marriage in quantum superposition

Discussion in 'Significant Other Journals' started by DefendMyHeart, Nov 14, 2020.

  1. DefendMyHeart

    DefendMyHeart Fapstronaut

    My husband and I went to the store together this morning with our youngest. This is not something we normally do because of COVID, but since my daughter and I had doctor appointments this morning and the store was on the way back, we figured it was best to get this part out of the way rather than make an extra trip.
    On the way back home my husband was visibly distressed. I asked him what was bothering him and he said he didn't know what to feel or how to feel about anything. He was in a state of turmoil and couldn't bring himself back to the present moment because he was tripped up by all the women in the store. Our shopping patterns are also very different, so this also adds to his distress. He likes to go up and down all the isles one by one and get what is needed on each isle whereas mine is all over the place because I remember things after we've left the isle. Given his OCD tendencies, I drive him crazy by doing this (he never told me this until today).
    Part of me wanted to shut him out. I dont want to hear about how he looked at, or wanted to look at other women while we were supposed to be doing something together as a family. So I shut my eyes and removed myself from the situation. In this process I thought to myself, "if I didn't know anything about my husband other than what he was telling me right now, what would I consider to be his issue?" Anxiety. I would think he had some form of anxiety.
    So I'm thinking about all the stuff him and inhad talked about from his childhood, through his teen years, and through his adult years. I started putting the puzzle together in my mind,
    1. He was smaller and skinnier than most of his male family members for most of his life. For this reason, he didn't feel like he fit the description of what a man should look like
    2. He felt more able to express himself around his female family members than his male ones because he didn't feel pressured to fulfill the stereotypical male role. For this he was teased and felt more inadequate
    2a. The introduction of P.
    2b. He felt nervous and anxious around women in fear of them seeing his perceived inadequacies. He began to use P more frequently as an escape. He begins to sexualize and objectify every woman he sees.
    3. In junior high and high school he was often rejected by girls for one reason or another, which made him feel it had to do with how he looked. He felt inadequate and ashamed. He objectifies them, then escapes into P.
    4. As a young adult, he was rejected by women for being too nice and not "manly" enough. He objectifies and escapes.
    4a. This continues into college. He begins following women around just to sexualize them.
    4b. He starts drinking in hopes of being less nervous around women in social situations. Realizes it doesn't work.
    5. When he would be in a relationship, he was unable to perform adequately in the bedroom due to PIED or PE. Again, objectifies and escapes. He turns on them and says all sorts of mean things to them to get them to break up with him.
    6. He meets me. For the first few weeks or so into our relationship his only focus is on me. He abstained from P and escaping.
    7. He begins to feel inadequate around me, starts to escape into P again. Starts to objectify my friends. Objectifies every woman we come in contact with. Objectifies women in his classes.

    I believe his main focus, the source of his problem, is he is anxious around women. Why? He is afraid of being judged. He is afraid they will not see him as the "man" he feels he is supposed to be. His coping mechanism to overcome this anxiety when he is around women is to sexualize and objectify them.
    I coincidentally read a few studies a week or so ago that said that when men sexualize women, they see them as less intelligent and less competent. So if I were to apply this aspect to my husbands anxiety, in his way of coping with perceived inadequacies, it would make sense that he would feel better about himself if he put them below him. There are more layers to this, given how he was raised and taught that women were just objects anyway and that men were supposed to be superior, so this just continued to solidify over the many, many years.
    So how does he undo it? First, by recognizing that it is anxiety. Second, by somehow coming to the realization that the woman shopping in the next isle isn't going to hurt him in some way.

    This will take more time to further think about, but his coping mechanisms will need to change to approach this problem from a new angle.
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  2. DefendMyHeart

    DefendMyHeart Fapstronaut

    My husband went to his therapy appointment today only to find out he wasn't on the schedule, so he came right back home. He is looking at it as a sign that he no longer needs therapy. I'm hoping that this doesn't wind up backfiring on him, but after our experience with therapists, it is difficult to see how they can really help anyway. During his last appointment, his therapist just sat there and didn't really say anything. My husband said he did most of the talking about his recovery and the therapist asked questions about the books my husband was reading, but offered no advice and no counsel for anything. He told me it was the weirdest thing. I suppose when you look at it from the outside, my husband has been in intense therapy for nearly 4 years now because of me. Daily talks and daily tasks on how to rewire his mind, and this is still ongoing as I learn more and more about the brain regions directly impacted by P.

    My husband also just finished an intensive meditation practice that lasted a week. He says he feels a lot better and now it is a matter of applying what he has learned to his everyday life. Hopefully this is something he continues to integrate. He has turned his recovery into a positive experience rather than a negative one. Once we sorta got to the root of his recent issue, he said that it feels like a big weight had been lifted from himself and now he practices a mantra for anxiety rather than one geared towards not sexualizing every woman he saw. He isn't at 100 percent yet, but he is getting better as far as I know.

    We were throwing around the idea of opening a school on the reservation that brings back a lot of the ancestral teachings for the kids. We both feel as though by doing this, we could potentially save a lot of youth from going down the addiction path. If people learn to live a good life, there will be no need for an escape. I dont know if this will ever come to fruition, but with me graduating in a few years, we should start figuring out what it is we want to be when we grow up.

