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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2015 11:58 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 7:14 pm
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When my wife reacts to some little thing that seems insignificant to me but brings back the scores of lying, cheating, stealing, encounters with whores remembrances I too often try and explain "why" I did the stupid little thing ( like when I go to a gas pump on the right when she said "just go the one on the left" even though I noticed that the one on the right would be a little faster . . .it came across that I don't listen to her, what she says means nothing to me, and I don;t care about her)

I set this up by my actions long ago . . .well 18 months ago over a 10 year period . . .when I try and explain why I did what I did it just comes across as an excuse to her . . .is there a difference between an explanation and just making an excuse or have I just created a situation in our relationship that unless it is a suggestion to commit a crime, i just need to "eat my explantation" and understand that I this is the scenario I have created by my years of cheating, stealing, lying and unfaithfulness?

This is probably an easy answer but it is helpful to process through it in words.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2015 9:51 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:47 pm
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Hi there, DBAck,

DBAck wrote:
This is probably an easy answer but it is helpful to process through it in words.

It is quite obvious from your post that you do know the answer to this, but I'm happy to oblige ... however, on this one I draw more on my experience as a partner so I hope you don't mind me trying to explain a tiny fraction of what might be going on with your partner at the moment. Hopefully, hearing it from someone else (me) might make it safer than in your interaction with your wife. If it has the opposite undesirable effect and you feel threatened or blamed, I do apologise, this is definitely not the intention behind this post.

DBAck wrote:
I too often try and explain "why" I did the stupid little thing ( like when I go to a gas pump on the right when she said "just go the one on the left" even though I noticed that the one on the right would be a little faster . . .it came across that I don't listen to her, what she says means nothing to me, and I don;t care about her)

On Dday, your wife went through major shock and trauma which probably still unfolds today. Everything she thought she knew about you and your marriage was swept away in a matter of seconds. All of a sudden she was faced with the reality that probably you never loved, respected or cared for her. Not only that, but you have been pretending for decades to do so. All of a sudden you've become a complete stranger to her ... actually, it's even worse than that because a stranger might still enjoy the benefit of the doubt. I'm sure it took her months of excruciating pain only to adjust to the new reality and accept it as such. This is where she is probably now, operating from this state of mind of complete distrust in you. It's quite normal for her to doubt every little thing you do and to try and find ulterior explanations, usually in the negative ... she probably feels compelled to find any reinforcements she can to sustain her newly found reality: that you never cared ... Now, thanks to Coach Jon, it's common knowledge on RN that you probably did care as much as you could, and it can be explained through compartimentalization, however, one of the most common reactions for partners in the aftermath of discovery is to feel worthless. That cannot be avoided I'm afraid, it can only be dealt with and it takes a lot of time and conscious effort. This is something that the partner lessons and the RN community can really help her with. Your consistent efforts and showing her support and understanding might also have a definite say, however, she has to process things in her own time, when she is ready to do so. She cannot force herself into anything without further damaging herself. Healing, as well as recovery, is a process.

DBAck wrote:
I set this up by my actions long ago . . .well 18 months ago over a 10 year period

I remember I read somewhere on RN when I first joined that healing a relationship from SA takes double the amount of time of the deceit. I remember feeling that in my case 2 years (10 months of marriage x 2 = 20 months) felt like a very long time ... The two years are up and we are still struggling, not so much but it's not completely healed, we are not completely over this episode, I would give it maybe another 2/3 years or so, if all goes well and there are no setbacks. In your case, do the math ... Maybe it's not necessarily true what the person said or maybe it does not apply to decades of marriage but still, I think it should give you an idea of the time horizon you are looking at. I don't want to discourage you but it might as well not happen ... if it does, you can consider yourself blessed even if it comes 10 years from now on ... Either way, if I were you I would take a long breath and settle in as cosy as you can ...

DBAck wrote:
is there a difference between an explanation and just making an excuse

Well, there is a difference. It might be an explanation from your perspective and it might be an excuse from hers. Explanation implies delivering reality whereas excuse implies distortion of reality, pretence, faking, deceit. Remember, she still tries to cope with the reality that you've pretended and lied for years. It's only normal that she is suspicious about everything that comes from you and her reaction is to try and look for her own explanation for your actions and she would invariably interpret them as proof of her newly found reality ... her being nothing to you, worthless. Don't think you are the only one who suffers and she is doing this to punish you in any way ... I can assure you she suffers probably more than you do ... when every little thing is a constant reminder of you betrayal ... it's constant torture but she probably cannot help it. She will have to process it for as long as it sinks in and she can let it go.

