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 Post subject: Sunrise Healing Thread
PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2018 10:28 am 
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Exercise One: Sorry, my post was in the wrong forum. I hope this is the correct place. I am joining you from Germany and I hope my English is sufficient.

I was 35 when I met my yet to become 2nd husband, my son was 7 years old. In the aftermath the first signs of his addiction were there at the very beginning. He he had always lived alone and had no close friends. He was a lonely wolf. Successful in his job, earning good money, traveling a lot. Sex in the beginning (first two months) was good but he had difficulties with orgasm.

Looking back now I realize that I found out about his porn use when he moved in with us (6 months after we had met). I had unintentionally bumped into him when he was masturbating in front of his computer. I found many porn videos on his pc but he told me this was old stuff and he did not need it any more… He was often on business trips (4-6 nights per month) and was always exhausted when he returned. Our sex life was very unfulfilling and empty. He spent hours with his mobile or tablet on the loo. He tried to be very controlled and needed perfection. But he always wanted the relationship. We had many discussions and everytime he seemed to try hard to fit into the relationship. 5 years into our relationship I found an internet link for a prostitute service in Warszwaw where he had gone on business trip. Upon his return he denied everything told me how much he loved me and asked me 1 month later to marry him which I did.

There was always the feeling that something was missing in our relationship, sometimes we had good sex (I do not call it love making because of his behavior, i.e. he could not look me into the eyes and I assume that he had fantasies about other women). Somehow we managed… 2012 I discovered photos he had made and saved on his mobile from a prostitute. Since I did not find “more” than one proof he only admitted this one “infidelity” and swore his love to me. He promised to go to a therapist while I suffered in hell. From 2012 to 2013 we went to couple councelling and had “our best year”. He really tried hard to convince me that it had been only one “real” betrayal, we shared a computer and I started healing. I started loving him again, he was different. More open minded, more understanding, more communicative. I saw the glimpse of the man he might have been able to become….

One year later he returned from a business trip and wanted to show me pictures from his trip. There was a picture of a young beautiful woman with whom he admitted he had had an affair shortly after our marriage for almost two years. And then I began my search. I found pictures and films, made by him acting out with prostitutes from 2006 until 2012. Since I did not find anything between 2012 and 2013 I believed him that he was clean. Would I have known that there is an illness called sex addiction and what it means: I WOULD NEVER HAVE TRUSTED HIM AGAIN. But I did not know this and the therapist we both went to did not tell me of it either. We should have gone to a specialized sex therapist, but I think my husband was happy the way he was. He did not really want to change/recover. Of course I wanted to trust him again. He said he truly loved me and demonstrated it well for almost one year. He got on his knees and swore on the bible and on the death of his mother that he would never betray me again. He would always be there for me and support me…

I told myself that I had invested so much energy and time in our relationship already and since he was “clean” now for almost a year (I really believed that at that time and did not know of his illness/SA) I had finally gotten the husband I deserved. Oh my god, if there is any, I really did not deserve such a cheating and lying creature who calls himself my husband. In order to prove again his loyalty to spend the rest of his life with me he bought a house. I had started working full time after first dday in 2012 and told him regularly that he should tell me if he could not keep his vow. We had no children together and my fulltime job made enough money to support myself financially. I did not want to leave/divorce him since I wanted to believe him and live my “dreamlife” in a wonderful house, going on expensive holidays and playing golf at the weekends (which I honestly had already started hating because of his narcisstic behavior and outbursts on the course…)

After one year in the new house I got the feeling something was wrong. I could not grab or name it. He became more distant, could not tolerate me touching him and was mentally not in the relationship. He kind of functioned. To make it short after 2,5 years in the new house and two days after my 50th birthday we went on holiday in summer 2017. There were two bedrooms in our suite and he had left his mobile and his ipad in the other room. Somehow I came to my senses and checked him out which I had not done for almost 5 years because I wanted so dearly to trust him. I found an email to a working colleague in Poland with whom he had had sex on a business trip regularly. On the ipad I found porn material. Since I had told him regularly that I would leave him if he betrayed me again I left him while we were on holiday. Back at home I began to search and found sex pills in his office and travel bag. He returned home after finishing his holiday. I think he knew that it was over and he would not get another chance because he did not try hard to convince me to stay with him. The next day was our 9th wedding anniversary and he gave me flowers before flying on a business trip where he met with another colleague and had sex during lunch time which I found out because I checked on him when he returned. I was really lucky that I found this out again because I still was not convinced that he was an SA.

