A Complicated Journey

Discussion in 'Significant Other Journals' started by Staying Positive, Jul 18, 2019.

  1. Ok, ok. I know you're being supportive but I beat myself up enough as it is, so trying not to be too hard on myself right now. It's ok, I'm taking it one day at a time.

    Thanks for your support, I know you mean well - just feeling a little fragile today!
  2. Sir Minato

    Sir Minato Fapstronaut

    Sorry, I didn't mean it that way. It wasn't supposed to make you beat yourself up more. Isn't it rather an empowering feeling to know, that one has the means to try and end the bad feelings one has? Of course it's not to blame you - there are circumstances and your life is already hard enough - you had good reasons why you didn't feel like you can be open about this. You may have tried to get through this on your own - and that's okay. Many of us including me have that thought at some point. We just don't want to be a burden but rather bring positifity and empowerment to the ones around us.
    When I said this to you, I only adressed the logical part, as that's how I speak to myself. But it may seem kinda harsh and it is something I learn towards myself, too. That I talk to myself more compassionately and more understanding. So, sorry again. You're doing so well and I don't mean to discourage you.
  3. Day 17

    Not sure if journalling will help today, but may as well give it a go as not. Yesterday was just a rollercoaster of ups and downs, culminating in him losing his temper and then sitting across the room watching me having a panic attack neither saying or doing anything. When I asked him why he just watched, he said "you told me to give you a few minutes", which I had indeed said before the panic attack came on in full.

    This post isn't to list "all the bad things" he did, or to detail the arguments for further analysis later. This journal today is just to try and get down in words how I feel, and then maybe I can reflect on it properly when we're both in a better place.

    I feel like, right now, I'm living with a stranger. This man supported me through clinical depression, stood by his sister's side when she was in a bad place and decided to go no-contact with his abusive mother. He told me about his addiction, he made the choice to fight against it and become a better person. He's been to counselling, read books, and completed a PMO reboot first time. His first reboot turned his life around, and every day I saw him grow and build confidence, finding new parts of himself that the addiction had destroyed.

    I don't know what's going on with him right now, but he's a complete mess, and an empty version of himself. My husband never would have impassively watched me have a panic attack. When I calmed down, I just felt this chill go through me, like he'd just watched me being hurt by someone, and decided it was no longer in his interests to help me. Like a stranger. He has no goals this time for his reboot. He's trying old patterns to fix things, but he's a different man now and old methods won't help him.

    Meanwhile, I don't know what to do with myself. I can't help him. He's withdrawn, he's letting the addiction become the reason for "everything failing". He can't control his anger or give any love, but that's not his fault, it's the addiction. He doesn't have any sort of plan for how to get better, but the addiction is making him feel overwhelmed and so he can't find a place to start. It may be true right now, but that doesn't render him powerless. Alcoholism is not an excuse for a man to hurt his wife, and sex addiction is not an excuse to neglect your life partner.

    If he can't or won't trust me, if the addiction has taken over his head to the point where he wants to completely shut me out until it gets better, then there is nothing I can do. Ok, I don't know how addiction feels, so maybe I have to trust him. He needs to shut me out for a while, however long that may be, until he sorts himself out.

    Here are the problems I now have.

    I don't think I know of any successful addiction stories where shutting down and deciding to go it alone were the best options. In fact, I'm pretty sure dropping your only accountability partner is the first step on the road to all kinds of bad things happening. And what am I supposed to do in the meantime?

    He doesn't want my opinions right now, but this is my journal and my safe space to express how I feel. I think he's absolutely lying to himself, and if he doesn't turn this around it's going to push him into depression and I'm going to find it harder to find reasons to stay and help. Yes, the addiction is real. Yes, it's the most difficult thing he may ever have to deal with in his life. No, you can't give up and wait for something to fix itself. Something I do know is that the addiction will do whatever it can to foster isolation and secrecy.

    Being an addict makes you good at lying. You've had to be a good liar your whole life to hide the addiction. And it teaches you to lie to yourself, to keep the damaging cycle going. If he closes down, if he tries to go this alone, he's going to fail and despite his current coldness and distance, I know the real him. I know he doesn't want to break up over this.

