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PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:53 am 
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Scanning. We all know what it is. We all know how painful it is for us. We all know how challenging it is for our partners to deal with this behavior in a healthy way. And, boy, do I know about the minimizing, rationalizing, justifying, gaslighting, deceit and lack of empathy around this issue.

I thought I would start a thread to see how we all cope with this issue. What strategies do you have to cope?

In my case, it just got to the point where I could not stand this behavior any more. It just utterly disgusts and embarrasses me and I don't want to be even seen with a man who does this. Strong feelings, still, for me.

So here is the current way I cope. It's not pretty, but it works for now:

1) If I have to be out in public with my husband, I walk several steps in front of him so I do not have to watch him scan. I have stopped scanning myself, thank god.
2) On occasion, when I catch him doing the whole neck craning thing, or secretive looks, I look to see what the heck he is looking at.
3) I don't go out in public with him much. At all. Hope this can change, but until he gets this in better control and until he is more honest and more empathetic, why put myself through it.
4) There are places that are off limits for me to go with him at this point: grocery stores, the beach, certain movies. most restaurants.
5) If I am somewhere in public or a social situation and he does some disgusting leering, or scan over a woman's body, I leave. I have told him ahead of time I will do this, with no arguments or explanation or defensiveness. I just say, quietly and without a scene, that I am leaving the situation. I make my excuses to anyone else who is there. I have to be prepared to leave so I need to figure out if I need a cab, or to ask him to drive me home, or whatever.
6) If I can't leave, I try to get away from him. That might mean going in another room, or simply turning away. I pretend he's not there! Again, not pretty, but it works for me.
7) In the car, since he always has to drive (control issues there...), I look out the passenger side window.

To help me stop scanning, which made me feel pathetic and awful, I have made it a point to establish eye contact and smile warmly at every female I see (males too). Every one of them. And, it's been great! Usually, I get a nice warm smile back. No objectification here and just wonderful moments of humanity. I do this when I am alone in public. I have not yet developed the ability to do it when I am out with my husband. I make a point of getting out by myself so I can have these kind of interactions.

Any thoughts, suggestions, ideas and comments from all of you are welcome.

dnell
dnell


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 7:29 pm 
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Hi dnell
Five days ago I too decided that I could no longer witness this behaviour and feel okay. At the time we were in a store so I said that I needed to go home immediately. As usual my partner kept trying to insist on knowing what he had done wrong, what I saw. I just repeated that I needed to get out of the store but it was my issue. I know he would only deny what he was doing - scanning, ogling and flirting, and try to make me the crazy one and then be furious with me. That evening I remained kind and encouraging without mentioning any concerns or recovery. The next morning we had planned a shopping trip to buy a dress for his son's wedding. I just said that I didn't want to go shopping with him now or maybe ever. He was, of course furious, but I didn't engage. I did notice how much I wanted to do something to make him not mad, but I didn't, and now he is accepting this boundary. I have also been able to detach more from his recovery - not asking questions etc. because this boundary has made me more aware that I do have the power to not be around painful situations.
I'm so sorry that you've had to endure this behaviour ever. It is so belittling, painful, confidence damaging and devastating. I hope we both continue in our recovery to heal and stop the pain!
Thanks for posting about this! Hopeful 9


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2015 7:16 am 
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Hopeful 9 - Yes, your experience of your husband's response to your boundary (leaving the situation) is the same as mine. I see the "what did I do" as: lack of empathy, playing the victim role, deflecting, deceiving and minimizing. Talk about adding insult to injury. All of this is crazymaking and exhausting and I can't tolerate it anymore. So, like you, I have to calmly and firmly not engage in this discussion. It has helped me, and I hope my husband, to ahead of time say that I will leave a situation that makes me feel uncomfortable if I perceive, accurately or not, that he is scanning/ogling/leering, flirting or fantasizing. It's not negotiable for me.

I realize that my husband may or may not be scanning/ogling/fantasizing. He may or may not be fully aware himself. I know I don't trust him to be honest with me at this point. I know that he may or may not be honest in the moment or afterwards. But, what matters is my feeling safe, detaching, and not allowing myself to be damaged. If my husband gets to a point of healthy recovery, my behavior and attitude will change. But I am not there yet.

