A sky that matches my mood…
I have no idea where this is going, which is fairly unlike me. I really need to write now while my husband is away from the house. I need to think my thoughts out loud, in front of you all. It will probably sound crazy in the end, because I sorta feel crazy at this point.
I love my husband. I actually adore many many things about him. I think anyone who reads this blog can see that I really do want Blue Eyes to be successful in his recovery from sex addiction. And yet, I have been struggling with thoughts of separating from him. I am by no means talking divorce. I am talking a break. A break from the destructive behavior that he cannot seem to understand or move forward from. On dday, Blue Eyes’ secret and apparently torturous life was revealed. A weight was lifted from him and placed squarely on me. He has been diagnosed with an addiction. He no longer has to wonder why he was doing things he knew were wrong. He no longer does things that make him feel deep shame. He no longer has to lie and hide who he really is. He now knows that his worst fears were unfounded… people do understand and they have not abandoned him. What are the consequences for his behavior? He was blackmailed by a crazy woman. A crazy woman he solicited and he kept going back to for his drug. No one to blame but himself. Actually all of this is on him. No excuses. If indeed there are consequences to his crimes, I am the one paying them, not him. I am the one whose life has been turned upside down. I am the one dealing with lying, cheating, deception, and betrayal… an attack on the very foundation of my soul. A shattering of my entire world. I question his fortitude and I doubt his sincerity. His greatest fear is that I will leave him. Maybe he needs a drastic consequence to propel him to the real heart of his recovery. Maybe as long as I stay, things are too comfortable. He doesn’t have enough incentive.
Blue Eyes has physically been here for me for the past 15 months. He has been taking care of me since dday. He has held me, fed me when necessary. He has been intimate with me in all kinds of ways. These are things he has always done, so I wouldn’t expect any different. He has also remained “sober,” stayed and answered the questions he has been asked, for the most part at least, although it did take him months to fully come clean and there were months and months of lying by omission even after I begged him to just tell the truth. Over and over I cried to him that it wasn’t about the actual things he had done at that point, but indeed that I believed that he was now telling me the truth. He wasn’t. I understand these are the tactics of a sex addict. An unrecovered sex addict that is still in denial. The broken place deep inside does not allow Blue Eyes to believe he is worthy of love. The broken place inside does not allow Blue Eyes to truly depend on or rely on other people. People continually let him down when he was little. Even though I have been there, by his side, faithfully NOT letting him down, he was broken before I met him. I just didn’t know until dday. Now it seems that anything not divulged about his 15 years of cheating has been forgotten. I’m pretty sure, for the most part, I believe that although I wouldn’t be surprised if other details eventually come out and that “forgotten” really means buried deep deep inside in a place he doesn’t want to visit. As we move forward, I need him to be honest to a fault. No more clandestine relationships of any kind. No more white lies. No more secrets. I thought we had worked through all of this, and metabolized it. I thought he realized how important it was for him to open up, share his thoughts, stop living inside his head, but now I am not so sure.
Blue Eyes tells me over and over that he is sorry and that he loves me, and that he always has and that he never loved any other woman despite what he told them to get them to have sex with him. He has appeared since dday to do all those things a newly diagnosed sex addict is supposed to do in order to come to terms with his addiction and get on the road to recovery. He found a 12 step meeting that he liked, a place where he felt understood and could surround himself with men who had walked in his shoes, so to speak. He got a sponsor. He went to therapy. He went to a 9-day intensive program for sex addicts where he dug into his past and uncovered the secrets he had been hiding, the secrets to an addiction he had been nurturing since he was an adolescent. All the while he was being reminded of my daily trauma, horrendous and unbearable at first, and then after months and months of tears, and self loathing, and shock and horror, and self harm, me, the betrayed one finally came to terms with all the things about my husband and about my marriage that could never be forgotten or taken back or changed. Now the trauma arrives in waves with days strung together that no longer include any tears at all. This must be a pretty big relief for Blue Eyes. Not so much for me. The reality is the same. Trauma doesn’t run on a schedule. Trauma doesn’t care if you want to forget. Trauma doesn’t care if it happened 10 years ago. My new life does not look at all like my old life, nor does it look like what I had envisioned for my marriage once my children were grown. As it turns out, I am merely managing the pain. When those waves get really, really big and they overpower me, I crash down harder than ever. Not as often, but it’s all still there.
