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 Post subject: around and around
PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:20 am 
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I don't know if Im just venting here. Maybe i just would like a couple of votes that Im not crazy.

I feel like Im back in time a few years.
almost 7 yrs with my SA. I wouldn't marry him for the longest time. went through the horrible years of deep active addiction, i took a lot of damage, in almost every way. Went through the fake recovery time, the half-ass recovery time. Meanwhile, Im learning to make and stick to boundaries and consequences, did the workshop, worked on me. Got much better with my PTSD symptoms, he got into therapy. They treated him for his past trauma that led to the behaviors. a pretty good couple years later, i think it might be actually okay, so we got married about 6 months ago.
I don't know if he ever really stopped or if something started up again. maybe. I knew very well the big risks I was taking by staying with him all this time, by marrying him. one thing that has always made me very nervous was that even when he was "serious" in recovery, in therapy, he still was never forthcoming with the information on what was happening in recovery. I wasn't grilling him, hardly ever checking up (not compulsively, not like I once was. but, if i smell smoke after living through a housefire, and living with a past arsonist, well, I will check the house for fire, im not stupid). so I never really saw or heard a lot of signs of progress, not really enough.

he would only ever tell me anything when he was basically forced to because we were separated. he would only ever admit to something when the bold undeniable truth was presented, and he only ever told me about things when they were pretty old, except when we were broken up, and he was trying to prove himself and get me back. he never got treatment for sexual addiction, he got treatment for trauma and dealt with trauma triggers. Now i know that he never got treatment for sexual triggers, he still can't even admit or talk about that there ever were any sexual triggers, he always attributed it to only trauma triggers. I know thats not true, because when he was trying to win me back one time, he told me of a recent couple triggers and they were purely sexual, and not part of the trauma related events. now, he still can't admit or talk about it, that he ever had sexual triggers.
my feelings on that are that this means that either he is still doing something or he at least never really dealt with it and its a piano over our heads, waiting to crash down on us, me, if i don't run for my life now. once again, i feel this urge deep inside of me that i need to run for my life.

with virtually no sincere disclosure on his part in the past, i know I can't ever take his word. there are a couple small things, that are alarm bells for me, things that use to happen when he was active that seemed to go away for a long time, and now are back, in recent couple months. small, innocent seeming things, that could be attributed to many things. the kind of movies he watches, back when he was active, he would watch a lot of disaster movies and monster movies, he stopped watching them for a long time, now he is again. another thing about tv and movies, he can be watching a show or movie that i know he has watched before, and he will not remember it, as if he never watched it. that used to happen when he was active, stopped happening and now is back again.

and he was recently watching a show that features an actress that was in one of his collections, one that he knows i have a problem with. i had a freakout once and thew away the whole dvd series that featured her ( I know, not a healthy course of action on my part). this is a different series, a spin off, that now is featuring her in the cross over type episodes, i just feel like he should know not to watch it, and certainly should remember how i hate it and how it makes me feel, and is a huge trigger for me and could be for him.

all i have are gut feelings and little clues that make me think he is hiding behavior. im too tired to go through this crap again.


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 Post subject: Re: around and around
PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:17 pm 
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Jacki - I'm sorry you are back. But I am relieved you came here for support.

I would trust your instincts. Absolutely trust yourself. If you feel alarm bells, then there are alarms. Trusting our gut is such an important part of our healing.

A red flag is your husband not being open about his addiction, recovery and acting out.

Do you plan to talk to him about your concerns? What do you need to see from him? What will you ask of him? You have a right to ask him to do the recovery workshop, to attend 12 step, to re-assure you.

Know your bottom lines. Focus on taking care of yourself.

Let us know how you are doing.

With compassion,
dnell


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 Post subject: Re: around and around
PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:17 pm 
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Jacki - I'm sorry you are back. But I am relieved you came here for support.

I would trust your instincts. Absolutely trust yourself. If you feel alarm bells, then there are alarms. Trusting our gut is such an important part of our healing.

A red flag is your husband not being open about his addiction, recovery and acting out.

Do you plan to talk to him about your concerns? What do you need to see from him? What will you ask of him? You have a right to ask him to do the recovery workshop, to attend 12 step, to re-assure you.

