Recovery Nation

Personal Development Forum
It is currently Wed Apr 01, 2020 1:55 am

All times are UTC - 5 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 11 posts ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2015 8:47 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Sep 08, 2013 6:09 pm
Posts: 3
Hi, all---

I'm looking for a bit of feedback on my current situation. We have walked the long, painful road of sex addiction with the last relapse/acting out/affair being about a year and a half ago. At that point we found RN, and he got EMDR therapy which he reported to be a tremendous help in his recovery. On Jan. 1 I expressed that I would really like to make this year a significant year in healing for me and for us. I felt like the pain that I was holding on to was holding me and us back. I was ready to really let go and move forward. Ten days later my husband announced that he had found a place to stay, was leaving for work, and not coming home. This is the first time that there is NOT another woman or any acting out. He says that he keeps losing his "connection" with me. He doesn't know why he gets to this point and wonders if it means that we should divorce. I do feel like I know why....When we are following our plans/goals that we lay out things are excellent (a point agreed to by both of us). As the plans/goals fall by the way side, and we don't have an accountability system set up, we derail. He gets back to working 60- 70 plus hours per week by his own choice and has stated that he does not feel that there is a balance issue with that as far as not having time for himself, the kids, and us. His career does require that he shoves his emotions down at work at times. I think that is just compounding the issue as well. A little lightbulb went off in my head last night when I remembered some term from his SAA meetings....I Googled it today and found "sexual and intimacy anorexia." It felt just like when I first read about addiction. Bells going off everywhere! I answered yes to a solid 8 out of 10 if not 10 out of 10 of Douglas Weiss' clinical markers for anorexia. Of course when I showed my husband he didn't think that was it....also reminding me of the first time I brought addiction to his attention. He said he knows there is "something" going on with him, but he doesn't know what it is. I know that I can only take care of myself, and I cannot force him to do anything. He did say that he is going to get help regardless of what happens with out marriage, and I think that's great. I can't help but feeling like we have come so far that I can't imagine giving up now. I don't know if this is bizarre, but I feel like the fact that it came to this but there is not any other acting out is pretty big. I'm wondering if any of you all have had any experience with a situation like this. Thanks!


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 7:44 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:33 pm
Posts: 96
My SA is not in recovery so I'm probably not the right person to reply to this, but I do have experience with sexual anorexia.

I've always assumed that when my SA pulls away from me like this it's because he's acting out elsewhere, which may be the case.

However, I have also noticed that it seems to happen when we are particularly emotionally close.

When I'm not feeling jaded -- and like it's all just part of some sick manipulation and endless mind*ck -- I can clearly see it as a symptom of the intimacy disorder that I've read is at the heart of sex addiction.

It reminds that the path to recovery from SA is long and hard and that the outcome is uncertain. I sometimes think that you have to give up before you can move forward.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2015 12:31 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Sep 08, 2013 6:09 pm
Posts: 3
Thanks for your reply. It's a huge struggle not to think that it's sheer manipulation and games. After all the years of doing this that thought comes to mind quite often at times. I was able to find a therapist who specializes in intimacy anorexia. I'm hoping we can do a joint session, but I just need help right now no matter what he does.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2015 3:39 pm 
Offline
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 665
Mom25 - I experienced sexual anorexia through most of my marriage and I think it is due to the SA, and then the underlying intimacy disorder. It is very, very painful. It isn't about us, but it damages us. Once the compulsions are sufficiently being managed, I think it is critical that our partners get help with the underlying intimacy disorder. My husband is working with a therapist and we are in marriage counseling and I think, after a lot of work and a lot of time, we may be able to deal with this. Don't know yet. But, I have been told that IF the addiction is managed and the compulsive behaviors/obsessive fantasies are signifcantly reduced or nearly eliminated, then with sincere commitment, enough time, and the right therapist, the intimacy disorder can be treated and cured.

