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Spouses/Partners of Sex Addicts - 18

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ashestophoenix posted 7/27/2018 17:56 PM

lifeexploded, a major issue with my husband is his verbal cruelty. He can make these incredibly hurtful remarks to me. And I will never forget them. They come with this weird energy, and they come out quick and hard. And usually, it's when I'm vulnerable. Of course a teenage daughter is going to have stuff going on with her Mother. But a little support is in order. My husband, he would kick me when I'm down. It's very ugly.

These kind of cruel remarks increased after discovery. He would drink and say truly vicious things about my body and sexuality. It was his ugly addict fully expressing himself. I was and am truly shocked at how cruel and ugly my husband can be.

And lo and behold, as he is working on trying to improve his relationships with his daughters, they have vivid memories of the really cruel things he has said to them. I was clueless. He did these things in private. It really is a classic case of abuse.

I think the addiction made his cruelty worse, but I think the cruelty, like his addiction, are symptoms of his deeper immaturity and general f'ed upness. My husband is deeply messed up emotionally and psychologically.

Just this morning in marriage counseling, he ripped off a really cruel remark to me (essentially that I was stupid and didn't know what I was talking about). My MC really went after him about what the hell? Turns out that when my husband gets scared (which is nearly all the time since he is truly a scared little boy in a big man's body), he gets petty and mean. The selfish addict in him minimizes his behavior and impact, but my MC wouldn't let him off the hook. Nor would I. And the reality is my husband's father was vicious in his verbal cruelty. My husband acts just like him even though my husband hates his father. That's trauma for you.

And, let's face it, why would I want to have sex with someone who treats me like this? Why would I love him?

Even sober, this cruelty in my husband is decreasing, but still emerges way too much of the time. He pays a huge price. So many women in his life (and it's always women) hate him for his cruelty. He's got a lot of deep work to do to figure this out.

My work is to not put up with it and to continue to spend time with people who treat me better. And continue to plan to leave him if he can't behave like a decent human being.


[This message edited by ashestophoenix at 6:00 PM, July 27th (Friday)]

ashestophoenix posted 7/27/2018 18:12 PM

My husband as well really amped up his acting out when I was sick. Every time my condition got worse, he escalated the acting out. When I was getting chemo and being infused he would leave me alone and go and act out. What I know now is his tremendous fear of my "abandoning" him drove this acting out. Weird, I know, in that my husband as an addict thought he had total control of the relationship (which looking back, sadly, he was much more in control than I had realized due to his dishonesty). He really thought when he found his "perfect one" he would just up and leave his ugly, sexless, loveless wife. He really believed this. He didn't believe anyone would have an interest in me. Yet....he feared I would leave him.

So this is nutty stuff. Really distorted stuff. Really toxic stuff.

Sobriety has helped him to be a lot less distorted in this thinking and he has true shame, regret and remorse about his past behavior. Yet....I think his fear of being left is so profound (since he is so deeply immature), that if I were to get sick again, I believe he would have a hard time staying sober. These are risky people, these addicts, and they need to really and truly heal all their underlying trauma.


marji posted 7/27/2018 18:18 PM

Number Thank you for letting us know your plans; yes, we would be worried and concerned if you just disappeared. And yes, would be great if you let us know if you decide to go to the Meadows.

Number, just wanted to say how much I admire you and appreciate your presence here. You always write so clearly and fully and you always have room for kindness. I hate change myself--have lived in the same apartment for 37 years and the one before that just blocks away. You are very courageous for moving. So just thank you for sharing so much of your good self here with us. Some of the women in my SANON group have been to programs at the Meadows and found it helpful. Wish you all good things.

ashestophoenix posted 7/27/2018 18:32 PM

Dogs, I totally get what you are saying. There was no way I could wrap my mind around anything in the first year after discovery. Especially since my husband didn't really, truly start recovery for about a year.

For me, the initial shock of discovery....whew. I'll never forget it. We all know what that was like. And then I had this obsessive, relentless need to figure out what was the "truth". Who was he? What did he really do? What didn't I know? That took me a while to get over. It was slow. Maybe a year? Can't remember at this point, though I remember how badly I just wanted to know the truth.

All of this weighed me down. Really, my husband and his addiction and abuse had worn me down much, much more than I had realized. And I had been sick and recovering from chemotherapy. I'm in remission now, but getting here took a huge physical and emotional toll. And add to that, my husband's addiction and abuse.

