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Spouses/Partners of Sex Addicts - 20

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DevastatedDee posted 8/26/2020 12:54 PM

So how do we cut the trauma bond and lose that guilty twinge we don't need to own?

You truly become your own best friend and value yourself above all others. I don't mean in a narcissistic way. I don't mean be unempathetic. I mean a true understanding that your #1 job is to care for yourself. We can't even properly care for our children if we aren't caring for ourselves first.

It's about how you feel about your own importance. It's an understanding that you do not owe anyone support who does not have your best interests in mind.

It is also an understanding that you cannot help some people. There are people in this world who go through it as a living dumpster fire, setting everyone ablaze who encounters them. It may not be entirely their fault. It may not be something that they can even help. But it is for certain something that you cannot stop. Many of these people have very good qualities and are very lovable. That doesn't stop them from spreading pain all over the place. There is help out there for them, but it isn't you and I, and they have to be the ones to reach out for it or there is no hope for them. Some people live lives of self-imposed tragedy and it is very very sad. If you get too close, you go down with them and no good comes from that.

skeetermooch posted 8/26/2020 14:19 PM

...he was not more important than I was and his pain was not more important than mine...It is the job of professionals to deal with why this person is an asshole who hurts others. It is my job to remove that person from my life because I am not expendable. I am not a tool for anyone's recovery. I am ultimately all that I have in this world and I will not allow anyone to use my love to destroy me.

Words to live by.

While I still have twinges of feeling badly for his lack of a family, his traumatic past, etc... I'm clear that I can't live in service to an unrepentant, out of control addict.

I'm feeling less guilty all the time. The switch flipped on Sunday when I discovered he went to see an escort, two days in a row in the midst of trying to reconcile. All of the "I want to stop. I'm deeply ashamed" bs flew right out the window.

He is evil - despite what's fun or good about him, despite the traumatized little boy he once was - he's now evil and he will destroy me and casually step over my carcass if I allow it.

I won't. He's out. He's being ignored. I'm getting divorced and figuring out how to reclaim my happiness.

DevastatedDee posted 8/26/2020 14:48 PM

Yes, girl. You're getting it.

Superesse posted 8/26/2020 14:59 PM

Yeah, Skeeter!

Dee, I did read Mr. Blockhead the comments about the pain addicts inflict. He sat there staring at the floor...then got up and left the room, and snarked that I just read it all to him so he guessed his behavior WAS abusive...meaning HE DIDN'T WANT TO ACKNOWLEDGE he deliberately does stuff to hurt his wife. I'd say I'm right behind Skeeter, huh?

skeetermooch posted 8/26/2020 15:10 PM

I hope you're getting close Superesse. We can do this.
I can't lie. I feel like shit, but I don't have have a doubt that this is absolutely what I need to do.

DevastatedDee posted 8/26/2020 16:03 PM

Yep, Superesse. You're getting it too. I feel like I'm a fairly eloquent person, but I could speak all day and not have my XWH comprehend. It generally turned into him being a victim. Just like:

He sat there staring at the floor...then got up and left the room, and snarked that I just read it all to him so he guessed his behavior WAS abusive.

Lay a truth bomb on an addict and you get the poor me victim response EVERY.SINGLE.TIME.

crazyblindsided posted 8/26/2020 18:16 PM

It is also an understanding that you cannot help some people. There are people in this world who go through it as a living dumpster fire, setting everyone ablaze who encounters them. It may not be entirely their fault. It may not be something that they can even help. But it is for certain something that you cannot stop. Many of these people have very good qualities and are very lovable. That doesn't stop them from spreading pain all over the place. There is help out there for them, but it isn't you and I, and they have to be the ones to reach out for it or there is no hope for them. Some people live lives of self-imposed tragedy and it is very very sad. If you get too close, you go down with them and no good comes from that.

Word! This sums up my STBX in a nutshell and he also does this...

Lay a truth bomb on an addict and you get the poor me victim response EVERY.SINGLE.TIME.

Right now he's the victim because the kids have no respect for him. He thinks I'm feeding them lies and that's why they are treating him this way they are both teenagers and treat me the same exact way always the victim!

Superesse posted 8/26/2020 22:57 PM

Hang in there, all!

skeetermooch posted 8/27/2020 10:47 AM

A switch flipped - and goddess willing it stays that way - I feel markedly better since last night.

