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User Topic: Spouses/Partners Of Sex Addicts
BetsyBG
♀ Member
Member # 13920
Default  Posted: 12:46 PM, May 9th (Wednesday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Sweets, you are so right. I do want an intact husband.
What remains to be seen is whether he will follow through with IC. He does not see the need. He considers the problem resolved since he cannot act out.

Needless to say, he's wrong. Even if I weren't always right, I'd be right about this!

I am still formulating how I am going to respond. I've been so passive about this for so long that I'm finding my emotional "muscles" getting sore from the workout. Right now, I'm focusing on my own emotional and physical well-being. Eating right, exercising, doing all the health screenings I've postponed because his health has been such an overwhelming priority, etc.

Of course, this self-care will ultimately involve some decision-making; I just haven't yet made the decisions. I want to make them from the right place, if that makes sense.

Pebbles, sex is positively the last thing I want. I mean, I do have a healthy libido--and no intention of taking it elsewhere. But I have a very, very hard time feeling sexual toward a man who doesn't seem capable of intimacy of any meaningful sort at this point.

I would be very interested to hear more about EMDR; I've read a bit, but don't know anyone who's experienced it.

Changedreality, I'm very sorry you're going through such horrid stuff. I totally empathize with the gut-punched feeling of absolute revulsion.

Today is one of my rant-out-loud days. (I do this in the car, usually. Given the ubiquious nature of bluetooth, I no longer look floridly psychotic when conversing with myself in the car, where my kids can't overhear.) I am startling myself with some of the things I am finally allowing myself to express.


BW-49
STBX-49
together 33 years, married 24
most recent D-day 5/26/10
separated 12/5/10
financially-motivated UN-separation to come mid-January, 2011
trying to R, or at least happily coexist

Posts: 4436 | Registered: Mar 2007 | From: Chicago-ish
unsureofanything
♀ Member
Member # 10773
Default  Posted: 10:02 PM, May 9th (Wednesday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Wow. I definitely belong here. My FWH is FINALLY admitting to being a SA (I've know it for a while) and he just called me after attending his first IC appt. He was grumpy before going (to be expected) but called afterwards saying he really like the counselor and he feels like this is going to be a really good thing.

I am feeling so hopeful right now! More hopeful than I have been in a long time, certainly since all this crap came to light some 2+ years ago. Of course, I am somewhat guarded and the future remains to be seen, but this is a huge step for him and I am willing to take it for the positive act it is.

I only have a few min to post right now, so I will come back later and do a full intro and answer all the questions.

I am glad this little corner of SI exists.

[This message edited by unsureofanything at 10:03 PM, May 9th (Wednesday)]


Just tired of feeling like a sucker.

Posts: 313 | Registered: May 2006
leanne27
♀ Member
Member # 14415
Default  Posted: 7:11 PM, May 12th (Saturday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I have been battling with the "all guys do it" and it's harmless for a number of years.

I now realise that it is not harmless, let alone how it affects me and how he has done nothing to stop when I have expressed my problem with it.

He spends at least 2 hours a day on this crap and goes for all sorts of sick sites, incest, older women etc.

Says it's his only "release". Not interested in actually having real sex, just internet porn and now his A.

Will there ever be an end to this behaviour? Particularly as he doens't seem to think it is a problem.

I counted 53 porn web sites saved in a secret place in favourites on the computer. Hundreds, thousands of photos copied to DVD. How can someone think that this is normal?


me bs married 9 years
together 10 1/2

Posts: 178 | Registered: Apr 2007 | From: australia
pebbles
♀ Member
Member # 13870
Default  Posted: 12:26 AM, May 13th (Sunday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage


I've been dealing with this for 30 yrs and he's finally getting help.

This is an agreement for reconciliation.

It took counseling for him to realize he had a problem.


me: BS
Dday 7/23/05
This former rock has been blasted into a mound of pebbles.

Posts: 1283 | Registered: Mar 2007
wildfire
♂ Member
Member # 13940
Default  Posted: 12:50 AM, May 13th (Sunday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Take it from a SA, it's a problem especially if it's a problem for you.

It sounds alot like I was. I thought the same things. It's a guy thing I need a release.

This is a big red flag.

edited for spelling

[This message edited by wildfire at 12:51 AM, May 13th (Sunday)]


ME:FWH-55

Her:BW-54

Married: 10-1978


Isaiah 40:31 (King James Version)

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eag


Posts: 54 | Registered: Mar 2007 | From: WI
BetsyBG
♀ Member
Member # 13920
Default  Posted: 3:28 PM, May 13th (Sunday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Will there ever be an end to this behaviour? Particularly as he doesn't seem to think it is a problem.

This is the crossroad where I now stand. My husband is no longer acting out with others, but does not recognize his behavior as problematic. He says he regrets time and money spent foolishly. But he is adamant that he was not unfaithful.

I don't have huge hope for meaningful recovery at this point. We are at an impasse over semantics.

I have not yet decided what I will do. I can't make him think or do anything. I can't make him not do anything. I can only be honest with myself, and care for myself, and figure out (even if it takes me another 21 years--did I mention I'm slow on the uptake?) how to respond in a way that is best for myself.

That's all any of us can do, really.

I hope you figure out your situation, and how to be best to yourself, too.


BW-49
STBX-49
together 33 years, married 24
most recent D-day 5/26/10
separated 12/5/10
financially-motivated UN-separation to come mid-January, 2011
trying to R, or at least happily coexist

Posts: 4436 | Registered: Mar 2007 | From: Chicago-ish
comebacktome
♀ New Member
Member # 14627
Default  Posted: 10:48 AM, May 16th (Wednesday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Someone directed me to this link...I was in the "Just Found Out" section. here's my story......


Hi, I'm new to the website. I hope someone on here can help me out. I believe my husand is addicted to online pornography. I've known about it for a few years now but its gotten worse within the last 2 years. He would stay up late (past when i went to bed) to play online games but also to masturbate to online pornography. This is so difficult for me becauase every time I bring up the topic he gets angry. Well so am I! He'd rather masturbate to some skinny pornstar online than have sex with his own wife...im not fat! I'm a normal size, not skinny but not fat. Whats wrong with me!? We just had a baby together but I still need intamacy. He left a month ago for military training in another state and admitted to me the other night over the phone that he looks at pornography and masturbates to it DAILY!

