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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 12:33 am 

Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2014 6:51 pm
Posts: 21
Exercise 1

Share an unadulterated version of your partner’s addiction with someone you trust; or, anonymously in this forum. If you choose someone you trust, then at least share a summary of the general patterns that are in play with your partner’s addiction.

Just over a year ago, after 16 years of marriage, I discovered that my husband has been leading a double life.

The man I thought I knew is a smart, confident, funny, responsible, supportive husband, father, successful businessman and active member of the community. But I have learned that my husband has an unhealthy relationship with sex – like all addicts, he uses his chosen drug to escape from himself (his unhappiness and feelings of worthlessness, caused by emotional neglect in his childhood of which I was unaware, and of which I think he had blocked out and failed to recognise/accept as emotional neglect), to feel pleasure without intimacy.

During our marriage (which has been sexless almost from the beginning due to his gradual impotence with me) he’s had at least one affair, at least one relationship with a prostitute, at least 2 relationships with massage parlour girls (I say “relationship” because there was texting and emailing and even dinner dates as well as sex. I think there is some Love Addict in him as well as SA), and he’s addicted to online pornography. (And I’m aware that that’s probably only the tip of the iceberg. The only thing he has ever disclosed is the porn addiction – I didn’t know about that. The rest I discovered myself).

Since making this discovery, my husband started seeing a Counsellor, although he has stopped going at the time of writing, and he’s taking anti-depressant medication. I am also seeing a Counsellor. At this point we have agreed that we would ideally like to remain together and try to fix this huge problem. We have two young children who I hope will never know this about their father. Unfortunately, even though it is now more than one year since The Discovery, and it’s possible (but probably unlikely) that my husband is abstaining from “acting out”, he has so far failed to commit to pursuing active “Recovery”.

It has been devastating to discover that my whole marriage has been based on a lie. I feel so stupid when I think of how completely I trusted my husband, and how convincingly he has lied to me again and again. I feel so hurt that he could make love to other women when I thought I was the chosen one. It’s hard not to take it personally even though I’ve been told it’s nothing to do with me. I can’t believe now that I didn’t NOTICE anything wrong! (Although, now that I know, I realize that I did know, at some deeper level, that something was wrong). I realise now that I may have some fear of intimacy issues myself.

I feel lucky to have a trusted best friend who I’ve been able to tell everything. She’s the only one. With other people close to me, I’ve chosen to tell part of the story (that we are having problems in our marriage due to my husband’s unresolved childhood issues, that he’s on medication and we are in counselling, that he doesn’t know if he loves me or even knows what love is. This allows me to talk about it and get some sympathy and support).

I still feel confused a lot of the time, and tend to swing between two positions – (1) wanting to leave him, hurt him back, make him pay for deceiving me and effectively stealing 17 years of my life, and (2) I still love the man I thought I knew – I’m hoping that wasn’t totally facade? And I feel sadness and compassion for the lack of love he experienced as a child, the fact that he doesn’t like himself, that he feels so alone and untrusting of others, and I hope that it’s not too late to “fix” it – for his sake, and for mine (I don’t want to throw away 17 years of marriage), and for my children who need their father.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2014 8:28 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2014 6:51 pm
Posts: 21
Exercise 2

Create a vision that represents the real you. The one that you will be reconnecting to on your path towards healing.

I am a strong, independent, capable, responsible (sometimes witty!) Mother and Feminist who feels strong love and loyalty towards family and friends. I’ve always felt strongly about being good/compassionate and doing the right thing, helping the less privileged. I like myself. I am a good, loyal friend who goes out of my way to help others. I care about, and take care of my friendships. I place a high value on honesty and integrity. I am passionate about (and love to discuss in detail!) politics, good books, movies and TV dramas. I appreciate the beauty of nature, and the beauty in art and the arts, which make me feel happy.

My Vision for the future (or what I want to improve/change about myself):

1. I would like to be a more relaxed person. I’ve always been a bit anxious, a ‘Worrier’ and a perfectionist, and this is not what I want my kids to remember about me! I would like to learn how to do yoga or meditation to calm myself down.

