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PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2018 7:57 pm 
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I have been with my H for 13 years, married for 9 and three weeks ago I found out he has been engaging prostitutes on a very regular basis for the last 8 months. I had no good reason to suspect that he was doing this other than a feeling of overwhelming sadness that I could not shake off. Eventually I knew it had to be something to do with him and so I investigated his emails. One thing lead to another, I confronted him and the deception was eventually outed. To say I am devastated is putting it very mildly. Not only has he put our relationship and my mental health at risk, but he has put my physical health at risk as he has had unprotected encounters with these prostitutes. He has used up money that was meant for our future.

He has always watched porn, casually I thought, and it was not something that bothered me, except for one specific type of porn. I had told him this on a number of occassions and he had said he would refrain. Clearly this did not happen and there became a point whereby the porn was no longer enough to satisfy his addiction and he needed more, so he moved on to prostitutes.

To be betrayed by my best friend, the one person in the world I fully trusted, has had a massive effect on me. I have been diagnosed as having PTSD and feel so lost and lonely in a world filled with pain. The little self confidence I had has been stripped away.

A few days after the discovery, he went for a full STD check and everything was negative. I am being tested next week. He has, for the first time, admitted to me and to himself, that he has a major problem and has committed to the workshop on Recovery nation. He also starts a sex addicts support group locally next week. He is hating the pain he has caused me and will do whatever it takes to help himself in order to try and rebuild our relationship. I believe in his commitment.

I know that it will be a long hard slog for both of us and I am not sure if I can ever forgive him, maybe just learn to live with what he has done.


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 Post subject: Exercise 2
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2018 8:15 pm 
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"Think about who you are, the life that you have led, and the life that you want to lead from this point forward. Think about your legacy as a wife, mom, sister, friend. Create a vision that represents the real you. "

I believe myself to be a good person with an awareness of social responsibility. I am a loving, caring mother and grandmother who helps and assists with love,compassion and practicality whenever I can. I am a loyal wife who loves the bones of my H. I am understanding, a good listener, and will help others in many ways. I am creative in many ways and have a thirst for knowledge and learning and continually educate myself on a wide range of topics. I am a practising Pagan with my main focus on healing and will always give others who need it my spiritual energy.

My vision for my future begins and ends with happiness and contentment. I want to live a life free from damage caused by others. I want to have a calm headspace that will allow me to bolster my self esteem and self confidence. I cannot allow others to deride me or take me for granted. I cannot allow pain from the past and the present mould my future. I must realise that it is me and me alone that is responsible for my own happiness and that I cannot allow others to provide that for me.

I will continue to value positive relationships I have with others, but also realise that to be human is to err. Nobody is perfect. But if anyone wants anything from me, wants any kind of relationship with me, then honesty and truth and loyalty are of paramount importance.


Last edited by BrighidsPain on Sun Dec 02, 2018 10:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Exercise 3
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2018 8:26 pm 
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My gut feelings about his behaviours in the past have always always been just that, gut feelings. There has never been any solid clues, just an alarm in my head telling me that I need to go and investigate. And these gut feelings have never failed me as each and every time they have appeared they have been proved to have been right.

I have not ever overrode these gut feelings. That is not me. I live by instinct. It is what preserves me. I do not want to be constantly in the position where I have to “spy” on him, but there have been times where I have had no choice in the matter and self-preservation has been the most important thing in my life at that time. Forewarned is forarmed and all that.

Over the past 9 months, he had pretty much stopped communicating with me on any deep level. There was no sex. I did not initiate sex because he made me feel unwanted by HIS not initiating sex.

He says that he is committed to dealing with the addiction and gaining a recovery – I believe his commitment to this and to me. But there is still part of me that can’t help but feel that I am clutching at straws and that sooner or later something in his life, in our life, will trigger his old ways to return. As I see it, he slides quite easily into his default mode and is therefore quite likely to do so again. I find myself asking , is staying with him, trying to heal the relationship, simply prolonging my eventually agony when he leaves me?


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 Post subject: Exercise 4
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2018 8:42 pm 
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"1) Make a list of those values in your partner's life that — in your gut — you believe is a part of him."

Kindness
Social responsibility
Sociable when needs to be
Can be thoughtful
Takes his job seriously
Encouraging of my interests
Can be very loving
Gentle


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


Easily led by sexual thoughts
The ability to tune me out of his head
Huffiness
Can be irritable with me and others.
Can get stuck in a rut
Easily distracted


Last edited by BrighidsPain on Sun Dec 02, 2018 10:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Exercise 5
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2018 8:45 pm 
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"A. How do you manage your stress? What would it take for you to become so emotionally overwhelmed that you would turn to irrational behavior to produce enough intensity to escape from that stress? Can you think of a time in your life that you have turned to such a measure?"

