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 Post subject: Exercise 2
PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2019 6:26 am 
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My visions for the future, these have been difficult to put down on paper. They are still incomplete but this is what I have so far

To be more patient.
Not just with others but also myself, Give myself time and space to make a decision that’s right for me
to listen to what others say and try to understand from their point of view.



To be truthful and express myself effectively.
Try to be less shy and more confident in myself, say what I feel instead of burying it because I’m too embarrassed to admit to it.
Stop hiding my vulnerability and accept who I am.

To love freely and unconditionally, recover what I’ve lost. Redevelop my ability to trust myself and others

I am really struggling with my pregnancy at the moment and my other child. I feel like they would be better off with someone else at the moment.
So my hope for the future I that I will be a good mum to both of them and put them first what this means for my relationship with my husband I don’t know


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 Post subject: Re: Exercise 2
PostPosted: Sat Jul 20, 2019 11:22 am 
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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).

This is a hard one as I never had any inclination that my husband would ever cheat on me. Since I met him I’ve been in awe of him, he’s kind, generous, considerate and I always knew he really loved me. There was no doubt that he was trustworthy and therefore I never suspected a thing.


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.

Looking back over the last few years of marriage I guess there were a few instances that I should have picked up on but failed to do so.

The first I remember was one of our wedding anniversary dinners when we went to the restaurant an attractive blonde woman passed us. My husband was obviously interested and gazed at her which made me jealous.

Over the years whenever I borrowed his phone he would constantly have porn pages open on the internet explorer

A few months ago I found a sex doll in a bag in the spare bedroom. It frightened the life out of me when I found it and I thought it was a dead body.

He admitted not that long ago that he had phoned a tv sex line.


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.

Hiding any content on his phone, would result in a conflict.

Not telling me where he was going, or being late home

Large amounts of cash being taken out of the bank

A large phone bill

A change in style, dress or grooming habits


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 Post subject: Re: Exercise 2
PostPosted: Sat Jul 20, 2019 5:52 pm 
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Exercise Four
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.


He is a very generous man
So patient with my son
Protective of myself and my son
Good stepfather
Good provider, works really hard
Attentive, always there when I need him
Helpful, will always help others.


2) Make a list of those qualities in your partner that you believe will continue to pose as obstacles throughout your relationship.


Poor communicator, doesn’t like to be vulnerable doesn’t express himself clearly.
Doesn’t show emotion
Has low self esteem
Is insecure, thinks I’m only with him for his money.
When he feels rejected he treats me differently, can be short with me and can make me feel bad.
Nags for sex.
Jealous, thinks I will cheat on him
Unable to manage stress effectively
Won’t say no to anyone and then feels taken advantage of.
Addictive personality, has no will power.
Is a very convincing liar
Constantly needs rewarding for good behaviour


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 Post subject: Re: Exercise 2
PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 8:24 am 
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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?

When I have become overwhelmed in the past, I immediately begin to deny what has happened. I manage to convince myself that it didn’t happen. This gives me reassurance and allows me to function. As time goes by it’s as if it happened to someone else and it fades to a very distant memory. I rarely talk or think about it. When Im triggered by the incident, I push it to the back of my mind and tell myself it didn’t happen.

Anything overly traumatic would result in this behaviour ie relationship breakdown, a bereavement etc

I used this strategy after I was sexually assaulted at a party by a group of boys when I was a teenager. I spent a long time denying it happened, until I met one of the boys that did it years later and was confronted with the reality. I became depressed and anxious asa result. As time passed though I fell back into the pattern of pretending it didn’t happen. I don’t know how to cope with the feelings and I’m afraid I will fall apart if I ever tried to address it.


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.

For the last few weeks I have compulsively checked my husbands phone, email, text and social media accounts. I have waves of panic and doubt and this leads me to look for evidence that he is lying or being unfaithful. I search and don’t find anything and this gives me temporary relief until the next wave hits me.
I also question him about the events looking for inconsistencies though these do little if anything to give me any relief.
If I did not engage in this activity then I fear the wave of doubt and fear would not subside, I think I would withdraw from my husband further in an effort to protect myself from further harm.
The feelings I have are crushing fear, sickness and pain in my chest and stomach. The thoughts are obsessive and repeat incessantly until I have done the act.