    I'm still exercising and meditating daily. Mostly. I had to skip yesterday's workout because our dogs got into a fight and I hurt my hand helping to break it up. I didn't get bit or anything, I just have a condition that can cause my joints to "lock up" if they are held in a certain way for too long. Holding onto one dogs collar while trying to get her to release the other dog from the death grip she had on her was what did it. No one was too terribly hurt, but our kids are still a little shook up about it. Oh.. the joys of being part of a pack. On the plus side, I was able to move up a setting on my bike so I'm making some progress there.
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  3. DefendMyHeart

    DefendMyHeart Fapstronaut

    Until yesterday, I had a weird feeling that my husband did something. I asked him about it and he said there was nothing, but I couldn't shake the feeling.
    Last night, however, we were talking about one of his research articles and he said that one of the acronyms used was CAM. He hated this because he said his brain automatically pulled up the Camgirl schema and found himself in a state of instability. Although he never interacted with them in the past, he did watch recordings of people who did. He told me this was one of the things he watched during his last relapse.
    The thing about that was, I asked him point blank if he watched those during the time we were married and he always told me no. So after disclosing this to me about him watching it during his relapse, I asked again if he did that during the time we were married, to which he finally admitted that he did. I asked if he remembered me asking him these questions before and he said that he never interacted with them, only watched recordings of them. Somehow, he made some separation of the question I asked him, whether it be at that point in time or if it occurred later after the fact will be forever unknown. This is one of the downsides to memory being so malleable. There is no way to ever go back to that point for him to remember exactly what happened, he will only remember the story he created from that experience.
    So I found myself in a dilemma. He lied to me several times several months ago and withheld this information. However, he also doesn't remember me asking him these questions in the way I asked them in the first place. So I was unsure of how to react to this new information. Of course there was the part of me that was hurt because the memory of that time came back into my mind. He was literally in the next room watching P when he had the option to be with me. He chose that over me. I dont think I will ever see it in another way than that. He had a choice and he chose other women. Then there was also the part of me that remembered the events that led up to his relapse, this was the more understanding part of myself. I cant shake that feeling of him not choosing me over that, but I can understand why he chose that, which makes me wonder even more about what is wrong with me. This creates another dilemma about worth, meaning my own. Am I stupid for staying knowing that someone who lives within the capacity of lust cannot live in the capacity of love? Am I strong for staying knowing that things can be overcome if they are worked towards everyday? Am I weak? I dont know these answers and I know there is external influence that takes place when I think about them. My father was an SA. My mom always told me she was strong for staying and working things through with my dad even though he never gave that stuff up. When he passed away, my mom changed her stance and talked about how weak she was for staying. That contradiction still has a small influence in my thought process.

    I didn't stay upset for too long with my husband after his disclosure. It was shortly after he told me that a friend of mine came to visit. Our first classes start today, one right after the other, and she is worried about the statistics and being able to run the programs and understand them. We talked about her life and the problems she was having in her relationship, so it took the focus off of mine. By time she left I had completely forgotten about the disclosure and was only reminded by my husbands depressed mood that he had for most of the rest of the evening.
    We talked a little about why he was depressed and it was because of what I said to him. That he preferred that over me because he chose that instead of me. He said he didn't prefer it and he wished I would see that, and that is what caused him to be upset. He has to understand that when I say things to him that I say things out of anger and out of hurt. Do I want him to prove to me that he can be faithful and that he prefers me over other women? Of course. Especially since that always seemed to be the case through our entire marriage. However, should I place my worth as a wife on him proving that to me? No. That worth should come from within.
    I still have quite a ways to go with my own healing, and I am fully aware of that.
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  4. DefendMyHeart

    DefendMyHeart Fapstronaut

    I went to my therapy session yesterday and talked a bit about the current state of my relationship with my husband. I told her about the story I talked about here, about how my husband lied to me. She said that I appeared to be indifferent to it, to which I replied that I was. I told her at this point in time, I am aware that my husbands AP reads both my journal and my husbands journal, and if there happens to be a contradiction in what him and I say about an event, I will let him be the one to call it to my husbands attention. This removes me further from my husbands recovery while still having a layer of accountability. I understand that my husbands AP will read this, and I dont want it to seem as though I expect that of them, or that they must dedicate a certain amount of time to this task. It is one of those, if it happens to be noticed, then it is noticed type situations. My hope is that my husband eventually holds himself completely accountable so the need for his AP to do so is lessened as well. Hopefully this will eventually happen.

    One of the things her and I also talked about was how my brain tends to jump to the "my husband is having an affair with my daughters therapist, I must find proof of this!" And I hate that I do that. Everytime I hear our bedroom door open when she is here and working with my daughter, I go to look down there "is she going into the bedroom? Is he coming out to talk to her? See, I know that an affair is not logically possible because at any point I can walk down there or walk into the bedroom. I can see downstairs from where I sit and I would notice if she were gone for an extended period of time. I also know how ABA therapy works in that, a duel relationship with the client or clients family is strictly forbidden. Not only would she be fired, she would not be able to work in that profession, or anything close to it ever again. Even though I am aware of this, my brain still goes there. My therapist asked if I had ever been cheated on in the past by my ex husband. I have been cheated on with almost everyone I have ever dated, was my reply. She said the reason my brain goes there is because it has become the shortest neural pathway over the years. Duh, why didn't I think of that? So she wants to look into more meditation techniques for me to use to help with that.

    Overall she said I'm progressing very rapidly in my recovery and moved our sessions to every other week. She doesn't see that I will need to continue those for more than 3 or 4 times, but she wants to still allow me time just in case something else happens. I have found that even with the worst things, I am able to bounce back a lot quicker than I have in the past. I believe this has a lot to do with my exercise and meditation routine that I have been doing for almost a month and a half now. Prior to this session, I really didn't have much to talk to her about so we spent the time mostly talking about my kids. I will mention things that my husband does or doesn't do that bother me, but it doesn't devastate me like it did in the past. I have also noticed that the faster I move forward, the faster he moves forward in his recovery as well. The less time he spends in a shameful depression, the more time he is able to focus on other things that are important. I know recovery has to become a positive experience in order to get anywhere. I dont feel as though it is the responsibility of the SO to do this for the PA, the PA needs to learn to do this for themselves.

