Control

drugabuse-istock55959748-addiction_life_sign-feature_image

For Blue Eyes, part of his addiction is clearly about control. As a child, he was under the strict and harsh command of his narcissistic and abusive mother. She belittled him and chided him and rode his ass day and night. He could never do anything right. Failure was right around the corner for him because that is what his parents taught him. He was a disappointment. This is how they controlled their kids, training them to jump through hoops for approval, and then never giving it. Add to that that he was sick and his mother blamed him for the doctor’s appointments and medical bills and for her having to take time away from her friends. She had to cancel out of tennis dates, and luncheons because Blue Eyes was an ill child. How dare him?

He didn’t want to be sick, he didn’t want to be neglected, he didn’t want to be denied love and nurturing. He was a little boy. He grew up feeling like he was a burden on his parents and his illness took what was left after his parents were through making him feel worthless. I know from talking with him, and really listening to him, and reading his blog, that Blue Eyes felt like God was punishing him with the illnesses and he didn’t know why. He believed in God at one point in time, until he didn’t. No God would be so cruel.

At puberty, he found something he could control, his sexuality. I’m not sure if Blue Eyes masturbated more than the average adolescent boy… I don’t know if there even is such a thing as average when it comes to these personal matters. All he knew was that he felt shameful and that there was something wrong with him, but he needed that outlet, that release. He was emasculated by his mother and ignored by his father, but he could control his own sexual pleasure, and because it felt good, there must be something wrong with it, and with him.

His sexual addiction grew into what it was at discovery. It was a slow and methodical progression over 40 years. Each addict’s story is a little different, or a lot different, but in the case of Blue Eyes, it was important that he kept it all a secret because he was ashamed of his behavior, and he also knew in his mind that he needed those secret behaviors to survive. He knew it was wrong, but if he just kept it all a secret, and if no one found out, he would be okay. And when it came to breaking marriage vows, he would absolutely never do it again, until the next time. I really believed that once he was away from his parents (having no knowledge of his acting out behaviors) that he would mature and no longer require their approval. That never happened, but I actually thought it did. At the point when he escalated to affairs, he became very good at pretending he was managing life. I thought he had conquered his demons when in fact he was feeding them more than ever. Because his parents had trained him to believe he was weak and unable to manage his own life, failure was around every corner. And with the thought of failing came a stronger and stronger urge to medicate those feelings the way he always had, with secret sexual activity. He could control that. He knew how to medicate with sex. If he could just get that high, everything else in his life would be okay.

So, I am getting to a point here, I promise.

A couple weeks ago during my regular check of the other woman’s Facebook page (which I previously posted about), I noticed that she had, for the first time since she has been in our lives, posted a picture of herself. Her Facebook posts are public, she is an idiot. Anyway, you could have knocked me off my chair with a feather. After all these years (more than 12 years total), there was a REAL photo of the woman who tried to destroy my marriage, say what? She had traveled down to Los Angeles to attend the Jimmy Kimmel talk show and had had her photo taken with her favorite comedian (not Jimmy Kimmel, some other guy I have never heard of). So there she was, slightly better than the images cemented in my brain from the hospital parking garage and the plane home from Hawaii. Somewhat better only because her hair isn’t quite as crazy and she is moderately better dressed. Still the same beady little eyes and evil looking smirk. Ugh. Anyway, I metabolized it for a bit, and then decided to ask Blue Eyes if he wanted to see the photo. I can be a manipulative bitch. I will admit that. I wanted to see what Blue Eyes’ reaction was to the photo. Not to the fact that there was a photo, but to the actual photo itself. But, Blue Eyes refused to look at it saying it would be a violation of his border plan. Now, in my spoiled and selfish opinion, anything I ask him to do should be done without question at this point. He flat out said no, even if I wanted him to look at it, he wouldn’t. I slept on that and was still pissed off the next morning. He couldn’t understand why I was upset.

Many of you might also be confused as to why I was distressed, so I will explain. One, seeing a photo of that horrible woman is upsetting. I had told Paula about the photo and even copied it onto our conversation and her response was… “are you okay?” Wasn’t that sweet? She gets it. She REALLY gets it! Seeing that awful awful creature is upsetting. This woman STALKED me, for months. She had sex with my husband (“intermittently”) for EIGHT YEARS. She was the one he chose to feed his addiction and she was violent and unhinged on multiple occasions and yet, he brought her into mine and my children’s lives repeatedly and he had unprotected sex with her, putting my health at risk. This woman does represent some crazy level of evil for me. So yeah, actually acknowledging that it might be upsetting to see a photo of her, would have been appropriate.

Of course all of this was my own doing by trolling her Facebook page, but that is what happens sometimes when husbands cheat lie and betray the one they have promised to spend their life with. So there’s that. And second, I believe that in his effort to control everything about his secret sex life, Blue Eyes created a story around this woman. A story he desperately wants to believe and that is that she is a recluse and he was her savior. When he groomed women, the first thing he looked for was not how they looked physically, but in fact whether or not they looked lonely. Lonely women are willing to do a lot for the attention of a man, even a married man. With this particular woman, there were no other men in her life. He gave her something no one else could… she even said it herself, “he ruined her for other men.” She offered to PAY HIM to come to her house more often. So I wanted him to see that his reclusive, hoarding, alcoholic “girlfriend” was actually galavanting around his hometown laughing and taking photos with other real live humans. I wanted to see his reaction. But him refusing to look at the photo drove home what I was most concerned about… he didn’t want to see her living a real life. He wants to, in his still recovering mind, believe she is not happy without him. I know this sounds sick and convoluted, but control is a huge driving force for addicts. He wanted control over whether he saw that picture or not and because he knew the context of the photo (since I told him), he really really didn’t want to see it. His boundaries actually state that he cannot have any contact with her, they don’t state that he cannot look at a photo of her. He doesn’t want to look at a photo of her not because of shame or guilt or anything like that. He merely wants control of that secret part of his life. I know he is remorseful and I know he regrets having done what he did, that is not the issue at hand. The issue is, he still desires control over his addiction, and this woman is his addiction.