    He frequently tells me how much he loves me, and every time I try to explain that although he's saying he loves me, he's not doing anything to show it to me or being a loving person. I'm totally shut out of this relationship. My struggles as the partner of an addict are left for me to deal with on my own. My help is not wanted, my needs for connection and love are met with the reply of "I'm trying! Why isn't that enough for you?".

    That's a hard one. That's such a hard question to answer. When someone says they're trying, that is all you can ever ask of someone. There is no justified reply you can give. I've tried to explain that he's not trying to show me love, he's going through the motions to satisfy my needs while still inside being angry and scared, which isn't the same. I'd guess that this clearly means he doesn't love me anymore, but he says he loves me over and over again.

    So maybe he's just not ready. This would also be ok, except for the terrible feeling that he's making no real attempt to change other than sticking to his PMO.

    If his addiction has become so bad that I'm starting to feel unwelcome in the same bed, that he has lost all ability to give unconditional love and affection to his partner, that he can't handle the emotions of day-to-day life, then he needs to get serious help. I want to find him a sponsor, or enrol in online counselling, or find a twelve-step program, but I've been relegated from partner to observer, and he just keeps insisting that he wants to do this by himself.

    He's forgotten who he is. He hates it as much as me, I know he does, but he's still letting it happen. I can't do anything for him. I think that's the curse of the partners of addicts. You watch them drown in it as you sit powerless on the shore, hoping they'll come home. They have to want to change. They have to want to come back to you and open up. And you know that before they fell back into the addiction they would have never even left your side.

    So, now the realities of Monday. He goes to work, I get on with my day. And inside I'm panicking because there is nothing I can do but wait.
  4. You are a very compassionate and empathetic partner. Just don't go crazy trying to control or "help" his recovery. I did that for a long time. Making the shift to putting that energy into myself instead was the best thing I have ever done. Btw, there is nothing you can do or not do that will change the trajectory of his recovery. Give him back some ownership in it if you can. It's a heavy weight to carry as a partner. That's my two cents.
  5. I need to learn this. I told him the other day that he's not being active in his recovery, and he broke down and said that he couldn't, and I immediately jumped back in and took over trying to do research or find steps for him to take.

    I'm so scared that if I step away he'll choose the addiction over me, but I know when he's been "sober" that he wants to beat the addiction, and losing our relationship over it is one of his biggest fears. Watching an addiction cause someone you love to make decisions they've asked you to never let them make is completely shattering.

    I came across this video just now, and burst into tears when he said that the only job of the partner of an addict is to look after yourself.

    His journey is up to him now. My job is to express how I feel in a reasonable manner, and find my own support until the man under the addiction comes back to me.
  6. Wow, can I relate! I did the exact same things for a VERY long time. I am currently dealing with the EXACT same situation. I'm wondering if we might have the same partner. LOL and just kidding! I ran across that very same video early in my time here and when I started reaching out to others for support. He made a strong impression on me too!

    I'm going to be very serious for a minute. You can't save him. I know you love him and you want to, but you can't "do the work" for him. Yes, doing the work is extremely difficult. Yes, it's possible that if you stop helping he won't fix this. Yes, he probably feels completely helpless and hopeless. These are not your things. Begin to boundary yourself from this in little ways if you can.

    First of all, if he can find porn, he can find resources to help himself. My partner has had very limited success in searching out tools and resources. Does it bother me? Absolutely. Is my nagging him to do that helpful? No. Not at all and it's hurtful to me. If he (or my partner also) needs help, clearly we aren't the ones to do it, right? We've had no success previously. We've only pulled ourselves further and further into the mess. It took me realizing I had lost myself before I was able to let go of trying to control or "help" my partner's recovery. Betrayal trauma had turned me into a person I barely recognized.

