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

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    Still having some trouble today. The holiday season is getting to me. Too many memories.... Last Thanksgiving and Christmas I was in a dazed stupor, having had our first D-day in November. I had already committed to hosting attending several parties (I used to be a very social person - not now) and to this day I don't know how I got through them all. I don't even remember some of it. Anyway, I am trying not to let these awful memories color this year, but not succeeding entirely. It seems so many times and places are irrevocably ruined for me. This year we tried to decide what to do about our Nov. 1st wedding anniversary. This date has been destroyed for me by a Nov 3rd D-day, so my husband suggested we use the June date when we became engaged. Ummm....that won't work because I associate it with D-day #2. You see where this is going. If there isn't a strong association with a D-day, there is an association with some other traumatic event, like a particularly egregious acting out or public humiliation, like the time he grabbed my shoulders and leaned in to give me a kiss on the cheek so that he could gawk at a girl behind me without me knowing. My therapist says it is not uncommon for trauma victims to attach importance to dates and anniversaries. Yeah. Add to that places, names, sounds, colors, smells and it seems nothing is safe.
     
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  2. Read your frustration and sadness.

    See some who are in long term recovery have found things that become meaningful.

    Operative word is “recovery”,
    Though.

    You are building a meaningful foundation here.
    What or who will stand here?
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2018
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  3. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

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    Great question - What or who will stand there? I'm learning that one of the abiding symptoms of BT (for me) is an overwhelming sensation that I have no idea who I am anymore. I know I am certainly not the woman I was before. Strange things come out of my mouth, awful thoughts enter my head, opportunities pass by as I stare listlessly at them...

    It has been shocking to find that my foundation, ie positive traits I always thought of as "part of me" or hard-earned character developments, eroded away so quickly. It is awful to wake up one morning and realize that one's character could not stand up under duress. So one of the worst things about this whole mess is that it has so profoundly shaken my confidence in my own mind and spirit. I feel weak and will always wonder about the durability of whatever I build going forward.
     
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  4. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

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    Thanks GhostWriter. Yes - that's it. Those dates feel like a death. And not just the dates. As I said - all the things in the world. It seems like now I view everything through the lens of this problem. A hundred times a day, something reminds me.

    Thanks for your kind offer and I hope this season is easier for you than last year.
     
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  5. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

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    Having a moment of slight panic. About to go run some errands with husband. Plan to go to the farm store, the drug store and the grocery store. Triggers everywhere. It has been ages since we attempted something this ambitious. Earlier I was feeling good but am now wanting to crawl under the couch.
     
  6. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

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    Thanks so much for this. I didn't answer right away because I wanted to take time to really think about your first point. Maybe I already know the answer and am waiting to find the strength. Yes - that may be it. That may be one reason I feel so frantic to find out if he is lying. If I found he was, then I'd have the final piece I need to get the courage to end the marriage. I do feel "poised" but then again, I have felt my courage fail over and over again through all this. I no longer have confidence in myself.

    I also struggle with letting him sink or swim. It's hard because I'm being asked to give up control precisely at a time when I feel so vulnerable that I am grasping for any semblance of control I can get. Sometimes I feel as if I would just collapse into a pile of dust if I truly let go of every effort at control. The other problem with giving up control is that I "know" enough about myself to worry that the only way for me to give up control would be for me to just stop caring altogether.

    But there is no doubt that I need to be working on myself either way. Some days I do better with this than others.
     
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  7. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

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    Thanks for the words of encouragement. We did the errands and made it through. He was very supportive. On our first stop, he knew I was feeling very nervous and sick to my stomach so he made up an excuse about wanting to stay in the car and have a quick nap so that I could go in alone. We went in to the other stores together. I felt the usual nerves and light-headedness and nausea but the breathing/heartrate were okay this time. Happily, there were not a lot of triggers and he did very well with those that were there. He said focused on thinking about how much he was enjoying my company. So we made it through and my stomach finally stopped hurting about an hour after we got home. I am struggling with some feelings of weakness in the aftermath. I woke up this morning feeling so strong and as if I could withstand anything, only to dissolve into a puddle of neuroses at the thought of getting into the car to go shopping. What has become of me? I feel as if I can't trust myself at all.
     
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  8. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

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    Another challenging day. We met an old friend for lunch, which meant, of course, going to a restaurant. We almost never do this, as it is too triggering for both of us. On the rare occasion that we do, I am insistent on choosing the place (as self-defense). My entire objective is to find the place likely to have the fewest triggers. I begin by looking for a place that is not in a trendy part of town. Then I visit their website (even better if they don't have one!) Then I often go to a review site to see if I can look at interior shots of the place. I'm looking to see if there is a television and/or bar in the place, any photos of wait staff, trendy decor, etc. Essentially I am trying to avoid stumbling into a place that will be filled with pretty, young waitresses and young, upwardly-mobile clientele. Otherwise, we will be sunk before we are seated. Don't get me wrong, there are no guarantees, but this restaurant picking process is important to me. I used to feel stupid about it and even now feel a little embarrassed to write about it, but I have come to understand that it is a way of taking care of myself and affording myself a little power and control in an arena where I feel helpless.

