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PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 9:48 am 
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Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 661
I originally posted this in the community recovery forum, oops, not the partners healing forum. But then I thought I would value hearing what those in recovery had to say. But if the coaches want to delete that post, it is fine with me. But here goes for the partners community about exercise 14.:

"in fact, (you) were often pursued by your partner to perpetuate the moral and social identity that they desired"

This sounds lovely, but I wonder if it is true. Do any of you have thoughts about what this means? How can I tell if my H did this? Should I even care? (I do care, I would like to believe this, but I need to let it go if it is just more fantasy).

What do you all think?

dnell


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 3:10 pm 
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Partner's Coach

Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2010 11:49 pm
Posts: 675
So clearly one of the struggles that a sexual addict has is an understanding of reality. To an addict, if they can make it look real, it is real. The disconnect between reality and the story they have created can be a pretty big gap. But making things look right on the surface is what their entire other life depends on. If they can create the image of a person who is faithful and happy and an excellent husband and father (whatever they think that they should be) then it's less likely that people will suspect or believe the other reality. And if no one believes the other reality, then maybe the other reality doesn't actually exist. Truth to an addict is whatever they can make other people believe. (This is one of the reasons the polygraphs aren't always the most effective route. Sometimes the addict has bought their own false reality so deeply that they can fool a lie detector.)

Often times a relationship is pursued because it fits so well into that ideal reality that the addict needs to protect their other reality. If they can create a successful alternative reality, then the addict reality doesn't "matter". Of course, we know that the addict reality does matter. And that building a relationship on that sort of foundation, only makes things worse. But the damage that will be caused if the dual realities are exposed tends to be ignored because of how "effective" the tool is. Which creates greater anxiety, which creates a need to resolve the anxiety, which instigates acting out, which causes a need for a stronger alternate reality to believe in, which widens the gap even further between the two.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 3:35 pm 
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Mrs. Jones, that is a really helpful response.

dnell


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 11:41 am 
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Also, in a less sinister avenue, sometimes the addicted person pursues someone who has values they do admire, but don't know how to employ. My husband loved my values and thought they made me great partner (and generally still does), but he says things sometimes that shock me about how he couldn't comprehend that a real person could actually live by my values (suggesting that he doesn't think I'm a "real" person - this still comes up). Putting me on that kind of pedestal only made it harder for him to be real with me, made the potential failure of our marriage an ultimately condemning outcome for him, fueled his black and white dual thinking, fueled his shame, etc etc. Similar to what Mrs. Jones described, only with a slightly different motivation. Of course, even if he was actually motivated by admiration, not using me as a mask, he still achieved the end game of appearing to be something he was not, in practice, being.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 12:56 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
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Ah, complicated. I can understand both scenarios.

dnell


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 1:11 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:36 pm
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I believe my husband married me partly because I had skills and values he wanted.

_________________

"What day is it,?" asked Pooh.
"It's today," squeaked Piglet.
"My favorite day," said Pooh.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 12:08 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:49 pm
Posts: 3834
"Making things look right" was a skill my H developed as a child. He liked being the "good boy" and later the "good guy" who was known for his integrity, work ethic, etc. It was only natural that this survival skill continued as his addiction became more important to him. He did use me - I was an important part of public image. Frankly, I don't think he was even aware that he was using me because being the good guy at all cost had been part of his life for so long - it was a deeply ingrained behavior pattern. For me, as the addiction got worse, I was painfully aware of his public face versus his private face with me. I felt that he wore me like a hat.
He was kind and attentive in public but cold and distant when it was just the two of us.

I believe he married me because I was a catch - an attractive woman who had a good job, was smart, and shared creative interests. He was 7 years younger, a talented artist, into theater, hard worker, bachelor, and well liked by all. An all around "good guy." But even then, he had a darker side. He had a female roommate whose advances he couldn't resist even though he felt he was in love with me. I knew some of it, but not all of it. He manipulated both of us. I chose to ignore the red flags and believe the "good guy" image instead. It's easy to see now but not then.

So - he was in the habit of using people but didn't see it for what it was. Denial. Compartmentalizing. Whatever term you want to use. The pattern would stay with him through most of our marriage until he finally learned to face himself honestly.

Nellie James


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