HELP ME PLEASE!? He wont admit that he has a problem!

::Comebacktome::


Me-BS
Him-WH
Together 5 years, Married 2 months,
One child together (under 1)

Posts: 4 | Registered: May 2007 | From: maine
sweets2u
Member
Member # 2409
Default  Posted: 6:01 PM, May 16th (Wednesday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Dr. Weiss will be on "The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet" tomorrow, May 17, 2007 discussing sexual addiction.


With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. Matthew 19:26
Me: BS
Bubba WS,SA

Posts: 1840 | Registered: Oct 2003
pebbles
♀ Member
Member # 13870
Default  Posted: 6:41 PM, May 16th (Wednesday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Are you in counseling?

If you are maybe your counselor can help you with this or find a counselor who specializes in SA. Maybe you can get help on how to deal with this problem. He has to be willing to stop himself. He can't be forced.


me: BS
Dday 7/23/05
This former rock has been blasted into a mound of pebbles.

Posts: 1283 | Registered: Mar 2007
unsureofanything
♀ Member
Member # 10773
Default  Posted: 6:45 PM, May 16th (Wednesday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

comebacktome, if he doesn't think there is a problem, there's not much you can do. You just have to decide when you've had enough. And that answer might not be so easy to find.

I am a SAHM to two young children, and special needs teen, so leaving my H hasn't been something I take lightly. It would be a HUGE change for our entire family (I would have to go back to work, for sure) and I've never felt ready for that. I've often felt the sucker for sticking it out as long as I have.

But at the same time, if he can really beat this (he IS determined and seems committed to the process), we have the potential to be a really great couple. Better than we ever were, and we were pretty damn good for a long time. That's the shred of hope I hang on to. That he has actually seen the light this time. That I haven't stuck around for nothing. If he can become a better man through all this, I will be thankful that I was too broke to just leave him. I'm hoping someday to feel lucky for having been in this situation, where leaving isn't easy for me.


Just tired of feeling like a sucker.

Posts: 313 | Registered: May 2006
7yrsbetrayed
♀ Member
Member # 10198
Default  Posted: 2:18 AM, May 17th (Thursday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Hi Comebacktome
I directed you here.

It is true that unless he acknowledges it and wants to stop, he will never stop. You cannot force him.

What you need to do is seek help for yourself. Read books. Get counseling. Decide what you're willing to accept and live with for the rest of your life. Bare in mind that he may never escalate to cheating. But there is always that possibility. It is rare for a SA to never escalate in some way.

You need to consider whether or not you've become a co-addict (that is a horrible name for it in my opinion) but basically have you become enmeshed with his behavior? Here is a self test I found online:

What is a co-sex addict?
A Co-Sex Addict is someone who is dependent on, enmeshed with, and compulsively focused
on taking care of a sex addict.
Co-Sex addiction begins in childhood with trauma; usually with the primary caregivers. The
outcome of this childhood trauma creates a wound in the co-sex addict that results in the
following:

1. Difficulty experiencing appropriate levels of self-esteem.

(The co-sex addict has difficulty loving the self.)

2. Difficulty setting functional boundaries with other people.

(The co-sex addict has difficulty protecting oneself).

3. Difficulty owning one's own reality appropriately.

(The co-sex addict has difficulty identifying who she is and knowing how to share that
appropriately with others.)

4. Difficulty addressing interdependently one's adult needs and wants.

(The co-sex addict has difficulty with self-care)

5. Difficulty experiencing and expressing one's reality in moderation.

(The co-sex addict has difficulty being appropriate for one's age and various circumstances).

In addiction to these, there are also five secondary symptoms that reflect how co-sex addicts
think other people's behavior is the reason they are unable to be in healthy relationships. These
symptoms stem from the core problem, which is the bruised relationship with self.

These five symptoms are:

1. Negative Control

Co-sex Addicts either (1) try to control others by telling them who they ought to be so the co-sex
addict can be comfortable; or (2) allow others to control the co-sex addict by dictating who they
should be to keep others comfortable. Both of these cause the co-sex addict to blame others
for their own inability to be internally comfortable with themselves.

2. Resentment

Co-sex Addicts use resentment as a futile way to try to protect themselves and regain
self-esteem. Anger gives people a sense of power and energy. When we recycle the anger
and combine it with an obsession about punishing the offender or getting revenge, we enter into
resentment. Resentment plays a key part in the way Co-sex Addicts' lives are hampered by
blaming others for their inability to protect themselves with healthy boundaries.

3. Impaired Spirituality

Co-sex Addicts either make someone else their Higher Power through hate, fear, or worship, or
attempt to be another's Higher Power.

4. Addictions, or Mental or Physical Illness

Our ability to face reality is directly related to our ability to have a healthy relationship with
ourself, which means loving the self, protecting the self, identifying the self, caring for the self,
and moderating the self. Living out of such a healthy, centered relationship with the self allows
us to face the reality of who we are, who others are, who the Higher Power in our lives is, and
the reality of our current situation. Developing these abilities and perceptions is the core of
recovery from co-sex addiction.

When we do not acquire a functional internal relationship and sense of adequacy, the pain that
results inside of us and in our relationship with others and with our Higher Power often leads us
into an addictive process to alleviate the pain quickly. While experiencing the often
unrecognized internal pain of the failure of the relationship with self, and blaming others for this
failure, the Co-sex Addict turns to a certain kind of close relationship, believing the other person
can and should soothe the Co-sex Addict's internal pain through giving unconditional love and
attention and taking care of the Co-sex Addict.

5. Difficulty with Intimacy

Intimacy involves sharing our own reality and receiving the reality of others without either party
judging that reality or trying to change it. Co-sex Addicts have difficulty identifying who they are
(their reality) and sharing it appropriately with others; therefore, they cannot be intimate in a
healthy way because intimacy means sharing their reality.


Addressing co-sex addiction can be emotionally very destabilizing because the resistance to
facing the denial and delusion around this condition is particularly strong. A co-sex addicted
relationship is not based on healthy love, but on extreme positive and negative intensity. The
Co-sex Addict may experience obsessive and compulsive feelings, thinking, and behavior with
regard to the relationship, along with intense emotions including anger, fear, hate, and lust, and
so-called love for the other person.
Three characteristics sum up the major behavioral symptoms of a Co-sex Addict:

1. Co-sex Addicts assign a disproportionate amount of time, attention, and "value above
themselves" to the person to whom they are addicted, and this focus often has an obsessive
quality about it.

