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PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2013 9:22 am 
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Thanks, Nellie,

I did post and got a few responses that gave me the nudge to just confront the issue and stop avoiding him.

In fact, I think the heart of the matter is that I was avoiding and postponing telling him in order to protect my own feelings. These are clearly feelings of anxiety, knowing that when my husband gets upset with me, he shuts down and withdraws for days at a time. I believe I've developed my own defense mechanism to avoid or shorten this stressful time that follows.

On further reflection, I feel like I've been living walking on eggshells for a long time. I've found myself saying things like, "I better leave now or my husband will get upset." Or telling the kids, "Hurry, we don't want to be late and make daddy mad." I worked for a time at a battered women's shelter, and I feel like my behavior is almost like that of a battered woman--doing things to avoid making her partner angry or upset.

Moving forward, I need to just accept that he might have this reaction, and let go of the anxiety in me that follows.

Commitment to myself: I will make healthy social plans freely. I will notify my husband about them as soon as I know about them and allow him to own his feelings about them. I will strike a balance between time with friends and time with my husband, so that I'm not using that time with friends as escape or avoidance of him. I will make sure I'm spending positive time with him.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 12:02 pm 
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Exercise Nine:

A . Signs of a Healthy Recovery

Wholeheartedly recognizes that how he’s managed his life and relationships so far has been inadequate and that his behaviors are linked to how he’s pushed down his emotions.

Is actively working on better communication and redirecting conversations that head in the wrong direction.

Is taking an active role in recovery by scheduling therapy, listening to books on CD, and handling lawyer issues, all of which he would have never done before.

Volunteered openly that he caught himself scanning at a store and how he had to examine what prompted it and talk himself out of looking.

Opens up and talks about his vulnerabilities and hurt feelings where he didn’t before.

Is obviously less angry and has changed how he talks with me and the kids, in spite of some missteps along the way.

Is more open to my critique, even when I’m not so diplomatic or empathetic about how I give it.

When we have had sex, it’s been on my terms, and I feel the connection. He maintains eye contact with me and it feels more like making love than having sex as in the past.

B. Signs of an Unhealthy Recovery

Resists the label of sexual addiction, because he doesn’t feel like it adequately expresses what he does or is going through. I’m not sure if this is denial or if he has a legitimate point. It seems like such a one-size-fits-all box for something so complicated.

Brief moments of sexualized mindset creep in. For example, in bed, he started in with some dirty talk that made me feel uncomfortable, though he stopped when I asked him to.

He is not dealing with sexual addiction as a compartmentalized issue, but is seeing a therapist about myriad relationship and communication issues. It seems like it’s an indirect approach, and I would like him to get a better understanding of sexual addiction before taking on a generalized approach to health.

C. Communicating Observations

I’ve told him that it seems like he’s not approaching his recovery by taking sexual addiction head on. He feels he’s doing a lot right now with therapy and reading and working on our relationship.

I’ve pointed out how well he is doing with healthy communication, and that he seems to have incorporated it into his communication more easily than I have.

I’ve expressed when something makes me uncomfortable (dirty talk), and he seems okay with it, though hurt because he doesn’t mean to put me off.

I express how much I enjoy lovemaking when we are connected and truly with each other.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2014 11:06 am 
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Exercise Nine—Addendum:

Update:

My husband and I were seeing an emotions-based couples therapist. When I brought up some of the things I was working through on RN, she actually discouraged me from continuing with RN, because she thought that the label of “sexual addiction” was not constructive to our therapy work.

Initially, this therapist was a godsend in getting us through the earthquake and aftershocks of discovery, not to mention the months of emotional and legal issues of my husband’s arrest, sentencing and wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet for a month—all of which were life-changing trauma.

After almost a year, I saw the therapist on my own and it came out that I am really still pissed off and thoroughly disgusted by my husband’s actions. She thought that I should continue therapy on my own for a while instead of my husband. She thinks what he says is true—that I’m not prioritizing him in my life and that I need to decide if I’m going to stay or not before we can continue couple’s therapy. She said that it would be a shame for my kids’ sake for me to break up our family.

I finally realized that she is not equipped to handle our situation. She was not trained in SA enough to see the signs or understand the depth of the problem and deceptions. She also avoided addressing the issue head-on. And she saw me as equally responsible for our marital problems. Because I really love my husband and wanted to commit wholeheartedly to therapy, I embraced that viewpoint for a while and worked to do my part. In retrospect, she helped validate my husband’s skewed thinking about doing what he did because I wasn’t giving him the love and attention he needed. I finally realized I needed to drop the therapist, and my husband didn’t go back either.

Since then, my husband has been withdrawn, and I’ve made discoveries of him looking at porn twice and looking at Craigslist “men seeking women”—I wasn’t even looking for it. I could tell by links he had clicked on the computer.

I confronted him each time. He is clearly trying to white-knuckle through with abstinence. And this last time, he blamed it on me not having sex with him. Finally all the work I had done on RN flooded back, and I realized I was looking sexual addiction in the face. I have been very wary of that label and wanted to see my husband as a whole person with a problem, not an addict. But I could no longer avoid the reality of sexual addiction.

I just came back to RN to pick up where I left off about a year ago. I finally became clear on my boundaries about porn and what the consequences would be. I laid it all on the table with my husband, saying that he has a sexual addiction and unless he starts addressing it through RN or some other route, then I am walking away with our three kids. I told him I will get full custody given his police record, and that he will only have them every other weekend. I am committed to following through. I have the financial and social means to never need another thing from my husband, if necessary.

I am clearer than ever on what an unhealthy recovery looks like. I am revisiting this lesson before continuing on.

A . Signs of a Healthy Recovery

When he is in the recovery space, he is transparent and vulnerable. He opens up about his desperation and reveals how deep his trouble is. It is obvious he is not hiding. Last night, he revealed how he has thoughts of suicide and how he would go about it. He has thoughts about voyeuring with a camera under women’s skirts, and that the only thing stopping him is his horrible experience in getting arrested. His honesty and painful self-awareness tells me he is facing himself without deception—at least in that moment.

B. Signs of an Unhealthy Recovery

I now know that when he is withdrawn and in his head, he is dealing with SA in unhealthy ways.

I now know that when he blames his actions on me not having sex with him, that he is not recognizing his own fundamental flaws.

I had a startling realization about my own gut instinct. I got herpes as a young woman, and then never had an outbreak again for twenty years. I had almost forgotten about it. At the height of my husband’s acting out, and before I had any clue about his sexual addiction, I had an outbreak for the first time. In retrospect, I think my body was telling me what my head was not. I recently had a second outbreak, which was when he was back viewing porn and I hadn’t realized it. Coincidence? Perhaps. But I sure am going to pay attention to that next time as a possible sign of his unhealthy recovery.