What I'm saying is, it took a while to gather the strength to both take care of myself and to create enough safety to really think things through. I eventually just had to emotionally detach. I had been doing this in stages and this took years. But here's the thing. My advice is to start small. Take an hour each day and do something totally and completely for you. I don't know what it is, but it's something you love to do, or haven't done in a long time. It's something that has nothing to do with your husband or his wretched world of addiction. And that hour...that finding myself again and escaping the oppression of addiction...that was when I started on the path to peace and clarity.

If you can, take a weekend away. Or a night away. See how you feel. I thought at first I would worry about his acting out, but what I found out was just how much lighter I felt. How great it was to get away from the drama. To get away from the criticism and negativity. When I first started to get away, one thing that happened was I would be able to sleep. I'm amazed by this now. I couldn't sleep when I was around my husband. When I got away from him, I was safe enough to sleep. And that helped me to feel better.

The more I detached, the better I felt. It took a while. But eventually, it builds on itself. Then I was able to see my husband much more clearly. I was able to see myself more clearly. Therapy for me/about me became a lifeline.

Here is a painful reality about me. Deep down, I believed that if I left my husband, or he left me, no one would have me. Everyone would think poorly of me. I was way too insecure when I married my husband and honestly, I wasn't aware of that. And living with these addicts, they bring you down. They work at destroying your self esteem so they can stay in control and pursue their addiction Meanwhile I got blamed and tried even harder to be a good wife. It makes me incredibly sad. I have forgiven myself, but it's been so painful.

I want you to give yourself the benefit of time to figure this out. It will become more clear. It just takes time.


[This message edited by ashestophoenix at 6:38 PM, July 27th (Friday)]

sami1234 posted 7/28/2018 07:46 AM

Ashes: That was so clearly put, thank you for that. It's true. Emotional detachment is the only thing that allows us to step back and gain clarity on ourselves, our parters and what is going on in our lives. I remember the exact moment that I decided to do it. And I did not even know that it was a "thing" to do. I just realized I was going to let him go...just to stop the pain. He was no longer "my" anything. He just was. I put away all photos of our wedding, etc anything to remind me of our connection. He never noticed.

Verbal cruelty is emotional abuse any way you cut it. My WH was good at that before Dday because honestly it's how his family relates to each other. Pretty messed up. Since Dday there has been none of that from him and I think it would be a deal breaker for me now. When I look at how much this M took from me EVEN before the acting out and Dday...I deserve the things that I need from this relationship or it's just not worth it any more. He knows that.

So yeah, it's been better...a lot better...and I have the courage to stand up now for what I want.

Number4: The meadows sounds like a good plan. Hope that you can find peace and healing.

Dogs: You are very young. I have children your age. Do you have what it takes? Of course you do...but should you have to deal with it? It's a very, very serious marital handicap. If I had to do my M over I would definitely pass. That's a sad reality isn't it? But my life looks very different from yours at this point. I've been in this a long time and my leaving would affect so, so, many people and things we've built for decades.

Lionne posted 7/28/2018 10:36 AM

Here is a painful reality about me. Deep down, I believed that if I left my husband, or he left me, no one would have me. Everyone would think poorly of me. I was way too insecure when I married my husband and honestly, I wasn't aware of that. And living with these addicts, they bring you down. They work at destroying your self esteem so they can stay in control and pursue their addiction Meanwhile I got blamed and tried even harder to be a good wife

Wow. My exact thoughts. I'm always grateful for the wisdom I find here.

As to "winding up with another addict" I have mixed feelings. To be sure, I was ripe to choose an addict/sick partner. But he was SO, SO removed from the guy he became. He was kind, loving, attentive, sweet, open guy. Of course it was partially the SA in prime seduction mode, but I didn't know that, it never occurred to me. I thought I was marrying a guy who was the polar opposite of my addict mother, that we could build a life that was "normal." Of course, he thought being married to me, a strong, professional woman who enjoyed sex, would cure him of his compulsion.

I was pretty mentally healthy at that time, content to live alone, contemplating a major move to further my education. (I just realized something, the graduate program to which I was accepted was headed by a super star in that particular specialization-and I learned later, a major sleezy womanizer. I guess I jumped from the pot into the fire)

Anyway, I absolutely BECAME codependent, became sick as a result of living with someone who was verbally cruel, not dependable, and became sexually unavailable, emotionally distant and generally an asshole. But I didn't suspect any cheating, porn, anything until around 1999. He became more involved, and less willing and able to hide it. So, 20 years into the marriage.

I don't think most of us were as sick as we became in our initial phase of a relationship. I don't think we "chose" him due to our own illness. But clearly, living with an addict changes you.