2. Co-sex Addicts have unrealistic expectations for unconditional positive regard from the other
person in the relationship.

3. Co-sex Addicts neglect to care for or value themselves while they're in the relationship.

Two Fears of Co-sex Addicts:

Co-sex Addicts are often in the grips of two principle fears. The most conscious fear is the fear
of being left. Co-sex Addicts will tolerate almost anything to avoid being left, the fear of which
comes from childhood abandonment experiences.

The irony is that while Co-sex Addicts want to avoid being abandoned and be connected to
someone in a secure way, the close, demanding connection they try to establish is actually
enmeshment rather than healthy intimacy. Co-sex Addicts did not experience enough intimacy
from their abandoning caregivers to know how to be intimate in a healthy way.

So in adulthood, while Co-sex Addicts often think they are intimate and are seeking an intimate
relationship, they are in fact frightened by offers of healthy intimacy because they don't know
what to do. When they reach a certain level of closeness, they often panic and do something to
create distance between themselves and their partners again.

These two fears-of abandonment and intimacy-bring up the agonizing and self-defeating
dilemma of the Co-sex Addict. Co-sex Addicts consciously want intimacy but can't tolerate
healthy closeness, so they must unconsciously choose a partner who cannot be intimate in a
healthy way.

If you want more information and SA in general I suggest you read "Facing the Shadow" by Patrick Barnes. He is THE guy when it comes to SA and treating it. If you feel you are a co-sex addict and want something to read "Facing Codependence" by Pia Mellody comes highly recommended. I have not read it myself but it gets rave reviews at Amazon.


Me(44)
Him(46) arthurdent (rSA)
Married 12 yrs, together 15
Renewed Vows 12/19/08
One DD(8)
You can avoid reality but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality.~Ayn Rand

Posts: 2167 | Registered: Mar 2006 | From: Colorado
comebacktome
♀ New Member
Member # 14627
Default  Posted: 2:52 PM, May 17th (Thursday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Thanks so much to everyone. I approached him the other day with this topic and told him It not only affects him, it affects me and his newborn son. he told me "porn was there before you, it was there while we were dating, it's here now and it'll be there after you, "if you chose to let it bother you" he told me I have 2 decisions, "leave him or live with it."
IMO neither of those seem to be options. I'm so tired of fighting what seems to be a losing battle. I love him so much but theres only so much I can take. I dont want to leave him but i dont know if he'll open his eyes and relize what its doing to our relationship and possible our family. I know most of your spouses denied they had an addiction but how long until they admited it? He just denys it and I'm tired of fighting and balling my eyes out because masturbating is a "stress reliever" in his eyes.

::Comebacktome::


Me-BS
Him-WH
Together 5 years, Married 2 months,
One child together (under 1)

Posts: 4 | Registered: May 2007 | From: maine
gettinout
♀ Member
Member # 13700
Default  Posted: 9:04 PM, May 19th (Saturday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

My wh fits the profile but is in complete denial.Is every man who has multiple ffairs ,lta's,many customers always a sex addict or can they just be addicted to the "adornment"these women give them?


me:51 BS
him:47.serial cheater
DD:20
DS:15
Married: 20 years
Too many affairs
1 OC
Too many false R's
Now he is love with another
Update:DIVORCED..not sure I like it but at least it is the truth!!

Posts: 848 | Registered: Feb 2007 | From: somewhere
OnlyLonely
♀ Member
Member # 14326
Default  Posted: 6:47 AM, May 20th (Sunday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

1. How long has your WS been a sex addict?

Most of his adult life, I found out right after we were married our first phone bill was very late (he was hiding it from me) I got a call from the phone company and the bill was already at $900.00 for 1-800 phone sex calls.

2. How does your SA act out & how much verifying do you do?
First it was phone sex, We never have been able to have long distance in any home we have lived in,he seemed to be doing better but I suspected adult book stroes and strip clubs. we got a computer in 2004 and then things got very bad.

3. Has the SA had relapses / slips?
When we would move from one home to another the phone company would always give us long distance at first. He would slip up and did have a few ONS with some sluts he met on the phone back in 2002.

4. Do you have kids?
2 kids, 13 and 5.

5. Brief description of what brought you to SI?
After the ONS's in '02 were discovered he admitted his problem and did a bang up job. until we got the computer. I am now 1 month out of d day from finally getting him to admit a 9 mo affair with someone he met by answering an online Personal ad.

6. What would you say are the biggest barriers to reconciliation / recovery?

I have major trust issues, not only do I have to block long distance I will have to get the best filter for the pc I can find, his A was PA/EA so I am also worried about him breaking NC,of course OW knows nothing about his addiction and he knows that all I'd have to do is reach out and call her, so if he's smart he will keep with the NC.

7. Would you say you had a good relationship prior to the cheating & what made it that way?

Well, as I said before I found out about his addiction right after marriage. so it was always a little strained I had no idea then at the extent of his problems.

8. Current status?

Separated for one month,I left after one week of trying R because his fog was the last straw for me. he came crawling back a little over a week ago. I told him if he wants to work things out that he has a lot of fixing to do. He is now enrolled at a very specialized facility that will work on the addiction as well as some of his other issues.I am asking for some major changes so only time will tell.


[This message edited by OnlyLonely at 6:48 AM, May 20th (Sunday)]


Me: BS
Him: FWH
Married: 18 years

Status: In R


Posts: 7555 | Registered: Apr 2007
1Forward1Back
♀ Member
Member # 11057
Default  Posted: 6:44 AM, May 21st (Monday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

OW knows nothing about his addiction and he knows that all I'd have to do is reach out and call her, so if he's smart he will keep with the NC.

OnlyLonely, don't count on her believing you. My FWH told her when he ended his 4 month EA/PA affair that he was a sex/porn addict. In an email to me, she told me it was probably me that told him he was an addict. She went on to say that because he was an artist (he does do art work as a hobby), it was natural for him to like looking at the human body. I didn't bother to answer the 'rocket scientist', but I was tempted to reply, "Uh..uh..okay? I'm not sure how watching videos of numerous men ejaculating into the face of one woman inspires art, but hey...I'm not an artist, so what do I know." These men choose infidelity partners with few brain cells for a reason.