C. Communicating Observations

I am committed to being clear about my boundaries and the consequences, and am no longer avoiding the term sexual addiction. This was really difficult for my husband, but I believe this is the turning point for me. It may be for him as well, because it gave him his second wake up call (the arrest being the first). Only time will tell. I realize that's beyond my control.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2014 7:18 pm 
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Exercise 10:

A. Three values I need to stabilize my life:



I am grounded in nature and grounded by it.
I know the environment I share my home with—the animals, the native plants, the seasons, the moon phases. I build my home and live around the principles of permaculture. I educate my children side by side with me to live in harmony with the earth.

I have good instincts. I listen closely to my gut, especially when it’s hard to hear.

I model honest, non-violent communication
for and with my children.


B.

Nature/Home: My current focus around this value is completing our home to make it livable. We are currently living in an RV while the home is being built, and it has taken much longer than planned, due to the upheaval of the past year. I need to keep things moving to organize our home and make it ready to live in by the end of next month, so that the instability of our living situation won’t contribute to my overall instability.

One of the principles of permaculture, which I mentioned in my vision, is to creatively use and respond to change. I hadn’t thought about that since writing my values about a year ago. I feel like I can approach this time of immense change in my life with much more creativity and openness to possibility.

Instincts: I have been tuning into my instincts more and finding that most of what I need to know is there. I will continue to tune in and trust them more, undoing all of years of ignoring my gut. I believe there is a lot more untapped guidance to be gained by listening to my gut.

Honesty/NVC:
I have totally neglected this value, allowing my kids to overhear angry conversations as well as yelling at them in my worst moments. I have also participated in my partner’s lies by helping to hide the truth from his family. This is where I need the most stability, since non-violent communication is how I feel most myself, and embracing honesty makes me feel like I’m taking my power back.


C.

I will complete my home and sell the RV by my birthday.

When I am confused about what to do next, I will meditate and reflect and give my instincts the space to speak to me.

I commit to ending conversations with my partner or others when I am not modeling honest, non-violent communication. I will stop myself and walk away to ground myself when I feel like I want to yell at my kids.


D.

In the next 24 hours, I will begin moving stuff out of the RV, with the goal of having everything out by the end of the weekend.

When I wake up tomorrow morning, I will meditate for 10 minutes and set my three intentions for the day.

I will set up my first appointment with the parenting coach, which I paid for, but let slide due to life upheavals.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 10:18 am 
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Exercise Eleven, Part A:

Dear You,

When I first discovered the heart-wrenching truth about your addiction, I couldn’t even call it sexual addiction. I could not bear to reconcile the concept of sexual addiction with the kind, beautiful, gentle, brilliant man who I married.

For the last year, I fought for you, fought for us, fought for our kids to salvage the dream of a happy, healthy family together. I lied to your parents and our kids for you, so they wouldn’t be damaged by the truth the way I have been. I bailed you out of jail. I found a lawyer. I went to counseling with you. I went to a weekend intensive couples workshop with you. I worked my ass off to make sure the lawyer had everything she needed so you wouldn’t have to spend a year in jail. I went to court for you. I spent almost $20,000 in bail bonds, and a lawyer, and therapy, and electronic monitoring. I EVEN WROTE THE CHECK AND PUT THE GODDAMN BILL IN THE MAIL EVERY MONTH. I did the laundry, grocery shopping, child care, bank deposits, and held up our entire family while you were confined home to electronic monitoring for a month.

While you were at home watching more porn.

Now that I see so brutally clearly that you have a sexual addiction, I think I’m mostly past the initial earthquake and aftershocks that tore my whole life out from under me. In my first lesson, I detailed 31 emotions that I was going through, among them: Shock, Sadness, Mistrust, Questioning, Retrospection, Crying, Lost and Alone, Worry, Compassion, Disbelief, Uncertainty, Hopelessness, Horror, Disgust, Grossed Out, Confusion, Annoyance, Rage, Self-Doubt, Loss of Self-Esteem, Hope, Love.

These are barely the tip of the iceberg.

But I think the hardest, HARDEST emotion I’ve had to deal with lately is disappointment in myself.

I allowed you to cross my boundaries, to compromise my ideals, let me to settle.

I allowed you to make me doubt my instincts. I allowed you to be absent from so many gatherings. Shit, I even allowed you to look at porn, so I wouldn’t have to meet your needs.

I thought I had the problem for not having enough sex drive, even while I was nursing babies AND running my own business full-time AND managing the entire family almost on my own AND helping your parents AND homeschooling the kids.

I allowed you to put my dress down—the one I worked so hard at sewing and was so proud of—and I made excuses that it was okay we didn’t have the same taste in style, and relied on my women friends for compliments and praise.

I allowed you to influence my underwear and my pubic hair.

I expected less of you and turned to my kids and family and female friends for the joy I miraculously managed to find in my life.

I am really disappointed with myself for settling for so much less in our relationship.

I am so sad that I was willing to accept that this is what married life was like—arguments and getting through the day with not nearly enough support and love.

As much as I see myself as a feminist and strong, I still fell hard.

I allowed you to not go with me to parties and picnics and meetings, because you’re so introverted, while instead you went to Target to film up women’s skirts.

I allowed you to convince me that you didn’t realize that girl was a minor when you got arrested for videotaping under her skirt.

I allowed you to make me cringe from now on whenever I hear the innocuous phrase, “skirt the issue.”

I allowed my kids to be in a sexualized environment. To hear you comment on other peoples’ appearances. Probably even to videotape people while they were with you, though you haven’t admitted it.

I allowed you to show my kids that lying by omission is okay when you told them, “Don’t tell Mommy about the Cheetos because she won’t like it.”

I allowed you to pull their hair and threaten them and make them fear your anger, because I intervened and stopped it, but stayed after you did it anyway.

I allowed you to let me hope again, even in the middle of preparing for divorce, because I see a glimpse of the beautiful person I love, only to be reminded when you couldn’t look me in the eyes this morning that you are probably lying when you say you weren’t looking at porn last night instead of doing your recovery work.

I am so, so sad for whatever terrible thing must happened to you to make you so desperate and troubled and deluded.

I am so, so sad for me, who loves so much, who takes my vows of “for better or for worse” so to heart, that I didn’t want to look directly into the sunlight where the truth is.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2014 10:17 am 
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Exercise Eleven, Part B:

I am sorry. I am so sorry. I can never say it enough, I’m sorry.

I can’t believe that I hurt you so much—the one I promised to be true to, the mother of my children, the one person I trust the most in this world.

I have been totally absent as a husband to you. I’ve let you take the responsibility for so many important things in our lives, while I selfishly went further in further away.

I blamed you for what was my fault.

I guilt-tripped you when you tried to find the fulfillment that you weren’t getting from me.

I said horrible things about you because I thought you should be what was my warped, objectified fantasy.

I made you feel less than the beautiful, confident, amazing woman that I love.

I victimized other women and changed their lives, and I can’t stand to think of myself as someone who would do that.

Worst of all, I lied. I lied right to your face. I knew I was lying, I insisted I wasn’t. I withheld information and convinced myself that I wasn’t lying.

I made you doubt your instincts. You are such a smart woman and you were right every time, but I betrayed your generous spirit by making you think there was another, logical side to the story.

