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Discussion in 'Significant Other Journals' started by Susannah, Nov 28, 2018.
Hellish night and morning so far. Meeting with therapist now.
Sorry to hear this. Hugs and hope the day gets better for you.
Hopefully a crisis
can catalyze recovery
in your world somehow?
Feeling better after talking to the therapist and calming down a bit. Last night was a trial, hearing all about the ogling problems and urges my husband had at work. So sad to think about his frustration at knowing this problem is interfering with his job, interfering with his co-workers' abilities to do their jobs, and his relationship with me. The roots of the ogling and sex addiction in general, have very deep and complicated roots. Some of the things he is dredging up are very difficult for me to hear and for him to say. Overall, I'm really proud of the way I handled myself last night. I kept calm, tried to keep the environment one where he could feel safe, and tried to listen hard without judgment or fear. I think I did great. But all the things he was saying REALLY pressed on my betrayal trauma fears. I held it together for three hours of discussion. After that long, I really felt the need to just feel a small dose of affection and love from him. After hearing about how difficult it was for him all day to stop himself from express desire for every woman in his building, I really needed to have a moment of feeling like he desired ME. It is extremely difficult for me to ask for things, but I made myself ask. He was engulfed in shame and couldn't do it - he was just unable to reach out at all - said he felt unworthy and unacceptable. I don't how much of that is bs and excuses, but I tried very hard to take it at face value. I steeled myself and let it go. Then later in bed, I felt I still needed this bit of affection and asked again, although this time was more of a hint. I just didn't have it in me to ask directly again. My reward was a kiss (more of a peck, really) that was so lacking in passion that it was pretty much indistinguishable from the kiss I last received from by brother. Needless to say, this did not give me what I, by now, was craving and desperate for. A bit later I dropped yet another hint, which was a huge stretch for me. (I suffer a bit from "If I have to beg for it, it loses all its value for me." syndrome.) His response that time, was to roll over on his back and beckon me to come over and snuggle up with him. Again, NOT WHAT I NEEDED OR ASKED FOR. I did not want to have to ask three times for an indication that I am desired and wanted, then be made to go to him. I wanted HIM to make the effort to get off of his fucking back, prop himself up on his fucking elbow, go to the effort to enter MY fucking space, lean over and give me the kind of heartfelt kiss one might expect from a lover.
So now I am feeling so angry, so unwanted, so unloved, so humiliated. I might just go the the store, hunt down that clerk, and get what I need there. Yesterday, he seemed real eager to give it to me.
Me too. PRN???
Thanks. I think it has now. I'm pretty hurt and mad, but don't feel as helpless now. Helpless is the worst.
PRN. = nurse speak for as needed.
Such a great description
of your feelings.
In the middle of such dismantling of his emotions, and yours, having an expectation that he knows what to do is asking a lot maybe.
My wife and I are still working on communication improvements.
Am so so grateful when she does tell me what she wants.
Loudly and clearly.
When I was writing my sexual history,
I felt I was walking through molasses.
Just felt so stuck.
After a year, I’m still seeing things I could do better to give her more attention. Set up her coffee maker sometimes in am. Text her at work.
Spend more time focusing on her in groups. I used to run off and talk to everyone.
Be extra special and good to yourself and do things you want, other than the clerk maybe.
The guys with the best recovery and still in relationships, do try to focus so much more on their SO.
I pray that is for you two.
I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate that you have chosen to share your journey in this public space. It was especially thought provoking to me when you articulated the preoccupations that your husband has and the resultant damages to others (especially yourself). The words that you have written about your husband have caused me to reflect on my own actions and take a deeper look at them.
Thanks for your response, noexcuses. I must admit that when I first read your suggestion about removing the remarks about my husband's physical appearance, I was livid. As an SO, I can hardly imagine anything more insulting than to suggest I be sensitive to a porn users feelings about being judged on his looks. So I took a bit to calm down and am no longer angry. But I am reaching out in the spirit of friendliness to point out the extreme irony in what you wrote. I hope you can receive it. I’d like to use some of your words (in bold) to illustrate my point.