2. I am not the mother / homemaker I imagined I would be. I want to spend more time actually engaging with my kids while they’re still young (rather than just catering for them, and yelling at them to pick their stuff up off the floor!) I often see myself playing the ‘martyr’, acting as if I am the only one who takes care of everyone, and no-one takes care of me! I want to stop doing that.

3. I plan to work on my home – I want to make it a pleasant place for my family – both physically and atmosphere-wise. I realise that I have not really been happy in my home (I now think this is because of my relationship with my husband), but I believe that I have the power to change that for myself and my family.

4. Food – I have recently made it a mission to cook a decent dinner for my family every day. (I have always organised dinner, but I have resented having to do it, and have let my standards drop due to having children who are fussy eaters!) Now I am seeing this as an important daily goal that makes me feel good.

5. I am not good at being assertive with my kids! They know exactly how to ‘push my buttons’, and they know that I usually cave in if they nag enough! I am ashamed of this so it has to change! I want to create boundaries and make sure I am consistent in standing firm on my decisions. I want to role model good behaviour (I think I do mostly).

6. Weekends. I have never looked forward to weekends because we have never succeeded in doing ‘family things’ at weekends. I want to plan family activities/outings for weekends – maybe each family member takes a turn to choose, and we do something, even if it’s just playing a board game for half an hour together.

7. Friendships. I am good at friendships. But now I realise I need to work harder on maintaining my support network. I have planned to meet at least one friend, of group of friends, for coffee or dinner every week. This makes me feel very good – to feel valued by other people. I look forward to these meetings very much. (Only one friend – my best friend – knows about my husband’s SA).

8. Self-care. I need to increase my exercise. I do already do some exercise every week, but I need to do more. I plan to aim for an event, e.g. a 10K walk, and enjoy training for it, perhaps with a friend or even my family. I also need to make time for things like manicure/pedicure and eyebrow waxing, etc!

9. A more long-term goal, which may never eventuate, is moving back to my home country. It makes me feel happy to think that I may succeed in moving home. My husband says he is open to this idea but he may be just telling me what he knows I want to hear. And we may or may not be together in the long term anyway, so it’s an unknown for now.

10. I’ve just realised that I haven’t included my relationship with my husband in any of the above points. Interesting! Is this because I don’t believe he will ever be willing/capable of having a real relationship with me? Yes, I’m beginning to think so, but let’s assume for now that he IS going to make it. So … I want to be in a real, loving, emotionally and sexually intimate relationship with someone who wants to be my best friend and lover, someone who doesn’t have a secret life, someone who loves me and wants to make me happy. I want to feel appreciated and desired.

11. I need to take control of and be responsible for my own life/happiness. With or without my husband, I want my life to include more time spent with my family of origin, and more time travelling with my children to see other countries, and more time spent doing active / exciting things that make me feel good/happy (and less wasting time on the internet!) e.g going to the theatre more, and possibly taking up a particular sport I used to do when I was younger.

Last edited by Jenny209 on Fri Jan 02, 2015 6:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2014 10:38 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2014 6:51 pm
Posts: 21
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).

1. My husband’s “friendship” with a pretty young woman who lived in the same apartment block as us – he took her out to dinner when I was away for a weekend and acted like he assumed I’d be OK with that. (I wasn’t, and he used that to justify not telling me whenever he met her after that).
2. The mystery of a woman’s black suit jacket left on the back of a chair in our dining room which neither my husband or step daughter seemed to know anything about.
3. Finding some porn images in the internet history of our computer.
4. Speaking to aforementioned pretty young woman when I answered my husband’s cell phone and she refused to leave her name.
5. Spotting a text msg from same young woman which made it clear she believed she was a close friend of his.
6. Seeing a text msg to him, allegedly from a “Business woman” associate, which had kisses (XX) after her name.
7. His subsequent overseas business trip with the Business woman.
8. Spotting an email to my husband – a hotel booking confirmation for a hotel in our suburb, for the following day – a day that he went to work and came home at the normal time.
9. Seeing my husband quickly closing text messages that he clearly didn’t want me to see.
10. Spotting text messages with kisses arriving late at night when husband asleep from 2 unknown women who were in his contacts list.