I manage my stress in different ways. I cut myself when it gets too bad, the act itself, the pain, the visuals of the blood concentrates my feelings, shows me I am living breathing human being and makes me aware that I AM stressed. On a lesser level, I try to distract from the issues causing the stress – I create, I clean, I go outside and breathe. I have tried meditation but cannot do it. I can relax completely in a bath, so this is a great stress reducer also. Sometimes however, when a crisis point has been reached, I cannot deal with the stress at all. I have on more than one occasion tried to take my own life, I have self-harmed, I have banged my head against the wall, and been completely hysterical and inconsolable.

"B. Consider a compulsive behavior that you have engaged in."


The only compulsive behaviour I think I have engaged in has been smoking. This went on for many years. The attempts I have had to try and stop have all failed as panic set in before I even tried. Even now, although no longer smoking, I am still nicotine dependent and use an e-cig. I don’t know if this is an adequate compulsive behaviour for this question as there is a chemical element to it as well as a mental one.

"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."

How would he manage his emotions without the compulsive behaviours he participated in? I cannot answer that. Perhaps he would have been unable to manage his emotions full stop and had some sort of breakdown.


Last edited by BrighidsPain on Sun Dec 02, 2018 10:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Exercise 6
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2018 8:54 pm 
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"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."

When thing were good between him and I, having a sexual encounter, a satisfying sexual encounter, would not be enough for him. Afterwards, for days, weeks, he would grab my breasts or genitals at any given opportunity. He wasn’t content with a hug, it had to be sexualized. He seemed to want to prolong the sexual high indefintely, which is totally unrealistic. It became very wearing and if I told him so he would just huff and be moody. He once bought me a vibrator as a birthday present and could not understand why I was upset and disappointed. If there was no sexual contact between us he would reach for the online porn, the kind that upset me, then blame his usage on me being uninterested in sex or him.

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

The areas mentioned in this section that I have observed in him is all four of them!


Last edited by BrighidsPain on Sat Dec 08, 2018 5:46 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Exercise 7
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2018 10:09 pm 
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"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
II. Managing your partner's recovery
III. Empowering/disempowering a pursuit of health"


A -On considering my role in his recovery to date, it is still very early days and my emotions are still very raw and my pain very much to the forefront of my mind. However:

Effective communication – I have tried to remain calm whilst conversing with him but sometimes this has often proved very difficult. I have tried to encourage him to communicate with me and although mostly he has done so I do still feel that I am sometimes having to prise things out of him.

Managing his recovery – I have encouraged him to do the Recovery Nation course and to take part in the real time support group. Other than that I do not see how I can do any managing of his recovery - it is HIS responsibility and I cannot and will not force him to do anything.

Empowering/disempowering a pursuit of health – not entirely sure if this refers to his health or mine. Either way, I am struggling.

"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? "

It is early on for our recovery. I suppose I am not gaining equal resources to heal my own wounds as he has found an SA support group to attend and I am, well, on my own in this. I do have an online friend I can talk to and this has helped.

"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?"

The only change in my relationship I wish to see right now is open and honest communication at all time.


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 Post subject: Exercise 8
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2018 10:14 pm 
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"If you were to identify three issues relating to your partner's recovery that you would like to see changed, what would they be?"

1. He needs to understand and accept that he is attempting recovery not for me but for HIM.

2. He needs to realise that forgiveness is something that is earned and not just given away. He also needs to realise that I may not ever be able to forgive, just to live with it.

3. He needs to realise that being open means fully open. It means he willingly tells me thinks and not that I have to drag things out of him.


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 Post subject: Exercise 9
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2018 10:28 pm 
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"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?"

His ability to seek out a SA support group, contact the organiser and go to the meetings.
His replacing the time he watched porn with other activities, such as an online educational course.
Accepting complete responsibility for his actions and recognising his emotional immaturity.

"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?"

None so far, but it is still early days. I have no doubt he is still in shock at being discovered and feeling incredibly sad at the trauma he has caused me.

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

I have told him I believe that he is sincere in wanting to deal with his SA and have a full recovery.


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 Post subject: Exercise 10
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2018 8:53 am 
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" Select the three most important values that you need right now to help you stabilize your life."

