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I've compartmentalized everything... what is real anymore?

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Selfish77 posted 7/26/2013 11:53 AM

Hi, Everyone.

I am new to posting on SI, although I have been reading it for the last 4 months to try to put things in perspective for myself and for my betrayed wife what I have done.

Here is my story. Beginning in early March 2013, for the first time in my life I began trolling Craigslist for prostitutes. I spent the better part of the month texting back and forth with a number of prostitutes, and ultimately ended up paying one of them for sex. Once. I had never been with a prostitute before, and I wouldn't say I've ever even had an issue with other sexual vices - I'm not into porn, I don't frequent strip clubs, and I've always been someone who was turned off by such things. Something changed in early March as I started to feel my world collapsing around me at work and at home.

Let me be clear, however, that my feeling of doom was just that...only a feeling. In reality, my home life and my work life were fine, and my IC and I are trying to understand how I came to act out in the ways that I did. We have talked at length about my feeling of emasculation and my ability to compartmentalize my thoughts in a way that removes feeling from action.

DDay 1 was on 3/25/13, when my wife discovered text messages with the prostitute I slept with. She was devastated, and the look in her eyes as she confronted me caused me to shut down and I began lying about the extent of what I'd done because I was so afraid to tell her the truth. In particular, I lied to her about the number of prostitutes I had communicated with and on how many occasions. I told her that it was only a single individual, and that I texted with her on and off for about 10 days. I began going down this lying hole, and couldn't muster the courage to tell her the truth until DDay 2. In the meantime, I took all those lies I had told, and apparently convinced myself well enough that it was the truth because I have a hard time pulling back the truth from the compartments I have placed them in (if that makes sense).

DDay 2, on 7/21/13 occurred when I was contacted by text again by this prostitute. I continued lying about the extent of my texting relationship with her but ultimately came clean about texting multiple women over multiple days. I estimated that I had texted 30 times with this prostitute and a handful of other times with others. I truly thought this was an overestimate because I apparently have locked away the emotional guilt that I had with each text message. In my mind, I really could not recall how many times we texted or what we texted about. But I was sure I was overestimating by suggesting it was 30 texts. This was a huge relief to me because I felt like I could finally turn the corner and stop hindering any possibility of reconciliation by telling only the truth. I saw the same look in my betrayed wife's eyes as that first night, and this was a significant wake up call to me that I could NEVER do something like this again because I CANNOT see her this way. She is my everything, and I truly want to refocus entirely on her.

I have been reading many of the books that are suggested reading by others on SI, as well as the Healing Library, in hopes that I can help my wife heal. One of the suggested activities that has been offered as potentially helpful for the BS is for the WS to construct a timeline of the A so that all information is on the table.

This morning, I logged on to our wireless bills from the month of March in order to help reconstruct this timeline for her. What I discovered about my activities was truly shocking to me. I exchanged between 350 and 400 text messages with prostitutes over 3 weeks in March, the vast majority with the one I eventually saw. I also discovered that I spent most of the entire weekend before I visited the prostitute texting with her, while my wife was away and I was alone with our 2 young sons (both under the age of 6). I also texted with her 20 times on my oldest son's birthday.

When I realized the depth of my actions over the three weeks in March, I was sick. I honestly did not realize how much effort and energy I had spent doing this. It just didn't register on my radar screen how frequently I texted with this woman. I completely removed any of this from conscience in order to live with myself, and I placed it some compartment in my mind.

I emailed my wife this morning explaining that I had been trying to reassure her by demonstrating the timeline I really thought to be true. She, of course, has been devastated once again. This is certainly DDay3, and it seems like we're just piling them up.

I am truly trying to uncover all that I have done and to get my mind around it. I am fully committed to helping her heal, regardless of whether we can heal our marriage together. She asked me for two hours on the phone this morning what we texted about, and initially I really had no recollection. As we talked, and as I stared at the bills on my computer screen I started to get some sense of the scope of the conversation back, although the detail is not there enough to satisfy my wife (understandably). I am confused by not having control over my own thoughts... or my ability to recall my actions. It's like I'm watching a movie of myself and my wife, but I am unable to know what is in my head.

