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 Post subject: Confused
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 5:41 pm 
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As I am studying addiction patterns (sexual fantasies, compulsive behavior, sexualized environment), I am feeling so confused because I feel so many could describe me with the exceptions that it is all geared towards my husband and no one else. I wonder if I was always like that (so sexually oriented)or if through the years I started behaving like him unconsciously. Is it bad?is that what is called the loss of values if it is directed towards your loved one? No idea on how to deal with this thought....


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 Post subject: Re: Confused
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 5:48 pm 
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I know what you are talking about, I've noticed the same thing. I keep catching myself about to say something inappropriate sometimes. I think it did rub off. maybe it was how I tried to conform, from trying to compete, be enough. So now it's become habitual, I'm working on it. This experience changes us, I think. For me, I know I may never really be the same again.


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 Post subject: Re: Confused
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 6:18 pm 
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Thank you for your reply, and for letting me see this might be more common than I thought. I just went through the excitement about finding about a possible path for his recovery, and the realization I have to do serious work on myself too..and I had not anticipated this .
Thanks again.


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 Post subject: Re: Confused
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 9:51 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2010 11:49 pm
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Without knowing more specifically what you're talking about I'm finding it hard to come up with a good answer for your question. It could be the "normal" warping of values that most partners experience, it could be a form of co-dependence that developed before or after you began a relationship with your partner (co-dependence does exist, RN just doesn't assume that a partner is co-dependent solely because they are in relationship with an addicted person), or it could be that you struggle with some form of love/sex addiction yourself. Whatever the answer is, I think you'll probably understand more what you're dealing with as you work through the workshop.
If the descriptions of sexual addiction are continuing to ring true for you as you go through, then it might be worth doing some work on the addiction side as well. If, for the most part, it appears that you violated those values because you were honoring other values that you thought at the time were more important, THAT is what most partners experience. An example from my own life: I thought that, by giving my partner sex even when I didn't want it (violating my value of sexual safety, and mutual satisfaction in sexual experience) that I was honoring my value of caring for my partner. When I discovered my partner's betrayal it became clear that my husband's on-going pressure had thrown my values out of whack. Because of his (very vocal) instance that as my spouse, he deserved sex, I came to believe that I owed that to him, and I had been ignoring my own value in favor of his abuse. So one thing to ask yourself is, at the time did you think that you were honoring a different value? Is it that hindsight has shown you that the values were warped by your situation or did you intentionally ignore your own values to receive emotional stimulation from specific situations? Is that a primary way you have comforted yourself in stressful situations?
I hope that helped.


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 Post subject: Re: Confused
PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 5:23 pm 
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Thank you for your reply. I think I am very dependent from my husband, and i have wanted to be here for him constantly, and my values got warped because of the situation. We just experienced a first relapse or better said the first lie with rationalization and it hurts really bad, so this is not a good day for me. He finally acknowledged his mistake but at first was upset at me for overreacting...he told me how hard it has been to stay strong against all the temptations and felt he was doing good because he had not fallen in those old traps. I am not as resistant as I thought I would be...
Anyway thanks for replying.


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 Post subject: Re: Confused
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 2:10 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:47 pm
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Hi there, luvpray2,

I have no idea what you might be going through, you don't give many details ...
You posted initially as you were in doubt about your own sexual health but then you discarded the issue altogether as having a bad day with H. I know all too well about bad days with H when I would question my sanity, my health, my power, my strength, my everything, including the very reason why I'm even alive. So, if that is what it is, just hang in there, work on yourself and be patient, you will find your inner compass that will show you the way through the maize.