Now, truth be told, Blue Eyes refused to acknowledge that this whole thing was about control, but I have watched this man like a hawk for four years. I see what I see, he is pretty transparent at this point and my instincts are finely tuned. He actually just kept saying it would break his borders, which I know isn’t true. Unless…. he thinks by looking at her that he will want to break his sobriety for her, in which case, he’s not as far along as I would have previously thought. I still think it was all about control. He knew I wanted him to look at the photo and he refused because he wanted to control the situation. And by not looking at the photo, he can still picture in his mind a woman who is sitting in her house pining away waiting for him to call, text or email her. He is still her knight in shining armor.

I am not the least bit worried that Blue Eyes is going to contact his acting out partner. I know he doesn’t want that in his life and he covets his sobriety and cherishes his most recent four year chip. Recovery from addiction requires daily positive action and rituals. Blue Eyes is doing the right things most of the time. I don’t think his looking at a picture of this woman is going to send him running to her house. She does represent a life he doesn’t want to live anymore, however, having power and control over aspects of his life are still instinctual to him. Sometimes my instincts are to test him… see how he responds to certain prompts and situations. When he denies these needs for me, it is distressing. I want him to be able to give himself over to me and act normal and be normal and just look at the photo and say something like… “I cannot believe I ever touched that woman.”

He did feel pretty bad though that a woman I have known for less than three years and who lives thousands of miles away could understand me better than my partner of 34 years. I realize this is a betrayed spouse situation, and addicts are innately selfish, but HELLO!!! Yeah, YEAR FIVE, I’m talking to you…. keep working your magic on this man I love. I’ve been through a lot. I deserve it!

40 thoughts on “Control

  1. Oh my, Kat. This post hit home for me. My husband was severely wounded in his childhood/adolescence also. His father was horridly abusive to my husband about needing treatment for cancer. (Complained about spending money on him.) His mother just shut down, apparently, b/c she couldn’t deal with the emotions of it all. Some family members have said she was a Narcissist, too.

    Parents can and do potentially cause so much harm. My mother was (is) a real challenge. I can’t change anyone; I can only take care of myself, so that’s what I do. 🙂

    It’s one way my husband an I can have empathy for each other – – – serious childhood wounds. All we can do is work to recover and grow. Move forward.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was married to a sex addict, too. He blamed me, his parents, AND his children for his issues. Long, long story – don’t really want to dredge it back up. Been divorced for 7 years – he remarried two years ago – his second, her fourth. They deserve each other. Divorced women DO suffer from PTSD- don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Please seek help to deal with PTSD. I am currently in an amazing long-term relationship (I mean, until we both die) with a wonderful man who loves me, is responsible for himself and is more of a lover, partner and man than I could have ever hoped for. He is truly the love of my life. After years of pain, I have been blessed with an incredible love.

    Yes, all that pain may be “in the past” and we are encouraged to “just let it go!”. It’s not that easy. Each day is a new experience, good or bad. One day, we will be able to say, “Ok. I’m ready to move on.” Until that day comes for you, don’t give anyone the power to make you feel less because you’re not quite there. Our healing journeys are each very different depending on the circumstances of our marriage and divorce. Know that you do not walk alone. Many women join you in this place. We need to walk together and encourage one another. There is life after divorce. It took me close to five years to be able to finally say, “Ok, I’m ready to move on.” Hang in there!

    Like

    • Thanks for commenting, Constance. I’m glad you are in a better place, and thanks for sharing. I’m thinking you probably haven’t read my blog, there are a lot of entries. I have no intentions at this time to divorce my husband of 29 years and best friend of 34. He doesn’t blame me, his parents, or his children for his issues. I know, of course, that whether we stay or go has nothing to do with how we suffer and whether we have PTSD. And, our husbands don’t have to be diagnosed as sex addicts for us to suffer betrayal induced trauma and PTSD. Three years ago I spent many hours in trauma therapy in Los Angeles with a CSAT. I have been treated for PTSD. My husband is four years sober and although he can’t just change his wounds or his personality, and I wouldn’t want him to, I fell in love with his personality, he has been in solid recovery for four years. I have chosen to move on from the trauma without divorcing my husband. The thing is though, it doesn’t happen overnight. All of this, trauma, recovery, etc… is a process, never “healed” or “recovered” always healing and recovering, at least that is how I look at it. I actually also am in a relationship with a wonderful man who loves me, is responsible for himself and is more of a lover, partner and man than I could have ever hoped for. My sex addict is the love of my life. Regardless of the pain and suffering both me and my husband have gone through, we have both been blessed with incredible love for each other. Maybe I don’t say it enough here on the blog. Thank you for reminding me to do that.

