Recovery Nation

Personal Development Forum
It is currently Tue Jul 17, 2018 9:41 pm

All times are UTC - 5 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 69 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:50 am 
Offline
Partner's Mentor

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

Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply. It is so affirming to have someone hear me and respond understandingly at a time when I can't go anywhere else. It must take a lot of time and commitment to do what you do. Thank you for being there for a total stranger.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:58 am 
Offline
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:22 pm
Posts: 124
Exercise Two

I am changed by my partner’s sexual addiction, but I am not chained by it. It does not define me. These are the values that guide me:

I am a world traveler. This current journey is just the next adventure into unknown, sometimes scary territory. I do not turn back. I take time to contemplate and mindfully travel my way through it by reading, writing, meditating and truly experiencing it. I travel to other new places as much as money or resourcefulness allows.

I am a musician, poet and maker. I make time and space for creative expression and say yes to opportunities to do so throughout the week, without feeling selfish or guilty.

I am a lifelong learner. I try new, difficult things and open my mind to new ways of understanding.

I find meaning through art and meditation. I go to plays, opera, symphony, ballet, museums, and find context for my own life through these experiences. I meditate and do yoga to connect with my spirituality.

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 am sex positive. I delight in joyful, self-affirming, bonding, open-hearted physical connection to experience the fullness of my humanity.

I am fearless about my right, and the right of each person, to be treated with respect. I act boldly for what I believe is just.

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.


I eat healthy and exercise for strength, health, and to live long to experience all life has before me, not to measure up to anyone else’s standard of beauty. I see my body in the mirror and remember it has taken me to the tops of mountains, the bottom of the ocean and has created three miraculous people.

I nurture relationships that make me feel good about who I am
and let go of the ones that bring negative energy or suppress me. I lean on them when I need support and give support in return.

I am joyful and fearless. I belly laugh, dance, sing, volunteer to be first, make it happen, put my whole self in and shake it all about.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 4:46 pm 
Offline
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:49 pm
Posts: 3834
:g: :g: :g: Good Job! Your vision speaks volume about you.
Nellie


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 10:18 am 
Offline
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:22 pm
Posts: 124
Thanks for your positive response, Nellie. Just knowing that this isn't going out into the void feels really good. I really spent a lot of time on it and gave it a few days of reflection. I am grateful to Georgia's vision, which gave me some inspiration. I feel really good about what came out of this exercise.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 10:25 am 
Offline
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:22 pm
Posts: 124
Exercise Three:

A)

I may be totally oblivious, but I can’t remember a single incident that I feel like I “caught” him or suspected him of doing anything that would indicate sexual addiction. I know he used porn on a daily basis to masturbate. I just thought that he had a high libido that I couldn’t or didn’t feel like accommodating, and I felt some relief that he could take care of himself.

On two occasions, my husband told me he thought he was a sex addict. I completely dismissed it and attributed it to his conservative upbringing and shame about masturbation. I felt like his wanting sex or masturbating daily was still within the range of normal human sexuality. I went on a website to look up the signs of sex addiction, and since it wasn’t getting in the way of work or family or other obligations, I felt like his high sex drive wasn’t addiction. Obviously, I didn't have all the information to make that determination.

So I feel that not only did I have no gut instinct around this, but that I didn’t even heed his specific cry for help.

B)

My only gut instinct flared when he was arrested. When the police told me he had been arrested, my first thoughts were that he got in a fight or had been urinating publicly. But then I started to think that maybe he was caught masturbating.

In retrospect, these were some general trends that made me feel like something had changed, but I couldn’t put my finger on what.

- Over the past two to three years, my husband has increasingly withdrawn from social engagements to almost completely avoiding any events the kids and I attend. I noted it, but attributed it to his introversion. I even told friends on several occasions that he’s becoming more of a hermit as he gets older.

- My husband’s need for sex increased when previously it wasn’t an issue. I asked him what changed, but he said he’s always wanted more than I gave. That’s not my experience.

- My husband’s anger has gotten greater, out of proportion to the situation. At our son’s first communion, he got angry that I ordered him the same plate that I ordered at our daughter’s first communion. He wanted to leave and go get fast food. I was really confused about why he was upset and wanted to leave. In retrospect, he had a video camera with him, and I think being around a lot of people made him want to act out.