DBAck wrote:
i just need to "eat my explantation" and understand that I this is the scenario I have created by my years of cheating, stealing, lying and unfaithfulness?

I do believe that you have to accept what is happening as a direct consequence of your actions. But do not "eat your explanation". I believe you need to state your truth but do so in a gentle and empathetic manner. The worst you can do is to get angry and become aggressive, defensive or frustrated. The best is to state that you understand what she goes through and it saddens you to know you are the cause of it all, then state your explanation and the fact that you fully accept that she cannot believe you at this point. Then recommit to build an honest life from now on, one that she might hopefully be willing and able to see one day if/when she is ready to do so.

Now, a little sidenote, if you don't mind ...
DBAck wrote:
brings back the scores of lying, cheating, stealing, encounters with whores

I would encourage you to think about how you view the women you were acting out with ... whether they were prostitutes or otherwise. Try to think about them as real people, with lives, with families, with connections, with spare time, with joys and misfortunes, with pain and misery ... human being, just like you. Think about why they do the things they do ... drugs, money, SA, exploitation ... I'm a bit concerned that thinking about them as "whores" indicates you are still objectifying these people, even if in a rejection kind of a way. I do not believe that disgust or hatred is the antidote to sex addiction. And I would not build or lean my recovery on emotions. I believe that transitioning to health requires a more hollistic approach towards people which implies acceptance and detachment from addiction instead of disgust and rejection. One of the reasons is that labelling people as "whores" and dissociating yourself through repugnance might never allow you to fully accept yourself and your past. Growing empathy and compassion equally towards yourself and others will lead the path towards self-acceptance. Just something you might want to think about.

To wrap it up, I believe that you and your partner would greatly benefit from the RN workshop. I can't know about her but you have not been very consistent with completing the lessons. I know where you stand on this one but it is my duty to keep inviting you to do the work and give a well-proven structure to your efforts. Feel free to proceed whenever you are ready but keep in mind that it can really help you in your struggles. Many of us are living proof. Your life is yours, your choice is yours, as always ...

Be well,
Ursula

_________________
"A wholehearted attention feels like the nurturing presence that I always wished I had in a parent. Now I am free to be there for myself in a way that I assumed I needed from someone else." Tara Bennett-Goleman, Emotional Alchemy


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2015 6:58 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
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Ursula
what a fantastic reply thank you
how blessed we are having a mentor with such a depth of experience and empathy for both sides of this destructive _ I leave others to give it their own label
DB
I hope that you learned from it and take on what you learned
I certainly did and definitely will

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Remember recovery is more than abstinence
Every transition begins with an ending
Do not confuse happiness with seeking pleasure
stay healthy keep safe
Coach Kenzo


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2015 12:19 am 
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Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 7:14 pm
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Thank you for your perspectives . . I see and hear truth in much of what you are saying . . .we are at a point where looking at the people that I was with during my time with prostitutes where acknowledging them in writing as hurting people is an attitude that might reflect that I still long to be with them . . .I do understand that I was every bit, if not more a mess than they were but as I write this I want no indication of a renewed longing to be with them . . .thus the whore label . . .I do see the messes that their lived were in but at this point need to work on me instead of saving the world! but your point on how I view them make sense. . .thanks

In my words I have acknowledged that she may never trust me, may doubt everything I do for the rest of my life . . .in my mind I am still dealing with emotions that tell me that wow, that was a pretty good day, or hour or whatever which sends me to the thoughts of "how can she not just forgive and forget?" Reality then sets in and I remember that it is going to take a long time if ever . . .because of the distrust , lying, cheating, stealing that I did during this years.

Be grateful that I am still in the picture, live right and enjoy the good times and perservere through the waves of emotions that sometime take her over . . .thank you for your insights and your invitation to continue the lessons.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2015 1:45 pm 
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Hi, DBAck,

First of all, I salute your willingness to discuss uncomfortable issues. I think your reply requires some further clarification on my part.
DBAck wrote:
I do see the messes that their lived were in but at this point need to work on me instead of saving the world!