I clearly stayed due to our financial entanglement and my desire NOT to be alone. That decision was made with a newly awakened mind. Now, I know I'll pull the plug if he cheats, move to Hawaii and volunteer with Vista.

[This message edited by Lionne at 10:38 AM, July 28th (Saturday)]

number4 posted 7/30/2018 11:29 AM

H made his official announcement of retirement this morning to his group. When he called me, I could hear him choking back the tears. I knew it would be hard. I think it took him by surprise, and he says the emails have been pouring in; for someone who has spent most of his life in shame, I think it's hard to believe and accept how much he is respected and valued, at least in his professional life. In the meantime, I had an eye doctor appt., so I'm sitting here at home, not being able to do much due my dilated eyes.

I made the official announcement on my FB wall, and am getting so many posts of support; of course, 95% of those people don't know what we've been through in the last year, how important this 'reset' button is for us, so they don't know my level of anxiety right now. I also went to what was probably my last BAN meeting last night. Although I have gotten something out of the group, I'm the only one there who has a spouse who has admitted to a sex addiction; believe me, some of the stories I hear, there are more partners of sex addicts in that group than are willing to admit. There aren't any BAN groups anywhere near the metro area we'll be living, so my main support will continue to be COSA and SI.

number4 posted 7/30/2018 13:53 PM

OK... I've been pissed about a lot of stuff regarding H, but I don't think I could stoop to this level!

marji posted 7/30/2018 17:28 PM

Number I've probably suggested this before, but it might be worthwhile to check out an S-ANON group. Though they are supposed to follow a certain format--sharing, no cross talk, one session a week devoted to the steps--they really do differ based on the folks who attend. I am not at all religious but I love the group I go to. Some there are very religious but not all--some in between. But we all have a good sense of humor, the shares are very helpful and interesting and the pre-and post chats very helpful too. Maybe you can also find one you like.

number4 posted 7/30/2018 22:54 PM

@marji - I have tried two different S-Anon groups in my area (the most convenient one I attended at least 4-5 meetings), and the members come across as very religious. Perhaps once I relocate, I can find one that is different in So Cal.

JadeC posted 7/30/2018 23:09 PM

We don't really discuss religion at all in my SAnon group. Sometimes we will refer to our "higher power" but not often. About the only thing "religious" about it is that we meet at a church.

number4 posted 7/31/2018 08:42 AM

At the S-Anon group I've been to several times, women specifically mentioned that masturbation was off limits for their husbands in any situation because they are Catholic and it's considered a mortal sin, and then they get into the dogma of the Catholic church.

And another person many times mentioned the bible study she attends at her church (openly shares that she's evangelical) and what she gets out of it. But what concerns me most is that these women do this, and no one calls them out on it, which means they're all implicit in the topics being openly discussed.

marji posted 7/31/2018 13:39 PM

So sorry number--I would have found a meeting such as that very not worth revisiting; but yes, if you can, do try again because they really do differ. Religion as such is never discussed at our meetings. We follow a structured meeting protocol with the exact same readings each week, someone then does an opening theme talk and then it's a round robin share; we sometimes have very religious people at the meetings but they never discuss their religion-talk is a lot about self care, sometimes a specific problem or trigger or manner of coping. Similar to Jade's, "higher power" is sometimes referred to but more often it's the group that members express appreciation for. Hope you have a better find in So Cal.

JadeC posted 7/31/2018 14:18 PM

Yes, we have a regular meeting format and a newcomer format. Two readings are shared from the daily meditations book, usually a specific topic like trust or forgiveness, and then we each take turns sharing. Once a month, the topic is the step or tradition. The group I'm in is very non-judgemental in that no one will advise how you should handle. Not once in my group has anyone suggested that maybe I should leave my husband.
I would trust my group with my "stuff" more than I trust my own family.
We went to a family reunion this weekend, where my sister arrived several hours before we did. I know she overshares and have been very careful what I tell her. A couple of months ago, I did tell her I was in a 12 Step group, specifically because I wanted to encourage her to look into AlSnon for herself. Also, a couple of weeks ago, we took a road trip together, and one morning, she was looking for a missing shoe of hers and took it upon herself to go through my bags. She showed me that she'd found an old appointment card for our CSAT (which I had not told her about) and she moved it to another part of my bag so no one else could see it.
Anyway, my husband and I went to greet one of my cousins, and first thing she said to us "So, is your marriage going to last? Does it have a chance?". No idea where that came from. I asked my sister and she said she "didn't say a word," but I don't buy it. I am 98% sure we were a topic of discussion with them. I will no longer share with my family. My group, I feel completely safe with...

marji posted 7/31/2018 14:32 PM

Jade that feeling of safety is exactly what is so often expressed at our meetings too; that and not having to hide anything. It feels relaxed and comforting. No pressure to share and a feeling of complete acceptance. The other night a newcomer commented on how "cheerful" we seemed. But I've been to others that were very different; one group followed no particular protocol but there was pressure to share. Great that you've found one that works for you.