Your words supplemented by the perspective of an SO:
I am someone who is extremely sensitive to any criticisms about my appearance, even more so now that I know my husband has masturbated to and fantasized about thousands of physically perfect, airbrushed, photoshopped women. I can never feel good about my physical appearance again.
In fact, every time I think about him lusting after women who look very different from me, or staring at a pretty, young girl in public it wounds me very very badly.
To have someone I love … remind me of my flaws by turning away from me and going online to search for images of specific body styles and shapes, hair colors, skin colors that are very different from mine, then fantasize about and masturbate to those images is a nightmare I live in daily and will never be able to put out of my mind, even if he no longer does it. I will never get over the knowledge that I and my appearance were not sufficiently arousing for the man I loved so much.
I would not be able to absorb the importance and message of your other words because every time you said you loved and desired me only, I would remember the brutal and repeated rejection of my physical appearance, inner beauty and value implied by your porn viewing.
I assure you I would never show that letter to my husband because regardless of how he has treated me, regardless of the extreme disregard he has shown for my feelings and insecurities about my physical appearance, regardless of his decades-long debilitating cultivation of physical preferences a real woman could never compare to, he is still a human being (a status he has denied, through objectification, thousands of women and girls throughout his lifetime) and I would not be so cruel. Two wrongs don't make a right. Thanks for reading and I hope you understand that there is no hostility in my response and I wish you the very best.
I feel very foolish and I'm sorry for adding to your negative feelings. I became very emotional thinking about how I would feel if I received a letter from my wife with similar remarks. I should not have made a post under such conditions. At the time I became convinced it was very important to emphasize the parts of the letter that could potentially be focused on at the expense of being able to hear the remainder of it's message. This was both unnecessary and selfish. Clearly I have my own issues to work through. I have deleted the thoughtless post I made.
I very much appreciated the ogling advice you left for me last weekend. Sorry I did not respond until now. Had another D-day since then and I have spent all week dealing with the fallout from that. If you want to be depressed, you can read all about it in my next post!
Anyway, I did not want you to think I was ignoring you or not appreciating your words and advice.
It's been a while since I've posted, but I'm ready now. I think. Last Monday we experienced the mother of all D-Days (at least at our house) It was the 3rd one in 14 months, and in some ways, the best one. (The first two kind of blind-sided me, but I have experienced a lot of personal growth over the last year, so I have handled this one like a champ.) The information that was revealed this time was so heinous that I believe he has officially hit bottom and I have had no problem finding the strength to stand up and say, "From now on, we are going to do everything my way. If you don't agree, you may leave right now. I will even do you the favor of fetching your suitcase from the attic." In a strange way, the seriousness of his revelations has emboldened me. He has been completely cooperative (at least as much as I can gather, which is not much since he is a liar). I believe having all the evidence dumped on his lap (thanks for the recommendation, Ghostwriter) had the effect of showing HIM how deeply ill he is. And now that I know how deeply ill he is, I have shifted my focus away from the relationship work we have been doing, and toward trying to get him help. That is my priority now. Everyone tells me to make sure I am taking care of myself, and I am keeping an eye on myself for signs of trouble. But although heartbroken, I also feel better than I have in over a year. At least things are out in the open, and I have been relieved of playing this "long game" of restraint, beating around the bush, keeping evidence to myself, trying to gradually draw information from him without shutting him down, etc. Having the truth and hearing him admit it, has lifted my fear and suspicion. I am a capable person. I simply need to know the facts - then I can take action.
So, I have secured our home by searching it top to bottom (which has been exhausting) , removing all physical vestiges of his addiction, having computers and devices scrubbed, have meticulously documented everything I have discovered and he has admitted, have appointments in the coming week with a couples therapist and individual therapist for him, etc. He is talking lots and I am taking notes. Together, we are going to figure out as best we can just what the hell happened to him to cause this. I am sleeping like a baby.
