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 Post subject: Re: dnell healing thread
PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2014 8:36 pm 
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Exercise 13 - Examples of Consequences

My self-esteem: (1)
Rock bottom. My feelings of adequacy, let alone desirability, as a sexual woman, as a loving wife, as a healthy person are so damaged. I am horrified. I actually was in an elected political position in my former community and I was doing really well. I felt great about my contributions, worth, integrity, relationships with people. I received wonderful feedback. My H had inappropriate interactions and relationships with women on the staff and women in town and I felt so humiliated. It made me wonder all the time what people were thinking of me. How could I do so well but be such a loser in my married life. My community work helped me a lot, but it was tainted. The whole town became a trigger for me due to what my H was keeping secret and doing with his addictions with different people in various places in town. And this is just based on what I know which is the tip of the iceberg. And, since I started to feel undesirable and ugly, I was not investing in myself (health, appearance) as much as I used to. I thought I was healthy enough to accept my husband’s rejection and criticism of me as not being real, but that was not true at all. I did accept this abuse. And stupid at worst and blind at best for not knowing what I really knew. Worse, I have no confidence if my husband now or EVER desired me or loved me.

My moods: (2)
So depressed and angry. So lonely. So irritable. So miserable. So disconnected from my humor, optimism and joy. So full of inertia. So weary. So empty. Battling despair. I realize now I had given up on so many things in my life and everything that seemed like a “compromise” was actually a loss. And, hiding and being armored. I had to hide and protect myself more and more just being in the same house with my husband. That improved when he stopped being hostile, but it is not gone because I just don’t know what he really thinks and feels about me.

Sex: (1)
I denied myself a sex life for way, way too long. I thought I had a good view of this, but I started to believe I was the cause of my husband’s sexual rejection of me. I miss sex. I missed sex for so much of my adulthood. I really enjoyed my sexuality and my sexual experience. And, I could not express or experience it for so many years. I had to hide and protect my desire so it would not be destroyed. It’s still in me, protected and hidden, and I hope I can still retrieve it and express it.

Rational thinking: (3)
I don’t know how to think of my memories of good times in the past. I am getting a better grip on the difficult and painful times, but not the nice or good times. I do not know if I am distorting them or not. I do know that the shock of discovery of my husband’s secret life so destroys the foundation of my perceived reality, that it is hard to feel rational about anything associated with the time in my marriage.

Our Marriage Counselor was fooled as well and had her approach all wrong in dealing with us. Her advice to me enabled my husband’s addiction and made me responsible for his behavior. She meant well, but she damaged me.

My dogs: (3)
I have been so irritable and short-tempered with them which they don’t deserve. I don’t spend loving time with them. They seem burdensome rather than supportive. This makes me so, so sad and guilty.

Isolation: (4)
We stopped seeing people together. I did not want to bring people home since I started to feel we were so abnormal. I stopped seeing people since I felt so tainted. I did not confide in close friends since I felt both protective of my husband and so ashamed.

We have moved to a new, beautiful place which is good for some of my values, for getting away from lots of triggers, and for being less stressful. But, it has stripped away the social support networks I had.

Fear: (1)
I fear my husband. I fear attractive women. I mistrust men. I fear being “found out.” I fear my husband will never become healthy. I fear if I left I could never find anyone who would care for me. I am afraid to be friends with pretty and/or young women.

Time: (5)
I feel like so much of my life is lost. I waited for and longed for my husband for so long, and now I have to wait to see if he will recover. I feel like my life is slipping away.


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 Post subject: Re: dnell healing thread
PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 7:17 pm 
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Exercise 14

List the role(s) you intend to play in his recovery. If none, say so. If some (and there are potential healthy roles for you to play), list them.
I would like to be supportive by:
- listening in a healthy way (without negative judgments, with compassion and empathy).
- not pushing my husband for information before he is ready (still have to work on this).
- recognizing and acknowledging actions that indicate health and a commitment to recovery
- figuring out the best way to communicate my observations about destructive actions or attitudes
-controlling my emotional reactions to model healthy behavior

If none, how will you manage those times of mistrust and/or doubt?
Well, I mistrust all the time right now, but I think that is okay at this point. If he is active about healthy recovery, that is something that should improve over time. It helped that a coach said to ”know they are acting out.” What I really need to do is continue to detach and get on with my own life based on the exercises here at RN and that will help me manage lack of trust and/or doubt.

*What personal values are you willing to allow your partner to continue damaging over the next month? If none, how will you protect these values?
Hmmm. Tough question. I don’t know the answer on this and it is really important I figure it out.