Me: 60 Yrs. (BS)
Him: 60 Yrs.(FWH- life long sex addict)
-2 ONSs followed by an A-2005/06
-cheated while we were engaged
-seems to stray every 30 years or so
D-Day-June 10, 2006
Working on own recovery. His is his!
Married: 37 yrs. Grown ch

Posts: 966 | Registered: Jun 2006 | From: Canada
pebbles
♀ Member
Member # 13870
Default  Posted: 10:03 AM, May 21st (Monday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

First of all I have not looked at my WH computer for over a year.

Last night I noticed when I walked into the room he was looking up stuff about securing his computer.

Other than password his computer is there a program that can keep the porn from being noticed by me if I checked. I have a funny feeling in my gut about this.


me: BS
Dday 7/23/05
This former rock has been blasted into a mound of pebbles.

Posts: 1283 | Registered: Mar 2007
pebbles
♀ Member
Member # 13870
Default  Posted: 10:04 PM, May 21st (Monday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

WH read last post and explained what he was looking up. All is well. Maybe my gut is a little paranoid.

Maybe I should just ask him next time.


me: BS
Dday 7/23/05
This former rock has been blasted into a mound of pebbles.

Posts: 1283 | Registered: Mar 2007
weepy
♀ Member
Member # 8790
Default  Posted: 1:36 PM, May 23rd (Wednesday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Ok folks, I am at a complete loss here.

I just finished Out of the Shadows, identified myself as a co-addict and read about everything I have been doing to coverup and try to control my H's sexual behavior.

Now what do I do?

It feels wrong to walk away. He is a desperate character for sure. I recognize three out of the 4 core beliefs in him NOW, the 4th was the sexual component, which except for his MB a couple times a week, there is none. I have all but #1 - I don't believe I'm a bad person.

But to recover myself, I can't see where it's even possible without the addict at least acknowledging there's a problem. And if they won't (which I suspect in my case) how can we recover and live in "denial-land"?


Dday: 9/12/05
M: 29 yrs( me anyway )
BS(me): 55 And I'm ok with that
FWS: 57- Multiple PAs, LTA 7? yrs.

Try not. Do or do not, there is no try. -- Yoda


Posts: 9340 | Registered: Nov 2005 | From: SE PA
What2do
Member
Member # 497
Default  Posted: 1:54 PM, May 23rd (Wednesday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Weepy, please do not buy so heavy in to the co-addiction theory. Quite frankly, there is not a person on this planet involved in a relationship who does not qualify as a co-addict.

Her is another opinion on co-addiction.

THE CODEPENDENCY IDEA:

WHEN CARING BECOMES A DISEASE

Robert Westermeyer, Ph.D.

The now tenacious attachment of the disease model and 12-step philosophy to caring behavior, commonly known as codependency, represents to me the most confusing, and iatrogenic ideas in the realm of clinical psychology. This popular construct is shunned by research psychologists and behaviorally- oriented clinical psychologists particularly for it's lack of empirical support. The allure of codependency is demonstrated by the sales of books on the topic (the only resources on codependency come from self- help sections and fluffy journals). Millions of codependency books have been sold over the past ten years. One of the more popular ones, Codependency No More, by Mellody Beattie, has sold over three million copies (according to the publisher). This one is also available on audio cassette, for those codependents on the move.

From Where did Codependency Come?

Co-dependent, or co-alcoholic, was originally defined in the late 1970s and early 1980s to help families and spouses of individuals with alcohol and drug problems. Mostly in line with family systems ideas, the model addressed the family members, especially wives, who "interfered" with the recovery. It was suggested that their behavior made it less difficult for the addict to continue drinking or using drugs. The idea was that the caring behavior manifested by family members and spouses actually "enabled" the addict to continue using. At first glance, the emphasis on the family was certainly a welcome step. Regardless of theoretical orientation working with a substance abuser in isolation, who is in an intimate relationship, is missing a rich opportunity to recruit more players into the change agenda. Unfortunately, from the mid eighties to the present, the codependency idea has become bastardized, and with each new self-help book the symptoms of codependency mount. It is literally impossible for anyone walking the planet, with a fourth grade English reading capacity, to finish one of these books and not consider the possibility that he or she is a codependent. What began as a term to help spouses of addicts encourage sobriety and not inadvertently make it easy to continue, the codependency movement of the 80s and 90s has thrown the baby out with the bath water: Not only is all caring manifested by the spouse of an alcoholic deemed pathological, but the very act of compromising one's needs to aid a loved one is now deemed symptomatic of a progressive disease processes, a relationship addiction.

I've read a fair amount of what the popular press has bequeathed upon us regarding the codependency idea. The three books I scrutinized the most were the most popular. They were Facing Codependency, by Pia Mellody, Codependency No more, by Melody Beattie and Codependency, misunderstood, Mistreated. by Anne Wilson Schaef. It is my understanding that the majority of people who consider themselves "versed" in the codependency idea, gained at least some of their knowledge from one or more of these three books.

Below is my understanding of these authors' conceptualizations:

Codependency is a progressive disease brought about by child abuse, which takes the form of anything "less than nurturing." Codependency is epidemic (maybe all of us are codependent) and defines a vast array of psychological and physical symptoms. The caring manifested by codependents is an unconscious effort to keep repressed pain at bay, and the codependent actually contributes to the addictive behavior of their loved ones by enabling. Enabling keeps the loved one addicted so the codependent can go on caring to gain a sense of self worth. Recovery from codependency requires drastic attitude and lifestyle change (Detachment) and a lifelong commitment to the 12-step regime.

Why would a psychologist wish to criticize the codependency idea? Many people claim to have been helped by codependency books and codependency self-help groups. I don't wish to take away anyone's belief that they are better for having integrated the codependency idea into their lifestyles. But it definitely isn't for everyone. Codependency is a nebulous idea, born not of science but of the gut feelings of counselors and frustrated lay people. It's black and white requirements for recovery, though seeming reasonable on the surface, are not in line with empirical research and have dangerous implications with regard to the most human of attributes, caring. My two primary concerns with the codependency idea are:

The Codependency Idea Pathologizes the Natural Tendency to Care for Others.

The cure for Codependency Mandates Action which is Not Necessarily in Line With Prosocial Values.

WHY THE ALLURE?