    My partner asked me a week or so ago, to please limit the conversations we have regarding this topic. I have respected that wish! What I did instead of looking up ways to help him was to do research on ways to heal my betrayal trauma. I give myself work to do! I actually follow through on that work and it is a tremendous help. I feel better, not about the relationship, but about myself and finding the woman I lost. I can control myself but no one else. That's where my power is!

    If your partner feels he can't do this without YOUR help, I would kindly direct him towards an accountability partner here or a CSAT therapist. He would actually learn so much more from those people, right? Plus, you can free yourself to do some work on you. I'm just now realizing how unhealthy I became alongside my partner. My "emotional fitness" is a daily workout for me every day now.

    Sorry such a long post. There is a term for what I am describing above. It's called "detaching with love." You can still love him from an observer role and you will be so much more healthy for that. Sending hugs and love to YOU!
  7. Today feels more positive than yesterday. I gave myself permission to be sad and angry and frustrated and all the other emotions mixed up inside me. I also cried lots and listened to videos and podcasts reassuring me that I was not at fault, I didn't cause this and I can't fix this. I realised I was taking too much responsibility on myself, and that the best way I can help my husband is to look after myself first.

    I've potentially got my first therapy appointment in two weeks, but I think just reaching out for the appointment was the most important step. The therapist might be awful, or misunderstand me, or a thousand other things. But sending that email is the first time I have asked for help for me. Not for "our" problem. Addiction is his problem, and I will wholeheartedly support him in every step he takes towards healing, but I also need to look after my own needs and heal my betrayal trauma.

    I also realised that I don't need to live as though I have an addiction. For example, when my husband indulges his addiction he watches lots of movies and plays hours of video games to 'numb out' from reality and to numb the feelings of addiction. So, in an attempt to put some boundaries together while he's rebooting, we've put the PlayStation away and stopped watching movies. After the 90 days, he will hopefully be able to make better decisions with a clear head.

    And I've been taking the same boundaries for me. On my own at home I spent my time trying to stay productive, not indulge in tv, not browse YouTube, reading self-help books, setting boundaries and checking in with the addiction. This is, I now realise, pretty stupid. I don't have an addiction. I'm allowed to watch tv. I'm allowed to do things that feel good without feeling guilty.

    So 'within reason' are definitely important words to add here. I don't want to click through YouTube for 8 hours then wonder where my day went. And I don't want to indulge in behaviours he uses to 'numb' his emotions when he's at home and struggling. I feel that would be like eating chocolate cake in front of someone on a Whole30 reboot.

    On the other hand, setting these boundaries for healthy and non-healthy behaviour is subjective. Just as I can't do his recovery for him, I also can't set boundaries for him. Instead, I'll decide what I want to do for my own self-care, what my own boundaries are in the relationship, and hope that he'll find his own boundaries and needs in his own time.

    Self-care today:
    Long shower with music playing
    Catch up on laundry and cleaning to feel happy in the flat
    Plans to watch some old 'Murder, She Wrote' episodes later with a blanket on the sofa

    That doesn't seem a very long list, but it's a start.

    This morning, I also sat down with my husband before work and, with no intent to take over and control anything, asked him very seriously if he wanted to beat this addiction. He said he did.

    He also said he was confused, has no idea how to do it, wants me to leave but when I actually leave he wishes I hadn't gone, and that he loves me and feels like he can't trust his own brain right now. Taking a deep breath. Leave all these other thoughts for now. Letting that all wash over me. I am compassionate of his feelings, but I do not need to solve them. What I needed to know was whether he wanted to face his addiction, and he does. The rest will come with time and healing.
  8. Love this entry. I hope you enjoyed your shows under your blanket! It's amazing how the small things can make us feel better. This is a shift in our way of thinking. When we are used to trying to "save someone" you just forget yourself. It's crazy. I didn't realize how much my life became about his addiction and his emotional state and his life! Yikes!

    I hope he will reach out in the forums and find others who he can open up with and help him in recovery. I am so thankful to have other women here who help me in my own recovery. It's been priceless.
  9. Hey, congratulations on 20 days! That's so awesome! You are awesome :)
    Damn, keep stacking up those days: nearly three weeks!