1. Role modelling for my daughters and grandaughters
2. Learning to say no to people
3. Realising my worth as a human being, not just as a wife

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

1. Whilst I may THINK that i am providing a good role model for my female offspring, with thought I am unsure as to what it is they see. Do they see a woman who can be manipulated and taken for granted? Whilst this is not particularly a conversation I want to have with my daughters (grandkids are too young), perhaps I should.

2. For too long I have been a pushover, afraid to say "no that really doesn't suit me" for fear of being rejected or thought bad of. I know this has stemmed from a crappy childhood. Over the last few years I have taken a step forward and have been saying no, but the problem is that I tell white lies to get out of things rather than be honest. This has to stop.

3. I recall once in my first marriage where my then husband introduced me to someone as "this is my wife" - he did not give my name. I remember being upset at the time and pointing it out to him when we got home but it wasn't really accepted there was a problem. But I digress. I think that in my current marriage I have disappeared a little, not just with the marriage - I am someone's wife, someone's mother, someone's grandmother - I need to start just being ME. I need to be able to look at myself in the mirror, naked with no make up, and be content as to what it is I see reflected. I need to remind myself that I am a thinking, intelligent woman with much to give and much to do and not simply someone there to fulfill a function for another.

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

I think I have included 'plans' within the answers above, although not particularly specific. In respect of number 3, I think this may take some time.

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

1. I will arrange to go for lunch with my daughters and broach the subject during our time together.
2. I will attempt to be decisive about certain matters pertaining to the approaching xmas period.
3. I will sign up to some online educational courses for after the New Year.


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 Post subject: Exercise 11
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2018 9:00 am 
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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.

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.

I have written these letters but will not be posting them in here as there is no guarantee that my husband will not read them and I do not think it would be beneficial to his recovery process in doing so.


Last edited by BrighidsPain on Wed Jan 02, 2019 6:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Exercise 12
PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:56 pm 
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"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?"

It is one month since D Day and I feel I have taken control of myself. I still feel angry, hurt, abused and devastated, I get flashbacks to the day it all fell to pieces, and the 'movies' that play in my head are very debilitating mentally. I have had a number of things trigger me over the last few weeks. However, my personal resilience, possibly gained from a lifetime of being hurt and let down by people, seems to have the upper hand. I feel remarkably calm for a great deal of the time and this is allowing me not only breathing space for myself, but also to show some empathy towards my H and support him when he needs it. The fact he is doing everything in his power to show me how remorseful he is and how he wants to change his life and habits, must also go some way to me obtaining a calmer existance.

"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."

I am prepared for continuing to feel anxious when H leaves the house without me. Whilst he can keep in contact with me, furnish me with exactly where he is going, the time he will be there, and the travel time to and from, ultimately I need to learn to try and trust he is telling me the truth. It will be his actions in other parts of his life that will be the key as to me believing he is being truthful.

I am already having triggers and I should imagine this will continue for some time, if not forever. I cannot really guess what the triggers will be and so cannot think in advance as to how I will deal with them. At the moment, taking myself away from the situation and being alone, deep breathing and trying to get my head in order has assisted with this - I hope that this will remain the key.

The "movies" in my head - I am aware that some of the things I see are fictionalised by my own imagination and therefore I have been asking very penetrating questions of my H in order to eliminate or confirm what is being seen. This is something I will need to continue to do each time a new one pops up. How I am dealing with them at this time is to stop whatever I am doing at the time, moving my spiritual self to the "safe place" within my mind and shunning the visions.

I may in the future, both near and far, find myself in a depressive state due to what has gone on. If this occurs I would hope that the support of my H and my family will be enough to pull me through it. I have dealt with depression on and off since I was 12 years old and so am aware of when the darkness is beginning to descend, and therefore would hope to nip it in the bud before it gets out of control.


Last edited by BrighidsPain on Fri Dec 07, 2018 5:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Exercise 13
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 4:07 am 
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"A. One of the first steps on the road to healing is to take inventory of all the ways that your partner's compulsive behavior has affected you. Begin listing these consequences and post them in your Healing Thread."

"B. Rate the affect of each consequence from a 1-10. "1" will represent the most significant consequence that your partner's addiction has had on your life. Do not worry bout which consequence might be a "6" and which might be a "7"; or which is "1" and which is "2" — what is important is to gain a general idea of the impact (or potential impact) they have had on your life."

