Susannah's Going to Stop Trying to Control Things .....Tomorrow

Discussion in 'Significant Other Journals' started by Susannah, Nov 28, 2018.

  1. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

    Problem: I need to stop hinging my recovery on his recovery, behavior or thoughts. I should spend all this energy helping myself heal. I CAN figure out how to let go without completely disassociating.

    Here’s what happens, I think.

    I don’t trust him to be handling it.

    I don’t trust his sincerity or level of effort.

    I want to control the outcome of all this.

    I want to control the outcome of my life.

    I want a hedge against uncertainty

    I want a hedge against being taken advantage of and feeling foolish

    SO..I could accomplish this by just completely withdrawing from him or leaving him. That would fix all those things.

    BUT…I love him and want to stay married to him so I need to take responsibility. Someone does.

    Therefore I …

    check up on him.

    Monitor him

    Question him

    Worry all the time

    Ruminate about what has happened and what he’s doing

    Ruminate on what he’s thinking, REALLY thinking. If I don’t have reliable or believable information, I supply my own best guess.

    I try to control his triggers and my own by not leaving him alone.

    I try to get information , get information, get information. I feel that information will somehow help me understand what to do. I need a constantly updated string of information in order to constantly be building a case for myself in order to give me “more control”.

    I read everything I can get my hands on in order to learn about his addictions and disorders so that I can “help’ him, or is it so I can control his recovery? See above about me not trusting him to do it.

    I moderate my own behavior, stuff my own feelings, ignore my own needs for fear of jeopardizing his receptiveness to recovery (ie trying to manage his feelings and reactions by not giving him anthing to react against)

    I am trying to force something to come out my way and no matter how much I intellectually know that this is impossible, part of me can’t believe it.

    One reason for not believing is that I have had some measure of success with this long-game approach. It was through this approach that I have :

    discovered his lies and behaviors (the ones I know about)

    brought him around to the realization that he has serious problems.

    led him to come up with measures to start dealing with his behaviors

    gotten him to understand facts about the human toll of pornography, objectification and dehumanization and to define what he has been doing as such

    gotten him to understand (at least on some level) that he is a 63 year old man and no longer a 19 year old boy for whom the teenagers he ogles are peers


    So there have been positive developments that are 100% due to me and my intervention. These very real gains are what make it so hard to stop. Argh!
  2. kropo82

    kropo82 Fapstronaut

    I hope you find the support you need here. I'm a porn addict not the spousse but I've found journalling here has really helped my recovery. One thought: it is much easier to follow a journal when it is in one thread. Instead of starting a new thread for Day 3 you could just post it as a reply below (and rename the thread if you want).
  3. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

    Thank you for the suggestion. I have been struggling a bit trying to figure out how to post and reply here, hence the new threads. Please everybody - be patient.
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  4. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

    Still struggling with the idea of letting go and accepting. Smart people advise that an SO must give up the idea that they can control things. An addict must want to change on their own. I get this. It's very hard, but I get this. Where I have a lot of trouble is with monitoring. I feel compelled to search for evidence of his wrongdoing. I know it is wrong, but I also cannot trust him to give me accurate information. He has lied repeatedly, to me and to himself. I feel I NEED information about his behavior and attitudes in order to make good decisions. I NEED to know if he is using porn or subs. I NEED to know if he is starting to take recovery seriously. Indeed, the only reason I ever obtained conclusive proof of his addictive behaviors and the severity of those behaviors is BECAUSE I SNOOPED. Of course, in addition to providing information I need, it also adds tremendously to my day-to-day anxiety. I am turning into a person who always assumes the worst (because I have been rewarded with that so often) and when I find it, it ruins my day and makes me just want to dig for more. In addition, I can't reveal to him what I have found or how I found it because then he would know I was snooping and take precautions. In short, this has turned me into a liar and a sneak - just like him.
  5. Sam_ba

    Sam_ba Fapstronaut

    Congrats. We can see your love and desire to help
    We can see that you try to understand where you are not helping by your own misconceptions (I can not find another word for this)


    I believe that in a relationship we both have our share. Change starts with us. As I am far from perfect I can still improve. If I progress with my own difficulties than not only this will help Mrs Sam but she will be inspired.

