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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 10:49 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 6:13 pm
Posts: 27
I was on the forums some years ago and worked through many of the partner's lessons before switching over to local face to face support. Things seemed to improve, were stable for 2 years, and I had real hope for the SA I'm married to....but, he has relapsed for 4+ months and he is unraveling. This is event #4 and really serious event #3 over an 8 year period. I stuck to my boundaries and asked him to leave the house, as decided for relapse. The initial period agreed on was for 1 week with no contact and then phone contact to begin addressing things.

So fast forward to now and he is in crises, freshly out of the house and my 14 year old is asking me what he could have done that caused this situation. So far, I've explained that there are some issues that her Dad and I have in our relationship, he crossed a boundary that he promised not to and I had to follow through with the action he and I agreed on. As a 14 year old, there are parts of our separation that she will need to know about and other things that we prefer not to share with her now, but will share them at a future date if it is still important to her.

My concern in identifying sexual addiction or discussing pornography will result in this bright, very curious child to search out porn and sex addiction on the internet to figure out more about
what and why her Dad is doing what he is doing....and this horrible cycle could repeat itself because my beautiful child has been exposed to images that her developing personality and psyche should not have to see. I have filters on our home computers, but the kid is smart and I believe that she would seek it out elsewhere (friend's house, etc.). She also seems to share some of her Dad's addictive traits and tendency to escapism, so I am mindful to work with her as I can to become self-aware and aware of her personal habits.

So...can we just tell her that Dad is struggling with addiction at this time? What is age appropriate? We also have an 11 year old, sigh.

On the lightest note of all for me....I believe I have grown enough now to see that my SA is at a point where he needs to be living in the world on his own, apart from us. This time, for me, it feels like divorce will be the likely outcome, but I am open to being surprised by him finally digging seriously into his recovery during the required separation period before divorce filing can occur and truly engaging in a relationship with me.

Thanks for your thoughts!
Phoenix


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2016 9:02 am 
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Partner's Mentor

Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:38 pm
Posts: 515
Dear Phoenix,
First, I want to honor you for upholding your boundaries, and for how grounded and clear you come across. In the midst of what is a very taxing and stressful situation, your outlook seems healthy and balanced. I'm so sorry for this recent turn of events in your life and in your children's lives.

Now might be a good time to explore your values as a parent. Where does honesty and transparency fit within your parenting model, and do you scale age-appropriate disclosures (on any topic of issue)?

One of the things I wonder, and this is not me attempting to sway you either way, is if you have some valid concerns about your 14-year-old's curiosity and capacity to handle information, is it necessary to tell her her father has an addiction? I'm remembering me at 14, and even if specifics of the addiction weren't given to me, that information may well have really set me off on a goose chase in terms of poking around.

Your daughter is, hopefully, on the cusp of developing more mature adult skills. I was about 16-17 when I got out of a rebellious phase and began taking serious responsibility for my life. She may get there by that time, or may not.

There is also an opportunity for you to consider how to honor your values of parenting. For example, let's say you decide that disclosing there's an issue with addiction is not appropriate for your daughter's development cycle. Is there an opportunity, though, for discussion of boundaries, of what you model when someone breaks boundaries, and how critical boundaries are as a life skill> Your daughter may push for more information on what boundary was broken, and if it's in alignment for you, you might tell her that one of your values is privacy, and there are aspects of your marriage you consider to be private and between yourself and your husband. YOu might use the discussion as a way to explain it can be difficult to balance privacy with, say, your value of honesty. You could model for your daughter how value systems are not always black and white, and that we may need to decide to place one value at a higher level than another in a given situation.

You might explain how, as she grows into adulthood, she may also decide to value privacy in her intimate relationships. It could turn into a discussion about your daughter and her friends. PErhaps a query about trust, and asking if a friend has ever broken her trust and violated her privacy.

In shifting the discussion to life skills for your daughter, you may also help guide where her focus lies--in pondering value systems versus pondering the 'specifics' of her father's behaviors.

As she ages and develops maturity, you may find you choose to discuss with her issues surrounding sexual addiction, the use of porn in modern society, etc.

