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 Post subject: need support and to vent
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2018 5:28 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2013 3:34 pm
Posts: 81
I haven't been here in a long time. Wish I could say that was because everything was okay. This may be very long, if you can stand to read it all, bless you.

I should be an old hand at all this by now. Did RN, a lot of self-work, did all that, maybe I'm not all better, but lots better and much higher functioning now, more balanced. But I don't feel like an old hand, just old, and tired.

A lot seemed okay, not really sure. After all this time, I'm not sure if I'm having reliable gut feelings or if it's my issues. But, even if he is firmly in recovery/recovered now, I don't know if it matters to me anymore. It took too long, I lost too much, gave too much. I don't know if I fully love him anymore, or how much.

A couple years ago, after years of fake recovery and half hearted recoveries where he was still holding on to many covert hidden behaviors, he got into therapy, was in it for a year. It wasn't sexual addiction treatment, it was trauma therapy, the root of the addiction. I was uncomfortable with it not being SA treatment. The whole time during the therapy it was same old, he wouldn't clue me in on what was going on in therapy, or at least not much, and he certainly wasn't keeping me informed of what recent behaviors were going on or triggers/slips etc. At the time he was telling me he hadn't acted out in a long time. As far as triggers he only disclosed when I basically forced him to talk, so it probably wasn't really the whole truth. Well, i know it wasn't now.

Throughout our time together, he has rarely told me of recent behaviors or even triggers/urges. Everything he would tell me was "a long time ago" the only exceptions were times I was leaving or we were separated and he was trying to win me back. he knew he was supposed to tell me about recent triggers, urges or slips/relapse . he promised to. He has promised a lot over the years, and has broken all those promises over and over. I kept staying with him because I love him, because I had hope. holding on to the wish bone when I should have been finding my backbone, even though I was not seeing good recovery signs.

Several months ago, he told me that when he first started therapy he was still acting out and continued during the early months of therapy. That's great, just more proof that he won't tell me recent things so i know now, that when he says "nothing has happened in the past six months" I know that in a year or so I will get to find out was really happened in that time. Well, no I won't , because I don't want to know, I don't care anymore, and I don't think I will be around to hear about it.

But yet, I can't really leave. for a lot of reasons, mainly family, stability, financial needs. I know I will have a pretty good life with him in many ways, when it comes to domestic things, house, family, getting business of life taken care of, I couldn't ask for a better partner. but I won't really be happy, although i could find some contentment and pride in the family and taking care of them. but on a personal level I won't really be happy.

It's like I was in limbo a long time, waiting on him to do his recovery and prove it to me. Now I feel like I'm coming out of limbo and ready to move, I just can't figure out what direction to move to.

The big issue here is that, I can't believe his words, he never proved recovery to me. He never told me the things he should have, what he promised he would do while in recovery. I wasn't asking for every detail, I knew better than that. but I needed to know that things were getting better, so if he had told me the frequency of triggers/urges, maybe I could have seen for myself that it was getting better. I can't trust him, probably never will. Maybe he is better now and no longer acting out in his addiction, maybe therapy worked, maybe, but even if that is so, I don't trust him. if something should happen tomorrow, a trigger, or urge or slip, I know with all my being that he won't tell me. He could even still be acting out and lying. sometimes I get the feeling that he is.

he thinks, and says he has been trying to prove it to me for two years. he thinks that going to work every day and coming home, and there being no traces on computer or phone is proving it to me. To the best of my knowledge, he has no stashes, no activity that i can find, though I don't often look for it anyway. I keep telling him that proves nothing, there were always hidden behaviors. The proving time was in recovery or soon after, not like two years after. So, if he really is all better now, that really stinks for him, becuase I will never trust him, he missed the boat, the time to prove it to me and begin rebuilding trust was during recovery.