By chance I had found a book on sex addiction and finally started to understand what I had endured while living with him. I moved out a month later and it was no surprise to me that I was replaced almost immediately by another woman whom he had met online. He told me she was only helping him to get thru this difficult time. I went to a therapist and filed for divorce. This was the moment he started trying to get me back. He was missing me, the house was only stones without me and so on… Bute there was no clear “break-thru”, no commitment to work on his SA. He did not even admit he was a SA. I think this is the reason why he did not really try hard to make me believe him again. He was so deep in his SA that the need to act out was stronger than the need to keep me. I think he only missed me as his good energy, his balance in life, his disguise. He needed someone at home when he was returning from his other life. He got easily distracted by this new woman and even went on holiday with her to New York, the city we went to after our first dday. I was devastated but prepared since I had read all lessons on this very helpful internet site. I am so glad I am here and got so many answers already in the healing Workshop to my questions. We will get divorced in two days. But there is still so much work to do from my side to heal. How can I ever trust a man again? Why did god allow this to happen to me? What is the purpose of life? How can I get over this trauma?

For 7 months now I am working on my healing. I have found a very good therapist who has specialised in trauma therapy. I have found a very nice flat and I am living alone for the first time in my life. I do sports regularly and meet friends. While moving out my anger helped me to take all necessary steps. The anger has gone and I am still in the sadness phase (I do not want to call it depression yet.) It seems to be normal to grieve for a lost one up to one year. My family and close friends whom I have told parts of the story do not seem to understand that my soul is still struggling. And I cannot blame them. I don´t think that I would have been able to deal with a traumatized soul...


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2018 7:49 pm 
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Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 661
Sunrise - Welcome to Recovery Nation. I am sorry you need to be here, but this is a healing place to be.

You are not alone. The partners here understand. We have other partners whose first language is not English.

I found the lessons to be very helpful in providing answers to some of the questions I had. The partners forum is also a welcoming place to post and read.

I as well see a trauma therapist, and she has been very helpful to me.

It's not fair. It's not your fault. Nothing you did caused your husband to act out.

I know how traumatic this is, but we can heal.

With deep compassion,
dnell


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2018 9:15 am 
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Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2018 6:50 am
Posts: 6
Thank you, Dnell.

The healing Workshop has already been very helpful to me. I have been reading posts for the last 6 months. And I have done some exercises which I will post. My divorce was 5 days ago. It went well because we had no kids together and we had an agreement for separation of property. I had a hard time seeing him again. Although I was prepared well. He seemed to be suffering and I tried to stay composed. I cannot imagine living with him again (it is hard to believe that such thoughts still touch my soul... - would I have read what he has done to me I could only imagine to be happy to be rid of him....) and I still wonder what keeps me thinking about him. It seems to be the way to let go. I have been traumatized for a long time and I am working regularly with my trauma therapist.

In one of his "honest" moments he admitted that in the almost 15 years we had been a couple there was only one year without him acting out... This started my rethinking: What was really true in the relationship, what was faked? For the last 5 years I had been asking him to tell me if he could not do without it. And he lied me in the face, gave me Yoga CDs and told me not to feed my pain body. It´s like I have been living with a psychopath... Always wondering why the gut feeling and my body were telling me a different story. My son had already moved out 3 years ago so there was no need from my husband`s side to keep the relationship. But of course there was. He needed me as his "good life", his good energy, his normality - also as a facade for his job. I do understand his motives now and I am trying to move on. Since it is Easter I have time to reflect and memories appear and I try to accept them and let them go...