*Over the next two months, what mistakes are you prepared to tolerate from your partner and why? What mistakes (if any) are intolerable and will serve as the catalyst to end the relationship?Note: think with your head here, not your heart. You are no longer ignorant as to what to expect in recovery and so, define those true 'bottom lines' for you and your relationship.
Intolerable mistakes (communicated to my husband): using or contacting a prostitute; slipping/relapsing with porn that is an escalation (web cam girls, cheating sites, cybersex, dating sites); emotional or physical affairs.
Tolerable mistakes (not communicated to my husband but he could read this): He’ll keep scanning and objectifying and fantasizing and I can’t stop that and realize it will take a while for him to accept this behavior, let alone figure out what to do about it. I’ll need to figure out boundaries about this behavior and ways to take care of myself when they occur. Deception is something I know he is still doing. Again, I need to figure out my boundaries on this. I guess at some point, it will become intolerable by amount or by what he lies about, but I haven’t figured this out yet.

How do you envision communicating your observations about their motivation/responsibility — both positive and/or negative? For those positive observations, how will you make them seem genuine? For those negative observations, how will you make them seem non-punitive?
I am not responsible for my husband’s recovery. I am very, very clear on this. I have no control and no power over my husband’s willingness or commitment to get healthy. Zero. Zip. I get this with every cell of my body. I won’t understand his motivation or responsibility, I can only understand his actions. But in general, I feel genuine when I comment positively. I’m generally emotionally and verbally sincere. I guess I know how sincere I am when giving positive observations and it is up to him to receive it.
I try to give negative observations with empathy and without anger.

If the latter, how much clarity do you have in determining and communicating your personal needs?
Threats and rewards do not work. Plus they would be demeaning to me and against my values. It is a slippery slope about communicating my needs. Right now that does not go over too well. This is something I need to understand better and to work on.

What changes will YOU need to make in your own perspective to regain a sense of teamwork? What changes do you need to see from your partner for this to happen?
This is a process and not a single event. I will really need to see some changes in my husband’s behavior toward maturity in some aspect of his life (for example, better time management, being proactive in more healthy areas, being proactive in disclosing/honesty, being able to talk less about abstinence and more about health, separating his addictive behaviors from his identity). Right now I feel we are partners, as best as we can be at this stage in his recovery. He is unable to be a partner in my healing at this time, though I appreciate whenever my husband includes me in what he is thinking or feeling about ANYTHING. My changes: I need to be further along in my healing. I need to have a perspective not based on fear, but based on confidence about me, what I want, what I will tolerate. There will always be risk, which I acknowledge, and uncertainty. But, I need to get rid of fear. I need to restore my sense of self worth and self esteem. I need to FEEL my life has come back to me.

For each obstacle, seek out any patterns that will eventually need to be worked through as a team. For instance, communication. We have fallen into a pattern of dysfunctional communication that must change. Here is what I can envision doing to bring about change to these dysfunctional communication rituals:
I actually think if my husband starts to recover, we could communicate well. I’ll feel it when it starts to happen. I think the biggest problem now is my need to control the expression of and proper channeling of my anger and to stop pushing him for information. To that end, I have found a therapist and that should help enormously. I think our biggest problem is ending social isolation. Long term, and it goes without saying, we need to restore trust and then I think lots of better stuff could happen.

*Should you find yourself struggling to manage your own life (intense emotions, undefended boundaries, deteriorating values, neglected values, etc.) how do you envision getting yourself refocused and back in balance? List this general plan.
1) Keep working the RN lessons!
2) Keep seeing my individual therapist
3) Stay connected with other people.

*What signs will you look for in your partner to generate confidence in the sincerity and stability of his/her recovery?
1) His continuing to work on RN
2) He has found a therapist, which is great, and his continuing to attend therapy.
3) Showing, by action, improvements in maturity in some area of his life.
4) Showing, by action, an improvement in honest communication.
5) Showing, by action and words, non-defensiveness.
6) Showing the beginning of a healthy identity that he can recognize or verbalize. (Okay, that may be longer term.)

*What unique signs will you look for in your partner over the next few months to generate warning of imbalance and/or insincerity?
1) Not completing RN or doing a half-assed job.
2) Not continuing with individual therapy.
3) “Mailing in” his life.
4) Showing no interest or engagement in healthy activities.
5) Increasing secrecy and/or unaccounted time.
6) Increasing anger and irritability.

These are just some of the questions that you will want to consider and prepare yourself for. There are potentially many others. List anything additional that you feel is important in preparing yourself to face this transition in your life/relationship over the next few months.

I would like us to complete a post-nuptial agreement that we both think is fair and can be kept on file if either of us need it.


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 Post subject: Re: dnell healing thread
PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 7:54 pm 
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Exercise Fifteen
A. Make a list all of support resources (people only) that you currently have available to you in helping you to deal with this current crisis? How many of these people have you already turned to for support? What have you found beneficial in their responses? What have you found to be disruptive?

