Post 300

watercolor-rainbow-olga-shvartsurWatercolor Rainbow by Olga Shvartsur

Can you believe it? This is my 300th post here on Try Not to Cry on My Rainbow. Crazy. I’ll try and make it a good one.

While Blue Eyes and I were away on our spa hotel excursion, I received a call from Ms. Honey, one of the CSATs (Certified Sex Addiction Therapists) we visited early on. She had sent us on our “merry” way back then… Blue Eyes was busy at the time with the Quack, the supposedly recovered sex addict/sex addiction specialist in our area (read about the Quack here), and I was excited to start up the ‘spouses of sex addict support group’ with Ms. Second Chance (although she was on her first chance back then).

We had only been to two sessions with Ms. Honey and when she met me this past Tuesday in the lobby of the wellness center where she has her practice, I am not really sure if she actually remembered me right then. I was the only person in the waiting room at the time, though, so she didn’t actually need to remember me. She escorted me back to her office and although it was a rainy, dreary winter afternoon, her office is at the end of the building and has a nice big window letting in all available light. Light is important to me and my mood. Her office is small, but with comfortable chairs and just the right number of lush plants. I always head for a chair that faces the door, and Ms. Honey sat across from me. She started by asking me how things had been since I had last been to see her, almost exactly two years ago.

The person who had cancelled their appointment for that afternoon had been booked for a double session, but Ms. Honey had offered up the second hour to someone else. We flew through the first hour and then, since she hadn’t heard back from the other patient, she offered me the second hour. It does take a while to go through two years of history with a sex addict, including everything we have been through with multiple therapists and therapy situations. Pretty much all the therapists locally who work with sex addicts know each other. Ms. Honey knows The Shrink (Blue Eyes’ current therapist) and The Shrink knows her, likewise with Ms. Second Chance (On her first chance, she was my individual therapist and the facilitator of the wives support group. On her second chance, she was our couple’s therapist). Ms. Honey is also completely familiar with The Quack. She has also very much heard of Omar Minwalla and his Institute for Sexual Health in Beverly Hills, a place where both Blue Eyes and I were treated in Spring and Summer 2014. I was blunt with her about my opinions regarding all of our treatment, with ALL of the therapists.

I walked out of my therapy appointment, for the first time in a very long time, with a smile on my face and a feeling of having actually received something very valuable for my time and money. Ms. Honey understood where I was coming from and she validated my thoughts, my feelings, and my actions. She got me. After just a short time into our appointment, she also very much remembered Blue Eyes and his story. She was able to explain to me why couple’s therapy didn’t work for me, at the time, and it totally made sense. She talked about how emotionally stunted Blue Eyes is. How when he is with someone who he perceives has authority over him, he gives up his higher power to that person, in this case, a therapist. When he does this, he reverts to a boy. A sad, neglected, broken little boy. His story is so compelling and his needs so great that therapists trained to work with addicts want to help heal him, to bring him out of that place. It becomes all encompassing. My needs take a back seat. Blue Eyes was not ready for couple’s counseling. He still uses his brokenness to manipulate people and therapists naturally want to help him overcome those instincts. They cannot just deny that he is desperately in need of help. We are all humans and human nature wants to gravitate towards the one who appears most vulnerable. She thinks Blue Eyes needs EMDR therapy on top of his regular counseling appointments. She reiterated that we each needed our own individual therapists, which we had. I healed, enough, from my individual trauma and was ready for Blue Eyes to join me. He was not ready then. He is not ready now.

I did not shed one tear in Ms. Honey’s office. I talked about the cutting incident and subsequent ER visit. I told her about the card from the other woman that prompted more of that dreaded trickle truth and my desire to flee my own house and in attempting to do so, my releasing a whole lot of heartache with one swift slice to my arm requiring 16 stitches. I told her about the continued dribble of truths all the way to the humiliating admission by Blue Eyes of the 4th acting out partner, who in chronological order was actually the 2nd acting out partner. She couldn’t believe that two therapists were aware of this truth, for months, and that neither required Blue Eyes to follow the boundaries and protocol set up for my safety by telling me within 24 hours of remembering. She was appalled and I wanted to kiss her. She reminded me along the way that Blue Eyes’ behavior was textbook sex addict, and that prompted some discussion about this blog and my having the opportunity, many times, to validate my own feelings about the reality of sex addiction and the fact that most people frankly do not understand it. Some do not even believe it is real. Anyone that has anything to do with the agonizing illness of sex addiction is all too aware of how society views it. It is a sad state of affairs really. These CSATs are working desperately to help heal people and yet, so many still question the validity of it all. I asked Ms. Honey if she had ever heard of Chump Lady and I might have let a little smile creep up my lips when she said, “no, who is that?” I expressed how grateful I have been to have this blog, this voice. Many times, when she asked questions or brought up topics, I said, “you know, I wrote about that on my blog,” and she was so pleased that I have this space.