As for self care, I have decided the best thing for me to do is to try to adhere to my internal values. I try very hard to embody these traits:
Bravery, Curiosity, Discipline, Honesty, Humility, Kindness
Times like this are what these traits are for. I have examined each one and decided what it would "look like" if I applied them to this situation. When all is said and done, I want to be able to be satisfied that I behaved in a way that makes me proud.
Another thing that I have found very useful is the Buddhist notion of "Right Speech".
Right Speech has four parts:
1. Abstain from false speech; do not tell lies or deceive.
2. Do not slander others or speak in a way that causes disharmony or enmity.
3. Abstain from rude, impolite, or abusive language.
4. Do not indulge in idle talk or gossip.
The criteria for deciding what is worth saying (lifted from some Buddhist documant somewhere)
 "In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial (or: not connected with the goal), unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.
 "In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.
 "In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, but unendearing & disagreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them.
 "In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.
 "In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.
 "In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, and endearing & agreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them. Why is that? Because the Tathagata has sympathy for living beings."
These have proved very helpful to me in curbing my smart-ass dark humor. Traditionally, it has been a way for me to cope with difficult situations, but I can see that indulging in it now will not be be helpful for us. I also like these because they allow for the possibility of saying something that is difficult for another to hear - they just advise you to pick an appropriate time. This has helped me not lash out in anger or disgust. I haven't been perfect in this, but have been probably 80%.
So that's where I am tonight. He is doing some journaling right now and says he wants me to read what he has written when he is finished. I am looking forward to it.
Another day spent cleaning up from the latest D-Day. I insisted we spend the day completely dismantling, scrubbing and re-doing our home office. That room was the location of his concealed porn stash, stored on various drives, computers, etc. and the place he and I sat for hours as I looked at and meticulously documented the contents of said stash. After that, I didn't want to set foot in that room ever again. I saw things in there that I will never forget and I am afraid it will forever be associated with these awful days and those awful things. So - everything out and cleaned and back in, but this time in a different arrangement. I want to do this to the entire house. Everything feels so sullied. I just want everything to be clean. I dug through the library today to find an old book I had that had been popping into my mind since all this has happened. It was a biography of William Blake, with illustration of woodcuts of his drawings. So many of them featured very dramatic rays of sun and I have been craving those images. I found it and spent some time looking through it, in addition to some Lynd Ward books I had forgotten about. The Ward woodcuts have similar images. I just want to be bleached and purified by the sun. It's hard to describe and I can't think of ever having felt this way before.
As I was looking at the images, my mind was flooded with memories of places and events from my history with my husband. I am hard pressed to come up with any that were not burdened by bad associations for me. It seemed that we had never been free of this poison of sex addiction and that we never will be. We will never be able to just live in the world without modifying our behavior to accommodate this evil. I suppose this is no different than being an alcoholic that forever has to be mindful to avoid situations that might compromise his or her sobriety. Only in our case, one half of the world's population might compromise his sobriety. There is practically no place we can go to avoid this. My husband, in a fit of dark humor the other day, suggested we move to someplace where all women are covered in burkas. Only there was nothing funny about it. He still doesn't quite understand that the problem is in his mind - not in the world around him. He would find a way to ogle women in burkas. I admit that I resent the limitations that have been placed on me because of my association with him. I know he is my husband and I want to stand by him, but I did not sign up for feeling dirty, damaged, limited and so deeply care-worn and sad all the time. You know how people like to play the game of "If I hadn't gone into that particular coffee shop on that Tuesday because my car broke down, etc, etc, I never would have met you and my life would have been totally different!"? Well, I play the same game - only in my version, I avoid that particular coffee shop on that Tuesday and I never meet him and I am living a normal life now.
Well. We had our first interview with a couples therapist today. I feel very comfortable with her approach, philosophy, credentials, etc. BUT.....some SOs might have caught the pronoun - "she". One of the things I had feared, occurred. We walked into her office and no sooner did we sit down - I mean literally when we sat down, my husband began his "showing off" behavior. He did that thing where he addresses a funny remark (or one he thinks is funny, but he's a Dad, so....) ostensibly at me, only it's REALLY designed to make another woman laugh and let her know how clever he is. Sigh...