1) My friends M&M. I recently told them some of the truth, but not the gory details, of what is going on. They have been tremendously supportive; non-judgmental, thoughtful, just there.
2) I have gotten rid of (well, she kind of dismissed me as well) my old individual therapist . She was my former marriage counselor and she believed in my husband’s lies. She got the wrong ‘diagnosis’ in my view and harmed me with: false hope, distorting my values to “take care” of my husband, making me responsible for his mental health, telling me I was “addicted to his addiction.” She did want me to get out and put more focus on me and my life.
3) I have re-established contact with an individual therapist I worked with years ago who was very helpful to me. I trust her and she has a focus on trauma recovery. I see her face to face next week then we’ll start Skype sessions. I’m very optimistic about this.
4) My friends J&J. I have not told them what I am going through, but they are just there to talk about other things. That makes me feel like a whole person.


B. List all resources (not people) that you have available to you in developing a balanced, healthy support system. This list should contain at least eight items. Put an asterisk in front of each resource that you are currently using to help you through this crisis.
*1) RN
2) Sisterhood of Support
*3) Surviving Infidelity
*4) My dogs
*5) Starting to journal
*6) Trying to learn to meditate
7) Affair Recovery
8) Exercise

C. Discuss a time when you were a part of someone else's support system. Was it a positive or negative experience for you? What made it so? Is there anything that you would have done differently? How can you use these insights to further define your own support system?

I have been an active supporter of several women’s campaigns’ for local office. It is a very positive experience. It felt great to empathize, to cheerlead in an honest way, to provide a reality check, to participate in their success. Great to be a team for a healthy goal and to be emotionally available to each other.

I need to risk being vulnerable. So often I’ve been seen as the “strong’ one that sometimes people don’t want to help me, but sometimes they do and I need to better figure out which people would want to be supportive.


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 Post subject: Re: dnell healing thread
PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2014 3:38 pm 
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Exercise Sixteen
A. Create a list of at least ten core values that represent the person you want to be. You should be able to rely on this list with confidence in guiding decisions, actions, prioritization, etc.
B. In your own words, how can you use these values to guide you through this current crisis (or a future crisis)?
C. Compare this list to the vision that you created in Stage One; Lesson Two. Are they similar? They should be. In fact, they should be practically identical — with your vision serving as a narrative for the list you have here. If they are not, change whichever is inconsistent with the life that you want to lead. Your vision must be forged from your core values or you will continue to struggle with imbalance and chaos.

I am a survivor:
- I must remember other challenges I have survived
- I must rekindle my inner strength
- I must believe I will heal
- I must believe I can have happy and healthy life

I am an honest person:
- I must be honest with myself and not be in denial
- I will be honest with my therapist
- I will be lovingly honest with friends
-
I am a loving person:
- I must reconnect with the love I want to have for others
- I must express my love for others with proper boundaries
- I must not fear love
- I must reconnect with old friends
- I must make new friends

I have a zest for life:
- I need to feel my joy in life
- I need to feel my curiosity about life and the world
- I must go out and savor life again

I am a creative person:
- I need to rediscover my creativity in some way

I am intellectually curious:
- I need to indulge in my curiosity

I appreciate the arts:
- I need to expose and get back to artistic experiences

I appreciate nature:
- I need to get out into nature

I appreciate my self:
- I need to meditate
- I need to exercise
- I need to follow up on personal grooming and care
- I need to value my sensuality and find a safe way to express it

I am a community builder/mentor:
- I need to look around in my new community for volunteer opportunities

I read this list and think this is a good life, a fulfilling life with meaning and connection. This life can bring me joy, satisfaction and peace. This life can restore my sense of self and return me to a strong foundation. I really, really need this life back.


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 Post subject: Re: dnell healing thread
PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2014 3:28 pm 
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Exercise 17

I am a survivor:
- I must remember other challenges I have survived
- I must rekindle my inner strength
- I must believe I will heal
- I must believe I can have happy and healthy life
Action plan and next steps:
1) Continue RN
2) Start individual therapy (first appointment tomorrow)
3) See attorney on Thursday to draft a post nuptial agreement to share with husband
4) Take time to inventory past challenges and successes—start a journal and start with this.
5) Look into AlAnon or CoSA meetings.

