I reminded WH one time, and one time only, that he needed to be taking certain actions if our marriage was to continue. Aside from that one reminder I never mentioned anything. It was HIS work to do, not mine. HIS choice, not mine. I made it crystal clear to him that if my boundaries were breached, then certain actions were going to be taken on my part. He was OUTRAGED!!!! He made half-hearted attempts to appease me for certain of the boundaries. But it was pretty clear that, barring a miracle, WH was not capable of doing the work necessary to save himself.
And so here we are now, separated & divorcing. It was a very scary, long, emotional road for me to give up control & allow WH to fully crash & burn by himself. As an enabler/co-dependent, and especially as a Good Christian Wife, it was in my nature to try and fix things & make people better. Stepping back & letting go of the outcome was inconceivable for a very long time. But when I finally reached that place, OhMy, what a relief!
But I have heard similar stories about different groups. There are all kinds of 12 step groups and addiction groups though, your SA is not just limited to SA if those meetings are not as helpful to him. I think the fit is more important than which meeting.
But I do think it's important to spouses to go to some kind of group as often as they can. It really is a good reality check for me. Seeing myself in others has really propelled my progress in IC. As for whether 12 step is necessary for addicts, my CSAT says she won't work with addicts that won't commit to two 12 step or similar meetings a week in addition to regular IC. So she would have dropped my SAWH by now, LOL.
[This message edited by hathnofury at 3:31 PM, April 13th (Friday)]
But then I am all about when the chips are down and it's four down and punt, you try ANYTHING that could help. I had a kid with extreme medical issues, and I was presented with both natural/homeopathic options and more traditional western medicine options. I used ALL of them, and that kid had unprecedented results. Both camps wrote publications claiming credit for her success, LOL. So for me to have to take a leap of faith is not hard, I know it will result in something better than what is right now.
But then I am all about when the chips are down and it's four down and punt, you try ANYTHING that could help.
I'm the same way. I think my H just didn't try enough to find his place and his truth in those groups.
Honey, I'm so glad you're rid of the sick SOB, but IF you have proof of this, you need to share it with law enforcement. How do you keep finding this stuff?? I've reached the point where I don't honestly want to know anymore about my SAWH's sick habits.
Detach, most definitely! But this information may require more. Hugs and strength to you, NG! I am sick for you....
Ghost--I hope you're ok out there. I'm sorry about your stepdad AND your terrifyingly insensitive boss. Good luck with everything.
*latest* dday: January 26
Me: BS, 29
Him: f(?)WH, 30
R? I think...
Thanks for your support, everyone! Love and peace to all....
I have just spent the last hour or so reading through all the posts since I last wrote, and I am so touched that I was missed! I've been sitting here trying to figure out the reasons behind my "sabbatical" from our group - there's not a clear one, but maybe as I write I'll be able to "talk" it out. I gain so much healing from our group, and I've thought often of you and prayed for you...it really is a bit of a mystery why I would leave our forum and not check in for a month.
Anyway, updates. I got accepted into two graduate schools - one in Colorado and one in New York. Mom and I planned a trip out to Colorado (because they had accepted me on a video audition, I hadn't yet visited in person). All was set in motion, until 3 days before we were due to leave...mom's lung collapsed, with no forewarning at all.
I was a mess - through everything that has happened, my mom has been my rock. I didn't know what to do. The doctor said that once they got the chest tube in, she was going to be fine but wouldn't be able to fly for about 6 months. Mom said I still needed to go to Colorado, but she didn't want me to go alone. She asked if maybe WS would agree to go...
So I talked to WS and he agreed to meet me out there. We spent the week together, talking, taking hikes, looking at "potential" apartments. We successfully avoided having sex all week and then the last day came...we took one last hike, and at the top was a side path and a small climb. We got to the top, and he took me in his arms and kissed me. Next thing I know we're having sex on the top of a mountain...romantic or scandalous, I don't know. It's probably the first time he ever initiated though, lol.
