Oh, geez. We made it to that Monday morning I was dreading and things aren’t much better for me. Maybe I need to get out and get some exercise. I have been so tired lately, but today is the day to get off my ass and work out.
Last night we went to a movie with my parents. It was the five of us: me, Blue Eyes, The Peacemaker, my mother and father. My mother had read Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild” a couple years back and actually met her at a book signing and since there weren’t a lot of people at the bookstore, they talked for a bit. My mother was purchasing the book to read for her book club and she didn’t know much about it. She did end up loving the book and then cherished her personal chat with Cheryl even more. A few months ago she gave her book to me and Blue Eyes to read, 1) because she really liked it, and 2) because she thought it somehow applied to our situation, maybe. We have had so much going on and I was in the middle of another book, which took me months to finish, so I guess what I am saying is, I never got around to finishing reading “Wild.” Now it seems the movie has come and gone from the theaters, but it was showing at one theater downtown and so we all agreed to go see the movie with my mother. No doubt my father and The Peacemaker would have rather seen something else, but they were troopers.
When we left the theater, my mother was so cute (she is adorable anyway) and she apologized for the use of the “F” word in the movie (but she did not at all mention the many Reese boob shots, or the other extramarital sex/nude scenes, hmmm). She didn’t remember the “F” word being so prevalent in the book. Maybe they just added it to make the movie more marketable, but she was highly offended by it every time Reese Witherspoon said it, or it was written across the screen. Funny that she was apologizing to me, her 51 year old daughter, to my husband, a diagnosed sex addict, and to her 21 year old Grandson who plays violent video games and listens to rap music. She is so cute.
After having my eyes opened to the fact that I have been living with a sex addict for 30+ years, personally I think Cheryl must have had some kind of temporary trauma-induced break down that catapulted her into the heroine/sexual infidelities as portrayed in the movie. Based pretty much on what I saw in the movie, she does not appear to be an addict to me. It felt like she had let grief (and childhood wounds) after the untimely death of her mother envelop her and she acted out, but that she got herself under control enough to set about on a 1000 mile hike. An unrecovered addict (in my limited knowledge and opinion) cannot just set out on such a hike and nothing in the movie led me to believe Cheryl went through rehab. Not that anyone told me Cheryl is an addict, but I think the movie is actually saying she was on a path of self discovery, not on a path of recovering from addiction. So, I easily separated the movie from anything in my own life, EXCEPT, the depraved sex scenes in the movie were a HUGE TRIGGER for me. That “sick in the pit of my stomach” feeling kind of trigger. As I watched her husband drag her naked body out of a horrifying sex and drug-induced haze, I wished desperately that that had happened to my husband. That all those years ago he had become so depraved in his addiction that he had done something, anything, to alert anyone that he was a sex addict. Instead, he was able to creatively and secretly hide his other life and carry on with multiple women and live a lie for decades.
I liked the movie and I think Cheryl Strayed is inspirational. I love her quotes and her strength. Anyone that can drag themselves out of that kind of pit of despair certainly deserves happiness and success. The movie did not, however, help my already shitty mood from earlier in the day.
This morning, Blue Eyes sent me this email from work:
Well I just finished some more work on the 4th step and really tapped into the anger and resentment / self hatred. Now trying to come down from it slowly and prepare for the day. I love and miss you tons and while I know there is nothing I can do, I am truly sorry for all pain I have put you through because of my inability to deal with my family….there is much self hatred and anger and resentment coming from there……it is huge…
Here is to a great week where we get plenty of sleep, eat the right things, do the elliptical and our walks. Also salad and steak at our favorite restaurant sound really good. No cake :).
To my beautiful angel
I love you so
your pony tail
time for you to be tickled and to have a picnic in the sunshine
I wish I was at that place in my journey where I could just read all good things from this email. Appreciate the fact that he is working a step, that he is saying loving and kind words, that he is being playful. Instead, my mood prompts me to write this response:
I really love picnics in the sunshine. I think there are a lot of other things I love that I have forgotten about, or pushed aside. I think the same has happened to you. I am glad you are working on your 4th step and garnering some enlightenment. It is not my job to put words in your mouth or re-direct your thoughts, but I don’t think your parents/family are the the only things in your life that bring out your anger and resentment.
