As previously mentioned, Blue Eyes had invited me to go with him to his weekly therapy appointment yesterday morning. We decided to organize our thoughts the night before, to make sure there was some semblance of order between us before unleashing our mess on The Shrink. I started to become frustrated as I felt like maybe my going to his therapy was a waste of time. It is all so overwhelming constantly putting into words what I want and need. I want him to get it already and I am tired of explaining to people, including Blue Eyes, just how my needs aren’t being met. I know recovery from sex addiction and from betrayal in general is a long and agonizing process. I get that. I can be compassionate, and kind, and understanding, and loving, but it empties my reserves. I need someone who is giving me something back, refilling my tank.
The therapy session actually went okay. I mean, I really don’t care for most of the therapy I have received, and most likely my belligerence and animosity towards some of what goes on in the kind of therapy we are dealing with is going to show here in this post. So, here goes…. in a roundabout way, we covered all the basics from the dysfunction of the last two weeks. Me asking Blue Eyes to be open and honest with me about something that was incredibly difficult for him to acknowledge, him deflecting and hiding, and then finally him sharing some really painful shit. It included Blue Eyes becoming angry and resentful at The Shrink’s assignment of going back into his childhood to address the wounds around the illnesses and surgeries of his past, and then him not really being able to put all that into perspective to come to any form of peace or understanding about the process. And, finally, we went through last Thursday’s –a day in the life of a sex addict and his wife– nightmare.
The therapy went okay. I mean there were a couple times the angry, impatient, frustrated Kat wanted to tell The Shrink to go fuck himself. Like when he said I needed to try and keep my son out of it (after telling The Shrink about The Peacemaker explaining to me how my anger sends his father back into an addicted state). Well HELLO, he IS my son and I know what is going on, but let me get this straight… I am supposed to compromise my sense of safety and security, not to mention SANITY in my own house by keeping my mouth shut if there is someone around who might possibly be affected? I am the only one who has to monitor what I do, now, after everything I have and am going through? Somehow me being traumatized and trying to scrape by on the scraps my sex addict husband throws at me to make up for all he has done, and begging me not to leave him because he is changing, just not changing in a way that makes me feel any better on some days… I am supposed to bite my tongue and play nice, all for the sake of someone else’s sanity. Wait, I did this, for years… it didn’t work. Now I am supposed to once again grin and bear it in regards to not one, but two adult men in my house who are sensitive and cannot handle living with the truth, and living with the consequences of Blue Eyes’ behavior. Maybe The Shrink doesn’t understand that I would love nothing more than for none of this to have ever happened. Maybe he doesn’t get the fact that I am The Peacemaker’s mother and I have spent every waking moment since the day he was born trying to make sure he had everything he needed when in fact what he really needed was his father to be there for him and to be honest with him, but instead his father was lying and hiding and fucking a stranger? Maybe he doesn’t understand that The Peacemaker chooses to live in our very comfortable family home where Mommy and Daddy pay all the bills. Maybe he doesn’t understand that I am a person with needs too?
And there were exasperating times when I wanted to scream “I know what is wrong with my husband (so stop trying to gently explain it to me in psychobabble, it is pretty fucking easy to understand what happened), but that doesn’t mean he should continue to live in the past and rationalize full on pity parties, excuses so he doesn’t have to bear the consequences of his actions and he doesn’t have to be a decent caring and compassionate husband.” There was also the point where in recounting the events around Blue Eyes struggling with sexual images of Delilah, The Shrink interrupted me to say “Whoa, TMI, Dude!!!” to Blue Eyes. He didn’t ask me “how does that make YOU feel,” he basically told Blue Eyes that he had told me TOO MUCH OF THE TRUTH. In my world, there is absolutely never a point when there is TOO MUCH OF THE TRUTH. The truth is all I want and then we work with it. I do think Blue Eyes uses me as his security blanket. He can tell me the truth, he just shouldn’t expect me to always be able to make it all better for him. He must learn to do that for himself. When he goes to a deep dark place, Blue Eyes has resources. He has his circle of guys, he has his sponsor, he has his shrink, he has his meditation materials and his 12 step books. It just so happens that on Thursday, we were in that mess together. Blue Eyes running away and not telling me the truth, would have spelled disaster. It worked out okay, but in a perfect world, he would have told me the truth, then reverted to his addiction recovery pathways versus literally leaning on me to carry the load for him. I have my own load. I also had to metabolize the information I was receiving, and not expect Blue Eyes to make it all better for me. We make quite a pair, don’t we? This shit is difficult.