Know your bottom lines. Focus on taking care of yourself.

Let us know how you are doing.

With compassion,
dnell


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 Post subject: Re: around and around
PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:25 am 
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Thank you dnell for your reply and understandiing.

Im still thinking about what I want to do or ask or say to him. for now, Im not interacting with him much at all, except for household and family matters. He knows why, and he knows what I want, ive said it to him enough times. If he can't come to me and start a conversation, then I feel like Im done with him. I'm certainly done with talking to a wall, of repeating myself, and just tired. tired down to my soul.

I think i just decided what I am going to say to him. Sometimes talking it out, or writing my thoughts out, helps me in figuring things out. thanks.

J


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 Post subject: Re: around and around
PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 6:22 am 
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Jacki, I can really appreciate how stuck you must be feeling in response to your situation. I have to say that I see the same behaviour traits in my husband — that he claims to have no sexual triggers, and a strategy of non disclosure with selective disclosure about past behaviours that have little relevance. My husband seemed to be slipping into some iffy areas with his TV viewing and possibly clickbait online, but more importantly he masturbates in secret and then invents reasons why he’s not interested in sex. Only this week he actually admitted to not telling me something that I would have expected him to, something otherwise quite ordinary but he chose not to tell me. There was also one occasion before Christmas when he didn’t disclose something completely benign and ordinary. My attitude is, if someone can’t be honest about the small things then how can they be trusted to be honest about the bigger issues? Well, they can’t be trusted and that’s the bottom line. One of my epiphany moments in my healing was the recognition that my husband is incapable of being honest. And I’m very sad about that.

In recovery, we read a lot about setting boundaries but the big problem is that there are going to be many times when we remain ignorant of partners breaching our boundaries. We might have a gut feeling that something isn’t right or we might find out much later only to realise that we have been deceived. Sometimes we might not know and didn’t suspect anything. I have also had to come to the realisation that there are probably things that went on before d day that I will never know, and that may well be the case now and in the future. It’s not a healthy foundation to build a relationship upon. I know that. My husband doesn’t seem to see things the same way because deception and dishonesty have served him well over the years.

My problem is that my husband’s lies and omissions have been more in the gray areas rather than outright addiction-like behaviour. It’s these areas that I hadn’t really thought about that have thrown me at times. My boundaries are still quite weak, if I am being perfectly honest with myself, and his “revert to type” behaviour is to lie by omission. I don’t really know what to do. I know some people ha e a consequence like having to sleep in another room but in my husband’s case he’d see it as permission to masturbate and blame me for it. Dnell has offered good advice elsewhere about having our own internal boundaries and not necessarily negotiated ‘rules’ and agreements. For instance, after my husband disclosed something that he should have and could have disclosed some weeks previously, my only response was to distance myself emotionally and physically. I was not going to spend time with him out of respect for my own needs. My loyalty was to myself. He noticed that I was keeping my distance and felt all boohoo and rejected. I had no intention of telling him that his omission had thrown me. If anything, I needed that space to work it out in my own mind. We have been making efforts to improve our communication under the guidance of a therapist, but in the meantime he’s lying by omission. That’s another reason why I don’t believe therapy is necessarily the solution — addicts are notorious for withholding and omitting issues of importance in therapy. He did it before. He’s doing it again.

All I can share with you is this. Look after yourself. Put your own needs ahead of the relationship. Take back your power by trusting your gut. Put it to your husband that he can either have his box set or whatever it is, or he can have his marriage. But not both. Perhaps take some time out to write your non negotiables and make sure he knows what they are. Whether your relationship has a future is up to him and dependent on him respecting your values, until such a time after you’ve given him third, fourth, fifth chances and see no change — then it’s up to you. Good luck and please check in whatever your decision.


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 Post subject: Re: around and around
PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 4:28 pm 
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Blue, such wise advice.

Dishonesty is so ingrained in my husband. And, yes, he lies more by omission than commission, but that's not saying much. The lies were relentless. But remember how immersed they are in dishonesty. And they lie to themselves. I know to this day my husband sees omission as "not lying." This is a huge warning sign.

