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 Post subject: Character flaws
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 5:31 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 6:50 am
Posts: 80
Hi everyone

I have reached a stage where I am finally considering divorce. I have spent many years and much effort on my own progress and healing. I have learnt much. H, on the other hand, after the last time I caught him contacting another woman about 6 months ago, and promises that he would and wanted to complete the RN workshop, seemingly has made no progress. I have tried to stay out of his recovery completely (we are supposed to talk weekly about recovery related issues, but mostly I get told that he is doing fine, has not done anything wrong, and that he is working hard at it - and then the conversation shifts to whatever else bothers him - finances, the kids, how he feels isolated and excluded by us, etc). When I finally confronted him to ask him exactly how far he has progressed last week, I was told that he is busy with lesson 4. Not good enough. Then of course I get told how busy he is at work, how he has no time to get to it, etc. He was supposed to post in a Recovery thread as I feel he needs feedback as he tends to view things very narrowly, and needs some feedback from outside. Until now, even though I committed to not looking for and viewing his thread, he has not done that. OK. So he is not working on recovery as far as I can see at all.

The weird thing is that I probably could have continued coasting along with all the above, if it was not for a couple of events and issues the past few months, not directly related to SA, which have got me seriously worried about deep down core values and character flaws. He engineered a situation, manipulated myself and the kids, caused major household stress, etc, all because of an ingrained sense of entitlement. Somehow I could have put up with much, but the fact that he dragged the kids in (mine, not his), blaming them for our financial woes, insisting they use some of their inheritance money to contribute to household expenses because when their father passed away, he helped pay their medical insurance, and he feels that this is the reason why our financial situation was out of control, and they need to pay him back. He disregarded the fact that he amongst other things bought a motorcycle in this time, and has an expensive hobby.

All this, because he was petulant because he wanted a new, bigger motorcycle and we couldnt afford it. At the same time as him going on and on about our finances, he was constantly searching for bikes for sale. And the first thing he did, a month after we supposedly almost lost the house, was go out and buy said new motorcycle. Which of course has greatly upset the kids.

I am still in a state of unbelief that someone could cause so much stress, fear and heartache (and a sense of rejection in the kids - he didnt help pay for something essential because it is the right thing to do, or because they needed it, or because they were kids that he cared about, he did it because he thought it would be paid back out of the Estate! - He blames them, and me, that a claim for it was never put into the Estate). It is hard for me to fathom how he now thinks things should somehow be ok. And to see how he can twist everything in his head - all this is justified because he feels he has no relationship with the kids and feels 'left out'. How he cannot see that sacrificing things for one's children's welfare is just something parents do. And how utterly selfish he is (he cannot see any of this, by the way - is there any way to get someone to "see" something, when it is their normal, their only frame of reference?).

Now, my question is, are selfishness, a sense of entitlement and the willingness to do anything to get your own way, no matter what the emotional or other consequences, a "symptom" of addiction, of skewed and immaturely developed values? Or is it something much deeper, darker and ingrained?

I knew of these flaws, but I guess somehow I hoped that, if he actually applied himself to recovery work, that he would "see the light" and make some positive changes. Now I wonder if they are character flaws that probably cannot change? Are there some flaws which are too deep, too ingrained to change? Or is it just a case of no real interest?


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 Post subject: Re: Character flaws
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 8:00 am 
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Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 12:40 am
Posts: 663
LaLuna,
This thread struck a chord with me because I have been thinking about some of the same things. I certainly don't want to sway you one way or the other, so I want to say that this is just my opinion.

But with my H, it definitely seems to be a character flaw. I think for me it would be different if I felt he was generally a good man with problems with addiction, but I do not any more feel that way. The character flaw for him seems to extend to all areas of life, not just the porn. He lies about anything pertaining to his image that would affect it negatively, not just porn or sex addiction things. There is a great deal more than that that I see that indicates 'weak character' but it's too much detail for now.

Secondly, as for your other question, I used to think you could make someone 'see' things. But now I do not really believe you can. Someone will see things when they are ready, and not, in my opinion, a minute before. My H is now going through our separation with me leaving, and shortly after this, someone at work made a sexual harrasment charge against him. He is now worried about losing his career because of this. This STILL has not made him re-think his behavior around women, still has not made him think that maybe, it's a consistent and problematic pattern. He is still saying that the people filing the charge are doing so because they are vindictive. And they may be. But there is also, in my opinion, likely a grain of truth to it--because he is often inappropriate with or around women. It was only a matter of time until someone made a charge, in my opinion. But he still doesn't "get it." It's quite unbelievable really, that he still sees himself as a person who "wouldn't do that" or similar.

That said, I come from a position of believing people don't change. I do believe they *can,* but I believe that it is rare. I used to think they could, but now I think it's unlikely after seeing things like this over the last few years, both with him and other people I know. I believe that someone, with few exceptions of conversion or life experiences that TOTALLY shift someone's paradigm and worldview--and those are HIGHLY IMPROBABLE imo--is who they are pretty much their whole life. I just don't think major change happens really. If the fundamental character is there, and someone has slipped into unhealthy patterns, I believe they can undo the influence of those patterns in their lives. But if the fundamental character isn't there? I don't think working through addiction is going to make it develop. I don't even think it is possible for someone missing that fundamental character to work through the addiction--because until the attitudes, thinking and deeply ingrained attitudes of entitlement change--it simply won't be changed just by changing habits--habits that will eventually, IMO, resurface.

