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 Post subject: Beyond frustrated
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2015 5:21 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2015 12:43 pm
Posts: 83
As part of working on our relationship my partner and I are seeing a couples therapist who specializes in trauma and addiction.

While working with the therapist my partner was caught in multiple lies and a continuation of those lies over a 2 month period. When confronted my partner of course claimed all the classic liar points. I was scared, I thought you would be mad etc.
The agreement when we started therapy was no lies, no secrets. This violated that agreement, my partner agreed that moving forward that this was to never happen again. That any further lies whether by intent to deceive, omission etc were all unacceptable.

It just recently came up that my partner has once again been deceptive, also lied by omission and further attempted to manipulate our therapist.

Our therapist is now caught in a conundrum, she has drawn a line in the sand and made it very clear it was not to be crossed, she already provided my partner a second chance and now there are multiple additional issues. From this, the therapist is basically concerned that continued treatment would essentially be enabling my partner. The therapist is on a one week vacation and asked my partner to answer 4 questions to get an understanding of whether or not my partner understands the depth of this issue and to essentially prove the my partner is committed to the therapy itself. She advised my partner to complete these questions in one week and to email them to me as well so we can discuss them before the therapist returns from vacation.

I received the response today and although it was honest and the questions are answered, it's extremely broad in the responses.
For instance instead of saying I like red, blue, green and purple, the response would be I like several colors.
I discussed this with my partner and indicated that it was obvious that there wasn't a lot of effort put into it. That it was completed in the last day before it was due. My partner confirmed that it was written the night before.
My partner indicated that there are no limits whatsoever when it comes to wanting to be sober, in therapy with our therapist and in this relationship. I explained that the responses show no emotion and that our therapist wants on some level to see my partner is sincere.

Essentially at this point my partner had a childish temper tantrum....I can't do it, I don't know how to explain that, I don't know how to put into words how I feel, I'm really frustrated because I feel like I won't be understood....etc etc. All this before even typing a single word, just the thought of having to be open and honest and share emotion inspired a childish fit.
I felt like I was explaining to a 7yr old that they had to do their homework.

Now, I'm sitting here thinking, what the f*#k is so hard about it? You just said you have no limits...apparently you're now appending no limits except participating...or no limits except having to be honest, sincere and speak from the heart.

This is normally where I get angry and yell.
This is normally where I want to lose my temper. Instead I said, you're right, it's probably my fault that I misunderstood what you read. If you think it's good enough than don't worry about it. We'll talk to the therapist in a week and see what she has to say.
Now all of a sudden my partner says, no, I know I have to write something to explain how I'm feeling.
Again...more childish behavior.

I'm too old for this shit. I am sick and tired of having to spoon feed information, suggest each thing that needs to be done and it's becoming clear in the month she's been in recovery, the 6 months we've been in therapy and the 6 years we've been together that my partner has absolutely no interest in putting forth effort when it comes to getting things done that aren't a direct benefit.

Do any of you deal with this?
Is there some better way to deal with childish nonsense?


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 Post subject: Re: Beyond frustrated
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2015 7:04 pm 
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Quote:
I'm too old for this shit. I am sick and tired of having to spoon feed information, suggest each thing that needs to be done and it's becoming clear in the month she's been in recovery, the 6 months we've been in therapy and the 6 years we've been together that my partner has absolutely no interest in putting forth effort when it comes to getting things done that aren't a direct benefit.

Do any of you deal with this?
Is there some better way to deal with childish nonsense?


hadenuff - I am so, so sorry for what you are going through. It sounds painful, sad, enraging and crazymaking. None of this is good news. I agree, she is not showing a sincere commitment to recovery.

There is a better way to deal with this and that is detachment. She needs to be responsible for her recovery if she wants to actually recover. She needs ot find information, know what needs to be done, and do it. The best thing I can advise, and believe me I had a hard time taking this advice myself, is to stop being involved in her recovery at all. Don't give her information; don't suggest what she should do; don't take any responsibility for her recovery or work at all.

As you can see from your back and forth about what she needed to write, when you stepped back, she stepped forward. I am very, very familiar with this dance in my relationship and it is exhausting.

I'm surprised the therapist asked you to discuss this outside of a session. You have a right to set boundaries here so that you are not responsible for her choices and behavior. You can decide not to discuss anything, unless it is in a session. It is up to you to say what you want and need.

Now comes the harder part. As you work in private coaching on your vision and values, and think about your options, you may want to consider what you are wiling to put up with and for how long.

In the meantime, get away from the craziness. It took me so long to get this (like a year) and I wish I had gotten it sooner. Don't engage her when she is acting in such an immature way. I've learned to calmly say, "I'm not able to talk with you when you are (yelling, not listening, tantruming....whatever it is) and I am going to do something by myself for the next (10 minutes, hour, day, week...whatever you need.)" The key here is to be calm and clear. Easier said than done. I had to really think through some of the crap my husband pulled early on about what I would or would not put up with. I still think about it and it is getting easier to detach and set boundaries.

But, while I am familiar with some of this behavior, I did see more of a commitment from my husband early on. Don't know how sincere it was, but what is happening to you is very discouraging.

With compassion,
dnell


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 Post subject: Re: Beyond frustrated
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2015 1:32 am 
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Hi hadenuff,

Oh, how I can relate. It's stunning how emotionally immature an SA can be, and how obvious it becomes once you recognize it in context of addiction. What was more stunning to me, in retrospect, was how much I covered for my husband's underdeveloped skills. In fact, when I first started here, I asked on the forum if it would be okay for me to READ THE LESSONS!!! to my husband, because he had dyslexia and was having trouble getting through them.

