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 Post subject: Problem with Hooters?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 7:46 pm 
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I had an interesting situation come up today. My H's work buddies are going out for lunch - to Hooters - next week. I remember a time when I wouldn't have cared about that, or that I might even go along, but now I can't stand the thought. The thing is that my H told his co-workers he prefers not to go to Hooters, which is exactly what I would have wanted him to say. So, I'm not upset with him, or even with his co-workers! I just don't like that a normal lunch invitation seems like an issue now.

Don't get me wrong, I really don't understand why women would choose to be ogled while they're serving food, but I don't have a moral issue with it if it's among consenting adults and there are no secrets or hard feelings involved. Does anyone else miss feeling easy-breezy about those things?

Sophia


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:16 pm 
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I thought more about this today, and I'm questioning if have to accept that I won't go back to the carefree attitude I used to have about sexuality. On this forum, we're encouraged to think in terms of our vision, and feeling more like I used to feel has been part of that. Is it possible that's just an unrealistic goal? I really would like to hear others' experiences, especially if you've been at this a while.

Sophia


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:16 pm 
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I thought more about this today, and I'm questioning if have to accept that I won't go back to the carefree attitude I used to have about sexuality. On this forum, we're encouraged to think in terms of our vision, and feeling more like I used to feel has been part of that. Is it possible that's just an unrealistic goal? I really would like to hear others' experiences, especially if you've been at this a while.

Sophia


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 4:22 pm 
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Hi Sophia

Your post yesterday really made me think. I also am not nearly as tolerant of Hooters or many of the other activities which society in general deems okay. And my intolerance stems from my knowledge of what the long-term affects can be to the lives involved...whether they realize it or not. It's like I am wishing it didn't exist so that others won't have to go through what we have.

In a (small nostalgic) way, yes I do miss being easy-breezy about such things... Life was so much simpler then... But, I was also much less comfortable with myself, less clear about my what my core values were, less confident, afraid to stand up for myself or what I believe, and unaware of what those things can do to a person. I can never go back!

Thanks to the unending support of the other wonderful partners here along with the lessons, I like who I am now more than I ever did before! And I am finding joy in my life again.

I don't know if this helps. I wish you well in your healing journey.
Aphi83


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 5:04 pm 
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Hi aphi83,

I appreciate your reply, and I wondered if partners here generally feel it's better not to be tolerant of those things. I sometimes wonder if it's better not to, but then I ask myself why. I don't blame society's tolerance of an occasional drink for the trouble alcohol causes families, or blame the general acceptance of occasional gambling for people losing everything they have ... so I have a hard time making sense of it

Quote:
In a (small nostalgic) way, yes I do miss being easy-breezy about such things... Life was so much simpler then... But, I was also much less comfortable with myself, less clear about my what my core values were, less confident, afraid to stand up for myself or what I believe, and unaware of what those things can do to a person.


I think I'd be more decisive if I used to be uncomfortable with myself, or afraid to stand up for myself, and then gained those things in recovery. I have a difficult time pinpointing any direct benefits I've gained from this experience. Maybe forcing me to think more about these issues is the benefit I need.

Thanks for your insight.

Sophia


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 8:05 pm 
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Hi Sophia,

I understand your musings here.

Early in my relationship, I was pretty cavalier about such things. I think a few things contributed:
-I was young (early/mid 20s) with a fragile sense of self & values
-I thought I HAD to tolerate these things to be acceptable (mainly by my husband, but also society in general)
-As a teen, I was exposed to a lot of objectification, by boys my age, but also my dad's friend, who blatently oogled my 14-year-old female friends

The workshop, time, and a stronger sense of self today means I see a lot of BS and oversexualization in our culture. I ask myself, "if I had a child, would I want them to witness my endorsement of this?" I used to miss my naivety, but frankly it didn't serve me well.

