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 Post subject: dnell healing thread
PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 10:44 am 
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 642
Where to start? So much pain due to so many lies and betrayals from my husband from the day he met me and continuing for our thirty years together.

From our early days, my husband had issues with sex with me. In retrospect, I realize that we never made love, but we tried to have sex. He was able to have an erection but had difficulty sustaining it. Not always, but often. His "performance anxiety" became more and more prounounced, and it enraged him. He blamed me for it by telling me I wasn't "hot" enough; I didn't "love" him enough; I didn't arouse him. I realize now that he assigned me the job to get him aroused; to get him to orgasm (which was his only goal); and to relieve him of any anxiety. He never verbalized these job requirements, and of course I failed. I tried, and tried to do the right thing and this is where I now realize I had started to lose myself. I had enjoyed a fun and rewarding sex life before meeting my husband. My love life was not so great, and I wanted to have both sex and love together. I started to lose desire and became anxious of not being the target of his anger. I felt his rejection for me: he clearly was not attracted to me sexually and he clearly did not want to have sex with me but could not admit it. He wanted to be the victim of my rejection. I felt rejected (I was rejected!) but I was in denial. He gave me conflicting messages about sex: it was the most important thing in his life; it was unimporant and he didn't really need it.

I tried couples counseling and individiual counseling, but that failed. We stopped having sex for a long, long time. I missed sex (notice again, I am not saying "making love" because I was in denial that we had not been making love). I told my husband I wanted sex but not angry or blaming sex. That did not help.

As the years went by without sex, he became more and more hostile and secretive. There would be days when every word out of his mouth was hostile. His contempt, disgust and scorn for me seemed without limit. I continued to be in denial, looking for ways to solve our problems and to try to connect. As time went by, any attempt to connect in even a nice, small way were rebuffed and mocked. Yet, he continued to profess that he "loved" me. Very confusing and feeding into my hope and my thinking that together we could solve any of our problems. We had been able to solve problems together that did not involve intimacy.

He would leave the house for long periods of time and not tell me where he was. He began to have an inappopriate relationship with a younger, married women and lied about it. He would spend hours on the phone and on email with a woman he worked with. She was using him to do her job, and he was using her to, what, feel good about himself? Have a fantaxy sex life about her? She became the most important woman in his life. He abandoned me in times when I was vulnerable to be with her. She began to humiliate me about her relationship with him. He did not care when I told him and defended her. Finally, I had enough and said his relationship with her had to stop. It took him a year to change the relationship and to get some glimmer of understanding that other people who saw them interact disrespected his behavior. He did not, however, care about or acknowledge the damage to me.

But, still, it was clear something was wrong. He was eager for me to leave the house. He spent more and more time on the computer. He would tell me about a meeting with a woman over some volunteer effort and then go very silent about what had happened. He was clearly looking for other women to replace me. He did not say so, but I knew it but continued to be in denial. I really did know he was biding his time in thinking about leaving me, but it became clear he wanted me to stay AND to have other women.

Then, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He refused to let me come to the doctor with him. The urologist said the wife should consult about treatment options and post treatment care. He refused to do this with me. After his prostate was removed, he suffered physical and emotional damage. He refused to tell me what was going on and lied. At this point, he became more obsessed about sex.

One day I accidentally stumbled across pornographic images he had printed off his computer. They were pretty tame, actually (naked women and couples having sex). I confronted him. He had been continuing to give me conflicting messages about his interest in and ability to have sex. He admitted he had been masturbating to these images but it was difficult post surgery. This began our first attempt at a false reconciliation. The only real positive change that occurred was a reduction in his hostility that now seems real and enduring. (Though it might have gone underground, I just don't know).

We started spending more time together and attempting physical intimacy. He was not present with me: not when we were physical, not when we went out in public (especially then), not when we were alone. He wasn't hostile, but he just wasn't there with me. I noticed when we were in public his incessant scanning for women. He would stare and leer and his face would change into this ugly mask (or maybe his true self). He was clearly objectifying women (which he denies) and the look was this critical evaluation and predatory. It scares me. He cannot sit with me in a restuarant and focus on me for more than a minute. He has to scan and scan and scan.