I have really been thinking about this and because of this deep-seated lack of awareness on your part (in my opinion), I think you have resented many of the decisions you have made. I think we met too young. I think you feel like life decisions were put upon you when in fact you were making the decisions for yourself. You decided to be in a relationship with me. You decided to go to Japan. You decided to return from Japan. You decided to marry me. You decided to have a family with me. You decided how your career would progress. You decided to go to Law School. You decided what you were going to be/do in life. I was cleaning up in our room and I quickly browsed through those journals from Japan again (and later). A few things pop out at me. First, the fact that you don’t even mention my arrival in Japan. Second, the only time you do mention me in your journal is when you talk about my wanting to start a family and how you are not ready and how you want to travel, etc… The thing that is so weird about that is what I was really obsessed with was finishing my education. I do not even remember discussing children at 23 years old, especially after the miscarriage of a couple years before. I did not want to start a family. I wanted to finish college and get established in a career. I knew you were planning to go to law school. Even when we conceived in that last year of law school, it was not planned. You know that. It is weird how you just make up shit in your own mind that has no basis in reality. Third, in a later entry in your journal, you merely refer to me as “your wife.” I guess for me, after we had been married for a few years and had two children, and you are writing a journal and you refer to me as “your wife,” just gives me a cold, creepy feeling. I know you cannot reflect now on why you wrote something when you were 30-ish years old, but it really opens my eyes and confirms my feelings that we are all just pawns in this game you are playing. People are not people to you, they are things to be manipulated and controlled and moved around at your will.
I think along the way some of those decisions you made for yourself became stressful for you and it was easier for you to act out in order to try and deal with the stress versus taking responsibility for your own choices and/or reaching out to the person who loves and cares for you most. Your behavior was selfish and hurtful. I do not believe that you overtly felt like other people were making decisions for you, you are not that self aware. I think you were just frankly resentful and you didn’t realize it and didn’t know why. I realize the lies do extend back to the very beginning. You have lived inside yourself and your own head since the very beginning. It was never “we” for you. It was “we” for me, but you never were a true partner. Sure, you did stuff as part of a coupleship. You worked to bring in money (as have I over the years), you took out the garbage (mostly) and some other household chores (but not a lot), you took care of your child/children when you were around, but at the same time, you chose not to be around a lot of the time. You chose a solitary life where you could feed your addiction while at the same time neglecting us as a family.
The thing that really makes all of these realizations so difficult for me is not the fact that I cannot go back and change or fix any of it, it is the fact that you are now in recovery, attempting to alter some of your behavior and your way of thinking and your coping strategies, but at the same time, I am trying to figure out if you are even capable of being a real partner. It is a true dilemma for me. Prior to dday, I would have done anything for you, believing so wholly in the good in you. Now I know the extent to which you sacrificed my happiness for your own selfish needs and that is just overwhelming. I am not sure you will be able to alter your way of thinking enough to ever truly put others before yourself or to feel deep down the depth of the consequences of your actions. When you snuggle up to me, I know it is not because you are trying to comfort me or out of a feeling of overwhelming love, it is because you feel lonely and you are trying to fulfill your own need. Normally, I would jump at the chance to help you fulfill your needs, but now that I am fully aware of how little you care/d about my needs, it makes it much more difficult to fall easily into a loving pattern with you. You are always trying to fulfill your own needs without evaluating the impact on all involved. If when you snuggled up to me, you said something loving and truly kind and heartfelt, it might feel different. It might feel like you are not just a small child trying to get the nurturing you desperately seek. Last night, when you wrapped your arms around me (in a way that was not conducive to sleep), I asked you what you were doing. You said you were cozying me. I need more than that from you in terms of communication. I need you to be honest with what your actions mean. You still have great difficulty communicating. When I say something that should start a conversation, you shut down. I think you think if I just get it out, it will be enough. It will help me heal. Unfortunately, it is quite the opposite. The more I say that goes unanswered by you, the further I feel from a true marriage. No matter how many times I have asked you to be present and speak, talk, say what you feel. Either you just don’t feel, or you are still unable to really share. I do not see this as viable recovery in terms of the relationship. This recovery is not just about you. You have fucked over a lot of people, you cannot just pretend like you can have those relationships you want because you want them. People are not robots. You have to do your share, and perhaps your share is now actually more than my share, or anyone else’s share. You have to work harder and stop giving yourself a pass.
