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PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2015 6:57 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2014 5:45 pm
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I have a question:

If you are a partner who left the relationship,
1. What was the final thought/motivation that made you do it?
2. Did your healing process accelerate after you left or did it continue at about the same speed just without the partner?
3. Were you able to establish a friendship with your SA?
4. Do you feel you are in a place where you distrust the "culture" now (e.g., not really being able to trust men as a whole) or have you moved on?

Thanks ;-)


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2015 10:59 pm 
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Hi liveauthentic,

Thank you for asking this question. I feel like I'm in the minority here, as I decided to leave my husband of 11 years (partner for 20 years), just in December. I've often been in awe of all the people here who decide to stay, and even feel a pang of envy for those who have the courage to stick through the grueling journey with the strength to enforce boundaries. Mrs. Jones and thebagholder (Where did she go? I miss her insights) have been particularly inspiring examples to me in this regard.

1. The defining moment for my decision to leave was when my husband decided that the third recovery program he was trying was not the right fit for him, and that he would try recovery on his own. Luckily, after a year of working on my own recovery, I had a boundary in place that he had to be actively engaged in a recovery program as a condition of me staying. The clarity of having this boundary thought out ahead of time took any ambiguity out of knowing what to do. Other boundaries that would have lead to leaving were catching him in a lie (which did happen after I separated, and confirmed my decision), any physical or emotional harm to my children, finding porn in my home after many discoveries and a final drawing my line in the sand, and any act of voyeurism, which was how he was caught. Coach Mel cautioned me that for several of these boundaries, I might as well leave now, since it was highly possible that even a person in sincere recovery would act out in the ways I had put boundaries around. Her input helped me clarify that, even if it lead to leaving, I could not tolerate things in my life that infringed on my values, especially objectification of women and safety of my kids, and even if it was along the way toward a sincere recovery.

2. My recovery definitely accelerated after leaving, because I was away from the crazy making and could think with more clarity. It also gave me the stability and distance to focus on my own health. I will say, however, that I was at a point in my recovery that I was ready for that kind of inward focus. I don't think I would be in the place of health that I'm in now had I not stayed with my husband. I believe that staying allowed me not only the time to define my values, but to actually practice standing up for them by enforcing boundaries. The boundary work has had profound effects on the rest of my life. I was able to fire a client who was being verbally abusive. I recently enforced a small boundary with my mom that I otherwise might have let slide and felt resentful about. I truly think that if I had left at the get-go, I might have ended up in a similar relationship, as happens with some partners, because I wouldn't have had the chance to garner the courage to enforce boundaries with someone who consistently crosses them. Staying with my husband for a year was great training. However, I can't even describe to you the liberation I feel now that he's mostly out of my daily life. I never realized how oppressive it was to live with a person with an addiction, until that person's daily influence was removed.

3. Unfortunately, not yet. That was my original intention, because I wanted to give my kids some sense of family, even though we were separated. I hoped for a positive co-parenting arrangement where we could still do things together as a family. Unfortunately, I've had to keep enforcing boundaries for the safety of my kids, and my partner keeps finding ways to infringe on my boundaries. For my own health, I've had to keep detaching to the point where I'm simply polite in front of the kids. In one post in the forum, ursula asked me a few key questions that helped me realize that I couldn't have a true friendship with someone who doesn't value my boundaries and who continues to lie. I wouldn't be friends with someone like that who wasn't my partner, so why would former partner status give him a special pass?

4. Such a great question. I do believe that I've developed my gut instinct enough now to trust that I will know if something is not right in a potential new relationship. However, I have a very high intolerance for any form of subtle sexism. I feel like my standards are so incredibly high right now for a potential partner, that the man who might fulfill them does not exist. I look at my friends' relationships now and I honestly don't know a single couple that exhibits the kind of true, equal partnership I would expect. Even male friends who I consider to be evolved still will say or do something subtly sexist that rubs me the wrong way, like assuming an unknown judge in my child custody case is a "he" when in fact, she's a "she." These things just jump out at me now. I have to say I was proud the other day when my 11yo daughter saw a construction sign that said "Men working," and she took issue with it. Made me smile and give myself a silent pat on the back that leaving her dad has modeled what I would hope she would do if she were in my shoes. I wish I were attracted to women, because I sure love, respect and admire the women I know more than any of the men I know. Fortunately, I've always been fine by myself. I've traveled the world on my own and actually like being with myself, so being alone and surrounded by really cool, brilliant, inspiring women friends for the rest of my life is okay by me. I don't rule out the possibility that the man who could live up to my values might exist. I'm just not putting my amazing life on hold until he shows up.