However, unfortunately, this is not my case. Working through the partner workshop and having very bad days with H (mostly because of my own skewed co-dependent perception), I came to realise I have my own issues with love addiction and most of my 17 years of being sexual active were not as healthy and intimate as I thought. Fortunately enough my marriage is very young (one year and a half, Dday after 10 months of marriage) so I couldn't blame my H and his addiction for my issues even though I tried very hard and I told myself many lies over these months, even long after working and reading on RN. One of the things I would do ... when H would approach me with routine sex I would feel it is my responsibility to be up and ready quickly so as to satisfy his needs in a timely manner (he is ever ready) and also get my own pleasure ... so, because the way he touched me was rather mechanical and swift, focusing only on major areas trying to force me into getting aroused ... I would just go into my head fantasising about self-made porn images. I told myself for a long time it is because of the situation, because of his addiction and lack of intimacy, because of my low sexual drive ever since Dday ... but it's all a lie. Two weeks ago I was forced to face it as I couldn't stop fantasising at will and I became very anxious and depressed and tried to avoid sex. It was very hard to face it, I realise it now ... as at some level I knew it but I wouldn't utter it to myself. It's crazy but it's true. When I finally said it as it is it didn't feel like some kind of epiphany or anything, it felt more like something that was there but I chose to ignore or dance around it but as I'm clearing up my mind and life at some point I just had to stare it in the face. It doesn't scare me, it actually makes me happy to know there is much more to sex than I thought. After acknowledging it to myself and to my H we worked on how I can find another course of action and we've had a few extremely good experiences so far, with both of us staying connected throughout. Actually, what we thought previously to be an effort - keeping eye contact at all times - developed into an extraordinary turn-on for us both. Anyways, it's just an example ... probably unique as me or not so unique as all people that struggle to life a healthy quality life ...

Irrespective of whether you have your own sexual issues or not, RN is the place to be and to find out. My advice to you would be to keep an open mind to anything, try not to make assumptions or put labels on yourself or your partner. I take it as a process of growth and I welcome any truth concerning my own being. Whatever you do, don't be scared to face anything. There is a solution to every situation, you just have to understand things and find it. Good luck to you on your unique path!

P.S.
luvpray2 wrote:
I think I am very dependent from my husband, and i have wanted to be here for him constantly, and my values got warped because of the situation.

You sound very much like me some time ago before I spent a weekend in the psychiatric ward after being in shock over H watching disturbing material ... Wanting to be there constantly for someone who struggles with sex addiction is like wanting to fly too close to the sun ... you will get burnt badly ... I didn't listen to much wise and valuable advice, as you will probably won't either because at this point you cannot. Just remember, after you fall you need to get back on your feet and find a new approach to things. For me the new approach was to move on the recovery side of RN and build myself up instead of mending myself as I had lost or forgotten who I am ... if I ever knew it .... outside and above a relationship.

_________________
"A wholehearted attention feels like the nurturing presence that I always wished I had in a parent. Now I am free to be there for myself in a way that I assumed I needed from someone else." Tara Bennett-Goleman, Emotional Alchemy


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 Post subject: Re: Confused
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 5:10 pm 
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Posts: 15
I first want to say how amazing you all are to take your time to help me...after being alone with an issue for so long , it is just so heartwarming to be able to share and to have you share with me such special and intimate feelings. I truly appreciate your words and advice and it is helping me
more than you can imagine.
I am no longer confused. I used to have very strong sexual fantasies but as I study them objectively I understand they are nothing more than what I think I would need to be so that my husband becomes interested in me. I visualize being able to seduce him in a bar, to be a masseuse and give him sensual massage, etc...when I found out about his self gratification, I felt I needed to understand better and started going along (for a short while until stopping, as I felt cheap and far from my values) Because there is always a very strong sexualized environment in our home, I also went along, thinking that my overtly sexual attitude would please him and it did. He told me I was every man dream come true. Because for several years, he wasn't interested in me sexually, I developed a hunger for intimacy, as it was proof in my mind that he cared for me. So just like an addict I had two lives, one where I tried to please him (wore fantasy outfits, changed my appearances, had sexual dreams where I was successful at attracting him, and seducing him, just went through huge plastic surgery to look better for him ) and another where I tried to be the person I thought God wanted me to be. I realize however that lately, the first part was winning and I need to return to my values. I cannot help him raise from the bad stuff if I myself is sinking in it. I am so glad I had to reflect on those things and get an objective look at what I was doing.
I have to be honest however and say that I am scared that he won't like the new me, and I hope I have the strength to stay true to who I am. Time for a lot of prayers.....