I did the one thing that I tell the kids never to do. And I kept doing it and doing it until I nearly took you down with me.

I can never make it up to you for sticking it out with me and helping me through my court case and saving me from a year in jail that would have destroyed me, in spite of the disgust and betrayal you must have felt.

And still, I kept looking at porn while you were sticking up for me and standing by me.

I just don’t know how or where I went wrong in my life. I don’t know what happened to me that would make me believe that the things I did were okay. I sincerely cannot remember anything that traumatic.

I can only say that when I came to the US and had to sleep in my aunt’s garage on a mattress on the floor with my dad, that there was no room for my fear or sadness or loneliness.

In the middle of such a crucial time of being a teen when my friends were learning about love and relationships, I didn’t have the money to have a girlfriend or a place to bring her or the confidence to talk to a girl, even if I did have those things. I was just so sad and lonely, but because of our situation, I just didn’t feel like I had the right to have feelings and get support. I was just a boy. And I had to suck it up and show a brave face.

So I turned to my fantasies and porn and it just got away from me. I never learned to open myself up truly to my feelings or the depth of a real relationship.

I don’t know what the future will bring. All I can tell you right now is that I love you, as much as I can love you. I want to be with you and our kids. I want to make it right.

I am throwing myself into recovery with my whole heart and effort, because I want to make it right.

I won’t say I won’t do it again, because I have totally broken your trust for you to believe such empty words.

I want to show you by my actions that I am changing and becoming the person you once saw in me. I know you are giving me one chance, and I’m not going to blow it. You will know, because the intelligence and instincts that you’ve had all along will let you know.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 11:10 am 
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Exercise Thirteen

Identifying the Consequences

- 5 Kids: Compromised values about video game time and allowed kids to play way more than is healthy on weekends because I felt like I had to give in, in order to get game-free time during the week; starting to see signs of addiction in son.
- 8 Kids: Internalizing my own anger and out of control emotions, which led to yelling at and even hitting kids when I am strongly opposed to physical discipline.
- 8 Kids: Overcompensated for his lack of participation in responsibilities—driving to kids’ activities and parental participation obligations.
- 10 Kids: Handling emotional fall-out of his taking anger out of kids; last night it even caused my youngest daughter to have a panic attack.
- 10 Kids: Makes me worry about my kids and how their self-esteem and future relationships will be affected.
- 5 Kids: Having to figure out therapy and how we can afford getting support for my kids and what they’re going through.
- 10 Financial: Got into a lot of debt, partially due to not putting my foot down about stopping paying his mom $2k/month for childcare that we no longer needed.
- 10 Financial: Over $20,000 paid to legal fees, therapist, electronic monitoring and other directly related costs.
- 8 Household: Overcompensated for household responsibilities and took on most of housekeeping, grocery shopping, cooking, childcare, bill paying, education.
- 5 Household: Gave up master bedroom so his parents could move in with us, even though they could afford their own place, because he felt bad about his dad stressing out about money.
- 7 Self-Esteem: Changed my clothing style to try to be sexier; gave away clothes that I like, but that he thought weren’t flattering.
- 5 Self-Esteem: Made me feel self-conscious about underwear and pubic hair so that I shaved and wore thongs, even when it was uncomfortable.
- 3 Personal Growth: Felt guilty about any time with friends or pursuing my own hobbies like band and sewing, because it made him jealous of my time.
- 3 Religion: Overcompensated for his non-participation by completely handling taking kids to church by myself every Sunday, attending religious ed. meetings, and preparation for first communion.
- 2 Relationships: Makes me doubt I will ever be able to trust a man again if I have a future relationship.
- 8 Honesty: Put me in a situation to have to lie to his parents and our kids when he got arrested; continue to cover up what is really going on.
- 3 Isolation: Moved out to the woods—which I love and wanted—but now feels isolated from my social network.
- 6 Isolation: Prioritizing his parents over mine; not visiting home for four years because we didn’t have the money, but all the while paying his mom and letting his parents live with us.
- 7 Isolation: Feeling shame and expecting to be judged if I tell my friends what I’m going through.
- 7 Rational Thinking: Allowed myself to be convinced that there was always another side to the story, and often doubted myself; serious gaslighting.
- 8 Rational Thinking: Allowed marriage therapist to convince me that I was equally responsible for what was wrong in our relationship, that I was overreacting to his anger because of my own history with my dad, that my daughter was manipulating us because she played into my fears instead of accepting that she had legit fears.
- 5 Expectations: Lowered my expectations of fulfillment from my relationship; accepted way less from my partner and felt like this is what marriage was like.
- 5 Sex: Let him try things that made me uncomfortable; allowed him to photograph me even after I knew it was part of his compulsive behavior.
- 6 Sex: Felt guilty for not being able to meet his needs; felt something was wrong with my lowered drive after kids, and didn’t see how it was related to his distance and acting out.
- 5 Standards: Accepted that porn was something that all men look at.
- 4 Social: Made excuses for his absence from family and friend get-togethers; almost exclusively attended by myself with kids.
- 9 Home: Slowed down building of our home because of his inability to prioritize—staying way too long in RV and not having basic living arrangements, while he builds non-essential toys “for the kids.”
- 10 Time: So, so, so many hours, weeks, months lost researching SA, resources, recovery, therapist, lawyers, disclosing, how to handle kids, going through this workshop.
- 5 Addiction: Turned to drinking wine every night for past two years; wondered about it, but didn’t connect it to stress in my marriage.
- 6 Worldview: Being out in public, I see every woman in a skirt as someone my husband would be obsessing about and feeling threatened and disgusted.
- 9 Worldview: I was previously so trusting of the goodness of human beings and now I doubt everyone—letting my kids in public bathrooms alone, being alone with my in-laws; fearful of letting my son spend time alone with our nice neighbor.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2014 4:19 pm 
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Exercise Fourteen

Time on partner’s addiction:

I would love to say I’ll spend no time on my partner’s recovery. I am working towards that. I resist checking on his progress on the other side of RN. But the reality is that I continue to check in with him, ask him how he’s doing, and occasionally suggest resources, such as the forum or giving him the email address of the amazing counselor I’ve been working with. Are these healthy roles to play? They feel like it, until he refuses suggestions, which makes me feel like I’m pushing them on him.

Time on investigating:

I have stopped checking his phone and have not at all checked his computer. While I feel the urge to know if he’s being sincere in his recovery, especially when I sense that he’s angry and defensive, I want facts to back my intuition. But whenever I feel like checking, I remind myself that spying is not being true to my values and I do not want to be consumed by his issues.

Values I will allow him to damage:

I am surprising myself by realizing that I will not allow any damage. I will not allow porn in or around my home or kids: I’ve told him that I expect him to wipe his phone and that the kids aren’t allowed on his phone or computer, even with nothing going on. I will not allow him to yell at the kids: I will intervene and take the kids out of the situation. I will not allow him to criticize or accuse me: I will put it back on him and walk away (have done this once already). I will not allow him to guilt me out of getting support from my family and friends: I am flying home to my parents’ to tell them today, in spite of his extreme distress and shame. I will not allow the kids to play too many video games: I’ve already instituted a one-hour on weekends policy. I will not allow us to go into debt: I’ve spoken up when he made a big purchase without me and took off work/pay to get tires, when it could have been avoided. I won’t allow the kids to sleep over at grandparents until I believe in my heart that they are safe.