      I don’t encourage anyone to just let their pain go. And, I don’t do that to myself either. I am moving on, with my recovering sex addict husband and he has never made me feel less than. In the early stages of healing, I felt bad about myself (very temporarily) because I thought for sure there must have been something about the women that he found more appealing than me, but now that I am healing, I know the truth. They were a drug, I am his partner. I’m so glad you found life after divorce. I guess my message would be, there is life after betrayal regardless of whether we stay or go. Their cheating and other behaviors are not about us, but indeed about them and their human faults. Thanks so much for commenting. xo

      Like

  3. I have read this several times and have tried to understand what it is that BE thinks he needs. He certainly does not need to be involved with another woman. What he is looking for is the pay out. What he gets from his interactions with other women gives him some sort of pay out. Does he want to make phone calls? If he does what does he get out of it? Does he want the grooming process? Does that mean that when he smiles at another person, especially women, it gives him a good feeling that translates into a sexual urge? He should be very specific with himself about what each step is and what the payout is. I live in a small town so I smile and speak to almost everyone I see. That’s how it’s done here. There is no sexual undertone to any of it. This is what he needs to recognize, that when he is smiling/speaking to someone he needs to step back and just take it as a friendly gesture and make himself recognize it does not have to be sexual. He is never going to completely recover from the wounds of his childhood. He needs to stop himself every time he feels that urge and ask himself what the payout is and if it will heal his wound. He needs to be that cognizant of what he’s doing and what he is feeling. I know you don’t write about everything in your family and the things that you all do on a day to day basis. Does he have a couple of good buddies that he can do things with? There is something that he needs to recognize. Human beings are warm-blooded animals that generate our own energy. That energy has to be dissipated. He used his work and his addiction to get rid of that energy. He needs to find a positive, healthy outlet for his busy mind and his busy body. You two to take to lots of trips, have built a beautiful house and enjoy some of your extended family. That might not be enough for him. He is going to have to grow up emotionally. You cannot do it for him and you cannot police him into it. He has to be responsible for behaving like an adult. He is always going to fight trying to get his wounds healed in the old way. To me it seems like his addiction is also a bad habit. If you have ever tried to listen to someone who uses “like” every other word then you know a bad habit when you hear it. BE knows what he has done is not just harming you but continues to keep him in the same place emotionally he was in as a child. Getting out of himself and finding something to keep him busy is imperative. He needs to get rid of the bad habit as well as the addiction. Your healing will only happen when he has control of himself enough not to constantly fall apart. His addiction is keeping you hyper vigilant. So not good for you.
    Also, the humdrum of life is a trigger for him. He just needs to be busy and positive in a constructive way.
    Has he been tested for ADHD? It runs in my family. Some members are on Ritalin and others are not. Could he have a milder version of Bipolar II. Our country is over medicated but sometimes it helps.
    Just a bunch of thoughts on another cold morning.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Moi, for your thoughtful comment. I have been limiting my time on the screens, but I think the concussion has run it’s course, I hope. Actually BE is not actively in his addiction at this time. He doesn’t groom or even think about calling women. He no longer participates in all those nasty behaviors. He is four years sober, but more than that, he is four years recovered. He has friends in his program that he does things with, meets up with, etc… He has other friends as well. He has his Buddhist meditation meetings and retreats. He is still very much a workaholic and this is what we have been dealing with since last summer. He has added a new venture, if you will, to our already busy business because this is who he is. He is an entrepreneur with a keen brain that never stops. He has been diagnosed with ADD. The problem is, the medication he was prescribed for it literally knocked him out, even the smallest dose. He was lethargic, sleeping large parts of the day (so unlike him) and he had zero drive, for sex or anything else. It was difficult for him to let it run its course… as we know, most medications come with side effects that often dwindle as our bodies adjust. The problem was, he was unable to function. He tried for two weeks. He actually fell asleep at his desk and missed a meeting. I think he was, at the time, looking for a pill to “fix” him. He is very much in workaholic mode at this time. This post here was about control and his wanting to control his old addict story. He should have just looked at the photo and said something, anything and moved on. That would have eased me a lot. Let me know he couldn’t care less about seeing a photo of her. Unfortunately his behavior did just the opposite. I am not keen on the idea that an addict can just white wash his or her life. They need to be able to face their drug and acknowledge it no longer has power over them, in my opinion. He didn’t do that. Clearly he has work to do. We actually have bigger issues than the other woman. Our relationship suffers when he goes into workaholic mode. Being married to an addict is not that fun. We do have a whole lot to be thankful for, and we have built a lot in our 34 year relationship. But the thing that matters most to me, is that I am treated with respect. We took a walk the other night, me, BE, The Peacemaker and our two dogs. As we were walking through a gorgeous forest (we live in a beautiful place), BE just literally stopped in the middle of the path as he typed out a text message to a client. It was 9pm on a Sunday. We just stood there looking at him. He couldn’t even take 30 minutes from his day to be with us. That’s not right. Walking with his family should allow him to be busy and positive, but, but, but…. I am not even hyper vigilant anymore. The looking at the other woman’s FB page had everything to do with her being a scary stalker than my caring what she does with the rest of her life. I am obsessive compulsive when it comes to feeling like someone is following me. She has shown that she is willing to do all sorts of evil and conniving things to get into my life. I agree with commenters here, though. I am done with that. I can let it go. If she was going to stalk me and stab me with a knife, I doubt she would write about it on her Facebook. 🙂

      Btw, I’m heading to the south, Moi. Gonna be there for at least a month! 🙂

      Like

  4. Wow, Kat. You have had some interesting posts lately! I have been reading them and the very interesting comments. So many things that you and others have said ring true for me. As for this post, I understand you wanting BE to look at the picture. Interestingly enough, I just had the same scenario in finding an updated FB picture of a woman my H was infatuated with (long story) who he met at the gym.. In the picture, it appeared gym woman had gained weight over the past 10 mos or so, and yeah, I wanted him to see that. Okay, I was being catty. And like someone else said, I wanted to say to my H, “You almost blew us up for THAT? Seriously?????” Like BE, my H refused to look at the photo. I let it go, maybe because my motives were not as pure as yours, and also, my H’s sobriety IS fragile, at 130 days.