Also denying sexual triggers is a warning sign. We're not stupid. There is a difference in saying, "I don't react to visual triggers the way I used to" then "I have no sexual triggers." Right.

One simply cannot have an intimate let alone adult relationship with someone who cannot be honest. My husband struggles with honesty as well and he lies about stupid stuff. He used to say "I know the difference between a big and little lie" and that was the biggest lie of all. My husband occasionally says "wait, that's not true" and corrects himself, but it's not often. I can tell, now, but tone of voice, facial expression, energy, body language, when my husband is lying. I confront it when I want; and don't when I don't want to.

I do think a fully recovered addict won't keep any more secrets about their acting out. Addiction thrives in secrecy. To hold on to these secrets means they are still guarding their addiction.

Stay focused on yourself. Do what takes care of you.

dnell


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 Post subject: Re: around and around
PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:46 am 
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In combining all our experiences and the overlaps we share, I've been thinking how much of a spectrum we encounter when it comes to living with someone in "recovery."

There is the chaos and instability of full out addiction and acting out and its effects on us (not just the compulsive behaviors but perhaps even harder on us the entire system addicts build around manipulation, hiding, dishonesty, gaslighting, etc). We've all been there, and some never leave this place.

For those of us with partners who choose a recovery path, what we often experience is half-hearted recovery. Not as linear or straight as the recovery workshop's trajectory. We sit in these gray zones where our partners are no longer creating overt chaos, and yet we're still left with a highly immature person on our hands.

The progress. Whew, it's slow going. And many of us who work on our own healing speed right past them and reach a point where the difference between where we are and where they are is just breathtaking.

My husband, too, experiences any of my internal boundaries/consequences (me distancing myself, or focusing on me more) as, basically, harmful to him. Recently he said something to the effect of "it's easier to not act out when I know you're not mad at me."

:ni:

I just said "I can't be the reason for your recovery, and if you not acting out is dependent on my mood, you aren't getting it."

He said he understood and that he has to work on that. On one hand, he's being 'honest.' On the other...really?

I find the more I work on me and living the best life I can, the less whatever my husband is or isn't doing effects me. Now, that doesn't make it remotely a healthy marriage, but it does make for a healthier me.

Of late I've reached a point of acceptance where I get he has so very far to go in terms of maturing, and it will not likely happen on any timeframe that I'd prefer, and I can let go of much of my need to control this. Yet where that leaves me (and it sounds like many of us posting here recently) is just...that gray, void place. That realization that no, our marriages are not likely to become fulfilling anytime soon. The relationships aren't causing us immediate and direct harm, yet they aren't doing much to nurture or help us grow. As blue said about the dishonesty issue, it's a sad thing/realization.

I'm grateful to no longer feel exhausted or directly impacted by him, yet there is an underlying fatigue about this all. I am reminded of the Sarah Bareille's song, "Used to be Mine." Search for it on Youtube, and have a good cry when you reach the line of "If I'm honest, I know I would give it all back for a chance to start over and rewrite an ending or two for the girl that I knew."


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 Post subject: Re: around and around
PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 4:59 am 
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Very interesting insights. At least I feel I’m not “failing” because I really have been believing that I was “not getting it right” as far as the recovery of my relationship was concerned. I’ve been constantly believing that I’m messing it up by saying the wrong things at the wrong time, or in the wrong way, even though my intention has always been to repair the relationship. In reality it’s my husband who is resistant to open, honest and transparent communication.

As I’m working through the last lessons of the partner’s workshop, the lesson I’m learning is that my husband’s addiction behaviour — in particular the structure of lying, deception, gaslighting etc that addicts put in place to protect their addict selves that meepmeep refers to — has actually hindered my own communication skills. As a consequence, I’m seen as the aggressor. When I attempt to resolve a conflict — and it’s almost always about his lack of clarity or his omissions — he won’t be cooperative in working out a resolution. He rarely apologises. In fact I’m the one who ends up apologising and when I catch myself in an apology I’m only too aware that I’ve probably been manipulated into being the bad guy. Or at least not protecting myself with my own boundaries as well as I should be.