In my heart, what I want is to part with him forever, regardless of whether he is still in addiction or not, or whether I love him or not. Maybe with time, I can find me again, rebuild, heal, move on, figure out what i want from life, and maybe find happiness.

i can't bear to break up the family. We each have grandkids, I adore his and they love me, he adores mine and they love him. His daughter and I are very close, and I am afraid that our breaking up will hurt her badly. And then theres financial need/stability that I don't know if I can provide for myself and my family. Most of my kids are grown, only one under 18 now, and he is so okay that it is amazing, sure of himself and confident, driven, college bound and knows what he wants, the only help he needs from me is financial support, by myself, I can't at least, not for a long time. I will have to rebuild from nothing and start over.

he knows I'm thinking of leaving him for good. he wants me to allow him to prove things to me, for us to fix "us". I don't know how much I want to even try, I'm not sure how much I care anymore. I told him a few days ago that the big prob is I can't trust him, and without that, there isn't much of a relationship to save. I told him that if there is a way to repair trust now, he has to find out what it is and tell me about it and then I will decide if I want to try. I told him he will do all the work this time (as far as finding a way to repair trust. I won't lift a finger looking for a way or coming up with a plan. I told him that was his job)

perhaps I'm being unfair to him, I feel a bit bad about that, but mostly, I don't care too much anymore. I'm sorry this was so long. Thank you if you got all through it! Any comments are welcome, i could use some support, somebody to tell me I'm not crazy or wrong.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2018 6:16 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2016 3:22 am
Posts: 146
I truly know where you are coming from. I have changed during the many years with my situation with my husband from what I see he hasn't changed , I don't feel the same about him, sadly, that was through no fault if my own. But I can't go back. Trust has been broken too many times and the only way to trust again is to go back into the fog of denial,
I am at the point of dreaming of some windfall that would enable me to truly do what I know is perhaps the only way to get peace, to lose the churning in my stomach and constant waiting for being betrayed.
It's hard, I have nothing constructive to say, apart from you aren't crazy.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:03 am 
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Joined: Tue May 22, 2018 2:27 am
Posts: 25
Hi Jacki

Thank you for your post, it really affected me and I identified with it.

When I started seeing my partner he was already in SA recovery for five years, having had a relapse at 3 years, though it took him a long time to get sober in the first instance. Then being clean for two years before we started a relationship. All of his stuff he told me about he said had happened in the past, he was working his recovery, therapy, 12 step meetings, couples work with me to address sexual anorexia in the relationship (his, which rubbed off on me... two rounds of therapy on this).

I accepted a marriage proposal in May. He asked me in December but I held off as I wanted to see how the anorexia work with new therapist was going. Saw improvements. Said yes. Everything about our relationship other than the sexual difficulties was great. Three days later he confessed to an 18 month relapse plus occasional porn slips prior to that.

I loved him enough and was happy enough to want to marry him but now everything is changed. I don't know if I have it in me to go back (we are currently separated on my request). The fact that he could be doing all that work and deceive like that has shaken me to the core. I'm also identifying that I feel I have spent enough of my life fighting trying to make relationships work and want that energy for me right now.

I am feeling like I am going to end the relationship which has brought on so much sadness I am finding functioning this week difficult, but that doesn't mean it isn't right. It is deep grief for what I had, the good stuff which is now clouded.

Like you I almost don't care what he does. I mean I want him to get recovery for his sake. I deeply want him to be well for him, but I don't know if I can walk alongside him during that process, especially when there are no guarantees. I turn 50 in 3 months and I don't think I want to be taking this with me into my next decade. Life is too short.

We don't have children and my relationship is shorter in length that yours so I know it may be easier for me. We do however have a home together having relocated two years ago. I made so many big decisions, including financial, on the basis that I was in a loving and completely transparent relationship.