You are completely and 100% culpable for all the actions you have done over the past 30+ years. You cannot blame anyone. I am not sure you truly embrace this concept because I think you are still rationalizing what made you do what you did. YOU made you do what you did, and you are still doing things that sabotage a relationship.
I realize your relationship with your parents catapulted your addiction and it all started way back when, however, you have had many opportunities in our marriage to show up as a man and you chose not to. I am waiting to see if you show up this time.
“I’d finally come to understand what it had been: a yearning for a way out, when actually what I had wanted to find was a way in.” ― Cheryl Strayed, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
I think it is time for me to go for a long walk, do some work, and then write another post about Paris. Paris makes me happy.
13 thoughts on “Continuing to purge”
I wrote out a kind of long response but then realized that you might not want to hear it. So, I saved it somewhere else. I’m more than happy to send it to you privately, if you’d prefer. I’m not really sure of the level of brutal honesty (of course, from my perspective) in comments that you wish to receive. And I don’t want to step on any toes or hurt any feelings. I’m more than happy to keep my nosey nose out of your business. lol
Hi saspouse. I welcome your comments. All of your comments. I really appreciate that there are other spouses on WP blogs that are wives of sex addicts. I appreciate that other wives have more experience than I and that I am far from perfect. I write my truth here, but that does not mean I feel like I am right or righteous, for that matter. It is what it is. So, I not so hesitantly (well may just a little bit hesitantly) say, bring it! I think the dialogue in the comments can be just as interesting and enlightening as the posts by me or others. I know a lot of people read through the comments. I do. I look forward to reading and discussing further. Ironically, through some dialogue on an old post, I actually lost two followers in one day because they did not like the fact that I had ended my individual therapy. It bothered me a little, but to each their own. If they couldn’t stay and help me, it was best for them to leave. I try to respect everyone even if I don’t agree. If you feel more comfortable, you can always send to my email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Great! Sorry I wasn’t able to get back until right now. I keep this account and email address private in every way so I don’t know when a response comes in until I go retrieve it. It warms my heart that you are open to what I have to say and, likewise, I welcome your feedback, too. Here is what I was going to comment before:
I’m kind of jumping around in entries and came to the current to see how things are going now. I was hoping that you had finally realized your responsibility in all of this but it looks like you haven’t yet and that makes me sad. The sooner you realize that you helped him be sick, the faster you will heal and the faster he will heal. Did you make him do what he did, of course not. Is his addiction your “fault”, absolutely not. But, from reading your entries there were so many times that you chose denial.
From making excuses for him, to allowing red flags to go unnoticed, to not even reading the “love letters” that he wrote to Colleen all those years ago. Yes, HE chose the behavior, but he could not have gone this long unnoticed without your unwavering help.
As soon as you accept your portion of the blame, you’ll stop looking at him saying “hurry up and get fixed, you lying cheating bastard”, and you’ll start to see him more as a partner in your quest to fix your marriage. By seeing all the ways that you can help will make your relationship heal faster and stronger.
I also feel that responding to his email with the one that you wrote struck me as “wrong place, wrong time”. I know you are hurting, and still very much in pain, but you need to know that when someone is trying to change almost every single thing about themselves, they need high fives for the small things. They need encouragement at every stage. Yes, you should have told him all those things that you wrote in the email….but later. Not in response to a quick, love email that he wrote to you.
I know that I don’t know you…and you don’t know me, and I also know that sometimes my emails come off as curt or snarky, so please know that is not, in any way, my intention. But, it’s just in my nature to try to help someone if I feel they need it. If you’d rather me keep my mouth shut, please just say the word and I will understand.