I am an honest person:
- I must be honest with myself and not be in denial
- I will be honest with my therapist
- I will be lovingly honest with friends
Action plan and next steps:
1) Be honest with therapist
2) Start journal
3) Keep emailing M&M
-
I am a loving person:
- I must reconnect with the love I want to have for others
- I must express my love for others with proper boundaries
- I must not fear love
- I must reconnect with old friends
- I must make new friends
Action plan:
1) Figure out groups/meetings/next steps to meet new people in new town
2) Figure out which friends from former town I want to stay in touch with (email, phone, letter, get together)
3) Journal these ideas
4) Thank you notes!
Next steps:
1) Write a thank you note each day
2) Email an old friend each day
3) Get out to a group meeting once a week

I have a zest for life:
- I need to feel my joy in life
- I need to feel my curiosity about life and the world
- I must go out and savor life again
Action plan and next steps:
1) Find something new to do each week (walk, class, destination)
2) Consciously experience these activities
3) Meditate and journal

I am a creative person:
- I need to rediscover my creativity in some way
Action plan and next steps:
1) Read book about new camera
2) Look for an art class
3) Start some kind of project (needlework? Photo book?)

I am intellectually curious:
- I need to indulge in my curiosity
Action plan and next steps:
1) Keep reading interesting and entertaining books
2) Enroll in an online course about something new
3) Look at community education offerings

I appreciate the arts:
- I need to expose and get back to artistic experiences
Action plan and next steps:
1) Go to the movies once a week
2) Go to an art gallery once every 2-3 weeks

I appreciate nature:
- I need to get out into nature
Action plan and next steps;
1) Have coffee on the deck each morning and watch the birds at the feeder
2) Walk down to the marsh once a day
3) Take a walk, anywhere I live, once a day

I appreciate myself:
- I need to meditate
- I need to exercise
- I need to follow up on personal grooming and care
- I need to value my sensuality and find a safe way to express it
Action plan and next steps:
1) Meditate daily
2) Walk daily
3) Find a hair salon
4) Schedule a massage
5) Read about body building/start lifting weights
6) Do yoga (class? Tapes?)
7) Do pilates (class? Tapes?)
8)
I am a community builder/mentor:
- I need to look around in my new community for volunteer opportunities
Action plan and next steps:
1) Read web sites about local groups
2) Attend a meeting every two weeks


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 Post subject: Re: dnell healing thread
PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 11:59 am 
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Exercise Eighteen
A. Provide an example of a value collision in your own life. How did you handle it? What resulted from this collision (e.g. compromise, resentment, suspension of the issue, etc.)?
B. What current values do you hold where conflicts can be likely anticipated? (Use your history in relationships as a reference)
C. What values, if any, are you unwilling to compromise under any circumstances? Give a thoughtful response, not a prideful one.

A. Value Collision – I was serving in an elected leadership position in my former hometown until recently. My counselor at the time persuaded me to move to my new hometown in order to be less “stressed” and to “save” my marriage. I had to resign mid-term to make the move and I did not feel I could tell the public my real reasons for moving. (This was before I knew the length of time, my whole marriage, of my husband’s sex addiction, let alone the realization I only knew the tip of the iceberg about his compulsions). I had to balance my values of investing in my marriage (being a loving person) and my physical health (being a survivor) against my commitment to complete my term and be honest. I was honest and thoughtful as I could be and I am still conflicted about the decision.
B. Values of investing in myself and honesty: How long do I wait for my husband to recover? How much stress and pain should I tolerate? How much more dishonesty can I tolerate? Value of marriage/being a loving person: This whole value is so corrupted I don’t yet have a way to even think about this.
C. Being a survivor: If I really see myself not healing on the path I am on, I will have to change direction.


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 Post subject: Re: dnell healing thread
PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2014 12:53 pm 
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Exercise 19

Well, this is a bit of a mess but it's a start. I'll need to come back to it.

A. Make a list of rules that you can use to help define the boundaries of your most important values. Like goals, each rule should be specific and measurable.

TRUSTING MYSELF:
1) If something feels wrong, something is wrong—do not second guess.
2) I am not the negative projections of my partner—I know my strengths and weaknesses.
3) The obvious and simple explanation of events is almost always correct.
4) Believe what I see, not what I hear.
5) Feel comfortable in not revealing all.
6) When I feel threatened or uncomfortable, there is a good reason.
7) It is necessary and healthy to protect myself.
8) I am not the cause of my husband’s addiction.
9) It is okay to be uncomfortable with my husband’s behavior, even if he is ‘innocent.”
10) Trust that it is okay to have needs and to meet them.

TRUSTING MY PARTNER:
1) Look at actions more than listen to words
2) Know that addiction involves secrets and lies
3) Know that trust needs to be restored and to not be an open book during his recovery
4) Appreciate any honesty or transparency that does occur but do not become “blind” or “naïve.”
5) Know that it is my husband’s responsibility to recover and to restore trust.
6) Trust and openness must be reciprocated in a relationship.

