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 Post subject: Faking recovery...again!
PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 12:27 pm 
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So... D-Day #6(?) was yesterday. Like usual, my hunch was correct, and also like usual, about four weeks after the relapse began. Darn, I wish I could catch it a little faster. To be fair, though, I did become suspicious a month ago, but my husband's crazy-making denials and behaviors tripped me up and I took the bait like an amateur. I will NOT beat myself up about this, however.

My husband has repeatedly lied to me and faked being in recovery. We've been married 20 years, and he's been acting out for 4 years.

He has NEVER voluntarily admitted a lie or deception to me. I always just get the feeling something's not right, and find it out on my own. That really hurts, because his recovery plan states he will tell me about relapses within 24 hours. Not once has he done that.

This is the latest: three months ago I caught him with a secret phone, and he admitted he had not been in recovery for some time. I suggested RN (again ), and he began the self-guided program. He played the role well- showed classic signs of withdrawal, worked on his RN program, sent me copies of things that really struck him as being relevant, etc.

But I could feel an underlying resistance and defensiveness. Impatience. Perhaps some resentment?

This is not my first rodeo, but I am trying so hard to move on, to learn to trust again!

He said he wanted to explore outside interests, and announced he was going out with some people from his gym. I joked, why are you getting so dolled up? Defensive posture, he says everyone likes to look nice when they go out. I tell him I'm feeling insecure, panicked, and triggered by him going out alone, but I assure him I'm working on those feelings. !!!!!!!!!!!!! He stood there and let me say those things, when in reality he was going to meet some Craigslist woman for dinner. Of course.

What kills me is I questioned his timeline. I told him it didn't make sense why the people from the gym were going out...they had just hosted a get-together the night before. (Yes, I checked the gym's website for that information. This is what happens when you're married to a liar.)

So, the seed of suspicion was planted. Yesterday I took the dive and did a full scale sweep. I found a secret messaging app on his phone, protected by a hard core blocking protocol. I figured out how to see when he sent messages- basically all the time for over a month. Even when I was in the hospital!

What kills me is how smooth and centered his RN posts are. Other members have even applauded his hard work and insightful comments!

My question is this: Has anyone ever seen an addict with this advanced ability to compartmentalize and lie actually be successful in a recovery situation?


Last edited by TheStoic on Sun Apr 23, 2017 4:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:20 pm 
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TheStoic -

I am so sorry. Truly sorry. It is so painful.

And with compassion, I wonder if you really want this to be a "both sides" post.

If an addict is truly sincere about recovery, and they commit to the hard work, they can recover. It sounds like your husband is not truly committed to recovery. And, as we painfully know, there is nothing you can do about his sincerity or recovery work.

So the question for me is what is in your best interest? What are your bottom line boundaries or values? Mine have changed over time. I had to really come to grips with figuring out what would make me stay with or leave my husband. I started individual counseling with a very good therapist who has helped me in so many ways. I would encourage you to seek out additional healing and support resources.

The good news for you is that you are trusting your intuition. The painful news, of course, is that you've been right that your husband is still acting out.

I have learned that it is nothing but pain if I wait for my husband to recover and achieve health. Rather, I have to wait for me to heal, to find peace and joy, to regain my life. As I focus more on me, the answers to what to do about my marriage become more and more clear. I now know I do not want to be married to an active addict, nor a sober but immature and unhealthy man. I know that addiction recovery isn't a straight line. But, there should be clear, observable progress and change in behavior. We can not trust the words that our partners say. We must look at behavior. And at some point, that's exhausting and soul killing in itself. I don't want to forever be verifying my husband's words, or looking for relapse signs. Ultimately, if my husband does not recover or achieve health, I have two options: detach and stay, or detach and go.

I found I had to regain strength, a sense of personal control, and emotional equilibrium before I could start planning what to do with my life in response to my husband's addiction. Please focus on yourself and your well being. Detaching was crucial for me to begin to heal.

With compassion,
dnell


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 9:29 pm 
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Nothing to say but ..........Well said, dnell!!!!

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It is always OK in the end...if it's not OK, it's not the end!


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 9:29 pm 
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Nothing to say but ..........Well said, dnell!!!!

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It is always OK in the end...if it's not OK, it's not the end!