    Our semester has officially started. My husband is enrolled in 2 classes, both of which have women in them. I could hear him talking to his classmates during his first class (done via zoom) and I noticed that whenever a woman said something, his voice would change, become more high pitched and shaky. What worries me the absolute most is him worrying to the extent that he falls back into old patterns and he doesn't succeed this semester. My second worry is him focusing on the women and allowing those thoughts and feelings to flow again and him having to tell me about all that. I think he has moved into the former position where his anxiety could get the better of him rather than the latter. I told him earlier that he needs to learn to relax and focus more on the material rather than who is in the class because I have watched him fail so many classes because his focus would be so much on the women in the classes. This part of him really needs to change. He says he is working on it, so hopefully that is the case.

    Day by day
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  5. DefendMyHeart

    DefendMyHeart Fapstronaut

    One of the things about my husbands recovery that has come to light is how selfish he can still be. We discovered through this whole process that he is narcissistic, and although he tries to work through things, there are personality traits that make me wonder if they'll ever change.
    For instance, him and I have set days that we utilize our office to do homework. It usually begins with our time split in half, then it slowly processes through the semester where I basically only have a few hours because he runs behind on what he is supposed to do. In an effort to cut that off before it starts, we planned it with me only having about 10 hours a week for my studies, him having around 40 hours. At first he protested and said that he wouldn't infringe on my time anymore, so I let him set up the schedule. Last week, he took Monday through Thursday morning (my daughter has ABA therapy during this time anyway, and I'm the designated parent that has to be available when she's here), then I get Friday morning, Saturday morning, Sunday morning, and Monday evening. This schedule started last week. Friday morning he decided he needed to prepare for his meeting that he rescheduled from thursdays to fridays, so he took the time that he designated for me. Week 1 and he already took up my time.
    After his meeting I told him that I wasn't going to fight with him all semester because even when I push for my time, it only makes him angry and I'm tired of fighting. So now, I have my 10 hours and he has his 40.
    He wants to apply for the PHD program in mathematics next semester, which will coincide with my dissertation defense semester. I get a bit stressed when thinking about it because I will need more time in these next 3 semesters. When he is in a math class, it takes him twice as long to get his stuff done than now in his other classes. I'm not entirely sure how to approach this, but it will probably have to wait until then to do so.

    I was reading something the other day about a man telling a guru that he had horrible memory because he couldn't remember conversations from one day to the next (reminds me of my husband). The guru asked the man if he ever went to the movies, to which the man replied that he did. The guru asked the man if he saw a movie that had come out a few years back and the man replied that he did. The guru asked if he remembered scenes from the movie. Again, the man replied that he did. So the guru tells the man that he does not have a bad memory, he has a misused one. I think this can be applied to a lot of P addicts. They can remember vivid scenes from things they watched, but cannot remember day to day events. This has a lot to do with enjoyment. If you enjoy your day to day conversations, or your day to day activities, you will remember them. However, if you see them as chores, you will not only forget them, you will be apprehensive about completing them, in favor of something else you may find enjoyable. This puts into perspective more about how recovery should be transformed into a positive experience. The more you see it as negative and retain the fear that you're missing out on something, the more likely you'll fall backwards. However, if you start to see everyday things in ways that make you realize you're gaining so much more by continuing the recovery path, then recovery will be easier to achieve. At least, this is my hunch. No one wants to give up something they feel is great unless there is something else that is greater to replace it with.
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  6. DefendMyHeart

    DefendMyHeart Fapstronaut

    We had to take our daughter to the doctors yesterday morning. On the way there, my husband decided that would be the best time to tell me about something he did. Evidently he was reading someone's journal on here and got aroused by something that was talked about. I asked him if he continued to read after that happened, and he said that he did. I reminded him that by doing so is to allow those neural pathways to remain clear and open, and asked why he felt compelled to continue to read, to which he replied he didn't know why he did it. A few moments later he tells me he continued to read it because he has a "need to complete" when it comes to reading texts. Of course, considering all the unfinished books and articles he has started to read but didn't complete, this explanation makes total sense, right? I told him it was a bullshit answer and an excuse to enjoy himself. So, we continued the drive in silence after that.
    Prior to our leaving for the appointment, every time I looked at my husband I felt disgusted by him. I was not sure where this was coming from initially, but after he told me what happened, it explained it. Through these last few months I've noticed a shift in my thinking regarding our marriage. There have been many times where he was suddenly "off-putting" to me to the extent that I felt gross just being around him. After D-day, I realized that this feeling toward him was more than likely related to his consumption of P and his constant pursuits of other women. My body was going into a sort of self preservation mode because of his actions.
    After D-day, I always worried about losing him. I was worried that if he didn't constantly work at himself in recovery that I would have to continue to live a life of D-day after D-day. I told him if he ever watched P again that our marriage would be over, and this frightened me to think about to the extent that I figured I would just end up staying and enduring this the rest of my life. After feeling the way I felt about him yesterday morning, I found myself in almost a state of relief at the thought of our marriage ending. As though a huge burden had been lifted from me. I was no longer afraid of losing him. I never was afraid of losing him. I was actually afraid of losing myself. Realizing that if I were to be alone the rest of my life and that I would be okay was a huge shift in healing. No, I'm not tied to this life. I'm not tied to him. Finding out who I am outside of all the trauma in my life and outside of being a wife to this man is something that is necessary for healing.
    If he relapses, I will be okay without him.
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  7. MountainInMyWay

    MountainInMyWay Fapstronaut

    The rationalizing and justifying is such a slippery slope. It’s gotten many of our PAs into so much trouble before, yet they still try to rationalize their rationalizations.