I do think a lot about my sexuality and how to feel sexy without participating in objectification. For example, why do I wear high heels and makeup? Should I color the gray in my hair? Shave my legs and arm pits? Is okay to wear a top that shows cleavage? Isn't that all just to look a certain way for another person? In other words, would I do those things in a vacuum, if there was nobody around to see me? If it makes me feel good about myself to wear makeup, why? Is it because of society's standard for what a woman should look like? And if I don't participate in these rituals, what would being/feeling sexy look like? These are questions that I haven't found answers to, and will continue to pursue in this next stage of my post-married life.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2015 7:28 am 
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liveauthentic, I am responding to your post even though at this point I have not decided to leave my husband. I thought RisingtoChallenge's reply was so helpful and compassionate. Also, you may want to find and read autumnrose's healing threads and forum posts on her decision to leave her relationship. The description of her journey was very helpful to me. Coach Mel as well, I believe, left her relationship and she always has helpful thoughts.

I had a couple of thoughts which may or may not be helpful. I believe it takes courage to stay and courage to go. Neither option is easy.

I agree with RisingtoChallenge that figuring out bottom line boundaries is a very important early step to take. And, sad to say, it took me a while to figure this out. In my case, I knew that my husband HAD to be in some sort of active recovery program. At first, he did the RN recovery lessons and that was enough of a commitment. But, I also insisted that he see an individual therapist who had experience with sex addiction. That therapist has really helped my husband and that therapist strongly suggested he attend some kind of 12 step meeting, which he has done. My husband has also joined a men's group that is more broadly focused on male maturity/responsibility, and a psychotherapy group. We are also in marriage counseling. I'm going broke, but it is worth it. What I want to convey here is how critical it was for me to have him identify and commit to resources that could help him. Even with all of this, it took him about a year to truly commit to recovery. He started to slowly commit by doing the RN lessons, but not fully commit. And, thinking like an addict, a lukewarm, half-assed commitment was all he could do for quite a while. So even with all these resources to help him, full commitment took a while. I guess I want to convey that even bottom line boundaries have some grey area in that active participation in programs may not mean active commitment. So, my boundaries either needed to change or I needed to have some way to handle the uncertainty.

My personal safety and safety of children was an issue for me. Sex with anyone outside of the relationship was an issue. Porn. Sigh. It can be a bottom line boundary or not. I also played out various scenarios like if he was arrested or received a restraining order, I would not help him and I would leave. Having done the RN lessons and having read about this addiction and getting my own therapy, I knew that he would continue to lie, minimize, justify, rationalize.... I also knew that some of the more overt compulsions could be reduced or eliminated, but the ingrained, more covert ones would continue (the ogling, objectification, fantasizing, obsessive thinking, voyeurism). My husband can do this and "get away with it" at the same time that my BS monitor is much, much more sensitive. I do know that they don't stop all the crap right away. And, I do think they have real trouble letting go of the "it's only natural to look at and appreciate beautiful women." I think as they actually progress in their recovery they discover more and more things they inappropriately sexualized. So, again, bottom line boundaries change for me over time.

And, I thought RisingtoChallenge made a good point about staying long enough for her own work and healing. My individual therapist has been telling me that she thinks it is in my best interest to stay right now, regardless of the final outcome of my relationship, so I can learn to set healthy boundaries, to practice doing so, to identify my stuff, to learn what is healthy intimacy. She, of course, agrees that there are boundary violations my husband could do that would mean I should leave immediately.

Finally, if I am safe and if my husband is actively engaged in a recovery program and if he does not violate a bottom line boundary, going is still hard to do. It is beneficial to have time to figure things out, to prepare, to plan. I find it very, very hard to get the energy to make those kind of difficult plans and see it as part of my healing to get that kind of energy.

What a muddle and what a mess. Detachment is key. Focusing on myself is key. Getting my life together, which seems to be taking forever, is key.