    But this time, the arrangements were made without me, which multiplied my usual apprehension. My husband and I had a nice talk on the way and did some preparation before we went in. He grounded himself, I expressed confidence in him and let him know I was feeling strong (and I was - much more so than yesterday when we went out to run errands), he cleared his head, and we had a nice hug.

    I was relieved when we got inside because the place didn't look too triggering. And then I saw her - the young blonde waitress at the far end of the room. And of course, he was way ahead of me. The same man who had just grounded, cleared his head, looked into my eyes, had a pep-talk, and expressed his strength and resolve could not even get seated before he was ogling some poor young woman just trying to do her job. I did okay. Instead of feeling like I wanted to disappear and shutting down completely, as I usually do, I stood up, looked at him and said "Hey - stay with me!" He snapped out of it and looked at me. I was so irritated, but also deeply sad for him. How awful to be a grown man who is literally not in control of his own eyes, attention and actions. I expressed my exasperation and disbelief. Of course, there really wasn't any real disbelief. This has happened before. But every time, I am convinced this time will be different. He looks and sounds so strong and confident and determined. I let myself think that this will be the time that he can be like a normal person and just walk into a room, take in the scene, let his eyes glide over all the furniture, the people present, the paintings on the wall, etc, then sit down and order lunch. This will be the time that he can be like our lunch companion, who I was observing throughout, and who never once stared at or furtively and repeatedly glanced at anyone in the room. This will be the time he will not make me feel like I'm on probation in my own marriage - subject to dismissal without notice.

    He apologized and thanked me for helping him snap out of it and did a pretty good job of holding it together for the rest of our stay, pausing only for one last, pathetic ogle as we left the restaurant. It was gross, as if he had to just consume a bit more of her for the road.

    On the way home, he expressed disappointment at not being able to handle himself better than he did. I gave him lots of positive feedback and let him know how much I appreciated his efforts and very real successes. He seemed to rally. At this point I felt I needed to solidify my own gains and talk about what I had been proud of, ie not dissolving, being present and social throughout the lunch, engaging the waitress in friendly conversation, supporting his pathetic ass, etc. (I kept the last one to myself. )Things were going well, but they took a turn. He got very defensive and said he wanted to talk only about the "normal, quotidian" parts of the experience. I kept my cool, but this infuriated me. Normal?!? There is nothing normal about us or our life. I spent way too long pretending things were "normal", standing by in silence, watching him act out in public while I slowly deteriorated to the point I'm at now. Now everything is finally out in the open and if I need to do 10 out-loud post-mortems in order to help us heal every time we walk to the mailbox , then so be it. I will talk about this AT LEAST two hours for every hour I have spent watching him watch somebody else's ass, if that's what I need to do to get better.
     
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  9. Probably good not to share. :)

    I was once told to seat the woman
    with her back to the wall surveying the restaurant.
    I was to sit facing her.

    Your story reminds me why, even more now,
    how important to continue.

    I have to catch myself as soon as I can
    and stop if I sense something to look at,
    look for the other thing that is really impt to see.

    Does he have consequences for such behavior?
    I don't, but am so trying to avoid.
    It causes you pain.

    I wonder if you could quietly video him with the phone
    next time
    sooo he could watch himself oogle?

    Recall seeing two guys broadside another car
    as they drove through an intersection
    watching two high schoolers...
     
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  10. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

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    Thanks for your suggestions. I am so angry tonight, but also trying really hard to understand. Frankly, I'm a bit disconcerted that you are this far into your journey and seem to have it so much together, yet you still seem to struggle with ogling. Do you mind saying what it is like for you? Is it strictly a "habit pull"? See a flash of something your brain has learned to recognize as prey, then your eyes just focus in and you get lost? What do you actually get from the experience of ogling? How does it make you feel when you do it? When you avoid doing it?
     
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  11. It's the addict in me, is one way of saying it.

    Its my brain looking for something
    that feeds the receptors that need the dopamine.

    Its one step closer to the addictive cycle; Preoccupation

    leading to ritualization, then sexual compulsiveness, then despair.

    I don't entertain oogling. It is a pull.

    Dear @Kenzi has her list I used to help me understand
    this pull:
    Here:
    Link to my SOs Lists -
    https://www.nofap.com/forum/index.php?threads/rock-stars-lists.124256/

    I quote her early:
    I don't recall if she has consequences. I think she does.
    My consequences are that when I don't do this,
    things are better.