I have also learned that we can become "reactive intimacy disordered." Just the sheer damage and soul killing experience of living in such emotional and sexual deprivation can lead us to withhold as well.

dnell


Last edited by dnell on Fri Jan 23, 2015 8:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2015 10:02 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2014 9:48 pm
Posts: 45
Sexual anorexia has been the story line of the last twenty-three years of my almost thirty-nine year marriage. It was the biggest red flag that something was dramatically wrong in our relationship, and was covered up with the excuse of impotency... once the pornography/masturbation intertwined with acting out fantasies was discovered three years ago, I had the answer to years of no sexual intimacy in our relationship... It was a soul-wrecking, spirit-crushing and mind-destroying journey... all these years of asking 'what is wrong with me, what am I doing wrong, am I not lovable' ....Am healing, but will never ever be whole, in the sense that so much of me was damaged... We are now in couple therapy, and the therapist believes that H is teachable, that he can learn new skills to connect... the acting-out was but one of the symptoms of this pernicious intimacy disorder... we have not broached this sexual anorexia yet....Sexual anorexia is ongoing, and frankly, I cannot contemplate ever being sexual with this person at this point...

Am in a very precarious state of mind, since I have emotionally divorced myself from H, because a physical divorce is not an option, am too old (63) and have children and grandchildren to consider. The hard question is this: do I want to ever trust this person??? Where did loving him, being loyal, supportive and present, with this person get me? So as he learns to connect, I am wondering if I want to...So dnell, your last line is spot on...

This couple therapist also states that I am still suffering from PTSD, and that I need to be gentle with myself, and with H...

'You have to give up before you can move forward', sp2007: this is where I was in the fall and early winter of 2014, however am still here, wondering where this will all lead. So Mom25, you are not alone...

Wish I had known years ago what I know now about sexual anorexia, addiction, intimacy disorder...should have sought help sooner...

Virtual embrace to soul-sisters...


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2015 11:53 am 
Offline
Partner's Coach (Admin)

Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2007 3:07 pm
Posts: 5200
Quote:
I have also learned that we can become "reactive intimacy disordered." Just the sheer damage and soul killing experience of living in such emotional and sexual deprivation can lead us to withhold as well.
This is very interesting. It is something I had started to develop an awareness for during “the spare bedroom years”. Context: I moved to the spare room, but remained in the relationship with the hope, vision, and commitment (well, I recently realized some of this “commitment” was attachment…) of him doing his work, me continuing mine, and then coming together at some point in the future to work on rebuilding us, based on healthy values and a common vision for partnership. I hadn’t suspected intimacy disorder on his part, but began wondering if I might have some trouble with intimacy when the time came. As it was, any time we did come together sexually (which was rare, because it required me to deliberately going out on a limb to test the waters, to see if I could start learning to trust him, or if he would use me which would be a sign that he was still feeding his addiction wolf). I would always end up in tears.

Now, I wonder… maybe he has intimacy disorder (although, I am hesitant to use the term disorder as if it is something organic and biologically based).

Re: But, I have been told that IF the addiction is managed and the compulsive behaviors/obsessive fantasies are signifcantly reduced or nearly eliminated, then with sincere commitment, enough time, and the right therapist, the intimacy disorder can be treated and cured.

I believe this is true. I believe it is possible to treat/cure any learned pattern of behaviours, even those that are learned in the womb. (I just read “In the realm of hungry ghosts” for the first time, and I want to buy the book. Gabor Mate, the author, indicates that some people are emotionally traumatized in pre-birth. I agree with this notion, but I don’t think this means that such persons don’t have a fighting chance, as he seems to suggest). I agree that some people’s environments are such that they are more likely to develop unhealthy coping mechanisms, which is what all addictions and intimacy disorders (and I’d even go far as to include other disorders of the mind) are—they are patterns of behaviour or thinking that developed adaptively to protect the individual from their environment, to promote their survival (although, especially with some addictions, this is counter-intuitive, but we are social creatures who need emotional connection. When that is thwarted, we have to protect ourselves and create that in some other way). These behaviours and thoughts only become maladaptive when they start to run the show; when the individual lacks awareness and unconsciously allows these coping mechanisms to define who they are through their identification with them. They stop seeing where the behaviours and thoughts end, and they begin. For some, sadly, this happens at such a young age that they cannot identify the initiating event(s). These are the persons for whom the task of overcoming is most difficult, I believe (but not impossible). I think many of our addicted partners would fall into this category. I think many of us would fall into this category (if we had awareness, we most likely would not have entered into relationship with people who are so unhealthy and unaware). This is no fault of our own. Sadly, society promotes lack of awareness, blind following, and all else that would have us maintain the status quo (ultimately, it's about homeostasis, and it matters little if the outcome is healthy as long as it ensures survival).

