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 Post subject: Need Advice Please
PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2015 6:05 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2015 5:51 am
Posts: 13
Hi
Tonight I was talking to my husband about his porn addiction and asking how the work he is doing is going and how he felt he was going with it all. He is currently reading a book called “Power over Pornography” and completing the exercises / program in it. He had started this before I discovered Recovery Nation. He says he wants to do Recovery Nation once he has finished this book and has read a bit about the workshop. Anyway, he told me that the work he’s doing is insightful and is helping. He also attends a 12 step program and goes once a week and has done for about 14 mths. He says he still gets urges at times but is able to control them and is not acting out on them. I don’t know whether that’s 100% true or not but we have a monitoring program on the computer at home and he has one on his phone too which I installed and he knows about them and prefers to have them there as he finds it easier not to slip. Tonight I was pressing him about how honest he is being with me and he eventually said that he sometimes has weird thoughts and is not sure why. He elaborated and said he sometimes wonders what it would be like or how one would go about meeting up with a prostitute or online sex like through skype etc…with another woman. I was horrified but tried to remain calm. He told me that he doesn’t want to and is not feeling the urge to but he sometimes thinks about it. He says he never used to think about this and doesn’t know if it’s because he is abstaining from looking at porn or if its because he is at these meetings with other men who talk about how they have slipped and gone and seen a prostitute or have been going online doing stuff etc…
I am really concerned now. In a way I’m glad he’s been honest but at the same time I’m wondering if this is something I should be very concerned about. Is this normal because he’s now not looking at porn. Or are these meetings with other sex addicts who are actually having sex with other women doing him more harm than good. He likes going to them because he can talk with other men about what he’s going through as he has no-one else to confide in. I wanted to know what anyone else thought because I don’t know what to think now and I’m trying to not let my mind run wild and start freaking out. Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Need Advice Please
PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2015 7:29 am 
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Well so much for keeping a calm head. I'm feeling a little anxious to say the least. He was trying to be affectionate with me just now and I'm still feeling too wound up and somewhat distressed. I told him im glad he's being honest with me which i am but at the same time I'm wondering whether this is cause for me to be concerned. Well it basically turned into a shit fight with him telling me I'm overreacting, I'm over analyzing, and that I'm basically saying that he's going to do it, and him saying that this is why he finds it hard to be honest with me. I really don't think me having feelings and being concerned, especially after all the years of him lying to me is overreacting. I said I'm concerned in the calmest possible manner. I never said at all that I think he's going to do it but because I've expressed concern he thinks basically that's what I'm implying. As per usual he turns everything around like its all my fault!!


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 Post subject: Re: Need Advice Please
PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2015 8:20 am 
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Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:38 pm
Posts: 515
Hi, sooverit,

As you experienced today, it can be frustrating , exhausting, and confusing (not to mention demoralizing) to live with a person either in active addiction, or recovering. I am sorry your husband's latest disclosures have you feeling destabalized. It's very disconcerting.

SoOverIt wrote:
Well it basically turned into a shit fight with him telling me I'm overreacting, I'm over analyzing, and that I'm basically saying that he's going to do it, and him saying that this is why he finds it hard to be honest with me. I really don't think me having feelings and being concerned, especially after all the years of him lying to me is overreacting. I said I'm concerned in the calmest possible manner. I never said at all that I think he's going to do it but because I've expressed concern he thinks basically that's what I'm implying. As per usual he turns everything around like its all my fault!!


A couple things are going on here.
First, your husband may have used disclosure to provide relief and stimulation for himself. By stimulation, I mean an emotional high: an immediate good feeling fueled by him patting himself on the back for being "open and honest" with you. In his current immature state, his selfish expectation is likely YOU, too, would pat him on the back and applaud his so-called honesty. He lacks the empathy to measure the effects of his disclosure on you, and when you reacted as you did (your reaction was normal, by the way) he blew up because he basically didnt get his way, and you're being a human being with needs and vulnerability.

With regards to WHAT he disclosed, at this point in his recovery it's difgicult to know what it means, he doesnt have a broad and mature enough grasp of his addiction to understand his urges fully, so whether these urges are something he would act upon is nearly impossible to predict. They may be simply fantasies (I realize this doesnt make it any less damaging to you).

So for you, this becomes a question of boundaries. You have the tough challenge of weighing how much disclosure you want/need from your husband, and when.

You were/are not overreacting. But, as shown by his reaction (he blamed you for why he doesnt want to be honest, which is him offloading responsibility and an insincere response) he is still immature. This may or may not evolve. If he sincerely and actively works a program likeRN, he can mature and grow. But in the meantime, you'll want to protect yourself when he reacts as he did. Some partners briefly point out the problem in the communication, then leave the room. You may choose to say that anytime you feel invalidated or blamed by him, you will stop the conversation. You do not have to engage with him when he accuses, blames, manipulates or otherwise expresses himself immaturely. Keep it very short and neutral.