Finally, I snoop on his computer. I was looking for contacts with other women or prostitutes, but what I found was his pornography. Thousands of downloaded images of naked women. Hours and hours of surfing the internet for porn. The types of porn were beginning to escalate. He would surf the internet whenever I was out of the house. Then, he would surf when I was in the shower, making dinner, doing laundry... He viewed his downloaded images every day, multiple times a day, for years, and probably over a decade. I finally confront him and of course he lied, minimized, rationalized.... I realize that the threat to me was not real, live women, but fantasy. He finally tells me he has been compulsively masturbating since before he knew me and with all women he was with. He tells me that porn is a tool. He tells me he has not visited prostitutes or had affairs (we'll see, but he was definitely on that path). He tells me his sexual ideal was the girlfriend he was involved with before me and that I was not his physcial sexual ideal and that he wasn't that aroused by me, but married me anyway since he thought I would save him. He now says he will stop using porn and masturbating. He does not believe he has an addiction, though he kind of sort of thinks that maybe he might have a small issue.

So, here I am today. At first I spent hours and hours on the internet myself trying to figure out what this all meant. The only solace I got was that I learned it was not my fault and that other women had experienced the same agony. At first I wanted to monitor his behavior every day since I was terrified of what was going to happen. Now I see what a losing approach that was.

I am so shattered. I can not stand to be undressed around my husband. I do not know who he is or who I married. I have no trust. I have lost respect for him and for me. I can not stand his gaze. I hate being out in public with him. I hate our isolation. I am afraid of him. I hate myself for my denial and for tolerating all his abuse. I hate that my trust, my hope, my optimism, my faithfulness and commitment helped to entrap me in his prison of lies. I hate all the years I have lost. I greive for myself but now know I need to focus on me and my recovery. I feel very, very fragile.

 Post subject: Re: dnell healing thread
PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2014 10:57 am 
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 642
Lesson 2: Eye opening about how much I have lost. I am only beginning to realize how damaged I am. But it is so nice to revisit the old me. Here goes.

1) I am a survivor
- I will continue to work on RN
- I will find an individual therapist to help me with trauma
- I will reconnect with trusted friends to get support

2) I have a zest for life
- I will listen to music, every day
- I will cook new recipes and enjoy eating
- I love nature and will get out weekly to some place I love (the seashore, the woods....)
- I will find my adventerous self by trying something new (a trip? a club?)

3) I am intellectually curious
- I will always be reading a book
- I will take an on-line course
- I will go to talks and lectures

4) I appreciate the arts
- I will watch movies
- I will listen to music
- I will visit art galleries and art museums

5) I am a loving person
- I will reconnect with old friends
- I will make new friends
- I will spend REAL time with my dogs, playing and training
- I will try to get involved in some with animal rescue

6) I am an honest person
- I really, really need to be honest with myself

7) I am appreciative of myself
- I will rediscover my appreciation for my body (exercise, massage, grooming)
- I will celebrate my sexuality (haven't figured this out)
- I will celebrate my relationships with other people

8) I am a community builder and mentor
- I will look at volunteer efforts to see ones to become involved with
- I will think about running for local office in my town (as I have done before)
- I will find ways to work on constructive efforts with a team of people

9) I am a creative person
- I will garden
- I will sign up for a community ed course (rugbraiding? stained glass?)
- I will learn photography (nature? join a class? a club?)
- I will sign up for a cooking class
- I will return to doing needlework

 Post subject: Re: dnell healing thread
PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2014 1:55 pm 
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 642
Lesson 3:
A. When my instinct was right.
His infatuation with the married, younger woman. I knew he was infatuated; I knew he was on the phone and email with her; and I knew he visited her nearly every day though he lied about all of the above.
His objectification of women. I was late on this, really late, but I knew when he was doing it when he was with me (the scanning, fixation, ogling, staring). He would deny it.
His flirtatious behavior. Late on this, but accurate.