I will put the 1-10 rating in brackets at the end of each answer :

A. His actions have completely obliterated what little self esteem I had. For many years my self esteem and image of myself was incredibly low due to factors in childhood and early adulthood. My H healed me, not completely, but to a high level. Our relationship and his love and care made me feel better about myself than ever before. That is now all ruined. My self esteem is at the lowest it has ever been. His actions have not only damaged me, but they have also rekindled past feelings. (1)

B. I do not trust easily but learned to trust him completely. I bared my soul to him and trusted him with my life. Trust no longer exists for me as far as he is concerned. His actions, his lies, his deception, his betrayal, has eradicated all trust in him. And the knock on effect of this is that if I can't trust HIM then I can't trust anybody. (1)

C. My physical health has suffered since D Day. I am certain my immune system is low as I have a lingering cough; my heart races; I cannot sleep; I cannot eat properly; I have vomited on learning certain information. I have been diagnosed with PTSD. I have cut my arm with a scalpel when the stress and pain gets too much. (2)

D. I am fearful of going out places in the town nearest me where one of the prostitutes he used lives.(6)

E. When I have no sexual contact in my life, I masturbate. Up unil D Day, the visions in my head during masturbation where those of my H and I together. His behaviour has taken even this away from me and I feel no longer able to give myself sexual pleasure, which for me is incredibly sad. I need sex in my life, be it with my H or self pleasure - I now have no release whatsoever. (1)

F. I am paranoid. Scared whenever he leaves the house that he is off to pay a hooker. I have access to his computer and all his emails and financial accounts, but I am fearful to check now in case I find something else. I am convinced that, even although he tells me that he loves me, that he is sorry, that he wants to spend the rest of his life with me, that I am not good enough - not thin enough, pretty enough, not big breasted enough, not young enough, and that eventually he will just leave. (2)

G. I have discovered I have a capacity for hate that verges on the homicidal. I hate the whores he paid to pleasure him, I hate him for hurting me. I don't enjoy feeling such hatred towards anyone. (3)

H. I used to view the porn industry as generally harmless. Indeed in my younger days I was a fetish model. I know now that this is not true, I have seen how harmful porn can be to the wrongly wired person. I feel stupid for ever believing otherwise. (7)

I. I am extremely anxious about the future. I know life has no guarantees, but up until a month ago I had no reason to think that I might be left alone in my 50s, lose the man whom I invested so much in. (4)

J. As a practising Pagan with a healing direction, I feel unable to offer this healing to others right now. I am depressed about that, feel that H's behaviours have stifled my ability to help others. (2)

K. Becoming accustomed to lying to others (eg my adult chldren) about how I am fine and how my relationship will be fine. Not sure if I am protecting myself or them. (6)


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 Post subject: Exercise 14
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 2:40 am 
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*Over the next month, how much time do you intend to spend focused on managing, tracking and/or assessing your partner's addiction/recovery?

I will be doing very little managing, tracking and/or assessing as it is not for me to do so. I will ask him how he feels he is getting on with the RN workshop, will ask how he feels after he has been to the SA support group - I will play a supporting role, nothing else.

*How much time do you intend to spend secretly investigating his actions?

As little time as possible! If he gives me any reason to feel the need to investigate, then I will. Otherwise, part of me learning to trust him and his word will mean refraining from checking on his every move.

*What personal values are you willing to allow your partner to continue damaging over the next month?

None! But perhaps this is unrealistic. For example, perhaps there has been some lying by omission that will come out in the next month. I need to play this by ear, take one day at a time.

*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?

I am not convinced that I will tolerate ANY mistakes to be honest. He has said for example that if he feels an urge to look at porn he will talk to me first and we will deal with it. If he simply went ahead and looked without talking to me this would be a gross violation of our agreement, especially if the genre of porn was of the type that I find deeply offensive. Him masturbating, I would tolerate, but would feel angry as I am being denied any sexual pleasure at this time. But the only mistake that would be totally intolerable and be the catalyst to ending the relationship would be if he actually went to see a prostitute - there is NO second chance on this one.

*How much responsibility do you intend to invest in changing your partner? Versus placing the responsibility for change on them?

I will continue to encourage and support him in his RN workshop and his SA support group. I will share with him articles and videos on sex addiction that I think he may find enlightning, helpful or interesting. I will continue to have an open door policy for him to express how he is feeling. Other than this, the responsibility to change is down to him. I cannot force a change, only he can do that.

I suppose the negatives are the times that I become upset via triggers or flashbacks. I do worry that this will set him back, although it does not appear to have done so so far.

*Do you intend to motivate change in your partner by threats and/or rewards? Or by simply sharing your needs and allowing your partner to find the motivation to meet those needs?

I do not believe that threats and rewards would be a good thing. I will constantly be open with him about my thoughts and feelings and I want him to take responsible actions to understand and deal with them and to follow my lead in respect of transparancy and openness.