    We are co dependant on our SO. I like the let go let go let go. Loving them the way they are

  6. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

    Thanks for your reply. Respectfully, I "need to know" so that I can make informed decisions about whether I want to stay married or not. If I cannot rely on him to give me the information, I either have to come up with another way to get it or simply take the most conservative, self-protective approach and leave. I know that absolute certainty is an illusion, but I am driven by a desire to have a reasonable certainty that the man I am married to is not lying to me or worse, ie I'd like to know if I am being exposed to STDs, etc.
  7. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

    Just a venting journal entry tonight. My husband and I made plans to sit in front of the fire tonight and do some individual recovery work. He wanted to do some travel planning first and I sat through that patiently for about two hours. When it was over, I announced that I was ready to do some writing and grabbed my laptop hoping he would do the 30 minutes of writing (per day) he committed to two weeks ago. He did not do this - instead, he just picked up his laptop and started messing around on some recreational stuff. So, once again, I am stuck here working on my (our) problems while he fritters opportunities away. I am so beyond saying anything about it. As everyone points out to me, he needs to want this for himself. What usually happens, though, is that he coasts along and pays lip service while I'm feeling stable and good. But then my frustration builds up and builds up until I finally express it. Then he makes an effort for a couple of days, until things settle down and he can slack off again.

    I am so tired of feeling as if I need to be on fire just to get any action or movement out of him. HE NEEDS to be the one saying, "Hey sweetie, it's really important to work on recovery. You wanna sit in front of the fire with me now and do that?" The fact that I am the one that has to do this EVERY time fills me with rage which dissolves into hopelessness. forward half an hour.... I finished some writing and closed my laptop. He closed his and asked what I wanted to do. I asked what he had on his mind and he said he wanted to discuss some things that had been bothering him but he was afraid to bring up. I reassured him and pressed to talk about it. He then proceeded to do what he always does... start giving complaints about me.

    This is classic. Two weeks ago, I told him things needed to change and that he was going to have to do some real work. He agreed and we made this writing/talking plan. Since then, he has spent all his writing/talking time venting nitpicky little complaints about me and virtually none working on his own GIANT problem. I am ready to just give up. I did not give him the satisfaction of making me show frustration or anger, though. I think he tries to provoke me in order to shift focus away from his problems. I did what I usually do, which is apologize and stuff my anger down. Once again. But getting angry and showing it will just give him ammo to use against me. I am filled with rage and so tired of being the grown up.
  8. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

    About to head to our second addicts support meeting. Last week we went and naturally, when we walked in, a young woman was reading and inspirational quote aloud. Fucking cosmic jokes everywhere I go....Of course, my husband spent most of the meeting staring at the floor, struggling mightily to resist staring at her. He wasn't 100% successful, but at least it wasn't as bad as the past. Once we went to a Buddhist sangha meeting where he ogled a young woman for a solid hour, peeking obsessively, through sitting and walking meditation.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2018
  9. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

    The meeting last night went fairly well. We talked about it beforehand and he announced his intention to be very mindful about not feeding his ogling habit. He said he would take precautions to keep the women there safe and keep me feeling safe.

    Again, more cosmic jokes. Last week there were two young women there - this week there were three. I did okay with my physical symptoms. Slightly elevated heart rate, some agitation - but I used my breatihing techniques to keep it under control. He did very well, meditating with his eyes closed (in the past he would have used an activity where most people's eyes were closed as an opportunity to peek at women.), and spent a lot of time looking at the floor in order to control the obsessive eye movements he's prone to. He did have a few instances of what I refer to as "opportunistic ogling". This is when he knows a target is present and where she is, but is not allowing himself to look directly at her. He will then make some movement, ie get up to adjust his chair, bend over to tie his shoes, etc and take the opportunity to look while he is doing this. It is another way of surreptitious looking, and is very creepy. He claims to not consciously know he is doing it. Hard for me to believe, because it is a multi-step process, requiring awareness of the position of the target (often even a moving target), advance planning of positioning and moving his own body in such a way as to be able to look, and it is meant to not be as obvious as open staring. I'm not a neurologist, but......
    Anyway, he admitted to doing this after the meeting (and after I pointed it out and asked about it).

    So back at home, I remained calm and we had a long, fruitful talk about his reasons for ogling and porn use. I think if he can remain engaged in the self-investigative process, he may be getting somewhere in both the root of the problems and the ways to combat them. He did fall into despair at one point when he admitted that in his current state, bad behavior is his default and that he will require constant awareness and effort to break free of it. He used very strong language (for the first time) about "hating" the behavior and sincerely wanting to end it.