All of your support and wise, wise words have helped me so much.

It is also an understanding that you cannot help some people. There are people in this world who go through it as a living dumpster fire, setting everyone ablaze who encounters them. It may not be entirely their fault. It may not be something that they can even help. But it is for certain something that you cannot stop. Many of these people have very good qualities and are very lovable. That doesn't stop them from spreading pain all over the place. There is help out there for them, but it isn't you and I, and they have to be the ones to reach out for it or there is no hope for them. Some people live lives of self-imposed tragedy and it is very very sad. If you get too close, you go down with them and no good comes from that.

I read that over probably ten times between last night and today. It captures everything I've needed to accept these last 12 months since dday. He's very, very sick, no where near being a safe person, and likely not even genuinely interested in recovery. I have no business being anywhere near this dumpster fire of a human. I'm lucky I made it out alive.

The withdrawals have felt better since last night. Woke up today feeling acceptance. Not happy acceptance but acceptance.

DevastatedDee posted 8/27/2020 11:04 AM

I am so so glad that anything I wrote can help you right now. I wish so much that none of us ever had to deal with this trauma, but I love that there's a place we can come to to relate to one another on it.

Superesse posted 8/27/2020 11:10 AM

Skeeter, good to hear this! Better 12 months to realize it, than 12 years like I gave it, then another 6....18 years of my 69 on the planet, believing this split personality wants to ever heal himself.

It goes waaaay deeper than compulsion and/or addiction; it is a fundamental splitting off of themselves, and unlike you would think, or they might claim, deep down, they really don't have a problem staying split off - from themselves, from a spouse, from a family. Crazy. We cannot fix this but it sure isn't our problem to fix, either.

I was thinking of you this afternoon as we head into September. I think you mentioned how bad winter was, even before Covid. So many have said living with this sickness in a spouse is like a dark cloud, on top of the seasonal loss of sunshine in the cold months. I am convinced I probably suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, too.

Well, what about this idea, as we clean house: pick a room with some natural light, and then go buy those fluorescent light bars (the commercial type four feet long or whatever), get some ceiling hooks and small chain, and mount them all around one room with extension cords if necessary, and full-spectrum natural light bulbs. Then when we notice it getting dark earlier and earlier (aaaaaccccckkkkk) pull the curtains, turn on those lights, and keep going!! As a side benefit, I bet you could grow your own greens, to keep up the healthy eating motivation and save shopping trips out in bad weather, especially during flu season!

DevastatedDee posted 8/27/2020 11:53 AM

Just so you know, it wasn't easy for me to leave him even with my attitude. If I've made it sound that way, that's my bad. It felt sometimes like I was crawling out of my own skin and ripping myself to pieces. I was a hot mess. What saved me was being an angry hot mess. Anger propelled me to do what I needed to do to save myself. But don't think it was easy. I let the part of me who had loved him howl in pain inside while the part of me who loved myself kept marching on with my hair on fire.

skeetermooch posted 8/27/2020 13:29 PM

Dee, is your story posted anywhere? I'm curious about how you got from point a to point b? And, thank you for clarifying - I guess there's no way around this being torturously hard to escape from.

Superesse, I actually live in the very sunny southwest US, so sunlight isn't a problem, well, except right now when I wish to hell we'd get some cloud cover and rain to lessen the extreme heat - I think 106 today - yuck. Summer is more hibernation season than winter. Usually I travel but Covid and an elderly dog has me stuck.

I still have chard growing in the yard luckily - it's a tough plant. I made a big pot of veggie soup with it a few days ago. I'm trying to eat healthy, get enough sleep etc. Feeling a little down today but I'll get through it.

Staying NC is not terribly hard - more strange than hard. Here's the person who's been my best friend and confidant and who I've been so invested in working things out with - so much back and forth and now, there's nothing to say. There's nothing I need to tell him - maybe partly because it's like talking to a tree anyway. There's nothing I want to hear from him - nothing he could say that would change my mind or make me feel any better. So it's like phantom pain from an amputation - I might feel a reflexive urge to call but for what? There's nothing left to communicate. He doesn't need to know about my trauma, can't understand it or help with it anyway. I certainly don't need more empty babble about his issues and addiction. It's just done and there's a void that eventually life will fill with other things. Sooner than later, I hope.