    When I'm an ass, I'm in despair.

    I'm an anonymous poster,
    of course everything appears all together.

    But P gave me a heart attack and PIED,
    so yes, I run from this as best as I can.

    Every day is a recommitment.
    I also go to SAA and have a sponsor

    Edit: I just realized I’m posting in your journal,

    I’m sorry, if you meant this space more for emoting. ​
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2018
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  12. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

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    Back to internet connectivity after a long weekend away. The get-away was great – lots of distraction-free alone time in a warm cabin. We played music, read, played games, and talked. It was perfect. Then we made the risky decision to go out for a nice holiday dinner our last night there. I was nervous but we picked a place where there were not likely to be many threats and just went for it. The restaurant was perfect – relaxed, cozy and not too crowded. For the first time in a long time, I began to relax while out in public with my husband. I had a glass of wine, talked a lot and flirted with him. He looked over-the-moon happy to see me so animated. He kept looking at me, smiling at me and trying to persuade me to talk some more. I began to really settle into myself. I can’t really put this into words, but I felt like I could actually occupy my place there. So often, my time in public with him is spent with me putting up defensive walls, wanting to hide or run away, feeling humiliated and embarrassed – as if I don’t belong there. But last night I was in my body and my body was just existing comfortably in a place. My body had some weight to it, just like a normal person. I had forgotten how good that felt and the feeling of self-confidence it produces. THAT is how I am supposed to be all the time.


    We were about an hour in when “it” happened. A couple got seated in my husband’s field of view. She was about 45 and fairly normal-looking. She looked nice but was not dressed in any way provocatively. She was just a normal woman out for dinner with her husband. But at that moment I knew “my” phase of the dinner was over. Everything I had been feeling and experiencing would come crashing down and I would cease to exist for him. We had had such good communication over the weekend and had prepared so thoroughly for the dinner, that I decided to try to be positive in my thinking and try to support him as best I could by acting as normal as I could. And for about 20 minutes, it looked as though he might make it. He wasn’t talking, but he was still smiling and he didn’t look in her direction at all. It was then that I leaned over to get something out of my purse and when I looked back up he was staring at her. He quickly snapped his eyes back to me and gave me “that look”. I felt the energy and the weight just drain from my body. At that moment I was so disappointed and angry. I knew that the cycle had begun. He would now not be able to stop himself from compulsively looking over at her for the rest of the dinner. And I resented the sneakiness so much - that is absolutely the worst part. I understand that the ogling is in no way a reflection on me (at least in my rational mind), but the deception is too much. How can I ever trust him with anything, knowing he is lying in wait for an opportunity to stare at women behind my back? Or anything else behind my back? I told him I wanted to finish our coffee and leave and he agreed it would be best. He admitted that he would not be able to stop his behavior at that point.


    Later in the car, I expressed how disappointed I was at the deception and asked him to tell me what his experience had been like. What he told me just made me start to cry. He admitted that he had been strenuously fighting the compulsion to look at her from the second she was seated and had not heard a word I had said for over twenty minutes. For twenty solid minutes he was engaged in an all out internal battle, knowing that if he gave in and looked he would not be able to stop looking. (The way it works for him is that he looks at a woman once to see if she is “worth ogling”. If she isn’t, he throws her away and doesn’t look again. If she is “worth ogling”, he will not be able to stop consuming her.) But in the end, he couldn’t keep it up and had to sneak a look. I just cried for him, and despaired for myself and for us. How does one get “cured” of that level of compulsive behavior, not to mention that kind of callous, dehumanizing “sorting “ of women into piles of “worth ogling” “not worth ogling”?


    A couple of good things came of it. I kept my cool throughout, not crying until the very end and even then, not for long. I’m proud of myself – or just so beaten down that I can’t get worked up about it anymore. The other good thing is that, after he told me about his internal battle and ultimate failure, he hung his head and said, “I need help”. Granted, he has said that before, but he did send an email to a counselor when we got home. He’s never gotten that far before. I think maybe just saying what was happening in his head out loud made him understand the severity of the problem.
     
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  13. Best wishes to you both today.
    May some form of rebirth
    be a gift you both find.

    Powerless over his addiction.

    The addictive cycle.
     
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  14. DesperateHousewife7

    DesperateHousewife7 Fapstronaut

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    Just read through all your posts in this thread, and it’s refreshing to find someone else whose situation is exactly like mine and who responds exactly like I do. I thought I was crazy and obsessive with how much I try to control, discuss and how much I am constantly watching him in public to see where his eyes go. It’s so exhausting. Every nice getaway we have gets ruined by ogling, and we’re getting away again this weekend so I’m already prepared for that.
     