I've come a long way since then. In fact, just this evening my soon-to-be ex-husband asked me, totally innocently and nicely, if I could please help him fill out the financial part of his divorce paperwork, since I was the one who had all the information. Stunned again. Luckily, I've been able to detach, and I simply told him, no, that it was his responsibility, that I had already done my own, and that I'm sure he can figure it out. Apparently, I'm still not detached enough, though, because I was really annoyed that he would ask my help on something so basic as finding out how much was in his 401k. I'm still trying to let it go. So your post struck a chord with me.

hadenuff wrote:
Essentially at this point my partner had a childish temper tantrum....I can't do it, I don't know how to explain that, I don't know how to put into words how I feel, I'm really frustrated because I feel like I won't be understood


You've hit the nail on the head, here. An SA does have immature emotional development, and so the fact is, she probably can't do it with the level of insight and introspection that seems obvious to you. It is a little like dealing with someone with the emotions of a 7yo. At this early stage of her recovery, she simply hasn't developed the emotional maturity required. Which doesn't mean she gets a pass. It just may help you understand what could be going on for her. It may be that she's sincere about wanting to continue with the therapist, but doesn't know yet how to go to that depth in her answers. Sounds like that's for your therapist to sort out.

hadenuff wrote:
I am sick and tired of having to spoon feed information


Okay, this is good. You don't have to. If you're sick and tired of it, then simply don't do it (well, obviously, not that simply, as all of us here know). Part of the learning process for the SA involves developing the life skills they need, not only to get through recovery, but to live a healthy, productive life. The more you spoon feed, the more you prolong the SA's process. At least that's been my experience. I've found that every time I've let go, my partner has had to rise to the occasion. Or not, but that's an important lesson, too.

The point is, for me, the better way to deal with childish nonsense turned out to be choosing not to deal with it at all. Let her deal with it.

hadenuff wrote:
This is normally where I get angry and yell.
This is normally where I want to lose my temper. Instead I said, you're right, it's probably my fault that I misunderstood what you read. If you think it's good enough than don't worry about it. We'll talk to the therapist in a week and see what she has to say.


Well done. This sounds like good progress for you. You didn't get sucked into the downward spiral. The only thing I'd say in the future is not to take the blame. It's your opinion and you're entitled to it. There's no fault in that. But good to leave it to the therapist, who is the one who asked for it.

One thing I was wondering is what are your boundaries around lying? It sounds like your therapist has clearly stated her boundaries and called out your partner when they were crossed, but what about you? What are the consequences for when your partner lies? It may be a little too early in your process, but you'll get to that soon in the lessons. Something to think about, anyway. Hope you were able to get started in the private lessons. A lot of your questions will be answered as you work through. Just keep pushing on.


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 Post subject: Re: Beyond frustrated
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2015 8:13 am 
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dnell wrote:
hadenuff - I am so, so sorry for what you are going through. It sounds painful, sad, enraging and crazymaking. None of this is good news. I agree, she is not showing a sincere commitment to recovery.

I'm trying to basically ignore my partners recovery and let it be my partner's, at the same time, I'm focused on me and if I'm being lied to then it's not about my partner's recovery, it's about our relationship. I'm accepting the fact that my partner is immature and new to recovery so there's a learning curve and they mature and progress through a healthy recovery....I just can't focus on that. I'm focused on my recovery and if she continues to lie it impacts my recovery.

dnell wrote:
There is a better way to deal with this and that is detachment. She needs to be responsible for her recovery if she wants to actually recover. She needs ot find information, know what needs to be done, and do it. The best thing I can advise, and believe me I had a hard time taking this advice myself, is to stop being involved in her recovery at all. Don't give her information; don't suggest what she should do; don't take any responsibility for her recovery or work at all.

That's maybe not clear in my comment, I am refusing to give my partner information, the frustration is waiting for my partner to pick it up and do on their own, another thing I can't focus on. That's essentially why I backed off and left the situation alone. It still sucks knowing I'm being lied to and dealing with an immature partner who expects me to be supportive.

dnell wrote:
As you can see from your back and forth about what she needed to write, when you stepped back, she stepped forward. I am very, very familiar with this dance in my relationship and it is exhausting.

Well, it's more about the fact that my partner needed to have the argument, it would be a massive step if that didn't have to happen. For now, I'm continuing to step back.

dnell wrote:
I'm surprised the therapist asked you to discuss this outside of a session. You have a right to set boundaries here so that you are not responsible for her choices and behavior. You can decide not to discuss anything, unless it is in a session. It is up to you to say what you want and need.

I think the goal is to essentially inspire healthy discussion, on the other hand I think the therapist is attempting to get me to see the immature behavior needs to be met with distance instead of assistance.

dnell wrote:
Now comes the harder part. As you work in private coaching on your vision and values, and think about your options, you may want to consider what you are wiling to put up with and for how long.

The private forum still hasn't started, I'll be contacting them later this week.
This is basically the frustrating part. I'm waiting to see some improvement, some indication there is change in order to be able to make healthy boundaries and set consequences. Right now my boundary is, "if you can't do this on your own" and the consequence is, "I'm gone".
I realize that's an emotional response and I need to wait for a healthy response instead. There are obvious boundaries, minor slips are understandable and the consequences need to be set by her sponsor, as far as our relationship the consequences seem to be losing our therapist. I need to figure out healthy consequences other than...everything is over...for minor slips.

dnell wrote:
In the meantime, get away from the craziness. It took me so long to get this (like a year) and I wish I had gotten it sooner. Don't engage her when she is acting in such an immature way. I've learned to calmly say, "I'm not able to talk with you when you are (yelling, not listening, tantruming....whatever it is) and I am going to do something by myself for the next (10 minutes, hour, day, week...whatever you need.)" The key here is to be calm and clear. Easier said than done. I had to really think through some of the crap my husband pulled early on about what I would or would not put up with. I still think about it and it is getting easier to detach and set boundaries.