- My husband checked out where I was on Find My Phone and was irate to not find me at home when he thought I would be. I was shocked that he would be suspicious of me when I’ve given him no reason to be. He said it was the first time he checked on me, but that seems like a big coincidence, since that was the first time I’ve ever gone somewhere without telling him.

- My car battery died when I pulled into a Starbucks to use the wifi to email something for work while I was running errands. I called my husband to jump my battery and he was furious that I was there, since I had only told him I was going to the bank and grocery store, and didn’t tell him that I was going to make an extra stop. I was totally confused about his level of anger, and annoyed that he would expect me to list out every stop I was making.

- My husband has been increasingly jealous of time spent with my friends or with my music, when previously he encouraged me to have me time.

- My husband put down a dress I had made in a sewing class that was a huge creative and social outlet for me. He seemed unable to handle anything I did away from him.

- I had a gut reaction to my father-in-law’s closeness with my daughters and distance with my son. It seemed too close.

C)

Now that my consciousness has been raised and I’m on hyper-alert, I don’t know how to trust my gut. I’m suspicious about everything and am questioning everything. Since I only had a vague sense of distance, but nothing specific about sex addiction, I don’t know how to interpret the things that don’t make sense. Could there have been sexual abuse in my husband’s past? Who would it have been?

Until and unless I know, I’m not letting my children sleep over at their beloved grandparents’ house. I feel very guilty about this, especially since they adore their grandparents and they’ve been nothing but loving and caring with my kids. It’s a precaution I have to take, but I could be so wrong.

My husband has said he has masturbated to porn since his arrest. I now have a huge conflict, since I had been okay with it previously and we haven’t been having sex. I know he has his needs and I’m not meeting them, but I need to set the boundary. I’m worried that if I say I can’t handle him looking at porn, then he’ll still do it and hide it from me.


Last edited by RisingtoChallenge on Wed Sep 25, 2013 9:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 11:21 am 
Offline
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:49 pm
Posts: 3834
Good job!

Even though you accepted the daily masturbation as normal and now question whether or not he should be masturbating, from my perspective, it is part of his set of SA activities. If he is he in a recovery program of some kind, this should be addressed by the program. Nonetheless, you can set a boundary now that your understanding of SA has changed.

Quote:
My husband’s anger has gotten greater, out of proportion to the situation.
It could be that he projected his own anger at himself onto whatever situation was/is at hand. His having a video camera with him at the communion event may have triggered his own sense of shame or self hatred. However, it's not your job to figure this out. It's his with the help of a professional or a recovery program.
Quote:
I was shocked that he would be suspicious of me when I’ve given him no reason to be.
Again, this could be projection. The SA doesn't want to be the bad guy. I remember how my H created drama with me which actually gave him reason to indulge in what he knew was not an acceptable behavior unless he could justify it with his skewed thinking. By making me the bad guy, creating drama, he felt validated. Whether or not this is how it worked with your H is hard to know. But your recognizing that his behavior had changed was a red flag and now gives you some insight into recognizing his patterns. Your gut was telling you something was wrong - now you have connected the dots you have a better understanding of what his "signs" are.
Quote:
I was totally confused about his level of anger, and annoyed that he would expect me to list out every stop I was making.
-
Quote:
My husband has been increasingly jealous of time spent with my friends or with my music, when previously he encouraged me to have me time.