Tough stuff, isn't it. Wish I didn't have to go through this, but everytime I set a boundary and stick to it I feel so much better.

With compassion,
dnell


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2015 10:13 am 
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Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2015 8:55 am
Posts: 59
Hi again
It does sound like our partners are very similar-as are most SAs with little recovery I guess. It's incredible that they seem to think we can't see or hear or if we haven't been in the bedroom with them then we can't "know" anything. It is very painful hoping they'll take recovery seriously, but seeing at least some behaviours continue even when we are there and all the lies that are damaging.I haven't been out in public with him this week but we did need something in a store last night so I told him I'd prefer to wait in the car. Of course he got mad all over again, went in by himself and took a long time, but then got over it. I'm realizing how important it is for me to avoid as much damage as I can, even if he uses that as an excuse for acting out. I am making progress with detaching as well I hope. I find that not talking as much about my life, plans and thoughts and particularly emotions helps me. Also mentioning his recovery as little as possible. Do you have any tips for setting boundaries or detaching?
I hope you are doing well! Please keep in touch. It is really helpful to feel less alone and less crazy to know someone else is experiencing similar situations and finding ways to cope.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2015 2:34 pm 
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Hopeful 9 - I went back to read your initial post in the partner's workshop. I am so sorry for what you are going through. RN has been a tremendous resource for me as I have embarked on my healing journey. Here is what I have learned and done to help me detach and set boundaries (and I had to detach first before I could set boundaries):

1) Working on the partner's lessons. The lessons really helped me. I would encourage you to continue the lessons. When I first joined RN the coaches and mentors encouraged me to do the lessons. I was not sure that they would be helpful, but they were quite helpful to me.
2) Continue to post in the partner's forum. As you said, it is so helpful to not feel so alone. So crazy. So naive. I get very good emotional support and excellent advice in the partner's forum. I can't think of a single post that wasn't helpful.
3) Consider individual therapy. If you can afford it and are amenable to it, I have found individual therapy to be very healing. In my case, I found a therapist who specializes in recovery from trauma. It took me four tries to get the right therapist. I would avoid anyone who labels you as a co-addict or co-dependent. My therapy has helped me to separate out what is "me' and what is 'him'.
4) Time helps. The shock wears off over time. Your partner can continue to shock you, but it feels different to me. The pain is not as excruciating over time.
5) Be gentle with yourself. This is critical. Do not blame yourself. Do not call yourself stupid. (We weren't). Allow yourself time to muddle. Time to not know what to do or how to feel. Time to regain stability.
6) Focus on yourself. This is the key to detaching. Focus everyday on something nice you can do for yourself. Start small. Read a book. Take a walk. Talk to a friend. Go shopping. Eat fudge. Anything. When this works for me I try to expand it to more activities and more time in the day.
7) Be aware that your husband is not reliable. It just got so exhausting to listen to the lies and the BS and the anger. We don't have to! This is an important realization that took me a long time to figure out. Once I did, boundaries became easier.
8) Really get that you did not cause and cannot cure your husband's addiction. This is critical to really get. It took me a long time. The lessons, time, the partner's forum, therapy....it all helped to really get this.
9) Figure out your bottom lines. This is really hard. I had to really figure out if I could leave my husband and get the strength to know if I would do so. I had to figure out what I would and would not tolerate. This changes over time.
10) Consider marriage counseling.

Neither my husband nor I could establish healthy boundaries. I am just learning them. It's great! It's hard. It's sad that I did not know how to do this.

My husband is working on recovery. He has worked the RN lessons, is in 12 step, is in individual therapy and marriage counseling. I can't ask for more. He has changed, but he has a long way to go. I think he could recover and get healthy if he chooses to do so and finds the strength to keep at it over the long haul. Addicts are the worst people to ask to do this work since they run from their emotions, they want immediate gratification, they lie to themselves and everyone else, they have lost touch with their values, they do not take personal responsibility for their behavior, and they have lived this dual identify life and don't know who they are. But, they are the only ones who can save themselves.

But we can't do it for them. Trying to "help" them keeps them in a state of not taking personal responsibility. And it prevents us from healing.

These addicts are so profoundly destructive both to themselves and those around them. I am devastated by the reality of my life with my husband. But, I have to accept the past and learn from it to go forward. I only have now and the remaining time I have left in life. My husband has taken too much from me and I do not want him to take more.