It was the attempt at the end but I let my frustration create an unhealthy response...I essentially apologized and put the blame on me. It would have been better to say, I think you need to make this decision on your own. I like your suggestion, it's clear and eliminates the ridiculousness of who's at fault and brings it to I won't accept the following treatment.

dnell wrote:
But, while I am familiar with some of this behavior, I did see more of a commitment from my husband early on. Don't know how sincere it was, but what is happening to you is very discouraging.

My partner hasn't completed her first step, she's less than a month in recovery and despite all my bitching and moaning I do see her doing some work. The hardship is seeing things that I can feel are proactive personal choices and not reactive led choices.

Thanks dnell, more than anything just hearing that someone understands is reassuring and comforting.


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 Post subject: Re: Beyond frustrated
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2015 8:39 am 
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Posts: 83
RisingtoChallenge wrote:
Hi hadenuff,

Hi RisingtoChallenge!

RisingtoChallenge wrote:
Oh, how I can relate. It's stunning how emotionally immature an SA can be, and how obvious it becomes once you recognize it in context of addiction. What was more stunning to me, in retrospect, was how much I covered for my husband's underdeveloped skills. In fact, when I first started here, I asked on the forum if it would be okay for me to READ THE LESSONS!!! to my husband, because he had dyslexia and was having trouble getting through them.

I'm currently being made abundantly aware of the fact that I have literally been spoon feeding my partner things to say, how to respond, how to act and now all I have is a parrot. When asked to be proactive and have a personal and real response...I get immature temper tantrums.

RisingtoChallenge wrote:
I've come a long way since then. In fact, just this evening my soon-to-be ex-husband asked me, totally innocently and nicely, if I could please help him fill out the financial part of his divorce paperwork, since I was the one who had all the information. Stunned again. Luckily, I've been able to detach, and I simply told him, no, that it was his responsibility, that I had already done my own, and that I'm sure he can figure it out. Apparently, I'm still not detached enough, though, because I was really annoyed that he would ask my help on something so basic as finding out how much was in his 401k. I'm still trying to let it go. So your post struck a chord with me.

That's awesome that you are standing up for you, I know how empowering it is when you stand your ground.
Like their behavior is immature and unhealthy, our behavior is just as unhealthy, we've been trained to compensate for their inabilities. That's definitely not easy to stop.

RisingtoChallenge wrote:
You've hit the nail on the head, here. An SA does have immature emotional development, and so the fact is, she probably can't do it with the level of insight and introspection that seems obvious to you. It is a little like dealing with someone with the emotions of a 7yo. At this early stage of her recovery, she simply hasn't developed the emotional maturity required. Which doesn't mean she gets a pass. It just may help you understand what could be going on for her. It may be that she's sincere about wanting to continue with the therapist, but doesn't know yet how to go to that depth in her answers. Sounds like that's for your therapist to sort out.

My partner wrote a response, I think it's was the best my partner could accomplish but I can't help read it and see just how...shallow...maybe not the right word....lacking in true emotion...that's more accurate. It's basically like reading a bad story and the writer doesn't understand the subject. Maybe not a great example but Steve Carell in 40yr old virgin describes why he likes women's breasts...and he says, "You know, when you, like, you grab a woman's breast and it's...you feel it and... it feels like a bag of sand when you're touching it".
Everyone else but him understands immediately that he has no clue. That's what the response reads like...it's like someone explaining something they've never done or don't understand. It's not to say it wasn't sincere, it's just clear how immature the emotional response is.

hadenuff wrote:
Okay, this is good. You don't have to. If you're sick and tired of it, then simply don't do it (well, obviously, not that simply, as all of us here know). Part of the learning process for the SA involves developing the life skills they need, not only to get through recovery, but to live a healthy, productive life. The more you spoon feed, the more you prolong the SA's process. At least that's been my experience. I've found that every time I've let go, my partner has had to rise to the occasion. Or not, but that's an important lesson, too.

I stopped the spoon feeding a long time ago, I'm just annoyed that it hasn't created the desire to be proactive and not wait to be spoonfed. The literal first thought I had was it's like training a small child (I don't have any). You want them to go to bed at a certain time, brush their teeth, put on their pajamas, get in bed, stay in bed. The general consensus is you constantly repeat the exact desired behavior while diminishing acknowledgement of their bad behavior. So, maintain the schedule, 7:30pm brush teeth then pajamas, a few minutes of reading, talking etc before bed and then 8:00pm bed. If they get up you reaffirm the directions...its time for bed, do not get up again. After that, each time you simply return them to bed with no discussion. The goal is to set a pattern and not distract from it. I guess it's the same with an SA. They're immature behavior has to be met with a mature pattern of behavior and it needs to be consistent and not allow the breaking of the pattern to be entertained, instead just reinforce the positive behavior and then break off entertaining the discussion.

hadenuff wrote:
The point is, for me, the better way to deal with childish nonsense turned out to be choosing not to deal with it at all. Let her deal with it.