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 withdraw emotionally from me in the first instance to communicate how he was feeling.
He would then take his frustration out on me and instigate an argument about sex.
He would tell me that I was the one with the problem and I needed to sort it out.
He would pout and take pot shots at me because he was frustrated.

He would engage in an unhealthy activity such as smoking or unhealthy eating to gain temporary relief and satisfaction.

He would distract himself by taking on a new project at work, maybe learning another language or working towards a degree.
At home he may buy himself exercise equipment and then use them for a couple of weeks until bored.


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 Post subject: Re: Exercise 2
PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 1:44 pm 
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Exercise Six
Understanding the sexualized mind will go a long way in allowing you to better relate to what you are currently experiencing. The more objective insights and awareness that you develop, the stronger will be your ability to maintain confidence and control in your life. And, the faster it will be achieved.

B. Quite often, many sexual behaviors occur with such subtlety, such consistency and/or are so well disguised (through humor, anger, guilt, etc.) that it is not until you filter these behaviors through a net of sexual addiction when you realize that they are indeed woven from the same cloth. But the reality is, the majority of sexual addicts have positioned themselves within a cocoon of sexuality that is not related to their personality, but rather, their addiction. With this in mind, think of your partner's behavior over the course of your relationship. Describe the patterns that you suspect can be attributed to a sexualized mind.

Since we met my husband engaged in a pattern of overly sexualised behaviour. At first it would come across as flirtatious, playful and intended in good humour. As described a hug would turn into a fondle, a kiss would see him trying to touch my breasts. When I would walk up the stairs he would walk behind me and grab my ass suggestively. When I would get undressed I would sometimes catch him taking photos of me with his phone.
I had never encountered this kind of behaviour with any other partner and thought it unusual. The behaviour would come out of nowhere, I could be making food or just walking past him would result in it happening. When I told him it made me feel uncomfortable and that it was too much he carried on doing it anyway sometimes I would shout at him for doing it but it never really stopped. Often he would tell me I was prudish or unloving because I did not respond to him the way he wanted. Over the years I must say I’ve gotten kind of used to it. I just put it down to that it was the way he showed affection towards me in fact the absence of this sexualised behaviour made me question whether or not he was still interested in me. I suppose I became conditioned over the years to expect it.

C. Of the four areas discussed in this lesson, which have you observed in your partner?

I have definitely witnessed 3 out of the 4 areas. Those are the sexualised mind as described above.

The objectified mind goes hand in hand with sexualisation. He has objectified me, the women he watches in porn and the prostitutes he uses. With dedication I think this can be overcome.

The need for immediate gratification, plays a definitive role in his addiction. The need is so strong he can and will risk everything to gain emotional fulfilment if only for a short time. I think this will be the most difficult of all challenges he will need to overcome.


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 Post subject: Re: Exercise 2
PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2019 11:39 am 
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Exercise Seven
A. Consider the role that you have played in your partner's recovery to date. In the field below, describe these roles as they relate to:
I. Effective communication
II. Managing your partner's recovery
III. Empowering/disempowering a pursuit of health

I have tried to engage with my husband about his problem in a calm and caring way, although this is incredibly difficult for me at times and I can’t help but become upset. He has shared all aspects of his addiction, and taken onboard suggestions by me. He’s consulted me about his recovery, to be honest this is the most we’ve talked in years. The communication is improving on his part and I feel he is sharing more voluntarily because he wants to and realises this is the only way forward. Though I don’t think it comes naturally to him and sometimes he needs to be reminded and prompted.

In managing recovery I have pointed out to my husband that this behaviour isn’t normal and suggested it was a sex addiction problem. I found a few resources online and sent them to him, I’ve talked about it extensively with him regarding recovery. We have attended therapy together. I continue to ask about his progress with his lessons. Other than that I’m not actively managing his recovery, at least I don’t think I am.

Empowering a pursuit of health. As much as I want to encourage and empower my husband to engage in recovery, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit apprehensive. He wants to become healthy and pursue exercise, due to his addiction I have issues with him being away from home for any period of time as this sets off my anxiety. I know I can’t control and monitor him forever but I’m struggling at least at the moment to step back a bit and give him a chance.

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?

