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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 6:47 am 
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 5:16 pm 
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Exercise 1

Completed.



Exercise 2

I had a feeling of trepidation with regard to this exercise. While we have made a considered decision to work through the challenges of SA on our marriage this activity really stretched my resolve. I am still very much traumatised by the recent unveiling of my husbands SA behaviours. I am not certain who he is and what he is capable of. I felt that this exercise asked me to be dependent and rely on someone who at the very least has deceived me for 17 years and on an emotional level broken my confidence in what people who present as caring and loving are capable of. My instincts/emotions were warning me not to do this.

We considered moving forward without doing the exercise but after some reading I thought that it would not give us the best possible chance to recovery so we went ahead.

I was pleasantly surprised that my H went to some trouble to cook up a beautiful meal. He chose food that I like to eat as well as that would be easy to feed to me. We had a good conversation and I felt more comfortable than I thought I would. His consideration for my needs knowing how anxious and uncomfortable I was about the evening felt reassuring.

He brushed my hair which was relaxing and we had good conversation.

Early in the evening my I was tense and on emotional edge but gradually this subsided to a more relaxed state. I was open with H about my concerns with this exercise. He listened to my reasoning and I felt he understood. After deciding to go ahead and knowing that I was uncomfortable he made every effort to be supportive and patient. It meant a lot.

I am so glad that we chose not to skip this exercise. It was definitely a challenge for me and as a result I took away some good learning.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 6:06 am 
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Exercise 2:

As PVV said in her post, there was a degree of trepidation with this exercise that had been discussed in advance. We had oscillated a couple of times between going ahead and skipping it.

I got a lot out of the exercise but now that I read PVV's post I'm especially glad we went ahead.

As a result of our conversations before hand I had thought about, and taken steps to try and minimise any awkwardness she might feel while being fed. I was thinking about not having food that would be hard to feed her and might spill. Mashed potato, asparagus, and simple piece of steak that would be tender, easy to eat. I hadn't realised that the simple act of thinking about what she might like, and trying my best to provide it, would be thing that was most noticed and remembered from the exercise. No mention of how well cooked the steak was! For me the exercise was worthwhile just for this simple, and embarrassingly obvious, insight.

The other memorable moment for me though was after dinner and before hair brushing. As PVV relaxed she shared with me some aspects about how she sometimes feels when we engage in intimacy. I had no idea she felt like that.

My learning is that if I don't constantly work to connect with PVV, to create the time and space for us to safely and openly discuss these important aspects of our relationship, then I simply won't know how she feels, what she likes, what she doesn't like. And if i don't know, then what hope do I have to be the H she would love and deserve to have? Don't get me wrong, I'm well aware of the basic requirements that I need to meet in relation to fidelity. What I'm referring to here is everything else. I have so much to learn.

Whilst what I learned that night about how I make her feel was not at all good, I take heart that at least I'm learning and that at least PVV is willing to share those feelings with me. To encourage more of this connection and sharing we've instigated a routine of getting up earlier each morning and going for an hour walk with the two of us and the dog. This walking time, like exercise 2, is proving for me to be invaluable when it comes to learning about PVV and our relationship.

Baby steps in the right direction.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 5:21 pm 
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Lesson 3 - Value Conflicts

Physical Challenge
To date the my H’s desire to embark on major physical challenges has resulted in the emotional lowest points of our marriage. The justification of spending hours away from the family training and spending large sums of money on holidays with his friends was in the past explained to me as integral to maintaining his health. H needs a physical challenge to get him focused on improving his fitness.
The cost to our family emotionally has been huge. In the past he has valued his own health and fitness above that of the stability of our family.
I believe his health and fitness can be achieved in a variety of ways that are compatible with protecting our relationship and maintaining a good family dynamic. There must be another way to fulfill this value and not completely disregard all other values which H lists as important to him. I don’t feel that satisfying one value at the expense of all others is a healthy way to live.


Work
Work is listed as third on H’s list of values. In life however work has definitely been prioritised as first, followed by his health and fitness routine and then the rest. Work has been a constant interruption to family dinners, weekends, holidays and just peaceful downtime. By having shooting for number 1 at work as a value I wonder how that could ever be achieved, who measures that and what if after all that work H has put in he is not given what he thinks he deserves? What if he achieves number 1 and then has all the pressure of staying there?
Now that we are making changes to our lives and he is focusing on his recovery I feel that H is overwhelmed. He is still shooting for number 1 at work while making major changes in his personal life. I worry that he has taken on to much and am concerned whether he can maintain this value while tending to a healthy recovery.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2013 8:32 pm 
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Partnership Contract

Additional Healing Contracts
The following are additional boundaries and/or consequences that have been established in mutual understanding and agreement:


Recovery
Unhealthy Behavior and Consequences
Using prostitutes, massage therapists or any other person than myself to physically satisfy a sexual need.
End of married/intimate relationship. Continuation of relationship in order to parent children.

Giving up on rehabilitating from sexual addiction.
End of married/intimate relationship. Continuation of relationship in order to parent children.

Viewing pornography
Revision of personal values and reflection on how this behaviour aligns with them. Develop new strategies to avoid use of pornography to deal with emotions/urges. Discuss with me and your counsellor.

Masturbating while alone
Revision of personal values and reflection on how this behaviour aligns with them.
Develop new strategies to avoid use of masturbating to deal with emotions/urges. Discuss with Counsellor.

Fantasising about sexual encounters
Revision of personal values and reflection on how this behaviour aligns with them.
Develop new strategies to avoid use of fantasy to deal with emotions/urges. Discuss with me and your counsellor.

