I just want to have a quick vent for a second...
First let me say that my SAWH is finally starting to really take the intiative he needs to take. He is in IC again and has gone twice in the last week. He is going to SA meetings at least once a week and sometimes twice. We are also doing MC twice per month. Not only that, but he is doing some reading, he has been opening up and talking to me, and he is definitely making progress. I just have to hope he will continue.
I know that because he is an SA it means a long recovery, but it is still frustrating to hit speed bumps. There are so many things that he needs to dig into and figure out about himself.
For example, last night we were talking specifically about his SA meetings. In the past (a few months ago) he was really resistant to the SA meetings. At first it was because he didn't really want to believe he is an SA. Now he truly believes it and knows he has a lot of work to do. But his second problem with SA is that the group is very religious.
Let me just back up a quick second and say that neither my husband nor I are religious. As athiests going through this process it has been harder because so many times people's solution is "turn to God and he will solve all your problems" or some version thereof. The 12 steps of the SA program are also all about a "higher power" and they open and close their meetings with prayer (at the meetings he attends) even though they state that SA is a non-religious organization.
Let me just say a HUGE thank you to everyone on here for the several versions of the SA 12 step program at the beginning of this thread - especially the one that is for athiests. I printed that off and gave it to him, and he said that it really helped him to embrace the program and understand what it is about outside of religion.
That sounds great, right? Except that he hasn't been bringing those 12 steps to his meetings, he doesn't keep them with his SA book, and they have just been sitting on the kitchen table under a pile of junk. I asked him last night why that is (after he told me about his SA meeting and being uncomfortable again with the prayers). It really boils down to the fact that he wants so desperately to be liked and fit in (anywhere) that he doesn't want to stand out or rock the boat by being different. It's ridiculous!
Last night he kept saying how he wishes he could find a group that all used the athiest 12 steps and didn't have constant references to God. I asked him to really think about why... Really. Why should he be bothered by other people having different religious beliefs? Why should he concern himself with what other people do or if they pray? If something works for him and it is in line with the SA program, why does he feel uncomfortable using it? Why can't he feel OK with doing his own thing for his own recovery and letting others do the same?
He said that he feels "hypocritical" going to the meetings and listening to others pray and talk about God when he doesn't believe. I told him that the only thing hypocritical about that would be pretending he shares their beliefs when he doesn't. It's not hypocritical to think differently than others. In fact, it is courageous to have the strength of your own convictions and know yourself well enough to accept others for who they are and continue to be yourself even if it is not what the majority of the group is doing.
He said that he is going to think about why he is such a follower... he almost always has been. He just goes along with what other people are doing - even if it isn't what he believes or feels comfortable with. That led him down a lot of wrong paths, including drugs and some of his SA behaviors (like very frequent visits to strip clubs- don't even get me started).
I'm sorry to rant at you like this... I just thought you guys could understand. SA's have a big knot of negative behavior and you have to just pull a string and start trying to unravel things by following it as far as you can. And then pick another string and keep going on the next issue... into infinity it seems.
Thanks for the support!
So it's not like they're pointing fingers and laughing at him for being different. In fact, it seems like they are fairly supportive. It's like he has decided in his own mind that he can't get help from them unless they stop praying and all of them remove God from their own thoughts and healing process. And that is unreasonable.
He has agreed to keep going and to think about why he feels that way. I believe him about both of those things. I guess I just have this nagging worry in the back of my head that he's going to use this as an excuse later on down the road. If he does, I just have to know that I am strong enough to not accept that and to draw a line in the sand. I just want so much to be positive, and those doubts drag me down a bit...
This journey has no end, I'm afraid. I still feel the pain and anger four years after one of the most terrible days of my life. I feel like I wasted my whole life with someone who pretended to love me, but really was just keeping me around to taunt me and use me to raise his kids and be a respectable wife. He treated me with disdain and disrespect and I let him. I never had a chance for a real sex life. I'll be 58 on Saturday. And that feels a lot older than it should.
[This message edited by scaredyKat at 7:34 PM, May 16th (Wednesday)]
I've been struggling with Mother's Day (unrelated to WH & our struggle) and with my birthday (Tuesday). I'm feeling old and worn out, second choice. The 'default', the Easy Button fix. "She's always been here, she's just like the furniture & the wallpaper". Whatever. I haven't hit a milestone birthday, but this year is a sad birthday year, not a happy birthday year. As I explained to DD, when you get older not all birthdays are happy ones. I've tried to work through several triggers. I'm trying to learn to surf the waves of pain, letting them ebb away & leave me standing and whole instead of rolling in the pain.
I guess I ought to have posted this in off topic or up in general, but I feel like this part of SI is my home. So I came here instead.