That's my take on it. I'm sure others will have different thoughts.


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 Post subject: Re: Character flaws
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 8:16 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 6:50 am
Posts: 80
Thanks for the reply Kitten.
And don't worry, I realised quite a while ago that I am the only one who can make this decision.

I have always believed people could change, with enough hard work and lots of will and determination.

I guess what I am trying to find out is how to tell the difference between behaviour problems/flaws "caused" as consequence of a lack of life skills, and behaviour problems/flaws as origin of addiction. I am not sure if I am expressing myself clearly here. The first I believe can certainly with hard work be changed. The other not. It may be an expression of something which is unfixable?


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 Post subject: Re: Character flaws
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 9:43 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2010 11:49 pm
Posts: 675
I am so sorry. How difficult for you and your children! Yes, what you are seeing is very much a part of the addiction. I remember a fight that my H and I had about 5 years ago. We had one vehicle and we each had jobs. I took buses to my job, and my husband used our car. At one point I mentioned that I would like to use the car once a week because of a different commitment I had. It was a huge fight where my husband argued that he should not be expected to need to use the bus once a week because it was inconvenient, because he was primarily responsible for car maintenance, and because the fact that I was struggling with serious mental illness at the time meant that I was temporarily unable to contribute much to the operation of our family. I remembering being in shock at how ridiculous and selfish he was. If we had that same discussion now, I think the fact that he would use the fact that I was struggling with mental illness to support me using our vehicle more frequently.

LaLuna1 wrote:
I guess what I am trying to find out is how to tell the difference between behaviour problems/flaws "caused" as consequence of a lack of life skills, and behaviour problems/flaws as origin of addiction. I am not sure if I am expressing myself clearly here. The first I believe can certainly with hard work be changed. The other not. It may be an expression of something which is unfixable?


You actually listed the same thing twice here without realizing it. The addiction IS a lack of life skills. It is a combination of not understanding how to empathize, how to communicate, how to recognize and address personal flaws, how to create a values system and live by it... This is something that can be changed with hard work, but the hard work must be motivated by a deep desire within him to live a different kind of life. And it doesn't look like that's something that he has.

LaLuna1 wrote:
is there any way to get someone to "see" something, when it is their normal, their only frame of reference?

When they don't want to? No. If they are willing to attempt to see something from someone else's perspective, to try to learn - then yes.

Kitten35 wrote:
But with my H, it definitely seems to be a character flaw. I think for me it would be different if I felt he was generally a good man with problems with addiction, but I do not any more feel that way. The character flaw for him seems to extend to all areas of life, not just the porn. He lies about anything pertaining to his image that would affect it negatively, not just porn or sex addiction things. There is a great deal more than that that I see that indicates 'weak character' but it's too much detail for now

I think many of us start out this journey with the belief that our partners are basically good people who "just like sex too much." It's the myth of our culture that addiction is simply the enjoyment of a substance to excess. It's a very simplistic and inaccurate understanding of addiction. The fact is that even if the addiction is compartmentalized, addiction ALWAYS affects every area of a person's life. Because addiction is a fundamental inability to deal with stress and stress affects every area of a person's life. My husband would lie about bizarre things as well. (What time he went to sleep, if the train was on time, what he purchased at the store...) The idea that someone might think less of him was so stressful that he would lie if he thought it would paint him in a better light. The "skewing" of the truth is actually one of the things I look for to indicate if he's falling back into unhealthy habits.
Be Well!
Mrs Jones


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 Post subject: Re: Character flaws
PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2014 11:35 am 
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Partner's Mentor

Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:49 pm
Posts: 3834
Quote:
Now, my question is, are selfishness, a sense of entitlement and the willingness to do anything to get your own way, no matter what the emotional or other consequences, a "symptom" of addiction, of skewed and immaturely developed values? Or is it something much deeper, darker and ingrained?
Both. I agree that it is a chicken/egg question. Behavior patterns become ingrained over time usually beginning at an early age until those patterns become "the norm" for the person - skewed perceptions become their truths. These perceptions support the addiction and sometimes foster it. When coping skills that we take for granted are lacking, which they are for the SA, addictions can take root. The choice of the addiction - alcohol, drugs, sex harkens back to life experiences and or genetic pre-disposition, from my perspective. For whatever reason, the SA chooses sex as a coping mechanism and all those behavior patterns are part of the package. This boggles our minds because we don't share their skewed mindset.

For you, at this point, it boils down to determining what you can live with and what you can't in keeping with your personal vision and values. I think we each reach this point where we make a choice. The ball is in his court as far as his health, well-being and future with you are concerned. Yours is up to you. I remember a counselor telling both of us early on after D Day that I may reach a point where I say, "I love you, but I can't do this any more." It shocked me at the time, but it really does come down to that.

Hope this helps.
Nellie James


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