I know communucation with an addicted person can be crazy and stressful! Now is a goid time to sit down and review your values and boundaries around communication so you can protect yourself in future interactions.

In kindness,
Meep


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 Post subject: Re: Need Advice Please
PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2015 8:41 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 661
SoOverIt - My husband is also in 12 step but he completed RN before starting individual therapy (which I insisted on). His therapist recommended 12 step meetings. Here's what I've learned in my husband's case that may be helpful to you:

1) It took him 12 months to become sincere about recovery. This was after completing the RN lessons, after going to individual therapy for 9 months, and after being in 12 step for 6 months. For me what is more important to know is that my husband is truly sincere about recovery and health even more than what is the status of his urges and acting out. As you continue the lessons, Jon teaches us what to look for to assess sincerity.

2) I know each 12 step group is different and some are healthier than others. My husband reports that his 12 step group, which has been a critical support resource for him, is not as invested in becoming healthy. They see themselves more as lifelong addicts who will relapse. Ugh. I don't know how true this is but I do believe Jon's emphasis on not just abstinence, but health, is critical to end addiction AND to become a potential intimate partner.

3) When my husband first started 12 step he was sort of jealous of the others' acting out. Ugh again. Talk about thinking like an addict! That made me scared and sick. Now he has come to see them as all suffering from their addictions. It is one of the only places he can practice honesty with people who get it and accept him. So, while 12 step makes me somewhat nervous, I am glad my husband attends. But, and here is the big but, I am so glad he completed the RN lessons so that he grasped the need to not just abstain, but to develop maturity and healthy life management skills. He grasps this conceptually, but has not yet made the emotional leap. It's possible this may be an issue for your husband.

4) How much honesty do we want? This is a tough one. This has changed for me over time. I would like a weekly, GENERAL assessment of my husband's recovery and health. I don't want specific details. I want to know the areas he struggles with and what are his plans to handle the problems. What insights has he learned? What emotional instability or stability does he feel? I'd rather be sick and scared than in the dark. It's actually more scary for me not to know what is going on than to have a general sense. I guess how much honesty to ask for is something that we need to understand in ourselves.

5) They will continue to have urges. Hopefully, they will be significantly reduced in terms of number and intensity. And, hopefully they will deal with them in a healthy way. And, optimally, they should be "recovery triggers" rather than opportunities for slips or relapses.

6) I know that for my husband as some of the more overt acting out behaviors reduced, others increased. Sometimes addicts will even switch to other addictions. They need to develop healthy ways to deal with their emotions and that takes time and hard work. Being so much into immediate gratification and avoiding effort makes them lousy candidates for what they need to do. But only they can do it.
My husband isn't as honest or transparent or authentic with me as I would like. I'm still dealing with a deeply immature individual.

As you continue the lessons and learn about making boundaries, you can consider making a condition that he has to start the RN lessons; or you could say you want him to see an individual therapist.

With compassion,
dnell


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 Post subject: Re: Need Advice Please
PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:11 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 661
SoOverIt - I thought Meep's post was so helpful and compassionate. Just to echo what she said:

You are not overreacting.

Your husband is blaming you for his own behavior.

Your husband continues to be immature.


One thing my individual therapist has taught me is to exit these crazy "conversations." It was such a huge relief to realize that I don't have to listen to all this crazy BS! I'm getting better at recognizing the blaming. For a crummy communicator, my husband is really skilled at not only brutally direct, but sneaky blaming. So, calmly, I say things like, "I'm being unfairly blamed. I'm not continuing this conversation. I need a break. Let me know when you can talk to me calmly and fairly." And, then I walk away. At first, my husband blew up. Then I left the house. Now he's getting a bit better at calming down. What I had to learn was to recognize the craziness; to CALMLY state what I feel and what I was going to do; and then do it. It has been immensely helpful to me to not get entangled in this blame, abuse and irrationality.

dnell


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 Post subject: Re: Need Advice Please
PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2015 6:30 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2015 5:51 am
Posts: 13
.


Last edited by SoOverIt on Wed Sep 23, 2015 6:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Need Advice Please
PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2015 6:32 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2015 5:51 am
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.


Last edited by SoOverIt on Wed Sep 23, 2015 6:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Need Advice Please
PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2015 6:37 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2015 5:51 am
Posts: 13
Thank you both so much for your advice. You both seem so wise and insightful. I can only hope that over time I too will gain the same levelheadedness and understanding that you both have.

Quote:
A couple things are going on here.
First, your husband may have used disclosure to provide relief and stimulation for himself. By stimulation, I mean an emotional high: an immediate good feeling fueled by him patting himself on the back for being "open and honest" with you. In his current immature state, his selfish expectation is likely YOU, too, would pat him on the back and applaud his so-called honesty. He lacks the empathy to measure the effects of his disclosure on you, and when you reacted as you did (your reaction was normal, by the way) he blew up because he basically didnt get his way, and you're being a human being with needs and vulnerability.


