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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 2:24 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2017 3:32 pm
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Hi, I'm newly signed up to RN but I've been following the board and doing the workshops for a year now, at home privately. I am in awe of the wisdom of the people in this forum. I am after some perspective on my boundaries.
My SA Partner is a voyeur, D day was his arrest. Upon his arrest I discovered that part of his voyeurism involved filming me at home without my consent or knowledge(a lot!), so a boundary I have is for him to have no cameras or smart phones in our house . His vast hoard of porn was taken by the police and our house searched for devices and disks so I have also set the boundary of no internet device in the house, work laptop with company secure firewall etc accepted, as I trust he would not use that to hoard with.
He has been very reluctant to accept any of this, even when I explain it will help me to feel safer at home. He says this is controlling, I start to doubt myself. All I see I am seeking any control over is him not having the facility to film me or hoard images in my home that risks the interest of the police again. I am not prepared to open myself up to that risk again. And by stating that I am not prepared to live with him unless these boundaries are respected then that is 'making threats', he says.
Am I getting this boundaries thing all wrong? Should I not be attempting to influence this at all and just choose to tollerate or not tollerate what he does with no house rules from me? Am I just creating an artificial feeling of safety as when he gets any chance out will come the cameras again? Am I just deluding myself I have a clue whats going on, as the cameras can be tiny, I never spotted them. If I simply say no filiming me and no porn in the house as a boundary, it seems futile as I have no idea if he has crossed that line or not.
The more I think this over the more I am not clearly seeing where the division between control and healthy boundaries lies, any input, clarity and perspective gratefully accepted :g:


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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 6:18 pm 
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Partner's Mentor

Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:38 pm
Posts: 515
hi, mugggle, and welcome.

Quote:
He says this is controlling, I start to doubt myself.

this has been the experience of MANY partners here--the deflection and blameshifting back to us, causing us destabilization and self-doubt.

You are not being controlling. I promise.

You have the right to have restrictions in your home based on
a) your own values and needs, including your emotional needs (this does not make you weak, controlling, or any other 'negative' term your partner may throw at you) and
b) based on the problematic behaviors/compulsive choices of the addicted person.

Example:
a person with addiction has shown repeated compulsive sexual use around facebook. His partner, in turn, has a boundary around facebook: no more use of facebook. This is a wholly reasonable boundary. It is not controlling.

Another example:
an alcoholic's husband has the boundary of no alcohol in the home, based on the wife's abuse of alcohol in the past. This is not controlling. It is a boundary related to the behaviors of the addicted person as well as the emotional and safety needs of hte partner.

Mugggle, you have the right to whatever boundaries you see fit for your safety and sanity.

it is emphatically not up to you to shift your boundary lines in response to your partner's manipulative attempts to have you do so. It is not up to you to become 'more comfortable' to make your partner feel better.

Bluntly, and with compassion, your husband's responses indicate to me he is not in recovery and is still in denial.

Finally, but perhaps most critically, your husband filmed YOU. His behavior is no longer isolated to his own immaturity and compulsions but rather marked a significant and measurable negative impact on your own life.

You can bet I'd be making the same boundaries you did, especially to protect my own privacy and safety. This is what you are doing.

You are not being controlling. You are taking care of your values, your safety, your privacy.

One more thing: while our boundaries are imperative, you are right in the sense that modern technology means it is challenging, at best, to know all that teh addicted person is up to. This is why recovery is the better metric for us to use to determine if our partners are maturing and becoming healthy. Simply "stopping" is not enough. Recovery is proactive, it is measurable. It involves a lot of work on the addicted person's part. It sounds like your husband is not in recovery, and until he is, I am so sorry to say that he is likely to be either white knuckling it and/or continuing a life of deception.

Your needs are valid, and are essential for your own health, mugggle. Only you get to decide what your needs are. Each of us gets to decide this for ourselves. No one -- not even our partners or husbands -- can do this for us or get to define us. I want to encourage you to begin to tell yourself each day, "I am worthy. My needs are valid. My boundaries are valid." Simply repeat these phrases each day and continue to return to the workshop to solidify your self esteem and values.

warmly,
meepmeep


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PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2017 3:37 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2016 3:22 am
Posts: 163
One of the main ways my husband crossed my boundaries was to shame me with the..you are controlling comeback. Most of the time he didn't come straight out with it,but went on and on about not being able to do something important..because I was stopping him...ie, I blocked porn on the pc,and all he did was get angry that he couldn't check emails etc, that he may as well not do anything on the pc, etc..if I even commented on when he would be back from somewhere,he would launch into ..why didnt I go with him, couldn't he go anywhere..should he check in and out. I felt so guilty for even saying anything or doing anything regarding boundaries as I didn't want to be seen as controlling..even though I had never been tbh. Only trying to set a boundary or want to know for an innocent reason..ie getting dinner ready.
I realise this shaming let him do what he wanted, or made me feel guilty .. And that even had me encouraging him to break my boundaries...ones I know I have deep down, to prove to him that I wasn't the controlling person he was making me out to be.