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.

If all the events listed in (A) above had happened in the same month or even year, then I think I would have realised my husband was deceiving me, but they didn’t. They were spread over 16 years, so while each one upset me temporarily, my husband always had a good explanation, and I believed him because I didn’t have any other reason to distrust him. So I allowed my head/heart to override my gut feeling until we got to event number (10) above – 2 years before D-Day. Then I started entertaining the idea that he could be living a double life. And it still took a while to convince myself!

The single, most powerful reason that I never really thought my husband could be cheating on me is that I knew he couldn’t sustain an erection with me. So if he couldn’t have sex with me, I believed he couldn’t have sex with anyone else. This is what has allowed him to get away with it for so many years.

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.

1. Whenever my husband says he’s going out to the hardware store / newsagent / gas station, or whenever he says he has to go back to the office for a couple of hours, or stay late at the office, I wonder whether that’s really where he’s going.
2. When I wake up around midnight or later and find my husband is still up – either on the computer or watching TV – and drinking – I wonder if he’s watching something pornographic.
3. My husband says he’s “behaving himself” (if I ask) but I know he’s not doing anything to actively pursue recovery. I just know that nothing has changed and I keep waiting and hoping that he will choose recovery himself. He’s stopped seeing his Counsellor, he only went to one 12 steps meeting, he hasn’t read any of the many books we have bought on SA, and I don’t think he’s done much on RN either.
4. When my husband used to make sexist or sexually inappropriate comments, it would annoy me because I saw it as immature, but also thought he was doing it to wind me up. Now, however, I see it as a sign that he’s making no progress in dealing with his SA.
5. We’re invited to a wedding soon where there will be lots of pretty young Asian women (my husband’s favourite). I’m not looking forward to that.
6. Getting angry easily at stupid, trivial things, like the TV not recording, or his phone or computer not doing what he wants.
7. Husband never suggests we go out on a date together – he still minimises the time he has to spend alone with me, and with the family.
8. My husband always spends at least one full day at the office, alone, every weekend. I don’t doubt that he spends MOST of that time in the office, working, but there’s no reason for me to believe that he’s not also fitting in a few hours internet pornography, or a visit to a nearby massage parlour.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2014 12:07 am 

Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2014 6:51 pm
Posts: 21
Exercise 4

1) Make a list of those values in your partner’s life that — in your gut — you believe is a part of him. Set aside the addiction and the behaviors that were a part of that addiction. Focus on what values you believe will survive the recovery process.

1. He wants his family and friends to be happy and generally does anything he can to help.
2. He is responsible, dependable and supportive.
3. He is a tireless worker – both in his paid job and around the house.
4. He is smart and confident.
5. He is interested in social justice and world politics and history and travel – which makes him interesting to be with.
6. He has a good sense of humour.
7. He is trustworthy and capable when it comes to taking care of our children.
8. He is likeable – small children and people in general like him!

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

1. His fear of intimacy which stops him from wanting to get emotionally close to anyone.
2. His unresolved childhood wounds which stop him from liking himself.
3. His immature view of women, sex and relationships.
4. His anger.
5. His excessive drinking.
6. His workaholism.
7. His current unwillingness to live without his addiction.
8. His compulsive lying.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 9:28 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2014 6:51 pm
Posts: 21
Exercise 5

A. How do you manage your stress? What would it take for you to become so emotionally overwhelmed that you would turn to irrational behavior to produce enough intensity to escape from that stress? Can you think of a time in your life that you have turned to such a measure?