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 Post subject: Re: Confused
PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 1:33 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:47 pm
Posts: 694
Ok, I get you now. Very good to have realised all these and to find your way back to whom you truly are. :g:
Some thoughts that come when reading your post:
- on RN there will always be someone for you, we've all been there, we still are. We are strong as we are not alone. When you are troubled, feel confident to come here and share as intimately as you need - you will always feel better, clearer and stronger. I know I am :w:
- you say you are scared he won't like the new you and you've put in a lot of effort to fulfil his fantasies to the point of developing a new identity that was foreign to you. Unfortunately, this is one of the worst things that can happen to a partner of SA - they get lost themselves. Please take a moment and reflect on the following - will HE be the one who wouldn't like you or his addiction won't like you? Seems like you might be confusing the real him with his addiction. The real him might be so much hidden under layers and layers of his addiction that it is only normal you do not have a clear picture of who he really is without his addiction. When you go along with his sexual fantasies trying to be the "object" of his addictive craving you are just feeding his addiction. I can understand the pressure you are under, the need to please, the need to be loved, the need for intimacy with the man you love and how you own needs can drive you over the edge. This is huge and I can't congratulate you enough for having the strength to see it as it is.
- you might want to reflect on the concept of intimacy. You describe your efforts to please your Hs fantasies as need for intimacy. It is a very normal and healthy need that you have. However, intimacy doesn't mean sex. Sex is just a means to achieve intimacy. I just have a hunch, I might be right or wrong, it is you who decides but consider if - when you were acting out his fantasies and he said you were every man's dream - were you both sharing an intimate connection or was he objectifying you (using you as an object to fantasise about, get aroused and reach climax). Again, sex is not intimacy. Just because after years of him not being interested in you sexually he becomes so and sex happens - it doesn't mean it is intimate sex and if it isn't, your needs are still not satisfied. If you think I'm on to something, take some time to think and define to yourself the concept of sexual intimacy and what exactly your needs are in that area. Chances are your needs are not so much clear to you after such a long time of putting his needs first and confusing them as your own.
- there is one thing that I feel it is recurrent in your perspective and the way you put things across. You talk about WE a lot when it comes to HIS problem. Even now you said you cannot "HELP him raise from the bad stuff". Believe me, I've been there myself, that is why I'm worried about you. Loving him unconditionally, doing everything for him, even taking responsibility for his own issues, is something that sounds very honourable but I do not believe it is healthy. I know I used to consider myself a martyr and I felt I have self-worth because of that. I was prepared to give everything, even my own life just to straighten his own. I was forced to admit that it won't make any difference to him if I live or die. Then I was able to step back and see the folly of my reasoning. I am a human being, just as he is. I also deserve to have all the things I give to him - love, respect, loyalty, protection. However, I wouldn't grant myself the right to these things. I would deny them just to be around him and to please him. That is so wrong and unhealthy. My loyalty, love and respect are firstly for myself. I need to be the most important person in my own life. I am responsible for myself, for my own happiness, not my H. I used to give him all of myself hoping and waiting that he would give back ... he would never give back as I did. Nowadays I take care of myself. I do not look at the world and myself through his eyes. I know who I am without him and I know how my life would look like without him. Do you?

I think you will have a great journey as you seem to be very insightful, articulate and strong, despite the abusive environment you are subject to. You will grow and see things and come out so much stronger and knowing who you are. Please, don't do this for him. Do it for yourself.

_________________
"A wholehearted attention feels like the nurturing presence that I always wished I had in a parent. Now I am free to be there for myself in a way that I assumed I needed from someone else." Tara Bennett-Goleman, Emotional Alchemy


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 Post subject: Re: Confused
PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 6:55 am 
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Partner's Coach (Admin)

Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2007 3:07 pm
Posts: 5200
Thank you for sharing your personal story, ursula, to provide a clear example of what it could look like to have an addiction of your own. I do have one comment to what you have shared, which may be more appropriate in another post, or on the recovery forum...
Quote:
After acknowledging it to myself and to my H we worked on how I can find another course of action and we've had a few extremely good experiences so far, with both of us staying connected throughout. Actually, what we thought previously to be an effort - keeping eye contact at all times - developed into an extraordinary turn-on for us both. Anyways, it's just an example …