I know that I am not alone in my pain. Although I do not wish anybody else to go through such a life changing experience. I greet my sisters in this healing forum and hope that we will all find a way to cope and heal.. With love - Sunrise


Last edited by sunrisetohealth on Sat Apr 14, 2018 2:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2018 9:15 am 
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Exercise 2: Create a vision that represents the real you. The one that you will be reconnecting to on your path towards healing.
I see myself as a confident healthy woman being able to cope with life on my own. I will have accepted that life is not fair but that there is still a way for me to find happy moments. I will have done my therapy work properly in order to understand what patterns may have helped to end up in a relationship with a narcisstic SA for such a long time. I will have readjusted those patterns and I will be able to feel and trust my gut feeling. I will have found a job I really love and find fulfillment. I will eat properly and will do sports with friends and alone on a regular basis.I will have a good relationship to my parents and my sister. I will be a loving mother to my grown up son. If I ever manage to trust a man again to start a relationship I will not hide in his shadow nor will I tolerate any inappropriate behavior.

Exercise 3: A) Brainstorm the times when your 'gut feelings' have been right about your partner's sexual and/or romantic behavior. Include times when you feel strongly that you were right (though it may never have been proven either way).
I was not aware of my husband being a sex addict. But there were many situations were my gut feeling and my body told me a different story. In the aftermath I think that I have been right in every situation where my gut said one thing but my heart overruled it, because I had let my love blind me or my wanting to believe that everything is ok in order to keep my life and relationship the same. I remember one evening when we were on holiday abroad in a nice club hotel. We had met a young woman in the morning at breakfast and my husband had talked to her endlessly about ginger tea. In the evening I went to bed early because I was not feeling well and he wanted to stay. I woke up in the middle of the night with high fever. My husband was not yet back and he told me in the morning that there had been a farewell party for this lady and he had been celebrating with others in the club`s disco. Although he did not even like dancing and he never wanted to stay with me at the bar. It was so obvious but I was blind.

B) Identify as many major situations as you can where you allowed your head/heart to override your 'gut feelings' in relation to your partner's behavior.
No sexual desire towards me, or doesn’t maintain erection long/during sex
Files with woman names in his laptop which he deletetd when I found them and before I could look into them
New ladies underwear in his cupboard which I found in the beginning of our relationship
Told me about a slip he had got in a table dance bar before we had met
Took his phone and tablet with him on the loo where he spent at least 1 to 2 hours a day…
Inappropriate/immature behavior towards my son (who is not his son and who has already moved out)
Did not want to talk to me (reduced communication)
Did not want eye contact, e.g. at the weekend at breakfast he often did not want to talk and was absent minded
Did not want me to kiss or touch me
Stayed longer at the office, went out with colleagues
Answered a question about his holiday in Boston were he went to alone by being overly broad or overly specific.
He avoided questions by basically giving the answer to a related topic but not really addressing the direct issue.
He had two credit cards but stored only for one the slips on his computer.
I found an anonymous card in his wallet only bearing a number. He told me the card was for the laundry cleaning - I am convinced it was the entry card for a sex club.
He often went alone to the golf course in the evening without beeing appointed with a friend. He could have done anything during that time....
I had often a strange feeling when we were visiting my sister who has a beautiful daughter and he seemed to like her very much.
When we went on Holiday on Mauritius he actively befriended with a younger couple. The woman was Polish and beautiful. I am convinced he had fantasies about her.
He always deleted his browser history. He was very secretive with his Smartphone and tablet. He bought an extra Internet card for his iPad in order not needing to connect via WLAN while staying at a hotel on a business trip or on holiday. Thus his internet moves could not be traced by the hotel.

C) Relying on the experience you have gained, make a list of likely behaviors, situations and/or feelings that may trigger a conflict between your gut instinct, your value system and/or reality.
I think that because all the things that tipped off my gut feeling were mostly all right rather than allowing myself to see reality. Because of all these things being true indicators and not just the product of insecurity or groundless suspicion, I will do a better job of listening to my instincts and trusting myself.

Exercise 4: 1) Make a list of those values in your partner's life that — in your gut — you believe is a part of him. Set aside the addiction and the behaviors that were a part of that addiction. Focus on what values you believe will survive the recovery process. Post these in your Healing Thread. If there is a time when you are feeling close to your partner, share these thoughts with him — so that he knows that you are beginning to separate the addiction from his core identity.
I will not answer this question since I have left my partner. But I nevertheless see a need to do this healing workshop to survive the trauma I have experienced.
2) Make a list of those qualities in your partner that you believe will continue to pose as obstacles throughout your relationship.
I will not answer this question since I have left my partner. But I nevertheless see a need to do this healing workshop to survive the trauma I have experienced.