This one is difficult....there are things which in a healthy relationship I could solve easily (I know, stupid man, sometimes it's not about solving the problem....however, sometimes it is). Lets use as an example not having money for groceries. I can easily provide for groceries but I have to remember that my partners irresponsible behavior caused the situation and my partner needs to deal with it as opposed to having me solve it because I can.

hadenuff wrote:
Well done. This sounds like good progress for you. You didn't get sucked into the downward spiral. The only thing I'd say in the future is not to take the blame. It's your opinion and you're entitled to it. There's no fault in that. But good to leave it to the therapist, who is the one who asked for it.

I like yours and dnell's response, I need to incorporate them together.

hadenuff wrote:
One thing I was wondering is what are your boundaries around lying? It sounds like your therapist has clearly stated her boundaries and called out your partner when they were crossed, but what about you? What are the consequences for when your partner lies? It may be a little too early in your process, but you'll get to that soon in the lessons. Something to think about, anyway. Hope you were able to get started in the private lessons. A lot of your questions will be answered as you work through. Just keep pushing on.


Here's the absolutely ridiculous part, this was what we were supposed to be working on but it's been put on a back burner due to this latest incident. I had originally come up with some healthy boundaries (I don't want to post them here because my partner comes here and reads to get information to pretend to work on recovery and show positive results) but after the incident decided that my best boundary is simply stating that my partner needs to participate in therapy and work on sobriety or the relationship ends. I'm betting this will be seen as a backing off and a good thing to my partner, as opposed to understanding this is me taking a massive step away. As I commented elsewhere, it's me putting one foot out the door. Now, I don't care if they get it or not, I'm doing it for me.


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 Post subject: Re: Beyond frustrated
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2015 9:30 am 
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hadenuff, I am really impressed with your insight and understanding gained in such a short time. And, I am so relieved since I always think "hadenuff is going to be okay."

(still) rising, I always appreciate your compassion and wisdom. I'm sad that you will be divorced, but also hopeful for you and your sons and your new life. I am impressed as well by your journey.

I am feeling so empathetic to our situations which have so much in common. We should write a book. Anyway, I was reflecting on the various shocks, or should I say, deep surprise I feel when I become aware of so many things: after the shock of discovery, there is the shock of clarity of what in the heck was happening and how it can be traced back to the addiction(s). But, as you have pointed out, I am stunned by my husband's level of immaturity. I am stunned by his (original) lack of insight and awareness. I am stunned by the depth and extent of his dishonesty. I am stunned by how deeply messed up he is. I am stunned at how much I gave and gave and gave at the price of my self. I am stunned at how slowly and over how long my values eroded. Jon does an excellent job explaining how and why this happens, but still, it stuns me.

I am deeply saddened and I grieve for all that I have lost, but, I'm okay with this. I am saddened by my early trauma, which I am healing from in therapy, and the trauma from my husband. I am acutely aware of time: the need for more time for me to heal and for my husband to recover, but at the same time, since I am no longer a spring chicken, how it feels like it is slipping away.

I am so hopeful and encouraged by your posts.

In solidarity,
dnell


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 Post subject: Re: Beyond frustrated
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2015 8:23 pm 
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dnell wrote:
Anyway, I was reflecting on the various shocks, or should I say, deep surprise I feel when I become aware of so many things: after the shock of discovery, there is the shock of clarity of what in the heck was happening and how it can be traced back to the addiction(s). But, as you have pointed out, I am stunned by my husband's level of immaturity. I am stunned by his (original) lack of insight and awareness. I am stunned by the depth and extent of his dishonesty. I am stunned by how deeply messed up he is. I am stunned at how much I gave and gave and gave at the price of my self. I am stunned at how slowly and over how long my values eroded. Jon does an excellent job explaining how and why this happens, but still, it stuns me.


In additional solidarity I echo the sentiments here and throughout this thread.

When I REALLY got it -- got how engrained my husband's immaturity and fragmented self is -- I felt two contrasting emotions: relief, and disbelief.

Relief that I wasn't the crazy one. Relief I could stop trying to make a frog sing if only I taught it better.

And disbelief at how much I. Too, gave, and silenced my healthy self to act as a crutch for this other person.

It is stunning. Hadenuff, it is without a doubt the single most traumatic realization/experirnce of my life thus far.

It split me into a thousand parts, and left me putting myself back together again.

What is still challenging is, even after a deep underdtanding of my husband's lack of life management skills and unhealth, it is practically impossible for me to empathize with why maturity cannot be summoned on command.

In the same way in which an addicted person cannot immediately understand our healthy way of functioning, we simply do not have the unhealthy pount of view and experience that would enable us to comprehend why maturity, honesty, self reflection and growth are at lack. Why they cannot simply be a decision one makes. To be honest, a part of me still rolls an eye at that.

What helps me reach for some semblance of understanding is remembering my own role in the dynamics, the extent to which I propped him up, and how very difficult it was for me (and this is not true of all partners and may not apply for you, either) to detach, let go, and shift my focus almost 100% to my own life. Doing all this was painful. It required me to force myself each day to shift my focus. It didnt happen overnight. But it did happen, with dedication and with consistent work.

And so it goes for our partners. We know they cannot change overnight,,either, but we know from Jon's work and the recovered folks here that change is possible if our partner makes the decision to commit to it.

Hadenuff, as you know you're still in pretty early post-discovery phase. Despite that, you show a groundedness and level of insight that is to be commended. The boundaries stuff, as you work it, gets easier. And as noted here, is likely to evolve as you evolve and regain your balance.