After the trip I had 5 days to make my decision between the two schools. Before the trip I was really torn, but afterward I felt much clearer. (WS assured me that he was okay with either decision and that SA resources were available in both locations.) I opted for New York as it is only an hour from WS's family and he can keep his current CSAT, CSAT therapy group and 12-step groups. The school in New York is also regarded as one of the best music schools in the country, so I should be able to find a job afterward which is a big deal in this tight economy.
So things were actually looking up for a change. WS is working hard on his recovery. I have a plan for next year. Mom is out of the hospital. I began to have that little ray of hope that feels like it's been gone forever. (Can you believe DDay was only 4 months ago? Feels like it's been 4 years...)
And then the last few days I've entered into this inexplicable funk. I've been drinking again and living in squalor, refusing to clean. WS asked me if I was still seeing my therapist. I said no. He asked if I was still going to my NA group. I said no. He asked if I was still talking on my online forum. I said no. He asked why, and I said I felt like things were going better now, so I should be better. He cited one of the mantras from his SA group, "healing is a process not an event." Then he encouraged me to reach out again. I said, "It's been too long. They'll be mad." He said, "That's an excuse addicts use. You need help. You can't do this alone. Reach out."
So here I am.
I don't know why I'm feeling so down when things are finally looking up. I feel guilty for feeling this way when so many of you are going through so much more. I just keep thinking about how stupid I was to be with someone for so long and not realize what was going on. To not realize that I wasn't being loved back in the same way I was loving. I asked WS how he would feel if he found out I was sleeping with someone else. He said, "well, now it would destroy me. But when I was actively in the addiction, I wouldn't have cared. I was really fucked up - I don't understand it at all." That just baffles me...that I could be married to someone who didn't care if I slept with someone else.
And then a couple days ago, I also found out that one of my principals who I'm very close with, who's married, has two kids, who is a father figure to me...has been sexting with the teacher next door.
I think that's put me in a funk, too. Infidelity, everywhere. No escape.
But I am doing well, relatively speaking. Lately I've been dreaming about having sex with two men at the same time. While at first I thought it was just some perverted fantasy, I now think it may represent how I view WS - as two men, the active addict and the recovering addict. Strangely, I didn't mention this dream to WS until he said that he had had a dream about me having sex with two men too - him and a friend of his who is a Don Juan kind of figure. I asked if the dream excited him, and he said that no, it was very upsetting. I asked him what he thought it meant, and he was the one who offered the fractured self explanation. He thought Don Juan represented his active addiction self, and "him" represented his recovering self. In his dream, he was afraid that his recovering self "wasn't enough" to please me in the bedroom. I told him that "Don Juan" definitely didn't please me in the past, but that I thought the mountain sex was pretty damn good! Haha...
Oh, it is good to write again. To be 100% honest, to put it all out there. I can feel my spirit lightening already.
I will try not to be so much of a stranger anymore - healing IS a process and not an event.
Love to you all. it's good to be back.
I am so happy things are going well for you. Love, love and more love....
Of course, you'll have off times, under such stress, your mom, the relief of your acceptance, the reconnection with your WS. Go easy on our Friend.
Welcome back . NY is just a stone's throw. Summer g2g?
[This message edited by scaredyKat at 10:29 PM, April 14th (Saturday)]
As I read the stuff I've been finding (and I'm not even reading all of it), I see on page after page that our entire sex life was modeled after his relationship with prostitutes and some sick girlfriend he had (who I think was also a prostitute, but I'm not sure). EVERYTHING we did was what he did with hookers. He treated me like a hooker. I think I understand a little better now how he viewed me (as a non-person who existed solely for his sexual pleasure), but I'm having a hard time coming to grips with it.
I'm so thankful that I stopped having sex with him a long time ago. It was the one last thing I could control, his access to my body.