    I want to dispel the myth that somehow it’s better if your H acts out his addiction with prostitutes rather than an AP. The thinking seems to be that there’s no emotional involvement with a prostitute it’s a business transaction, etc. etc. Maybe for a normal person that’s true. But for an SA, there IS emotional involvement in the SA way, i.e. the fantasy level. Prostitutes sell fantasy and delusion and SAs are all about fantasy and delusion. Not in the way that normal people fantasize. SAs take fantasy to an entirely different level. If they do it long enough, say 30-40 years or more, it may threaten their very sanity. Yes. They may have what’s called a psychotic break, which basically means they lose touch with reality. Ask me how I know.

    Furthermore, prostitutes are all about the money, and they don’t like losing customers. They can become very aggressive in pursuing a john. After D-day, I looked at the phone records and one prostitute was texting my H 40+ times a day. After D-day, when my H cut her off, she stole his laptop out of his car and had him followed. Then she threatened to tell his family if he didn’t give her money. Oh duh. His “family” (me) already knew. At that point, I said to H, either call the police or I’m out of here. He called the police and filed a report to get rid of her. We also had a security system installed. If you look at the websites that men post on about prostitutes (“girlfriend experience” bullshit), even the deluded bloggers warn men not to give a prostitute their phone numbers or any idea about their real lives, like where they work or live. Wonder why? Gee, it’s just a business transaction. No, it’s illegal, and when you step outside the law, you align yourself with criminals. And prostitutes are very desperate criminals and usually drug addicts. I have heard similar stories from others and some much worse, so the fact that my H picked a crazy one, which he did, is not the main factor.

    That brings me to another point. The SA fascination with what one SA friend calls “broken birds” and the savior routine. My H has been in some very intensive therapy lately and has developed some real insights about that. In his acting out, he picks what he calls “vulnerable” women, which means lonely, sad, etc. In his fantasy, he sees himself as a “hero” rescuing them. That’s how he saw the prostitutes, He saw himself as “rescuing” them because he was a “nice john” and some other men were not. Gym woman was profoundly unhappy and miserable and he saw himself as her savior. (That situation really blew up. She may very well have been looking for a hero but my H wasn’t the one.)

    At first, I saw this phenomenon as the SA in acting out mode being a predator. A predator goes for the weakest antelope in the herd, right? Frankly, this disgusted me. The whole “grooming” process. However, after reading these posts, I’m thinking of my H’s horrible childhood with trauma from the death of his mother when he was so young and verbal abuse.from his father. Of course he turned to sex at a very early age. I read somewhere that sex and food are the only addictions available to a child. So my H used sex (self stimulation) to medicate his pain and that was his secret that became an addiction. Now I’m wondering if the “rescuing the broken one” is a projected way of rescuing the “broken” little boy? .Something more to think about. Thanks to Kat and everyone for some great discussions.

    Liked by 3 people

    • You always write the most well thought out comments, Maggie. I totally hear ya on the prostitute versus affairs situation. I have also heard many many stories of prostitutes pretending they are friends with the addict to get more business out of them or just plain favors, kind of like sugar daddies. Many do know how to manipulate very well. BE has the story from his group of the SA similar to your H who thought he was good friends with his prostitute. He would bring her to his house when his wife and kids were away, so she knew where he lived. Had his name, phone numbers etc…. even the security code to this house. The SA and his family went away on vacation, but had to come home early for an emergency and they found the prostitute and her boyfriend robbing their house. The prostitute held the family at gun point and proceeded to tell the wife in detail what had been going on with her husband. That was her d-day. Horrifying. He had also spent lots and lots of money on that prostitute and others, so there were debt issues.

      And yes to the rescuing mentality although BE was a bit crueler than most I think. He chose vulnerable looking women, but he wasn’t trying to actually save them from anything. He just knew they were easier than others when garnering a shallow sexually based relationship. That was tough for me to metabolize at first because BE is, on the outside, a very timid and compassionate man, not a predator, but his behavior in his addiction is very predatory. I mean I know how he evolved into what he became and childhood wounds and neglect are at the heart of it, but he still made some very selfish decisions in his addiction. BE acknowledges that he didn’t care about the women, merely fed off of the thoughts of sex with them and then eventually the sex. Owning it is part of his recovery. It’s one of the things I read about quite often with 12 step naysayers, is that 12 step lets them off the hook. It really doesn’t. The steps are about acknowledging how powerful the addiction is, and what they have done to feed it, and how to recover from those desires, and make amends to people they have harmed. So far, so good.

      I do like your analogy of rescuing the broken little boy, but BE progressed far beyond that and really honed his skills. I do feel desperately for his wounds and his pain and all he went through, but, but, but… it’s time for him to own it all and make the appropriate changes. He’s doing quite well. I know your husband is too. It makes our healing easier when we can put it all into perspective. xo

      Liked by 1 person

      • Maggie’s response hit home for me. I witnessed my sex addict / intimacy anorexic husband having a psychotic break. He almost ended his life in front of my eyes.

        It’s still hard for me to accept the reality of how my “respectable” husband brought “those women” (paid whores) into our life. Such a disconnect. So much compartmentalization. It wore him down, though, he had tremendous guilt and shame, and he “broke” – frankly.

        Like

        • There is only so much they can pile on their backs before they break. With BE, his body had always paid the price for his stress, and it still does. For those that think addicts are merely cheaters off having a great time, they couldn’t be more wrong. The secret life and the shame and regret they feel is overwhelming. I’m surprised they are able to keep the secret for so long! xo

          Liked by 1 person

  5. I haven’t read any of the other comments yet, but wanted to say how one section of your post stood out for me with metaphorical neon lights around it!

    In the detailed “confession” I got OH to write for me about his affair, this was one of the things he wrote…
    “The other element of the “attraction” was that element of her looking lost and melancholic. Characteristics that I saw in myself and as I look back on it now, the element of me being a “saviour” as mentioned in the books and articles we have read, did play a part.”

