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PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2014 11:33 am 
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I would like some feedback here,please. Just in case I am missing something or trying to justify control.

I am making a real effort to cease all manipulative and controlling behavior ( I have a strong value about free will) while keeping with my values and boundaries. I can only control myself, my actions, and my reactions. Although I cannot control the behaviors of others, I can choose whether they are in my life and under what terms (ie; how much to trust, how close to get to them and maintain safety).

I have stated to him that in order to believe he is in a sincere recovery (which makes me feel safer about being in an ongoing relationship with him), I need to know that he is working on it. I have let him know the actions that I would like to see him take: At least once a week to attend either a counseling session or a group meeting such as SAA, and at least one recovery lesson a week. I wish for him to talk with me about what he is working on, and how it's going, as well as any slip/relapse and successes, once a week.

After delivering that as an ultimatum, with a time limit (the first day of spring), the next day i recanted the ultimatum because
I do not wish to force him to do anything. I told him when I recanted that he is free to choose what he does and doesn't do, I am putting up no more hoops for him to jump through. I am free to choose my reaction.

I know he has been doing some online work, Ive seen him at it, I am not over his shoulder, though.
I want to know that what he is reading or working on is sinking in, is he learning anything, applying it, having any aha moments?
Is he merely going through the motions? After a previous year of a possible fake but definitely unsincere recovery, I feel so wounded that it may still be going on. I only know what he tells me/shows me. i have many times told him this,as well.

Firstly I want to know is that wrong of me? I feel justified in knowing a bit of his thoughts and feelings after a lesson or a therapy
session(perhaps not immediately after, but later after he has thought things through), as it would show me he is actually trying to understand, being introspective, in other words and in my opinion, actually sincerely trying to change.

But he is still mum on all of it. the only thing he said about counseling was that he went and scheduled the next on such and such day. even after I asked. The only thing he will say of the lessons and reading is that he is doing it. so nothing much has changed from the previous year, he wouldn't tell me anything unprompted and even then, not much.

Yesterday, when I noticed he had a troubled look on his face, I asked him what was on his mind. He said he was thinking about the answers to some questions from a lesson. Perhaps I should be glad he said even that, at first he said 'nothing'. I was disappointed he didn't say more.

the other day, he was having trouble getting a document to print, after many attempts, I asked to help. That was when I saw that it was some kind of worksheet on triggers, if not for the printer malfunction, I never would have known something I feel I should know, that he is working on triggers. Am I wrong?

The fact that he can't/ wont share these things with me hurts me deeply, and seems to add insult to injury. I experienced great hurt and anger over it, I know that means I have to look at my values and boundaries and shore something up, so I am not hurt or affected so much. I receive this as if he is sharing with me little more than one would share with an acquaintance.

I believe that my values have been squashed a bit (honesty, transparency, trust), that there have been boundary violations, a natural consequence is that I no longer feel safe in being physically close to him. I don't even want to kiss him goodbye or cuddle at bedtime (something that was an important thing to me, emotionally and 'our thing').

I would like opinions and feedback about all this, if my thoughts are correct,if what I am asking of him is justified, if there should be a consequence. I know that there is a consequence, I don't want to kiss or cuddle, so I won't. that's all I am really sure of. That, and I don't have the patient, loving and understanding demeanor anymore after the previous year, but I want to, as that is a value for me, although less important then me protecting myself.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2014 10:43 am 
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Hi Jacki,

I just finished reading through a thread which was posted earlier. The author is meepmeep, and the title is "Defining Active Recovery: Both Sides." I really think that the information in that thread, particularly the posts by Coach Kenzo and Coach Boundless, would answer your questions and help you define your expectations in a healthy way.

I have been struggling with the same boundary/expectations struggle, and that thread (more than anything else I have read) put things into perspective for me.

Be Well,
River


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2014 8:42 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2013 3:34 pm
Posts: 92
Thank you River for your reply,

I have already read the thread you are referring to, I read it before I posted. I am not asking for help determining a sincere vs insincere recovery. I have been seeing insincere recovery for a year, I definitely know what that looks like. My struggle is with my value of respect, privacy, free will as that conflicts with my expectations for his recovery. I am conflicted about my rights to his private thoughts and feelings, it feels wrong to me to ask that. A value conflict, I guess.