I need to understand. I accept that I'm not going to get details on what he did during our relationship because he refused to tell me anything. My only hope in trying to get a sense of understanding is to read some of this horrible, abominable stuff & try to see what his thought process is/was. Maybe this is pointless, because by now I sincerely believe he's deeply mentally ill. Maybe I'll never understand. I am trying to stay detached, I'm trying to view this as an outside observer, but of course since I was married to him I can't stay fully impartial.
I can foresee what the next several weeks' of IC appointments will be about! Lord, I hate spending money on IC sessions that involve only talking about my sick, perverted WH and the latest crisis in my mind due to him.
Obviously my relationship with WH was really, really horrible & abusive. Were your WH's also abusive? Were they really mean like mine was? Did your WH treat you like a sex object?
Our marriage was emotionally abusive for years. It's hard for me to even say that. Part of me doesn't want to admit it I guess. But it was. It wasn't "as bad" as it could have been, but it was. He was manipulative and passive aggressive and when he didn't get his way he would go into silent mode and I'd start trying to fix things. It started getting worse right before his A where he'd start locking me out of the computer by changing the password and such to "punish" me. He'd also withhold affection as well. He was very detached from our children and was constantly yelling at them (and me) for the most stupid things. We walked on egg shells all.the.time.
It wasn't until I found out about the A that I got my strength. I mean I had glimpses of it at times over the years, but that was what really made me stand up and say this is not ok anymore.
And in THOSE aspects, in how he treasts me and especially the kids he's not that person anymore. He doesn't yell. He doesn't treat us like shit. He doesn't "punish" me (or them) at all anymore. He communicates, he doesn't withhold affection, etc. He's most definitely has worked on that with IC. And I definitely know that getting diagnoses with bipolar, ptsd and PD also helped with that too because he's on meds now, and his IC is more structured to fit that. So in THAT regard, he's nothing like he was before. My kids talk about how much fun dad is now, how nice he is now, and how they like beign around him. *I* like him now. I don't dream him coming home. He spends time with me, where as before I was completely ignored*** So he, and our lives have changed dramatically.
Now, as for sex? Yes. He treated me like an object. ***for years he ignored me for his computer (world of warcraft) and the ONLY time he ever paid attention to me??? Was to guage if I was interested in having sex. The only time he was nice to me, was to get me interested in sex. As soon as we did have sex, he'd imediately turn back into the asshole. I hated it. I voiced my concerns all.the.time. He said he'd do better, but it never changed. I told him I felt ignored. I told him I felt like a whore. I told him I felt like an object.
If I denied him sex, he'd pout, ignore me, stop the affection. If I told him I don't like being pawed constantly (his form of "affection" was crabbing my breasts or crotch constantly) he would stop touching me all together. Make it GLARINGLY obvious. Like if I started to changed my clothes in the same room, he'd make a big deal to turn his head or leave to give me the "privacy" that I was asking for. If I said anything about how all he wanted to do was have sex constantly he'd counter with "Fine, I guess we won't ever have sex again". All childish P/A crap. If I said no, he would beg, plead, pester me until I usually gave in. He didn't care if I didn't want to or not, if I got anything out of it or not. It was like I wasn't even there.
With IC and MC he did get a lot better about this. He stopped pressuring me all the time. He stopped mauling me all the time. And he stopped punishing me. And when we do have sex, I will say he's not completely about himself anymore. There have been many times (due to meds) that he can't even climax.
So because he's gotten better in so many aspects so far, this is why I want to believe he can get help for his addiction. If he wants it. Which he says he does. Which I've said I can't do for him, several times the past few days. That he has to do the work, put forth the effort. But I've seen so much growth in other areas, that I just want to believe that he can start climbing this mountain too.
I don't know. Call me co-dependant or whatever. I'm trying so hard not to enable though.
I'm making a list of my expectations. I'm making my boundaries. I'm working hard on *ME* while encouraging him.
For so long he wouldn't even look at himself at all about anything. And in the past 9 months, he's admitted he's been a horrible husband, horrible father, sought help for his anger, gotten diagnosed (which he was scared shitless for), and just this week, finally said (and I swear I hope it was for him and not for me) that he is an SA. Before, he wouldn't even echo the words.