  15. DesperateHousewife7

    DesperateHousewife7 Fapstronaut

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    Exactly. Especially considering how much effort I put into my own appearance for him, in hopes that it will keep him entertained enough that he doesn’t feel the need to ogle others. But nothing I do will ever stop him or be enough for him.
     
  16. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

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    Thanks, Ghostwriter. He and I have had a chance to talk some more and he seems to be opening up a bit. I must admit that I am a bit shocked at what I am seeing in him. In addition, I found some of his old journals in a box when I was rummaging for Christmas wrapping paper. In one journal from 2004, he asks himself if he is addicted to sex - so he has known for so long that something was not right. In another, he relates some truly awful fantasies about old girlfriends. I don't know how I can reconcile all this with the positive things I know and love about him. Along this same line, at least once a day I find myself wondering how a man with two teenage daughters could have masturbated over someone else's naked, demoralized, injured, precious teenage daughters. If they had been his own, he would have moved heaven and earth to prevent their participation in pornography.
     
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  17. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

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    Hi Trappist, Thank you for the kind wishes. You alluded to the "addictive cycle" in one of your other posts. If you have time, I would love to hear more explanation about how this works. I am, as always, struggling to understand.
     
  18. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

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    Yes! I could have learned a couple of foreign languages with the time I have spent "preparing" to do simple things.
     
  19. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

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    Oh Sweetie...you are not crazy or obsessive. You are trying to look out for yourself and get at least some illusion of control in what seems like an up-side-down world where nothing is as it seemed.

    And I totally understand about the exhaustion. Once we were stuck in a ticket counter line in an airport (airports are the worst!) trying to re-book a cancelled flight for two solid hours. I did everything I could think of to entertain, engage and occupy him for that entire time. There were targets all around and it seemed he was about to spontaneously combust. I admit that what had begun as a sincere effort (that he requested of me) to help him not ogle evolved into an epic battle of wills. I was determined not to break eye contact with him - he was NOT going to ogle without me seeing it. I could tell he was getting more and more frantic to ogle. After an hour, I needed to pee but was determined to not leave that line, just to spite him. I would have peed on the floor before I would have given him the satisfaction. Eventually, he gave in to his illness and did one of the lowest things he's done in our marriage - he leaned in to give me a kiss on the cheek so that he could look at a teenager standing behind me (he's in his 60s, by the way). I saw his eyes sweep up as he leaned in and he later admitted it and has admitted having done it other times. I have written about this repeatedly, because I cannot get over it. I hated him at that moment and I hate him now when I think of it.

    I wish you luck in your preparations for this weekend. I hate it when people say, "Don't worry about what he is doing. Just try to have a good time yourself! Don't let him ruin your holiday!" I won't insult you with that advice. In know what you will be up against and I can only say that I hope it won't always be this way for you. I'm so sorry for your pain, confusion, anxiety, wasted time, wasted spirit, etc. I'll be thinking of you...
     
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  20. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

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    Lately, taking a deep dive into my husband's struggles has led me to understand just how many bad behaviors and patterns of thought I have developed in response. These things may have come about because of the positions he put me/us in, but nevertheless, I need to take responsibility for fixing them. In particular need of attention are my feelings of competition with other women. I realize that this is not entirely his fault - these feelings have deep cultural roots - but they have been exacerbated by his behaviors. I am finding it very difficult to overcome the strong cultural messages of female competition, women being the “desired object” class and men being the "desirer" class. In my higher mind, I feel tremendous solidarity with and admiration for other women, but when his behavior triggers me, my lower mind takes over, seemingly without my permission. I am ashamed to admit that, at that moment, I fear I would be willing to throw another woman under the bus just to prevent her getting my husband's attention. Ugly, I know. I also know that this is not my natural inclination and has been brought on by the extreme position I have been put in. So I believe it is possible to fight this even as I am skeptical about being able to overcome it entirely.

    One thing that would help tremendously is if I could rely on my closest confidante, my husband, to support me in the belief that I have value outside of my sexual value to the culture (which, as a woman in her 50s, is zero). I want to know that I am desirable as a person and that this can somehow translate into sexual desirability of me for my husband. When he can’t convincingly support me in this belief, it feels like a double betrayal. A sexual betrayal, as his sexual attention is going elsewhere (and usually to someone very different from me that the culture has told him to venerate) and a deeper betrayal – an unwillingness or inability for him to support me in my fight for self-acceptance against the overwhelming tide.

    I want his help desperately. If he believed in my narrative that I AM valuable and desirable and SHOWED it in his actions, I feel I could be infused with energy enough to fight the constant onslaught from the culture telling me I am not enough. Never enough. But when he is against me, I lose all hope...
     
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