I would be wary about this becoming a replacement high for the high of fantasy. If both of you struggle with SA, it is likely that this could become the case, if it isn't already. It is recommended, in recovery, that a period of abstinence be entered so that you can “reset your sexual template”. Otherwise, continuing to engage in sexual behaviour is like an alcoholic continuing to have sips of booze during recovery, thereby soothing the addiction but leaving the door wide open for further consumption. Or, it is like taking up marijuana or food, instead. Either way, the person is not really engaged in recovery, because they are merely substituting a self-soothing behaviour for another. The period of abstinence allows the focus to be off of sex (and related stimuli) and places it on developing healthy life management skills.

That said, once the foundation of health has been established (for life management) and sex is being re-introduced, your connectedness practice is a fantastic activity.

Be well.

_________________
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. (Viktor E. Frankl)


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 Post subject: Re: Confused
PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 4:15 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:47 pm
Posts: 694
CoachMel, believe me or not, I was also wondering in the back of my mind about that. It is very fortunate you picked it up. I will take it up on the recovery forum giving a more detailed account and please, do provide feedback.

_________________
"A wholehearted attention feels like the nurturing presence that I always wished I had in a parent. Now I am free to be there for myself in a way that I assumed I needed from someone else." Tara Bennett-Goleman, Emotional Alchemy


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 Post subject: Re: Confused
PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 4:29 pm 
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Posts: 15
Thanks for sharing and helping one another like that. This is terribly difficult for me right now. I explained to him about my thinking..the fact that my life has revolved around him, his sexual addiction, his needs for tintillation, I told him that I was losing myself on the wrong path. We talked about some of the things I did that were wrong (sexual fantasies, overtly sexual attitude constantly, etc...) and he agreed that none of those things were healthy, however I could clearly see that he didn't want to lose the old me, the one who is so obviously attracted sexually to him, the one who always shows a lot of initiative in our sexual relationship. So we are now at a point where I only do what feels right to me, and never go overboard in order to attract him. I understand the counsel about sexual abstinence to get back to square one, a normal relationship not based on sex but on true intimacy....but I am not yet there ....I worry that he will stop getting counseling if he sees how negatively it affects his life as I change the dynamics in our couple... I am aware there is nothing I can do if he wants to remain an addict, or if he wants to truly change (new awareness by the way..I am learning a lot as I go on) , but I just don't have the strength yet to really rock the boat, plus I need to admit I have a lot of fun with him. I feel like I finally seem to attract him, a life long desire, and i am not wanting to stop that. We get along great, (except for the bad days) , we have fun together, we love each other. I realize that I am not on the perfect path of recovery, of healing. I am still unable to just think of myself, and a healthy life. I really really liked what you said Ursula about who is this man...the one with addiction is different with who he really is. That was a brilliant thought that will help me a lot,, as we try together to figure out who is the one under the layers of addiction. I guess understanding the theory of healing and the concepts behind a healthy recovery doesn't provide for an immediate fix....I just need to be honest with myself so that when the day comes where I hurt so much that enough is enough, I can get back on the healing path. I am saddened because I thought it would be so easy now that we had found the site, the explanations, the path, the amazing support and I can see that if I don' t have the courage to change in depth I can keep spending more years in an addictive relationship.
I have improved , I have stopped on a very destructive addictive path but I am not sticking to some of the things I should do. I have no idea what it will take for me to get to the point of just caring about my own healing and recovery. I really appreciated your comments Ursula! And coach Mel!
Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: Confused
PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2014 2:29 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:47 pm
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Dear luvpray2,

I really wanted to respond to your last post but I've been drawn into my own crisis situation so I apologise for the lateness.