Looking at women as objects “scanning”
Revision of personal values and reflection on how this behaviour aligns with them. Develop new strategies to avoid use of scanning to deal with urges. Discuss with me and your counsellor.

Lying or Deceiving
Revision of personal values and reflection on how this behaviour aligns with them. Discuss why lying was necessary. Discuss with me and your counsellor.

Not communicating openly about emotions
Revision of personal values and reflection on how this behaviour aligns with them. Discuss why open communication has ceased. Walk dog twice a day.

Giving up the current recovery plan
Discuss the change in approach. Develop a new strategy to overcome sexual addiction. Discuss with me and your counsellor.

Discontinuing Counselling with B
Discuss the change in approach. Develop a new strategy to overcome sexual addiction. Employ a new counselor.

Purchasing new pornographic material
Revision of personal values and reflection on how this behaviour aligns with them. Develop new strategies to avoid use of pornography to deal with urges. Discuss with me and your counsellor.

Partner
Distancing by either using the iPad wall or sleeping elsewhere without first trying to communicate how you are feeling and what is going on:
1) each event: discuss the next morning walk what's happening and how you feel
2) if distancing escalates to not wanting to do the morning walk and talk, then come to town and do lunch instead
3) if a pattern of regularly distancing develops and there is any sense that we are going backwards rather than forwards with our connection and communication then discuss alternative program communication skills building and/or attend joint counselling


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2013 10:38 pm 
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Exercise 5

Consider the following situations and share with your partner first an INEFFECTIVE way of communicating each; then how you WILL EFFECTIVELY communicate such situations should they come to pass.
If there are any disagreements/confusion with how these effective situations would be communicated, share them in your couple's thread.

We discussed the scenarios listed and were in complete agreement with how to deal with each hypothetical. A couple of them them we had actually experienced so it was good to revisit a similar situation without the intense emotional distress and map out a better way of handling the situation.

I think the main reason we were very much on the same page about these discussions is due to our work on the additional healing contract. We spent a couple of days working through setting boundaries and consequences. We have chosen a collaborative approach in handling boundary violations. Rather than the consequence being something being taken away we have agreed when a boundary is violated it means that more work should be done on living by our values. The consequences therefore broadly require us to revisit our values, discuss alternative ways to handle a situation and re-enforce and confirm the approach with a counsellor.
Note that there were two boundaries which I have stated are unacceptable to cross and will result in the end of our intimate relationship. I wish that I didn’t have to put them in but they represent a lifestyle that is so far from the way I chose to live my life that I have little patience and tolerance for them.

This may be simplistic or idealistic, it may not ultimately work but it is the approach which we have chosen to take at this point.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 12:12 am 
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Exercise 10

“If my partner did the things that I have done —exactly as I have done them—what would I need in order to rebuild my trust in him/her?”

This is an extremely challenging question to answer. I would be simply astonished if such a revelation were tabled. I would be not only be stunned that PVV could do such a thing, my own self confidence in my judgement of people would be severely damaged. How could this have gone on with me realising? I thought I knew her.

In such a state of mind I can only imagine it would take a long time to not only to rebuild trust in PVV but also to rebuild my self confidence to trust my own judgement. I can imagine I'd want to see:
1. A genuine sense of remorse for the damage and hurt she'd caused
2. Stopping the behaviour
3. A series of of clear and tangible steps being taken to address the root cause of the issues that led to the behaviour
4. A change. Not just a small change but changes that seemed significant evidence to me that she was indeed committed to me and had drawn a line under the alternatives
5. A feeling that I was again reconnected to her and that positive and joyful things were starting the reemerge in our partnership


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 12:32 am 
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Exercise 9

PVV's thoughts on this exercise were interesting:

1. PVV related to the analogy but felt the decision criteria were different between staying in business with someone who's let you down versus staying in a marriage.
2. PVV felt she would not continue with a business partner in that situation, however
3. as the marriage vows and commitments are different to business goals and objectives the situation is therefore different for the marriage as long as we continuing to move in the right direction
4. Interestingly also were her remarks that its very hard to say what you'd do until you're in the situation - if she'd been presented our scenario 6 months as a hypothetical question her view then might have been very different to now

I thought this exercise was very good. Really helped with the task at hand to look at the situation from the other's perspective.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 12:52 am 
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Exercise 8

In your Couple's Thread, discuss ways that you can practically implement the insights offered in this lesson.

Time
Be patient with my perception of his progress. I have an expectation that we will attentively and regularly work through the RN lessons. I will need to be aware that just because he has completed the lesson on effective communication he may not master this in a practical sense for some time.

Support
Provide positive feedback when he shows new insights or skills being developed. Thank him for disclosing information about his struggles or urges. Consider these disclosures as a gift and a sign that he is sincerely working towards his recovery.

Joy
Focus on planning family activities, simple events such as cooking a special dinner or a family outing. Welcome him into these events and give him the opportunity to interact with everyone. Reflect on the little things that bring me joy each day and encourage him to notice and experience these.

Role Modelling
Discuss my daily challenges and problem solving situations. Continue to spend time with friends and family. Continue to take up new challenges and hobbies and immerse myself in the feeling of being inexperienced which is followed by the satisfaction of learning.
Be understanding of the work my H is doing to recover. Acknowledge this work as his gift to our relationship which as a result will be stronger as we move forward.

Understanding
Continue to communicate that I am not perfect and therefore my expectation of him is not for perfection. Use his disclosure of mistakes or challenges as opportunities for constructive discussion. Acknowledge progress made from these discussions as stemming from his ability to be honest and transparent with me.

Accountability
The additional healing contract covers this well. Moving forward I can see that this should be reviewed and added to if required.

Mercy
As we are only 11 weeks into our recovery I think I will wait for a time before attempting to incorporate this need.


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