So now, the positive. The Shrink was able to see just how much Blue Eyes is NOT sharing with him. It is always shocking to me how shocked these people are when they hear the truth about Blue Eyes. How do they not realize he is manipulating the fuck out of them sometimes? He shares what he wants. He shares what makes him feel good. Even though going back and reliving the trauma of his past (which is only consciously done because The Shrink takes him there), of course, doesn’t make him feel good, but it does allow him to rationalize continued dysfunctional behavior IF he doesn’t come out of that dark place quickly, and if he doesn’t come out with a purpose. I honestly think in Blue Eyes’ mind it’s okay to live there in anger and resentment (and sometimes fear and anxiety) because The Shrink sent him there. Maybe The Shrink is his higher power today. Maybe someone will make it all better for him, so he doesn’t have to do it himself. He doesn’t share what makes him feel bad in his new reality. He has spent his whole life hiding what he is ashamed of and medicating with a sick drug. Do people really think these guys can change overnight? It is easy to become all wrapped up in a person’s childhood trauma and forget that the entire goal is to bring them out of the dark and into the light. The childhood trauma cannot be ignored or shoved under the carpet, but indeed it also should not continue to rule a person’s life. How do I know this is what is happening with Blue Eyes? Because I see it every day. In my mind, his anger and resentment reside in those deep dark recesses of the corners of his mind, where the bad parts of his childhood live. The only way out, is right on through. Gee, I think The Shrink even said those exact same words yesterday. Too bad it has been 18 months and they are still stuck there. Too bad for me.
Bottom line, Blue Eyes recovering from addiction and learning to live in his present reality with new positive coping skills and all that jazz, is NOT mutually exclusive to him being a decent partner. And actually, if they are mutually exclusive, for example, if I need to wait say, another two, three, four+++ years for him to fix himself so that he can be a viable partner, well, that just doesn’t work for me. I’m pretty sure no one believes his healing and his being a good husband are mutually exclusive so I’m hoping that maybe he and The Shrink can at least add me back into the equation as in, “hey, let’s spend a few minutes talking about whether you are holding up your end of the bargain as a husband”… which could also be stated, “hey, Blue Eyes let’s spend a few minutes making sure you are being a responsible adult when it comes to respecting and caring for the person you claim to love more than anyone else in the world, or at least the second most important person, after yourself of course.”
Let’s put the therapy aside for a minute. The real bottom line is that I have been a loyal, honest, faithful, loving, nurturing, happy, productive, trusting partner for the better part of 32 years. Blue Eyes has lied to and about, cheated on, betrayed, disrespected, and humiliated the person he claimed to love more than anything else in the world. And now, he is asking for a second chance. Perhaps he doesn’t realize that in order to receive a second chance at a genuine long term relationship, he has to earn it? The first chance was given freely based on the information I had at the time. I’m not playing games anymore. I know the truth and it is not pretty. The second chance is contingent on him actually becoming a better man. The better man doesn’t run from fear, he stands up to it. The better man understands the pain he has caused others (REALLY understands it), and makes amends. The better man doesn’t attempt to tell others what he thinks they want to hear, he actually understands what they need and he gives it to them in words AND actions. Being given a second chance, is a gift that shouldn’t be wasted.
Also, that second chance, has a shelf life.