I can say that this is a nightmare. We all know that. I can also say that living with my husband as he attempts recovery is a lot easier than living with him when he was an active addict. It's still very, very hard, though. RisingtoChallenge said something that really resonated with me:

Quote:
I never realized how oppressive it was to live with a person with an addiction


How painfully true this is. Detachment is a way to escape the oppression; focusing on ourselves is a way to escape; leaving is a way to escape; setting boundaries is a way to escape. The progression of my husband's addictions and the abuse he heaped on me got so dark and ugly it is still a very painful awareness. I read somewhere that we "slowly adapted to emotional abuse." Jon tells us we slowly damaged our values. This awareness, for me, has been devastating. Oddly, staying with my husband while I get help with a trauma therapist has actually been helpful. Not easy, but helpful.

With deep compassion,
dnell


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 1:44 am 
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Great posts.

liveauthentic wrote:
1. What was the final thought/motivation that made you do it?

Well, let me say my journey has been a crooked path. :sat: My last thoughts have come, then come again, then come again. So the first thoughts/motivation that began our separation was really an emotional reaction on my part. I was crushed that once again he dipped lower and lower and here I was forced to make a decision.

My problem was it took me until just a few weeks ago to feel completely at peace with our marriage ending. We have been separated for almost 2 and 1/2 years now and I filed the divorce last January. Each new step towards ending has felt like coming through a new level of healing.

This last week I was visiting Seattle and had an opportunity to learn about salmon. They are fascinating creatures. They hatch in fresh water but after a few months have an internal mechanism that drives them to find salt water. Then when they are ready to spawn at about 4 years old, they stop eating and have this amazing sense to find where they hatched in fresh water to spawn their eggs. All by smell. That's all pretty cool by itself but the really amazing thing is when they go from fresh water to salt water they just hang out in that water and change themselves at a molecular level. Wow. It was compared to us, oxygen breathing creatures, sitting in a closed closet with only carbon monoxide for several hours and then coming out a carbon monoxide breathing creature. They do this twice in their life.

As I listened to the tour guide describe this process it felt like what I've gone through and maybe all go through when we change ourselves. There is a period of time where there isn't a lot of movement, just aclemating and slowly letting this new way soak through our being. Like RisingtoChallenge time when she stayed with her husband while learning about her values and boundaries.

So my path to ending our marriage has included a lot of twists and turns. Wishing he'd change, see the light. Hating him....that was not fun. Feeling I had to ask if he wanted to reconcile so I knew I had done everything.....I have. To recently realizing that my husband was never really invested in our marriage and somehow this realization became internalized and has not made me sad like it has in the past, but brought me peace in it ending.

liveauthentic wrote:
2. Did your healing process accelerate after you left or did it continue at about the same speed just without the partner?

Yes, no and maybe. :s: I seem to have embraced in my life the idea of "three steps forward, two steps back." :sat: I look back over the last 2 years and have learned so much, have grown so much. But it has been mixed with pain, deep pain and realizing in some places I am permanently changed. I also look back and can see that I should have seen this or that long, long ago...and did to some extent, but I hadn't really internalized some things. Like the idea that he will recover if he wants to. Hmm, I thought I believed that but then I continued to try to convince, show, tell, explain. That certainly is about me.

liveauthentic wrote:
3. Were you able to establish a friendship with your SA?

I had wanted that at different times and if we stay within certain domains we can be friendly. I had a recent burst with him and realized I can't be friends with him. He isn't someone who takes care not to hurt me and that just isn't a friend. He has tried to help me with things like fixing my car and a counselor encouraged me to just accept what he has to offer. I'm now realizing though my involvement with him will always be like playing with fire and it's only when I'll get burned again not if. I've come to believe a person with an active addiction will always have a hard time being a good friend. So for now, I am going to keep him out of my daily life as much as possible.

liveauthentic wrote:
4. Do you feel you are in a place where you distrust the "culture" now (e.g., not really being able to trust men as a whole) or have you moved on?

I see myself where I was when I first realized he had addictions and I see myself now and I can say, yes in many way I have moved on. I have soaked myself in this new way of thinking and have started swimming in different water. It's scarry sometimes, but so much more peaceful. In another 5 years, I imagine I will look back and see more growth, more change, more learning. So maybe we are always "moving on" whether we stay or go.

Great questions that stirred some thinking for me.