I manage my stress by:
Escaping to my paid job
Escaping via reading fiction or watching movies / TV dramas
Talking to my mother or best friend
Going for a walk
Having a glass of wine (I’m good at stopping after 1 or 1.5 glasses!)
Going to my favourite cafe alone with iPad and blogging my thoughts

When my children were both under 5, and the eldest was very difficult to deal with (very smart + ADHD issues), I often felt extremely emotionally overloaded. Husband was at work all day and half the weekend, and I had no family support in this country. I would sometimes scream and shout at the kids in a way that I recognised as irrational behaviour at the time but I couldn’t stop myself. I always felt really bad afterwards. I also started drinking a glass of wine every day, which really helped!

My children’s well being and happiness is the main thing that determines whether I’m happy or stressed. What my husband is doing or not doing affects me way less (I guess I have distanced myself from him over the years?).

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.

After D-Day I experienced anxiety when wondering what exactly my husband had been doing behind my back for 16 years – how many women? How many times? Doing what and where and when? I couldn’t stop thinking about it (and still spend way too much time intentionally and unintentionally thinking about it). The compulsive behaviour I engaged in to relieve this anxiety was snooping on his phone and his email, his frequent flyer account, his eBay account, checking his pockets, looking back through my own diaries and emails to reevaluate past events through the lens of my new knowledge. This behaviour did help soothe my anxiety. I was anxious because I felt the firm ground of my perception of my life had been pulled out from underneath me. I didn’t know what to believe or what to trust. I wanted someone to tell me that it was all a mistake and everything was going to be alright.

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?

If he wasn’t using sex to regulate his stress, I imagine he would do some exercise, read the newspapers or a book, have a beer, watch TV, communicate with me and the kids, or spend time working on an interest or hobby – he is interested in a lot of things e.g. politics, history, food, wine, cars, motorbikes, war, family history, music, movies, travel and other cultures.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 10:07 pm 
Partner's Coach (Admin)

Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2007 3:07 pm
Posts: 5200
Hello Jenny209

I am sorry you have to be here, but here is a very good place to be, under the circumstances. You seem to know enough about sexual addition, and health based recovery, to have a fair assessment of where he is. While his recovery is about him, it is wise for a partner who is healing to educate themselves, so they can be “informed”. He may not always be truthful, so knowledge in combination with your own intuition will serve you as you progress through your own healing. To be clear, healing is not easy. It is work, and it is worthwhile.

While I understand how you feel “stupid” —don’t! You trusted, and that is a good thing. Now that you know better, you have the choice to no longer trust unless it is warranted. When you trusted blindly, it is because you didn’t have any evidence to indicate you should do otherwise. There is nothing “stupid” about that. Trust is much like innocence, and (I think) it is a beautiful thing. It is not your fault that another abused your trust.

I still feel confused a lot of the time, and tend to swing between two positions – (1) wanting to leave him, hurt him back, make him pay for deceiving me and effectively stealing 17 years of my life, and (2) I still love the man I thought I knew – I’m hoping that wasn’t totally facade? And I feel sadness and compassion for the lack of love he experienced as a child, the fact that he doesn’t like himself, that he feels so alone and untrusting of others, and I hope that it’s not too late to “fix” it – for his sake, and for mine (I don’t want to throw away 17 years of marriage), and for my children who need their father.

Your confusion is understandable, and reflects the complexity of your system of values, as well as the complexity of the situation, broadly. The workshop is designed to guide you through the process of prioritizing your values, and setting boundaries to protect them.

Good work with the lessons. Your self-awareness and willingness to be thorough with this often confronting work is an asset to your healing. :g:

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: Sat Nov 15, 2014 7:53 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2014 6:51 pm
Posts: 21
Hi Coach Mel,

Thanks for your response and encouragement - it's great to get some feedback!


PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2014 1:50 am 

Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2014 6:51 pm
Posts: 21
Exercise 6

A. If you have not already done so, consider reading the first half of He Danced Alone.

Done. I found it very confronting. I was shocked by the terrible things experienced by the author as a young child, and horrified by the things he did as an addict, but I’m so impressed and encouraged by his ability to overcome his addiction.

B. Describe the patterns that you suspect can be attributed to a sexualized mind.

Making comments or jokes of a sexual nature which are clearly inappropriate in the given situation, e.g. in the presence of kids, or remarks about young kids, or perhaps trying to look cool in the presence of much younger men, and not noticing the discomfort of everyone else in the company.