What there is to do os to continue to develop our awareness, to relieve ourselves of self-judgement and criticism for when we are not aware (and even for when we are aware but stubbornly make the same “stupid” mistakes we have unconsciously made many times before), and to continue in our commitment to be aware and responsible people. We don’t have to be “strong” (as I have realized “strong” can be a self-protective measure that we—or rather, I— came to identify with, and took on the idea that I had to be strong, that others expect me to be strong, etc…. it was a burden that led me to forsake other parts of myself. Am I strong? Yes. But do I have to be? No. Can I be vulnerable? Yes. Can I be scared? Yes. Can I want a partner who I can count on to have my back when I am not strong? Yes. Is it okay to ask for help? Well, I am working on that one… :w: ).

All this is to say that what we are going through, what they are going through, these are all processes. If we are committed to learning and growth, we will get through this. If they are committed to learning and growth, they will get through this. What recovery (and healing) comes down to, I am convinced, is motivation. In face of the challenges and work that it is to be conscious, aware, and intentional, do we want to be healthy and autonomous in our being? If the answer is an honest 'yes', then all there is to do is stay aligned to that path and we will get there, no matter if we diverge from time to time. What matters is the ultimate commitment, and what we do when we have diverged. If we excuse ourselves, or make justifications or try to blame others for our having diverged then we are not committed. I blame my h for the demise of our relationship, but I do not blame him for my sometimes unfavourable behaviour that resulted from of the demise of our relationship--that is for me to own and I do, because I am committed to my health. Leaving was also my choice and thus responsibility. I couldn't do anything about my h's choices and actions, and since he chose to continue in addiction and all the behaviours that follow (lying, manipulation, deceiving, blame-shifting, etc.) then I took action to remain aligned to my vision for health. My choice. My responsibility. Yet, the undoing of our marriage is his to own. He knew the boundaries, he knew (intellectually) where he was stuck and what he had to overcome, and he took the "easy" road, gave up on the possibility of recovery (if he ever truly embraced it, I don't know) and he chose to violate my bottom line boundaries--100% his doing. And, he continues to excuse himself, and won't take responsibility for the demise of our marriage (the demise of our marriage occurred well before he violated the bottom line boundaries, it occurred every time he acted out and chose to feed the addiction wolf).

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)


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2015 2:05 pm 
Offline
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 665
Coach Mel, so well said, all of your post. I also read Carnes' book, "Betrayal Bonds", based on one of your posts, and I found it to be challenging, but helpful.

Just as our partners are asked to put shame and guilt aside at the START of their recovery, I think we as well need to put aside our self-blame, self-questioning, and, I hate to say this, self-loathing. Thank goodness for my indivdual therapy with a compassionate therapist who never blames, never pathologizes, never shames me. We are working on understanding MY early childhood trauma and healing from that before even thinking about what happend in being married to a SA. (I'm also in marriage counseling and my husband is in indvidual therapy and I have to confess that anytime my husband or other counselor says something like "tell your therapist ...." I think, "Ha, ha, ha. We're focused on me, not you." Okay, I admit that is childish but it is also, well, so new! I'm focusing on me. That is exactly what I need to do right now).

I have learned, and this is not about blame or fault, that I did not have the sense of self to set boundaries, to see the abuse (I didn't even recognize it as such for so long). I tolerated and accepted such deprivation and abandonment. Very painful to realize. But, also, the clarity of my "why" is very healing. Just as my husband developed his destructive behaviors to cope, I did as well. Now, I do believe I am much less destructive; much less cruel and selfish; much less immoral. But, I was way, way too selfless in every sense of the word. With work and, yes, awareness, and the care and guidance I am receiving, I am healing.

Sadly, I lived in a sexless and loveless marriage for way too long. I do think my husband craves a connection, real emotional and sexual intimacy, but is terrified of it and clueless on how to do it. Can he get over his terror? Can he learn how to be vulnerable? Honest? Aware? Able to achieve true intimacy? I don't know. All three of the professionals we are seeing say it is possible. But, it is unpredictable. It is a risk.

And, in my darkest hours, I question my capabilities. I know of my fear of abandonment. I know of my inability to recognize healthy behavior (icky, but understandable and definitely treatable). So I am saying this with complete vulnerability. Here is what I know as well. I AM a loving person. I do behave in loving ways. I have, through no fault of my own, not abandoned my husband or failed to love him; I abandoned and failed to love myself. Now he could not recognize my love nor did he value it due to his own stuff. But, that did not make me any less loving, any less worthy, any less desirable. It's been incredibly easy for me to recognize all of this on an intellectual level, but very challenging to get it at a core emotional level. I am getting it now. It is incredibly healing.