Exercise 5: 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?
I have not yet turned to irrational behavior to escape from stress. Maybe this is due to the fact that I only started comprehending in what kind of relationship I was in after I had left him. For 7 months now I start doubting what was really true and unique in our relationship and what was faked by him to keep it going. I was a naïve believer and maybe this mindset protected me from selfharming so far. For 6 years I had problems with my stomach (irritable bowel disease), my body showed other psychosomatic symptoms like skin irritations (after our marriage I got a skin rash all over my body which lasted for 3 months). I learned later that this was happening at the same time as he had started an affair with a work colleague. If I get under stress my arms begin to hurt. I had stress at work last week because of a restructuring process and the next day I could not lift my right arm. I had the same psychosomatic symptons before our first dday which lasted for almost 2 months.
During all this time I was helping myself with autogenic training, yoga, jogging and reading self help books from Katie Byron and Eckhart Tolle. Now I realize that all these measures helped me to function and stay in the relationship...

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 don´t engage in any compulsive behavior apart from smoking 2 to 3 cigarettes a day. The only anxiety I have experienced was when I tried to check up on my ex husband while he was somewhere else in the house. I got heavy heartbeating and it was like a Trance state. I could not stop searching for evidence. After we broke up and I was alone in the house I started searching again extensively. I never did any physical harm to me. But I am really trying hard to understand why I was able to have tolerated his inappropriate behavior and his betrayals for such a long time. This is something I try to figure out with my therapist. I think the foundation was laid in my youth when I grew up with my grandparents. They had a relationship full of betrayal and mistrust…. My mother was instrumentalized by my grandfather. Somehow this experience changed my perception of men and made me tolerate inappropriate behavior….
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?
He would plan his next golf session or golf holiday, he would do some sports, he would buy a new watch or car, he would play online racing games, he would try hard to find something to complain about because he has a strong narcisstic character.

Excercise 6: A. Of the four areas discussed in this lesson, which have you observed in your partner?
He thought that I did not know what he was doing in his other world —therefore it had nothing to do with me and was not hurtful/harmful to me.
He thinks he is perfect, a real genious and most of the other men are failures
He doesn´t have a sensitive bone in his body
Obviously was not thinking about any long-term consequences of his actions or was rationalizing it away because of his need to instantly be rid of boredom and stress
He was not able to consider any needs other than his own in his decision-making process
Sexualized mind / objective mind
The object stimulates the addicts emotional needs—he needs women to find him attractive and pleasing sexually, if he does not find them he buys them… When he first told me about escort women he told me that they decide over lunch or dinner whether the evening continues. He was convinced that all of them found him attractive and therefore offered their sex services to him. It did not cross his mind that the prostitutes did it because of the money he offered. And the saddest time he told me for him was when the act was over and they left him alone in his room!

Exercise 7:
I. Effective communication
I tried to make space for honest conversation. I did not know of this illness SA and thought it was infidelity. I wanted to trust him again and stopped mentioning the subject 1 year after dday. I told him that I would leave him if he could not stop his acting out behavior. I would not tolerate any sarcastic attacks against my son and asked him to leave his education in my responsibility. I was the good balance in his life and lost my own balance...

II. Managing your partner's recovery
We went to a couple therapist for 6 months. She did not inform me about the illness sex addiction but merely treated his affairs and visits to prostitutes as infidelity.
II. Empowering/disempowering a pursuit of health
I do some sports and yoga, go jogging with friends and attend a mantra chorus. I have a few “girl friends” who kind of act as my support group. I do know one woman in our neighborhood who experienced the same nightmare. She cannot understand that – after having left my husband – I still need to understand his addiction and what kind of role I have played in his story.
B. Consider the focus and attention that has been offered to your partner in recovery; are you gaining equal resource to heal your own wounds? If not, what can you do to ensure that your healing is considered every bit as important as your partner's recovery?
Right now, Recovery Nation lessons and exercises are a great source of healing. Behavior therapy helps me to understand why I could tolerate his addiction for such a long time. I think that I find a lot of meaning at work.