Occasionally calling very attractive friends of mine “a fox” in a tone that sounds predatory rather than complimentary. (I always feel hurt that he seems oblivious to my own attractiveness, and is so unchivalrous as to comment on the sexiness of other women in my presence when he doesn’t want to have sex with me).

Strong vocal condemnation of the immoral behaviour of paedophiles within the church (he gets very upset about this, to the point where I wondered whether he had himself been a victim as a child, but he says not).

Even now, when we’re watching a movie, if a man is cheating on his wife, for example, my husband will be tutt-tutting without a trace of irony as if that behaviour is something HE would never engage in – this amazes me (but I understand now that it’s part of the compartmentalisation skills of the addict).

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

Sexualised mind – Yes, as per the examples I outlined above.

Objectified mind – Yes. A woman’s appearance (fuckability) is definitely the first thing (and the ultimately over-riding thing) that my husband sees and remarks on. (To be fair, he likes and values and appreciates other qualities in women too. He even claims to be a feminist, which again proves his amazing ability to compartmentalise!)

Need for immediate gratification – Yes. My husband once described to me the series of small decisions and justifications which take him from thinking about going to a massage parlour to ending up in one, e.g. “I won’t go in, I’ll just drive by”. Next, “Well, I see it now, I might as well park the car, but I won’t go in”. Next, “Well, I’ve paid to park the car now, I still don’t have to go in, but I’ll just walk by”. Next, “Well, I’m at the door now, I might as well go in, but this is definitely the last time”.

All or nothing perception – Yes. Examples include:
“Maybe there are simply good people and bad people, and I’m just a bad person”.
“[Ethnic group] are terrible drivers”.
“[Name] is an idiot” – because of one incident, and he forevermore ignores all previous interaction which was positive.
He believes that a whole race is really defined by some stereotypical trait due to their involvement in a war.
He seems to personally hate political / church leaders who represent a position he abhors.
Maybe my husband once thought I was “perfect” and was therefore sexually attracted to me, until he got to know me and realised I was merely human after all, at which point he was no longer able to find me sexually attractive?

Last edited by Jenny209 on Sat Jan 03, 2015 5:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 8:08 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2014 6:51 pm
Posts: 21
Exercise 7

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 – my husband does not want to engage in any communication about his Recovery. Probably because it’s not happening. He never brings it up. I bring it up every few weeks – I ask him how it’s going and why he’s not doing anything, and he tells me he’s too overwhelmed at work right now. He knows I am open to communication, he knows that I feel some compassion for the situation he’s in, and that I want to help if I can. I think he avoids discussing it because he’s possibly in denial. I would even go so far as to suggest that most of the time he succeeds in hiding his addiction from himself.

I continue to encourage my husband to seek emotional support but he stopped seeing his Counsellor around 6 months ago, and he’s not doing anything else. I recently suggested he take the RN first exercise to his Counsellor to help him get started. I will bring this up again soon.

In short, I don’t think there is any real communication happening between me and my husband. Looking from the outside in, we continue to look and act like a contented middle aged couple – polite strangers going about our everyday lives. I am working to engage in family activities in which I include him, but a lot of the time now, I’m actually thinking I might be happier without him. It’s hard to remain hopeful about our future together when I know he’s not doing anything to fix himself.

II. Managing your partner’s recovery – I have become way more hands off here, compared to the first 6 months after D-Day. Where I was checking his phone and emails on a daily basis, I now go several weeks between checks (!) and my focus has definitely shifted from him to me. I sometimes wonder if this means that I’m losing interest in a future with him. I know that I can’t make him choose Recovery, but I do still bring it up every few weeks and make suggestions which he says he’ll do but then he doesn’t.

III. Empowering/disempowering a pursuit of health – I would do anything to support my husband’s Recovery. If I could recover for him, I would! He knows this. He knows I don’t want my kids to have divorced parents (although this is becoming less unappealing to me as time passes).