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PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2017 5:55 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 665
muggle, I agree with the thoughtful posts here. You are not doing anything wrong. You aren't being controlling or unreasonable. You are protecting yourself. Reasonably. Boundaries aren't about punishment or control of others; they are about protecting ourselves. My husband and many of the men (we do have male partners here of female addicts, but I'm speaking of the women who have posted here) we are involved with won't accept our boundaries. They are too selfish and immature. And, I now realize how controlling they are. My husband blames me for a lot...in the past, nearly everything. I was the reason he was unhappy, unfulfilled, boring...you name it. And, in active addiction, they are protecting their addiction and see us as an obstacle to get what they want.

I have come to realize just how much effort my husband puts into controlling me. He isn't direct with asking for what he wants. And he was afraid to really ask for what he wanted, which was "take care of all of my stuff while I go out and search for the perfect one and flirt and create intrigue and withhold sex and love from you and stay out of my way but do my laundry and feed me." Kind of hard to say that out loud.

And, here's the painful part for me. This blaming and controlling...it worked. It wore me down. It was just too exhausting to fight back with all the crazy, irrational and unreasonable and abusive blaming and shaming my husband did to me. My husband chipped away at me and my boundaries and I let it happen. You have a right not to be filmed against your consent. Period. It's not a question. He already violated this boundary. Insisting on no cameras is beyond reasonable. It is required. And I know how it feels to start to question this. I really do.

I wish us all strength and clarity as we heal.

dnell


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PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2017 10:36 am 
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Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:38 pm
Posts: 515
dnell wrote:
And, here's the painful part for me. This blaming and controlling...it worked. It wore me down. It was just too exhausting to fight back with all the crazy, irrational and unreasonable and abusive blaming and shaming my husband did to me. My husband chipped away at me and my boundaries and I let it happen.


dnell's point here is profound and worth bringing further attention to.

Many of us reach a breaking point that comes after years of confusion and really immature, controlling, manipulative behaviors on the part of our husbands/partners. And when we're at that point, the idea of upholding boundaries in an exhausted state is often too much for us to consider.

This is part of why dnell, I, and others strongly advocate that we partners focus on ourselves. It is to help us regain strength, resiliency and self-worth so that we are willing and able to uphold our boundaries and values.

If any partner reading this is not there yet (and, I speak somewhat for myself, though thankfully I find it easier to speak up for me than it was years ago) do not blame yourself. It is not a weakness. If upholding boundaries is a struggle for you, this is far more reflective of years of abuse and betrayal you've endured than it is about a deficit in you.


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PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2017 4:50 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2017 3:32 pm
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Thank you ladies, I am so glad I reached out to you and your replies have given me a lot of much needed clarity - much needed to counterbalance the crazy! Yes, meepmeep I too suspect his recovery is not going very far yet, he is trying , or perhaps trying to look like he is, I am not sure. So this increases my need for other ways of finding more safety. Thank you for your thoughtful and kind reply.
Jenny56, you are right it does feel shaming to be given that label, I hadn't thought of it that way but it is how I feel as I do not want that role or to be thought of in that way. Limitations to his addiction seem to prompt a lot of petulant foot stamping as if I dreamed it up out of nowhere for no reason (as if a new electronic gadget is worth more than your loved one's safety and trust?!)
Dnell, my partner uses blaming me to let himself off the hook a lot. He really does feel a victim in this, I don't think he even means to control by this behaviour, he really believes he isn't deserving of the consequences of his actions and is reacting within that false reality. And I totally get the "take care of my stuff while ...." I feel he sees people around him as serving roles in his life, mostly to be responsible for stuff and choices so he doesn't have to be. I don't believe he means to manipulate as such, more that he doesn't understand why anyone else will not particpiate in his version of reality, as if it's their problem for being over sensitive or having it in for him.
Now, to deal with the crazy, I've taken to just writing it down in my journal if I start to get rattled by it, and a week or month later I can see much more clearly how not crazy I am when I read it back to myself. And I feel so much better about myself for finding calm, trying to negotiate with the craziness never works anyway. Writing and re-reading it helps me feel firmer in my own reactions and understanding of things, gives me more clarity.
Your support and validation has made me feel lighter this week, thank you so much.


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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 2:06 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2016 3:22 am
Posts: 163
The journal is such a good idea, I was always questioning myself after an event..perhaps it wasn't so bad..perhaps I did over react...or I quickly forget the hurt if things..too long getting numb to it. Reading back what you have written is an eye opener and reinforces that gut feeling. But also I feel less urgency to try to communicate emotions or try asking for explanations from my husband, I get it down on paper and it releases the pain or anger.
I realise now that my husband doesn't think feel or see things like me, so discussion is pretty pointless..
I too see the petulant child, sulking, rebelling , having tantrums or being passive aggressive if anyone says no or questions to something he wants..
This is why I started looking and learning about narcistic partners,as mine seems to display so many of those..and deviant sexual tastes and withholding sex is what narcissists do, this way I am learning to grow and find myself,realizing how my husband is manipulating and trying to control me..even though he would sy he isn't..and probably he doesn't even realise he is...


