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Everything posted by Chrissy

  1. Jo, I'd like to refer back to your post about your analysis of the situation and figuring out what you felt might have triggered his 'over'- reaction. As Tabs has mentioned we are empathetic human beings, this is our core, this is what we do, nothing forced, nothing learned and it flows naturally out of us. This is who you are: perceptive, spontaneous, empathetic, genuine and big hearted. Helping an addict deal with their 'acting out' and helping someone, especially whom you love would be and is the most natural thing in the world. However reading through what you have written raises a few questions that I'd like you to ponder. You mentioned...'stepping in before he slips' …might you be trying to manage his behaviour? Is his openness about being triggered actually helpful for you? Do you think that it might make him more dependent on you...and perhaps you dependant/vigilant/watchful/wary on him? I'd be a little cautious about attributing your husbands actions to you helping your sister, although you mention that you're not trying to make excuses for his behaviour. The fact that you think you've 'figured it out'- might be taking away from him the sole responsibility of him figuring it out, not that he would or maybe in an emotional intelligent place to so. What you did Jo in helping your sister and her husband was noble, true, worthy and reflecting your core character, the fact that those pure actions had such a devastating effect on him just doesn't make sense. In fact it won't make sense, these are concepts so diametrically opposed to each other. Can't we be those things to others without fear of causing such a volatile and extreme reaction? Will that self knowledge of yours prevent you from helping your sister in the future...or anyone else? At some stage we have realise how much of our partners behaviours affect the way we are and act. This phrase troubles me, ' I’m just devastated that both him and I didn’t recognise it happening at the time we really let our guards down', Does this phrase demonstrate a 'shared ownership' of the problem I wonder? Jo, it is so painful to be confronted by our partners lack of empathy or emotional support, but it is indicative of their predicament. They are such broken individuals, but however much we love them and so desperately want them to be whole and integral people, they need tailored and different support than what we can give. Set your boundaries Jo, be uncompromising with them. You and your family's security whether that be emotional or physical is more important that his state of mind. Big hug to you dear sister xx
  2. Jo, This sounds a truly horrific experience and one which you are trying to make sense of. You have been violated and the trust that your partnership had has been shattered. I wonder if seeking some professional support might help you. The fact that he's looking to you for TLC indicates to me that he feels the victim here- which is totally the wrong way round! This is psychological abuse. You cannot allow the fear of 'pushing him over the edge' prevent you from protecting yourself. He is ultimately responsible for his actions and his actions have consequences. I'm not surprised you're scared, I would be! Sending you a big virtual hug xx
  3. Evening everyone, As Jo Joy so eloquently wrote the fear of loneliness for us the partners somehow outweighs the downs of an abusive relationship...because that is what it is and that perhaps holds us back from moving forward. If we value ourselves as human beings and recognise out true worth we will realise that we crumble inside when we are with them. We cannot be ourselves, we have to be their version of us and it's crushing and can end up causing our spirit to split. I spent 23 years of my life living a version of me that wasn't truly me. Only when I started to learn more about what controlled my then husband did I start to piece together a jigsaw of a life in parallel. In my case he knew the consequences of his addiction as it was written by his hand in a workbook, unfortunately the pain of loosing his family wasn't sufficient. Beatrice123 don't compromise your boundaries and hold firm, your friends stand with you sister! xx
  4. Dearest Sunflower, You will get through this, it does take time and the process that you describe is a stage in the processing of grief. The fact that your husband doesn't tire of saying sorry to you for the deepest sadness that his behaviour has caused, for me is a real sign of remorse. As you have been together for so long I am not surprised that this process of working through pain and hurt is taking a while. In my experience ( 30yrs married) with my ex husband, 'disclosure' was in 2014, he was asked to leave in Oct 2016, divorce Nov 2019. From Oct 2016 to about April 2017 I was numb and crying most days. (Trying to study and work at the same time!) After that I was crying less but little things triggered another episode and I would feel disorientated and in a state of hyper arousal for about a week. This went on for at least a year. After the deep sadness stage came the anger phase which lasted about 3 months and the air was blue!!! Anybody who knows me wouldn't have believed the amount of anger I felt and the language I used! Gradually the pain has got less and less but then he is no longer with me, no longer there as a reminder of the pain.... Sunflower, do allow yourself to feel but it might be useful to have a counsellor to accompany you in this processing of grief. Warmest hug Chrissy xx