    I hope that your day is filled with laughter, lots of smiles and a long shower with music playing- reading this part of your journal really made me happy :)

    I LOVE the way you make self -care a priority. Wishing you nothing but the best today, my new friend :) Please remember to be gentle with yourself today, no one is perfect. You are enough just the way you are :D
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2019
  10. Last night was a struggle. We had friends come over to play some tabletop RPG, and as the game master I run the session. This means lots of talking, decision making, character acting and storytelling for about 4 hours straight, and although I really like our friends and I think everyone had fun, I felt a little like I was watching it all from inside some kind of bubble.

    I feel like I’m floating in my own protective sphere the last few days, and I know enough about betrayal trauma and depression to know that this is a withdrawal I have felt before. It’s like the vulnerable part of me hides for a little while to heal, but life keeps going on outside so I live in a bit of a fog for a little while.

    Sometimes people were talking and I realised I’d just stopped listening. Not that I was thinking about something else or that they were boring, just like my hearing faded out and I suddenly realised I had no idea what just happened. Struggling to be aware of the world outside myself.

    I feel sad. Very sad. Not hopeless though. When I let go and started to process the idea that I have no power, good or bad over the addiction (I say started to process, because this is going to take a while to really understand) I got more in touch with my emotions.

    I am more sad and hurt than I thought, and have been hugely suppressing my own emotions and needs for fear of a volatile reaction from my husband. When he’s in that addiction cycle he can get very angry and his old destructive behaviours come up. I realised I can’t go to him for my emotional needs right now.

    He needs to learn to be vulnerable, yes, but this goes back to previous learning about not trying to step into the addicts shoes and do their recovery for them. He needs to open up and be vulnerable, but while I’m in a bad place and can’t trust him to care for my feelings, I have no obligation to open up and give him access to my feelings until I feel safe. Until I know he’s in recovery. I still love him very much and want to support him, but I’m entitled to protect myself from harm until he’s in a better state.

    When I think about people with PTSD or trauma, I think of men who have come back from devastating war, or children who were physically abused. When I read books about sex addiction after d-day, there were many sources that said spouses can suffer from the effects of trauma and PTSD, and I automatically discounted myself. Nope, not me. I felt traumatised, yes, but the thought of going to a therapist for PTSD just because your husband masturbated...I’d be laughed out the whole country, never mind the therapy room.

    This week particularly, I’ve finally been finding support material for me, the partner. That I need and deserve help. That it’s not a ‘normal’ thing to go through, it’s perfectly ok to not know what to do, to need professional help, and to not be somehow magically equipped as a partner to sort out the addicted person’s problems.

    Positive consequences:
    Since I realised these facts, I have stopped ‘fighting’ everything. I’m not fighting against the addiction. I’m not pushing for recovery. I’m not fighting how I feel.

    This week, I feel sad, so I’m just letting it happen. I realised that I used to do that in the past, but over time because of my husband’s addiction and his narcissist FLEAS I’ve learned to hurry my emotions on so he won’t get frustrated with me.

    Rather than push him to start recovery, really looking at my emotional state allowed me to tell him, with no anger or frustration, where I stood. That I love him, will support him, but he’s on his own right now.

    I started reading a new book to help me, listening to podcasts to help me, and have started to try and introduce more self-care. I’ve made peace that until he’s in recovery I can’t rely on him or trust him and know that from speaking very clearly to him he understands where I stand.

    And the next day, he suddenly started reading a new book on sex addiction and talking about recovery.

    Letting go was the worst feeling in the world. Putting absolute trust in the one person in the world who has broken it the most. But I’m listening, and waiting. ‘Staying positive’ I suppose.

    One day at a time though. And if you are reading this sweetheart, I love you very much.
  11. Sir Minato

    Sir Minato Fapstronaut

    Her counter is not about herself, it is the counter of her husband.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2019
  12. Yeah i saw that and feel a bit embarrased :oops:
    Thank you for giving me the chance to apologise
    @Staying Positive Did not mean to hurt your feeling. Any feeling you have is valid.
  13. Sir Minato

    Sir Minato Fapstronaut

    @Staying Positive
    Hey, I still feel sorry for my tactless approach to help you before. When I see someone it is easier for me to tap into their emotions and speak appropriately. For a moment I forgot the whole situation you were in and just went for logical conclusions that weren't appropriate being expressed that way. I will work at being more empathic and differ better between the times when it's right to throw out logical statements and when someone rather needs emotional support.