    It truly is as if it is a script. He claims that need to be the saviour was strong. He felt I didn’t need him in that way. He thought I was competent and confident in everything I did. All I can say to that, is I must be one helluva actress!

    I also look at the OW’s Facebook page very occasionally, but it doesn’t give me much as it is “friends only” so I only see when she changes her profile photo. The last change was on Halloween which showed her dressed as a witch. How appropriate! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ha, yes, FA, this OW would make a marvelous witch without much of a costume at all!!! It is sort of eery how the pathology can be so very similar amongst betrayers. I have written about BE’s “template” before and how it starts with that look of loneliness and neediness. If she has big breasts, well that ticks the next box. That all goes back to childhood and his caretakers and how the only attention he really got was from them and his mother hired overweight hispanic women thinking her husband wouldn’t be attracted to them. Crazyville! Maybe if she had nurtured her children they wouldn’t be so messed up! All BE’s other women fell into very very similar categories. The first year post discovery, we went to a restaurant and there was quite a wait, so we were waiting outside. He was just beginning to share openly some of his struggles and feelings around his addiction. I tried to provide him a safe place to talk, but sometimes it was a double edged sword. These days he doesn’t do that kind of grooming. Anyway, he went in to use the restroom and when he came back outside, he said there was a woman who fit his template inside the restaurant waiting area. So, I went into the restroom to see if I could figure out who he was talking about. There were probably a dozen women inside. When I returned to him I asked him if it was the cute 30-something, blonde hair, overweight with large breasts, pretty smile. He said no. It ended up being the woman she was dining with and they were seated right next to us in the restaurant. The woman that would have been his target was a little older, frumpy, not overtly attractive in any way and she looked MISERABLE. Much of dinner she would glance over at Blue Eyes and he would look away. OMG. He really knew how to pick a sure thing. And, he had obviously looked at her and given her that vibe because otherwise, why would she be looking over at our table. It was a weird creepy feeling for me and way back when, he didn’t even realize how long he was holding eye contact with women, it was such a habit formed years ago. I never really noticed it before because when he was in active addiction and he had the OW, he didn’t really do it a lot in my presence and I also never sensed anything or even thought he was capable. Boy was I wrong. Wanting to be a savior seems directly related to needing to be needed. With Blue Eyes, he wasn’t properly nurtured. I am also really independent and self sufficient, and I think he thought that would be great for him and we have been together for decades. Unfortunately, he did come into our relationship as a secret addict and there was nothing I could do about that. xo

      Liked by 2 people

    • I believe the male cheater, but no doubt intensified in SA, is almost always looking to rescue a pitiful, sad or needy woman. Playing into gender roles hugely. Strong, capable, Mr Fixit. Poor, simple Ms Incompetent.

      In the case of Rog, I was off earning and growing without his input on both of the big cheating occasions in our lives. Both woman were single mothers. Both looking for someone to rescue and support them. Pretty cliche. He felt I no longer needed that patriarchal care. So diverted it to those more pitiful than myself. To make him feel like a big, needed man.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I have held off commenting about this because I have no right or wrong here. I have enjoyed the discussion. My comment about are you okay was from a place whereby I empathise with those feelings that occasionally compel one to look. I feel Kat is mostly in a positive trajectory regarding her own healing and I know looking comes from the dark moments. I also understand BE’s reluctance to look. Unfortunately, as the betrayed party, who had been mostly pretty selfless, you become very focused on making sure your own needs are met and prioritised after betrayal. When our feelings are not validated with kindness, it feels very unjust.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks, Paula. I am less occasionally compelled than I regularly look as part of my ritualistic check, kind of like checking my perimeter for safety. I normally feel little to nothing when I look at her page full of animal rights shares and goofy jokes. The picture was more a shock to my system, I think as it has never happened before. I can acknowledge that enough time has passed that I can stop checking up on her as I feel pretty comfortable that she is done with her stalking, at least her stalking of me! LOL. It did feel unjust, the stubbornness with which BE disregarded my request, and he recognizes that. Thanks for always being there for me! ❤

      Like

  7. I think my behavior was reactive and aggressive rather than patient and kind. At this stage of my journey to get out of myself and open my heart to compassion is really the path. When Paula asked Kat how she was doing that opened my heart and made me smile and regret that I could not truly be with Kat at that moment. Seeing a picture of the AP is a reminder of the suffering I have caused, I should not run away from it but I should lean into it. I should of slowed things down and been present for Kat. I want to control and have power over what I experience, my reality. I want the AP to be just the same in my addict mind. I still want my addiction. Every day is a gift. I am grateful for the ability to look deeply, but now my work focuses on being present, leaning in, and opening my heart. I am grateful for this community and the gift of insight.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, BE, for your reply. I think you realize my post was about addicts wanting to control aspects of their life, especially in response to past acts of betrayal, specifically you, my addict. The comment discussions have centered around me still looking up the OW and also it not being fair that I asked you to look at the photo. I’m not so much into being critical of the wishes of a betrayed wife, so I might get a little defensive. I know you know that I would never do something that I thought would send you back into your addiction, or that I thought was cruel. I know you know my trust in you has come a very long way. And, I know you know I was wanting you to prove to me that you could look at the picture and acknowledge that the OW is potentially less of a threat and has moved on with her life, at the very least. Potentially you could have also acknowledged that she didn’t deserve even a minute of your time. Your refusing to look at it left me feeling sad and unheard, potentially a bit empty inside. You have a lot of support, especially from me, so when I ask for something, I do expect to not only be heard, but actually listened to and if it is important to me, that you give me the benefit of the doubt and do what I ask. Now what is left, is not the image of the OW in my mind, but the fact that you flat out refused to do something for me. None of this is ever about the other woman for me. It is about feeling like I am standing on firm ground on this new foundation we are building. Some days that may be as simple as you texting me once on a very busy day at work. Some days it might be a little more difficult for you. I’m still a work in progress. xo, K.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Marie, I’m so sorry you’re going through this, it truly sucks. I realized something earlier this week with regards to the ups and downs of triggers you described.