It’s very interesting that so many of us exist in this gray world of not-quite-recovery. Speaking personally my quality of life has been impacted quite significantly. Some days I really don’t like my husband. I really hate what his behaviour has done to me. It destroyed my self confidence, my self esteem, my body image, and on top of that I was disrespected as a way of life. I know that no sane person would ever sign up for this. I feel very alone in trying to repair my self esteem and building my confidence back. As partners we are also living in the shadow of the addiction and the potential relapse. Somehow we’re expected to repair our relationship (almost always it’s the betrayed partner who does the heavy lifting).


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 Post subject: Re: around and around
PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 8:53 am 
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I think what we are seeing here is the underlying intimacy disorder--the terror of connection. For my husband, being the "good guy" is the only thing he can tolerate. He can't tolerate being the "bad guy". So that leaves me always and forever in the "bad guy" role. I'll give an example: yesterday, my husband broke something in the kitchen. It happens. He just couldn't say "I broke...." He says, "This broke." "It broke...I didn't break it." I am not allowed to react in any way to anything being broken. This is crazy.

Communication with my husband is close to impossible. It seems no matter what I say or how I say it he feels "attacked." So, if I say, "I need to talk about the plumbing and I'm worried there will be an argument," my husband feels attacked by my "worry" and then, makes an argument. He at least says "I feel unfairly treated by your worry." Sigh. This is also crazy. And exhausting. This is a disorder, in my husband's case, beyond addiction.

Ask yourself..."do I have these communication problems with other people? Am I able to have a coherent, adult conversation with others?" In my case, the answer is yes I can. As soon as I fall into over explaining, re-explaining, trying to rephrase something I have already said quite clearly, I need to stop. I am being manipulated. I just need to stop.

My husband needs lots of therapy to understand and heal whatever has caused his feelings of constant persecution. I didn't create this and I can't cure it.

It's a painful reality, this period of recovery from addiction but not yet the ability to have adult relational skills.

What i do know is that I no longer need to keep trying to explain, trying to make things better when I don't have someone who can be a partner in that process. I believe my husband WANTS things to be better between us, he just doesn't want to do anything himself to make it better. He wants me or a counselor to just snap their fingers and everything will be perfect. That's not an adult way to think about life and relationships.

dnell


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 Post subject: Re: around and around
PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 1:52 pm 
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Quote:
has actually hindered my own communication skills


Yes. Being constantly second guessed, for example, takes a number on our ability to communicate. Like you, blue, I would find myself (and sometimes still do) apologizing when in actuality, I really have nothing to be sorry for.

I spent years attempting to be the caretaker and 'guardian' of my husband's delicate constitution. Walking on eggshells, etc. We all know that drill. Their incapacity to have a mature adult conversation means we overcompensated. And, lest it seem like I'm blaming any of us, I think we need to examine how, culturally (whether its in a broad sense or in our families of origin, or both), we were conditioned to be the emotional regulators of men. In a healthy relationship with a partner without sex addiction, we'd likely have found that conditioning softened over time. Instead, it became even more heightened in us. There is also the issue of our own emotional safety and stability. I think most us here can relate to the discomfort felt when our partners do manipulative shut down techniques (silent treatment, moodiness, outright hostility in some cases).

To regulate the energy in my HOME (my environment) I would tiptoe around my husband not only to mitigate his feelings, but ultimately to protect my home environment.

Quote:
When I attempt to resolve a conflict — and it’s almost always about his lack of clarity or his omissions — he won’t be cooperative in working out a resolution.


it really leaves us in a bind, doesn't it? Because if we avoid the discussion, the conflict/issue remains unaddressed (which just enables their dysfunctional thinking further) but if we address it, we are damned if we do and damned if we don't.

Quote:
What i do know is that I no longer need to keep trying to explain, trying to make things better when I don't have someone who can be a partner in that process.


Yep. I know I'm healing when I catch myself before hauling off to apologize for stating a need (For example). I know I'm healing when I can stop and ask myself, "what does backpedaling or apologizing get you besides an fast fix to the tension in this house?" (In that regard, aspects of my husband's unhealthy patterns rub off on me--rather than fall back on a solid foundation, I seek the fast fix). So I have to find other ways to diffuse the tension I feel. HE will not diffuse this tension, and it's on me/us to find ways to do so. Which, honestly, stinks because it often means (for me) leaving the space I share with him. He gets to remain in a comfy home, and I haul out to the coffee shop to get relief.