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 3:51 am 
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So true,dnell.
All we can do is heal,and learn about ourselves.
It takes tine, but the more I detach emotionally from my husband and genuinely see him, see me,and rebuild my self, the clearer things become.
In a perverse way,the last d day did me a favour after a lifetime of going in circles of self blame etc. I am gaining such insight into myself at last, and becoming aware of what I expect and deserve. I spent too long hoping husband would change.. When it is about us changing.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 3:11 pm 
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dnell covered the most important things, including, crucially, focusing on yourself and your well being.

When I first was advised of that by other partners, there was a defensive part of me that read it to mean I shouldn't let my husband's behavior's bother me, and I should ignore what he's doing. And that's not the case. It's more that when you focus on your own wellness above and beyond ANYTHING else, your capacity and strength to make the wisest decisions for yourself and your future based on both your needs and your husband's behaviors, becomes a lot easier.

Quote:
I joked, why are you getting so dolled up? Defensive posture, he says everyone likes to look nice when they go out. I tell him I'm feeling insecure, panicked, and triggered by him going out alone, but I assure him I'm working on those feelings. !!!!!!!!!!!!! He stood there and let me say those things, when in reality he was going to meet some Craigslist woman for dinner.


I understand too well that feeling of feeling like WE need to be the ones to "fix" on our feelings in terms of their effects on our partners. But, we don't. Not for that reason anyway. I know. I easier said than done. We need to work on strength for ourselves -- strengthening our values, understanding our triggers, putting self-care first. But, that doesn't mean we eed to live in a vacuum and not tell our partners when they behave in a way that causes suspicion. In a healthy relationship, each partner can safely and openly share when such feelings arise, and be generally met with compassion, openness, and an honest conversation that facilitates growth. It is only because of your husband's prior choices, his current gaslighting and manipulations that you are left feeling like it's YOU who needs to work on things, when in reality, your husband is acting out.

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My question is this: Has anyone ever seen an addict with this advanced ability to compartmentalize and lie actually be successful in a recovery situation?


I cannot speak for my own situation, but I care share what I know of friends who have been down this path.

In a word, no.

I remember a coach on here who I think wrote once, "if he's not in recovery, he's lying."

While authentic recovery involves bumbles, especially in the realm of learning the skills of maturity and management of emotions and life's responsibilities,, and it involves some continued compartmentalization until they are further along, real recovery does not involve the level of deception and acting out your husband is in. He is lying to both you and possibly to himself.

And I am so sorry for the havoc this has -- yet again -- wrecked upon your life. I understand how much of a letdown this must feel, and even if you are stronger, it can be destabilizing.

With empathy, I encourage you to find a way to regain some stability this coming week. Walks in nature, time alone in a coffee shop--whatever may help you gain some inner peace and bits of strength. For me, it involves time away from my husband. From that place, I can think more clearly, and make the best decisions for myself.

thinking of you,
meepmeep


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 4:38 pm 
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Thank you, everyone, for your helpful, caring and supportive comments regarding my post.

I feel that I have detached from my husband’s addiction, in the sense that I know that is has absolutely nothing to do with me, and that my decision to stay or go is deliberate, thoughtful, and conscious of my boundaries.

I believe I could work with him forever, if he’d actually enter recovery. But he just won’t. Worse, he insists that he HAS been in recovery, just not “completely.” Well, that’s denial, if I ever saw it.

I think my main problem now is that I love my husband and the life we’ve built together, the way we raise our kids, the way we interact on a daily basis. He’s funny, sweet, and a good dad. And a liar. That last part, again and again, negates everything that I fundamentally appreciate about how I see our marriage. It’s a paradox.

We have a creekside property that we spend weekends at. We just finished restoring a vintage trailer. We go camping, and rock-hounding and honestly enjoy being together. Except he’s secretly acting out and lying to me…

I wanted to retire to that creekside cabin. With him. When we divorce, we’ll have to sell the family home, the cabin, the trailer. My entire life, and the things that have brought me joy and comfort and hope will be gone.

But, I just cannot be in love with a liar. I can interact and communicate with a liar. I can hang out and watch movies with a liar. I can even go camping and sit by the creek with a liar. But I can never authentically be in love with a liar, and my deepest soul knows this.

And as everyone knows, you can’t prove the absence of something. Meaning, the endless desire to know if he’s lying is destined to be fruitless, because you cannot know if a person is lying or not- even when they are “confessing.”

I suppose, if I ever have another relationship, I will have to discover if I can accept any statement as truth again. Just more scars.