After reading some of your old blog entries today, I kind of knew which way your comment was going to go. I need to let you know, first, I appreciate you taking the time to comment and share your thoughts and experiences. I am going to respectfully disagree with you, however. I do not and have never considered myself as co-dependent or a co-addict. I did not know that my husband was a sex addict, so there is no way I am responsible or would feel responsible for his addiction or his behavior. For me, I only associate with the trauma model in regards to my relationship with a sex addict. I have been diagnosed with C-PTSD and have received many many hours of trauma therapy with a CSAT and although I have been counseled to realize my own strength and my ability to move forward from my marriage without my husband if I need to, for my own safety, I have never been counseled to take responsibility for his addiction or what he did to our marriage. There is no way my husband considers me responsible for any of his behavior. And (because he just told me after we read your comment together) he does not blame me for any of my trauma responses. It is all part of the journey. I always knew my husband had coping issues and exhibited behaviors that I found less than stellar, but I knew he did it to boost his own ego and over the years he got very good at hiding it and therefore, I believed he was maturing away from the childhood trauma perpetrated on him by his family. I did not realize that it is not possible for a sex addict to heal without the proper resources (i.e., proper therapy and usually a 12 step program) because I had no idea what sex addiction was or that he was an addict. My entries are all written post discovery day. Of course after the fact, hindsight being what it is, and now knowing that there is such a thing as sex addiction, I can tell some of his early behavior was his sex addiction evolving. As it evolved, however, he became extremely adept at hiding everything. My husband was an extreme workaholic and his sexaholism and workaholism were inextricably intertwined. I really believe what you are seeing as denial is merely ignorance of a disease that my husband had that I had no idea existed. I’m not sure exactly what you are referring to when you say “allowing red flags to go unnoticed.” Without a direct reference, I cannot speak to it. Also, regarding the letters to Colleen, they were written more than 17 years prior (22 years ago now). Why would I want to read them? That would be extremely destructive to a marriage that had thrived for all those years without Colleen anywhere in our lives. We raised two boys and created a successful business in that time. There weren’t actually any problems in our marriage. There were no signs my husband was cheating until the email I found in 2005 and at the time, my husband explained it away with great skill, because that is what sex addicts do. There is no way I will take responsibility for being lied to and gaslighted. I never believed my husband would cheat on me, so I am not sure how that is actually denial. That is trust and faith and love in my book. And my unwavering help that allowed him to “have gone this long unnoticed” was my respecting my husband enough to let him build a successful business without me questioning his every move. I am not sure what I would have questioned? The fact that he traveled “alone.” The fact that he was a workaholic? The fact that he had dozens of meetings a week? The fact that he worked all hours of the day and night. Sometimes we worked those hours together. My husband was broken when I met him. He has years of recovery to contend with. I on the other hand, am not an addict, or a co-addict, and I am not in recovery. I am incredibly encouraging to my husband and frankly, he is lucky I am still here, by his side, running a company with him, sleeping with him, loving him, nurturing him. Do I have really bad days because my husband perpetrated a crime on me and my life and my soul, well, yeah, yeah I do. Is he going to pay a price for his actions, are there consequences. Yep. Am I ever going to take responsibility for any of his actions past or present, No. Just like he doesn’t have to take responsibility for mine.
My husband’s addictive behavior is driven by resentment and anger from his childhood that he never learned how to manage. It did not come from me. He never learned to take responsibility for himself and instead he learned how to use sex as a coping mechanism. None of that is on me. I do appreciate you trying to help, but pushing co-dependent ideals on a traumatized spouse is actually quite traumatizing itself. I hope you can see this from a different perspective. We are all different and we are all just trying to heal. I have only read a few of your early entries, so I have no idea where you are, currently on your journey, but my journey is my own and I write a blog to help me heal.
You do not need to keep your mouth shut, but I need you to know that I will stand by what I believe and it appears we do have different beliefs. I can also be quite blunt when I believe this strongly, especially when that something I believe in relates so intimately to my health and well being.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Here is an article that begins to describe the model under which I was treated a few months after discovery day.
I never associated with the co-dependent model and when I would read books or articles that implied that I somehow knew or condoned the behavior or looked the other way or ignored “red flags” it actually further traumatized me. Here is another article from the same website.