    When I’m triggered my protective animal instincts come out and I only see the monster, the disgusting animal who did the horrendous acts to hurt me. But then we talk, and I hear and see that he is also disgusted, and then I start to have compassion and see the human and the man I fell in love with.

    I hoped my revelation would have made me never get triggered again but no, triggerville this morning and I’m exhausted. I couldn’t believe the vile spewing out of me. And, then we talked and I love him again.

    This roller coaster is so exhausting ☹️ but I do know it gets better and progress is being made. Hugs xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Spouse of a Sex Addict, thanks for your response to Marie. I moved it down below her comment just in case she didn’t see it. If the response is in direct reply to her comment, WP will alert her to the response. ❤

      Like

  9. CK, did your husband ever buy prostitutes? That is my husband’s history. Out of town meant “let’s buy a whore”. Even on our anniversary trips to Hawaii. It sucks and I’m at 2 years 7 months post disclosure. Some days I want to inflict pain and others not so much.

    Like

    • Hi Marie. No prostitutes. His parents had made him believe that his career was the most important thing. One of those ways to manipulate him and make him paranoid. He never did anything illegal. He is an attorney and he was able to find willing women without paying. It was one of the most frustrating aspects because I felt like what he did to me by bringing in other actual women who wanted a relationship with him was worse than hiring prostitutes, but that was trauma talking. It’s all bad. I no longer want to inflict pain on anyone, but it still sucks. xo

      Like

      • Would you share how you moved away from vengeance with your spouse? The fact that mine bought young Asian girls really makes me want to extract pain out of him. He knows how disgusted I feel and he claims to feel the same way. All that shame from childhood. I know he is remorseful and feels deep shame but somehow, when I get triggered, all that knowledge of how he grew up just flies out the window and I just become a different person. I become that awful spouse who wants to inflict the same kind of pain I feel onto him. He has no idea how deeply I hurt although I’ve tried to explain to him. His family of origin was pretty screwed up and it is no wonder that he choose his weenie for comfort but still I transform into a crazy woman at times.

        Like

        • Reply from: Spouse of a Sex Addict
          Marie, I’m so sorry you’re going through this, it truly sucks. I realized something earlier this week with regards to the ups and downs of triggers you described.

          When I’m triggered my protective animal instincts come out and I only see the monster, the disgusting animal who did the horrendous acts to hurt me. But then we talk, and I hear and see that he is also disgusted, and then I start to have compassion and see the human and the man I fell in love with.

          I hoped my revelation would have made me never get triggered again but no, triggerville this morning and I’m exhausted. I couldn’t believe the vile spewing out of me. And, then we talked and I love him again.

          This roller coaster is so exhausting ☹️ but I do know it gets better and progress is being made. Hugs xoxo

          Like

      • I’ve read that many women think it would be less traumatic if their husband bought sex than an affair and I agree that both are traumatic for us. How did you move from the desire/impulse to dish out pain on him? I feel great compassion at times and other times, when I trigger badly, I realize after the fact that I need better tools. Thank you for such quick responses. I’ve been unable to go back and read your entire blog but I am working on it.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Marie, although many of our responses are the same (as betrayed wives) our personalities and experiences do play a part. Most of my emotions centered around sadness, not necessarily about revenge, retribution, inflicting pain, etc… I had trauma therapy pretty early on, which helped. I also saw a lot of anger in other wives of sex addicts and I did not want to live in an angry place. But I realize we cannot always control our emotions. I think therapy can be helpful, and also, as you say, having positive tools to re-direct. It took me a while to stop self harming. My pain was such that if I caused some amount of physical pain to myself, it helped ease the emotional pain. Not healthy, but it was my way of coping in the moment in the early stages of PTSD. Perhaps anger is actually less destructive? I don’t know. It all hurts and anger is usually a secondary emotion covering up for fear, pain, sadness, etc… You need to be able to feel and not close down when you have those emotions. For the most part, time worked to help me metabolize everything going on in my life and the trauma faded, but has not completely gone away. Is your husband in active recovery? xo

          Liked by 1 person

  10. I think that blue eyes grew up in every way except emotionally. He is still a child in many ways way deep down in his subconscious. Childhood trauma is so devastating because those building blocks of childhood should be solid and it should take a sledgehammer to break them apart. He is using a small hammer and going at those damaged building blocks a little at the time. It will take him a long time to repair himself. I consider his travels, and travails, as inching over broken glass and barbed wire. Just as much as he need to be out of his addiction he needs a healthy focus. Because he is still so broken his mind is never quiet. I hope he finds his center.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Kat, I completely understand why you wanted him to look, and what I think we all need understand that this man completely broke your heart and changed you, your marriage and how you look at your husband FOREVER. There is so much damage it cannot be explained.

    The “things” my (and your) spouse decided to act out with were disgusting downgrades in every sense and it would be very rewarding for US to see our husbands get physically and mentally ill by these images. My spouse said he would have fucked anything and by the looks of it he did. I want him to look at them and I want to see complete disgust on his face. It’s still unbelievable how they could act out with these women but the fact is they were not people to our men, they objectified them as things in attempt to feel better like you and I would take a bath after a long day. It’s not something you and I will ever understand.

    I know he tells me he is disgusted, but I want to SEE it. They risked EVERYTHING for THAT?? I want to know everyday that he is repulsed by himself.