    Other than that, I am happy that you are focusing on self care. Also, which I find really great, is that you realised that you deserve professional help. You know, whether you develop PTSD or not doesn't say anything about someone's right to be helped. The situation is still shattering. It is terribly unrooting. I think you are doing the right steps towards self care and I'm proud of you to see that. I hope you find a good therapist who understands you. There are alot of good ones in Germany, if you are anywhere near a city with a university that teaches psychology, the therapists around there are usually more professional; I know that from my own therapist. I wish you a lot of strength, patience with yourself, and all the support you can possibly find. Have a good day :)
  14. No worries at all. Like I said, I still appreciated you were being supportive ☺️ Part of NoFap is learning, and looks like you’re doing a good job!

    Thank you, me too. Looks like there might be all sorts of groups online too, so I’m feeling hopeful.
    Sir Minato likes this.
  15. @A well-wishing comforter :) It looks like you're spreading lots of support and advice around NoFap, which is great. However, I feel a little like generic positive comments and advice on my journal and profile aren’t super helpful to me personally.

    I see from your history that you also post the same thing on lots of people's posts and profiles, and again this is a lovely thought but as this is quite a personal journey for me and the well-wishing just feels a little awkward. I hope you can understand!
    Sir Minato likes this.
  16. The blanket is, sometimes, exactly the thing you needed. I hope your communication in your own relationship is going well, and I hope he reaches out as well. Sounds like he has the most supportive partner in the world if he can just decide to say no to the addiction. Wishing you well today. xx
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  17. Sir Minato

    Sir Minato Fapstronaut

    Bro, it has nothing to do with her liking you or not. You are not the content you post. Don't take it personal. If I had really intimate problems I would not like generic advices either. When people will need advice and they know you, they will ask you. Or when they want to know something and don't know you, they can make a thread and get answers there. Maybe she does know already how to find a good therapist?
    An important process for growing and being able to help others is to realise when to say something and what to say and when not to say something. And this is something you need to invest into and this is a process you always grow at. I sometimes fail,too and then I'm utterly sorry as you have seen above lol.

    There is times and places where generic advices and positive words are ok, but learning to use them effectively, in moderation, that is the key, and it will make people appreciate them much more, when they come at the right time. If you just throw them all out they might feel out of place, and the person receiving might feel overseen.
    And it's ok. You have good intentions.

    And you should always do what feels right for you. And do everything you do for yourself. Then you won't be disappointed when someone rejects your help, it will just be a lesson for you that it was inappropriate and you can grow from that. Peace :)
    Staying Positive likes this.
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  19. This morning I didn’t feel like getting out of bed, so I listened to an episode of the podcast Sex, Love and Addiction called Narcissism and Addiction. Honestly, I was a little scared to press play on this one, but of all the episodes this was the one that had been sitting there waiting to be listened to every time I opened the app.

    My husband’s mum was extremely emotionally abusive to both her husband her children. There were periods of time that I have heard about where the abuse escalated to physical violence, and both kids were emotionally neglected.

    I think everyone dreads the idea of the awful ‘mother-in-law from hell’ trope, and so when I met my new boyfriend’s mum, I was very nervous to find out what she would be like. After a few meetings it was clear she absolutely hated me, and I was devastated. It took years before I realised that it wasn’t me personally she hated, but that I’d taken the love of one of her children “away from her”. The family dynamic was extremely tense and confusing, and things just got weirder and weirder. Eventually, as things do, there came a number of breaking points and, thankfully, my husband and sister were then able to identify her as having NPD.