Mistakes I am prepared to tolerate:


I will allow my partner to be angry, defensive, distant with me. I will allow him to share his struggle with scanning. I will not allow porn, yelling at me or yelling at the kids. Yelling will result in me walking away and taking kids away from the moment. Grounds for separation are porn in any form or use of camera to film, obviously.

Investment in his change:

I am making observations to him, both positive and negative. I feel like I’m making statements, but he perceives ANY negative feedback as accusations, blame, and putting him down. He says that it gets in the way of his progress. I am trying to give positive feedback as well, and he thrives on it. When I give it, he seems to feel like it’s genuine because it is.

Motivating change by threats/rewards:


In the beginning, I expected my partner to be able to support my needs, but lately I am not relying on him at all to meet them. For building our home, when we weren’t making any progress, I gave him a deadline by which I needed a project done in order to create stability in our living situation, and if he couldn’t, I would hire someone to do it. I intend to continue expressing my needs and plans for if he can’t meet them. I don’t think of it as a threat, although he does. For me it’s expressing a need and having a plan in place if he can’t follow through.

Becoming a team:


I am still in wait-and-see mode and am focusing on my own recovery at a more focused and rapid pace. I truly do not know if I will continue our relationship and feel it’s too early to tell. I see my partner committed to doing RN nightly, and do see some changes that give me hope, but also see he has a long way to go. From him, I will need to see a deeper understanding of his anger and how it affects our relationship and parenting, as well as how it’s related to his SA. I will need to see him take responsibility for what he has done—right now he still believes he turned to videotaping because I wasn’t having sex with him and that it was my fault. I will need to see more maturity in his decisions and managing his life, which I have done until now but am turning over to him. I will need to see more openness and sensitivity as opposed to the defensiveness and distancing that is happening now when he is under any emotional stress or getting negative feedback from me.

As a result, the change in perspective I will need to make in order for us to become a team is seeing him as a true partner as opposed to a hurt little boy who needs taking care of, which is mostly how I’ve viewed him. In order for that to happen, I’ll need to see through his actions that he can handle the responsibilities of being my partner and a parent that he has neglected for so long.

Major obstacles to relationship:


The biggest barrier by far is parenting. What I used to view as different parenting styles, I now see as non-negotiable differences. I let way too much slide, and it has damaged my kids. I can see my decision to insist on parenting my way as being controlling, but I won’t compromise on a non-violent, attachment parenting approach. He will have to agree to completing the Hand-in-Hand parenting workshop that I am working through and he will have to get on the same page with me on parenting by connection. There is no room for compromise for me on this one. Deal breaker.

The other thing we will need to work on is sharing of responsibility. I will need to trust him with family management that I have had tight control of, such as budgeting, bill paying, grocery shopping. He will have to step up and do his fair share.

Finally, we will have to work on non-violent communication, especially in front of the kids. We have made progress on this, but have a lot of work to do.

Getting myself refocused:


I am disclosing to my parents and sister today. I plan to lean on them if things get out of whack. I am also working with a listening partner for life management and parenting, which is an incredible resource for getting things back in perspective. I will lean on my parenting coach, who is wise in ways beyond parenting. I will develop neglected girlfriend relationships. I will stay close to RN workshops and forum for advice directly related to SA.

Signs of recovery or insincerity in my partner:


How did I not see this before? I don’t even need to check his phone or computer. It’s so obvious when he’s doing well and when he’s not. When he’s doing well, he is warm, loving, open, joyful and sad, energetic about getting things done, affectionate, receptive to feedback with a palpable sense of wanting to be healthy. He also discloses things that are shameful to him. For example, he told me that he came across a pen with a hidden camera that he bought a while back and felt scared that I’d find it. Instead of hiding it, he told me about it.

When he’s not doing well, he is quiet, reserved, quick to anger, lethargic. He stops disclosing specifics about how his day is going and instead speaks in generalities (it was hard or it was okay). I don’t think it will be hard to assess his recovery. That is a new realization for me.

Additional things I need to prepare for in transition over the next months:

I will need to get our living situation stable so that I can live on my own with the kids if I need to. Scary but doable.

I will need to contact a lawyer to prepare for separation, so that I can know what I should be doing to protect myself and retain custody of my kids if that becomes necessary.

I will need to have financial reserves to be able to make it on my own if my partner doesn’t come through with his recovery.

I will need to have therapy support for my kids in place in case separation becomes inevitable.

Wow. Hard to write this last part down, as it all points to separation. I feel like I’m mentally preparing for my partner to let me down by not sticking with recovery. I hope it’s a good thing that I’m separating myself from his recovery, as opposed to creating a self-fulfilling prophecy, because I really want my husband to climb the huge mountain he has in front of him. I just don’t know if he will.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2014 3:16 pm 
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Exercise Fifteen

A. People resources I’ve turned to for support in various ways:

- My parents
- My sisters
- My long-time friend
- My parenting coach
- My listening partner
- Our marriage therapist (not any longer)
- Lawyer
- Friend of family who was a partner of an SA

- My friend T
- My friend B
- My friend P
- My neighbors
- My old neighbor S
- My homeschooling community
- My band members
- My friend E
- Priest who married us
- Husband’s parents

Have already told the first seven on the list. The responses that have been most helpful were from my family, friend, parenting coach and listening partner. They listened without judgment and with total commitment to support me with an understanding of why I am staying with my partner right now. They show that they believe I am smart and competent to make the right choices for myself. I feel really lucky. I underestimated how well each of them would rise to the occasion to support me.

The people in latter part of the list are people I’ve leaned on for childcare, friendship and emotional support, though I haven’t told them about my partner’s addiction. I listed them to remind myself that I have people to give me support even if they don’t know, and reserve the option to tell them if I need to.

The response that was not only not helpful, but detrimental, was from our marriage therapist who was not trained in SA and failed to recognize it in my partner, in spite of his arrest and admission of acting out. When I used what she considered strong language—addiction, abuse, violation—she told me that it wasn’t helpful and even suggested I stop working through RN, which I did for a time until I was discovered his porn use again. She also treated our issues as marital problems where I was equally part of our problems, and she led me to doubt my instincts, fears, and clear signs. I dropped her as a therapist. I realize that I need support from people who understand SA and therapists who are trained in it.