_________________

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"It's today," squeaked Piglet.
"My favorite day," said Pooh.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2015 1:51 am 
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Dear liveauthentic,

I haven't been on this site in a while, and it's amazing because part 4 is an issue I'm struggling with.

Part 1: my situation was a different than the previous answers in that even before disclosure, my soon to be ex was showing signs of instability and excessive aggression. My bottom line boundaries were my safety and my kid's safety. I made the decision to leave after a pretty nasty display on his part in front of two of the kids that seriously alarmed me and them. My youngest begged me to get him out. That was all I needed.

Part 2: I think my healing began when I was no longer in the same house but it was minimal at best with many scary times. I was in the same town and there was too much contact, discord, and aggressive behaviors while my youngest completed his senior year of high school for true healing began. That was two years ago. True healing did not begin until my youngest went off to college too and I moved out of state a year ago. Since then, I have made tremendous strides.

Part 3: we can get along as long as we do not talk about anything to do with us, the divorce proceedings, or financial issues with the boys college expenses. He got nasty enough around Easter that I refused to take his calls for 2 months. Divorce proceedings are heating up now so it remains to be seen whether we can be cordial after the divorce. Can we be friends? I don't know. I seriously doubt it. He blames me... Period. And I am not to blame so we will continue to disagree.

Part 4: here is the main issue I struggle with. I left 2 years ago, and have been asked out numerous times. And have been pressured by well-meaning friends to start dating. My response is always an emphatic "No!". I'm really afraid that I will never reach the point where I can bring myself to trust a man enough to go on a date let alone develope a relationship. There were so many deceptions and false facades that I was fooled by. I'm struggling with the idea that I won't be able to distinguish whether someone is genuine or presenting me with another false facade. There are no guarantees. I was fooled once....could I be fooled again? I don't know and I guess I'm afraid to find out... But I'm okay with that. I'm at peace with the idea that I will be alone for the rest of my days.

I don't know if my experiences will help. But I sincerely hope that you are safe and can find some measure of peace and security in whatever you decide is best for you.

Take care
aphi83


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2015 2:57 pm 
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Hi liveauthentic,

Oh boy. Here goes. I apologize in advance because your questions have helped me work through some questions myself. I am a partner who left the relationship 3 years ago….only to rethink things 3 years later. None of this is intended as advice, but some thoughts I need to express. Thanks for the opportunity.

Quote:
1. What was the final thought/motivation that made you do it?

I had a firmly established boundary. This boundary was very simple. If I caught him in another lie or having engaged in any acting out behavior that we together identified as acting out, he was out of the house immediately and the marriage was over. Sounds simple doesn't it? It took me 16 years to have the courage to sign and seal that boundary. I felt I needed to be sure I had tried everything. Every avenue. I wanted him to have all of the opportunities to gather the tools to kick this thing. Once I KNEW he really did have every tool available and that I had offered everything I could to save the marriage, I was willing to put the boundary in place and abide by it. I discovered a very minor indiscretion but it was something outside the boundary and I called him at work and told him today was the day. There were no questions asked. He had been waiting for it. Addicts generally know what they are doing…This stuff is calculated. It takes some serious masterminding to manage some of the stuff they do in secret…but they think they might get away with it…or don’t care if they do or don’t….or the value of the addiction outweighs the value of the consequence because their brains are so out of whack. It was then that I FINALLY realized he was actually choosing not to recover. He intentionally chose addiction over his family. That afternoon 3 years ago we gave our kids the bad news and he packed his bags and drove away.

Quote:
2. Did your healing process accelerate after you left or did it continue at about the same speed just without the partner?

I would say any healing process came to a dead stop in the beginning because I had to navigate the devastation and grief of ending the marriage and him being gone too. After a couple of months it accelerated a bit more than it likely would have if I had stayed. Truthfully I am not sure I ever was in any advanced recovery. While we were together I was focused on saving a marriage, no matter how much I told myself and the world my recovery was about me. I think it was always about me, the PARTNER, as an individual who had a role in HIS life. My values surrounded our partnership, our family unit and it’s survival. I was someone who dreamed of a better recovered life with him... It was all about getting him healed so WE could address my trauma together as a team. I will be honest. I am finally realizing this and acknowledging this. I am trying very hard to re-work the workshop now without any hopes of saving a marriage or getting him recovered. TRYING.
If I had it all to do over, I would do a better job (with the advantage of hindsight) while I was still in some safety of a marriage to see and work on my recovery as an individual project. I would have resisted the temptation of building my personal foundation together with my husband (even though Jon was there cheer-leading us as founding members of the couples workshop). My husband was always a willing participant, but was never in sincere recovery so I heard what was said not shown in actions and saw what I wanted to see and what he wanted me to see; that we were a couple in recovery together. Not so.