She may change, and she may not. I can relate to,the annoyance that in you stepping back, she hasn't chosen to step up and take initiative. We wish it would. It seems so simple to us--a given. When they don't, it's disappointing and puzzling. Accepting this--that right now she's NOt stepping up, can give freedom. Rather than fight it, note it, and perhaps detemine a more in-depth plan for internal boundaries around this.

Internal boundaries were crucial for me, moreso than stated ones. My boundaries became about me...how I'd protect me as my partner did or did not do the work. Sometimes they are as simple as making a mental note of the issue (so i remain aware) and pulling away from him further in my heart.

Im glad you're here, hadenuff, and like dnell, am inspired by your posts and insights.


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 Post subject: Re: Beyond frustrated
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2015 10:14 am 
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Meep, such a thought provoking post. You put your finger on one of my current conflicts: having empathy and patience for my husband's
"stuff" due to my own "slow" healing, and contempt and impatience for his "stuff." You are right: we can never completely understand how they think. Thank god! I do know that they have delusional, primal beliefs that they were taught in childhood that have hampered them their whole lives ("I am not worthy. I am not lovable. If people knew the true me, I would be rejected and abandoned. I can trust no one. No one can meet my needs. Sex is my most important need.") So, they have these debilitating beliefs, which they can't quite name, and they create a way to self soothe that is destructive and becomes addictive. Add in all sorts of distorted thinking where they justify their behavior with a belief they are due, they are special (in their brokenness and need) and they become narcissistic.

But, frankly, and this is painful....my giving way too much and depriving my self also comes from holding those core beliefs. (Well, all except "sex is my most important need.") I acted in; my husband acted out. Now, I am healing with help in therapy and I am very grateful that I seem to have more resources to heal more quickly. While my values were eroded, I still have them. My husband...he was never really attached to his values. They were a facade and held no meaning or reward for him. I was aware of my emotions, though I doubted my interpretation of events. I certainly was in denial. i do know that I have more courage and integrity. On lying, there isn't a drug they need to take: they just need to stop. I can understand the point of no return on rituals, but I have a hard time understanding it about lying. I know it is habit, but so what.

And, at the end of the day, all the empathy and compassion we can have for our partners, we need it more for ourselves. It's not a limited resource, our empathy and compassion. But, I have failed over the decades to give it to myself. It's...what....stunning how patient, and kind, and empathetic, and loyal I was with my husband in trying to connect while he had no regard for my feelings whatsoever. I was an object after all that was useful to him. I feel good that I have the capacity to be all these things, but I grieve that I wasted them. I so wish my life had gone differently, and I now have to make the remainder go well. That is not to say all is lost. I had and have good things that my husband's addictions did not destroy (damaged, yes, and put at great risk as the addictions progressed). I will always have a well of grief and sadness for what I have lost.

So at this point in my healing and my husband's recovery, I am so well aware of the conflicted feelings and values you pointed out. None of this is easy, but it is necessary.

dnell


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 Post subject: Re: Beyond frustrated
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2015 11:02 am 
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dnell wrote:
I so wish my life had gone differently, and I now have to make the remainder go well. That is not to say all is lost. I had and have good things that my husband's addictions did not destroy (damaged, yes, and put at great risk as the addictions progressed). I will always have a well of grief and sadness for what I have lost.


I've grown to see things differently, though I've definitely been here. (hadenuff, don't mean to hijack your thread).

From my current vantage point, I surprise myself that I don't wish my life had gone differently. I'm beginning to see the suffering I've been through as a gift. Are you familiar with the opera Magic Flute? In it, the main character chooses to go through the inferno to achieve enlightenment and the other doesn't have the courage. His reward instead of enlightenment: a simple, satisfied life. In the past, I may have chosen a simple, satisfied life. But now that I have such a better understanding of my life and what I am here on this earth to do, I am grateful for this traumatic inferno. I've been forced to actually confront, contemplate and articulate my values, something that would have just been a vague notion before. And as a result, I have so much more clarity about myself and the choices before me. While I may not have reached enlightenment, I'm getting closer in ways that have made my life so much richer than before.

Not to say that I don't mourn the losses. I mourn the loss of my Pollyanna view of the world where everyone was worthy of trust. I mourn the loss of someone I still love. Mostly, I mourn the effect of addiction on my children.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming, hadenuff. One thing you might consider as you have your one foot out the door, is the advice from the workshop not to make any big decisions for a year. One reason to do that is that you have time to work on your values and then make sure your decision to leave, if that is what you decide, is based on those values, not on your very intense emotions right now.

Another reason is that you get the chance to work through the trauma and actually practice boundary protection, which can only be learned through putting it into practice over and over. Unfortunately (or fortunately), your partner will give you that opportunity. That way, you don't risk falling into the same pattern in the future with someone else, which is actually pretty common, as I've noticed here in the forum. That's just my point of view, not RN's. But I do think that is one of the benefits of sticking around. You could do the same work on yourself if you break up, but it may not be as effective as staying with someone who tests them--going through the inferno, if you will. The exception to this, of course, is if the partner or children are in danger.

And then the result of that hard work, if you take it seriously and wholeheartedly, is getting closer to enlightenment. I hope that doesn't sound empty and insensitive to you right now, when the pain is so intense and traumatic, you don't want to hear about possible positives of it. I just want to offer a sense of hope that the painful, heartwrenching work you've begun has hope for leading to something truly fulfilling at the other end.

If you haven't been able to begin privately, I know that many people start by doing their responses offline, then posting them when their private thread is up and running. Don't let the delay in getting your private thread up hinder you from getting started.