The idea we should be more casual about this (Hooters, etc) comes, I believe, heavily from industries designed to earn money from us accepting objectification and sexualization, generally of women. A place like Hooters reinforces, to me, the value that females are objects whose bodies exist for male fantasy & pleasure. For me, this is NOT in alignment with my value system.

I recognize my values today run contrary to broadly accepted societal ones. They force me (because of integrity) to make difficult choices at times. I removed several male facebook friends who posted suggestive pictures. I will not align myself with people whose behaviors fly in the face of my values.

Sophia, I would be upset if my husband went to Hooters with friends. Not so long ago, I'd question my feelings on this ("am I unreasonable") but today feel solid in my stance. It takes time. And what's right for me or anyone else may differ for you. But it's ok, and I'd argue mature, to decide you won't support something like Hooters.

Meepmeep


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2014 9:00 am 
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So I agree with the other things that have been said. I have major ethical problems with using a woman's body as a sex object to sell things. It is dehumanizing. Places like hooters also continue to push the idea that there is ONE body type that is acceptable to have. This applies not just to places like Hooters, but I also avoid places like Ambercrombie and Fitch, Victoria's Secret (not because they sell Lingerie, but because they have created an industry that encourages women to objectify themselves and each other. Well, and their products are poor quality and they sell women incorrectly sized garments... So many things wrong!!!), and American Apparel.
It's not that I have an issue with these places because they had a part in causing my family trouble, or because they are sometimes part of addictions. I have an issue with these places because I think it's important to treat people like people. Period. Addiction or not. And these are companies that encourage people to treat people like opportunities for sexual stimulation. You brought up the concept of choice, and that plays a key role in my thoughts about this. With places like hooters, it's not like these women woke up that morning and thought, "you know, I want to be seen as primarily sexual this morning, and so I'm going to wear the *sexy* version of my work uniform." The women aren't given a choice when they want to be seen as sexual and when they don't. They must wear the uniform daily... on their period, headache, tired, just broke up with her boyfriend, grieving the loss of her mom, or just feeling completely unsexy... it doesn't matter. She MUST present herself as a sex object or lose her pay check. On top of that, sexual harassment at work is expected, and she is expected to go along with, regardless of how she feels. When it comes to groping and things like that, how effectively your manager backs you up depends on your manager and the store. It's why I have absolutely no problem with ANY woman who walks down the street in super short shorts, but I won't walk into a Hooters. I wanted to expound on why my values are what they are because, contrary to what I think a lot of people probably believe, my values on these places actually have little to nothing to do with my husband's addiction.

Sophia wrote:
I think I'd be more decisive if I used to be uncomfortable with myself, or afraid to stand up for myself, and then gained those things in recovery. I have a difficult time pinpointing any direct benefits I've gained from this experience. Maybe forcing me to think more about these issues is the benefit I need.

Have you worked through the workshop? The most direct benefit I've received from working through my H's addiction is that it forced me to clarify my own values system. It is significantly more nuanced now. I've never been afraid to stand up for myself. I suppose I'm less uncomfortable with myself now than I was before healing, but I would have considered more self-confidence to be a poor exchange for all I went through! I could probably make a pretty long list of what the benefits have been over time, but they would all come back to my values system. The fact that the core of me is stronger than it ever has been, or really could have been without being forced to intentionally strengthen it. I'm not talking about self-confidence here, although I suppose that's a part of it. I have a greater understanding of, and more ability to be the me that I really want to be. It's not that I didn't have it before and now do, it's that my ability improved. I don't know if that made sense.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2014 10:43 am 
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Excellent explanation, Mrs. Jones, of why a place like Hooters can violate our values, even if we didn't have SA issues in our relationships.

My additional 2 cents on the tension between who we used to be and how we feel now (not just about Hooters, but about anything that trips us up, that didn't used to):

There are a number of ways that the experience of SA in my marriage, and the ensuing work I did to clarify and protect my values, have fundamentally changed who I am as a person. For a long time, I felt my new sensitivities as if they were "overreactions" and, of course, my husband was quick to validate that. As time has gone by, I had to accept that while some sensitivities have subsided, many are just part of who I am now. I had to grieve and let go of "who I used to be" to accept, and effectively protect, "who I am now." There are boundaries I must enforce now, in order to maintain my sense of self and emotional stability, that I would never have dreamed of even needing before.