All of this leads me to my real question. Have any of you experienced anything like this? The inability to remember details that have been compartmentalized so deeply? I never thought I was someone who could dissociate feelings from actions like this. I've always been super sensitive and loving. This is not me. But it IS me.

I am so scared that there are more DDays to come because I cannot remember exactly what I've done. All I know is that whatever it is (and I own all of it, even if I don't have a clear memory of it all), I am determined to move past it and to get the help I need to do so.

Please let me know your thoughts. I have caused so much pain to my wife and children and my wife's family, and all I want to do is live honestly with them from here on out. But from my wife's perspective (understandably), I am just a big LIAR and am keeping the details from her intentionally. Is it possible to move forward in a situation like this?

Any help or advice would be welcome.


Deeply Scared posted 7/26/2013 14:14 PM

The inability to remember details that have been compartmentalized so deeply?

No, in my case, my inability to come completely clean was fear based. Fear that each time I divulged another lie, that would be the one that would send my husband packing.

I think a good place for you to start would be to start working on a timeline...from the beginning to the end. Disclose each and every encounter by date. I think you'll be surprised at what surfaces once you start being completely honest.

It sounds like you're headed in the right's good to have you with us

[This message edited by SI Staff at 2:35 PM, July 26th (Friday)]

Selfish77 posted 7/26/2013 14:27 PM

Deeply Scared,

Thank you for responding. I agree about the timeline, which is why I was looking over my wireless bills to begin with. My BS has asked me for a specific timeline of the texts now, so I will get to that this evening.

My IC, whom I've been seeing since shortly after DDay1 today suggested that my behavior displays some dissociative qualities... She has ordered a series of tests to evaluate me. I'm scared that this will lead down a road of finding a convenient "excuse" instead of an explanation for the "why's"...

Deeply Scared posted 7/26/2013 15:39 PM

You know, I wouldn't worry too much about a label being attached to you, mainly because you know yourself best.

I'm really glad you're working on a timeline...that's wonderful!! My best advice with that, is you and your wife will need to work through each item until she feels she has the proper closure/answer...then move on to the next one.

Try not to rush will be embarrassing for you and hurtful for her, but it's really important that each incident is talked through openly and honestly.

PhantomLimb posted 7/26/2013 15:39 PM

I don't know if this will help because I'm a BS (not a WS), but after DDay #1 (and there was eventually a DDay #2), I basically lost 10 years of our life together. It was diagnosed as PTSD. I could look at photos of us on a trip and recognize it was us, but not remember anything about being there. My IC would ask me questions about our relationship and I could only talk about vague impressions without any examples... it was all just gone.

Slowly it all started to come back to me. I just kept my mind as open as possible and the more food, sleep, distance I got, the more that came back. I'm probably at about 75% now... but I'm still having some trouble with specifics. My dominant memories are still of the conversations around the DDays mostly.

I hate to speculate, but perhaps your experience of your own actions traumatized you in some way?

Have you talked to your IC about this?

My understanding is that sometimes your brain will shut down some memories because it knows that you can't deal with them at that moment. It's a survival tactic. I do feel that I am getting more of my past back "online" as I heal. My brain is also helping me put together more facts about the A in retrospect as I'm strong enough to handle them.

Selfish77 posted 1/14/2014 12:14 PM

After months of psychological testing, I have been diagnosed as having dissociative tendencies, and apparently "checked out" for the better part of 6 weeks, during which my texting and eventual meeting with a prostitute occurred. I have not been in any kind of contact with any of these prostitutes or any other prostitutes since DDay 1 in March 2013. After lying to my wife for 4 months about the number of prostitutes I texted, I came clean with everything I can remember after DDay 2 in July 2013.

I am updating this today because I'm hoping someone can offer some words of advice. I still cannot recall the magnitude or frequency of my texting, and I cannot recall any content. This morning my wife uncovered previously unseen text messages from March 2013 on my ipad. I do not have any memory of these texts, but what she discovered is truly horrifying: I gave our home address to a prostitute in hopes that she would come and see me while my wife was out of town and my children were asleep upstairs. I am certain that she did not come to my house, although given that I can't remember even texting her it is difficult to know for certain. I am disgusted that this is the person I am, and even more upset by the fact that I ever thought this was okay to do. I put my children's life at risk and was willing to violate my physical home in addition to my home life.