Lots of different people buy codependency books. For the most part I've found that people who buy them are having problems being assertive in their relationships. I imagine that a fair number of people are able to extract a few tips from these books which help them feel more confident, more able to voice their needs appropriately and more efficient at carrying them out. However, these three books are about more than just being unassertive and needing a few tips toward being more independent . What is conjected is an underlying disease process, a progressive malady which will end in death if gone untreated. They also list symptom after symptom after symptom which weaves a net large enough to include just about any reader.

Do people want to be included in this net? I think many do. What is so attractive about being a victim of a disease? Simply, it renders one in control. Crazy as it sounds, when relationships aren't panning out and life is riddled with pain, anxiety, loneliness and poor decisions regarding our intimate partners, nothing quenches thirst better than an all-inclusive diagnosis. Enduring negative emotional states or repeated life upsets are no longer deemed maladaptive habits, skill deficits or the function distorted principles and styles of thinking, but diseases.

Accountability for our happiness is a scary thing. Codependency allows one to relinquish responsibility for our frustrating lifestyles. Plus we can dump all the blame on our parents, something the psychodynamic people have been advocating for almost a century.

ALTERNATIVES

Caring for an Addicted Person is Not Synonymous with Pathology

After reading these 3 books I felt quite gloomy. I kept conjuring images of women in very difficult situations trying desperately to make order in their lives receiving the message that their compassion and caring are character flaws, needing to be abandoned for overall psychological health. I've heard anecdotes from clients who report that they were told by addiction counselors that they had to evict their child, or spouse in order to help them, that there is absolutely no way that they could aid in helping their family member change other than complete detachment. Or I imagine people who are selfish already and unhappy with their lifestyles coming to the conclusion after reading one or two of these books that they meet the criteria for codependency (a sociopath would find enough criteria in Beattie's book). I've been to parties and had acquaintances report that they were working on "codependency issues" and almost inhaled my pate. Some of these folks need a dose of codependency! Selfish people aligning themselves with the codependency idea certainly makes sense, because it affords license to be more selfish. But this isn't as much of a concern to me as the people who have the capacity for genuine empathy and have instilled strong values for kind treatment toward others getting the message that to act on it (unless it's reciprocated in equivalent allotments) is wrong. Empathy is good and caring is good. Friendships which last are usually based on mutual caring and even occasional self-sacrifice. Mellody Beattie's idea that relationships should always be equitable reflects the temperament of a five-year old. And with regard to the notion that being in a relationship with someone who is addicted is synonymous with pathology, Absurd. There is no empirical data to support the belief that being a member of a family in which there is addiction warrants diagnosis of a personality disorder (e.g. Gomberg,1989).

No more flagrant was this mind set that caring for an addicted person is an illness articulated than in Ann Wilson Shaeff's book. She recklessly articulates that mental health practitioners, are, by definition codependent, her words: "The mental health field has simply not identified the addictive process and the syndrome of codependency because people in the field are non-recovering codependents who have not recognized that their professional practice is closely linked with the practice of their untreated disease." (95). I hope my colleagues share my belief that helping people as a profession brings tremendous feelings of agency and is in no way a flaw. What would these authors recommend that mental health professionals do to address this untreated ailment, I hope it is not the same advise non-professionals are offered, detachment.

The Idea that the Caring Partner is Somehow Responsible for the Endurance of the Addictive Behavior

Judith Gordon and Kimberly Barret, in an excellent critique of the codependency movement, write that this mind set presents a "divide and conquer attitude toward addictive families.(323). Schaeff, without a page of empirical data to back it up, recklessly suggests that alcoholism is a "family disease." She conjects, "The entire family is affected and each member plays a role in helping the disease perpetuate itself." (9). Moos, Finney and Cronkite (1990) found that, contrary to the idea that caring for an addict perpetuates the addiction, families with a broad range of supportive behaviors actually correlate with success in maintaining sobriety.

A case from several years ago comes to mind involving a caring mother who's 27-year old daughter had been abusing prescription opioids and benzodiazapines for ten years. The daughter finally made the decision attempt a methadone detox, following two months of methadone maintenance. The MD at the methadone clinic recommended that she taper the benzodiazapine, which wasValium (methadone doesn't cover non-opiate drugs). The mother was very invested in her daughter's change efforts and subsequently flew in from out of state to live with her while she detoxed. She agreed to dole out the Valium because the daughter felt that she could not do it on her own without relapsing. The mother hid them in her car and stood watch over her daughter during the first three weeks of her transition. The patient voiced that her mother's presence was imperative for relapse prevention at this time. The mother voiced that it made her feel as though she was finally doing something to help daughter which was panning out. She felt so good about her efforts that she went to an Al-anon meeting. She was literally attacked by three attendees who deemed her behavior enabling and, in addition to deeming her responsible for her daughter's enduring problems with substances, instructed her to go back to her home immediately and let her daughter grapple with her troubles on her own. One said, "She's an adult, and a time comes when you have to let them leave the nest or you're just perpetuating the illness."

Thankfully, this woman had enough conviction and confidence in her values to blow off the advice. Many people don't have this much tenacity to their standards. Many are given such guidance and are left in a complete quandary. The mother's contention was that her daughter was completely responsible for her choice to use or not use. She recognized that her daughter had crippling problems with anxiety and panic and had used the drugs to medicate these states. Though her daughter made the choices, she felt that there was a way she could help her daughter follow through with her motivation to better her life. She knew that if she went back home, her daughter would relapse and that relapse at this point would be devastating to her daughter, who had tried just about every method of quitting imaginable. She fathomed that her daughter might discount the whole methadone choice and revert to prescription drug abuse again.

Alternatives to the Enabling idea are:

1. No one can cause another person's addictive behavior. Addictive behaviors are learned habits fueled by expectancies that following through with the behavior will bring about ease, comfort, or the reduction of something negative.

2. Caregiving is not enabling. Caregiving is fueled by the capacity to experience empathy and the desire to make the lives of our intimates more happy. One of the most robust indicators for a positive outcome from most psychiatric maladies is social support.

3. What works in one relationship will not necessarily work in others, and what used to work in one relationship may be ineffective given new circumstances. This does not mean that the previous behaviors need to be abandoned, or viewed as pathogenic. It means that those in a relationship with an addicted person need to evaluate whether modification of one or several behaviors would aid in the motivation to change on behalf of the addicted person.