  5. Hi again long suffering, Like Tabs I was with my husband for 30 years, he was my only ever my intimate partner. I learnt with him, trusted him and was deceived by him. As the addiction seemed to have more of a hold on him, his acting out got more daring and risky although I could only ever take his word for it … Addicts lie so the whole truth I'll never know. I got married at 22, very naïve and totally inexperienced. He moulded me to what he wanted. On occasions I couldn't understand why I really wasn't aroused by him and faked being so as that was what he wanted. He wanted me to score our sexual encounter...I think this was one of the keys as to why sex started to be a turn off. It had to be perfect all the time. I realise that for him it needed to be...and better than him acting out, as I do believe that he desperately wanted not to act out his addiction. I really wanted to be myself, but somehow couldn't be. I wanted to be loved for who I was but found that that wasn't good enough. I was unaware until in the last years of our relationship that he'd acted out since the first years of marriage and kept it a secret. He used to tell me about his acting out usually about two weeks after the event. I instinctively knew something was up...but couldn't put my finger on what it was. We had to have sex and would then implore me to have more sex as this was going to help him get over it! (his addiction). I felt used and abused and told him so...yet he'd say he loved me and cherished me. I really couldn't understand this at all and felt really confused. We went to sex therapist who really didn't grasp the fact that it was as a result of the addiction that our sex life was dysfunctional. He said he guaranteed that after the 5/6 sessions we'd be much better. He didn't understand that my lack of trust and the fact that I'd been lied to on numerous occasions was a key to the lack of libido in me. The whole episode left me very frustrated. Latterly my husband too suffered with erectile dysfunction and just wanted me to stimulate him, so no intercourse at all. I was SO frustrated. During this time I was also perimenopausal which really throws a 'spanner in the works' as it were. I actually felt repulsed and disgusted by him. After he left and in these subsequent few years I've gone through significant healing, read, listened to podcasts and come to understand myself much more. It has been a long process but a necessary one. My understanding of real intimacy is the total submission to each other...if one is guarding secrets and actually not allowing the other to love them, intimacy is flawed. I would love to find another partner and share my everything with. I hope this helps in some way. Big hug xx
  6. Hi Long suffering, I really want to reply to your post but will have more time at the weekend. This rings a lot of bells with me and the process that I've been through have come to understand things with a greater perspective. Big Hug xx
  7. Hi Foreverhealing, I'm 58. I started the process of 'leaving' I think a very long time ago. The leaving was in my head. Those little instances that made me feel less than worthy, the times when I went to a counsellor because I was told I was the problem, when I felt that my health came after my husbands sexual desires, when I had to 'score' our love making...the undermining of my trust that I tried to give time and time again. For all of us it's one step at a time and support from those who can identify with us Take care xx
  8. Hi ladies, Reading through these posts I'm stuck by the similarities and the common thread to them all. That is something that we can hold on to .....that we are NOT alone in this journey of trauma/healing. The problem is that it takes so much time and not all of us can wait or should wait. What is right for one cannot be applied to another's circumstances. For instance that you , Feeling Fragile can be an accountability partner to your husband is not necessarily beneficial for someone else. In my circumstances I was so deceived by the lying and half truths that I wanted some other blokes who knew him to basically tell him to 'man up' and get a grip on his life. However he only told them what was happening days/weeks later....and the problem seemed to be that certainly one of them was so taken in by my husbands stories that he believed I was the problem! My husband's problem was that he wasn't just using devices he was the device and acting out in public. I couldn't 'babysit' him all the time I was already in a downward spiral of psychological abuse and pain. I absolutely didn't want to leave my husband as I didn't believe that it was an option. Eventually there was no choice as he made very little effort to engage in recovery. It was so painful both the act of divorce and the process of grieving for a life that you knew. I now have my life back...it's been a hard process of re-building and new build but I'm a stronger an more resilient person as a result.