    I am struggling to not let myself get too encouraged. I feel hope rising up in my body, but I know I have to resist it. He is very good at saying what I want to hear in order to placate me. Our pattern is he doesn't honor his commitments, I get upset (I don't yell, but withdraw and fall into despair myself), I point out that he hasn't been honoring his commitments (I don't tell him he has to do anything - I just tell him "the way things are going is not working for me"), he admits it and steps up until I recover and start acting normally, then he stops all or most work again. So I don't want to get excited. I'll probably be in that bad place again within the week. I often say that I feel as if I am trying to reel in a huge marlin. I have to let the line out for a bit, reel it in a bit, let it out a bit, etc...but I just can't get him on to the boat. I'm not ready to give up on him, but it's damned exhausting.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2018
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  10. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

    Getting close to ending things. We spent another long evening yesterday, trying to talk through his ogling problem. He keeps giving me cryptic explanations about what drives the behavior. I am "allowed" to ask questions, but I have to proceed as if I am an explosives expert trying to diffuse a bomb. One false move and he will shut down, become offended, or turn the tables on me.
  11. You describe the Oogling thing
    from your and his perspective so very well.

    Cosmic joke; so very true.
    I do see society differently,
    when realizing my P addiction.

    A talk adds clarity of your paths
    and makes it more seen.
    Walking it is a new behavior
    That takes time and support.

    As if I had a new pair of glasses.
    See the new pathway,
    I just have to stay on it, with daily effort,
    All day.

    When halting P use,
    ogling just seems to initially get worse.
    Maybe it’s like trying to hold two or three
    screaming squirming babies at once.
    And still be on task.

    Even a year out now,
    I still have that daily effort
    to keep eyes and focus on task.
    And I remain on task,
    but there’s a there’s still a pull, unfortunately.

    Does he, do you have outside support
    to help you understand and
    work on your behaviors/BT?

    Therapist (CSAT),
    group, (face to face peer supports)?

    It’s most effective if he reaches for recovery
    because he wants it.
    With both hands and heart.

    Your work is one of self care, boundaries, etc.

    I learn so much here.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2018
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  12. Not idle at all. Solitary, maybe?
    Was awaiting your detailed layout.
  13. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

    Hello Trappist. Thank you for your reply and words of encouragement. Quite right about the necessity of him reaching for recovery. He is "looking" for outside support. I have been speaking to a therapist and asked there for referrals for my husband. He agreed he needs to go, but never made any effort toward arranging anything. He has been twice to a Buddhist-based recovery meeting (the ones I alluded to in a previous journal entry - the ones full of cosmic jokes - a meeting I hoped would help him with objectification that is instead, full of targets for objectification). He has always fancied himself a Buddhist. Curious though, that all the while he has been oblivious to the Buddhist precepts that clearly prohibit the very behaviors he has made the center of his life. I supposed no one practices a religion or philosophy without some degree of hypocrisy, but he always acted so arrogantly holy....

    In any case, after seeing no action on his part for a week, I finally asked about the therapist, and he starting "looking" again, which entailed "analyzing" the "industry" and deciding that he has serious misgivings about its validity. He is currently looking for a Buddhist sex therapist. I'm afraid he has just embarked on a long road of rationalizing why no treatment options are right for him and that he can cure himself.

    It is so frustrating for me to watch him don his metaphorical lab coat and clipboard and use his considerable intellect and investigative powers to calmly and rationally evaluate a complex subject like the relative merits of various types of therapy then the very next minute devolve into a slobbering lecher lacking any discernment, good judgment or self control. Yes - I am angry, but it is my journal :)

    I'm so sorry that you still suffer from the pull after a year and hope you are relieved someday.
    fuzzywaz, need4realchg and Trappist like this.
  14. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

