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 Post subject: TTT hoping for healing
PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 5:36 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2014 7:06 pm
Posts: 28
Thank God I found this forum!

My background... My Husband and I are now separated due to my inability to deal with his double life an now I finally understand his addiction.
I am devastated and clearly we need space to see what develops.
I was driven to a mental breakdown through the sheer despair and betrayal of it all and like a never ending nightmare, desperately needing to be able to function on some level, whatever the outcome.

My husband is the most amazing guy in every way or so I believed... we had a great life and were the best of friends. I have other major relationships before, including a 13 year marriage. He remains the love of my life. Understandably I was devastated when I discovered 11 months ago a random message on his phone from Skout app a hook up site in your location.

To this day I will never know what prompted me to pick up his phone and read it. He was in bed and I heard it bleep while I was making coffee downstairs. The fact he had left his phone downstairs, and not by his side, demonstrates the trust he felt on my part.
It was a message from a woman "hey how are you this morning xx"
That one message changed my humble world forever... After confronting him (he went as white as milk) he fobbed me off with the triviality of it and spent the best part of the day justifying it and his reasons for using the app. Namely, curiosity, loneliness, boredom.. (we had moved into a new area a few years before)
Everything settled down for a week until he went back to work. He was away a week at sea a week at home.
When he went back to sea, I did some digging, something was not sitting right with me, especially his explanation of friendship with other women - he had me after all!
Well after that initial message, I discovered so much more. Dating sites, Craigslist, Badoo, Kik, checked phone bills and discovered picture messages and a severe addiction to porn and ringing brothels and sex workers. I was shocked, it is just not his nature to be like that. He was never overly sexual with me, I can see why now, but it caused a strain at times. The fact we had a brilliant relationship in every other way, was not really a huge concern.
I asked him to stay away for a few weeks but out of shock, desperation and simply missing my old life, he came back. Everything went back to normal pretty quickly. Despite my underlying feelings of hurt, rejection and not really understanding his motivations to risk everything.
When I tried to discuss it, he told me that I was never going to trust him, it was a separate part of his life and he does not know why he did it and he had given it all up, I gave up the pressure, the the feelings did not go, as I felt unable to express them or ask for answers in a way that did not cause further arguments and strain.
I tried to be supportive and work it through. I suggested books etc. but he did not seem interested.
He changed jobs at my request, we felt it would help with boredom, and also to see more of each other. I work, so even when he was home from sea, there is plenty of opportunity to spend time alone at home, he agreed it might be time to settle in new area for good.
Anyway, 8 months later, four weeks into new job he came home upset... He confessed that the child he believed to be his nephew aged 17 (long before we met) was in fact his son. His Brother, although divorced from the Mother, understandably upset and angry with him. Although I reassured him, it was before we met and he was only young at the time (20) agreed it was a reckless thing to do behind his brothers back, he dissapeared the next day, pulling out money and ending up at his mums house 220 miles away.
The mental health team took him into hospital for assessment, he came home, tired but unharmed.
The home crisis team came round the following day (as is usual when some one is reported missing and found, especially on the second occasion (it happened also in March).
He gave them some background, the problems we had in the spring and how he swore he had stopped the ringing brothels/etc on my son's life.
Long story short, I got depressed, resumed my detective work and discovered he had continued and was in denial there was any problem. The worst was web history researching prostitutes in an area some miles away, when he had four hours to kill while waiting for an emergency passport for a family holiday in July. I also recovered data from old devices and was shocked at the content.
I was shocked, he came home from work - I regret to say I physically attacked him and I myself had a breakdown and ended up getting taken away by mental health team.
As a result of this, he moved out the next day to temporary accommodation and now is in a room in a shared house. He deeply regrets all of this and is now looking for help.
Once he moved out I discovered other stuff too including three weeks of web history on a porn binge, some of it very hardcore and repulsive.
My life has changed unrecognisably over the last year. I miss him and the life I thought we had. But I also realise that he has a problem, and the relationship we had has been damaged.
I need to function again and allow him to understand the consequences of his choices and how they have affected my mental health.
I regret not asking him to leave in March, maybe he would be on the road to recovery now.
He is very frightened, he had a drink problem before. I am frightened he is replacing one addiction for another. I want some peace in my life.....but I also want my old life. I can't have that, its gone and I am grieving for that. I love him but despise his weaknesses. I feel sorry for myself, as I only loved and trusted him unconditionally, and now I am just very confused.
I have stated that for any future I am not prepared to go back to a life of snooping, distrust and feeling bad every day, he has claimed to want to recover, so this will be a long journey...

PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 10:32 am 
Partner's Coach (Admin)

Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2007 3:07 pm
Posts: 5200
Hello TTT hoping for healing,

Welcome to Recovery Nation. I am sorry you must be here, but assure you that here is a very good place to be.

As we have a policy of not posting on each other's healing threads (except for coaches and mentors) and another policy that discourages cross-posting (unless under specific circumstances) I wanted to let you know that I will message gatorbait and inform him of this (he is a new member, also). I have also deleted his post. The purpose of our policy is to ensure that each member feels safe and free to share whatever they need to share in their personal healing or recover thread (first and foremost) but also in the community support forum. There are other reasons as well, but I won't get into that here.

I wish you well as you progress through your healing.

Be well.