SEXUAL INTIMACY/PERSONAL SENSUALITY:
1) Do not have sex if I do not want to.
2) Do not feel I owe my husband sex for any reason.
3) Feel free to stop having sex if I get uncomfortable for any reason.
4) Feel free to initiate sex when I want to.
5) Feel free to be as open about my sensuality as I want to given the moment.
6) Know that I am sexually desirable.
7) Value and celebrate my sensuality but protect it from devaluation by my husband.
8) Pay attention to and nurture my sensuality.

BEING A SURVIVOR:
1) Do not tolerate verbal abuse
2) Do not tolerate unwarranted anger
3) Do not tolerate unwarranted criticism
4) Do not tolerate disrespect
5) Put myself first at all times
6) Identify and respect my wants and needs
7) Seek out support and make it a high priority
8) Realize being “alone” is better than being in an abusive relationship
9) Have faith in my ability to heal.

HAVING A ZEST FOR LIFE:
1) Protect any activities that give me joy and meaning
2) Prioritize activities that give me joy and meaning
3) Do not become hostage to my husband’s addiction
4) Experience and express happiness and joy regardless of other's reactions

B. Describe a scenario from your past where not having a well-defined set of boundaries has prolonged and/or intensified the personal consequences that you have experienced.

Well, everything around not trusting myself about what was wrong in my marriage. I knew something was wrong and I knew it for a long time. Even if I never knew the true causes of the problems, I should have trusted myself. I could have saved myself from immeasurable pain if I had just trusted myself. Then, I should have been much more self-protective and not tolerated the criticism, rejection, hostility and other abuse. I sacrificed my well-being in order to “save” some concept of a marriage partnership that I wanted but did not have.

C. Describe a potentially realistic event in your life where having mastered the use of boundaries will assist you in managing the event in such a way as to protect your value system.

If I consistently master my boundaries, I will be able to live my life regardless of what my husband chooses to do about his addiction. I do not have to give up on my life being filled with meaning and happiness if I master my boundaries. I need to celebrate putting myself and my needs first in my life. Specifically, I need to put into practice my action plans and that involves being out of the house and leaving my husband alone. This is a huge trigger for him, my absence and leaving him alone in the house, and I need to not give a fig about it and to live my life for me. And, if he cannot commit to recovery, I need to master my boundaries in order to make healthy and timely decisions about my marriage.


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 Post subject: Re: dnell healing thread
PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2014 1:38 pm 
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Exercise Twenty-One
1. List five of the most likely major boundary violations that you will face over the next year. How will you recognize them as they are occurring? How will you respond to them if they happened tomorrow?
2. List five minor boundary violations that you will likely face over the next month. Write out how you will likely respond to each.
3. Over the past six months, you have no doubt violated the boundaries of others (innocently or otherwise). List a few of these and share whether or not you were aware that you were violating their boundaries at the time.

MAJOR BOUNDARY VIOLATIONS:
1. Use of porn by my husband
I probably won't know unless he tells me and he has agreed to tell me within 24 hours of use. But, my "gut" MAY tell me since he will become nasty, or rejecting, or wishy-washy/deceptive, or just generally treat me like dirt. If he tells me, I will thank him for doing so since he committed to doing so; I will ask him if he knows why he did it; I will tell him it scares me and disappoints me; I will sleep in the other room. If he doesn't tell me and I somehow find out, I will leave the house for 12-24 hours.
2. Masturbation
Again, I won't know unless he tells me as he has agreed to do. And, same issue with my instinct. I'll do the same as above.
3. Scanning/staring at women/fantasizing
Won't know if he does this when he is by himself and he may or may not tell me. He really loves this ritual so I know he is doing it. This to me feels like a major violation and I know it is going to happen and is happening. So, what to do. If he tells me, same as above. If I see it when I am out with him, if possible, I will leave the situation. If he denies, minimizes, gets angry, treats me badlly, I will sleep in another room. If he gets worse, I will spend 24 hours away from the house.
4. Flirting with other women
Same as number 3.
5. Being used as a masturbation tool/Fantasizing about other women while having sex with me.
Well, I know this is going on if I have sex with him. I mean it just is happening and will happen for a while. So, either I don't have sex with him; I stop having sex if I get uncomfortable; or I ignore it. Crummy situation. I hate it. I am not yet clear on this value and boundary for me.

MINOR BOUNDARY VIOLATIONS
1. Lying
This will become major at some point, but right now I will put it in minor violation. He does it every day. Sometimes I ignore it since I don't even listen. Sometimes I confront. If he admits to the lie, then I need to tell him what boundary it violates (trust) and that it hurts and makes me angry. If he doesn't admit to it, well, let's see: I won't spend any time with him for the rest of the day; if it's really egregious or followed up with anger, deflection, etc., I will leave for 12-24 hours.
2. Anger
I will know this since it will be happening right in front of me. I'll call him on it right away. If he stops, same as above. If he continues, I'll walk away and not spend the rest of the day with him. If he pursues me with his anger, I'll leave the house for some number of hours.
3. Blaming
I'll know this one. Same response as anger.
4. Unwarranted harsh criticism
I'll know this one as well. Same response as anger.
5. Rejection
I'll know this one as well. Same resposne as anger.

