I have seen this saying floating around the web for a while, and I like it for the sole reason that it makes me think. It speaks to the question of whether people can change, or not. I don’t think who we “really” are is a stagnant concept. I don’t believe we come into this world with everything we need and everything we will ever be, we are ever evolving creatures. But I do think we all want to be good, and true, and honest and kind and gentle. We want to be self confident in the way we treat ourselves and self assured in the way we present ourselves to others and self reliant in how we take on the challenges of living in this world. These are not finite concepts. We are handed a complex set of circumstances that shape us a particular way and it might make being that good and true person more difficult, but the brain is a powerful organ. We have the ability to grow into the person we want to be. Over time, we can replace negative and fear inducing stimuli with positive. It takes us a lifetime to get where we are going. I think whether or not people can change, is in the semantics. People do change. People evolve. There will be roadblocks, and there will be storms, and there will be heart wrenching pain, but one act or one incident or one illness does not have to define us. I believe in rehabilitation of the soul and the ability for all of us to rise above and conquer our inner demons. I believe we are all complex beings with good glowing inside. In some of us it is buried a little deeper and will take more work to reveal our inner light, or beauty. For many of us our inner beauty is buried under fear. We can overcome.
I stay with my sex addicted husband because he is evolving. He has recognized the behaviors he participated in that were destructive to his mental and physical health and safety. He has acknowledged why he did them, and that he wants to eliminate the destructive thoughts and behaviors from his life, forever. He has embraced his addiction diagnosis and is in recovery. He has chosen a recovery path that includes regular 12 step group meetings and fellowship and he has embraced the three-fold concept of physical, emotional, and spiritual healing. He has a sponsor and other group members to call when he needs guidance. He attended an intensive for men suffering from compulsive-abusive sexual and relationship problems (sex addiction) and has accepted the Sex Addiction Induced Trauma (SAIT) model for me as I journey through my healing process. He has attended therapy with a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT) for over 16 months and is more than 18 months sober. He is aware of his behaviors and maturely re-directs when necessary. He surrounds himself regularly with healthy, uplifting, and appropriate reading materials for recovery. He regularly attends Buddhist meditation and embraces a spirituality in himself that he let dwindle as his sex addiction enveloped him. He no longer lets his sex addiction control any part of his life. He is tackling the pain of his recovery head on, no excuses.
I stay with the man I fell in love with 31 years ago because he is worth it, to me. Although my trauma recovery path is fraught with pain and doubt, I believe in my husband. I believe in his spirit and his ability to overcome the demons that haunt him since childhood. I believe that I am a better person with him, than without him. My husband does not lack empathy. He is empathetic to our children when they struggle with life’s choices and challenges. He is empathetic with his fellow SA’s as they climb their own mountains in search of enlightenment and freedom. He is empathetic to my step father as he battles his terminal prostate cancer and to my brother who recently completed a painful bone marrow transplant for his leukemia. He is empathetic to me in many, many ways.
Blue Eyes has been beside himself since Tuesday afternoon’s therapy session. He has not known how to handle my pain and distance from him. He read all the comments, with trepidation and fear, on my blog entry about that therapy session. He has a long long way to go on his road to recovery and we both know it. Yesterday I did something for myself. I took a five hour lunch with my good friend Dee, and Blue Eyes handled everything at home for me. He worked from home and took care of our golden retriever who just had surgery to have two lumps removed. We are still waiting to hear if they were cancerous. He prepped the house and welcomed the cleaning people in for their weekly visit, and he guided the delivery of a new desk for Sammy’s room. A day in the life of Kat, sorta. He didn’t make any food, and he did have to take a nap, ha. At lunch with Dee, I listened as she described last month’s college graduation weekend of her third, and final daughter. We laughed, we got teary eyed. We reminisced. She told me how frustrated she was about not being able to bring up our past trips, the ones she and I took together, because now she thinks they will be triggers for me because Blue Eyes was probably being naughty during those times. She is mad at Blue Eyes. I told her quite honestly that they are no longer triggers. First, only one acting out episode with the OW occurred during any of my trips with Dee and that one acting out episode happened to be a quickie after Blue Eyes and I dropped Sammy at college and I took the train to Dee’s daughter’s college town and we moved her into her sophomore dorm. We had so much fun, the three of us girls nearly three years ago. I do not have daughters and I adore Dee’s girls. And, these things are so much easier when it is not your kid. We had a great time that trip and after leaving her daughter at college (the same daughter that just graduated), Dee and I headed to New York City for an amazing four days together. I would not trade my time with Dee for anything. Also, I am getting over those kinds of triggers. I no longer check calendars or think about the trips or worry about where he was during this or that time. It’s not worth it, actually it’s self torture. I’m over it. During lunch Dee reminded me that she thought Blue Eyes and I were meant for each other. It is a bit of an opposites attract kind of thing. She also said she didn’t think there were other people out there in the world that would be able to “get” me like Blue Eyes does, and vice versa. In the kindest, sweetest way, I think she was basically saying no one else would have us, ha. I think she is correct, that Blue Eyes and I belong to each other, but it is good to hear from an outsider. She brought up The Reconnaissance Mission as the perfect example. Later that afternoon, I was feeling so much better about everything. For anyone who says I need more time to myself, you are absolutely correct. This will be my goal in the next few months. To take the time I really need, and do the best I can with it to be positive and productive. Blue Eyes noticed my uptick in mood and he was visibly relieved and we had a great hour-long conversation about everything that has happened this week.
Part of my journey is acknowledging and accepting how difficult and painful Blue Eyes’ journey is. I do not believe he does not have the ability to or does not want to be empathetic to me when I feel emptiness and pain around all he has perpetrated on me and our partnership. In the most sensible and practical part of my mind, I know it is just frankly too difficult for him right now. It is too overwhelming for him to carry that burden at this time as often and as wholly as I carry it. The things he did caused me so much pain. The pain is literally overwhelming at times. It is too much for him right now. It needs to be metabolized over time. I get it. I want to be able to get it all the time, but when I am suffering, I forget about the virtue of patience. Cheating and lying and betrayal take an astronomical level of compartmentalizing and rationalizing. The flood of that reality would drown him right now. He is barely able to stay standing when he thinks of all he has done, much less so when required to verbalize it, on command.
I truly appreciate all the wonderful comments on my blog. They help me metabolize my situation and grow as a human being. Over time, we all reveal who we really are. What a gift life is.
I am going to end with a happy anecdote about Blue Eyes.
When Blue Eyes and I were back in college, his fraternity went on a little road trip to a cabin in the mountains near the school. It was supposed to be some kind of bonding experience or something. Anyway, on the way up they all stopped in a small ranch town at a local watering hole. So, it was a bunch of preppy 80’s college boys wearing plaid shorts with their striped polos and leather boat shoes mixing with a group of wary cowboys, and things got a little dicey. Someone had too much to drink and said something offensive and all of the sudden it was a frat boy vs. cowboy brawl. Blue Eyes climbed on top of one of the tables and yelled out, “Come on guys, stop this madness. We’re not fighters. We’re not here to hurt anyone. We’re a Christian fraternity… ” and they all ran out of the bar, hopped in their cars, and drove to safety. Blue Eyes is Jewish.