  9. Hi Lilo, How are you doing? Is the trauma therapist helping you make more sense of life? Yes, feeling alive in your body and present in it is such an important step in the healing process. Being in connection with your emotions and beginning to feel able to express them...no matter how visceral they may make you feel or surprising or alarming is vital. My divorce went through in Nov 2018 and we'd been separated since October 2016. I have been through a long process of counselling and therapy and I embraced it all as I knew the only to recover 'myself' was to open myself up to whatever needed healing in my life-from childhood to the present. Even since I finished the counselling about 2 1/2 years ago, I went through an existential crisis of 'who was I'. Again I allowed myself to go through it. I suppose it felt a bit like I was 18/19 again (except I was 56!!!!) and had never gone through it before. Big hug xx
  10. Hi Feeling Fragile, Would it help to express your emotions? Sending you a big hug Chrissy xx
  11. Kay Kay, how are you doing? For me it was the continuous betrayal of trust....and yet I gave him another chance. This betrayal slowly ate away at my trust and my ability to believe in him and believe that he could recover. I trusted in his word on countless occasions and felt I ought to give him yet another chance to change. Eventually his chances to prove that he was taking the relationship seriously ran out. He knew this. I discovered in a work book by Patrick Carnes that his continual non compliance would lead to the relationship breaking. As Tabs has said seeking out a trained therapist who could help with the unravelling and help to give you back some control over your thoughts sounds like a good idea Big hug xx
  12. Kay Kay, Reading your message I was struck by two phrases, 'I can't make sense of my feelings' and 'I don't think he deserves me'. From where I'm sitting there is no sense that you say he doesn't deserve you... Your feelings are in a melting pot of such opposite and contrary emotions at the moment so it's wise not to act on impulse. How can one be treated so well and yet so badly. That does not make sense. Love treats people well in all situations never does it treat people badly. Anna has given good advice insomuch as to look after yourself and your children, those are your responsibilities. His recovery or not is entirely his. Big hug x
  13. Lilo, Thank you for your reply and just to say that what you are feeling is normal. Have you thought anymore about the horse riding? Any other ideas? Singing is such a gift and it can lift the spirit. Are there any ways of using your gift ? A choir? Unfortunately the therapeutic separation became permanent and led to divorce because his behaviour was not safe and I didn't feel safe around him. However each person has their own path which is unique to their situation. Big hug Chrissy xx
  14. Hi Lilo, This absence is such a difficult thing to process. There's a huge hole in your life; a sense of bereftness both physically and emotionally. Huge sense of devastation. There's also a fear that he'll not return, or not want to. It's that numbness that initially comes with bereavement. I went through this a few years ago now as our therapist suggested a 'therapeutic separation'. My ex-husband was completely oblivious to the angst and pain that he was causing so the therapist could see no other option for us than actually 'rescue' me. They wouldn't have necessarily seen it that way and I definitely wouldn't have chosen that path. During the first month I was 'beside myself' with grief and numbness. My adult children took steps so that if he wanted to talk to me all messages had to go via them, I had been married for 30 years.....on the Monday after he left I started a post grad. This actually gave me a focus although on occasion I had to ask for extensions for essays. Lilo, is there something that you can do for yourself ? Something that will absorb your time and energies? What are your interests? This time is an opportunity for you. You're not mad. Yours is a normal reaction to his madness. Big hug xx
  15. Hi Feeling Fragile, That's such a lot of information to process. I'm not surprised you feel numb. What you feel is a normal response to a shock. Be kind to yourself and don't feel you have to respond straight away, allow yourself time to process this information. Sending you a big hug Chrissy x
  16. Hi Tabs, This could so easily have been my ex husband and who knows this could still be a possibility. For his addiction was the acting out in a public place..... The only episode that I know of was when he confessed that he'd 'paid off' some people who saw him, so as not to go to the police! As you say Tabs it's the dopamine high and the miniscule line with the ends justifying the means. There is no risk assessment and that is the crucial lack of brain synapse. Chrissy x