The Idea That "Less than Nurturing" Experiences are Necessarily Traumatic

We expect relief--quick relief. We are fortunate to live in a time when quick relief for many of the discomforts of life is available, often at a very low price. We not only have remedies for such nuisances as a headache, we can choose between ibuprofen, acetaminophen or aspirin, depending on your preferred means of pain relief. We live in an age in which people believe that life should be fair and comfortable. You don't have to go back very many decades to be assured that things are pretty fair and comfortable these days relative to the lifestyles of our ancestors. I imagine if one of these codependency books was published a century ago there would be very few who would have taken it seriously. Imagine a family migrating west in the 1800s, just barely surviving. Imagine an exhausted wife and mother bouncing along in a horse led wagon, face chapped from the sweltering midday heat. She opens up Pia Mellody's book as she breast feeds her infant while leaning on a loaded shot gun and nursing her husband's wounded arm. Her eyes open wide. She says to herself? "What? a disease of caring?" "I need to relive the "shame" of my childhood and hold all the "bad" people accountable, detach and learn to live for myself because I don't have to take care of anyone but myself?" You can bet Beattie's book would be fire bait that cold dessert night.

The codependency idea offers an easy route to relief in this age of quick cure. In fact, Melody Beattie says "It is not only fun, it is simple (54). At last people who are angry, frustrated, bored, unhappy, clingy, irrational, or guilt ridden can have a diagnosis. What's even more fun is we get to reexamine our childhoods, our families, Everyone's favorite soap opera, as Wendy Kamminer writes in I'm Dysfunctional You're Dysfunctional. Codependency mandates a poignant story. We get to ask, "How did I become codependent? Mellody will respond, "Carried Feelings." She will offer an electrical circuit analogy. You, the child, because of your ill developed boundaries were literally a conduit for the intense feelings of shame which were discharged by your parents. As a child you incorporated these into a "shame core" which is manifested in your "shame attacks" today. You will pass on shame cores to your children unless you unleash the bottled up pain today.

It is recommended that codependents do an inventory of all "less than nurturing" experiences of childhood. Pia Mellody asks that you look at your life from birth to age 17 and identify all the people responsible for "abusing you." No attempt should be made to make excuses for the offenders in our lives or to tell ourselves that they didn't mean it, even if they didn't mean it. These perpetrators include, first and foremost, our mothers and fathers, but also siblings, extended family and members of the community, such as neighbors and teachers and angry garbage men.

Mellody Beattie recommends that we grieve. The purpose of "grief work" is to "separate the abuse from the precious child (118)." This is an actual mandate for recovery, "We must purge from our bodies the childhood feeling reality we have about being abused. The only way we can connect the feeling reality to what happened is to know what happened (122)."

I think few, if any, events rival physical and sexual abuse in terms of the horrible effects that can plague the victim in later life. Talking about these events, identifying the offender and disputing the victim's ideas that she is responsible are integral to adult psychological health. However, these authors are talking about more than physical and sexual abuse. In fact, they pay lip service to the horrors of child abuse by deeming any event in which our parents were harsh, impatient or unfair as abuse. All of the events mentioned in the books having to do with humiliating a child, name calling, yelling at a child and threatening a child are all instances of poor parenting, they may even be associated with ongoing suffering and marred interpersonal relationships. But they don't necessarily make a person a victim of child abuse.

These authors suggest that negative events necessarily lead to pathology, as though the caregivers of our past now hold puppet strings on our continued existence. If you are unhappy, you must examine what happened to you and identify the perpetrators and assign all the unhappiness you experience now to these ghosts. As Wendy Kaminer proclaims in her witty and erudite "I'm Dysfunctional, You're Dysfunctional, "The trouble is that for codependency consumers, someone else is always writing the script. They are encouraged to see themselves as victims of family life rather than self-determining participants. They are encouraged to believe in the impossibility of individual autonomy (13)."

The mandate that we assume the role of damaged victim in order to get better is contrary to not only a century of Existential philosophy and fiction--in which tragedy is discussed as opportunity for transcendence, clarity and strength--but also to a fair number of empirical studies which have suggested that they way people construe past events, not the events themselves, will determine later functioning. These findings are completely opposite the non-scientific recommendations of codependency authors.

For example, in a recent study by McMillen, Zurvin and Rideout (1995) a large sample of adults sexually abused as children were interviewed and asked if they felt that they had benefited in any way from the experience. 47% said that they had. Responses ranged from "growing stronger as a person," "feeling more adept at protecting their children from abuse," "increased knowledge of sexual abuse" and the belief in one's ability to self-protect. In turn, regardless of quality or duration of the abuse, those who saw some benefit scored higher on a number of adjustment.

Not just sexual abuse has been evaluated in this regard, those who experiences natural disasters, serious health problems and personal tragedies have been found to have common perceptions of benefit such as positive personality changes, changes in priorities and enhanced family relationships (e.g. Affleck, Tennen, and Rowe (1991).

The whole basis of cognitive therapy is to help individuals learn to recognize and dispute exaggerated, biased and overly negative automatic thoughts, beliefs, values and standards. The attitude of the codependent authors is Jr. Psychoanalyst. Somehow "events" in their pure form are stored in the labyrinth of ones unconscious and need to be purged and experienced in all their horror in order for the person to get beyond them. As said, people's ongoing unhappiness is not a direct result of the negative events which befell us, but rather they way the negative events are appraised, or the meaning assigned the events by the recipient. People vary tremendously in terms of their appreciation of the same event. The mandate that we catastrophize then detach appears to me more a prescription for a phobia than recovery. As opposed to taking a victimization inventory, the most healthy thing to do would be to conduct a coping inventory, in which negative events of the past are re-evaluated in a manner that makes you stronger, more resilient. There are opportunities to learn and grow from the tragedies and mishaps in our pasts...or their is a quagmire of despair, deception, bad, bad mommies and daddies and precious little lambs with throats extended. You pick.