There is some safety in familiar, routine life outside of crisis mode. The severe trauma of the end of our marriage took me almost 2 years to get through. I was forced into personal survival so recovery took a back seat.

Based on my experience, if I were offering advice to a friend or my younger self I would say if you are heavily entwined with your spouse- very attached to each other and very much in love in spite of his behaviors, as long as you are actually not physically threatened, I think staying in the safety net of whatever stability the marriage offers might be beneficial in early recovery. At least until your boundaries are firmly set and until you can get to a place where you begin to actually be aware of and accept the truth if “complacency” is actual refusal to recover vs. normal recovery complacency slips. Stay, but ONLY if you think you can remove him from the recovery equation in your head. For me- it took him leaving to start that and a LOT of pain. I remember professionals telling us that the partner shouldn’t be so involved in the recovery and shouldn’t be the confidant and absolute honesty was harmful and recovering as a couple is usually false recover and is partner driven. I refused to see any of that as true to my very special case. I even had Jon convinced…but we weren’t all that special. He was just a man with a terrible addiction – a good person who made awful and very immature life choices and I was a woman very unhealthily attached and wanted above all else for the fairy tale to work out. Did we REALLY have a connection? Yes. But a connection isn’t strong enough to hold it together. His recovery MUST come from him and you will do VERY little to motivate or effect that. Your recovery needs to come from you with or without him. I still am fighting that one…but I know it is true now. But it took him leaving to get me there….but I don’t recommend it if you can concentrate on yourself with him in the picture. So to answer your question, I gave you my experience. If I were to offer advice, it would all depend on what your connection looks like and how the relationship makes you feel and how much you feel like you “NEED” him. How much control does it and he have over you? How lost would you feel emotionally today without him? If you asked me that on August 20, 2012 I would have been brought to tears. I was VERY entwined. If the thought makes you feel like you are choking then consider staying until you have achieved a certain level of recovery to see the truth. (hard to do with him there) It’s a dilemma really. I know that but all good questions to ask. All of this said, leaving the relationship was necessary.

Quote:
3. Were you able to establish a friendship with your SA?

I was. I’ll always be his friend. Don’t love his choices or behaviors, but I like him. I love him. I have more fun with him than anyone. I have missed our friendship terribly. I’ve been open since day one to friendship and only recently has he come out of his fog long enough to realize he missed me too. That’s a good thing. I think I needed 3 years to detach.
He is capable of being a friend at times. He’s an addict so I have to go in with eyes wide open. We enjoy the same things. He’s the best at fixing my car, or yard work, or an electrical problem. He loves to offer his help and I am happy to accept. During our 3 years apart, he had forgotten that he really ever loved me. That was painful. You have to learn to get to an ex someone who has certain value to you (and you them as you are willing to share) but go in eyes wide open. Understand you cannot expect anything here. Assuming you leave the relationship due to a broken boundary, it is already established his choices and behaviors have forced you to make that final decision. For me it was less about my own choice as it was his choice to break a boundary. He abandoned his family. Don’t forget that when you see the sweet guy on the ladder fixing a broken socket. My friendship with him over the last 5 months turned from almost stranger status to lovers again.(I KNOW!...sigh) I am in a weird place...but my eyes are wide open. We are each getting something out of this relationship but this time I hold the switch. When the bad outweighs the good I will flip the switch and suffer the consequences of my OWN actions and choices. He is not in control here. I am. I don’t expect honesty or fidelity or any of that marriage stuff. Eyes wide open. All of this said, leaving the relationship was necessary.

Quote:
4. Do you feel you are in a place where you distrust the "culture" now (e.g., not really being able to trust men as a whole) or have you moved on?