Superesse posted 8/27/2020 14:08 PM

Skeeter, you sound like you are coming to clarity. I was going to recommend "fill that void with something that makes you count your blessings..." but sounds like you are already understanding that!

By the way I'm sorta jealous hearing sunshine isn't in short supply where you live! This yesr, I've craved sunshine more than ever before, guess it's old age setting in...my uncle moved from Boston to Sedona, Arizona when he retired. Guess he'd had enough of bleary, cold weather. He just passed at 99 years old. He never looked back once they headed West!

skeetermooch posted 8/27/2020 14:14 PM

Sedona is lovely and milder than where I am. I moved here from Boston as well coincidentally. Nothing like a Boston winter to make you pack up and move a few thousand miles away!

DevastatedDee posted 8/27/2020 15:33 PM

Dee, is your story posted anywhere? I'm curious about how you got from point a to point b? And, thank you for clarifying - I guess there's no way around this being torturously hard to escape from.

Probably it is somewhere in the depths of this site, lol. I'll give you the basic story, though. Met a great guy, same job for years, good credit, close with his family. Dated for 3 years, got engaged, got married. Bought a house. We were ecstatically happy, absolutely knew that this was my person. Honestly the best years of my life at the time. I had no doubt I'd be with this man for the rest of my life. I cannot tell you how happy we were. We had so much in common, got along so well, etc. The spring after we bought the house, he started to get emotionaly distant. Started refusing me sex. Told me he was just depressed. I did all the good spouse things to support him during this time.

February of 2017, he comes home clearly high on something. I say "WTF", he says he took some adderall while hanging out with one of his guy friends. Would never do it again, it was dumb, etc. I was a little concerned given that he had a distant past with drug addiction, but okay, I didn't understand addiction and let it go. A week or two later he came home high again and admitted it was crack. I was absolutely terrified and devastated. Told him I wasn't going to live with a crack addict. I have kids, that isn't something they should ever be exposed to and I didn't have use for that shit. Two weeks later, another binge and he didn't come home for hours. I kicked him out and changed the locks. He moved in with friends for a month and a half, supposedly clean and begging and pleading for me to take him back. All kinds of apologies and promises. So I let him back sometime around April. He either kept it hidden or stopped for a short time. Busted again in late April, I was done. Going to divorce him. He went to rehab. Came back at the beginning of June a changed man. All manner of Christian all of a sudden. So I thought...huh...maybe.

He left his journal from rehab out the second day he was back. He went out to his job (that he had kept somehow) to get his work truck and stuff. I read his journal. "Slept with many women while married to second wife" is still burned into my brain. It was like my brain broke. I couldn't feel, couldn't hear well, got tunnel vision. I felt nothing, it was like a nuclear blast. He came home, I showed him that, he started crying and begging and weeping and apologizing. He admitted to two prostitutes and said "many" just meant more than one. I got up and told him I was going to a Nar-Anon meeting. I left, parked in a parking lot, found a dude online and met him for sex. On the way home, I came back to myself and just screamed. Had to pull over and just scream. I think if I hadn't flipped out like that, I'd have just left him. But then suddenly I had cheated too. I stayed in a daze. You know, the not eating not sleeping barely functioning daze. Took time off work. Two weeks later I told him. He said he deserved it, but it hit him hard. Lots of crying together and me raging at him and then crying together again for a couple of months. I woke up disappointed every morning that I hadn't died in the night. I remember one day on the way home from work, an 18-wheeler almost swerved into my lane on top of me and when he self-corrected and didn't, I cried out of disappointment. I went to my doctor for a full-panel STD test and broke down in her office. She prescribed me Lexapro. I went to therapists. First one told me to just leave him. I agreed 100%, but I stopped seeing her. I started looking at our phone records and found calls and texts to escorts dating back as far as the records went, which was only a year and a half or so. I saw them all online. He finally admitted to 8. Basically, what I could prove. He cheated before he relapsed on drugs.

