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PostPosted: Sun Jul 09, 2017 11:42 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:22 pm
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One of the biggest outcomes of working through the RN workshops has been to honor my gut. Now I get red flags about people frequently and pay attention, even if I do not do anything about it. Kind of a note to self.

Well, I had been getting some red flags about a close family friend and then it came out that he had been sexting with a mutual married friend. More info came out about his long-past infidelities and looking at porn.

I went into protective mode and decided not to let my kids alone with this dad. I tried to make a values-based decision--honoring my value of safety for my kids and taking my gut as truth--even though emotions played into it. I definitely felt fear around having yet another potential SA in my kids' life.

It was a difficult decision, because on the outside, he is kind and loving, and someone my kids look up to. He had been one of the "good" father figures I wanted my kids to have, since divorcing their own SA dad.

Now, I'm afraid I've lost a friendship with this man's wife, who is a close friend. She has decided to divorce her husband, but told me I'm hurting her by not letting my kids even carpool with her kids while with the dad. She thinks I'm projecting my past experience onto her ex, that my gut is over-reacting, and that I should consider that my gut might be wrong. She thinks her ex is not an SA, that I'm being unreasonable to think that any harm could be done to my kids in a 10 minute car ride with other kids in the car, and that taking away another man my kids care about is more damaging to them.

My concern is not that he'll do anything to my kids. I just know that when there's deception, there's more I don't know. And that being around someone who "just sent some inappropriate texts that he realized were wrong and stopped" is not the kind of male role model I want alone with my kids, even for 10 minutes.

I feel so disappointed that compulsive behavior and deception is so pervasive. It keeps popping up all around me. I feel afraid that sticking to my boundaries is alienating more and more people I care about, since after leaving my SA husband, I terminated several other friendships that I felt weren't healthy. And I feel worried that, even though I feel like I have eaten the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge which is informing my decisions, important friends perceive me as over-reacting.

So my question is: Is it possible to have too many boundaries or too strict of boundaries, especially when those boundaries alienate people I care about, especially people who are not SA?


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 6:34 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
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Rising - I hear you. This is a tough one.

First, I completely trust your instincts and I completely honor your decision and boundaries. You haven't forbidden your kids from seeing her kids. You've set a limit about them being together with their Dad.

And how dangerous is the Dad to your kids. That's a tough one. I do know that in active addiction they are not present and distracted. I do know that they are very self centered. Even in a ten minute car ride, in an emergency, would he rise to the challenge. As my husband's addiction progressed, his life management skills had so eroded that a challenge would paralyze him. Further, I can't remember if you have daughters, but I would feel afraid for my daughter. Especially as she aged. Would he do anything to her? We don't know. But just the lack of respect for women and girls created by porn addiction and the objectification of us, that will impact all of us. That issue...how do they SEE us and how do they think about us as anything but objects, scares me about men who consume porn being with girls. And for your sons, this disrespect and objectification of women is then normalized for them by porn addicts behavior. Remember, "all men do it." That is the attitude they will transmit either consciously or unconsciously.

The real issue here is with your friend. And I think the issue is how she is thinking and feeling about her husband. She's not as far along in this journey as you are. She may not be able yet to really delve into her fears about what she knows and doesn't know. Remember how unclear everything used to be for us and how clear everything is now? It sounds to me like she is in the unclear stage. She may change, she may not.

Your kids come first. Your friendship...I can only say that you can tell her you love her, ask for her mercy and understanding, and ask to revisit this as time goes on. And then you will have to see what she does.

Can our boundaries be too harsh? I think I can let my fears overwhelm me and not take reasonable risks. But as you point out, porn, objectification, unehalthy hypersexuality is so pervasive in our culture and so damaging that to do nothing seems awful to me.

I think porn is a killer of love and kindness. I think it distorts sexuality to something objectified and not relational. I think it isolates people. I think it takes something wonderful, sensuality and desire, and objectifies and comodifies it into something unrecoginizable.

dnell


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 10:27 am 
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Oh, Rising. This is hard.

I've experienced what you wrote--that as I learned more about boundaries and my values, many friendships and other relationships ended, either abruptly or by fading away.

And, I've questioned, is it me? And that statement alone returns me to how often I showed up in my marriage, thinking over and over "something must be wrong with me."

This thought pattern pervaded my life, even before my husband. So now, when I recognize myself slipping into that way of thinking, I know immediately I need to stop and that the truth is a finer grain than that.

Is it me/you? In some ways, yes. You could say that what we've experienced has permanently affected the way we see the world. No two ways about it.

And you could also say that other people have different values than we do. It's okay that they do, but it's also totally okay for us to enact boundaries that uplift our values. Only we can define our values.

Like you, I have found myself repeatedly saddened by the casual ways in which our culture dismisses decisions and behavior of poor character and excuses many (mostly) men's horrifically poor sexual boundaries.

Here is the sad thing I've come to accept: the people who get it, who understand my boundaries and values, are far between and few. They are rare, and they are gold. In accepting this, I have lost friends.

Finally, your decision sounds like it was sound, reasoned, and most critically, right for you and your children. If I had children, I would make a similar decision in a heartbeat. I would not want that kind of role model with my children. While I understand people make poor choices, that this is a very human thing, I am resolute in my thoughts and boundaries surrounding choices that reflect poorly on character. This man's choice is a reflection of his character. It simply is. He had no problem behaving deceptively. He is not 16 or 18 or likely even 25. He is a grown man, who has not matured yet and the outlook for him to radically mature anytime soon is grim. He is not what I would want engaged with my hypothetical children.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 10:10 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:22 pm
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Once again, Recovery Nation is my reality check in a world that doesn't understand the nuances of SA. Thank you, thank you.

I decided to hold to my boundaries, despite some pushback from good friends. We are weathering this rough patch, but our kids have maintained contact and playdates. I've maintained a friendly but distant relationship with the dad when kids are around, making it clear that I want the kids to get together, as long as I'm present. The dust is settling, as it eventually does when we stick to our boundaries.

meepmeep, I really like the phrase "uplift our values." It puts it in the right context. Also, you put your finger on that uncomfortable feeling of "Is it me?" that triggers how I felt living with an SA. A reminder that, yes, it is me. And it is okay to honor that.

dnell, thank you for the compassionate reminder that my friend is in her own early stage of the journey. I remember minimizing and rationalizing behavior, too. And yes, I have TWO daughters to think about. But as you point out, it's my son I worry about most, with a dearth of male role models.

dnell and meepmeep, I feel such gratitude for your compassion and commitment to helping other partners with your hard-earned wisdom. You both have been alongside me in this journey, since we all joined here about the same time. How strange that two people whom I haven't met in person can mean so much to my healing. I hope you both take a moment to take in the gratitude for the amazing gift you give us all.


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