I'm not getting my hopes up. But I'm giving him a chance to do this for himself. He did ask about the books both Friday and yesterday. He said he wanted to read them. He looked at the links I gave him (I forwarded him stuff, before I had asked about that here) and he really liked Recovery Nation. He has an appointment already with our IC this week, and knows that she's already going to tell him (again) about a CSAT.
I told him (because it will be on my list) I EXPECT honesty. I EXPECT SA therapy. I EXPECT an SA Group. I EXPECT communication about his triggers. And that's the first time I've laid out clear expectations for him. And when I put it in writing, along with my consequences (marriage ending) for him breaking those expectations, then, he can either use that to help propel him into the recovery process, or he won't. And that's his choice, not mine.
Sorry NG, I kind of went on a tangent there.
WS, welcome back. I too took a break (though I haven't been a part of the group for long). And congrats on your acceptance into grad school!!
I don't know if you read some of my recent posts, but I've struggled with addiction to pain meds. I can't drink alcohol because it's a huge trigger for migraines for me and I'm on meds that make it so I can't, but I'm sure if I could, I would have many MANY times over the past 9 months. I most definitely understand. SO understand.
Former 80s Icon wishful thinking
My WS was never blatantly abusive, but only because he was brought up to hide it so well, to live the double life. Now that I'm hearing about the thought processes he had while actively in addiction (over the past 14 years!)...well, it's very disturbing. Basically the guy I thought I knew was an act. Up until this point in our relationship, he "loved" me but...
1) didn't care if I had sexual relationships with other people
2) thought that most likely I was having sexual interactions with others but it was okay as long as he didn't know
3) thought it was okay for him to have other sexual relationships as long as I didn't know
4) viewed all women as sex objects rather than human beings (except for me, and for some reason, I represented everything BUT sex)
5) thought he was a strong, sexy man that all women also lusted after, so he was just responding
6) thought everyone was leading a double life and that's just how it worked.
All very messed up thought processes - and these are only a sampling. When he lost his job, many of his perceptions collapsed. He felt hopeless, suicidal, too ashamed to live. He wanted to change but couldn't. He thought he was so sick, so repulsive, "so far gone," that he was incapable of help.
But with time and the right help...he gained some sobriety. And with that sobriety came some clarity and some ability to articulate. This really is a mental disease, a neuro-chemical biological disease. I can literally experience his brain "waking up." It really is like he's been on drugs...it's like his IQ and his EQ have multiplied by about 100 over the past 120 days.
I asked him what the best effects are of being sober. He said:
1) I can think so much better.
2) I have so much more time and energy - not consumed with acting out, hiding the acting out.
3) I am much less stressed.
4) I feel good about myself.
5) I am proud of myself.
6) I am hopeful for my future.
7) I think about others.
8) I feel like I can finally be the husband you deserve and have a healthy sex life in our marriage.
9) I can identify triggers and avoid them, or take measures to stop them before they lead to acting out.
10) I can understand the underlying motivations behind my actions, and identify "addict logic" when it kicks in.
But it took losing his job to get to that point. It took going to Keystone, followed by daily 12-step meetings, weekly CSAT and CSAT therapy group.
Without those things, he never would have changed...NEVER. And it would have absolutely escalated because it already had.
So I guess what I'm saying NG is that your STBXH isn't himself, and never was himself as long as he was actively in the addiction. He might as well be on drugs - he's so messed up chemically and biologically in the brain. Yes, inside somewhere there's the potential of a person but unless he gets help...you may never see that person again, or even meet him in the first place.
Think of him like he's on hard drugs...you wouldn't hesitate to protect yourself or your kids from a heroin addict while he was actively using. You shouldn't feel guilty for protecting yourself or them from a sex addict who is actively using.
Maybe this is pointless, because by now I sincerely believe he's deeply mentally ill.
I don't think wanting to know / understand is pointless - obviously, I keep asking questions even when I know the answers are going to be painful. I think it's us trying to be aware of our reality, us not sticking our heads in the sand (which is good!)
