Recovery Nation

Personal Development Forum
It is currently Sat Dec 07, 2019 11:11 am

All times are UTC - 5 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 7 posts ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2016 3:51 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2014 12:20 am
Posts: 131
Almost 2 years later.....he still filters his thoughts, is quick to anger, frustration because I've not gotten past it so that we can resume our life together. His nurturing ways have only become triggers for me and I find it so hard to respond to that 'surface kindness'. All his work on RN has centered around doing the lessons, asking questions for his own struggles, but in his own narcisstic way, focuses only on himself. He's had no interest in reaching out to support anyone else. Is it too early to expect more empathy for others including me?????
On the outside he is model husband, always has been....but what of the inside??? What happened to his fantasies and secret life I knew nothing of? How am I to tell if real change has occurred?? Because he tells me it is so ?!?!?!?

_________________
It is always OK in the end...if it's not OK, it's not the end!


Last edited by Kajer on Mon Jul 04, 2016 1:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2016 9:41 pm 
Offline
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:38 pm
Posts: 515
hi kajer,

I feel for you. Your frustration is palpable--and understandable. It seems often that an addict in recovery will move slow as molasses, and drag his feet as much as possible from moving forward into healthy recovery. For many, the focus on maintaining the 'appearance' of recovery versus integration of it. It is sort of like the letter of hte law vs the spirit of the law.

Somewhere, and I can't find where, Jon spoke of it being possible for a person to recover in 6 months. Now, that doesn't mean a complete 180, but an integrated emotional life, concern for others, and pretty much the kind of outlook that you, as a partner, could definitively feel and see.

This lesson 3 may be of use to you:
http://recoverynation.com/partners/part ... op_003.php

As you go through it, consider where you'd place your partner on that scale.

The challenge for you is, how long will you wait, how will you define this, and how will you measure it? From what you describe, it doesn't sound like your partner has made much inroads beyond stopping compulsive behavior, and possibly in his mind he believes this is enough.

Is it enough for you?

I don't know if there's any sort of set timeline I can give you to expect him to further change and become healthier emotionally. Empathy is one of the last things to develop, however, after 2 years in if his recovery is sincere and authentic, as well as deep and broad, I'd expect to see less narcissism, more consideration for you, and less selfishness. Not full recovery, but much more of a balance between his concern for himself and his concern for you. MOments of selfishness balanced by longer times of selfLESSness and introspection. It doesn't sound like that's happening.

I know how frustrating this is, and in many ways, how challenging it is to even try to break through to him about this. You may consider -- if you do communicate with him about it -- keeping it very simple. (for your sake). Something like "I'm not seeing the level of recovery and change I need to see by this point. It's not up to me to explain to you what healthy recovery looks like: you have the RN forum and your workshop for that. But this isn't enough for me, and I won't engage with you about a debate or discussion on the details. I'm moving forward with my life, and am strongly considering doing so without you if I don't see a dramatic, consistent commitment toward your recovery."

(rework that as it works for you and fits not only your values but the consequences you are willing to enact).

He will likely insist he's in recovery, he'll probably say nothing he does is good enough for you, etc etc. All those excuses are further signs that he's not taking recovery seriously nor has he done the deep work RN provides for him. I would suggest not engaging with him further if such excuses and rationalizations are brought up. End the discussion if you've said your peace.

Thinking of you.
meep


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2016 8:05 am 
Offline
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 661
Hi Kajer - I'm two years in and while my husband has changed and keeps changing, I'm not at the point I am comfortable with his recovery. I had also recently reread Jon's lesson that meep meep talks about with recovery taking 6 months. I don't know of any partner who has seen that. I think we're talking two to six years with a lifetime commitment to maintaining recovery resources. This isn't to say they have to keep going to two 12 step meetings a week, and weekly therapy... But, it does mean they have a lifelong requirement to monitor their health.

That said, the major problems I have with my husband are: continued self absorption. Is it narcissism? Well, yes, but what I don't know is if it is a full blown character disorder, massive immaturity, or still the effects of addiction for over fifty years. This means he really can't be empathetic or give a rats about my feelings. My marriage counselor says if he develops self compassion, he may develop compassion for me. My IC says it might happen, it might not. Also, while the non-stop angry outbursts have really declined, he continues to be defensive nearly all of the time. And defensiveness leads to blaming. So, he still is not taking responsibility for his behavior, let alone his thoughts and feelings. He is "present" more of the time, but it's still not much. He's still secretive. He still can't communicate worth a darn and I end up with either stonewalling, lecturing, or a defensive rant. And he continues to be so darn negative. "Life sucks and then you die." Everything is so disappointing. Especially me. He's working on exercising gratitude for things in life, but it's very ephemeral.

Over the years of his progressing addictions, he really let things go. He didn't develop any interests outside of his addiction. So now, he has nothing interesting to say. Combining a lack of communication skills with nothing to say makes my time with him boring and sterile. I can be lectured about something boring ("Honey, I understand how a car engine works so I don't need you to tell me"---means a long, condescending lecture is on the way. I've learned to just walk away; then he's hurt; then he's angry. Same old, same old.) He has difficulty being an adult in so many ways. Now that I've stopped taking care of him like a child, he is challenged to: take a shower every day; eat three meals every day; keep his calendar on his own.