Blue Eyes claims he is changing. He says he has acknowledged who he is and that he will never act out again, in his life. He will never act out again. Funny huh? As I see it, he still has episodes where he objectifies women. He had a meltdown in the supplements aisle of Whole Foods yesterday because there was a single, “mature” and potentially needy woman with extremely large breasts wearing a very tight black sports bra which could be seen through her light colored tank top. Warm days will always be more difficult for Blue Eyes because the warmer it is outside, the less clothing women want to wear and when those mammaries aren’t properly bundled, they are a trigger for men like Blue Eyes. Not the woman’s fault, an addict is an addict. Blue Eyes is not enticed by a tall glass of Scotch, but throw a large pair of saggy boobs in front of him and watch him lose it. He has a “type.” Not like most guys have a type. Blue Eyes’ type is not just about the huge breasts, the women must also appear vulnerable, needy, an easy target. He had to leave the aisle. I was standing right there witnessing the devolving of a sex addict right before my eyes. People have asked if I am maybe a bit paranoid, or “sensitive” and maybe I see things that aren’t there (or am jealous of large, saggy boobs?). Nope. What I noticed first was Blue Eyes falling apart in front of me. He became visibly nervous, fidgety, his eyes were darting around, he couldn’t focus on what I was saying. Then and only then did I look around for the target of his undoing. It still blows my mind how low he is willing to stoop for a hit. I don’t think he was getting a hit yesterday, just left over shit from his past, but still. It’s disconcerting. Falling to these kinds of triggers usually means he is ungrounded, not doing well, struggling, because he never had these moments before recovery. Before recovery, he knew he could have his drug whenever he wanted it and he wasn’t scared. And, it was not that long ago that he sent the flirty smile to the lady sitting in front of me on a plane. It will be a long road to full sobriety and the fact that he believes he is not “acting out” concerns me. He has always flirted, I just never worried about it before… you know, with him loving women and being a charismatic guy and all. Well, those days are over now that I know the truth. Blue Eyes still manipulates people and Blue Eyes still has an active obsession with making excuses. Take our couple’s therapist, for example. Each week Blue Eyes orchestrates a pity party and I know he does this with his individual therapist as well. When you have lived the life of Blue Eyes, and done the things he has done, it is much easier to try and make people feel sorry for you, than to live in your own reality. He manipulated Camilla into believing he was a lonely, needy, sex starved husband with an insensitive wife. Now he manipulates the recovery system with his procrastination and “poor me” anecdotes. It’s tough to acknowledge all the things you have done that you wish you hadn’t… and that is it for me in a nutshell. I just need him to acknowledge what he did. Talk about it. Deal with it. Not deflect from it. Not say things like… “I know this must be so hard on you.” Or “I love you so much and I am sorry to have caused you so much pain.” Well, this is not about me. This is about you, Blue Eyes. Own it. Don’t say how much you love me. Don’t say how sorry you are for my pain… fucking say how sorry you are for the things you did. Say it, say what you did that you are sorry for!
As we were driving down to the painting workshop a week and a half ago, we passed through one of the towns Blue Eyes worked and lived in during the weekdays when our children were young. I didn’t realize we would pass through it until we were pretty much there. I didn’t realize it would be such a devastating trigger for me until it was. The company Blue Eyes worked for provided him with a two bedroom apartment. He asked for two bedrooms so that the boys and I could come visit him and the boys would have their own room, so it would be like a home away from home for them. One June when the boys were six and eight years old, we drove down and stayed with Blue Eyes at his apartment for the summer. The boys and I swam, had picnics in the park, went to the beach. We did all kinds of fun things while Blue Eyes was at work, and then we got to spend the evenings and weekends with him, just like a regular family. Over the years, Blue Eyes was gone from us a lot and I cherished that summer we all lived in California together. I found out on dday that Blue Eyes, prior to our arrival at his apartment, had slept with Ashley right there in the same bed he slept in with me. That was the only time during his 15 years of cheating with 3 different women that he had sex with me and another woman in the same bed (that I know of). It still blows my mind that the man I married could do that. As we passed through the town all those awful thoughts crept into my head and my heart started to ache and the tears started to roll. Blue Eyes’ response was to ask if I needed anything. He knew what was going on, but he did not address what he had done. He did not talk about it. He didn’t talk at all. It is all in the past, right. Kat will get through her trauma episode, just like she always does. No need to bring up all those nasty old things he did in the name of sex addiction, but guess what. It doesn’t work that way for me. I cannot pick and choose when to turn on and turn off my emotions. My pain has a mind of its own and it decides. How nice it must be to be Blue Eyes and be able to turn on and turn off all of your emotions. To watch your wife in pain and not give her the one thing she requires. She needs you to go there with her to that awful place and help her out. Pull the car over and look in her eyes and tell her what a sick bastard you were and that you regret stealing something that belonged exclusively to her and carelessly giving it to another woman, a very unworthy sick and messed up woman. Tell her she doesn’t deserve to be treated with such disrespect and disregard. There are no excuses for not addressing the behavior even if you have to go to a painful place. Stop being lazy and self serving.