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. (Viktor E. Frankl)

PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2015 1:12 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2014 7:06 pm
Posts: 28
Thanks CoachMel

My Vision
To rediscover my own true identity in whatever way that reveals itself to me. To become aware of my own development towards a clearer future, whatever that entails.
To be a good friend, not only to those who have supported me in my difficult times but to be fully present in their lives. To take time to share their goals and development, so that I feel part of a community of like minded souls. I will explore my own meditation/reflection path, not fearing the feelings that will arise.
To continue with my own physical health recovery, including a full permanent recovery from M.E, in a way that is sustainable to lead a balanced and full life. This will involve having self discipline to work on my fitness goals in a structured way.
To overcome my own compulsions to control others and situations, namely to play the role of rescuer and enabler. My vision is to allow others to make their own way and deal with the consequences, without the consequences affecting my ability to function in everyday tasks.
My vision is to forge ahead with my career path and continue to work at looking at the positive aspects of my job, and have the confidence to find an alternative job when I feel that I no longer can feel the positive aspects.
My vision is to feel grateful for the people and situations in my life that have sustained me in my darkest hours and celebrate the good times, understanding that happiness can be a choice most days.
My vision is to have the confidence to pursue new experiences out of my comfort zone so that I no longer live my life with regrets for not choosing to stretch myself, for example training for a fitness event.
My vision is to feel my own judgement returning, so that I do not look to others for validation, to stop pleasing people for their approval, understanding that I am a worthwhile person to be around.
My vision is to feel attractive and vibrant, that I attract healthy people who stimulate and inspire me in large and small goals. I will do this by taking care of my own needs first and not be a martyr
My vision is to see the good in people again and to learn how to trust and see feel respected.
My vision it to rediscover my joy for life, not to feel negative.

PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2015 4:35 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2014 7:06 pm
Posts: 28
It has taken a long time to trust my gut instincts for many reasons. My Husband has clearly become a very convincing liar, but know I am more open to other subtle 'feelings' such as body language.
To begin with it was a random picking up of his phone, that even alerted me to the fact that he was deceiving me. However after that time, I learned very clearly to listen to my intuition.
My Husband used to walk the dog and take his phone with him, looking back I felt uncomfortable with this, after discovering his use of on line dating apps, it seemed strange.
He would often pop out for something making an excuse to pick something up, even repeatedly asking me if there was anything I needed. Looking back, why did he not do this in the day, why always when I was at home.
The fact when confronted he would panic, the over reaction would always seem so obvious now.
As we became more stressed with each other regarding his behaviour, he would get overly defensive. Again, not really in his nature, the mood swings as he struggled with his own secret became unbearable.
We used to go abroad for three weeks at a time. The uptight behaviour prior to going (sometimes to places with no or very limited internet access), seem very clear now. Again, he had a toolkit of excuses for his irritability.
I was drip fed information only when I played detective and discovered more and more. He would then admit after I had proof, the fact he originally denied it became a pattern where he would clearly lie about any clear question on my part to the truth. Subsequently, it became impossible to believe anything. I developed a gut instinct most days. As he would make it clear it was not up for discussion. I felt bullied and humiliated by this - my feelings did not matter.
Walking off and storming off/ putting down the phone was another behaviour that seemed disproportionate. If he had nothing to hide why the amateur dramatics?
On two occasions he disappeared, refusing to have any contact with me until the police found him as a 'missing person' within 12 hours. He would only speak to two people, who he would say over and over - " I can't keep doing this to her". This was an overreaction to the questioning on my part and his inability to answer truthfully. Recently, he had a day where he was very upset stating, I have hurt you too much, I am full of guilt. I then found out on the day in question he had been back on dating sites. His guilt had become very obvious, as my own breakdown progressed.
Sadly, after allowing myself to be convinced by his many reasons and excuses, I started to use my intuition a great deal more and everything I have suspected has always proved correct.
I suspected he used skype, I then found out he had. The only sticking point (as maybe I do not want to truly believe it ever became physical) was the pages of phone bills and web history around sex workers. If fantasy, why not look at sex workers in a very far location. However his calls and web history always revealed brothels very nearby. One phone bill showed ten calls in one day to a local lassage parlour. On the last call - ten minutes later he pulled out the exact sum of money at an ATM (I cross referenced the bank statement). When challenged he claimed he had never paid for sexual services. Why explore/call brothels so nearby then?
I wonder if he has done a Bill Clinton on me! I feel that he may have received other sexual acts if not actual intercourse.
Even collecting my son's passport ( In person from another city) he did the same thing (web history of prostitutes and reviews) - he had to wait four hours...
My gut instinct tells me that he did in fact use the services of sex workers, however as he will not disclose, I really cannot prove. I can not face the reality of that right now either.
Sort of covered above - He became a truly convincing liar, working late etc, all seemed very plausible. As it is so removed from my understanding I did not feel that I could monitor his every move, for example, why would I consider that given four hours to kill in another city, he would automatically look for sexual services? Even now it does not make sense as he is in every other respect an 'open book'. We had a shared email account. When questioned about the email address needed to use online apps, he 'forgot' the email address and 'password'. However, he did this with such acting skills I found it hard to doubt him. He will never give me specific details, always saying he does not remember or they are unimportant. I think it is because he has not had time to think about the lie he is going to tell. My intuition tells me he thinks of stories for what I/he will not find unbearable, spontaneous questions he cannot do as he has no planned story.
Also, because , he always stated on several occasions that he adored me, ringing me for example several times a day, when stating that his compilsions was 'fun' and he got 'sucked in' I wanted to believe this for my own ego and self preservation. To hear him say for example, " I just fancy her more than you would have hurt me, so I wanted to believe the reasons that suited me at the time?
After splitting up and getting back together again, his erratic behaviour did not seem like he had stopped, the smallest signs really. I became depressed and started to check web history again, he had gotten careless and it was on there to see as proof. When confronted he denied it three times. Until finally he got very angry shouting " of course it is me, I just did it okay!"
Now I am becoming more able to spot the bulls**t and recognise that there is always a pattern. He tries to stop, becomes agitated and guilty, tries overly hard with me, has compulsions, pulls back in a cycle. Now we are separated and not speaking, I am aware that he is still at different compulsions every day ,and always was. I do not let this affect me as much on a personal level. I hate that he is so weak - I gave him a route back, but he just does not want to go there.
After we separated we got back in contact as I hoped that him hitting rock bottom would trigger change. However, he made the smallest attempts of researching help and support. Given that he would research prostitutes and puntersnet for ages, this seemed low effort. Bottom line in our city there is an abundance of help, in seven weeks he accessed none. I had to sign post him to this site and others, with very little input from him.
I understand now that he has to want to change himself - I have totally stepped back have no contact at all. My hope is for him to get well, but my instinct says he will not for a long time. So it stands with him. I wish him well. But everyday that I understand less why he would do this, I understand more about why I should bother with him at all. It's the lies really, nothing with him is real now.

PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 4:49 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2014 7:06 pm
Posts: 28
Wanting to have others respect him
Enjoying simple pleasures and hobbies
Paternal skills

Weakness to be liked and ensure that he keeps a facade of likeability
Performing actions for show, rather than seeing the true value
Easily led and distracted
Overly flirtatious and wanting validation
Doing the bare minimum for a quiet life
Inability to plan for the future regarding finances
Not understanding that actions have consequences
Poor judgement regarding others intentions
Avoiding conflict at all costs

PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 7:40 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2014 7:06 pm
Posts: 28
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 manage stress in different ways depending on the situation. When reacting to mild to moderate stress, I find talking it through with a friend seems to be my natural state. I will go through the variable solutions to minimise stress but also to 'solve' the problem. As I am writing this I am aware that I am a practical 'solution orientated' person. I like to fix things. Usually I can - this makes me aware that I get stressed when I can't 'fix' something and the overwhelming need to do that makes it a challenge. I guess that I believe that most things can be 'fixed'. For example I fix up a house, face a budget head on etc. - this alleviates the stress and makes it more manageable?
Alternatively I would then try some thinking and reflecting, this again is a desire to 'fix'. Maybe meditation or going to the gym to express my feelings.
For severe stress - such as this situation has produced, I would smoke, and then drink alcohol. Maybe to the point of intoxication to numb it down. Things would have to be quite bad for this to occur - to the point where having done all of the above I can't 'fix' it?
I guess the last time I suffered extreme stress, my behaviour did come unmanageable. I could not fix the husbands addiction. I became irrational, angry, and had a mental meltdown. As my brain overloaded I got violent and was taken away by the metal health team in an ambulance. It was that intense. I just stopped functioning, I lost 2 hours just screaming. Looking back I was off the scale for stress, but it did enable me to express physically what I was unable to process mentally. This in itself reset me to calmness as my mind climbed downed from the intense pain. This is rare, some would say provoked, but made no sense, yet perfect sense at the time.

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.

As a young child I suffered physical and emotional abuse from my Father. He was a violent alcoholic abuser. But, it was inconsistent, living on eggshells, me and my Sister never knew when he would abuse us. It would erupt out of nowhere, but on a regular basis.
I suffered extreme anxiety due to this. I hated school as the abuse made me withdrawn and I was bullied, But I also hated being at home due to the abuse. I never felt safe anywhere, which caused as state of anxiety. I used to walk home from school obsessively stepping only on the slabs of the pavement not the cracks.
I had a ritual where if I stepped on the cracks I would get beaten, if I did not I would be safe for that night. Looking back it is clear that I had OCD brought on by anxiety, but at the time I was too young to understand that it was a coping mechanism. I felt extreme distress when stepping on a crack and then mentally prepared myself for what was to come. Prior to the walk home I tried to stay focused on the relief that if stepped on correctly the walk home would ensure my safety at home, this provided relief and control about something I could not really control but gave me a level of something tangible. If I could not do this I would become agitated. I would not focus on chatting to a friend while walking as this caused me anxiety off my ritual, in case I stepped on a crack.

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?

This is a difficult one...Before he became sexually addictive, he used to drink. For example if something minor happened, a minor stressor he would say "I need a drink" even if it was early in the day. Then go and buy/open a drink. He admitted that he has issues around alcohol since age 18 after the death of his sister and Father. He uses drink to numb/escape/ all of the usual reasons. When this became a problem in our marriage, and as he became older and his hangovers became more severe, he stopped drinking to excess. He has clearly replaced one coping strategy for another. Therefore it is difficult to express how he would manage his emotions without this current addiction. He finds it difficult to talk about a problem at the time - but will talk about it retrospectively or if mildly intoxicated. He started getting into fitness and did very well, even commenting on the difference it made to his ability to deal with feelings. However this was not kept at, in moments of clarity, he maybe would do this as a positive strategy. He would always, however, not worry excessively (or appear to not care), push the stress away unless challenged and pretend it is not happening, so he does not have to deal with it until he wants to or it goes away.

PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 8:44 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2014 7:06 pm
Posts: 28
A. If you have not already done so, consider reading the first half of He Danced Alone.
I have read this and found it disturbing! Also enlightening given the gradual descent and progression of the addiction.

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.

Interesting to reflect on... at the beginning of the relationship all appeared quite normal. My Husband and I had a brief courtship before setting up home and then marrying. He was proud of the fact he had a colourful sexual history, even bragging about it on occasion.
He was never sleazy, always charming and seductive. Always very open about confidential matters financially and personally.