  17. Hi Nort123, Being and feeling anger is a normal response to a betrayal of trust. It really is ok! But I'd draw a line on physical aggression. It took me a long time to tap into my feelings of anger. My ex husband would confess, sometimes a few weeks after an incident, ask for forgiveness and then expect to go back to 'normal' whatever his understanding of normal was. For me there could never be a normal again. Every time the trust was broken (yet again) a tiny bit of me died inside. Our intimacy was shattered but it took me a long time and a lot of self discovery to understand that concept. Be gentle on yourself Nort123, you are dealing with so much pain. Our minds struggle to be able to process the ordinary things of life, like hold down a job or raise kids, when our minds are 'frozen' in the pain. Creativity and joy suffer so much due to the quantity of energy spent in the 'making sense of' a traumatic experience. Big hug xx
  18. Gem Gem, Please know that you're accepted here just as you are. We all have our stories to tell and that each and every is valid and worthy to be heard. You are definitely not insane or going mad as I though I was! The addict is able to compartmentalise their behaviours and feelings which I understand as the splitting of their personality to cope with the duality of their life. We believe perhaps that we are 'going mad' because to my way of thinking we, the healthy partner is being forced to 'split' too. Our heads cannot cope with that as we strive to be authentic people. For us healthy individuals it is, what you see is what you get and being content and happy in our own skin. A question Gem Gem , what are you doing to look after you? It may be time to start to love yourself and take care of you for your child. We are not responsible for the addict partner...I wish I'd realised that sooner and stopped trying to 'fix' him. We can see through our 'healthy' lens what the addicts should be doing in our opinions. The fact is we would be moving heaven and earth to improve things, whereas many addicts are so stuck in their destructive behaviour they are incapable of getting out. Big hug xx
  19. Gem Gem, if this is an outlet to share your feelings and help to process your pain then use this forum. Please don't feel that those difficult feelings are not welcome here....they are. This is the real you. It's also really crucial that others who are on the same journey but perhaps are unable to express their emotions 'hear' yours and so begin to be able to appropriate those same feelings for themselves. I didn't really get angry with my ex husband until about a year and a half after he'd left, such was the trauma and warped thinking I had experienced. But hey when I found my voice and got angry I was swearing and feeling such aggression towards him for about 3 months! At first I was very surprised at the depth of feelings I experienced, I suppose really due to the suppression of them for so long. Also the swearing which if anyone knows me would say was totally out of character! However my adult children thought this was real liberation for their mum. I agree that there is zero trust and that the thought of a sex life with him filled me with revulsion. Yes there is grief too.... the grieving process is an up and down journey but it's trajectory is forward. Big hug Gem Gem xx
  20. Gem Gem thank you for being real, for being you, for sharing your frustrations and distress. Your husband feels he's the victim of the addiction...he is in a way, but not the real victims who are you and your son. You are not stupid, you may feel it. I did when I bit by bit unearthed the addiction of my ex husband. I felt how naïve I'd been to trust this guy who had hung, drawn and quartered our marriage. Yes there had been glimpses of recognition from time to time but his old patterns of behaviour returned time and time again. I felt caught up in a web of deceit and duplicity and that I felt powerless to escape. On one occasion I nearly crashed on my bike into a mum with her child in a buggy. I felt that life was a blur, as if I was in a bubble, muffled voices around me. I felt in a parallel universe. My ex too seemed to think that he could just beg for forgiveness and then 'rinse and repeat'. He really had no idea of the damage that he'd done and to this day I truly believe that he still doesn't. Gem Gem please reach out and get help. As Christine says take an hour at a time. There are many on this forum who have been through or still going through very similar experiences to yours. You are not alone. A big hug to you x
  21. Hi KayKay, How have the last few weeks been? It's so difficult to lift yourself up after feeling so let down. It's even more difficult to 'hold yourself' in this time of pain and be there for your partner. In the past what has enabled him to see he's relapsed? Has it been you showing him or him coming to his own conclusions? Sending a big hug xx
