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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 12:12 pm 
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We've completed and shared with each other our healing contracts. We refrained from giving each other feedback or discussing the healing contracts as the workshop advised us to do. Now that we're in the exercise 4, the partnership contract, are we supposed to add our healing contracts in at the end? Is this the time we discuss each others healing contracts and come to an agreement? Or is this done at a later stage?

We could use some clarification here....

:?


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 8:13 pm 
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In the very least you should be able to go through the partnership contract as is and commit to it as it is. There is an opportunity to add your own items to the partnership agreement~which you would draw from your healing contracts (ie. if there is anything in your healing contract that is not represented on the partnership contract, that you feel it is imperative to moving forward as a couple, and you feel safe in so doing, bring it up as you are going over the partnership contract together). If, for any reason, either of you are resistant to signing the agreement, or you feel that you may not be fully committed I would be recommended to get to the bottom of why (as in why are you confronted, why are you resistant, why are you doing the couple's workshop...) before continuing on together. I think I am over-answering your question so I will leave it at that.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:06 am 
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This is a good thread. When we recently went through the partner's contract, as listed by the lesson, I agreed to the contract, but found myself having an interesting emotional response. Instead of feeling relieved or "safe" or even comforted by the contract, I actually felt kinda trapped and triggered. Why would I have that response? Have others felt that way, too and maybe had enough self-awareness to understand why?
I guess, in some ways, it was a good thing, but in other ways the contract highlighted the reality of the situation we are in, and maybe just knowing how messed up this really is was my trigger, idk.

Some specifics that concern both of us:
1)The partner's contract agrees that I should stay in the relationship primarily because I love him and for "his ability to meet my most important needs, not because I feel pressured or stuck in the relationship"
How can a recovering SA meet my most important needs if those needs are trust, safety, and intimacy, if concerning these values, his emotional immaturity causes him to be incapable of at this time? What are my most important needs, concerning this relationship, suppose to be if not these things? We are both a bit fuzzy on this one...

2) Also, for the recoveree, it says he agrees "to never consciously decieve my partner as a means of minimizing personal responsibility for my actions or protecting her from pain" however, the next agreement says, "that I have shared everything about my addiction to the best of my recollection/willingness. And that anything i continue to hold on to, I am doing so because I am not ready to share it openly". How can both be agreed upon? They are asked not to decieve us, but they are given the liberty to share only what they are willing to share?????? We talked about this, and about "drip disclosure" and how damaging that is to a partner...isn't this contract allowing or even setting us up for drip disclosure?

3) Also, it says in a later lesson that I, as the partner, should expect my recoveree to not give full disclosure at the early stages of recovery, but should expect more to come out after he is transitioning into health. So, I'm assuming I'm being set up here for another blow later on. At this time in recovery, I should expect him to disclose only what he is "willing" to disclose, and later will learn more about what he was keeping to himself during the process of recovery. So, then, I'm thinking...I'm going to get to a place of recovering from the trauma of this all, and then possibly be re-traumatized by his later additions to his disclosure and have to recover again. Meanwhile, how I can be building trust and intimacy with him knowing as he is going through recovery he is probably keeping aspects of his process/struggles secret from me...sure, telling his counselor, but probably not me? I'm not wanting details about everything that runs through his mind...god no, but how much should he be sharing with me? For example, he recently entered a new phase in his recovery where the urges were coming back with a vengence. He was feeling discouraged and somewhat overwelmed with this, but didn't tell me. He implemented his new skills as best he could so according to him, his responses to the urges were appropriate. He worked through it with his counselor and then finally shared that with me. Is this acceptable, that he should be keeping that from me until later? After all, he is asked only to share what he is "willing" to share? Meanwhile, I continue in a relationship with someone who is going through that but remaining fully unaware even though if I knew he was going through that, I would have wanted to know and protect myself in various little ways during that time in his recovery, but of course, didn't know, so I couldn't respond to protect my sense of safety and now feel kinda uncomfortable about that. Is that how this should go?
Thank you for an insight you can give.
-secretsurvivor


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 9:05 am 
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Hi secretsurvivor,

As no one has responded to your query, I will share some thoughts. I think that it is normal to feel as you did in reaction to the contract as the contract calls on both partners to be responsible and accountable, relating to each as equals. This is a difficult thing to come to terms with when, by all accounts and purposes, the recovering partner is the one is at cause of our being here, and doing this work. I think this is also the reason why so many partners are confronted by any of the individual workshop lessons that have us look at our role, or that are aimed at creating understading or educating us about addiction... it just doesn't seem fair! When this is the case, the reaction is to resist, or get angry, or feel trapped, etc. It is quite a common experience.