Exercise 8: If you were to identify three issues relating to your partner's recovery that you would like to see changed, what would they be?
Even though we have been divorced last week I will give some answers:
1) Ability to communicate in general and to feel real empathy.
2) Self-reflection and growth in order to feel what nightmare he has put me thru.
3) Full disclosure: I would like to know everything and I would like to get a full apology. Since he is a banker I would like him to pay for every lie just for him to recognize how much he owes me…
B. What are the key signs that you have observed in your partner that lead you to believe that he/she is NOT engaged in a healthy recovery?
He did never see himself as a SA. It was just infidelity and affairs. “A normal men thing”.
He struggled to get in touch with his emotions, identify them, identify the reasons for them, or to express them.
He was not very good at integrating change across all areas of his life. For instance, he had such a difficult time seeing the similarities between his compulsive use of pornography and drinking. He was a master of compartmentalizing things, which I think is one of the reasons he was awful at disclosure—because the information is stored in different compartments (porn use, affairs, escort services..)
C. How have you communicated your observations to your partner? Have you communicated the healthy observations as well as the unhealthy? How has your partner responded?
I have left him immediately after I found out that he still has an affair with one of his foreign business partners. This was 5 years after dday. We had done counseling and I had gone thru hell twice. I would have done anything to keep the relationship and help him but he did not even admit that he was a SA. He knew for 5 years that I would divorce him if he acted out again. I left him while we were on holiday. I returned home alone and found sexpills in his travel and office bag. I could not tolerate living with him under one roof any longer.
I have turned the focus on myself and my healing. It takes time and it is hard. But I hope I will heal.



Exercise 10.
A) Return to your vision created in Stage One; Lesson Two. Select the three most important values that you need right now to help you stabilize your life.
B) For each, think about the meaning and fulfillment you are getting compared to the potential meaning and fulfillment available.
C) Develop a specific plan that will allow you to maximize the potential in each of those three values.
D) List the steps you will take in the next 24 hours to begin strengthening each value.
1. Physical Health
a. I have little free time outside of work. I do my work out in the evening on a hometrainer bicycle and I go jogging with friends at the weekend.
2. Confidence in my own beauty
a. I am confident in my physical self. I am proud of my body and I exercise regularly. Some days I do yoga in the morning before work. I have a boss who appreciates my work and who supports my new won self esteem.
3. Self-growth
I have excelled at work and got promoted. The company is currently restructuring and I really need to focus on my job in order to keep it. I will try to use my spare time to see friends regularly. I would like to be a bit creative, maybe I will visit a writing course.
Lesson 11 was writing the letters. I did write a letter from myself to my partner when I left him and I got an apology from him. This is as far as it goes. He did never admit to be an SA and thus all his apologies are lies…

Exercise 12

AA. Describe where you are now in terms of your response to the discovery of your partner's addiction. Not where you were last month, or where you hope to be next month. Where are you right now?

I think I have moved to the awareness stage. I have found a very good trauma therapist who is also looking into my childhood in order to identify patterns which have helped to make me accept inappropriate behavior from a narcisstic SA. I have been divorced last week. There is still a long way to go to becoming the woman I want to be. But I think there is enough resilience in me to survice this traumatic experience and to live a fulfilled life with happy moments. I have very good friends who support me and this healing workshop has helped me to understand the nightmare I have been put thru. The only way for me to forgive my ex-husband is to see him as a SA and thus marking him as a very ill and mislead person.
B. Because you have experienced a traumatic event in your life — and the discovery that the foundation of your life has been jeopardized is severely traumatic — there are common patterns that you should expect and even prepare for in the months and years to come. Discuss what these patterns might be and how you will deal with them. There are no right or wrong answers here. The goal is to begin looking ahead with a realistic and constructive eye. To realize that with even the best healing process in place, the trauma that you have experienced will have a lasting — albeit not permanently destructive — effect on your life.
It seems like patterns that come up/ will come up in the future are:
Cycles of emotion that come up when I am triggered by familiar experiences or circumstances
Friends who do not know the “whole story” treat it like infidelity. Some of their remarks trigger me because I do not get the help and understanding I really need. I have cut contact to the family of my ex-husband because I do not want to tell them the truth. Sometimes they try to reconnect. I really miss some of them but every contact with my past brings back memories. I will deal with those moments when they occur and have 2 close friends who know the truth and are always there to comfort me.


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