I wish you well and send you love and peace

Luna Ray


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:12 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 630
My heart breaks for all of us. I send a virtual hug and wish I could find words of solace.

jacki, I hear you. Here's what I have learned: it doesn't matter anymore what they say or do if WE have reached the point of no return. Not like their urge "point of no return". It's when we finally realize there has been too much damage, too much loss, too many lies for us to even want any connection to our partners. Now is the time to really work on what we want as we go forward. If you stay, and I have no negative judgments about that, how will you live your life as fully as possible. Giving up hope on ever having a healthy relationship with our partners is quite a relief, actually. A huge weight comes off. Emotional labor goes to about zero. It's sad, but it's immensely easier. So you can stay with the awareness it is a business arrangement, or a family commitment. Then the challenge is to find joy and meaning elsewhere. And, I find challenging the question of can I live with myself in this kind of situation? Am I living in integrity? I do know that there are acts my husband could do that would mean I have to divorce him. Know what those are. I have figured that out. And it's very, very painful to even think about what I know are realistic behaviors my husband could engage in if he relapses into his addiction.

Or, we have to muster the energy to leave. If that is the case, and no one would fault you, think about what that would look like. We would have to plan it and give ourselves the time to do so. Maybe developing a plan for divorce and drawing up the legal papers is enough. We can do that and not file. We can do this without our partners awareness and consent. That's sad, but in these cases these are not people who are being fair, honest and open.

We can continue to wish our husbands well, to be polite and kind without sacrificing ourselves. But I really have handed over my husband to himself.

The hope we had for our marriages and then our husbands recoveries, that can feel stupid and toxic. It isn't. It's a beautiful, loving gift. They just couldn't receive it, or couldn't receive it soon enough. That precious hope needs to be focused solely on ourselves.

I realize how I just started letting go of my marriage, and then of hopes for friendship, and then of hopes for connection. It happens. Why wouldn't it? I see it as my finally accepting harsh realities and being respectful of myself.

I have compassion for how much work our partners must do to get sober AND address their underlying trauma. It's hard, it takes time, but they have to sincerely commit to it. Our healing, that's hard and takes time as well. I think we need to continue to focus on our well being, our joy, our meaning and our serenity. I am very careful about where I expend my energy and emotional labor.

Jenny, I didn't respond to your earlier post. I'm so terribly sorry for what is happening with your husband. I think you have clarity about who he is and what he has to offer you. What isn't clear is what is in your best interest and how to achieve your most optimal life.

I turn 62 tomorrow. I'm getting too old for this ridiculous immaturity and destructiveness of this addiction.

We must be gentle and compassionate with ourselves.

dnell


Last edited by dnell on Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:19 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2016 3:22 am
Posts: 146
This is it, I look at others and grieve the fact I am 59,and feel no closer to my husband than I did at 18..and not for the want of trying..


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:06 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2013 3:34 pm
Posts: 81
My heart goes out to all of you. Thank you for your support and kind words. I have a lot of thinking to do. He wants to go through RN workshop again, he never really did it before, it was mostly lies. I don't really see the point now, or what he thinks that will prove. he is just desperate to keep me and grasping at straws. I"m tired, so tired.

I want and need an intimate connection with somebody, not him. I don't know how to take this or what to do or even what I want, I am torn between two things, both important values to me.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:34 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:08 am
Posts: 131
Jacki, I hear you too. Like you and the others I have had to come to terms with having to accept that the recovery I wanted to see in my husband and in our relationship didn’t happen. Instead I have issues of trust and uncertainty to deal with for the indefinite future. I don’t believe I know the full extent of his behaviour. I don’t believe there have been no slips or triggers, I believe there are many. He may have quit acting out overtly but there is still secrecy and he still lies. We’ve attempted to improve our communication skills as part of our couples therapy but that’s all fallen away now and now we’re back his previous baseline of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’. Sexual anorexia is emerging once more. All I can say is that I tried, but it takes two to rebuild the relationship. It won’t work if only one person does the emotional labour, and I’m exhausted.

There are reasons to stay but our relationship is beginning to feel more like it did before d day, at least for me. The emotional isolation especially. I feel that I need time to heal almost constantly. I feel like I need to practice emotional self defence every day to protect myself. I’m also living with disappointment and a sense of failure. It’s impossible to feel sexual with someone who believes you aren’t worthy of honesty or respect. At the same time, I realise that we have built a life and a home over the years that offers both of us long term security and there is something to be said for that. It’s not wrong to stay for these reasons because they amount to a lifetime’s achievement that we’d also lose if we end the relationship. Being brutally honest, my husband cares more about money and I’m certain he has calculated the costs of staying v. separation in much greater detail than I ever could.