    You sound like you are starting to turn towards more empowerment which is the goal for many of us SOs.

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  8. DefendMyHeart

    DefendMyHeart Fapstronaut

    I'm hoping that is it and I'm not just becoming cold. Time will tell I suppose
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  9. DefendMyHeart

    DefendMyHeart Fapstronaut

    I had an appointment with my therapist today. We have been meeting every other week now. She had me do the ACES test when I first started seeing her, and today she had me do the resiliency scale to see where I fit. I had a score of 3, which was very, very low. She said given my state of mind, however, she was not concerned for me. Anyone else she would consider as high risk, but I somehow made it to the outlier area. She told me how proud she was of how far I have made it in my recovery and encouraged me to keep going. She was interested in the meditation I had been using because she felt it played a huge role in my progress and wanted to pass it onto other clients.
    The main reason she wasn't worried about me being a high risk is due to coping mechanisms I had developed early in life. I was an unwanted surprise of a child, and I really didn't fit into my family. I was an outcast. This became very apparent after my father passed away, then once my mother passed away, my family quit talking to me. I haven't spoken to my sisters in 3 years. My older sister, within a few weeks after my mothers passing, made it very clear to me that she despised me for no other reason than my very existence. Since her and I are only 13 months apart, according to her I stole away our fathers attention. He didn't transfer it over to me or anything, he didn't pay attention to either of us after I was born. She went out of her way to make my life miserable as kids. She would tell people not to talk to me or be my friend in grade school. Since she was pretty popular, and with the malicious rumors about me that she spread, I was a loner through school (we lived in a very small town).
    Despite all this, I am okay with not being part of their lives. I have tried to have a relationship with my younger sister but the influence of our older one prevented her from talking to me. I was never the "partying" type so I didn't fit in anyway.
    This trauma from childhood alone could have destroyed me. Instead, I got lost in books. I used to read so many every week. Now, I'm lucky to finish one in a week. Despite all my parents and ex husbands efforts to prevent me from attending college, I managed to obtain 3 college degrees so far and currently working on the 4th. My life didn't turn out so bad, I just got a later start at it.
    I think the trauma from this marriage brought to light some unhealed trauma from the past that needed attention. Ive been working on all aspects of it all together and learning to make peace with everything. I think that is the biggest step is learning to navigate through life without external influences stopping you. For years my life was in the hands of others and I finally decided to take control of it for myself once again.
    I asked my husband how his healing was going and he told me that although he reacts to things, the duration of the interaction doesn't last as long as it used to. This is a good improvement on his part. He is still working on himself and his thoughts daily. He is also meditating to help him learn to take control of his own mind. That is one of the most perplexing things about life. We are the ones in control of our own minds, not the other way around, however, it always seems as though it is the latter. It is easy for emotions to take over and to spiral out of control. It takes discipline and practice to learn how to make your mind work for you rather than against you. Hopefully he continues on the path of healing.
    One of the videos I watched said something along the lines of, whoever has the strongest force in the relationship will be the path that eventually both will take. I found this to be interesting and very true. The more I continue on my path and the more I make it part of me, the stronger it becomes. By doing it this way, it is also influencing my husband to take the path. He may take detours every now and again, and there may be a time when he decides to go another way, but for now, the path I'm on is the one that is strongest because it is the most appealing to him. I suppose in that sense, if one were to choose a path, one should make sure it leads to the betterment of both members of the relationship.
    Day by day..
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  10. DefendMyHeart

    DefendMyHeart Fapstronaut

    Choices and responsibilities. This was a conversation my husband and I had yesterday morning that continued this morning.

    What a lot of people struggle with is freedom of choice without realizing that the freedom of choice was not an option to begin with.
    For example: if someone were to tell you that there was a company that wanted to add something to 80 percent of the food to make it a little sweeter, but at the same time, this substance also created addictions, heart disease, obesity, cravings, lethargy, and other health problems, most would then choose to not have the substance added to the food because the risks far outweigh the one benefit. However, this choice was never given to people, it was just done. So when others come along and say, we need to remove this substance from the food because it creates so many health problems, people will fight against it being removed in fear of losing their freedom of choice. The option was never there to begin with, it was just done without consent, without proper knowledge provided, and without freedom of choice. This pushback stems from fear; fear of losing something they feel is part of them. The thing is, there are alternatives that create the same benefit without the risks, and that choice was never provided.
    I'm talking about sugar.
    From a young age children are given snacks labeled nutritional that actually have no nutritional value to them. They are loaded with sugar and preservatives and by the time they are older, the addiction is already there in full force.
    There was no choice. Now, statistically speaking, children born after the year 2000 are not expected to outlive their parents and this is due to our food in general. That is pretty scary when you think about it.

    Addiction to P is much like that. The average age of exposure to P is 10 years of age. Long before the brain has fully matured, and long before the freedom of choice was provided. If you were to tell a kid that if they were to view this thing, it could cause problems with their brains, problems with future relationships, problems with them being able to make friends, cause depression, anxiety, etc. Chances are that child would not be interested in viewing it. Why would they be? Children overall want to be happy, want to be social, and don't like to be sad. Why would they chose to do that to themselves? They wouldn't.