BeautifulMess, the best thing you can do is tell him your boundary & it's consequence: 'go to meetings X times a week/month or else I'll ______'. And then let it go. It's all we can do. I know how frustrating and difficult it is. Micromanaging WH & his therapy has been hard for me to let go of. Micromanagement (aka codependence) is second nature to me. It took me a very long time to stop hovering over him & then I was resentful, which has been difficult to let go of. Especially when I'm denying that I'm resentful in the first place.
I've learned to tell him my boundary (never go less than every other week unless the IC is on vacation) & my consequence, ________. I don't remember what I said truthfully. He has always maintained this schedule except once & I threw an almighty temper tantrum, and he's never deviated (that I know of).
"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."
I also need to get better about really understanding what the consequences should be. I'm just not sure how far I'm willing to go and/or what is an appropriate response. I think I have to take it in little baby steps... Like I expect you to go to IC and SA at least once per week. If he ever doesn't, then I will bring it up immediately, remind him of what we agreed to, and give him a deadline (1 week, a few days?) to go back to SA and/or set up his IC appointment. If he still doesn't follow through after that then I guess I will have to gauge his attitude towards it and decide on my action from there. That's the best I can come up with right now. Does anyone have any other way that they approach it or some other consequence they use that has worked well?
((Sabina)) I'm sorry that you are going through a rough time. Always feel free to bring whatever struggle here. We do want to help. Dealing with triggers on top of other life events (like milestone birthdays) is definitely tough. I think the approach and mindset you have are healthy. You will get through this.
I'm feeling old and worn out, second choice. The 'default', the Easy Button fix. "She's always been here, she's just like the furniture & the wallpaper". Whatever. I haven't hit a milestone birthday, but this year is a sad birthday year, not a happy birthday year.
My feelings too. Not a milestone birthday, but I would normally sum up my life for New Years Day (together with some NY resolutions) and on birthdays.
Last year I got a beautiful present and a trip from WH. My son was very charming the night of the celebration, I was so proud of him and enjoyed his company so much, should've been a lovely time together, as a family. But, it wasn't....
My BDay is in June, dreading it.
Can't even post about it.
Not even on an anonymous forum.
But it sure makes me feel lost, sad, destroyed...
Did your spouse, significant other continue to be deceitful about their past behavior regarding their SA after you discovered it (basically, did they offer full disclosure)?
If you felt they weren't totally honest, how did you deal with it (I am angry and distrustful most of the time and it's destroying my soul)?
Did you continue to have a sexual relationship with them when you didn't totally trust them?
If you could help me with any advice I would greatly appreciate it. I am in limbo hell with him and don't know what I should do.
If you're dealing with an actual SA, you should be 100% confident that whatever you find out in the beginning is only the tip of the iceberg. I remember telling my IC in the beginning that I had a feeling I'd be finding out more. This was based on the research & reading she had me do. I was right. In fact, what I found out was even worse than I could have suspected.
My inner voice is warning me that I'm about to be hit with another discovery. I don't know what I'll learn, or when, but I know it's coming. So far my inner voice has never once been wrong.
I know I don't have it & I'm sure I won't get it. Most days, I'm satisfied with allowing this to pass, other days I struggle hard to detach. I can't force him to reveal & I'm unsure it's worth pushing him on. The disclosure brought on a serious mental health issue for me (other than but including PTSD); speaking only for myself, I don't know that I want to risk my own stability (literally) for more details. As long as I'm satisfied he isn't acting out, I let it go.
As far as the sexual boundary, I can't maintain it and I stopped trying to force myself to hold it. We are very compatible sexually, and through all of the stresses and hellish struggles this is one aspect of us that I didn't/haven't/can't (??) tried to redo. As we've improved our communication the sex is improving. I suffered through molestation as a young teen, sex and feelings were divorced for me many many years ago. Perhaps this made me "comfortable" for WH, I don't know. We're connecting emotions & sexual intimacy *now*, after so much damage & so many tears. It has been wonderful.
But I still wait for the other shoe to drop.
Every time I felt guilty about doing this I reminded myself that HE was hiding his life from me, HIS WIFE. I deserved to know the truth about my life, which included anything he was up to. I deserved to have adequate information to protect myself and my children. By his actions & attitude STBX made it clear that he was hiding himself & his activities from me. IF he hadn't of given me plenty of reasons to be suspicious, I wouldn't have been suspicious. As it turned out, all my suspicions were accurate, and even worse was found out.
I would have loved to have had a VAR and a keylogger.
[This message edited by Nature_Girl at 9:02 PM, May 18th (Friday)]
Apparently a handy-dandy little device you can stow away in someone's car, briefcase, or in a room they go to for secret conversations.
[This message edited by scaredyKat at 8:11 AM, May 20th (Sunday)]