As the workshop explains - the central pillar (values) in our lives got toppled, and when that goes down, it takes many others with it. Now that you are rebuilding your life with (hopefully) less dependent, stronger pillars, it can change the whole landscape. If the world worked how we thought it did, our pillars would not have been toppled. The world is fundamentally different than I thought it was before dday. So, naturally, that has changed how I value and protect myself; I must adapt to what I now see. It does not protect who I am now to long for who I used to be, or use the same boundaries she would have used.

Once I finally understood this, I felt a lot more confident enforcing the boundaries I needed, seeing it as the new normal (not punishment on my husband for his mistakes), and my emotional stability has improved substantially. He still violates some of my boundaries, based on his sense of entitlement and justifications about my being oversensitive. I continue to rebuke him, enforce boundaries, and assert when he complains that I am who I have become, and it is his choice to stay in a relationship with me.

Before I go sounding all Zen about this - it has been two years of hard work, so far, and my husband has actually pursued recovery. Even with the "best" of circumstances, I feel like I'm just starting to "get it." So hang in there! Once again, trust your gut - you are the only one who gets to decide what is right for you.
thebagholder


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2014 5:29 pm 
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I really appreciate the opinions, as it gives me more to think about specific to this.

Quote:
There are boundaries I must enforce now, in order to maintain my sense of self and emotional stability, that I would never have dreamed of even needing before.


This sums up entirely what I'm dealing with. Thankfully, my new boundaries are clear, and they include the fact that to be in a relationship with me, my H cannot go to Hooters, or look at Victoria Secret ads, or anything related. Fortunately, he has never suggested that I'm over-reacting or question my feelings. He takes all the blame, which does help the situation.

Perhaps even though I really DO miss not caring about those things, it's okay. I need what I need, as we all do. :g:

Thanks,
Sophia


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2014 3:29 pm 
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Well said, Mrs. Jones. I boycot personally both Hooters and Victorias Secret. Those sorts of places bother me a lot. Theyhave always to some extent, but it ix even more now.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2014 10:08 pm 
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I appreciate what thebagholder noted about honoring the entirety of our experiences, and being OK with that influencing the type of values we have in place now.

As an example, I would not go to a casino any longer, even though gambling hasn't impacted my life. But the compulsive behaviors of others HAS, so I see casinos as, essentially, drugs. I'm certain many people would see me as a loon for holding that view, but I'm solid in my value around this.

As another random one, in noting my own capacity to potentially enjoy the freedom I feel with 2 glasses of wine, I opt to drink only very occasionally. The spouse of an alcoholic may decide she cannot have alcohol in her life, period. That may be what she needs to be healthy all around.

Our lives shape what's important. While we can learn to handle triggers, we can also consciously choose to refrain from places, behaviors, choices as a reflection of our values. For me, a lot of this stuff reflects immaturity. I won't tolerate that in my life. Too many other lovely things and values need my attention :)