    In the podcast episode, Dr. Rob talks about different types of healthy and unhealthy narcissism, and says that it’s only NPD when there is no remorse. Well, it turned out that there was absolutely no remorse for anything from her, and as of writing this post she has lost nearly everything over her behaviour and still comes back from any attempt to explain with the old “and I’d do it again, do you hear me!” type reaction.

    But that, thankfully, is all over. What is still relevant about that is, of course, the very negative affect it had on her children, namely the one I’m now married to. It’s linked to all the roots of his addiction, and he’s either genetically inherited or learned growing up these same behaviours that help him keep his addiction going. Lying, disregarding other people, gas-lighting, that sort of thing.

    But he absolutely has remorse. The podcast also describes how these behaviours go up and down along with the cycle of addiction, and when he’s not in the addictive headspace my husband absolutely can see that he’s caused hurt and, although I’m having a hard time trusting him because of the addiction, he seems genuinely sorry for what he’s done.

    The problem we’ve always had is that then the next addiction cycle starts or whatever it is that triggers him, and the behaviour starts over. Extremely frustrating from a wife’s perspective.

    Learning that the behaviour is so closely linked to the addiction, and that therapy for addiction actually simultaneously teaches addicts how to empathise and be more mindful in their relationships was a really great thing to hear. That they aren’t two separate issues.

    He never saw a healthy loving relationship in his house growing up, and he never learned how to express his love to someone else in a healthy way. He’s learned so much from where we started over six years ago, but now it’s clearly the point where he has to take it up a level and get some professional help.

    In the meantime today, I’m still feeling a little foggy, and I’m (as ever) worried about the choices he will make every day. He opened up and talked more last night, especially about growing up and various stages of his addiction, so the more he can do that the more hopeful I feel that he’s going to start doing something about it.

    I’m also worried about the weekend together. He can be so up and down that I have no idea what to expect. That’s something I’m looking forward to during recovery; a more consistent partner. But it’s not the weekend yet, still today to get through.
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  20. Sir Minato

    Sir Minato Fapstronaut

    Hey.. your post touched something inside me, and I am crying now as I write this.
    I had the same past, my mother was abusive, physically, and most of all emotionally. I'm assuming she has a NPD, because every time I tried to repair our relationship and make her admit that she did some things wrong, too, there was no remorse. She would always be right.
    What actually made me cry is, that you helped me get a better light on my last relationship. She always didn't have remorse, she also physically and mentally abused me, and... It just hit me in the face reading your words on it. I knew she is terrible for me. She would call me narcissistic so many times. Seems like that was her way of pointing away from her. I spent 1 and a half years with that woman, doubting myself, adapting to her, feeling that I deserve what I get. Thank you for helping me process it by making me see what she actually most likely is: NPD. Sigh..

    On the other hand, I am really happy that your husband has someone like you on his way and I really hope that he can appreciate it and see the value in that. I kinda wish I had someone like you when I was processing my trauma and fighting my addiction. Instead of someone who would use all my weaknesses to manipulate me and keep me glued to her. But it's Oki. I have grown so much. I found myself. It's oki now. I know exactly what I want now and I know who I am, so it was worth all together.

    Maybe you can try to switch your focus, instead of thinking about what choices he will make. And I'm proud of him that he opens up to you, and I am proud of you that you are there for him, listening. I think you two are doing great, even when this is such a heavy topic.
    What if you focus on your choices? Who do you want to be, what are your boundaries, how will you set them, how and when do you want to be supportive, how and when do you have to close up. Then you won't be looking forward to his decisions and what he will do on the weekend, instead you will know what you will do, no matter what he will do. Maybe this will make you feel save, because you can control your plans, your decisions, your choices. You can lean on them. Depend on them. Not depend on something you can't control. :) Just a suggestion, I know it's hard, but it is something that helps me alot when I struggle with things that I can't control. I just focus on everything that is within my range, everything I am responsible for, and I leave the rest to the others, their responsibility. I can only be real, express my feelings, communicate boundaries, take care of myself. How others deal with it, that's their thing. If they ignore it and overrun me, then I will have to see what consequences I will draw from that.

    Peace :)
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2019
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