I haven’t really moved on. As I said I am back in a somewhat undefined relationship with my ex. But I have dated quite a bit. It has been very hard and strangely triggering on the online dating sites. Trusting anyone else or accepting a new person with a whole new set of baggage is tough. I find my standards to be crazy in a normal man’s eyes. I was told recently to shove my boundaries where the sun doesn’t shine and that the word triggers and red flags are off putting. Well I guess the real world doesn’t get our pain. At least my ex doesn’t tell me to go to hell when I mentioned I have been triggered. It is exhausting to imagine what a new person in my life will have to endure to get to know me and to get close. I do distrust the culture. Most men watch porn or have been to strip clubs. It is entertainment. How much of a messed-up prude to I seem to them? Yes it is a sex crazed culture and we partners don’t fit in very well out there after all of this trauma. But I am sure there is hope after more self discovery and recovery.

Thanks for letting me vent. This was a really helpful exercise to go through all of this for myself and I hope some of it is helpful to you as well. Feel free to PM me if you want to chat about specifics.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2015 3:24 pm 
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newlifewife - I appreciate your post and found it to be very helpful. I hope the lessons will be even more personally helpful this time.

As you look back on the time with your husband before he violated the boundary you had set, do you know what you would now say were signs that he was not in recovery? Did he just get even better at keeping secrets and lying? Or, did you think your commitment to the marriage make it harder to see his insincerity? I guess that as painful as your experience was, it is helpful for me to hear what you learned.

In solidarity,
dnell


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2015 11:26 pm 
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Hello,

Below are my responses to the original questions:

    1. The final motivation was the violation of a bottom line (absolute) boundary.
    2. My healing was already well under way. In retrospect, I’d say that it accelerated briefly after we separated, and then took a severe dip upon learning that he began dating 4 months after our separation (a part of me still held the illusion that there was a genuine and mature respect for me and for our relationship) and has since balanced out. I am convinced that it would be impossible for me to ever go back to denial, at least not with respect to his health nor his trustworthiness.
    3. No. I have a respectable working relationship with him in that we are co-parents. I don’t know if I will be able to re-establish a friendship. He was my best friend and yet he violated, undermined, and eroded my trust to such an extent that I do not know if it will ever be entirely restored, or even restored enough to be friends. I cannot say with any confidence that I know who he is. Yes, there are some very good qualities that he retains that represent a part of who he is (because they are freely chosen and consistently practiced) and these are qualities that allow us to have a stable co-parent relationship.
    4. No. I trust men who prove to be trustworthy. I have lingering fears associated with my past experience, but am able to put them in their appropriate context. Despite my automatic inclinations (i.e. the first thoughts through the door before I am able to exercise critical thinking via cognitive control) I believe I have sufficiently developed discernment and wisdom and with that the ability to know the difference between my automatic inclinations based on the past, and the appropriate reactions based on the facts as they actually present themselves. I try to maintain a healthy skepticism, and that includes being skeptical of my own reactions.

Comment: Reading through others' responses, it is noteworthy that having clearly defined and well thought out boundaries are instrumental in determining if one should stay or go. Yes, this is taught in the workshop, and yes we advocate not making any major life altering decisions until one is well into their own healing or recovery process (it is good to see that this practice is also advocated by counsellors) but given the handful of cases that have been shared here, boundaries are a common thread that delineate empowered choices from reactive disempowered choices which provides some empirical evidence to why we advocate doing the work first and making important decisions next. The best choices are always made from the context of our values. If we do not have a clearly defined set of values-and, importantly, boundaries to protect those values-we are at the whim of our emotions. Our emotions are often at the whim of the current context, which is changeable, so we end up expending a lot more of our resources flipping between the highs and lows associated with our emotional experience of any given context.

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Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. (Viktor E. Frankl)


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2015 4:35 pm 
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Sorry for the delay - It took me a while to finish this. In response to dnell.

Quote:
As you look back on the time with your husband before he violated the boundary you had set, do you know what you would now say were signs that he was not in recovery? Did he just get even better at keeping secrets and lying? Or, did you think your commitment to the marriage make it harder to see his insincerity? I guess that as painful as your experience was, it is helpful for me to hear what you learned.


A brain is a pretty amazing thing. I think I remember being asked my Jon ...way back when....what red flags I saw and I remember responding that I honestly never saw any. I think my "brain," a.k.a. fairytale inventor allowed me to completely dismiss some very big red flags. When the red flags were quite creatively better hidden by the master of deception there were still signs but it's almost as if my subconscious turned the other cheek. Why??? I guess I didn't want to be forced into developing that final boundary that took me 16 years to finally establish. I didn't want to leave. I didn't want the potential of my fairy tale to end.