B. When my instinct was overruled.
When he would lie about his whereabouts. I'd give him the benefit of the doubt.
When he told me he was no longer interested in sex.
When he lied about what was going on and his interest in woman he saw on volunteer projects.
When I knew about his masturbation. (I didn't know the extent, but I knew he was doing it, and I knew this early on).
When I knew he sexually rejected me and blamed me for it, when I knew he had something going on and did not want sex with me.
When he would accuse me of lying or not believe me over the most trivial things. I knew I wasn't lying, but what a numbskull, since he was such a liar of course he thought I was lying. Should have figured this one out a long time ago.
When he was so angry so often about sex.
When he was so critical about my desirability, appearance or general attractivness. The fact that when he wasn't critical, he was rarely complimentary.

C. Future situations which will conflict with my instinct.
Hmmm. I don't believe a word he says about anything anymore.
I guess I'll give him the benefit of the doubt about where he says he is when he goes out.

Last edited by dnell on Sun Sep 28, 2014 10:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

 Post subject: Re: dnell healing thread
PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2014 6:41 pm 
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 642
Lesson 4:
1) Values that will sustain in recovery:
I'm trying to think how to label these as values, but if I can't get the value, I'll get the behavior:
a) true love and protection for infants
b) true love and protection for his dogs
c) true appreciation for nature and the environment
d) a love of music
e) an ability to meet athletic and intellectual challenges
f) a genuine sense of humor
g) very smart and intellectually curious

All of these can be done for personal affirmation, not those of other people.

2) Qualities that will be obstacles to recovery:
a) laziness
b) stubborness
c) poor listening skills
d) lack of focus
e) lack of perseverance

f) selfishness/self absorption
g) lack of empathy

h) pessimism
i) unwillingness to take personal responsibility

k) need for immediate gratification
l) rage at losing control
m) rage at not getting what he wants right now

n) sense of entitlement
o) needing external validation
p) keeping "score"
q) resentment of me
r) denial!
s) ingrained dishonesty!!!

Last edited by dnell on Sun Nov 09, 2014 8:03 pm, edited 4 times in total.

 Post subject: Re: dnell healing thread
PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2014 5:51 am 
Partner's Coach (Admin)

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

Welcome to Recovery Nation. I am so sorry for the circumstances that led you hear, but here is none the less a very good place to be, under the circumstances.

What you have described as your experience rings true for so many here. Do not blame yourself for denial, or for snooping, nor for how you feel now. These are automatic reactions to a traumatic course of events. As you continue your healing journey, you will learn how to manage your emotions through your vision and values, which is the most balancing and clear path (in my experience) to healing. Be patient with yourself, and as much as you can, detach yourself from him and his process to give yourself the space you need to heal. Just so you know, detaching does not mean you have to ignore him, or treat him as less than your values would guide you to treat him, but sometimes physical detachment is helpful to create that distance some people need to be able to detach emotionally, which is to not make any of this (what has happened, what will happen, what has not or may not happen) mean anything about you.

re: "I guess I'll give him the benefit of the doubt about where he says he is when he goes out."

I would say that you don’t have to give him the benefit of the doubt, because he has to learn how to be transparent and honest, and you still have to protect your values. Instead, trust your gut and enforce boundaries (that you will come up with as you progress through the workshop). Also, regarding him, you could give him the space and opportunity to practice honesty and transparency. For example (after much work here at RN) I used to tell my h that just because I am not saying anything (i.e. not trying to force a confession) does not mean that I believe him. It only meant that I was no longer participating in the cycle, and leaving it up to him to be honest, or not, according to what his commitments were.

Good work, overall. Again--Welcome to RN.