As for my own healing, I was well aware of how my husband’s addiction undermined me over the years, and I know it was injurious to my physical and emotional health, and the symptoms manifested in many different ways including depression, disordered eating and body dysmorphia. The sexual anorexia was eventually expressed itself through my body as adult onset anorexia, the eating disorder. I was literally shrinking into my sexual invisibility. That’s a lot of healing to work through.

#metoo was another catalyst, triggering memories of my own sexual trauma. I also became as aware of how damaging my relationship had been, in that the withdrawal of emotional intimacy and absence of physical touch, and the years of emotional neglect, had done as much damage, if not more, than the sexual assaults I lived through in my younger years. Perhaps that sounds extreme. Perhaps this is a different kind of trauma but it’s effects were devastating. Perhaps it was my partner’s addiction on top of unresolved trauma that intensified the devastation. I don’t know. It was a another kind of trauma perhaps, but in my experience it was equally destructive.

#metoo also brought home to me the reality of how society and pop culture has commodified female bodies, that sexual assault and harassment is endemic. My husband played his part in the exploitation of female bodies for his own selfish gratification.

In recovery literature, partners are expected to believe that our husbands addictions are not a judgement on us, that it’s not personal. I don’t accept that. I understand the addiction process but part of their addiction is definitely about us. They plan their activities in advance and they make an effort to avoid detection, all with us in mind. They take advantage of our trust and depend on it. To my husband, not being able to trust him is on par with me commiting a criminal offence. It’s never the case that he realises that his behaviour destroyed that trust. Lying about his behaviour after d day was probably the most destructive thing he could have done regarding trust. He had plenty of chances to be honest. In the 6-18 months after d day I told him that he could be honest with me, that he could put right whatever lies he told me early on, but there was nothing more from him. Yet I knew there were lies, I had evidence enough. At some point I realised he could never be honest and I accepted that reality.

It’s all been exhausting. It’s trauma piled upon trauma. It’s been lie after lie. Just when I thought I was rebuilding trust sufficiently and allowing myself to feel vulnerable with him, there was yet another lie uncovered and another tantrum to endure. He just couldn’t see how damaging this was to me. There’s always something to recover from. These days I do my best to say nothing because I can’t face having yet more stress. I found a cookie in his browsing history for what appears to be a soft porn site some months ago. I said nothing to him but I blocked the site. I know if confronted him he’d say he didn’t know what I was talking about, followed by an angry outburst, and all the usual denial stuff. Next month there will a family event where I’m going to have to endure him perving after his nephew’s girlfriend like he did the last time and the time before. He even “accidentally” tried the bathroom door whilst she was taking a shower. I found his behaviour repulsive, but in that situation there’s nothing I can say. When he shows an inappropriate interest in her I just go off and find something else to do to distract myself.

There are times when I feel I’ve had enough. I need to take care of me. I need to keep building the other pillars of my life so I can withstand the shitstorm of this post-addiction relationship. It’s about my own emotional self care and self protection. I hope my story makes sense, even if it’s not one of optimism.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:31 pm 
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Blue, I know what you are saying. I also was sexually assaulted in my youth, and yes, it seems like this is worse, or as you said, one built on the other, trauma on top of trauma bringing on a snowball effect.

I feel empty inside, like I gave all of me away. I think about the future and I don't like what I see, whether I stay with him or not. I don't see how I will ever trust him or anybody ever again.

love and light and hugs to all partners


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:40 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:08 am
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One thing that has struck me throughout my recovery is that previous experiences of rape and sexual assault seems to be frequently reported by the (female) partners of sex and porn addicts. So that means one of two things in my mind — that we are easily taken in by the addict’s “good guy” persona, often believing we have found the perfect man who loves and adores only us in a “too good to be true” way, OR sexual assault, rape and abuse are much more common that we realised. I suspect both are true.