My ex had and has an uncanny capability of making me feel safe, and loved and cherished and all of those warm and cozy feelings...for about 3 days at a time. Then the isolation cycle hit. He hid it OH SO well. Illness (a cold), or working late, or a thrown out back, or Recovery nation exercises, or SA meetings, or time to hang with the kids, or working on the car engine or cleaning the gutters. All in all those things sound positive and healthy or at least legitimate. But I'm a smart woman. I am finally - after all of these years - "LISTENING" to that little bell in my head. Aware of the tiniest taste of metal in my mouth...The ever so slight churn in my stomach. My intuition DOESN'T BUY HIS BS even if I do, and it is trying to tell me something. Am I always right? Nope. But it is right-on most of the time and I have learned to trust it more than him and his words. Nothing an addict says can be fully trusted. Action- without those intuition feelings ...repeated action, speaks louder than words with an addict. Actions are not always to be trusted either, but words without action are useless.

My ex was good at faking those “recovery” actions too but sometimes the actions were sincere which makes it all the more confusing....but if I listened for the “bell”...I was right more often than I was wrong. I tried observing and analyzing his facial movements, eye movements, body language, swallowing rate, level of mouth dryness, sweatiness, voice pitch, sleep habits, snoring rates…everything I could think of to determine what was sincere and what was a flat out lie. Problem was his blue eyes stayed blue and he was able able to manipulate me to thing whatever he said sounded sincere enough. It all came down to his actions. If he stated his values were A, B and C (including being a loving dad and husband) and he just failed to be really “present” one, two, three days until I pointed out that he maybe needed to get his head out of his @**, the I considered that he was likely not being sincere in his recovery and was in fact complacent. In hind sight, I don’t think he ever drank the Kool-Aid. HE walked the walk and talked the talk, but he wasn’t ever REALLY willing and wanting to give up his coping mechanisms. So he pretended to and lied about it. If you ask him today, he would admit he “struggles” (Still minimizing with nothing left to lose) with making the choice to really make changes in line with his values. What it comes down to, is he Values his coping mechanisms more than he values his family. He is embarrassed and ashamed of that fact, but he knows those are his choices over and over…and knows that he isn’t prepared to do anything that might make those life management skills disappear.

I wasn’t much of an “enabler” with the outside world, but oh boy did I ever justify his behaviors to myself so that I wouldn’t be forced to make a tough choice either. After a long and hard day, I’d get the sweet backrub and a kiss goodnight and all in all I’d be feeling fine and cozy and cared for…then something would ring that bell. It could be something bigger like the beginnings of a new discovery or something tiny like him falling asleep while I was telling him an important story about my day. Either way I was feeling fine and I just was too exhausted and traumatized still from the last go around to ruffle the feathers…so I’d allow my brain to ignore the bell. It isn’t that black and white and obvious, but looking back I can see I ignored stuff because I couldn’t handle it or didn’t want to at the time.

Addicts, recovering or not and just men in general…humans are not perfect, so my intuition bell was wrong sometimes and I felt guilty for that. But my rule of thumb was that a sincere recovering addict empathizes (or at least tries) and understands something about our trauma and expects some of these off-based intuitive, traumatized moments of fear we partners experience from time to time. A sincere recovering addict is willing to ease us through this and comfort us and assure us all is on track. A major red flag for me was a defiant, irritated, offended response to an unfounded (or founded) inquiry.

Yes, I think my commitment to the marriage made it harder. I felt had so much to lose that it always seemed to be in by best interest for my gut feelings to be wrong. So the brain plays tricks and when you are worn down, the brain makes it “so.” I allowed those red flags disputing my gut to go ignored. I just got tired and scared to face reality and his lies were so much more comfortable. When you have so much to lose, you do sometimes let your guard down and let you brain give you what you want.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2015 12:18 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2014 12:20 am
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Once again, I am in awe of all your heartfelt, very moving posts. I am 11 months into this journey and still sitting on the fence of 'going or staying' and although this didn't point me in either direction, it helped me a lot to understand what others are going through and that I am not alone here!!!!!! THANKYOU, THANKYOU, THANKYOU for sharing your hearts!!!

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