Quote:
I believe my husband WANTS things to be better between us, he just doesn't want to do anything himself to make it better.


And this fits with what we know about the formation of addiction: a coping mechanism to provide immediate relief to discomfort. Again, a quick fix. Their desire for a quick fix mimics the role addiction played/plays in their lives. No foundation, no nuance, no grounding.


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 Post subject: Re: around and around
PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 8:19 pm 
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Intimacy disorder is exactly what this is and some would say it is the one big issue underlying porn/sex addiction.

My husband cannot move past his persecution mindset. If I ask him anything, he says I’m “accusing” him of things. I actually had to ask him “what is the difference between asking you a question and “accusing” you?” I still didn’t get a helpful answer. I’ve had to say to him at times “Help me out here — what word would you rather I use?” Because if I word the question “wrongly” he’ll find a way of not answering. It’s infuriating. I’m trying to work on a improving our communication and he’s doing his best to hinder and prevent it. We go to couples therapy and it’s all very well in the room but at home the following evening I realise he’s not telling me about things that happen during his day and not being clear about other things. I don’t know if it’s the same for others but the more ways I try to communicate, and the clearer and sharper my communication skills become, the more practiced he becomes in blocking communication. That’s the way it feels to me.

I’m now working on my final partner’s lesson, and looking back to the first lessons which I did two years ago, I’m struck by how little progress there has been in the recovery of our relationship. It’s not got easier or better. I’m not as happy with my relationship and my life as I would have expected by now. We’re just stuck in a no man’s land between quitting the acting out behaviour but not addressing the poor communication, the lies of omission, the secretive masturbation and other unhealthy behaviours.

The #metoo phenomenon was enormously triggering for me as I relived my own personal experiences of sexual harassment and assault. Some of the Weinstein accounts triggered memories of discovery as some of the descriptions read like porn scripts, and that disturbed me. There’s also the knowledge that my husband is not without blame, whether it’s his consumption of the porn industry where exploitation and abuse is rife, but not only that, his decades-long porn habit and going to strip bars was an assault on me. It was sexual abuse for me too, having to live with and tolerate his ritual jerking off to sexually explicit materials whilst I was in the next room. I don’t quite accept it’s beyond anyone’s control NOT to do it. If I walked into the room unexpectedly, he could switch it all off and revert to “normal” behaviour in a heartbeat. And that in itself is staging a big lie. I believe that the partners of porn/sex addicts and sex buyers are the hidden victims in sexual addictions and in the sexual exploitation industries. We are used. We are abused. We are disrespected. We absorb so much psychological abuse from being deceived, being gaslit, being isolated, having our power taken from us. When I was assaulted at a young age, I felt traumatised, I felt isolated, I felt that it was as all my fault, I felt intense shame, my self esteem evaporated — everything I felt after d day was so much like how I felt after being sexually assaulted. I hadn’t realised it before, but now I can see why MeToo has had such an impact on me.

My husband’s response to MeToo was to bury his head in the sand and he’s consistently shown discomfort if I mention anything related to it. For me, it’s been the catalyst that has connected me with my personal values.

I suppose at the end of the Partners Workshop I’m reviewing where I am now. My priority now is to heal myself and rebuild my life. As an individual. I’ve taken the relationship as far as it can go for now. The need to see my husband take on some of the emotional heavy lifting. I’m thinking of revisiting and working through the Partners Workshop again but this time thinking about myself and my own healing. Not necessarily the whole thing in the same level of detail, just the parts that are more significant at this stage. I feel sadness though. I wanted things to be better but the more time goes on the less likely it is.