Since posting this, I worked it out in my own head this way; In a healthier, normal relationship I would never expect or demand to know my partners private thoughts and feelings but would be happy to hear them if he wanted to share. I would rarely even ask unless he seemed troubled. This is not a normal relationship, or a normal situation. IMO, it is his thoughts and feelings and his managing (mismanaging) of them that got us into this mess. So, to give me a basis for trusting into the future, to risk myself into the future, I would have to know that he his beginning to manage his thoughts and emotions. I know very well that he can be doing all the actions that look like recovery and still be nowhere near recovering, that's external and no indication of anything other than keeping up a facade, what addicts do best. What would be most telling to me would be his internal work, that's thoughts and feelings.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2014 10:37 am 
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Honest and open communication is high on my list of values. If it's high on your list of values, can you communicate this value to him? Perhaps, the two of you can work on determining how to achieve better communication. My H and I had to build our communication skills from the ground up. I came across an exercise in a Dr. Phil book that described using a dyad technique, and adapted that to fit our situation. We sat knee to knee, eye to eye and took turns drawing opening ending topics (we each contributed) from a flower pot. The person who drew the piece of paper was to talk for 30 seconds about the open ended topic while the other person just listened - no questions, no exchange. We used a timer and stuck to the rules. Then the other person took a turn addressing the same topic while the other partner just listened. We did this 3 times in each session which lasted about 20 minutes, always knee to knee, eye to eye. We ended by each saying something positive about the behavior of our partner that day and then we hugged. We started with very benign topics and gradually worked our way into harder stuff. It was a gradual process but helped us feel comfortable talking with one another. It became our nightly ritual that we looked forward to.

We agreed, also, that we would have a weekly check in time for harder conversations. We set the rules, a regular time, total time limit, and agreed that we would take a time-out if emotions ran high. This was harder, but important to me.

From my perspective, because your H is your life partner, you value his becoming healthy, and it is perfectly OK to let him know that. You are not a mind reader and would appreciate his sharing with you, however, you realize it is his choice as to how much he wants to share with you. The bottom line, however, is that we all have to learn to trust our gut and trust in changes in behavior as indicators of healthy progress even though we feel we are in the dark.
Quote:
What would be most telling to me would be his internal work, that's thoughts and feelings.
Hmmm. It may be hard for him to talk about his feelings at this point. Frankly, he made not know how he feels. Dealing with emotions is not his forte. Nonetheless, you can tell him that his learning how to share his thoughts and feelings is important to you. Get it out there - be heard with no expectation of a healthy dialogue. How do you feel when he doesn't share this with you? "I feel _____________when you _____________. This is about your being heard without drama. If he reacts negatively to your statement, don't engage. Come up with your own straight-forward version of "my feelings are not negotiable. Perhaps, we can talk about this another day. Then walk away.

Hope this helps,
Nellie James


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2014 3:52 pm 
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Thank you Nellie James, I have always been impressed with your strength, resilience and wisdom.

I have communicated very clearly and repetitively that the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth is the only thing I will accept. Especially when asked directly. His year in recovery has been sporadic lessons prompted by me whenever he had slacked off for weeks to months, nothing but silence about recovery/triggers/slips info unless prompted and even then, very little, if not lies, many ommisions and speckled with defensiveness, anger, rationalization, minimizing and continued deception, along with a few acting out episodes that were, of course, not what they looked like, completely accidental, not realizing how bad it looked and it wasn't really actually porn. He also frequently would do things that looked like he may be acting out, or planning to, that even if innocent, was in direct conflict with my boundaries and was the opposite of building trust, not to mention scaring the stuffing out of me. And then he would be angry, defensive and or bewildered about what I was upset about. The most recent time was just a few weeks ago, although his reaction was better.