An important lesson as you progress through the workshop is thinking through your options. I am "waiting and seeing". That may change. I am okay with that for now. It is not easy. It is not fair. But it is our reality.

In the meantime, celebrate baby steps. Celebrate getting through the day. Not engaging in your partner's craziness. Finding moments of peace. Finding moments of joy.

With compassion,
dnell


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2015 7:17 am 
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Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2015 8:55 am
Posts: 59
Thanks so much for your reply, help and support. I have gained so much insight from the recovery mountain workshop. I had problems posting originally so completed the lessons in a notebook as I was anxious to get as much information as quickly as possible. I am now ready to start at lesson 1 again with depth as my goal and regular postings.
I'm happy that your partner seems to be fully involved with recovery. Mine is a superb faker, but only minimally wanting recovery for himself it seems. I can appreciate that only with my detachment and appropriate boundaries is there any hope of change in either of us. The positive side is that I am finding the thought of leaving more appealing and his lies and manipulation so less tolerable. I still get so disappointed in myself when I start to think there is hope he is changing only to have it shattered again.
I enjoy your posts always. You are very articulate, compassionate and strong. Wishing you strength and Hugz.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2015 5:40 pm 
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Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2015 8:46 am
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So often I read posts on our partner's forum, I definitely relate and feel for you all, I want to reply, but feel lost...I have no answers, and when I think I've arrived at some, they are wrong. Well, in all honesty, I guess the answers I try to help him with (I know, I know) are fallible. The ones I find for myself are OK-ish.

I have thankfully stopped resenting other women.

My partner quit his porn addiction cold turkey before we found RN, or he had any support/knowledge of recovery. This immediately shifted his addiction to scanning women everywhere. Almost any woman. Fat, thin, young, old...As long as she is not me, she's fair game. He does find me very attractive, he stopped all of his porn masturbation stuff, and we have a satisfying sex life, {when our intimacy is not destroyed by his addictive behaviors} (but this is all beside the point, clearly). This is absolutely maddening.

Lately, I can strike a chord with other women and try to ignore the fact he may be struggling with a desire to ogle them. I still enjoy talking to other women and meeting them as people, and ignoring the whole objectification BS. I let the conversation I am enjoying cancel him out. He is a very attractive man, though, and sometimes he just gets a sleazy vibe going. So often women who lack emotional maturity, teenagers, etc., will glare at me when I'm by his side. He thinks he can fantasize about women and they won't notice his sending all that energy their way, or that it makes me uncomfortable, and makes them think something's cooking. When actually, he's happy with me, wants to be with me, but also wants to ogle them, and have it all work out and be a part of a healthy recovery.

As dnell says, it actually is getting less intensely painful...but no less frustrating. He can't seem to understand what a healthy recovery is. And I am sick of staying home because sometimes I can't bear to go out together.

I know I need to detach more and set boundaries. I am finding other partner's posts about this stuff insightful.

More ranting than advice, but anyway...All my best,

Lava Lamb


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2015 4:51 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2015 1:37 pm
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My husband is a sex addict (porn, masturbation, scanning on the Internet -- I only know know what I've discovered on my own). D-day was four months ago which is when I discovered, after over 30 years of marriage, he's been porning and masturbating this entire time (it started when he was a child). It explains his aversion to having an intimate relationship with me. I'll write my story, or what I know of it which isn't much, another time, because this topic is about scanning -- a very painful, embarrassing and humiliating experience for the partner. My heart goes out to all of you who've written about this maddening experience.

I'd like to tell you about two scanning experiences that were particularly over-the-top. One occurred at the mall where he noticed identical twins, teenagers, obviously models, who were very beautiful. He kept running over to me, pointing them out, and he was totally frantic to get a closer look at them. Well, there were TWO OF THEM -- so his Dopamine must have been going off like rockets. I stood there, in shock as he attempted to stalk them in the department store. Finally they escaped by taking the escalator. As always, I told him how it made me feel, how it potentially creeped out the women he was scanning -- but I always heard the same excuse: "I'm an artist and I need beauty in my life." I'm like, "Really -- despite how much it hurts me and these women?" Another time we almost got into a car accident when we were in the far right lane and he spotted a woman in an open convertible in the far left lane with her hair blowing in the wind. He became obsessed and frantic to get a look at her, so he swerved over several lanes, and cranked his neck so hard I thought it'd snap off. Nothing I said changed his behavior, so years ago, like dnell, I declined his invitation go to many public places with him to avoid the humiliation. Interestingly, our beautiful college age daughter worked for him temporarily. Some of his male clients. who worked for a respected company, but they were pigs, used his conference room to ogle women walking by below (it's in an urban setting). (My husbands paid for expensive parking spaces so they could come by any time to scan.) He finally noticed that these pigs were scanning our daughter, and he thought it was so rude and obnoxious, that he resolved to stop scanning -- at least in pubic. He's not done it in front of me.