  22. Hi Mona, So sorry to hear about your situation. Arhhhh! From my understanding being a wife may mean giving unconditional support but not unilaterally being responsible and certainly not his for his behaviour. Supporting doesn't mean treading on egg shells around him or being afraid you'd hurt his feelings therefore not challenging him on issues that affect you both. This is tough love to coin a phrase. You are not a doormat to calmly accept your husband as he is...... Mental health issues are complex and individual according to each couple. From my experience I reckon that my former husband's depression/bi-polar/OCD or whatever he has quite frankly is partly a result of his addiction and his internal conflicts and the 'splitting' of his personality as the result of living in two worlds. It may be that your husband had this addiction before he met you and saw in you someone who could 'cure' him because you love him completely. I have come to understand that my husband thought that...not consciously at all, but as I who could satisfy all his needs. Unfortunately the sad reality may be that an addict gets his 'kicks' from his acting out behaviour and not from a loving relationship. Mona, getting help for both of you is vitally important and be specific for sex addiction. Sending you a big hug xx
  23. Hi Natalieb, You obviously care deeply for this guy. Who knowingly would put themselves through pain. So there's nothing 'silly' about wanting to believe him. For my part I struggled and wrestled in my head for a long time trying to rationalise the 2 opposing thoughts: he says he loves and cherishes me ....yet he acts out and puts my and our family's safety and security at risk. Can this be the same guy? You say that you've told a close friend and his mum? Might it be an idea to ask your friend to be with you as you challenge your partners behaviour? Asking his mum may be problematic for various reasons....not least as he's her son and that familial loyalty will be very strong in spite of the wrongdoing. But it would need to be you that vocalises the situation, your friend is there for moral support. The fact that you know what he's doing but not vocalise it enables you to live in a parallel reality. Perhaps its this that is the block? In my case when our therapist suggested that we separate I remember sitting in the car (with my husband) totally stunned by the situation. I thought how on earth am I supposed to get him to leave. I ended up asking our Vicar to come and visit (he knew the situation) and it was he that said to my husband pack your bags...phone a friend and move out this evening. There is absolutely no shame is asking for backup and support....this is your strength as you know your own limitations. Another big hug back to you xxx
  24. Hi Natalieb, Thank you for sharing your story and your struggles. I agree with those who have posted already that you and your children are the only real victims in this. You didn't cause it, it is out of your control and not in your power to cure it. I, like you found it impossible to talk or to reason with my ex husband. I hoped that he would see the pain he was causing if not to me personally but to his kids and somehow change his ways. The cycle for me was a confession of acting out behaviour and asking for forgiveness, normally about 2 weeks after the event. I instinctively knew when something had gone on as having been with him for 25 years plus you just know. When he asked for forgiveness he seemed contrite every time but I knew that it would happen again. As a christian I found that I was between a rock and a hard place in not giving my forgiveness. I now understand that the method of an abuser is in this cycle of behaviour. I was so angry inside but could not externalise, somehow I felt if I did I would loose control of me...that was what I was afraid of. I was afraid of not coping for the sake of the children who by this time were late teens/ young adults. My shame also played into this. I understand that the behaviour of an addict is two faced. One which is charm personified to everyone else and to me who knew this addiction he was the opposite and told me I had the problem. I felt that the concealing of this other world that was my reality, which was spiralling out of my control and pulling me down into its maelstrom was causing a 'splitting' of my personality too. I was going to have a complete nervous breakdown. Thankfully my husbands counsellor (at the Laurel centre) asked to talk to me separately. They discovered that what my husband had been telling them was not the reality of the situation. After a few months it took the counsellor to recommend a 'therapeutic separation' and the reason for this was psychological abuse. Natalieb I would not have been able to do this myself it took a third party to state the obvious and spell it out to me. The first few months were excruciatingly painful but at least I had my home which was now a place of safety and a few good friends who I confided in. Now four and a half years on I'm SO much better. Natalieb please get help- this is psychological abuse. Sending you a big hug xx
  25. Lorna, Thank you for being brave and vulnerable in sharing this experience. You have shown both courage and integrity in the face of betrayal. Deception and duplicity cut to the very core of our intimacy and on your part you have been trustworthy and faithful. This is a reason why the pain and anguish is SO intense. As a-struggling-partner has suggested, being kind to yourself and allow yourself to grieve. Perhaps when he's away allow yourself time to make a plan. You will get through it. We are testimony to that. Sending you a big virtual hug
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