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 Post subject: Re: around and around
PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2018 4:19 am 
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These posts echo my experiences, my husband has me in bad guy role,and hears what he wants to when I say anything. Everything is having a go at him,controlling him,expecting him to do something in his mind
Much like dnell..if my husband breaks anything,or there's any minor mishap, he blames, accuses, says he expects I am mad, etc..when in reality i am not in the least .
He puts words in my mouth,thoughts in my mind that I never think or say,
Imo his issues are deeper than sex addiction, I can see its intimacy avoidance, and that isnt just limited to me..he seems only capable of a superficial relationship with people he works with,or hardly knows. I see the mask go on.
Any attempt at connection,intimacy,opennesss, and I am not talking physical..is met childish distraction,or aggressive defence.
Unlike other husbands,he is still in denial, and his overall character remains as it was.


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 Post subject: Re: around and around
PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 9:54 am 
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Blue In Paradise wrote:
The #metoo phenomenon was enormously triggering for me as I relived my own personal experiences of sexual harassment and assault. ......
I believe that the partners of porn/sex addicts and sex buyers are the hidden victims in sexual addictions and in the sexual exploitation industries. We are used. We are abused. We are disrespected. We absorb so much psychological abuse from being deceived, being gaslit, being isolated, having our power taken from us. When I was assaulted at a young age, I felt traumatised, I felt isolated, I felt that it was as all my fault, I felt intense shame, my self esteem evaporated — everything I felt after d day was so much like how I felt after being sexually assaulted. I hadn’t realised it before, but now I can see why MeToo has had such an impact on me.

Blue, I am both sorry, and can relate so much.

Something I may have written about here before is my assault at a very young (6) age, and rape in college pales, for me, in comparison to the ongoing trauma of my husband's acting out and lies over the course of our relationship.

Part of why #metoo is so triggering for me isn't just about those past assaults but about the systematic attitudes about women as objects, sex as currency, and how my husband is a part of that culture.

And this is part of what I really struggle with now: that recovery has become solely about not acting out and 'helping more around the house.' It has not meant a change of heart for my husband. It has not meant him waking up to the widespread abuse of women that continues.

In my house, we cannot address the MeTOo movement or stories related to it because there is a very strong possibility my husband will talk himself right into the realm of victim blaming and "women are culpable, too." And, objectively, I realize that when we have a systemic problem, many women feed into that system for it to continue to work. But, what I need and want is a partner whose first concern is not whether women victims are lying but rather ire over a culture that perpetuates abusive ideas and actions around women's bodies. My husband does see that sex addiction and unhealthy sex attitudes pervade the world, but it's almost like the way he sees this is something akin to it's no wonder he developed the addiction he has, because a lot of people do. You know, our good friend minimization. There is no deep thinking on the part of a person with addiction: everything is an immediate crisis to resolve, and when you live that way, without a foundation, there is no capacity to see the world on a more holistic level.

Quote:
For me, it’s been the catalyst that has connected me with my personal values.

I strongly agree, and if there is a positive side to it, it has helped me get VERY clear about my lines, my values, and also getting quite comfortable with the idea of being alone.

Here's where I am: my gut yammered at me for a while that my husband has a really good face on (in fact, the amount of scrambling he does to try and help me is a big red flag) but something is going on behind the scenes, and a closer look confirmed that gut--he's acting out and in the same escalation scale of content he's always been in.

I find I'm far less overtly traumatized by this, which is good for me, but I need to consider my health and what will be in service to it. I'm considering a physical separation mainly because I know myself well enough to know I need to stagger my distancing and breaking away from him. There is the cost, and the high likelihood I will get push back about the cost, but I think I'm at the point it's either we live apart or we divorce. I've done extensive writing and thinking about this but it still doesn't make that choice easier. This is compounded by everything this discussion has been about: our partner's inability to communicate in a mature and healthy way.


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 Post subject: Re: around and around
PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 6:30 am 
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Meepmeep, I’m sorry you’ve reached this point but I fully understand why you have to put a physical distance between you and your partner. We need to do what we have to do to protect ourselves from the ongoing abuse of being in a relationship with a man who chooses to act out. It’s only going to damage our emotional health in the long term if we continue to be abused by the manipulation and gaslighting of someone who is not in healthy recovery. Whatever we decide, it’s never going to be an easy option.

No doubt about it, the backlash towards MeToo, and in particular the personal attacks on those who have gone public, have brought up memories of my experiences of my own sexual assault becoming known and the hostility towards me as a consequence. In some respects, I’m reliving my experiences, perhaps more ‘safely’ as I listen to the stories and witness the reactions to those who are going public. It’s not easy, but their courage is giving me strength right now. It is another chapter in my own healing.