The rest of the appointment went pretty well. When back in the car I asked him for a full report. He then admitted that he had indeed had sexual feelings directed at her four times in the meeting (that's four self-reported, so assume lots more in reality). So I asked him straight up to try to quantify the risk of him beginning to obsess on her during treatment. He thinks it may happen, but says he would be on guard about it. He also said he would mention it to her and make it part of the treatment. Good answer, I guess, but I have trouble with the notion that treatment requiring transparency, deep digging, openness, etc can actually be achieved if the patient is attracted to and performing for the therapist. But he really thinks she would do a great job. OR DOES HE? How deluded is he about his reasons for wanting to see her? This is the same man that I know creepily pressed teenage girls to accept his help on their math homework then followed them on Facebook because "they are my friends!"
So once again, I am in the position Jagliana posted about in her journal, of putting the brakes on something (this therapist) that husband and the outside world thinks will help him get better. I have to be the "suspicious" one, the "paranoid" one. "Are you really going to let your insecurities stop him from getting the help he needs?" Well, we meet with a male therapist in the morning. So I am going to just sit back and wait for the objections to this man to come flying out of my husband's mouth.
That said, I am also afraid of the male therapist. Obviously, a male would relieve the concerns I have with the female therapist, but part of me can't help but think he probably has a file titled "Hard Core Lolitas" on his own hard drive. I swear, if he says at any time, "Actually masturbation and pornography can be part of a healthy sex life." I'm just going to walk out.
I'm so tired.
Your recovery with his.
If it takes 2x interviews with 3x more therapists,
doesn’t it make sense to do it?
outside world here,
go for comfortable constructiveness?
I had a female therapist with a gf years ago.
She and her AA group liked her, I felt belittled.
But you know best with time and reflection,
You’ll decide what’s right.
We saw the second therapist (male) this morning and I totally called it. My husband shut down within minutes of the conversation getting uncomfortable. He was uncommunicative and dishonest. (Later said he didn't feel safe.) As soon as we got in the car, he started yelling "I won't go back to him. He is objective. I DON'T DO OBJECTIVE!" He repeated that over and over - I have never heard him say that or seen him react that way to anything. What does that even mean?! It took me about a hour to get him calmed down. My amateur analysis? My husband is still in denial and maybe not ready to make the best use of treatment. He prefers the female because "duh". He is more comfortable with women; she is attractive; she has a "softer" approach; her method is more about "Let's explore your feelings and early trauma" and less "Let's take a hard look at your behaviors and attitudes."; he thinks (probably unconsciously) that she will buy his performances. He DOES NOT like the male doctor because he is an addict in recovery himself and can see right through my husband's denial and BS; was much less cuddly; was kind, but did not express sympathy; probably would not coddle. So in short, with the female, my husband could have an opportunity to perform his "I'm deeply wounded, sensitive and misunderstood." schtick. With the male, he would have to face the real situation, drop the denial and take unpleasant and inconvenient steps to get well. So I don't know what to do. We will talk more about it tonight, but for right now, it seems like more "hurry up and wait". Very painful, because I was so encouraged by his recent advances and apparent clarity. I let myself think we were finally ready to get going on this thing.
I appreciate being able to vent here. I really need to be able to get these things off my chest without hurting him. In real life, I will remind myself that he is a vulnerable person, who is on the verge of having to accept, truly accept, that his brain has been altered, his life isn't working, and he has a lot of painful work ahead. Time for me to practice cultivating compassion.