(still) Rising


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 Post subject: Re: Beyond frustrated
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2015 5:39 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2015 12:43 pm
Posts: 83
dnell wrote:
hadenuff, I am really impressed with your insight and understanding gained in such a short time. And, I am so relieved since I always think "hadenuff is going to be okay."

Thanks dnell, I honestly don't feel insightful, in all honesty, I am embarassed, humiliated, disgraced, nauseaus and baffled.
As crazy as this is going to sound, I know I'm going to be ok. The only question I have is if I will be ok alone or in a relationship with my partner and my partner's beautiful daughters.

dnell wrote:
I am feeling so empathetic to our situations which have so much in common. We should write a book.

I think Stephen King and Dean Koontz have horror fully covered. :)

dnell wrote:
Anyway, I was reflecting on the various shocks, or should I say, deep surprise I feel when I become aware of so many things: after the shock of discovery, there is the shock of clarity of what in the heck was happening and how it can be traced back to the addiction(s). But, as you have pointed out, I am stunned by my husband's level of immaturity. I am stunned by his (original) lack of insight and awareness. I am stunned by the depth and extent of his dishonesty. I am stunned by how deeply messed up he is. I am stunned at how much I gave and gave and gave at the price of my self. I am stunned at how slowly and over how long my values eroded. Jon does an excellent job explaining how and why this happens, but still, it stuns me.

I'm not as polite, I sum up how I feel with anger and feeling like a complete asshole...I need to read more of Jon's concepts.

dnell wrote:
I am deeply saddened and I grieve for all that I have lost, but, I'm okay with this. I am saddened by my early trauma, which I am healing from in therapy, and the trauma from my husband. I am acutely aware of time: the need for more time for me to heal and for my husband to recover, but at the same time, since I am no longer a spring chicken, how it feels like it is slipping away.

I can add that my partner is younger so I feel like a lot of my life has been wasted and my partner still has plenty of time to recover and have a full life.

dnell wrote:
I am so hopeful and encouraged by your posts.

This is quite literally the only place I've felt normal in six years.



meepmeep wrote:
In additional solidarity I echo the sentiments here and throughout this thread.

I did a lot of whining early on about being emasculated but honestly...the support here is phenomenal, that feeling of being emasculated has been replaced by this warm feeling of solidarity and the embrace of concern.

meepmeep wrote:
When I REALLY got it -- got how engrained my husband's immaturity and fragmented self is -- I felt two contrasting emotions: relief, and disbelief.

Relief that I wasn't the crazy one. Relief I could stop trying to make a frog sing if only I taught it better.

And disbelief at how much I. Too, gave, and silenced my healthy self to act as a crutch for this other person.

It is stunning. Hadenuff, it is without a doubt the single most traumatic realization/experirnce of my life thus far.

It split me into a thousand parts, and left me putting myself back together again.

My partner wrote an email to our couples therapist and it really reinforced the immaturity. While I believe it was sincere, it emphasized just how truly incapable my partner is when it comes to depth of feeling and emotions.

meepmeep wrote:
What is still challenging is, even after a deep underdtanding of my husband's lack of life management skills and unhealth, it is practically impossible for me to empathize with why maturity cannot be summoned on command.

I'm desperately trying to understand, to have some empathy....but there's nothing there. It's an empty well.

meepmeep wrote:
In the same way in which an addicted person cannot immediately understand our healthy way of functioning, we simply do not have the unhealthy pount of view and experience that would enable us to comprehend why maturity, honesty, self reflection and growth are at lack. Why they cannot simply be a decision one makes. To be honest, a part of me still rolls an eye at that.

They are addicts, they're not brain damaged or mentally challenged. The understand a healthy way of thinking, they understand that they're doing the wrong thing. If they didn't understand they wouldn't spend so much time hiding their activity, lying about their activity and denying their behavior. They're aware like alcoholics and drug addicts are aware. Being in denial is not being unaware.
Like any addiction, the decision is the addicts to make. The unfortunate truth is that 12 step programs are not for the people who need them, they're for people who want them. You can't want recovery if you are unaware or if you can't comprehend a healthy way of functioning. Like any other addict, they've chosen to feed their addiction at the cost of everyone around them. While I have sympathy for addicts, I refuse to enable their behavior by saying they had no choice.

meepmeep wrote:
What helps me reach for some semblance of understanding is remembering my own role in the dynamics, the extent to which I propped him up, and how very difficult it was for me (and this is not true of all partners and may not apply for you, either) to detach, let go, and shift my focus almost 100% to my own life. Doing all this was painful. It required me to force myself each day to shift my focus. It didnt happen overnight. But it did happen, with dedication and with consistent work.

I'm having a hard time with this since essentially my enabling in this relationship was falling for my partners lies about recovery, therapy and promises of change.

meepmeep wrote:
And so it goes for our partners. We know they cannot change overnight,,either, but we know from Jon's work and the recovered folks here that change is possible if our partner makes the decision to commit to it.

I know some people can change. I know the people who want to change can change. I'm not supposed to concentrate on my partner's recovery, that leaves me trusting my gut and remembering that I agreed to not make this decision based on high emotion.

meepmeep wrote:
Hadenuff, as you know you're still in pretty early post-discovery phase. Despite that, you show a groundedness and level of insight that is to be commended. The boundaries stuff, as you work it, gets easier. And as noted here, is likely to evolve as you evolve and regain your balance.

I'm looking forward to "easier", in the meantime I am really happy I at least have solidarity and understanding here.

meepmeep wrote:
She may change, and she may not. I can relate to,the annoyance that in you stepping back, she hasn't chosen to step up and take initiative. We wish it would. It seems so simple to us--a given. When they don't, it's disappointing and puzzling. Accepting this--that right now she's NOt stepping up, can give freedom. Rather than fight it, note it, and perhaps detemine a more in-depth plan for internal boundaries around this.

