get done what I felt I must do. The kids were fed, played with, snuggled with and put to bed. I do all of this work every night and S does none of it (he cooks occasionally). I don’t think he’s ever put either one of the kids to bed. This really makes me very angry. But I’m not going to let the kids down so I do it all. So I’m angry, stressed, frustrated and guilty. I have a last glass of wine, go to bed and cry myself to sleep. In the morning my emotions still feel close to the surface and I don’t like that (high anxiety). I get everybody out of the house, homework done, breakfast done, they are happy and healthy. I’m already dreading all the responsibilities I have to deal with. Things I really don’t want to do like all the follow-ups to the meeting. Once everyone was out of the house and I handled the first round of follow up calls I stuffed myself with food. I don’t even remember what I ate. It probably wasn’t even tasty. What would happen if I didn’t engage in these compulsive behaviors? I’m afraid my emotions would be unleashed and I would not be able to control them and they would be so ugly. I HATE feeling ugly and out of control. A good part of my life’s work has been creating an environment where I can feel safe, secure and in control. An environment I want to provide my children. An environment made impossible with S’s addiction. So I’m using food and wine to make myself numb thereby keeping my emotions ….temporarily….. at bay while really making myself ashamed and angry at myself – charming! So I’m berating myself mentally right now, calling myself all kinds of nasty names. But I’m going to be kind instead and realize once I identify my values and start to learn and use them I can change and that is hope.

C. In contemplating the role that addiction has played in your partner's life, imagine what his/her life would be like without this life management skill in place. To be clear, the task here is not to imagine his life without the consequences of the addiction, but to imagine how he would manage his emotions without having the compulsive act to engage in. How would he stimulate himself emotionally? What would he use to regulate his stress? Not how should he, mind you, but how would he?

At this time he doesn’t have another way to manage his emotions. I can see he keeps an extremely tight lid on his emotions. So tight in fact he often can’t tap into any emotions at all and I have sometimes wondered if there are emotions there to tap into. I believe there are. Right now I’ve been asking him for emotion, he’s been nonresponsive, I read this as rejection and I’m hurt, I lash out, he retreats, more stress is created……..

How would he stimulate himself emotionally or regulate stress? Without healthy values in place he would probably use other compulsions or addictions. Neither of us can change until we have the tools to do so. We can switch or white knuckle for a while, but we both have more to learn in order to change.


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