    When someone comes into an addicts life and explains all this after the fact, the addict feels as though they are losing their freedom of choice. Naturally they will push against this. What most addicts fail to realize initially, especially in the case of my husband, is that I was never taking anything away from him. I was instead, giving him back his own power for choice. It is very hard to see that when you're addicted to something to the extent that it becomes part of who you are as a person. It can be terrifying, change often is. Ive seen a lot of men on here who say they wish they could go back in time and stop themselves from ever watching P, and these men, whether knowingly or unknowingly, have realized that the choice to indulge or not was never given to them in the first place. A lot of exposures start from older family members, accidental clicking on something out of curiosity, peers exposing them, and just plain ignorance.

    This is where responsibility comes into play. Now that a choice has been made clear and available, that choice must be made consciously. You are responsible for your choices. Not just with how it effects you, but also with how it effects those around you and those in the industry. That is now your conscious responsibility. If you're okay with making the choice to indulge, then you should also be okay with the responsibility that comes with that choice. This is something I've told my husband for these last 3 years. He is free to watch P, I will not stop him. However, he is not free of his responsibilities of his actions, which includes us divorcing because that is my choice. I had to help him understand that we both have choices in the matter. I have made it clear that I do not want to be with someone who does that. If that is the life he chooses, then that is his responsibility to live with.
    On the flip side, the addict chooses to give up P. There is also a responsibility that lies with that decision as well. If the addict destroyed their relationship because of P, it is their responsibility to help fix it.
    Now, here is where I will deviate a bit into choices and responsibility for SO's.
    If our PA's decide to give it up, and we choose to stay (and let's pretend they never touch it again) then our choice also makes us responsible for healing ourselves. Yes, we need that reassurance and help from the PA, but if we do not take that responsibility for our own healing into our own hands, no amount of reassurance from the PA will help us. This was a big part of the problem with myself and my husband. I had an expectation that he was to fix me since he broke me. I didn't ask for this life, why shouldn't he bear the responsibility for my healing as well as his own? That is a huge mistake because by thinking that way, I gave him too much power over my emotions and my health. To heal myself, I took that power back. No, he is not allowed to have that control, that is now my responsibility.
    I made the choice to stay and to help him. With that comes the responsibility of helping him but to do so, I had to take responsibility to help myself.
    I'm not saying if he falls backwards it won't hurt. Of course it will. But I will not allow it to ruin me. I will not allow it to dictate how I go on with my life. I will not allow it to influence how I interact with my children. And should I decide to enter into a relationship with someone else in the future, I will not allow me to grow cold, resentful, and angry towards that person because of what someone else did. I'm responsible for how I respond to others.
    Looking at it this way, and in taking back my own power, it is relieving. Never again will his actions tear me down to the point I put a knife to my wrist in an attempt to end it all. I will not let him or anyone else have that kind of power over me. That is my choice.
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  11. DefendMyHeart

    DefendMyHeart Fapstronaut

    The unconscious and the conscious

    A big part of my research prior to taking on P addiction had to do with the unconscious and how it played a role in the conscious mind. I actually had started to develop a theory about it at one point. I hope one day to get back to that research, but a lot of what I studied there does apply to P addiction as well.

    In the beginning of my husbands recovery, one of the key aspects was to make what was unconscious, conscious. Then to manipulate the conscious thinking in a way that it influenced and transformed the unconscious process. The average person is only aware of about 10 percent of their brain processes and thoughts, leaving a whole 90 percent hidden under the surface. There is a lot more layers than those two, but what a lot of people don't realize is how much they do that is driven by the unconscious process.
    Our conscious minds only process a small amount of what our senses pick up. Our unconscious minds pick up everything around us. For example, you may happen to look out the window and see a car speeding down the road and be aware of the pedestrian that had to jump out of the way at the last minute, but what you're not consciously aware of is your sensory memory picking up the billboard in the background with an advertisement for a fast food restaurant, someone sitting on a bench eating a hamburger, someone else drinking a soda, etc. Basically every little thing that is in front of you, your brain picks it up and stores it in the unconscious memory. What you deem relevant to what you're looking at, however, is what you're consciously aware of at that time. Later on in the day, you may decide you want a burger and choose to get it from that restaurant advertised on that billboard in the background, and you won't even know why you chose to eat that food from that restaurant.

    So, bringing the unconscious to conscious awareness in P addiction goes something like this: a man comes into contact with a woman, whether it be in person, on a screen, in a picture, wherever, and only for a split second. Just long enough for him to consciously register that someone was there, but no details. He then carries on with his day. This woman happened to be wearing a shirt that is very similar to one he saw someone wearing in a P scene.
    He may not have consciously registered this person, but his unconscious did. And since he wired his mind to P, the unconscious is now programed to bring this to the surface as a desire. So the man begins to struggle with urges, but he does not know why. Next thing you know, his conscious mind pulls up that particular scene of that woman that had that shirt on. Even though he is unaware of the unconscious process that took place, now he is in a state of turmoil. To relapse or not is the question.
    If he is in recovery, but not fully committed, he will begin to find excuses and justifications to watch P because he has not taken the time to rewire the A to B wiring from consciousness to unconsciousness.
    If he is in recovery and fully committed, now the manipulation of the conscious thoughts can begin to influence the unconscious. He can bring his desire to the forefront and tackle it that way. "This is not what I want to do anymore. This is just wiring not who I am. There are other things I want to do with my life besides watch P" and whatever other positive reinforcement used. Now the unconscious is learning something new. This continues and continues. Now, the same scenario happens and the images pop back up into the man's head. He can easily dismiss the image and over time, the urge to do anything about it will no longer be a driving force.