Re: How can a recovering SA meet my most important needs if those needs are trust, safety, and intimacy...

Good question! This is where the lesson on identifying your partners' values and those qualities that will continue to pose as obstacles will be very helpful in your answer to this question, along with your vision (of course). You need to separate your partner from his addiction, and consider, when all is said and done, if you feel that he will be able to be that person, the partner who can adn will fulfill those needs. You also want to think about how long you are willing to invest in allowing him to develop into that person, to shift from living life based on addiction to living a health and values based life. If you do not believe it is possible, or if you do not believe it is possible for him, then you need to ask yourself why you are in this with him.

Re: 2)

I can see why you feel there is a contradiction... if he is witholding something that he is not ready to share, then he is consciously decieving you, but if it is a matter that he is not ready, it is becuase he is scared, not becuase he necessarily intends to decieve you. The implication is that he will share, when he is ready. In fact, it is imperative and absolute honesty is stressed in the individual recovery workshop as a necessary component to the process. The intent here is to create a space for sharing to be possible, if he hasn't yet shared completely. That is why it is worded as it is. To pick it apart is to not be open to allowing that space to exist.

On the flipside, and where you have choice in the matter, is that it is up to you to determine if that disclosure comes too late for you. But, again, does this come from a place of wanting to work on this with him, for who he is as an individual, or does it come from a place of wanting to force him into your mould of what a partner should be. The reality is that he is not that idea--obviously. He is also an individual and the couple's workshop recognizes each participant as individuals. The work of healing and recovery as a couple is a very difficult path to take (the couple's path) and requires a formidable commitment from both partners. It requires that you each are recognized as individuals, but you must also recognize the interplay between the individuals and how each of you impact the couple. There is a fine balance that must be kept, lest you fall into the push and pull of trying to establish and meed your individual needs, which throws off the balance of the relationship. It is not a small task and from the outset, it usually isn't balanced which makes establishing the balance so difficult--it requires both give and take, but mostly give.

Re: 3)

If your attitude is one of "being set up" then I'd say that you are not ready for the couple's path and stick to the individual workshop lessons and reassess when you have completed the workshop. Again, when you have healed, any futher disclosure, while not at all pleasurable, is not met with the same disorientation as initial discovery, pre-healing. You may feel disoriented, but regaining your stability occurs much more quickly. So, yes, if he is withholding, you will likely hear more later, and you will need to be prepared. If you are connected to your foundation of vision and values, then you will not experience disclosure as trauma. So, that is where it is up to you. It is up to you in how far you take yourself in your own healing, and it is up to you in what you wish to invest and for how long. The trust you want to build is primarily in yourself~trust that you will be able to handle anything life throws at you (whether it has to do with addiction or not) and trust that you will be able to conduct yourself in a manner worthy of yourself. You can build your relationship with intimacy by getting to know, intimately, what intimacy means to you--what do you need to see, what do you want in terms of healthy intimacy in your relationship? etc. While he may not be able to be an expert participant in healthy intimacy, any work you do together to build healthy intimacy is not lost should he not have completely disclosed--it just means that you will likely be set back (due to emotional upset resulting from late disclosure) and you will have to do some more work to do as a couple, to recreate that intimacy you were working on. Remember, just as healing and recovery are a process, so is life. Every experience you have (good or bad) is taken with you into every subsequent experience. When we acknowledge this, we get some say over how the past impacts our present and future. When we fail to acknowledge this, or even try to resist it, then we find ourselves "stuck" in a state of seeming perpetual repeat of the past, constantly bringing it with us into the future, however unconsciously. It is not until we shine a light on it that we are able to see it for what it is and then we are able to use our experiences rather than allow our experiences to use us which is the difference between living an intentional life, or an untinentional life; a life we love and want to live, or a life we resist and want to run from; a life in which we are empowered, or a life of being a vicitm of circumstance...