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)

 Post subject: Re: dnell healing thread
PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2014 11:36 am 
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 642
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 usually can 'think' my way through it. I can usually figure out what is bothering me and develop a plan to address it. When I stay with the emotion and can't figure it out, I either read, take a walk, take a shower, or worse, play computer games or read news reports on the internet! When I was in my late teens/early twenties, I had a problem with alcohol. I used it to "numb' myself. I can't even remember what I was feeling that was so bad, but I do remember needing to escape and be numb. I also remember knowing that I had to stop my destructive behavior and I did. I'm battling this issue right now since I feel so emotionally overwhelmed. I need to stop playing stupid computer games (escape; numbness), learning about SA (I have stopped the obsessive and repetitive search and book buyinb. I have felt a slight longing for alcohol and I'm drinking more (from nothing to a few beers a week), but will monitor myself.

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.
Oh, mercy, it had to be the relentless and obsessive internet search and book buying about SA. Overwhelming anxiety beforehand: why did this happen? what is going to happen? can I control or manage this? what is going to happen? who is this man? what is real? what is coming my way that I will have to handle? (repeat, repeat, repeat). If I hadn't engaged in this fruitless behavior it would have felt like I was going to explode. Literally. What would I have done with all that nervous energy created by anxiety? Or I would have burst into tears and never stopped crying. Or, god only knows what I would have done? Drive the car at high speed? Hit an embankment? What? Totally out of control, that's what it felt like.

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?

How would he stimulate himself? With great, great difficulty. He goes into these aimless, frenzied attempts at DIY projects. Or, suggesting 15 things to do at one time. Or, going from here to there to see things, go shopping, whatever. The healthy part of him would garden or get exercise. Or, really, turning to me to manage him through it all. And if not me, finding some woman to do it for him.

How would he regulate himself? With great, great difficulty. Probably exercise. Maybe alcohol. The pursuit of a magic woman who could save him.

 Post subject: Re: dnell healing thread
PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2014 1:15 pm 
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 642
A. If you have not already done so, consider reading the first half of He Danced Alone.

Painful to read.

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

Inability to focus (not listening, not hearing, forgetfulness, spaciness).
Emotional distance (never really there; always off in his head)
Sex is only about achieving his orgasm (kissing means intercourse, intercourse has to mean his orgasm, foreplay is a waste of time, sleep after orgasm, rage when no orgasm)
All or nothing thinking (gosh, too many examples to even mention)
No patience/need for immediate gratification
Never satisifed/never satiated
Lack of empathy
Lack of interest in most things in life (got much, much worse over time)
Lack of male friends
Constant agitation
Constant irritation
Constant anxiety
Poor communication
Inability to be by himself
Inability to sit still
Inability to enjoy the moment
Objectifying women (worse over time; comments on their appearance and sexual worth under the guise of "beauty" and "appreciation")
Scanning, scanning, scanning
Secretive life
Fleeing from intimacy
Devaluing me
Flirting behavior
Increased time fantasizing
Sexual anorexia

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

ALL of them. Probably at the start, the all or nothing attitude was the worse. Over time, the objectification of women got much, much worse. The need for immediate gratification was always high and seemed to stay the same. The sexual filter: well, here's where he keeps his secrets. Probably alwyas high, but got much worse over time. But, I don't know. I'd sure like to find out.

Last edited by dnell on Sun Nov 09, 2014 8:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.

 Post subject: Re: dnell healing thread
PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2014 1:28 pm 
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 642
Coah Mel - Thank you for the helpful and re-assuring response. What freedom to say, "I'm not pushing for the truth, but that doesn't mean I trust you." I said that to my husband today and it made me feel .... lighter.

I'll keep working.


 Post subject: Re: dnell healing thread
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 12:13 pm 
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 642
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
I am usually able to speak without anger. I still need work on learning to detach and be more patient and not push him since he needs time to recover. I am better at not getting pulled into crazy, irrational arguments. I do not force myself to make conversation or to create connection. I am compassionate in not reacting with anger, blame, or rejection. I reward or recognize healthy behavior toward me.

II. Managing your partner's recovery
I am healthier now than I was at first. After discovery, I was desperate to find answers and solutions and I "fed" them to my husband. I was reinforcing his NOT taking personal responibility and not detaching. I still have a ways to go, but I am much, much better at not suggesting solutions, finding solutions, arranging solutions.... I have clearly stated that recovery is his journey; my recovery is my journey and my focus; and that I wish him well.