My parents didn't tell me everything about their marriage. Even as an adult, I didn't find out the private details behind their split. It's okay for some things to remain private between adults. It's your decision to share what feels right for you, for your daughter, and for the situation.

Sending you a big, virtual hug and encouragement,
Meep


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2016 9:58 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 6:13 pm
Posts: 27
Thanks Meep,

I really like the notion of focusing on boundaries as a life skill and drawing the conversation back to her own experience of boundaries and boundary violation. I can work with this idea as well as
the privacy versus honesty and the prioritization of things. The counselor didn't come up with this and wasn't really sure how to handle it with the SA versus alcohol or drugs.

I have a solid, open, honest relationship with my kids and their experience of me is as a truth-teller. So when I told my daughter that it was something between her father and I and checked back
in with her a few days later to insure she was not blaming herself, she looked at me and said, "No Mom, why would I think that? You told me it was something that Dad did and you didn't say anything about me, so I don't think I'm part of the reason he left the house."

Thanks again,
Phoenix


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2016 8:38 am 
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Partner's Coach (Admin)

Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2007 3:07 pm
Posts: 5200
Hello phoenixlady,

Another thing to consider (that applies to any subject matter) is that she will learn about things from other sources (her peers, media, the world at large). I am not necessarily saying you should tell her that her dad is addicted to pornography, but it would none the less be a good idea to have conversations about pornography and addiction, just as you would about any other "vices". More important and valuable (in my opinion), as meep meep pointed out, is talking about other important life skills such as boundaries, delayed gratification, self-regulating emotions in a healthy way, and values (your values, her values, values other people might hold and intentionally or otherwise, values society holds). Facilitating the development of your children’s capacity to think critically is of utmost importance, in my opinion. Such conversations do not necessarily have to happen in the context of a discussion about “why is my dad not here”. She may very well put two and two together, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The important thing is that you are communicating what you want her to learn in a way that is digestible to her. I don't think it would necessarily be digestible to hear "your dad is a sex addict". It is really great that you have an open and honest relationship with your children and you are in a great position to have all of these conversations with both of your children, (and before they form strong opinions of their own based on external sources).

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: Mon Nov 07, 2016 2:46 pm 
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Partner's Mentor

Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:22 pm
Posts: 124
Hello phoenixlady,

It has been a year or more maybe since I've been on the forum. I check back in from time to time and see how beautifully Coach Mel, dnell, and meepmeep continue to support this forum, so I rarely have much to add that hasn't already been said. Shout out to them for their tireless commitment to this group.

It's heartbreaking knowing that kids are aware of something going on without being able to put a finger on it. My values struggle was between wanting to be a reliable source of the truth for my kids and shielding them from damage to their own sexuality while barely on the verge of puberty.

I wanted to recommend an article that was critical for me in figuring out how to navigate this with my kids, now ages 13, 11, and 9. I gave a copy to our therapist, who has been great at supporting us through. It's really the only piece of clear, evidence-based information about disclosure to children that I've found anywhere. Hope you find it useful.

http://66.199.228.237/Sexual_Addiction/ ... ildren.pdf


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2016 7:18 am 
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Partner's Coach (Admin)

Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2007 3:07 pm
Posts: 5200
I have read through the article a few times and I think it offers some very useful information that people can refer to when choosing if, when and how to disclose (what to say). One thing I would suggest altering is the use of language around what is right and wrong. I think, for the sake of the child especially, it is important to steer clear from saying things like "Your father engaged in this behaviour which was wrong". I think this risks lays the foundation for blame and shame, sets the stage for damaging relationships by creating "sides". Instead, I would say "Your father repeatedly engaged in this behaviour" and then explain the impacts on the values of others that make it wrong for you, as opposed to inherently wrong, i.e. except in cases where there is a clear wrong such as breaking the law. That said, I would still explain the impacts on others which will facilitate critical thinking and development of emotional maturity when it comes to their own behaviours, choices and the impact on others.

Thank you for sharing!

_________________
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: Mon Nov 21, 2016 8:57 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 6:13 pm
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Thanks for the additional comment regarding "wrong" versus simply identifying the behavior. I think its the "repeatedly" part, the reasons why the behavior was sought repeatedly and the impacts on others that do standout more than the wrong part.

Thanks


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