That's the back story here. He may actually be in this sincerely, now, as he is finally in counseling and making more consistent effort,, only time will tell. Unfortunatelyy, the past year has done even more damage to me and I don't have much of that loving, understanding supportive stuff in me now. I am bitter and fed up and it may be too little too late, now.

I have a great understanding of how hard it is for him to share his thoughts and feelings, the past year has been all about me understanding that, although I had my bad moments and bad days. I can do it no longer. I have rebuilt myself fairly well, through recovery nation, and a couple other equally invaluable resources. I still stumble, I pick myself up, come here and other resources for a little refresher, get myself back on the healthy path. I value myself now and am all about loving, respecting, and protecting myself. Ironically, had it not been for this experience with a PA, I may not have been forced to do all this self-work. I am actually stronger, more sure of myself and love and respect myself more now then ever in my life. I wish I hadn't had to be thrown into a hurricane to learn these things, but it is what it is.

I have always verbally informed him of my boundaries, I felt that since he consistently did things that disregarded my feelings, fears and pain all while claiming to be in recovery, that writing them down would not make a difference. Maybe, soon he will be ready to read them, hear them and respect them, but I am very nearly about to say 'too late, you missed your chance, lots of chances'. so basically, if he is not the man I want and need in order to be fulfilled in a relationship, and I mean starting now, not a few months down the road, I choose to be alone. If I were single now I would never for a second entertain the thought of dating an addict, never, and I cannot live with one now. Early on in my healing, I could not accept the truth that an addict in early recovery has no ability to show/feel remorse, empathy or compassion and I caused myself alot of harm and maybe him too. I accept it as true now, but I cannot accept that in my life. I deserve more, as does any human being.

I suppose there was no point in saying these things here on this forum as I am clearly not willing to be his partner anymore. Maybe a half-hearted recoverer who is only here to appease the SO will read this so they know that this is how that may turn out.


I would like to thank Recovery Nation and the wonderful, honest, insightful, caring members and coaches here for all the wisdom, love and stability and good role-modeling I have seen here. I have posted on this forum very little, as I very rarely could get my head together enough to formulate complete thoughts and felt I was in no position to contribute much. But I read, alot, and I learned alot, and you helped me see myself more clearly and showed me the way. You helped me through some very bad days.

I would like to congratulate the recoverers that are sincerely, honestly seeking a better life, it takes so much strength and courage.

Hugs, and love, and blessings to you all.


Jacki


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2014 9:58 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:49 pm
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:g: :g:
Quote:
I value myself now and am all about loving, respecting, and protecting myself. Ironically, had it not been for this experience with a PA, I may not have been forced to do all this self-work. I am actually stronger, more sure of myself and love and respect myself more now then ever in my life. I wish I hadn't had to be thrown into a hurricane to learn these things, but it is what it is.
The self work we do on RN is valuable beyond measure. Although none of wants to be here, we are here, and it's very hard work especially when our husbands are stuck in old patterns. It's a test by fire.

Sometimes consequences don't work or if they seem to be taking hold, we are worn out. We reach that point where we each decide what we can live or can't live with, what we can or can't accept, and choose to stay or go based on our values. We all reach this point eventually. You are making a decision that's not reactive but based on self discovery and self value, and a set of values that you will honor in all areas of your life.
Quote:
Early on in my healing, I could not accept the truth that an addict in early recovery has no ability to show/feel remorse, empathy or compassion and I caused myself alot of harm and maybe him too. I accept it as true now, but I cannot accept that in my life. I deserve more, as does any human being.
I understand as do most if not all the partners here in this community and your stating it so clearly is of value to all of us. All of us. And we support you in your choice.

Wishing you the very best as you go forward.
Nellie James


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 1:48 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2013 3:34 pm
Posts: 92
dnell wrote:
Jacki, I was so moved by your post. I am inspired by your strength and conviction. I am so, so sorry for what has happened with your husband. We all have to make these tough decisions about when to stay, when to go, what to put up with for how long. I don't have the answers. But, I am moved and strengthened by the description of your journey and the thinking behind your decisions.
dnell


Oh dnell, I might cry that you said that. I have read your responses to others here and you always impressed the heck out of me. Like this girl got it together, why can't I get it together?

nellie james wrote:
: You are making a decision that's not reactive but based on self discovery and self value, and a set of values that you will honor in all areas of your life.
I understand as do most if not all the partners here in this community and your stating it so clearly is of value to all of us. All of us. And we support you in your choice.