Rugbychick posted 8/1/2018 12:29 PM

Last week, I attend an IC with my husband with his counselor. His counselor feels that although he doesn't have all qualities of SA, he definitely has some and the results from this affair definitely point to SA behavior. At any rate, one of the things his counselor told me that he sees with SA recovery is that the addict has a hard time leading with their emotions, but rather with their thoughts. My WH has always led more with his thoughts. However, he is starting to open up and tell me his emotions. The counselor said that it isn't until the addict starts to lead with emotions will they begin on their road to recovery.

My question is, have any other SA spouses or partners heard of this before? Or something similar? SA is a new twist in all of this for me, and I want to be as informed as possible.

JadeC posted 8/2/2018 00:06 AM

Right-click...Although I haven't heard it expressed quite this way, it sounds familiar.
My husband has always been pretty unemotional about stuff.
He typically doesn't get excited about much and often will say things to me that will curb my enthusiasm, or "rain on my parade." For example, one time early on, I was really excited about a job interview I had and I had expressed to him on the way to the interview that I had a good feeling about this. (It was in a nearby town and he wanted to check the town out.) He responded with something like why don't I just wait and see what happens before I started making plans. Totally deflated me and I remember going to that interview in such a bad mood. That was 18 years ago and I still remember it well. There have been other times too. I have accused him at least a couple of times of "killing my joy." He did this to my son tonight, too, and it occurred to me literally just now that maybe my displays of excitement or joy in things make him anxious. I'll have to consider that. But, yes, this sounds familiar to me.

Superesse posted 8/2/2018 00:35 AM

Well, maybe the counselor is speaking from experience, but the belief that "emotion-centric" versus "thought-centric" equates to "healthy" versus "unhealthy" coping, is just too broad to be useful. Not all "egg-heads" are Sex Addicts. Gosh.

secondtime posted 8/2/2018 08:55 AM


I would seek more clarification from the therapist.

Personally, I don't like making decisions based on emotions, with facts/logic to back it up. That's how one can get into trouble. Like PP said, egg heads are not necessarily SAs.

I think that's something completely different than being capable of having emotional intimacy.

My husband is an SA, and until he got through some recovery, his inability to have any emotional intimacy was my biggest red flag.

I am not an SA, and I was not interested in having an emotionally intimate marriage until my husband chose recovery and I did some reading. I didn't think "good" marriages had emotional intimacy in them. I was only exposed to my parents marriage, which had no emotional intimacy in it, due to untreated mental illness and other issues.

I really liked the book "The Seven levels of Intimacy" by Matthew Kelly to help me figure out the emotional intimacy stuff.

marji posted 8/2/2018 09:35 AM

Yes, Rugbychick, emotional anorexia, if that is what you are referring to, is very common with SAs though not all.

Not all SAs are the same. Some are prone toward affairs, emotional and physical. So "recovery" is not always a matter of getting more in touch with emotions, if that is what the C meant by "leading" with them but yes, it's a familiar problem to those working with SAs.

Douglas Weiss's book, Emotional Anorexia might be something you and your H find helpful. Except for one trait, the list described my H perfectly.

My H has a very hard time feeling and expressing emotion. I attend his C sessions with him and what seems like a simple "how do you feel about. . . . " type of question will still have my H answering
something like " yes, that's right" or "yes, I understand . . ." but not saying how he feels. Sometimes the C will repeat the question as many as three times--it's a real hurdle. And it's not that he's hiding or protecting or embarrassed about feelings; it's about an inability to experience and describe them. Alexythemia seems to be the right word. And that's three years and many sessions later along with my H's willingness and attempt to be different and wanting to be able to "feel" and to express feeling and not just think. But again, not all SAs are that way and not all alexythemiacs or thought drivens are SAs.
Rugbychick it's good that you want to be as informed as possible. Have you been attending SANON meetings? A good group can be a really helpful source of knowledge and support. There's also a great deal of literature about the subject; Lionne has provided a great resource list for us here on SI that you might find helpful.

[This message edited by marji at 9:40 AM, August 2nd (Thursday)]

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