    I get you darling, there is no right or wrong but I will say (and you know) pain shopping hurts YOU and causes trauma and anxiety to YOU. I’m guilty too, but can we make a promise to each other to stop? We can be stalking sobriety partners and give each other chips 😉

    Keep on Hun, I’m sending you a big hug xo

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks SofSA for so eloquently putting into words some of the feelings we all go through. I actually stopped pain shopping a while ago. I mean in terms of looking back at aspects of my life and thinking they were a lie, wanting to rip up photos, thinking he actually chose someone over me, etc… I look at what I do now as giving me piece of mind. After being stalked, I wanted to hire a private investigator to make sure this woman wasn’t infiltrating our lives in any way. What was part of his addiction and simply a drug to him, was real to her. That’s the part that scares me. When mentally ill people believe something has been stolen from THEM, you just never know what they will do to get it back.

      I do agree, however, that four years is enough. I have checked in on her enough and actually the image of her in LA taking a photo with a comedian actually in one way made me feel more relaxed. She is living her life and not obsessing about my husband, hopefully. At least it looks that way! So, YES, I will make that promise to you and instead of chips, we can send each other chocolate!!! ❤

      Thanks for the hug. I accept it gratefully and send one back to you! xo

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Kat what a crazy whirlwind time you have been having!! I saw your fight with the log, I hope the egg on your head is better x
    There is no wrong or right way through this, I figure, if you want to show BE a photo and watch his reaction now – you probably won’t in a year, or six months, you know its steps…..I can’t say I blame BE for saying no to looking either, as much as you get to insist on certain behaviours I’m sure he can insist on not doing something that makes him uncomfortable.

    Big hugs doll x

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hey pretty lady, thanks for commenting. He felt bad that Paula actually acknowledged my feelings and he didn’t…. I didn’t want him to feel bad, you know, just maybe think of how I felt in the moment, not JUST that he didn’t want to look at the photo. It’s all good. He eventually looked at the photo (after I said I didn’t care anymore–of course) and had absolutely no reaction. Whatevs. I’ve known the guy for 34 years now (unbelievable) and the whole altercation was over in a few hours, but it was a chance for me to write about how important control is for addicts. I think that got lost a little in the process here. C’est la vie. Big hugs back! ❤

      Like

  13. I have been working on not following everything my wife does. I have been getting to a point where I finally feel relaxed and normal on some days – the knot in my chest since my 2nd D-day in August will go away on the good days. When I saw her FB post in my feed that lead me to figure out one of the guys she’s acting out with right now, it all came back. The knot, the panic attacks. Then I accidentally figured out she is still acting out with another of the guys she’s been acting out with for years (accidental because in FB my mouse rested on her name on the right side, and the pop-up shows the last few people that person has FB friended, so I saw his name w/o doing anything). Again all of the negative emotions came back.

    I’m starting to consider unfollowing her on FB, possibly unfriending her. Not sure I should do the later since it would hide most of her posts from me, and I still worry about the safety of our children. Back story on that is she almost got our teen girls involved in her acting out, one of her guys was grooming her from a conversation I found last summer and she was agreeing to it. Then in Sept she put our youngest daughter on the phone with one of her newer guys – that is when I finally kicked her out. My daughters are living with me full-time but can visit her whenever they want and she is still involved somewhat in other parts of their lives. So I think I still need to check in on her feed occasionally. But only when it won’t affect my own healing.

    Something to consider for yourself.

    Like

    • Hi Doug. My husband himself has been off social media since shortly after discovery. He went off everything that had a chatting component or by which he could contact old friends, new friends, whatever. He even went off LinkedIn. All his electronics are available to me at any time. He has struggled a little bit with the desire to innocently socialize in this way, but he knows it is best for him. In my opinion, you should do what makes you feel safe for you and your children. I can only imagine what it would be like to have a spouse who is not in active recovery. It would definitely be a deal breaker.

      And yes, I have tried to do what doesn’t trigger me. I check on this one particular woman every so often only because she stalked me aggressively for the first year or so. She was actually the one that exposed my husband, which led to his SA diagnosis. She wasn’t trying to hide her stalking either. I didn’t even know she had a Facebook until we had been in recovery for a year and a half. She had blocked me, but i used a different account to check in on her. It actually gives me piece of mind when I check her page and see that she hasn’t posted anything about her relationship with my husband. It has been four years now, so yes, I will have to agree with some of the commenters here that continuing to check in probably isn’t necessary or healthy for me.

      I wish you peace.

      Like

  14. I used to spend a fair amount of time googling and Facebook stalking my husbands APs. But through my own recovery I have learned that this is not healthy for me. It took a lot of restraint and I sometimes still think about doing it. But I stop myself and refocus. I realize this is my addiction and I have to fight it in much the same way my husband fights his. I am pleased that after almost 2 years in recovery, he never says that he misses his old life. He is grateful for the life he has now and treats our marriage like the precious thing it is. It has not been easy for either of us but we are working hard on our individual recovery as well as our couple recovery.

    I am sorry to say that if BE is white knuckling it without proper support of a sponsor or program, he is at risk. I understand your need for validation of your feelings, but it seems like looking at a photo of his AP might have been triggering for him. I commend him for recognizing that. Maybe there is another way for you to get what you need without testing his sobriety, as it sounds like it is very fragile.

    I won’t say you were right or wrong to do it. I only suggest that you focus on your own recovery and self care so that you no longer care about what this woman is doing. I know it is hard and I am resisting the urge to do my own searching right now. Instead I am going to the gym to take care of myself. It works for me. Good luck in your own journey.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi BoomerFit. It’s been a while. I wasn’t looking for validation or being judged on whether I was right or wrong. That’s not why I write here. I write what actually happens and how I cope as a betrayed wife of a sex addict. It is merely my story and I do very much appreciate all the comments made here. I do not spend a fair amount of time googling or Facebook stalking my husband’s acting out partners. Periodically, I check my family online. Sometimes I find out things about my boys that I didn’t know (that’s usually fun). At one point in time, BE’s online presence was very important to our business, not so much anymore, but I do check to see what has been written about him or our business. We spent an entire Hawaiian vacation dealing with a PR nightmare when someone tweeted some erroneous information about our company and that tweet got picked up by numerous news sources in the industry. Along with that I do check the Facebook profile of the woman who stalked me (not at all any of the of the other acting out partners). It gives me piece of mind.