I totally agree that he is emotionally immature. I just wish he could see that and understand it. He really is selfish and I feel he does lack the empathy. The hardest part is he constantly tells me that he is listening and that he understands but at the same time I usually end up feeling totally misunderstood and invalidated. Half the time I don’t even think he’s listening. I often ask him to repeat what I’ve just said and he cannot even remember yet he’s telling me in the same breath that he understands!!! Arghh it really does my head in!!

He also told me this morning that I shouldn’t have a problem with him saying that I’m overreacting, that I’m overanalyzing and that im basically implying that he’s going to do it because they are all HIS feelings.

I told him I wrote on the forum last night because I felt totally invalidated and told him the gist of what both you and dnell said and he told me that he doesn’t really care for anyone elses opinion and what do they know anyway! Arghhh…he frustrates me to no end!!!!

Quote:
You were/are not overreacting. But, as shown by his reaction (he blamed you for why he doesnt want to be honest, which is him offloading responsibility and an insincere response) he is still immature.


I’m so grateful that someone is validating me and telling me I’m not overreacting as I feel like I’m going crazy sometimes. And yes, he blames me all the time for him not wanting to be honest with me. I understand his immaturity and he basically just wants to avoid any conflict whatsoever so it’s easier for him to just tell me nothing and not have to deal with it. He doesn’t seem to care that I don’t deal with him shutting me out well at all.

Quote:
But in the meantime, you'll want to protect yourself when he reacts as he did. Some partners briefly point out the problem in the communication, then leave the room. You may choose to say that anytime you feel invalidated or blamed by him, you will stop the conversation. You do not have to engage with him when he accuses, blames, manipulates or otherwise expresses himself immaturely. Keep it very short and neutral.


The hardest part I find here is that he is the one that usually doesn’t even want to discuss it. He would be welcoming and happy for me to just walk out and end the conversation because then he wouldn’t have to deal with it and could go and do something else like watch TV. He wouldn’t care that I’m stewing on something or that I’m even emotionally upset. For him he’d prefer to pretend it’s not even happening and sweep it under the mat. It’s ALWAYS me that instigates any communication and he’s usually very reluctant to even participate in communicating about any problems especially anything relating to his addiction. I understand that I probably should not engage while he’s being immature or blaming but realistically we would probably never engage in any conversation about it at all and I’m not sure which is better.

Quote:
So, while 12 step makes me somewhat nervous, I am glad my husband attends. But, and here is the big but, I am so glad he completed the RN lessons so that he grasped the need to not just abstain, but to develop maturity and healthy life management skills. He grasps this conceptually, but has not yet made the emotional leap. It's possible this may be an issue for your husband.


I’d say this is definitely a problem for him dnell. And I too am nervous that these meetings with other men in worse situations could be leading to worse things and giving him ideas. He doesn’t have any male friends outside of work or any social life really so I wonder whether it’s a dangerous environment because he may feel a stronger bonding with them than what might be considered normal or healthy if that makes any sense.

I hope the RN lessons help him develop maturity and life management skills but I am doubtful as well. Even with the exercises he is doing at the moment, he initially decided to skip all the exercises because it was too hard as it’s something that he’s not good at doing. Basically anything where he has to analyse himself, analyse his thinking, his values, etc and put it into writing is too much work and too time consuming so he becomes very passive. He only started trying to attempt the exercises properly because I said how on earth do you expect the program to work if you’re only reading the information but not doing any of the work. I’m concerned he’ll do the same with RN because the work is probably even more in depth. It was only a week ago I had to motivate him to get back into his work because he tends to just let everything slide.

Quote:
How much honesty do we want? This is a tough one. This has changed for me over time. I would like a weekly, GENERAL assessment of my husband's recovery and health. I don't want specific details. I want to know the areas he struggles with and what are his plans to handle the problems. What insights has he learned? What emotional instability or stability does he feel? I'd rather be sick and scared than in the dark. It's actually more scary for me not to know what is going on than to have a general sense. I guess how much honesty to ask for is something that we need to understand in ourselves.


This for me is SO tough!! I like you would rather be sick and scared than in the dark but at the same time I don’t deal with the information well either because I do feel traumatised and emotionally distressed about the whole situation and when he discloses I struggle just to function in our everyday lives. Its like a lose/lose situation for me. I cant seem to live with or without knowing  I know I still have a lot of work to do on myself and I get so angry about how time consuming (or robbing) his addiction really is.

And yes, I will definitely be making it a condition that he completes the RN work and that he doesn’t just stop every time it gets difficult. He was seeing an individual therapist but stopped going. I think he will probably need a mentor for the RN work and so will look into that with him.

I do feel like I’m the one that’s got to do all the pushing and motivating all the time and I know from what I’ve read this has to come from him. For me if he stops the work it’s a deal breaker. Is it wrong for me to have to motivate or get him on track at all. How much is too much? How many times do you threaten that he’s letting the work all slip again.

Thank you both for your support and understanding.


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