With all of these, I need to tell him which of my boundaries he violated (repect, trust, my sensuality, my self esteem) and how it makes me feel (humiliated, devalued, hurt, angry). I need to do this without being an angry, blaming, critical, rejecting person.

VIOLATING OTHERS' BOUNDARIES
Nearly all with my husband by not being in control of my anger and unleashing rage at him. Wanting to hurt him. Wanting to vent and spew. Usually I am aware. Sometimes, I am caught up in my anger when I start out hurt and angry and he escalates (minimizing, blame shifting, lying, deflecting, gas lighting), then I sometimes explode and it FEELS like I am out of control, but as we know, I'm really not. I'm just going with the anger.

My poor dogs. I snap at them and am irrritated with them when they have done nothing wrong. They are innocents caught up in this hellish atmosphere. I need to heal so I treat them better with the respect and love they deserve.


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 Post subject: Re: dnell healing thread
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 12:23 pm 
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Exercise Twenty-Two

1) Describe the most extreme emotion that you have ever experienced.

Rage. Out of control, close to violent rage. Before I knew about my husband’s sexual addiction, but while he was engaged in his emotional affair and at the height of his hostility and rejection of me, I was still trying to put into practice advice from our marriage counselor. My husband would disappear for long periods of time and not be clear about where he was going or when he would return. If he said anything it was vague, evasive and deceptive. One night I confronted him about where he had been that day and why he had not told me where he was and when he would get back. I can’t remember if I did this in anger or not, but I do recall I was not out of control at this point. I think I was calm. His response was so nasty. He lied, minimized, evaded, blame shifted, gas lighted and he became more and more angry. He was yelling and everything he was saying made no sense whatsoever. He really played the victim. It really became clear to me just how crazy and irrational and dishonest he had become. And, his hostility and anger just seemed so unfair and I just lost it. I got so angry. It felt like he could hit me. I felt like if I had a gun, I could have shot him. A part of me was watching myself and thinking, thank god you don’t have a gun. But a huge part of me just wanted to hurt him as badly as he was hurting me and at the same time just make him stop. Stop all the crazy, mean and abusive behavior. Stop the nightmare. I don’t remember how I de-escalated, but it had to be me since he doesn’t de-escalate conflict, he amps it up. This was an awful turning point for me. And, the irony is, my husband has no recollection of this fight.

2) Describe the most irrational behavior you have ever engaged in as a result of your emotions.

Not the fight referred to above, but when I started to finally realize I had to figure out what was going on in my marriage, I started to snoop. That was not irrational, in fact it was quite a good idea. What was irrational was upon finding out about the pornography and just starting to open up the whole can of worms of his addiction, I became obsessed with snooping for about a month. That was nutty on my part and I am so glad it did not last longer than a month. Plus I was obsessing non-stop about what he had done, was doing, would do. I was losing sleep and falling apart.

3) If you could go back in time and offer yourself "perfect advice" that would have influenced this irrational behavior...what advice would you offer?

I was only harming myself with my obsessiveness. Once I knew that my husband was sexually acting out, I was not going to find all the information I wanted. I was not going to get relief. I was not going to feel better. It would have no effect whatsoever on his behavior. It would not make up for my losses. I would have been better off detaching immediately and focusing on my healing. I wasted more time and that was the last thing I wanted to do.


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 Post subject: Re: dnell healing thread
PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2014 12:18 pm 
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Exercise Twenty-Four
To regain balance, you must regain a perception of control over your life. A difficult task indeed while mired in the addiction of another. One of the most powerful ways of regaining control is to have a clear, realistic notion of what options are available to you.

A. List three or more relationship options that remain available to you.

1. I am waiting and seeing if he is sincere about his recovery. I see myself as reconsidering this approach for an agreed upon period of time. (Right now, 3 months). If he continues to be sincere in his recovery and is showing reasonable progress, I see setting another period of time (e.g., 3 or 6 months) for another re-assessment. If he violates a major boundary, then I will leave the relationship.
2. File for divorce.
3. Request an emotional separation; live together.