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2014 12:03 am 
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I like the discussion that we have going here. Before I say this I want to clarify that I'm not critiquing anyone's values or boundaries here! This is just something that occurred to me as I read. What TBH said makes a lot of sense, and I think it's important that we not get so caught up getting back to "who we were" that we fail to honor the people we are now. I think she said that better than I could so I'm not going to rehash the whole thing. On the other hand, I think it's important to make a distinction between, "who I want to be" and "what feels like the furthest thing from addiction possible." In the beginning it can feel desperately important to get as far away from acting out and compulsion as possible. And in doing so, there is the potential to sacrifice parts of our lives that are actually very important to us. For example, it would be easy, as a newly single person to swear off relationships all together; since it would put you as far from a potential addiction affected relationship as possible. But if you truly value intimate relationship, then placing a boundary that denies you intimacy only allows the addiction to hurt you further.
I'm thinking of Meep's example of an alcoholic's wife feeling more comfortable not drinking because of her past experience. For some people that choice makes sense. They may not enjoy alcohol very much or it's not something that their friends or family consumes often, so the lack of alcohol in their lives makes very little difference, other than not being faced with the reminder of the addiction. But if you consider a woman who was a bartender or a sommelier, or someone who found a great deal of enjoyment in drinking and identifying different types of wine; giving that up because it reminded her of the pain of addiction might erode some really wonderful (and important) parts of her identity. Clearly, this is a fictional example. But I think it illustrates that if we only ask, "who was I?" or "who am I?" we might sacrifice some important things. The question, "Who do I want to be?" Is also incredibly important, because that is where we find the strength to face the painful things to really transform ourselves. And transformation is awesome!


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2014 11:17 pm 
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Quote:
On the other hand, I think it's important to make a distinction between, "who I want to be" and "what feels like the furthest thing from addiction possible." In the beginning it can feel desperately important to get as far away from acting out and compulsion as possible. And in doing so, there is the potential to sacrifice parts of our lives that are actually very important to us.


Thank you so much for this, because it better expresses what prompted me to start this thread. I don't think it's so much about "who I used to be" as who I'm striving to be. In this case, I want to feel at ease in a world where sexuality is a normal part. That doesn't mean I necessarily want to feel okay about Hooters or Victoria's Secret (although I respect individual decisions about those), but I want to get past the unpleasant feelings that sexual expression can trigger.

I saw a prominent woman's advocate on TV yesterday, and she was speaking out against street harassment. She made it a point to say that what's important is a woman having agency over her sexual self. So, while it's fine to dress up sexy and enjoy the attention if you've decided to do that, what's not okay is when OTHER people decide when you should be viewed in that way. That's how I feel about women (or men) who genuinely and freely choose to work at places where sex appeal plays a big part, which includes not only the places we've talked about, but also television, movies, etc.

For example, I normally don't turn off the TV if a shirtless man with huge biceps and six-pack abs appears onscreen. I honestly don't care about it one way or the other, but I know he's there to be sexually appealing to female (and gay male) viewers, and he's almost certainly doing it by choice. On the other hand, if I'm watching a show with my husband and a scantily clad woman appears, I tend to feel uncomfortable. I'd like to get to a point where it's not a big deal, since my personal values tell me it generally isn't.

Sophia


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 3:02 pm 
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I definitely agree that there can be a tension - even a values conflict - between "who I am" and "who I want to be." Choosing who I want to be and pursuing that is extremely important, but in some of these grey areas, it can be difficult to navigate the reality that exists along the journey. For me, stepping back and observing myself in action provided clarity. There were things I wanted to be OK with, that I wasn't. And it took an emotional toll every time I forced myself into "who I want to be," at the cost of violating boundaries I still needed to protect "who I am."

I needed to realize and stop that. Protecting "who I am," even as I strive toward "who I want to be," is essential to my peace and emotional stability. I do feel that there are ways I had to leave part of myself in the ditch to make peace with my reality (like Mrs. Jones' bartender who becomes a teetotaler) but maybe this is the essential part of it - I am choosing to do so, because I value my own stability more than I valued those other parts. [Getting over my resentment that my husband made choices that forced me to make those compromises has been yet another aspect of healing and rebuilding that is still ongoing.]

Like so many of the challenges in healing and recovery - it takes practice in self-awareness. Realizing what I need, to be my best self. Sometimes my best self, today, isn't my idealized self I look forward to becoming - but she's the gal I need to look in the mirror and feel good about each day, and I'm looking out for her nowadays, much better than I ever did before.

Great conversation, friends,
thebagholder


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2014 8:28 pm 
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Quote:
Don't get me wrong, I really don't understand why women would choose to be ogled while they're serving food, but I don't have a moral issue with it if it's among consenting adults and there are no secrets or hard feelings involved. Does anyone else miss feeling easy-breezy about those things?