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 am definitely accessing way more healing resources than my husband. I see my own Counsellor every 4 weeks, and I meet my trusted best friend for dinner every 4 weeks, and I meet other friends for coffee or dinner in between. Plus I have a private blog where I enjoy recording all my thoughts regarding the situation I’ve found myself in – I find this very therapeutic indeed.

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 feel our relationship has the best chance of survival when I focus on the unhappiness I now realise my husband has experienced all his life. I feel great compassion for the little boy who clearly felt unloved and unvalued, and who decided at a very early age that he couldn’t trust or depend on anyone but himself to get his needs met. I have been involved with him for nearly 18 years – that’s a lot of shared history which I don’t want to throw away. But I need him to want to resolve his own wounded self, and to want a closer relationship with me – if he reaches this desire himself, then we have a chance of success.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2014 12:03 am 

Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2014 6:51 pm
Posts: 21
Exercise 8

If you were to identify three issues relating to your partner’s recovery that you would like to see changed, what would they be?

1. I would like him to choose Recovery (and a future with me) and work to achieve it.
2. I would like him to stop acting as if nothing has changed.
3. I would like him to initiate dialogue with me about it, i.e. I’d like him to give me progress reports without me having to ask.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2014 12:22 am 

Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2014 6:51 pm
Posts: 21
Exercise 9

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?

I know that my husband is NOT engaged in a healthy recovery but there are some signs that could possibly be interpreted as positive e.g. he is often affectionate to me (kiss & hug) when saying Goodbye, Hello or Goodnight … He avoids staying overnight anywhere on business … He leaves his phone around the house where it can be seen so I know he’s not receiving any messages from inappropriate people, and he hasn’t stopped me accessing his emails so I know there’s nothing suspicious happening there either … He finally gave me access to most (but not all) of his bank accounts … He asks about doing a “family activity” one day of the weekend … He continues to take Zoloft … He says he is not acting out – but I don’t know if that’s true, and I have no reason to believe it because I know he’s not 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?

1. He’s not getting any counselling, or going to any 12 step meetings.
2. He joined RN several months ago but is still trying to find the time to seriously commit to the lessons.
3. He avoids any sort of personal communication with me about his addiction.
4. He never initiates any alone “date” time with me – dinner, lunch, drinks, and still minimises time spent with family.
5. He still gets angry easily and drinks a lot when stressed.

C. How have you communicated your observations to your partner? Have you communicated the healthy observations as well as the unhealthy? How has your partner responded?

I try to respond positively to all the good things he does, although this does become harder when I know he’s not actively doing anything to fix the problem.

With the negative things, I say nothing until his lack of action reaches a tipping point in my head (about once a month) and then I initiate a discussion.

I am always encouraging him to at least TRY to pursue a healthy recovery, and that I completely believe that he is smart enough and dedicated enough to achieve it if he just tries.

My husband’s response always takes the form of him saying all the things I want to hear, but then not following through with actions.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2014 1:51 am 

Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2014 6:51 pm
Posts: 21
Exercise 10

A) Select the three most important values that you need right now to help you stabilize your life.

1. My role as a mother – I want to provide a healthy family life for my children.
2. Family activities – we need to spend more time together as a family.
3. Self-care – I need to do more exercise to stay healthy.

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

1. Mothering – I am a good and beloved mother (if a little impatient and shouty sometimes!) but now that I realise we are a dysfunctional family, I want to cushion and protect my kids more, and somehow try to break the cycle which would see them in turn ending up in the same type of relationships themselves.

2. Family Activities – we have started (in the past few months) trying to do one family activity together each weekend. Not easy when you have a 13 year old who doesn’t want to do anything with her parents! But the activity can be as simple as watching a movie together or playing a board game. (We have always had dinner together every day so I guess that’s something).

3. Self-care – I need to do more physical exercise. I am already doing 2 activities a week but I need to do more. This could also include some type of relaxation. And it includes making time for myself – alone time at a cafe with my iPad!

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

1. Mothering – I want to designate a daily 15-30 minute timeslot for each child, where I will be there for them exclusively – to listen or help with homework, or just sit in silence if they don’t want to talk.