B. Non-People Resources

- *Recovery Nation
- ARC therapy center
- *Marriedtoasexaddict.com
- *Several key books on disclosure and partner recovery
- *Hand-in-hand parenting workshops
- *My writing/blog
- *Church, getting back to it
- *Music
- Massage
- Yoga
- Meditation
- *Walking/hiking/being in nature
- *Taking trips with my kids
- *Special time individually with each child
- *Time away from my kids
- Budgeting software (to make sure I’m financially stable)
- Financial independence websites

C. A Time When I Was Someone’s Support System

I can remember twice in my twenties when a friend leaned on my as their support. I am a good listener and I was there for them through some dysfunctional relationships. However, after several months of being the shoulder to cry on and the ear to listen, I got really dragged down by these two individuals (different times). It was very one-sided and I wasn’t getting a whole lot out of the long, depressing conversations. I eventually did something I wouldn’t do now, which was to avoid them and their phone calls, basically cutting myself free of the friendship. I’m sure it left them wondering what they had done, but I couldn’t handle the depth of the darkness. If it were now, I would be more honest about how their situation was affecting me try to see if we could have a more balanced friendship, or at least give them a reason for ending the friendship.

From this experience, I realize that I need to create balanced relationships, where I’m not always taking and never giving, but instead am nurturing those who nurture me.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 9:08 am 
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Exercise Sixteen

A. Create a list of values:

I value myself as powerful being here on this earth to actualize my potential.

I value peace, non-violence, and standing up for what is right.

I value family.

I value my role as a mother and role model for navigating life with grace.

I value creative expression.

I value nature and its inherent wisdom.

I value financial independence that gives me freedom to live out my life as I wish.

I value open, honest communication.

I value open-mindedness, non-judgment and mutual respect.

I value initiative, resourcefulness and personal responsibility.

I value full partnership in relationships.

I value lifelong learning, challenge and travel to expand my mind.

I value beauty, art, and harmony.

I value joy and humor.

I value courage.

I value health.

I value the beauty and wisdom of the human body in all its forms.

I value time and wisely choosing how to spend every minute I have left on earth.


B. How I will use my values to guide me through crisis:

As I write my values, I realize that they are key guideposts for living my life. I have compromised many of them in the past, seeing compromise as part and parcel of being in a relationship. But now that I have them in front of me, I see them as non-negotiable hallmarks of who I am and how I want to live my life. I will work to not compromise them or allow anyone else to compromise them. I need to keep them in a place where I can remind myself of them when I start to get away from them.

C. I went back to my vision and added a few things, but found that most of it reflected the core of who I am.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 10:32 am 
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Exercise Seventeen

A. Create a list of values:

I value myself as powerful being here on this earth to actualize my potential.
- Make one step every day to strengthen rest of my values.
- Print and post vision to keep me aware of it.

I value peace, non-violence, and standing up for what is right.
- Commit to never arguing with husband around the kids.
- Ask husband to leave if he ever punishes one of the kids physically or risks exposing them to porn or voyeurism. Get a move-out order if he won’t leave.
- Research child SA therapists and start kids in counseling.
- Commit to boundary about not letting kids in public with husband.

I value family.
- Call my parents at least twice weekly and each of my sisters once a week.
- Send thank you note to Aunt Carol and cousins.
- Send birthday gift to Anna.

I value my role as a mother and role model for navigating life with grace.
- Give each child a “morning minute” when they wake up each morning.
- Work on math 2x/week with each child.
- Finish watching Hand-in-Hand parenting videos.

I value creative expression.
- Complete one blog post each week.
- Get a short haircut that’s more me.
- Paint wheelbarrow poem.

I value nature and its inherent wisdom.
- Budget to go to Buckeye Gathering.
- Take morning hike around pond.

I value financial independence that gives me freedom to live out my life as I wish.
- Open separate bank account.
- Pay off last credit card.
- Get rid of RV/loan.

I value open, honest communication.
- Make time to share what’s going on with A and B.
- Continue to stand my ground with husband and not be afraid of his reactions.

I value open-mindedness, non-judgment and mutual respect.
- Stop conversations that turn negative or gossipy about someone else.

I value initiative, resourcefulness and personal responsibility.
- Meet with lawyer.
- Let husband to go to SA meeting by himself.
- Clean out RV to sell this weekend.

I value full partnership in relationships.
- Take A’s kids so they can go out one night.
- Make sure I ask my family about their lives instead of just dumping my life on them.
- Acknowledge that I’m pulling almost all the weight with family duties, and that it’s not sustainable if we stay together for any length of time.

I value lifelong learning, challenge and travel to expand my mind.
- Complete all RN workshops by October.
- Plan trip to Spokane with kids.
- Start world travel savings account.

I value beauty, art, and harmony.
- Organize home.
- Organize storage room.
- Clean up outside and rent dumpster.

I value joy and humor.
- Laugh more with my kids.
- Listen to more music.
- Meditate for gratitude.

I value courage.
- Look people in the eyes when I’m out in the world. Begin to trust that not everybody is untrustworthy.
- Remind myself that I can leave at any time.
- Give positive feedback to husband, kids and myself when we do even small courageous acts.

I value health.
- Get mammogram.
- Make chiropractor appointment.
- Floss.

I value the beauty and wisdom of the human body in all its forms.
- Make a rule at home that nobody is allowed to comment on anyone else’s body.
- Get a massage.

I value time and wisely choosing how to spend every minute I have left on earth.
- Commit to arriving on time. Become an early person.
- Set my three intentions for the day and complete them.
- Commit to meeting work deadlines early instead of last minute.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2014 7:54 pm 
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Exercise Eighteen

A. Example of value collision.

A few years ago, my mother-in-law was our caregiver for our three kids. I had transitioned to working from home and no longer needed her as much. And as the kids got older, I needed her in a different capacity—driving the kids to classes and practices—that she couldn’t/wouldn’t do. So we were paying her $2k/month basically to do our laundry. In addition, we were paying her under the table as my father-in-law insisted, so they wouldn’t have to pay taxes, and as a result, we couldn’t take the significant tax deduction for child care.

I repeatedly told, even begged my husband that we needed to reduce her pay or let her go, but he was worried that it would put his parents in a bad financial situation and make his dad have another stroke. At the same time, we were going deeper into debt. He was putting his value of his parents above our own family and financial security.

My rationale for not putting my foot down was that I also valued family and considered his parents part of my family. However, he had a set income, while mine as a freelancer varied. So any need for additional income had to come from me.

In retrospect, if he wanted to help support his parents, he should have taken on more work to do it. Instead, I became the responsible party for trying to make up the gap in income. Meanwhile, while I was making more than the other THREE adults in our household combined (they lived with us at the time), AND homeschooling our kids, AND handling the bills, AND doing all the grocery shopping, I was the one making dinner for everyone practically every night.

The result of this value collision is resentment then and anger now. We are still digging ourselves out of debt. I am really angry that I took responsibility for the earning the extra money we needed to support his perfectly capable parents, while his mom even turned down an offer of work because she didn’t feel like she knew how to cook or do what was needed of a potential employer. I’m angry that he valued his parents over his own wife and kids. I’m angry that to this day, he doesn’t recognize all I did for his parents, including giving up my new master bedroom and putting three kids in one room, while his two other brothers did nothing (and rightfully so).

Now his parents live by themselves, his mom doesn’t work, and they are doing just fine with money. Their financial need was totally imagined, and it makes me sick.