But yes, yes, yes and yes...it is a mental illness, a 100% neuro-chemical, biological illness. Nothing you could have done would have cured it, and nothing you can do now can cure it. Only he can fight it into remission, and only with the right help.
You are doing all the right things. Your compassionate nature wants to see him as a human being, but right now he is 97% addiction and 3% human being. Be compassionate but do it from a distance. He's in God's hands now.
GW - I've missed you and thought of you often. Hope the job situation is looking up - no one should be treated that way! Makes me want to come punch your manager in the face!
SK - g2g fo' sho'!
Love to all my ladies
[This message edited by WS is an Addict at 8:27 AM, April 15th (Sunday)]
Welcome to our little corner of SI. The first page of our thread has a copy of the 12 steps for atheists if you think that might be helpful. I found 12 step attendance amazingly helpful because it reminded me to keep my focus on *myself* and that detachment is essential. I think hathís comment:
I told him as long as he can accept his addiction is bigger than he is, that he needs outside help to overcome it, that he has to have FAITH in something other than himself to recover (even just Good Orderly Direction)...that's believing in a higher power.
Is something to think about. My 12 step group had several long time members who often said Good Orderly Direction. The groups will work if you can find a way to work through the religious aspect. Another thing to keep in mind, itís often recommended that and person attend several times & several different groups to find a good fit- assuming, of course, that there are that many resources in your area.
Hugs honey! What awful stuff youíve found. Awful. I canít imagine how you feel. Please take scardeyKatís advice and turn what youíve found over to your lawyer. Then stop looking. Have the computer wiped or do it yourself. Obviously youíre divorcing for excellent reasons. He shouldnít continue to suck up so much of your energy and emotional resources.
My spouse has been abusive- sexually & emotionally- to me, but not in the way your SAWH was. OUR dance has been abusive. Each of us. Iíve been emotionally abusive to him. My mother is diagnosed with 2 pds, one of which is NPD- I was raised to be codep & an emotional wreck; until therapy I had *no idea* what mental and emotional health is. Iím owning my $h!t. Apologizing to him for my wrongs. Together weíre trying to build a new pattern.
Weíve discussed the sexual abuses that happened in the last 2.5 years, attempts at sexual intercourse while I was on sleep meds, and have come to a mutual understanding. I drew a firm line and he explained where he was coming from. I donít agree with him, but I *heard* him. Sexually, we were, and continue to be, very active. However, for a long time neither of us was Ďpresentí during the act for different reasons. Each of us has been working on this. Sexually, weíre more connected than weíve been for a long, long time. Iíve worked hard on this on my side and I recognize my contribution. Itís a work in progress.
Honey, I think of you so, so often. Your stepdad, your job sitch. Trying to separate from your SAWH. Holding you in the light and praying for you.
YAY! Youíre back! Iíve been worried..please stop in and say hi. I too tended to hide when stressed and depressed, so Iíve wondered how you really were.
I feel guilty for feeling this way when so many of you are going through so much more.
Donít compare, WS. Please. Each spousesí pain is valid for her/him. Each of us has a unique path to walk- it doesnít make one personís path more or less valid. Self care is so important. I know it takes more energy to take care of myself, but for me it returns much more. Donít be a stranger.
PS- #4 on your list about your WHís past thinking is the Madonna-whore complex.
For so long he wouldn't even look at himself at all about anything.
^^^This has been me. I really needed to hear that, and I wasnít able or ready to hear it until the last two months or so.
Blaming. But I finally realized what we say on SI so much: *both* parties have to change- and really, what incentive would he have if I remain a shrew? I came to realize that a huge part of my anger & resentment are aimed at ME. I want to stay, despite everything. And I donít know how to process my self directed anger and resentment. How do I do this??
Hugs and prayers and light to all-
"Live a life not an apology." Edward R.Murrow
"I can be changed by what happens to me but I refuse to be reduced by it."
Hang in there.