Have you read the book ‘Your Sexually Addicted Spouse: How Partners Can Cope and Heal’? I know you are further along in your journey than I (at 15 months), but this was a book I read that finally addressed the difference in the two models and I finally felt like someone understood me. It seems a lot of people want us to believe that the betrayed spouses are somehow culpable.
Also, to be honest with you, if my husband wasn’t witnessing my trauma throughout this, I am not sure he would be progressing at all on his recovery journey because it is very easy to rationalize their way out of taking responsibility for everything they are and everything they have done. It seems all of society wants to give them a break. Giving themselves a “break” or a “pass” is what got them in such trouble in the first place.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Yes, I have read that book, along with many others. And they helped me too. I was quite angry with our marriage therapist when she suggested my husband was a sex addict. I almost didn’t even go back to her because I felt that she was giving him an “easy out”. But, I went home and started reading all the things she asked me to read and I had no choice but to agree with her. My husband also suffered a lot of childhood trauma, I think most sex addicts have. He never dealt with them because he thought they were quite normal and that everyone was raised that way. My suggestion that you played a part in all of this is not to say that you made him do anything, or that his addiction was in any way your fault, in fact I said the same in my comment a few times. Being aware of your part in it is not the same as saying “Oh, it’s totally your fault that he’s like this”. not in the least. And even with all of the things you listed in your other comment, you kept explaining them away. I’m paraphrasing here because I don’t have that comment open but: “Yes, there was that email in 2005, but he explained that away”, “Yes, he wrote love letters to Colleen, but that was so long ago why would i want to read them”, etc. One of those items alone and maybe yeah, no big deal, but when you take all of the little “well he did this…but”s , you add up to someone who chose not to see. And that’s ok. My purpose for writing this to you is in no way to further traumatize you, you have been through, and continue to go through, enough trauma. My point is to help you see things from a different perspective, to aid in your healing and to show you ways to see the signs should they start happening again. My husband saw my trauma, believe me. Even though I take a portion of the responsibility on myself (not because I was told to, or coerced to, but because I saw the truth and value in it), that does not lessen the blame that I put on him. He was (and has become again) my best friend. I have been through a lot in my life and I told him at least a million times how much trust meant to me and how it would make me feel if he broke my trust…but he did it anyway. He saw my trauma, believe me…and he still sees it to this day. He got no “break” or “pass” from me for his actions. None. What he got, though, was a wife that came to understand where he came from and has compassion for that. Someone that saw that she could have handled certain things better, and has since learned how to. The compassion that I’ve given him, according to him, was the best gift I could have given him because he knows how wrong he was. He knows how much he broke me. And without it, he wouldn’t have had as much hope to move forward. Yes, every story and every couple is a little different. I just wanted to share from my perspective. There was no malice or ill will intended at all. I look forward to reading more about your journey as time goes on and I wish you nothing but happiness and peace.
Again, we will just have to agree to disagree. Not sure how compassion and taking responsibility have anything to do with each other. I have great compassion and understanding for my husband and his illness. I stand by him every single day. My husband went from “working” 16 hours a day to not working at all, literally over night. I have stood by his side for 15 months watching him detox and struggle trying to find himself and figure out who HE is. I know who I am. No one knew my husband was doing what he was doing except him and his AP. Me having compassion and understanding (which I have in spades because I have an empathic personality) has nothing to do with the lies and betrayal he perpetrated on me and whether I somehow knew? Insinuating that a trusting wife knew that she was being cheated on and that her husband was an addict and she did nothing about it? That is hurtful and gas lighting. I am not saying you said that I should take responsibility for his actions, but even saying I should have known what was really going on is wildly inaccurate. I have always been a confident, self motivated person with high self esteem. I am trusting and loving and that is how and why he was able to do what he did. Again, we had over 20 years together when I found the email on his laptop. A sexual email from a woman he met online. He was mortified, he cried, he apologized, he went to therapy and once again was diagnosed with anxiety and stress. He lied to me and he lied to the therapist. He said nothing had happened with the woman. He is a sex addict. It all