Who am I? I don't recognize myself, and I am starting to lose hope that my wife and I could ever reconcile. All I want in the world is to R with my wife, and I'm trying to do everything she needs me to do to help her heal. But how can I give her the answers she needs when I can't remember them myself? How could she ever trust me again when I can't remember anything... And how could she ever trust me alone with our children again? I don't know that I could if I were in her shoes. And I'm not sure I should trust myself now either.

Is there anyone out there who has been diagnosed with some kind of dissociative disorder? Is it even possible to R when the BS can't give detail?

Help me please... Please let me know if

Selfish77 posted 1/14/2014 12:17 PM

Sorry... should say "when the WS can't give detail"

bluelightshine posted 1/14/2014 18:17 PM

I'm a BS, and I haven't posted much, so I hope what I have to say helps. My FWH lived 1 year with ow.
He has not been diagnosed with any disorder. However with that said He cannot give me all the details I wanted when we started R. I had to accept that info was gone and work with what we had.

I can also say he gave our bank info to the ow and she may even have his tax returns with our children's SS numbers on them. This was all really hard for me to swallow as he didn't even know her 4 weeks when he gave her our bank info.He did threaten our children's security in more than one way.

What I would like to say is that it is possible to get around not having all the details. Do everything you can to get that info for her, show her every moment your remorse and do the very best you can to support her through this. I know our situations are very different but I hope this does help some.

I continue in our efforts to R because I can see his remorse and agony over what he has done. He has worked real hard on his Whys and continues to work on improving himself. We are 3 months in right now.

I feel your pain and hope both you and your BS heal smoothly as possible.

Skan posted 1/14/2014 18:47 PM

Hello there. BW here.

Does your doctor tell you anything further about having dissociative tendencies? Was this a doctor who had experience with this diagnosis? In my experience, somewhere inside yourself, there is a part of you that knows exactly what went on, the kicker is that you may not be able to access that part. I have some experience with that.

Please feel free to PM me if you want. I'm comfortable with that.

totalheartbreak posted 1/14/2014 19:44 PM

BH here. I want to follow this thread as I suspect my WW has similar issues. I am not sure why. I suspect it is fear based, but am concerned there may be something deeper but I do not know.

Kudos and support to you for reaching out and trying to understand. I am not a neuro-related professional anything so I can't offer you more than support. I recognize and applaud your strength for reaching out. Hang in there.

[This message edited by totalheartbreak at 7:44 PM, January 14th (Tuesday)]

sosorry5454rl posted 1/14/2014 20:42 PM

I can relate to this quite well also. I cannot recall specifics or some details either. I also struggle with recalling a significant amount of my childhood. There are numerous things I just can't remember. It is quite frustrating, for me, but of course for BH also. We discuss this and I'm thinking some things in my childhood caused some sort of trauma to where I have blocked this info. I wish I understood it.

Selfish77 posted 1/16/2014 12:27 PM

Thank you everyone for the replies. Just knowing that someone hears me and identifies has been very comforting. This has been the hardest couple of days to get through both for me and for my BW. I don't speak for her, however. I only speak for me, and I have to say that this has been much more intense than DDay 1 or 2.

I think the intensity is so high because I had divulged all the information that I had in my memory. I have recounted every detail I can remember about my 6 weeks of EA with various prostitutes from Craigslist and my ONS with a prostitute on 3/25/13. But when my wife found new information on Tuesday - information that I have no memory of - it has really shaken me to my core even more.

I have struggled with the diagnosis from my IC that I have had a series of dissociative episodes. Mostly I have struggled because I have always thought this was such a cop out. But the fact that I cannot remember giving out my home address to an escort for a planned meeting while my wife was out of town and my children were asleep in their beds has made me more of a believer. My IC is actually my 3rd IC, and I was referred to him by IC #2 for a battery of psychological testing. So, the fact that he is an expert in dissociation is why I have stayed with him. But he has told me on a number of occasions that it is possible I will never reconnect with memories from my dissociation episodes...

For the last three days, I cannot stop crying. And my BW, bless her heart, always tries to pick me up. This leads to severe guilt on my part because I am not the one who should be so devastated. Even if I cannot recall the whys or even the whats in many cases of how I betrayed her, I am still the one who hurt HER. Not the other way around. And this makes me feel so guilty...

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