We're both in therapy (I've met with his therapist and it seems that he hasn't been honest with him), and I'm quite sure he's still porning, masturbating, and scanning. He controls the porn filter (he has the password) -- and he's hidden his activity from me. But, his Internet history is revealing when it looks like he's deleted most of his activity. And, he checks out videos of hot swim suit models, web sites about wild celebs -- you get the picture. Now he's getting weekly updates from "Vogue Magazine" in the UK (which is more titallating with nude models -- than the US version) It's really quite pathetic. He tells me he doesn't do porn. But, he's an artful liar -- he's had years of experience. And, I'm beginning to think he has no interest in recovering. He's set me up several times to believe he has the problem solved, but I've caught him on it. I'm becoming convinced that he doesn't WANT to stop. He liked things as they were with me in the dark and him having HIS CAKE. The only activity he's shown remorse for is public scanning. I know he has other serious emotional issues beyond sex addition. Am I a fool to hang on for one year?

I've seriously thought about cutting it off sooner. I'm thinking that, deep down, he doesn't want to give up his porning, mastgurbating or scanning. He also has infatuations with women -- he has a "type" -- but he's especially a sucker for adulation and flattery. He can't resist it. He's hired some of these women in the past with disastrous results. One of them almost destroyed our company. He hires them despite what I think. I'm questioning as he has a couple of infatuations going now (he's scanning one of the women) -- maybe to try to replace me as he knows our marriage is rocky??? I have no idea, but he doesn't do well alone. I'd appreciate any thoughts you might have -- I'm a "newbie" without a lot of experience although I'm doing everything possible to educate myself. Thanks for all your amazing posts -- they've helped enormously!!! You guys are the BEST! (BTW, my ex was also a philanderer, and he embarrassed me in public with his women. He was a Narcissist through and through. He was also abusive. I never intended to marry another man who was untrustworthy. From Day One my husband has played me; I loved him with all my heart, and I was CHUMPED. I'm thinking I'm still being chumped, and I'm not sure what to do. Thank you for your thoughts! Annabel Lee


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2015 6:33 pm 
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Annabel Lee - I looked to see if you had started a healing thread, but I did not find it. So, I apologize if you have already started the lessons. If not, I want to welcome you to Recovery Nation. I am sorry you have to be here, but it is a very good place to be giving the trauma of discovery of your husband's sex addiction.

I and several others here have been in long term marriages prior to discovery (over 30 years for me as well). I encourage you to start the lessons. They were very helpful to me in getting me to focus on myself and what to do early on in my healing process. As you proceed through the lessons, there is one on "considering your options." That was very helpful to me. But at first, I needed to get some sense of control of my life, some emotional equilibrium, and a sense of peace. Easier said than done, but given time, RN, and therapy, I am much, much better off than I was when I started last fall.

Also, boundary setting is important to us. You may tell your husband that he must get help and demonstrate a commitment to recovery. But, I think the lessons help think these issues through to figure out what is in your best interest. Jon teaches us that we should make values based decisions, and not emotionally based decisions (like our addict partners). I needed time, and still need time, to figure out what was in my best interest. If you can, give yourself the gift of time to think through your options, to figure out a plan on how to proceed. Be gentle with yourself.