The bottom line is that you get to say what you want from this experience, and you can communicate that with him. It is his choice whether or not to comply, or risk violating your boundaries. By the fact that he did share, it doesn't seem to me that it is becuase he didn't want to share, but could be b/c he was afraid to share and needed support from his counselor, or he wanted to be able to have it figured out and then share from a place of confidence, or any other reason of which only he knows.
What you might want to do is ask yourself what it is exactly that you are not comfortable with. What values were violated? When compared with the bigger picture of your vision for your life, how do these violations stand up?

_________________
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: Tue Aug 30, 2011 1:29 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 10:27 pm
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Quote:
This is a good thread. When we recently went through the partner's contract, as listed by the lesson, I agreed to the contract, but found myself having an interesting emotional response. Instead of feeling relieved or "safe" or even comforted by the contract, I actually felt kinda trapped and triggered. Why would I have that response? Have others felt that way, too and maybe had enough self-awareness to understand why?

Yep! I think it is partly because if I look at how things are now we don't really need a contract regarding SA specific stuff but the contract is there for if 'urges' or behaviour which would start leading to SA comes back. I know what my bottom lines are but from what I understand about SA, if he started to relapse, he would lose sight of how things are. In the meantime, hopefully he won't become complacent about the other non sexual behaviours he needs to keep working on and i wont need to verbally remind him 'what wev'e been through' and why the small things sometimes feel big, if its all in black and white. But writing about that stuff in a couples contract hardly put me in a good mood regarding the relationship. It was a reminder of the things I have decided would end our marriage.
Interestingly I also felt a bit 'trapped'. My initial understanding of the workshop was that it was for people who are committed to some kind or partnership, but that could include friends, co-parents but it seems clear that its aimed at couples who want to save their marriage. At the moment, my H an I are committing to our marriage but I don't want to feel like I have to give SO much more than I was already giving before. I feel like I have given enough and I believe what I have given is good enough and appropriate to the situation. Whilst I understand I may need to 'give more' in order to ensure the marriage is saved, part of me still feels triggered about being asked to give more that i have already given when he is already having to play 'catch up'. I am not perfect, we don't have a perfect marriage but at this point, now he is in recovery, its pretty good and any difficulties are only really difficult because I know what they have previously led to. Just eliminating SA behaviour has changed my H so much and started to give me the relationship I dreamed of. The thought of SA resurfacing takes away that dream - again.

Going through it a second time if he relapses (or discloses he wasn't really in recovery) won't be the same. I wont be confused and feel unable to make a decision, but it will still hurt and I think thats normal. No amount of healing will stop it hurting, but I am 100% confident I will deal with it to the best of my ability and without needing to know things or understand things. I can't pretend that this isn't also 'one more chance' because for me, it is. Even though, over time I don't want to feel like 'this is his chance' I know that the insight I have and my healing(as part of a couple) is not about me getting a tough skin ready for his next relapse, its about me being able to have a relationship with him after what he has done. He knows this too. I suspect he wouldn't want to do this as a couple if he relapsed again either. I suspect we would both know that for us, its time to go our separate ways. Of course, if he did NOT commit to recovery after relapse, things would be different but I hope I would have some awareness this time. Thats why even if I did not have proof, if i suspected something was seriously off in the future, that would be enough for me.

Quote:
Some specifics that concern both of us:
1)The partner's contract agrees that I should stay in the relationship primarily because I love him and for "his ability to meet my most important needs, not because I feel pressured or stuck in the relationship"
How can a recovering SA meet my most important needs if those needs are trust, safety, and intimacy, if concerning these values, his emotional immaturity causes him to be incapable of at this time?