So, this journey we are on is long and challenging, but so worth it. I do think it is so important to be gentle with ourselves.

With compassion,
dnell


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 1:12 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon May 29, 2017 1:20 am
Posts: 1
Eating disorders and addictions frequently develop during stressful times in an effort to cope with difficult emotions or to self-medicate underlying mental health issues such as depression or anxiety.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 9:56 am 
Offline
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:38 pm
Posts: 515
This is a rich discussion. Mom25, thank you for starting it and for sharing the difficulties you face.

I'll throw my hat in the ring and say anorexia has been, and to an extent, continues to be an issue in my marriage. As I read the responses here, especially CoachMel's, I found myself speculating that there is a two-track (parallel, and in tandem, and often interrelated) pathology in play for many of our partners: the addiction/compulsive acting out, AND the intimacy disorder.

While one may inform or bring further leverage to the other, I've seen in my own marriage that my husband working on his sex addiction behaviors (through the help, mainly ,of the workshop here) doesn't necessarily resolve the intimacy disorder issues.

I sigh with sadness as I write that because my reality is as complex as the stories here. Dnell, your experiences in particular echo my own: my own self-esteem and boundary issues were just obliterated by my husband's behaviors, whereas in a healthier relationship, those issues may have either been resolved or strengthened by me.

Because many of us shifted, in almost a physiological way, to a fight or flight response, our own growth and work on our personal issues (e.g. self-esteem and body issues brought on by own experiences and by the culture that surrounds us) were sidelined for putting out the fires brought into our relationships by our partners acting out behaviors.

I do know I came into my marriage, early on, with a very healthy sexual appetite, and while that became imbued with unhealthy behavior on my part over the years (me associating whether my husband desired me with whether I was actually desirable, for example), to this day I still have a great yearning and desire for a creative, fun, spontaneous, juicy sex life. I also finally truly like myself, my body, and who I am as a person.

My husband, while certainly vastly improved in both not acting out and in developing better communication and intimacy skills with me, is not there. He is not at that level of open sexual communication and playful planning.

To his credit he now tries hard to pre-plan and ask for a physically intimate evening between us. When we are intimate together, he is present and vulnerable. The part of me that values emotional closeness appreciates this.

But the part of me who values sexual spontaneity, fun, and playfulness is woefully under serviced.

I do not know if that will ever change in this regard, and there is a grief that goes along with that. There are things such as an online quiz to 'match' your sexual play fantasies with your partners that I am reluctant to share with my husband because of his underlying compulsions and the influence of the content of that quiz on his compulsive nature. A year out from recovery work and he still has a long way to go. With another partner, void of those addiction issues, that quiz would be perfectly healthy and fun to do.

How do we partners who value sex and desire a rich, nuanced sex life cope? From what I've read of Jon's own writing, he did have the capacity and motivation to change and have a rich sex life with his wife, post sex addiction. He's the only person I've heard of who had sex addiction who managed to grow to that point and level of sexual health. I hope someday I can write here and report that yes, my husband is now a fully integrated, healthy sexual person (or, at least that he's sexually mature and we have an active and interesting sex life). But for now? No. Not there.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 11:44 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2016 3:22 am
Posts: 163
Sadly I believe my husbands Sa comes from intimacy issues, I have suffered from his sexual anorexia for all our relationship..innocently,thinking he loved me as I loved him,I gave him excuses..shy,inexperienced, no privacy..respect..working too hard,stress..children..onto blaming myself..where my self esteem and self worth,nosedived, hitting rock bottom on the discoveries that he was actually very sexualised..yet didnt want me to be sexual at all, or have any part of his sexual needs and just seemed blind to the fact I may have needs.
I see part of his issues are control related, almost a sadism in leading me on to humiliate me..or make me look desperate..i don't recall one time he ever told me he needed me,wanted me..even now its still ..you can touch me if you want..
I also went into this relationship with a healthy,non prudish appetite for sex,fun,open,honest,playful..to be made to feel I was abnormal by him
I am so thankful I woke up, and started healing myself tbh..i fully realise he probably will never change,the intimacy issues are deep rooted and he is so shut off that I cannot even broach these deep discussions. See


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 11 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group