Quote:
My husband put down a dress I had made in a sewing class that was a huge creative and social outlet for me. He seemed unable to handle anything I did away from him
.
The SA also has a need to control everything and everyone, along with needing to find fault or be the victim. Again, my H was quite the victim and his pattern started in childhood along with his need to be seen as the "good boy" which led to deceit and intellectualizing his way through emotional situations which he never learned to manage in healthy ways. As his addiction spiraled downward, his need to maintain his victim mindset became increasingly over the top. His anger and hurtful behavior was emotionally abusive. Like you, I knew there was an elephant in the room. I just didn't know what it was.
Quote:
I had a gut reaction to my father-in-law’s closeness with my daughters and distance with my son. It seemed too close.
Hmmm. If this is red flag for you, honor it for now. We do become suspicious and sometimes with good reason and sometimes not. As you do the work to heal and if your H does the work to recover, the truth may be revealed. Don't let this suspicion tip you over, though.
Quote:
Now that my consciousness has been raised and I’m on hyper-alert, I don’t know how to trust my gut.
You did tune in - knew things were off. Now you have a few key behavior patterns that are indicators and validate what your gut did tell you.
Quote:
I’m suspicious about everything and am questioning everything. Since I only had a vague sense of distance, but nothing specific about sex addiction, I don’t know how to interpret the things that don’t make sense. Could there have been sexual abuse in my husband’s past? Who would it have been?
Your reaction is not unusual. As you do the lessons, you will learn more about the SA mindset. Trying to interpret things that don't make sense can be crazy-making. You are rational. The active SA is not.
Quote:
but I need to set the boundary. I’m worried that if I say I can’t handle him looking at porn, then he’ll still do it and hide it from me.
Yes. You are in conflict and that creates an emotional burden for you. How does being open and honest with him figure in here for you? I do believe in being heard by using a straight forward feeling statement with no drama: I feel _____________when you_______________. Have no expectations of opening a positive dialogue. Don't engage if he reacts emotionally. Walk away. He may still do it and hide it from you - you have no control over his behavior. None. The SA will protect his addiction until he learns healthy ways to cope which begins with his facing himself honestly.

You have done a good job identifying his patterns, your concerns - give yourself a big hug! :g:

Nellie


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 9:40 am 
Offline
Partner's Mentor

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

Once again, thanks again for taking the time to respond so thoughtfully about the specifics of my situation.

Your suggestion to put my boundary out there in simple feeling statement gives me good context for how to approach it with him without expectation. I think having no expectations of a positive response will be hard for me.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 9:42 am 
Offline
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:22 pm
Posts: 124
Exercise Four:

Preface:

A few weeks ago, this exercise would have been really difficult for me, because I was still grappling with who my husband was. I knew he was a good person, but this new information about him didn’t at all fit. I couldn’t reconcile the man I love with someone who would have a sexual addiction, so it was hard to make sense of what was really true about him.

Even harder has been reconciling my own identity as a strong, feminist woman with the identity of a woman who would stay with a man with a sexual addiction. That doesn’t fit my image of myself. If I were my sister or my friend, I would advise myself to walk away.

But in the wake of all this, and with an insightful and understanding therapist, my husband has started to make himself vulnerable and open to me, even as I struggle to let down my own walls I’ve put up.

Values that are a Part of Him:


For this exercise, I went back to my wedding vows. I was surprised and moved that, even through all of this trauma, everything that was true on our wedding day is all still completely true.

These were my vows:

I love you for trusting me with a hammer while you hold the nail. It shows me that you see me as your equal as we build our life together.

I love you because you stand with me for hours in the game store solving logic puzzles. It’s that same reason and determination you bring to resolving our differences.

I love you for captivating kids with your magic tricks. It makes me see all the wonder and magic you have to offer the children we will have.

I love you for the deep respect you have for your family. It demonstrates the capacity of your feelings for the family we are creating today.

I love you because you make me laugh, you sing in the shower and you dance while you’re getting ready for work. You fill my life with laughter and song and dance.

This is how I would list it today:

- Empowering: he trusts me as an equal and isn’t threatened by my lofty ambitions.
- Brilliant: One of the smartest people I know. He challenges me intellectually, thinks out of the box to solve problems, can figure out or fix anything.
- Fun: He is always inventing swings, cars, toys, crazy projects for the kids.
- Committed to Family: From his parents to our kids, he puts all of us first and is devastated that he has put our family in jeopardy.
- Funny: He loves to joke with people and make people laugh. People love him.
- Kind: He recently hobbled on two stacked ladders to get my cat (the one he doesn’t like) out of the tree and went all the way across the restaurant to help a struggling old guy get in his car, while nobody else did anything.
- Principled: Strong sense of right and wrong; wants to do the right thing.
- Responsible: Follows through on his word; does not lay blame, takes criticism to heart, takes responsibility for his actions.
- Sensitive: Although he keeps his emotions to himself, I know that he is deeply sensitive. I feel with time, that quality will become a strength if he lets it.
- Sexy: He’s beautiful, an incredible dancer, and wears cologne, even to go do work outside when I’m the only one around.