2. Family Activities – continue with weekly FAs – make sure we do something every weekend, even if it’s something small.

3. Self-care – I will walk for 20-30 minutes 3-4 days a week.

D) List the steps you will take in the next 24 hours to begin strengthening each value.

1. Mothering – I will spend some time with each child today.
2. Family Activity – We have an activity planned for today.
3. I will do my walk today, or tomorrow if no time today.

PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2014 12:04 am 

Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2014 6:51 pm
Posts: 21
Exercise 11

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.

I’ve been putting off doing this exercise for several weeks. It’s definitely the most difficult one so far. I guess I didn’t want to upset myself. I’ve chosen to list the emotions I’ve felt with just a small amount of detail, rather than writing a very elaborate letter.

Dear Husband,

The emotions I have experienced as a result of your addiction are:

Surprise/amazement/shock/confusion – when I discovered that you have been living a double life all the time I’ve known you.

Disgust/Shame and Pity – when I learned what you’ve been doing.

Anger/Bitterness/Hurt- at the betrayal/rejection/deception – at the unjust way you have treated me while pretending to be my good and loving husband.

Love – for the unhappy little boy inside you, and for the man I have loved for so long, and the better man I believe you could be.

Fear – for my future and the happiness of my young children.

Sadness – for my loss – the loss of what I thought I had – a good husband/father who loved me/our kids. For the 18 years I have spent with a half-person, miles from my own family who love me and miss me. For the loss of sexual intimacy – being touched by another person. For my kids who don’t have the good role model father I thought they had.

B. 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.

This is an exercise in fantasy because I don’t believe my husband is currently capable of understanding the impact of his behaviour on me. So this is what I would like him to say (and mean it):

Dear Wife,

I want you to know that I am truly deeply sorry for the pain my behaviour has caused you. I never intended to hurt you (it was never personal), and I’m only recently beginning to understand why I have acted this way for so long.

I’ve never been able to remember my childhood (I suppose I have blocked it out), but I know now that my mother’s desperate unhappiness caused me to realise from a young age that I couldn’t rely on her or anyone else to give me the love and emotional care that every healthy child needs. I grew up feeling unloved and unworthy of love, and I didn’t trust anyone or let anyone get close to me. Outwardly, however, I projected a confident, outgoing personality – a facade of the person I wanted to be.

This dual persona has become more and more difficult to maintain over the years, and I have relieved the stress by acting out. I’m not proud of my behaviour. In fact, I hate myself for it, but the compulsive urges seem to take over my body, almost as if I have no control. But of course I know that I CAN take back this control if I want to be able to live happily with myself.

I do understand how hurt and confused you must feel. The way I have treated you is unforgivable and I know you are already thinking of divorce. But I want to assure you that I am going to do everything in my power to beat this addiction [he isn’t]. I’m going to make it my first priority [he hasn’t]. I want to try to make it up to you and perhaps finally be the husband you deserve.

PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2014 5:08 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2014 6:51 pm
Posts: 21
Exercise 12

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 continue to be pretty obsessed with my husband’s addiction. Unless I’m reading fiction or watching TV/movies, or engaged in conversation with my kids / work colleagues / friends, or sleeping, I am ruminating about my husband’s addiction. I sometimes feel like I’ve stopped living my own life, and I know this is not good for me or my kids.

I am still sometimes struck by the enormity of this situation I find myself in, and I can’t quite believe it! I sometimes feel a huge sadness for the loss of the marriage I thought I had, and the irretrievable waste of time.

I sometimes find myself disgusted by sex and our society’s obsession with it … I find myself feeling bitter and angry when I see a certain type of woman that I know my husband is attracted to … I sometimes find myself feeling deeply disappointed in men in general. (But I recognise that all of these are not fair, logical feelings, and I don’t feel this way all the time).

I have learned a lot about sex addiction so I now have a pretty good understanding of why my husband is the way he is, and I feel that I have moved to a calmer, more philosophical mindset where I’m beginning to accept that my husband may never choose to change, so I’ve started to shift my focus to my own life (the RN lessons are really helping with this).