This evolved into many behaviours which I think he may have been in denial about over the whole period of our relationship.

For example - he was keen to use sexual toys very early on (before the traditional period of 'let's spice things up') i.e. after the honeymoon period wore off. I did not understand this at the time. He was very keen to try sex in risky places - this wore off very quickly, I thought it was a phase.

He was open about liking porn and masturbation, but not in a way that seemed excessive. This then became a closed topic once his addiction took hold.

He never mentioned he had been lovers with his brother's wife before he met me. They actually have a child together but he decided that I need not know until my brother in law had a DNA test done and the truth came out.

Other behaviours that indicate a sexualised mind - constant attention from other women, flirting, validation, seeking approval on social media for example adding kisses after messages.

I feel he has a Madonna and whore complex, he made a conscious choice to act as pure as possible so I would not perceive him to be sleazy, instead having the persona of a perfect gentleman.
Minimising behaviours - playing down flirtations and stating all men like to feel attractive when challenged on his flirting or behaviour around other women in public.

C. Of the four areas discussed in this lesson, which have you observed in your partner?
Not so much the sexualised mind as above - he lost interest in a healthy sex life with me as his own descent into addiction progressed. I believe he was so determined not to blend his secret life with me, he chose to disconnect with me. It became very automated and merely a release despite several attempts on my part to get to the root of the problem. Clearly he has a very sexualised mind, just not with me. In fact the more I discover and uncover in regards to his secret life, it makes sense how he could not have sex with me, there was nothing left, sexually he became burnt out. So stopped even commenting on the matter of sex with me at all.

The objectified mind
A conversation around my husband regarding the vulnerability of sex workers, seemed to sink in to the point where he stopped looking at porn very briefly. Once divorce was on the cards once more he embraced looking at porn again. I discussed with him in detail the reality of the sex industry as opposed to the fantasy, how to identify with many (not all) of the women who are forced/trafficked etc. into prostitution and pornography. Clearly not to the point where he felt compassion for them as human beings, or as someone's daughter or Mum. Clearly he does have an ability to only see the fantasy.

The need for instant gratification
This is a huge problem for him. His Brothers wife before we met, online dating sites, calling sex workers, pornography. Despite the consequence he will engage in what he desires.

The same for money - spending to get a quick fix, or other behaviours too long to list, providing he gets an instant feel good factor. His spontaneity was something I have always liked, but he does not have a consequence button and will do everything to excess.

At the other extreme is the inability to complete something that takes time - he will go for the quick fix easy option every time. Loans vs saving for example, having to have the latest item or trend immediately.
Anything that has a long process he loses interest in quickly - for example he has never been able to quit smoking or learned to drive - it just takes too much effort and delayed gratification.

The choice to have an affair
He claims to have never physically been with anyone else, but chose instead to have online dalliances?
The evidence I found (messages, texts, photos, videos) were all very sad and banal to be honest. Talking about the weather and every day stuff. Pictures of an explicit nature in secret and excessive. For what? an instant ego boost and god know what, he knew what he could lose what is all worth it?

Worryingly - I will never perhaps discover the full truth, it may well have progressed to physical encounters. He admitted that he would have carried on unless caught. So I feel he made a choice to start, continue, carry on and not stop despite the consequences. We had a good life, he knew it would not end well and my reaction would be harsh. I have observed the immediate gratification in my Husband when spending money, or getting something he wants NOW and he does act like a kid at Christmas. Is utterly joyful and clearly gets intense pleasure at getting what he wants at any given time.

All or nothing
He is usually a balanced person, unless stressed and he is given to sulking and displaying this attitude. He is always optimistic that everything will always turn out how he wants them too.
Interestingly, he will project all or nothing statements on to me - the most used one " you will never trust me" and I am a terrible person, I deserve everything I get.
My friends have said that I molly coddle him and mother him? I am seeing this trait in him and me. He is the youngest in his family and generally used to having his own way. I feel that while observing all of the above in him clearly, he has attracted people into his life that enable him to stay immature emotionally, me especially.

PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2015 7:13 am 

Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2014 7:06 pm
Posts: 28
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
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?
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?

As this situation has been going on for a year now, Communication has ranged from angry arguments borne out of fear, hurt and moral outrage. This has been a volatile situation and the communication between has reflected that. As I mentioned in the community thread, where we used to find it so easy to be in each other's company, I know find it extremely difficult to understand what is 'true' and 'real' anymore. I long for truthful communication but at times it has been like talking to a child.
I have found stages of anger, spite, revenge, retribution, and a need to interrogate, cagoule, beg plead and persuade and everything in-between. I have been pedantic, cruel, and overly enabling in my desperation as the more 'eloquent' person in the relationship to communicate well, with extreme frustration.
However, recently after much stepping back and reflection, communication has been more effective due to my inability to let what will be, be. Without judging, interrogating or even being overly interested. When I finally let him take ownership of his recovery and step way back, communication has been better and as a consequence natural boundaries have started to evolve. For example, he found himself lying to me about a non sexual related issue, he did not realise he had done this until after but then corrected this immediately stating that he wanted to work on being honest with everything. Usually I would have asked questions about this but, realise it is far more effective for him to reflect on his own consequences of being untruthful, even about small matters for example building trust on my part. Communication is a two way process and it was futile, when I was the only person engaging in this. If he stops communicating now, I find myself backing off respectfully, so as not to get caught up in unnecessary drama.