I agree totally about the systemic misogyny that has been almost institutionalised by the porn industry, the mainstream entertainment industries, the cultural legacy of women being the property of men, the pressure on women to look a certain way, be a certain shape, to never age or show any signs of having given birth… and on and on. All those attitudes are actually symptoms of the abusive attitudes that women live under throughout their lives and the worst part is that men feel entitled to women’s bodies, that women’s body exist only to serve their needs.

My husband would never admit to having those attitudes but that’s not the way I experienced it. He really did reject me. I really did become invisible to him. He really did choose to do what he did, and he looked to the culture to justify his decisions — because our hyper sexualised culture tells them it’s ‘normal’ and even ‘healthy’. And what do women hear when they say they’re not happy about it. All men do it (minimisation).... you’re too insecure (gaslighting).... you just have to suck it up (our feelings don’t matter, men’s “needs” are more important). And above all, we’re shut down and silenced as soon as we express ourselves so we live with the secret shame of being married to a man who can’t even force himself to have sex with us.

The parallels between these feelings and living with the aftermath of sexual assault are astounding. The feeling that we can’t tell anyone. The knowledge that our reality will be dismissed. The assumption that we must be at fault, and that somehow we are the architects of our own misfortune. It’s what we’re wearing (or what we’re not wearing). That we’re sending out the wrong signals. In fact, whatever rape and sexual assault victims get blamed for — dressing too sexy, being somewhere they shouldn’t have gone, asking for it — that’s the explanation as to why our men don’t want it. We don’t wear the right clothes and put out enough, so how are these poor men supposed to be aroused. Oh, I know. We should act like the negative stereotype of a ‘rape victim’, is that right? As if our men NOT being interested in us is down to how we dress?!

My husband justified his addiction by blaming me for not being available at the precise moment he felt aroused, that is when I was out or when I was asleep. He never made time for me. He cited my lack of interest after he was turning me down or incapable due to erectile dysfunction. I was always the excuse. It was all my fault. When I discovered his pornography I was being “sneaky” or invading his privacy. The recovery community tells us we did nothing wrong, that it’s not our fault, but most of us know that our addict spouses do blame us, at least when their addiction is ongoing. Society blames us, calls us “prudes” even when what we want is a healthy sexual relationship, or they tell is that porn/sex addiction doesn’t exist.

So I see this situation that so many women are finding themselves in as an abuse. It IS traumatic. It IS unfair — no, make that WRONG — that we are silenced and mocked when we speak out. It IS wrong that we are just expected to put up and shut up. It’s a lot like surviving a rape or a violent sexual assault in that our best strategy, so we believe at the time, is to keep a tight lid on our feelings, say nothing, tell no one, and never let any of it show.

Is my husband uncomfortable with MeToo? Oh yes. He’ll do anything to change the subject.


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 Post subject: Re: around and around
PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:19 am 
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Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 665
Oh, Blue...you spoke the truth. I hope you feel empowered by having your voice. Everything you said...it resonates with me. I have such grief about all of this, when really, I should have rage.

My husband used the "all men do it" excuse as well. And, he believes the cultural myths about us and the ugly views of men and women. What he really wants now is to say "I'm different than these other men...I'm not as bad...I don't disrespect women and girls..." That is such a lie. Still rationalizing. Still minimizing. Still justifying. Staring at women and "taking them all in" is a form of abuse. It's believing we/they are objects that can be inspected and assessed without our consent. My husband would tell you "that's just the natural order of things." Convenient, isn't it?

So we know our values here, don't we. What do we do about it all, that is our question. My husband is in active recovery. I don't doubt his sincerity. I am "luckier" than many of the partners here. But I wanted my husband to be a "good man"...a man who was better than the cultural BS and devaluation of women. He pretended he was. He said things to me he didn't believe but knew that I wanted to hear it. It's heartbreaking.

I don't think I will live long enough to see significant change in our culture. I see the incredible healing of women finally saying the truth of all this abuse. But I also see the resistance and backlash.

I wish us all love and light.

dnell


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