There are so many many things that come to mind when reading your post, I identify with you at many levels. I guess I would be you if my first boyfriend didn't leave me after 6 years of relationship. He was my first man and I've traded my virginity at 16 to stop him from having sex with someone else (which would have meant us breaking up). Only these days I'm starting to see this incident in a very different light. It was extremely traumatic (practically rape even though I said yes) and it opened the door to my co-dependency issues because I chose to pay a too high price for having him in my life so I wouldn't have let anything else take him away from me. This, plus the fact that I was too young, so practically we grew up together and my personalty moulded on his, trying to be the best for him. This is how I lost myself at an age when I was supposed to find/build myself. I've never become aware of who I truly am, what I truly like, what I would truly want to do and to become. The food I liked he liked, the things I would read he would recommend, the university and even the specialisation I followed have been to be with him and exactly what he chose for himself. I was happy, yes, but oh, so blind ... happy in my blindness ... When we were supposed to get married he said he has a problem with me being the only woman he had ever had sex with so he must explore. My universe came crushing down on me ... I'll spare you the details ... in the end I've decided I'll live to die another day so I moved on but not in a healthy way. I blocked everything out from my thoughts or memories and I marched on.

What followed for the next ten years or so I would describe as what happens when you let someone blind lead the way. No direction, no purpose, no self-awareness ... just an absolute drive to be loved and to have a family. It brought me to the mess I'm in today, 11 years later. Even now, after Dday I've experienced urges to just block it out and get over it all but thanks to RN I've started seeing the huge holes in myself so I stopped. I've seen that my story is not holding on together. I've started to see how unhealthy my ways are and how I lack a centre. The men were my centre. It was great while it worked but horrible when it collapsed and I am so tired of that. I want a solid, stable centre, and that can be only myself. It took me long until I accepted these facts about me. I've been on the partners' side for months but couldn't really construct a vision of my own. Everything seemed so empty if it wasn't about my H, or something we could share. I was terrified of being alone with myself, with my thoughts as they were all about him. I had to accept my life is so empty without others to distract me, to care for them ... Practically I was happy only when H was around, when we were doing things together, when I was doing things for him or when I was having compulsive thoughts about him and us. I can tell you it felt like an addiction. And because I've been changing men along the years (nobody really wanted a family so I had to quit) I knew it won't stop even if I walked out. This problem was mine to sort out for myself. It just "helped" that my H betrayed me so I had a very good reason to try to detach and mind my own business. It was still a struggle and I ended up in the hospital as I wouldn't want to let go. I guess the hospital episode was a crossroad for me. I came out changed. I could see how narrow my life is. The whole universe was my H or better said, my drive to be loved and accepted by someone else. Now I know I don't love or cherish myself enough to grant me that. I need someone else for that. It's very skewed and wastful ... It's scratching the wrong way. So I'm working on it and it feels so good to find myself again. But I could never see it from the narrow place I had been. I thought I'm happy, I thought I cannot do things differently. But being on RN brought me awareness and I also found some strength to act on it.

I hope I'm not out of line but from your post I can sense that you are so very hungry for love yourself. You would pay any price for it. And also, I sense you are scared to wake up from this "nice" dream ... even if at times it becomes a nightmare. I don't know what to tell you about that, except that I understand and I empathise. You are too smart and insightful and you know it also. Not only you know it, you accept it as it is. For me a definite bottom line is that I do not want to live with illusions, I want something real, not an act. I've acted enough all my life. I know there must be another way to happiness ... one that goes through truth, honesty, honour, authenticity, harmony, wholeness. I'm more interested in these things now ...

RN is a personal development tool ... the fact that it specifically addresses sex addiction is secondary in my humble opinion. It teaches the partners how to live with their SA spouses without losing their self-esteem or identity, how to care and relate to a SA in a very compassionate, understanding way, how to "help" and support someone struggling with SA. So, in a way, it can help you/your H even if you do not want to neccessarily pursue your own personal development. It can provide at least the theory about your H's addiction so you know what goes on in his mind. Information is power. Whatever you choose to do with it or not, you will be empowered. You don't have to rock boats or leave anyone because of it. If helping your H is the only thing that motivates you, I can tell you that you can help him immensely by doing the RN workshop or at least reading through the lessons. However, I think it's important that you decide if you really want him to stop or not. I sense you might experience a conflict there. You are very hurt by his addiction but at the same time you found ways to accommodate it in your life as well ... in a way that you perceive it is beneficial to you also ... I guess you, like him, will have to choose if you want to live with it and indulge it or you want it out ... At this point you seem to want it in and not only because it might rock the boat ... but because it gives you something ... that feeling that you are desired and you don't really mind the costs ... I would be very wary about that ...