B. Values that I can expect to come in conflict.

In the past, it has been difficult to stand up for what is right in the face of family. I really value family and family harmony, and have let a lot of things slide, such as financial independence, open, honest communication, and standing up for what is right.

Another value conflict I will face is open, honest communication vs. financial independence. As I set myself up to be able to make it on my own in case I need to or meet with a lawyer to know what I need to have in place in case it comes to divorce, I am not being transparent about it with my husband.

Also, I have made a conscious choice not to enforce my value of full partnership in a relationship. I’m acting as I have in the past, taking on the majority of the household duties, finances and kids. I don’t want to bother with him doing it half-assed or not knowing how to do it, because it makes more work for me in the end. Also, I want to know that I can do it all if need be.

Probably the value that will be the hardest to uphold is my value of time. I have a real issue with being on time and meeting deadlines. I’m not sure if that’s a conflict with another value, but it’s definitely in conflict with my usual modus operandi, and it will be a real challenge to change. I have noticed an increase in my disorganization and lateness in the last years and attributed it to having three kids and a full plate. Now I see as I move toward health, I am much more organized and together. I actually think that the more I work through the workshop toward my own health, I will simultaneously be organizing my life.

C. Values I’m unwilling to compromise.

This is an easy one to answer for me, as I’ve already put in place and enforced boundaries around it. My kids are hands-down non-negotiable. I am fully committed to my role as a mother in ensuring their emotional and physical safety. I have no tolerance now for jeopardizing my kids’ safety even in subtle ways, and even though I really let things slide in the past.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 1:41 pm 
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Exercise Seventeen

A. Boundaries

I have purposely written these boundaries non-specifically about my husband where applicable, because I see them as my boundaries, regardless of who it is.

I value myself as powerful being here on this earth to actualize my potential.
- I will treat myself and speak about myself in positive ways.
- I will not allow myself to be denigrated, ignored, taken for granted or unappreciated.
- I will trust my instincts and act on my gut above all, even without other evidence, and will take it as my truth.
- I will thoughtfully rise to challenges and move through them in a way that makes me a better person—not in spite of them, but because of them.
- I will not let anyone or anything get in the way of me leading the phenomenal life I have to live.

I value peace, non-violence, and standing up for what is right.
- I will not use language that is violent or hurtful.
- I will not allow myself or my children to be yelled at or humiliated, nor will I allow myself to do so.
- I will not tolerate physical harm of any kind, whether through play or punishment.
- I will speak up when I see someone else being treated with disrespect.

I value family.
- I will call, text and visit my family to maintain daily contact with them.
- I will fly home for important milestones and call on important days.
- I will involve my family, whether it be during crisis or in celebrating accomplishments, and will reciprocate.

I value my role as a mother and role model for navigating life with grace.
- I will pursue continuous learning about actualizing the mother I have in me.
- I will never allow anyone to jeopardize the safety of my children, either physically, mentally, or emotionally, no matter how subtle.
- I will not argue in front of my children.
- If someone has compromised my children’s safety, I will no longer give them the privilege of having them in their care, including loving family members.

I value creative expression.
- I will start my day by writing my blog, my poetry, or any other form of expression.
- I will wear the clothes and hairstyle that are an expression of my eclectic, creative self.
- I will celebrate who my kids are, not who I want them to be.

I value nature and its inherent wisdom.
- I will develop systems in and around my home that respect our natural surroundings.
- I will reduce our garbage output.
- I will find opportunities to camp, hike and spend extended time in nature.

I value financial independence that gives me freedom to live out my life as I wish.
- I will not borrow from my future self to pay for my present self.
- I will pay off the last of our debt by the end of the year, pay off our land by the end of next year.
- I will make purchases in line with my values.
- I will not buy or accept gifts from companies that are not in line with my values

I value open, honest communication.
- I will be fearless in being honest and transparent and expecting it of others.
- I will not differentiate between small lies and big lies.
- I will be honest with myself about being true to my values.
- I will not be afraid of someone’s reactions when I am speaking the truth with compassion.
- I will share with my children about what is going on with their family, to the extent that it is age-appropriate, instead of hiding behind secrecy and shame.
- I will not participate in dishonest, accusatory, or disrespectful conversation, and will walk away if, after calling attention to it, it continues.

I value open-mindedness, non-judgment and mutual respect.
- I will not participate in conversations that turn negative or gossipy about a particular person or a group of people.

I value initiative, resourcefulness and personal responsibility.
- I believe in any person’s inherent power and intelligence to live out their values. Instead of doing it for them, I will support their efforts with encouragement and modeling, and honor them by allowing them to rise to the occasion and make mistakes to learn from or not.
- I will expect my partner, my children and myself to share in family responsibilities evenly, to each of our abilities.
- I will honor others by expecting their best, as I expect from myself, and not settle for less than awesome.
- I will set high goals for myself and work purposefully and energetically toward achieving them.
- If someone doesn’t get it done, I will do it myself or find a way to get it done, and not let anything slow me down from meeting my goals.

I value full partnership in relationships.
- I will be loved fully for who I am in my relationships.
- I will give as much as I take and take as much as I give in all my personal relationships.
- I will allow relationships to naturally shift out of balance, but over time, expect the net balance to be equal.
- I will spend time with the people who bring me up and end relationships that make me feel bad about myself.

I value lifelong learning, challenge and travel to expand my mind.
- I will seek out opportunities and people that inspire me.
- I will see challenges not as obstacles, but as opportunities to learn.
- I will prioritize experiencing the world with my children while I can and sacrifice other comforts in order to make it happen.

I value beauty, art, and harmony.
- I will live in a clean, organized environment that maximizes efficiency and facilitates harmony.
- I will surround myself with art, theatre, opera, ballet and music and find meaning in it.
- I will be meticulous about clearing out clutter from my space, my brain and my life, and keep only what adds value.
- I will not overschedule and over-commit. I will participate in activities that add significant value and let go of the rest.

I value joy and humor.
- I will find ways to laugh at myself.
- I will find opportunities to make my kids laugh and be silly with them.
- I will remember that I am a fun, joyful person and not let challenges in my life prevent me from finding joy every day.

I value courage.
- I will trust the goodness in people, until my gut or their actions indicate otherwise.
- I will leave any relationship at any time I need to, no matter what my financial or physical circumstances and trust that I am resourceful enough to survive.
- I will acknowledge even small courageous acts in others and look to them as inspiration for myself.
- I will not accept fear as an excuse for not doing what is best.
- I will try things that put me out of my comfort zone if they are part of actualizing my potential.

I value health.
- I will eat what makes me healthy and live long.
- I will stop drinking wine while during recovery, even for social occasions, so I fully experience the range of my emotions.
- I will do yoga and meditation weekly.
- I will floss.
- I will eat really good chocolate for my emotional health. ☺

I value the beauty and wisdom of the human body in all its forms.
- I will not allow anyone to comment on my body or my childrens’ bodies.
- I will teach my children about societal messages that their bodies are not good enough, and model reverence for my own body.
- I will wear only what makes me feel beautiful to me.
- I will look in the mirror and appreciate that my body has been to the top of mountains, the bottom of the ocean and has given life to three miracles.
- I will participate only in physical connection that is joyful, self-affirming, bonding, and open-hearted and stop it any time it is not.