III. Empowering/disempowering a pursuit of health
Well, I need to get healthy. I really, really need to continue to detach and get joy and meaning back into my life. That will help. At the same time, I don't want to "fake it" and pretend I'm great when I am not. So, a balance between patience for my sadness and pushing myself to recover.

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 need to find an individual therapist. My husband actually does not have resources to heal and it is his job to identify them.

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 need to identify and set clear boundaries.
I need to detatch.
I need to try to see the person beyond the addict and reinforce those behaviors.
I need to be healthy no matter what he does.

 Post subject: Re: dnell healing thread
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2014 2:31 pm 
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 642
If you were to identify three issues relating to your partner's recovery that you would like to see changed, what would they be?
Example: 1) He communicates only positive aspects of his recovery; that type of selective disclosure worries me. 2) His emotional immaturity when I bring up my pain. He gets angry or completely shuts down emotionally. 3) His apparent lack of motivation in working on himself and his recovery. It's like I have to push him every step of the way.

He is very early on in his recovery, so I would probably change my answers given more time. But here's what I think today:

1) He still proclaims his "innocence" and acts the victim
2) He can not tolerate my sadness; makes it a burden on him
3) He is including me more than in the past about his thoughts and feelings, but there is still a huge wall and a need to keep secrets
4) He goes in and out of denial

 Post subject: Re: dnell healing thread
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 9:22 am 
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 642
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?
It is very early in the process, but I do see signs, including:
1) He is actively working on RN exercises
2) He is optimistic about the RN approach
3) He was able to tell me, without my prodding, about one acting out incident. He did so without defensiveness and it seemed he could separate the behavior from his identity.
4) He seems to be accepting that he has issues with compulsive sexual acting out
5) He is able to talk about general feelings of "being a mess"

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 is very, very focused on abstinence rather than recovery
2) He is still very secretive and non-communicative in general
3) He is still pessimistic about my forgiveness and anger, rather than focused on health as a benefit for him
4) He slips in and out of denial
5) He engages in all of nothing thinking
6) I do not see improvements in skills applied to other areas of his life.

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?
1) I am impressed with his actions that seem healthy and I try to acknowledge them.
2) I do believe that he can be successful, and tell him so, IF he decides to commit to health.
3) I am not so good at communicating about the unhealthy stuff. I am trying, not always successfully, to rein in my anger and impatience. I am still hooked in to "taking care" of him and not "upsetting" him by observing, even in a non-angry way, unhealthy behavior. I have not yet found the right balance on not pushing him/overwhelming him before he has developed the skills to handle intense emotions, and treating him like an adult and partner by being constructive in communicating concerns or observations about unhealthy behavior.

 Post subject: Re: dnell healing thread
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 6:08 pm 
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 642
Exercise Ten
Return to your vision created in Stage One; Lesson Two. Select the three most important values that you need right now to help you stabilize your life.

1. I am a survivor
2. I am a loving person
3. I am a creative person

B) For each, think about the meaning and fulfillment you are getting compared to the potential meaning and fulfillment available.
1. Survivor - Well, I'm getting through the days but so up and down. But, if I really tap into my history and strength I will become more stable much sooner. I need to ramp up work on this.
2. Loving person - Critical to feel love and to love others. I'm getting more of both than in prior months, but need to do even more in this area.
3. Creative person - Doing nothing!

C) Develop a specific plan that will allow you to maximize the potential in each of those three values.
1. I am a survivor.
a. Comtinue RN
b. Make an appointment with attorney to draft a post-nuptial agreement for safety (not to file, just to have available)
c. Get a list of trauma reovery therapists in the area.
d. Get an appointment with a therapist.

2. I am a loving person.
a. Continue emails with M&M
b. Focus on one hour a day of walking/training/cuddling or fun with both dogs
c. Write thank you notes to new neighbors
d. Identify a class or club to join to meet new people.

3. I am a creative person.
a. Put together new camera.
b. Start taking pictures every day.
c. Read book on picture taking with camera.