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 9:16 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:22 pm
Posts: 124
Dear mugggle,

I know voyeurism is one expression of sex addiction that isn't often discussed here, so I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone.

My (now ex-) husband was also arrested for filming under women's skirts. He was convicted and served two months on electronic monitoring. I stuck with him through it all, and helped him protect our three kids from finding out.

Then I started realizing how deeply the addiction ran. The drip disclosures kept coming, but only reluctantly when I'd discover something new. Ultimately, I found videos that he had taken of me without my consent, and which I suspect he posted online. It took me many months and an astute therapist to call my attention to the fact that he had committed a crime against me, too. Looking back, it seems so absurd that I wouldn't have considered that.

So that's the piece that I want to add to the conversation here from personal experience. You have every right to put a boundary in place to protect yourself from a potential crime. It doesn't matter if you'll never find a hidden camera (and I can relate to you here--my former husband is a skilled electrician). You have a right not to be filmed without your consent, and to request that no cameras be used in your home based on past behavior. That would be completely reasonable. In fact, in my experience and knowing what I know now about the winding road to recovery (or not), it would have been UNreasonable for me to think that he wouldn't still be using a camera. Think of it this way: If you had a plumber who you knew acted out with voyeurism, would you let him into your home with a camera? So why would you let your husband?

I'm going to take a leap and assume that your personal safety and privacy is one of your values. You may never, ever find a camera. But stating that one is unacceptable in your home sounds like a common sense boundary to protect your value of safety to me. At least both you and he know where you stand on the issue.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 7:19 am 
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My SAH is a voyeur as well. Post D-day, he disclosed to me actual criminal acts of voyeurism. Supposedly this occurred prior to our marriage and supposedly it scared him enough not to do it again. Is this true? I don't know.

Where I live, if caught, he would have been a registered sex offender. He was in complete denial about the consequences of his behavior. To this day, I'm not sure he fully gets the danger he placed himself in and the violation of his innocent victims. He never once considered the threat or harm to me. To this day, I struggle with the reality: I am married to a sex offender. Yes, it arose from addiction. But, he engaged in illegal acts with innocent victims. And while those victims may be unaware of the crime against them, they were violated.

But I'm aware. And that awareness is very, very painful and difficult. I would NEVER violate anyone in the way my husband did. It fills me with fear and disgust. So the shame that I feel, that's different. If my neighbor was arrested for voyeurism, I wouldn't feel shame if I had liked him or been his friend. But since this is my husband, the awareness that others would judge me harshly (and my reality is that some others would) for "not knowing", for staying, for "tolerating" this, even for some who would blame me for his choices (if I had been "giving him enough" he wouldn't have needed to do it, right?), is very painful.

So separating myself from my husband's addiction and figuring out how to be okay with myself even if I stay, that's a challenge. I always take as inspiration Rising's experience of starting to tell her story to others. Isolation due to my shame has and continues to be damaging to me. I'm working on it. The partners here show me that we are not shameful people. We did not do anything to be ashamed of. We were fooled, no doubt about that, but we all believed that our partners were as committed and honest as we were. And I have a deep awareness of just how much intention and effort my husband made to keep his secret life secret. I don't think it's possible to understand just how masterful these addicts are at deception unless you have experienced life with one. I certainly wouldn't have understood it.

I am a victim as well due to the damage of my husband's addiction. I am fully aware that he developed his addiction as a way to self soothe and self medicate. I am aware of the early trauma that remained unaddressed and created the conditions for him to become an addict. I am aware that he operated from deep shame. I am also aware of how much intense pleasure and intoxication he got from his acting out.

Disentangling from my husband's addiction and recovery...that has been critical for my healing. I am not responsible for my husband's choices and behavior. I am not to blame. I was not a fool for believing his lies. I am not a co-addict. I do not need to hold shame for his choices.

Finding myself again, after realizing I had disappeared, is a reason for celebration. It takes a while; it doesn't always sustain; but it's wonderful. I feel that celebration in all of you and I join you in a virtual embrace.

dnell


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 2:36 am 
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Rising, it's comforting to hear from someone with a very similar tale to tell, thank you for replying. I really do appreciate your complete clarity about my boundary preventing having a crime committed against me. That is it, what I have been trying to articulate all along. Sadly he is under the delusion that just saying repeatedly that he will not do it again, (so my fears have no foundation I presume) is enough and I have no right to impose these rules on him in his property. The irony of this is that by showing this blatent diregard for my feelings he is showing me that I really do have to protect myself and my instincts are right.
dnell, I'm sorry that you also are affected by this horrible behaviour. This voyeurism feels worse to me than if he had had an affair as he did not feel the need for consent which makes me shudder. Your comparison to how you would feel if your neighbor had done it, is helpful to see it clearly. I feel I'm at a point where I am not sure it is possible to be ok with myself if I stay. By living with him I'm providing him a kind of normalising shield to hide behind, if that makes sense and I'm not comfortable with that.


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