Last night Blue Eyes was working on his fourth step… which I am starting to call “the step that took a lifetime to complete.” For Step 4 the addict needs to make a searching and fearless moral inventory of themselves. Blue Eyes has been working on this step for approximately five months. It’s not a race and all that, but I get the distinct impression this step is very very difficult. I guess I should be glad Blue Eyes is not rushing through it. Maybe his turtle pace means he is actually metabolizing something. I think it is more procrastination on something that is incredibly uncomfortable for him. I took a look at his fourth step spreadsheet on his laptop. I could tell he didn’t want me to be looking at it. A couple times he actually tried to pull the laptop back from me, but thought better of it. Unfortunately, there are no more secrets and I don’t care if he is uncomfortable. Him even being on his laptop during our time together is still a trigger. If he wants this marriage to continue, there will be no more secrets. He has lost the right to climb inside that “safe” place where he rationalizes the hell out of horrible, selfish, destructive behavior. As I read through his “moral inventory” it started looking more and more like the old Blue Eyes pity party again. This fourth step will be shared with his sponsor, but mostly it is for Blue Eyes, alone. For him to look at what he has done, own it, re-live it in all its horror so he can move on from it and hopefully never give in to the addiction again. Remember how uncomfortable it was to look at all you’ve done. But instead, I am reading about how afraid Blue Eyes was. How much he worried about money. How he had to live at a start up office for a while because he no longer worked for the company that provided him with an apartment… OMG. Remember guys, he had a wife and two small boys at home that desperately needed and wanted him there and didn’t care what his career was or even how much money he made (I did NOT grow up with money) and he was choosing to be away from us, partly to feed his addiction and now, in his moral inventory, he is feeling sorry for himself. Throwing out excuses again for his behavior. Not owning it. Not saying this is what I did, but instead saying this is how horrible my life was and therefore, I had to give in to my addiction. UGH!!! I just wanted to scream. And as a matter of fact, I did scream. I called him every name in the book. I yelled out how much I hated him in that moment. How little progress I felt he had actually made because here he was making a list of how shitty his life had been, while we were begging him to come home and be with us. We adored him unconditionally and even if he didn’t recognize the safety that was us, his family, he sure as hell better be recognizing it now. If not, what is this all for? He was choosing to be away from us in order to feed his addiction, but somehow it was as if someone had forced him to live on his own and now instead of taking an inventory of his addictive behavior, he was making more excuses. I was at my wits end. I asked him to leave.
He did leave the room, but not the house. Eventually he came back to our bedroom and asked where I wanted him to sleep. I told him our bed was large and there was room for both of us in it, just not to touch me. He touched me anyway. He even said out loud, “I know you hate it when I hug you for my own selfish needs, to feel less alone, to feel wanted and needed, but I am going to do it anyway.” I did not reciprocate on his hug. I couldn’t. I wasn’t feeling it. I wanted to be alone, but I just didn’t have the energy to deal with it anymore.
I know why I want a break. I am Blue Eyes’ security blanket.