That's just the thing. Your work on yourself implies owning your previous behaviours, not rejecting them. I know that the distinction may not be very clear, especially early on in recovery when people feel that hatred towards anything associated with addiction has the effect of minimizing the temptation to act out. If this were accurate, recovery would be a walk in the park as most of the people do experience quite intense feelings of hatred and loathing. However, it is not, because it's not a matter of loving or hating addiction but a matter of underdeveloped emotional management skills which take time and effort to address.

Owning your past behaviour is instrumental in transitioning to health. It implies self-forgiveness, self-compassion, self-understanding, self-confidence, making peace with oneself knowing that what has happened, as unfortunate as it is, cannot happen again. It implies that the shame and guilt is shed and the past has no longer any grip on oneself, it implies freedom. I believe that self-compassion and self-forgiveness cannot be achieved if you do not develop them equally towards other people. Forgiving yourself for certain behaviours while castigating others for similar deeds can create a scission of the self which is one of the root causes and mechanisms which allowed addiction to develop in the first place. People in recovery especially need to grow consistency of values and integrity in their application in order to put an end to compartmentalization. In other words, we need to make sure that the measurements by which we evaluate ourselves are the same instruments by which we evaluate others. So, it is definitely not a matter of saving the world or doing others favours. It is for your own benefit directly in more than one way.

Apart from assisting with owning your past and developing self-compassion/forgiveness, putting conscious effort and exercise into viewing others as complete individuals, with dreams and hopes, pain and misery, humanizing them, is considered the most powerful antidote to the most pervasive and eluding SA behaviour, scanning. If it seems hard to believe, consider the opposite ... surely, devaluing someone as nothing more than a "whore" (and other related mental images) would actually favour objectification, mistreatment, using them unscrupulously. Whereas taking time to see them as a whole, real person would instill compassion, understanding, respect, which would reduce the urge to escape to disrespectful fantasy &/or acting out while keeping the person grounded in reality. Objectification (perceiving others as nothing more than objects to be used for personal gratification) is central to sex addiction. Its antidote is a conscious effort of mentally humanizing people which brings about a permanent change in perception.

DBAck wrote:
we are at a point where looking at the people that I was with during my time with prostitutes where acknowledging them in writing as hurting people is an attitude that might reflect that I still long to be with them . . .

I understand that the "we" stands for you and your wife ... I understand what you say about acknowledging the humanity of certain people may be confused/taken as a still active interest in acting out. However, I'm confused whether it is indeed so or it is something which your wife believes/suspects.
If it is still so, you are probably white knuckling your way into recovery and provided you do not change your approach, it is probably just a question of time until you will fall ...
If it is not so, but you are adopting and developing this attitude to appease your wife and make her confident of your disgust towards your addiction as a guarantee of your recovery ... well, I would not recommend it, again, for more reasons, one of them being the above-mentioned benefits you are forgoing ...
Another reason is related to the need that you find your own voice and take the lead in your own recovery, as long as you are honest with yourself and her and as long as you are driven by a sincere desire to recover. I know that the shame and guilt would drag you down and would tell you you don't have the right after all you've done but make no mistake, it is not so. You do have not only the right but the responsibility of taking the lead in your recovery. Your wife has the right to take it or leave it but you are responsible for the outcome, so you need to take the decisions regarding the paths to follow or attitudes to develop. I know that it can be challenging to explain all this to your partner but I'm confident that she can see the logic in all this. Growing empathy towards her pain and her fears, exercising patience, developing non-threatening communication, being consistent in your efforts, finding the proper balance between being gentle but assertive, working on all of these will hopefully make her confident enough to trust your lead in your own recovery.

Hope this helps,
Ursula

_________________
"A wholehearted attention feels like the nurturing presence that I always wished I had in a parent. Now I am free to be there for myself in a way that I assumed I needed from someone else." Tara Bennett-Goleman, Emotional Alchemy


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2016 12:44 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 6:10 pm
Posts: 511
Ursula - it's fantastic that you can provide such a detailed and helpful perspective from a different point of view. I know it's been helpful to me in the past and reading your comments above has reinforced some points to me again. It's sometimes easy to forget or overlook some parts of the recovery process, and the reasons behind why we are going through that process and it's good to have a gentle reminder from you!

Thinking about the people we objectify and how they are real people with their own problems, fears and concerns is always a strong tool in my own armoury, but I need to deploy it 100% of the time. Thank you for reminding me of that!


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