We talked about some of the therapy that has worked over the past two years and some that did not work so well. She asked me if I thought Blue Eyes had divulged everything… if I think I actually have the truth, now. I told her I believe I have the truth to the thousands of questions I asked over and over and over again… but I don’t know what I don’t know. I assume there are lots of details for which I did not ask the right questions, but basically, yeah, I feel like I have the truth about what is in fact consequential to Blue Eyes being honest about his secret sex life. She asked if we had ever had a formal disclosure, polygraph test, etc… I told her no. She asked if I wanted that. I told her I didn’t know, but at this point I didn’t think it was necessary. I know Blue Eyes takes his sobriety very seriously. I believe he is not currently acting out. I believe he has divulged all extramarital sex partners. I believe he has been truthful in answering the questions I have asked, although many times it has taken quite some time to receive those answers. I do still ask him questions. As recently as last weekend he hemmed and hawed around a rather awkward question about his sexual behavior with the other woman. Ms. Honey and I talked a little about sex. About the hysterical bonding period. About how I feel about sex with Blue Eyes now. She asked me if I am okay with knowing so much about the sexual acting out that my husband participated in. I told her honestly that I am fine with the knowledge. The truth is what I seek and I only continue to ask questions to make sure he can, on the fly, tell the truth and that his instinct is not to continue lying. He does an okay job of being honest on the first go around. I give zero value to the disgusting secret sex my husband had with other women, so it doesn’t make me feel sick anymore. At the same time, however, I told her that sex does not hold the same specialness it did before. Since he gave it away so freely to women who had not earned the right nor deserved the intimacy, it is not the same loving act it once was. I can participate in sex with my husband, regularly and fully and enjoy it and we both definitely leave the scene satisfied, but it doesn’t hold the same loving connection it once did. That is just the facts as I see and feel them. Not sure if sex will ever hold the same level of intimacy really. I have always believed my relationship with Blue Eyes was built on much stronger stuff than how often we have sex and how many orgasms I have. Always. This is why I know the relationship with the other woman was part of a sick sexual addiction. All they had was sex. Sex, in that case, is meaningless.

We talked a little about my impatience with the recovery process, and also my need to have Blue Eyes treat me and our marriage like an equal partner in his healing, at least equal to his therapist/FOO issues, and equal to his 12 step work/group. In other words, I have boundaries and rules and requirements that allow me to feel safe in this new relationship we are building. I expect him to answer the questions I ask. I do not expect to be the last person to find out about something going on in my own marriage. That is humiliating and degrading and will surely cause our marriage to fail. Unless he wants to marry his therapist or one of his 12 step guys, I am his life partner and the one who must come first in matters that affect both of us. I asked Ms. Honey her thoughts on separation. She said unless the spouse of a sex addict feels like they must have separation for their own safety, or if a boundary has been broken and separation was the consequence, she said she feels like separation for separation sake is “old school.” It was nice hearing this from her, because we did not have anyone guiding us through this process and I chose not to separate, and some days I have seriously questioned my sanity. Ms. Honey is of the mind that if a sex addict expects his marriage to continue and thrive, that he must be able to work on his marriage and his recovery at the same time and most often that works best if the couple is together, with boundaries, of course. I was happy to hear that as I have often thought about separation, but am very worried that a separation would in fact work against my desire to reconcile our marriage. She reassured me that I was doing just fine.

And on that note, she asked me what I wanted to get from therapy with her. I told her I thought what I needed was someone to listen to me. I need someone who understands me and what I am going through and who can guide me when I question my motives, my behavior, my dedication to the process. I need someone to assure me that I am sane in all this and that I am not doing damage with my own actions to me, my husband, or our marriage. She said she was happy I had called her and she thinks she is a great match for me and my needs. When the two hour time period was up, I was shocked that I had not shed a tear. She assured me that I have made a lot progress on this journey so far and that she has a great couple’s counselor to refer us to when Blue Eyes is ready.