    What this basically boils down to is if someone is struggling and continues to relapse, and continues to find excuses to relapse, the desire to watch P is still there. If the desire is still there it is because they have not found anything to replace it with that they see as a greater benefit than P. If they found that benefit, the desire would be easier to overcome, and the triggers would no longer hold the same power over them due to their active manipulation of their unconscious through conscious processing. The thing is, the conscious processing has to be of greater value so if they're not in it 100 percent, the value to abstain will be less than the value to give in.
    Tarsus likes this.
  12. used19

    used19 Fapstronaut

    I keep reading this and rereading it. It even prompted me to reread the entire thread to make sure I'm not missing anything contextually important. I feel so conflicted over this. I know that I don't want my husband to have power over my emotions nor my health since clearly he's got the emotional judgement of a child. But I am struggling with feeling very angry and having the desire (not saying I have the intent or even the desire to follow through) to require him to fix me. I really don't know where the lines should be here. Cause I didn't make this mess. He did. I didn't destroy myself, he did. I was already stretched so thin by kids, pets, other people being jerks. Now I'm having to screw up all those other things, especially our kids, because I'm trying to hoist myself out of the quicksand of trauma. Do you think that they have the responsibility to give us what we decide we need to heal ourselves? My husband is clean. He has not relapsed at all since dday 18 months ago, possibly longer because he says he had quit before I found out. He's open emotionally. Agrees without complaint to any restrictions I need to feel safe. I'm struggling with how hard I push him to figure out how this mess started, how he managed to go from super Christian message he gave to me of never wanting to do that again after a few times as a teen before we were together (we met when we were both 17, started dating at 18 a few months later) to something happening that caused him to go from doing nothing even close to pmo, to a habitual pattern of 3-4 sessions a week with me completely unaware. And despite us being intimate. He keeps saying he does not know what started it, he can't remember. He could guess stress or curiosity or saw something triggering. He has no clue. And it is eating me alive not knowing what tipped him into using this for relief or whatever. So I am struggling with what level of obligation to hold him to on this. I'm really struggling with the past and his intent. His ability to do something he knew would destroy me to my core and still did it. My normal coping mechanism here would be to cut the person out, move on. Not give him even a breath to hurt me again. But that tactic doesn't really work if I am choosing to stay. I just don't do gray very well. I'm very much an all in or all out kind of person. Probably not healthy but that's just how I am.
  13. DefendMyHeart

    DefendMyHeart Fapstronaut

    I understand the conflicting feelings. If it is anything like mine it stems from, if I completely let go, then he will find a way back to P. If I hang on, and he knows I'm active in this process, he will stay away, even if it is to my own detriment, I will hang on.
    This was the cycle I broke for myself. I let go. If he chooses to relapse, then he already knows things will end between us. I let go of the worry, the obsession with checking his activity, and the anxiety that I carried with me everywhere I went. I was able to do that because he reached a point in his recovery where he is committed to healing.
    Is he required to help me if I feel upset, down, or triggered? Yes, to an extent. He created this mess and he does have to be responsible for things that come from his mess. However, no amount of holding me, comfort, reassurance, or whatever he provides on his end is going to help me if I am not working on my own inner conflicts and battles.
    We have two types of validation, internal and external. If your internal validation takes a beating, such is what happens when we find out about the addition, we then have a need for more external validation than we did before. This can come in many forms, whether it be from other men, friends, or our husbands. However, this is very limited because it is external. If you feel like you're the ugliest person in the world, no matter how many times you hear people tell you that you're pretty, you'll never believe them. It will be this way until there is internal validation.
    So what I've done is shifted away from the external and worked on my internal. I dont believe my husband when he tells me he thinks I'm pretty, but at the same time, it doesn't matter to me what he thinks. As far as I'm concerned, looks are arbitrary and fade with time anyway. Looks aren't going to write my research, looks aren't going to take care of my kids, and looks certainly aren't going to help me graduate from college. So my value in myself is my abilities. That is my internal validation. It is enhanced by the fact that I wouldn't be in this program if the college didn't see that potential in me.

    Trying to pinpoint why your husband started doing that sounds stressful. Has he talked to a counselor about it? He may be one of the few that have no underlying reason as to why they started it. It is like someone trying cocaine for the first time out of curiosity, then finding out they enjoy the feeling of being high, so then they start making up reasons to continue to use it (I was stressed, i had a hard week, etc). If your husband already had adequate coping mechanisms in place prior to P usage, that could be why he was able to stop and recover easier than other men who have those underlying conditions that go untreated and unchecked. I believe the founder of reboot nation was someone who also said they had no underlying reason behind their P usage, they just happened to stumble into it. So it could be possible your husband falls into this subset.
    MountainInMyWay and used19 like this.
  14. used19

    used19 Fapstronaut

    Mine has certainly taken a beating. Probably more like a nuclear bomb. I'm super introverted and have been used and hurt a lot of times. So other than my husband, who is my best friend, I'd contented myself to a more solitary path. Easier to enjoy things and not put myself in a position to try again. Then dday came. And now I have 4 kids, and they are not easy. So I am very much struggling with feeling like I am not enough anything and cannot do anything right. I have struggled a lot with needing affirmation/confirmation of the things that I think I do well, and then feeling very badly if it's ignored. Not healthy I know. Like I know I am an amazing cook, but when my kids won't stop misbehaving so I can just cook something spectacular without being overwhelmed or when my family of origin doesn't affirm that I cook amazing because I'm not vegetarian, I can't seem to stop myself from going to a self critical place. It is a tough place to be in. I'm trying to explore thoughts around still being more solitary but setting myself up for a path I wanted to take before (living in another country, I just got citizenship through my blood line), working on it so if this doesn't work I can take it. And if it does work then he can come with me. That way either way I'm engaging in work, activities that are useful to me no matter what.