Qualities that May Pose Obstacles:


- Introverted: Doesn’t have many deep friendships outside his family, so has limited people to lean on; may rely too much on just me for support.
- Threatened by my Friendships: He feels time with friends and music is time not with him. I’m concerned that my need as an extrovert for more social connection will continue to feel threatening to him.
- Rational: Tends to keep feelings to himself and rationalize things that are emotional; feels like he needs to “man up”; it will be a challenge for him to stay in touch with his emotions after living for so long keeping them in check.
- Gives up: Tends to retreat when threatened or fearful. In other situations, I’ve seen him give up after one thing doesn’t work instead of fighting for what he wants. He accepts defeat and “moves on,” so I feel like he’s preparing himself for the worst and has the potential to just passively accept defeat if he relapses.
- Guilt: He has mentioned several times that he feels like he should be thrown in jail to rot because that’s the law and that’s what he deserves. I think that will get in the way of his forgiveness of himself.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 5:18 pm 
Offline
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:49 pm
Posts: 3834
:g:


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2013 11:38 am 
Offline
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:22 pm
Posts: 124
Exercise Five:

A)

My primary way of managing stress is talking in depth with my closest confidantes. Along with my mom and some close girlfriends, that used to be my husband. In recent years, I haven’t had that connection with him and have turned more to my friends for connection and support.

Playing guitar in a group of strong, supportive women has been a huge stress relief. And recently, I’ve finally gotten back to exercising.

I think if I felt like I had nobody to turn to in order to escape feeling overwhelmed and alone, I could have turned to irrational behavior. I had an abortion as an adult that was emotionally difficult, but I talked with my friend, a counselor, and finally, my parents, so ultimately, I found the unconditional support that I needed.

B)

In the past six months, without realizing that my husband had an addiction, I began drinking one to three glasses of wine almost every night. I must have sensed that things were escalating, because I’m not a big drinker, so it was odd to find myself turning to drinking wine so often.

When I break it down, I realize that by the end of the day, I started to look forward to pouring a class of wine and felt a relief on taking a sip. I could feel myself relaxing and the calming effect felt good. There were times when I didn’t have wine in the cupboard and felt not really anxiety, but a heightened state where I was almost compelled to go to the store to get some. My husband, of all people, asked me if I thought I could be an alcoholic, and I said maybe. At the rate I was drinking, I could see that it could have become an addiction. I decided to stop drinking wine nightly. While I do have a bottle of wine in the cupboard, I now have a glass once every two weeks or so, and have stopped counting on it as my stress relief at the end of the day. I think because I had only been doing it a short time, it was easy to give up. I’ve also been able to turn to other things, like songwriting to express my emotions.

Writing this down honestly here is a revelation to me. I don’t think I have an addictive personality, but when I got really stressed, I turned to an irrational source of stress relief—one that’s socially acceptable, which made it easier to justify. I can absolutely see the parallel with what my husband is experiencing.

C)

I asked my husband what he thought, and he said exactly what I had been thinking. Like he said, “We’d be dealing with an anger management situation.” In fact, generally, he doesn’t express his anger. Or he’ll get angry, but then withdraw sometimes for days or a week at a time. The angriest I saw him ever was recently, after I found out about his voyeurism, and we were talking about a conflict. He spoke in a really loud, deeply angry tone, which is something he had never done before. I’m seeing that without his compulsive acting out, he’s going to need some ways to express the anger that he’s clearly been holding in.

His other outlets are escapism, through movies and video games.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 9:57 am 
Offline
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:22 pm
Posts: 124
Exercise Six:

A)

Read He Danced Alone for the second time. The first was immediately after finding Recovery Nation. Again, I found it very disturbing. I’m a little bit Pollyanna, and reading the details feels like watching a car wreck. I want to read, but it disturbs me to do so.

I think the most disturbing and maybe even least constructive parts about reading it is that it makes me wonder what kind of horrible past my husband has had that would lead him to voyeurism, like the protagonist in the book. That’s really difficult for me because we are very close with his loving family, and now I look at them with suspicion. Also, because the protagonist in the story had a public face similar to my husband’s (kind, introverted, wanting to help people), it makes me wonder what else my husband may be hiding, even though I think he’s been painfully honest since his disclosure. So basically, it raises a lot more doubt than understanding of my husband.

B)

My husband frequently groped my breasts at inappropriate times—while I was cooking dinner or doing work on the computer. It was extremely uncomfortable for me, and when I tried to explain that it bothered me, he complained that I was pushing him away when he wanted to be intimate. That’s a big one, because it’s been an issue, and I hadn’t yet put it in context of his sexual addiction.