The Idea that 12-Step Groups are Necessary for Those Involved with an Addicted Person

Whether they commit themselves to the idea that codependency is a disease or not, the three authors are adamant about codependency being a lifelong illness which doesn't go away; rather goes into remission (if you're lucky), like diabetes or schizophrenia. Like neuroleptics and psychosis, codependency and AA-like support groups are intimately linked by these authors. Psychotherapy is deemed insufficient by these authors. Mellody Beattie, by way of an "invisible boat (194-195)" story, implies that therapy is fine for starters, but that the journey will end, and given the fact that codependency is progressive, one will need the 12-steps to continue on course. It is stated in all three books that one has to be a codependent to understand what is gong on with the codependent. That kind of reasoning is as absurd as me firing my rheumatologist, who is chief of staff at a respected hospital in San Diego, because he doesn't have any swollen joints. Some painful knees would be a better qualification than board certification. I should ask a patient in the waiting room if they wouldn't mind taking over my case because of his or her capacity to feel the same throbbing joint pain as me.

The 12-step philosophy endorses the relinquishing of control to a higher power. Though claiming that it's spiritual emphasis is not religious, and that virtually anything can be ones higher power, this is really a clever bait and switch. 12-step groups are more like going to a prayer group than anything else. For many, this forum is commensurate to existing needs and values. For others, it is the antithesis of stable world views. As is the case with alcoholics and drug dependent individuals, you are hard pressed to find alternatives to the 12-step approach. Those desiring help who find the mentality of AA irrelevant or offensive are deemed "in denial" or "into their disease."

Most disturbing is the fact that codependency authors are unaware of the volumes of empirical data backing up non-12-step methods of change for the symptoms delineated in codependency books (anger control problems, depression, anxiety, communication problems, to name but a few of those symptoms listed in Beatties's book). Also behaviorally oriented family therapists have developed methods for helping families in which addiction occurs without the use of 12-step mentality (e.g. O'Farrell, et. al.).

One Step at a Time

It's probably "codependent" of me to believe that I alone can strike the term codependency from the English language. It's entrenched in the addiction vernacular, and though defined in many, many ways depending on which symptoms a person selects from the vast lists, has been implemented into the self concepts of many. I'm sure the codependency books critiqued in this essay, like all self help books, were written with good intentions, the hope that people's lives would be improved. If your life feels better for having read and followed through with the recommendations of these authors, who am I to try to take that away. My article was written primarily as a caveat, a warning that what appears right and good on the surface, may have unhealthy ramifications in the long run if taken on to aggressively, a warning that just because a self-help author mandates one path to happiness, doesn't make it accurate.

As opposed to swallowing the codependency idea whole, I encourage those struggling with problematic relationships or a family member's addictive behavior to use the basic advice of AA, "one step at a time." The codependency idea is so broad that it is possible to extract useful principles and guidance from it. Given the lack of scientific drive behind this concept it behooves you to examine all aspects of your life which are being addressed by this concept. Just because one component of the codependency mind set hits home, doesn't mean you have to engulf the entire world view.

1.Leave the term in the realm of addiction. The codependency idea was designed to help spouses and families of alcoholics and drug users. In this realm it appears to have some implications. Some of the advice in these books may be useful in helping to make sobriety easier for the addicted person . However, with regard to the use of the term for people who have relationship problems or who have difficulty putting themselves first, or who are dysphoric, there are many more specific terms which afford the sufferer some practical tools, without having to incorporate the disease idea, or "purging the unconscious." Earlier I mentioned specific treatments, mostly in the cognitive-behavioral realm for addressing such problems as anxiety, depression, anger control, relationships problems. Before tossing your whole system of values and making the plunge into the recovery lifestyle, consider less invasive measures. If they prove insufficient, up the ante. The treatment tiering approach is very appropriate here. In the realm of medicine, least invasive treatments are usually tried first, and when proven insufficient or inadequate treatment intensity is increased. Arthritis is an analogy I usually use. A competent MD would not prescribe joint replacement as an initial treatment for painful joints. She would first attempt less potentially dangerous treatments, such as non-steroid antiinflamitories. If these prove insufficient, she might try steroids, then up to more intense drugs with potential side effects and so on. I believe the treatment tiering model is relevant to all psychological problems. Consider the least invasive and most potentially effective intervention first, not the most drastic.

There are so many potential problems with over diagnosing and over treating. When people begin to believe that their problems are bigger than life they begin to question the effectiveness of their coping in realms previously not questioned. This doubt and insecurity, which can be perpetuated by "long term therapy" and nebulous diagnoses like codependency, dissolve the mind set that one is robust or resilient, and replace it with one in which one is weak and vulnerable in a cruel world. Our ever broadening "self awareness" results in our becoming chronically ill-equipped.

2. Avoid victim making. Victim making is crazy making. The hydraulic model of psychodynamic theory has not been supported by research. The nasty "events" in our past do not stockpile in a cauldron called the unconscious festering like an infection until the host re-experiences them in their full horror, unleashing the past so that serenity can at last be found. This exorcism mentality, though popular in the field of clinical psychology, and good fodder for Hitchcock films, does not fit with current information processing literature, which has demonstrated that the chronic activation of negative information perpetuates negative mood states. Furthermore, the exaggeration of negative information and the belief of "helplessness" is strongly associated with depression. The bottom line is that it is quite unlikely that you must do "grief work" in order to become more assertive or less depressed. Adult functioning is not linked to events in our past, but how those events have been assigned meaning. Instead of separating the "precious child" from the harsh cruel world, assign new meaning to events from the perspective of a coping adult who has survived. Do an inventory of the events which you overcame. Consider adult qualities which were related to surpassing and having insight into difficult times in the past. Victimhood, though stylish these days, creates a historical distraction for incoming information that is not healthy.

3. Acceptance is often the greatest change one can make. In working with couples, partners often come in pointing fingers at each other. She Points, "He needs to stop being so controlling." He points back, "She is so damn emotional and irrational!" I find that lasting change occurs, not when couples make marked changes in their behavior (like he becomes less controlling or she less emotional), but when partners--both partners--gain clarity with regard to the other's uniqueness and of their relationship as completely singular in terms of what will help it survive or not, in short, come to understand and accept each other. The codependency authors who believe that relationships should be fair, and that there is some standard to which all relationships should be compared, are living on Fantasy Island. A good thorough read of one of Camilia Paglia's books might illuminate the reality that there is noting tidy about intimacy, that love is driven by irrational, uncontrollable, often self defeating urges and very different agendas depending on ones gender. Codependency authors, like some feminists, want sexual equality, blame males for all the unhappiness which befalls women and believe that "equality" once achieved will pan out in complete ease in relationships. Impossible, says Paglia. Men and women are vastly different and their differences, though creating an often chaotic world for one and other, are what passion is all about. Modern feminist attitudes "have a childlike faith in the perfectibility of the universe, which they see as blighted solely by nasty men.(25, Paglia, Vamps and Tramps)" Relationships are never completely balanced. There is always some degree of hierarchy. In fact, relationships function often on many hierarchies simultaneously, and balances shift during the course of relationships, often many times. The "raw material" which makes up one relationship is completely different from any other, and gauging balance against other relationships, or the ideal of complete equity in all regards is futile, impossible. Paglia says, "(Feminism) sees every hierarchy as repressive, a social fiction... Feminism has exceeded its proper mission of seeking political equality for women and has ended by rejecting contingency, that is, human limitation by nature or fate (3, Sexual Personae)."