As above, I tried to manage my partners recovery, as I tried to manage everything in his life. Due to a total absence of life management skills on his part. Now we are separated, he has to manage everything and is finding it difficult to do ordinary things, hold down a job and concentrate on getting his life sorted. Previously, my natural state was to take over, however, I now let him explore how to do this while supporting from afar. I feel it is important to learn from mistakes whereas before multiple people provided him with safety nets. For example he got into bad debt, his Mother bailed him out so he would not have the discomfort of going without. This has been a theme with him, he has never experienced 'hardship' in any sense. Somebody (me included) has always saved him. He is finding this new way of independence very difficult, but I feel it will be a learning curve for him to explore true life management skills which may assist him in kicking all of his addictions permanently. So to summarise - where I played (or tried to play) an active role in his recovery before - now I am merely supporting him in very small ways, and only then if he is initiating recovery. If I feel he is being lazy I step right back and will not ask or insist.
I feel I empower his recovery now not by managing, but by role modelling a person who is getting well on own terms and demonstrating life after this situation. It has been very hard with lots of false starts, but I now, actively get on with things, banal or fun and try to demonstrate this in a way that demonstrates meaning.
For example we were talking about money - I spoke about how important it is to me to budget well, so I can be free from worry and enjoy the money I have left over for more fun activities. By talking about a subject he struggles with (money management) in a positive way, reinforces that there are good consequences around the choices you make even if they seem very small. That is how child like he can be - he is literally learning everything again from start.
I have also been getting back into my fitness regime with renewed enthusiasm now I am feeling better - he can see how this has had a positive effect on my life and I can see that he is getting ready to do this too (he has a recent head injury) I talk positively how this makes me feel and the difference it makes to my stress levels.
I have disempowered him previously by criticising his choices, friends and his addiction, as to make him feel dirty and worthless. By using strong adjectives that were all or nothing - you will never get better etc.
I have also been drawn into the trap of reactionary emotions - discovering evidence and then boom and bust arguments. Which although linked to communication (above) was also disempowering for both of us to get out of that particular dynamic.
Tired of the drama, not feeling like I needed a specific outcome anymore (him recovered or not I will be fine) changed my attitude to one of a grounded empowerment. I did not feel like I needed to drag myself down with his ultimately disempowering behaviour of acting out, which has disconnected him from everything.
B) Finally, I realise I have been deeply damaged by this experience. I think I as in denial for a long long time, when I realised I had in fact become ill. I suffered another breakdown (or breakthrough!)
I did not want this in my life anymore, I did not want to be that person anymore with that person. Separating from him has been hugely beneficial. Once the huge grief stage passed, I have settled quite well and made my focus me. I now am starting to feel hugely grateful for what is left, that I matter too.
I have put healthy boundaries with people including my Mum who wants me to make a final outcome to the world for example divorce. I have stated that I am exploring myself and my choices first.
I have taken some sick leave to work on my recovery and rediscovering who I am now and what I need and want.
I have considered my options and the consequences not based on reactions.
I have read several books on recovery and life coaching too - starting a new positive foundation.
I have started my gym regime and working on physical and mental health.
I have asked for support including counselling.
I have spoke to friends and family and told work my situation in an honest way.
I have not allowed the shame of the situation distort my own path for recovery.
I am going to a Buddhist centre to explore meditation and transition.
I am getting out of my comfort zone, finding pleasure in different activities and feeling more grateful as a result.
My recovery is absolutely as essential to my partners - I simply could not function caught up in the situation and ongoing decline of my own mental and physical state. The time had come to say - stop. I matter and I am going on my own way now whatever the outcome. That felt like I really 'got it' and looking back I had to work through the grief and loss of that marriage first. It is gone. We can maybe have a new relationship in the future - but either way I am putting myself absolutely first.
I am waiting and seeing now...Removal of a final outcome was putting too much pressure on me to divorce my husband before I was really ready.
I am not really wanting anyone else so although I am not 'waiting' for him to get better I am patient to get well myself. Then I feel the situation will be clearer.
Ultimatums do not really work, him or myself, so waiting and seeing I feel is a more healthy approach, providing I continue to put my own recovery first.
I am not committing to reactionary emotions. I try to explore them first and see if I am being influenced by something or someone first.
That said, I will not excuse my partner if he becomes passive in his recovery, I will step back further. He understand the natural consequence of this, that we may simply grow apart. I refuse to fawn and fuss over him to make him 'feel better'. He has to learn how to feel better like I am trying to do on my own.
To increase success, my intuition is to be respectful, honest and ask for support in a supplementary way.
To spend time with my partner (if appropriate) which enables us to enjoy the activities and conversations that brought us together in the first place.
To not go round in circles with blame, suspicion and regret, to start examining our motivation and our wanting to stay connected in some way. We have tried to be apart, but always end up in contact. Now healthier rules have been established, although we are in limbo in a sense, we need this period of limbo to work on both getting well, to stand a chance together in the future. All or nothing did not work for us. We need space and time to mourn, miss each other and explore what made us a successful couple as well as a dysfunctional couple too.
I feel that these workshops have been hugely insightful to see where I needed to make changes in addition to managing my recovery. I could not 'fix' this overnight and it has helped me in several areas of my life. For example rediscovering my own self worth. Exploring how I cling to situations due to my abusive parenting and my need for approval. Seeing my partner as a whole not just a 'bad' partner with an addiction which he used to destroy our marriage. I can see now he never wanted to destroy the marriage, but ultimately his actions led to its natural demise. It could never be any other way due to the betrayal and decline of his character in the grip of an addiction.
I could still be in a marriage with him, living together and 'putting up' with the situation becoming more detached from my own identity. However, I can see now, I stopped liking him as a person and it became apparent that I needed to detach from a situation that was becoming intolerable.
Out of this has come a great deal of good. I matter. I can find peace again on my own terms. I am not an extension of him and his failings. I am me and I am getting better every day. :g:

PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 4:52 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2014 7:06 pm
Posts: 28
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?
Example: 1) He communicates only positive aspects of his recovery; that type of selective disclosure worries me. 2) His emotional immaturity when I bring up my pain. He gets angry or completely shuts down emotionally. 3) His apparent lack of motivation in working on himself and his recovery. It's like I have to push him every step of the way.