I don’t know about anyone else here but I once believed I was safe and protected in my relationship. I wasn’t so naive to believe that my husband would never look at porn but that was when you had to go to an adult bookstore in a seedy part of town and pay for it, so at least there were limits to its consumption. Going to a strip bar maybe once or twice as a youth I could accept as a rite of passage, but never did I believe he would go to strip bars over and over. Infidelity has never been admitted but I know it first happened very early on, and I’m not naive enough to believe it hasn’t happened since. I just don’t know the details although I have suspicions. There was a time I wouldn’t believe he could ever betray our relationship but now that attitude seems ridiculously naive and unrealistic.

My intuition told me years ago through a recurring dream about a purely sexual relationship between my husband and another woman, including the circumstances of how the came to know each other She wasn’t anyone I knew personally but it was always the same woman in the dream. I also had a very strong gut feeling about an infidelity about 6-8 months before d day, but I have no idea who it might be. These aren’t my only suspicions, because I certainly did suspect in the past but my fairytale narrative contradicted my intuition. My fairytale was what I preferred to believe.

I think our capacity for self deception is (or was) a factor in creating our situation. I’m beginning to wonder whether it was our ability to disassociate (this was how we had to deal with sexual trauma in the moment) also made it easier to disassociate from our own gut feeling when things felt “off”. When you think about it, being in a relationship with a sexual addict requires a degree of disassociation.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 1:29 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2016 3:22 am
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I think all the points you make are so true, I too was sexually assaulted as a youngster by older boys, I am sure it changed me, set me onto the path of denial, disassociation, and bring able to over ride reality with fantasy.. During councelling it made me realise I had revisited the abuse in fantasy, reshaped it into being connected with feeling desired and associated love, desire with abusive relationships.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2018 3:36 am 
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I can't speak for others only myself, I was molested by my older sister's husband, whom I adored, and idolized, and later raped by another, I guess it would be called date-rape. Those things and FOO issues messed me up for a long time, but i thought I had that dealt with by the time I was in my low thirties, I had become a self harmer, cutter in my teen years, with a relapse later on during my second marriage. I had to learn to manage my emotions, but first I had to process them, figure out what they were, something I wasn't free to express in my childhood. I met my current hubby the SA, after that, i thought i was okay, but now i know that I was too soon out of the prior marriage, not healed, too needy and lonely so I clung to him and his facade of love and adoration like a life preserver.

my current Hub, "D" always treated me like the only woman in the world to my face, and then well, I guess I don't have to say what happend when I wasn't around, that messed me up so bad, real brain washing, i think, took me a lot of self work to get away from that, (sometimes I wonder if its gone or not, as I still can't really leave, like a stockholm syndrome, trauma bonding thing)

I had one 'slip' of cutting during the time with D, his BS is one of my greatest triggers, i have to monitor myself friequently, so I do understand what recovery is, how hard it can be, how even years later, one big crisis and you can fall. When I recognize that I'm in the zone (emotionally) I know not to go anywhere near anything sharp, for fear that I might have an episode. That's one reason why I got so pissed at him, for not monitoring himself in regards to triggers, but then he wasnt really trying back then anyway.

i went off on a tangent here I think, sorry. i don't know about the disassociation, I suppose so, but in terms of my gut feelings, I have always relied on them my whole life, I connected it to my spirituality, so the time with D really messed me up spiritually, because i felt that my 'gut feelings' my intuition had failed me, I lost faith.

What jenny said really resonated with me, the love/sex confusion, i have struggled with that my whole life, I don't know if it would be a form of SA, at one time i thought it might, but definitely the confusion.

I guess I ddint' have anything to add to the conversation, just sharing my thoughts and experience.

Much love to all the partners


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2018 8:07 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 630
jacki, I don't remember if you have had IC. I strongly recommend trauma therapy. EMDR and Internal Family System therapists I have found are the best at treating trauma. You deserve someone to focus on you and your well being. I have learned that new trauma re-ignites all the old trauma. It just is. I've been in trauma therapy for over three years now and it is really helping me.

With compassion,
dnell


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