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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 7:25 pm 
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Dear Dr. Steffens:
I read your book a few months after d-day (December 8th, 2009). It felt wonderful to be affirmed, to be seen as someone reacting as a normal person would from a traumatic event, instead of a sick co-dependant or co-addict. Thank you.

There have been several great responses on topics to include in a workbook. I am finding the most difficult issue to get past for me is the feelings of being "not good enough". Not pretty enough, not sexual enough in bed, not the body-type (or age!) my husband sought out when acting out. I read over and over how "It's not about me", and intellectually I'm getting that through reading books and working here on RN. But in my heart of hearts, in the midst of the pain and the betrayal--what I continue to feel is, "how could it NOT be about me????" When my husband lusted/fantasized over women in public, quite often I was standing right next to him. How was he not choosing them over me in that moment? How was he not making a comparison in his head, and finding me lacking?

I've read these same feelings voiced over and over by many different women struggling with the same issue. I would love to see a section in the workbook on how to work through these feelings and come to an understanding--in both the head and the heart--that this addiction really does not have ANYTHING to do with the partner.

Thank you so much for all the ways your book has helped me and many others to begin to heal.


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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 7:07 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 1:42 pm
Posts: 344
How does one work through the apparent transference of addiction? I scan now! I never used to look at other women, only their hand bags and shoes. Now, I notice great accessories, both real and man- made and I hate it! I can tell real from fake boobs at 10 feet. Talk about sexualizing your world. How do you make that stop? Can you make that stop or am I now a lesbian thanks to his SA!


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PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 7:19 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2010 10:51 am
Posts: 243
Oh Violet,

That's so funny! Yes, I too now scan. I scan the brothels he used to frequent as I drive past them, I scan the beaches, parks and carparks he used for public mb, the bus stops where he used to stalk women, I find myself suddenly surprised by "sexy bits" in movies or photos in the paper that I never used to notice in the past. I noticed an article in the newspaper with photos of celebrities dressed in S&M gear for a party and sure enough, he confided to me that the page had given him problems. I never used to even notice these things before! It does irk me that his addiction has sexualized MY landscape. What gets me is that I find myself visualizing the things he used to do in these places. I think this is the equivalent of his fantasizing... so now I am a victim of HIS ritual chain! I hope this phase will pass soon. It's a drag and at times, painful.

I also agree with gfdtre's point. I think all partners of SAs suffer from the loss of our dreams and what we thought we had but those of us who were deceived for decades have lost the major part of our productive lives. We invested our youth, built families and our whole lives on illusions. Our children are damaged, our lives feel like a sham and we feel too old to start again, with our SAs or, G-d forbid, with a new SA (excuse the irony but like TaffyApple, I'm not sure I could trust another man again... or perhaps its my own judgment I've lost faith in).

Sometimes I think I have a responsibility to my family to help my H get well because, I brought him into my family, made him a part of my family, had children with him and exposed them all to a person who is dangerous and unsafe. He is forever linked to our children as their father and I have to support him get better in order to keep them safe. This is the life I built and I just have to accept it.


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PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 10:10 pm 
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Oh yes, I forgot... the issue of what, when and how to tell the children. We discovered that the children had all picked up on different aspects of their father's SA and that it had affected them all in different ways. Initially I was concerned over whether he had acted out with any of them and wanted to ascertain if that had happened without traumatizing them. As it turns out, it doesn't appear that he has but they had all been caught up nonetheless. Two of them were aware of his scanning and internet porn use. One son even believed there was something wrong with him because he didn't scan and thought he wasn't normal.

Also, all the children were hurt when we told them we were separating. Even though we didn't tell them any details because we were worried that the details would be damaging, the children formed ideas of their own as to what caused the break-up. Our children are aged 25, 20 and 13, so the information we gave them had to be constructive, satisfying to them and age appropriate. We didn't want the children taking sides, so we didn't tell them things that we thought would influence them to do so.

Advice on how to help the children through a parent's SA, separation and even how to handle the possibility of a parent being arrested would all be useful. Also, I worry that, if they ever found out about it, how their father's ambivalent sexuality might impact on them, particularly the boys, who are at a time in their lives when their own sexuality is developing.


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PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2010 11:06 am 
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Posts: 3834
I, too, realize that I "scan" or at least am sensitized to the world around me: the boobs, the butts, the revealing clothes, the TV ads, etc. There was a time when I didn't really notice it or made humorous remarks - my H did, too. Little did I know that he was playing a role for me. The low cut jeans that he professed to hate because that style interrupts the nature line of the human form (he's an artist) may have been a legitmate observation but it also gave him an opportunity to play the "good guy" as he oggled young women half his age.

So - now I look and ponder and don't feel the freedom that I once felt.
Why? I, too, feel that he must have compared me to the women he lusted after. He says no, but I don't see how that is even possible. I don't want to be young again, but I want to know the truth.

Also, my H is so aware of my being aware that he can't relax. I want to get past this stage of awkward moments. How?