Having the read the explicit account of the stages of recovery, it is quite apparent that my partner is in the very early stages. Still grappling around for methods and experimenting with different approaches to understand.
Initially after our second separation due to his behaviour (this time effectively meaning he is now living elsewhere) I have been able to focus on myself. We did have five weeks of no contact at all, after this we then went into a boom and bust cycle, now this has smoothed out into a wait and see with him still living separately.

This is interesting as I focus on my own healing and he himself is in very early recovery, I am happy to move on with my own life, whatever the outcome.

Due to this shift out of desperation to 'get back to normal' I realise that this cannot be the case at all and we are both very different people as a result of this experience and the consequences of his ongoing addiction.

I myself, am able to recognise and understand the severity of this situation, so while supporting him in a small way, he does understand that the change has to come from him, while I continue to move on and away emotionally.
I know see this situation to revaluate the whole relationship in its wider context.

I am aware also of how his slow descent into addiction dragged me down too, that I was always going to lose him, so now I really have nothing left to lose with him actually gone.

I am however, not prepared to put up with the person he has now become, so unless a new healthier relationship emerges, I cannot see any future with him permanently. At this stage, I am watching his recovery with interest, while developing new terms of what I find acceptable moving forward.

Three changes
I am concerned with his minimising behaviour that is continuing to the point I started a separate thread. I need clarity and specificity in our communication now to build my own trust.
I have realised that it is something I will not let go and have made this clear now that I will move away emotionally if he does too. Generic and cliché responses to my questions, demonstrate how detached he is to the reality of his actions. He needs to reflect on the patterns, the behaviours, the consequences and understand his triggers and weaknesses.
To brush it off is to make it seem like nothing has really happened. It is disrespectful for me to feel that what he engaged in was not something that caused the marriage to end. I am not sure whether it is early protection of addiction (not disclosing too much so he can slip back in to it) a habitual response, he is a pathological liar, or in his mind he has actually blocked out any real detail. This last statement I do not believe - if this was the case, he would not react to the addiction pleasurably and feed it, I feel he remembers a great deal, but instead chooses to minimise it for his own reasons. This is one area he needs to change for me to want to stay involved. A denial of facts and reasons, explanations that are authentic, mean to me the recovery process is useless. He is reluctant to do any work on this merely, going through the process to get back home.

However, I do not wish to be in a relationship with someone who minimises life's events in their true context, not communicate honestly how they feel and react in an immature way. Or in an inappropriate way. If I cannot have a true honest mature conversation, whatever the outcome, I feel like I will become my partners Mum, pulling them up on their lack of skills to do this. I crave an honest, authentic conversation so much I could actually scream. He may not be able to change this habit - but he used to be honest, and unless that comes back, it worries me that he will develop the skills to be honest with himself, the addiction and the huge damage it has caused.

My partner needs to change his circumstances or the boredom that (allegedly) led to his addiction and lack of life management skills will mean he is living a very dull life. His descent into addiction meant that he became less bothered about others, his social life, health, hobbies until he finally lost his home and partner. Unless he finds his purpose, community, picks up hobbies and explores who he is now and how to improve his life, I fear that he will go back to addiction to have something to live for. I think he feels him being away as some sort of punishment, not as an opportunity to work on becoming well and a happier person free from destructive behaviours.
He tends to mope and feel sorry for himself not proactive or look ahead. Instead, reaching out to people from his old job and location, where he was held in high regard. He needs to understand that he does not need to live up to the old image of his old life - he is clearly not that man anymore and his I get frustrated that he seems to live in the past 'before addiction'.
I would like him change his attitude towards my own suffering that I have endured now for a year albeit 11 days.

He is not interested in how I am really feeling, or going through, merely asking out of politeness before the subject turns to him. When a heavy discussion is entered into (my initiation) he gets defensive and makes light of any comments/changes the subject/ etc. He seems to think that I am too heavy and just because he wants light relief from it, uses me to feel better, as I am the one person who is there for him at all anymore.
I desperately want him to start a conversation with me - how are you really feeling about....
As a result, I now tip toe around him, and the very easy relationship we used to have has now gone. His addiction has made me deeper than I would normally be happy with, but now I have become like this I am not excusing or justifying my feelings to him. I have become what I have become, and his lack of interest in that aspect is hugely worrying.

I need for him to change, and listen to my feelings. Two damaged people trying to find a new level both with different stuff going on. It does not bode well - in future I want a relationship with someone who respects that I matter, have feelings, need to discuss things and make sense and meaning of them. Not someone who is so selfish, self centred and belittles my experiences.
There are other things I would like him to change - the intensity of the work he is doing to recover, there seems no immediacy to make a plan, just when he feels like it. Well, that's fine as there is no immediacy for him to come back either.
His neediness to me - I am sure that if others were on the scene offering support, it would not be me he turns too.

His ineffective communication - he plays a lot of games but denies this. Tip toes around rather than making clear statements. I am getting bored with this so do not react.
His lack of ability to sort other aspects of his life out. There are no plans to do this.
Basically it all boils down to lack of truth, understanding and immaturity. My youngest is seventeen now, do I really want to bring up another child? He needs to be a man now and that is a change he needs to embrace, to be a man at last.

PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 6:34 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2014 7:06 pm
Posts: 28
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?
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?
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?

A I have observed in my husband a willingness to enter recover in a more enthusiastic manner. he has disclosed the horror of what he did and who he was becoming and this has unsettled him.
He realises and has talked frankly about the damage it has caused to his normality, his character and has appeared to take a look at himself and accumulated history. He realises now the effect it has had on my mental health and losing his home and values.
He has made great attempts at ridding himself of technology which gives him access to acting out including changing phones, selling his laptop and ensuring that he finds alternative methods of entertaining himself. He realises that by doing this he has made an important first step.
He has also committed to a 12 step program and also working on RN workshops which I print out and he works on in a journal.
He has also been attending a Buddhism course which focuses on values and breaking patterns of behaviour which he seems to be internalising. He is also booked to see a therapist later on next month as the waiting times in the UK are quite long.
He appears to be more communicative and will declare truths instead of being harangued. He has also for example made an effort to stop using minimizing behaviour/language and being more respectful of my own healing. He accepts that I have been traumatised through his behaviour and that has led to us living separately, as I work on my own healing and boundaries.
He has started making his new accommodation more homely as he accepts that this will be a permanent home for a while. He has also stated that he will not try to attempt to come back home (if that is what we both want) until he can be sure he is well and will not hurt me anymore.
He has become quite depressed and feels like there is a void in his life as he struggles with the lack of behaviours to keep him level. He feels also like he has lost his identity and he realises the huge amount of time and energy that maintaining his addiction took (30+ hours a week). He is struggling to find other ways to fill his time and has instead thrown himself into his new job. He his struggling with guilt and shame as he feels like no one likes him anymore as he understands the sleazy lifestyle disconnected him to others.
He accepts that he is a liar and what he did was awful, not only to others but himself. He claims he wants to be a good role model. he also feels like he can see further descent into addiction if he does not confront it now. That scares him as he finds sleazy behaviour in others s distasteful .He understands that he became sleazy, and that seems to distress him.
It is hard to gauge whether this is a true early recovery of an appeasement to come back home. I have stated my own boundaries and he can see that I am doing well now and moving on. I fear that he is paying lip service to the process to demonstrate recovery instead of actually being healthy.

He finds it hard to give the RN workshops the time they deserve. I feel that he is unsure of their true meaning. He is stating recovery through abstinence instead of actually committing to the reality of living without an addiction. I feel this is a choice. He had time to spend on addiction 30+ hours a week. However he accepts the longer it takes to get well, the longer it will take to come back home, so this is his choice.
He is keen to blame everything on 'addiction'. Personally I feel that there are times he just made poor choices, even getting well is a choice which he will need to accept, rather than just say I am addicted.
He is having difficulty making a future for himself as he is in a void. I am concerned that without a strong framework of an all round better way of living it will be easy to use his addiction to fall into in times of stress.
I do not feel he has the maturity or life management skills to overcome relapses at the moment. This is a work in progress, but he needs to find a backup plan and generally invest more time.
At times he feels hopeless. I try to remind him of times when he has been strong and capable, but this seems to be a separate part of him. He feels he has failed before he has really started, due to the dire circumstances he finds himself in now. He needs a lot of praise instead of his own conviction, looking at the benefits of not having an addiction, rather than the soothing that it brought.
He is reluctant to come clean to friends about his addiction, playing it down and feeling ashamed instead of empowered. I feel he is still a little in denial - he seems proud of being a 'drinker' and the infamous reputation this brought him, even though his drinking got out of hand. He seems to see this as something to be proud of. Clearly he is not proud of being a SA and this he hides.
I watched the film Shame - I wanted him to watch it with me, but he said it was depressing - again he cannot face up to the reality and descent of addiction. I will ask him again, as I feel it will make a good talking point about addiction in general.
I feel there is still a lot he is hiding from me. He conveniently forgets details if the disclosures become uncomfortable. I feel true disclosure will happen as he goes deeper into recovery.

I have not really discussed this with him, although I will soon. As it is early days, I am trying to support him in small ways, while concentrating on my own healing. I will mention things like boundaries, so in part this subject comes up but not the whole topic of sincerity in early recovery.
We both praise each other how well we are doing, and if everything continues to go well, my aim is to work on the couples healing. But I am continually assessing him, if I am honest to see if he slips up.
When we were in a phase of talking/not talking he was still acting out. When confronted he spoke frankly about this and how the process of acting out (looking at hook up apps) had lost its appeal.
The fact he could pick it up so easily, was worrying - what has changed now? If he wants to give up he would regardless of whether we had a future together?
I feel he was testing himself to see whether they still would have the same effect and my own response. This led to him starting recovery more proactively.
By this point, he could see a way forward for us, and seems to be a lifeline for him to really recover. He dearly wants to come home, but I have set a firm boundary, that after so many false starts and lies, this will not be possible, without a great deal of work, mainly from him. I need to work with severe trust issues too.
He accepts this and as a result is monitoring his own behaviour. He seems a lot better at managing impulse control, and is showing signs of wanting a simpler less cluttered life without, technology, spending money and acting out of control. He accepts that he has many flaws that led to his addiction and understand the background, which he discusses. He accepts that he has not really grown up. But would like to and is making an effort to put me first by staying in his new job and still paying all of my household bills at the same time.
He talks of a future with me, he has regret at selling his wedding ring and other possessions, but sees this as a choice he made at the time. He is working on moving forward more positively, even though he feels negative.
In discussion we have both discussed the time it will take and the importance of building a slow future in time. I still struggle with trust and monitoring and have to make a great deal of effort some days to focus on myself. I realise that I have been traumatised. I have forgiven him for this, but told him I do not want his weaknesses impacting on my future and mental health. I have put a great deal of time in my own recovery and new life. I feel he is taking his at a much slower pace, which is fine, but I still need to see progress, to continue to be involved with him.
I cannot recommit to him until I am certain that he is well, and that may be a long time. I do not want my friends and family to see me in an on and off relationship. We are both accepting that a mess has been created and this will take a lot of effort to put right. My husband will find this hard - he likes instant results. However, he is glad that I have been tolerant and that my patience is wearing thin. I think he understands that every choice he makes now has a big impact on him. I am glad that we are living apart at the moment. It gives him a chance to have something to work for. He wants a different life now. If he were living at home, (like when I found out D Day last year) I know he would still be acting out. A change in his circumstance has prompted change as he sees the reality of his life now. He speaks of regret and what he has lost. That old life and relationship will never return, but he needs to work hard to build a new healthy life and relationship. He appears to be sincere, and is finally admitting that he had a real problem and is tackling it, which to be honest, I did not think he would do yet.