I value time and wisely choosing how to spend every minute I have left on earth.
- I will remain conscious of how I’m using my time and strive to make every minute count.
- I will set my intentions for the day and follow through.
- I will meet work deadlines early instead of last minute.
- I will honor the time others give to me by being on time for commitments or make amends if I’m not.
- I will give my time and energy to the people I love, but detach when it I see it being wasted, except when it comes to my children, who have my unconditional love.
- I will let go of commitments, events, people who are not worthy of my valuable time.

B. Describe a scenario where not having clearly defined boundaries has had consequences.

It’s kind of shocking to think about my past relationships from my current vantage point. I’ve always thought that I had good relationships that I terminated when they crossed my boundaries. But in retrospect, I can see very clearly that my boundaries were crossed pretty badly throughout most of my dating relationships. I remember one boyfriend commented how I was starting to get cellulite once I stopped biking. I thought I was enforcing my boundaries when I told him that he wasn’t allowed to comment on my body, but I should have taken that as a bigger sign than I did, because I continued to date him. The same person also invited me to an event where he pretty much ignored me the whole time. I later found out that he had been dating someone at the same time as me and she was at the same event. When I found that out, I immediately broke it off, thinking that I was exercising my boundaries very definitively, and felt even proud that I wouldn’t let someone take advantage of me. But now, I can see that there were many, many boundary crossings like the ones I mentioned that should have been red flags and should have had stricter consequences. I could tell this same story, with different details, about pretty much every boyfriend, except the first two, and up through my current relationship.

I dated my husband for six years and broke up when I finally realized that he wasn’t going to want to get married any time soon. We separated for a year, but continued to see each other and have sex. After a year, we got back together, but I told him it had to be on the condition he was ready to get married. I gave him a year. Of course, he waited until the very end of the year to propose. I should have never settled for somebody who was so on the fence about getting married. If I had had stronger boundaries in place, I would have realized that the only person to marry would be someone who just couldn’t wait to be my husband.

It actually makes me really sad to write all this out. Because I have three sisters and a phenomenal mom, I’ve always gotten my inspiration from the women in my life. If I look at my girlfriends, I see accomplished, talented, creative, inspiring women who are sucking the marrow out of life. I am surrounded by amazing women and I am one of them. I have always been outstanding and bestowed with awards—in school, in the Peace Corps, in graduate school, in my career, in my own business. My friends know me as someone who is courageous, articulate and a no-holds-barred go-getter. When I was talking about starting my own business, I had one friend who told me, that of everyone she knew, I would be the one to make it happen. I know this to be true.

So to have settled so pitifully for mediocre men who were not worthy of me makes me really sad for my old self. I hope I can learn from this retrospection and demand more of myself and any man, if any, who shares in my journey.

C. Describe a realistic event where mastering boundaries will assist me.

I have already seen how the enforcement of boundaries has given me more stability. Primarily, in protecting my kids, what I previously thought of as a harsh boundary—not giving anyone the privilege of caring for my kids if they’ve compromised their safety—has given me the confidence that I am doing what is best for my kids.

If I think honestly about why I didn’t enforce stricter boundaries about my kids in the past, I believe it’s because some form of physical punishment was normalized in my childhood. Spanking was not only what my parents did, it was what other parents did too. So when my husband used physical punishment, threats and other emotionally abusive punishment with the kids, such as putting them outside, ignoring them for days, threatening to shower them in cold water if they didn’t want to shower, stepping on my daughter’s head to “show her what it felt like” when she had done it to her younger brother, I knew it was wrong and intervened to stop it, but in the end I allowed it to happen by staying. This is really painful to admit. What’s even more painful is that I allowed it to affect how I treated my kids. In one instance, fairly soon after DDay when my emotions were all over the place, my 10-year-old threatened to kick me, and I told her I would kick her back if she did. She did, and I did. I am really ashamed of myself. I have also spanked each of my kids once or twice, not out of discipline, but out of anger when they were younger, in spite of my sincere belief in not using physical punishment. I believe I let my dad’s and my husband’s values creep into mine.

That’s why it’s so important to me to have clear, concrete boundaries, especially around my kids. I’ve been taking a parenting class that has been amazing in its effects on how I discipline my kids. I find myself actually very easily being the loving, patient, connected mother that I’ve always known I am, without anger and with huge reserves of patience. And while I take full responsibility for the times I’ve been verbally or physically abusive to my kids, I realize how deeply my husband’s sexual addiction and the yet undefined stress had affected me. I am positive that in a different relationship, I would never had acted in those ways toward my kids.

I believe that having this particular non-negotiable boundary in place gives me utmost clarity what I will allow in my life moving forward, as well as the courage to enforce it.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2014 6:22 am 
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Quote:
He is not dealing with sexual addiction as a compartmentalized issue, but is seeing a therapist about myriad relationship and communication issues. It seems like it’s an indirect approach, and I would like him to get a better understanding of sexual addiction before taking on a generalized approach to health.
This fits with his not willing to consider that he has an addiction. Instead, he is skirting the issue by addressing behaviours related to the underlying issues. This is not a bad thing (addressing the topical issues) because these are areas where he is lacking in development. Also, if he does not see his sexual behaviours as part of a large pattern of addiction, it is likely that he will continue to protect those behaviours. Often, the rationalization is that they have a uniquely high sex drive, and nothing more. As long as this is the mindset, there will always be a possibility that the behaviours will eventually continue, likely with more hiding and covering up (especially to those they know do not approve).

Re: Update

All I can say is wow. It is not ethical for your therapist to be giving you values laden advice. “It would be a shame for your kids’ sake…”. She is in a position of power and should not be explicitly trying to sway your decision making. She is supposed to be neutral. ESPECIALLY since she is a COUPLE’S therapist. No experience with sexual addiction aside, she is clearly not even equipped to handle couple’s work. ugh. Good for you for being your own best advocate!

Quote:
I just came back to RN to pick up where I left off about a year ago. I finally became clear on my boundaries about porn and what the consequences would be.
Excellent news! Great work!

Quote:
This was really difficult for my husband, but I believe this is the turning point for me. It may be for him as well, because it gave him his second wake up call (the arrest being the first). Only time will tell. I realize that's beyond my control.
This could be the impetus for a step in a health-based direction, but not necessarily, either. Recovery as a form of crisis management is not recovery. It is not sustainable. True recovery is consistent, and internally motivated. This is not to say there won’t be setbacks… it is the individual’s own autonomous actions in response to setbacks that are a better gauge of the potential outcome.

Really great work with exercise 10.