He couldn't change enough for me. I wanted him to become the type of person who could not do that to me. He was working his recovery hard at that time. He didn't come with me to a family gathering (seeing the eclipse in SC with my kids and parents) and I lost my shit. I had to drive through a town one of his prostitutes was in to get there. Told him I was fucking done, he bought How to Help Your Spouse Heal, scheduled a counseling session with his therapist and I went in the next week. She sat there and agreed with everything I said and he complained that he felt like we were ganging up on him. He bought me a classic Corvette. Pulled out all the stops to keep me from leaving. I knew it was over, though. I had promised my son that he could graduate with his class, so I didn't want to move him that year. I tried to hold on. He relapsed on crack the following January or February, and that was it. I kicked him out, he went to live with his parents. I got my son through his school year and started planning where we'd live. Looked for homes in the school district, didn't find any. XWH decided to move back into the house because it was in his name and I couldn't stop him late June. I sent my daughter to stay with my parents and my son went with his dad. I cashed out my 401k and bought a house in another town on August 2nd, 2018. Been here ever since and I love it.

[This message edited by DevastatedDee at 4:19 PM, August 27th (Thursday)]

skeetermooch posted 8/27/2020 17:29 PM

Wow, Dee, you've been through the ringer, hence why you're so damn wise and badass. That must have been absolutely hell.

The first paragraph was so similar to my story - from bliss and certainty to the depths of trauma and depravity. You got out and you're in your place and happy - love this.

May we all follow your light out of this horrible darkness.

MakeMineReal posted 8/27/2020 17:44 PM

Dee, I so relate to pretty much everything you write. In my opinion, staying with a sex addict is emotional and possibly physical suicide, given that they are master manipulators, liars, gaslighters and have absolutely no qualms knowingly exposing their partners to STD's.

I attended SAnon meetings for several years, initially at the recommendation of my therapist. I met some amazing women there, several that I'm still friends with. I found that almost all of the women that kept going back were desperately trying to find a way to convince themselves they were happy in their marriages. Desperately trying to accept that they didn't cause it, can't control it, and can't cure it... and trying to stay 'on their side of the street', because their husband's sobriety is 'none of their business'. The hell with that - it IS my business when he is emotionally, psychologically, and sexually abusive to me.

SAnon may work for some women, but I had to quit going because biting my tongue every week was getting too painful.

I read this once and printed it out - when I start questioning if I made the right choice (usually when I'm feeling lonely or one of my adult kids is having a hard time, still, dealing with who their dad really is) I read it again. I know I made the right choice for me. So here it is, I don't know who wrote it so can't give credit to the author:

"The debate about sex addiction aside, infidelity causes real and long-lasting harm to the faithful spouse. The underlying cause does not mitigate the damage to the faithful spouse, regardless of whether we accept or reject the sex addiction model.

However, staying married to someone who behaves in ways that cause you lasting emotional and psychological damage requires a rethink. When they also offer a reason why they might be 'compelled' to do it again, be honest about what you're prepared to accept and what you're signing up for.

Even if sexual addiction were well-founded, staying married to it might not be."

DevastatedDee posted 8/27/2020 18:21 PM

It was absolutely hell, skeetermooch, but you've been through hell too. It's what we all have in common, this particular hell.

We will soon enough have happiness with our post-addict lives in common too. This is going to get a lot easier for you.

MakeMineReal, I could not agree more with every single word you wrote. That is truth.

skeetermooch posted 8/27/2020 18:41 PM

Thanks Dee and Thanks for sharing that Make Mine. Hearing from you warrior women on the other side is all that gets me through some days - most days!

I remember early on when this ride to hell first starting thinking it's not an addiction. Sex addiction is a personality disorder+access to cheating partners i.e. the internet. Because addiction alone can't really explain the lack of empathy and sociopathy, for me anyway. Those are massive character flaws on the magnitude of a cluster b diagnosis.

I've known more than a few alcoholics and they weren't sociopaths. In fact they were incredibly responsible and thoughtful people who just couldn't stop drinking. One would do what he called "going into the cave." When he was on the bottle he would only go to work and go home. He wouldn't socialize with friends, wouldn't date and wouldn't start drinking until he was in for the night - no driving. My sister was an alcoholic - and she paid her bills, sent xmas gifts, cared about me and my children and her friends, all while she quietly drank herself to death. My best-friend's wife was the same. A good, good woman. Sure there are drinkers who get behind the wheel and have tempers - they may be the ones with dual diagnoses. But my point is, addiction doesn't have to equal risking our health, breaking marriage vows, breaking the law, gaslighting or lying.

So, even if you take away the infidelity, at least in my case, I'm left with a selfish, immature, entitled, empathy-impaired asshat.

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