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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2014 6:47 am 
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He's even wanted the half-attempts at getting help to mean something. They would if he kept going, kept learning, but since he always stayed in half-attempts, it's like a toddler who never learns how to walk because he refuses to.

This is it in a nutshell. My husband and your husband sound very similar in that they wanted to get credit for the acts of kindness that they believe meant they “love” us. But, the love is immature and selfish—flawed, as Autumnrose put it. And, it is an objectifying love. As long as I was thankful and appreciative of the (selfish) ways that my husband showed his love, then he was “happy” (although, I don’t think he was ever deeply happy, just on the surface, as long as everything looked good happy, as long as he believed his environment was controlled happy). To say it is “a complicated love” is to romanticize it in an unhealthy way, in my opinion.

With my husband, as much as I hate to say it, it was all a facade. When push came to shove, he chose his addiction. To flick that switch so readily (when I called him out on a bottom line violation, his “plan” was “I am leaving and going to stay with P and A” and then he declared that he doesn’t want to give up his ways, and “we’re just different people” and he has never felt so free in his life. Even though this happened months ago, laying it out like this is still an assault on my ego. This was after the entirety of our relationship telling me he wanted to end his addiction, even before he met me he wanted to end it, that he never wanted it, and all the reasons why it came about, etc. And one day he flipped and walked the other way and acted like there was absolutely nothing “wrong” with his choice. Granted, the writing may have already been on the wall (he violated a bottom line boundary, which I indicated we needed to come up with a plan) but I was shocked by the turn-around and the lack of responsibility and remorse. I guess I should not have been shocked, but I was. So, despite all the work I had done, and despite knowing on some level that it would come to this, I didn’t expect that he was so self-involved and wrapped up in his addiction that he would take an about face and never look back. So, he was trying to maintain a facade, but he knew he would not give it up. Of course, it is not about me, but what I have come to acknowledge that even if it isn’t about be, there is still a valuation in his choice. He valued porn and all that goes into his addiction more than he values our marriage, our family, our life, me. One of the lessons in the recovery workshop is about naming all of one’s values, the healthy and the unhealthy, The idea is to recognize that they are all values, and there are no “good” or “bad” judgements made, only what leads to positive and healthy outcomes in view of one’s entire life system, and what leads to negative outcomes. There is no doubt that addiction tips the scale to the negative. People lose out on so much in life because of various addictions. But, one has to recognize that they are missing out, and recognize the damage they are doing if they are to connect to the work of learning how to manage their life in a healthy and positive way. And it isn’t so much as knowing. Knowing does not equate to doing. The work has to be put into practice. Coach Jon says that it will be “palpable”. For me, the work that my husband was doing (when he was “doing”) wasn’t palpable. But, I chose to give it time and space. That was my choice and for any partner who stays in the relationship, it must be your choice, free of any attachment to an outcome. When we are attached, we cause ourselves more upset when things don’t go as we envision them. It is for each of us to determine how much time we wish to give, what our bottom line is, etc., and to build ourselves up to be able to leave when we know it is time to leave, or to stay when it is our commitment to stay (because it is not easy being in relationship with a person with an addiction, recovering or not).

To be clear, I can still become attached. And, it is a detriment to myself. Also, I resonate with the damage done to my willingness to love. It is not so much that I feel incapable. I know that I am capable. But, I choose not to put myself in a position where I will potentially be taken advantage of again. My capacity to love is great, as are my compassion and willingness to give others the benefit of the doubt. These are great qualities that I don't want to part with, but I won't ever bestow them so unconditionally (i.e. with any potential future partner--with my children it is another story). That said, I will never give them blindly or without critical thought, even with my children. For example, if there is reason that they should not have the benefit of the doubt/unconditional trust (i.e. they explicitly and intentionally violate it) then they will earn it back, and I will be cautious and mindful of granting them that trust. I think that is partly where the problem was, in the beginning of my relationship with h--blind trust. Then it just became habit...until I became aware.