Also, I shut down a lot of our casual hugging and kissing, because I didn’t want them to be perceived as “Let’s have sex,” which is what they almost always were perceived as. I’m realizing that I was responding to his sexualized mind, and creating my own defense mechanism.

C)

I can relate to every single one of the patterns to some degree.

Sexualized Mind: Along with the patterns mentioned above, my husband always makes comments about attractive women and unconsciously rubbernecks. In the past, I’ve downplayed this behavior, because I know he’s very visual, and I’ve tried not to feel threatened by it, since it’s “only looking” and there are times even I catch myself staring at a woman who has intentional cleavage, for example. So I normalized the behavior.

Maybe related, but almost the opposite, is that he is very hard on anyone who is not attractive or is wearing something unflattering. More than commenting on women who are attractive, he would mention how one of my friend looked fat in a dress or how a haircut made my sister look frumpy. I think this bothers me more than his finding strangers attractive. It’s as if everyone exists for his visual pleasure.

Objectified Mind: My husband’s acting out culminated in five years of videotaping up women’s skirts in public places. When I told him that I struggle with his violating women, he said that he deserves the word “violating,” but doesn’t feel like he violated anyone, since the women never knew. He also recently said that he doesn’t think he was objectifying them, because he worried about how they would feel if they caught him. Also, he says he wouldn’t go to strip clubs because he would feel bad for women who had to grapple for money.

He says watching porn is different, because it’s both men and women participating in it as consenting adults, so he says he’s not objectifying them for gratification.

Ultimately, I feel like he’s struggling with the idea of objectifying, because he’s such a kindhearted person.

Immediate Gratification: This is a conflict that I oddly link to money. He never had money growing up, so more socially acceptable forms of immediate gratification, like being able to buy himself something he wanted, weren’t an option. I don’t think he would go to a prostitute or a strip club, because it would kill him to have to spend that money.

When he got arrested with his video camera, at an event where the kids and I were there with him, clearly immediate gratification was in play. What a huge risk he took.

All or Nothing Perception:
I could have identified this one even before discovering his sexual addiction. My husband has a very defeatist attitude, whereby if he fails at something, he gives up and stops trying. After discovery, he talked about being a bad person. When I told him he was a good person who did a bad thing, I’m not sure he reconciled that concept.

I believe this will be his greatest recovery challenge. He has voluntarily and wholeheartedly decided to stop acting out, believing that he can control his behavior with just a decision to do so. I worry that if he relapses, or based on what I read here, when he relapses, he will see himself as a failure and a sex addict for life.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:38 am 
Offline
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:49 pm
Posts: 3834
Quote:
I think having no expectations of a positive response will be hard for me.
This is an insight to build on - how are you doing with it?
Quote:
Also, because the protagonist in the story had a public face similar to my husband’s (kind, introverted, wanting to help people), it makes me wonder what else my husband may be hiding, even though I think he’s been painfully honest since his disclosure. So basically, it raises a lot more doubt than understanding of my husband.
Can you change your perspective? Can you look beyond that to see that this man was able to successfully recover despite how deeply his behaviors were ingrained? I remember my own reaction. After a point, it was too sad and upsetting for me. Then I read someone's post that pointed out that this man did the work, on his own, and recovered and went on to help others. Change my thinking completely.
Quote:
He has voluntarily and wholeheartedly decided to stop acting out, believing that he can control his behavior with just a decision to do so. I worry that if he relapses, or based on what I read here, when he relapses, he will see himself as a failure and a sex addict for life.
Hmmm. He is white knuckling it which doesn't work. It's a start but there is much more involved. Like any addiction, it will take more than abstinence. You can suggest that he do the RN program or seek other help - because you value his health as your life partner, it OK to talk with him about it. After that, it does have to be his choice. It's very hard for us to watch a loved one take this path alone. You can support his efforts, but the responsibility is his.
Quote:
but doesn’t feel like he violated anyone, since the women never knew. He also recently said that he doesn’t think he was objectifying them, because he worried about how they would feel if they caught him. Also, he says he wouldn’t go to strip clubs because he would feel bad for women who had to grapple for money.
This is typical SA skewed thinking. He is minimizing and explaining away his choices. His actions violated you. Perhaps, he sees that now. My H also explained his initial topless club visits by saying the women were college girls working their way through school - yes, one or two were but he used this as a way to validate his choice to be there. The problem is that you can't be the one who consistently points out the flaws in his thinking because (1) you need to focus on yourself, not him and (2) there is no rational reasoning with the irrational SA mind. :t:

Good work again.
Nellie


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 10:29 am 
Offline
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:22 pm
Posts: 124
Exercise Seven

I began in the “Wait and See” category, but in the past week, I can see myself moving toward staying committed because I see that my husband is not only trying, but obviously changing in a very short time. However, I feel like there’s some place in the middle of those two categories. I’m giving myself more and more over toward healing myself and my relationship with my husband, but I feel like I will always maintain the right to move on, depending on what comes up down the road. Is that waffling? Or just being realistic?

A.

I. Effective Communication. Before all this, I thought I was a good communicator. I work hard to hear my kids needs and respond, modeling non-violent communication. Surprisingly, I’ve realized that I haven’t been doing that with my husband. That became evident when we started couples therapy. I can see that I’m very defensive and take the moral high ground.

Even more surprisingly, as we work through this, just one month in, my husband has been the one to stop unproductive conversations and try to hear me with an open heart. I think I have totally underestimated his ability to “Rise to the Challenge,” which is what I chose for my screen name.

What has been really difficult (among many things), is not having my own emotional reactions to his opening up. For example, my birthday was last week and I had band practice. My band members had cake and champagne for me. Then, to my surprise, my husband showed up with cake, too. This, even though he feels threatened by my relationship with my band. It was a genuine effort to show me that he’s trying. I was so moved. However, all the kids that were there came running up yelling, “More cake!” so he realized that I already had it. He was totally sad about it, feeling that it confirmed once again that my friends give me more than he can. At dinner, he was clearly dejected and I encouraged him to talk about it. I reassured him that his showing up with cake was huge for me. But then, I felt terrible and resentful that I had to deal with his crap on my birthday. I felt like I couldn’t voice that, because it would discourage him from sincere opening up in the future. So I kept it in and just stayed frustrated. When I finally talked with him about it, it wasn’t in a good way. He felt really sorry, and told me that he didn’t need me to do anything other than hear his sadness and the reason behind it. What could have been a powerful sharing moment turned into “Why are you doing this to me?”

Luckily, we had a productive conversation. I realize that we both have a lot to learn about communication. We are both reading and discussing “Hold Me Tight,” which was recommended by our therapist, and I’ve checked out “Non-Violent Communication” from the library. I am turning my focus on learning about and practicing safe communication for my family. Perhaps this is one of good thing to come out of all this darkness. I feel like I’m already becoming a better person.

II. Managing My Partner’s Recovery. Guilty. Guilty. And guilty. Managing everything about our family has been my role and I found myself falling into it. I researched and screened counselors, then set appointments for my husband to talk with them by phone. I did the same with finding a lawyer for his upcoming court case. However, I’m trying to let go of my control and finding that my husband is more than capable. I’ve underestimated him in many ways. He has voluntarily taken responsibility for scheduling our counseling meetings. He’s also eagerly listening to “Hold Me Tight” on CD during his commute and he’s even further along than I am. He’s talking about stuff from the book, which is something he never would have done before. He is also handling payment with his lawyer for his court case, which he has been on top of.

I talk to him about what I’m learning through Recovery Nation and have suggested he look into it when he’s ready. He seems open to it, but has not pursued it. The format will be difficult for him. He’s dyslexic and a slow reader, so getting through all the reading and actually responding through writing will be a huge hurdle. On the other hand, I am underestimating him again. I put it out there, and now I just need to let it be.

We are both having to relearn old patterns and roles.

III. This lesson has shown me that I’ve made several missteps in this first month. In the beginning, I expected my husband to offer me emotional support and understanding of my myriad emotions, without realizing that he’s not capable just yet. I’ve not used the fifteen/thirty minute rule, and have been focusing mostly on addiction and all our issues, without making time for positive focus. Ironically, it was my husband who suggested we take a break and do something positive together, but I got defensive and told him that he was trying to avoid it. I also fell into the trap of asking detailed questions, not believing his answers, and telling him so.