I think it is clever the way the workshops have been set out. I find I am naturally coming across these questions as I try to heal. Maybe a coincidence, but it ensures that my focus is always on myself first. This has made maintaining contact with him easier?

PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 6:41 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2014 7:06 pm
Posts: 28
As I have completed stage one, I feel like I have made good progress and focused on myself.
I have found the workshops have rally made me look at the situation in a good way and although probed my mind, I have a lot more insight now.

I have read other stuff such as he danced alone, betrayal bonds and posted in here all of which has been helpful.

It has also enabled me to carry on with my own goals such as maintaining going to gym, swimming and going to buddhist centre.

Counselling has also helped, I have also started mood gym online free course and worked on my own life, such as family and friends. I generally have healthier boundaries in myself.

I have learned that it was not my fault, that I am still attractive, and if I choose to be on my own permanently I could do it well.

I am still waiting and seeing how the relationship with my Husband works out as we both heal, which is a positive step. I have stopped making final choices as this was pressurising.

PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2015 11:01 am 

Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2014 7:06 pm
Posts: 28
Stage two

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.

Three most important values right now are.
1) Strengthening my friendship bonds and learning to have a single fulfilling life, whatever the outcome.
2) Continuing to ensure my physical and mental health are a priority as this underpins everything else I do. I still need a solid foundation to build on.
3) Concentrating on staying in work and building my career.

B) For each, think about the meaning and fulfilment you are getting compared to the potential meaning and fulfilment available.
b) I feel developing these values has enabled me to rebuild a more positive and clearer future whatever the outcome now. It is apparent that I have rally recognised the meaning and potential of this as I have worked through the workshops. I have had a great deal of fulfilment with the recognition of these areas of my life which needed developing and as a result have more balance. The potential of these values can be further developed, as I wean myself of the trauma and worry of the turmoil of being a SA partner. I feel that I have worked very hard on saying 'yes' and getting more involved with others lives. Everyone has problems and finding a clan of 'sisters' has been very healing in my recovery. I feel fulfilled that I have friends that value me and want to experience life in a positive way.
I have made effort to get back to physical exercise and using planning to ensure this a priority. As a result I feel more powerful and able to have more energy. There are times I do not feel like doing exercise classes but once I go I feel much better and stronger. I use this as motivation.
I am back to my job tomorrow after having time off for poor mental health and stress (understandably) I am nervous but mow feel ready to take this step. The potential for fulfilment is good as I enjoy working when I am well and will ensure that I get support to stay in work now. My job is stressful but as I work with autistic teenagers as a teacher find this to be a great way to engage myself and distract from my own problems.

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

My plan to strengthen these values is to ensure that they remain a main focus in my daily life. I will make an effort to ring friends on a regular basis and put them first. Offer to help and stay in their lives by helping and supporting them. To listen and be there whenever it is possible. To not allow my partner to encourage me to put him before them as I rebuild my life. However, as I see my partner as one of my friends I will ensure that I support him too.

I will plan a weekly workout routine and incorporate healthy eating and cutting sown on smoking. I will read my magazines and articles to better educate myself and ensure that I have regular appointments, see my counsellor and to work on mood gym programme and RN workshops. I will also read my books and ensure that I have relaxation time now I am back to work. I will make an effort to go to the classes three times a week and continue with my Buddhist course.
I will ask for support at work and ensure my transition back to work is smooth. I will work hard and try to be mindful at work. Engaging with people and being honest if I am finding it hard.
D) List the steps you will take in the next 24 hours to begin strengthening each value.

I will ring two friends that I want to catch up with, listening actively and making plans to see them soon by making a date.
I will create a social event to have fun.
I will tell my friends how much I value them.

I will plan three fitness classes this week and shop for healthy food for meal plan.
I will plan relaxation time and write an activity plan to complete workshops and development.
I will buy my supplements St john's wort to calm me down.
I will meditate three times a week before work to ensure I am grounded for the day.
I will write in my gratitude journal to see the good I have in my life.

I will go back to work with enthusiasm and ask my manage for support. I will ensure that once back to work my life/work balance remains strong and I plan carefully to lead a full and active life.
I will also look at my other values and strengthen them as I move forward.
I feel like I have made good progress already but the days where I am feeling low, it is easy to disregard myself and make little effort. Generally I need to develop motivation to make the choice to lead a fulfilling life. This is important to me as I do not really know if my partner will recover to the degree where we can remain together.
As we live separately it is easier for me to concentrate on my values. This is time for me.
I will record the results as part of my resilience training.

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