Nellie James, thank you so much. I have been awed and humbled by your words here on recovery nation, so many times. I have learned alot from you. I have many times thought of you and TBH when attempting to find some calm and composure, to react with dignity. the number of times I have reacted from a place of emotion or ego, I hate to admit, but I turn on RN, and engulf myself in wonderful role-models, and resolve to do better. Thanks for the vote of confidence, too, and understanding.

I would like to mention something, for partners to know and maybe an opinion from you all. Several times I sought out some stability and clarity in these forums after I was tired of my reactive, emotional relapse, weeks after a time when I didn't listen to my gut, didn't enforce a boundary. i would come away from my readings here so sure and feeling strong. I don't know if it was wrong or too late, but I didn't think so. I would convey to him that the thing happened, no matter how long prior, and I would enact the consequence, I needed to do it, for me, to make myself stronger and to protect myself. I found myself in that situation a few times and I wondered if it happened like that to other partners sometimes, even after the healing process began and did they let it go, because they thought is was too late or wrong? It felt right to me, at the time, anyway. would love to hear what any of you have to say about that.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 5:27 pm 
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Jacki, thanks for your kind words. I don't feel great about myself at all. And, isn't that a tragic thing to happen since we weren't out betraying our partners. We have to go through this journey of forgiving ourselves. Honestly, doesn't that just add the icing to the s**t cake we have to eat. There. How's that for not being in control of my anger.

I can't tell you how many times I come back to the forum, re-read Jon's lessons, re-read the forum....to get strength, to get clarity, to feel solidarity and support and not feel so broken, alone, weak and pathetic. We are none of these things. None of us. I read our posts and feel such awe and wonder at the thoughtful feelings, the love and compassion, the understanding from all of us towards each other. I am so convinced that all of us have given too much of those good things to our partners and we need to give them to ourselves. The coaches and all of the partners here have convinced me that it is okay to muddle, to be angry, to make mistakes, to be slow in healing, to be confused, to be....traumatized and trying to heal. I can't tell you how often I have come back "too late" to my husband. Should I have clear boundaries created, communicated and enforced? Well, yes, but this is all new for me so I get a break for not getting it right. I need to show compassion, and yes, MERCY, to myself. We show it to our partners some of the time. We need it for ourselves. We're not going to get good stuff from them so I don't even expect it. Heck, I'm just hoping not to get continued lies and betrayals and I can't count on that. So, no way at this point will I get any compassion, understanding, mercy or support from my partner. He isn't healthy enough to give it. Even if he wanted to, he just doesn't have the skills to know how. And, at this point, he doesn't see me as a real human being with value so why would he even think about extending true empathy and support. But, enough about him and back to us.

Oh how I wish I could let it all go: all the pain, the second guessing, the humiliation, the ruminating about the past and the fear of the future. The good news is that the RN lessons, my continued progress in detaching, and my individual therapy is helping me to let go. I have decided to take the risk of staying for now and seeing what will happen. I have my bottom line boundaries that if my husband betrays, then I will have to leave whether or not I am ready. I have accepted this. I have to protect myself and while staying in these early recovery days is deeply challenging and painful, I do not have to let myself be CONTINUALLY devastated by my husband's choices. I have my eyes open now. I don't know how long I can stay. What actions do I have to see? What is a "reasonable" rate of change? How can I believe it? How will I know it will last? So much risk and uncertainy. I finally do get what RN and the coaches keep saying: take care of myself, my life, my vision, my values. Live. Live for myself. We all MUST do this. And isn't it so sad that we find that so hard to do.