I am done this time. I will work on a six month plan for selling the house and moving on. I just can’t stop crying though.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 3:08 pm 
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I applaud your clarity, TheStoic. I haven't been on here for months or more, but I pop in every once in a while.

I wanted to give you a few words of hope. My divorce was final almost a year ago, though we are still in the middle of a custody evaluation and custody hasn't been settled. It's been a long road that isn't over yet.

I went through a similar process of purging--selling land, furnishings, vehicles, and pretty much everything. At the time, it felt insurmountable, but in retrospect, it was a necessary part of the grieving. In letting go of the things we shared, I was able to start fresh, and now I don't have daily reminders of our life together. I have one last toaster sitting in the trunk of my car to take to Goodwill. It's perfectly fine, but it was a gift from him when I moved out, and I just don't want that reminder any more.

So while the process of moving on is daunting and excruciating, it's also healing. I took only the things that bring me joy and let the rest go. It took me at least a year before I could even talk about it without crying, so as far as not being able to stop crying, I can say that it might not stop, but the periods of grace in between get longer and deeper.

I commend the courageous partners who have taken on their healing while staying with their partners, but I believe wholeheartedly that I would not have been able to recover myself so surely if I had stayed with my partner. Keep moving forward (whether you stay, go, or wait and see). Nobody will ever be able to take away the skills you are building while you are crying your way through the healing.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 1:41 am 
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Thank you so much, RisingtoChallenge, for your insight into my current situation. I have been looking around the family home the last couple of days and actually finding some comfort in the idea of being rid of the physical objects that link so strongly and painfully to this truly sad outcome.

I asked my husband to move out. What breaks my heart most of all is to see that he's actually *relieved* to be free of me and our relationship; now he can do whatever he wants, without the burden of another person's feelings getting in the way. My stomach aches when I allow myself to consider how little he's valued the support and loyalty I have offered him for four years of acting out- and lying about being in recovery. I realize he completely took for granted that I would always just be there, and even now he wants to know if I want to "vent" to him. No, I said, I do not want to vent to you. The time for talking and talking and talking, only to be deceived in the end, is over. I refuse to feed his need for an emotional "fix" in the form of once again bearing witness to his own ability to hurt me! Never again.

I am working on a list of my short-term relationship boundaries to begin to define our separation for these first few weeks, so that I can give myself the safe space and emotional reprieve that I need right now. This roller coaster ride has been long and tiring.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 7:50 am 
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TheStoic, you sound strong and clear. I send you my virtual embrace.

There are so many painful realities about being a partner of a sex addict. And the clarity that comes from the awareness is healing for me, but also deeply painful. It overwhelms me at times. And the reality is that in his full blown and progressing addiction, my husband really didn't care about me at all. As Jon says, he valued the roles I played. But caring about me and my feelings? That wasn't on his screen. My husband's self absorption is stunning. It's hard to untangle how much of that is due to immaturity, addiction or narcissism. And he has been uncaring. I do believe this addiction is an intimacy disorder.

I understand the relief of being away from us. In my husband's mind I was an obstacle to his pursuit of his "perfect one", his porn use, his fantasy life...all of his acting out. And my husband was a blamer. He blamed me for everything. If he went out for a bike ride and it rained, he blamed me. This is nuts. But it is what he believed. Even in his recovery, he has a hard time letting go of blaming. I see this as an unhealthy and immature way to handle not taking responsibility for his behavior and his life. I also believe it's based in shame.

If they aren't truly narcissists, I do think our addicted partners don't value themselves. They don't respect us, but they also have little to no self respect. Over the years I felt my husband's insatiable need for...what? Filling the hole in him. Making him feel good about himself. Admiring him. Making him feel desirable and powerful. Lovable and worthy. No one can do this, of course. He needed to have that when he was young, and now he needs to work on his own recovery and health. I didn't feel love from him. Sadly, for me, my marriage counselors believed my husband's lies and would tell me how much he loved me. I think part of him wanted to, but not really. He didn't know how. And his emotional bond was with porn, fantasy and compulsive masturbation. That's where my husband lived his emotional life and where he found his safe "connection." It's all so sad and tragic.

But I have also become aware of my relief. And you mention this as well. That is the relief from distrancing myself from this addiction and the craziness of it. The relief of finally creating bounaries and not tolerating the blaming and other abuse.