    He hasn't spoken to one about it yet. I haven't pushed it because I'd rather it be a choice. A few years back, when he was acting out but I didn't know it, he was struggling with stress and anger at the kids. He mentioned it to our regular dr at a visit for something else and he got a referral to a family counselor of sorts who was supposed to be good with that. Surprisingly my husband went (he comes from a family where happy and angry are the only allowed emotions so therapy was never an option cause they were all perfect). It was a total wash and didn't help at all. Now we both realize that him acting out was the root of that anger and nastiness. I have yet to write to that counseling center to suggest that they look for porn use as a contributing factor. He said they never asked about it so he never mentioned it. At the time he thought it was this contained thing that had nothing to do with anything other than a release. Now his eyes are opened and he understands how bad it was for him and us. I feel so unsafe with there not being a known beginning cause to be honest. I mean he knows that being stressed, holding things in and being distant from me made him so unhappy he wanted to feel free of it for a moment. But I don't know staying on those things are enough or not. I don't know, I guess I need to do a lot more thinking here and really decide what my boundaries are for what a marriage with me looks like. He can either meet it or not.
  15. DefendMyHeart

    DefendMyHeart Fapstronaut

    We are our own worst critics for sure.
    My therapist had myself and my husband take that love language test and show each other the results from it. Perhaps yours is words of affirmation? Because you already know you have good qualities, you aren't looking necessarily for validation, just confirmation. Which is okay too. Maybe if you and him take it and discuss it, it will help you with that aspect?

    I have 5 kids so I feel your pain. Luckily for me now, only 1 is young. The rest are teen and adult age. My oldest moved out a few years ago. 4 of my 5 are autistic, so that comes with challenges as well, but for the most part, if I don't feel up to dealing with my kids, I can go hide somewhere and know they'll be okay and not getting into stuff they shouldn't be. Things that they used to do when they were younger. Raising kids and trying to get through all of this can be very hard, I imagine.

    There are so many counselors that don't see P addiction as a real thing. My husband went through 3 of them, none of which tried to help him with it. They saw P as normal and saw me as the problem because I didn't want him to watch it. I think it takes so much to address the addiction and I'm not sure if the counselors who do see P addiction as a problem address all aspects of it. The main things my husband and I tackled was what led up to the addiction and coping mechanisms. If you can't get to the root cause, then it is like putting a bandaid on a stab wound. Sure, it may hold in the blood for a little while, but eventually it will burst and it will be back to square one. Coping mechanisms are huge, and what cause a lot of people to fall into addictions and compulsions. If your husband was only allowed to be angry or happy and no other emotions were allowed, he could have maladapitive coping mechanisms that come through in bursts of anger, frustration, inability to handle criticism, and addiction. It could be all or a combination of those. Not having the ability or the freedom to feel his emotions fully and express them in a safe and healthy way is going to lead to a build up. If he can find a counselor that will help him learn to express himself and accept that it is okay to do that, he may never relapse (fingers crossed). He may not need to have his P addiction addressed since he was able to quit already and stay clean for this long.

    I explained this analogy to my husband awhile ago regarding his responsibilities to me. Let's say he is stressed out about whatever and decides to take a sledgehammer to his life and I happen to get in the way and he breaks my leg. What is he responsible for? Well, for starters, in the beginning he is basically responsible for everything. He has to bring things to me, help me around, carry me places, etc. Because I can't walk. Once I begin to heal, are his responsibilities done? No. Everytime the weather changes my leg will hurt, everytime there is some sort of injury to my leg, if he bumps into me, if he knocks me down, he is responsible for making sure I'm safe and comfortable during those hard times. Where my responsibility lies is this: once I begin to heal, I need to learn how to walk on my own and function to the best of my ability. The reason being is if I sit there and make him do everything for me, it will be to my own detriment. I will become more immobile, I will gain weight, I won't want to do anything, I will become lazy, etc. None of this is good for me and eventually he will get tired of dealing with me.
    Where I differ now compared to what I wrote before is ive decided that if he knocks me down, I'm going to get back up and keep walking. If he trips me, bumps into me, or the weather causes problems, I dont want his help anymore because I'm going to do it myself. If he should decide to pick up that sledgehammer again though, my foot is going to his ass I'm kicking him out of my life. If he wants to destroy his life, I dont want any part of it. I will not stand there and watch him nor risk having my other leg broken. I'm able to be this way now because his issues are more along the lines of, I had a wet dream, I saw a woman and noticed her butt and got excited, I wondered if the cashier at the store liked me, I had memories of something that happened and got aroused by it. These things for the most part are unintentional. The other day he was reading something about P addiction and the information was written on top of a picture of a woman. He found himself getting into a state of mind that he didn't want to be in, but lingered a little longer anyway. He then came to his senses and turned his tablet off and went to read a book instead. The entire thing lasted around 10 seconds or so, but he held himself accountable by telling me about it, turning off his electronic, and redirecting his attention somewhere else.
    Did it hurt? It was a mild pinch on a previous injury, but otherwise, it didn't phase me. There is progress on his end, now there's progress on mine too. If he continued to engage in addictive behavior, more than likely I would still be in the same state of mind as I was when I started this journal.
    MountainInMyWay and used19 like this.
  16. DefendMyHeart

    DefendMyHeart Fapstronaut

    My husband and I were talking this afternoon and I was telling him about how I've noticed intrusive thoughts occurring that correlated with the time he is in class. I'm aware he is in a class with one other person who happens to be a woman, but I've decided not to waste too much time or energy about it. He said that he has thoughts during that same time period and wondered if I was picking up on his thoughts, or the energy of his thoughts. It is possible, I suppose.
    Then we started to talk about divorcing.
    I guess it has been on his mind for these last few weeks. He said it isnt about someone else, that he feels it has become too difficult for him to feel connected to me and he doesn't know how to process it. I asked him how he felt in those moments he thought of divorcing me and he said it was half relief and half fear. He is afraid of being away from me, but at the same time, relieved.