makes sense now, but that does not mean I should have been able to do what he couldn’t and what no one else could either, diagnose a sex addict when he is lying to everyone? I appreciate the fact that you say how you feel and your taking responsibility for some of your husband’s behavior (which still blows my mind) has helped you two. I just read your latest entry, however, and I am not sure I see that happening. When you take responsibility for your husband, I am not sure you are truly looking inside for your own strength and honesty and loyalty to yourself. You are the person who needs to heal from the betrayal, not take responsibility for it. Again, I think my intentions are the same as yours… to come out of this healing journey with my sanity intact. I do the best I can. Also, back to your post today… you are the perfect woman. He chose you and that has nothing to do with his sex addiction. If your sex addict husband was to seek out another woman it would be because he is not in recovery or having a relapse and he is looking for secret sex. My husband was not looking for a replacement for me, that is not usually what sex addiction is about… it is about medicating, coping, and feeling like shit about themselves. How can they be searching for the perfect woman when they hate themselves? You don’t give yourself enough credit, IMHO. I know this journey is a difficult one. I wish you all happy days.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I do apologize. It was not my intent to upset you at all, and I feel that I have. I just want to reiterate to you that I didn’t, and don’t, think you are responsible for his behavior, or even that “you should have known”, because that’s not what I’m trying to say. I’m obviously not an expert so maybe I’m just unable to articulate my meaning. I’m only saying that there were signs there that you chose to ignore, whether purposefully or not. That is really all I’m trying to say. Not that you should have known, not that it’s your fault in any way. As far as my last post, I still have moments where I feel on shaky ground…hell, he did it before, right? I’m human and I have those days. Most days, we are great….really great. Better than we were before D-Day. But, I do have days where the fear wins. Will I be ok if he relapses and we divorce? Ultimately, yes. Will I enjoy that process? Not even a little….so yes, there is still fear of what could be “if”….
Again, I do apologize for upsetting you or making you feel that I’m gaslighting you. You’re right in that what works for one person might not work for another. I do thank you for reading my comments in (I hope) the way they were intended, which was simply to help another woman who’s going through an awful thing.
I loved that film, it really resonated with me. After my father died I went through a similar sort of experience, no hard drugs or promiscuity but reckless behaviour. I remember one night, actually morning it was about 4 am I had been out with a girlfriend of mine and we ended up at our local beach. I stood in the sea and screamed at the stars, I didn’t identify it as grief, of course it was, I then proceeded to dance until I fell over and promptly fell asleep. That’s one story of about 18 months worth of similar stories. Grief, whatever the cause really warps your brain and perceptions.
LikeLiked by 2 people
I think this is why my mother loved the book so much. She has lost both her parents and my father is currently dying of cancer. She wants to believe in her own inner strength as well. It will be very difficult for her to lose her life partner. It will be difficult for all of us. I think when we lose people abruptly or if we feel they didn’t get to live the full life they should have, it feels so unfair. Life is unfair enough, and it is just another one of the hurdles. After trauma, I can totally understand wanting to lose yourself in the moment.
LikeLiked by 2 people
I’m so sorry to hear about your father Kat. It is truly the hardest thing I have ever had to go through, my father was 55. We were told 5 weeks before that he had reached the end, I’ll always be grateful we didn’t know for longer – that he didn’t know for longer. I miss him every single day. I can totally understand why your mother would be drawn to this story. It’s a very cruel sneaky disease.
LikeLiked by 1 person
We call him the healthiest sick person we know, but when they removed his prostate 12 years ago, the cancer had spread to his lymph nodes. The cancer re-appeared 2 1/2 years ago and he has been going through treatments and medications since then, but the cancer is very sneaky and very smart and is in his spine. With medications at the time, they gave him two years, he desperately wanted at least five. He is certainly well on his way to three years right now. He has that new granddaughter in Japan and he wants a little more time with her and everyone else. Obviously we’ll take whatever we can get, but it has been heartbreaking for both my mother and father knowing he will die of prostate cancer, it is just a matter of time.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Sounds very familiar, my father wanted 10 years so he could see his grandchildren become teenagers, it’s a kind of bargaining chip I think – not asking for forever, just enough time. For the people who are left it is certainly never long enough. X
LikeLiked by 1 person