And I realize that my husband truly didn't and doesn't know me. He really didn't see me. Just like he doesn't really see or know his fantasy objects. Who knows what he saw and believed about me, but I know it wasn't true.

dnell


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 12:05 am 
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Thank you so much, dnell, for sharing your personal experiences with me. Right now, I am feeling the full impact of the lack of consideration my husband has had for me for some time.

Your statement that your husband doesn’t even know you rings so true to me. Time and time again, my husband was unable to trust me- refusing to confide his relapses to me- because he was so certain he “knew” how I would respond. He would not accept that I was centered, patient, and accepting of his flaws.

Maybe he would not accept those things about me, because he’d never felt that way himself? His low self-esteem and fear based thinking so clearly made it impossible for him to enter into an authentic relationship based on mutual trust and respect.

dnell wrote:
Over the years I felt my husband's insatiable need for...what? Filling the hole in him. Making him feel good about himself. Admiring him. Making him feel desirable and powerful. Lovable and worthy. No one can do this, of course. He needed to have that when he was young, and now he needs to work on his own recovery and health.


I cannot agree more.

Thank you again for sharing.
~TheStoic


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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 1:37 pm 
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So, the icing on the cake is that now my husband says he isn't sure how much of his problem is love addiction, and how much of it is just that he feels like he "wants different things in a romantic relationship" than I do. As far as I can see, the only difference between what he wants and what I want, is that I want him to be in recovery and he wants to avoid recovery.

It seems to me that to justify turning his back on recovery (he’s not going onto RN anymore), he’s chosen to succumb to his addiction by going completely off the rails full speed into divorce.

I think he believes that if he was with a more romantically demonstrative woman (who he hasn’t lied to yet) who was into lots of exotic sex, who told him how wonderful and strong and sexy he is, that he wouldn’t have a problem with honesty, fidelity, etc. But it’s obvious to me that although he might be able to mask the symptoms of his addiction for a while in an environment like that, the frenetic need to constantly have such a lifestyle affirmed would be exhausting for both himself as well as his new partner. And then what? Relapse, I imagine.

As meepmeep wrote in response to one of my older posts:

“A person with a strong foundation, a developed value system, with emotional maturity and insight into themselves, is highly unlikely to engage in the ongoing deceptive behaviors you describe with your husband. “

Yes, I believe that! I just need to keep reminding myself that it is true.

I'm struggling with anger issues. I know that his addict’s mind will grasp at anything to justify his actions, including divorcing me, without him needing to change himself. I really do know it, but right now that doesn’t make it hurt any worse.

The child inside me is stomping my feet and screaming, “Why don’t you want me anymore?!” My adult says, “It’s not about you. Go live your life!” I’m trying.

Also, beyond beginning to deny his addiction, I have another concern:

I saw him today to discuss dividing the household in preparation for divorce, and he’s acting creepily upbeat. Has anyone ever had a SA/LA spouse who was also diagnosed with bipolar or borderline personality? He’s acting so weird and detached, I’m just wondering if it’s just the addiction letting his mind “check out” or if there’s something else going on?


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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 6:32 pm 
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TheStoic:

Those are some rough waters you're in. Internally, with your own emotions, and externally, in terms of the reactions and behaviors you're witnessing with your husband with regards to your decision to divorce.

Quote:
I think he believes that if he was with a more romantically demonstrative woman (who he hasn’t lied to yet) who was into lots of exotic sex, who told him how wonderful and strong and sexy he is, that he wouldn’t have a problem with honesty, fidelity, etc.

I haven't personally experienced this in my r/s but others (I think dnell has talked about how her husband kept searching for a 'perfect one') has. This is part and parcel of the life immersed in fantasy as a soothing and emotional regulation mechanism. He is STILL living in fantasy with this mindset.

Yet, as you have noted, it doesn't mean it doesn't affect us. Even when we can logically see this is the case, we have parts of us that are torn and bruised, and hurt from these statements and behaviors. That is human, and arguably, healthy.

As for him acting upbeat: part of addiction is about emotional stimulation--highs and lows. What you see could be part of this. WHo knows. I think until the addictive behavior is addressed, it's very difficult to see whether there's an underlying greater issue (e.g. pathology) at play.

It may be helpful for you to understand your husband is living in a very different reality than you right now, and you two are unlikely to speak the 'same language' so to speak. Focus on protecting yourself emotionally -- and otherwise -- as much as possible.

with compassion,
meepmeep


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