Caring is good. Some people care more than others, and caring often endures despite inequity. Thankfully, we live in a worlk in which caring can shower itself on the good, bad and ugly. Sometimes this results in imbalance. Imbalance is not necessarily bad, and to deem it so would require us to reckon the most altruistic individuals in history as flawed.

So what is an alternative to the idea that caring contributes to the problem or directly perpetuates it? How bout the exact opposite? "I'm in no way responsible for the endurance of your addictive habit. You are making a decision to drink, use drugs, squander, overeat or whatever. Period. Now that we have that settled, let's examine my behavior. Well, I do a lot to make his life comfortable. I've been that way for as long as I've known him. And now our lifestyle has changed and we have this awful substance abuse problem and I'm feeling spent and frustrated most of the day because he won't change. I wonder if there are certain behaviors that, in and of themselves are okay, but which make his quitting this habit more difficult now, at this juncture of our lives." This mind set results in an examination of many caring behaviors and the possibility that some many need modification while others may not.

I once worked with a young man who was in his 40s and living at home with his mother. He had moved in with her secondary to a nasty divorce and a bout of depression which was proving particularly tenacious. This fellow was drinking heavily every night and the mother finally had it and mandated that he get some help. She went to an outpatient clinic and was told that she was the majority of the problem with regard to her son's addiction, that she was enabling. She took the bait and evicted her son, and told him that she could not be responsible for his problems any more. She wouldn't take his calls and had her locks changed.

This would have been fine and dandy, but the woman felt miserable. She went to Al-anon meetings and left feeling depressed. She constantly worried about her son, about his well-being, his health, his depression. Ultimately she made the decision to let him come back home She was quickly back where she started. He was depressed and drinking heavily in the evening. To boot, she felt even more helpless than before, because she now felt that she was causing his problems, though she simply could not abandon her son as the counselor had suggested. When the family came to me they had been told that I had a different clinical conceptualization of addictive behavior and family involvement. Initially I met with the son and thoroughly assessed his alcohol abuse problem which was clearly triggered by his tenacious depression. After a medically supervised detoxification and thorough evaluation by a psychiatrist it was agreed to afford him a pharmacological regime as well as cognitive therapy, emphasizing the acquisition of skills to counter urges and craving, prevent and cope with relapse, modify lifestyle and manage negative mood states. Upon meeting with the mother and the son together the idea of enabling, which had been so indoctrinated by the previous counselor, was discussed. She was told that her son's depression was not 75% per fault, as she had been told. I also encouraged her to entertain the possibility that the patent's behavior was being driven by the need to feel better, not by her actions. I told her that her housing of her son, providing meals and so forth were manifestations of a caring mother, and in and of themselves were not pathological. She agreed that these qualities had been utilized in the rearing of her other three children and in her friendships, none of whom had addiction problems. I encouraged her to consider the present situation with her son as a special situation in might evaluate all behaviors involving her son, and make a determination whether they are making it less easy or more easy to change. She came to the conclusion that providing shelter for her son in intoxicated states and while recuperating was probably making it less easy for him to change. She felt that "kicking him out" while he was attempting to recover from such a long standing depression was counter to her convictions regarding family and probably wouldn't help him either. She was able to give herself permission not to do this. The son was able to articulate that he would very much like to be independent and have his own place again, and didn't feel he was in a position to take on independent living at that time. He also saw how a comfortable bed to drink in and nurse his withdrawal was not going to help him change. The mother was receptive to my "recruiting" her in the effort of helping her son stay on course with regard to his rehabilitation and agreed to make her house available to her son as long as he avoided alcohol. If she suspected he was drinking, he was to find another place to stay for the next 72 hours or until he was not intoxicated or withdrawing.

The mother did not have to follow through with this condition, as the threat alone served to help the patient stay on course. She felt that it was okay to provide the caring she had always provided and did not feel as though this condition conflicted with her values.

So you've tried to "stop caring" and found that it makes life dreadful? Maybe you don't have to relinquish core standards to be happier. Perhaps you're trying to eliminate the foundation and expect the building to continue standing. Maybe it's okay to "care too much." Can you "care too much" and be happier than you are now? That would take a lot of re-evaluation...of yourself, of your spouse, of your family, maybe even your past. Now that's a challenge!


Character is what you do when no one is watching.
There is the right path and the easy path - which one will you take?

Posts: 1273 | Registered: Sep 2002
sager
♀ Member
Member # 173
Default  Posted: 3:34 PM, May 25th (Friday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Weepy,
Please be careful of putting a label on yourself. It is totally wrong to define yourself interms of another person.

Yes, when you spouse betrays you, you do need to recover. All of us here have been devistated by our spouse's actions. Part of why SI was such a great place for me was that I learned that there is a process of betrayal recovery. It's not a pathology or an illness....

I think the issue that spouses of SAs face is that our spouses betrayed us due to a documneted, identified disease. My spouse was abused as a child. Most SAs were. He really didn't have control over his actions. He was just plain sick....

How easily you will be able to recover and forgive what has happened in your marriage will depend on if your husband recognizes his illness. Can you give him "Shadows" to read. I told my H that I had read this book and felt that he should read it and then just left it on the night stand. It didn't move for 3 weeks.... or so I thought. He finally "confessed" that he had read the book and realized that he had a big problem.

I wish you the very best.

Sager


married 21 yr.
d-day #1 8/17/01
d-day #2 7/9/11
3 children - 20, 18, and 16
H in addiction recovery
"Well-behaved women do not make history."

Posts: 1192 | Registered: Jun 2002 | From: Upstate NY
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