I keep asking people this but I think they're too personal...can you provide examples of internal boundaries, or external or temporary even bad boundaries...
I'm stuck because all my boundaries seem obvious and should be part of her healthy recovery....and of course, I'm not supposed to concern myself with her recovery and she's supposed to have these boundaries as part of the recovery that I'm not concerned with LOL.

meepmeep wrote:
Internal boundaries were crucial for me, moreso than stated ones. My boundaries became about me...how I'd protect me as my partner did or did not do the work. Sometimes they are as simple as making a mental note of the issue (so i remain aware) and pulling away from him further in my heart.

I like this one...I've started journaling (I believe the emasculation is complete...I think tomorrow i'm getting a mani/pedi and starting my journal entries with "Dear Diary") and have been making notes along that line. Not notes as much as a dated list of observations. It started with good intentions and high hopes, it was supposed to be markers showing improvement. I haven't gotten an improvement entry yet, but I'm open to the concept.

meepmeep wrote:
Im glad you're here, hadenuff, and like dnell, am inspired by your posts and insights.

I'm amazed and awestruck by you all, the old standard concept that women aren't strong is clearly squashed here in these forums by awesome strong women, pulling themselves back up and empowering themselves.

I am still tentative about posting in certain threads (I started to post in the "feeling better about our appearance") but I still hold off out of concern that it might be construed as objectifying or inappropriate.

dnell wrote:
And, at the end of the day, all the empathy and compassion we can have for our partners, we need it more for ourselves. It's not a limited resource, our empathy and compassion. But, I have failed over the decades to give it to myself. It's...what....stunning how patient, and kind, and empathetic, and loyal I was with my husband in trying to connect while he had no regard for my feelings whatsoever. I was an object after all that was useful to him. I feel good that I have the capacity to be all these things, but I grieve that I wasted them. I so wish my life had gone differently, and I now have to make the remainder go well. That is not to say all is lost. I had and have good things that my husband's addictions did not destroy (damaged, yes, and put at great risk as the addictions progressed). I will always have a well of grief and sadness for what I have lost.

I'd love to see more of this from the women here. All the focus you put on your spouse and their addiction now needs to be poured back into yourself. Value yourself, value your needs....pamper yourself....if you have the means, go get that mani/pedi, go get that massage, go get a full spa day. If you don't, do your own nails, invite a girlfriend over and do each other's nails. Local massage schools offer free or massively discounted massages to help students get experience. Go see that movie you want to see, go to the park, go to a museum...do it!

dnell wrote:
So at this point in my healing and my husband's recovery, I am so well aware of the conflicted feelings and values you pointed out. None of this is easy, but it is necessary.

I agree with this whole heartedly...dnell, you are a source of many of my internal memorized quotes.




RisingtoChallenge wrote:
I've grown to see things differently, though I've definitely been here. (hadenuff, don't mean to hijack your thread).

Go for it, mi casa es su casa!
Besides, you brought it full circle.

RisingtoChallenge wrote:
Not to say that I don't mourn the losses. I mourn the loss of my Pollyanna view of the world where everyone was worthy of trust. I mourn the loss of someone I still love. Mostly, I mourn the effect of addiction on my children.

I mourn what could have been, adventures we've missed out on, a delay in moving our relationship forward....and to be obnoxious...I mourn her loss because I'm pretty awesome.

RisingtoChallenge wrote:
Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming, hadenuff. One thing you might consider as you have your one foot out the door, is the advice from the workshop not to make any big decisions for a year. One reason to do that is that you have time to work on your values and then make sure your decision to leave, if that is what you decide, is based on those values, not on your very intense emotions right now.

It's hard, but I am focused on only making this decision after my emotions have all sorted out or if she acts out sexually again. I refuse to be abused.

RisingtoChallenge wrote:
Another reason is that you get the chance to work through the trauma and actually practice boundary protection, which can only be learned through putting it into practice over and over. Unfortunately (or fortunately), your partner will give you that opportunity. That way, you don't risk falling into the same pattern in the future with someone else, which is actually pretty common, as I've noticed here in the forum. That's just my point of view, not RN's. But I do think that is one of the benefits of sticking around. You could do the same work on yourself if you break up, but it may not be as effective as staying with someone who tests them--going through the inferno, if you will. The exception to this, of course, is if the partner or children are in danger.

This I definitely need and is why I'm focused on my recovery and not hers, my well being and not hers, my well being and not hers. I've spent too much time focused on her and she's spent no time focused on me.

RisingtoChallenge wrote:
And then the result of that hard work, if you take it seriously and wholeheartedly, is getting closer to enlightenment. I hope that doesn't sound empty and insensitive to you right now, when the pain is so intense and traumatic, you don't want to hear about possible positives of it. I just want to offer a sense of hope that the painful, heartwrenching work you've begun has hope for leading to something truly fulfilling at the other end.

It's absolutely not, you're correct in thinking that experiences shape our lives, positive and negative. I have scars that I remember fondly, I have scars that remind me not to be stupid. It might seem like a simplification but in fact, it's also true. The reality is, happiness isn't the only thing that forms our lives, pain and how we handle it does as well.

RisingtoChallenge wrote:
If you haven't been able to begin privately, I know that many people start by doing their responses offline, then posting them when their private thread is up and running. Don't let the delay in getting your private thread up hinder you from getting started.