*How do you envision moving beyond two individuals in recovery/healing to becoming a team in overcoming those areas of your relationship that have been damaged?

By openness, by discovering each other once again. By spending quality time together, talking, trying to move back into the honest closeness that I know we are capable of having. Talk, talk, talk - especially him. I have always bared my soul to him, my deepest darkest thoughts and moments were shared a long time ago. My expectations are that he starts to do the same, trusts me with this information.

*Apart from your partner's addiction, identify the current major obstacles that your relationship faces.

Sexual intimacy. For me, trickle truths have made me think there are certain aspects of sex that I will ever be unable to participate in again. And for him, his guilt and shame about his behaviours and actions is taking over his head. And of course, I cannot help but be concerned that I may not be the "right" sexual partner for him. He says otherwise, but it is only human nature to think the way I do given his actions over the last year. I really am not sure at this time as to how change can be brought about in these matters - I suspect that it is simply time that will help rather than something solid. Communication is very much a key in this.

Honesty/disclosure - I cannot help but think there are things I do not yet know that will come out over the course of the next few months. I hope that I am wrong as I cannot bear all these two steps forward eighty steps back scenarios! At this time, most disclosures have been pulled from him by me and I think this will continue until he begins to understand that keeping details back is NOT protecting me but protecting himself. I cannot force this mindset unfortunately, but will continue to have the open door policy that says truth is ALL.

*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?

I will write things down. This may be in the form of private journaling or in a letter to my H which I may or may not send. I will talk with my friend and vent. I will speak to my H, tell him how I am feeling. My refocusing will ultimately be - don't keep it inside!

*What signs will you look for in your partner to generate confidence in the sincerity and stability of his/her recovery?

I will expect him to continue with the RN workshop, expect him to continue with the SA support group. If he is continuing to fill his free time with education, reading and other pastimes rather than viewing pornography, this will generate confidence and stability in his recovery. Additionally, he will continue to be open and honest with me about everything and pay attention to me and how things are in my life, both emotionally and physically.

*What unique signs will you look for in your partner over the next few months to generate warning of imbalance and/or insincerity?

Becoming "bored" with the RN workshop; any downturn in communication; signs of depression or irritability; making me feel like I am "invisible" again.


Last edited by BrighidsPain on Sat Dec 08, 2018 7:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Exercise 15
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:24 am 
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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?

I actually have very few people supporting me unfortunately. This is mostly down to the fact that I do not want to share my H's behaviours, actions and addiction with anyone who knows him. I really do not want to taint other people's views and opinions about him for a multitude of reasons. Ultimately, this has led to me feeling just a bit isolated. My major support person is an online friend. He listens to me vent, acknowledges my pain, doesn't judge and offers uncompromising support to me, attempting to bolster my self confidence. He has made it clear that he is there for me 24/7 and that if I ever need to call him then to have no second thoughts about it. There has been nothing negative about the support he has offered me.

My two adult daughters know simply that my H and I are having some issues right now and that it is not me or my actions that is to blame for the issues - this is all I can tell them. Their support to me is nothing more than giving me a hug if I need it - this was something that was vitally important to me in the first week or so after D Day as I felt completely desperate for human physical contact and there was no way on earth I could allow my H to be anywhere near me.

I tried an online community which dealt with infidelity but found a lot of negativity within the forums. I deeply regret sharing my story because of someone very bitter and twisted offering nothing but "leave him, he can't be fixed, he is a bastard" type replies. This was NOT what I needed at that time and it only increased the distress I was experiencing at that time.

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.

* spending time with my grandchildren

* having lunch with my daughters and stepmother

* paying more attention to my physical needs, eg wearing make up every day, spending time on my hair, getting dressed instead of lounging around in pjs all day.

* pondering which educational courses I will participate in after the New Year

Convening with my Goddess and regrounding myself towards healing others

* Reading for interest and pleasure

* paying more attention to my diet, eliminating unhealthy snacking

* watching videos and reading articles about SA in order to gain a better understanding of what my H is dealing with.

Writing down my dreams as soon as I wake up, try to analyse them.

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?

The online friend I talked about above, went through an extremely bad time last year and his mental health was very fragile. I spent a great deal of time listening to him, offering advice, encouraging a physically healthy lifestyle and not to be bogged down with precription medication, and to accept medical help (eg support worker, psychiatric assistance) when offered. Whilst this was mostly a positive experience for me, especially watching him grow in strength and positivity as the months went by, it was at times emotionally draining. But in saying that, I would not have done anything differently.

The only insight I can use to define my own support are.............try not to be too burdensome!


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