I’ve been following the lessons, but like it says the path is not linear and I don’t really feel any better about things yet.
My husband is a lot more positive abut his recovery than I am of mine it is easy for him to measure his progress.
We are both seeing a therapist and had our first session a few days ago.
My husband has a large family who he can go to for support. Unfortunately they haven’t really shown any interest in supporting me, which I’ve found particularly upsetting and isolating.
I’ve only spoken to my mum about what’s happened. I have lots of friends I could discuss it with but I’m not comfortable it would stay private so I’ve chosen not to share it with anyone else.
Not sure what else can be done really but I know I would like some more support in the real world not just online but feel I can’t turn to friends and the rest of my family don’t want to know.


C. (optional) For those who have made the decision to either stay in the relationship or "wait and see", considering the roles discussed in this lesson (or additional roles that you have thought of), what changes might you consider making to your relationship that would increase its chances for success?

I think the therapist raised some really good points in our session so we will be making a lot of changes to our relationship in due course.
I think also that increasing and working on my values will also help the relationship.


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 Post subject: Re: Exercise 2
PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 9:44 am 
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Exercise Eight
While this workshop is about rebuilding your life, you are nonetheless impacted by the ongoing behavior of your partner (unless you have completely broken away from the relationship). For those who continue to be impacted by their partner's behavior:
If you were to identify three issues relating to your partner's recovery that you would like to see changed, what would they be?

His need for secrecy and to keep this matter private I feel is just another effort to minimise his behaviour. The less consequences he faces the better it is for him. I would like to see him take responsibility for what he’s done completely. It bothers me that he still wants to protect himself from the judgement of others, I am just supposed to carry his secret and act like nothing is wrong. I’ve had to go without support and sympathy to keep his shame a secret.

His lack of emotion is concerning, sometimes I get a glimpse of it now and then but largely it is absent. This makes me question whether or not he feels guilt, remorse etc.

At the beginning I asked him to make a commitment to making things work. I wanted him to rehome our 2 dogs as a gesture of his re-commitment to me. To date this has not happened, and I think he’s hoping I’m going to change my mind about it.


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 Post subject: Re: Exercise 2
PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2019 3:12 pm 
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Exercise Nine
A. What are the key signs that you have observed in your partner that lead you to believe that he/she is engaged in a healthy recovery?

Has started the recovery workshop and seems motivated.

Has started therapy and is sharing with the counsellor

Shares details of his recovery with 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 has set himself a goal of abstinence for 3 months time, this doesn’t really encourage me to think that this change is sustainable in the long run.

Has given up his privacy and I think he feels very uncomfortable with this. Feels like he has no power or control and feels taken advantage of because of this.

Not enough depth of understanding around the pain and damage he has caused.

I fear that therapy is going to be more about him trying to change me rather than trying to heal our relationship, I think the success of our relationship is ultimately dependent on my ability to give him more sex.

Not made any more effort to re home our 2 dogs which he has promised to do. I think he’s waiting to find out if things are going to work out first. But he agreed to re home them as a token gesture and sign of commitment to working through this, this has not happened and now I’m filled with more doubt about his ultimate intentions

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?

Have communicated some of them but not all, not easy to do as I get very upset angry. Might have to come back to this one at a later date or maybe tackle it in therapy .


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 Post subject: Re: Exercise 2
PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 4:09 am 
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Exercise Ten
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.

1.Be a good mother to my son and baby
2.Learn to express how I’m feeling truthfully
3.Reconnect with friends, and family to redevelop my ability to trust

B) For each, think about the meaning and fulfillment you are getting compared to the potential meaning and fulfillment available.

At the moment I’m not getting a lot of fulfilment from anything. Finding all of my values to be a struggle at present.

C) Develop a specific plan that will allow you to maximize the potential in each of those three values.

1. Prepare for the arrival of the baby, finish buying all essentials and set up room. Plan some fun things to do with Arran when he gets back for the week.
2. Start journaling my thoughts and feelings to help me process my emotions. Writing down my feelings has always helped me in the past.
3. Reconnect with my best friend, mum and dad. I’ve largely been avoiding other people lately as I just don’t know what to say but realise this is not helping me at all.
D) List the steps you will take in the next 24 hours to begin strengthening each value.