D) List the steps you will take in the next 24 hours to begin strengthening each value.
1. I am a survivor.
a. Work on RN
b. Call attorney to make appointment.
c. Find references for area therapists.

2, I am a loving person.
a. Email M&M
b. Write at least one thank you note.
c. Give dogs a walk.

3. I am a creative person.
a. Put toggether camera
b. Take pictures of dogs!

 Post subject: Re: dnell healing thread
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 8:32 am 
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 642
Exercise Eleven

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 did this. I wrote and re-wrote over several days. I felt incredibly intense emotions: anger primarily, rage actually. (I will get a indivdiual therapist to help me with this). The rage is subsiding as I re-read and re-write the letter. And, I feel more sadness, but that too is subsiding. I see now that this work will help me identify where the most significant damage has been to me adn where it is critical that I learn to set healthy boundaries. I won't post it here since I do not want my husband to see it. Can I PM a coach? Which one of your should I PM?

I'm working on the next letter, and, whew, that is even more challenging.


 Post subject: Re: dnell healing thread
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 10:41 am 
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 642
Exercise 11

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?

Dear You:

I abused you. I betrayed you over and over again. I am sorry. Truly sorry. I know you will not believe my words, but I will try anyway to tell you how truly sorry I am for hurting you so very badly. I now see that I did hurt and damage you. I now acknowledge my responsibility for causing you such excruciating pain.

I do not fully understand why I am the way I am. I will work to find out and will tell you what I learn. I do know I am immature. Selfish. Thoughtless. Lazy. Controlling. Someone who puts his needs above everyone else and wants them met right now. I have been amoral. I have been cruel. I am an addict.

I hurt you in so many ways and I need to apologize. I am responsible for the choices I made that caused you such pain.

I lied to you. I lied to you since the day I met you and every day we were together. You told me over and over again that you wanted me to be honest; to tell the truth even if it hurt. And, I lied, and lied, and lied. I would tell you I hated to lie and keep secrets and yet I lied and kept secrets. I accused you of dishonesty when I knew that was not true and I was the dishonest one. I lied to protect myself and to protect my beloved addiction and pretended I was a big and noble man by “protecting” you with my lies. I told you I knew the difference between “big and little lies” and that I never lied about “big” things. This was a big lie in itself. I lied in every way possible: outright fabrication, denial of reality, omission, leaving out details, twisting the truth. I lied about anything and everything if it was convenient for me. I lied so much that I would be dishonest about anything and everything. I am sorry.

I was cruel and abusive about your sexuality, desirability, femininity and attractiveness. I objectify women and only value their visual appeal if it is arousing to me. You were not my ideal and I married you anyway. I have still not been honest with you about my desire for you. I rejected you sexually. I withheld sex from you. I withheld desire from you. I told you over and over again, with much anger and disdain, that you were not “hot enough”, not arousing enough, not desirable, not attractive, not sexy. I lied about my desire and blamed you for it. I rarely told you that you were attractive. I rarely showed any desire for you. I did not care about your sexual happiness, only my own. I accused you of being non-sexual. I decided that you had no interest or sexual desire for me or for any man. I decided that no man would have any sexual interest in you. I secretly feasted on viewing pornography and real women to search for my sexual ideal. You never measured up and I made sure you knew that. My continued viewing of pornography made me devalue your attractiveness and sexuality even further. I blamed you for aging. I blamed you for the effects of illness. I blamed you for not being the perfect sexual image I wanted. I destroyed your feelings of attractiveness, your joy in your sensuality, your confidence in your sexuality and appeal, your femininity. I am sorry.

I thought you were a disappointment and inadequate not only sexually, but as a loving wife. I mocked your attempts at trying to connect with me. I rebuffed your attempts to be close. I accused you of not being loving enough. I “settled” for you since I thought I could not get someone better. I endlessly searched for the perfect woman, the perfect wife. Every day I thought about how inadequate you were; what a failure you were. I looked at you with a negative gaze. I communicated my disappointment and disgust. You weren’t sexual. You weren’t loving. You couldn’t keep a clean house. You weren’t any fun. You didn’t share any interests with me. You were selfish. You were such a disappointment and I was stuck with you. I was hostile to you. I punished you. I mocked you. I am so sorry. So sorry for feeling that way, seeing you that way, treating you that way and betraying you by my search for the ideal woman to replace you. I am sorry.