Here is where therapy enters the picture for me. I have endured some pretty shitty therapy over the past 15 months but the trauma therapist I saw in Los Angeles, was amazing. She helped me understand why needy people are drawn to me. She opened my eyes to how unfair it was for me, as a child myself, to be responsible for my borderline personality disorder sister. I realized that I give and give and give and don’t expect much in return because I was trained to do so. As a child, my parents were so focused on my sister and my baby brother, that very little nurturing was given to me after the age of five. I knew my parents loved me. They were never cruel or abusive to me in any way, but I became a caregiver myself at a very early age. My personality leant itself to this. When I met and married Blue Eyes, maybe not consciously, but I learned most definitely subconsciously, I put my safety and security, my emotional well being in his hands. Even though I was a caregiver, I desperately needed to be taken care of myself. I had never been lied to or really hurt. I had finally found the person that would give me the love and attention that I needed and that I deserved, and as far as the not hurting me part, well that was just a given… wasn’t it? Blue Eyes would never hurt me… For 30 years, I believed Blue Eyes had my back. I believed he would not betray me. When I learned that he had, my safety was gone. My world fell apart and the trauma took hold in earnest. Never before dday had I been depressed. Never before dday had I ever had thoughts of suicide and I had never harmed myself. Those behaviors are relegated to “crazy” people… or so I thought. Trauma is a bitch and she loves to knock you on your ass. The LA trauma therapist gently brought back some of my strength. She reminded me of how strong I really am. She convinced me I can survive on my own and that I love myself. This all took a while, but we got there.
What I struggle with now is, if I love myself, and I must rely on myself, and I am strong enough to go it alone, why shouldn’t I? What good is a husband I cannot count on? What good is a husband I don’t trust? What good is a husband who plays at recovery because it is easier than actually doing the hard work? What good is a partner, a companion, that doesn’t give his 50 percent? I sat down with Blue Eyes yesterday morning and as much as I didn’t want to be the one talking, as tears streamed down my face, I went through with him the one simple little incident that sums it all up for me. It was that night when he was driving back from an out of town trip with “her” after having been away for one night. That one night, I would find out during his disclosures, was the night they planned out the trip to Sweden, which is painful enough, but is really beside the point. The drive home from his business meetings should have taken three hours, four at most with heavy traffic, five with ridiculous traffic, maybe even at a dead stand still for an hour. We often make the drive in less than three hours. The drive home on that spring day took him eight hours. I was worried sick. That drive happened four years ago tomorrow. I hate that I know that, off the top of my head.
He texted me when he left his last meeting. He said there was some traffic so he probably wouldn’t be home for four hours. When hour five came and went, I started to worry. During hour six of his drive home, I called and texted him asking for him to at least give me some sign that he was alive. During hour seven I was crying in my phone message to him and said I was going to call the highway patrol and the hospitals if he didn’t return my call immediately. My messages were not going directly to voice mail. My text messages were being delivered, and read. His phone was not out of power as he would always have a phone charger with him, especially on a business trip. Plus, he did not mention anything about being low on power. I was shaking as I nervously started googling accident reports along that stretch of road and looking up the numbers for hospitals between there and home. Just as I was about to call highway patrol, a text came through from Blue Eyes. It said, “everything is fine. will be home in less than an hour.” I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was relieved and thoroughly pissed off all at the same time. Of course I have never forgotten that day and how Blue Eyes made me feel. I found out during discovery that he had taken a long phone call with a Chinese client and he had pulled over for that, but what I also found out was that the other missing time (approximately 2-3 hours) was spent arguing and fighting with her. He was driving and she was reading my messages. She threatened to call me immediately if he responded to my messages. Me and my feelings were so unimportant to him that he was willing to let a horrible blackmailing bitch dictate his behavior towards his loyal partner of 2 1/2 decades. Protecting himself and his addiction was so much more important than my wants, needs, than my feelings, than me. He could have called her bluff. Instead, he kept pulling over and talking it out with her all the while leaving me wondering if he was dead or alive. When I think about his behavior and everything he was protecting at the cost of me and my needs, it makes me sick. When he returned home, he acted like nothing was wrong, that I was overreacting. That there was a lot of traffic and he had had to do some “work.” He was not agitated or out of sorts at all. I will never forget his demeanor and how he made me feel like I should just be happy that he was home safe and sound. His behavior was pathological.
Whenever I feel Blue Eyes is being dismissive of me, or he refuses to engage in discussions around his addiction or his behavior, or when he says something that makes me feel small and insignificant in his life, I return to that night and how I felt on that day, and how I felt on the day I found out what really happened and I hate him with every fiber of my being. I trusted him. I gave myself over to him and was vulnerable, and he fucked me. On days like these, the thousands of wonderful and loving things he has done with me and for me, mean nothing. On days like these, I feel a deep desire to protect myself from the potential for the same pain in the future. I feel like if he was really changing, really recovering, I wouldn’t haven’t these feelings. Is it trauma, or instinct?
I cannot imagine being in a room with Blue Eyes, searching him out, and feeling nothing.