B. My Own Healing. I’m proud of my own process so far. I’m putting regular time and a lot of thought in the lessons here (yes, I know I have very long answers!). I’m also going to couples counseling with my husband and working on my communication with my kids. As I said, this is new insight and learning for me, which is already making me a better person.

Most importantly, I’m taking care of myself for the first time in a long time by consciously eating healthier and getting back to yoga and regular exercise. I’m also turning to my songwriting to express emotions, and wrote my best song ever recently, which was truly cathartic.

I’ve always kept myself in a position of being capable of being on my own—financially, socially, etc. So having confidence in my ability to exist both with and without my partner is liberating. I know am here, right now, because I choose to be.


C. Changes.

• Continue to let go of the need to control my husband’s recovery.
• Continue working on safe communication; work on hearing my husband without reacting with my own emotions; recognize when I am responding defensively.
• Educate myself about and practice non-violent communication in all my relationships.
• Implement the fifteen/thirty rule. Find more time and ways to focus on the positive in our relationship and let him take responsibility for this as well.
• Give more positive reinforcement to my husband when I see growth.
• Communicate my needs without expectation. On the flip side, stop having low or negative expectations of my husband and preparing myself for them.
• Accept sincere offers from my husband to take care of me, instead of staying in the pattern of proving that I can do it by myself and don’t need him.
• When and if I’m ready, give myself fully to the relationship in the here and now, without getting stuck in what-if scenarios or preparing for the worst. Let what may come, come.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 11:01 am 
Offline
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:49 pm
Posts: 3834
Good job on the last lesson - a lot of personal insights. Learning to identify and own our personal obstacles is huge.
:g:
Quote:
I’m giving myself more and more over toward healing myself and my relationship with my husband, but I feel like I will always maintain the right to move on, depending on what comes up down the road. Is that waffling? Or just being realistic?
It's good to focus on your own healing and giving him over to himself. You can only be responsible for you. I know you are working on your relationship with a couple's counselor. I went that route in the beginning, too. Our counselor was a dynamo and opened the door for my H to take a hard look at himself and his choices which did help. Nonetheless, once we joined RN, we each worked just on ourselves as individuals - huge difference. I came to realize that I had to emotionally detach myself from the outcome of our relationship to truly focus on myself. It's a hard pill to swallow. That doesn't mean I didn't support my H and want him to become healthy. It meant that working on the relationship would come when we each were healthier. Just keep this in mind. You are doing very well.

Nellie


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2013 2:14 am 
Offline
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:49 pm
Posts: 3834
Yes. You do have a conflict, but what two values are in conflict? Honesty versus protecting his feelings? Or Honesty versus protecting your feelings about his reaction? Be clear with yourself on this. Do you value protecting his feelings over honesty or over your pursuing your own interests?
Quote:
I have another event that I want to go to next week that I haven't told him about yet. I'm totally avoiding telling him. Mind you, I'm still going. But I am in conflict about how to tell him,
I suggest that you pose your dilemma on the community forum. For starters, I will tell you that protecting his feelings isn't helping him. He has to learn to manage his emotions in healthy ways - this is a the very core of SA behavior.
Quote:
If I were totally detached from the outcome of the relationship, I would just tell him and not worry about his feelings.
Hmmm. No. I look at this differently. Detaching from the outcome is not abandoning your H and his feelings, but about turning himself over to himself which the only way he can learn to take responsibility for his feelings and develop the skills he is lacking. Do you see the difference?
Quote:
But because I do care about his feelings and how they affect me, I'm being dishonest or avoiding until the last minute. That can't be true to my values.
Light Bulb Moment happening here? How his feelings affect you - how do his feelings affect you? What are those feelings that he shows you? Name them, define them. Then name and define your reactions.

My H struggled with his feelings and he struggled with being a victim. He didn't want to face his fears, feelings, conflict. Our counselor made him carry around a notebook to document when he felt sad, mad, glad, fearful whether stuck in traffic or whatever. She told me to not make myself available to him in any way. He was looking for mothering and she wanted him to start growing up. It was a huge challenge for him and for me.

I'm passing this on because I feel you're not only sacrificing yourself to his addictive behaviors but you are sugar coating his life a bit. It's time for him to grow up - little by little. You do need to think this through. Sneaking around or telling half-truths to avoid conflict with him is not healthy for you. Ask the forum for advice about how talk to your H about this.
Nellie


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 69 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group