I see my Counsellor every 4 weeks, and I meet my best friend (who knows everything) every 4 weeks, so I feel I have 2 caring people I can talk to, and RN is a good support too. I am always busy at home and at work so this helps also, and my husband and I generally act as if nothing has changed – which is confusing, to be honest – but I suppose it’s good for the kids at least.

I am no longer checking up on my husband obsessively, and I realise I’m happier when I don’t!

I would say that I am experiencing feelings from the Disorientation, Awareness AND Separation stages!

B. Because you have experienced a traumatic event in your life — and the discovery that the foundation of your life has been jeopardized is severely traumatic — there are common patterns that you should expect and even prepare for in the months and years to come. Discuss what these patterns might be and how you will deal with them. There are no right or wrong answers here. The goal is to begin looking ahead with a realistic and constructive eye. To realize that with even the best healing process in place, the trauma that you have experienced will have a lasting — albeit not permanently destructive — effect on your life.

If my husband decides to pursue Recovery, even to the point where I could see remorse and a genuine desire to change, I believe I would stay with him. I believe this would be the best outcome for the whole family.

Unless my husband chooses Recovery, I will never trust him again, which means that we will always be keeping each other at an emotional distance, which is sad. I don’t know yet if I can live like that, but I’m not ready to make this decision yet.

If no Recovery, but we stay together, I think I would need to choose between (a) pretending there is no problem, and (b) making it clear to my husband that there is a problem by putting boundaries in place – not sure how that would work yet.

Divorce is an option that is becoming more likely as the months pass by and my husband continues to do very little. I think he is in denial about the extent of his problem. So splitting up and all that entails is something I may have to deal with in the future.

If we split up, my children will be very upset. We will need to manage this as best we can to minimise the trauma for them.

In the short-term, I need to become more detached. I need to develop boundaries and be prepared to defend them. I know RN will help me work on this.

My situation has made me feel fearful for the future relationships of my daughters whose sex lives will no doubt be governed by pornography. The internet is now where pre-teen boys and girls learn about sex – I pity them, and I believe that sex addiction will be far more prevalent as a result in years to come.

My husband’s SA has forced me into a secretive ‘double life’ of my own – I can no longer be open and honest to most people about my life.

PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2014 9:16 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2014 6:51 pm
Posts: 21
Exercise 13

A. One of the first steps on the road to healing is to take inventory of all the ways that your partner’s compulsive behavior has affected you. Begin listing these consequences. It will be important for you to consider the affects to your physical, emotional, social, spiritual, economic, interpersonal, potential selves — as well as any other area that you feel is relevant.
B. Rate the affect of each consequence from a 1-10. “1” will represent the most significant consequence that your partner’s addiction has had on your life.

Sadness at the realisation that my marriage (and my life) is not the success story I thought it was (1).

Anger, bitterness and sadness at finding I am not (and never have been) loved and cherished by my husband (1).

Shame and embarrassment regarding the true state of my family (1).

Grief for my innocent children being raised in a dysfunctional family (1).

Deliberate withdrawal and consequent isolation from some social circles due to fear of discovery (5).

Constant preoccupation and rumination about husband’s SA (1).

Physical tension, bruxism, sore neck and shoulders, sore jaw from sometimes grinding teeth when asleep (1).

Frequent short temper with my children, which I feel bad about (4).

Feeling short-changed by life, allowing myself to feel like a victim or martyr (6).

Anxiety about the future – decisions I will make and the possible impact on my kids and my financial security (3).

Hyper-awareness of sex – in conversations, on TV, in advertising (10).

Hyper-awareness of sexy women – particularly the type I know my husband is attracted to (8).

Becoming more secretive myself now I have something to hide, which is making me feel isolated from my own family and good friends (3).

Realisation that my own self esteem is not as high as I thought it was (7).

Realisation that my own tolerance for intimacy is lower than I thought it was (7).

I will continue to update this exercise if I think of more consequences.

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