B. For each option, consider all of the benefits that that option would produce. List them.

1. Because I care about my husband, I really would like to see him recover and live a healthy life. I would like the opportunity to get to know my husband as a healthy man. I have invested over 30 years in this flawed relationship, and I would like to see if I can salvage something worthwhile. I would like to see if we can have a more meaningful partnership. I do not want to lose this opportunity.
2. I will be free of his addiction; free of worry and stress about his sincerity for recovery; free of worry and stress about relapse. I will have the opportunity to be at peace. I will have unlimited opportunity to pursue a new life. I will close this very painful, long chapter of my life.
3. I will have the opportunity to really detach from my husband’s addiction but keep the door open for a possible reconciliation with a healthy man. It will be financially easier than divorce. I would not have to move.


C. What obstacles do you see as being the most problematic for each option listed above? Are these obstacles that can be overcome? How?

1. Even if I am successful in detaching from my husband’s addiction, it will be stressful to see any slips or relapses; stressful to worry about whether or not he is hiding a return to addiction; stressful to wonder if he will be sincere in his recovery; stressful to know how long I will have to wait until he is recovered; stressful to know that the siren song of addiction is always there. Some of these obstacles cannot be overcome, they are just the harsh reality of life with an addict or an addict in recovery. The best I can do is to detach completely, live my life fully, and thrive no matter what my husband does.
2. It will be financially disadvantageous to divorce, but I will be okay and so will he. It will be hard to move again and to rebuild my life yet again. It will be challenging to insure I have continued health care coverage, but not impossible. It will be sad to realize that I have finally given up on any possibility of a healthy relationship with my husband. To overcome these obstacles, I must be completely committed to my healing and to live my life fully.
3. It will be difficult and sad to live in the same house with my husband and to act like we are not even a couple. This is a really unappealing option to me since it would be so emotionally challenging. If he were to return fully to his addiction, it would be so difficult to watch his decline. To overcome this, I would have to spend as little time as possible at home and to live my life as fully as possible.

D. Select the one option from exercise A that you feel yourself leaning towards (or have already selected). Why do you think this is/might be the best option for you? What would be your second option?

I am committed to waiting and seeing. I firmly believe my husband could recover, IF he is sincere. He has found a very good network of support (RN, individual therapist, couples therapist, group meeting). It would be so wonderful to see my husband finally become a healthy man. I would really like the opportunity to get to know him as a healthy man. My second option is to file for divorce if my husband is not sincere about recovery or if he violates a major boundary.

E. What options do you believe are realistically available to your partner? Which do you think he/she would choose?

1. Continue to work on recovery.
2. Return to addiction and try to hide it from me.
3. Return to addiction and/or look for another woman to replace me.
4. Walk out and/or file for divorce.
5. Separate emotionally but live in the same house.
6. Separate and live apart.

I think he will choose to continue to work on recovery. I do not know what he will do with the challenges yet to come, and neither does he. If he were to relapse, I think he would pretend he was in recovery and try to hide it from so he could keep me around. I can also see him getting fed up with recovery and with me and leaving, most likely after finding another woman to move in with.


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 Post subject: Re: dnell healing thread
PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2014 12:59 pm 
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Exercise Twenty-Five

1. Take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the Health Monitoring area of the Partner's Manager.

2. Prior to the discovery of your partner's addiction, how did you two monitor each other's relative health relating to fulfillment, stability, balance, etc.

We did not do anything for each other in this regard. We were too estranged. What I did notice about my husband was: increasing isolation; increasing loss of interest in activities that he used to enjoy; increased boredom; inability to hold an adult conversation; nothing to discuss/lack of curiousity; disappearance of his sense of humor; increasing secrecy; increasing emotional remoteness; loss of a zest for life/connection to life; lost in his head. If I were to ask him how he was doing/feeling, he would either: not answer, get angry, or make up something insincere and terse. I don’t think he was thinking about my well being for a long period of time.

3. What objective signs would you look for in identifying when your life is not being managed well?

Depression; lack of energy; isolation; ruminating/obsessing about my husband’s SA; lack of humor; lack of enjoyment in life; pessimism; irritability.

4. What objective signs would you look for in identifying when your partner's life is not being managed well?

Secrecy; dishonesty; isolation; boredom; anger; unaccounted for time; emotional remoteness; agitation and irritability; forgetfulness/spaciness; not listening; inability to hold a conversation; all or nothing thinking; blaming; minimizing; gas lighting; inefficient use of time; lost in his head.


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 Post subject: Re: dnell healing thread
PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2014 10:25 am 
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Daily Monitoring

This is a really important lesson and I'm learning alot, though it is so painful. I have NOT been taking responsibility for managing my life; I have not detached sufficiently from my H or his addiction; I am not thriving or putting myself first. I need to change what I am doing. To that end, I am getting rid of my current personal counselor who is not helping me. My marriage counselor, who I like alot, has referred me to someone new. I need help and I hope to start with this new counselor.