I walked out into the early evening drizzle with a smile on my face and a spring in my step. I never should have questioned why I called Ms. Honey in the first place. I should have just trusted my own instincts.

photocredit: http://fineartamerica.com/featured/watercolor-rainbow-olga-shvartsur.html

15 thoughts on “Post 300

  1. I am so happy to read thst you have found someone for you! I love it when we make ourselves the priority because that is a timeless action.

    Been out of reading and catching up this weekend I hope…as always thanks for sharing your journey. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I have been my own priority for about 18 months now. Should have been for the past 30+ years! I thought it was time to fill in the gaps in lieu of couple’s therapy. Glad I took the initiative. Still contemplating hypnotherapy too! I am very grateful for this venue and was thrilled this therapist sees value in my blogging. xx

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, let go, emotional, physical, sexual, and mental… all of them. For many many years. “The Making of a Sex Addict” could be the title of his childhood memoir. Sad really, but now is the time for him to take responsibility for who he is or he will be a very very lonely man going forward.

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  2. I assume with the amount of research you have done that you know the diagnostic manual therapists use. Several years ago the “experts” removed Passive Aggressive Personality Disorder. I worked with someone who was pitch perfect for that diagnosis. He managed to sabotage every single thing he did. Because our office staff was relatively small we picked up the slack. He was so good at it that he got a promotion through our hard work.
    I have begun to think BE, and other SA, are somewhere on that continuum. Instead of fighting for their mental health they took the easy way. Play nice with you. The problem is you are not the problem but you are the recipient of all that aggression. Imagine how much rage is bubbling under the surface of a SA. They couldn’t control the narrative with their parents but they did with all of you. I read a book years ago and the theme was that a person who had a rotten childhood has to live with it. Their parents got away with abuse. It was either emotional, physical, sexual or physical and sometimes all of them. Did any of the parents do time? Did they lose money, or reputations? No. They got away with it. That is a perfect recipe for rage. Tell BE he needs to beat the hell out of a punching bag. He needs to paint their pictures on it and yell at them while he is hitting it.
    I have written this before…..a psychologist told that it takes one week for a parent to drive a child crazy. Literally.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As a matter of fact, the therapist and I discussed some of BE’s passive aggressive actions towards me. For example, the sticking the knife facing out in a drawer where I keep non-sharp cooking utensils. I don’t believe he consciously wanted me to cut myself when I reached into that drawer, but because of his lazy way of “putting away the dishes,” something he hates to do (crazy for a 52 year old to be resentful about putting the dishes away, but I get what you are saying… it is about control), he did put me or anyone else sticking their hand in the drawer in danger. I also talked with the therapist about how I had read on another blog how a woman was talking with her therapist about how clumsy her husband is, that he breaks a lot of stuff around the house (which is exactly what BE does). The therapist asked the woman if her husband broke his own stuff, or just hers. She thought about it… and of course the answer was, he just breaks her stuff. This is also the same with BE. He has broken numerous items of mine that were really special to me, because you know, he is clumsy, but he never breaks his own things. The therapist even said “that is some heavy duty passive aggressiveness there.” I talked with BE’s therapist recently about how I am tired of being unfairly treated like an extension of the system that broke BE… his parents. I have not treated him badly. I have never neglected him or our relationship in fact I stepped in at every turn and yet, I am treated with resentment and anger some days. Even when he was making excuses to the other woman… it is not palatable to say, well, I was abused by my parents and therefore I can’t cope with life and I seek out secret sex… so instead he said, my wife is not loving or nurturing and she doesn’t give me sex. Now that is a compelling reason for a woman to give him sex. If he has said it was because of his parents, she would have said… then go to therapy and fix yourself because this has nothing to do with you being neglected by your wife. You are absolutely correct, Let Go. He needs to rage at something other than me… and of course he doesn’t rage at me. He very quietly and passively treats me disrespectfully. Not all days and not even most days, but even a little bit, it’s really not fair. I understand that now without his addiction all that negative energy has to go somewhere… it just shouldn’t be directed at me. When he is in therapy, they work on the little boy, and on his “recovery” in a broad sense. With his step guys, it’s all good… they get him. But when things go a little bad for him, I am often the one there to take whatever craziness he has to off load and often it is so subtle, I am left feeling fairly crazy myself.