Anyways, if anything I said is wrong, I apologise ... If anything bothers you I apologise again ... By writing this post I uphold some of my very important values like truth (as limited as I am able to see it), honesty, compassion, helping others. At this point they really overcome my value of respecting other people's choices/lives/statements because I've been there myself ... I know you are probably not in a position to do anything about it, I respect that as I know how it is/feels. I just know that a thing my sister said 10 yrs ago really impacted me these days and I'm so greatful in retrospect, even if she was hateful at that time (as she is nowadays as well). So, mysterious are the ways our brain works ... you never know ... maybe one day you will remember something someone said and it will play an essential role in your life. Or maybe not...

I really hope to see you back on RN ... if not for anything else, at least for companionship. Believe me, you are not the only one who loves their Hs as they are. I also have a great time with mine, laughing and joking, and doing things together. He is my best friend and I enjoy his companionship, his wits, his caring, his ingenuity ... many, many things I love about him ... So, we could share that on this forum or anything else. You are welcome, anytime. You will find me here .... and not only me ... all of us.

Be well

_________________
"A wholehearted attention feels like the nurturing presence that I always wished I had in a parent. Now I am free to be there for myself in a way that I assumed I needed from someone else." Tara Bennett-Goleman, Emotional Alchemy


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 Post subject: Re: Confused
PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2014 1:44 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:49 pm
Posts: 3834
Quote:
I worry that he will stop getting counseling if he sees how negatively it affects his life as I change the dynamics in our couple... I am aware there is nothing I can do if he wants to remain an addict, or if he wants to truly change (new awareness by the way..
Yes. His taking responsibility for becoming healthy is totally up to him. He will either do the work or he won't. He has to want to be healthy and willing to do the work himself. There is nothing you can or should do to keep him on the right path. It's very hard for us to let go - our fears take hold. Nonetheless, because you value his health as your life partner, you need to let him grow up and take responsibility for himself - not for the relationship or you - just for himself.

Your job is to heal you which will take all your energy and insight. The lessons will help you get there. Keep in mind that this is a continuum with each lesson building on the previous ones - take time to really digest what you are learning. This is a process unique to you.
Quote:
but I just don't have the strength yet to really rock the boat, plus I need to admit I have a lot of fun with him. I feel like I finally seem to attract him, a life long desire, and i am not wanting to stop that. We get along great, (except for the bad days)
Hmmm. Good insights into yourself. Conflict? You acknowledge that there are bad days....mixed in with the fun and feeling desired....and you also acknowledge that this is not the perfect path of recovery or healing. What is most important to you? What do you value most? Sorting this out may be key to moving forward.
Quote:
as we try together to figure out who is the one under the layers of addiction
WE? Even though you want answers and offer support, it's not your job to figure out who he - it's his if he is to heal. There is no quick fix. He will have to do the hard work it takes for as long as it takes. While he's working on himself, focus on the healing lessons. This will give you an understanding of this kind of addiction, help you develop coping tools, and most importantly help you determine and prioritize your values and set boundaries to protect those values. Waiting until the hurt becomes intolerable before you commit to healing yourself doesn't help either of you. As an old friend and counselor told me, "Don't sacrifice yourself to his addiction."
Quote:
I can see that if I don' t have the courage to change in depth I can keep spending more years in an addictive relationship.
Courage and self empowerment will come as you do the work. It will come incrementally - one baby step at a time. It takes self awareness and coming up with your own action plans to help change your ingrained patterns, and practice, practice, practice. We all fall into patterns after 20 years of living with an SA. It takes its toll, BUT we do change and learn to make value based choices. You already see an improvement....give yourself the gift of patience....light bulb moments do happen.

Hope this helps. :w:
Nellie Jame


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