I devalued your accomplishments. I did not care about your career. It was only in the last few years when I saw you in your elected position that I realized you actually had skills and abilities. I did not see that other people respected and valued you. I did not respect or value you. I am sorry.

I disrespected and humiliated you. I flirted with other women throughout our marriage. I let women know I was interested and available, but pretended it was okay since I never went through with an affair. I am still not being honest about whether this is true or not. I scan the environment constantly, looking for women as sexual objects to satisfy my fantasies. I can not be with you in public since I want to keep looking, searching, satisfying my fantasy. I can not be with you in private since I am always fantasizing about other women,. I can not have sex with you without thinking about other women. I had inappropriate relationships with other women. Other women were more important to me than you were. I did not care if these other women humiliated you. I defended them and ridiculed you. I was constantly searching for women to toy with, to have available to fulfill my fantasies, to replace you if needed. I am sorry.

I abandoned you when you were vulnerable. I left you at the hospital to be off with (X). I did not visit you in the hospital since I wanted to be home with my porn, my masturbation, and my fantasies. I was resentful of your health issues. I was disgusted by your health issues. I am sorry.

I know the kindest thing I can do for you is it be honest. I know to truly apologize to you, to truly communicate that I am sorry, I need to be honest with you about my past. I need to be open and non-defensive about my addictive behavior. I need to be open about my true involvement with other women. I need to be open with you about my true feelings about you. I need to let you go if I really do not love or desire you.

I now realize that I stole your life to meet my needs. I did not let you have the opportunity to find a man who would truly desire you, cherish you, respect you, protect you, value you and love you. I am sorry.

Last edited by dnell on Tue Sep 30, 2014 8:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

 Post subject: Re: dnell healing thread
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 7:32 pm 
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 642
Exercise Twelve
A. Describe where you are now in terms of your response to the discovery of your partner's addiction. Not where you were last month, or where you hope to be next month. Where are you right now?

I am more stable and am a bit more in the awareness stage given that I have started RN. I have also identified a therapist to help me with trauma and will set up a first appointment. I do not snoop. I am not obsessed about what he is doing when he is gone. I am not obsessed about some of the acting out behavior that I KNOW about. I still have periods of intense anger and rage. I no longer have uncontrolled crying. I am still inpatient in wanting to know the "whats" and "whys" though I am getting better about that. I am starting to detach. I am becoming less isolated. I am feeling just a glimmer of excitement about getting my life back. I am deeply aware that I have no control over his recovery or his commitment to health. I know the future is uncertain. I have no trust in him and I am okay with that for now.
I am still struggling with inertia and apathy. I can feel my "gut instinct" getting stronger.

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.

I will never, ever fully trust my husband again. If he recovers, remains committed to health, and wants to be in an intimate relationship with me, I will stay with him. But, while I can see with work that it is possible for us to develop some form of intimacy, it will never be what I wanted out of a marriage. It could be good enough. I will always have to pay careful attention to his behavior and trust my instincts.

I need to be prepared to leave if my husband does not commit to health and recovery. I need to be detached, have healthy boundaries, and be prepared for that outcome no matter what happens.

I will need to develop and stick to my boundaries and I look forward to doing that. I need to monitor my work in this regard and develop a true sense of forgiveness and compassion for myself.

I will always carry mistrust for, well, everyone. This makes me sad.

I will be suspicious of men. I will have some fear of attractive women. This makes me sad.

I will always have a part of me that is grief and sadness, but I will survive.

I will learn to take better care of myself and protect myself. I look forward to this.

I will forever be grateful to the women and recovered men here at RN. I hope that I can get healthy enough to help other women in our situation.

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