      Thanks for sticking with me, Let go. It is all starting to make sense now and all the healing really at this point does reside with BE. xx

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    • Thanks, Jules. It has been a long time since I was a priority in this healing process, other than on this blog, ha, where it seems I am the center of the universe (I guess that is what blogs give us, a pulpit?). It seems I am always asking for it, in real life, but rarely receiving it, so I think that is why I finally called the therapist. It is indeed a good thing. xx ❤

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  3. Wow this is excellent. It is so important to share a good bond with your counsellor/therapist. I lucked out my first time in the UK with a guy called Andrew. He helped me immeasurably and I will never forget him. though the topics we spoke about were always unpleasant, I used to leave feeling a little bit better about myself, stronger, and like I had a friend. Ms Honey sounds similar. I’m very happy for you, this is important.
    Congrats on your 300th post (wow!) looking forward to reading the next 300.
    Love always, C ❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, although I am not in crisis anymore, more than two years out, the recovery from sex addiction for Blue Eyes is ongoing and therefore it permeates my life. I think the trap we as spouses of addicts fall into is that now that it is all out there, if they really want to heal, just do it already. And, it doesn’t work that way. I won’t be going to her weekly, maybe a couple times a month, but I did leave there feeling better and that is huge! It is exhausting thinking about 300 more posts. 🙂 ❤

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  4. Oh Kat…I needed this..right now. I am a little jealous that you were able to meet with Dr. Minwalla. I admire him and his breakthrough work. I emailed him early on and he was kind enough to call and provide a phone consult for me. He gave me much needed direction when I really had no idea where to turn. Having said that, there IS still so much that is unknown regarding treatment for both the addict and the partner. I am seeing Dr. Jill Manning who is an APSAT trained under Dr. Barbara Steffens and I respect and admire her. I am currently in that place where the divide between Will’s progress and my own seems vast and I am impatient. To put it bluntly, I am sick and tired of waiting for Will. It seems I have been waiting for him in one way or another, my whole life! Now I am waiting for him to figure things out so that we can decide if it is even feasible to move forward as a couple. In the meantime, I am kind of in limbo. I am not a patient woman and there are many days when I think Will is just too dense to ever figure this out and I should just get on with my life. Reading your post just now makes me think that maybe I can .continue to hold on a little longer…after almost 37 years, what’s a few more months? I am so happy that I have found this blogging community and grateful everyday that I have this outlet to vent, to learn, to question, to heal. Thank you friend for your willingness to share. ❤️

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    • I am sad that Dr. Minwalla doesn’t still have his spouses seminars. I know he has been a great pioneer for the trauma model in relation to partners of sex addicts, but during the summer we were seeing him and his associates, things changed for his institute. It’s a long story, but I waited and waited for them to reschedule their 6-day for spouses and to my knowledge, they never did. They were run by the trauma specialist I worked with, but she actually formally unlinked herself from the institute that summer. She still works with Omar, but as a separate entity, at least that is my understanding. I know how frustrating it is to be totally devastated, traumatized, have your world change in what seems like an instant, but for the addict to be, at the same time, in a much better place. A place of greater honesty (usually still not full honesty) and they are told that it takes lots and lots of time and it is a slow process and they are given so many resources and then told everything they are doing is “normal” for sex addicts, and once again, take it slow. It seems like they are often given a pass right then and there for not being a real husband… not that they ever were great at it, at least not deep down, but now they are sort of guided to focus on themselves. Well, what were they doing the whole time??? Focusing on themselves and their own broken needs. I know, it sucks. Because we floundered quite a bit with multiple therapists and we never separated and in fact spend A LOT of time together, it has been a different kind of hell, but my instinct was always to require him to stay in the marriage as long as he wanted the marriage to succeed. If it was too much, he could have always walked away. I honestly gave him that option multiple times, but I was not going to let him off the hook from working on our marriage while we both worked on ourselves. This meant staying in the same house. I wanted it, and he wanted it. There have been many times when I thought perhaps he would have worked harder on recovery if I had sent him on his way, but I actually feel now, that he wouldn’t have. With BE, first I think he would have been devastated, but that in and of itself would have been okay, but I also think he would have just used the separation as some “clinical” excuse to go just as slow as ever. I don’t think there was anything that was going to propel him on this journey any faster than what he has done. It is just a bloody long process and they cannot handle going any faster… I think he might explode. It is so painfully frustrating sometimes, but I did decide to stay and stick it out. Honestly, about 75% of the time I am okay with my decision. That other 25% of the time, ends up on here. This blogging community has been wonderful for me too. Hang in there Leigh and do what your gut tells you to. Stay or go, you are bigger than his addiction and your marriage, much bigger. xoxo ❤

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