This concerned me too, though I decided to leave it in. I can't pretend I don't feel a bit 'stuck' at times, I think its partly because I don't ever want my H to feel the way I have felt if I decided that despite his progress, I couldn't handle things any longer.

I have an expectation that he can grow to meet my most important needs and I hope that, as he matures, I can also meet his most important needs. He says i already do, but I need him to revisit that thought as he grows.
Quote:
2) Also, for the recoveree, it says he agrees "to never consciously decieve my partner as a means of minimizing personal responsibility for my actions or protecting her from pain" however, the next agreement says, "that I have shared everything about my addiction to the best of my recollection/willingness. And that anything i continue to hold on to, I am doing so because I am not ready to share it openly". How can both be agreed upon? They are asked not to decieve us, but they are given the liberty to share only what they are willing to share??????

My H and I have concerns about this too.
Quote:
3) Also, it says in a later lesson that I, as the partner, should expect my recoveree to not give full disclosure at the early stages of recovery, but should expect more to come out after he is transitioning into health. So, I'm assuming I'm being set up here for another blow later on
.
I guess this is why most partners start with the individual workshops. How can a partner agree to a contract where she gives sincere, soul searching commitments when he may not have given full disclosure? However,my H was surpised that he has started the advanced lessons and there is still mention that full honesty may not be in the spouses best interests.
Quote:
So, then, I'm thinking...I'm going to get to a place of recovering from the trauma of this all, and then possibly be re-traumatized by his later additions to his disclosure and have to recover again. Meanwhile, how I can be building trust and intimacy with him knowing as he is going through recovery he is probably keeping aspects of his process/struggles secret from me...

I understand that perhaps a wife is more likely going to get the truth if she allows for drip disclosures and provides a supportive role in the ongoing slips and disclosures. Its a very sad fact. If a SA is scared stiff of the partners reaction, they may never disclosre right? Well, I would not be committing to this if I believed there was not hope of my husband developing a full conscious before us doing contracts. After all we have been through, I cannot agree to accept he can hold certain things back if we are doing this as a couple. I know there is still a risk he is holding back information I requested when making decisions, but I have assessed it as small. If there is anything untold, I believe that for himself if not me, he would disclose further information at some point even if it ends our marriage. If he has not been fully honest, i believe he would likely relapse or show ongoing untrustworthiness in other ways and then all would be over anyway. I am not saying all this is correct, just what I believe is the case for my H and I.
Quote:
sure, telling his counselor, but probably not me? I'm not wanting details about everything that runs through his mind...god no, but how much should he be sharing with me? For example, he recently entered a new phase in his recovery where the urges were coming back with a vengence.

It is a boundary of mine that urges are definitely shared and there are requirements that he shows he is doing recovery work etc I do worry he might not reveal urges out of fear and shame because this is not something he has had to struggle with yet as part of recovery, and so, at this point, I have a minor consequence for this compared to other things, but I would increase consequences if he kept dismissing my boundary.
Quote:
Is this acceptable, that he should be keeping that from me until later? After all, he is asked only to share what he is "willing" to share?

I personally believe that a couple can agree to share things even the recoverer is uncomfortable with.
Quote:
Meanwhile, I continue in a relationship with someone who is going through that but remaining fully unaware even though if I knew he was going through that, I would have wanted to know and protect myself in various little ways during that time in his recovery, but of course, didn't know, so I couldn't respond to protect my sense of safety and now feel kinda uncomfortable about that. Is that how this should go?

I don't believe so.

I guess its about us assessing where our husband is and talking to them about these things and making agreements. Of course they may be lying but I don't think we have to decide that we should enter into a commitment knowing they are entitled to lie etc because its the norm in recovery. My husband has shown concern about the idea of a partner committing to a recoverer who is still having 'slips' or still not committing to disclosure. That shows me he really is on the same page as me regarding what is acceptable at this stage for us. However, I know he is the healthiest he has ever been so its easy for him to feel that way now. Thats good, but I know there if something like an urge came along to rock the boat, he could be capable of violating my boundaries, but I would not agree to a contract where he said he had the right to hold back things like that.


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