Make a list of baby items that we still need.
Discuss with Dan when to build crib and tidy up the room
Buy the following essentials
Curtains, Rug, Bath stuff, steriliser bottles nappies etc.
Make a list of fun things to do with Arran.
Discuss and plan activities with Dan.

Buy a journal, start recording my thoughts and feelings whenever I feel the need. Discuss important issues with Dan.

Plan some quality time with Aimee and my mum and dad.
Don’t cancel the events, turn up and enjoy yourself.


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 Post subject: Re: Exercise 2
PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 4:14 am 
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A. Write a letter to your partner, expressing all of the emotions that you have experienced as a result of their addiction. This is not intended to be a letter that he/she will read, but rather, a letter representing your most intense feelings.

Dear Dan

This last week has been so hard, it’s been a rollercoaster of conflicting emotions and thoughts. It seems wrong to try and sum up my feelings in just a few lines, because the effect of this betrayal is so utterly catastrophic I don’t think I will ever be able to fully comprehend it. Discovering your secret life and who you really are has left me feeling that our life/marriage/love was a lie, the implicit trust I had in you has gone along with any respect. The moment I read those messages on the computer was soul destroying, my world literally fell apart. I can’t shake the feeling of the initial discovery and I am terrified if it happens again i will not survive it.
I don’t want our child to be brought up in this kind of environment with one parent battling addiction and the other feeling emotionally crushed and forever at the whim of the others compulsive behaviour. As you know children model behaviour and I wouldn’t want my son or the baby growing up thinking this kind of relationship is normal.
You have hurt me so deeply that I fear the pain will never get better, and I am sorry but I can never forgive what you have done.
The thought of being without you and giving up our future together, raising our child leaves me feeling broken and like a failure.
But staying with someone who obviously has zero respect for me and our life together, who would hurt me and lie makes no sense.
Those nine years we have spent together have been the best of my life, but they are over now and I don’t think anything will ever come close to comparing. I loved you so much I can’t really put it into words, your the only man I’ve ever really wanted and I would have happily spent the rest of my life with you. The dreams I had of our future together have disappeared and the happy memories have been irrevocably tarnished.

Kelly


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 Post subject: Re: Exercise 2
PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 4:16 am 
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Upon completion of your personal letter, it will be your task to write one more. This one, a letter from your partner to you. In this letter, take some time to think about what it is you would say, "if you were them". How would you apologize? How would you offer reassurance? How would you explain the behavior?
The key to this exercise will be in your ability to write a letter that, if you were to read this from their own hand, would fill you with confidence that they understand the pain and confusion they have caused you.

Dear Kelly

I know I can not undo what I have done and perhaps it is pointless to try but I wanted to tell you that none of this is your fault.
I have had a problem for many years, it has influenced every relationship I’ve ever had and has destroyed the only one that has truly mattered to me.
I’ve hidden a great deal of myself from you and everyone else and I can fully understand how truly devastating it must have been to realise you have no idea who I am anymore.
I am truly sorry that I married you under these false circumstances and that I pushed you into ivf treatment and you ultimately became pregnant with my child. It was selfish to do so and I knew you really didn’t want anymore children but I did it anyway. I’ve trapped you with no option to get out now and I feel incredibly guilty for this and I just hope that when the baby is born you are able to overcome this and bond.
I can see how totally broken you are, barely holding on every day is a struggle for you. It kills me to know that I am the cause of such anguish when I know I was supposed to love and protect you from harm.

Dan


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 Post subject: Re: Exercise 2
PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2019 3:33 pm 
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Exercise Twelve
A. 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 have multiple intrusive thoughts everyday. I think about him texting her, driving to meet her, kissing her, sitting in the coffee shop together smiling and talking to each other. I think about them in bed together, how much he wanted her and not me. All the times he lied to me, walked in through the door after just meeting her and then acted like nothing had happened. I check his phone obsessively, email etc I have intense anxiety when he is away from me.
I’m in constant pain, I’m exhausted hurt and have intense feelings of anger and outrage. I wish sometimes that I’d never met him and that I’ve wasted the last 9 years of my life with a liar.
I feel anger towards him occasionally but she is the focus of my anger mainly, I think about throwing acid in her face and watching her melt.
My confidence has taken a real battering It’s been over a month now and I don’t feel any better. The only thing that’s changed is that I was sure that I loved him and wanted to make it work now I’m not sure.


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