I am going to celebrate baby steps, even the littlest ones, and try not to see myself as so weak and pathetic. I am horrified at who I have become. I am shocked at how hard it is to detach. I am sad that I have trouble taking care of myself at this stage in my life.

I am still too emotionally volatile. I am worse in some ways than I have been in prior months. I am so weary. I am still afraid. I am so exhausted and worn down by my husband's secrets and lies. I desperately need to detach and start to live my vision.


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 Post subject: Re: dnell healing thread
PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2014 8:24 pm 
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Just an update. My new individual therapist seems like a good fit for me. She suggested telling my strong/intense emotions to "wait." To say to them, "I don't have time for you right now. Let's bring them to my next therapy session." I thought this sounded kind of silly, but, it actually works! It's been great to help reduce my emotional volatility. And, reducing my volatility is really helping me to detach. So, I am making progress.

I will have some hard work to do about the litany of rejection and devaluation by my husband over the last 30+ years, but I need to do that. Clearly he avoids/fears intimacy (and, he would define that as only sexual intimacy at this point). He is working on figuring out what has caused that and can he change. I'd like to know the answers to those questions, but I may never know them and I will need to heal me for me so I can return to my life regardless of what my husband does or not do. My new therapist is clear on that and so she will focus me on me. Sounds like a good plan.

dnell


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 Post subject: Re: dnell healing thread
PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2014 8:23 pm 
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Daily Monitoring

My husband had total knee replacement surgery a week ago and I have been caring for him at home for the last six days. Early in our marriage he had shoulder surgery, and I nursed him through that. In 2009, I shattered my leg and ankle and he nursed me (for some months) through that. Based on my values, I believe I should care for him. I notice, though, that I care in a much different way than I used to. When he took care of me (and I was two months flat on my back), he did everything. He participated in my physical therapy; he took care of the house. But, he wasn't warm to me. He didn't keep my company. He wasn't that attentive to my needs. So, I find I am treating him the same way now. I am warmer than he was, but not as warm as I could be. I know he notices and misses that. I am okay with this sincehe is not recovered; I am not healed; and we don't have a healthy intimate relationship. So, it's poignant, but okay.

On the other hand, whew, it's very difficult to take time just for myself. I'm trying to carve out pieces of time. The good news is I am really managing my emotional volatility and I am so much calmer. I am also detaching. But, he doesn't have as many opportunities to act out since he is housebound. Should be interesting to see the effect. He is going to therapy, and I am impressed by that.

So, my daily monitoring shows this as an extraordinary period of time for me.

dnell


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 Post subject: Re: dnell healing thread
PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2014 8:59 pm 
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Exercise 27 – Week One (Sunday, 11/9/14)
1) Over the past seven days, where did the majority of my meaning and fulfillment come from?
Therapy; phone and email conversations with old friends; my dog E (walking, playing, spending loving time with him); some reading I have been doing; taking photos; reading book with husband.

2) Over the past seven days, were there any major drains on my time, energy or emotion?
My husband’s knee rehab, though not draining emotionally, draining of time and energy; my dog M, who is very old and declining, is becoming really challenging to deal with and I will need, with my husband, to figure out when to humanely end her life; therapy can be good, but also very painful; continued realization of depth and extent of betrayals (mainly, not being in denial and being honest with myself about my experiences); not trusting/fearing my husband; anxious about talking with him about just about anything since he brings up in marriage counseling, after the fact, that it is so hard on him.

3) Given the meaning that was added to my life this week, and the events that drained my life, how did I manage it all?
Mixed: I actually managed it well in not resenting and feeling good about assisting my husband. I am more patient with my little, old dog. I am much more guarded and withdrawn from my husband. I have been less emotionally volatile, but still am managing anger and need to continue to manage my behavior. I am struggling with depression and hopelessness. I am sleeping better, but still so incredibly weary.

4) Is there anything that I need to anticipate/prepare for over the next seven days that will facilitate my life management skills?
Continued individual therapy (good thing); traveling to see surgeon’s staff for my husband’s knee will be good since he is making excellent progress and I am happy for him. But, it means going out in public with him and interacting with young women and I am having a very difficult time doing that; continued marriage counseling which is both emotionally healing and incredibly painful.

5) Physical health assessment:
Walking with E but not doing pilates or yoga or riding my bike.

6) Social health assessment:
I have done NOTHING to make new friends in my new town. This is important and I am anxious about committing to my new community.

7) Meditation/spiritual health assessment:
Stopped meditating; want to restart.

8) Therapy/personal validation and growth assessment:
Excellent individual session and looking forward to the next one—very healing; marriage counseling – very painful but necessary and hard to balance feeling hope and hopelessness in the same session.

9) Intellectual stimulation:
Read some, but need to do more.


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