I don’t miss what I now consider to be naivety. I have formed a very strong value based belief about the veiled misogynistic messages that are inherent in society, that people just accept or justify with the old “boys will be boys” or “it’s human nature” or even “I am a strong and free woman and this is how I express my freedom”…. I think these are all lies we tell ourselves so we don’t have to take a difficult position that may even alienate us from “the rest of society”. I know I sound like some super-activist. I am not. I have just become so clear on what I value that I don’t (usually) concern myself with anyone else thinks about it. I am also clear that these kinds of messages are a legacy that we have inherited, that we will pass on if we don’t take a stand. For me, it’s about being the change. And I struggle with this at times, because it is not an “easy” position to take. I am often in conflict with myself and have to continually work through the obstacles to restore integrity. Actually, I am up against a pretty big one right now, and frankly, it would be so much easier to ignore. But then I would be part of the problem, rather than part of the solution.

Quote:
In a (small nostalgic) way, yes I do miss being easy-breezy about such things... Life was so much simpler then... But, I was also much less comfortable with myself, less clear about my what my core values were, less confident, afraid to stand up for myself or what I believe, and unaware of what those things can do to a person. I can never go back!

I can relate to this. The reality is that we can’t unsee what we have seen, and we can’t unknown what we know. I am so much more grounded in what I value, what I have always valued but didn’t believe I had the voice to declare it, or the courage to stand up for myself. I never thought of myself as a person without courage, either. But I was so full of self-doubt, and questioning if maybe I was wrong. Now, it doesn’t matter if others think I am wrong. What is right for me isnt’ going to be right for everyone. When I am not caught up in self-doubt, I am ok with that. (Yes, self-doubt still does happen--The work doesn’t make the automatic reactions disappear, but gives me the ability to discern and allows me to not to choose to not be the reaction).

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I have an issue with these places because I think it's important to treat people like people. Period. Addiction or not.
Exactly. It's a human issue.

Quote:
For example, I normally don't turn off the TV if a shirtless man with huge biceps and six-pack abs appears onscreen. I honestly don't care about it one way or the other, but I know he's there to be sexually appealing to female (and gay male) viewers, and he's almost certainly doing it by choice. On the other hand, if I'm watching a show with my husband and a scantily clad woman appears, I tend to feel uncomfortable. I'd like to get to a point where it's not a big deal, since my personal values tell me it generally isn’t.
What it sounds like you are saying, then, is that you want to get to a place where you are not emotionally triggered by such things (i.e. to be detached). Detachment is a very peaceful place to be. For me, it is an ongoing process/practice. Sometimes I am very peaceful and clear and thus not triggered, but sometimes I am attached and when I am I can easily become triggered. The most palpable experience for me where peaceful detachment that was completely grounded in my values was when my mom was dying from cancer. I was by her side, just being with her. I had accepted the inevitable, and was not attached or in denial, and for me, her last time was completely about her. I witnessed others completely lose themselves and become absorbed by grief and anger. It was sad, indeed, but so very peaceful. When I lose myself over other things, and get attached to how things should/shouldn’t be, I often look to that time with my mom to help me work through whatever I am going through. Never was there a time in my life that I was so completely grounded in my values, and remembering that time helps me to reconnect to my vision when I might not otherwise be able to make that connection through sheer will. :w:

Quote:
For me, stepping back and observing myself in action provided clarity.
Yes. This is a very good practice.

Quote:
Like so many of the challenges in healing and recovery - it takes practice in self-awareness. Realizing what I need, to be my best self. Sometimes my best self, today, isn't my idealized self I look forward to becoming - but she's the gal I need to look in the mirror and feel good about each day, and I'm looking out for her nowadays, much better than I ever did before.
So true, and so wonderful to hear. :g:

This has been a wonderful conversation. Thank you everyone for your contributions. Thank you for allowing me to share.

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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