Here I am fearing women while at the same time I feel such love, compassion and support from all of you, my sisters. Jacki, I send you my virtual embrace.

dnell


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 9:21 pm 
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jacki3030 wrote:
I would like to mention something, for partners to know and maybe an opinion from you all. Several times I sought out some stability and clarity in these forums after I was tired of my reactive, emotional relapse, weeks after a time when I didn't listen to my gut, didn't enforce a boundary. i would come away from my readings here so sure and feeling strong. I don't know if it was wrong or too late, but I didn't think so. I would convey to him that the thing happened, no matter how long prior, and I would enact the consequence, I needed to do it, for me, to make myself stronger and to protect myself. I found myself in that situation a few times and I wondered if it happened like that to other partners sometimes, even after the healing process began and did they let it go, because they thought is was too late or wrong? It felt right to me, at the time, anyway. would love to hear what any of you have to say about that.


Jacki, this forum has been, often, my lifeline. I have leaned on it for various forms of support, often searching by topic or going way back to the beginning threads.

You asked if it was too wrong or too late to state or take the actions you felt necessary, even if long after the fact.

Emphatically, no. We must honor ourselves. You did just that. I'd posit you are healthier than I, for I learn a lesson and do not risk applying it retroactively as you chose to. I can see your choices gave you the strength to leave, knowing you have done what you can to respect him and honor you.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2014 1:10 am 
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dnell, you have every right to feel good about yourself, look at what you are accomplishing, right now. I'm not sure how long you have been at RN, I think only a few months, but you are miles ahead of where I was after only a few months. You will keep on healing, rebuilding. Yes, we are allowed forgive ourselves for our 'slips', we have to, IMO. We are dealing with a tornado of emotions and pain. You learn from it and keep moving forward, even if it's baby steps, even if you feel like you moved backwards occasionally.

I don't know about letting go, I do know that I first came here in, I believe November, little more than a year ago, and although I could have healed myself faster, rebuilt faster, I had to fall on my face a few times to really learn, but the wounds are pretty much closed up, I believe, they dont feel raw as if they are open and still bleeding as they did even a few months ago. If I dwell on memories, I get a twinge, you might say, but it no longer feels like there is a knife in my heart being twisted.

Anger, yes I always did struggle with that, waves of it. I used to keep a journal on another forum, Oh if you could read that, oh anger, so much anger. It helped to just let it out like that, it did. He would still get some of it, but it was way less because I had another place to vent. I think it's not really anger for me anymore but severe disappointment, deep disappointment and a sense of loss for what seeing him in a healthy recovery could have done for me, how it would have felt, less alone. I worked on my healing and rebuilt myself so alone, maybe it sounds foolish but having him willing and able to share that with me, would have been so meaningful. so many of those lessons asked me to pick at emotions I had buried, things I had actually made myself forget! so I would sob and sob alone in my room while he was in his room pretending to be in recovery, claiming to care about my feelings. That is the only open wound I have left, I really felt abandoned. Iknow I never could have expected anythin from him, but I did then, and it really hurt. so I have to repair that, cry that out, allow it to heal. I really rambled on this time, huh?

Thank you dnell for sharing your thoughts, you express yourself so beautifully.

Meepmeep, you are so kind, and I have read many of your responses as well, alot of strength alot of love and support. I don't feel I am stronger than anybody here. I have made so many mistakes, I learned lessons the hard way.

right now, I am still living with him, but I am not with him, neither of us can for now go anywhere. I am comfortable with my decision to live separately and share the house, for now. ironically, I have seen far more from him after I made my decision, openly sharing with me, displaying compassion for me, since I told him that I couldn't accept what little he has to give me. I told him that we could maybe learn to be friends, not the trite 'we can still be friends' but truly friends, sharing, caring, intimacy, absolutely no romance, no sex. I suppose, if we are sharing some space, we wil have to deal with each other, it may as well be as friends and not acting like strangers. Im unsure if I will be able to not get caught up in his renewed effort. but strangely just knowing that I am not romantically involved with him, seems to take the pressure off of me, worries and doubts, fears. I feel pretty comfortable with it right now. And he is actually accepting it gracefully.


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