My husband said something helpful today. He said, "I told myself stories that I believed". Well, we know they minimize, rationalize, justify their compulsions and obsessions. I can't tell you how many times I heard that he wasn't scanning/objectifying/ogling/fantasizing, but rather, "appreciating beauty"...."women are works of art"...."I'm just noticing what is pretty"...."all men do this." The harsh reality is my husband has told me he did NOT care if men did that to me when I was younger (but one of his stories to justify not being intimate with me was that I was sexless, ugly, and undesirable and no one would want me). And, in the situation of his daughters, I don't think he got all that worked up about their being objectified since "all men do it." It's very ugly. And, what I have come to learn is that in his fantasy life, my husband thought all these women wanted to flirt with him, have sex with him, fall in love with him. Every one. He thought everyone was as sexually obsessed as he was and an innocent smile from a waitress was an invitation to have sex, fall in love, and be the perfect partner. It's delusional, of course. On some level, I believe they know they are full of it, otherwise why keep it secret? Even now, as my husband is working on recovery, I don't think he totally believes me that nearly all women would be turned off, scared, and creeped out by the fantasies running through his head. Because, you know, didn't they get up in the morning and dress provocatively just for him? So, all of this is addict thinking and very ugly and crazy. That is why detachment is so important. For me, getting a functional understanding of this addiction, that Jon teaches in the lessons, was very, very helpful. But, detachment is even more important for our well being.

With compassion,
dnell


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 12:21 am 
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Interesting post as I also just posted about scanning.

I'd say too I don't resent other women. But with my ex-husband, I have just made it that we can't meet in public with the exception of a very empty coffee place in a grocery store. He just can't stop the rude behavior and there are times we need to meet about the divorce or our son. But that's harder to do in an ongoing relationship. My boundaries with my ex-husband since our separation have included leaving the situation and just narrowing where I will be with him in public. Before our separation, I hardly ever noticed him look at women or even talk to them. I believe now that was because he was being good when with me.

Mini-vent: one thing that stuns me with my ex-husband is he seems completely oblivious that his behavior often makes waitresses or other women uncomfortable and often appears unwanted. Especially when he is sitting right across from a woman (me) already. I don't believe he can see that his behavior is not always welcome or even flattery. I see it as quite rude. To me it was interesting that the day we met so I could serve him the divorce papers he controlled himself and did none of the flirting or gauking.

Anyway, thanks for posting dnell. It is not something that is fun to be around. I find at the heart of it, disrespectful to me and women in general. It's certainly rude and poor manners if nothing else.

_________________

"What day is it,?" asked Pooh.
"It's today," squeaked Piglet.
"My favorite day," said Pooh.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2015 6:38 am 
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AutumnRose - What were/are they thinking? I can get wrapped around the axle about this so I try not to dwell here too long, but this stuff is so crazy that it helps me just a bit to get a glimmer of an understanding of what in the heck is going on in the minds of our SA partners. Don't want to stay there too long though, since it feels nightmarish to me.

I think that when our SA's are in a trance, nothing matters but the ritual and the stimulation. Other people? Don't exist---they are just objects. Values? No idea what you are talking about. So my belief is that the start of scanning isn't when they see an "attractive woman/girl", its much, much earlier. It's when they feel bad or uncomfortable about something. Boredom? Loneliness? Emptiness? Low self esteem? In my husband's case, this occurred the moment he woke up and fed on itself all day. So he was primed to escape his bad feelings, he was also primed to get the jolt of stimulation from his addiction, and his meaning in life was his rituals. So he already started the rituals quite early and went out on his search. As the addiction progresses, I think they are in a nearly constant state of ritual.

I think he believed that he was cute, charming, boyish. Well, he was definitely immature. He probably really believed that this woman/girl was the "perfect one" and the answer to all of his problems. In his younger days my husband was very good looking so he probably got away with a lot of this because of his looks. He was delusional and, as I stated earlier, believed that everyone (well, everyone but me) was as obsessed about sex as he was. But, in his head, women and girls had no meaning except to fall in love and have sex with him. They would achieve ecstasy just by doing whatever he wanted whenever he wanted. They have no independent life. They are objects. Very selfish, very delusional, very destructive, very isolating....well, we know.

Jon's book, "He Danced Alone", gave me the best understanding of what in the heck is going on. He saw himself in this kind of heroic, rescue role where he was God's gift to women. He would...I don't know, complete them, solve their problems. I think the fantasy role these guys create for themselves is always heroic and grandiose. If you feel so crappy about yourself, why wouldn't you want a heroic fantasy.

And, I asked my husband this morning if he really gets, now, how creeped out women/girls would be by his fantasies, and he said yes. Don't know what the men on the other side think.

dnell


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