Quote:
But I think the hardest, HARDEST emotion I’ve had to deal with lately is disappointment in myself.
I don’t normally comment on the letters, as they really are a personal reflection. But I just wanted to say that you trusted, and perhaps ignored or avoided, but you did this because you weren’t ready to see or face the truth and because you trusted. Trusting is healthy, generally. Not being ready to see the truth is no fault of your own. You subconsciously knew when you were strong enough to deal with it, and now you are. This is something to be proud of.

Quote:
It’s really helpful to see what I’m going through as a process and a normal passage through stages.
Indeed.

Excellent work with 12 B. Really good self awareness and commitment to being intentional.

Quote:
I would love to say I’ll spend no time on my partner’s recovery. I am working towards that. I resist checking on his progress on the other side of RN. But the reality is that I continue to check in with him, ask him how he’s doing, and occasionally suggest resources, such as the forum or giving him the email address of the amazing counselor I’ve been working with. Are these healthy roles to play? They feel like it, until he refuses suggestions, which makes me feel like I’m pushing them on him.
There is nothing wrong with giving him suggestions or resources, or even with checking in with him. Really, healthy couple’s care about how each other are doing, and check in with each other. However, the way you feel when he isn’t receptive is an indicator of your attachment to an outcome. This is just an indicator that the motive is external, rather than internal. It’s from a desire to manage a situation, rather than coming from pure values. This is not wrong either, but you will find that it isn’t the best in terms of your healing, as unmet expectations usually result in negative feelings (as you have experienced). What you can do here, is notice your feelings. For instance, notice that you automatically went into taking responsibility (in feeling that you are pushing something on him). This is an opportunity for learning. Ask yourself, “is this what I want?” and “is this in line with my vision for my life, and with my values?”. What would your values have you do, here? It may very well be that your values would have you check in with him, but maybe when he is not receptive, instead of blaming yourself, you will be able to see that he’s not receptive and use that information in a more productive way (again, according to your values).

Quote:
Grounds for separation are porn in any form or use of camera to film, obviously.
I will relay to you what Coach Jon once said to me, when I wrote a similarly absolute boundary around one of my husband’s acting out behaviours. He said that I might as well divorce now, because it is highly possible that he would act out again. Acting out in recovery is not uncommon, but should not be expected or gone unaddressed. Of course, it is always up to you to create your own boundaries. In my own relationship, acting out continued to be an on-again/off-again problem. (I believe that on-again was more on again then off again). In hindsight, I would not have done anything differently, because I wanted to give my husband space to learn the life skills he needed to transcend his addiction. It is unfortunate that he took advantage of that space instead of respecting it and using it for health and growth. (We are now separated and heading for divorce).

Quote:
I am making observations to him, both positive and negative. I feel like I’m making statements, but he perceives ANY negative feedback as accusations, blame, and putting him down. He says that it gets in the way of his progress. I am trying to give positive feedback as well, and he thrives on it. When I give it, he seems to feel like it’s genuine because it is.
It could help if you followed your statements with a brief explanation of the values the negative behaviour you observed violates, and the consequences (both natural and potentially imposed) of that behaviour.

Quote:
For building our home, when we weren’t making any progress, I gave him a deadline by which I needed a project done in order to create stability in our living situation, and if he couldn’t, I would hire someone to do it. I intend to continue expressing my needs and plans for if he can’t meet them. I don’t think of it as a threat, although he does. For me it’s expressing a need and having a plan in place if he can’t follow through.
This is a good example of the above: Stating the behaviour (incomplete building), a value violated by the behaviour (stability), and the consequence (hiring builder). There are many more potential consequences, such as his feeling inadequate (natural consequence) and your being disappointed (natural consequence), etc. But for the purpose of communicating, it is probably best to not inundate hime with all of the potential consequences, as he already seems overwhelmed by one (hence, feeling threatened).

Quote:
I can see my decision to insist on parenting my way as being controlling, but I won’t compromise on a non-violent, attachment parenting approach.
Given the apparent lack of emotional maturity and lack of commitment to values centred parenting, I would say that taking “control” of parenting here is not a bad thing. It is being responsible for your children and for your role as a mother and parent and being committed to their health and wellbeing. It is unfortunate that he isn’t on board, and is more like a child, himself, than a partner.

Quote:
How did I not see this before? I don’t even need to check his phone or computer. It’s so obvious when he’s doing well and when he’s not.
Hindsight has perfect vision. Previously, you didn’t have the knowledge or experience to identify these signs for what they are. Now you do.

Quote:
For example, he told me that he came across a pen with a hidden camera that he bought a while back and felt scared that I’d find it. Instead of hiding it, he told me about it.
This is good in that he disclosed (something he definitely needs practice with) but it should not automatically be taken as sincerity and integrity in the process of recovery. There is the possibility that his sharing is a form of controlling his environment. Here, he indicated that he was scared that you would find it. So, instead of autonomous sharing from a desire to learn how to be open and honest, it seems his sharing was driven by fear of a consequence. This is not surprising, given the premature stage of his development. It’s just something you should be aware of so that you don’t mistake these actions as recovery, and instead see them as part of an unfolding process. What you want to look for is continued practice with such things, and with that the growth and development that follows. It will be a process (and there may be mistakes, and misguided intentions along the way) and progress will be palpable. So, this one off thing is a sign of potential for growth and progress, but in and of itself is not growth and progress. (I hope this makes sense. I do not want to diminish or discourage, but want to illustrate the process--recovery is essentially a learning process, so there should be continued and preferably consistent practice of health based life management skills, with the intention of internalizing them).

Quote:
I hope it’s a good thing that I’m separating myself from his recovery, as opposed to creating a self-fulfilling prophecy, because I really want my husband to climb the huge mountain he has in front of him. I just don’t know if he will.
I think it’s a good thing. It is realistic, and proactive. If he does recover, great! If he doesn’t, you are prepared. Nothing wrong with that. If he gives up on his recovery BECAUSE you are preparing should he not recover, then that is just him not being responsible for his own recovery, and an indicator that his motivation is external (and thus, not sustainable).

Quote:
From this experience, I realize that I need to create balanced relationships, where I’m not always taking and never giving, but instead am nurturing those who nurture me.
:g:

Really great work, Rising to Challenge. I appreciate your commitment to the process, as well as your self awareness.

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)


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2014 11:14 am 
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Partner's Mentor

Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:22 pm
Posts: 124
Coach Mel,

Thanks so much for the wealth of thoughtful observations, feedback, encouragement and reality check.

I've given a lot of thought to the boundary of separation in case of finding porn, based on what Coach Jon said that I might as well separate now. I truly feel like I have eaten from the tree of knowledge and I am firm about not wanting porn in and around my home. I am still outraged that my kids were potentially exposed to it, since they used his computer and phone. I think the boundary I can live with is that slips in looking at porn would have to occur outside of the home for me to remain together. If I find it here at home, I truly feel like I'd have to have him stay with his parents as I figure out details of separation. The work I've done here has made me realize how much I let me values slide in terms of allowing even subtle objectification of women, and I am now holding myself and my husband to a much higher standard. Just not having it any more. Thanks for making me take a hard look at the reality that this is a probable eventuality, which just makes me firmer in my boundary.


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