    Thanks for your continued interest and support, Ghostwriter. I have been told about boundaries, listened to podcasts about them, read about them.... I agree that the consensus is that they are indispensable. There is also consensus (I believe) that having boundaries one doesn't have the courage or ability to enforce is worse than having none at all. That is where I am. I realized recently that, over time, he has worn me down so that it takes me days of preparation to bring up and ask for the tiniest things. Of course, it is only in retrospect that I realize they are tiny. For instance, I recently let him know how triggering it was for me to see Google Chat invites from prostitutes on his sidebar. He launched into a long defense about how he doesn't know how they got there and that he suspects it was because he used to watch porn, etc, etc. Mind you, I didn't ask for an explanation or even that he remove them - I only let him know they triggered me. He said he would "look into" how to get rid of them. Then promptly forgot about it - or something more nefarious - who knows? A couple of weeks went by and I screwed up my courage and mentioned them again. He said he'd take care of it. More weeks went by, then one day I noticed they were gone. I had to go through even more hassle simply to get him to install an ad blocker to get rid of the stupid Taboola ads that were triggering him on a website he reads. After both of those incidents I felt exhausted, demoralized, weak, undeserving and as if I had asked him to fly to the moon and bring me back some dust. And in both cases I ended up apologizing to him! I used to be strong but have become pathetic and am filled with self-loathing. (Self-pity alert) How can I ask him to respect me if I can't respect myself? How can I respect myself when I behave this way? How can I respect myself when it seems the whole world, and my whole world, only cares about seeking out a steady diet of virtual children to sexualize and I'll never be 18 again? How can I possibly ask for and expect results from boundaries?

    I know I make him sound like a monster and he really isn't. He is in the grip of something powerful and distorting. He says he adores me and that I am the center of his world. And sometimes I let myself fall into that belief because I want it so badly. But it is only the case that I am the center of his world until literally any other woman or image of a woman enters his field of vision. This, over time, has brought me here. Sorry for the downer response...
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  15. Thank you, so much better with time
    And work.

    Funny, the Dalai Lama commented and wondered why some would travel all the way to Tibet when Christianity offered the same path. Whatever.

    12 steps is a simple program for complex people.
    The Higher Power thing works for Catholics, Buddhists, rock and tree worshipers, zen, none.

    I would prefer a men’s only
    meeting myself.

    Get to 6 meetings,
    At a buck a pop,
    It’s not cost.

    His “great wisdom”
    will be understood there.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2018
  16. 0111zerozero11

    0111zerozero11 Fapstronaut

    An evolution achieved by like-minded folks helping me ;) thx for the kind words, ghost...

    @Susannah give me a few to read through your journal & I will be back to give you my thoughts :)
    Feel free to message me any time
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  17. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

    Very sweet - both of you. Don't go to any trouble. I've just a had a couple of demoralizing days with my husband and feel very disgusted with myself.
    0111zerozero11 likes this.
  18. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

    Thanks Ghostwriter. Cake already reached out to me. So many caring folks on this forum.
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  19. 0111zerozero11

    0111zerozero11 Fapstronaut

    This spoke volumes to me.
    I know you're exhausted from the unending 'what-if's' & 'why's' that go through your mind every second you're not sleeping. It's good that you're trying to remain rational in your decision making, but I wonder if maybe you already know the answer....just kind of waiting on the strength within to solidify your answer.
    This is true; if he can get to the roots, he can then have tools for life to help him. The struggle is, you as the spouse, have to give up control. This is why they preach to SOs to really work on themselves in their healing from the betrayal, because you're going to have to be strong w/in to give up that control. To let your husband either sink or swim.
    Also, when you give up control, that energy can be changed into encouragement for your husband. You'll have a partner dynamic versus parent/child.

    So, you should definitely consider learning about narcissism & sex addiction. I'm not saying your husband is a narcissist, but if you begin to start noticing the lack of empathy, manipulation, power-trip kind of behavior is carrying on longer or is more frequent than it should be for a man who says they love you, I'd consider seeing if there's an underlying personality disorder. If there is & it's narcissism, it won't get better.

    After reading your last couple of entries, I highly suggest getting together an exit plan. Don't threaten you'll leave, this just gets them all stirred up. Work on your strength; your sanity is so worth it, as are you. Only you know how much you're willing to put up with. When you start loving yourself, that window of 'putting up with it' becomes super small.

    I'm an advocate for separation if it's getting to the point where the fake it till they make it addict is insufferable to live with because they just don't really see the problem.
    Maybe he'd change if you left, but most likely not. Is he really changing now, though? Either scenario puts you alone, essentially. Figure out how you'd rather spend your time alone....married or single?
  20. 0111zerozero11

    0111zerozero11 Fapstronaut

    Anytime, friend :)
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