Still reeling from the last two days and the therapist interviews. After my husband reacted so extremely to the male therapist, I've been feeling fairly bruised myself, although more intrigued than anything. What was going on with him? Last night he said he wanted to talk about it and get my honest reaction. I had been withholding my opinions and focusing on comforting and validating his feelings and had not wanted to share my true thoughts. So we settled in for a long talk, I did my best to make him feel safe, then asked him a series of questions designed to figure out what had happened. THREE HOURS LATER, we finally got down to him breaking down and admitting that he had been extremely jealous with the male therapist because the Dr. "loved you (referring to me)," and "didn't like me at all". (The Dr. had mentioned that I had done an impressive amount of work to educate myself and that my husband "was very lucky" to have me. But he also said very complimentary things about my husband, who had no recollection of those) Furthermore, the male Dr. was "cold, inhuman, critical, wasn't sympathetic and did not bring anything of himself to the discussion" and just wanted to "ask questions, sit back and listen, then use his expertise to help me figure things out. That's just hostile." Ummm....isn't that what we pay a therapist for? Hostile? At this point I felt I had entered the Twilight Zone of the human mind. I was too fascinated to be angry.
So it seems obvious that he is VERY opposed to this male therapist and very predisposed to the female. I told him again that I had objections to the female. Based on our 50 minute session, I thought she was very professional, kind, smart, and had a good game-plan. I would not hesitate to use her myself, but I already know that my husband is sexually attracted to her (of course! - she has a pulse and is in the vertebrate family. Sadly, since finding my husband's porn stash I now know his sexual interests are not limited to members of his own species.) and I have witnessed him showing off for her. So we came up with a compromise. We will keep the appointment we had with her next week, but the FIRST THING that will happen when we go in is that my husband will tell the Dr. straight up that he is attracted to her, admit that there is a possibility that he will develop obsessive thoughts about her, and admit that he will very likely try to manipulate her opinion of him through flirting and performing. He will then ask her if she can proceed and if so, if she is willing and able to navigate through all this to accomplish some therapeutic result. Furthermore, he is aware that I will be watching for this and speaking up to keep him honest (as possible) and that if I have ANY CONCERNS AT ALL, I will be free to bring them up. Lastly, I can terminate things with the therapist at any time.
So why am I agreeing to all this and how can I be so calm and accepting of such an obviously doomed plan? I guess at this point I really want him to get some help, I want to make sure my own biases (because after all this, I am a long way from healthy myself) aren't keeping him from something that might be helpful, and I am genuinely interested in what he will dig up. I really want to know WTF happened to this man. True, I would not have been able to maintain this level of detachment just a couple of weeks ago. So what changed? The disclosures of the previous 10 days have had a profound effect on me. I still feel affection for him and want to help him through this (I made a promise not to abandon him and this is important to me because the poor guy has been abandoned enough in his life), but my feelings for and about him have changed. I began to feel this shift at the end of day two of shredding CDs and wiping computer drives, and wishing I could scrub my retinas. I kind of went dead inside and became a machine. I think I emotionally shut down for my own protection - probably a good thing. So by the time (this Tuesday) I found yet another stash of CDs I had missed in last week's initial purge of the house, I was pretty numb. I just got a little nauseated feeling (probably brought on by the "man's inhumanity to man" inherent in porn), but didn't feel much of anything else as I viewed a random sample of the files, made notes about the dates and content (turns out this new stash was more recent than the others, so extended the previously known range of time of his porn hoarding on CD from 7 to 8 years), photographed and documented the discs (I am trained as an archivist) and shredded them. That was when I realized that I just don't care in the same way anymore.
I know that I am still in shock and this will all catch up with me at some point and I will grieve. But when that happens I think it will take the form of grieving the loss of the man I thought I knew, the sense of possibility I used to have about romantic love and the possibility of ever truly knowing another person, and the hope I had of "happily ever after".
*sigh* I just familiarized myself with your journal. I am sorry that you are here and that life wasn't what you thought it was-I know that feeling myself. I think there comes a point where the numb feeling takes over-maybe it is self protection. It is just unbearable. I have learned personally, that with SAs and PAs, there is always more. Numb is the only way to get through it I think.
I switched to survival mode; senses heightened...opposite of numb. I felt everything so intensly. The shock/numbness came when my adrenaline from survival mode wore off.
Any which way it goes, it just plain sucks. Numb or with the feels in full force. No way to live, imo