I haven't had a response for the private thread, I have been working the lessons. I'm on lesson 7 now, it took a while to get past thinking of positive values of someone who had just lied to my face.


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 Post subject: Re: Beyond frustrated
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2015 6:30 pm 
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Partner's Mentor

Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:22 pm
Posts: 124
Some examples of my values and boundaries that don't involve walking out the door (I wrote these to have in place for any future relationship, not my current one, since we are separated/getting divorced). I think the key is that a boundary is there to keep you safe, not to exact punishment.

Value:
I value open, honest communication.

Boundary:
We will offer each other open communication, questions will be answered in specifics, and offering relevant information before it is asked is expected. Each partner is responsible for bringing their truest, most honest communication to the relationship. An omission of truth is treated the same as a lie.

Action:
If there is any communication that is not honest and transparent, then all communication will cease until the offending partner accepts the responsibility and tells the truth. Repeated breaches of honesty will result in ending the relationship.

Value:
I value initiative, resourcefulness and personal responsibility.

Boundary:
Each partner will take personal responsibility for their own lives and the relationship. Ongoing communication, recommitment to the relationship, valuing each other, living productive lives and finding time to strengthen the relationship is the responsibility of both partners. We will be there for each other and for our family through crises.

Action:
If one partner fails to take personal responsibility for their own life and their role in the relationship, then the other will share the violated boundary. The offending party will take the personal responsibility to make amends with redoubled efforts to take responsibility and prove the importance of the relationship. If such effort does not occur, the other partner will detach emotionally to consider the options.

Value:
I value peace, non-violence, and standing up for what is right. The safety of my kids comes before all else.

Boundary:
My children may not be yelled at, humiliated, verbally or physically threatened.

Action:
One occurrence will result in separation until partner admits to crossing the boundary, acknowledging the wrong to me and my kids, and agreeing to attend Hand-in-Hand Parenting workshop. A second occurrence will result in immediately ending the relationship.

I also posted a question to get ideas about boundaries earlier in my recovery. This might help a little: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=23079


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 Post subject: Re: Beyond frustrated
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2015 9:42 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2015 12:43 pm
Posts: 83
RisingToChallenge,

THIS IS AWESOME!

I can even begin to explain how timely this response is. I'm going to read through the other thread the moment I get some time.

Meantime, the annoying frustration continues. The saddest part is the frustration has now shifted to the 12 step program and not my partner.

Without going into too many details, my partner is stuck in a situation which is unresolvable without assistance.
The advice from my therapist, do not help.
The advice from her group/sponsor, do not help.

The situation changed drastically and our therapist was away on vacation. I emailed anyway knowing that she's extremely careful with her separation of work and vacation but hoped maybe to get a response. My partner contacted members of her group and received two different responses. One from a sponsor whose relationship ended because of her addiction and she's never had another since joining SA, the other whose relationship survived her addiction and continues to this day. Single sponsor says, still no, don't help. Married group member (sober longer as well) says, help only if both sides are comfortable.

Now, because this is a change in the direct decision made by both I asked if the group member would break one of there massive rules, I was polite and explained I understood if she couldn't. I asked for personal confirmation of the discussion and outcome since I can't currently trust my partner to be honest.
She agreed and sent a very vague response which didn't identify the situation, I asked for clarification again, politely and explaining I respected the boundaries (not directly btw, through my partner, I have never and would never contact her group or sponsor directly) but based on the severity of the situation I hoped she would clarify. She did, obnoxiously, chiding me for needing clarification. She then told my partner that needing this confirmation and clarification is shaming and guilting and is unhealthy for her recovery.
Which interestingly enough, my partner disagrees with. We had a very reasonable and honest conversation and there was no tension, no stress and no arguing. I asked, my partner agreed wholeheartedly and was truly offended by the response as well as the comment about shaming and guilting.

I'm very confused, since my partner is VERY new to sobriety, only days from a recent massive lie and has not completed any steps etc, I don't think that this was a huge request, especially since they had the option to say no. My partner apologized which I immediately responded that it was not necessary because it isn't my partners fault. I'm not upset with my partner who was brutally honest during this, I'm upset I was essentially scolded for refusing to continue being a victim to abuse. So, guilting and shaming someone with an addiction is bad, but being obnoxious to one of their victims isn't?

The more I deal with the disease based recovery side, the more it pisses me off. It's more about separation, secrecy and denial from my current perspective. I'm hoping this is just me missing the point or the group being out of line rather than this being a standard for DBR.

Another ridiculous but separate side note, my partner has been told by her sponsor that since we're not married if we have sex, she has violated sobriety and would have to start from day 1.


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 Post subject: Re: Beyond frustrated
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2015 2:15 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 661
hadenuff - I hear your frustration, but I am not sure what you are trying to achieve.

Do you fear your wife is in danger to herself or others?

Do you fear what 12 step is telling her?

Do you fear she is still lying? Probably, but what do you fear? The harm to you? The harm to her? How serious is this current crisis?

Most importantly, what is your role in all of this? I really want to be supportive but I am confused.

I don't think you can fix your wife; I don't think you can get things back to the way you want them really quickly; I think you did violate the 12 step group boundaries. We may not agree with the boundaries of others, but we need to respect them.

Can you give us a bit more sense of the current issue?

dnell


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 Post subject: Re: Beyond frustrated
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2015 2:51 pm 
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dnell, would you be ok with me answering this via PM?


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 Post subject: Re: Beyond frustrated
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2015 9:15 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2015 12:43 pm
Posts: 83
Thanks dnell, I appreciate the PM.


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