      Perhaps my words were unclear? Blue eyes is doing the opposite of white knuckling it. We are in our fifth year of his sobriety and recovery and my healing. I would be remiss if I didn’t write about our reality, so I do. Blue Eyes has had a sponsor for four years, has completed his first run through of the entire twelve steps, attends 12 step meetings regularly, has at least a dozen safe guys he texts and calls and who call him, plus he has made some genuinely deep friendships with sex addicts who have years of sobriety. His sobriety is not fragile (or at least not anymore than anyone else’s with four years sobriety) and I never said by looking at the photo it would send him back into active sex addiction, quite the opposite actually. I am talking about control here and how controlling certain aspects of his life, specifically around business (since he is a workaholic) and his secret sexual past (he has a story in his head). I am not at all testing his sobriety, I am testing his thought processes and also when I need something from him emotionally (which is rare these days), I want to know he can be there for me.

      The thing is, even the guys with years, if not decades, of sobriety still work on recovery and understand the power of the addiction. White knuckling is pretending everything is okay and convincing yourself in your head you will never do it again. Addicts know there is always the possibility they will do it again, and they manage recovery accordingly. That was not at all what I was writing about. As a matter of fact, for the first 2-3 years, Blue Eyes had convinced himself that he would absolutely never do it again, that there was NO WAY his missed his old life, because you know, the pain that he had caused himself and others, but now he knows the reality of addiction. I am truly grateful that he talks about it with me. It doesn’t trigger me that he acknowledges the power of the disease he is fighting.

      I am truly glad that you understand what triggers you and that you have resources to deal with those feelings. The situation with me… I have done a lot of healing and worked solidly on this for four years, however, I would be lying if I said everything is healed, the pain is gone, all of this has simply vanished from my life, or even that I was perfect and am able to manage everything with grace and humility. Talking about my journey and how I traverse this rocky road helps me. Thanks for listening. xo

      Liked by 2 people

  15. At some point, us addicts want to draw a line under and move on from our hurtful and destructive behaviour. Looking at the photo would serve no purpose for your husband’s recovery. My heart goes out to you Kat. I am a sex addict who had a very similar background to your husband. Us sex addicts are not wired emotionally or psychologically the same as the majority of most people. Although it is essential for us to recognise the hurt we have done to others to change and become connected to others in a healthy way, reminders of the past can lead to shame and guilt, which could feed the addiction. I am so grateful that my wife is still with me however I cannot imagine the amount of hurt I have caused.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Mark, for your comment. It is very rational and introspective and I do appreciate you commenting, very much. It’s not often I receive comments from a recovering sex addict. It is difficult for each to truly understand the other, I think, in these circumstances. We are indeed different people with different emotional capacities, wounds, triggers, etc… I feel like our life is very much about making sure my husband feels safe and embraced in his recovery, every day. I also need the same. In my opinion (a phrase that was required by one of our therapists whenever I spoke, as if that didn’t go without saying) for the first three years I would have thought the photo would have brought out guilt and shame. But now as we move through year five, things have changed a bit. My husband is much more honest and open about his feelings. I am glad he lets me know what circumstances make him think about his addiction, and also what recovery methods he uses to address them. He is doing a good job on most days. I do feel very strongly about what I wrote here. I am keenly aware of my lingering trauma and his desire to make it all go away. I also need to be reassured on occasion that he at least wants to understand where I am at and what I feel.

      Liked by 2 people

  16. I’m sorry, Kat, but that was not a nice thing to do! Blue Eyes has worked for 4 years to control his new behaviours and you want to put a photo of that whore in front of him?? To prove what? He is so past that! I don’t understand. I’m stunned you would have the reaction you did. Why wouldn’t you be happy that he has shunned her to the point of never wanting to see her skanky ass again? Really saddened and disappointed by this post. He has come further than probably any of us imagined – and you’re upset he wouldn’t look at a picture of her. 😭

    Like

    • Well, SW, it’s 3:00 in the morning here where I am, but I’m up watching the Australian Open Women’s Final, so… I’m sorry you don’t understand my perspective on this. I’m far from perfect, but, I trust my instincts now. A couple things. Blue Eyes still has a long way to go and he has not come further than I would have imagined. This is still a daily battle around here. He still very much talks about how much he misses his addiction. That’s the thing about addiction, they can’t just white knuckle it. The stressors in their life that drove them to their addiction are still there, at least they very much are for my husband. I keep writing because neither of us are perfect, we make mistakes, but the thing I won’t do again is ignore my needs, or ignore my instincts. Blue Eyes has been cut a lot of slack. I have needs and one of them is to have my emotions validated. Sure, I could pretend like every day everything is perfect, but it’s not. I don’t feel bad that I asked him to look at the photo so I could gauge his reaction. He brought that woman into my life, not the other way around. Honestly as I say in this post, he could have at least acknowledged that me seeing the photo (however that transpired) was difficult. And funny enough, I STILL need him to acknowledge what he did and recognize how messed up it is since he STILL says he misses it. Recovering addicts still do crave their drug, it’s a thing. Please understand this isn’t some one time fling, this is 30 years of lying and cheating. He still has a lot of work to do and I won’t feel bad about respecting my instincts.

      Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s