Thanks,
NJ


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 Post subject: Scanning
PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 7:38 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:16 am
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Hi.
I've been reading your descriptions of the "scanning" behavior and see/hear that all the time. For some, it can get terribly distressful and turn into obsessive, compulsive behavior. We know that after trauma, survivors are hypervigilant and scan the environment for signs/warnings of repeated threat. So when you notice "threats" such as female body parts, etc...you are most likely identifying potential threats. I then work with partners to determine other ways of finding safety in the environment. Noticing these "threats" does not increase safety for us, but its a behavior we're using in hopes that "if I notice it, somehow I'm prepared to prevent him from acting out/noticing and as a result, prevent him from hurting me" It doesn't work. So what things will help you feel safe when you are out in public around these "threats"? For one, if I see my husband looking inappropriately, I can leave so that I do not have to witness him acting out. What other things can help you feel safe in public, around these "threats?" What has worked for you?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 11:12 am 
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Thanks for replying. Yes, I do feel that I am hyper-vigilant. I also feel that seeing these images anywhere is a reminder of his need for sexual stimulation outside the marriage. He hasn't scanned in my presence for over a year now but because that incident followed DDay and months of counseling I was totally shocked. Before that he never scanned in my presence - always under a cover of some sort which I have learned halppened often in various situations. He was always very careful to hide his behavior from me and from the general public as well. Sneaky guy.

Now I look at young women differently and wish I didn't because I was once young, too. I tell myself that I am an attractive and intelligent woman and always have been, but I now realize that as I grew older, he wanted younger women in his life. I know that this is his problem but it still hurts that he could be so disrepectful of me and our marriage.

I want to get to the point that I can laugh at his shallow idiotic behavior and see it for what it was - a foolish older man acting out in anger that he projected onto me. I know all that intellectually. It's still hard to deal with it emotionally.

He seems to have been abstinent now for over a year even though he still struggles with other issues. I doubt that I could just walk away from the scene if he acted out in front of me again. I have played that action plan in my head and hope that I won't react emotionally. My counselor suggests that I put a humorous spin on things like this - any suggestions?

Thanks.

Nellie James


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 10:13 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 5:35 pm
Posts: 51
How do we leave, financially? I'm one of the lucky one's. I'm fairly young (35), college educated and able to support myself. In order to really consider all of our options, it would be helpful to have some sort of battle plan on how to manage finances while dealing with the utter emotional destruction and "brain fog" this situation brings about. Some days, it feels like I can't put two sentences together, let alone formulate a plan for "what if I need to leave?"

We need support! Groups, forums, counselors! Sometimes I get angry at all of the focus on the addict. Just another way for them to play the victim while their spouse sits in the rubble of a destroyed life.

I need to know how to deal with the RAGE I feel towards my husband. It's disconcerting to be this ANGRY at another person. I'm not myself. I don't know how to handle these reactions.

--Janni


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 2:19 pm 
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Posts: 215
Going with Janni’s last post: I have looked, so far, in vain for a support group that I can support. I can take away good things from most of the groups. (Al-anon, S-anon, CODA, COSA- tried them all.) However, I cannot recommend to others the co-dependent and 12 step format since I am not committed to the concepts and language. I have not found material from Celebrate Recovery for the family affected by the addict and again it does not specifically address the peculiar needs of the spouse of the SA. I have heard that years ago a wife in our area left S-anon for the same reasons and started something herself but it is long gone now. It is not clear at all how to get something going with out some mother organization that makes it possible for people to find each other and connect.
So my suggestion is: if you could come up with a support group format and a link where people can find groups in their area – that would be awesome. Your upcoming workbook could probably be adapted for group use. A support group based on your material is something I could get behind and promote.


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 Post subject: telling the children
PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 4:29 am 
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Joined: Wed May 26, 2010 5:59 pm
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Yes, please. Need help here. And not only the older children. What about the under-tens?

Given the issue of secrecy and how it poisons families, we really need to find positive child-friendly ways of creating transparency about what's going on. Otherwise kids pick up things anyway but without support or information and can imagine all sorts of things wrong with themselves. Transparency also to help end the legacy.

Also evaluating whether the children are safe from him/have been unwittingly exposed to innapropriate information or material.

And just providing a healthy world view for the kids to actively challenge the toxic worldview he's unconscioulsy feeding them - I have heard my H say all sorts of values-revealing things to my son, which he thinks are 'true' e.g. only young thin women can be called pretty


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 Post subject: support groups
PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 4:35 am 
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if the book could support a website service like a dating service (!) that you can quietly carefully hook up with other women in your part of the world for face-to-face mutual support, without having to publicise yourself and risk exposure, in areas where there are not yet organised support groups. I'd drive miles just to have tea with someone i knew could relate to what i'm going thru


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:57 am 
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Partner's Mentor

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Posts: 3834
I agree with a face-to-face conversation with another woman who would be part of a bigger support group/network. Being able to open up to each other as friends, hear voices, get hugs - listen and be heard. I was part of a SA partners' group at a local church for a while and everyone there was afraid to talk openly, one woman my age in particualar who feared the ruin of her H's business if his SA activities were made public. The younger women were fairly open about their situations but, again, the 12 step philosophy didn't work for me.

Nellie


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 10:46 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2010 7:46 am
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I would love to be able to have face to face too. Id drive just about anywhere, the isolation can be almost as damaging as be involved with a SA and all that comes with that. Rn is wonderful but there still is the animosity to it. The only face to face I can have is with my psychologist, I so fear at times that others would find out and never understand
katt


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 10:49 am 
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What kind of animosity do you feel with RN Katt? Just wanting to help if I can.

Nellie


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 11:01 am 
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nellie james wrote:
What kind of animosity do you feel with RN Katt? Just wanting to help if I can.

Nellie


:s: katt...did you mean "anonymity" ?


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