Has he stopped acting out? Who knows. I don't. My gut says the easy stuff (constant viewing of pornography) has stopped. He's still masturbating, he's still scanning...probably less, but still doing so. Fantasies? Who knows. Probably less than before, but not gone. He's still not present a lot of the time.

I know in the past he was always so distracted and I always felt like I was interrupting him. Well, he was distracted and I was interrupting him and now I know why. I still feel that. It's less of the time and not as intense, but it's still there.

So. Where does that leave me? I'm working on my own stuff and my own life. I go to marriage counseling. I occasionally try to connect, but that is painful. He is more able to hear about my feelings, but he can't tolerate it for long. Over the years I got so used to his leaving---physically and emotionally---that I'm pretty used to him just not being there for me. It's very, very sad. And my challenge now is to make my new life that is more fulfilling. And, I have to end my isolation due to the shame I now carry and the huge amount of distrust I have. It's slow for me to.

With deep compassion,
dnell


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2016 8:59 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2014 12:20 am
Posts: 131
Thank you both for your wise words and support and I'd like to commend both of you for your support of all the partners since you joined RN!!!!
You have brought up things I need to remember(patience is a virtue)in living with a sex addict.....my observations of his actions versus his words is just part of working on my own trauma recovery.
When I read that lesson you referred to, meep jeep, I had only a vague memory of it and what my answers were. What a different place I was in then!!! I guess I have come a long way, baby!!! It might be a good idea to go back and review all of those lessons to see how I would answer now or expand on my previous answers.

_________________
It is always OK in the end...if it's not OK, it's not the end!


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2016 1:46 pm 
Offline
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:38 pm
Posts: 515
Hi Kajer,

I've done the workshop myself twice. The second time around gave me different insights than the first, and so yes, you may find after 2 years into this, reworking it may help you and also give you some additional perspective on not only your husband's journey, but where you are on your own. You may find your values have evolved and changed, that what wasn't tolerable before is now, or vice versa.

With that in mind, one thing I'd caution is I have noticed we partners tend to have value and/or boundary 'creep.' Often we will move our lines in the sand because implementing a consequence to uphold our boundary is, for a variety of reasons, perceived as either untenable or not worth the hassle. Often, we accommodate, we placate, and we tell ourselves that because something is survivable, it' s also OK. This how our values get eroded--both both our partners, and ourselves. Yet, each of us must walk this journey in our own time and in a manner of progress that is in alignment for us, and that is a highly unique path.

Going back through the values lessons and really thinking through the kind of life you want to embody for your future years -- AND considering the issue of time in all of that -- may be beneficial to you as you consider your husband's progress.

Dnell is correct in that it is rare (I cannot recall a specific instance myself) for a person in recovery to evolve in just 6 months. With that said, you get to decide what you're willing to live with, and for how long.

Thinking of you,
meep


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2016 5:39 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Aug 14, 2015 10:30 am
Posts: 95
Kajer wrote:
How am I to tell if real change has occurred?? Because he tells me it is so ?!?!?!?


Kajer, I'm in pretty much the same position with my husband. On the surface, he seems a lot better, is making an effort with the kids, is more accommodating, more engaged when he is home at weekends. But it all feels superficial. I have no idea what's going on underneath the surface and, from that point of view, it feels like nothing's changed. I wrote him a letter a couple of weeks ago with lots of questions about his feelings for me and us, acknowledging the positive efforts, but telling him that it doesn't feel like he's fighting for the relationship or really trying to connect with me. Two weeks later, he still hadn't responded or acknowledged it. I asked him about it last weekend and he said he was planning to talk to me, that he doesn't want the relationship to end, etc. But, at the end of the day, if he still can't bring himself to face up to his emotions and talk to me about how he feels, if he still goes into avoidance / withdrawal mode when something difficult comes up, after I have put it all out there to him, then to me nothing has changed. I have always felt that if he initiated a difficult conversation with me, rather than me always having to bring things up, I would feel like he was beginning to change. And that still hasn't happened.

meepmeep wrote:
Often, we accommodate, we placate, and we tell ourselves that because something is survivable, it' s also OK.

Thank you for this meepmeep.. this is what I'm really struggling with at the moment. Things are bearable between us at the moment, but is that enough? At what point do I say that this is not enough to make me happy, and potentially cause the pain to my children of a separation.

I have no advice to offer kajer, but I just wanted to let you know that I can relate to where you are right now.
x


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2016 7:14 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2014 12:20 am
Posts: 131
Beachcomer, thanks for checking in...it helps when you know someone gets it!! 'On the surface' it seems to be better, but that seems to be all we have.....that same surface relationship that looks like it always did.
Have tried to stop sending letters and notes to my husband, because rather than take to heart what I'm saying, he jumps into defense mode in his arrogant debate style....a side of him I don't like to see. Or worse, like in your situation, he doesn't respond at all! I know how frustrating it can make you feel.
Hang in there girl and take care of yourself first. Life is short. Look to yourself to find 'happy' in this life. I expect you will see a difference in him when/if he starts looking at it all differently himself and deals with his frustrations in a new way.

_________________
It is always OK in the end...if it's not OK, it's not the end!


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 7 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group