    I'm not sure in which direction we will go. He wants to give it a bit more time to see if those thoughts subside, or if he can figure out if there is something else bringing up those thoughts. As in, is he entering into another phase in his healing or are the thoughts of divorce genuine.

    I'm not entirely sure how to feel. Part of me already knew he was thinking about this and I have just been waiting for him to tell me he wants a divorce.
    I'm not sure where we will go from here.
  17. Trobone

    Trobone Fapstronaut

    From a PA perspective - while I don't want a divorce logically or emotionally - it has been something I've considered.

    Really the question is - is it possible for the person I love to be happy with me here? Can I be the person she deserves? Do I trust myself not to destroy her in the future - even if I'm doing the work 100% recovery/abstinence is a rarity with pornography. I'm afraid of screwing up my children by not being able to help them emotionally, I'm afraid of not living up to what my wife deserves, what she wants, what I want to do, what my children deserve. And my shame and fear of all of that makes me want to run and not try sometimes.

    Now the thoughts are fleeting and when i take a breath it makes no sense - but they're the same emotional responses that lead me to porn in the first place (hard emotions = run away fast).

    I love my wife, and I want to be there for her until we're old and gray. I'm working in therapy on facing hard emotions in every aspect of my wife instead of either numbing them using games and porn and such. I'm also working on facing them head on - even when I know it's going to suck. So I take that mentality with my marriage as well knowing that short term uncomfortableness will give me the CHANCE at long term happiness. While cutting and running out of fear may give me short term relief - but ZERO chance at long term happiness.
  18. DefendMyHeart

    DefendMyHeart Fapstronaut

    Yea, I think there are a lot of factors involved with why he is thinking in this way. One major part of it has been how he feels the only way to connect with me is through sex. He has known no other way. Now that it has been several weeks, he probably feels rejected and doesn't know what to do with himself. Another factor that could be playing into it is how he has relied on me for happiness, and since I'm focused on my own healing and left his to him, he isn't getting any of that "let's make up now that we've worked through things" passion. He is very much a "physical touch" type of person whereas I'm not.
    Our conversations have also suffered because the vast majority of what we've talked about has been this addiction and his recovery. He is really tired of talking about it. I'm doing research in this, and in my quest to find adequate assessments to measure what I want to measure, I've had to use him as an example for things. So I'll say something like, "you've had improvements in memory, maybe I should test for something along those lines" and he feels like I'm pointing out his shortcomings, which isn't my intent. We've tried to talk about other things, but there really isn't much that goes on outside of school, research, and his addiction.
    We have not had any time together to do anything as.a couple since my youngest was born. Over these last few weeks, she has been more demanding of his time than usual. When she gets demanding of his time, she screams at me whenever I try to talk to him. High pitched, ear splitting scream that lasts several seconds. So that causes stress as well (she's autistic, lower functioning, nonverbal).
    It could be a build up of a bunch of things that make him want to escape, or it could be something he really wants to do. Part of me wondered from the start of all this if we would work out because I'm older than he is and apparently, that was what he was into when he watched P. So I was like a fantasy turned reality (then turned nightmare, haha) for him. Him being able to come to terms with being with someone who he is actually attracted to may be something that comes through his recovery. Like, he may have appreciated my guidance but maybe we should have been friends. The thing is, we won't know until he actually sits with this for awhile.
    MountainInMyWay and Trobone like this.
  19. DefendMyHeart

    DefendMyHeart Fapstronaut

    We took a slight step backwards today.
    My husband has found himself caught up on another woman, the one in the class he is taking. He said it had gotten to the point that after class, he felt like he had just watched P. He felt high. Although he continued to meditate and continued with his mantras, it was continuing to get worse for him.
    He had promised me in the beginning of the semester that if it ever started to get bad that he would drop the course because he didn't want to put me through that all over again. He want to confess this stuff to me, it was through a sequence of events that led to him telling me about all of this. He had planned to just continue taking the course even though all of this was going on.
    I reminded him that if it is getting to that point, he is basically just watching P twice a week. P with a justification to continue because it was a class. I reminded him of his promise and he said he didn't want to drop the class because of financial reasons. He has to be in a certain amount of credit hours to maintain his employment and his financial aide. The thing is, he had several weeks to make other arrangements but decided instead to continue anyway. Like I said, P with justification.

    So, what are his options now? He's not learning anything in the class because of this person taking up space in his mind. Since he is getting high from it, he is keeping those pathways open and hindering his healing. I told him he needed to make a choice. It was either going to be her, or him. It is no longer about me and him. His P sub, or his healing. If he chooses his P sub, then he is choosing addiction. If he is choosing addiction, he is not choosing healing. If he isn't healing, well, then there's no reason for me to stick around anymore.

    He spoke to his instructor who is going to see if he can make the class completely online, where there are no more meetings and no more interactions. He told him he couldn't attend the lectures anymore regardless.

    Had he been honest about his recovery, this could have been resolved already. Now that those pathways are opened, who knows how long it will take to rewire them. Associations have been made. Now she is part of the class material and everytime he picks up his book, or reads an article, she will come to his head. The major issue is this class is connected to his research, so she will be there even after the semester is over.
    Hopefully he is able to overcome all that.
  20. used19

    used19 Fapstronaut

    I'm so sorry to read all of this. I don't have any insight, you are amazing at seeing all the sides and understanding. I just wanted you to know that my heart is heavy with yours tonight. I don't know what you'll decide to do, but you are an amazing, strong, capable woman with an incredibly deep heart.

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