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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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2014 7:41 am 
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Ah, Coach Mel. Another heartbreaking story involving a strong, wonderful woman. My bet is your h wanted both: you continuing to play your roles that served his needs AND his sexual addiction. It is completely and utterly selfish. Scarily selfish. Underlying the addiction in these men is some level of narcissim that can be scary in itself.

It is clear to me that these addicts really do not get how personally destructive their addictions are. They don't care about the damage to us, but I am convinced they are in total denial about the damage they do to themselves. Making the choice to stay with the addiction and the progression to further isolation, further immorality, further meaninglessness... It's a dark descent to personal darkness and death. I saw that happening with my h and I do not know if he will choose the addiction or recovery path. He still slips in and out of denial about whether or not he is an addict.

I had another revelation about addiction this morning. I was talking to my h about a book I am reading (good thing! I'm reading! I'm enjoying it!). And, I felt good about what I was saying and he kind of sort of responded. I asked him if he enjoyed my talking about the book and he said yes. Then I said, "I'm looking forward to when you will talk to me about things you enjoy reading." Of course he took that as an attack and criticism (and doesn't that get old). But, I realized something. He doesn't have anything to talk about since with the progression of his addiction my bet is he spends nearly all his waking hours obsessing about sex, being in a trance, scanning, anticipating the ritual. How can he share that? What feels like an empty interior life to me is not an empty life, but a corrupted, valueless life that can only be experienced alone. No wonder I am so lonely. No wonder it feels like no one is there. No wonder he is incapable of sustaining a normal, adult conversation. This isn't even about emotion! It's about ideas (that should lead to good emotion). And, no wonder he is so boring. They are consumed by their addiction and what is left is not pretty. And, that's their choice? We simply cannot understand it.

So, we will survive and we can thrive, but of course we will be damaged. At this point I don't even feel it's about devaluing me. It's about devaluing life itself.

Haven't figured out what I am going to do with this realization but will sit with it.

I am so relieved to have found all of you on this site. We are not alone. I feel our love and compassion in our posts to each other.

dnell


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2014 7:15 am 
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Partner's Coach (Admin)

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Quote:
Underlying the addiction in these men is some level of narcissim that can be scary in itself.

I don’t think that I’d put this on all persons with addiction, or even this addiction, but there is definitely that adolescent sense of immunity. It’s emotional immaturity. For those who do have some narcissistic traits, this is taken to an extreme. The difference, I think, is that those with narcissistic tendencies certainly would never admit they have flaws. My husband did, once, admit to this. With him, I think, it is the case that it was just too much work and he didn’t want to do it anymore AND he never connected to it on a meaningful level. He didn’t fully choose to leave that part of himself behind, and always kept that door open, telling himself that he had time. His choice came because he probably realized he couldn’t lie his way out anymore, that my bs meter had finally reached its maximum. Maybe this means he matured to 20-something—with the realization that his perceived immunity was a self-serving illusion. Faced with the choice between no longer being able to lie, he decided to take the easy road (or the less difficult one, one which didn’t require him to look at himself in the way that recovery requires one to look at themselves). It is sad for our family and children, and it sad for me as I do believe that recovery is possible, and that he could have recovered (and could still recover if he chose to) but when I am not "attached" (it is an ongoing practice for me to shift from attachment to commitment--sometimes more challenging than others) it is still sad, but it is right. I don't see myself as a casualty of his addiction.

Quote:
They don't care about the damage to us, but I am convinced they are in total denial about the damage they do to themselves.
Yes. Those who have not cracked open the window to see what is possible are definitely in denial.

Quote:
At this point I don't even feel it's about devaluing me. It's about devaluing life itself.
Yes. It is a devaluation of their own life, and all that is part of that which includes us. (It's not personal, though). It is due to a lack of a connection to life’s full potential, and instead living from a place of fear where one is simply trying to stay afloat, doing whatever in the immediate sense to avoid living (although those truly consumed by their addictions do not realize this is what they are doing—again, because of the lack of connection to life itself. Good insight!).

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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